College Football Nation: Strong Rules and Johnny Manziel No. 1

Jeff Hostetler FishWrap, FishWrap Archive


Oh, the dreaded off season.  What do you want to talk about?  The biggest things we can focus on right now is “National Signing Day,” the ever changing Coaching Carousel, and how every team will go about re-loading after losing players to the NFL DRAFT.

1) Right now I am really impressed with new Texas Coach Charlie Strong.  He sent out a mass letter to all his players about the new expectations at Texas while he is coach. Thoughts?  I love it.  I love when a coach remembers that the players are “student-athletes” and represent the university.  It’s also good to remind all the players that they are not “bigger” than the team.  Strong is saying all the right things and at least has recognized that winning will solve all the other problems.  Texas fans should look forward to Strong claiming back their state, when it comes to recruiting.  It will be interesting to see how he and the his staff do on NSD.

2) Speaking of National Signing Day, it’s the last real big event of the season.  It is the day to give new fans and teams hope as players sign on.  It is also happening on February 5th, so a lot of new coaches are left less than a month to put together a solid class.  Here is what LSU has to look forward to with the No. 1 recruit Leonard Fournette committing to them:

Of course this is the time where the “rich get richer” comes into play.  We all know Alabama, LSU and FSU will have no problem re-loading, but I am interested to see which school surprises everyone by putting together a solid class like what Ole Miss did last year.  Most of the ESPN300 are committed but we all know that means nothing until they take pen to paper.  Also look for a fierce recruiting battle in the B1G this year between Ohio State’s Urban Meyer and Penn State’s James Franklin.  Both come from the SEC and know what it takes to be successful in recruiting (lots of low-road tactics).

3) Good thing signing day is right around the corner, because some major programs and coaches have some major re-stocking to do because of all the early entrees to the NFL draft.  It came as no surprise that Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel declared for the draft, but the real shocker is that he is considered the #1 pick on a major draft board.  How is that possible?  How did he become the mold of what an NFL QB should be all of a sudden?  I know Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, and Colin Kaepernick are all the fad right now, but do NFL teams really want a QB running getting all banged up? They are paying big money for a QB to lead the team and be the face of the franchise — and running around will only get them hurt and sidelined.

It will be interesting to see how that all shakes out and if that soon becomes the norm. You would think that most NFL teams are looking for the next Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, not another mobile-type quarterback.  It would be cool to see more NFL QBs playing in the style of Manzeil, and it would be fun for the fans to see NFL teams break away from the traditional offenses, like Chip Kelly has done.  Wonder if Chip Kelly would make a push for another QB like Johnny Manziel?  We will let the NFL guys worry about that.  Here are a few clips of why we will always watch when “Johnny Football” is playing:

With signing day quickly approaching, look for new top recruits switching back and forth between schools.  I look forward to seeing the recruiting battles light up between some coaches, and I guarantee Lane Kiffin will say something bad about Tennessee, while out on the recruiting trail for Alabama.  Once signing day is over, we can then look forward to seeing a little spring ball and then start talking about who will be in the best position to make a run at “THE FINAL FOUR” of college football next season.

Here is my prediction now for the “FINAL FOUR” for next season . . . Alabama, Oregon, FSU, and Ohio State.  Let’s hope I am wrong and it is four random teams.  (Editor’s note: The Ducks and three random teams would work for me.)


1. Clemson makes big investment

2. North Carolina reading test

3. Minnesota loses starting QB

4. NCAA has change coming?

5.  College football mailbag


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