December 2007 Archives

Trumpy, other Chicagoans headed for San Antonio

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Wheaton North running back Mike Trumpy has been offered a scholarship by Northwestern and it appears likely that the 6-0, 197-pound running back, who was named to the Chicago Sun-Times All-Area team in November, will make an oral commitment in the spring.

I think it's a good decision. By the spring, Trumpy will have time to weigh all of his options. If Northwestern is the best choice, he should know by then. He should be able to make an educated decision and shouldn't be tempted to de-commit down the road.

Northwestern is a good fit for him, academically and athletically. The Wildcats need tailbacks and Trumpy fills the bill. I like him a lot. He has good vision and moves and more speed than people give him credit for.

In preparation for his appearance at the U.S. Army combine on Jan. 5-6 in San Antonio, he has been working out with Wheaton North track coach Don Helberg. He recently was timed in four consecutive 40-yard dashes on an indoor track while wearing running shoes (not spikes) in 4.41, 4.45, 4.47 and 4.55 seconds.

Trumpy will be one of several Chicago area juniors who are scheduled to participate in the Texas combine. Others include running back Dominique Bell and defensive end Craig Drummond of Morgan Park, defensive linemen Scott Covert of Lake Forest and Lendell Buckner of Leo, linebackers Jake Juriga of St. Charles North and Marty Hopkins of St. Rita, offensive linemen Cody O'Neill of Marian Central and Pat Ward of Providence, quarterbacks Jordan Roberts of Aurora Christian and Charlie Goro of Maine South, running back Robert Morgan of Leo and fullback Tyler Burns and linebacker Luke Anderson of Lemont.

Another invitee is sophomore offensive lineman Chris Lombard of Fremd.

It is a great opportunity for all of them to get big-time exposure to college scouts and to compare their skills to some of the best players in the nation.

De-committing anyone? Everyone?

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The wave of de-commitments--more than 100 last year, even more this year--is an embarrassment to high school football.

A player gives his word to a college coach. "I'm going to attend your school," he says. Then he changes his mind and opts for another school. Many reasons are offered. The kid committed too soon, before he was ready, the coach has been fired or gone somewhere else, the program has been revised, the offense has changed, the school is too far from home.

It all boils down to one thing: the kid isn't getting good direction from his high school coach and his parents. If he doesn't know what the recruiting process is all about, he should get an education.

The Big Ten's new look

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What kind of effect will Rich Rodriguez, Michigan's new football coach, have on the Big Ten?

Very positive. Rodriguez will bring in a spread option offense that will be a change-of-pace for Michigan and will attract a different breed of athlete to Ann Arbor.

For example, he will bring in a different type of quarterback, perhaps a Terrelle Pryor instead of a Ryan Mallett, someone with great athleticism, like Pat White at West Virginia or Juice Williams at Illinois.

Pryor is a priority. Rodriguez recruited the senior from Jeannette, Pa., for West Virginia. But Pryor, who liked Rodriguez a lot, appeared to be more interested in Ohio State. Now Michigan is in the mix.

It's all about the organization

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In this era of de-commitments--don't look now, but quarterback John Wienke of Tuscola just de-committed from Michigan and opted for Iowa--how has Notre Dame been able to circle the wagons and keep what every recruiting analyst agrees is the No. 1 class in the country in the wake of one of the most disappointing and embarrassing seasons in the proud history of Irish football?


Notre Dame just keeps getting better and better because of its organization. Charlie Weis is on the recruiting trail more than most head coaches. Defensive coordinator Corwin Brown, a Julian product, recruiting coordinator Rob Ianello and Dave Peloquin, the director of football operations, form a very effective sales team. Peloquin, a Notre Dame graduate, is unheralded. He is the son of the mayor of Blue Island and figures to be a future athletic director at a major college.

Whatever happened to Kyle Williams?

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Critics like to remind me of players I overlooked or didn't rate high enough as opposed to those I didn't or did. After 30 years of evaluating talent, I am proud of my track record. Nobody is 100 percent. And I long ago learned to live with the fact that, no matter how I rate a player or a recruiting class, somebody will disagree.

For example, when I tapped Tim Tebow as the No. 1 quarterback in the country before anyone else, critics said they knew about him all along. But they jumped on my evaluation of Palatine quarterback Jeff Hecklinski, who went to Illinois but didn't do well. The truth was he was told that the Illini would build their offense around him--but it didn't happen.

Tebow deserved the Heisman Trophy

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Two years ago, in what was the Year of the Quarterback across the country, I ranked Tim Tebow as the No. 2 player, behind running back Chris Wells, who went to Ohio State. I gave Tebow an edge over Mitch Mustain, who committed to Arkansas, then transferred to USC.

All of the nation's top quarterbacks were invited to attend the U.S. Army combine in San Antonio as juniors--Tebow (Florida), Mustain (USC), Matt Stafford (Georgia), Josh Freeman (Kansas State), Juice Williams (Illinois), Jake Locker (Washington), Pat Devlin (Penn State), Demetrius Jones and Zach Frazer (Notre Dame) and Jevan Snead, who went from Florida (after Tebow committed) to Texas and now is at Ole Miss.

Drummond is one of nation's top 25

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Craig Drummond, Morgan Park's 6-5, 245-pound defensive end, will be one of the 25 players on my first-team junior All-America team that will be announced on Tom Lemming's Generation Next at 6 p.m. Thursday on CSTV.

How good is Drummond?

He is a high school version of Richard Dent, the former Chicago Bears defensive star. He has long legs and long arms, the same type of body as Dent. He will weigh 270-280 pounds in college. And he has intangibles. He motors on every play. He is aggressive and athletic and has great football instincts.

Floyd overrated? Are you kidding?

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I hear from a lot of Notre Dame bashers and other critics who think I have an honorary degree from Notre Dame. The latest is from the reader who claims wide receiver Michael Floyd of St. Paul, Minn., one of Notre Dame's prize recruits in the class of 2008, is "the most overhyped player in recent Minnesota high school history."

Well, I'm not going to defend Floyd. I don't have to. Just listen to what college coaches have to say about him, the ones who offered him scholarships. And listen to the media in Minnesota, which named Floyd as the state's Player of the Year as a junior and senior.

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