Posted on: February 16, 2011 2:06 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Few elements in the world of modern-day college football are as controversial as the Internet's now-ubiquitous recruiting services and recruiting rankings. Some fans consider them an excellent gauge of a team's future talent; some consider their evaluations worthless. Some consider them a distracting blight that feeds the egos of young athletes and builds (or lowers) expectations for a program based on nothing more than wild guesses; some see them as a fun, engaging, necessary diversion that helps pass the offseason grind and makes fans more informed to boot.
But one of the biggest questions surrounding recruiting rankings (like those by our Maxpreps colleagues and Tom Lemming ) has been: do they matter to the people in college football who, you know, matter? Though it's only one very small response as part of a much larger Q&A, an answer given by Cal linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator Kenwick Thompson at a recruiting-centric Bear fan gathering (as recorded by California Golden Blogs ) suggests that, yes, on some level they do.
According to Thompson , the recruiting process at Cal begins with the Bear coaches examining "data" from Rivals and Scout as well as a third (unnamed) recruiting service. It's that data which helps Thompson and the rest of the staff create a "dossier" of potential recruits which the Bears may or not pursue according to the team's needs.
Thompson's not the first coach to admit that he's aware of (or even using) the recruiting services. Larry Coker's Miami staff reportedly bypassed much of their own evaluative process in favor of simply using Rivals rankings. Auburn recruting coordinator Curtis Luper once said of the rankings that "if they're keeping the score, you want to win, right?" Penn State assistant Jay Paterno wrote himself only last week that some coaches have been so fixated on recruiting rankings that they've become willing to oversign to make sure they stay near the top of them.
This is not to say that Thompson's Bears or any staff are letting the recruiting services do their work for them. From the rest of Thompson's Q&A, it seems clear he and Jeff Tedford's staff are using the "data" collected there only as a starting point, with plenty of evaluative legwork still to do afterwards. But it also seems clear that the recruiting sites are very much on the minds of FBS coaches, and that yes, the information they provide --unless the Bears are the only ones, which seems highly unlikely -- is being put to some kind of use by programs at or near even the top of the college food chain.
Love them or hate them, what you can't say about the recruiting services is that they aren't having an impact on the landscape of college football.
HT: EDSBS .
Posted on: January 18, 2011 1:42 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
It’s been a busy few months for NCAA vice president of enforcement Julie Roe Lach. After taking over officially at the start of November, Roe Lach has been busy meeting with compliance officers and those connected with enforcement as part of the NCAA’s top-to-bottom review of enforcement processes. Additionally, she’s had to deal with several high profile cases that have attracted intense media attention.
At the recent NCAA convention in San Antonio, Roe Lach took the time to discuss a number of topics, including new legislation, high profile cases and her thoughts on how busy the enforcement staff has become this past year.
CBSSports.com: Although you’re not directly responsible, what’s been the reaction from the membership on the Ohio State and Cam Newton cases?
Roe Lach: The cases you mentioned were decided by our Student-Athlete Reinstatement department, which is actually housed in the Academic and Membership Affairs branch. That group decides all athlete eligibility issues. I work in the enforcement side and we investigate and deal with institutional responsibilities, boosters, coaches, administrators. I don’t go and talk to them. If issues come up that’s one thing. (The compliance offices) understand there are different processes in play. Those discussions, if they have questions, comments, support, or concerns, would be directed towards our Academic and Membership affairs group.
CBSSports.com: President Emmert said he will be introducing legislation that will look to close some of the loopholes regarding parents soliciting pay for play, do you have any details on the legislation?
Roe Lach: There’s been a lot of input not just from the national office but staff, from our enforcement experience, the Academic Affairs group, also membership input. That’s part of what President Emmert has shared. I met with the football coaches earlier this week and shared the concept with them. President Emmert has also met with a group of their leaders and he’s working to get together with basketball coaches as well. Right now, it’s in concept form. The ideas are there but we want to make sure that we’re going to get it right. That’s why there’s not any emergency legislation being adopted at the convention. We recognize the need to bring in all the stakeholders and say, ‘What makes sense here, what doesn’t, what are we missing?’ We hope that by taking the time now, in the drafting process, that something concrete can go forward in April. Even then, if the board adopts it, it can still go out for comment if they want more input from the membership at that point.
CBSSports.com: Agents have been in the news a lot recently, what are some of the steps the NCAA is taking to make sure they are not violating rules by talking with or paying athletes?
Roe Lach: I think it’s important to note that our rules currently allow for conversation and seeking advice by prospects from agents and advisors. The issue is you can’t have a contract and you can’t take benefits. Where I think there’s confusion at times is, schools or teams will have rules that say no contact with an agent during the season. And then of course the NFLPA has what’s coined the ‘Junior Rule.’ The one issue is just making sure everyone understands what rules currently exists and by whom. I don’t think we’re suggesting rules that we’re going to somehow restrict that access that is currently allowed. It’s just the issue is larger than that. Rather than approach it from a regulatory standpoint, let’s look at it from an information standpoint. What information is currently going to our student-athletes that have the potential to go professional, when is that information going to them and who’s giving it to them. Are they getting it when they come on campus and saying, ‘I want to go to the NFL or NBA.’ And if they’re not getting it from a coach or academic advisor or someone they’ve developed a relationship with on their campus, then are they getting it from someone that doesn’t have their best interests in mind and how can we fix that. Rather than passing new rules, let’s really look at what information is available and who’s giving it and what should be available and who’s giving it and when.
CBSSports.com: Starting with the USC case earlier last year, it seems as though we’ve had a lot more “high profile” cases recently, is there something you have to tell schools to focus on in light of these cases?
Roe Lach: I think one thing we continuously tell schools is the need to recognize what are the issues that you have on your campus. Whether its elite athlete issues or you’re in a college town with a couple of elite big time boosters that want to employ your student-athletes, there’s a laundry list of issues that don’t exist on every campus. Maybe one or two exist on each campus. So what our school do, and do a good job of, is say here’s our situation, here are the potential landmines so we need to be looking out for these issues and then what do we need to do from an education standpoint and then from a monitoring standpoint.
CBSSports.com: Has there been any thought to creating a Football Focus Group to deal with issues similar to the Basketball Focus Group?
Roe Lach: What we’re doing is exploring if we need to have a dedicated group focused on football. So we’re working on it. We’re trying to figure out, and we think we know what the issues are, but rather than just base that on our current knowledge, we’re doing some outreach. We’re going to be out there in the spring. We’re already attending some of the elite events, 7-on-7 tournaments, going to high schools in hotbed regions where football prospects pull from to talk to those folks and say what are the issues from your perspective, especially in the recruiting environment. Then how does that translate into what do we need to do from an enforcement standpoint to be the most effective. Do we need to have staff dedicated to football like we do in basketball? Do we need to approach it from a different standpoint rather than have four people do you have eight who spend half their time doing football or something else? Do we need to hire some former football coaches because we don’t have the level of expertise we need? I think all those questions need to be asked but it’s premature to start answering them. We need to get more information.”
CBSSports.com: You’ve worked in enforcement for awhile, can you remember a time where you’ve been busier than this?
Roe Lach: I’ve been getting that question a lot. We certainly are busy. I think most of our issues are generating more media scrutiny or attention, as well as the public. I don’t know if that means we’re busier, it’s just in the past, so many of our issues were not on the front page. So the level and scrutiny wasn’t there. It’s not like we’ve had this huge upswing in cases. We have seen (a rise), like on the agent side, but that’s been a five year effort to develop sources and outreach as a result. As a result of that, the staff has generated some cases that they weren’t generating five years ago because we didn’t have the knowledge and contact base. I don’t know if that means they’re busier but the work has changed a little bit.
Posted on: January 11, 2011 1:22 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2011 1:58 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
DALLAS, Tex – Gene Chizik won’t soak in the National Championship for too long this week. Nor will Chip Kelly dive into what went wrong for Oregon right away.
Instead, the coaches will likely be reaching for the cell phone and burning up their minutes as National Signing Day inches closer and closer on February 2nd.
“You know, you savor the moment. There is no question last night was a great moment for so many people for Auburn football,” Chizik told reporters Tuesday morning. “But, you know, the great thing about college football and especially in our league, which is so competitive in every way, not just on the field but recruiting and things of that nature, there are no days off, to be honest with you.”
Auburn should finish with a consensus top ten class when all is said and done (or signed in this case). Oregon might come close to cracking the top ten and will certainly have a consensus top 15 class. Although both programs have picked up steam on the recruiting trail with their relatively new head coaches, they will have a hard time consistently cracking the top five because their talent bases at home are not as strong as powerhouses like Texas, Florida or USC.
Perhaps that is what made both teams’ run to the title game so impressive, that they have recruited well in recent years and built up a large percentage of their rosters from out of state.
Approximately half of Auburn’s roster is from Alabama but the Tigers heavily recruit Georgia, Florida and Mississippi. Don’t be surprised if they start to push beyond the south for top-tier prospects with the exposure from a national title and the administration locking up offensive coordinator Guz Malzahn to a big contract.
In-state players make up only a fifth of Oregon’s roster but the Ducks have expanded their recruiting efforts nationally in recent years. On top of grabbing California players like other Pac-10 schools, Oregon has hit talent rich states like Texas and Florida under Kelly’s watch. The flashy uniforms and expensive facilities have certainly elevated the school’s profile with many recruits and the success on the field will likely lead to higher profile players taking their talents to the Northwest.
It has been less than 24 hours since Auburn was crowned National Champions but after getting a little bit of sleep last night, both coaching staffs will be right back on the recruiting grind today, calling their current commitments and trying to load up on some more.
“As far as days off, they are few and far between,” Chizk said. “That's just kind of part of the deal. So we'll crank it back up today and have a great memory of what happened last night.”
The recruits should have a good memory of last night too.
Posted on: January 10, 2011 11:49 am
Edited on: January 10, 2011 11:50 am
Posted by Bryan Fischer
DALLAS, Tex. – I’m in Dallas for the annual American Football Coaches Association Convention this week. One of the biggest draws of the convention is to network with other coaches and in some cases actually receive a job offer from a recently hired head coach.
It’s pretty obvious when you walk into the conference actually, as four large job boards are plastered with resumes. As assistants jockey for offers and shake hands in the hallway, one often forgotten aspect of switching jobs is the kids they were recruiting.
After months and months of developing a relationship andgetting pitched on attending a particular school, it can sometimes be quite jarring to 18 year olds to no longer have a coach to play for. With the majority of coaching changes occurring within a month of signing day, recruits and their families are often scrambling to schedule other official visits and talk with coaches.
At the Army All-American Bowl on Saturday, former Michigan commitment Demetrius Hart chose Alabama. Hart had committed to Michigan in October but opened things up when Rich Rodriguez was fired as head coach of the Wolverines. As an early enrollee, the coaching change had an even greater impact on his commitment.
“I’ve always liked Alabama,” he said. “But a lot of things came up with the coaching change at Michigan and me trying to get into school early. I didn’t know what coaches were going to be there. I would have been in a situation where I didn’t really know anybody. I had a good relationship (with the staff) and was going to come in early but with them leaving, Alabama was always a place I wanted to go.”
Former Miami commit Teddy Bridgewater had a longtime relationship with former Hurricane coach Randy Shannon. One of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the country, Bridgewater was originally the jewel in the Hurricanes’ class and a special bond with Shannon played an enormous role in first choosing Miami. Without a coach in place, he decommitted about a week after Shannon was fired and eventually committed to Louisville.
“I’ve known Coach Shannon since I was a child,” Bridgewater said. “I played Pop Warner football in Arch Park and he’s an alum of Scott Park, that’s my rival park growing up. He used to come out to the games and the practices. We just grew a relationship over the years.
“For him to just be fired, it hit me hard. I was expecting to play for him. But that’s just the business part of college football.”
As hires are made and the coaching carousel turns this week, it’s worth remembering that sometimes it’s the kids who are impacted the most.
Posted on: January 9, 2011 9:56 am
Edited on: January 9, 2011 10:34 am
Posted by Bryan Fischer
SAN ANTONIO, Tex. – The trophy was raised, the confetti was falling and the hollering from the East squad was energetic.
At that moment, it seemed that the Army All-American Bowl week was over. For the players meandering around the Alamodome floor however, the experiences and friendships developed in San Antonio would prevent the game from ever ending.
“I met a lot of great players from all over, from the east and the west team,” West cornerback De’Anthony Thomas said. “This game, to me, was about friendship. A lot of us are going to the next level and we’ll be competing against each other.”
To a man, from the 5-foot-9 Thomas to the 6-foot-6 Antonio Richardson, players gushed with how they would cherish the memories they made and the bonds they formed.
“Overall, I’m proud of my team, I built a lot of relationships this week,” Richardson said. “I’m sorry I have to leave, it’s almost like these guys are my family now. I’m going to miss these guys.”
Louisville commit Teddy Bridgewater also grasped that the week was more about football, about more than a win or a loss. Standing off to the side as his teammates celebrated their victory, Bridgewater talked at length with an army corporal.
“It’s a privilege, not everyone gets to wear their flag on their jersey and play for their country. This past week has been indescribable,” he said. “It opened my eyes to the world, I sat down and talked with my soldiers and they told me how life is in the army. I was asking them questions. You know you have to have that heart and that courage to be able to put your life on the line each and every day. I just want to say thank you to the soldiers.”
Timing Down Pat
Bridgewater also made a memory on the field, scoring the East’s first points of the game and turning the momentum of the ball game around with a perfectly lofted 22 yard fade to Miles Shuler.
“It was third down and cover zero,” Bridgewater said of the play. “We ran a vertical switch. That’s a hard play to stop when you’re in man coverage. The wide receiver did a good job of selling the out route and converting it into a vertical. Our timing was down pat, we worked on that pass in practice and executed it in the game.”
Developing timing is difficult as is for quarterbacks but Bridgewater was able to overcome that and more during a frustrating week of practice.
“It’s very hard, especially for me, because during the week I was suffering from a groin injury,” he said. “For some reason, every time a game comes around I don’t feel any injury. I was limited in practice to throwing and the little throwing I did, it paid off out here.”
Of course, having so many four and five-star guys to throw to wasn’t a bad perk.
“To be able to throw to different receivers from across the country, with different speeds, different sizes and with some of the best hands in the country, that’s a privilege,” he said. “We only had four days to really get the timing down but it was something special.”
Hart Rolls Into History
Demetrius ‘Dee’ Hart was going to make headlines no matter what he did in the game on Saturday. As one of the best backs in the nation, his commitment would be him talking the talk. On the field, his performance allowed him to walk the walk as Hart became the first player to eclipse 100 yards rushing in Army All-American Bowl history.
“It’s an honor and I am just humbled by it,” Hart said. “The other guys upfront just went out and did their job which helped me get my yardage. I couldn’t have done it without them. To be the first 100-yard rusher in Bowl history is great and, again, I’m just humbled when you think of the players like Adrian Petersen that have played in this game.
“It’s been an amazing week and this is a great, great way to end it.”
As a result of his efforts, Hart was named Army Bowl MVP. Most of his yardage came on one play, a 69 yard scamper along the numbers before finally being tackled.
“Yeah I thought I was going to (score),” he said with a large grin. “We were trying to set it up, we were running up and coach was like, do we have anybody that can run around the edge? Everybody was looking around and I was like, ‘I’ll get it.’ So he said, ‘Dee go in.’
“When I got it, there was one guy up front and I felt like we were one-on-one so you’ve just got to tackle me and he didn’t. So I got into the second level and saw (Nickolas) Brassell. I thought he was going to block the guy but he was running with me trying to celebrate (laughs).”
Hart’s 69-yard run was the third-longest since at least 2004. … The win propelled the East to a 6-5 lead over the West all-time. … Saturday’s attendance of 37,893 was a new Army All-American Bowl record. … The final score of 13-10 made the game the lowest-scoring game. … The East set a Bowl record with 12 sacks. … The East outrushed the West 169 yards to -20 while the West out-passed the East 164 yards to 90.
Posted on: January 8, 2011 6:14 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t necessarily ugly. It was definitely a “defensive struggle.”
And it didn’t matter to the East squad as they came from behind in the fourth quarter to seal a 13-10 win in the 2011 Army All-American Bowl.
“On the sideline we were all telling ourselves that we needed to be the best football player on the football field,” East defensive end Aaron Lynch said. “We did that and that’s how we came out with a win.”
Alabama pledge Demetrius Hart earned Army Bowl MVP honors after becoming the first person to rush for over 100 yards in Army Bowl history; powered mostly by an impressive 69 yard run up the sideline. The East’s real strength, however, was in a dominating front four that applied pressure in the form of 12 sacks as West quarterbacks were harassed in the pocket all day.
“Our O-line was battling back and forth,” West quarterback Cody Kessler said. “But it was kind of hard to drop back and read and then you look up on your fifth step and you have two D-tackles in your face.”
Seven players on the East squad recorded at least one sack and three had at least two tackles for loss.
“From that first play in the second half, I knew it was going to be on from then,” defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan said. “At the end I saw the guard and the center breathing hard, I saw that we had been working them all night and they were tired. I said it’s time to take over right now.”
A slow start set the tone early as the teams managed just one first down and had seven punts between them in the first quarter. Kessler got the start as the West team quarterback and finished the day with 109 yards and one touchdown pass to Jaxson Shipley that brought the record crowd of 37,893 to life in the second half.
The rest of the second half would belong to the East though. Louisville quarterback - he's already enrolled he said - Teddy Bridgewater lofted a beautiful fade to Miles Shuler in the back of the end zone for the East’s first points and they never looked back.
West defensive back De’Anthony Thomas was one of the best defenders on the West squad, finishing with eight tackles, an interception and a tackle for loss. Despite the impressive game, he told whoever would listen that he, “would be playing running back at the University of Southern California.”
Of course, had he done that in this game, he’d probably would have had to block someone from the East defensive line.
And it wouldn’t matter one bit. Not even a team full of All-Americans could do that today.
Utah’s move to the Pac-12 in 2011 reaped its first reward as running back Harvey Langi chose the Utes over new conference foes USC and Stanford. Langi is listed as a running back but has the frame to add weight and become either a fullback or linebacker. Houston Nutt also picked up a big in-state commitment in wide receiver Tobias Singleton. Singleton was also considering Mississippi State.
The BCS National Championship teams gained several commitments at the game. Linebacker Colt Lyerla chose the Ducks over USC and Cal and adds to an already stellar class. The Ducks’ opponent on Monday, Auburn, picked up verbal commitments from Kris Frost and highly rated linebacker Brent Calloway. Frost projects as a linebacker but said he will start on offense. A report from 247sports shortly after his announcement says Auburn will refuse his commitment due to lack of scholarships available. Despite the conflicting information in Frost’s commitment, snagging Calloway from archrival Alabama is a huge pickup for the Tigers.
Offensive tackle Donovan Smith gave Joe Paterno added offensive line depth by putting on the Nittany Lions’ hat. James Sample committed to Washington while Gerrod Holliman added his name to a very impressive Louisville class.
Defensive back Wayne Lyons, legitimately the smartest player on the field, chose Stanford despite the departure of head coach Jim Harbaugh. When Lyons said he would choose a school based on academics, he backed it up despite not knowing who he would play for. Across the Bay in Berkley, well-regarded Cal recruiter Tosh Lupoi kept big defensive tackle Vilami Moala close to home.
Defensive back Odell Beckham must have enjoyed LSU’s Cotton Bowl win Friday night as he pledged to be a Tiger. A former Michigan commit, Demetrius Hart went south and said he would enroll early at Alabama. Talented linebacker Lateek Townsend stayed in state and committed to Clemson.
Posted on: January 8, 2011 1:14 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer.
Things got kicked off early at the Alamodome and we’re not talking about the fireworks that were used to welcome the players to the field. In the first major shocker of the day, longtime Alabama commit Russelville (AL) High linebacker Brent Calloway switched his verbal pledge to Auburn, as first reported by Rivals. Calloway was an early pledge to Alabama and many suspected that he may have switched when it was announced that he would be "committing" at the All-American Bowl despite never publically decommitting from Alabama.
Grady HS (GA) defensive back Damian Swann chose Georgia before the start of the game as well.
The following is the remaining commitment schedule at the All-American Bowl, which can be seen on NBC (Schools they are considering in parenthesis):
1st quarter: Harvey Langi (Utah, USC, Stanford), Tobias Singleton (Mississippi State, Ole Miss, UCLA).
2nd quarter: Colt Lyerla (Oregon, USC, Cal), Donovan Smith (N.C. State, Penn St., UCLA), Lateek Townsend (S. Carolina, Clemson, LSU).
Half: Gerrod Holliman (Miami, Ole Miss, WVU), James Sample (Arizona St., Oregon St., Washington).
3rd quarter: Wayne Lyons (Stanford, Michigan, UCLA), Vilami Moala (Cal, Oregon, Oregon St.).
4th quarter: Kris Frost (Auburn, Michigan, LSU), Odell Beckham (LSU, Miami).
Posted on: January 8, 2011 8:15 am
Edited on: January 8, 2011 10:00 am
Posted by Bryan Fischer
Who's playing: The top high school players from across the country. MaxPreps.com has broken down the rosters by school for both the East and the West squad.
Why You Should Watch: With the college football season officially wrapping up in just three days, it's time to turn your attention to the players looking to make an impact for next year. From the quarterbacks to the linebackers to the kickers - yes, even the kickers - some of America's best high school players have descended on San Antonio for the last of the two major All-Star games. Several players are set to announce what school they're committing to at the game so feel free to tune in for kids picking up hats and stay for some good football too. Given all of the great high school talent, the level of play in this game should be much, much higher than Pitt and Kentucky in the BBVA Compass Bowl on at the same time.
What else is happening: Besides 41 of the MaxPreps.com top 100 recruits squaring off? A lot. Roughly fourteen of the nation’s top players will select their school. Among the names set to announce is Colt Lyerla (Hillsboro, OR) between Oregon and USC. Alabama commit Brent Calloway is also expected to commit, well, recommit on national television to Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide. And because the whims of 18 year olds change daily, the final list of who is or isn’t committing won’t be known until a few hours before game time.
No matter what, some big name players are ready to take the field at the Alamodome. Given the talent that the Army All-American Bowl has a reputation for producing, such as Vince Young, Desean Jackson and Mark Sanchez, odds are you’ll be seeing several members of the group playing in the NFL Pro Bowl a few years from now.