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The Fastest 40 Yard Dash Ever

February 26th, 2014

 

What Research Found Out On This Very Important Topic
By: Chad Wilson   @Gridironstuds

Please follow me on Twitter @Gridironstuds

Football fans across America continue to obsess over the most simple drill in the game of football. Is there anything more discussed than the 40 yard dash? Every Spring, this drill takes center stage and undoubtedly the question is asked 1,o00′s of times. What’s the fastest 40 yard dash?

Just as sure as you get the question asked 1,000 times, you will get dozens of ridiculous answers. For starters, let’s find out why the 40 yard dash? When and why did 40 yards become so significant? It started in the 1960′s with the NFL team that had the most developed and comprehensive scouting department and that was the Dallas Cowboys. Prior to this time period, NFL coaches chose the 50 yard dash as the mark of measure to determine a player speed worthiness. In 1960, Gil Brandt, the director scouting for the Cowboys along with his department came up with the 40/20/10 measurement. The 40 was used for all players. The 20 yard split time of the 40 was of great significance for linemen since the thought was that they rarely run 40 yards in a game. The 10 yard split was important for wide receivers as a measure of their burst off of the line of scrimmage. With this, a drill was born and almost 50 years later, it has become the center piece of info on a prospective high school, college or professional football player.

So who had the fastest 40 yard dash ever? Research confirmed what I already knew and that there is no way to really tell. Here are some important things to know about the 40 yard dash:

Run your fastest 40 ever. Click on the pic.

- A hand time (use of a stop watch) will usually be faster than an electronic time

– There are two types of electronic times:

1. When a watch is started by a coach and an electronic beam records the time when it picks up the player crossing the end point

2. When an electronic beam picks up the movement of a player from the start and starts the clock. An electronic beam also detects the player at the end point and stops the clock. This time will be slower than version #1 and even slower than a hand time in which a coach starts his stop watch when he sees the player begin the run and then stops the watch when he sees the player cross the finish line.

- An accurtrack time will be the slowest of all. Accutrack is what is used at track meets. The clock in accu-track timing starts when the starter’s pistol is shot. The runner’s time for the event is recorded digitally when the technology detects the player crossing the finish line.

Studies have shown that that average reaction time by a human to a starter’s pistol is .25 seconds. For this reason, anyone who compares a 40 yard split time in a 100 meter event and compares it to reported hand timed 40 yard dash marks is making a big mistake. If you want compare the 40 yard split of a runner in a 100 meter event, subtract .25 seconds from the recorded time. So, Olympic runner Justin Gatlin’s 4.42 forty yard dash split recorded during his Gold Medal winning 9.85 100 meter run, would convert to a 4.17 forty yard dash by football standards.

After much research a few things have come up over and over and over. These things plus my own two eyes would lead me to believe that Darrell Green, Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders were the fastest football players to ever play the game.

It has been said consistently that Darrell Green recorded a time of 4.09 at the Washington Redskins’ training camp in 1986. That’s a hard time to swallow but Green’s obvious speed has been put on display many times while he was in the NFL. Green ran down from significant distances two of the fastest running backs to play in the NFL (Tony Dorsett and Eric Dickerson). Green has said in interviews that the fastest time he has ever been aware of running is 4.15. To his credit, Green does have a verifiable and official time of 10.08 in the 100 meters while he was a college student at Texas A&I University. If anyone could run a sub 4.1 forty, it was Darrell Green.

Many sources report a 4.12 forty yard dash time for Bo Jackson and if you watched him turn the corner and run down the sidelines in 1987 versus the Seattle Seahawks, you would not doubt any time reported by this freak of nature. Repetition does not make it a fact but if enough sources have reported this time to make me believe it. Jackson has an official 10.39 time in the 100 meter dash in college.

Deion Sanders has the closest thing of the three as a verifiable 40 yard dash time. Sanders ran a 4.21 forty yard dash at the 1989 NFL combine and kept right on going through the finish line into the first round of that year’s NFL draft. Like Green and Jackson, anyone who watched Sanders play would have little trouble believing that Sanders pulled off this feat. Sanders recorded a 10.21 100 meter mark while at Florida St.

Of course there are scores of reported 40 yard dash times that have made the rounds on the Internet. Some are ridiculous like the 3.9′s attached to a couple of players and some 4 flats that were attached to some others.

Here are some of the problems with reported 40 yard dash times from team workouts. Some times you can’t be sure that the distance run was indeed 40 yards. There’s always the chance that the distance was not properly marked. When teams do individual private workouts for teams, often times the scout has not brought the necessary tool to mark off the distance. There’s also the chance that player’s will cheat the distance. I have first hand knowledge of a player starting in front of the starting point to run a forty, fully taking advantage of the fact that there was only one scout on hand and that he could not tell if the player was indeed starting at the correct mark. Another problem is the angle of the surface. There are plenty of practice fields across the country that have a slope. Coaches see great value in having their players run on a slight decline to record eye popping times. Savvy scouts will insist that players run up one way and then down the other. An average of the two times is taken to get the most accurate time. One other problem is that some players run the 40 yard dash with cleats on grass while other places have their players run on a synthetic track with spikes on. Guess who would record the fastest time.

In my personal experiences, I have seen some sub 4.3 forty yard dashes in my time. Kevin Williams of the University of Miami (1989-92) ran a 4.28 forty yard dash before my own eyes. Former Hurricanes Tremain Mack (4.25) and Al Shipman (4.27) ran sub 4.3 forties before my own eyes. Track star Henry Neal recorded a 4.20 forty yard dash before my own eyes in a workout for the Miami Dolphins in 1996. The Dolphins did not sign Neal since his football background was quite limited. I never watched him run an actual 40 yard dash but after having to cover him in training camp, I am inclined to believe every second of Joey Galloway’s reported 4.18 forty yard dash.

One player that is not on the list is Bob Hayes of the Dallas Cowboys. No doubt, Hayes was one of the fastest men, if not

Bullet Bob Hayes

Bullet Bob Hayes

the fastest man to put on an NFL uniform. However, as it relates to the 40 yard dash, I could find no time recorded for this Olympic Gold medalist. Hayes has the fastest 100 meter time for an NFL player at 10.05. Should current Florida Gator Jeffery Demps make it to the NFL for any significant amount of time, he will own the fastest time at 10.01. Demps ran this as a high schooler and owns the national prep record for the event.

The fastest recorded 40 yard split on record belongs to Olympian Maurice Greene. During his World Record 60 meter run of 6.33, a mark that still exists, Green crossed the 40 yard mark at 4.18. Remembering that .25 seconds must be subtracted from that time due to Accu-track timing and you come up with a 40 yard dash time of 3.93 seconds. What’s the problem with that time? It was run on an indoor track with spikes on giving the runner an advantage over the football players who have run on grass with cleats.

In an effort to centralize all the reported 40 yard dash times. I will start what we call the SUB 4.3 Club. I will attempt to keep a running record of the sub 4.3 forty yard dashes and their owners in this list. I will refrain from adding times of the ridiculous and will do some research on all times that qualify. I will say one thing, can you web surfers stop reporting that Deion Sanders ran a 4.57 forty yard dash backwards. That’s just flat out ridiculous.

Enjoy the following list of reported (and somewhat believable) 40 yard dashes run under 4.3 seconds. We will continue to add on to this list over time. Did I miss someone? Comment on this article and make your case. Please do not quote high school forty yard dash times. Nothing against them, let’s just stick to college and pro football right now.

Listings in bold are new ones added since last update.

The Official Unofficial Sub 4.3 Forty Yard Dash List at Gridironstuds.com
1 Bo Jackson Auburn Tigers 4.12
2 Michael Bennett Minnesota Vikings 4.13
3 Alexander Wright Dallas Cowboys 4.14
4 Darrell Green Washington Redskins 4.15
5 Ahman Green Nebraska Cornhuskers 4.17
6 Joey Galloway Ohio St. Buckeyes 4.18
7 Terrell Sinkfield Northern Iowa 4.19
8 Henry Neal Blinn JC 4.2
9 Onterio McCalebb Auburn Tigers 4.21
10 Deion Sanders Florida St. Seminoles 4.21
11 Kevin Curtis Utah St. Aggies 4.21
12 Don Beebe Buffalo Bills 4.21
13 Donte Stallworth Tennessee Volunteers 4.22
14 Willie Parker North Carolina Tar Heels 4.23
15 Clayton Holmes Dallas Cowboys 4.23
16 Rondel Melendez Eastern Kentucky (1999) 4.24
17 Chris Johnson East Carolina Pirates 4.24
18 Taylor Mays USC 4.24
19 Marquis Goodwin Texas Longhorns 4.25
20 Tavon Austin West Virginia 4.25
21 Steve Williams California 4.25
22 Ike Taylor Pittsburgh Steelers 4.25
23 Randy Moss Marshall University 4.25
24 Michael Vick Virginia Tech Hokies 4.25
25 Jerome Mathis Hampton 4.25
26 Sam Shields University of Miami (Packers) 4.25
27 Dri Archer Kent St. 4.26    added  2/26/14
28 Devin Hester University of Miami 4.27
29 Darren McFadden Arkansas Razorbacks 4.27
30 James Jett West Virginia 4.27
31 Jacoby Ford Clemson Tigers 4.27
32 Trindon Holliday LSU 4.27
33 DeMarcus Van Dyke University of Miami 4.28
34 Kevin Williams University of Miami 4.28
35 Champ Bailey Georgia Bulldogs 4.28
36 CJ Spiller Clemson Tigers 4.28
37 Raghib Ismail Notre Dame Fighting Irish 4.28
38 Walter Sutton SW Minnesota St. 4.28
39 Rod Woodson Purdue Boilermakers 4.28
40 Standord Routt University of Houston (2005) 4.29
41 Fabian Washington Nebraska Cornhuskers 4.29
42 Laveranues Coles Florida St. Seminoles 4.29
43 James Williams Fresno St. 4.29
44 Gaston Green UCLA 4.29
45 Johnny Knox Abiliene Christian (Chi. Bears) 4.29


Note Updated 1/11/12:
Three new additions to the list.  Clayton Holmes as prompted by a visitor named Kane who reminded me about the speedster front the Cowboys.  After some research I was satisfied that he did indeed run a 4.23 forty yard dash during him time with the Cowboys.  The other two additions came from an interview I happened to view from Tom Shaw who has trained some of the fastest men that have ever played and continue to play in the NFL.  Ike Taylor of the Steelers who Shaw says ran a 4.25 coming into the NFL.  Shaw also said Taylor once ran a 4.18 but I will stick with the 4.25 run before pro scouts.   Shaw also mentioned how Rod Woodson ran a 4.28 at the NFL combine.  I don’t know how that fact escaped me but it has escaped me no longer.  So three new additions.

Note Updated 2/26/14:  While the 2013 combine added four new members to our list, 2014 was not as generous. Kent St.’s Dri Archer was the only member of this year’s combine to go sub 4.3 and thus get added to the list.  Archer listed at 5’7 3/4″ completed his dash in 18 steps which equals 6’5″ Calvin Johnson’s mark for the fewest amount of steps for the 40 yard dash at the combine.  That is truly amazing power in his strides. With Archer, the list now grows to 45 in total.

Note Updated 2/25/13: 2013 Combine has done well to add to our growing list. First Tavon Austin blazed up the Indy track with an effort-less 4.25.  Then Texas WR Marquis Goodwin refused to be outdone and posted up his own 4.25.  Auburn’s Onterio McCalebb made them both sit down with his hand timed 4.21.  Only Goodwin remained under 4.3 when the official times released as he ended up with 4.27.  McCalebb and Austin both ended up with 4.34 official 40 times.  I do count hand times for this list so all three make it.

Note Updated 3/05/13: Added Steve Williams from California who ran an unofficial 4.25 at the combine. Also added former Northern Iowa WR Terrell Sinkfield who ran a 4.19 at Minnesota U’s Pro Day on 3/04/13.  Here’s an article discussing Sinkfield’s run.

Notes Updated 3/05/11: Two new additions to the list.  I added the 4.20 forty yard dash that I witnessed Henry Neal run at a Dolphin tryout in 1996.  I remember it well because I had to run my 40 after his.  My 4.44 clocking seemed pedestrian after Henry mowed the lawn for the scouts.  Neal was not a football player but a track star that was well put together.  He was 5’9″ 177  of all muscle.  Perhaps some Dolphin scout saw him on his travels and flew him in for the workout.

The other addition is Walter Sutton.  I was reminded of this by an ex-Miami teammate of mind named Kelvin Harris who resides from the Fort Myers area that Walter Sutton also came from.  Sutton was drafted in the 4th round in 1991 by the Atlanta Falcons.  Sutton unfortunately was not able to start his NFL career because he was prosecuted on a drug dealing charge.  Sutton attended SW Minnesota St. and the best way to get drafted that high out of a school that size is to have speed and Walter did clocking a 4.28 forty for the Falcons in a pre draft workout.

Notes Updated 3/02/11: DeMarcus Van Dyke is the latest addition to the list after clocking a 4.28 at the NFL combine.  That’s about as legit as it gets.  Van Dyke is the 4th Miami Hurricane to make the list.

Notes Updated 1/24/11: Foolish me for not updating this sooner with Sam Shield’s 40 time since I witnessed it myself on his pro timing day last spring.  While I still had my mouth open from his 11’3″ broad jump where he seemingly got stuck in the air,  I watch Shields go out and chew up the first 40 yards like a 6 year old chews up a pack of bubbilicious.  He then smoothly coasted through the 2nd twenty and had scouts huddling up like they were calling a play on 4th and 1.   There were times all over the place ranging from 4.30 to 4.22 but the one most heard was 4.25 so that’s what I went with.  Johnny Knox is also deserving to be on this list. Knox, from the Bears, ran a 4.34 at the combine when he was coming out but he also ran on his pro timing day and there are may reports that put his time in the 4.26-4.29 range.  4.29 is what I have heard the most,  so that is what I went with.

Notes Updated: 3/04/10: USC’s Taylor Mays has been added to the list with his unofficial 4.24 at the NFL Combine.  Eventhough his official time was a 4.43,  I must include Mays’ time since several of the times on the list are hand times just like his.  Pretty amazing given Mays size (6’3″, 230 lbs.).  I may say that’s outside of Bo Jackson’s time,  Mays’ may be the most impressive when you take in the size factor.  Trindon Holliday has also been added for his unofficial 4.27 run at the combine on 3/01/10.

Notes Updated 3/01/10: Clemson’s Jacoby Ford and CJ Spiller were added to the list today.  Ford’s time at the Indianapolis NFL combine was a 4.27 unofficially and 4.28 officially.  CJ Spiller’s unofficial time was also a 4.28 but his official time ended up being a 4.37.  I am taking the 4.28 because there are many times on this list that are unofficial hand times.  Any way you look at it,  CJ Spiller can fly.

Notes Updated 1/04/09: Who knew this article would become so popular.  This has ended up being one of the most popular sports articles on the Internet since I wrote.  Just goes to show how much of a hot topic 40 yard dash times are.  I have received so many comments and emails about 40 yard dash times.  Please understand this 40 yard dash list is an “official” list meaning the times on it can be verified.  I am sure there have been some sub 4.3′s run out there but they have been done in a way that can not be verified.  There are a 100 stories about some boy name “D-Rock” who ran a 4.17 with some high tops on at lunch time on the grass field.  I can’t put those times on there.  There are even times that may be closer to official that I won’t even include.  For instance,  anyone who has seen C.J. Spiller or Jacoby Ford from Clemson or Trindon Holliday from LSU run could guess that these guys probably run sub 4.3 forty’s.  I am sure they have probably run them for some coach or strength and conditioning guy.  In fact,  Ford is said to have run a 4.26 at Clemson.  Holliday’s high school coach claims he ran a 4.27 but I am suspicious of high school forty yard dash times.  I need to tell you that up front.  Spiller has an alleged low time of 4.28.  However,  he also has a high time of 4.47.  On situations like that,  I will just wait to see what they run at the combine or in their private NFL workouts.  Sometimes,  they don’t hit the times you expect them to hit.

NOTE: Some of the times listed above may have been run on a track with spikes on. In cases where I know that to be true, those players are excluded from this list. Football is not played on a synthetic rubber surface with track spikes on. DeAngelo Hall’s reported 4.15 on Virginia Tech’s indoor track when he was a junior in college would be an example of that.

Is there someone missing from the list? Comment on this article with name and the time. I will check it out and add it if research dictates that it should be there. Comment on this article.


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Week One College Football Observations

September 1st, 2013

Random observations from this weekend’s college football action thus far:

South Carolina and Steve Spurrier are building something quite nice up in Columbia.  They have a legitimate shot in the East to win the title but hey it’s week one.  North Carolina is going to be a solid team in the ACC this season as I suspected.  Always good when you have a senior quarterback.

Mississippi / Vanderbilt was a thrilling game to watch.  Both teams should have winning seasons and are doing their part to add to the depth in the SEC conference.  Defense may be the reason why neither team wins as many games as they want to.

 USC’s struggle with Hawaii was a bit of an eye opener. Can anyone tell me the last dual quarterback system that worked?  Nevertheless, that’s week one and the game was in Hawaii which has the power to make you bring less than your best.

The 52-51 final score in the Rutgers / Fresno St. game was indeed a surprise.  Expected Rutgers to play better defense than that.  Derek Carr, David’s younger brother throws for 470. Is he the best Carr in the driveway?  Rutgers needs to tighten up their air patrol pronto!

Michigan St. still lacking that explosive element in their offense.  It’s going to cost them this season.  Teams are going to drag them into a track meet and they won’t have their spikes.

Didn’t expect to learn much from Miami’s game vs. Florida Atlantic on Friday and this remains true. I am assuming that Golden and staff did not want to show much offensively and that led to them failing to reach the 40 or 50 point barrier that fans wanted to see.  Canes fans will get a clearer picture come this Saturday for sure.

Gotta love the story of Baker Mayfield the Texas Tech walk on freshman quarterback who went out on Friday Night and out dueled former 5-star recruit and Texas commit turned SMU Mustang from the same high school, Garrett Gilbert.  Mayfield put up 5 TDs and 400 + yards in Tech’s 41-23 win over SMU.  Mayfield had 67 touchdowns in high school but only three offers of which,  Texas Tech was not one of them. Sometimes production actually matters folks!  That I think Kliff Kingsbury was just trying to show off.

Great debut for Wisconsin’s Garry Anderson.  The man is a great coach and folks need to get used to Wisconsin doing a whole lot of winning.  Shout out to Plantation HS, Florida product Sojurn Shelton snagging a pick in his first college football game.

Michigan certainly flexed their muscle against Central Michigan 59-9.  Apparently trying to send a message to the team down South who struggled with Buffalo in their opener.

Northern Illinois continuing to show that parity exists in college football knocking off Iowa 30-27.  Kirk Ferentz need not add layers to his clothing when the weather turns cold in Iowa, his hot seat will take care of him.

Anyone else surprised by Notre Dame’s mere 28-6 win over Temple.  Not sure what to make of it.

And the Tide just keep rolling along.  Alabama is competing against themselves at this point.  Yes, I know this is totally knee jerk coming off of week one but their defense is just smothersome if I can use such a word.  That means beating them is going to be quite the chore. The Heisman Trophy type RB and QB plus the lights out receiver only adds to the problem.

Bobby Petrino can coach. I hope Hilltopper fans enjoy his one or two years at Western Kentucky.

Johnny Manziel, as much as I want to defend him, looks like a train wreck. His ability to consistently make the wrong decision is disappointing. Who’s this kid’s idol? Jim McMahon?

Florida, like Miami, apparently decided to play possum.  No surprise really that neither team covered the spread ahead of their meeting next week.  Both teams looked to be offensively challenged in their opener.

Clemson and Georgia gave the fans what they wanted.  Georgia’s stable of running backs seems endless.  Clemson’s offensive pressure seems undying.  Would love to see them matched up against Bama’s defense.  The game was worth the price of admission and who can’t love the atmosphere in Death Valley on game day.

Man how’s LSU gonna just score 37 points like that without warning somebody?.  The Tigers will do do something foolish like score 20 something against Nicholls St. then hang 37 on TCU like a family photo in a new home.  LSU brings some offense this season then I could be wrong about their SEC fate for 2013.  TCU, better tighten up, you are not in the Mountain West anymore.

Oregon’s scoreboard operator should consider using PEDs.  It’s going to be like that this year.

Now for the College Football parity report:

Towson 33  Connecticut 18
North Dakota St. 24  Kansas St. 21
Northern Illinois 30  Iowa 27
Cincinnati 42  Purdue 7
Illinois 42  Southern Illinois 34
West Virginia 24  William & Mary 17
Eastern Washington 49  Oregon St. 46
McNeese St. 53  South Florida 21
Northern Iowa 28  Iowa St. 20
Eastern Illinois 40  San Diego St. 19

Stop fooling yourself, parity in college football is here.

 

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GridironStuds Show 2012 Bowl Game Picks

December 28th, 2012

Here are the 2012 bowl game picks for GridironStuds Show host Chad Wilson and co-host Emil Calomino.  Listen to the Gridironstuds Show weekdays at 10 A.M. set: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/the-gridiron-studs-show:

Chad’s Bowl Picks
Baylor (+1) over UCLA
Rutgers (+2.5) over Virginia Tech
Georgia Tech (+10) over USC
Michigan (+5.5) over South Carolina
Kansas St. (+9.5) over Oregon
Emil’s Bowl Picks
Washington (+5) over Boise St.
Wisconsin (+6.5) over Stanford
Georgia (-10) over Nebraska
Florida (-13.5) over Louisville
Notre Dame (+9.5) over Alabama

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Wilson’s ACC & Big Ten 2012 Predictions

August 23rd, 2012

by: Chad Wilson – Editor in Chief Gridironstuds.com Blog

As laid out on the Gridiron Studs Show on August 23rd, here are Chad Wilson’s ACC and Big-10 Predictions.  Some of the teams listed below may have more games than the record indicates.  The record indicated is a general prediction on roughly what I predict will be final records and place in the standings for the individual teams in the conferences.

ACC Big-10
Atlantic Legends
Florida St. 10-2 Michigan 10-2
NC State 9-3 Nebraska 8-4
Clemson 8-5 Michigan St. 7-5
Boston College 6-6 Iowa 7-5
Wake Forest 5-7 Northwestern 6-6
Maryland 4-8 Minnesota 4-8
Coastal Leaders
Virginia Tech 8-4 Wisconsin 10-2
Miami 7-5 Ohio St. 9-3
Georgia Tech 6-6 Purdue 5-7
North Carolina 6-6 Illinois 5-7
Virginia 5-7 Indiana 5-7
Duke 3-9 Penn St. 4-8

 


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The Best College Football Playoff System Ever Designed

May 11th, 2012

This article is part II to an article I wrote a year ago about the most sensible way to align the teams in Division I college football to allow for a workable format for a playoff system.

In this article,  not only do I show you the way the conference can be broken up with regional sense but I also walk you through how the conference championship games would look,  how the playoff brackets would be set and how the bowl games can still be played in conjunction with this system.  In addition,  I lay out the dates that each event could take place and show how it can all be worked into the same amount of time that is currently being allotted for the current BCS system.

Just as a reference point,  I am posting my suggestion for conference alignments once again as I will need to point back to it in explaining the other aspects of the plan.  You will notice that the alignments have a regional feel and quality to it.  You will also notice that I do not lump all the mid-tier teams into a conference together.  The mid-tier teams are mixed in amongst others.  Those programs’ desires to obtain a championship will promote parity.

Each team each year would play every team in their division once and then matchup against a division from another conference for their remaining games.  For example.  In 2011 the Southern Conference East Division would play all the teams from Southwest Conference West Division for their non-conference games.  This would be rotated each year and no conference division would play the other division within their own conference.  So, in no given year would the Eastern Division of the Southern Conference play the teams in the Western Division Southern Conference for their non-divisional games.

Your overall record would be used to determine division winners with record within the division to be used as tiebreakers.

In this plan,  every team plays 11 regular season games.

Conference Alignments

East Region West Region
Southern Conference Southwest Conference
Miami Alabama LSU Tex A&M
FSU Florida TCU Texas
Georgia Tech Georgia Baylor Houston
FAU USF Louisiana Tech SMU
UCF Troy St. Rice N. Texas
FIU UAB ULL Arkansas St.
Southeast Conference Mid-American Conference
Auburn South Carolina Iowa Pittsburgh
Tennessee Clemson Purdue Illinois
Miss. St. Ole Miss. Notre Dame Missouri
Memphis Vanderbilt Iowa St. Indiana
S. Miss. Tulane Ball St. Miami Ohio
Mid. Ten. St. Lou. Monroe Bowling Green Marshall
Northeastern Conference Midwestern Conference
Penn St. Ohio St. Oklahoma Nebraska
Boston College U.Conn Oklahoma St. Arkansas
Syracuse Cincinnati Colorado Kansas
Navy Rutgers Colorado St. Kansas St.
Army Temple Tulsa Wyoming
Buffalo Kent. St. Air Force Idaho
Mideastern Conference Mountain West Conference
Virginia Tech North Carolina Texas Tech Boise St.
Virginia Wake Forest Arizona BYU
West Virginia NC State Arizona St. Utah
Louisville Maryland UNLV Nevada
Kentucky East Carolina New Mexico Utah St.
W. Kentucky Duke New Mexico St. Utep
Northern Lakes Conference Western Conference
Wiconsin Michigan Oregon California
Minnesota Michigan St. Oregon St. Stanford
Toledo Northwestern Washington USC
W. Michigan Eastern Michigan Washington St. UCLA
C. Michigan N. Illinois San Jose St. Hawaii
Akron Ohio Fresno St. San Diego St.

Below I have used the strength and records of the teams during the 2011 season to construct a hypothetical set of conference championship games to demonstrate how the system would work.  Every conference would have a championship game pitting the teams with the best records from each division against each other.   See what that would look like below.

Conference Championship Games

Conference Championship Games
East Region Winner
N23 Southern Conference Florida St. Alabama Alabama
N23 Southeast Conference Auburn South Carolina South carolina
N24 Northeastern Conference Penn St. Ohio St. Penn St.
N24 Mideastern Conference Virginia Tech NC State Virginia Tech
N24 Northern Lakes Conference Wisconsin Michigan Wisconsin
West Region
N23 Southwest Conference LSU Texas LSU
N23 Mid-American Conference Notre Dame Missouri Notre Dame
N24 Midwestern Conference Oklahoma St. Arkansas Oklahoma St.
N24 Mountain West Conerence Arizona St. Boise St. Boise St.
N24 Western Conference Oregon Stanford Oregon

Now that we know who are playoff teams are after the conference championships,  we can now begin filling our bowl games with their match ups.  In my system,  bowl match ups are predetermined by the place in which teams finished within their respective conferences.  So,  for instance, the Humanitarian Bowl each year would host the Southern Conference East Division 3rd place finisher against the Southwest Conference East Division 3rd place finisher.  Under the heading “Conference Matchup” you will see abbreviations.  This was done to preserve space.  However,  the abbreviations are for the conferences with divisions and the numbers stand for the place in which team finished.  So SECE-2 would stand for Southeast Conference East Division 2nd place finisher.  Moving further down the bowl list NECrun would stand for the Northeast Conference runner-up which would be the team that lost the conference championship game.   In the bigger bowl games like the Cotton Bowl for example,  you see ERDL1 v. WRDL1.   This provides for losers of the playoff games to play in bowl games.  So ERDL1 would mean East Region Round 1 loser v. WRDL1 West Region round 1 loser.

Bowl Game Matchups

 date  Bowl Games  Conference Matchup Hypothetical 2011 matchups
1 D11 Humanitarian SCE-3 v. SWCE-3 Miami TCU
2 D11 New Orleans SCW-3 v. SWCW-3 Florida Texas A&M
3 D11 St. Petersburg SECE-3 v. MACE-3 Mississippi St. Purdue
4 D12 Las Vegas SECW-3 v. MACW-3 Vanderbilt Pittsburgh
5 D12 Poinsettia Bowl NECE-3 v. MWCE-3 Syracuse Tulsa
6 D13 Hawaii Bowl NECW-3 v. MWCW-3 Rutgers Nebraska
7 D13 Little Caesars Bowl MECE-3 v. MWCE-3 Virginia Arizona
8 D13 Independence Bowl MECW-3 v. MWCW-3 Wake Forest Utah
9 D14 Champs Sports NLCE-3 v. WCE-3 Western Michigan Washington St.
11 D14 Insight NLCW-3 v. WCW-3 N. Illinois California
12 D18 Military Bowl SCE-2 v. SWCE-2 Georgia Tech Baylor
13 D18 Texas Bowl SCW-2 v. SWCW-2 Georgia Houston
14 D18 Alamo Bowl SECE-2 v. MACE-2 Southern Miss. Iowa
15 D19 Armed Forces Bowl SECW-2 v. MACW-2 Clemson Illinois
16 D19 Music City Bowl NECE-2 v. MWCE-2 Boston College Oklahoma
17 D20 Holiday Bowl NECW-2 v. MWCW-2 Cincinnati Kansas St.
18 D20 Car Care Bowl MECE-2 v. MWCE-2 West Virginia Texas Tech
19 D20 Sun Bowl MECW-2 v. MWCW-2 North Carolina BYU
20 D21 Liberty Bowl NLCE-2 v. WCE-2 Toledo Washington
21 D21 Chick-fil-A Bowl NLCW-2 v. WCW-2 Michigan St. USC
22 D27 Outback Bowl SECrun v. MACrun Florida St. Texas
23 D28 Capital One Bowl NECrun v. MWCrun Ohio St. Missouri
24 D29 Gator Bowl MECrun v. MtWCrun NC State Arizona St.
25 J1 Compass Bowl ERD1L v. WRD1L Penn St. Notre Dame
26 J1 Cotton Bowl ERDL1 v. WRD1L Michigan Stanford
27 J1 Rose Bowl ERD1L v. WRD1L Auburn Arkansas
28 J2 Fiesta Bowl ERD2L v. WRD2L South Carolina Boise St.
29 J3 Orange Bowl ERD2L v. WRD2L Virginia Tech Oregon
30 J4 Sugar Bowl ERD3L v. WRD3L Wisconsin Oklahoma St.
31 J8 National Championship ERD3W v. WRD3W Alabama LSU

Now that we have that out of the way,  we can take a look at what the playoff brackets look like.  In this proposed system you have a 14 team playoff. You get your Top 10 teams from the conference championship games and you also get two wildcard teams from the East Region along with two wildcard teams from the West Region.  You select those wildcard teams as the two highest ranked teams in East Region that lost their championship games.  If you end up with situation where you don’t have ranked conference losers than you set up some parameters for selection and tiebreaker to take the two next best teams from each region that weren’t champions.  The majority of the time you will end up with ranked teams that lost championship games.

The highest ranked team in the East Region and the West Region would get first round byes while everyone else would play week one.  From there you carry through the normal course of a bracket playoff system and illustrated below.  The notations at the top with a letter and number stand for the date in which the games would take place.  So D15 stands for Dccember 15th.

Playoff Brackets

Playoff Brackets
D8 D15 D22 J8
Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Championship
East Region
Alabama Alabama
Bye
Alabama
South Carolina South Carolina
Penn St. Alabama
Virginia Tech Virginia Tech
Michigan
Wisconsin
Wisconsin Wisconsin
Auburn
West Region
LSU LSU
Bye
LSU
Notre Dame
Boise St. Boise St.
LSU
Oklahoma St. Oklahoma St.
Stanford
Oklahoma St.
Oregon Oregon
Arkansas

In the end,  each team plays 11 regular season games.  The two teams that play in the championship game would have either played 14 or 15 games at the end of the season.  You have teams now playing 13 and 14 games in a season.  So there’s no extra wear and tear to worry about.

I will continue to expand on this as questions and comments are received about the workings of this system.  This system makes the most sense to me.  By all means, share your thoughts.

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Gridironstuds.com Is Now on the Radio Talking College Football Recruiting, High School Football, NFL and more

May 11th, 2012

Now you can listen to Gridironstuds.com on your computer and call in to have a discussion.  Gridironstuds.com founder Chad Wilson hosts a daily radio show on BlogTalkRadio.com where he discusses issues in the World of football coming from the NFL, college football, high school and youth football plus college football recruiting.  Check out the Gridiron Studs Show daily from Noon to 1 P.M. set on Blog Talk Radio.   Click here for the Show’s home page or listen to past shows using the player located in the upper right hand corner of this page


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Many College Football Signees Fail to Make it to School They Signed With

May 4th, 2012

We have all seen the hoopla that surrounds National Signing Day.  Espn gives you 24 hour coverage seemingly on that date in February.  The major recruiting sites are abuzz for the month leading up to and the month after the signing date.  There’s much speculation about where the top recruits will sign and much analysis of each school’s signing class after the letter of intent day.  However,  what gets lost in the shuffle is the number of players from those signing classes that don’t make it on campus at least for their freshman year.

After reading a story that one of the University of Miami’s 2012 recruits,  WR Angelo Louis Jean may have to enter a prep school,  I began wondering how many athletes like Jean each year fall into this category.  In trying to research this topic,  I found very little in terms of numbers regarding this.  I am assuming and this may be incorrectly,  that these numbers are not kept but I would like it if they were. I have seen it happen all too often.  After all of the celebration of a scholarship signing we often miss the news that the player can’t attend the school.  It’s almost like celebrating a Lotto Jackpot win and finding out that the number on the promotional check was 50% less than what the winner received (before taxes wise guys!).

Prep schools are here for this purpose but it seemed back in my day that players headed to prep school didn’t sign letters of intent with major colleges.  Also,  there weren’t cameras present at signing days unless you were one of the top 3 elite players in the county. This is my way of telling you that I am getting old.  What many people don’t realize is that a number of these players that head to the prep schools don’t end up going to the school they originally signed with.  The players at the prep school can be recruited by anyone else while there.  Prep schools have incentives to protect the “property” of the universities that park players in their program but that does not always happen.

Some players also fail to meet the requirements at a prep school and never end up going to college.  How often is that reported and where does that fit into the grade recruiting analysts give these college recruiting classes?  I have heard of far too many cases where players that were picking up hats in front of a large auditorium crowd and television audience never put on the uniform that matches the hat.  I will continue to research this phenomenon and hunt down some numbers.  The only numbers I could readily find was research that said 40% of the 2012 class would have failed to meet the entry requirements that will be put in place in 2016.  A quick look at the new requirements shows that a recruit will need a minimum 2.3 GPA (up from 2.0) and they will need to have completed at least 10 of the required 16 units of core classes by the start of their senior year.    So, with this in mind,  we could see even more desks being added to prep schools across the country if athletes don’t get more serious about their education.

Stay tuned,  more to come on this topic for sure.

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The Most Sensible Alignment of College Football Conferences Ever Posted

April 23rd, 2012

West Virginia's Geno Smith

What a sneaky title this is.  While the main premise of this article is to propose a more logical realignment of the current college football conferences,  it is also a sneaky way to slip in yet another Division I playoff format.  This way we can do something logical in this sport like crown a champion by what happens on the field.

My conference realignments serves to group college football programs into regional areas (another thing that makes sense but isn’t done).  It also serves to include all college football teams in the quest for the championship and not eliminate programs by lumping all the 2nd tier schools into one conference.

With 120 Division I-A teams,  this is the perfect time and perfect number for something like this to be done.  With 120 teams,  it is now possible to have 10 college conference consisting of 12 teams.   This allows every conference to have a championship game.  Just the very thought of that should excite every college football fan as well as the teams, players and coaches.

Grouping the teams by region creates awesome rivalries that will mean something.  Of course some previous conference rivalries will be lost but provisions can be made for every program’s biggest rivalry to remain in tact.  Also the regional conference groupings set up a great situation for a playoff system that makes sense.

My proposal calls for a West Region and an East Region with five conferences in each region.  Each conference will have six teams on one side and six on the other.  Initially,  the split can be done to have balance of program strength between each side.  A realignment of the conference splits can be done every three to four years to maintain the balance between both sides of each conference.  The realignment will be based by the performance of each team over the previous three to four years.

So before I dive headlong into the intricacies of this realignment along with offering rebuttals to arguments people may have,  allow me to reveal to you the proposed conferences and their teams.   Of course,  the names of the conferences can be tinkered with but I went with made most sense at the time I put them together.

I placed teams in each sides of the conference based on my recollection of their recent historical performance in college football.  I will continue this article after the tables showing the realigned conferences with the meat and potatoes of how this proposal will improve college football to levels never before seen.

Here they are:

East Region West Region
Southern Conference Southwest Conference
Miami Alabama LSU Tex A&M
FSU Florida TCU Texas
Georgia Tech Georgia Baylor Houston
FAU USF Louisiana Tech SMU
UCF Troy St. Rice N. Texas
FIU UAB ULL Arkansas St.
Southeast Conference Mid-American Conference
Auburn South Carolina Iowa Pittsburgh
Tennessee Clemson Purdue Illinois
Miss. St. Ole Miss. Notre Dame Missouri
Memphis Vanderbilt Iowa St. Indiana
S. Miss. Tulane Ball St. Miami Ohio
Mid. Ten. St. Lou. Monroe Bowling Green Marshall
Northeastern Conference Midwestern Conference
Penn St. Ohio St. Oklahoma Nebraska
Boston College U.Conn Oklahoma St. Arkansas
Syracuse Cincinnati Colorado Kansas
Navy Rutgers Colorado St. Kansas St.
Army Temple Tulsa Wyoming
Buffalo Kent. St. Air Force Idaho
Mideastern Conference Mountain West Conference
Virginia Tech North Carolina Texas Tech Boise St.
Virginia Wake Forest Arizona BYU
West Virginia NC State Arizona St. Utah
Louisville Maryland UNLV Nevada
Kentucky East Carolina New Mexico Utah St.
W. Kentucky Duke New Mexico St. Utep
Northern Lakes Conference Western Conference
Wiconsin Michigan Oregon California
Minnesota Michigan St. Oregon St. Stanford
Toledo Northwestern Washington USC
W. Michigan Eastern Michigan Washington St. UCLA
C. Michigan N. Illinois San Jose St. Hawaii
Akron Ohio Fresno St. San Diego St.

Now let’s talk about the realignments, scheduling, competition and the all important playoff system.

No more independents

Enough with the flying solo.  The NCAA puts their foot down on a lot of things when it comes to college football but continue to get pushed around on other very important things.  Tell Notre Dame the gig is up and that if you want any shot at playing for a national title,  you have to take your conference assignment.  Yes,  I propose that the NCAA become Nazis with regard to this.  They also need to say the same to Army and Navy.  Everyone’s in a conference.  That’s as fair as fair can get.

Conference strengths

There’s no way to make every conference have equal strength but this is as close as you can get.  At first glance it looks like Wisconsin would have an easy path to the conference title game each year but who knows if one or more of the other teams in their conference don’t improve dramatically when the prize of a national title becomes real.  There is no more MAC conference or Conference USA or WAC where we lump in all of the weaker programs and have the king of that conference crying about how they don’t have a chance for a title.  Those smaller programs are spread throughout the conferences.   I am sure someone will come with the argument that putting those programs in with bigger programs will keep them away from ever winning a conference title.  My reply is that these teams are winning conference titles now and the ones who are winning titles should welcome the chance to step it up against the big boys.  In looking at the alignments,  there is a tremendous amount of balance between them.

Regional Bragging Rights

Setting these conferences up soley by geographical location sets up a situation where each region can develop a sense of pride about the way they play football. Also a  program can take pride in knowing that they reign supreme over a conference that is comprised entirely of teams within a small radius of their location.  No more Lousiana Tech battling Hawaii in a Western Athletic Conference game.

But What About the Loss of Conference Rivalries?

What about it?  When college football programs bolt from one conference to another in search of better television deals or revenue sharing,  no one seems to care about destruction of conference rivalries.  I was watching the 30 for 30 special on ESPN about “The Death of SMU” and remembered that there was once a conference called the SWAC. There was also a Metro-Conference.  Conferences come and go and new rivalries get formed.  I think rivalries are more powerful when they occur between teams in close proximity to each other.  There’s the chance that every week will be emotional in these conferences.

Scheduling

With six teams on each side of each conference,  every team will have five conference division games.  I am then proposing that we take a page out of the NFL book and make the out of conference games pit one conference against another.  So, for instance,  Florida St. would play conference division members Miami, Georgia Tech, FAU, UCF and FIU equaling five games and then have another six games against the members of one side of the Southwest Conference.   So for example they would play Texas A&M, Texas, Houston, SMU, N. Texas and Arkansas St..  That would give them 11 and everyone else 11 games.  Every program will also have a 12th game which would be used for rivalry games, historical games, interesting matchups etc.   So for example,  Texas Tech,  who is no longer in a conference with Texas can have their last game be against Texas if the two schools want to preserve some type of rivalry.

Now the Playoffs

To have a playoff system under this alignment,  we would need either 14 or 16 teams from each region to enter the playoffs.  I am proposing 14 teams from each region and issue bye weeks in the first round to a team from each region.  Before we get to the playoffs though,  every conference would have their championship game.  The winner of each division within a conference would meet at the end of the year to determine a champion.   Once that has been done we then issue a first round bye in the East Region to the highest ranked conference champion and then also do the same for the highest ranked conference champion in the West Region.   We would then also have the need to select two wild card playoff participants from each region.  I propose that the two highest ranking conference runner ups from each region be selected as playoff wildcards.  So you now see two ways in which the ranking system remains relevant in how we arrive at a champion.  After the teams with byes,  the next two highest ranked conference champs would face the two wild cards.  The other game would pit a conference champ against another conference champ.  So let’s see what that would look like.  I am going to use the 2010 season as an example and make some hypothetical assumptions about who would win the conference title games:

Conference Title games:

East Region

Southern Conference: #16 Alabama defeats #23 Florida St.
Southeast Conference: #1 Auburn defeats #20 South Carolina
Northeast Conference: #6 Ohio St. defeats Boston College
Mideastern Conference: #11 Virginia Tech defeats North Carolina
Northern Lakes Conference: #4 Wisconsin defeats #7 Michigan St.

West Region

Southwest Conference: #3 TCU defeats #18 Texas A&M
Mid-American Conference: #14 Missouri defeats Iowa
Midwestern Conference: #8 Oklahoma defeats #9 Arkanasas
Mountain West Conference: #10 Boise St. defeats Arizona
Western Conference: #2 Oregon defeats #4 Stanford

So here’s what the playoff brackets would look like.  Some quick notes, in seeding the regions for playoffs,  the two top teams would be split between the upper and lower part of the regional brackets.  The rest will be paired high rank vs low rank.  So highest ranking team will play lowest ranked team, etc.  EXCEPT in cases in which the pairing would result in an immediate rematch of a conference title game.

Here’s what the playoff bracket would look like based on my hypothetical conference championship winners:

Eastern Region
Auburn Auburn
Bye Auburn
vs
Alabama Michigan St.
wc Michigan St. Auburn
Ohio St. Ohio St.. vs
Virginia Tech Wisconsin
vs
Wisconsin Wisconsin
wc South Carolina
Western Region
Oregon Oregon
Bye Oregon
vs
Boise St. Stanford
wc Stanford Oregon
TCU TCU vs
wc Missouri Oklahoma
vs
Oklahoma Oklahoma
Arkansas

wc stands for wildcard…

Before anyone says anything like,  after all that we still have the same two teams playing for the championship.  Well,  that only happened because I did the simple thing of having the higher ranked team win each matchup so of course we would end up with the same matchup the BCS has produced.  However,  I think we all know that there would undoubtedly be upsets especially with the potential of a lower ranked team being better than a higher ranked team with the faulty measures used to do rankings.

But What About the Bowls?

The Bowls still remain and there would be a ton of good matchups amongst bowl eligible teams that did not make the playoffs.  For instance:  Miami v. LSU or Oklahoma St. v BYU or Michigan v. Texas Tech and many more.  The bowl committees can set up parameters centered around what conference seed would face what other conference seed in the bowls.  Plenty of awesome matchups would still be available.

A Playoff Would Make the Regular Season Irrelevant

Don’t need to spend much time on this.  Under a system like this,  that would be false.  Each game in each conference has meaning as there is a division and conference race going on every week.  Also,  the rankings have a meaning so teams must play at a high level every week in and week out.

The Perks of this System

Personally,  I would be glued to my television set each week if a system like this were in place.  I would be able to see the playoff and national title picture unfold on the field and not necessarily have to just wait till Sunday evening to see where we are at.  The playoffs would also be riveting.  Every other level of football has playoffs (pop warner, high school and pro football).   This set up is much like the NFL’s which is the best run sport in this country.

What could also happen under this realignment is under performing programs of the past who have wallowed in mediocrity in conferences full of other mediocre teams may now feel the pressure to improve and stay relevant.  This could lend itself to more parity as programs try to avoid embarrassment.

Feedback

I would love to hear from those of you who love college football and have read this proposal.  What could go wrong?  Where would we have a problem with this?  What do you like about it?  Comment away.  I want to hear from you.

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Steve McNair’s (R.I.P.) High School Football and Athletic Career

July 5th, 2009

We are all sadden to learn of the passing of former Titans and Ravens quarterback Steve McNair on July 4, 2009.   With his passing and all of the reflections on his All-Pro career in the NFL,  I was left wondering,  what kind of athlete was Steve McNair in high school.  What I found really surprised me.

McNair obviously brought  a great deal of athleticism to the quarterback position as the signal caller for the Titans,  the team with whom he spent most of his career.   However,  just how great an athlete McNair was in high school was a bit of a surprise.

McNair was a four sport star at Mount Olive High School in Mississippi.   You often hear that said about people but when you look into it you find out that they played four sports.  However,  McNair played and “starred” in four sports at Mount Olive.  He was the star point guard on the basketball team.  On the track team,  McNair ran both short and long distances,  a rear feat indeed.  On the baseball team,  McNair was the team’s shortstop and played outfield.  He did that so well that he was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in 35th round of the 1991 MLB amateur draft.

Football is where McNair did the most damage.  We’ve all come to know McNair as a great quarterback but in high school,  he was equally devastating to opponents as a defensive back.  McNair totaled 15 interceptions in one season and totaled 30 in his high school career to tie the state mark set by Terrell Buckley.  McNair was a stand out high school football player and was named All American by Super Prep.   McNair was recruited by the likes of LSU, Miami, Nebraska, Ohio St. and Mississippi St.  So how did he end up at Alcorn St.?  Well all of the schools previously mentioned wanted McNair to play defensive back.   McNair had his mind set on playing quarterback and Alcorn St. was willing to allow him to do that.   So,  following in his older brother Fred’s footsteps,  McNair went to Alcorn St. and played quarterback.    The rest as they say is history.   McNair threw for over 3,000 yards ever year he started with the Braves and in his senior year,  he put up over 6,000 yards of total offense and accounted for 53 touchdowns.  He ended up finishing third in the Heisman Trophy voting his third season Rashaan Salaam and Ki-Jana Carter.

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Rumors and Wires: Week of June 29

June 30th, 2009

July 2nd

St. Mary’s Prep H.S. (Michigan) safety and Gridironstuds.com member Earnest Thomas has chosen UCLA over Stanford, Illinois, Wisconsin, Penn St., Missouri and Louisville.

Big time running back Harding H.S. (Indiana) recruit Roderick Smith has committed to Ohio St.  over Michigan, Iowa and Michigan St.

June 30th

Gridironstuds.com member Cody Riggs (St. Thomas Aquinas H.S., Florida) is closer to making a decision. Notre Dame, Georgia, Tennessee are the front runners. More on this later.

Gridironstuds.com member Chris Dunkley (Pahokee H.S., Florida) says he’s not committing any time soon so we should all just cool our heels.

Gridironstuds.com member Aramide Oliniyan is in Notre Dame today. You have to wonder if his Duke commit will hold up after this trip.

Gridironstuds.com member Jeff Luc (Treasure Coast H.S., Florida) has planned a second college tour with Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss and Southern Miss being among the schools he will visit.

Timpview H.S. (Utah) safety and Gridironstuds.com member Chris Badger has switched his commitment from Stanford to Notre Dame after being “blown away” by his visit to South Bend.

Stanford soothed their pain from the Chris Badger loss to Notre Dame by securing a commitment from Hamilton H.S. (Arizona) safety Devon Carrington. Carrington also has offers from California, Arizona, Arizona St., Washington, Washington St., Oregon, Notre Dame and Northwestern.

Notre Dame commit and Gridironstuds.com member Lo Wood plans to graduate in December and arrive in South Bend in time for spring football.

Recruits, prospects, let this be a lesson to you. Grade troubles leads to release from scholarship for 2009 USF signee Kamran Joyner. Full story.

Less than one week after securing a commitment from Gulliver Prep (Florida) QB Michael Strauss, Tulane has secured a second QB commitment from New Iberia H.S. (Louisiana) Taylor Bullock. Bullock is a dual threat QB with a 4.6 forty yard dash to his credit. The three year starter was not concerned with Strauss’ commitment “There’s going to be competition wherever you go,” he said.

June 29th

Evan Berry 13 year old brother of Eric Berry has committed to wait for it…. wait for it.. . Tennessee. Go ahead and tell me you are stunned by this.


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