Saturday, April 25, 2009

NFL Draft Analysis and Predictions

I'm going to throw out some that could possibly go down today.

-The Broncos make a play to move up from 12 for Mark Sanchez

-If BJ Raji or Tyson Jackson slips, the Steelers may make a move to get one of the two to help their aging line.

-Aaron Curry may be the first LB taken but some 3-4 teams believe Orakapo will be the best LB in the draft.

-Shawn Nelson, TE Southern Miss, is a 1st round talent. He proved his blocking skill at the Senior Bowl, which was the big question.

-Finally for our Tiger fans, DT Clint McDonald will go before the 5th round and OT Brandon Pearce will be drafted in the 6-7 range.

Hope all your teams make Matt Millen-esk decisions. Go Steelers!


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Another Name to X off our List...

Updated 4/23/09:
Multiple sources claim that Xavier and CJ (who?) Henry will be signing with Kansas in the coming days. If you've been following the roller coaster ride that the Henrys have been operating the past few weeks, you know that they've been supposedly heading to Memphis, Kentucky, Kansas, the Yankees, the Minnesota Timberwolves, the White House, and the moon.

Regardless of the destination to which the Henry brothers were leaning, they made it clear in each statement that they wanted to play together. Xavier will be playing one year of college ball before jumping to the NBA and he wanted the last chance to play on some level with his brother. I'm good with that. I think that's great.

The question that surfaces now that the Henry brothers have chosen Kansas is... How the $&%@ did CJ get his release from the NCAA to leave Memphis and play next year at another school? This is the same inadequate bunch of imbeciles that kept Simpkins and Garcia waiting 12-18 months last year just to check their high school report cards. If CJ is allowed to play next year (or be listed on the active roster; he'd be their Chance McGrady), it's just another suspicious situation to add to the list of complaints against the NCAA.

There is a posibility that he attends Kansas and simply sits out the next year while X plays. They would still be attending school together, they would practice together, they would party together. But, guys, you could've had the Plush Club! They would've even spelled your names right on the sign outside! I digress.

Either way, this looks bad for the NCAA. When they get ESPN coverage, they get the job done. When they get FOX13 coverage, they crap on our team.


4/22 update: Dan Wolken is reporting that Darnell Dodson is following Calipari to Gomorr-, er, Kentucky.

4/23 update: Also, SLAM Online reports that Nolan Dennis has just signed with Baylor.

Have you Tried Mel Kiper Lately?

He always comes back.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

T.O.D. NFL Mock Draft Round 1

1. DET-Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia
2. STL-Jason Smith, OT, Baylor
3. KC-Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest
4. SEA-Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
5. CLE-Brian Orakpo, DE/LB, Texas
6. CIN-Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia
7. OAK-Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland
8. JAC-Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
9. GB-Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU
10. SF-Mark Sanchez, QB, USC
11.BUF-Aaron Maybin, DE/LB, Penn. St.
12. DEN-BJ Raji, DT, Boston College
13. WAS-Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee
14. NO-Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri
15. HOU-Malcolm Jenkins, DB, Ohio St.
16. SD-Michael Oher, OT, Ole Miss
17. NYJ-Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia
18. DEN-Clay Matthews, LB, USC
19. TB-Everette Brown, DE/LB, Florida St.
20. DET-Peria Jerry, DT, Ole Miss
21. PHI-Chris Wells, RB, Ohio St.
22. MIN-Eben Britton, OT, Arizona
23. NE-Brian Cushing, LB, USC
24. ATL-Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Okla. St.
25. MIA-Larry English, DE/LB, Northern Ill.
26. BAL-Rey Maualuga, LB, USC
27. IND-Brian Robiskie, WR, Ohio St.
28. BUF-William Beatty, OT, UCONN
29. NYG-Shawn Nelson, TE, Southern Miss
30. TEN-Darius Butler, DB, UCONN
31. ARI-Donald Brown, RB, UCONN
32. PIT-Max Unger, C/G, Oregon

*Round 2 and analysis coming later

- Blake

Don't Act Like You're Not Impressed...

Per ESPN, Derrick Rose will be named the NBA Rookie of the Year today, bringing to fruition what Tiger fans knew would happen for the last two years.

Rose beat out O.J. Mayo to win the award, as he should've. Rose came into the NBA and excelled all season at what is the most difficult position, especially for a rookie. Congrats, DRose!

Odd... No mention of Michael Beasley for this award. Maybe it's because he's soft... or maybe because of this picture......maybe both.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Hittin the Links... 4/21/09...

Pretty awesome stats database for the history of Tiger basketball at the Appeal. talks the Henry brothers and reveals a little loophole that the NCAA hounds haven't lifted their leg to yet... (Thanks to BWill for the link).

Bloomberg spews some socialist BS. As much as I hate Cal, I'll never forsake capitalism. I will, however, forsake liars, cheaters and thieves. Also in this link, there will be a very disappointed 73% of pollsters when they discover some of their new coach's recruiting methods.

The Henry brothers canceled their visit to Kentucky and should be announcing their decision in the next day or so. Good news for Tiger fans? We shall see.

Dan Wolken wants the Henry brothers to make up their minds! While the end result (X being a one-and-doner) may be the same, how would the colleges be affected?

Sweet breakdown of DRose's record- setting performance in Game 1 of the Celtics-Bulls matchup. Note that the refs called two quick fouls on him in Game 2 to sit him down for a chunk of the 1st half. Funny how the Celtics seem to be sticking around... Also funny how Kevin Garnett illustrates the diversity of certain words.

Calipari's new mansion

Just in case you have been stockpiling eggs or toilet paper to use on Calipari's new house......good news! He just bought the Richmond Road House! Here is what it looks like. There are even interior pictures incase he doesn't invite you over. I have no idea why he wouldn't because you are one cool dude.
*Special thanks to mi madre for these pictures.*
(no one is allowed to mention my mother in the comments section)

p.s. i already put the address on the "please visit" list with every Mormon and Jehovah's Witness churches within 150 miles.

Monday, April 20, 2009

2009 Tiger Football Outlook and Spring Wrap-Up

As the proverb goes, "No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow." This seems to be the eternal hope of the Tiger Football fan and a fitting proverb to go with spring practice discussion. Since beginning C-USA play in 1996, Memphis has yet to claim that elusive conference title. There have been teams that could have contended, should have contended, and came close but have fallen short in the previous 13 attempts. I have been part of 5 of those attempts as a player and around for the first 2 as a coach's son. Why will this year be different? Has anything changed? I will examine and breakdown the 2009 Memphis Tigers and talk about comparisions to previous Tiger teams.

First up, Position Battles:

Arkelon Hall, QB

QB: This will be a 3 man race into fall camp and possibly the season between Arkelon Hall, Bryon Ingram, and Tyler Bass.

Arkelon Hall is the returning starter here and did not do anything to warrant losing his job this spring or anything to outright win it either. Hall could amaze you with his playmaking ability one minute and have you ripping your hair out the next. Hall currently has the leg up in the QB competition because of his experience, but if he doesn't prove consistent through fall camp, don't be surprised to see a change at signal caller.

Ingram has all the qualities you would want in a QB. He is a legit 6'5 and appears to weigh about 220. Put this with a cannon arm and impressive athleticism, you have everything you could want in a quarterback. What is holding him back? Consistency.

The wild card of the group is Tyler Bass. He could be the most talented, but after his knee injury last season, he hasn't been able to participate in spring drills. As you might expect, I will stick with the common theme of consistency for what he has yet to prove.

As with most of the positions on the team, there is no shortage of talent. This position will boil down to consistency and comfort in the offense.

Opening Day Projection: Arkelon Hall

Curtis Steele, RB

RB: We have a stable of capable running backs led by Sr. Curtis Steele. Look to hear the names of Curtis Steele, Lance Smith, TJ Pitts, Greg Ray, and Brandon Ross in the running back competition. The one that I can possibly see dropping out for this year would be Brandon Ross. He lost his redshirt year last year because of an injury depleted running back corp. The depth is there for him to redshirt this year, if he isn't one of the top 2 or 3 backs.

Steele is a tough, shifty runner that rushed for over 1,000 yards last year and is currently the starter. Steele is a proven and trusted back, but even with a 1,000 yard season under his belt, he is not above competition.

Lance Smith is a special talent. The Wisconsin transfer gives Memphis the home run threat at RB that it has missed since DeAngelo Williams left. He averaged over 6 yards a carry at Wisconsin against some pretty tough Big 10 defenses. I expect Clay Helton to find many ways to get him involved in the offense whether it be out of the backfield or motioning him out to create mismatches.

TJ Pitts will also see carries during his senior year. Pitts has struggled to remain healthy during his career, but he has looked impressive this spring. He did look a step slow in some scrimmages, but that should return as he continues to regain strength and speed.

Opening Day Projection: Curtis Steele (Lance Smith getting at least 10-15 carries as well)

Carlos Singleton, WR
WR/TE: It is no secret that big things are expected from Carlos Singleton and Duke Calhoun. We should even see them on the field together this year, which makes things even more exciting. The other receivers that could be making plays this year include Marcus Rucker, Cam Baker, Billy Foster, DajLeon Farr, and Devin Onarheim.

From my observations during spring scrimmages, Cam Baker is another one of those home run threats that this offense has lacked. His flat out speed is apparent. Him and Rucker will make the loss of Calhoun and Singleton easier to take in 2010.

While many people like the talent we had a receiver this spring, the most talented receiver may not even be on campus yet. All the people on sidelines could talk about was Billy Foster. One "representative of the universtiy" asked if I had seen his film. After I responded that I had not, he said, "He is something special. Reminds me of McCluster down at Ole Miss." If this turns out to be true, I can't wait to see Foster take a kickoff back when we play Old Piss to open the season.

The TE position will also see an influx of size and talent for the 2009 season. DajLeon Farr is 6'5 250 lbs. and Onarheim is 6'7 260. Farr, a Miami transfer, will give Memphis a downfield threat in the TE position as well as present matchup problems in the slot. Onarheim looked very good catching the ball this spring and much improved as a blocker, especially since he is filling out that 6'7 frame.

Opening Day Projection: X-Carlos Singleton, H-Cam Baker, Z-Duke Calhoun, Y-DajLeon Farr, and Utility Man-Billy Foster

Dominik Riley, OG/C

OL: The offensive line was hit hard by graduation, but O-line coach Rick Mallory will always find at least 5 guys to get the job done. Joel McLeod, Maurice Holloway, and Tommy Walker came over from the defensive side of the ball and will see significant playing time. The athleticism is there with the good feet and the great knee bend, but they are still learning the position. Returning starters Dominik Riley, Malcolm Rawls, and top backup Ronald Leary will be counted on to help solidify the unit. Also look for Junior College transfer Brad Paul to claim a spot somewhere on the line, most likely at Center. Riley has seen snaps at Center this spring, but he seems to be a better fit at guard. The move might be more out of just training another guy at center because you never know how injuries will change the line-up. Also, Kindley Jacques, another Junior College transfer, should contribute at a guard spot.

Opening Day Projection: LT-Ronald Leary, LG-Dominik Riley, C-Brad Paul, RG-Malcolm Rawls, RT-Tommy Walker, Top Reserves-Joel McLeod and Maurice Holloway

Charlie Bryant

DL: There should be great talent and depth on the D-line this year. Clinton McDonald was an enormous loss, but the overall talent level of the unit should be better. Veterans Jada Brown, Demetrius Culpepper, and Greg Terrell along with top Junior College transfer Justin Thompson should create a formidle pass rush from the DE spot. The Defensive Tackles could be the biggest in Memphis history. Tim McGee and Charlie Bryant each go about 320, and when Dontari Poe reports to fall camp he might claim a starting spot. Also look for Sr. Stephen Turner to provide a pass rush from inside.

Opening Day Projection: DE-Justin Thompson, DE-Jada Brown, DT-Charlie Bryant, and DT-Tim McGee

Winston Bowens, LB

LB: This another position that we will see talent and depth upgrades at this fall. You have returners Greg Jackson, Winston Bowens, Jeremy Rockette, and Jeremy Longstreet, along with newcomers Jamon Hughes, Derrick Odom, and Ricky Holloway. Hughes and Odom are 2 SEC transfers that were both recruited out of high school by the Tigers, and Holloway signed last year and turned down many SEC offers to highlight last year's recruiting class. I expect all to see time and the depth at linebacker will improve special teams as well.

Opening Day Projections: MLB-Winston Bowens, OLB-Greg Jackson, OLB-Jamon Hughes

Alton Starr, DB
DB: The secondary and offensive line could be where this team lacks depth the most. CB DA Griffin and S Alton Starr will be the leaders in the seconday. I expect Auburn transfer DeRon Furr to claim the other Saftey spot after being a playmaker this spring, and look for local Whitehaven product Darius Davis or Deante' Lamar to claim the Corner spot opposite of Griffin.
Opening Day Projections: CB-DA Griffin, CB-Darius Davis, S-Alton Starr, S-DeRon Furr
Top Spring Performers: RB Lance Smith, WR Cam Baker, C Brad Paul, LB Greg Jackson, S DeRon Furr.

One and... Done?

Tyreke Evans is obviously testing the NBA waters. However, ESPN reports that Evans will not hire an agent and may still contemplate a return to the Tigers if he doesn't like his projected draft position. Evans has until the June 15 deadline to withdraw from the draft and return to college.

It has been widely reported that Evans, with the assistance of his wise elder brothers, will only stay in the draft if he is a top 10 pick. I expect him to stay in the draft if he is projected in the top 15. He played his way there in the tournament.

On the flipside, he and his brothers have a good point. If Tyreke stays in college, hones his skills, and takes the Tigers to a Final Four or beyond, he is a top 5 pick, easily. has Tyreke going 16, ESPN has him floating around the 10-12 spots (depending on who you trust), while DraftExpress has him going 7.

All that to say... He's probably going pro and we hope the best for him. He was a highlight to a gut-wrenching year... But we'd sure love to have him back, lobbing alley-oops to Coleman and Taggart.

Coleman to Memphis...

After meeting with Coach Pastner today, Will Coleman confirmed that he will be honoring his commitment to play basketball for the University of Memphis.

Dan Wolken describes Coleman as, "[A] Joey Dorsey-esque athlete who is still learning to play the game but has almost unparalleled speed and leaping ability at the college level for a player of his size."

It'll be very interesting to see how Coleman develops under P3's tutelage. If he becomes the next Dorsey, Coleman would be an instrumental recruiting tool, not simply an excellent recruit.

Oh, by the way... Suck it, Cal.


For those caught perusing... Do you think Coleman's decision to play for the Tigers will affect Taggart's plans if he doesn't get drafted?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

On Tap This Week

I thought I would give everyone a preview of what to expect this week from my postings.

1. Tiger Spring Football Wrap-Up: I'll talk about the newcomers, position battles, and expectations going into the season. Monday 4/20

2. NFL Mock Draft Round 1: I'll talk about needs for the teams and make the pick for them. Wednesday 4/22

3. NFL Mock Draft Round 2: I love the NFL Draft, so I can't just do one round. If I had time, I would want to pick the whole thing. Friday 4/25

4. Tiger NFL Prospects for 2009: I'll talk about DL Clinton McDonald and OL Brandon Pearce . Where could they end up? Saturday 4/26

.....also, any Basketball Recruiting/Coaching updates will be discussed. It will be an exciting week.


* If you have any questions to submit, feel free to leave a comment.