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Fear and Loathing of NSD

Today was National Signing Day.

In the South, NSD is the equivalent of a holiday such as Labor Day. In fact, some football fans think that Super Bowl Sunday should be followed by three consecutive days off, exceeding my favorite holiday season of Thanksgiving: Monday as a recovery day from the hype and glitter of the game/halftime/commercials, Tuesday as a catch-up day on what college football has been up to since the National Championship game, and Wednesday for more hype and glitter of a much different kind.

I’m not one of those football fans.

Tommy Tomlinson at Sports on Earth and John Brandon at Grantland give me permission to remain detached.

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The kids are alright

The ink is barely dry. The crap shoot is now just beginning. For the most part, it will take a long time before we know what the dice will show. Except for the fact that Tennessee snagged three JUCOs, all likely to be contributors on day one. Wednesday was 2012 National Signing Day. It was significant. Derek Dooley and (a mostly new) staff are to be congratulated for a very respectable showing.

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The Kiff that Keeps On Giving

Cam Newton got a pass because the NCAA’s investigation indicated that he was not aware of his father’s pay-for-play scheme. And, because there was no link to Auburn either, they were allowed to win the SEC and national championships on the field. There was, of course, rampant speculation and all kinds of correlations leading to causation, implicating Cam and his father and Auburn and Mississippi State and the SEC and the NCAA and, well, why not throw in Mubarak?

It was only a matter of time before Lane Kiffin’s name surfaced with all of this.

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Pants on Fire

The NCAA slipped the invoice under Tennessee’s door on Wednesday. Then, the university released it to the world for viewing, minus a few redactions. More on that later.

First, the timeline. Tennessee has 90 days to respond to NCAA’s 26-page Notice of Allegations regarding the Vol football and men’s basketball programs. The university will then make an appearance before the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions in Indianapolis, anticipated to be June 10 and 11. A convenient time – long after the basketball season has finished and long enough before kickoff in September.

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The Hay Is Now In The Barn

Yes, today is Super Bowl Sunday, not a college football day. It is the day that American sport is showcased to the world. But the players playing in icy Dallas this evening started their national football careers long ago, when they donned a hat in the now-common symbolic gesture of signage. For most, the fame began on a National Signing Day a few years ago.

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Another Quarterback Competition in the Making?

Justin Worley, a high school quarterback from Rock Hill, South Carolina (Northwestern H.S.), was named today the Gatorade National Player of the Year. Past winners of this award include Peyton Manning.

This season, his school won the South Carolina State Championship (Class AAAA-Div II). Worley passed for 5,315 yards and 64 TDs. That’s sixty-four touchdown passes this season.

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My Bammeroids Are Acting Up

The Auburn Tigers are attempting to pull what the San Francisco Giants just did by coming out of virtually nowhere (not exactly, but who’d ‘a’ thought?) to win the national championship. Here are the essentials based on a newspaper story from Thursday.

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We’re Doin’ Fine, Thanks

National Signing Day was a huge media event nationwide. Schools like Florida and USC stole the headlines. Derrick Dooley quietly went about his business, not making a spectacle of himself or of our football program. So what picture did the San Francisco Chronicle publish in their story about NSD with all the big national stories? This one! Imagine that. Photo by Saul Young.

Armageddon didn’t come to the Tennessee Volunteer football program as some predicted when Lane Kiffin skipped town in his oversized jeans and jacket. Instead, a relatively unknown son-of-a-legend came to town and (1) calmed the restless natives by delivering a spot-on speech and Q&A session; and then (2) stopped talking, hit the road, and got down to the everyday business of hard work—hiring a staff of coaches and recruiting kids in advance of the biggest day in Tennessee before the O&W game: National Signing Day.

A Steady Stream of Coaches Come to Knoxville

On Saturday 16 January 2010—day one of Dooleyworld—Kippy Brown saw the writing on the wall and skipped town for (literally) greener pastures in the Great Northwest. David Reaves and James Cregg found themselves no longer members of UT’s coaching staff. On Sunday, Coach Dooley (sounds good, doesn’t it?) hired Terry Joseph from LaTech and Eric Russell from Texas Tech. Read More…

NSD: Have a Nice Holiday

Here we are, Wednesday, February 3, 2010, National Signing Day. A day which should be a national holiday, at least in the American South anyway.

I’ve had my say about what the various player rankings might mean and what they might not mean in terms of actual performance on the field once on campus, and in very specific instances what they have meant and what they have not meant.

But perhaps team rankings are another matter.

Patrick Garvin, one of my favorite bloggers—because he writes about college football from a historical perspective—last week wrote a post titled Are Recruiting Rankings Meaningful? It was the type of article that conjured up Mark Twain’s famous saying about letter-writing. Sort of. Read More…

Florida’s Headstart Program

With National Signing Day (NSD) coming on Wednesday, I had a look at Tennessee’s recruiting prospect list published by Scout. It’s the list of high school and JUCO players that have expressed an interest in Tennessee.

The players are listed by Scout’s ranking, from five-star candidates to one-star rankings. The list also indicates the level of interest expressed by the player (low, medium, high if uncommitted) and if an official offer has been made by Tennessee.

Also indicated is if the player has committed to the Vols or to any other school, and if the commitment has been made verbally (which will change beginning Wednesday as players will begin to sign). Read More…

Star Gazing with a Grain of Salt

Gazing for the next five-star prospect.

We’re closing in on one of the most exciting days on the college football calandar: National Signing Day. The day all high school players who will graduate this year can sign letters of intent to play for their college of choice. National Signing Day is the first day of an approximate two-month period, this year running from February 3 to April 1, 2010.

Every year, Division I FBS schools can add up to 25 new scholarship players to their rosters so long as the total number of scholarship players does not exceed 85.

We are inundated by stars. Not only by the players themselves, but by the rating system. Scouts, Inc. has their famous grading system, from one-star to five-star players. We’re bombarded by news reports of what team has this five-star player visiting this weekend and what team has three four-star players with verbal commitments, and so on. Read More…

The Symmetry is Set for Spring

It will be junior (senior-to-be) Nick Stephens, high-school recruit Tyler Bray of Kingsburg, California (Central Valley), and new juco-signee Matt Simms to battle for the 2010 QB job this spring.

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Tennessee announced Wednesday that Matt Simms, the son of NFL-great Phil Simms and brother of Chris Simms who once snubbed the Vols for Texas, has signed to play for UT in 2010.

Simms who is 6-3, 215, played at El Camino Community College in Torrance (Los Angeles County) California this season, completing 159 of 269 for 2,204 yards and 17 touchdowns. The Warriors finished the season 8-3, winning their fourth consecutive league championship.

Simms began his college career with the Louisville Cardinals where he played in only two games and threw only 10 passes. He served a four-game suspension at the start of the 2008 season for undisclosed violations, which appeared to be weed-related according to this August 19, 2008 post on Card Chronicle.

He also gained quite a bit of notoriety for his response to opposing fans during and after leading his high school to the New Jersey State Championship in 2006.

He is also recovering from a broken throwing hand, having the cast removed just recently.

Kiffin’s signing of Simms as a juco-transfer is likely a harbinger as the Vols transition from the Fulmer era to whatever it is we are moving into.

Bring on the competition. Stephens should be the odds-on favorite. Redshirting Bray would be the next big decision. That will depend on Simms.

When There’s Too Much of Nothing

Now, it’s all been done before,
It’s all been written in the book,
But when there’s too much of nothing,
Nobody should look.

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Are sales down at the Gray lady?

On December 9, 2009, a story in the New York Times written by Pete Thamel and Thayer Evan appeared and you would have thought they’d discovered a new angle on the human condition. Thamel and Evan reported that a significant part of an NCAA inquiry into the Tennessee football program is focused on the use of recruiting “hostesses.” Yes, the story was about the potential rules transgression of it all — and the potential severity of any violation.

But the subtext was there — the role of the seductress.

But, nothing new about use of hostesses.

And, nothing new about seductresses.

A primer for all males, like we really needed one. Read More…

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