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Tag:TCU
Posted on: February 28, 2012 6:54 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 7:16 pm
 

Tuesday Tweetbag: TCU/WVU to the Big 12 and more



Posted by Bryan Fischer

I started a new feature on the blog last week called The Monday Mailbag. I have now changed it to The Tuesday Tweetbag because can and because I like alliteration. I'm here to answer questions tweeted to me so make sure you follow me on Twitter at @BryanDFischer. So without further ado, let the smorgasbord of questions commence.
To be honest, I think both will have no issues transitioning to the Big 12. In 2012, both should have teams that will be very competitive and are likely dark horse picks to win the conference. Had TCU not had their issues, you would have seen plenty of people go out on a limb and put the Horned Frogs atop their preseason ballots. West Virginia returns their starting quarterback, Heisman candidate Geno Smith, and 14 other starters from a team that turned in one of the most impressive bowl performances in history. There are several holes they need to fill but a solid recruiting class should complement who is already on the roster. Both teams fit stylistically into the Big 12 and Dana Holgorsen knows the league well from his days as an assistant.

What really helps the two newcomers is the fact that the Big 12 has never really been this open. The Red River Rivalry might determine the eventual winner but neither Texas or Oklahoma will dominate like they have in the past. Last year Oklahoma State won the whole thing and Baylor - Baylor! - overcame a really bad defense to turn in a historic season. From top to bottom there was more parity than just about every other BCS league. I think TCU stands to benefit more than anybody going forward beyond 2012 as they're now the only BCS-level program in the talent-rich Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex and have upgraded facilities to the point that they come into the conference as equals. It's going to be a little more difficult for Holgorsen but he's proven he can turn unheralded recruits into big time offensive players and win at multiple levels. Of all the programs that have changed conferences, I would put all the money in my wallet on TCU and West Virginia being the most successful.
I've heard several good things about Beckman and think he's done a good job getting things going early on but faces an uphill climb. While Zook was known as a good recruiter (both at Illinois and Florida before that), his teams lacked consistency and, outside of when the Illini went 9-4 in 2007, never could break through into the top half of the conference. He had a few surprising gets on the recruiting trail but there were never enough good players on Zook's teams to make a difference. Anytime you upgrade in the coaching department, it's good for the program. How much Beckman elevates Illinois remains to be seen but it's a solid hire. Little things - ok major things - like not knowing the score, probably won't happen with the new staff. While it should mean the team is better on the field in terms of "the little things," I'm not sure that will translate into a huge number of wins.
I've seen Burfict since high school and there's no question that he is a talented linebacker. In his star-crossed career however, it has always come down to what the heck is going on between his ears. There was a point where most people had him pegged as a possible top 10 pick, now he'll be lucky to go on the first two days of the draft. I think there were plenty of issues with him and Dennis Erickson at Arizona State so I wonder if getting out of that environment and into the NFL will be a positive for Burfict. Perhaps the jolt of teams treating him like an adult rather than a kid that a coach's job is depending on will, in turn, make him a better player.

He is a good football player who will be drafted. How good and how high depends on how hard he wants to work and how serious he is about controlling his emotions and playing the right way. If he's still known for picking up personal fouls in two years, I'd say he's going to be looking for a new line of work much quicker than he first thought. Bruce Feldman has plenty more on Burfict and the draft on his blog.
This is such an interesting draft because the drop off from the first two quarterbacks (Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III) to the number three guy is huge. But because so many teams need a signal-caller, Tannehill has the potential to go as high as the top 10 during the draft. If you look at the CBSSports.com quarterback rankings, he has a first round projection but if I were an NFL GM, he would simply be too much of a risk to draft that high. Unlike most of the other guys, Tannehill doesn't have as many reps at the position because he played wide receiver - and was pretty good at it - for a while when in College Station. I think there is a lot to like about him, starting with his size and mobility, but I just can't see how the upside is worth a first round pick when you consider the caliber of players available.

If I had a need at quarterback, I think I would wait things out if I couldn't grab Luck or RG3. There are options on the free agent market (including, likely, some guy named Manning) and several guys who I think could be solid NFL guys in the 2nd round like Kirk Cousins or Brandon Weeden. Don't forget, there should be another strong group of QBs coming out next year like Matt Barkley and Tyler Wilson.

Our draft guys also tackled the Tannehill debtate and went into detail on what they saw from the tape.


Posted on: February 26, 2012 9:58 pm
 

Texas adds a third commitment on Sunday

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Texas' second big Junior Day appears to be much more successful than the first, resulting in a third of the Longhorns' 2013 commitments on Sunday. The last of the trio to flash a 'Hook'em' sign and pledge to the program was Lancaster (Texas) defensive end Daeshon Hall.

"I thought I could fit in with coach (Oscar) Giles and coach (Mack) Brown," Hall told Orangebloods.com. "My mom was excited. I called my dad and my uncles and we talked about it. The tradition and the coaching staff makes it a win-win. Plus, I think I can help them win another national championship."

The 6-foot-6, 220-pound end held offers from Baylor, Texas A&M, TCU and others. He nearly missed Texas' Junior Day but arrived late and was able to take in everything he needed to know in order to make the decision to commit.

"I had practice early after a playoff win," Hall said. "I just decided that I can't miss this Junior Day, I have to go. I told my mom and we called coach (Bruce) Chambers and he said it was cool that we came late. I had a good time."

Texas is now up to nine commitments for the class of 2013. Hall racked up 60 tackles and 11 sacks last season as a junior.

Posted on: February 22, 2012 2:48 pm
 

Ricky Seals-Jones is commitment No. 6 for Texas

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Texas continued it's annual early march to one of the to one of the top recruiting classes in the country on Wednesday as Sealy (Texas) athlete Ricky Seals-Jones committed to the Longhorns.

“I just love the atmosphere and being around the coaches,” an excited Seals-Jones told Scout. “It just feels great being around the coaching staff and they have great facilities. It is just a great feeling!”

One of the top players in the state, the 6-foot-6, 220-pounder held offers from LSU, Notre Dame and TCU among others. Seals-Jones has the ability to line up at multiple positions on either side of the ball but will likely see initial playing time at wide receiver. In addition, he is an extremely gifted basketball player who averages over 30 points a game but has had his heart set on playing football in Austin since he was younger.

“Texas has always been one of my tops,” he added.

With Seals-Jones in the fold, Texas now has six commitments for the class of 2013.


Posted on: February 20, 2012 5:12 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2012 5:39 pm
 

Monday Mailbag - Sooners, Aggies and Davonte Neal



Posted by Bryan Fischer


Starting a new feature on the blog as the recruiting season picks up and spring ball starts across the country: The Monday Mailbag. My colleague Bruce Feldman runs a similar feature on Friday that is a must-read but there are plenty of questions out there that need answering and, well, I'm here to answer them since college football is very much a 24/7/365 sport nowadays. So without further ado, let the smorgasbord of questions commence.
Great start to the mailbag because it's a chance to bring up Dennis Dodd and Brett McMurphy's early top 25 ballots. I'm sure there's some griping from plenty of fans about how both have the order but I pretty much see eye-to-eye on most of the picks. To answer the question, I see a few teams that are a tad over-hyped going into next year, starting with Oklahoma, especially at number three overall. Are they top-10 worthy? Absolutely with 15 starters coming back and quarterback Landry Jones among them. But the way they struggled down the stretch last season was worrisome, especially with the injuries to Dominique Whaley and Ryan Broyles and how the offense just wasn't the same. I'm guessing the coaching staff will put more emphasis on spreading the ball around and hope for a boost in the run game with all of the tailbacks healthy to provide more consistency. Don't discount the loss of defensive coordinator Brent Venables either, the guys were not around for when Mike Stoops was and he didn't recruit them so it will take a little time to develop some chemistry. With plenty of time to study it, I don't think the 'Belldozer' package will be as effective as it was in 2011 unless there's more passing to keep defenses honest.

One other factor that should be noted is it'll be a tough Big 12 this year with newcomers TCU and West Virginia both having good teams on top of rival Texas taking what should be a step forward this year. It's possible the Sooners have a better team than last year but doesn't mean they'll be able to take advantage. I also expect several of the incoming recruits to see extended playing time, especially among the tight ends and receivers (I'd guess Taylor McNamara and Durron Neal for sure) Stoops signed.

A few others that are a tad over-hyped: Wisconsin, Florida, Oklahoma State and Notre Dame. Under appreciated? You're looking at TCU, Kansas State, Nebraska and South Carolina.
Great timing for this question considering what the Aggies did on the recruiting trail over the weekend. Seven commitments is an impressive number and pushes the program to a nation's best 13 total commitments for the class of 2013. After already grabbing a top 15 class with the group they just signed, Kevin Sumlin and his staff have certainly hit the ground running. It helps tremendously that several of the coaches came over from Houston and had already been evaluating some of these recruits and developed a prior relationship. One of the things that I got when talking with Sumlin last month was that he certainly would make it a point to sell the fact that A&M was the only SEC program in the state. While Texas will almost always have the pick of the litter when it comes to in-state guys, you can tell recruits going forward will give a longer look at playing in College Station because of that. With the 2013 class, they have two excellent offensive linemen who are two of the top five or ten guys along the line in the state and they have a handful of speedy playmakers on both sides of the ball committed as well. Bottom line is that the program has jumped out to a big start and probably should be able to hold on and better what they did on Signing Day in 2012.

Darrell, surely you know by now not to go against the great Les Miles. The Mad Hatter had a great team last year that went through a lot off the field that some people forget. I think the national title game helped, in some respects, prepare this team for 2012 because it tempered expectations a little and also gave them a reason for the team to think, 'it's us vs. them,' in some respect.

I'm like most writers and have LSU #1 based on what they return and disagree that they lose "key" players so that prohibits them from taking the top spot in the preseason. It could be, for example, a positive that the rotation of Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson is over and the Tigers stick with talented transfer Zach Mettenberger, who many expect to grab hold of the job this spring.

LSU returns only five starters on defense but they rotated so many players in last season that I don't think it will be an issue for them as younger players like Anthony Johnson get more snaps. Incoming freshmen like Avery Johnson - Patrick Peterson's younger brother mind you - should be able to contribute early on special teams and offense to complement the strong run game the team should have. The national championship game really colored a lot of people's opinion of LSU the wrong way and it's sometimes good to remember that there's a lot of talent on this squad.
Neal is referring to Scottsdale (Ariz.) athlete Davonte Neal, who will be committing to a school Tuesday morning. His recruitment has been an interesting one, not only waiting nearly a month after Signing Day to pick but because of all the twists and turns he's taken. First off, he's a dynamic playmaker who is built to be a slot guy in a spread offense and get the ball in space. He's also a solid cornerback and should play early on special teams no matter what - there's a reason he's a top 100 player in the class of 2012.

Neal is quiet and it was like pulling teeth for a while to get him to mention a school he had interest in before his senior season ended. He's taken a lot of recent official visits and most have him picking between Notre Dame, Arizona and Arkansas tomorrow. I've heard good things about Notre Dame in this case but I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up staying close to home and picking Arizona either. His high school head coach was recently hired there and family is very important to Neal so there are definite draws for the Wildcats. Old CBS Sports pal Rich Rodriguez no doubt told the 5-foot-9, 170-pounder how well he'd fit in the offense down in Tuscon too. I'll stick with a cautious prediction of Neal going to South Bend but I would be surprised for him to state in-state either.

That will wrap things up for the first Monday Mailbag, plenty of others to come in the weeks and months ahead. Tweet your questions to me at @BryanDFischer on Twitter and I'll try and answer as many as I can.

Posted on: February 19, 2012 11:58 am
 

Texas A&M gets four from Junior Day

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It was an important recruiting weekend across the country and new Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin was one of several coaches who went home happy after the Aggies picked up four commitments during their Junior Day activities on Saturday.

The headliner of the quartet is Dallas (Texas) offensive lineman Ishmael Wilson. A 6-foot-5, 300-pounder, he is one of the top linemen in the state and held offers from major programs such as Alabama, LSU and Texas. Joining him in A&M's class of 2013 along the line is Birdville (Texas) offensive lineman Joas Aguilar, right, who promptly committed to his only known offer while in College Station.

Among the skill position commits, talented Killeen (Texas) running back Johnny Jefferson was recruited by some of the staff members when they were at Houston and picked up an offer on the unofficial visit and promptly committed. The 5-foot-10, 200-pound back picked Texas A&M over Oklahoma State, TCU and others.

"I decided the night before," Jefferson told Scout. "I just had a gut feeling. As soon as we got there, head coach Sumlin and (running backs coach) Clarence McKinney put me a room and told me that they wanted to show me what the school and what Texas A&M could offer me. I went on my tour and I basically had my mind made up in the middle of it. We are going to offer you. I knew it was right for me, so I committed."

The final pledge of the day was Rosenberg (Texas) defensive back Victor Davis, who held offers from Oklahoma State and Tulsa. Sumlin and the Aggies now have 10 commitments in the upcoming class after signing a top 15 group earlier this month.

Photo by Kyle Dantzler
Posted on: February 18, 2012 11:52 am
 

2/18 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Alabama is all set for their second Junior Day with a ton of top prospects.

Alvin Kamara received 105 letters from the Crimson Tide on the same day while Reuben Foster is trying hard to recruit top player Robert Nkemdiche to Tuscaloosa.

Recruiting local linemen could be a recipe for success at Notre Dame.

Michigan State is offering several recruits around the country and going after a few Wisconsin players hard.

 Missouri is starting the 2013 class off by getting a few early in-state players.

 Will news of the drug bust at TCU hurt the Horned Frogs recruiting? Some coaches say no.

 There are some familiar names among the recruits at Nebraska's Junior Days. 

 A preview of Florida's Junior Day.

 Catching up with new Ohio State commit Eli Woodard.

 Boise State lands its second 2013 pledge in Alec Dhaenens.

Posted on: February 17, 2012 12:04 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2012 12:24 pm
 

Texas gets top QB prospect Tyrone Swoopes

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The biggest thing that has held Texas back from getting back to national title contention has been sub-par play at the quarterback position. Mack Brown and company are hoping they've solved that issue going forward, picking up one of the top players in the class of 2013 as Whitewright (Texas) quarterback Tyrone Swoopes committed to the Longhorns Friday morning, according to Orangebloods.com.

The U.S. Air Force All-American and Maxpreps Top Junior is a dual-threat who can beat teams with his arm or his legs. Swoopes held scholarship offers from schools such as Alabama, Baylor, TCU and recently picked up one from LSU this week. Multiple head coaches had been hotly pursuing what many consider to be the top prospect in the state, including Nick Saban spending a lengthy phone call where Swoopes "only got four words in" according to his head coach.

Swoopes also has quite the family background, as he is the nephew of former WNBA star Sheryl Swoopes.

The 6-foot-5, 200-pounder has drawn comparisons to Robert Griffin III and Cam Newton with his big arm and ability to take off running. He has to improve on his throwing accuracy but still show an ability to dominate high school competition while racking up 44 touchdowns and more than 3,500 total yards last season as a junior. He also turned in the top national rushing performance of the 2011 season when he had 540 yards on the ground.

Swoopes visited Texas this past weekend during the Longhorns Junior Day activities and though he was expected to hold off on his decision until later in the recruiting process, the trip to Austin appeared to be enough to win him over and cause an early commitment.

The pledge gives Texas four commitments for the class of 2013, all of whom are among the top players at their positions.

Photo by Kyle Dantzler



Posted on: February 16, 2012 7:15 pm
 

A'Shawn Robinson latest to join Texas' class

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It was a slow start for Texas but things have picked up quickly for Mack Brown on the recruiting trail recently. Following last weekend's Junior Day, the Longhorns have picked up their second commitment in as many days as Fort Worth (Texas) defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson pledged to the program Thursday afternoon.

"It feels good. I wanted to just go into my senior season not having to worry about it and wanted to get it over with," Robinson told Orangebloods.com. "I'll be there next year to help win a national championship."

The 6-foot-4, 300-pounder was named a Maxpreps Top Junior and already highly recruited despite it being early in the recruiting process, with offers from schools such as Alabama, LSU and TCU. Though he can play on either side of the line, the Texas staff reassured him he would be playing on defense during his visit to Austin and that appeared to factor into his decision to commit early.

"I'm a run stopper," he said. "I can make a lot of impact plays. I feel like I have a lot of play making abilities."

With Robinson in the fold, Texas is up to three class of 2013 commitments in what should be a relatively small recruiting class for the Longhorns. Brown and company are coming off another stellar February in which the program signed the number two class in the country.


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com