Matt Cashore / IrishIllustrated.com

CHIP DIPS: MALIK ZAIRE, C STERNS, B12 QBs, UT BASEBALL'S POSTSEASON CHANCES, MORE!

In Monday's serving of CHIP DIPS, HD's CHIP BROWN weighs in on ND grad transfer QB Malik Zaire ... How flipping S Caden Sterns from LSU to Texas could put Tom Herman's 2018 recruiting class on par with Mack Brown's No. 1 class in 1999 ... Dicker The Kicker ... UT baseball's postseason chances ... Where Shane Buechele ranks among Big 12 QBs ... more ...

CHIP SHOT #1 ... Is Wisconsin getting tired of waiting for a decision by Notre Dame grad transfer QB Malik Zaire?

Zaire's two leaders have been Florida and Wisconsin for a while. Part of the reason there hasn't been a decision at this point is because it's unclear if Florida will be allowed to accept any grad transfers this year. 

Florida's ability to accept grad transfers is complicated by two issues: 1) UF's ability to accept any grad transfers based on the poor academic performance of previous grad transfers at the school (two failed to graduate); and 2) whether or not the SEC is going to lift its current ban on grad transfers - currently set to expire in 2019.

If the SEC doesn't move quickly enough and Wisconsin gets tired of waiting for an answer, could that possibly open things up for Texas to possibly land Zaire? 

As I've reported previously, it's a long shot. But Zaire's second choice to Notre Dame was Nebraska, which had then offensive coordinator Tim Beck recruiting him. The two have a very close relationship.

But there's no doubt Zaire is concerned about transferring to a school where he could possibly be beaten out again, and Zaire respects Shane Buechele, and the effort Buechele put forward in UT's double-OT win over Notre Dame in Austin last year.

There's no doubt Zaire's decision has dragged on longer than even the Zaire camp indicated it would. First, they said there would be a decision in April. Now, we're a week into May - and Texas hasn't been eliminated from consideration.

 

 

CHIP SHOT #2  ... With 4-star S Caden Sterns of Cibolo Steele de-committing from LSU and flipping to Texas, Tom Herman and Co.'s recruiting for the 2018 class has a chance to be as good as there's ever been for a UT coach in his first complete recruiting class.

The bar is Mack Brown's 1999 class, which ranked No. 1 nationally and included the likes of QB Chris Simms, LB Cory Redding, CB Rod Babers, OG Derrick Dockery, DT Marcus Tubbs, DB Dakarai Pearson, DE Cole Pittman, RB Ivan Williams and FB Matt Trissel.

The conversation about Herman's 2018 class rivaling Mack Brown's 1999 class will depend on how Herman and Co. do in the battle for the gold mine of talent in the Houston area (Scout rank): CB Anthony Cook (8), WR Brennan Eagles (13), S B.J. Foster (19), CB Jalen Green (22), DE Max Wright (43), TE Mustapha Muhammad (48), DT Keondre Coburn (70), WR Al'Vonte Woodard (91), WR Jaylen Waddle (98), CB D'Shawn Jamison (99).

If Texas pulls enough of that talent, the 2018 class will definitely be in the conversation with the 1999 class.

 

 

CHIP SHOT #3 ... Texas commit No. 7 - Cameron Dicker the Kicker - appears to be the real deal.

I'll be the first to admit I wasn't that impressed in the spring game with the leg strength of JUCO transfer K Josh Rowland, who barely reached the cross bar (wide left) from 49 yards.

That will not be a problem for 2018 kicker commit Cameron Dicker of Lake Travis, according to some of my Lake Travis sources. Here's what they told me:

 

- Dicker is 6-foot-1 and 190-plus pounds and has plenty of pop in his leg. His kickoffs are high and into the end zone. They are high and out of the end zone with any breeze behind them.

 

- He approaches football with a defensive player's mentality. Against Vista Ridge last year, Vista Ridge's return man brought a kick out of the end zone and had only Dicker to beat for about a 105-yard return for a TD, and Dicker laid him out with a jaw-rattling, decleater. Then, Dicker stood over him like Vontaze Burfect.

 

- Dicker is a march to his own drumbeat guy (kind of like Westlake's Justin Tucker, who sang opera in the shower at UT), and Dicker is unafraid in the big moment (also a Tucker trait, obviously).

 

- One source told me - along with Nebraska 2017 OT commit Brenden Jaimes -  Dicker is the best NFL prospect to come out of Lake Travis the last 10 years.

 

Here's what Lake Travis coach Hank Carter told me about Dicker:

 

"Fierce competitor. Elite level soccer player. He doesn't get affected by big moments. Big, strong kid. Great leg and is a heck of a punter, too. Great kid!"

 

 

 

CHIP SHOT #4 ... When I rank the quarterbacks in the Big 12, I put Texas' Shane Buechele at No. 3

No 1 ... Baker Mayfield, OU ... 76 touchdowns and 15 INTs the past two seasons, which included back-to-back Big 12 titles (plus, Mayfield's ability to make plays with his feet) pretty much speaks for itself.

 

No 2 ... Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State ... 49 TD passes and 9 INTs the past two years - both 10-3 seasons - and could be the top Big 12 QB selected in next year's NFL Draft because of his measurables (6-5, 220)

 

No 3 ... Shane Buechele, Texas ... accurate, good decision maker, quick release and tough! Played most of his true freshman season hurt (cracked ribs suffered vs Cal; sprained thumb on throwing hand last four games of the season) while throwing for 21 TDs and 11 INTs.

 

No 4 - 10 ... (4) Nic Shimonek, Texas Tech ... (5) Jesse Ertz, K-State ... (6) Anu Solomon, Baylor ... (7) Will Grier, WVU ... (8) Kenny Hill, TCU ... (9) Jacob Park, Iowa State ... (10) Carter Stanley, Kansas 

 

 

CHIP SHOT #5 ... So here's where the postseason chances stand for the 31-19 Longhorns after getting swept at TCU: 

UT's magic number in terms of wins needed appears to be four - maybe even three (including the Big 12 tournament).

Considering Texas is 22 in the RPI, if the Longhorns can win three more games out of their four remaining regular-season games - home vs Incarnate Word on Tuesday and a home series vs West Virginia this weekend - as well as the conference tourney, and UT is probably in the postseason.

Win four more games to get to 35 wins, and Texas would appear to be a lock.

 

 

CHIP SHOT #6 ... A trip to TCU last weekend ended up almost exactly like the Texas Tech series at the Disch - with two, heart-breaking, one-run losses on the way to getting swept.

The Horns were down 7-2 in Game 1 after three innings, and then battled back to tie the game 9-9 after nine innings and even took a 10-9 lead in the top of the 10th. But TCU's Evan Skoug hit the first home run off of Beau Ridgeway ALL SEASON in the bottom of the 10th, and then the Frogs scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the 11th for an 11-10 win.

Then, in Game 3, Texas was leading 3-0 through the top of the seventh before Kyle Johnston walked two of his first three batters in the bottom of the seventh before being relieved by Chase Shugart, who then walked three of the four batters he faced, walking in two runs, cutting UT's lead to 3-2.

Beau Ridgeway gave up a single in the T8 to TCU DH Connor Wanhanen and then got a ground out and fly out as Wanhanen moved to second - before Skoug did it again. This time, a double that scored Wanhanen from second and tied the game 3-3 going into the ninth.

In the top of the ninth, Texas had Tyler Rand on second with one out and then had Rand on third with two outs and couldn't get him home.

In the top of the tenth, Kody Clemens appeared to be safe at second for what would've been a double to lead off the inning, but he was called out.

What should've been a great scoring opportunity went poof as Travis Jones grounded out and Kacy Clemens flew out behind Kody.

In the bottom of the 10th, TCU star sophomore Luken Baker doubled home the game-winning run for a 4-3 victory.

Against Tech, Texas lost Games 1 and 2 by 2-1 decisions and then jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 3 before losing it 8-5.

 

 

CHIP SHOT #7 ... The bad news is Texas baseball went 0-6 vs Texas Tech and at TCU. 

The good news is Texas Tech is No. 4 and TCU, last year's CWS runner-up, is No. 6 in what is considered one of the best conferences in college baseball this season.

The Big 12 is the only Power Five league with SIX schools in the RPI Top 25:

Texas Tech (3), TCU (5), WVU (13), Baylor (15), OU (20) and Texas (22)

The ACC has five: UNC (2), Louisville (6), Clemson (7), UVA (8) and Wake Forest (11)

And the SEC has five: Florida (4), Kentucky (9), LSU (14), Miss State (16), Arkansas (18)

Texas is 3-9 vs the Big 12's RPI Top 25 teams with WVU still to play. And UT is 4-13 vs the RPI Top 25 this season when you factor in the 1-3 record in a four-game series at Stanford (RPI No. 12).

 

 

CHIP SHOT #8 ... The Spurs regained home-court advantage with the split in Houston, making the series 2-2 heading back to San Antonio. But how are you feeling about things Spurs' fans?

I'd be feeling queasy.

In the Spurs' two wins in Games 2 and 3, it's taken all-world performances from Kawhi Leonard (13 of 16 FG, 34 points) with a huge game from Tony Parker for the Spurs to win Game 2 ... as well as a huge performance from LaMarcus Aldridge (12 of 20 FG, 26 points, 4 blocks, 7 rebs)  and Kawhi (9 of 20 FG, 26 points, 10 rebs) for the Spurs to win Game 3.

With Parker (quad) out, can the Spurs count on another huge performance from Aldridge - this time in San Antonio? After his 26-point, 4-block showing in the Game 3 win in Houston, Aldridge said, "I've always liked playing here (Houston)."

Well, what about liking to play in San Antonio LA? 

It looks like Houston might be figuring some things out - namely the last two monster games from James Harden, who didn't play well in Games 1 and 2.

I wouldn't be surprised if Houston wins Game 5 and 6.

 

 

CHIP SHOT #9 ... Hope none of you had to pay for the Canelo Alvarez - Julio Caesar Chavez Jr. fight over the weekend!

Chavez was such a weak opponent, Canelo never sat down between rounds and also purposely laid against the ropes to invite Chavez in to engage.

After the fight Alvarez said, "I don't sit down between rounds during sparring, and I didn't think this would be much different."

It wasn't. 

It was a joke of a fight.

Canelo won every round - 120 to 108 - on every judge's scorecard.

Here's how lame the fight was: the most excitement occurred AFTER the fight, when Triple G - Gennady Golovkin - entered T-Mobile Arena in Vegas to smoke and music, climbing into the ring with Canelo and confirming there will be a fight between Triple G and Canelo in September.

Too bad we had to wade through Saturday's fight first.

 

 

CHIP SHOT #10 ... Went to see Guardians Of The Galaxy 2 with my kids this weekend - thumbs up.

Liked the first one and enjoyed the second one, too.

Memorable characters. Just enough story line. Solid action. Great soundtrack. 

Gets a recommendation from me.

How about y'all?

 

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