Sunday, June 28, 2009

Catching up: Transfers abound

* Two pretty talented quarterbacks announced their transfer intentions this week, and both are (unsurprisingly) headed to lower-division schools to play out their eligibility. First, former Indiana QB-turned-receiver Kellen Lewis decided that he'll play next season at Valdosta State, which has been a D-II power for years. Lewis is in his final year of eligibility and said he expects to play quarterback at Valdosta. On the other side of the country, Oregon QB Justin Roper -- a redshirt sophomore who lost a battle with Jeremiah Masoli for the starting job in spring practice - announced Saturday that he'll play next season at Montana, which has a pretty impressive history in its own right at the FCS level.

* Former USC receiver and five-star recruit Vidal Hazelton, who announced in January that he'd transfer to Cincinnati, had his request for immediate eligibility denied by the NCAA. He stated at the time of his transfer that he wanted to be closer to his grandfather, who is battling cancer, so at first glance this might seem like a heartless decision. The problem is that Hazelton's grandfather lives in Georgia ... so yeah, no real argument here. He'll be eligible to play for the Bearcats in 2010.

* Nick Montana (yes, that Montana), long considered by Ohio State fans their post-Terrelle Pryor savior, spurned the Buckeyes and committed to Washington last week. Montana hails from Oaks Christian (Calif.), the same high school that produced Jimmy Clausen, and is rated as a four-star recruit by both Rivals and Scout. His commitment to the Huskies seemed a little shocking at first when compared with the offers from Ohio State, Notre Dame, LSU, Georgia and pretty much everyone else, but I guess it shouldn't be that surprising. Keep in mind that Steve Sarkisian was a renowned QB coach who sharpened his recruiting chops at USC, so he ought to be able to pull in some talent (offensively, at least) at U-Dub. Ohio State, on the other hand, still hasn't landed anything more than a roster-filler at QB since Terrelle Pryor's arrival and has to be concerned about where the offense goes if Pryor were to (gasp) suffer an injury or leave school after his junior year in 2010. Jim Tressel has never been overly reliant on his quarterbacks, but I'm fairly certain he doesn't wanna be starting an unheralded true freshman (or worse) in 2011.

* More bad news for Ohio State (thus good news for everyone else): Top running back recruit Jamaal Berry, a five-star from Miami, was arrested recently and charged with felony marijuana possession after a traffic stop. It's unclear at this point whether Berry will make it to campus and, if he doesn't, exactly what effect that will have on the offense. Tressel seems to like his running backs big and strong -- Maurice Wells (basically the 2004 version of Berry) barely saw the field during his disappointing career -- but it's hard to say whether that's due to Sweatervest's preference or simply the presence of uber-talents Maurice Clarett and Chris Wells during his tenure.

* I normally stay away from the national websites' team previews -- they're way too general for my taste and often wildly inaccurate because no real research goes into them -- but Rivals' Tom Dienhart has a shockingly coherent and well-informed Michigan preview up, with UM coming in at #46 in the Yahoo/Rivals team-by-team countdown.

* If you're into self-induced depression, check out the Nick Saban salary calculator at It'll provide you with such horrifying information as how much more Saban makes than you per hour and exactly how many lifetimes you would have to work to earn what Saban does in a single year.

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