January 31, 2011
Making the morning rounds.
• And the drama begins. Most of the buzz remains sealed behind various paywalls, but rumors exploded "like shrapnel from a grenade" Sunday night that longtime USC commit De'Anthony "Black Mamba" Thomas – a coveted, five-star prospect as a cornerback or running back out of Los Angeles' Crenshaw High and ranked as the fifth overall recruit by rivals.com – may have defected to Oregon on a surprise hush-hush visit over the weekend. The trip to Eugene has been confirmed by reputable sources; Thomas' standing as a Trojan or Duck has not. But if Oregon did manage to lure one of the undisputed gems of the Trojans' 2011 class from Lane Kiffin's back yard (Crenshaw High is approximately one mile from USC's main campus), just days before signing day, it will go down as easily one of the most ninja recruiting coups of the decade. And it's definitely the biggest subject in the recruiting world as all sites and message boards are blowing up regarding this story. [Rivals, Duck Sports Authority, USCFootball.com, Eugene Register-Guard]
In more firm recruiting news, USC definitely lost its grip on another longstanding commitment, four-star Florida linebacker Kent Turene, who now lists the Trojans as only one of four schools in the running for his signature on Wednesday. [USCFootball.com, Orange County Register]
• Rebels in the crosshairs. Ole Miss has been served with notice of a potential lawsuit by the family of Bennie Abram, a former walk-on who died during offseason conditioning drills last February. (Mississippi law requires a 90-day notice before such suits are filed.) An attorney representing the family, Gene Egdorf, reportedly sent the five-page letter to UM chancellor Dan Jones. [Clarion-Ledger]
• Nothing to see here. Meanwhile, back in Iowa: All 13 Hawkeye players hospitalized last week with symptoms of rhabdomyolysis, a serious muscle syndrome likely resulting from overexertion, have been released from the hospital. The university's internal investigation into the workouts and other potential factors that might have inflicted the condition is ongoing. [Des Moines Register]
• Talk to the hand. Returning to the recruiting beat, no, we still don't know where mega-hyped South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is going to commit next month (on Feb. 14, his birthday, nearly two weeks after the vast majority of the incoming recruits sign letters on intent on Wednesday), and the coaches chasing him seem to be just as clueless. At this point, Clowney is reportedly letting calls from Alabama's Nick Saban and South Carolina's Steve Spurrier go straight to voicemail. Milk it, kid, because you'll be at their mercy soon enough. [Charleston Post and Courier]On the other hand, Ohio's Mr. Football can't even get an offer from Jim Tressel. You'll never be bigger than the vest, son. [Columbus Dispatch]
• Apologizin'. Brand new Indiana coach Kevin Wilson has apologized to resident assistants at an IU dorm for allegedly swearing at them a few days after he was hired in December, according to the university. Wilson reportedly asked for directions to the temporary suite he'd been assigned in the residence hall after wandering around the building for a while on Dec. 14, then cursed at the RAs when they asked him to wait while they finished dealing with students charged with an alcohol violation. The university said Wilson apologized the next day, and has no comment. [Chicago Tribune]
In other legal news, Arkansas receiver Lance Ray, 19, was charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession and underage alcohol possession of alcohol after a search of his dorm room Saturday night. Ray caught one pass and returned 23 kickoffs last year as a redshirt freshman. [Associated Press]
Quickly… The Wall Street Journal compares finances in the Big Ten and the SEC. … Von Miller may have been the most impressive player at the Senior Bowl. … You, too, can apply to be Georgia's offensive line coach. … Mack Brown reportedly went after Charle Weis to be Texas' new offensive coordinator. … Andy Reid's son commits to Temple. … TCU's 2011 recruiting class is likely to outshine most of the Big 12. … And of course there's a new "Seantrel Henderson Rule" for signing day.
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.