Friday, February 23, 2007

Top 10 Non-BCS Conference Teams of 2006

Well, after all the positive feedback I received last week for my Top 10 Most-Obscure I-A teams, I thought I'd tackle a subject a little less controversial and go in with a little backup. This week we're taking a look at the Top 10 Non-BCS Conference teams from 2006, and I'm excited to announce that both Kyle from Dawg Sports and Jazzy Ute from Block U have decided to join in. The following is my list, and pretty much speaks for itself. Comments are of course always welcomed and encouraged.

Boise St. (13-0)- What more can anyone possibly say about Boise? Obviously the victory over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl silenced any lingering concerns over exactly how good this team is, and even though BYU had a very good season, any talk of the best non-BCS Bowl team needs to start with Boise. Period. The Broncos beat six bowl teams throughout the course of the season while blowing out every other team (except a solid 6-6 Wyoming team) on the schedule. In fact, Boise averaged a sick 39.7 points a game, only scoring less then 30 on two occasions on the season (translation: they moved the ball at freaking will.) The fact that the team absolutely destroyed a 10-4 Oregon St. team and survived 11-3 Hawaii should have been enough to convince most people the Broncos were for real, but playing in the best Bowl game of all time and beating the most-winningist team of all time probably did not hurt.

Brigham Young (11-2)- John Beck and the Mountain West champs finally got some love after knocking off Oregon in the Las Vegas Bowl, but attentive fans knew all along that Brigham Young was steadily becoming one of the best teams the talking heads at ESPN were ignoring. Had it not been for two incredibly near misses at Arizona and at Boston College early in the year, we may well have seen BYU join Boise in a BCS Bowl game. After the overtime loss to Boston College in week three, BYU ran away with the MWC title, beating their remaining opponents by an average of 27.2 points per game. While some may argue they played in a weak conference, BYU’s dominance over good non-BCS teams like Tulsa, Wyoming, and TCU, as well as competitive play against BCS conference teams, is quite enough to warrant them here.

Texas Christian (11-2)- The team everyone was expecting to go to the Fiesta Bowl when the year started, back-to-back slipups at BYU and Utah cost the Horned Frogs a chance at crashing the BCS party. Still, TCU built an impressive resume led by a defense that finished second nationally. TCU won both its game against Big 12 opponents, holding Baylor and Texas Tech to seven and three points, respectively. The defense made a special encore in the Poinsettia Bowl, blowing out Northern Illinois and holding star running back Garrett Wolfe to only 28 yards (1.4 avg.)

Hawaii (11-3)- Perhaps more then any other team in the country, the Rainbow Warriors can put points up with ease and at will. Unfortunately for them, Jerry Glanville’s defense could sometimes afford the opposition that same freedom. Hawaii scored 60(!) or more points four times this season, although it often came against notoriously bad teams. They scored good wins against Purdue and Arizona St, although both of those teams were not exactly the cream of the crop of BCS conferences. Yet when you factor in close games against Oregon St, Alabama, and Boise, you can certainly see how good this team was, and why so many pundits are quick to hail Hawaii as a major contender in 2007.

Houston (10-4)- Kevin Kolb did not disappoint in 2006, leading the Cougars to a C-USA championship and a 10-4 record. Houston picked up a good win over Oklahoma St in week four and played Miami tough the next week, but loses at home against Louisiana Lafayette and at Southern Miss definitely hurt their cause. Still, they ended up beating four bowl-bound teams during the course of the year, and gave Steve Spurrier’s South Carolina ball club one helluva scare in the Bowl game.

Navy (9-4)- Homerism? Maybe, but this pick makes sense and let me tell you why. More then any other team ranked below them, the Mids beat the opponents they were suppose to beat, and lost to the opponents they were expected to lose to. While their only win over a Bowl team came over East Carolina in week one, Navy throttled BCS teams Stanford, UConn, and Duke by a an average score of 39-13. All four of Navy’s loses came to Bowl teams, of which one was BCS bound (Notre Dame) while two others (Rutgers and BC) were probably a play or two from being BCS-bound. Finally, consider that an injury-riddled Navy team nearly, and probably should have, upset nationally ranked Boston College in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

Utah (8-5)- Picked by many to actually win the Mountain West, Utah played far too inconsistently in 2006 to garner the national attention of Urban Meyer’s last Ute team. While they beat TCU convincingly they dropped back-to-back games to Wyoming and New Mexico, and lost on a last second pass to BYU in the annual “Holy War.” They were not able to capitalize in their only game against BCS competition (loss to UCLA,) and were blown out by Boise St at home in week five. Still, if perhaps urged on by all-everything performer Eric Weddle, the Utes rallied late last year, and were able to knock off a decent Tulsa team in the Armed Forces Bowl to finish at 8-5.

Central Michigan (10-4)- This vote clearly reflects my belief that the WAC and MWC are superior to the MAC, but don’t let that persuade you from thinking Central Michigan doesn’t have a good team. The Chippewa’s lost close games to Boston College and Kentucky, but still managed to rattle off ten wins, including a nice win over Ohio in the MAC championship and a victory over Middle Tennessee St. in the Bowl game. While the Chippewa’s only had one conference loss, they struggled enough at times during the year not to be ranked higher.

Nevada (8-5)- Chris Ault’s squad picked up a good win against Northwesertn, but then again so did New Hampshire. Getting blown out by Arizona St. doesn’t do much to advance the cause of non-BCS teams, while losing to a bad (but albeit talented) Fresno St. team certainly doesn’t look to good either. While the Wolfpack did run over the bottom half of the WAC, their only win over a bowl-bound team came over San Jose St. They played very well in the Boise Bowl (my new name for it) against Miami, but it’s hard to get gauge on how good or bad Miami was both this year and during a bowl game in Siberia.

San Jose St (9-4)- Dick Tomey’s Spartan team was one of the big surprises of the year, coming completely out of left field to finish the year at 9-4, including a victory in a Bowl game. While they played Boise extremely tough and fared well in the WAC, the Spartans lacked a signature win on the year. They were very lucky to get pass a bad Stanford team in week two, while they were blown out by Hawaii down the stretch. Likewise, the Spartans benefited from a first half New Mexico implosion in their 20-12 win in the New Mexico Bowl, and even a win over the Lobos doesn’t say much these days (just ask Portland State.)

Also Considered:
Tulsa, Ohio, Southern Miss, Troy, Western Michigan, Wyoming

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

More Schedule Changes

If the UConn to Bowling Green to North Texas flip-flop wasn't enough for you, well, I guess your in luck. That's because the upcoming football series with Kent St. has been changed to the upcoming football series with North Illinois, so says the Official Site. The game will be played on November 17th at NMCM and will be (as usual) televised on CSTV. The Mids will in turn make the trip to Northern Illinois in 2008.

As many of you know, Northern Illinois went 7-6 last season, led of course by sensational senior running back Garrett Wolfe. Fortunately for the Midshipmen, Wolfe will be on to the NFL next season, and won't be running wild on the Navy secondary. This should still be an interesting game which I think a lot of people are excited for. NIU has built a consistent program over the past few years and has become one of the better teams in the MAC. This game should be a good fit for the Mids, as it presents a winnable game against a quality opponent.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Hawaiian Connection

I read an interesting article right after signing day in the USA Today (couldn't find a link) which described the burgeoning talent base of the Hawaiian islands, and how more and more programs are starting to dip into the pool. 43 Hawaiian high school seniors, to be exact, signed National Letters of Intent, with the majority of them signing on with Division I programs. And while the Rainbow Warriors and schools from the Pac-10 have long courted the talented athletes from the pacific island, more and more schools from "the mainland" are taking looks at the Island's prospects. One school which has started to dip into the talent pool is Navy, which will bring in two Hawaiian high school seniors in 2007, although both will first attend NAPS for a year. While some of this can certainly be traced to the Island's long tradition as a hub of naval activity in the Pacific, it also speaks volumes to the staff at the Naval Academy, which has established deep-routed connections with the high school programs on the Island.

Obviously one has to start with Coach Johnson, who was the offensive coordinator at Hawaii from 1987-1994. Ken Niumatalolo, Navy's offensive line coach and Hawaii recruiting coordinator, played quarterback under Johnson at Hawaii and later worked as a GA and assistant coach for the rainbow Warriors. Quarterbacks Coach Ivin Jasper also played quarterback for Hawaii under Johnson's direction, and served as a GA for a year under Johnson, as did Navy assistant Jeff Monken. Many of Hawaii's high school coaches played either with or for these men during the late 1980s and early 1990s, so getting a foot into the door isn't difficult when it comes to recruiting. Add in the fact that Kapolei head coach Darren Hernandez played for Hawaii and runs a very similar offense to the one Coach Johnson runs, and you have a perfect recipe for a pipeline program.

In a lot of ways Kaipo-Noa's ascension to starting quarterback paves the way for better recruiting on the Island as well. Here's a guy, who is by his own admission something of a surfer bum (and I use the word "bum" in a totally positive way), who ends up going halfway around the world to play football at one of the most academically challenging and military oriented Universities in this country. He's a guy who just begs media attention despite playing for a school which doesn't get a whole lot of it. Let's be honest, people perk their ears when you hear a name like "Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada," while the idea of having a dynamic athlete at quarterback is something sports writers and talking heads latch onto. In that way he becomes something of a trend setter, because he's a guy who plays in the here and now whom Hawaiian prospects can look at and say, "hey, why not Navy?" I'm not saying he's the reason guys like Santiago commit to this program (that would dumb if they did,) but he's certainly someone Coach "N" can point to as an example.

While Navy may have "only" landed slotback Aaron Santiago and linebacker Josh Andrews from the islands, the pieces are in order for Navy to have a continued impact on the islands recruiting. Air Force had been drawing several players from both Kapolei and the rest of the Islands, but a move away from the triple option could open the door more for Navy. In addition, if Kaipo ends up becoming the starter next year and continues to play well and earn more exposure, more inroads should open up across the Island. One of Navy's few recruiting advantages is that the Mids can draw on a large number of kids from a truly national perspective, which most schools of similar "mid-major" status can't always do that. When you factor in continued success in Texas, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina, you're talking about bringing some pretty good talent to a school where talent is very difficult to attract.

(Photoby George F. Lee, Honolulu Star Bulletin)

Friday, February 16, 2007

Top 10 Most Obscure I-A Teams

These are the first of my "Friday Rankings," which I hope will appear every Thursday night/Friday. Today we look at the Top Ten "Most Obscure Teams in Division I-A." These rankings are not meant as a shot at these Universities or their football programs, but rather a fairly objective look at the programs which, in my mind, the average fan has no idea exist. That's right, these are the programs which fly so far under the radar they may as well be playing in I-AA, and are so far removed from national attention that your average SEC or Big 12 fan has no idea they even have football teams. All angry, profanity-driven comments by fans of these universities can be left in the comment section.

Oh yea. Welcome to all LA tech fans arriving. Yea, I probably sound like an idiot here, and for that I apologize. I'm just trying to have a little fun and get a chuckle out of some people, so please don't take this too seriously. Good luck next season.

10. San Jose St.

It's Bad, Real Bad: Actually, its not that bad, thanks to the work of Dick Tomey, who resurrected a program which hadn't had a winning season since 1990 and was considering dropping football altogether. Still, someone had to take the 10th place in this list, and It may just as well have been San Jose St. I've yet to actually see the Spartans play on TV (like, ever), and despite their win in the New Mexico Bowl over uh, New Mexico, they're little more then a middle-of-the-pack WAC team, which isn't saying a ton.

Reason for Hope: Dick Tomey always fields competitive teams, and as long as he's in San Jose, the Spartans are likely to compete for a low tier Bowl every year. The problem is of course Boise, Hawaii, and Nevada, which all have potential of finishing in that exact order in the WAC from here to eternity.

Even Phil Steele doubted this miracle worker.

9.University of Alabama-Birmingham

It's Bad, Real Bad: UAB didn't even have a football team until 1991, while the acronym for the current Conference-USA team may be one of the most unrecognizable in America. UAB has actually been decent the past few seasons, but hasn't been either good or bad enough to attract much attention. Therein lies the obscurity, as the Blazers play a modest schedule in the middle of a fairly unrecognizable brand spanking new Conference-USA. The dragon logo seems more equipped for a "Create-A-Team" mode on a video game then an official representation of the team. What is it from anyway? Are their dragons in Alabama?

Reason for Hope: The program has a solid base of talent to draw from in 'Bama, while the noncon scheduling has been beefy enough to give the Blazers an opportunity to garner at least some national attention. UAB played Oklahoma tough last season, so a decent upset one of these days isn't out of the question. New coach Neil Callaway was a top coordinater at the SEC level and a solid recruiter.

UAB Blazers or Maitland Dragons?

8. Eastern Michigan

It's Bad, Real Bad: Most people know the so called Michigan "directional schools" exist, but when it comes down to naming the three, many stumble to name them all. While Central and Western Michigan have had recent success, The Eagles have done just enough not to gain national acclaim for how poorly they've played over the last twenty five years while doing almost nothing positive in terms of building a national reputation. Last year's 1-11 team was competitive but couldn't irk our a win, and prospects for '07 look bleak as the rest of the MAC (including Buffalo) appear ready to overtake the Eagles. In 2001 the Eagles lost to a 2-9 I-AA team, which is extremely embarrassing.

Reason for Hope: ESPN continues to broadcast MAC games for Tuesday and Wednesday nights, so I guess EMU may have a chance at a national TV audience one of these days. One of the better teams to recruit out of Canada, it's not impossible for EMU to enjoy a decent season down the road, but climbing out of the MAC cellar won't be easy, especially with up-and-comers Temple and Buffalo.

7. Troy

It's Bad, Real Bad: Troy State was playing football since 1909, but didn't make the move to I-A until 2001, and after the 2004 season dropped the "State" part of the name for just "Troy." Until last month, Kyle was under the impression that Troy was actually just "one guy," so you can imagine how surprised he was when he found out the Trojans were actually playing the Bulldawgs in '07. Despite pulling off several decent upsets since moving to I-A, the Trojans remain just a small-time team from Alabama with virtually zero publicity in the publicity-drained Sun Belt conference.

Reason for Hope: The Trojans managed the scare the hell out of Florida St., but then again who didn't in 2006. The Bowl win over Rice was nice, even if only 19 people tuned in, while the commitment of former Hoover wide receiver Cornelius Williams probably made millions of American teenagers inadvertently aware of the school's existence. The team once kicked my ass on Heisman mode of NCAA 2007 when I was trying to rebuild an Army program that ran a variation of the pistol offense (why that matters, I'm not sure.) They out-recruited everyone in the Sun Belt this year, and probably have the best chance to break the conference's horrible cycle of non-conference blowouts.

Rush Propst Approved

6 Utah St.

It's Bad, Real Bad: The Aggies have been horrible in the modern era, and suffered through another one win season last year, saving themselves from a winless campaign by surviving a 13-12 scare against a horrible Fresno St team. The team has had 23 non-winning seasons in the past 25 years, which is almost as bad as Temple. The University's location in the interior west doesn't help much, while a light schedule (4 BCS con. teams over the past three years) doesn't help garner any national attention.

Reason for Hope: Utah St. is actually a fairly large university which sits in lovely Logan, Utah. I can't really think of anything else to say, so apologies to any Utah St. readers.

5. Lousiana Tech

It's Bad, Real Bad: The Bulldogs won three games in 2006, all of which came over bad teams (Utah St, Nicholls St, N. Texas.) Tech's uniforms reflect the makeup of a poorly equipped Division II team trying to borrow some misguided patriotic approach to fashion, while the team has settled into a niche of playing remark ordinary football in the bottom half of conference which gets little attention as it is. Tim Rattay, whose football card was my first exposure to the existence of such a university, has fizzled somewhat in the NFL, while the presence of about a billion other college football-playing universities in the state beg the question of what's so special about Louisiana Tech?

Reason for Hope: The University continues to schedule some difficult non-conference games which boost national attention, while the bottom half of the WAC begs a team to distinguish itself from the conference's miserable bottom half. Unfortunately for Tech, that team was San Jose State.

The Great Hope of Ruston himself

4. Arkansas State

It's Bad, Real Bad: While I was aware of an existence of a certain ASU, I didn't even realize what it stood for until the Indians played Army in 2005. However ASU has been playing I-A ball in 1992, joining the now-defunct Big West in 1992 and then moving to the Sun Belt in 2000. I don't know, you just don't think of Arkansas as having a state university, at least not in this mid-atlanticer's mind. Nevertheless ASU has gone 6-6 the past two seasons and performed well in he Sun Belt, which in and of itself isn't something to be terribly thrilled about. Limited exposure and mediocre play make an excellent combination for football obscurity.

Reason for Hope: Like all Sun Belt members, Arkansas St. tends to play a murderous nonconference schedule, although playing games on ESPN360 while getting blown out 52-0 isn't likely to do a whole lot for you. Recent success in the Sun Belt lends to the possibility of going Bowling in 2007, or maybe not.

3. New Mexico State

It's Bad, Real Bad: New Mexico State left the bottom of the Sun Belt for the bottom of the WAC, going 0-12 during 2005. The Aggies haven’t been to a bowl game since 1960. For whatever reason, NMSU gets pretty much zero publicity, although ESPN actually did a Sunday night game against Boise there last season. The location of the university probably doesn't help much either. Las Cruces (where the university is located) is basically in Mexico.

Reason for Hope: Hal Mumme is something of an offensive genius, at least according to some people, so that definitely helps. Thanks to people like Brian Urlacher, people actually realize football exists in the state of New Mexico, so I guess the program has nowhere to go but up.

Las Cruces- Prettier then the football team which plays there

2. Florida Atlantic

It's Bad, Real Bad: Nobody’s debating the legacy of Howard Schnellenberger, but how many of you actually knew he had been coaching the FAU Owls the past six seasons? They answer; comparatively few. Florida Atlantic has only been playing football since 2001, and when you considered the program is only five years removed from losing to the likes of Drake and St. Peter's, I guess you could say they've made some progress. Still, there is a reason many people still hold the I-A team count at 117; they have no idea this program even exists. After a decent year in 2004, the Owls have gone 2-9 and 5-7 respectively, and aren’t exactly due for a breakout season in '07.

Reason for Hope: FAU continues to schedule a murderous non-conference slate, and with it hopefully some much needed publicity. Florida is, as everyone knows, a talent rich state, so football players aren't in short supply. Nevertheless, FAU remains a microcosm of the Sun Belt, and as long as the conference remains the laughing stock of major college football, befuddlement over the meaning of the acronym FAU isn't likely to stop.

1. University of Lousiana Monroe

It's Bad, Real Bad: While Navy fans may recognize the presence of Charlie Weatherbie, don't kid yourself on this one, the vast majority of college football fans probably have no idea what ULM stands for. Commonly confused with the University of Louisiana, which appeared in the Adam Sandler movie Water Boy, ULM has been obscure even within the obscure Sun Belt conference, and that's saying a lot. Going a undistinguishable 4-8 doesn't help much for the still young I-A program.

Reason for Hope:
Depending on your opinion regarding Charlie Weatherbie, I guess you could make a case that the program is certainly on the way up. One thing that is for sure is the line between Bowl-bound and Bottom-Ten bound is extremely thin in the Sun Belt conference, so hope exists for each team in the conference, including this one.

CW has seen better days. Oh well...

Also Considered: Buffalo, North Texas, Idaho, Louisiana Lafayette, oh hell the entire Sun Belt Conference.

A Note on Teams Left Out: Florida International would of been a prime candidate for obscurity had it not been for that disgusting incident with Miami last season, to which the entire sports world now knows of. While some may argue my own bias towards my ancestral home of Buffalo, New York played a role in the absence of The University at Buffalo from this list, the truth remains that the Bulls have been so bad the past few years that everyone is aware of their situation. Temple was left of the list because A) It's a freaking huge university and B) They've also been so bad for so long its impossible to escape attention. I'm open to suggestions, but I highly doubt you'll find more obscure teams on the I-A level.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Everything You Were Afraid to Ask About I-AA Upsets: Part Uno

I-AA Upsets By Year

2-9 UConn loses to 7-4 E Washington
6-6 TCU loses to 8-4 Northwestern St
1-10 Idaho to 15-1 Montana
5-6 Ball State to 11-3 N. Iowa
2-9 E. Michigan to 2-9 Illinois St.
5-7 N. Texas to 6-5 Jacksonville St
5-7 N. Texas to 3-8 Nicholls St
2-9 ULM to 10-3 Sam Houston St

1-11 Rutgers to 11-4 Villanova
2-10 Idaho to 11-3 Montana
1-11 Army to 4-8 Holy Cross
4-8 Ohio to 10-3 Northeastern
1-11 Buffalo to 8-4 Leigh
4-8 MTSU to Se Missouri
3-9 ULM to McNesse St
8-4 N. Illinois to 11-2 W. Illinois

2-10 Miss. St. loses to 7-5 Maine
2-11 UTEP loses to 7-4 Cal Poly (34-13)
3-9 Idaho to 6-5 E Washington
3-9 Idaho to 9-3 Montana
8-5 Navy to 15-1 Delaware
1-11 Temple to 7-4 Villanova
3-9 E. Michigan to 9-4 W. Illinois
1-11 Buffalo to 15-1 Colgate
4-8 MTSU to 11-3 FAU
1-11 ULM to 7-4 Stephan F. Austin
1-11 ULM to 6-6 Northwestern St

4-7 E. Michigan to 5-6 E. Illinois
4-7 Rutgers loses to 10-3 New Hampshire

5-6 ULM to 5-5 Northwestern St
5-6 Stanford loses to 6-5 UC Davis

6-7 New Mexico to 7-4 Portland State
2-10 Colorado to 8-5 Montana State
0-12 Duke to 6-5 Richmond
4-8 Northwestern to 9-4 New Hampshire (34-17)
5-7 Ball State to 10-1 North Dakota State (29-24)
5-7 Indiana to 9-4 Southern Illinois (35-28)
3-9 San Diego St. to 7-4 Cal Poly

Monday, February 12, 2007

Anyone Want to Help?

I've been doing some research in my spare time about matchups between I-A and I-AA teams. I'm hoping to debut a series of posts next week on the subject, but could use a little help in the meantime. The focus of my research has dealt with the time period between 2001 and 2006, mostly because the records for the past five years are the most accessible. However I'd like to extend my concentration to the 200o season just, you know, for the heck of it. This information is easily accessible if you own a Phil Steele guide from the 2005 season on back, as you can track the results of each team's season from the previous five years. What I'm looking for is A) The number of games between I-A and I-AA teams that year B) The number of upsets by I-AA teams that year (who upset who, what was the score) and C) The number of "close calls" that year (games I-A teams won by a TD or less.) I realize this seems like a somewhat daunting task, but having used my own 'Steele for something similar, I can confirm it shouldn't take more then a half-hour in one sitting. It's no big deal if if nobody wants to try to do this, because the last five years should suffice at what I'm trying to point out. But if your interested and have the time, please let me know.

Muchos Gracias

Friday, February 09, 2007

Meet John Cabbage

Navy got a good one when Titusville Astronaut defensive end John Cabbage committed to the Midshipmen, as the man-beast could probably best be described as just that, a man-beast. Don't take my word for it though. Observe:

And the best part of all this? Yet another recruit who chose Navy over Air Force!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

And Now, Let's Talk Recruiting...(Part 1)

Not sure where to start, so I thought we'd just jump right into this. Information is still coming in on different guys, so hold tight If I'm not completely up to speed on everybody. Overall, this looks like a good class, although its come to my attention we say that every year...

  • Bill Wagner of the Annapolis Capital has a great article to sum things up, although "his" list of recruits is not as long as the unofficial list being put together at Wagner comments that the Academy has inked the commitments of 60 players (as of now), 25 of whom will enter the Academy directly and have a chance to see playing time next season, while 35 will first go through the Preparatory School.

  • Remember, and don't even go out of their way to pretend to care about the recruiting of SA's, so don't buy into their "rankings." Case in point, Scout only accounts for 10 of our recruits, dropping us to 118th on their list. Interestingly enough a lot of players with Scout profiles ended up committing to Navy, but the network is just so screwed up the commitments have not registered. I'm not big on "ranking" recruiting, but I think with all things considered, this class probably ranks in the 80-100 range nationally, especially when you factor in the amount of players being brought in and Navy's ability to recruit on a national level.

  • How did we do against the other two service academies? According to Coach Johnson, we did very well. "We lost very few kids that visited more than one academy," Johnson told Wagner. "I think we should have the upper hand on the other academies. We've won more overall games the last few years, we've beaten Army and Air Force consistently and we've had more stability in terms of the coaching staff."

  • Initial impressions? Army had a poor year while Air Force did surprisingly well. It seems Navy still got most of the kids in head-to-head matchups, but Air Force put together a good group considering all the turmoil in the program.

  • Marco Nelson's little brother, Kyrion, is coming. So is Zach Dryden, brother of former wide receiver Corey Dryden.

  • As usual, Navy picked up a lot of duel position players and a good number of quarterbacks. While I can't say I've ever seen any of these guys play outside of highlight films, word on the street is QB's Brian Blick and Robby Davis could be the next big things in Annapolis. Davis was (to my limited knowledge anyway) the first player to commit to Navy, and is generally being touted as the premier recruit for this class.

  • Jason Wright is a big pickup for the defense. How do I know? Two words: Northern Indiana. (Think Rob Caldwell and Josh Smith)

  • Jordan Delk, a solid wide receiver a out Georgia, switched from Navy to Georgia Southern at the last moment. Navy went head-to-head with a rebounding Georgia Southern program as well as Furman for a number of recruits in the Peach State.

  • MTV fans rejoice. Hoover's very own Kwesi Mitchell is heading to Annapolis.

  • Buddy Green is the man. Texas, Florida, North Carolina, and Georgia continue to be pipeline states.

  • Remember, the "Unofficial Master List" is up at the message board. FYI, I'm under the handle "MrAthletic."

Links to various Stories about Various Players:

Mike Farr

DL Brady DeMell

QB Ryan Brown

LB/RB Tyler Simmons

WR Ken Munson

QB Brian Blick

OL Trey Clark

CB David Wright

CB Chris Rivers

LB James Simien

P/K Joe Buckley

VIDEO of GA/FL Recruits

More to come. Congratulations to all of these young men!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

All Quiet On the Signing Day Front...

...Or at least a little more toned down then the rest of the country, since Navy doesn't follow the same guidelines as the rest of the country. First things first, don't believe the or rankings. Each site only has a couple of players listed, when in reality the "official unofficial" count of recruits is more then 30. Notables to report about for today:

FB Vince Murry, 6'2 210

DL Kalin Krause

LB Matt Widmyer, 6'3 200

Updates to continue throughout the day. Looks like a lot of guys are coming down to Air Force or Navy, so lets hope they make the right choice.

Monday, February 05, 2007


Last Friday's "Friday List" delayed a week because blogger hates my computer. I'll have it up this Friday though.

A couple of recruits to report about. Mario Washington, a 5'11, 175-lb speedster out of North Carolina. Looks like Buddy Green continues to recruit well in the Carolinas. Also, Brady DeMell, a buckeye state defensive linemen who had been receiving some interest from some bigger name schools.

Also, Georgia ATH/QB Brett Layson is down to three. He's been offered a preferred walk-on position as a tight end at Georgia, but he made his official visit to Annapolis today. Georgia Southern is also in the mix. No word on teammate Jimmy Intorcia.

A complete list of Navy's 2007 commitment scan be found right hyah. Continue checking back for updates as I scour the Internet looking for more commitments.

Friday, February 02, 2007

2007 Defensive Back Preview

Today we continue in our absurdly early pre-preseason rundown of how Navy looks at each position in 2007. All previews are subject to a degree of uncertainty, if for no other reason that the season doesn't start for another seven months. Last year's stats in parenthesis.

[Quarterback Preview] [Backfield Preview] [Wide Receiver Preview] [Offensive Line Preview] [Defensive Line Preview] [Linebacker Preview].

Projected Starting Cornerback: Jr Rashawn King (50 tkls, 1.5 tfl, 4 BrUp, 1 fr)

Projected Starting Free Safety: Sr Jeff Deliz (25 tckls, 3.5 tfl, 1 sack, 1BrUp, 1 Int)

Projected Starting Rover: Jr Ketric Buffin (11 tkls, 1 BrUp, 1 int)

Projected Starting Cornerback: So Blake Carter (2 tkls, 1 BrUp)

Wildcard: Sr Greg Thrasher (43 tkls, 1 tfl, 3BrUp, 2 Int, in '05)

Navy takes a considerable loss in the secondary with the departure of seniors Jeremy McGown and Keenan Little, while the recent transfer of plebe starter Jeromy Miles further adds to at least a momentary question of who will be playing where come next season. Fortunately for the Midshipmen, there is a good mix of young talent and veteran experience in the unit that Navy will be in position to improve upon its secondary ranking for 2007.

Rashwan King will likely get the start at cornerback after a fine season in 2006. Rashawn really developed into a solid cover corner last season, and has the potential to grow into a star on Navy's defense in 2005. He's an intelligent player ho has the ability to man up on a receiver, and does a good job getting in position to break up passes. I thought he played particularly well in the Bowl game, and am excited to see him back in action during spring practice.

I'm really high on Jeff Deliz, who with the departure of Jeromy Miles is set to take over the starting free safety position. Deliz is a physical and athletic safety with an outside linebacker's mentality. Playing primarily as a nickelback in 2006, Deliz nevertheless showed a great nose for the ball and enough situational awareness to have many Navy fans talking about a breakout season in 2007. While the loss of McGown hurts, Deliz has more then enough talent to fill the gap, the only question is whether or not he'll be able to duplicate Jeremy's on-the-field leadership. With a defense which is set to break in several players who have never earned a start before, its essential guys like Deliz and linebackers Irv Spencer and Clint Sovie step up and fill the void of departed seniors.

Ketric Buffin is set to start the spring at the starting rover position, and despite his size (5'7, 165) he's proved himself to be a tenacious competitor and a violent hitter. His numbers are deceiving when you consider the amount of time he was banged up most of 2006, but remember that he came in last year at #1 on the depth chart. If Ketric can stay healthy then the Midshipmen should be fine at rover.

Current plebe Blake Carter will likely get a good crack at starting at the other corner position.The 5-11, 184-lb Stillwater, Oklahoma product has impressed fans with his athletic ability in practice, yet has only seen mop-up duty on the field. If he has a good spring, the starting job should be his.

The wildcard in all of this is of course Greg Thrasher, who started off and on in 2005 before leaving the team in 2006 to concentrate on academics. Thrasher may of have had his "issues" with tackling in 2005, but he had become a decent corner by the end of the year and would have been a starter in 2006 had he stayed with the team. He's apparently gained some weight since the '05 campaign, but only time will tell if he's able to recapture a starting corner job. Another wild card may be (note the "may be") Greg Sudderth, who actually moved to wide receiver in 2006. Sudderth is one of the better athletes on this team, but his fundamentals (aka tackling) were an issue in 2006. He did see a significant amount of time against ECU at defensive back, but will have to really impress the coaching staff if he's to move back to defense in 2007. Otherwise, I expect him to compete for playing time at wide receiver.

Aside from these players, there are several who may push for time and/or provide quality depth at the position. Dell Robinson is a veteran who could end up playing the nickelback position in 2007, while Scott Simpson and Jordan Reagan are two Texans who could move up the depth chart at cornerback. And don't forget about Joey Taylor, who looks like he'll end up at safety next season.

While the loses on Navy's secondary are significant, the potential is here. I expect the unit to go through its growing pains early on, but considering the decent amount of experience here, this unit should be continually improving.

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