Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

What do Urban Meyer and Jimbo Fisher have that Nick Saban doesn’t? A No. 1 overall NFL draft pick

3 Comments

The NFL draft is coming up later this week, and a handful of college football coaches could potentially have their first player chosen first overall. Among those looking to join a short list of active head coaches with a top overall draft pick on their watch includes Penn State’s James Franklin, USC’s Clay Helton and Wyoming’s Craig Bohl.

There are just six active head coaches in FBS that have sent a player to the top of the NFL draft order, and only one of those coaches are currently at the same school they had a player go No. 1 overall. Stanford’s David Shaw was the head coach of the Cardinal when Andrew Luck went with the first overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft to the Indianapolis Colts. The other five coaches on the current list have since moved on to another job since they had a player go with the first pick in the draft. Three of those active coaches will have new jobs starting this fall.

Jimbo Fisher of Texas A&M was the head coach of Florida State when quarterback Jameis Winston went first overall in 2015. More recently, Sonny Dykes was the head coach at Cal when Jared Goff went to the Los Angeles Rams in 2016. Dykes is now the head coach at SMU. And just last year, Arizona’s Kevin Sumlin saw defensive end Myles Garrett go to the Cleveland Browns from Texas A&M with the first pick.

The two other coaches on the list of active coaches with a top draft pick are Urban Meyer of Ohio State and Mark Richt of Miami. Meyer was getting settled in at Florida after leaving Utah, but he was watching admirably as Utah quarterback Alex Smith went to the San Francisco 49ers with the first pick in 2005. Richt’s top draft pick from his time at Georgia was quarterback Matthew Stafford, who was taken first overall by the Detroit Lions in 2009.

You may have noticed (as if the headline didn’t give it away) there are some notable head coaches in college football without a top overall draft pick. Despite all the success of Nick Saban at Alabama, including a factory of NFL talent sent through the draft in recent years, a top overall pick continues to elude Saban. Not that he is worried about such a thing of course. Alabama’s NFL draft output is far more impressive when you realize quantity and quality are not short on supply in Tuscaloosa. During Saban’s time at Alabama, the highest draft pick from the school has been running back Trent Richardson with the third overall pick of the 2012 NFL draft (Cleveland Browns). Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus also went third overall to the Buffalo Bills in 2011.

But again, Alabama may not have a first overall pick, but the Crimson Tide lead the pack when it comes to first-round draft picks.

Here is a list of all the active head coaches with one No. 1 overall NFL draft pick:

  • Kevin Sumlin, Arizona: Myles Garrett, DE (2017)
  • Sonny Dykes, SMU: Jared Goff, QB (2016)
  • Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M: Jameis Winston, QB (2015)
  • David Shaw, Stanford: Andrew Luck, QB (2012)
  • Mark Richt, Miami: Matthew Stafford, QB (2009)
  • Urban Meyer, Ohio State: Alex Smith, QB (2005)

Wyoming’s Josh Allen is considered one of the favorites to be chosen with the first pick Thursday night in the NFL draft, which would add Craig Bohl to the list (and he gets some of the credit for No. 2 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Carson Wentz, too). Penn State running back Saquon Barkley would add James Franklin to the list. UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen is another trendy pick for the top pick, but his head coach, Jim Mora, is no longer an active coach at this time. Sam Darnold of USC would add Clay Helton to the list, and Lincoln Riley would make the jump into the conversation if Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield happens to go first overall.

We’ll find out Thursday night if a new coach joins the list or not.

Kobe Bryant given No. 24 USC football jersey by Clay Helton

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
3 Comments

Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant found himself on the campus of USC recently to speak to business students. And with Bryant on campus, USC football head coach Clay Helton was not one to let a photo op go to waste. Who could blame Helton?

Helton provided Bryant with a No. 24 USC football jersey and thanked the longtime basketball star for all he had done for the city of Los Angeles during his professional career. It seems Helton even took a few tips and words of advice from Bryant during the speaking engagement as well.

“To kind of see his competitive mindset and what he’s about. It was an hour-long presentation. It was unbelievable to see him in that real environment just be himself,” Helton said of Bryant’s speaking engagement, according to Lakers Nation. “I knew he was one of the fiercest competitors in all of sports. Now I know that without a doubt. He was able to talk to our students, I thought it was enlightening. I got a lot out of it to be honest with you.”

Bryant did not speak to the USC football team during his visit to the USC campus, although you would have to imagine Helton may want to try and arrange for that if he can. After all, Bryant spoke to the Philadelphia Eagles as the Eagles went on their run to a Super Bowl championship. If Bryant has a little magic in his words for the USC football program, then the Trojans may be able to take the next step on the ladder to their own national glory.

If nothing else, Bryant has a new jersey to add to his collection.

USC TE Daniel Imatorbhebhe “doubtful” for Texas game

Photo by Harry How/Getty Images
1 Comment

USC’s win over Stanford this weekend showed the Trojans may be prepared to live up to the offseason hype following a red-hot finish to the 2016 season, but the Trojans offense could be without a key player for at least one more week.

Tight end Daniel Imatorbhebhe is said to be doubtful for the Trojans this week when the Texas Longhorns make a trip to the Coliseum. USC head coach Clay Helton announced the latest injury status for his tight end during a conference call on Sunday, and Helton reportedly contemplated the possibility of shutting Imatorbhebhe down until he is ready to rejoin the team. A hip injury is to blame.

Imatorbhebhe caught one pass for 12 yards in USC’s season-opening win against Western Michigan. He sat out of the Week 2 Pac-12 battle with Stanford. Last season, he was responsible for 17 receptions and 250 yards and four touchdowns, including five receptions for 78 yards and a touchdown in a key upset of Washington.

Helton also announced the Trojans will be without redshirt freshman kicker Michael Brown due to a torn ACL. The Trojans will give place kicker Chase McGrath the kickoff duties moving forward.

Helmet sticker to Reign of Troy.

Saban, Meyer, Harbaugh, Swinney and more among 19 Dodd Trophy watch list candidates

Photo by Kevin Jairaj - Handout/Getty Images
Leave a comment

When you really think about it, a watch list for a college football award is nothing more than a way to keep public relations staffers in college football programs busy this summer. There’s nothing wrong with that, and it is nice to have a number of key players for the upcoming season highlighted whenever possible (unless you are a Big Ten team going to Big Ten media days). But a watch list is generally pretty pointles sin the long run for most awards. This is especially true for a watch list of college football coaches.

The Dodd Trophy watch list was released today with a list of 19 coaches from many of the top programs around the country. Yep, a watch list for head coaches. Silly, right? It really is the easiest watch list to put together.

The award watch list, compiled by the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, includes four coaches from the ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC, two coaches from the Big 12 and one from the American Athletic Conference. You know all of the names, like national championship coaches Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, and Dabo Swinney; household names like Jim Harbaugh, Mark Richt, Bill Snyder, and Chris Petersen; and conference championship coaches like David Shaw, James Franklin.

Some notable names not on the list? How about Jimbo Fisher of Florida State? Fisher has a playoff contender in Tallahassee and is the ACC favorite. He also has a national championship ring. Not having Fisher on a preseason watch list for top coaches seems like a bad oversight. Not having new Big 12 coaches Tom Herman (Texas) and Lincoln Riley (Oklahoma) also feels like a swing and a miss if pulling together a list of potential coach of the year candidates. If we are not going to just list all 130 head coaches in FBS, it seems silly to have such a weird collection of watch list candidates when Butch Jones is on the list.

Five coaches on the watch list are former winners of the Dodd Trophy; Snyder, Petersen, Swinney, Saban, and Paul Johnson. Paul Chryst, Ken Niumatalolo, and Petersen were finalists for the award last season as well.

2017 Dodd Trophy Watch List

  • Paul Chryst, Wisconsin
  • James Franklin, Penn State
  • Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech
  • Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State
  • Jim Harbaugh, Michigan
  • Clay Helton, USC
  • Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech
  • Butch Jones, Tennessee
  • Gus Malzahn, Auburn
  • Jim McElwain, Florida
  • Urban Meyer, Ohio State
  • Ken Niumatalolo, Navy
  • Chris Petersen, Washington
  • Mark Richt, Miami
  • Nick Saban, Alabama
  • David Shaw, Stanford
  • Bill Snyder, Kansas State
  • Dabo Swinney, Clemson
  • Kyle Whittingham, Utah

USC suspends LB Jabari Ruffin

Leave a comment

A violation of team rules has landed USC defensive end Jabari Ruffin an indefinite suspension from the program.

On Sunday, USC head coach Clay Helton announced the suspension of Ruffin, but he offered no insight on when Ruffin may be welcomed back to the program. Ruffin also did not shed any details on why Ruffin has been suspended.

”Don’t have a crystal ball on if and when he could return.”

Ruffin has played in six games this season. You may remember he was ejected from the season opener for stomping on an Alabama player. That act also landed him a suspension from Helton.

At this point, it would appear Ruffin is in the dog house for a good amount of time.