Dan Mullen defends recruiting class, talks decommitments
Coming off a 9-4 season, Dan Mullen seemed defensive yesterday of his recruiting class that finished 10th (SEC) / 42nd (Nationally) by Rivals and 11th (SEC) / 43rd (Nationally) by Scout.
Mullen explained, “I can tell you how this class will pan out in a couple of years but in our last three classes. We signed 53 players, 47 are still contributing to our football team, one is playing professional baseball with the Reds and one just recently resigned with us after completing his work in junior college. That percentage shows we are finding the players that fit our program and they’re sticking with us and continuing to develop for the future. That to me is how you evaluate a recruiting class.”
A number of players that verbally committed to Mississippi State signed with Ole Miss (3), Auburn, and Vandy.
Mullen said, “A decommitment in my mind and in the media’s mind is different. A commitment in my mind is someone that is always going to come to Mississippi State and if you are visiting other schools then that means you are not committed in my opinion. I really don’t think I had any decommitments in my opinion. That is how I view recruiting but we’re not allowed to talk about it so that is all up to you guys interpretation. If a player is afraid of competition, I don’t want them to come here and we are simply looking for guys that want to come in and work hard, offer a special talent and earn their spot on this team. That is what it takes to win and there is no shortcut to the top of the mountain.”
The 2011 non-conference schedule for Mississippi State includes at Memphis, LA Tech, at UAB, and UT-Martin.
Quick Hits: Spurrier, Fitz, Tubs, and Hazell
Classic quote from Steve Spurrier: “Randy Shannon had the No. 1 recruiting class in 2008, Urban Meyer had the No. 1 class last year. Both those guys are working television.”
Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald has his own style: “The old phrase is ‘It is what it is.’ I tell the kids the truth. I tell them what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. I learned that from Randy [Walker] and Gary [Barnett.]”
“I just loving giving kids an opportunity to come see our program. Humbly, an opportunity to give a kid a $55,000 scholarship a year to come to Northwestern. That’s a life-changing experience for a kid. That’s a pretty humbling responsibility. I get that power of influence. I like building relationships with kids, and I like getting to know their families, and I love getting out to talk to high school coaches. Yeah, I love it. I love everything aspect of it. Everything. Love it.”
Kent State head coach Darrell Hazell explains his recruiting philosophy: ''There are 719 schools in the state of Ohio. 'If you can't get three-fourths of your class from your own backyard, then you're not doing your job. Our staff's motto is to always take care of your backyard, and that's what we did.''
Tommy Tuberville signed the first ever Top 20 class at Texas Tech: "We had no problem selling Lubbock and the community and West Texas and the Big12. There is a lot of interest in that. The thing you do run into -- and we went to other conferences, and we competed against some of the so-called big boys in this country in college football. We beat them some, they beat us some.”
Houston Nutt praises Mississippi mothers
Despite a subpar season, Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt signed 8 of the Clarion-Ledger’s Dandy Dozen including 5-star linebacker C.J. Johnson.
Nutt said the top 5 players in the state of Mississippi signed with the Rebels and he credited “the Mississippi mothers.”
Nutt explained, “The mother is a special, special lady. I don’t think sometimes husbands know what they do. They don’t understand. They usually do the raising. They play both roles. They’re working, raising, training, nurturing, mentoring, counseling. Most of them played father roles, so I have an awesome respect for mothers. It ought to be the title of tomorrow’s headlines. I say the mothers of Mississippi are the MVPs. They are the MVPs. You build that relationship with them. They believe in us…even when we had our worst season.”
“Who is going to take care of their son? Who is going to really watch them? Recruiting talk is easy, but it’s about your body of work.”
"Nobody gave us a chance to get any of these guys. All of a sudden you look around and we about got them all.”
"I felt like the more you got into those living rooms and the more feedback I got from the mothers, the more I got around the conversation of trust, relationship and commitment. They felt like they knew where we were going and they wanted to do it here in Mississippi, to win a championship. They were hungry for home."
Ole Miss hosts BYU in the season-opener. Other non-conference games include Southern Illinois, at Fresno State, and LA Tech.
Michigan DC Greg Mattison injured, receives praise from Urban Meyer
Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison recently slipped on some ice, injuring his quadriceps.
Offensive coordinator Al Borges told the Detroit News, "I showed up right after the crime. I saw him laying there on the ground with his wife (Ann), and I said, 'What's going on?' He said, 'Oh, I slipped on the ice.' And he was hurting. We had to get an ambulance. We couldn't move him. We tried to move him, and he was howling."
According to the Detroit News, the injury required a surgery for Mattison, who is will be back in the office on Monday.
Just yesterday, ESPN analyst Urban Meyer called Mattison, “the best recruiter in college football.” While on set with ESPNU, Meyer stated, “He’s not only one of the best defensive coordinators in America, but also the best recruiter in college football.”
Mattison served on Meyer’s staff at Florida from 2005-2007 before joining the Baltimore Ravens staff. This is Mattison’s second stint at Michigan. From 1992-1994, he coached the Wolverines defensive line. In 1995-1996, he served as the defensive coordinator.
Michigan opens the 2011 season with four consecutive non-conference games against Western Michigan, Notre Dame (night game), Eastern Michigan, and San Diego State.
Here's a pretty good video interview with Mattison.
Interesting stats from NFL Combine invitations
329 players have been invited to Indianapolis for the 2011 NFL Combine. Our research tells us that 52 players (15%) will come from SEC programs.
UNC has the most number of players invited to the NFL Combine with 12. Ohio State, Iowa, and Miami (FL) each has 9 player invited.
Interestingly, Texas and Oklahoma received just 4 invitations. LSU and Georgia led the SEC with 8 invitations each. USC and Nebraska also received 8 invitations. Clemson and Wisconsin received 7 invitations.
UCONN (6) and Pitt (6) had more players invited than Alabama (5) and Auburn (5).
One player will represent Walsh University, Southeastern LA, West Texas A&M, Villanova, Chattanooga, Slippery Rock, Portland State, Northern Iowa, Mount Union, Missouri State, Lehigh, Hillsdale, Hampton, Fort Hays State, Fort Valley State, Eastern Washington, Delaware, Cal-PA, The Citadel, and Abilene Christian.
Appalachian State (3) and Richmond (2) were the only non-FBS programs to receive more than one invitation.
Only 5 players from the MAC received invitations (Buffalo, Central Michigan, and 3 from Temple).
Here’s the complete list of the 329 invitations.
Quick Hits: Muschamp, Sark, Strong, and Al Golden
Will Muschamp is officially not worried about star rankings: "Have you seen those guys that rank those five stars (in recruiting)? I don't count stars. I watch the tape, I recruit.”
"I don't want to disappoint anybody or offend anyone, but I don't read the Internet. I put the tape on and I decide from a critical standpoint if this guy can fit in our program and be a good football player — he's got a good-looking transcript, he's going to do the right things on and off the field. I'm going to be excited about him being a part of our program.”
"I haven't turned on ESPN today to check on what everybody is saying. I'm worried about what I think more than what they think."
Quoting Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian: “I think we signed a very athletic class, one that is long, rangy, possesses a lot of speed, and it's physical. And I think one of the things we have tried to address as a football program as we move forward is our physicality on the field and I think that this class does that.”
"We sell who we are as people and we don't change. Who we are is who we are --- we are very real, we are candid, we are up front, we are honest and that doesn't change from player to player or family to family or in state to out of state. That's who we are.”
(on shifting to a 3-4 defense) "We're going to tinker with it, there's no doubt, even more this spring. With so much of what's going on in college football with the spread offense it gives us a little more versatility to do that, it disguises somem of our pressures more and we did more of it toward the end of the year so we are trying to find guys that fit that body type and that style of defense.”
Quoting Louisville head coach Charlie Strong: "We wanted to recruit speed and mentally and physically tough kids. We are not going to take a step backwards. We laid the foundation, and now we are going to build on it."
Funny quote from Miami (FL) head coach Al Golden: "Gionni (a linebacker) went from not wanting to talk to us, to getting a Miami tattoo. There are lots of schools that can't flip eight kids in three or four years, and we did it in five weeks."
"This is a defense-heavy class. That's an indication of my evaluation of where we needed the most depth - defense and special teams."
Quick Hits: Saban, Kiffin, Tedford, Richt, Miles
Nick Saban talks grayshirting and oversigning: "We have never, ever grayshirted a guy here who when he decided to come here didn't know ... that he was going to be a grayshirt whenever he committed."
"Any player that has left this program prematurely has created his own exit route. He's created his own conditions for leaving, if that makes any sense, whether they're academic in terms of not doing what he needs to do academically, whether there's some violation in terms of team rule or policy, whatever it is. Some of these things we're not allowed to comment on.
Lane Kiffin: “We were able to add 30 players to our roster, with the possibility of more soon to come.”
“One of these years we’re going to be done at this time (7:30 pm) and we’ll be able to go home.”
Jeff Tedford: "This is the best class of defensive linemen, from top-to-bottom, that we've ever assembled."
Mark Richt: "We all know our season wasn't the best and there have been a lot of things that we've had to battle maybe a little bit more than other years when it comes to recruiting. I really believe that this class will end up being the largest and most talented and the best bunch in the 11 years now."
Les Miles: "I don't really care if it's ranked in the top 10 or not, it fits what we need. You'll not know for some time how good a class this really is, but coming in behind last year's class ... we think this will allow us to compete for conference honors — if we are fortunate to win our conference, the opportunity to compete for national honors."
Rich Rod: I'm hungry as ever. I don't want to lose my confidence
Former Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez opened up to the media for perhaps the first time in recent weeks.
Rodriguez told the Associated Press, "I'm hungry as I've ever been to coach. I don't want to lose my confidence. We have a formula that can take a team to BCS bowls and compete for national championships. If I'm at the right school that gives you total support and is pulling in the right direction, I think we'll do that."
Reflecting back, Rodriguez admitted, "We saw the light at the end of the tunnel. Heck, we had 24 starters coming back, and the player of the year in the league — he's a sophomore and still learning. Recruiting, we thought it was going really well even with all the drama.
"That's the frustrating part about it is we didn't get a chance to finish the job."
After going 60-26 as the head coach at West Virginia, Rodriguez finished 15-22 in his three years at Michigan. To win at the major D1 level, everyone within the program needs to be the same page. It didn’t work out that way for Rich Rod.