There seems to be a running theme in the reasons given for former Arizona Wildcats running back Ka'Deem Carey going unselected in the first three rounds of the NFL draft:
"Character red flags."
"Questions surrounding his character."
And then this one from Heisman voter Lisa Horne, who is a Fox Sports writer from Southern California, after the season was complete in February:
Carey's actions involving his girlfriend and University of Arizona police more than a year ago are regrettable. He paid his price without charges filed in either case. He was suspended for Arizona's opener in 2013, eliminating his chance to lead the nation in rushing for the second year in a row.
Heisman voters like Horne held Carey's off-the-field issues before last season against him. He was not invited to New York City for the ceremony because of that.
Was Carey a bad seed to his son, teammates and coaches throughout the school year? No. Quite the opposite. He never pouted about his suspension. He never put himself above his teammates. Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez was complimentary in his comments about how Carey handled the adversity.
“I’m proud of him,” Rodriguez said late last season when Carey averaged more than 150 rushing yards per game. “He’s earned that. He had some issues in the offseason which he has worked very, very hard the last six or seven months to rectify. He worked hard to earn the trust back of everybody. Ka’Deem’s a good guy.”
Carey's Facebook wall has plenty of photos of him doting his son, Kaison. He has smoothed things over with his girlfriend, who was pictured with Carey and their son at Disneyland four months ago.
These people who do not know Carey personally, including Horne, cannot look Carey's mother, Tisha Atkins Carey, in the eye and say her son has character issues.
Ms. Carey posted a photo on her Facebook wall hugging her son during the first night of the NFL draft Thursday night. "Enjoyment on day one, love my boo boop," is what she wrote.
Former LSU running back Jeremy Hill was taken in the second round by Cincinnati, the 55th pick overall, despite this background: Arrested on sexual assault charges while in high school. Arrested again in April 2013 after being caught on video punching a man outside a bar near campus. For the latter, he was given a six-month suspended jail sentence and two years probation. Hill is on probation until July 2015.
The ignorance involving questions about Carey's character is unfortunate, especially including the views of a Heisman voter such as Horne.
Hill's selection in the second round is peculiar in more ways than one.
The knock on Carey is his time in the 40-yard dash (4.66 seconds) but that was the same time Hill posted at the NFL scouting combine. Hill and the other seven running backs who were picked in the first three rounds are known for their pass-catching ability.
Hill had only 18 catches for 181 yards, however, in LSU's pro-style offense last season. Carey had 26 receptions for 173 yards in one less game because of his suspension. Washington's Bishop Sankey, a second-round pick (54th overall) by Tennessee, had two more catches than Carey for 304 yards overall.
Carey had four receiving touchdowns in his three-year Arizona career. Sankey had only one in his three-year career with the Huskies.
The NFL has become infatuated with big-play performers on offense. We are living in the ESPN "Top 10 Plays" highlight era. The days of hard-nosed, physical running backs blasting through the line for an important 30-yard gain are over. John Riggins, Franco Harris and Earl Campbell do not have a place in today's NFL. If their style was still approved by NFL scouts, Carey is a first-round pick without question.
The art of smashmouth running for paydirt in the red zone has given way to a quarterback scramble or five receivers zig-zagging to find an open area in the end zone for the quarterback to loft in the air for a jump-ball situation. The NFL of today would often rather have a quarterback (not always a running back) bolt through the line for a 10-yard gain and a first down. See Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, Cam Newton and Robert Griffin.
See running backs becoming less important of a commodity.
Arizona's spread offense is similar with a dual-threat quarterback and a bevy of receivers but Carey thrived in Rodriguez's balanced offense.
This much is certain: Carey's scouting combine performance in which he was timed at 4.7 seconds in the 40 and showed questionable hand-eye coordination in pass-catching drills are affecting his draft status. Two days in Indianapolis have meant the difference between Carey going in the second round to potentially landing in the fourth round or lower.
If character was a factor, Carey would shut himself off from the media and outside world because of his snub in the first three rounds. Instead, the affable Carey held a party at a Tucson establishment Friday night with family and friends. The Tucson media was welcome to attend.
Carey told the Arizona Daily Star's Daniel Berk, "It was a long night, but a great night" with family and friends.
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Between insufficient player development, continual collective underperformance and the overall negative impact on recruiting, the 2014 NFL draft reflects the Miami Hurricanes' struggles from 2007-2010.
Over the four-year stretch, the respective Miami combined to win just 28 games compared to suffering 23 losses.
But when a respective prospect is announced at Radio City Music Hall this weekend, he moves one step closer to reaching his goal of becoming a professional football player at the highest level.
Like many programs across the nation, Miami is projected to have a couple former athletes of their own experience this emotional time, receiving a phone call from an NFL franchise.
However, after years of dominating the draft, "The U" is looking at less than a handful of draftees in 2014.
My, how the mighty have fallen.
"This year it's anybody’s guess," Susan Miller Degnan of The Miami Herald said, "with a strong possibility of no one getting drafted until the fourth through seventh rounds are televised beginning at noon Saturday—the final day of the three-day draft."
Seantrel Henderson figured to be the first former Hurricane off the board, but Brandon Linder was taken by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the third.
Beyond the pair of offensive linemen, Stephen Morris and Pat O'Donnell are likely the only other Miami players who could be selected. Allen Hurns and potential basketball-convert Erik Swoope might be picked, but don't bet the house on it.
The mighty have fallen how far?
Scouts say Henderson has all-pro talent, but he is criticized for a mediocre work ethic, lacklustre drive and poor character.
Linder, on the other hand, is not an elite prospect, but he has other attractable qualities, as NFL Network's Mike Mayock discussed via Miller Degnan:
"I think those two offensive linemen are heading in different directions," draft analyst Mike Mayock of the NFL Network said last Thursday, before the revelation about Henderson. Mayock said Henderson was "heading in the wrong direction, whereas their guard, Linder—the more coaches get involved, the more they like Linder. He's not as physically gifted as some players in this draft, but he's smart and he's tough. He could climb. I think he's going in the fourth or fifth round, and this is a pretty good guard draft."
Ultimately, however, the highest profile ex-'Cane was a third-round pick projected to be tabbed later than that.
Before a disappointing senior campaign, Morris was one of the top quarterbacks on the boards of many analysts. Now, he may slide undetected through the entire weekend.
O'Donnell is affected by the lack of demand at punter, but he transferred from Cincinnati and wasn't even recruited by Miami. Hurns is a purely average receiver with no special qualities, and Swoope's proverbial draft stock is based solely on potential.
Recent Miami seasons have been classified under the common theme "youth." And when looking at the 2010 recruiting class—of which Henderson, Linder, Morris and Hurns were members—it's evident from where that mantra stemmed.
Other notable players from the class include Jimmy Gaines, Asante Cleveland, Maurice Hagens, Tyrone Cornelius, Kacy Rodgers and Eduardo Clements, none of whom are expected to be drafted. Clive Walford, who will be a senior in 2014, will likely be chosen in the draft next year.
Sure, Storm Johnson was originally a member of the group, and the UCF running back should be taken before Henderson and the others, but the former top recruit is not the 'Canes to claim. Maybe tight end Chase Ford, a JUCO signee in 2010, can be added because he has been a contributor for the Minnesota Vikings, but that's stretching it.
Then, throw in Latwan Anderson, Tavadis Glenn, David Perry, Keion Payne, Travis Williams, Kevin Nelson, Jeremy Davis, Darion Hall, Devont'a Davis, Jermaine Barton, Andrew Tallman and Delmar Taylor. If you're contemplating, "who are these guys?!"—you're not wrong.
It wasn't the recruiting rankings—or stars—that mattered in the 2010 class. According to 247Sports, former head coach Randy Shannon grabbed one 5-star, five 4-stars and 21 3-stars.
There was very little production from the class, and that's the problem. Four years later, the only draftable players are Henderson, Linder and maybe Morris as a project.
According to Miller Degnan, the players who are hoping to be selected this May have only one thing on their mind: capitalize on being picked.
"Wherever I get drafted, I’ll be happy," Linder said. "It's all about the opportunity I'm given."
"Of course I want to get drafted," Cleveland said, "but I'm preparing for the worst and not trying to get my hopes up too high. Just know that wherever I go I'm going to give them all I've got."
From Denzel Perryman to Duke Johnson to Stacy Coley, the potential professional futures of current players in the program is promising. But in 2014, the overwhelming impact from the Hurricanes in the NFL draft is, quite simply, the lack of one.
Follow Bleacher Report CFB Writer David Kenyon on Twitter: @Kenyon19_BR.
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The NFL Network's cameras caught the tears rolling down Stephon Tuitt's face. And while Tuitt's emotions were overwhelming joy after being selected 46th overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers, the slide into the middle of the second round was proof positive that the former Notre Dame defensive end should've stayed for his senior season in South Bend.
Sure, it's easy for the guy behind the keyboard to tell the kid who just became an instant millionaire that he's making a mistake. But Tuitt's slide cost him millions of dollars in earnings over the next four years.
How much money did falling into the middle of the second round cost Tuitt? That's tough to measure. The last 48 hours have been a nice reminder that most draft experts are simply throwing darts.
Assuming Tuitt was a first-round pick next year is no given. But for the sake of the exercise, let's project a strong senior season moves Tuitt into the top 15. (After all, look what it did for Zack Martin, Tyler Eifert and Michael Floyd.)
The money difference is huge. Even with the NFL's rookie slotting system, Tuitt's slide cost him a ton of cash. According to OverTheCap.com, the projected rookie contract for the Steelers' second-round pick is a signing bonus of approximately $1.8 million and a four-year contract worth just over $4.8 million.
To be sure, that's life changing money. But it's not even half of the money that the Steelers will pay first-rounder Ryan Shazier, who will get over $10 million.
The stay-or-go decision wasn't one that Tuitt made alone. In a year where a record 98 underclassmen declared for the draft, only 15 of them were taken in the first round. Fellow junior Troy Niklas decided to test the NFL waters as well and was selected just a few picks after Tuitt by the Arizona Cardinals.
That both would turn down an opportunity to earn their degree, or work their way into being a first-round pick, was disconcerting for Brian Kelly, via Eric Henson of the South Bend Tribune:
I just have to do a better job of educating our own players on the NFL and what it means to be a first-round draft pick versus a second or a third. When an agent says, ‘Let’s play for your second contract,’ how ridiculous that is.
My point is in the recruiting process, we do not want to go out there and say, ‘Come to Notre Dame for these reasons: Hey, come to Notre Dame, we’ll get you an apartment off campus; come to Notre Dame and we’ll help you go pro early.’
I just wanted to be clear that these are our distinctions, and you’re shopping down a different aisle. We’re not better than anybody else, but this is what you’re going to get if you shop down this aisle.
Even Alabama coach Nick Saban—no stranger to early NFL departures— has talked about the challenge of having his players make the right decision before deciding to declare early for the draft. A bad decision could cost you millions.
Saban said on his radio show, via AL.com's Andrew Gibble:
If you stay three years and you're going to be a first-round draft pick, that guy should probably go because it's a significant amount of money and a business decision," Saban told AL.com. "All these other guys that are second-day ... 53 percent of the guys that get second-round grades don't even get drafted. It's all about what kind of career you have.
Even the second-round pick or third-round pick, your average signing bonus is $700,000. If you can go from being a third-round pick to a guy that's the 25th pick, you make $7 million. That's 10 times more.
That Tuitt wrestled with the decision is not news. It was far from an easy choice for Tuitt, who long held firm that he planned on spending four years in South Bend, earning a degree that his mother made a priority. He nearly announced his return for his senior season in October, telling student-run newspaper The Observer that (via NBC Sports) before backing away from the statement.
Entering the 2013 season, it was natural to wonder if Tuitt would stay or go. A preseason All-American, Tuitt was coming off one of the more impressive seasons in Notre Dame history, with his 12 sacks second in school history. ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. had him No. 11 on his big board.
Look at the defenders who Tuitt nearly topped for the sack title in 2012, all while playing as a 3-4 defensive end. Jarvis Jones was Pittsburgh's first-round pick last year. Bjoern Werner, another first-rounder. Jadeveon Clowney, the No. 1 pick this season. Anthony Barr, came off the board ninth to Minnesota.
But Tuitt's 2013 didn't go according to plan. Plagued by an offseason hernia surgery that made it difficult for Tuitt to keep his weight down, a defensive end that played just below 300 pounds in 2012 was playing at closer to 330, robbing him of the explosiveness that helped him wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks.
Tuitt's sack total dropped to 7.5, a modest number considering the expectations. And while he showed moments of dominance, he produced an awful lot of head-scratching tape, looking lethargic and out of shape as he was forced to play a ton of snaps for a defensive line that was plagued by injuries.
Tuitt tried to remedy his disappointing season by whipping himself into top shape for the NFL Scouting Combine. And while he came in at a chiseled 304 pounds, a medical checkup revealed a minor fracture in his foot, a piece of bad luck that forced him out of competition at the combine, a place where a physically dominant performance would've put him back on the map.
In the end, it's all water under the bridge. Tuitt's story isn't a tragedy. He's vowed to return for his degree and will step into an aging defense that's been among the best at identifying and developing talent. When asked about his slide down the draft board, Tuitt wasn't sure what the main culprit was.
"I don’t know," Tuitt told Steelers.com. "All I know is I believe that everything happens for a reason. It was meant for me to come to the Steelers."
Today is a celebration for Stephon Tuitt. An NFL dream realized. But it's also a reminder that a year from now he could've been a first-round pick and celebrating an even bigger rookie contract.
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More than two weeks have passed since Texas football wrapped up spring practice, but many questions remained unanswered for head coach Charlie Strong and his team.
The Longhorns' performance throughout spring practice was decent considering Strong and his entirely new staff just got to know these players in January, but progress will need to be made before the Longhorns kick off the 2014 season.
With that in mind, here's a way-too-early game-by-game prediction of the Texas Longhorns 2014 schedule.
Well, the cat got out of the bag quickly.
After BYU lineman De'Ondre Wesley leaked photos of potential alternate uniforms for the Cougars, Bronco Mendenhall and the athletic department wasted no time in confirming the news. It was soon announced on several media outlets that the "new" uniforms will include all-white, all-black and all-royal styles.
Although we have seen all of these uniforms in past seasons, it's good to have some variety for this fall. But every uniform has its advantages and drawbacks, so here are complete grades for all three styles.
Arizona State fans rejoiced last week when 4-star quarterback Brady White committed to ASU, which is another sign that the Sun Devils are on the upswing.
After being spurned by Joshua Dobbs in a last-minute flip to Tennessee in 2013 and not signing a passer in 2012, ASU completely missed on signing a quarterback in Todd Graham's first two recruiting classes. With White being ranked as the No. 3 pro-style quarterback in the 2015 class and the highest-ranked QB to ever commit to ASU since 2002, he is sure to bring a new dynamic to the offense, as well as help attract other top recruits to the program.
Let's take a look at five of the biggest takeaways from White's commitment to ASU.
He can help lure big talent to Tempe
This starts with friend and current teammate, 4-star wide receiver Trent Irwin.
Though Irwin says that he is not a lock to ASU, according to Rivals.com's Adam Gorney (subscription required), White's commitment does give the Sun Devils a great shot against some of the competition, which includes Stanford and California. Though Irwin will be the first to admit he is not ready to commit to the Sun Devils just yet, he also said that White's commitment may play a role in his decision:
Brady going there is big. Obviously I would like to go somewhere with him but we would both understand if we don't fit in the program or academically or whatever. If it doesn't pan out we could go somewhere else," Irwin said, though he also mentioned that he liked ASU quite a bit. "I visited last Sunday before he committed there," he said. "It was really nice and the coaches seem really cool. They have the Barrett Honors College which is an academic plus for them there. The offense seemed really good and they seemed interested so I like ASU.
Though Irwin doesn't yet have a time frame for when his commitment will come, ASU has a great shot at landing his services, and fans can be sure that White will be in his ear, coaxing him to join him in Tempe.
White's commitment will put ASU in the running for the Pac-12 South
With USC and UCLA both having commitments from 5-star quarterback recruits, ASU has put itself in a solid position to compete with them.
While White is only considered a 4-star recruit, player development is typically challenged and improved upon at the college level much more so than at the high school level. While only time will tell, at the very least, he should help the Sun Devils compete with the talent at USC and UCLA and put ASU in the running for the Pac-12 South title annually.
Having multiple options at quarterback gives ASU the keys to success
After Taylor Kelly's departure following the 2014 season and assuming that ASU signs both of its current quarterback prospects for the 2015 class—White and Bryce Perkins—the battle for the starting quarterback position will begin this year.
Current backup quarterback Michael Bercovici, who had an excellent showing at the 2014 spring game, will go head-to-head against Elite 11 participant Manny Wilkins, as well as Coltin Gerhart, whom deputy head coach Mike Norvell said may be the steal of the class.
The battle may recommence in 2015 with the additions of White and Perkins, but competition will result in the best outcome for the team. According to Chris Karpman of ASUDevils.com (subscription required), it's hard to know who will emerge as the best quarterback, and the only way to find out is by pitting the players against one another:
About half of all quarterbacks are going to eventually transfer or stop playing, that's just the nature of the beast. But if you have more perceived good options to choose from, you're more likely to end up with a very good player to lead your team, and without one of those, you don't have much of a chance as ASU coach Todd Graham has admitted.
White can help the Sun Devils to build a recruiting pipeline
Just like Wilkins did in 2014, White can help make a significant impact in the formation of the 2015 class. Wilkins, who committed to ASU last May, immediately became an advocate for the program, using social media to connect with potential recruits and convince them to come to Tempe.
According to Dan Mohrmann of CHSAANow.com, top-rated recruit Kalen Ballage was wavering on his decision between ASU and several other programs. Ballage didn't name any names, but he did admit that his connection to the players in Tempe encouraged him to ultimately sign with the Devils:
Although he had plenty of options on the table including CU and UCLA, the further in to the recruiting process he got the more he felt the pull from Arizona State. He cited the connection he made with the players down there as a big reason. He had been receiving text messages from those players as signing day neared, but not to pressure him into making a decision. It turned out the guys he had grown close to on his visit just wanted to check in on him and talk about things other than football. That attitude resonated with him and when decision time came, it made things much easier for him.
With social media now playing a much bigger role in recruits' lives than in the past, White has an opportunity to be the next advocate and use his influence to help bring in another top-25 class for ASU in 2015.
ASU needed quarterback talent after not signing any in 2012 or 2013
According to Rivals.com's Chris Karpman, 2012 was the first year since pre-1996 that ASU didn't sign a quarterback. Even though Sun Devils still had three signal-callers on their roster during this time and a great starter in Taylor Kelly, things could have been bleak for the quarterback situation had they not signed two passers in 2014, especially in light of backup Michael Eubank's transfer in January.
Luckily for ASU, the addition of White and Perkins may create a competitive battle for the position, giving the best man the chance to start.
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Nonconference schedules are a hot topic in college football right now, in large part because of the SEC's new mandate for each of its teams to schedule at least one opponent from a power conference.
That rule, however, did not take effect for this season, which is how we ended up with with SEC nonconference slates such as Vanderbilt's (Temple, UMass, Charleston Southern, Old Dominion) and Mississippi State's (Southern Miss, UAB, South Alabama, UT-Martin).
On the flip-side of those creampuff schedules are a group of teams that will challenge themselves. Whether by stratagem or by bad luck, their schedule features numerous teams that can beat them.
In order to make this list, a team had to have at least two quality opponents. Michigan State, for example, has the hardest nonconference game in the country—at Oregon on Sept. 6—but no other power conference teams. It was bypassed for that reason.
Beyond that, it was a judgement call.
Based on the case, I sometimes preferred a team with two very hard games over three modestly hard ones. Other times, I preferred the opposite. Context was the key.
Let me know what you disagree with in the comments.
Jake McGee was the leading receiver at Virginia in 2013, but the talented tight end has decided to spend his final college campaign at Florida.
The 6'6", 250-pound playmaker announced his decision to transfer last month, though his ultimate destination remained unknown. He revealed those plans Friday afternoon:
The rising redshirt senior graduates from Virginia this week so he is immediately eligible for game action this fall. Florida head coach Will Muschamp acquires a new weapon for his offensive attack, adding a player who appeared on the 2013 Athlon Sports preseason All-ACC second team.
The Gators have struggled to replace Jordan Reed at tight end, creating an immediate need for a player of McGee's caliber. He told Scott Carter of GatorZone.com that he admired first-year Florida offensive coordinator Kurt Roper's game plan from afar when Virginia played Duke.
Their offense, being on the other side, was sort of fun to watch. They did a lot of cool things and really did a lot with the tight end position that excites me as a player. There’s a lot of versatility with the position to create mismatches and be allowed to do all sorts of different things.
That allure helped lead him to The Swamp. He is expected to start his new collegiate football chapter next week:
McGee developed a reputation as a go-to target in key situations during his time at Virginia. According to his Cavaliers bio, 26 of his 43 receptions last season resulted in a first down or touchdown.
He converted third-down plays on 14 of those catches. Expect Florida to view him as a crucial cog in its offensive scheme as Roper continues to install his system this summer.
The Gators bring in a battle-tested tight end who is clocked at 4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash, per Gainesville Sun reporter Robbie Andreu.
His presence has plenty of potential to reinvigorate Florida's aerial attack. The latest roster addition could prove to be Muschamp's most impactful pickup of the offseason.
McGee led the Cavaliers with 43 receptions for 395 yards and two touchdowns as a junior. He caught 71 passes for 769 yards and seven touchdowns at Virginia.
His NFL stock is already solid and McGee will have a chance to improve upon it this season. ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. projects him to be a third-round pick next spring, according to The Gainesville Sun.
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