Exit these guys. Florida took a couple of hits in the secondary, one more important than the other. The important gent is returning starter Marcell Harris, who will miss the 2017 season with a torn ACL. That knocks Florida down to 3 returning starters on D—sounds familiar—and robs them of their best safety. Florida has talented guys waiting to step up but they're green:
Sophomore Jeawon Taylor and freshman Quincy Lenton, who were injured this spring, could be options to step in for Harris, but new defensive coordinator Randy Shannon could get creative with his roster.
Starter Duke Dawson is slated to be the next big thing at cornerback, but he has played safety and nickel during the first three years of his Gators career. Like Harris, he's a veteran leader who understands the position and has proven versatility that could prove valuable considering the circumstances.
In that same light, sophomore Chauncey Gardner was solid last year. He played in all 13 games, starting three at safety with 36 tackles and three interceptions -- one of which was returned for a touchdown. He's slated to start along side Dawson at corner but is certainly an option to move around if Shannon chooses.
The other hit is Chris Williamson, a second-year 3.5* cornerback. He's transferring. That removes an option in the UF secondary.
Another recruiting hire. A second former member of the SS Rodriguez jumps aboard:
Dudek had been Arizona's General Manager/Dir. of Player personnel, gives Michigan a good presence on the west coast, relentless recruiter
— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) July 22, 2017
Rick Neuheisel, proto-Harbaugh. This is terrific story from Rick Neuheisel in an excellent Jon Solomon article on coach paranoia in the aftermath of Wakeyleaks:
One year at the Pac-12 coaches’ meetings, Neuheisel wanted to increase the conference’s travel-squad numbers (60 players per team) closer to the Big Ten and SEC limits (70 players).
But Neuheisel knew he was toxic, especially in a room with so many big egos, such as Stanford’s Jim Harbaugh and USC’s Carroll. So Neuheisel had then-
Oregon State coach Mike Riley pitch the idea.
“Mike is the nicest guy in the world, so he pitched it to the ADs and we got 70,” Neuheisel says. “Had Rick Neuheisel pitched it, we’d still be at 60. No one looked at Mike Riley and ever thought there was a hidden ball trick going on.”
Harbaugh now faces this same paranoia at Michigan. He maneuvers through the NCAA rule book, such as taking the Wolverines to spring practice in Florida and Italy and holding summer satellite camps around the country to look for players.
“He’ll never get any legislation passed he wants,” Neuheisel said. “But if you go get Mike Riley from Nebraska, you’ve got a hell of a chance to get it done.
Keep an eye out for any Mike Riley pronouncements about the correct milk to drink.
Hockey commits. A couple of significant hockey commits in the past week. 2019 F Jack Beecher committed to Michigan over BU, BC, and OHL interest, and hoo boy this guy has some potential:
— TPH Detroit (@tphdetroit) March 17, 2017
Johnny Beecher (NTDP U17) commits to Michigan. Former Salisbury School forward has explosive stride, good size, high pro upside.
— Jeff Cox (@JeffCoxSports) July 24, 2017
Other takes from hockey scouting twitter include "elite skater who drives play … lethal shot," "size, soft hands, and rocket shot" and "dominant tools." He's a 6'4" guy who has plenty of room to fill out and plenty of skill when he does. SBN's Jeff Cox:
Johnny Beecher, Elmira, NY, Salisbury School, Left Shot, 6’4”/210 - He’s a big time pro prospect with good size. He has decent to above average hands for a player his size. His stride and ability to protect the puck are both assets. He has that reach that you just can’t teach. He can put a puck out there, pull it back and rip a wrist shot on net. He drives the net and does a good job using his size down low and along the boards. He’s got that extra gear to win a battle along the wall and just separate himself from the defender to get to the slot and get a hard shot on net.
In January Hockey Prospect Dot Com ranked him 3rd in their OHL draft rankings; he fell to 85th because of his NTDP commitment.
Beecher is the first truly big-time recruiting win for Mel Pearson; he'll spend the next two years with the NTDP before arriving in Ann Arbor. Michigan no doubt hopes to latch on to fellow 2019 NTDPer Jack Hughes, a potential top 5 NHL draft pick and brother of incoming freshman Quinn.
The other commit is D Cole McWard, who Chris Heisenberg lists as a 2020. Less out there on him, but here's this tweet:
— Neutral Zone (@_Neutral_Zone) July 22, 2017
He's about 6-foot now and will grow.
The worst Freeze since the guy in the batnipple movie. I'm enjoying Dan Wolken unloading both barrels on Hugh Freeze, as it's something it seems like he's been waiting years to do. Now it can be told:
Whatever Freeze was doing to make enemies across the Southeast, it was often hard to distinguish what rival coaches saw as the greater transgression — the program’s loose relationship with the NCAA rulebook or his in-your-face piety.
Coaches who recruited against Freeze didn’t merely roll their eyes at him, and they certainly didn’t laugh, except when it came to the nickname a few called him behind his back: Jimmy Swag.
I could have been calling him Jimmy Swag for years if I had only known this. Alas. Wolken followed that up with another brutal missive:
There’s no reason to be coy here: Whispers about Freeze’s personal behavior have followed him since long before he became a college head coach. But at every stop along the way, it was difficult to do much with those rumors because so many people who were around him on coaching staffs and in athletic departments spoke so highly of him. His public embrace of Christianity, and the genuinely good charitable work he did, provided good cover and an easy narrative for all those glowing national newspaper profiles. Those who doubted his genuineness were written off as jealous or agenda-driven.
Sad thing about Freeze's behavior is it works. Once people believe a thing it takes an unbelievable amount of evidence to change their mind, and usually even that doesn't work.
Meanwhile Mark Schablach has a bonkers story on the sibling knife fight that is the Ole Miss-Mississippi State rivalry:
Robertson had been butting heads with Ole Miss officials for the past several months, since they denied his open records request for an unredacted version of the notice of allegations the Rebels received from the NCAA in January 2016. Robertson wanted the names of the Ole Miss boosters who are accused of providing improper benefits to recruits, and university officials wouldn't release them.
When Mars advised Tyner about the call Freeze made to the escort service, he told him that he'd shared the phone records with Robertson.
"Steve is obsessed," Mars said Tyner told him.
"Had anybody in this state done their job, I wouldn't have had to do it," Robertson said. "It got to the point where I was sick and tired of being sick and tired of it. I was willing to pass the baton to someone, but no one was willing to take it."
Robertson filed a complaint with the Mississippi Ethics Commission, which ruled in his favor earlier this month.
This random fan has been FOIAing Ole Miss for months so he can write a book named "Flim Flam," which is being published out of state. This is a hatred to respect.