(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
DL Jesse Williams (Sr.)
2011 season: Started all 13 games at defensive end, posting 24 tackles, including four for loss.
2012 spring practice: Moved inside from end to nose tackle, where he quickly established himself as the starter. Posted two assisted tackles, one pass breakup and one quarterback hurry in A-Day game. Billy Neighbors Defensive Lineman Award recipient at the close of spring drills.
What he brings to the table: You won’t see Williams on a lot of preseason all-america teams but ask opposing offensive coordinators and NFL scouts what they think about the Aussie. Compares favorably to Josh Chapman in terms of strength and a better athlete than Terrence Cody, Williams is a good bet to post higher tackle for loss numbers in 2012 than either of those guys did in 2009 and 2011, respectively. Being able to play five technique end and three technique tackle spots at the next level only increases value at next level.
During an exhibition game in West Virginia a week after the Women's College World Series, Team USA's Keilani Ricketts stumbled and fell on the field. It was a minor moment of embarrassment, but all the invitation teammates needed to have a little fun at the expense of the reigning college player of the year. "I made a joke when she came in the dugout," Jackie Traina said. "And I was like, 'Oh, is this too early for jokes?' I didn't want to make her mad or anything."
The title was the first building block of the summer as the U.S. chases its eighth straight world championship — the best the sport has to offer after getting dropped from the Olympics starting with this year's London Games. That's the bigger quest for softball now. The sport's leaders are trying to get the IOC to vote in 2013 to include softball in the 2020 Games. The IOC voted in 2005 to drop softball largely because there weren't enough countries playing it. There still is a gap between the top teams — the U.S. and Japan, which skipped the World Cup for financial reasons — and the rest of the world but Eriksen sees it closing.
FP: So what was the celebrating like? What didn’t we see on ESPN?
Cassie: On the field we were all just crying and hugging each other and looking for our families in the stands. Right after the game we all headed to an IHOP. We hadn’t eaten since the afternoon and it was so late—about 3 am due to the rain delays. But we were starving and wanted to eat and just enjoy life at the IHOP for a while. We headed back to the hotel at around 4am. When I got back to my room I just did not want to take off my jersey so I did other things to avoid doing so. I cleaned my room and I packed. My parents put a jar in my room that was filled with 100 slips of paper listing "100 reasons to look forward to life after softball." So I spent 45 minutes reading some of those.
4.Jamychal Green – Alabama Green is a very talented inside-out player who played out of position this year at the five, as he is really a natural four who is very athletic and runs the floor very well. He has a good face-up game with a strong pull through move that gets him to the basket. Has range out to 18 feet and can be a good pick and pop player. He is also very physical down low, consistently going up strong with the ball. His team’s lack of outside shooting allowed opposing defenses to double him, so he didn’t get a real opportunity to show off his full skill set. He was suspended three times during his career and that probably explains why he went undrafted.
Reuben Foster, a Rivals.com five-star linebacker from Auburn High School, is the top prospect in the country at his position. He committed to the Crimson Tide last summer while still living in Georgia. Foster has been in the news recently with continued unofficial visits to Auburn and Georgia. He has been in Athens, Ga., twice this summer, including last weekend. Foster is expected to visit the Bulldogs again this month. The No. 2 overall prospect in the country continues to tell the Alabama coaching staff he is solid with his commitment. Tray Matthews, a safety prospect and Georgia commitment from Newnan, Ga., is open with his decision and also looking at Auburn. Matthews, recruited by Alabama, will stick with his commitment to the Bulldogs or possibly flip to Auburn. "I'm definitely going to play with Tray - period, no matter what the school," Reuben Foster told UGASports.com, part of the Rivals.com recruiting network.
Also noteworthy from Foster's interview was the declaration that while he currently remains committed to Alabama, he plans on playing his college ball alongside close friend Tray Matthews, a safety from Newnan, Georgia currently committed to the Bulldogs. "Me and Tray are going to play together 100% in college," said Foster.
In an interview on Birmingham's 97.3 FM last week, Henry said he plans to announce his choice in December, and the presence of other young, highly touted backs on SEC rosters like Alabama's T.J. Yeldon and Georgia's Keith Marshall won't factor into his decision. "Football is competition and that's what I love," he said. "I'm a competitor and I love to compete. Competition is nothing that scares me away from anywhere."
It's been 20 years since he was a head coach - and more than 10 years since he was a full-time coach of any kind. And now Ray Perkins has resurfaced in this junior college in a town of about 4,500 people in the southeastern corner of Mississippi. The facilities are decent - but more on the level of a solid high school program than anything he was used to during his days in the NFL and Southeastern Conference.