Each week during the off-season we will be doing this feature that will simply be called "This Week In College Football". We will cover the biggest news and stories of the past week and give some opinions and analysis. Let's not waste any more time, let's talk college football.
Oregon Shells Out Big Bucks For "Recruiting Services"
On thursday night it became public that the NCAA has some interest in Oregon's recruiting practices. More specifically, the fact that they shelled out around $25,000 to Texas based trainer named Willie Lyles. Oregon made these payments shortly after Lache Seatstrunk (ranked #40 on the ESPNU150 from 2010) signed with Oregon. Oregon says that it was payment for a "recruiting service" and that most programs purchase these. But during the previous two years Oregon paid this same man $16,500, so you have to admit that at the very least it's odd that's he's now commanding triple his normal pay. ESPN reached out to some colleges and their feedback was that recruiting services typically cost around $5,000 or less per season (for video and information).
The NCAA is also looking into Lyles relationship with Heisman trophy candidate LaMichael James as Lyles was a guest of James at an ESPN awards show last year and described himself as James' trainer and advisor. The Addicted to Quack blog has a nice round-up from Oregon's perspective and how they are trying to be as open and forthright as possible with the NCAA. It seems like what Oregon is doing is within NCAA guideline but the more you look into the man that they paid the more it looks a little funny. And when it looks a little funny it typically is. At minimum this should lead to Oregon ending it's relationship with Lyles. I don't think anyone ever claimed that recruiting was pure but the more you read about grown men (who are not the players parents and/or high school coaches) getting paid to potentially steer players to a school the more you have to wonder what else is out there.
Miami (Fl) QB Battle Starts Out With A Whipple
Al Golden is doing his best to get the Miami players in a new mind-set. He's also mixing some stuff up on the depth chart. He released his first depth chart this past week and neither Jacory Harris or Stephen Morris landed the top spot on the QB depth chart. Who got that honor? Well, it is Spencer Whipple of course. In 2010 Whipple went 6 of 12 for 54 yards and 2 INT(seeing action against Florida A&M, FSU and Virginia). Golden says "there's going to be some wakeup calls because there are some guys that got their butts beat out in the offseason program. Now, it's going to be up to them to win this second phase." Who else got their "butts" beat out besides Jacory and Stephen? For starters the starting tackle, Sentreal Henderson, on our All-ACC Pre-Spring Team is listed on the second team on Miami's initial depth chart. The two leading receivers for Miami, LaRon Byrd and Travis Benjamin, are also listed on the second team. The leading rusher, Lamar Miller, is listed on the third team. It will be interesting to see how this shakes out in Miami but it looks like Al Golden has some people's attention.
Chuck Smith Strikes Back
On Friday, former Tennessee Volunteers DL Coach, Chuck Smith held a press conference outside Neyland Stadium to discuss his dismissal from the program. Smith said in the presser that a "mutual decision" was made that he was too big for the program. He says he was offered "another position" but decided that he "probably" step aside instead of taking that position. But he also says that he never agreed to step to the side. Smith talked about dissension, jealousy and tension with the defensive coaching staff. Smith says he had offers from the NFL and it seems like he was blind-sided by Derek Dooley's proposal to "re-assign" him. Chuck Smith seems like a pretty good football coach but being from the Atlanta area I also know that he is a hot-head. Chuck has gotten in trouble with his mouth before when he was a player for the Atlanta Falcons, getting suspended for a game for ripping the coaches and management. Smith had a strong and full career with the Atlanta Falcons but where do you think he went after leaving the Falcons in 1999? He went right to one of their primary rivals to try and stick it up their a**. Chuck is a great guy to have on your side but he's not a dude you want to have against you because he definitely has proven in the past to hold grudges. What does all this mean? I'm not sure but I know it wasn't a good move for Chuck to air his and Tennessee's dirty laundry via press conference. Chuck might be better served in the NFL with his penchant for the limelight.
The Effect of South Carolina's Over-Signing On Two Athletes
Out of the 32 players that South Carolina signed with their 2011 recruiting class two of them are still left in limbo. Lorenzo Mauldin, a 6'4" 240 lb DE from Atlanta, committed to South Carolina before last season started. He received other offers from Kentucky, Middle Tennessee State, South Alabama and Troy. It wasn't until a couple of weeks before signing day that it was brought to Mauldin's attention by South Carolina that there would possibly not be a spot for him. On the day before signing day Mauldin learned that the scholarship he'd been promised would not be available. While South Carolina is to blame for over-offering, it's also clear why Mauldin was singled (or in this case doubled) out as he still has not scored the qualifying ACT score. He says he's very close and he feels that he's going to get the score and he's still hoping that South Carolina's "word is good and I get the scholarship." I'm pulling for Mauldin as he's had a tough life, growing up he has lived in 16 foster homes and two group homes and currently resides in a children's group home in Atlanta.
Recently, Charlie Strong and Louisville have come knocking and has offered him as a "non-qualifier" if he continues to come up short on his ACT. Under this offer, Mauldin would have to pay his way for the first year and then have three years left and would get a 4th if he's on track to graduate. Mauldin feels that he has supporters that can help him (along with the Pell Grant). If he makes the test scores it's also possible for Louisville or Troy to take him as a qualifier as Troy continues to recruit him. Mauldin also says that he has been told by South Carolina assistant coach Lorenzo Ward that if he gets the test scores that he will get the scholarship from someone else who doesn't qualify. The other recruit who had his scholarship pulled is DB Jordan Montgomery out of Florida. He says that he was blind-sided by the scholarship being rescinded and "didn't have a clue until 18 hours before signing day. And if they say anything else, they're lying."
As I've said before I believe that the NCAA should actually just enforce the limit they already have in place of 25. Any team that signs over 25 recruits will have that number subtracted from the next years total. So if they sign 28 then that means that they only get 22 next year. Each team would also have the ability to "petition" the NCAA if something unforeseen happened (ex: coaching change, excessive injuries) that opened up extra scholarships and they could get an exemption to go over the 25. Those are just my thoughts on the issue.
This Week In College Football Archives:
February 26th: More Auburn Allegations, Threet, Washaun Re-instated, S&C at Georgia, OU's Fleming
February 20th: Toomer's Corner, Savage, Saunders and Assistants
February 13th: Clowney, Forcier, Janzen and Washaun
February 6th: National Signing Day, QB Transfers, Weslye Saunders and Uga VIII
January 30th: Iowa, Recruiting, Paul Johnson, Will Muschamp and Herschel
January 23rd: Coaching Changes, Recruiting, Oversigning, Forcier