Hitting the Links Tastes Like Chicken
Ty Isaac Says He's Learned From 2015, Higher Expectations
If Isaac does indeed do the things he needs to do, he'll be able to ease up De'Veon's work load a little bit and keep him healthy throughout the year.
Dave Aranda Leaves Wisconsin For LSU
Aranda has been given a raise from $520,000 to $1.3 million, and has seemingly overnight been granted the nickname "The Professor."
One of these years, Wisconsin will have to pay up for a top assistant. Can they find an assistant for $600,000 who's two-thirds as good as Aranda? Probably, yes. But Aranda has been such a success, he's left a mark on Wisconsin's brand. He was brilliant and spoke highly of Wisconsin. They needed to retain him, and probably could have for less than LSU's salary if they were willing to open up the bank some more.
Gone: Tyvis Powell | Jalin Marshall | Eli Apple | Darron Lee
The general logic is that 2016 will be a rebuilding year of sorts for Urban Meyer. Ohio State fans have pointed out that 2014 was supposed to be a rebuilding year as well, and that team was extremely successful. But the players in that group were also very mature in addition to being talented. There are some exceptions you could point to, but for the most part this team has been great off the field and focused on it. Having that again in 2016 would be singular.
In addition, Penn State's Austin Johnson and a guy named Christian Hackenberg declared for the draft as well. Here's a very handy NFL Draft Tracker, and Fox Sports ranks the early enrollees. I'd quibble with where they rank a few of them, but it is a testament to the growing depth of the Big Ten that there are so many great players heading for the NFL.
Here's a fuller transcript of #PennState quarterback Christian Hackenberg declaring for the NFL draft.pic.twitter.com/jj205PgZ6t— Mark Wogenrich (@MarkWogenrich) January 2, 2016
Trace McSorley Pass For A Touchdown | Converts 4th and 12
This is a taste of what Penn State could work with next year. Best of luck to Hackenberg, who's beloved by Penn State fans for pledging to the program in a difficult time. But for the sake of wins in 2016, something needed to change with the negative plays. McSorley was much more efficient than Hack and he made some gutsy throws.
Maryland Adds Chris Beatty As WR Coach
So, Durkin managed to keep Terrance Davis inside the state. The offensive line will be young in 2016, but Durkin is solving the larger problem, which is size up front. 2017 could be a breakout year if the line coaching is good. Speaking of, the offensive line, running backs, and linebackers still do not have position coaches.
Fun fact: there is a kind of parrot in New Zealand, called the kea, that will unabashedly rummage through humans' backpacks and clothes in search of food. They are extremely curious, very destructive, and have been known to attack sheep. Once a kea took someone's passport.
Also, Desmond King has decided to return for his senior year.
The Jim Thorpe Award (top DB) has existed since 1986. No one has won it 2 straight years. Iowa's Desmond King now has chance to be the 1st.— Mike Hlas (@Hlas) January 5, 2016
Buckeye Recruiting: Hunting For A QB
Things can change in a hurry. Texas A&M refugee Kyle Allen visited practice last week, and J.T. Barrett is one of the few returning starters on offense. But the depth chart will need to be built up again in a hurry in case Barrett gets injured.
Ohio State Commit: 2016 Safety Jahsen Wint
This is a great write-up on Wint, whose size shouldn't prevent him from being an effective safety. Wint is listed at 5'11", 186, and plays physically already for that size. This continues Ohio State's trend of finding smaller, quicker safeties who can operate in quarters coverage, such as the 5'11" Vonn Bell.
On a semi-related note, I have secretly been terrified of cornerback prospect and all-around athlete Jordan Fuller ending up in Columbus. And while there's still a strong possibility he will wind up there, his recruitment is wide-open, with more than half a dozen schools still in play. However, he will visit both Michigan and Ohio State in January.
Biggest Questions Before National Signing Day
This piece from Bleacher Report looks at the eight biggest questions around the country. To just read about Michigan-relevant recruiting, click here and sort of click here.
Momentum Is Key Now For Nebraska
I cringed at the thought of what a loss to UCLA would do for the Nebraska fans and team. But after pulling out a win, the Huskers enter the off-season with a renewed sense of purpose.
How Far Has Michigan State Come? | Five Takeaways
These were both great looks at some of the gut-checking after the Spartans' vaporization at the hands of Alabama. In retrospect, Lane Kiffin against MSU's secondary was not a fair fight.
Also, far be it from me to second-guess Mark Dantonio on the recruiting trail, even slightly - he's one of the best judges of talent in the country - but MSU fans might be wishing they had another four-star receiver like 2016's Cameron Chambers (or Donnie Corley, perhaps) one or two classes sooner. MSU was able to get by for a long time on three-star players (the big exception being Aaron Burbridge, who was a four-star) but I think that time has passed for MSU. They will need to get superior athletes with reliable hands if they want to win playoff games.
Buckeyes Crunch The Irish, 44-28 | Zeke's Last Performance
Joey Bosa was ejected for targeting early, and Jaylon Smith went down with a major knee injury. Still, this was a great game, with high ratings, and awesome plays.
Northwestern-Tennessee: Player Grades
What Northwestern needed to do was turn Joshua Dobbs into a passing quarterback, and instead they let him run for 48 yards and two touchdowns while Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara combined for 183 yards and two more touchdowns on 5.2 yards a carry. Tennessee controlled the clock, forced four Northwestern turnovers, and largely shut Northwestern's passing attack down. The Wildcats had some disadvantages, but they needed to play better than this.
To start spinning this into a more positive light, it was clear (from plays like this) that the speed of the game was too much for a team that has not been under the bright lights. People talk about bowl wins giving momentum in the off-season, but this is a loss that could propel the Wildcats to train harder and establish higher goals for next year.
Top rookie WR grades in second half of season: Tyler Lockett +7.6 DeVante Parker +4.4 Devin Funchess +3.9 Jaelen Strong +2.2— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) January 4, 2016
At 22, WR Allen Robinson (@Thee_AR15) is the youngest player in @NFLhistory to register 1,400+ receiving yards & 14+ TDs in a single season.— Tad Dickman (@Tdickman89) January 3, 2016
Robinson is the only Big Ten alum in the NFL's top ten in receiving yardage, and there are only three (Eric Decker and Ted Ginn Jr.) in the top fifty. Hopefully Funchess can carry the flag next year.
Pelini overload. Also, September 4th is totally Bo Pelini Day.