"I've been rehabbing and I felt like it was a good opportunity to show the NFL my skills as far as a receiver and also as a return specialist," Maze said in a telephone interview with the Press-Register Sunday as he prepared to make the trip to Mobile. "And there's no better game to do it in, from what I've heard. I cherish the opportunity, and I'm glad I have the opportunity." Maze said he's "probably about 85 percent" healthy right now and believes he will be able to participate in four days of practice and Saturday's game.
As youngsters growing up in the Washington, D.C., area, their wrestling and horseplay was constant. On the football field at DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Md., they drove each other to be better players. At the University of Alabama, that dynamic continued for the sibling offensive linemen. For the past several months, Arie and Cyrus have found a new playground. They have spent hours together in the training room as both have worked to recover from knee injuries that ended their 2011 seasons. "We grew up together. It's great we can continue that," Arie, the big brother at 6-foot-5 and 335 pounds, said a few days before the Crimson Tide's Bowl Championship Series title game victory over LSU. "It's given us a lot of time to bond and stuff because we're both hurt right now, which is crazy. "He pushes me and I push him. That sibling rivalry continues even in the rehab room."
Twelve teams averaged 200 yards rushing and passing this season: Alabama (214.5 rushing/215.2 passing), Baylor (235.6/351.5), Missouri (244.0/231.5), Nevada (247.5/259.2), Northern Illinois (234.1/241.9), Ohio (200.3/249.0), Oregon (299.2/223.6), Southern Miss (205.1/256.2), Stanford (210.6/278.7), TCU (208.6/231.6), Toledo (213.6/267.7) and Wisconsin (235.6/234.3).
The answer, of course, is that none of them could; they don't have the reputation. And though the SEC skeptics may lament, say, the arbitrary exclusion of Oklahoma State in favor of Alabama… or the fact that the 2007 and 2008 championships claimed by LSU and Florida, respectively, could have both been reasonably split at least four different ways… or that Alabama got an impotent zombie version of Texas after Colt McCoy's early shoulder injury in 2009… it's blindingly obvious that that only one thing can reverse the tidal wave of opinion: Someone else to win the BCS Championship Game. It may not be the best way to measure conference superiority — in fact, considering it's just one team among a dozen, playing in just one game among hundreds, it's probably one of the worst — but it's obviously the only one anyone seems to care about.
Football players can be recruited from the day they set foot in high school until they sign beginning the first Wednesday in February of their senior year. Between those two moments, they have the option to pledge their undying devotion to as many suitors as they wish. At the same time, football coaches juggle a finite number of scholarships and, typically, offer more scholarships than they have to give. So recruits seek the best situation as coaches seek the best class. When those goals align, a commitment happens. When a better deal or a better player comes along, sometimes a decommitment happens. So exactly how often do players break commitments? Inspired by SI.com college basketball writer Luke Winn's Commitment Project, I decided to chart how often the top 100 recruits (using the Rivals.com rankings) in the past five years publicly broke their commitments. I also charted where those players eventually signed and what happened to them after they signed. The numbers were fascinating. (Unlike Winn's project, I did not track how many high schools each recruit attended. This probably will eventually become an issue in football, but at the moment high school-swapping isn't nearly as rampant as it is in basketball.) Of the 500 players ranked in the Rivals100 for the classes of 2007 through 2011, 73 (14.6 percent) decomitted at some point during their recruitment. Of those, 62 (12.4 percent) ultimately signed with a school other than the one to which they originally committed.
"Alabama is a great school with a hard-nosed defense and great coaches," Alexander told 247Sports.com. "Auburn is a good school and a good atmosphere. It's like family out there. LSU has good players, it's a good school and a nice place." Alexander has already taken official visits to Auburn, LSU and Florida. He said he will try to schedule an official visit to Alabama this month but hasn't scheduled a trip. "It will come down to trusting the coaches and how cool the strength and conditioning is," Alexander said. "Also, a place that feels like family."
"My commitment to Florida State got stronger this weekend," Winston said Sunday. Why? Try a "war" with Nerf guns between Florida State's staff, their families and prospective recruits. Those that know Winston realize that's a smart strategy that meshes well with Winston's playful mentality. Jonah, his 4-year-old brother, joined the Parade All-American quarterback in pelting current and future members of FSU's program. "We all played with Nerf guns in Coach Fisher's house," Winston said. "Me and (FSU verbal) Marvin Bracy were running around his house shooting people up."
"We got a call from Paul Johnson saying they were withdrawing the scholarship offer because his test scores were too low," said Lanier County athletics director John White, who is also Gnonkonde’s legal guardian. "Coach Johnson was very nice about it. He said he didn’t want to leave Junior hanging in any way. He said he would call Central Florida on Junior’s behalf, which he did and we appreciated … but this whole thing doesn’t make any sense. "Georgia Tech’s admissions people had his transcript and test score for awhile. Why didn’t they let us know long before this? We’re finding out just now? This kid has been committed to Georgia Tech for 11 months, we didn’t talk to other schools because he was committed there, and now this happens 10 days before National Signing Day? (ed.- wake me when the nationwide moral outrage starts up.)
"To my knowledge this is the highest profile prospect to be dropped by a college program and expelled from school over Twitter," Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell said. Wright has not commented since the episode unfolded. But Farrell, who has dealt with Wright personally throughout his high school career, knows how big an impact this is. "This has ruined Yuri's chance to attend the school he has labeled as his dream school in Michigan and it could cause other schools to back off as well," he said. "Hopefully this example will send a wake-up call to high profile prospects moving forward to watch what they put out in cyberspace."
This year’s annual meeting came in the midst of some troubling times for college athletics. Over the past year, the NCAA has endured scandals at—to name a few—Miami, North Carolina, Ohio State and, of course, Penn State, where the news of Joe Paterno’s death hit hard Sunday. It’s been the sad lessons in State College that have resonated deepest with many of these professors. A child sex-abuse scandal and its aftermath have come to define the massive, 157-year-old institution instead of academics setting the agenda. "It’s been a classic example of the tail wagging the dog," said Nathan Tublitz, a biology professor at Oregon and one of the more vocal voices in COIA. "It’s where an auxiliary enterprise, which is what athletics is, has gotten too big. It’s like the kids telling the parents what to do."
Two sources with direct knowledge of the talks told CBSSports.com that Oregon head coach Chip Kelly had agreed in principle to take the same position with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and was in the process of finalizing details of a multi-year contract but has changed is mind and will stay at Oregon. The Register-Guard first reported the news of Kelly's departure and that he would be staying in Eugene Sunday night. "I don't know what to say... he changed his mind," one source said via text message.