1) Not much is going on in the world of recruiting. It's a dead period until the bowls are over. Coaches are busy preparing for the upcoming bowls, and many of the top high school players A&M is after are either at or preparing to attend these made-for-TV all-star games. But I will say this, just because the Aggies only have a couple of spots available doesn't mean there won't be any movement in this class. In fact, I could see a lot of jockeying for position and spots. Guys like Hardreck Walker have always said they will take other visits. Walker has always wanted to see Northwestern. Kyrion Parker has flirted with a visit to OU and so on. The key in trying to decipher these trips and its impact on the A&M class, first look at the depth of this class at each position, and second look at who A&M is still recruiting. In the case of Walker, the Aggies have three defensive tackles committed but they could use four with the problems with depth on the current roster. Thus, Coach Sumlin can't afford to lose Walker at this time. The trip to Northwestern is a curiosity trip and one that doesn't pose a threat to the Aggies. I would suspect that the staff allows him to take that trip…no harm, no foul.
On the other hand, if you look at receiver and see the logjam of commits in this class, the numbers alone are making some receiver commits nervous. It doesn't help when they hear that A&M is in serious contention for two more nationally-rated high four-star pass catchers. So it wouldn't surprise me to see 1-2 of these long-time receiver commits take a visit to let's say an OU or TCU. And if A&M feels good about its chances to land either LaRue or Stevens, I think any of these receivers that visit will lose their spot in the A&M class. I do think there are 2-3 possibilities of "attrition" or mutual departure. In the end, kids want to go where they can play, and since taking some of these commitments before the season, the Aggies have blasted off like Whitemule in Amsterdam with some Brazilian chicks at 2:00 AM. A&M is now in the high rent district, and with guys like Mackenzie Alexander, Tony Stevens, Sebastian LaRue, Dontre Wilson, Maurice Smith, Jordan Mastrogiovanni and others asking if there's vacancy at the inn, the other guys are looking around worried about playing time and weighing their options. Most will ride it out and stay, but don't be surprised or concerned if a couple of commits take a serious visit and bolt…because A&M will let them bolt. Based on my gut, I predict A&M will end with Savaiinaea, Prevot, LaRue, and Wilson. I'm hearing Wilson is knocking at the door, and he perfectly fits this offense. Will the staff go after him? It will depend on some of these other commits deciding to visit and jeopardizing their spots. Again, a lot more movement will happen before February.
2) Professional sports can be a cruel, cold business. Just ask our own Donald Sloan. Sloan has been on the Cleveland Cavaliers since last year, and he received significant minutes when Kyrie Irving went down with an injury back in November. But in the past couple of weeks his playing time had diminished and his numbers have gone down. Then, on Christmas Day the Wizards released veteran Shaun Livingston and the Cavs picked him up right before the 5:00 PM deadline. To make room for him, Sloan was released….on Christmas Day. Ouch. As of this morning, he was still without a team, and chances are he'll have to go to the D-league. The Cavs are at the bottom of the league, so I'm not sure who would pick him up, but it's certainly possible. I'll let you know if I hear anything. Sloan is one of my favorite Aggies. He overcame so much in his life and he was always a good guy who never complained about hardships. One of my all-time favorite photos was the shot of Sloan sitting next to his long-time friend Derrick Roland in his hospital bed in Seattle after that freak broken leg against Washington three years ago. He stayed by his bedside for several days even after the team returned to Texas. When Sloan concludes his pro career, a good Aggie will do well hiring Donald.
3) Tis the season to be jolly. It's touching to read the close, loving family relationships of Courtney Love and her daughter Frances Bean Cobain. Even better they are allowing us into this beautiful intimate world of mother-daughter through social media. Here's a snippet:
Courtney Love (CL): "Merry Christmas Bean!! love you more than you could ever know. xmamma."
Frances Bean Cobain (BC): ""merry christmas kooksmcgee."
CL: "That tweet was the best gift ever, its all I need even if its a dammed social network :) miss that little head of yours. That beautiful little head, and those long legs."
Put that in the context of a conversation between the two earlier in the month…
CL: "I hear from Frannie's roommate that @davegrohl hit on frances. I'm not mad at her, him i am about to shoot dead."
BC: "While I'm generally silent on the affairs of my biological mother, her recent tirade has taken a gross turn. Twitter should ban my mother."
BC: "She has taken drugs for as long as I can remember. She basically exists now on … Xanax, Adderall, Sonata an Abilify, sugar and cigarettes."
FYI, Cobain has had a restraining order filed against her mother after Love attacked her during a fight between adoring mother and daughter. The reason for the fight? Cobain was upset because mom apparently killed the family dog and cat. What a loving family….
4) Ruh, roh, Shaggy!!! No, I'm not talking about Johnny Football, but rather the shenanigans going on along the Riverwalk in San Antonio. Just two days before the Longhorns and Beavers square off in the Alamo City, apparently a couple of players weren't resting up for the big game. Police showed up at a nearby hotel room of a female who accused the two players of sexual assault. Now to be clear, no charges have been filed yet, and the players were released to team officials who promptly sent them back to Austin. The legal stuff aside, the players were obviously breaking team rules and curfew. But the bad publicity and the perception that the team is out of control can't bode well for Mack Brown. I know everybody says he'll be back, but if Texas lays a egg against Oregon State and looks bad, I wouldn't put it past the Texas Admin to go ahead and clean house. And if they do clean house, you can bet they will target a high dollar, high impact coach like a Chip Kelly or even a Nick Saban. Before you poo-poo that notion, just remember that Saban likes two things – 1. Money 2. A new challenge.
Despite what you may think, Texas can and would offer more money than Alabama could offer. The only way to persuade Dish and DirecTV to take the Longhorn Network as a non-premium channel is to have a high profile national champion coach mold the network's product into the No. 1 football program in the nation. Saban is the only "sure thing" to get this done immediately. If Texas believes this, what is it worth….5MM, 7 MM, etc.? It's higher than that. Try 10 MM. Yes, I said it. If Texas wanted a coach and it would take $10,000,000 to get him, they could afford and would gladly pay it. Listen folks, we're about to see a huge increase in salaries across the board because of the explosion of TV revenues. A $3 MM salary will be the norm in a couple of years. If Sumlin keeps winning, A&M will be paying him 6-7 MM in three years. So $10 MM to get Saban today really isn't that far-fetched. Of course, this assumes that Texas is proactive and smart. They haven't shown to be either in the past couple of years….and A&M is reaping the benefits. Anyway, I'll say this. I expect Nick Saban will either be in the NFL or the head coach at Texas in the next 12 months. Saban is a nomad....a nomad that likes money.
5) If you've read my posts over the last couple of months, you know I'm really high on Derel Walker next season. He started to show flashes of being a nice tall outside receiver late in the season. Most JUCO's take a year before they fully max out and produce. Thus, I expect a big 2013 from Walker. Of course, no bigger than what we should expect from Mike Evans who should be competing for top SEC honors next season. Then there's the emergence of Malcolme Kennedy in the slot returning for his junior campaign. Now add in big, strong talented incoming targets Ricky Seals-Jones and Jaquay Williams and I'm starting to drool. Losing Ryan Swope, Kenric McNeal, and Uzoma Nwachukwu will hurt because they were experienced. However, from a talent standpoint these newcomers elevates the overall playmaking ability of the position, and that's not even including Quincy Adeboyejo, Jeremy Tabuyo, or Kyrion Parker…or possibly Sebastian LaRue or Tony Stevens. This is getting scary for opposing defenses. Johnny will just have to heave it high and let these 6–foot-3/6-foot-5 studs go up and get it.
6) Thinking about the season, here are my most important plays of the 2012 campaign. This is off the top of my head without any research so forgive me if I missed one.
1. Deshazor Everett interception at the goal line to seal upset of Alabama
2. Sean Porter/Jonathan Stewart stuff Ole Miss on fourth and inches
3. Dustin Harris open field tackle of McCarron at the two yard-line
4. Mike Evans acrobatic catch over Ole Miss CB on third down from the one-foot line
5. Ryan Swope long catch down sideline to set-up winning TD by Kennedy against Bama
6. Pass bounces off Evans and intercepted by LSU. He might have scored on that play
7. Toney Hurd intercepts Ole Miss to seal the game.
8. Johnny Manziel's Heisman moment with the bobble and TD pass to Swope at Bama
9. Manziel to Swope fade route TD throw to take lead at Ole Miss.
10. Manziel 72-yd TD run on third and 23 vs. La Tech after they closed the lead late.
If you have some other plays you'd like to nominate, post them here and let's discuss. I'll consider them.
7) You know that phrase about the only things that will survive a nuclear holocaust are flies and Keith Richards. That must be officially amended now. The only things that will survive a nuclear war are flies, Keith Richards, and Kelvin Sampson. It was announced that Kelvin Sampson is a candidate for the recently open Brooklyn Nets job after they fired Avery Johnson. Come on, how many times will that guy escape from the NCAA jail cell and land on his feet with a better gig? Cheat your butt off twice and get pummeled by the NCAA and you go from OU to Indiana to the Brooklyn Nets.
Hop's Musings and Tidbits
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