• Me and Julio Down by the Stratosphere: As hoped, Alabama’s five-star, ace-in-the-hole recruiting coup, Julio Jones, is already stealing the show in Tuscaloosa -- Jones caught five passes for 125 yards and a touchdown in Bama’s second scrimmage Saturday and grabbed top billing on the blogs and in the Sunday editions of the state’s three largest papers, the Mobile Register, Birmingham News and Montgomery Advertiser, along with a few other members of the balleyhooed freshman class in the two latter cases. Shockingly, the usually sober, patient and meek Tide partisans might be getting just a tad carried away...
...prior to Mssr. Jones’ first official snaps. (But yeah, he’s got ups).
For its part, Auburn may have found its own ‘instant impact’ freshman at receiver: despite the Tigers’ generally sluggish scrimmage Saturday, Tommy Tuberville came away praising jitterbug Philip Pierre-Louis left and right.
• Urban Meyer, Have You Met G. Gordon Liddy?: Brandon James would not fit in very well in the Bush administration, if his untimely leak to the Gainesville Sun’s Jeremy Foley re: Percy Harvin’s ankle is any indication:
Wide receiver Brandon James is the first Gator to come out and say dynamic playmaker Percy Harvin might miss some actual game time because of the nagging heel injury. James, the kick-return specialist who has been filling in for Harvin at his usual receiver spot during practice, said his teammate might not be in the lineup for the Aug. 30 season opener against Hawaii.
"I think he may only be out one or two games, if that, with the ankle injury," James said.
The other key note from that brief item: Harvin has yet to finish a full practice. James doesn’t seem to think this is a big deal -- he’ll miss a game or two, if that, whatever -- but stroking out is a viable option here for Gator fans. Missing the opener is one thing, with Hawaii unlikely to pose any threat, but the next week is against Miami, and at Tennessee two weeks later, and preseason projections aside, opposite the Canes and Vols remains no place for the limpy.
• No Guarantees: If you’d asked me before Sunday, I’d have said I expected Indiana’s Kellen Lewis to make a run at becoming the best all-around quarterback in the Big Ten -- he completed 60 percent of his passes last year for 3,000-plus yards and 28 touchdowns, was second team all-conference and led IU to its first bowl game in 14 years as a sophomore; the team averaged a full touchdown more per game than it had since Antwaan Randle El was in town. But there’s a surprising quarterback derby brewing, in large part because of the athletic Lewis’ unexplained suspension in the spring and ongoing inaccuracy in practice, according to the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel: minus massive target James Hardy, he was just 6-of-16 for 29 yards in the Hoosiers’ first public scrimmage. Bigger, pocket-bound Ben Chappell hasn’t been spectacular, but given his de facto lead coming out of the spring, he might be a nose ahead.
• Bringing Them Along, uh, Slowly: Longtime running backs coach Fred Jackson is one of the few faces in Ann Arbor that survived the regime change in September, so, this being Michigan, he knows from top shelf running backs. And with vets Carlos Brown and Brandon Minor nursing some nagging injuries, Jackson is throwing gasoline on the hype surrounding freshmen Sam McGuffie and Michael Shaw, say the Ann Arbor News:
"Those two guys right there, I PROMISE you that you stay nicked up too long, it's going to hurt you tremendously," Jackson said.
Because Shaw and McGuffie can play right now, he said.
Shaw and McGuffie are two of the most exciting freshmen he has ever coached at Michigan, he continued.
They're Justin Fargas fast, but can cut better.
Not exactly trying to ease them into the picture, huh, Fred?
"Nooo," the 17-year Michigan assistant said, smiling. "You know how I am - I'm going to tell you like I see it. These guys are special. They're special."
Michigan has started a couple freshman running backs in the last decade -- Mike Hart moved in from day one, and Anthony Thomas came on strong for the '97 mythical championship team -- but that’s a high bar for McGuffie and Shaw. Either the Wolverines are desperate, or, given the recruiting hype for Brown, Minor and temporarily suspended Kevin Grady their own selves, the new guys are for real.
• N.C. State was already in dire straits at wide receiver, and that was with last year’s relatively lackluster leader, Donald Bowens, coming back. Now the Pack will be without Bowens, too, after doctors found a career-threatening spinal fracture. . . . Georgia Tech is “scaling back” the physicality after a rash of injuries. . . . Hey, who needs the best receivers to play, anyway? . . . Is Keiland Williams in Les Miles’ doghouse? Not as far as he knows . . . Joe McKnight can’t seem to avoid the bumps and bruises: last week, he had a door closed on his hand; Sunday, he sat out practice with a hyperextended elbow (ouch). Also: no progress on deciding between Aaron Corp or Mitch Mustain if Mark Sanchez can’t go at Virginia . . . One improbably-named quarterback, Karsten Sween, has lost his starting job to an outright alias, Dax Crum, at Wyoming. . . . Two Columbia police officers were charged with misconduct in their March arrest of South Carolina lineman Kevin Young. . . . Stunningly, the ever-present shift to the no-huddle remains iffy at Oklahoma (and everywhere else it’s rumored to be on the plate). . . . And it took this blog a week to mention the name, but Terrelle Pryor? If you know how to translate Jim Tressel, sounds like the freshman's going to play, as expected...as long as he stays within the offense.
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Photo of Percy Harvin via Getty Images.