Memphis Tigers

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 28:  Joey Bosa of Ohio State holds up a jersey after being picked #3 overall by the San Diego Chargers during the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University on April 28, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Four-star recruits reign in first round of NFL draft

2 Comments

A wild and controversy-laden first night of the 2016 NFL draft has long since been put to bed — one college football program may have ongoing and lingering night terrors, though — with the second round set to kick off in less than an hour. Before that, though, it’s time to take a quick recruiting look back at that first round.

There were a total of 31 players selected in that first round, with just four coming from non-Power Five programs — quarterback Carson Wentz (North Dakota State, FCS) to the Philadelphia Eagles at No. 2, cornerback William Jackson III (Houston, AAC) to the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 24, quarterback Paxton Lynch (Memphis, AAC) to the Denver Broncos at No. 26, defensive tackle Vernon Butler (Louisiana Tech, Conference USA) to the Carolina Panthers at No. 30.  Wentz, as you may have learned during the run-up to the draft, wasn’t ranked in 247Sports.com‘s 2011 composite rankings and received zero scholarship offers from FBS programs, with Central Michigan the only school from that level showing more than mild interest.  The other three?  They were two-star prospects according to that recruiting service.

Those stars, or lack thereof, though, were the exception rather than the rule.

Of the remaining 27 first-round picks in the 2016 draft, more than half (17) were four-star prospects coming out of high school, again according to 247Sports.com’s composite rankings.  Of the players selected in the Top 10, seven of them were four-star recruits, with the lone exceptions being Wentz, Florida State cornerback Jalen Ramsey (2013 five-star) and Michigan State offensive tackle Jack Conklin (not rated, zero FBS scholarship offers, began career as walk-on).

Aside from Wentz, Conklin, Jackson III, Lynch and Butler, every other draft pick was at least a three-star recruit coming out of high school.  Interestingly, there were nearly as many three-star recruits picked (four) as there were five-stars (five).

Including the No. 1 overall pick from Cal, quarterback Jared Goff, four of the first five selections were four-star prospects.  The first five-star selected was Ramsey; the first three-star was Louisville’s Sheldon Rankins at No. 12 to the New Orleans Saints.

Below is the entire first round of the 2016 NFL draft, with the draftees corresponding recruiting ranking in parentheses.

  1. Los Angeles Rams — Jared Goff, Cal (4*)
  2. Philadelphia Eagles — Carson Wentz, North Dakota State (NR)
  3. San Diego Chargers — Joey Bosa, Ohio State (4*)
  4. Dallas Cowboys — Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State (4*)
  5. Jacksonville Jaguars — Jalen Ramsey, Florida State (5*)
  6. Baltimore Ravens — Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame (4*)
  7. San Francisco 49ers — DeForest Buckner, Oregon (4*)
  8. Tennessee Titans — Jack Conklin, Michigan State (NR)
  9. Chicago Bears — Leonard Floyd, Georgia (4*)
  10. New York Giants — Eli Apple, Ohio State (4*)
  11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida (5*)
  12. New Orleans Saints — Sheldon Rankins, Louisville (3*)
  13. Miami Dolphins — Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss (5*)
  14. Oakland Raiders — Karl Joseph, West Virginia (3*)
  15. Cleveland Browns — Corey Coleman, Baylor (4*)
  16. Detroit Lions — Taylor Decker, Ohio State (4*)
  17. Atlanta Falcons — Keanu Neal, Florida (4*)
  18. Indianapolis Colts — Ryan Kelly, Alabama (4*)
  19. Buffalo Bills — Shaq Lawson, Clemson (4*)
  20. New York Jets — Darron Lee, Ohio State (3*)
  21. Houston Texans — Will Fuller, Notre Dame (4*)
  22. Washington Redskins — Josh Doctson, TCU (3*)
  23. Minnesota Vikings — Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss (5*)
  24. Cincinnati Bengals — William Jackson III, Houston (2*)
  25. Pittsburgh Steelers — Artie Burns, Miami (4*)
  26. Denver Broncos — Paxton Lynch, Memphis (2*)
  27. Green Bay Packers — Kenny Clark, UCLA (4*)
  28. San Francisco 49ers — Joshua Garnett, Stanford (4*)
  29. Arizona Cardinals — Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss (5*)
  30. Carolina Panthers — Vernon Butler, Louisiana Tech (2*)
  31. Seattle Seahawks — Germain Ifedi, Texas A&M (4*)

Ohio State won the NFL Draft’s first round, and Ole Miss lost it

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 01:  Ezekiel Elliott #15 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs the ball against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the All State Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 1, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Getty Images
12 Comments

After a win in the Great Satellite War of 2016 earlier Thursday, the Big Ten continued its winning streak into the night as Jim Delany‘s conference claimed the most selections in the NFL Draft’s first round.

Ohio State led the way with five selections, one short of 2004 Miami’s all-time record. Joey Bosa was first off the board to the Chargers at No.3, followed immediately by Ezekiel Elliott to the Cowboys at No. 4. The pair became the first teammates selected in the top five since Sam BradfordGerald McCoy and Trent Williams were selected in the top four in 2010. Cornerback Eli Apple joined Elliott in the NFC East in going to the Giants at No. 10, and Taylor Decker trailed six picks later to the Lions. Linebacker Darron Lee rounded out the night for the Buckeyes when he went to the Jets at No. 20.

Ole Miss trailed Ohio State with three first-round selections, but the night was anything but a win for Hugh Freeze and the Rebels, not after Laremy Tunsil was shown on Twitter smoking from a bong, then admitting in a press conference to taking money from coaches. Tunsil, once projected as the No. 1 overall pick, fell to the Dolphins at No. 13. Laquon Treadwell was chosen by the Vikings at No. 23, and Robert Nkemdiche headed west to the Cardinals at No. 29.

Most selections by team
5 – Ohio State
3 – Ole Miss
2 – Florida, Notre Dame

Other storylines of note:

– SEC shut out at the top: Thanks in large part to Tunsil’s slide, the SEC did not dent the big board until Georgia’s Leonard Floyd went to the host Bears at No. 9. It was the conference’s longest wait to join the Draft since 2006, when Vanderbilt’s Jay Cutler was the SEC’s ice breaker at No. 11 overall. Still, the SEC was the most frequent player on Thursday night.

Most selections by conference
1. SEC – 8
2. Big Ten – 6
3. ACC – 4
3. Pac-12 – 4
5. Big 12 – 3
6. American – 2
7. Conference USA – 1

– Chip Kelly‘s Pac-12 love affair continues: After loading up on Pac-12 players in Philadelphia, the new 49ers head coach double-dipped into his old stomping grounds by nabbing former Duck DeForest Buckner at No. 7, then trading back into the first round to nab Stanford guard Joshua Garnett in the Chiefs’ spot at No. 28.

– Quarterbacks at the top, again: Jared Goff became California’s first No. 1 selection since 1975, but the Big Game rivalry’s second in four years. Overall, quarterbacks have gone No. 1 overall 14 times since Peyton Manning entered the league in 1998.

The full list:

  1. Los Angeles Rams — Jared Goff, California
  2. Philadelphia Eagles — Carson Wentz, North Dakota State
  3. San Diego Chargers — Joey Bosa, Ohio State
  4. Dallas Cowboys — Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State
  5. Jacksonville Jaguars — Jalen Ramsey, Florida State
  6. Baltimore Ravens — Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame
  7. San Francisco 49ers — DeForest Buckner, Oregon
  8. Tennessee Titans — Jack Conklin, Michigan State
  9. Chicago Bears — Leonard Floyd, Georgia
  10. New York Giants — Eli Apple, Ohio State
  11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida
  12. New Orleans Saints — Sheldon Rankins, Louisville
  13. Miami Dolphins — Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss
  14. Oakland Raiders — Karl Joseph, West Virginia
  15. Cleveland Browns — Corey Coleman, Baylor
  16. Detriot Lions — Taylor Decker, Ohio State
  17. Atlanta Falcons — Keanu Neal, Florida
  18. Indianapolis Colts — Ryan Kelly, Alabama
  19. Buffalo Bills — Shaq Lawson, Clemson
  20. New York Jets — Darron Lee, Ohio State
  21. Houston Texans — Will Fuller, Notre Dame
  22. Washington Redskins — Josh Doctson, TCU
  23. Minnesota Vikings — Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss
  24. Cincinnati Bengals — William Jackson III, Houston
  25. Pittsburgh Steelers — Artie Burns, Miami
  26. Denver Broncos — Paxton Lynch, Memphis
  27. Green Bay Packers — Kenny Clark, UCLA
  28. San Francisco 49ers — Joshua Garnett, Stanford
  29. Arizona Cardinals — Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss
  30. Carolina Panthers — Vernon Butler, Louisiana Tech
  31. Seattle Seahawks — Germain Ifedi, Texas A&M

‘Screaming and tears’ from Les Miles after getting verbal from 2017 QB

BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 29:  Head coach Les Miles of the LSU Tigers reacts during pre game before playing the Arkansas Razorbacks at Tiger Stadium on November 29, 2013 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Getty Images
4 Comments

They say there’s no crying in baseball.  As for football recruiting?  If you’re Les Miles, there apparently is.  And some yelping for good measure.

Myles Brennan is a three-star 2017 prospect in 247Sports.com‘s composite rankings, rated as the No. 27 pro-style quarterback in the country.  The Mississippi high schooler had held offers from 15 or so schools, including Cal, Indiana, Kentucky, Memphis, West Virginia and Wisconsin; a visit to LSU this past weekend ended with, to him, a surprise offer from Miles and the Tigers to make it an even 16.

Instead of mulling it over with his parents and others close to him, the non-committed Brennan gave Miles his verbal pledge shortly before the trip ended.  Apparently appreciative of the chesticles shown by the young man, Miles “just started screaming and tears started coming out of his eyes” over the pledge.

” I just said, ‘Coach, I want to go ahead and shake your hand and tell you I’m going to go ahead and commit,'” Brennan said in an exceptional piece by the Sun Herald‘s Patrick Ochs. “At that time, he just started screaming and tears started coming out of his eyes. He gave me a big ol’ hug. My parents started tearing up and crying because they didn’t know it was coming.”

Given the sorry state of the position for most of his tenure in Baton Rouge, I guess you can excuse Miles getting emotional when someone of talent commits to his program.

Memphis adds future games with N. Texas, S. Alabama

MEMPHIS, TN - OCTOBER 17:  Student section of the Memphis Tigers celebrates after a touchdown during a game against the Ole Miss Rebels at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium on October 17, 2015 in Memphis, Tennessee.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Over the weekend, it was reported that Memphis and would resume their geographical rivalry with Arkansas State with a four-game series beginning in 2020.  Monday, the AAC school not only confirmed that news, but also the addition of a couple of more home-and-homes.

According to the school’s release, the UofM will play host to South Alabama on Sept. 22, 2018, with the Jaguars returning the hosting favors on Sept. 14, 2019.  The 2018 game will mark the first-ever between the two football programs.

Additionally, the UofM will square off with North Texas in another home-and-home, the first in Memphis in 2022 and the second in Denton the following season.  While the two teams have met 19 times previously, they’ve played just once since 1980 (2003).  The Tigers own a decided 16-3 edge in the miniseries.

One final future scheduling note for Memphis: the school also announced that it will open the 2018 season against FCS Mercer.  The release notes that “[t]he addition of the Mercer contest gives Memphis seven home games (three non-conference and four American Athletic Conference games) in each of the next three seasons (2016, 2017 and 2018).”

Memphis, Arkansas State to resume series in 2020

MEMPHIS, TN - SEPTEMBER 21: Aaron Williams #67 of the Arkansas State Red Wolves blocks against Martin Ifedi #97 of the Memphis Tigers on September 21, 2013 at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tennessee. Memphis beat Arkansas State 31-7. (Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

In their respective climbs out of the football wilderness and into the forefront, Memphis and Arkansas State were always there for each other. The programs, just an hour’s drive from northeast Arkansas to southwest Tennessee, began playing in 1914 and played semi-continuously save for a break in the 1960’s.

The Tigers and Red Wolves last played in 2013, a 31-7 Memphis win, but did not have plans to meet again.

That is, until yesterday.

Arkansas State announced a four-game home-and-home to resume their on-again, off-again rivalry with Memphis. The Tigers and Red Wolves will play annually from 2020 through 2023, with Memphis hosting the even years and Arkansas State the odd.

“It’s probably the most talked about and popular opponent when it comes to scheduling,” Arkansas State athletics director Terry Mohajir told Arkansas Online. “I think it’s good for their fan base; I think it’s good for our fan base. It’s a really good regional matchup.”

Memphis halted the series out of a desire to build a national schedule, but then reversed course after realizing that Arkansas State was an easy ticket sell. That, and a friendly game of shuffleboard between Mohajir and Memphis AD Tom Bowen at college football advisory board meetings this winter.

“I said, ‘If I beat you we’ll play; if you beat me, I’ll never ask you again,’ ” Mohajir said.

Memphis holds a 29-23-5 lead in the all-time series.