BOZICH | College Football Notebook: Strong Forecasts More First-Rounders For Louisville
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Say hello to an old friend – The College Football Notebook. We’re less than 15 weeks from the start of the 2014 season. Every weekend, Eric Crawford and I will gather nuggets from around the area and country.
Get down in your three-point stance. Orange, 84, green, 16, OMAHA …
CARDS SHOULD HAVE ANOTHER STRONG NFL DRAFT
Until Thursday, Louisville had celebrated eight first-round picks in the NFL Draft, two since 1994.
Calvin Pryor (Jets), Marcus Smith (Eagles) and Teddy Bridgewater (Vikings) changed that. U of L and Texas A&M were the only two programs to have three guys taken in the first round. U of L linebacker Preston Brown joined the trio when Buffalo drafted Brown in the third round Friday.
It’s never too soon to start slotting players in the 2015 Draft. At least one voice is saying Louisville has the potential to have three more first-round selections next May.
That voice would be Charlie Strong, the former U of L coach now at Texas.
“It wouldn’t surprise me,” Strong said. “You have three guys with that kind of ability – DeVante Parker, Lorenzo Mauldin and Charles Gaines.”
Parker is the best bet, a receiver with size, speed, hands and solid career numbers. Mauldin, a defensive end, was named to the all-AAC second team last season after making 40 tackles with 9 ½ sacks. Gaines, a defensive back, emerged as U of L’s top cover guy in the secondary. He intercepted five passes while also returning kicks.
“Those three guys all have the ability,” Strong said.
REACTION TO TEDDY MIXED IN MINNEAPOLIS
Teddy Bridgewater handled his introductory press conference in Minnesota with poise Friday. He finished his evening at the Minnesota Wild Stanley Cup hockey game.
Most of the national reaction to Bridgewater going to the Vikings with the 32nd and final pick in the first round has been positive. Minnesota appears to be a good place for a rookie quarterback. Norv Turner is a solid offensive coordinator. Halfback Adrian Peterson remains the centerpiece of the Minnesota offense. The Vikings have a veteran quarterback, Matt Cassel, who can help Bridgewater ease into the job.
All good signs.
This was my question: What’s the talk-radio reaction to the Bridgewater pick in the Twin Cities?
I went directly to a old friend and fellow Gary, Indiana native – Dan Barreiro, host of the leading drive-time sports talk show on KFAN.
“It’s mixed,” Barreiro said. “This is no fault of Bridgewater’s but there are a lot of people comparing this pick to Christian Ponder (out of Florida State, three years ago), even though their career projectories are quite different.”
Quick explanation: Vikings’ fans have quarterback fatigue. The team drafted Ponder with the 12th overall pick in 2011, and he’s already considered a bust. They selected Tarvaris Jackson with the 64th overall pick in the second round in 2006. Didn’t work out.
“I think Bridgewater is viewed as a very solid prospect and a classy guy, but they wonder how great he can be,” Barreiro said. “Some people wanted a guy who was a little bit edgier in terms of personality. Not a jackass, but edgier.”
Those are code words for Johnny Manziel.
Barreiro said that a significant knot of Vikings fans wanted the team to make the move that Cleveland made and trade into the 22nd slot and draft Manziel, the former Heisman Trophy winner from Texas A&M.
Remember that Brett Favre played the final two seasons with the Vikings – and Vikings’ fans liked that. And they liked Manziel. Some consider Manziel as Brett Favre Lite.
“Manziel might have been a riskier pick but he has more of that voltage, more of that juice, more of that excitement,” Barreiro said. “The feeling is that the Vikings wanted Manziel but they got beat to the punch on that trade by the Browns at the last minute.”
That said, Barreiro likes the Bridgewater selection. He said that the Vikings would not have made the trade to draft Bridgewater if the typically conservative Minnesota front office did not believe Turner could develop Bridgewater into a winning quarterback.
“He’s an experienced hand at doing that and Bridgewater is in a good situation,” Barreiro said. “With Cassel around, they don’t have to rush him.”
ANOTHER TOP 25 CLASS AT KENTUCKY
Mark Stoops and his coaching staff continue to grind on the recruiting trail. The Wildcats added two oral commitments last week – linebacker Jordan Jones and tight end C.J. Conrad.
Both players are from Ohio. In fact, four of Kentucky’s nine commitments in the Class of 2015 are from Ohio. Four are also offensive linemen.
Early reports on the class from the recruiting gurus are solid. Kentucky’s class ranks 17th nationally with Rivals, 25th with Scout and 21 with 247Sports.com.
PARKER ON THE COVER
As Charlie Strong said, Louisville receiver DeVante Parker should be one of the top pass-catchers in the nation this season. Parker has scored 28 touchdowns over the last three seasons while catching 113 passes. Those numbers should grow in the new offense that Bobby Petrino will run at Louisville.
And with games against Miami, Florida State, Clemson and Notre Dame, Parker should receive plenty of publicity. In fact, the publicity has already started.
Parker is featured on the regional cover for the Atlantic Coast Conference edition of Athlon Sports college football yearbook, which will be on sale in June.
JOHNNY BEING JOHNNY
Remember what Barreiro said about Johnny Manziel being the edgier selection?
I believe this is a small snapshot of that: Thursday night in College Station, Texas, 122 patrons at Chimy’s Cerveceria received a free Miller Lite and a Fireball shot – compliments of Manziel.
Manziel left $2,000 at the bar to cover the tab before he headed to New York City for the draft. He wanted his fans to celebrate the big moment the right way – and, according to this story at FoxSports.com, Manziel chose $2,000 because his uniform number is 2.
DAWKINS LEAVES PURDUE
Chane Behanan will never make it to Colorado State, but another athlete with local ties is on his way to Fort Collins.
Former Trinity High School running back Dalyn Dawkins is leaving Purdue to play at Colorado State. Tom Fornelli of CBSSports.com said Dawkins was behind three guys on the depth chart at Purdue even though he carried the ball 32 times for 115 yards as a freshman for the Boilermakers.
Dawkins, the son of former Louisville halfback Ralph Dawkins, will have to sit out the 2014 season before playing for CSU, which lost its top two running backs from the 2013 season.
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