The 2014 NFL Draft may be viewed as a down year for the Big 12, with just 17 players from the conference being called by NFL franchises. Unfortunately for the Texas Longhorns, none of those 17 players from the Big 12 are coming out of Austin. This marked the first time since before the start of World War II that Texas was without a player drafted by the NFL (1937 to be precise). With just three players drafted in each of the drafts in 2013 and 2012, should fans of the Longhorns be concerned about the state of the program?
Not for long.
Charlie Strong has already been hard at work in setting the tone for the future of the Texas program. He has gone on record saying Texas will not be a national title contender in 2014. He has said Texas needs to be the top program in the state, and he genuinely means it. Better yet, Strong is just the right kind of coach to be taking over a program that has been ditched and forgotten about by Texas A&M, pushed aside by Baylor and is witnessing Texas Tech attempt to build some momentum in Lubbock. Strong knows what it takes to make a program find a new level of toughness, and that is just what Texas needs right now. Texas still has plenty going their way but you can see why Mack Brown‘s career had seen better days at this point. Six draft picks in three years is representative of the quality of play on the field during that span, and that is not going to be good enough for Strong.
Texas fans should take solace in seeing what Strong’s most recent program did in this year’s draft. Louisville sent four players through the NFL Draft, three of which came in the first round. That is a tremendous credit to Strong and the staff he put together in Louisville, as this was the results of his first recruiting class going through a full four-year cycle. That resulted in the Cardinals sending a potential franchise quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater with a late first round draft pick in addition to two defensive contributors (Calvin Pryor to the Jets and Marcus Smith to the Eagles).
Strong knows Texas needs to get tougher, and fortunately for the Longhorns this happens to be his speciality. This should be a temporary draft drought for Texas.
The same FCS program has double-dipped in the NCAA transfer portal, FBS division, in bulking up the talent on its football roster.
Monday afternoon, Albany announced via social media that running back Alex James and fullback Max Anthony have officially signed with the program. James, a redshirt junior, comes to Albany from Coastal Carolina, Anthony, a fifth-year senior, from Rutgers.
As both players come to the Great Danes from the FBS ranks, they will each be eligible to play immediately in 2019.
The past two seasons for the Chanticleers, James has rushed for 475 yards and seven touchdowns on 114 carries. He also caught 16 passes for 87 yards and a touchdown.
Anthony had started six of the 27 games in which he played for the Scarlet Knights.
A sweeping college hoops scandal that’s engulfed the sport has now touched its gridiron counterpart.
Marty Blazer, a Pittsburgh financial advisor-turned government informant after pleading guilty to securities fraud charges, took the witness stand Tuesday in the college basketball fraud trial and levied some potentially explosive allegations. As part of his testimony, Blazer alleged that, between 2000-14, he paid football players from, among others, Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame, Penn State and Pitt. The payments, some of which were in the thousands of dollars, were aimed at convincing the player to remain in college and not enter the NFL draft in the hopes that they would retain him as their financial adviser when they did turn pro.
The names of specific players were, for the most part, not mentioned by Blazer.
The most damning of the accusations made by Blazer seems to involve Penn State during the Joe Paterno era. Specifically, Blazer alleges that he paid the father of then-Penn State player Aaron Maybin $10,000, with the payment being made at the behest of an unnamed Paterno assistant coach.
If accurate, the NCAA would consider such an arrangement a major infraction. It’s unclear what, if any, action The Association will take on the football side of the accusations made under oath.
Requests for comment from each of the football programs mentioned in Blazer’s testimony have not yet been met with a response.
You can go ahead and add Kentucky to the burgeoning list of FBS schools that have lost signal-callers to the infamous portal.
On his personal Twitter account Tuesday morning, Kentucky’s Gunnar Hoak wrote that, “[a]fter much thought and consideration, I have decided to put my name in the NCAA transfer portal.” As Hoak is set to graduate from UK very early next month, the quarterback would be eligible to play immediately at another FBS program immediately in 2019.
As an added bonus for whichever school he ultimately chooses, Hoak has two seasons of eligibility available.
After losing out in the quarterback competition that ended in summer camp, Hoak spent the 2018 season as starter Terry Wilson‘s primary backup. In that role, Hoak completed 13 of his 26 passes for 167 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
Coming out of high school in Dublin, Ohio, Hoak was a three-star 2016 signee.
Jonathan Taylor is on track to be one of the most prolific running backs in college football history, but, this spring, he’ll be giving a whole new meaning to the phrase “on track.”
Wisconsin confirmed Tuesday that the Badgers running back will run in at least three meets with the UW track & field team this spring. Taylor will make his collegiate track debut this weekend at the Penn Relays. Additionally, he’ll run in the university’s Alumni Classic May 3 and the Big Ten Championships May 10-12.
Taylor will be running a leg of the 4×100-meter relay team, and would run in the NCAA prelims as well if they qualify.
Taylor, one of a handful of preseason Heisman Trophy favorites, is no stranger to the track as he won a pair of New Jersey state high school titles in the 100-meter dash.
As a true freshman in 2017, his 1,977 yards were third nationally. This past season, he led the country in rushing with 2,194 yards. If Taylor were to rush for at least 2,235 yards in 2018 — five players in FBS history have surpassed that total in college football history, most recently San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny in 2017 — he would break Donnel Pumphrey‘s all-time record of 6,405 career rushing yards.