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Archive for January, 2012

Canes and Gator Fans Make Closing Arguments to Tracy Howard’s Mother


I don’t care what she says,  some 18 years ago,  Shaiy Howard could not have known that this moment would be like this.  All parents dream of and pray for big things for their child upon their entrance into this World.  However,  All-American cornerback Tracy’s Howard’s mother could not have envisioned this scenery nearly two decades ago.

On the eve of what will be her son’s biggest decision, Shaiy Howard is trending on one of the largest websites on the Internet,  Howard has posed as the de facto social media bouncer for her highly sought after son.  In this day in age,  it’s probably a necessary evil as the on rush from fans, media and coaches through a Twitter account can drop a G.P.A. like Michael Spinks versus Mike Tyson.  So there she is, with her shield like a soldier in “300” taking on everything coming his way.  Ms. Howard is doing a great job but also appears to be enjoying it.

“You wild! RT @MrLove305: Tracy Howard to……… THE MIAMI DOLPHINS!!! LMAO”

That was her response to a fan who jokingly suggested Tracy skip the whole National Signing Day thing and head straight to the Dolphins.  Several 2011 Dolphin season ticket holders may be taking a more serious approach to that suggestion.

“Nothing, it is funny how everyone knows more than us about us…..tomorrow is almost here and he can select one school:-).”

Howard’s response to an apparent friend as she poked fun at the insanity of fans who want so hard to have the scoop that they will pretend to know everything about a recruit down to name of his favorite aunty.

It can be both comical and scary if you think about it.  After all,  Tracy Howard is a teenager and he has an entire legion of football fans hanging on his utterance at 9:50 Wednesday morning.  In what other situation would something like this happen?  Fans will be dug in before their computers tomorrow like a pair of the new Jordans are going to pop out.  However,  before that,  many are taking to Shaiy Howard’s twitter account to toss in those final few words that will sway their decision towards their school.  In some fantasy world they feel that the words of Joe Fan will supersede those of mother, father and son, uncle and aunt, grandma and grandpa.  It’s as if they are envisioning a scene in which Shaiy and Tracy will say right after their announcement that it was the words of “SuperMaxLovaShotCalla” on Twitter that did it for us and we chose school X.  No doubt,  Ms. Howard is sitting atop a unicorn while she says this.

Stacks850 T r e n d s e t t a
shaiyhoward I hope to see Tracy put on da UF hat n you doin da gator chomp!!! While he signs da LOI

TheG8TROB Rob Dunkel

@shaiyhoward Just remember the Gatornation is everywhere. Muschamp is the best coach to develop a defensive back.
chesspoof Al Gonzalez
@shaiyhoward good luck to your son on whatever school he chooses but sure #ItsGreattobeaFloridaGator for him.

Tweets such as this will no doubt continue to pour in as the night continues.  Legions of Canes and Gator fans try to do what the coaching staffs at each school wish they could and that is have the last word.  In some 14 hours it will be all over and things will revert to normal in Shaiy Howard’s twitter account.  The fans who hung on her every tweet hoping to catch a nugget of foreshadowing will disappear like a good attitude in a DMV line, though Howard may keep some male followers past signing date as she is an attractive woman.  Perhaps there is a husband present that can post a twit pic of a 9mm for males who want to obey their thirst.

Shaiy Howard’s decision to take on the Twitter World in place of her highly sought after son may not be the first such move by a mom in the recruiting game but it is the most publicized to date.  Perhaps she has set a trend that we will see in increasing numbers in coming years as public access to private lives continues to blend together with ascending ease.
If you find yourself with nothing to do tonight ahead of the National Signing Day madness, logon to @ShaiyHoward via Twitter and consume yourself in entertainment.  When you are done,  immediately begin the search for a Life.

Luther Campbell Calling Out Drew Rosenhaus? Really?


Now I love Uncle Luke.  I don’t know that you will find many who wore the University of Miami uniform who don’t.  You know whenever someone starts it off by saying they love somebody,  there’s another shoe about to drop.  I have to call him out on his recent article written in Miami New Times about super agent Drew Rosenhaus entitled: Drew Rosenhaus is the Gordon Gekko of Sports Agents.

In Luke’s article he references Terrell Owen’s quotes about how Rosenhaus referred him to financial planners who steered him into poor and risky investments that eventually flopped.  Luke also calls Rosenhaus out for having never donated a dime to the youth leagues in the inner city of Miami,  the place where a great deal of his clients come from (according to Luke).  Luke also takes Drew to task on failing to teach his clients fiscal responsibility and stated that Rosenhaus “preys on under privileged African Americans.”

Now hold on!  First of all,  it’s not Rosenhaus’ responsibility to teach his clients fiscal responsibility.  It would be nice but it’s not what he was hired to do.  How can we even be sure that Rosenhaus is fiscally responsible? Hell, everyone thought Leigh Steinberg was fiscally responsible didn’t they?  Word from bankruptcy court is that he’s not.  Rosenhaus was hired to get the most money out of NFL teams for his clients and it seems as though he’s pretty good at that.  I never bought a set of steak knives from Luther Campbell but I damned sure bought his albums because he made good music that people wanted to listen to.  My point is,  Drew Rosenhaus is a NFL agent,  not a financial advisor.

Why should Rosenhaus donate money to the youth leagues in the inner city, because Luther Campbell started and runs one?  Seems a little self serving doesn’t it?  Isn’t this what Luke is accusing Drew of?  If Rosenhaus delivers a couple of grand to the Liberty City Optimist League will that make everything he does o.k. with Luke?  I don’t know but the article sure comes off like this would be the case.  So Rosenhaus should donate to the charities that are near and dear to Luke’s heart?  I doubt Luke did any research on what charities Rosenhaus donates to.  For all we know,  Rosenhaus donates to the United Negro College Fund or to an inner city literacy movement.  All Luke knows is that Drew signed players from Miami’s inner city and he did not donate to Luke’s league so that’s a problem.  Almost like Luke is charging Rosenhaus a fee for picking up players from the city he lives in.

I sure recall some of Luke’s artists accusing him of taking money from them back in the day.  Now one of two things happened.  Either Luke fleeced them out of some cash or his artists were frivolous and care free in their money management.  When all the money was gone,  the artists were looking for someone to blame and Luke was it.  I tend to believe the latter as experience would tell me.  This seems kind of similar to what T.O. is doing with Rosenhaus.  Guess who’s responsibility T.O.’s money is?  T.O.’s !!

Athletes getting lazy and using their agent as their all everything when the agent’s prowess is contract negotiation is a mistake.  That’s a mistake made by the athlete.  The agent is going to be the agent.  They make deals and they will make deals with investment firms, insurance firms, real estate firms and they will steer clients to those firms they have deals with.  It’s on the athlete to do their research on the firms and make sound decisions on the most important commodity which is their money.

I played on a team with Michael Barrow, Darrin Smith and Jesse Armstead.  They all played in the NFL for quite some time but none of them made half of the money T.O. did.  All three of them seem to be doing quite well for themselves and they have all been out of the game for quite some time.  None them had a privileged up bringing but they were all wise about “their” money.  How’d that happen?

Can we stop expecting others to look out for us?  Can we grab the bull by the horns and handle our own affairs?  I attended a rookie symposium once and there were quite a few in attendance who seemed quite disinterested in the messages being sent their way with regards to women and money.  Let’s not cry now and point fingers when the money’s all gone.  If T.O. knew nothing at all about money he could have saved himself by asking Drew one simple question, “do you have money in this Alabama casino deal?’.  That would have given him quite a bit of answers wouldn’t it?

Drew Rosenhaus is from North Miami and Luke is from Liberty City.  Both made a substantial amount of money in their lifetime.  Who do you think should teach inner city youth about fiscal responsibility? Luke was not out donating money to pregnant teens or preaching sexual responsibility to the thousands of white teens who purchased his albums in the 80′ and 90’s.  However,  I sure know there was one thing on a person’s mind when they were listening to the Two Live Crew or Luke’s records.  Luther Campbell benefited greatly from record sales amongst white american teens.  Did he shell out some money to help them when the loose talk of sex help them get naked?  Let’s not be the pot calling the kettle black.

We can start with pushing reading harder in our inner cities.  I think Luke could lead the charge.  If we open up their minds to reading which leads to learning then teaching them about money after that will stick.  I think Luke could lead the charge on that.  We can get books and magazines to replace the iPods and Beat headphones every now and then.  Luke can lead the charge on that.  If the message in the inner city is not coming in the form of a hip hop rap or from some half dressed female,  them most aren’t trying to hear it.  Reading can go a long way in curing that mentality.  Luke can lead the charge on that.  If we want to wait around on sports agents to pour their time and effort into these objectives then we can get ready to read about more stories like T.O.’s.

I guess ultimately,  Luke on a smaller scale,  is doing to Drew what was done to him.  When he obtained a certain amount of status as a performer based mostly on another race being his customer,  the establishment tried to shut him down.  However,  this doesn’t make it right.  How about if Luke,  now that he has assassinated Rosenhaus’ character,  collaborate with the agent and direct him to some charities or outlets where he would do well to pay attention?  Again,  I love me some Luke but I have to call b.s. on this one. What Luke may realize is that he’s more like Rosenhaus than he thought.

FSU Commit Marvin Bracy Runs Fastest 55 Meters in High School History


There’s fast and there’s what the hell Marvin Bracy is.  Bracy has developed a reputation more so for his speed than his football prowess over the last year or so.  Bracy ran a 10.05 last summer in the 100 meters and made people watching it curse in amazement.   Just when you say to yourself,  the kid has probably maxed out his potential,  Bracy opens up this track season with what he did the other day.

Bracy lined up for a 55 meter dash for a Youth (hilarious) indoor track meet on Sunday January 29th and stunned the crowd with Mazerati type acceleration out of the blocks.  Before anyone knew what happened,  Bracy blistered through the finish line and into the safety pads in a time of 6.08 seconds.   This is the fastest time of the year thus far.  It’s early in the track season folks.  It sure seems to me like Bracy is on his way of surpassing the junior record of 10.01 set by Florida’s Jeff Demps.

Video of the 55 meter race is below.  Bracy is damn near half way done with the race before you hear the sound of the gun and he’s out of those blocks before the smoke is visible.  The second place finisher came in at 6.48.   That’s a full four tenths of a second behind.  There’s no doubt that Bracy will be on this 40 yard dash list very soon.  View the video below:

When Mom’s and Commitments Don’t Mix: The Landon Collins Issue


If you are a recruitingnik,  by now you have dug deep into the Landon Collins drama.  Collins announced his college intentions at the Under Armour All-American game earlier this month.  What is typically a joyous event for player and family alike,  punctuated with hugs and tears was anything but.

Collins’ choice of the Crimson Tide hat was greeted with a sigh, head drop and hand over face by Landon’s mother April Justin.  Justin is stern in her belief that Collins’ best choice would be the hometown LSU Tigers as opposed to their bitter SEC rival Alabama.  Justin’s motives may never be truly known but she has offered up her opinion publicly.

In an interview with,  Justin indicated that the family routinely sets short term and long term goals.  Several of the long term goals were circumvented when Collins chose Alabama.  One of those goals was for Collins to play at LSU with his younger brother who is also being courted by the Tigers.  She also stated that winning the Heisman Trophy was another “goal” that has been set.  That remark will be sure to draw the ire of football purist who will see Justin as a person who has taught her son to put himself and his goals before the teams.

While I could pile on Justin as so many others have,  my experience as a youth football coach gives me reason to pause.  Seven years of coaching youth football allowed me the opportunity to have a finger or two wagged in my face by a protective mother who felt like my goals did not matchup with what she had in mind for her son.  My travel through the World of youth sports educated me on the fact that when it comes to their children,  women have their goals for them and then bleep all the rest.  You can take your X’s and O’s,  your strategy, your team building, etc. and toss it in the bonfire.   Before you go and criticize this quality in a woman,  understand that it is that very quality that makes them the primary care taker inherently.   Mothers have one objective and that is the well-fare of their offspring.  It’s what makes female birds attack people walking close to their nest,  a bear want to destroy a hiker and what made my mother throw the neighborhood bully into the bushes when she saw him in my face.

Another thing moms have is intuition.  Mom’s can read people and they make it a point to do so when someone enters into the lives of their children.  Justin has had the privilege of entertaining both Nick Saban and Les Miles in her home.  Perhaps,  she got a read on one or both that suggests to her that Landon would be best suited in Baton Rouge than in Tuscaloosa.

With all this said,  I have made the following observations.  Landon Collins is a pretty damned good football player. I don’t think he can go wrong at either Alabama or LSU.  Ole Landon is going to be the one going to class, meeting people and suiting up in the pads.  He’s going to have to feel comfortable in his environment.   If mom has done everything right, then at age 18,  Landon should be able to make quality decisions for himself.  Alabama’s success would certainly be tied up in the fortunes of a 5 star recruit like Landon Collins.  They can ill afford to have him fall by the wayside so I am sure the plan they have for him is a solid one.

I would not be surprised if there is a hold up in Collins’ signing on Wednesday but I am not expecting that.  These things usually have a way of working themselves out.  Sometimes,  the player ends up being not as advertised and it’s much ado about nothing or the player ends up proving to be a lights out player that would have hit the NFL whether he was playing for the BCS national champs or Austin Peay.



By Michael Weinstein,

Several thousand athletes compete for a few positions on college teams. The combine physical performance test scores are often used in the screening process to narrow the field of athletes. Achieving the absolute best numbers possible for an individual athlete is of paramount importance to the athlete’s recruitment success. After making the short-list, meeting or exceeding the numbers presented on the applications will become even more important. There are very few excuses a coach will accept if a prospective athlete claims better numbers than they can achieve in the actual tryouts.

Preparing for the combine tests is similar to preparing for the SAT or ACT college entrance tests. Students who earn top scores on the college tests have prepared by taking practice tests, attending test preparation training programs, and extensive studying to increase core subject knowledge. The practice tests and professional instruction give the student a competitive edge to increase test scores by increasing confidence and providing techniques for achieving the best score possible.

Athletes should use the same process to prepare for the physical combine tests. As studying increases the fundamental knowledge base for students taking the SAT / ACT test; explosive core-strength training increases an athlete’s power and speed. As taking practice tests increases a student’s confidence; using the same test equipment and procedure used by the colleges improves the actual numbers and increases confidence.

Explosive core strength is the foundation for athletic performance.

An athlete’s explosive core strength is measured by the basic combine tests: vertical jump, 10 yard dash, and the lateral agility. For example, the vertical jump is a key aggregate measurement of explosive strength. By studying the physics of the vertical jump, one can see that leg strength only contributes to only a portion of the actual height achieved in the vertical jump. An athlete’s explosive core strength accounts for the rest. This is an easy test to demonstrate. Simply see how high you can jump by squatting and keeping your back completely vertical. Then repeat the jump by using the whole body. It is easy to see the additional height gained by explosive core strength and the importance of developing further.

The same core-strength importance applies to the 10 / 20 / 40 yard and pro agility speed drills. Reviewing the video of top athletes frame by frame vividly illustrates the importance of core strength, not just leg strength.

Several tools are available for developing explosive core strength. One tool that was designed specifically for developing explosive core strength is the PowerBlaster by Zybek Sports. The PowerBlaster provides a unique tool that develops explosive ‘triple extension’ motion required for speed drills and the vertical jump. In addition, the PowerBlaster is used for muscle-group specific exercises. Over 50 different exercises have been developed using the Powerblaster. Many of these innovative explosive core-

strength exercises can be seen on Youtube. Also, the powerblaster serves as a pull or push sled; a means for pull-ups and a traditional rolling peck exercise.

Use the same test equipment and procedure:

Athlete selection has both subjective and objective components. The subjective components include attitude, recommendations, and team track records. The objective components include an athlete’s actual physical performance scores. The physical performance scores are the numbers that are used to objectively rank athletes. With the extreme competition for a few openings, slight differences in these numbers can make the difference of making the team or not.

It is extremely important for an athlete to achieve competitive scores to be considered for college programs. It is more important, however, to be able achieve or surpass these numbers when called to the tryouts. Although techniques for training and timing the speed trials are always the subject of debate, most colleges have adopted a Fully Automated Timing (F.A.T.) system that starts the time when the athlete leaves the starting line and stops the time when the athlete passes the laser finish point. Athletes who train using the same F.A.T. system have a competitive advantage by knowing the times reported are going to be the same as the times demonstrated.

When determining and improving an athlete’s speed numbers, using the same, F.A.T. methodology is of critical importance. Previously, F.A.T. timing systems were cost- prohibitive for most individuals or teams. There is a new line of timing systems available that provide F.A.T. One popular system is manufactured in the United States by Zybek Athletic Products ( Although more expensive than a stop watch, this F.A.T. may be an affordable option for individuals or team training.

ZAP manufactures a system that measures the 10 / 20 / 40 yard splits, as demonstrated at the 2011 NFL combine. ZAP also manufactures a lower-cost system that measures just one time (PowerDash 1X). The PowerDash 1X uses the exact same position-start system as used for the more expensive 2X and 3X F.A.T. With ZAP’s position start, the time is started when the athlete lifts their hand when the run is started.

Training with a F.A.T. system can be used to improve the time. In reviewing historical combine data, the fastest athlete in the 10 yard is almost always the fastest in the 40. Also, in reviewing the breakdown of the 10 yard run, the initial acceleration through the first 5 yards is what separates the top athletes from the rest. Serious athletes can train daily with a FAT system located at their gym or even home. It only takes a 30 foot long space and a FAT timing system to work on the numbers every day.

For more advanced 10 yard speed optimization, many coaches will use a split times located at intervals between the start and the 10 yard marker. Training an athlete to maximizing the acceleration through the 10 yard portion of the run is what yields the best results. Having consistent, accurate baseline numbers for the feedback are critical for determining if an athlete is improving.

The same daily testing and development hold true for the vertical jump. Many top college programs put significant importance on the vertical and maximal jump number. College and professional programs use the same vertical flag system that the NFL uses for measuring the vertical jump. Research suggests that athletes can only improve their vertical jump by 20%. Fractions of an inch can determine if a person makes the team. Along with professional guidance and explosive core strength, practice is an important part of getting the most height from a vertical jump. Many serious athletes have a vertical jump system at their home and jump every day in an effort to reach a higher flag. As with the timing system, it is best to use the exact same equipment type as used at the colleges. Zybek Sports vertical jump is extensively used by colleges and combine testing companies because the flags are marked with the actual vertical and maximal jump heights.

Top students prepare for the college acceptance tests by extensive studying, professional tutoring and daily practice. Top athletes prepare for the combine physical tests the same way: core strength development, professional training, daily practice, and ensuring continued improvements with repeatable measured results. Performance that cannot be measured cannot be improved. Zybek Sports explosive core strength training and standardized performance measurement products provide athletes the competitive advantage to make the team.

Zybek Sports

To view all of the products mentioned in this article for improved athletic performance and testing,  visit App Now Available on the Android Market


Now your favorite recruiting website has an App.  That’s right, is now on the Android market.  Download the app. to your android phone and stay up to date with all of the latest happenings.  Take with you on your mobile phone.  Visit the following link for more info and hit this website on your android phone to download the app right now:

Download the App. for Android phones

Army All American Bowl Practice: DBs v WRs


Always fun to watch some of the best in the country go up against each other.  Check out the 1-on-1’s DBs v. WRs from the Army All American Bowl practice:

2012 Army All American Bowl – 1-on-1\’s – DBs v. WRs

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