Category: Houston Cougars

Houston head coach Tom Herman watches play against Florida State during the first half of the Peach Bowl NCAA college football game, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
AP Photo/John Bazemore

Tom Herman goes full Office Space on fax machine

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Houston head coach Tom Herman had no reason to feel upset about the developments that unfolded on National Signing Day. Coming off a 13-1 season with the American Athletic Conference championship and a Peach Bowl victory over Florida State, the Cougars carried the momentum into the end of the recruiting cycle by landing a five-star player (a true rarity for a Group of Five program) and the top recruiting class among Group of Five programs. Still, the end of the signing period leads to a moment to unwind and release the tension that builds up over the months of hard work on the recruiting trail.

What better way to do that than by beating the living crap out of the seldom used office fax machine? Herman, flanked by Houston Assistant AD for Football Operations Fernando Lovo and Director for Football Sports Performance Yancy McKnight took it to their fax machine once they were done using it for the year.

It turns out the Houston version was pretty faithful to the source material, the cult classic Office Space, including the high leg drops.

Bravo, Houston social media team. Bravo.

Houston officially lands highest-rated recruit in program history

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 05:  Head coach Tom Herman of the Houston Cougars raises the AAC Championship Trophy after defeating the Temple Owls at TDECU Stadium on December 5, 2015 in Houston, Texas. Houston won 24-13.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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If you think Tom Herman‘s momentum in Houston is limited to on the field, you’d be sorely mistaken.

Ed Oliver is a five-star defensive tackle who committed to Houston last June. Ever since, a significant amount of the focus has been on exactly which Power Five program would flip him away from the Group of Five school.

Oliver seemed to stay strong to his commitment throughout the process, and on Wednesday officially signed with the Cougars to erase any and all doubt about his immediate future.

As the No. 19 player in the country according to Rivals.com, Oliver is the highest-rated recruit ever signed by the UH program. He’s expected to make an immediate impact for the Cougars’ defense and is already penciled in as a starter as a true freshman.

It also continues a trend in which Herman and his coaching staff are lapping their Group of Five rivals on the recruiting trail.

It’s not all puppy dogs and unicorns and rainbows, though, as UH has seen four-star wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland flip his commitment and announce he will sign with Florida.

Checking in on recruiting rankings with one week until Signing Day

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 29:  Head coach Les Miles of the LSU Tigers (C) sings with his team after they defeated the Texas Tech Red Raiders 56-27 during the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl at NRG Stadium on December 29, 2015 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
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National Signing Day is one week from today. If you haven’t already taken off work, purchased your food items, laundered your lucky shirt, socks and underwear and hung your decorations, consider this your fair warning.

(Wait, everyone hangs decorations for National Signing Day, right?)

With but seven days between now and the biggest day on the college football calendar until Opening Day, here’s how the top 25 classes stack up according to Rivals.

1. Ohio State
2. LSU
3. Ole Miss
4. Michigan
5. Notre Dame
6. Florida State
7. Florida
8. Clemson
9. Michigan State
10. Baylor
11. UCLA
12. Alabama
13. Texas A&M
14. Auburn
15. TCU
16. North Carolina
17. Georgia
18. Tennessee
19. Kentucky
20. Stanford
21. Oregon
22. California
23. Duke
24. Penn State
25. Houston

A couple teams to watch over the next week are teams that were top-5 mainstays a decade ago — No. 28 USC, No. 30 Oklahoma, No. 31 Miami and No. 50 Texas.

Before any Trojans, Sooners, ‘Canes or ‘Horns fans hit the panic button, consider that each team is still carrying a light number of commitments — USC and Texas with 13, Miami with 14 and Oklahoma with 16. Ten of the top 11 teams claim at least 20, and only Georgia has fewer than 16 among ranked teams.

Ex-UL-L QB Brooks Haack forgoes Houston internship to play a year at FCS level

Brooks Haack
Louisiana-Lafayette athletics
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Given the opportunity to get a headstart on his coaching career, Brooks Haack has instead decided to extend his playing career.

In December, Haack decided to transfer out of the Louisiana-Lafayette football program.  A month later, it was announced Friday, Haack has been added to the Northwestern State football roster.

The quarterback will be eligible to play immediately in 2016 for two reasons.  One, the Demons play at the FCS level.  And, two, Haack has already graduated from UL-L.

This will be Haack’s final season of eligibility.  And, if the Houston football program had anything to say about it, Haack wouldn’t be using it.

“He passed up an internship working with Major Applewhite (offensive coordinator at Houston) to come here and play this fall, so he’s driven to compete, even though he’s already graduated, and wants to see his career through. We’re looking forward to seeing him compete,” Demons head coach Jay Thomas said in a portion of a statement. “He played very well against us last season (going 8-for-9 for 187 yards against NSU Sept. 12). …

“He was part of a Texas state championship team at Katy High School. Also, his dad was a college softball coach including at Alabama, and went back to coach high school ball for family reasons, so Brooks grew up in a very competitive environment.”

After serving as the No. 2 quarterback behind Terrance Broadway as a redshirt freshman and sophomore, Haack started eight games for the Ragin’ Cajuns in 2015. He completed just over 61 percent of his 201 passes for 1,407 yards and five touchdowns, with seven interceptions as well.

2016 early NFL draft entries fall just shy of ’14 record

2014 NFL Draft
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So close, yet so far.  Well, technically speaking it is.

With the deadline for early entry into the NFL draft in the rearview, the NFL announced Friday that 96 players “have been granted special eligibility for the 2016 NFL Draft” and will be eligible to be selected during the April 28-30 event in Chicago. While that’s significantly more than 74 draft-eligible sophomores and juniors who declared last year, it falls two shy of the record 98 who declared early for the 2014 draft.

For some perspective, the number of players combined who declared early for the 2007 (40) and 2008 (53) falls short of the number for this year alone.

Another 11 players with eligibility remaining “have in timely fashion under NFL rules officially notified the league office that they have fulfilled their degree requirements” and are thus eligible for the draft as well. Those 11 are…

2016 NFL Draft I

Of the 96 deemed by the NFL as having special draft eligibility granted, 48 played defense and 46 were from the offensive side of the ball. There were also two kickers in this category — Southern Oregon’s Aldrick Ross and British Columbia’s Quinn van Gylswyk.

A total of 18 defensive ends and tackles are included, while the secondary, combining both cornerbacks and safeties, has 17. On the offensive side, 16 running backs are in the group, joined by 12 offensive linemen and 10 running backs. Just four draft-eligible quarterbacks cannonballed into the pool: Cal’s Jared Goff, Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg, Ohio State’s Cardale Jones and Memphis’ Paxton Lynch.

The SEC, naturally, leads all conferences in NFL-designated special draft eligibility — The Shield differentiates this year between them and those who have eligibility remaining but earned degrees — with 25 players leaving early.  12 of the 14 teams in that conference have at least one player in the group, the lone exceptions being Kentucky and Missouri. Next up is the 15 of the Big Ten and Pac-12; the only other conference in double digits is the ACC (11).  The lone remaining Power Five conference, the Big 12, just missed with nine.

The most of any Group of Five league is the Mountain West’s four.  Two conferences, Conference USA and the Sun Belt, had no players granted special eligibility.

Individually, Ohio State saw seven players deemed to have met the NFL’s criteria for special eligibility, followed by UCLA with six and Clemson with five.  Below are the other individual schools with more than one player in this category:

4 — Notre Dame
3 — Arkansas, Baylor, Mississippi State, Ole Miss
2 — Alabama, Arizona, Auburn, Cal, Indiana, LSU, Oklahoma, West Virginia

And, below this, are all of the 96 players with special eligibility for the NFL draft:

Bralon Addison, WR, Oregon
Dominique Alexander, LB, Oklahoma
Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson
Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State
Demarcus Ayers, WR, Houston
Peyton Barber, RB, Auburn
Vonn Bell, DB, Ohio State
Caleb Benenoch, OL, UCLA
Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor
Dariusz Bladek, OG, Bethune-Cookman
Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
Tyler Boyd, WR, Pittsburgh
Daniel Braverman, WR, Western Michigan
Beniquez Brown, LB, Mississippi State
Artie Burns, CB, Miami
Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA
Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor
Trenton Coles, DB, Duquesne
Alex Collins, RB, Arkansas
Maliek Collins, DT, Nebraska
Jack Conklin, OL, Michigan State
Pharoh Cooper, WR, South Carolina
Kamalei Correa, DL, Boise State
Su’a Cravens, LB, USC
Elijah Daniel, DT, Murray State
Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson
Thomas Duarte, WR, UCLA
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
Leonard Floyd, LB, Georgia
Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame
Jared Goff, QB, Cal
T.J. Green, S, Clemson
David Grinnage, TE, North Carolina State
Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida
Jerald Hawkins, OL, LSU
Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama
Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas
Willie Henry, DT, Michigan
Rashard Higgins, WR, Colorado State
Austin Hooper, TE, Stanford
Jordan Howard, RB, Indiana
Xavien Howard, CB, Baylor
Germain Ifedi, OT, Texas A&M
Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
Quinton Jefferson, DL, Maryland
Cardale Jones, QB, Ohio State
Cayleb Jones, WR, Arizona
Chris Jones, DL, Mississippi State
Jayron Kearse, DB, Clemson
Denver Kirkland, OT, Arkansas
Darius Latham, DL, Indiana
Kenny Lawler, WR, Cal
Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State
Roger Lewis, WR, Bowling Green
Steve Longa, LB, Rutgers
Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
Jalin Marshall, WR, Ohio State
Alex McCalister, DE, Florida
Brett McMakin, LB, Northern Iowa
Keanu Neal, S, Florida
Yannick Ngakoue, DL, Maryland
Robert Nkemdiche, DL, Ole Miss
Marquez North, WR, Tennessee
Emmanuel Ogbah, DL, Oklahoma State
Paul Perkins, RB, UCLA
C.J. Prosise, RB, Notre Dame
Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State
Alex Redmond, OL, UCLA
Hassan Ridgeway, DT, Texas
A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama
Demarcus Robinson, WR, Florida
Rashard Robinson, CB, LSU
Aldrick Rosas, K, Southern Oregon
Zack Sanchez, CB, Oklahoma
Isaac Seumalo, OL, Oregon State
Wendell Smallwood, RB, West Virginia
Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame
Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
Kelvin Taylor, RB, Florida
Ron Thompson, DE, Syracuse
Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
Quinn van Gylswyk, K, British Columbia
Nick Vigil, LB, Utah State
Cleveland Wallace III, CB, San Jose State
Dwayne Washington, RB, Washington
Stephen Weatherly, LB, Vanderbilt
De’Runnya Wilson, WR, Mississippi State
Daryl Worley, CB, West Virginia
Scooby Wright III, LB, Arizona
Avery Young, OL, Auburn