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College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history, including Urban Meyer proclaiming his 2008 Florida ‘the best to ever play the game’

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The sports world, including college football, has essentially screeched to a halt as countries around the world battle the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there’s a dearth of college football news as spring practices have all but been canceled at every level of the sport. And there’s even some concern that the health issue could have an impact on the 2020 college football campaign.

In that vein, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives that stretch back to 2009 and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on June 16, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this college football hiatus, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: Trevor Lawrence once again says he has no desire to skip bowl games to protect NFL stock
THE SYNOPSIS: Lawrence has been consistent with this stance throughout.  He’ll have one more “test” after this season before likely becoming the No. 1 overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft.

2018

THE HEADLINE: Urban Meyer officially names Dwayne Haskins Ohio State’s starting QB heading into training camp
THE SYNOPSIS: Haskins beat out Joe Burrow for the starting job.  Burrow, as you may have heard, transferred from OSU to LSU after it became apparent Haskins was the man under center for the Buckeyes.  In his lone season as the full-time starter, Haskins threw for 4,831 yards and 50 touchdowns.  Last year, Burrow was even better as he totaled 5,671 yards and  60 touchdowns en route to the Heisman Trophy and national title.

2016

THE HEADLINE: Art Briles not going quietly as ex-coach accuses Baylor of wrongful termination
THE SYNOPSIS: Too bad for all involved the disgraced head coach didn’t just shut up and go away.

2015

THE HEADLINE: Joe Paterno to be inducted into Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame
THE SYNOPSIS: Speaking of disgraced head coaches…

2014

THE HEADLINE: Urban Meyer: ’08 Gators ‘the best team to ever play the game’
THE SYNOPSIS: Needless to say, this proclamation kicked up quite the kerfuffle.  And the mid-nineties Nebraska teams were better anyway.

2013

THE HEADLINE: Johnny Manziel ‘can’t wait to leave College Station’
THE SYNOPSIS: Johnny Football gonna Johnny Football, y’all. Manziel quickly deleted the tweet that contained the statement.  In its place, Manziel tweeted, “Don’t ever forget that I love A&M with all of my heart, but please please walk a day in my shoes.”

2012

THE HEADLINE: Coach K: firing of Joe Paterno ‘horrible… a real mistake’
THE SYNOPSIS: Mike Krzyzewski wasn’t a fan of Penn State’s decision.  Most non-Penn State fans weren’t a fan of the Duke hoops coach’s opinion.

2011

THE HEADLINE: Saggin’ drawers net grieving Lobo an arrest
THE SYNOPSIS: Offseason headlines, y’all!

2010

THE HEADLINE: It’s official: Pac-10 extends invite to Utah
THE SYNOPSIS: The Utes left the Mountain West to join what’s now the Pac-12.

Nick Saban says he helped steer Jalen Hurts to transfer to Oklahoma over Maryland, Miami

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If you’re an Oklahoma fan, you can thank Nick Saban for Jalen Hurts.  If you’re a Maryland or Miami fan?  Not so much.

Hurts started every game but one for Alabama in 2016 and 2017, guiding the Crimson Tide to a 26-2 record in that stretch.  He was under center for the national championship game loss to Clemson after the 2016 season, and was in the same spot for last year’s title game against Georgia until a 13-0 halftime deficit compelled Nick Saban to pull the trigger on a change.  That change led to Tua Tagovailoa taking over as the starter for the 2018 season.  And for Hurts to transfer out following the 2019 season.

Because of connections to Maryland (former UA offensive coordinator Mike Locksley is the head coach) and Miami (then-offensive coordinator Dan Enos was UA’s quarterbacks coach in 2018), took a trip to Maryland were under consideration.  Ultimately, though, Oklahoma was the final destination for Jalen Hurts.  A move, incidentally, that Saban described as “probably the best thing for his future.”

Hurts played one season with the Sooners.  Earlier this year, he was selected in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles.  In an interview with that organization’s official website, Saban explained that he helped steer Hurts to Norman.  Over Maryland and Miami.

From al.com‘s transcription:

I said ‘Jalen, where do they have the best players?’ because he felt more comfortable going where he knew these guys. And he said ‘Well, I think they have the best players at Oklahoma.’ I said we just played them, and they have some pretty good players on offense too. …

I said I’ve always told you quarterback is a hard position to play if you don’t have good players around you,” Saban said in the interview with the Eagles. “So, if I was you, in order to create the most value because you have one year to do it, if you know you can be the starter there, go where they have the best players.’

That’s no disrespect to anybody else, the guys that worked here and did a great job here, it’s what’s best for you. That’s how you have to make this decision right now. He did it and I think did a great job for Oklahoma.

At Oklahoma in his lone season, Jalen Hurts threw for 3,851 yards, 3 touchdowns and eight interceptions.  He also ran for another 1,298 yards and 20 touchdowns.  Oh, and he caught a touchdown pass for good measure.

Hurts ended up finishing as the runner-up behind Joe Burrow for the 2019 Heisman Trophy.

LSU players selected in 2020 NFL Draft set to get PAID

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It really paid off to be an LSU football player over the past few months.  Both literally and figuratively.

In December, Joe Burrow became the first LSU football player to win the Heisman Trophy since Bill Cannon in 1959.  A month later, LSU capped off a magical, record-breaking 2019 football campaign by knocking off defending national champ Clemson in the College Football Playoff title game.

In the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft Thursday night, LSU saw five players selected.  That was one away from tying the record set by Miami in 2004.  Friday night of the NFL draft, another five LSU football players were taken.  The 10 Tigers selected tied the record Ohio State set in 2016 for most players selected through the first three rounds. When the dust finally settled Saturday evening, a record-tying 14 LSU football players had been drafted.

All of which brings us to the financial aspect of this post.

Citing Spotrac projections, Cody Worsham, a digital media reporter for LSU athletics, tweeted that the 14 Tigers selected during the three-day draft will sign contracts with a total value in excess of $124 million.  Of that, $59.2 million is projected to be the total of their collective signing bonuses.

Obviously, the biggest contract will go to Burrow.  According to that same Spotrac website, the quarterback is expected to sign a fully guaranteed, four-year deal with the Cincinnati Bengals worth $36.19 million.  There is also a fifth-year option available.

Below are all 14 of the LSU football players selected in the 2020 NFL Draft:

  • Round 1, No. 1 overall: quarterback Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals.
  • Round 1, No. 20 overall: defensive lineman K’Lavon Chaisson, Jacksonville Jaguars.
  • Round 1, No. 22 overall: wide receiver Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings.
  • Round 1, No. 28 overall: linebacker Patrick Queen, Baltimore Ravens.
  • Round 1, No. 32 overall: running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs.
  • Round 2, No. 44 overall: defensive back Grant Delpit, Cleveland Browns.
  • Round 2, No. 61 overall: defensive back Kristian Fulton, Tennessee Titans.
  • Round 3, No. 69 overall: offensive lineman Damien Lewis, Seattle Seahawks.
  • Round 3, No. 83 overall: offensive lineman Lloyd Cushenberry III, Denver Broncos.
  • Round 3, No. 97 overall: linebacker Jacob Phillips, Cleveland Browns.
  • Round 4, No. 131 overall: defensive lineman Rashard Lawrence, Arizona Cardinals.
  • Round 4, No. 108 overall: offensive lineman Saahdiq Charles, Washington Redskins.
  • Round 6, No. 185 overall: longsnapper Blake Ferguson, Miami Dolphins.
  • Round 7, No. 251 overall: tight end Stephen Sullivan, Seattle Seahawks.

Exactly half of the players selected in first two rounds of NFL draft were four-star recruits; nearly 70% were four- and five-stars

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As the current NFL draft continues to show, recruiting rankings don’t mean everything. But they do mean a lot. Especially when it comes to the first two rounds.

In the first two rounds, a total of the 64 players found themselves their first professional football homes.  And, of those more than five dozen players selected, exactly half of them (32) were four-star signees* coming out of high school.  On top of that, another 11 were five-star prospects when they signed with their respective schools.

Of the first 20 players picked, 16 of them were either four-star (11) or five-star (five) signees.  The No. 1 overall pick, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, was a four-star coming into Ohio State.  His former five-star teammate, OSU defensive end Chase Young, was selected No. 2 overall.

As the No. 6 pick in the first round, Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert was the highest-drafted three-star.  Offensive lineman Robert Hunt out of Louisiana was drafted with the seventh pick of the second round, making him the highest-drafted two-star.  And the highest-drafted zero-star?  Div. II Lenoir-Rhyne safety Kyle Dugger, who was selected two picks before Hunt.

All told, 46 of the 106 players (43.4 percent) selected in the first three rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft were four-stars in the recruiting rankings.  The next highest percentage was three-stars at 34.9 percent (37 out of 106).

After 11 in the first two rounds, just one five-star, Arkansas defensive tackle McTelvin Agim, was taken in the third round.

(*According to the 247Sports.com composite.)

FIRST ROUND
1. LSU quarterback Joe Burrow: four-star
2. Ohio State defensive end Chase Young: five-star
3. Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah: five-star
4. Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas: four-star
5. Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa: five-star
6. Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert: three-star
7. Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown: five-star
8. Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons: three-star
9. Florida cornerback CJ Henderson: four-star
10: Alabama offensive tackle Jedrick Wills: four-star
11: Louisville offensive tackle Mekhi Becton: three-star
12. Alabama wide receiver Henry Ruggs III: four-star
13: Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs: four-star
14. South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw: four-star
15. Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy: five-star
16. Clemson cornerback A.J. Terrell: four-star
17. Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb: four-star
18. USC offensive tackle Austin Jackson: four-star
19. Ohio State cornerback Damon Arnette: three-star
20. LSU defensive end K'Lavon Chaisson: four-star
21. TCU wide receiver Jalen Reagor: four-star
22. LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson: three-star
23: Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray: three-star
24: Michigan center Cesar Ruiz: four-star
25: Arizona State wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk: three-star
26: Utah State quarterback Jordan Love: three-star
27: Texas Tech linebacker Jordyn Brooks: three-star
28: LSU linebacker Patrick Queen: four-star
29: Georgia offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson: five-star
30: Auburn cornerback Noah Igbinoghene: four-star
31: TCU cornerback Jeff Gladney: three-star
32: LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire: three-star

Five-star: 6
Four-star: 15
Three-star: 11
Two-star: 0
Zero-star: 0

SECOND ROUND
33. Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins: five-star
34. USC wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr.: four-star
35. Georgia running back D'Andre Swift: five-star
36: Alabama safety Xavier McKinney: four-star
37: Lenoir-Rhyne safety Kyle Dugger: zero-star
38: Penn State defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos: four-star
39. Louisiana guard Robert Hunt: two-star
40: TCU defensive tackle Ross Blacklock: four-star
41: Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor: three-star
42: Colorado wide receiver Laviska Shenault: three-star
43: Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet: four-star
44: LSU safety Grant Delpit: four-star
45. Minnesota safety Antoine Winfield Jr.: three-star
46. Penn State wide receiver KJ Hamler: four-star
47. Auburn defensive tackle Marlon Davidson: four-star
48. Tennessee defensive end Darrell Taylor: four-star
49. Notre Dame wide receiver Chase Claypool: four-star
50. Utah defensive back Jaylon Johnson: four-star
51. Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs: four-star
52. Florida State running back Cam Akers: five-star
53. Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts: four-star
54. Iowa defensive end AJ Epenesa: five-star
55. Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins: four-star
56. Alabama defensive tackle Raekwon Davis: four-star
57. Florida wide receiver Van Jefferson: four-star
58. Boise State offensive tackle Ezra Cleveland: three-star
59. Baylor wide receiver Denzel Mims: three-star
60. Michigan linebacker Josh Uche: three-star
61. LSU defensive back Kristian Fulton: five-star
62. Boston College running back AJ Dillon: three-star
63. Mississippi State linebacker Willie Gay Jr.: four-star
64. Southern Illinois defensive back Jeremy Chinn: zero-star

Five-star: 5
Four-star: 17
Three-star: 7
Two-star: 1
Zero-star: 2

THIRD ROUND
65. Wyoming linebacker Logan Wilson: two-star
66. Memphis wide receiver Antonio Gibson: three-star
67: Notre Dame linebacker Julian Okwara: four-star
68: Cal defensive back Ashtyn Davis: zero-star
69. LSU guard Damien Lewis: three-star
70. Texas defensive back Brandon Jones: four-star
71. Texas A&M defensive tackle Justin Madubuike: four-star
72. Houston offensive tackle Josh Jones: three-star
73. Ohio State defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton: three-star
74. Wisconsin linebacker Zack Baun: three-star
75. Ohio State offensive lineman Jonah Jackson: three-star
76. Vanderbilt running back Ke'Shawn Vaughn: four-star
77. Iowa cornerback Michael Ojemudia: three-star
78. Temple center Matt Hennessy: two-star
79. Florida defensive end Jabari Zuniga: three-star
80. Kentucky wide receiver Lynn Bowden: four-star
81. South Carolina wide receiver Bryan Edwards: four-star
82. Oklahoma defensive tackle Neville Gallimore: four-star
83. LSU center Lloyd Cushenberry: three-star
84. Alabama linebacker Terrell Lewis: four-star
85. Utah defensive back Julian Blackmon: three-star
86. Utah running back Zack Moss: three-star
87. Alabama linebacker Anfernee Jennings: four-star
88. Missouri defensive tackle Jordan Elliott: four-star
89. Mississippi State cornerback Cameron Dantzler: three-star
90. Florida defensive end Jonathan Greenard: three-star
91. UCLA tight end Devin Asiasi: four-star
92. Texas wide receiver Devin Duvernay: four-star
93. Appalachian State running back Darrynton Evans: two-star
94. Cincinnati tight end Josiah Deguara: two-star
95. Arkansas defensive tackle McTelvin Agim: five-star
96. TCU offensive tackle Lucas Niang: three-star
97: LSU linebacker Jacob Phillips: four-star
98. Ohio State linebacker Malik Harrison: three-star
99. UConn offensive tackle Matt Peart: two-star
100. Clemson safety Tanner Muse: three-star
101. Virginia Tech tight end Dalton Keene: three-star
102: Charlotte linebacker Alex Highsmith: zero-star
103: Colorado linebacker Davion Taylor: four-star
104: Utah safety Terrell Burgess: three-star
105: Dayton tight end Adam Trautman: zero-star
106. Mississippi State offensive tackle Tyre Phillips: three-star

Five-star: 1
Four-star: 14
Three-star: 19
Two-star: 5
Zero-star: 3

LSU ties record for most picks in first three rounds of NFL draft; SEC continues to flex

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Alabama and LSU have continued to power the SEC’s strong showing in this year’s NFL draft. Through the first three rounds of the draft, the Tigers and Crimson Tide combined for 19 total picks, and the SEC dominated the third round with a total of 15 picks Friday night. And that was after already seeing 10 players from SEC schools go to NFL teams in the second round and a night after setting a new record for the most first-round picks from one conference.

LSU tied the NFL Draft record for the most draft picks through the first three rounds by having 10 players picked by NFL teams. The draft started with quarterback Joe Burrow going first overall to the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night. K’Lavon Chaisson was drafted 20th overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars, followed two picks later by receiver Justin Jefferson going to the Minnesota Vikings. The Baltimore Ravens locked up linebacker Patrick Queen with the 28th overall pick, and running back Clyde Edwards-Hellaire rounded out the first round as LSU’s fifth drafted player. That set the school record for most first-round draft picks and set the tone for Friday night.

Grant Delpit was taken 44th overall by the Cleveland Browns. Kristian Fulton went 61st to the Tennessee Titans. Damien Lewis headed to the Seattle Seahawks with the 69th overall pick. Lloyd Cushenberry was picked 83rd by the Denver Broncos. Jacob Phillips tied the record mark by being the 97th overall pick of the Browns.

Ohio State set the record with 10 players selected in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Alabama just behind their SEC West rivals with nine players through the first three rounds of the draft (although some will probably try to claim Jalen Hurts too).

 

2020 NFL Draft Third-Round Picks By Conference
(includes NFL compensatory draft picks)

  • SEC – 15
  • Pac-12 – 6
  • Big Ten – 5
  • American – 5
  • Big 12 – 4
  • ACC – 2
  • Conference USA – 1
  • Pioneer Football League (FCS) – 1
  • Sun Belt – 1
  • Independents – 1

With three rounds now officially in the books, the SEC is now in a position to make a run for a new record for most draft picks in a single draft. The current record is 64, and it was set by the SEC last year. The SEC needs just 24 more players in the last four rounds to tie the record.

2020 NFL Draft Picks By Conference Through Rounds 1-3

  • SEC – 40
  • Big Ten – 17
  • Big 12 – 12
  • Pac-12 – 12
  • ACC – 8
  • American – 4
  • Mountain West – 3
  • Sun Belt – 2
  • Conference USA – 1
  • Missouri Valley (FCS) – 1
  • Pioneer Football League (FCS) – 1
  • South Atlantic (D2) – 1– 3 FBS independent draft picks

Maybe Saturday will be kinder to the MAC.