January 03, 2012
Making the morning rounds.
• We hardly knew ye, part one. There was never any doubt about it — the guy was honored alongside the seniors at his final home game — but Monday night was as good a time as any for Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon to make it official: Yeah, he's going pro. "I think I am going to go ahead and enter the draft and see what happens after that," Blackmon told The Oklahoman on the heels of his MVP turn in the Fiesta Bowl, as if he doesn't know what's going to happen: He's going to go with one of the top five picks in April's NFL Draft and make tens of millions of dollars as one of the premiere receivers in the league for the next decade.
Blackmon's resumé over the last two years: 232 receptions, 3,304 yards, 38 touchdowns, unanimous All-America honors in both seasons and back-to-back Biletnikoff Awards as the best receiver in the nation. His 186-yard, 3-touchdown masterpiece in the Cowboys' comeback, overtime win over Stanford deserves to be hung on a museum wall — of OSU's five touchdowns on the night, Blackmon caught three himself (from 46, 67 and 17 yards out, respectively) and set up both of the other two with big gains on fourth down. Then he made out with a cheerleader and rode off into the sunset. [The Oklahoman]
• We hardly knew ye, part two. As expected, All-Pac-12 tailback Chris Polk is giving up his senior year at Washington for a shot at the next level with most of the Huskies' career rushing records either in hand or well within reach. With 1,488 yards to his credit in 2011, Polk leaves just 57 yards shy of Napoleon Kaufman's school record, but still owns the best per-game average on the ground (101.2) in U-Dub history. [Associated Press]
• How can Rex Ryan get it on this? Another day, another NFL assistant floated for the Penn State job: This time it's San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman, whose agent told the Associated Press Monday that Roman is a finalist to replace Joe Paterno after interviewing for the job in November. Like the other rumored candidates at Penn State — namely, Green Bay quarterbacks coach Tom Clements and New England offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien, who may already be out of the running — Roman is an NFL lifer with extremely limited college experience, having spent just two years on Jim Harbaugh's staff at Stanford before following Harbaugh back to the pros.
"We should know in a week or so, that's our best guess," said Roman's agent, Mike Harrison, who also said Roman interviewed last year for vacancies at Vanderbilt and Pittsburgh and recently turned down an offer to take over for Bob Toledo at Tulane. "He interviewed quite a while ago." [Associated Press, San Francisco Chronicle]
• Some assembly required. Less than four days after its entire defensive coaching staff was consumed in a giant fireball in the Alamo Bowl, Washington is turning over whatever's left to a pair of Ducks: Per an official university release, former Oregon linebackers/roommates Justin Wilcox and Peter Sirmon are officially in the fold as the Huskies' new defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. Both are returning to the Pacific Northwest after two years on Derek Dooley's staff in Tennessee, where they held the same titles and Sirmon quickly established himself as the Vols' most bankable recruiter. Their mission in Seattle: Overhauling a unit that just gave up more yards per game (453.3) than any defense in Washington history. [GoHuskies.com]
• We hardly knew ye, part three. North Carolina defensive end Donte Paige-Moss is foregoing his senior season in Chapel Hill to take his act to the NFL, despite falling off draft boards with a disappointing junior season and tearing his ACL in the Tar Heels' Independence Bowl loss to Missouri. After catching scouts' eyes as a potential first-rounder in 2010, Paige-Moss frequently found himself on the bench in 2011 behind his more hyped counterpart, Quinton Coples, and not-so-hyped sophomore Kareem Martin. [Associated Press]
Quickly… Urban Meyer completes his first staff at Ohio State by poaching a pair of Ohio natives from Brian Kelly's staff at Notre Dame. ... Larry Scott is serious about playing a game in China. … Adam Jacobi hangs up the keyboard at his baby, Black Heart Gold Pants. … And we have a winner for most uncomfortable tackle of the year, on both sides.