ESPN’s Joe Schad caught up with Tate Forcier this week and got the scoop on his transfer plans. Here’s a snippet:
Former Michigan quarterback Tate Forcier explained Tuesday why he never enrolled at Miami and also outlined some schools he’s interested in.
“I just didn’t feel comfortable and wanted to be closer to home,” Forcier said. “Miami is completely on the other side of the country. It would have been fun playing there. But I just wanted to be closer so my parents can afford to come to the games.”
Forcier announced be was transferring to Miami but never returned to the campus.
Forcier said he is in the process of setting up visits to other schools.
“I’m looking into Auburn,” Forcier said. “I’m definitely interested in USC, San Diego State, Montana, Kansas State and University of San Diego. I have to lay everything out and figure out my visits.” (ESPN.com)
If you’ve come across the Forcier family’s web site, the unbelievably goofy QBForce.com, then you know Tate is from San Diego. I can see how playing at Michigan might have created some hardships for him in terms of distance. After all, it was tough not having a family member close by whose shoulder he could cry on when Denard Robinson passed him on the depth chart.
So if travel costs for his parents are a factor then I can see how Miami would be out of the question. But then Forcier drops Auburn as a school he wouldn’t mind attending. Hmmmm, Auburn is 2,000 miles from San Diego as opposed to Miami being 2,700 miles away. Not that much of an improvement.
I wonder if Forcier’s conversation with his mom about this whole thing went something like this:
Tate: “Mom, I’m not going to Miami after all, it’s just too far away.”
Mama Forcier: “Thank God, it’s clear across the country, and we just want you closer to home. You know I hear such good thinks about San Diego State and they’re just down the street.”
Tate: “Actually, Mom, I’m looking into Auburn.”
Mama Forcier: “Auburn? Honey, I’ve heard of them, but refresh my memory on where they are.”
Tate: “In the United States.”
Mama Forcier: “No, Tate, I mean what STATE is the school in.”
Tate: “Oh yeah, my bad. They’re in Georgia or Alabama or one of those states right around there.”
Mama Forcier: “Uh huh.”
While Forcier might be interested in Auburn, I would be surprised if the feeling is mutual. With Heisman winner Cam Newton having departed, there is indeed a void at the quarterback position for Auburn. But Forcier will be required to sit out the 2011 season if his transfer destination ends up being a Football Bowl Subdivision school.
That’s why rumors persist that recently departed NC State quarterback Russell Wilson might be in Auburn’s immediate future. Besides being a superior quarterback to Forcier, Wilson is eligible to play right now.
But wherever Wilson goes, it will cost him due to the fact that he’s currently playing minor league baseball, as pointed out by Keith Jarrett of the Asheville Citizen-Times:
On their only scheduled off day for the next two-plus weeks, Asheville Tourists players spent Tuesday going to the pool, taking it easy and getting caught up on their sleep.
Second baseman Russell Wilson went shopping for a football team.
The former N.C. State quarterback spent Monday night and much of Tuesday at Auburn because he is considering playing football there this fall with his final year of college eligibility.
And it’s a decision that would cost him some money.
A fourth-round pick of the Colorado Rockies in the 2010 draft, who received a $250,000 signing bonus, Wilson would have to give some of that back if he left the Tourists before the end of this season to play college football.
“It’s a significant portion he would have to return,” said Marc Gustafson, the Rockies’ senior director of player development. (Asheville Citizen-Times)
Let me head the bellyachers off at the pass right here who’ll say, “Auburn will just make up the difference for him.” It’s damn near June and there’s still no proof of a $180,000 money trail leading from Auburn to the Newtons. Sorry, if the NCAA hasn’t dug up a pile of cash that big by now, it ain’t ever gonna happen.
In this edition of the LKSOC we highlight Cam Newton hate, a glorious Pervis Ellison time capsule and Adam Schefter’s bratty kid:
◊ Draftniks are desperate for Cam Newton to be Ryan Leaf
Cam Newton had all the ingredients for a first pick of the draft who’d be panned by all the amateur draftniks, and sure enough, his selection by the Carolina Panthers has been panned by all the amateur draftniks. First off, half the planet is convinced he was paid $180,000 to play at Auburn, so that gives people the “character issues” card to play.
As I’ve said before in regard to this issue, I’m still waiting for the paper trail to surface on a pile of dough that huge. Hell, the NCAA just found a paper trail at Boise State for $2.70, so I’m sure nearly a quarter million bucks would be a little easier to find.
Also, you might not have noticed, but Newton is African-American, so in true Al Campanis fashion, the detractors not harping on his character issues have questioned his ability to grasp the nuances of NFL offenses. Good lord, it’s 2011 and dudes are still trying to find ways to knock black quarterbacks and not sound racist in the process.
ESPN.com’s Gene Wojciechowski is just one example of the many who seem to be downright angry that Newton was even considered to be a first round pick. Here he is abandoning all logic to tear the guy down:
Newton is a walking red flag. I question his ability to make the transition from Auburn’s “Please-Cam-Make-Something-Happen” spread offense to a sophisticated pro playbook. I question his past. I question his future.
I guarantee you the Panthers were questioning it too. As recently as the day before the draft, the Panthers had four candidates for the No. 1 pick. You don’t do that unless you have compelling doubts about Newton, or unless you want to deke teams into wanting to trade up. (ESPN.com)
Hmmm, the “Please-Cam-Make-Something-Happen” offense that Wojciechowski is knocking averaged 431.7 ypg and 33.3 ppg the year before Newton arrived when it was being directed by Chris Todd. Auburn’s offense obviously became otherworldly when the dynamic of Cam’s legs were added, but don’t for a second doubt that the dude’s arm strength wasn’t a factor, either:
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I realize that a cannon arm alone doesn’t guarantee a quarterback’s success in the NFL. But right off the bat, Newton can make every throw asked of him. And that’s a quality that can’t be coached.
In the course of the draft buildup it was hard to find an analyst out there who spent more time discussing Newton’s positives than his negatives. And that’s strange when you consider that his combination of size, mobility and arm strength is downright freakish.
◊ A blast from the Never Nervous past
You know makes for absolutely fantastic background music for an above average college center’s highlight reel? Lou Rawls doing his version of “Wind Beneath My Wings”:
I declare the combination of Rawls and Pervis’s late 80’s hair to be almost as BLESSED as this kid’s shirt-hat combo:
Back in the 80’s, did Louisville have some program where they gave kids from a local orphanage free Pervis shirts in addition to free seats at Freedom Hall?
◊ Osama getting capped = redneck celebration
The best reaction to the news of Osama bin Laden’s death? It was this guy:
A gun, a four wheeler and an American flag. “Alex, what are three things found in every redneck household in the country?” The highlight of this glorious clip comes at the :30 mark, when the guy has to brush aside the American flag to shoot his gun. Now that’s something you don’t see every day.
◊ And then there’s the guy NOT celebrating Osama’s demise
Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall had an interesting time on Twitter yesterday, to say the least. While most of us celebrated OBL’s death like it was New Year’s Eve, Mendenhall had a little different reaction:
Of course, snarky a-holes on Twitter (myself included) took that stuff and ran with it:
But as the day wore on, EVERYONE was getting into Mendenhall’s ass ($1 to Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Leon), including the Washington Post’s Alexandra Petri:
In case we needed a reminder of the hum of conspiracy surrounding Sept. 11 itself, there were the tweets from football player Rashard Mendenhall, including a musing about how “We’ll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style.”
Forget martyrdom. The real way to live forever is in conspiracy theory. The major difference between cockroaches and conspiracy theorists is that there is something you can spray on cockroaches to stop them. I don’t mean to be harsh to cockroaches, but their sheer tenacious tendency to crawl out of the woodwork when you don’t want them is only matched by that of people who insist that We Can Never Know What Really Happened. (Washington Post)
This has turned into a shitstorm of bad press for Mendenhall, who’ll now hear it from fans on this particular subject for the rest of his career. It just goes to show you that while freedom of speech is a great thing to exercise, knowing when to shut the hell up might just save your ass a ton of grief.
◊ Speaking of not knowing when to be quiet
Here’s Adam Schefter’s kid piping up during his appearance on Colin Cowherd’s train wreck of a radio show today:
This clip generates a torrent of questions, among which are:
- Does ESPN not pay Schefter enough money to put his little angel in day care?
- Is Schefter’s daughter one of his primary sources for NFL news?
- What the hell am I doing watching a simulcast of The Herd?
In late January and early February of this year, I wrote some pieces on the curious recruiting saga involving Russelville (AL) linebacker/running back Brent Calloway. If you’ll recall, Calloway initially commited to Alabama, then switched his pledge to Auburn but ended up back where he started, inking with Alabama on National Signing Day.
It’s not unusual for a kid to waver the way Calloway did, but the circumstances surrounding his switch back to the Tide were a little odd. If you’ll recall, Calloway wanted a shot to play running back on the next level, something Auburn coaches had apparently told him they were happy to give him.
Doug Segrest of the Birmingham News tells us how Calloway’s switch went over with the kid’s adopted father, Peaches Winston:
Winston isn’t happy with the change of heart. He has nothing against Auburn. He just doesn’t believe his son handled it correctly.
“I’m from the old school,” Winston said. “When you shake a man’s hand, look him in the eye and make a commitment, you stick to that commitment.”
“I respect him and I’m going to root for him. But I don’t think he handled it the right way.” (Birmingham News)
Once his letter of intent was faxed into Alabama, it appeared this story was over and done with. I’ll let Izzy Gould fill you in on how things got complicated again:
On Jan. 30, three days before national signing day, Calloway shut down communication with outsiders. He spoke to his guardian, Harland “Peaches” Winston, hoping to find an escape to the thunderous recruiting storm.
“When he got through down there at Alabama he said, ‘Dad, I do not want to go home. I do not want to go home, I want to stay,’” Winston said. “He said, ‘I don’t want to go home because of all this stuff people are gonna be talking.’ I called the principal, and I called the superintendent, and I said, ‘Would it be all right if we keep Brent out?’ They said, ‘Fine. OK.’”
Winston said he knew his good friend, Darren Woodruff, was leaving town for a few days.
Allegations surfaced last week when Rivals.com reporter Jeffrey Lee alleged in a radio interview that a person “very involved in the athletics department” at Alabama had transported Calloway out of state. Rivals.com later identified the man as Woodruff, president of Petro Chemical Energy, and reported he had paid Winston $2,500 and gave Calloway a car to sign with Alabama. The website reported the car was later returned.
Investigators from Alabama investigated the claims Friday and determined no wrongdoing. The school did not file a report with the NCAA. (al.com)
Woodruff is a longtime friend of Winston who may or may not be an Alabama booster, depending on who you talk to. Yesterday on SportsRadio 730 in Huntsville, AL, Woodruff was interviewed by Johnny “Ballpark” Franks (is that the most unfortunate nickname in radio?) about this whole sordid affair. I found the following part of that interview to be very interesting:
In that clip, Woodruff seems to be implying that you can tell very little about a kid’s athletic prowess when he’s in the ninth grade. He stops short of calling Calloway a pencil-necked geek who didn’t blossom as a football player until he was a senior.
Woodruff’s assertion might sound good to the average layperson, but in this case, it doesn’t stick. That’s because Calloway was actually turning heads on football fields as an eighth grader. Brian App of the Decatur Times Daily provides the particulars from back in 2008:
After starting the last two games in place of Freeman, Calloway, a sophomore, now boasts 16 touchdowns this season, his first playing tailback.
“He’s irreplaceable,” Russellville quarterback Joey Howe said. “He can just smell the end zone. I can’t really say how he does it.”
Let Calloway explain.
“I’ve got to score when I get the ball; that’s the mentality I have,” he said. “After the year I spent away, I just had to come back and run hard every play. I’ve got to make up for last year.”
Calloway had to sit out last season after transferring from Florence, where he played a few varsity games as an eighth-grader at defensive end and outside linebacker. (Florence Times-Daily)
Not many eighth-graders get the call to play varsity football, and it’s safe to say that those who do are special athletes. Also, think back to your time in high school. I would venture to guess that the most exceptional athletes in your ninth grade class went on to be the most exceptional athletes in your senior class. Hell, that’s how it worked at my school.
Therefore, Woodruff sounds a little full of it by insinuating that nobody could predict that Calloway would ever blossom into a football player that colleges would fight over. But this isn’t the only contradiction involving the kid that Woodruff has been caught in this week. He was interviewed by Kevin Scarbinsky of the Birmingham News and said the following:
Calloway’s final change of heart came after he visited Tuscaloosa on the last weekend before signing day. That visit, Woodruff said, was the key to the decision for several reasons.
One, it came three days after Auburn received a public verbal commitment from Lake Worth, Fla., running back Tre Mason. One of Calloway’s reasons for committing to Auburn in early January was the opportunity to play running back, a position with little depth.
“He mentioned that Auburn had promised him they would not recruit another running back, and they had one to commit,” Woodruff said. “That had some bearing on it.” (Birmingham News)
That’s interesting stuff, because back on January 29, Calloway himself didn’t seem to be the least bit irked by the fact that Mason had given a verbal pledge to Auburn. Here’s what Calloway told Doug Segrest of the Birmingham News:
“I’m not afraid of competition, but I’d rather go against one or two than five or six. Alabama has (at running back) Corey Grant, Dee Hart and (Demetrius) Goode. Plus, Eddie Lacy and Trent Richardson are back.
“Auburn only has two (Onterio McCalebb and Mike Dyer) at running back, plus (commitment) Tre Mason and a walk-on. I know for a fact competing there would be easier.”
That’s where father and son disagree again.
“I feel he has a better chance to get to the NFL on defense, whether it’s linebacker or safety,” Winston said. “I feel for my son. I don’t see him making it as a running back in the pros.” (Birmingham News)
Getting back to that interview he had with “Ballpark” Franks, Woodruff directly addressed the allegations brought forth by Lee:
Fair enough, because the burden of proof is all anybody wants. That would be a welcome change from the various contradictions swirling around this story right now. The entirety of the “Ballpark” Franks interview with Woodruff can be found here. And yes, that was just another excuse for me to work “Ballpark” Franks into this one more time.
So on the latest addition of Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, four former Auburn football players (Raven Gray, Stanley McGlover, Chaz Ramsey and Troy Reddick) said they were paid to play football for the school. If you haven’t seen it, well, I’ll provide a recap: four guys with axes to grind spilled their guts, but provided very little in the way of proof.
McClover told fantastic tales of book bags full of money being left by Auburn “boosters” (none of whom he could actually name) and recruiting trips to Ohio State where he was free to bang any chick in sight. Reddick went further, not only saying that he was paid (he couldn’t name his benefactor, either), but also alleging that Auburn coaches forced him to change his major. He even threw this nugget in:
Reddick: “I sold my SEC Championship watch right off the stage as we were celebrating in Toomer’s Corner.”
Kremer: “Why did you sell it?”
Reddick: “Because it was useless to me. I had to sell all my championship rings to help my sister not go into debt as her house was about to be foreclosed on.”
Wait, hold on a second. If Auburn was so free and loose with the cash, couldn’t some of it had been thrown at Reddick’s sister to help her in her time of need? Hell, Oklahoma boosters bought Marcus Dupree’s mom a trailer once upon a time, so I’m sure the legion of nefarious Auburn boosters could’ve helped Reddick’s sister get right with her bank again. You know, because they’re evil and stuff.
On the telecast, Reddick could barely contain his hate for Auburn, it was practically dripping from his nose. Could some of that have something to do with the fact that he was turned down after he applied for a Graduate Assistant coaching position at Auburn last year? Hmmmm…
Ramsey also had stories to tell, like receiving $100 handshakes after Auburn football games. Curiously, he spent much more time making those allegations than Kremer did telling us about his lawsuit against Auburn. You know, the lawsuit that motivated Ramsey to even be on the segment to begin with. I’ll fill in the blanks on that:
Football coaches are expected to push their players to give the most they can give.
Did Nall and Gamber push too hard? Against doctor’s orders?
The lawsuit alleges that they did.
The lawsuit alleges that Nall and Gamber forced Ramsey to do too much too soon after his first back surgery on April 21, 2008.
The lawsuit alleges that Ramsey reinjured his back in the weight room on June 2, 2008, and that injury led to the second surgery, on Jan. 21 of this year, and ended his career. (Birmingham News)
U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson thought so much of Ramsey’s lawsuit that he dismissed it this past February. Ladies and gentleman, that sound you hear is Ramsey grinding an ax.
Getting far less publicity than the Ax Grinding Four is the fact that several more Auburn players are saying they didn’t really see this stuff going on. Four year starter Lee Ziemba provided the following to the Sporting News:
“No, I absolutely did not (receive money),” Ziemba told Sporting News. “In fact, it was the other way around. Everybody is complaining about (not having) money in college. I remember trying to figure out—I was just talking to my girlfriend about this yesterday—I just got my first credit card yesterday and I was talking about how nice it was not to have to choose between eating food and putting gas in my truck for once. Even though now I have money, I told her that would be helpful back when I was in college. That’s the way things were. They were late giving us our scholarship checks, we were getting money on the 17th or something like that, late on our rent checks and stuff. We struggled in college. As much as you whined and complained and tried to get money, you weren’t getting a dime. So I don’t know where all this is coming from.” (The Sporting News)
So a guy who started from the day he stepped on campus and helped Auburn win a national title says he didn’t get paid? Wow, it appears that Auburn’s got this whole system ass-backwards. They seem to be paying guys who are on the fast track to being has beens instead of hooking up their actual contributors. Strange stuff, man.
It would’ve been nice if Ziemba had been part of this particular Real Sports story, you know, to provide a little bit of balance. But it appears that HBO was never interested in that.
Weeks ahead of the story, rumors circulated that HBO officials were beating down doors trying to hunt down former college athletes who could provide tales of being paid to play. In his Twitter account, former Ohio State basketball player George Reese shared his experiences with the folks from HBO (start from the bottom and work your way up):
You see, here is where this thing gets goofy. HBO was never reporting on a story, they were turning over rocks looking for one. And that’s questionable journalism at best.
When Auburn was nailed by the NCAA in the early 90’s courtesy of Eric Ramsey’s tape recordings, that was a story that was actually reported on. You see, Ramsey lawyered up and went to the press himself. There were names and dates and times and actual dots to be connected.
HBO, on the other hand, put the spotlight on a few bitter guys who could provide nothing along the lines of the proof Ramsey had nearly two decades ago. In essence, they just beat on enough doors until they could find a few Auburn guys to plug into a piece. And that’s supposed to be journalism?
Forget the goofy reporting, in my opinion, Real Sports jumped the shark a few years back when they carted out Jim Cramer to tell the world that Lenny Dykstra (LENNY DYKSTRA?!?!?) was a financial wiz. How much credibility can the show have after airing a piece of shit story like that?
These guys could’ve save a little face this week by actually reporting on a more timely recruiting scandal, like the one involving Willie Lyles. Here you have a street agent who’s getting MULTIPLE schools in hot water, but instead, HBO went with Chaz Ramsey and the Has Beens. Wow.
Speaking of Lyles, here’s former Texas A&M assistant Van Malone broadsiding the dude in a piece of video from ESPN:
I’m not sure how much more hot water that Oregon or LSU will get into over Lyles, because the whole world seems to STILL be more preoccupied with nosing through Auburn’s closet in the aftermath of Cam-gate. Hell, all of Mississippi State’s money men were exposed in that fiasco, but I guess HBO wasn’t interested in chasing those leads. If only they’d have come to me, I could’ve provided contact info: John Bond, email@example.com.
It takes a lot to stun college football fans when it comes to news of college football players being arrested. That’s because it happens so frequently that we’ve all come to expect it. But last night, four Auburn players found a way to make college football arrests seem shocking again.
Now Auburn has had its share of knuckleheads in the past. Under Terry Bowden’s watch back in the 90’s, wide receiver Robert Baker was arrested and charged with trafficking cocaine. In case you forgot, Baker and his roommate, Jordan Brumbaugh (brother of then-Auburn defensive end Jimmy) actually had a pretty lucrative business selling the white stuff.
During my time in college, I only had to go to class and barely had the motivation to even do that. But Baker had the motivation to not only go to class, but to play football and deal cocaine as well. That was some kind of multitasking.
In recent years, Auburn hasn’t had to deal with any Tony Montana’s in training. In fact, on the arrest front, the program has actually been much quieter than some others. Until last night, that is:
On Friday, March 11, 2011, the Auburn Police Division arrested four people and charged each of them with five counts of Robbery 1st Degree, one count of Burglary 1st Degree, and one count of Theft of Property 3rd Degree. They are identified as Antonio M. Goodwin, age 20, Kowaski Q. Kitchens, age 19, Michael A. McNeil, age 22, and Harrison D. Mosley, age 19. All list an Auburn address. At approximately 12:25 a.m. this same date officers responded to a residence located in the 2300 block of Lee Road 137 (Wire Road) in reference to the report of a robbery that had just occurred. According to the five victims present, three black males entered the residence with one displaying a handgun. Personal property was stolen during the incident. No injuries were reported. A patrolman responding to the area observed what he believed to be the suspect vehicle based on a description he was given. Officers stopped the vehicle in the 1200 block of Wire Road and four suspects were taken into custody. A pistol and the stolen property was recovered at the scene. Goodwin, Kitchens, McNeil, and Mosley were transported to the Lee County Detention Center where each is currently being held on a $511,000 bond. (oanow.com)
Are you kidding me? Really? REALLY?!? Of course, Auburn coach Gene Chizik was left with no choice but to take swift and decisive action:
“The players arrested in connection with this deeply troubling incident have been permanently dismissed from our football team. While we realize the legal process will run its course and these young men have a right for their case to be heard, playing for Auburn University is an honor and a privilege. It is not a right.”
“We hold our student-athletes to a high standard of conduct on and off the field as representatives of Auburn University, and this kind of behavior is not tolerated.”
“I am extremely disappointed and embarrassed by the actions of these individuals. I want to personally apologize to all of those who were impacted by this senseless act, including the victims, Auburn University and the Auburn family.” (oanow.com)