Top 5 uncommitted recruits heading in to National Signing Day

5 Comments

Decision day looms for college football recruits around the country. A number have already made their decisions through a verbal commitment, but on Wednesday will mark the first time those solid verbals can be become official with the signing of a National Letter of Intent.

A handful of recruits have yet to make their decisions known. Here are the five players still undecided at the end of January with just days to go, according to Rivals.

1. DB Adoree’ Jackson (Gardena, CA, Rivals)

Leading Candidates: Florida, USC, LSU, UCLA

This much seems certain, Jackson will be playing his college football in either the SEC or the Pac 12. Being the California native, it is no surprise USC and UCLA have been in the mix, but the Trojans look to have pick dup some steam in the recruiting game since Steve Sarkisian was named head coach. USC’s biggest need may not be in the defensive secondary, but the future outlook for USC seems more optimistic right now and that makes the Trojans a huge player heading in to signing day.

Prediction: USC

2. LB Rashaan Evans (Auburn, AL; Rivals, pictured)

Leading Candidates: Auburn, Alabama, UCLA

Considering Auburn just played for a BCS championship and knocked off Alabama to get there, it would be a major shock if the Tigers let one of the nation’s top linebacker recruits sneak right out of their backyard. Auburn’s defense was good last year but certainly not their strength. Adding some hometown star power would make a great addition.

Prediction: Auburn

3. WR Malachi Dupre (River Ridge, LA, Rivals)

Leading Candidates: LSU, UCLA, Ole Miss, Florida State, Alabama

Dupre has been making a number of visits in January leading up to signing day, but LSU still looks like a strong favorite for the Louisiana wide receiver. the 6’4” 175 pound receiver is the second highest rated recruit in Louisiana and second at his position in the country. With a need at receiver, LSU looks to have one locked in.

Prediction: LSU

4. OL Damian Prince (Forestville, MD; Rivals)

Leading Candidates: Maryland, Florida, South Carolina

Where the 6’5”, 292 pound offensive lineman from Maryland ends up is one of the more up-in-the-air decisions to be made. Maryland has long been a popular favorite for the instate lineman, but Florida and South Carolina appear to have been making a decent push. The wild card in the equation may be Penn State, and Florida State may be in the mix as well. This is a tough one to predict, but Prince would be a huge keep for Maryland if they can hold on to him.

Prediction: Maryland

5. DB John Smith (Long Beach, CA; Rivals)

Leading Candidates: USC, Notre Dame

Another recruiting battle that appears pretty wide open is likely to have two strong contenders in the field with days to go. The California wide receiver from Long Beach is believed to be choosing between USC and Notre Dame. Again, the momentum is a huge factor in this recruiting battle, and USC seems to have it at the right time. The Trojans had Smith on an unofficial visit and an official visit in January that followed up an unofficial visit in December.

Prediction: USC

Maryland stays in house by naming Damon Evans as AD

Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The University of Maryland has its new athletics director, and the school didn’t have to look very far to find it. Damon Eaves has been named the school’s new athletics director after previously filling the role as an acting AD since April.

“Throughout his tenure here, Damon has demonstrated visionary, transparent, compassionate and ethical leadership,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh said in a released statement. “The candidates invited for interviews had impressive credentials and accomplishments. In the end, a senior leadership search is not only about capabilities. It is also about institutional fit and interpersonal trust and chemistry. In Damon, the University​ of Maryland​ has the right person at the right time.”

Eaves will now officially replace former AD Kevin Anderson, who resigned from the position in April after a six-month sabbatical. Eaves had previously worked at Maryland as the school’s chief financial officer and was among the likely top candidates for the job at Maryland. A search firm was hired by Maryland to assist in the search for a new AD at a reported cost of $100,000.

While the top priorities for Eave sin his new position will likely center on the current state of the basketball program, one might wonder what this new hire could end up meaning for the football program. Maryland is still a few years away from being able to take advantage of a full Big Ten revenue share (which reportedly paid out over $50 million to Michigan and other Big Ten programs for the past year), and football head coach D.J. Durkin is entering his third season on the sidelines. After going 6-7 in his first season, Durkin coached Maryland to a record of 4-8 in 2017. Durkin is currently signed to a five-year deal that has already been extended to six years per the terms of the contract.

Unless this season is a complete disaster, Durkin’s job security is nothing to be concerned about now that a new AD is installed on a permanent basis.

Temple’s on-campus stadium proposal to be delayed

Credit: Temple Athletics
Leave a comment

A stadium proposal for Temple University will not be filed this June, putting the future of a potential on-campus football home for the Owls on the sidelines for a little bit longer.

According to a report from The Temple News, the proposal for the on-campus athletic venue did not achieve its goal of obtaining enough support from the surrounding community in order to move forward with the plan. This was likely to be expected after the stadium plans stalled during a city council meeting earlier this year. This occurred shortly after protestors interrupted a town hall meeting about the project the previous week.

“We’re not there yet,” Temple Vice President of Public Affairs Bill Bergman said in the report. “We continue to work with neighbors, talk to neighbors. We’re really looking at what we need to do this summer.”

The stadium has failed to generate the kind of community support Temple was hoping to have as concerns about what the stadium will do to the community have been heated. Residents do not seem to have the positive vibes about a stadium that will play home to Temple football that the university officials have envisioned. To some, the construction of a football stadium that would also host other events seems like wasteful spending with resources that could be used in other ways.

Temple is currently playing home games at Lincoln Financial Field, home to the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles. The lease agreement for Temple runs through the end of the 2019 season. If Temple cannot get moving on their on-campus stadium plan, the Owls may have to look into an extension on the lease. Temple will have little problem getting an extension, but the university would probably prefer not to have to lock into an extended lease if playing on campus becomes a viable option.

Central Michigan TE Logan Hessbrook awarded scholarship at softball game

Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Central Michigan’s football program held a fun softball game over the weekend, pitting coaches against seniors. CMU head coach John Bonamego used the opportunity to award a well-deserved scholarship to tight end Logan Hessbrook.

Central Michigan shared the moment with a quick video clip on Twitter, accompanied by a pair of interviews with the newly awarded scholarship player and the head coach.

Hessbrook was CMU’s sixth-leading receiver in 2017 with 132 yards on 10 receptions in three games. The majority of that production came in games against FCS Rhode Island and Big 12 doormat Kansas. With last year’s top tight end Tyler Conklin having graduated and moved on from the program, Hessbrook could be in line for a much more pivotal role in the offense this fall.

The Ithaca, Michigan native has worked hard since joining the Chippewas however, and now his commitment and dedication to the program has paid off with a scholarship.

UNLV bringing all-you-can-eat ticket packages to college football

Getty Images
5 Comments

It’s a tremendous challenge getting fans to come out to the stadium these days. When (nearly) every game is on TV, why go to the stadium when you have to miss out on the six other games on TV plus you have to deal with spotty in-stadium plus having to fight through traffic and parking and obnoxious fans to your left and right — and, oh yeah, you still have to pay for your tickets and concessions on top of all that.

UNLV has now eliminated one of those objections.

Borrowing a page from baseball, the Rebels have introduced an all-you-can-eat ticket package. For just $79, fans get tickets to UNLV’s games against UTEP (Sept. 8), Fresno State (Nov. 3) and Nevada (Nov. 24) while gaining access to all the hot dogs, nachos, popcorn and soft drinks they can stomach.

“It’s a great way for your family to enjoy first-class entertainment and create a memory for an affordable price,” UNLV athletics director Desiree Reed-Francois told the Las Vegas Sun.

Season ticket holders will also have the option of adding the all-you-can-eat option for $30 a ticket — which works out to $5 per ticket per game.

The move feels more like a promotion that will keep on-the-fence ticket buyers in the stadium rather than brining new people out, but Reed-Francois is determined to increase attendance as UNLV plays its penultimate season in the 47-year-old Sam Boyd Stadium. The Rebels drew 17,449 fans per game to the 35,000-seat stadium.

“I’m told all of the time that this isn’t a football town,” she said. “We’ll flip that (opinion). There’s an opportunity for football in this town.”