Why You Won’t Get That College Football Scholarship

By: Chad Wilson – Editor – GridironStuds Blog
Twitter: @GridironStuds

I see it every year and have been seeing it for about a decade now.  College football has become big business and it has only been superseded by the big business of a college education.  Now the mad rush is on to acquire college educations and obtain them at the deepest discount possible.

Our American culture has set things up to where we believe that the only path to success in life is through the securing of a college degree.  This ingraining of thought has led to the booming business of college tuition.  As the message of college degree = success has been downloaded to our psyche, the value of the diploma has risen immensely.  We all know what happens when something rises in value in our present culture.  When value rises the cost of said item is sure to sky rocket.  Welcome to the business of a college education.  Colleges you have never heard of will look you dead in the face and tell you that tuition costs $50,000 annually.  They won’t blink when they tell you that either.

Our desire for a college education has been a big windfall for both the college institutions and our government as we have rush to Uncle Sam to obtain low rate student loans.  The perils of the student loan are now being realized by millions of Americans and so they are seeking better options.  What are those better options?  Those better options reside in athletic scholarships.  Why go into $250k of debt to start out our adult lives when we can just grab one of these athletic scholarships that we think are for free.

You Didn’t Sign A Letter of Intent on National Signing Day. What Do You Do Now?

Many have deemed that academic scholarships are just too darn hard to get and too stressful to keep.  Athletic scholarships are where it’s at and there’s a growing segment that think “how hard could it be?”   Those attitudes seem to be present most in the sport of football.  Perhaps it’s because football is the most popular or because football hands out the most full ride and partial ride scholarships in college athletics.  Whatever the case may be,  I have encountered a growing phenomenon where young “athletes” and their parents think they can just go through the motions, do the minimum and the full ride college tuition scholarships are going to appear under their pillow like that tooth fairy money.

I have watched lesser athletically talented youngsters shy away from the hard work and the steps that their more athletically gifted counterparts take part in all the while expecting the same results.  You know who I am talking about.  I am talking about the above average 3.5 GPA student who is just good enough to secure a starting spot on a team not overrun with depth and thinks that because he’s a starter, the scholarship is sure to follow.  You even have some who are career backups who believe that because they attended all the team workouts and did the running in the summer,  a college owes them “one of those scholarships”.  It is here where I could post any funny “What the hell are you thinking” meme and it would be appropriate.

Lost or perhaps ignored by these athletes and their parents is all the “extra” work that has been put in by the athletes who  have made their pursuit of a college football scholarship and professional football career their lives.  The ‘fall in the lappers” as I will call them, ignore the track practices,  workouts with the trainers, the extra conditioning, 7-on-7 practices, attending of football camps, additional weightlifting, film watching, missed vacations, etc. that makes up the lives of the dedicated young athlete.  The “fall in the lappers” think that their trips to Vermont, the coast of France, weekend in Sanibel, etc. where they relax and have a great time are setting them on the course to play college football amongst 100 men who have ate, slept and dreamed college football since they were sagging in pair of Huggies diapers.

100’s of High School Football Players Have Downloaded this Very Important App

This mindset continues to baffle me.  I don’t see high school students being particularly outraged when their 3.5 GPA and 990 SAT score does not gain them an acceptance letter from Dartmouth.  However,  I am seeing youngsters of that same ilk burn with anger when their 5’8″ 165 lb. 4.71 stats don’t yield multiple offers from college football programs.  If you don’t fit the profile,  you don’t fit the profile.  What should have been done is one of two things.  Option A,  realize the physical limitations that you possess,  focus more on upping your academic profile and use football as a strong point on your resume when trying to pursue an academic scholarship.  Option B, realize your athletic limitations and despite them being a reality,  bust your ass to overcome them.  This would include outworking all of your teammates in your quest for athletic greatness.  You know what that would involve?  You guessed it right,  this big thing called sacrifice.  Stay after practice, lift extra weights, use athletic trainers if you can, attend camps, eat right, study the game, etc.  Basically,  do all of the things that the guys who are earning the scholarships are doing and then some.

Some people get lucky in life.  Sometimes things just happen for people even though they really didn’t work hard to get them.  There are times when a guy buys that one scratch off and hits the big time.  Those times are few and very far in between.  If that’s the route you want to take,  no problem but how dare you get angry when that scratch off says “sorry you are not a winner”.


’17 LB Dante Harris Is A Hunter

By: Chad Wilson – Editor – GridironStuds Blog
Twitter: @GridironStuds

Ask any hardcore football fan and they’ll tell you they love linebacker play.  In recent years,  the game of football has finessed itself into a padded version of flag football where-by quarterbacks and wide receivers rule the day.  However,  there are still some out there that can appreciate the physicality of the game and what it represents in the grand scheme of things.

Toughness is a word Parkview Baptist HS, Louisiana linebacker Dante Harris wears like a backpack as he patrols the field every Friday night.  Unafraid to mix it up, Harris has GPS on all ball carries on the field and will arrive at their location with some intentions.  Harris is not your drag down, spin around tackler.  When he comes, he’s bringing entire Schutt pack with him and that’s helmet along with shoulder pads.  There are many frames on Harris’ film displaying him hugging QBs, RBs and WRs as he buries them into the unforgiving gridiron sod.  Harris has a knack for diagnosing the play,  defeating blocks and achieving his goal which is intimately introducing himself to offensive personnel seeking unauthorized passage across the line of scrimmage.

At 6’1″ 22o lbs.  Harris has “that look”.  That look is the eye ball test for Division I football.  His game seems quite suited for an inside LB spot as his comfort zone seems to be in-between the tackles where men are at work.  However,  when Harris has to stray outside of the box to get a loose footed offender,  he seems to be game for the chase and gets his man.  With a player of this quality working the middle of Parkview Baptists’ defense this upcoming season,  they seem to be in good hands.

Harris was found on the GridironStuds App available for Apple iPhone.  Are you a high school football player.  Are you looking for a scholarship?  Are you a top ranked player?  Either way,  using the GridironStuds App is for you.  Connect with coaches and build a fan base with this great app.  Click here to download.

Watch Dante Harris’ Highlight Film – Click Here


’17 OL Mambuca Has A Big Body and A Brain to Match

By: Chad Wilson – Editor – GridironStuds Blog
Twitter: @GridironStuds

You’ve heard all of the stereotypes on football players.  Get a guy in a big body and the automatic thinking is that all that time getting big left him little time to be smart.  It takes a small mind to think that way but let’s be honest,  there have been some who have made that type of thinking worthwhile.  That’s not the case with this up and coming prospect out of Gulf Coast HS in Naples, FL.

When Gulf Coast lines up to play football this season,  they will have a mountain of a man on their offensive line by the name of Michael Mambuca.  What they will also have is someone who could also be the school’s valedictorian.  Mambuca’s GPA reads like the 40 time of a speedy wide out.  At 4.54,  Mambuca’s GPA will earn him a ton of honors once he crosses the stage to collect his diploma a year from now.  However,  the honors he is after at the moment are on the gridiron.  Proving that he knows how to manage his time,  Mambuca has found a way to crush the books and his opponents on the field on Friday Nights.  One look at his highlight video and you will see that being in front of him under the lights is not a good place to be.

Being intelligent has it’s stereotypes too, especially in high school.  Being smart = not very tough.  Once again,  Mambuca defeats that stereo-type like he defeats 5 and 7 techniques on Friday Nights.  His highlight video shows him burying his foes and blocking all the way to the whistle (sometimes beyond).  Mambuca has that little taste of nasty that every effective lineman needs.  He’s a Division I caliber prospect who has recently started garnering that type of attention.  Columbia and Brown out of the IVY League are the first to jump on this multi-talented prospect with a host of others looking to follow suit.

Mambuca is one of many prospects who have downloaded and made a profile on the GridironStuds App.  If you are a high school football player that’s a college football prospect or looking to become one,  download the GridironStuds App today and start build a relationship with college football coaches and fans.

Check out Michael Mambuca’s Hudl highlight video – click here


Olympic Height’s 2018 QB Petillo Returns Memories of Jake Plummer

By: Chad Wilson – Editor – GridironStuds Blog
Twitter: @GridironStuds

Often times in the wonderful world of recruiting,  the emphasis is on comparing a current player to one who had success in the past.  Many times,  those comparisons can be forced as “analysts”, reporters and bloggers feel it is absolutely necessary to engage in this practice to validate a recruit’s existence.  However,  coaches can be found doing this as well.  A successful player can become an instrument of security as the blanket is to Lionus on the famed cartoon Peanuts.

There is little strain in the comparison I am going to make here in my opinion with 2018 QB Anthony Petillo.  Having played again Jake Plummer in college and watch him go on to have a successful career in the NFL,  Plummer instantly came to mind as I watched Petillo’s highlight video on the GridironStuds App.  Petillo is a highly ranked pro-style quarterback in the class of 2018 but one of the first things that will jump off the screen at you on his tape is his athleticism.  Petillo does quite well for himself running Olympic Height’s zone read offense.  Quite often you will see him pull the ball out of the half back’s belly and twist his way through the defense for sizable gains.  What you will also like,  if you are recruiting Petillo is that Olympic Heights also goes under center and he is very effective on bootlegs.  Whether he keeps the ball on the rollout or buys enough time to get a man open,  Petillo does well to achieve the objective for Olympic Heights.  If you saw Plummer play then there’s no way you don’t see the comparison to Petillo,  especially on the rollouts.

Zone reads and bootlegs are not all there is to Petillo’s game.  The 6’3″ sophomore can also stand tall in the pocket and drop the ball in on a WR who has found himself in a window of opportunity vs. the defense.  He displays the ability to change the type of throw needed to match the situation.  Petillo can put the ball on a lime or put some air under it to lay into the hands of a WR.  He also shows the ability to avoid a rush,  stay behind the line of scrimmage and find open targets down field.  Petillo is currently ranked as a pro-style passer but could easily rank as a dual threat as well.

Jake Plummer started off his NFL career on a Arizona Cardinals franchise that is not what it is today so the beginning was rough.  However,  Plummer’s years in Denver allowed him to display his full potential.  As a Bronco,  Plummer went 39-15 as a starter and tossed 61 TDs.  Plummer led Denver to the playoffs in 3 of his 4 seasons with the team.  Anthony Petillo,  early in his career,  is showing that same type of potential.  As a rising junior he has plenty of time to work on his game and reach the heights that Plummer did.

Are you a high school football player?  Have you downloaded the GridironStuds App yet?  Do it now and start build a relationship with college coaches and fans.  It’s the best high school football / college football recruiting app out there.  Click here to download.


’17 WR Laress Nelson Is Hard to Hold

By: Chad Wilson – Editor in Chief – GridironStuds Blog
Twitter: @GridironStuds

You will often hear the term “broke his ankles” when hearing about a play that happened in the open field.  There are some athletes on the gridiron that are uniquely talented in the area of juking defenders out of their socks and figuratively breaking their ankles.  2017 American Heritage Plantation, FL WR Laress Nelson is one of those athletes.

Change of direction is Nelson’s thing.  Any defensive back looking to stay in front of him has their work cut out for them.  Failing to stay in front of him likely means you are giving up a catch to the shifty prospect and then that’s where the fun really starts.  Once Nelson has the ball in his hands,  he is as hard as anyone to get a hand on.  Forget about making the tackle,  pulling his flag would be a tough task if that was the game being played.

Nelson is on the newly released GridironStuds Recruiting App.  His profile features a highlight video that has a ton of clips of him making defenders look silly and chasing ghosts.  Nelson’s wiggle ability also makes him an asset in the return game where he almost always makes the first guy miss and like a disease the missing tackle bug spreads throughout other defenders.

Several D1 schools have already put offers on the table for Nelson and a host of others are showing very strong interest.  No doubt several bags of popcorn should be on order for Nelson’s upcoming senior season.  This spring he has already made his mark on the 7on7 trail playing for highly popular South Florida Express.  Nelson’s only skill is not being shifty in the open field.  He has a solid knowledge of route running and has the most dependable pair of hands you can find on a wideout.  Nelson will be a highly productive slot receiver for any D1 program that lands him in 2017

Want to be discovered by us, college coaches and college football fans?  Download the GridironStuds Recruiting App for iOS and build a profile today.  Click on this link to download.


’17 DB Will Allen Jr. Is A Playmaker

By Chad Wilson – Editor in Chief – GridironStuds Blog
Twitter: @GridironStuds

You may have seen my article in entitled “Recruiting, Like Beauty Contests, Has A Lot to Do With Looks“.  Yes, we live in a sporting world where size is king and athletic freaks are the craze at least until we are thoroughly convinced that they can’t play the game.  Not being able to play the game is not a problem possessed by 2017 American Heritage cornerback Will Allen Jr.

Allen is not out of the mold of the 6′ corners that people like to talk about.  Rather Allen is more about being where the ball is going to be and making the opposing team pay for it.  We more commonly call this,  a playmaker.  Allen is a member of the new GridironStuds Recruiting App that has been heavily talked about over the last few weeks.  Hundreds of high school football prospects have downloaded the app and created a profile.  Allen Jr. is one that stands out.  Viewing his highlight video from the app,  you quickly see his playmaking skills.  Before you hit the 2 minute mark in his highlights you have already witnessed the 2017 prospect use his 37 inch vert to go up high and bat down a pass, jump a curl route almost taking it to the house and smoothly rip the ball out of a RBs hands for a forced fumble.

Allen has been around the game for many years now as a player and has a father who was a first round draft pick by the NY Giants.  Will Allen Sr. played 11 seasons in the NFL.  Allen Jr. is one of three sons of former NFL players lining up on American Heritage’s defense come Fall 2016.  His football IQ and instincts put Allen in position to help his team win every Friday Night while making him a general pain in the ass for the opposing teams’ offensive coordinator.  Allen is a brain off the field too sporting a 3.8 GPA and an affinity for analyzing things.  It all adds up to the rising senior playing bigger than his 5’9″ stature.  Look for his highlight making plays this Fall.

High School Football prospects,  build a profile, connect with coaches and build a fan base on the new GridironStuds Recruiting App. Click here or search “Gridiron Studs” in the App Store.  Android version is coming soon.


Suncoast ’17 WR Leonard Woods Is Crafty and Constantly in the End Zone

Suncoast’s Leonard Woods Had 88 receptions as a junior.

BY: Chad Wilson – Editor in Chief – GridironStuds Blog
Twitter: @GridironStuds

Travel the state of Florida looking for talent on the high school gridiron and you will soon become overwhelmed.  With that being the case,  it is very easy to overlook talent that would smack you in the face in many other cities and states.

In Riviera Beach Florida lies Suncoast High School,  a school that has produced talent over the years,  the most notable being the NFL’s all time kick returner Devin Hester.  Of late,  the Chargers have been seeking a return to their glory days and in 2015 they did make the playoffs.  A big part of their success last season literally lied in the hands of their talented class of 2017 WR Leonard Woods.  Take a look at Woods tape and you will find a young man constantly find his way behind the defense.  I discovered Woods when he downloaded the new GridironStuds Recruiting App and added his highlight video.  It was a joy watching Woods dupe defenses left and right.  His niftiness doesn’t just manifest itself in route running but also after the catch where he can slip tackles, shake defenders and get the ball across the goal line.

While not especially tall at 5’9″,  Woods shows an exceptional ability to go up high and come down with passes that one could consider 50 /50.   His 88 receptions has to be high on the state list in 2015 and he fell only 37 yards short of a 1,000 yard season.  No doubt that if Suncoast is to return to the playoffs in 2016,  Woods will have to be a big part of the plan.  Check out Woods at GridironStuds.com.  If you are a high school football player and have not yet downloaded the GridironStuds Recruiting App for iOS,  I encourage you to do that now.  Click here to download.


So You Didn’t Sign On National Signing Day. Is It Over for You?

By: Chad Wilson – Editor – GridironStuds Blog
Twitter: @GridironStuds

While National Signing Day is a cause for celebration and joy for 1000’s of high school athletes across the country every year,  for many more the thought of that first Wednesday in February brings a ton of anxiety, angst and misery.  Many athletes,  football in particular, think that if they don’t find a school to sign with on National Signing Day (NSD) their football career is over.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

The truth of the matter is that National Signing Day represents the first day that a high school athlete can signing a letter of intent to a college institution not the last.  As a result of the thought and mindset that one must sign on NSD or all is lost,  many athletes and their families make critical mistakes.  Sure,  it is great to be a part of all of the festivities in the gym or school auditorium.  The feeling is that you are being recognized and rewarded for all of the handwork and dedication you have given to your sport not only during your high school years but often times before that.  While I can certainly feel you there,  the urge to be a part of that ceremony should not supersede what is in your best long term interest.  Many marriages culminate with a huge ceremony that costs $1,000’s but unfortunately the stats show that quite a few of those end up in a courtroom before a judge.  Likewise,  many marriages still going strong after several decades began with a simple courtroom procedure and ended up with a lifetime of ceremonial moments.  The point is that a bad decision celebrated is still a bad decision.

Many high school football players will grab any offer that comes their way just so that they can say the signed on signing day.  That sounds like a marriage that is headed to the courtroom.  Signing with a school, sight unseen or when you really don’t feel like it’s the place for you,  will not allow you to have happy thoughts when you reflect back on signing day.  Using my wedding example,  some couples spend money they don’t have to throw a huge ceremony and spend the rest of their marriage fighting about it.  It’s an awful feeling enrolling at a school and going through the rigors of football when you are at a place you really don’t want to be.  Being a student athlete is hard enough as it is when you love the school,  think about the toll on your sanity when you are at a school where you don’t like the town, the weather, the coaches, the people or anything else having to with the university you chose.

The smart thing for a student-athlete to do is bet on yourself.  Don’t become overwhelmed by the pressure of signing day and jump on an offer from a school you are likely going to want to leave in six months.  In my article You Thought You Loved Football then They Gave You a Scholarship,  I detail the true life of the common college football player.  It was not an article to downgrade the college football experience,  it was a plea to the many athletes that mistakingly think football is for them when it is not.  Ask yourself if you are really serious about football.  If you are,  ask yourself if the school you are hustling to sign with on signing day provides you with the football experience you can live with.  If it doesn’t,  ask yourself if the education you will receive is enough to override the football experience you know you won’t enjoy.  If your answer to both of those questions is no,  then continue your search and don’t be afraid to both create and pursue other options.

Some athletes may really need to go to a junior college first.  Are you really talented and suffered some misfortune?  Perhaps you were injured during a crucial time of your recruitment.  You undoubtedly were one of the top guys in your region before you had the setback.  If that’s the case,  you may want to go to a junior college,  get more film and improve your college football options in one or two years.  Division I college football is full of junior college transfers.  Perhaps you didn’t really take off until your senior season and thus were left off the list of many top universities.  This happens to many prospects and as a result,  the college just didn’t have enough time to feel comfortable with you as a recruit.  In that case,  waiting a bit after signing day may open up an opportunity for you at a FCS or Division II school as opposed to a very expensive lower tiered school that will require you take out loans to attend.

This advice may run counter to what many think which is “you better jump on that scholarship money”.  That thought is all well and good but too many student-athletes wind up coming back home after a semester or two,  disgusted and not wanting anything to do with college.  For some,  had they waited and given their decision a little more care outside of wanting to be on the NSD stage like their friends,  they could have put themselves in a better position.

As with any important life decision,  there are risks and this one is no different.  Saying no to a scholarship offer could result in another one not being offered.  I have learned in life that important life decisions require two things.  First and most important,  an adequate assessment of one’s self and abilities.  Be honest with yourself about both your athletic and academic abilities.  Also,  be honest about your love and dedication to your sport.  Second,  important life decisions typically require putting pen to paper.  Write down the pros and cons.  Write down your goals.  Put on paper the options that exist and look at it frequently before pulling the trigger.  At the end of the day,  your college decision is as important as any other decision you will make for the duration of your life.  It should not be something done to follow a friend, feed an ego or be part of a crowd.  You can make a very courageous, important and joyful decision about your future after the first Wednesday in February.  There’s no rule against that.


Why The Order of Your Clips in Your Highlight Video Matter

By: Chad Wilson – Editor In Chief – GridironStuds Blog
Twitter: @GridironStuds

Running a recruiting website I have seen my fair share of highlight videos over the years.  I can conservatively say that I have seen some 10,000 highlight videos in my time.  As with anything,  there are good highlight videos and there are bad ones.  Many of the times,  the bad videos stem not from the player being bad but from the video being poorly put together.

Many high school prospects want to take the lazy route when it comes to putting together their highlights on Hudl.  By lazy,  I mean they just want to tag the plays from each game in the order in which the games were played and then submit the video.  So if your biggest play of the year didn’t happen until week 7,  viewers of your video are going to have to wait quite some time to get to the best of you.  I am not making an understatement here when I say that’s a poor strategy.

As they saying goes,  first impressions last a long time,  so what’s the first impression you want to make on the viewer of your highlight video?  If it’s a college coach, you better make sure you punch him in the face with your talent immediately.  The construction of your highlight video is not some cinematic production that includes a plot that you need to keep a viewer engaged until the end of the movie.  That thought process is great if you are writing an episode of Law and Order or Scooby Doo but it’s a no go in the highlight video world.

Many prospects feel that when they send a letter or their highlight video off to a coach,  that’s the only letter or highlight video he receives.  Some mistakingly believe that the coach has all day to watch your highlight video.  Newsflash, there are 1,000’s of you interested in that school and that’s from your state alone.  A college football coach does not have 5 minutes to wait to see if you did anything spectacular in your highlight video.  If your highlight video is not popping in those first 30 seconds then that back button or x button on the browser is getting clicked.

Your first play is your best play.  Your second play is your second best play and so on.  Think of it as a reverse SportsCenter Top 10.  Within that first minute,  the college coach has probably decided if you can play for their program or not.  If he gets to the 4 minute mark in your highlight video,  it’s because the first 3;59 was just so damned good not because he really wants to see who murdered the lady in Apartment 2B.

Don’t be lazy,  pay attention to how you put that highlight video together.  It may be the difference between getting put on the recruiting board or in the trash.

For more help on recruiting matters,  email us at GridironStuds Recruiting  cwilson@gridironstuds.com


In This Climate, A Coach Needs to Graduate With His Heisman QB

By: Chad Wilson – Editor GridironStuds Blog
Follow Me On Twitter: @GridironStuds

When he stepped away from the game following the 201o season,  former University of Florida football coach Urban Meyer was widely criticized by the Gator faithful for making up a reason to leave.  Feelings aside,  there’s no denying that Urban Meyer is a very successful football coach and you don’t get to this point without knowing a little something.

2010 was also Tim Tebow’s final one in Gainesville.  Tebow did everything you could do in college football including win a Heisman and a national championship.  In fact,  Tebow garnered two rings and multiple trips to New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony.  For anyone who was paying attention,  it was quite clear that there was only one Tim Tebow and not likely that there would be another one any time soon.  As much as recruiting talent and developing it,  knowing when to walk away from a job and find the next place to go has as much to do with your success as the previous two attributes mentioned.  Now one must take Meyer at face value when he says he was experiencing health issues and needed to go but whether intentional or coincidental,  Meyer’s move out of Gainesville with Tebow is a shrewd move other coaches would do well to follow.

Gone are the days where you are allowed to coach 20 years at the same program.  Fan bases and athletic directors don’t let you reach the mountain top and slide back down.  Once a coach reaches nirvana,  he better be staying there or his time to walk the plank will come rather quickly.  Just ask Les Miles.  To avoid the pink slip,  coaches must adequately assess the reasons for their success and be honest about who they are.

Over the last 10 years it has seemed to me that when a coach is blessed to have recruited and developed a very special talent at quarterback and reaches the pinnacle of success,  he better start penning his exit strategy.  No one is denying that it takes a strong ego to succeed as a college football coach.  However,  that ego has to be put on pause when examining this situation.  Ego will tell you that if you developed one Heisman Trophy winner then you can develop another.  I’m not saying it’s impossible but I am saying it’s highly unlikely.  When your QB takes you on the wild ride to the Downtown Athletic Club and then the confetti parade in January,  it’s best to exit the stage with him when his eligibility is up ala Urban Meyer.

Let’s take a trip through recent history shall we?  I use the last 10 years because that’s the period of time in which I think the coaching situation in college football has made the most changes.  Over the last decade,  coaches have become more mobile either by their choice or by the choice of those who employed them.

Vince Went Down But Mack Stuck Around

Anyone watching Vince Young run around the Rose Bowl turf vs. USC like he was in the backyard with his baby cousins,  had to know that he was a one of a kind talent.  Many would argue that Young should have been the Heisman winner for the 2005 season but nevertheless,  if there was any doubt,  Vincent showed it vs. USC in the title game and brought Texas their first national title in 35 years.  Obviously comfortable where he was,  Mack Brown remained as Texas’ coach beyond Young and did enjoy some subsequent success.  Brown even led the Longhorns to another BCS title game vs. Alabama in 2009 but came up short vs. Nick Saban.  Four double digit win season would follow but Mack was constantly compared to the 2005 season.  The narrative was constantly “he can’t do it without Vince Young”.  Suddenly the double digit wins gave way to a rash of mediocrity and an eventual exit from Austin for Brown.  I can’t help but wonder what Brown would have done had he left Texas for another program with the smell of success on his breath in 2006.

Cam & Gene Were Really Mean

Talk about that one moment in time.  Before Cam Newton stepped on the Auburn University campus,  Gene Chizik’s Tigers were an 8-5 football team.  However,  for the one magical 2010 season with Newton at the controls,  Auburn was the toast of college football.  Much like Vince Young,  Newton combined a dazzling combo of precision passing with undeniable QB runs to befuddle defensive coordinators and madden opposing fan bases.  Newton was and continues to be sub-human as he is built like a DE and moves like a DB.  Even the most novice football fan could clearly see that Newton was the straw that stirred the drink for the Tigers.  Auburn rode the Cam train for the rare double of Heisman Trophy and national championship.  I am not sure what job offers came Gene Chizik’s way during or after that 2010 season but he would have been well served to take one of them.  Cam was one of a kind and getting past Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide and the assortment of other college football heavyweights without your AK-47 at QB was a monumental task.  As Cam left,  so did Auburn’s prominence.  Ironically,  the year after Cam left,  Auburn went right back to 8-5 and then turned on their head to 3-9 two years later before Chizik was tossed out like expired potato salad.

No Johnny No Football

We all took the magical ride with Johnny Manziel in 2012 didn’t we?  Captured by his risky playing style and equally carless lifestyle,  Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin and the Aggies rocketed to college consciousness.  With Manziel at the controls,  Texas A&M did things their fans never thought they would be able to do.  One of those things was beat the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide as they did in Manziel’s first season as the starter.  Manziel was so good that he caused Saban to try to get the hurry up offense outlawed and when he couldn’t, he started implementing elements of the offense into his program.  Manziel would win the Heisman Trophy in 2012 and return in 2013 for his junior season.  A&M,  once again,  was a pain in people’s rear end but not as good as the year before.  Nevertheless,  Manziel led the Aggies to a dazzling comeback in the bowl game vs. Duke to win 52-48.  Anyone watching had to see that the reason the Aggies won,  was Johnny football.  Sumlin was a hot prospect for open coaching jobs after 2013 season but turned down the offers.  I could see him thinking that it was more about his system since he had great success in Houston but had he taken a closer look he would have realized that Manziel was a one of a kind at a program that would always be behind the 8-ball.  In his second year post Manziel,  Sumlin is on the hot seat and needs to win next year or could get pink slipped.  Boy was that fast.

Of course there are outliers.  Bob Stoops has managed to stay in double digit win territory after Sam Bradford won the Heisman in 2008 and Oklahoma played for the title vs. LSU.  Art Briles has kept Baylor relevant since Robert Griffin III climbed the stairs in Superman socks to hoist the Heisman in 2011.  Bradford is not what I would describe as a one of a kind of QB.  Don’t get me wrong,  as a Sooner he was outstanding but you don’t look at Bradford and put him in the Young, Newton, Manziel category.  RGIII would fall closer to that type of a one of a kind QB and Briles deserves credit for continuing to move forward his offensive system and program.

What should be interesting to us all is what’s going on in Tallahassee and what will happen at Clemson after this 2015 season.  In more ways than one,  Jameis Winston was a very unique, special and talented quarterback.  The likelihood of another Jameis Winston entering college football and falling into the hands of the Florida St. Seminoles once again would be low.  Florida St. reached the mountain top in Winston’s 2nd season as he won the Heisman and the Noles won the title. One season later, with Winston still at the controls,  Florida St. was beaten soundly in the inaugural college football playoffs first round by Oregon.  Two years later, the Seminoles suffered two regular season losses and ended the 2015 season with a loss to the Houston Cougars from the AAC.  Jimbo Fisher’s Seminoles were a 2-3 loss team prior to Winston’s arrival.  One year after Winston’s departure,  the Noles dropped three games.  While three losses may have been ok prior to 2013,  now that FSU fans have seen the view from the top,  losing two to three games will stir up the faithful.  Perhaps Jimbo knows this as he flirted with bolting for Baton Rogue during the season but withdrew his interest and got Les Miles unstrapped from the electric chair.  One is only left to wonder if like Brown, Chizik and Sumlin before him, not walking off the stage with his one of a kind Heisman winner will hurt Jimbo Fisher’s career.

Chip Kelly had more reasons than just his QB leaving to exit Oregon (research his NCAA sanctions) but I am of the opinion that Kelly would have departed from Oregon without NCAA pressure when his three year starter and Heisman Trophy winning QB, Marcus Mariota made his way out of town.  Though he failed in Philadelphia,  Kelly would be highly sought after in the college ranks if he wanted to make that move simply because he did not hang on in Oregon to experience the decline that comes when your special guy behind center is no longer there.

So who’s up next?  We’ve watched Dabo Swiney dance and quote his way through the 2015 season.  You can’t deny his infectious nature and ability to coach.  However,  before DeShaun Watson’s arrival at QB,  Clemson was that team that would win just enough to end up in a big game and then get taken behind the woodshed.  With Watson,  Clemson has avoided the very term named after them “Clemsoning”.  Now,  all seasons after Watson will be compared to the time he was dressed in Orange.  It will no longer be acceptable to lose 51-14 at home to Florida St. in a big ACC game or fall 70-33 in the Orange Bowl to West Virginia.  While I don’t expect Clemson to fall back to those levels,  I am saying that just losing those games will be enough for the fans to get riled up,  the administration to get active and for Swiney to get axed as the Tigers’ head coach.  Stay tuned y’all.