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Video: Russell Wilson speaks to the N.C. State football team

Russell Wilson's official Seattle Seahawks bio lists Wisconsin as his college of origin, but the folks in Raleigh are quick to remind any who dare bring that up that the Richmond, Va., product was a Wolfpack quarterback first. Wilson graduated from N.C. State in three years, played football and baseball, and threw for 8,545 yards with 76 touchdowns in his three seasons. On Saturday, he returned to his alma mater to speak to the 2014 N.C. State football team before their spring game. 

"It was a mindset," Wilson said of what drove the Seahawks to their Super Bowl victory in February. "Every day that we stepped into the locker room, every day that we stepped onto the field for practice, every day that we stepped on to the field for a game, we mentally believed that we were going to be better than everybody else and we were going to prepare that way."

The three minutes and 27 seconds in which Wilson speaks really give an insight into two things. First, how much he echoes each of Pete Carroll's coaching points. And second, how much love he has for N.C. State. "It's an honor to be here," Wilson said. "It's just a special thing to go to this school. I graduated here in three years. I'm proud to be a part of N.C. State... I love this school to death."




NCAA announces tightened restrictions for recruiting mid-year enrollees

On Wednesday, the NCAA announced severely tightened restrictions for recruiting mid-year enrollees in football and basketball. 

Previously, prospects could sign financial aid agreements with multiple schools, which then gives schools more freedom to recruit a player that has signed with their school. For example, a recruit could sign a scholarship agreement with Tennessee, Auburn and Ole Miss, and each school could recruit the mid-year enrollee as a signed prospect without knowledge of agreements with other schools.

Moving forward, schools can now recruit players that have signed multiple financial aid agreements - at the risk of violating recruiting rules if they do not ultimately land the player.

Essentially, mid-year enrollees will now be treated equally to recruits signing NLIs in February.

In the NCAA's words:

The change created an unintended scenario in which prospects (most often mid-year enrollees) signed multiple offers of financial aid and coaches were incentivized to recruit prospects to sign so they could recruit without restrictions. The act of signing the agreements then lifted recruiting restrictions for that prospect with more than one school and created what some termed an unhealthy recruiting environment surrounding mid-year enrollees.

The official interpretation said that only the first school to sign a prospect to a financial aid agreement was allowed the unlimited recruiting access, but many schools indicated a concern about inadvertent violations. Schools often aren’t aware when prospects sign financial aid agreements with multiple schools and in what order. The interpretation was rescinded as part of the council’s action.

Read the full announcement here. 




Video: Rich Rod lets fans pick red zone plays during the spring game

Every college program with a spring game is looking for ways to engage the fan base and keep them happy, and all of them should take notes from Arizona.

During the Wildcats' spring game, Rich Rod went up in the stand with a microphone and his own version of Vanna White (director of on campus recruiting / player personnel Matt Dudek) to hold up the card that was full of diagrammed plays for randomly selected fans to choose from.

The plays were all ran from inside of the 5 yard line to maximize the potential for scoring. This would have been a lot less exciting if the plays were all ran from -25 yard line.

Rich Rod looks like he had quite a bit of fun acting as the emcee, and this had to be a fan favorite as far as activities go at any spring game.




These helmets are among the most unique high school helmets out there

These helmets from Anderson County HS (TN) have a lot going on.

Not only do they have the huge "Mavericks" logo on the back, but the stripe going down the middle of the helmet spells out "MAVS" and they've even managed to work the "AC" logo in near the facemask.

Imagine being a defensive player chasing down a ball carrier and looking up to see that that logo staring right back at you. That's a bit intimidating.

When it comes to high school helmets, these have to be some of the most unique lids out there. I can imagine the kids loving them, and the more I look at them, the more it grows on me.

What do you guys think?

acmavs ACmavs1

acmavs2 Acmavs3

acmavs4




Video: Behind Cal's uniforms and Nike branding

When you are one of 50 college programs in the country to share the "Bears" mascot, you've got to do somethings to set your program apart.

Here's a great look inside the equipment room at Cal with equipment manager Jake Rosch who helps to break down how Nike has helped brand the Cal program, starting with their uniforms.

Nike helped give their threads a lot of one of a kind features, including the new modern mascot, the custom numbering and lettering, and the mascot's place inside of every number.

This kind of stuff is great for both the uniform nerds (like myself) out there, as well as recruits.




Video: The Temple football team does the Nae Nae dance

I have no idea what the Nae Nae dance is. I didn't know it existed until seeing this video of the Temple Owls breaking up a recent practice to hold their own Nae Nae dance contest. For all I know they completely made it up. That said, the Owls rock the heck out of this dance.

"You put a dancing challenge and we at Temple answered the call," said head coach Matt Rhule. 

You should see this thing for yourself.




Todd Hoffner announces he will return to Minnesota State-Mankato as head coach

In retrospect, the location told us everything we need to know. Former Minnesota State-Mankato head coach, and current Minot State (N.D.) head coach, announced Tuesday he will return to Mankato and reclaim his job as the Mavericks' head coach in a completely unprecedented situation. The fact that he held his announcement press conference in Minneapolis, 500 miles away from Minot State's campus and only 82 miles northeast of Mankato, was the only clue we needed.

For the uninitiated, here's a one paragraph rundown. Hoffner posted a 34-13 record in four seasons at Mankato, turning around a Mavericks program that went 4-7 in the year prior to his arrival, before he was suspended, fired and ultimately charged with child pornography after MSU officials discovered what they deemed inappropriate photos of Hoffner's children on his cell phone in August 2012. If you'd like a more detailed summary of the situation, ESPN wrote a great profile of the situation in 2013.

The charges were later dropped, and Hoffner was formally cleared of all wrongdoing. Beyond that, though, a Minnesota arbitrator ruled MSU owed Hoffner back pack pay and he was given the right to reclaim his job back. And that's where the situation got complicated.

After winning the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference and the Mineral Water Bowl in 2011, MSU thrived in Hoffner's absence. The Mavericks went 13-1 and won two NCAA Division II playoff games in 2012 and then posted an undefeated regular season in 2013. Time waits for no man, and the Mavericks' team culture evolved - without Hoffner. 

Hoffner was out of football for those two seasons, until Minot State hired him in January. Hoffner was prepared to move forward with the Beavers, until the Minnesota arbitrator gave him the chance to fix what once was broken.

On Tuesday, Hoffner took the arbitrator's offer. He will again become Minnesota State-Mankato's head football coach.

"I have this opportunity to go back, and I believe this is the right thing to do, for my family and myself," Hoffner said in an emotional press conference. "I believe that resuming my duties as head football coach will help heal that injury and put my family, and my family's life, back on track."

It's a choice no coach has ever had to make but, in a vacuum, it was an incredibly simple one. Minnesota State-Mankato is 33-5 over the past three seasons, while Minot State is just 7-25. The programs faced each other in 2012, and Mankato won 44-10. On top of that, Hoffner's family still lives in Mankato. His wife still works in Mankato. Again, this is a simple choice in a vacuum.

But the thing about real life is that choices are never made in a vacuum. Minot State's staff features nine coaches - and six of them are graduate assistants or student assistants. Defensive coordinator Byron Thomas is in his first season on the job and one year away from being a graduate assistant himself. Defensive line coach/strength and conditioning coordinator Chris Brunkhorst is also in his first year on the staff. Run stop coordinator Jeff Miller is in his sixth season at Minot State, but has no experience as a coordinator or head coach. And now they're without a head coach in mid-April.

"This was not an easy decision. I will remain forever grateful to Minot State," Hoffner said. "I have thoroughly enjoyed my short time there, and I wish their program nothing but success."

At Mankato, our speculation here is that interim head coach Aaron Keen will slide back to a role as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach, while current offensive coordinator Jason Eck will handle just the offensive line with a new title perhaps co-offensive coordinator or run game coordinator and no change in pay. Again, this is just our speculation and we'll update when things become more clear. 

Hoffner says his second first day as Minnesota State-Mankato's head coach will be tomorrow. 




Mobile messaging for your team

As a high school coach, there are hundreds of times throughout the year when it would be great to have an easy, mobile based way to email or text your team, their parents or coaches.  

The examples are easy... it's early June and you want to remind the Freshmen and Sophomores about lifting tomorrow morning...or it's gameday and you want to remind the team that you are leaving at 2pm so get to the locker room no later than 1:30...or you want to remind the parents of an important meeting later tonight... etc... 

 Sure there are ways to do some of this with email or painful mass texting from your phone, or using phone trees, or ... well, yeah I guess there are some ways you could do a lot of this; but there really aren't any efficient mobile platforms designed to do all of this with ease like AthletiCloud. 

Messaging

If you're tired of "No I didn't see the tweet" and "C'mon coach, I don't check my email" and really just want to make your life easier, this is a great solution for you. For only $99 / year (which includes the messaging feature, mobile attendance, team manager, "emergency", task manager, team banker, etc...) this is just too good not to use. 

Check it out now, AthletiCloud.com