Tue Mar 11 05:56pm EDT
Michael Carvell of the Atlanta Journal Constitution spoke to a number of coaches who are in favor of an early signing period, but many of them have different philosophies on how the rule should be implemented and why the rule should be implemented.
Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson spoke at length about his reasoning for supporting the proposal. From a financial standpoint, Johnson thinks the early signing period would be beneficial for recruiting budgets. Coaches ordinarily go out and visit their verbally committed players to make sure things are still smooth and their committment is still strong. The ability to sign early would eliminate these extraneous visits and programs could devote the money toward visiting other prospects. On top of that, schools have a clearer understanding of their own scholarship situation.
"If you’ve got a kid who grew up wanting to go to Georgia Tech, Georgia, Alabama, or wherever, and they’ve known that their whole life, why not let them sign in November or December? Why do they have to wait until February?" Johnson said. "And then when they sign, the schools know exactly how many scholarships that they have left. They know exactly the numbers. It wouldn’t be as chaotic, and it would be a whole lot less expensive than trying to babysit them for three months."
Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen has a specific date in mind as to when the early signing period should take place -- the first Monday after Thanksgiving.
"It would be just that one day. Within that rule, it would make that Sunday and Monday a dead period after Thanksgiving, after your last game. That would be a huge help for coaches that play on Saturday, and they’re out on the road recruiting that Sunday. If we had an early signing day (at Mississippi State this past year), I couldn’t give you an exact number but I would guess at least 50-percent of our class would’ve signed on that day," Mullen said.
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly thinks the early signing period should be comparable to the junior college early signing day, which allows players to sign in December after their sophomore year ends.
"I think if a guy has made their decision, and they are firm about it and they are mature about it, I think they should be allowed to sign early in December … I would do it just like the junior college early signing day, which is around Dec. 12. And I think you go with it, and those guys that are committed and ready to make that decision, you get them out of the way," Kelly said.
Miami's Al Golden had an interesting perspective on the early signing period. He thinks there should be two early signing opportunities for prospects, one of which allows players to sign before their senior year of high school.
“I feel strongly about an early signing period. I think we should have three signing days. The first signing day would be prior to Labor Day as you’re going into your senior year of high school. I would say close to 50-percent of the pool is done (with kids committed to colleges) by then. So we should go ahead and have an early signing day, and (the colleges will) know who is left in the pool (of available prospects). It would be very cost effective for all the institutions and all the athletic departments," Golden said.
Though he thinks schools should not be allowed to start recruiting a player until August of a player's senior year, Ole Miss' Hugh Freeze thinks the early signing period would be good for the families of these prospects.
"(Early signing) would save us a lot of time and money — and probably the families are worn out by this process. That’s if they (the kids) know where they want to go, and I like the provision to allow them to get out of it if there’s a coaching change. I would support that," Freeze said.
Jimbo Fisher of Florida State thinks the system of official visits the NCAA employs for basketball would be equally effective for football.
“I think you need official visits as juniors like they do for basketball. I think you need a junior contact and junior recruiting," Fisher said. "And I think you need an early signing period … I’d like to see the (head) coaches back on the road (in the spring), and I’d like to have an official contact (with recruits) during the spring (of their junior year in high school) because those kids are all making critical decisions."
Kevin Sumlin of Texas A&M echoed the sentiments of Johnson when it comes to devoting resources on prospects who have been verbally committed for long periods of time.
“What happens is that the whole month of January, my nine coaches and myself are running around the country going to high schools every week because we have to do that up until signing day. It’s a waste of money, and it’s a waste of time when we know that a guy is coming here," Sumlin said.
Carvell made sure to note that each of these coaches he spoke to “either suggested or supported a special provision” for those who signed early to get a release from their national letter of intent if there was a coaching change between the time they signed early and national signing day in February.
The issue is on the agenda when the 32-person Conference Commissioners Association meets in June. I'm sure other coaches will continue to chime in with the best route to take for what looks like an inevitable change to the recruiting calendar.
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Tue Mar 11 05:01pm EDT
Adam Muema, the former Sand Diego State running back who abruptly left the NFL combine because God told him the Seattle Seahawks were going to draft him, now has another bold revelation -- there will be no 2014 NFL season.
Muema took to Twitter on Monday night and continued on Tuesday spouting off some bizarre stuff, including a notion that there won’t be an NFL season because the world is going to end.
I Don't believe there would be a Football season next yr! Unless we're going to a new planet Earth!— Adam Muema (@So_Lucrative) March 11, 2014
This is just the latest chapter in Muema’s weird and somewhat sad tale.
After leaving the combine, Muema disappeared for several days before being found wearing his combine clothes. After the incident, the L.A. Times did a story on Muema and cited a self-proclaimed prophet named Lord RayEl, whom Muema has been using for guidance.
Other social media feeds have been littered with references in recent days to a self-described Messiah named Lord RayEl, who Muema apparently believes is the second coming of Jesus Christ.
A Facebook page connected with Lord RayEl describes “chastisements” he is targeting at the U.S. The latest such punishment is the blast of wintry weather on the East Coast. The page also discusses plans for an “exodus” of his followers to Baja California to escape the apocalypse.
Muema mentioned @LORD_RAYEL multiple times throughout his Twitter rant.
I meant it when I said suit up & lace your boots up its war time. R-A-Y E-L Tha Mes-siah! @LORD_RAYEL!— Adam Muema (@So_Lucrative) March 11, 2014
Of course, Muema has been getting a lot of backlash on Twitter, including several questioning his sanity and whether he’ll ever play football again. Muema actually answered several of the comments and even told one commenter who questioned whether the Seahawks would even go near him that the Seahawks had already been in contact.
Muema had been getting some notice by NFL scouts prior to leaving the combine, but as his erratic behavior continues, it’s safe to say that no team is going to want to touch this poor guy with a 10-foot pole. It’s too bad, too, because he did have the potential to be a decent running back.
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Tue Mar 11 03:50pm EDT
This offseason we will count down various topics from Monday through Friday, bringing you the top five of the important and definitely some not so important issues in college football. It's the Doc Five, every week until we will thankfully have actual games to discuss.
TOP FIVE QB TRANSFERS WHO DIDN’T PLAY LAST SEASON
NO. 4: JESSE SCROGGINS, ARIZONA
It’s been a long time since Jesse Scroggins was in the spotlight.
In 2010, Scroggins was a four-star recruit out of Lakewood, Calif., and the No. 5 quarterback in the country. He signed with USC, redshirted in 2010 and was one of Matt Barkley’s backups in 2011. His future at USC was bleak, so he spent 2012 at El Camino College and had FBS schools fighting over him after his season.
He settled on Arizona.
With starter Matt Scott gone, Scroggins seemed like a natural fit to be the starter. But he suffered a foot injury and missed most of spring drills. He had a concussion in fall camp and, when he recovered, did little to challenge starter B.J. Denker, who played every snap in 2013.
Coming into this season -- Scroggins final season -- the only thing most Arizona fans have seen from the former highly touted quarterback is an interception on his first pass of the 2013 spring game.
But Scroggins has one final chance to live up to the hype that has followed him throughout his career.
With Denker gone, the Arizona quarterbacking race is wide open. Scroggins is competing against Anu Solomon, Connor Brewer, Jerrard Randall, but he wasn’t considered the favorite coming in simply because of his lackluster performance in the past year.
However, Scroggins has impressed during the early part of camp. He looks strong and has a better rapport with his receivers. He even seems like he’s adjusted to the speed of coach Rich Rodriguez’s offense, which Rodriguez has said, will only get faster.
Scroggins is out of chances. He has the talent and the credentials to help Arizona to the top of the Pac-12. If he wants any shot at regaining his old form and possible football future beyond college then he has to win the starting job with the Wildcats.
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Tue Mar 11 03:08pm EDT
Miami offensive lineman Hunter Knighton was released from the hospital Monday, two weeks after “falling ill” during a workout in which he reportedly lost consciousness. The specifics as to what happened to Knighton during that workout remain unknown as the family has requested privacy.
Knighton, a redshirt freshman from Pottstown, Pa., released a statement on his Facebook page.
“To everyone who has been praying for the last two weeks. Thank you,” Knighton wrote. “I’m finally out of the hospital. Especially thanks to the best family, coaches, doctors, and support group for getting me this far.”
There is no word as of now when Knighton, who redshirted all of the 2013 season after suffering a shoulder injury, will return to Miami practice. The Hurricanes began spring practice on March 1 and are currently on spring break.
When the incident occurred, the school released a statement saying that Knighton’s prognosis was encouraging.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Hunter Knighton and his family at this time, though we are encouraged by the prognosis. We look forward to his return to normal activities as soon as his health permits. Out of respect for the privacy of those involved, UM will have no further comment at this time,” the school’s statement read.
According to the Miami Herald, Hurricanes coach Al Golden told the media that family and coaches were “optimistic” about Knighton’s recovery.
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Tue Mar 11 02:17pm EDT
Former Iowa cornerback William Lowe is suing the university for a 2011 incident that left him hospitalized with exertional rhabdomyolysis and has since caused him lasting harm.
Lowe was one of 13 Iowa football players who were hospitalized following several workouts at the start of winter conditioning. All 13 players were hospitalized and diagnosed with exertional rhabdomyolysis, a condition that releases protein into the bloodstream and can cause kidney failure.
In the suit, Lowe alleges that coaches and trainers failed to respond to players when they complained of severe pain and other symptoms during a workout on Jan. 20, 2011. That workout consisted of 100 back squats players were asked to do at 50 percent of their personal best. According to a study by University of Iowa doctors published last year, those back squats were "significantly associated" with an increased risk of rhabdomyolysis.
Despite the complaints, players were asked to come back for another grueling workout and, after a weekend off, players ended up in the hospital following another workout on Jan. 24. Lowe said he was in the hospital until Feb. 2.
Lowe never rejoined the team though he was cleared to play again.
After his release from the hospital, Lowe said he still suffered from weight loss, headaches, high blood pressure and pain in his lower back and legs. Now 24, Lowe said he’s still suffering from mental and physical pain, which has required medical care, therapy and medication.
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Tue Mar 11 01:07pm EDT
Almost a month after being sued for $2 million in a civil suit, Ole Miss football players Denzel and Robert Nkemdiche have formally denied all allegations against them and have filed a counter-suit against their accuser.
According to the Clarion Ledger, the brothers are seeking an unspecified amount in damages for “untrue and false statements” in plaintiff Matthew Baird’s original suit against the two.
Baird filed his initial suit on February 14 seeking $2 million in damages for “battery, negligence, and intentional infliction of emotional distress” for an incident that occurred on February 17, 2013.
Baird alleges that Robert – who was a senior in high school at the time and was committed to Ole Miss – and Denzel, along with five other Ole Miss football players, were involved in a fight at a fraternity on Ole Miss’ campus. Denzel is accused of, “without any provocation,” punching Baird in the back of the head and knocking him out.
After Baird was knocked out and was unconscious, Robert Nkemdiche and the other unidentified football players are accused of “kicking and stomping” the plaintiff and his friend -- seriously injuring them both.
Ole Miss has publicly defended the Nkemdiches and the Ledger reports that the Ole Miss Police Department never sought out charges in the case.
“A person was hit but he didn’t know who hit him,” Captain Michael Harmon said.
Per the Ledger:
The Nkemdiches, in a paragraph-by-paragraph answer to Baird’s suit, admitted only to being students at Ole Miss and from Loganville, Ga. Every other claim was met with a denial and demand for “strict proof.”
Their response reads:
“Nkemdiche would state and show that he suffered and sustained harm, injuries, damages, and/or losses as a result of the false and defamatory statements made by plaintiff/counter-defendant Matthew Baird and that, therefore, Nkemdiche is entitled to a judgement against (Baird) for compensatory damages in an amount to be determined by the jury.”
The brothers are also reportedly “seeking court costs and attorney fees” from Baird.
Denzel, an All-SEC linebacker, is currently suspended from the team for an unrelated incident in February in which he was arrested for disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace. Robert, the No. 1 overall recruit in the Rivals Class of 2013, registered 34 total tackles, eight tackles for loss, and two sacks in his freshman season and is currently in good standing with the team.
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Tue Mar 11 12:42pm EDT
Welcome to our new Dr. Saturday feature titled "Random offseason tweet of the day." With real games still months away, coaches and players will be tweeting about non-football-related things as the season approaches. In this space, we'll try to find the funniest and goofiest tweets of the day. If you see something, don't hesitate to send it to us.
Houston Texans QB Case Keenum knows who he wants to have on the next season of "The Bachelor."
Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury.
Kingsbury was an assistant coach at the University of Houston for four of the five seasons Keenum spent there and was the co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2010 and 2011. (And come on Case, with five years at Houston, you couldn't use the right version of who's/whose? Tsk. Tsk.)
Plus, being on "The Bachelor" would fit the Kingsbury vibe. If "the sidelines have never been hotter" with Kingsbury on them, it's a natural progression to make the Bachelor never be hotter with Ryan Goslin's lookalike, right?
Other coaches may consider it an unfair recruiting advantage, however. If Kingsbury can get the Rivals' No. 1 rated dual-threat quarterback in the class of 2015 to commit to Texas Tech now, what could he do as a national television sensation?
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Tue Mar 11 12:30pm EDT
Last December, Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury did a fashion blog for Esquire Magazine. That piece, however, didn’t include the latest accessory to Kingsbury’s wardrobe -- red high heels.
Kingsbury and the rest of his coaching staff (thanks to defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt for the photo) wore red high heels Monday to support the Lubbock Rape Crisis Center’s "Walk A Mile In Her Shoes" event. The event isn’t until April 5, but there’s no doubt the coaching staff wobbling around in pumps was a nice preview.
Kingsbury has always been a proponent of being a part of and supporting the Lubbock community a,nd this is just another example of that. We can only hope the coaches decide to participate in the "Men’s Stiletto Stampede" on April 5 and there’s someone around to take pictures.
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Tue Mar 11 11:57am EDT
Texas’ Darrell K. Royal Stadium is already one of the largest stadiums in the nation in terms of capacity. The official capacity of the 90-year old stadium is 100,119, the sixth-highest in the country, but new athletic director Steve Patterson and the athletic department are looking at the possibility of an expansion project for the stadium moving forward.
According to a release from the University, Texas Athletics and PricewaterhouseCoopers have teamed up to conduct a “feasibility study on the completion of the south end” and also “evaluate the renovation needs” of the stadium as it stands.
Patterson said the project remains “conceptual” as of now, but the timing is fitting, especially when Texas A&M’s Kyle Field will be the largest football venue in Texas when its expansion project to 102,500 seats is completed in 2015.
“We continue to plan for the future of UT Athletics and work to provide a superior gameday experience for all of our fans and stakeholders,” Patterson said. “The south end project is conceptual at this point. Any further planning will depend on a variety of factors to be studied over the next several months.”
In addition to the potential to add seating to the south end, the study will also evaluate the need for upgrades in fan amenities throughout the stadium. Longhorn Foundation members will be surveyed for input on the potential for new seating options and to help formulate a budget for the project.
The stadium previously was upgraded in with a new lower bowl in 2007 and the addition of the north endzone's upper deck was completed for the 2008 season.
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Mon Mar 10 05:31pm EDT
Last week we showed you that Clemson and LSU are using special Schutt helmets for spring practice that have cameras built in right above the facemask. It turns out those schools weren’t the only teams using this technology. Monday, the Twitter account for Texas Tech’s equipment department revealed that the Red Raiders will also use these helmets in practice.
These helmets allow quarterbacks to have a special and unique vantage point when watching film. They can re-live a certain play to see if they made the proper read and can also be helpful for defenders trying to understand the progression a quarterback goes through as he processes the defense.
These helmets look like they are assembled in a certain way so they do not add extra weight to the helmet the players have become accustomed to.
As other schools begin spring practice in the upcoming weeks, I’m sure we’ll see other teams utilizing this technology.
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