November 2007 Archives

What Happens Between Now And Then

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The high school season is nearly over for one and all. So what happens between now and the February signing date? This is when recruiting gets really intense. Badmouthing starts, from the subtle to the obvious. And the increasing number of coaching changes will produce more de-commitments.

College coaches are on the road, mostly looking for juniors while trying to keep the commitments they already have safe and away from predators. Or, in some cases, they are trying to woo shaky commitments away from other schools or seeking de-commitments. At this time, nobody is safe until signing day.

Where will the Big Three go to school?

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The top three football players in the nation remain uncommitted but quarterback Terrelle Pryor of Jeannette, Pa., running back Darrell Scott of Ventura, Calif., and wide receiver Julio Jones of Foley, Ala., are getting closer to making their decisions.

Pryor wants to play football and basketball in college and Ohio State appears to have an edge over West Virginia. Pryor also is rated among the top 50 basketball prospects in the country.

Scott is leaning to Colorado because his uncle, who is one year older, is a freshman there.

Jones, the best prospect to come out of Alabama since Bo Jackson, is said to be leaning to Alabama. He could be this year's version of Regus Benn, last year's top-rated receiver who opted for Illinois.

So you think Charlie Weis has it bad?

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This is Nick Saban's first year at Alabama, the hallowed ground of Bear Bryant, and if you think the Crimson Tide faithful are happy with what is going on in Tuscaloosa...well, Notre Dame's Charlie Weis never had it so good.

In the wake of last Saturday's stunning loss to Louisiana-Monroe, Alabama is 6-5 and looking ahead to this week's annual showdown with state rival Auburn without much reason for optimism.

I watched the game last Saturday and, like Notre Dame, Alabama hasn't got much talent. No go-to players, no stars on defense, no quarterback. Saban's team is still looking for an identity.

Like Weis, Saban is recruiting very well. In two years, I predict Alabama will be a BCS team. But that is then and this is now. Alabama fans are getting restless. They are impatient, like Notre Dame fans.

I was the guest speaker at the Alabama Touchdown Club luncheon on Monday in Birmingham. Everyone was in shock. There was a lot of grumbling from fans who liken Louisiana-Monroe to Appalachian State, a lot of jokes about the struggling program, a lot of disappointment that Alabama isn't making an impact.

"How can you say there isn't enough talent (on the Alabama roster) when there isn't anyone at Louisiana-Monroe that we would have recruited?" one old-time alum asked.

And how about this for a door prize? An Alabama fan who can't miss the Auburn game but doesn't want to be seen was presented with a mask topped by a Bear Bryant-like hound's-tooth hat.

At least somebody in Alabama still has a sense of humor.

Lloyd Carr will be missed

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I've been in the college recruiting business for 30 years and Michigan coach Lloyd Carr is one of the classiest guys I've known. I can't say enough good things about him. In a business that could be cutthroat, he always kept himself above the fray. He never said anything bad about anyone--and I never heard a player or coach say anything bad about him.

In announcing his retirement, Carr maintained his dignity. It is like a changing of the guard. He was an old-school coach with great values. He kept Michigan as high as Bo Schembechler with prestige and integrity. He was a great recruiter and posted a great record. Remember, he won a national championship, something Schembechler didn't accomplish.

Illini future looks bright

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Illinois' stunning victory over top-ranked Ohio State on Saturday should pay rich dividends to coach Ron Zook's program in the future. It sets up the Illini as the team to beat next year in the recruiting wars in the Chicago area and the Midwest.

This year's recruiting is almost done and Notre Dame dominated in the Chicago, landing the top three recruits--Mount Carmel's Steve Filer, Marian Central's Sean Cwynar and St. Rita's Darius Fleming. Most uncommitted prospects have positioned themselves, having been recruited for the last 10 months.

But Illinois should be the dominant team next year. The Illini will have bragging rights to use as a recruiting tool through June when most scholarship offers are accepted.

Why seniors are overlooked

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Thirty-five seniors have made oral commitments, including most of the top-rated players in the Chicago area. That tells you all you need to know about why uncommitted seniors such as quarterbacks Mark Tolzien of Fremd and Peter Badovinac of Loyola haven't received a single scholarship offer from a major college program.

The problem is because so many city and suburban prospects commit early, most Division I coaches go elsewhere to recruit players. Fewer than half of the Division I schools in the country come to the Chicago area because of early commitments. They have so little time to cover regions, they go where the blue chippers are. Who's left in the Chicago area? Very few. But in the South, most of the top-rated players are uncommitted. They wait until December and January to make decisions.

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This page is an archive of entries from November 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

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