DUCKFIGHTER ILLUSTRATED PRESENTS
The National Scene
Florida and LSU are the consensus picks by self-proclaimed experts everywhere as the big winners in this year's recruiting. Ron Zook eased some of the fire he has been under by landing Chris Leak, all everything quarterback and a host of hotshot heroes of the gridiron. Nick Saban, the only coach subject to more job rumors than Rick Neuheisel, led LSU to their second top class in three years.
SEC Commissioner Paul Taglibue credits the increase in the salary cap in the wake of a disastrous bowl season as the key. Other SEC watchers point out that the absence of Alabama as a factor in recruiting allowed Florida and LSU to bolster their classes further. Anxious Tide fans now wonder if Mike Price is really the right man to lead the Bama squad this fall.
Rick Neuheisel is rumored to be the top replacement candidate, as required by recent federal legislation. Bill Doba is also under consideration by the Bama brain trust, who has lost the trust of the fans. They reportedly are wondering if there are any brains there at all after the bizarre hiring of Price.
Florida State, Miami, Tennessee and the rest of the usual suspects round out the national top ten. Miami's class averages 3.56 in the 40, while the wily Bobby Bowden assured recruits that he would be coaching for at least another decade thanks to modern medical science and advancements in cryogenics.
Joe Paterno was seen all over the nation as Penn State cast a wide net for players. The decline and fall of Nebraska continues as they lost recruits to lower tier schools such as Oregon.
"We got blindsided by the mysterious appearance of phony depth charts and grad rates," explained Frank Solich as he took a break from the corn harvest. "Next year we may provide more entertainment for the recruits, if you know what I mean."
Troy "Cubby" Wadsworth III, Los Angeles correspondent
Pete Carroll hauled in the greatest class since the birth of Christ this year, cementing the return of USC to the very top of the college football world. The Trojans dwarfed the rest of the Pac 10 by signing a two deep at every position class of 5 star, blue chip, prep all Americans. In an unrelated story, car sales rose remarkably in South LA during the recruiting season.
After a long absence from the penthouse of college football, the Trojans served notice that the 2002 season was no fluke. The Trojans became only the third team to be both Rose and Orange Bowl champions. They join two other elite teams, Oklahoma and Washington. Washington will be playing for second along with the rest of the Pac teams for the foreseeable future.
Mike Garret was pleased that the presence of Oregon billboards in the Southland did not slow down the Trojan machine as USC took first choice and left the rest to fight over the scraps, just like in the golden days of yesteryear.
Baring the reemergence of either Don James or the Vince Weathersby summer jobs program, the Trojans appear set to dominate, as is their birthright. The only spec on the horizon is the freeing of Washington coach Pablo Escobar from his palatial prison along the shores of Lake Washington for next years hunt. Oregon is a non-factor as anyone who has attended parties in Beverly Hills and Eugene can attest. The Trojans come in 2nd to no one when it comes to debauchery, sex, drugs, and rock and roll.
As the special correspondent for this magazine, look for me to be the featured writer, as I cover the featured team from the marquee market on the west coast. I will be there every step of the way as the Trojans go for the national championship in 2003. Until then, stay humble and Fight On….
Oregon closes fast for great class
Mallard N. Moore
(Editor's note: no animals were injured in the writing of this article and no threats were received from a certain coach to stop this article)
Confidentiality requirements do not allow us to go into any detail on the players who make up the Oregon class of 2003. We can say that UO convinced a semi pro baseball player to gray shirt, propelling this class into the top 50 nationwide.
As always Mike Bellotti comported himself with class and decency, never straying from the rulebook until the last week when he had to pull out all stops to come up with some players.
The Teamwork was excellent during the trips to the Oregon campus and most players came away impressed with the facilities that sparkle in the UO athletic complex, graciously bought by team owner Phil Knight. It seemed like you couldn't turn around without bumping into Knight this recruiting season.
Top recruit Cheech Marin loved the botany program at Oregon. He said that lead recruiter Onterrio Smith was the key to his decision.
Some of the Duck boosters were disappointed that UO couldn't take better advantage of the prison sentence being served by arch criminal Rick Neuheisel. Knight has promised to see if he can't get the sentence extended for as long as is needed for Bellotti to be able to out recruit Neuheisel. Others think that a life sentence is too severe.
Huskies set for seven wide formation
Unable to pry the few big guys available from the Trojans, the Huskies went for speed, and filled a need at wide receiver. The Huskies went for the best athletes on the team from high schools across the west, with plans to move them around on offense and defense to make the Huskies the fastest team this side of Miami. They now place all their chips in the pot for next year's big beef class in state.
At least three of the receivers will play right away this year. Some promising big bopper safety prospects are in this class. Speed at linebacker is also notable. New strength coach Steve Emtman will have a couple of years to put some muscle on the bones.
The Huskies were able to pry Rob Lewis away from the Trojans after the Trojans dropped him. There was little head to head with the Ducks this year, as Oregon seemed to concentrate on......well we really do not know what Oregon was doing, but we heard it was one Hell of a party.
The Huskies again got the best of the state in Craig Chambers and Tajh Bomar, among the eight in state signees. They also received a commitment from ace quarterback Carl Bonnell from Pullman High.
The Huskies are as balanced and as deep as they have been in years, and still young and restless. The pressure is on Coach Rick Neuheisel to produce big this year. If he fails, Rick Neuheisel is said to be at the top of the list to replace himself.
The rest of the Pac – Day of the Spawn Race Bannon
The infamous Bellotti Spawn continues to horrify the rest of the Pac as they spread around the west soaking up recruits. ASU and California join UCLA and Washington in a pick‘em for spots 2-5 in the Pac.
Dirk Koetter at ASU and Jeff Tedford at Cal continue to force historians to re evaluate the Bellotti Myth at Oregon. The power behind the throne is looking more and more like the power, period.
Cal snapped up the linemen that USC couldn't fit into their class, and ASU continues to build speed and more speed in the desert.
Stanford got some really bright students. WSU got some Jucos and gray shirts. Oregon State, led by the keen eye of Jack Daniel, cleaned up in Oregon before he bolted to San Francisco to coach the 49ers. I wonder how the Sour Mash defense will play out in the Bay Area. Rick Neuheisel is rumored to be the leading candidate to replace JD in Corvallis. What? You expected Mike Riley?
Oh yeah. Arizona recruited some players too.
And finally..... The Dawgman Recruiting banquet was another blast.........lots of inside info that I can't share here...........seen in the crowd......legendary Orange Bowl hero Hugh Millen.......Mrs. Millen proved that the QB always does get the girl......Dave Mahler was MC......thankfully he was fully clothed......Oregon jokes were down this year as Oregon is doing a fine job themselves of making Oregon a joke.......Dick Baird emptied the room of women and children, and Jose Cuervo. Note to Dawgman: put him on rations next year.......Chuck Heater was very entertaining as he ran down the class......other minor celebrities were seen and introduced, but modesty prevents me from further detail..........that is all folks, from your self proclaimed college football expert.
Thanks for reading – Race
Race Bannon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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