Thursday, April 29, 2010

IU Recruiting Update

Don’t look now…but the IU football Hoosiers are making a strong early recruiting 2011 run. Through today the Hoosiers have reportedly gained commitments from 8 2011 football prospects – second most in the Big Ten (Big Fourteen?) behind Ohio State. Last year the Hoosiers didn’t land their first commit until JUCO CB Andre Kates committed in early May.

Here is a breakdown from ESPN regarding the current 2011 recruiting totals for each school:

The chart above is by no means a ranking of the classes – but you can see from the list that on sheer numbers alone IU is up there with the big boys. While the likes of Texas, Alabama, and Ohio State can point to recent success and hand-pick the kids they want, IU is still in the business of selling the future. It’s good to see the number of kids that are buying into it.

A lot of people will look at IUs commitment list and point to lack of BCS offers for the guys that are committed. While that may be true I think those people are a little short-sighted in there bashing of these kids – They are still in their Jr year of high school!! IU has to go after kids they have a shot at who are BCS caliber…but not 4 and 5 star guys. In my opinion all the kids that have committed would have received quite a few offers if they remained uncommitted and did the camp and combine circuit. (Sidenote – some of the schools that have offered at least one of these guys are Nebraska, Kansas, Purdue, Louisville, Duke, and basically all the MAC).
The other thing to keep in mind is the types of kids that IU is going after. So far the breakdown for the commitments is:

1 QB – A shifty QB who can run the wildcat.

2 OL – Games are won in the trenches…IU is learning that.

1 TE/DE – Looks like a guy who will play DE in the new 3-4 scheme.

4 LBs – All these guys are from Ohio…anybody knows that an Ohio kid knows football. Can’t have enough LBs either, especially in a 3-4.

Additional notes:

-IU already has 3 in-state commitments. Indiana high school football talent is rising and IU should benefit from this. is the only recruiting service that has begun to rank the 2011 kids – the only IU player evaluated so far is Jake Reed, the TE/DE, who is ranked a 3 star player and the 25th best TE in the country.

-Each commit so far has commented on the new IU facilities in the North End Zone facility – IU finally has the facilities to compete with the best in the Big Ten and kids are taking notice.

-IU is going to beat Penn State and Iowa this year (couldn’t help myself)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I seriously Need to Go To a Bucks Game

With squad 6, Brendan Jennings, Bogut (when he's healthy) and a mascot who is as fearless as this, I need to make the 1.5 hour drive to Milwaukee and check out a game.

That's nuts

Bears trading to get Chris Harris Back

ESPN Chicago is reporting that the Chicago Bears are trading with the Carolina Panthers to get Chris Harris.

Chris Harris was on the Bears and was traded to Carolina. At the time, I couldn't blame the Bears for trading him because he was 4th or 5th on the depth chart and looked like he would not be seeing the field much. Since his departure, the Bears have suffered at the safety do to injuires and inability to perform. I am happy the Bears are getting him back.


ESPN Chicago's and ESPN Radio1000's Jeff Dickerson is reporting that Jamar Williams is going to the Panthers in the trade.

I like Jamar Williams but I think the Bears like Nick Roach better then him. Williams leaving will give IU Alumnus Mayberry a chance to make the team.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Bears Sign Free Agent Rookies: Some Good Names In There

Christmas Three has come and gone, and I feel like the Chicago Bears did okay. Major Wright may or may not be the answer at free safety, but getting an actual position-appropriate guy late in the third round is a pretty serious achievement for Jerry Angelo, who seemed to be under the impression for the last four years that strong safeties were all you needed.

Obviously I love the Corey Wootton pick, especially getting a first-round calibre talent in the fourth. The last defensive end I was excited about in the fourth? Alex Brown, who also dropped because of non-football concerns. Though in his case, it was more marijuana than a leg injury. Either way, I think Corey will do well.

Anyway, let's get to the point. After the draft, the Bears went shopping for guys who didn't get picked, and I think they may have found a few gems, especially in Bowling Green wideout Freddie Barnes and Nebraska defensive end Barry Turner.

Barnes was probably the best wide receiver in college football last year, but fell because of a lack of measurables and elite speed. However, he's a polished player and I think he has a good chance to stick. I expect Mike Martz to give every WR on the roster a shot to compete this year. Oh, and he played his high school ball at Homewood-Flossmoor!

Turner had the benefit of playing alongside blue-chipper Ndamukong Suh on the Cornhuskers defensive line, but is it possible that Suh also benefited from Turner? Watching Nebraska last year, I saw a whole lot of Turner in opposing Big Twelve backfields, alongside his superstar line mate. I'm excited to see if Suh's dominance may have masked a good talent in Barry. He had some legal trouble, but also sixteen tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.

There were several other signings that were relevant to our interests here at the Armchair. Indiana LB Matt Mayberry will be coming to camp with a contract, joining fellow Big Ten alums Lawrence Wilson (LB from Ohio State) and Greg Mathews (WR from Michigan). All three were productive collegiate players and I think have a chance to make the roster.

Non-signed free agents are also coming to camp, and include even more names that get my attention. Zeke Markshausen, with his difficult-to-spell name and Wes Welker-esque game, had himself a great year at Northwestern, and will join Eric Peterman, also a Wildcat, in a Bears uniform. Juice Williams, the erstwhile Illini QB, will be scrapping for a shot in the league, but I don't think he has much of a chance.

I think it's crucial for the Bears to find some of these guys who can excel on special teams. Having lost most of our quality gunners, tacklers, and return-blockers in the past couple years, I think our return game would greatly benefit from an infusion of new talent, guys that are hard workers and can make their mark under Dave Toub.

Mayberry, Wilson, and Turner could fit that mold. So could any number of other rookies. The full list of minicamp attendees is here, at the Tribune.

More Info on the Northwestern Wrigley Field Game

This post by ESPN's big ten Blogger Adam Rittenberg lays out a bunch of good and quick information about the upcoming Wrigley Field game.

A couple of highlights

Ticket Allotment: The Cubs receive 5,000 tickets, Illinois receives 3,000 and Northwestern gets the rest (30,000 plus). Looks like tickets might be hard to come by. There will be no additional seating on the field

Northwestern wants to put it's student section and Band in the right field bleachers

Beer will be sold at the game!

The Cubs say the clock on the famous Wrigley Field scoreboard still works for football and will be used Nov. 20. (score board can kind of be seen in picture)

Coach Fitzgerald is said to want his team to take the "EL" from Evanston to Wrigley field. (Roughly 20 min ride).

Cubs and White Sox to play for Crosstown Cup

ESPN Chicago is reporting, starting this year the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox will play for a traveling trophy to be called the crosstown cup. The trophy will be awarded to whichever team wins the season series, or if tied at 3-3 the team that wins the final game.

The cross town cup will join the ranks of the silver boot which is awarded to the winner of the Lone Star Series between the Rangers and the Astros.

I personally kind of like the idea, even though I bet a lot of people out there might find it dumb.