Posted on: May 18, 2011 5:11 pm
Edited on: May 18, 2011 5:12 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
Transfer Tuesday continues to bleed into Wednesday as Tom O'Brien announced today that Colorado defensive end Forrest West will be transferring to North Carolina State to join the Wolfpack football team. West played the last two season for the Buffaloes, being named the team's most outstanding freshman in 2009 and finished second on the team in sacks in 2010. He will sit out the 2011 season and have two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2012.
West's departure from Colorado came as a bit of a surprise to fans, and led to speculation ranging from academic issues to team commitment. Head coach John Embree addressed the talk in a release earlier this month.
"[West's decision to leave] had nothing to do with any academic or disciplinary issues, a lack of commitment to the team, or any question about his ability to continue making substantial contributions as he has done during the past two seasons," Embree said in an official release.
Once eligible, West will try and give the Wolfpack a star on the defensive line that has been missing since the time of current Houston Texan Mario Williams.
Posted on: May 18, 2011 1:56 pm
Edited on: May 18, 2011 1:57 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Posted on: May 12, 2011 4:11 pm
By Eye on College Football Bloggers
Each week, the Eye on CFB team convenes Voltron- style to answer a pressing question regarding the wild, wide world of college football. This week's topic:
We've already talked about No. 1, but the end of spring has also meant a revision of the rest of the preseason top 25, like our colleague Dennis Dodd's. What teams do you feel like might deserve a better ranking at this stage (or one at all)? What teams do you feel like might be ranked too highly?
Jerry Hinnen: There always seems to be one team from the SEC that comes from outside the preseason polls and surprises--think Mississippi State last year, Ole Miss in 2008, etc. But Dennis's 25 already includes every SEC team but Ole Miss, Tennessee, Kentucky and Vanderbilt, and I'm not sold on any of those teams as poll material. (There's a case to be made for the Vols, but only if Tyler Bray takes a major step forward, and his 5-for-30 spring game suggests that step may not be imminent.)
So I'll look elsewhere for a sleeper and mention how much I like San Diego State. The Aztecs have absorbed some heavy losses in their pair of NFL-bound wideouts and, of course, the head coach-offensive coordinator pairing of Brady Hoke and Al Borges. But Ronnie Hillman is an All-American running back waiting to happen, and senior Ryan Lindley is easily the best MWC quarterback this side of Kellen Moore. Together, they're one of the nation's best RB-QB combos, and new OC Andy Ludwig (the man behind Utah's undefeated 2008 attack) should know how to get the most out of them.
Defensively, the Aztecs should be much more comfortable in the second year of Rocky Long's unorthodox 3-3-5 scheme, and the schedule also offers the opportunity for two huge statement wins since TCU and Boise State travel to San Diego. Put it all together, and I don't think the departures of Hoke and Borges will be nearly enough to stop the program's momentum towards the polls.
Bryan Fischer: One team I think is a bit under the radar is Georgia. The Dawgs get the other division favorite, South Carolina, early in the schedule--that could be key if the Gamecocks are breaking in Connor Shaw, who has all of 33 passes to his name. I'm concerned about Georgia's running game but they have a good quarterback and the defense should be markedly improved in year two under Todd Grantham.
West Virginia is another team that can really make a move. They lose a lot from last year on defense but should be solid nevertheless. They might have one of the best offenses in the country with Geno Smith running the show and get their big non-conference game against LSU at home.
Chip Patterson: I agree with Bryan that West Virginia is a team that could cause some problems this fall. Dana Holgorsen might have done the coaching job of the year in 2010 with Oklahoma State's offense; the Cowboys did not return a single offensive lineman and his scheme resulted in the third-most productive offense in the nation anyway. Now he gets a stable full of athletes that, in many people's opinions, have been underperforming under Bill Stewart. Smith is the type of quarterback who can be a threat in Holgorsen's spread, especially once he gets familiar with the reads and changing plays at the line of scrimmage. The toughest challenge on the Mountaineers' slate is an early-season battle with LSU in Morgantown (as Bryan mentioned). I think that game is winnable, and could give them confidence headed into the back-loaded conference schedule.
Virginia Tech, though, is a huge question mark in my opinion. While I'm not sure whether they will end up higher or lower than 17, there's as much of a chance of them finishing the season unranked as getting to 10 wins. Their schedule does set up extremely well, with Clemson, Miami and North Carolina coming to Blacksburg and Florida State, Maryland and N.C. State avoided completely. But Logan Thomas needs to prove himself in a game situation, and running back David Wilson will have to work without Darren Evans or Ryan Williams to compliment him. Even if the Hokies finish the season strong, the eye test does not have them as "Top 20 good" just yet.
Adam Jacobi: After the first, oh, eight teams, I've got some major concerns about nearly every team on the list. Spring is the season for questions, of course, but it's like, "Michigan State at 11? Really? Wisconsin at 12? Really? Arkansas at 13? Really?" But you look at that list, and yeah, that's about right.
The one team that stands out to me is Notre Dame, who sort of creeps in under the radar at 19. I don't expect that sterling recruiting class to make much of an impact in Year 1, but there's a lot of talent coming back for Brian Kelly to build on. They have options at quarterback with Dayne Crist and Tommy Rees, the passing game basically only lost tight end Kyle Rudolph (who was injured for the second half of the season anyway), and four of five starting linemen return. The defense, meanwhile, is still led by Manti Te'o and returns its top eight tacklers. There's some retooling to do up the middle of the front seven, but the leadership and experience are there for the D to take a big step forward this year.
Lastly, I really like the Irish's schedule. The only truly worrisome game is the season finale at Stanford; the rest of the games are winnable. That's not to say the Irish are definitely going 11-1 in the regular season -- that's not happening without a ton of luck -- but it's a nice very-best-case scenario.
BF: I think the top 10 is pretty much standard for everyone. Sure, you can change the order and move teams around, but you can't argue with those 10 teams much.
After that, I have an issue with Auburn at 15. I know they're the defending champions, but they lost a lot of talent on both sides of the ball, and the Tigers have a very tough schedule where they could take some losses. I'm also not sold on Utah after watching them collapse down the stretch last year, and they've had a ton of guys sit out this spring with injuries. I'd swap them in the rankings with USC -- who has depth issues but also has Matt Barkley and Robert Woods throwing the ball around -- or UCF.
AJ: Here's something I want to know -- what do you do about Ohio State if you're a voter? Do you ding them since the Buckeye Five are suspended for five games? Do you un-ding them when they come back? How many spots does Jim Tressel's situation cost them? What's the protocol here?
Tom Fornelli: I would have them lower on my rankings, personally. Losing some of your best players and your head coach for five games is a big deal, even if those games are against MACifices that shouldn't prove much of a test to the Buckeyes. Either way, those players and Tressel aren't there to start the season, so we should treat Ohio State as if they're not there. And do you see Ohio State being a top-25 team with Joe Bauserman?
JH: Disagree. I don't think there's a "protocol" on how to deal with the Buckeyes' current (unprecedented) situation as it relates to preseason polls; your guess is as good as mine is as good as anyone else's. But I don't think dropping them out of the top 25 all together is fair. Until we hear otherwise from the NCAA, the Buckeye Five and Tressel won't miss any more than the first (mostly winnable) five games. Dropping them entirely -- under the mere assumption Tressel, Pryor, et al are a dead team walking -- seems to put the cart before the horse.
TF: Seriously, though, I need somebody to explain to me why Arizona State is suddenly the cool team to vote for. Do people just really like their new uniforms? Is Vontaze Burfict sitting over their shoulders as they fill out their brackets? This is a team that won six games last year, with those six wins coming against Portland State, Northern Arizona, Washington, Washington State, UCLA and Arizona. Arizona is the only impressive win on that list, and it was a one-point victory in double overtime. This is a team that may have a lot of returning starters this year, but they're returning starters from a team that wasn't exactly a world-beater last season. Also, after losing quarterback Steven Threet to injury, the guy who has to lead that returning-starter-filled offense is still new.
JH: You didn't even mention their plague of torn ACLs this spring. I wish I could disagree -- the Sun Devils have had a ton of bad luck the last couple of seasons -- but they strike me, too, as a prime candidate to disappoint.
Tags: Al Borges, Andy Ludwig, Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas, Auburn, Bill Stewart, Boise State, Brady Hoke, Brian Kelly, Buckeye Five, Clemson, Connor Shaw, Dana Holgorsen, Darren Evans, David Wilson, Dayne Crist, Eye on CFB Roundtable, Florida State, Geno Smith, Georgia, Jim Tressel, Joe Bauserman, Kellen Moore, Kentucky, Kyle Rudolph, Logan Thomas, Manti Te'o, Maryland, Miami, Michigan State, Mississippi State, N.C. State, NCAA, North Carolina, Northern Arizona, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Portland State, Ronnie Hillman, Ryan Lindley, Ryan Williams, San Diego State, SEC, South Carolina, Stanford, Steven Threet, TCU, Tennessee, Todd Grantham, Tommy Rees, Tyler Bray, UCF, UCLA, USC, Utah, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech, Vontaze Burfict, Washington, Washington State, Wisconsin
Posted on: May 11, 2011 11:31 am
Edited on: May 11, 2011 11:43 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
Former North Carolina State quarterback Russell Wilson has been one of the hot topics of discussion in the last weeks, after head coach Tom O'Brien granted Wilson a release from his scholarship. Wilson has one year of college football eligibility left, and would only need to enroll in a graduate program not offered by N.C. State to use it at another BCS school. According to a report in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, one of the schools that Wilson has contacted about playing in 2011 is Wisconsin.
School officials cannot comment on the issue because Wilson is currently considered an unsigned recruit by the NCAA, but Wilson's arrival would be the perfect answer for a quarterback position lacking experience (and a starter fans can get excited about) at this point. Jon Budmayr is currently the Badgers' starting quarterback, but the redshirt sophomore only has played in three games and did not blow anyone away with his performance this spring. Backups Joe Brennan and Joel Stave have no game experience.
Wilson has been playing second base with the Asheville Tourists this offseason, the single A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies organization believes that Wilson will finish the minor league season, which runs through September 5. But reports from sources close to Wilson believe there is as much as a "95 percent chance" that he will be playing college football in the fall. Wisconsin opens fall camp in early August, and kick off the 2011 season Sept. 1 against UNLV.
Posted on: May 4, 2011 4:26 pm
Edited on: May 4, 2011 4:39 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
In the latest edition of the CBSSports.com College Football Podcast, J. Darin Darst, Adam Aizer, and I discussed the unusual circumstances surrounding Russell Wilson. Having been granted a release from his scholarship at N.C. State, Wilson has become the latest "college football free agent." The interesting bit is that while some reports say there is a "95 percent chance" Wilson plays college football in the fall, the Colorado Rockies organization believes he will finish the season with the Asheville Tourists (which ends Sept. 5).
So where does Russell stand? According to his comments/apology to the N.C. State fans he just "wanted an equal opportunity to start." According to WLOS in Asheville, Wilson only asked for the release to keep his options open. Wilson wants to play in the MLB and NFL, but how does he plan to navigate towards that two-headed goal.
We discuss Wilson's odd situation, and make some projections on possible landing spots around the nation. Tune in, and don't forget to check out the full podcast episode as well.
(Oh yeah, we also briefly touch on Star Wars Day, Cinco De Mayo, and Taylor Swift on the Maxim Top 100. So don't be shocked)
Subscribe to all of the CBSSports.com Podcasts.
Posted on: May 3, 2011 6:08 pm
Edited on: May 4, 2011 2:31 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
He's not exactly Curt Flood, but all the same Russell Wilson may wind up serving as a college football landmark: the sport's first legitimate free agent. Cut loose from N.C. State, eligible to play virtually anywhere thanks to his early graduation, "95 percent" likely to take advantage of that eligiblity, and -- most importantly -- a bona fide all-conference candidate with three years of starting experience and a 76-26 career touchdown-to-interception ratio.
So Wilson represents uncharted waters for college football; while other players have been eligible to transfer without penalty, none have offered such tantalizing immediate benefits. But which school is going to be the lucky one to sail into those waters?
We don't know. No one does, Wilson included; he's still got months of baseball ahead of him. But we can say which programs would be the best fit should Wilson decide to take a look. Here's our guesses for the comfiest landing spot for Wilson in each BCS conference, judging by both which team would benefit most by Wilson's arrival and which team Wilson would benefit most by joining. Enjoy:
SEC: TENNESSEE. Yep, we're saying the Vols, despite most of the early Wilson speculation centering on South Carolina, Ole Miss, and Auburn. But multiple reporters covering the Tigers have said they won't be interested; it makes sense considering that 2012 shapes up as a much more likely championship campaign for Auburn than 2011, and Gene Chizik won't want to spoil that with a first-year starter under center. Steve Spurrier will certainly give Wilson a ring if Stephen Garcia is finally dismissed, but if Garcia sticks around, neither he nor Wilson will want the controversy his arrival would bring. And though we have little doubt Houston Nutt would welcome Wilson with open arms rather than ride with the untested Randall Mackey or Barry Brunetti, Wilson can probably find a team with higher expectations.
Enter Tennessee. Yes, the Vols have a starter already, promising sophomore Tyler Bray. But Bray's boom-or-bust results late last season and ugly 5-for-30 spring game performance suggest that he might need more seasoning before taking the reins for a full SEC season. Bringing in Wilson lets the Vols redshirt and groom Bray for three solid seasons to follow, without taking a step back at the position; going to Tennessee lets Wilson play for a high-profile team in the nation's toughest conference, one with plenty of playmakers at his disposal. It's a win-win.
BIG TEN: WISCONSIN. An easy call: the perpetually consistent Badgers have the defensive playmakers, the ball-carriers and the receivers to put together another fine Big Ten team if they can hold the line on the offensive line ... and if they can find a quarterback. The results at the Badgers' spring game suggest they don't have the latter yet. The stodgy Badger attack won't make much use of Wilson's mobility, but no other team in the conference offers Wilson the chance to waltz in as the unquestioned starter for a top-25 program.
BIG 12: MISSOURI. After years of Chase Daniel and then Blaine Gabbert spearheading the Tigers' aerial attack, Gary Pinkel has to feel a little spoiled when it comes to quarterbacks. But that may be changing, as Mizzou comes out of spring without a clearcut starter and with neither candidate (Tyler Gabbert, younger brother of Blaine, or James Franklin) having looked quite in the Daniel/Gabbert class. Wilson would short-circuit any potential quarterback-platoon talk immediately upon arrival and give the Tigers one of the best trigger-men their spread could ask for. Wilson, meanwhile, would have the benefit of having the ball in his hands 40 to 50 times a game, for a team whose underrated defense should make them top-25 contenders.
PAC-12: UCLA. Let's face it: the 3-9 Bruins maybe don't have a heck of a lot to offer in terms of football glory. But after their seemingly endless quarterback carousel of the past few seasons, no program would be more appreciative -- no coach more thankful -- than UCLA and Rick Neuheisel. If Wilson can salvage a winning season out of 2011 and potentially turn around the flagging tenure of Neuheisel, the gratitude aimed his way from the Westwood faithful would likely dwarf anything he'd receive anywhere else. (Besides, most of the other Pac-12 contenders -- Oregon, Stanford, Arizona State, Cal, even ineligible pseudo-contender USC -- have fairly established quarterbacks.)
ACC: FLORIDA STATE NO ONE
[This section originally discussed the "far-fetched" possibility that Wilson could transfer to the Wolfpack's intra-division rivals in Tallahassee, but it's more than far-fetched; it's impossible, since Wilson's release -- originally, erroneously reported as "unconditional" -- specifies that he may not transfer to an ACC school or any school on NCSU's schedule. In retrospect, this is a common sense precaution. Apologies.]
BIG EAST: WEST VIRGINIA. We're kidding, mostly; Geno Smith enjoyed an excellent spring game and will be the Mountaineers' 2011 starter. And given Wilson's unwillingness to give up on a "football dream" that likely includes the NFL, he would likely pass on Dana Holgorsen's Mike Leach- inspired "Air Raid" offense anyway, which has struggled putting its passers in the pros. But an offense like Holgorsen's, as helmed by a talent like Wilson? We can dream of those kinds of pinball games, can't we?
Tags: ACC, Alabama, Arizona State, Auburn, Barry Brunetti, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Blaine Gabbert, Cal, Chase Daneil, Christian Ponder, Curt Flood, Dana Holgorsen, E.J. Manuel, Florida State, Gary Pinkel, Gene Chizik, Geno Smith, Houston Nutt, James Franklin, James Franklin the Missouri quarterback not the Vanderbilt coach just so we're clear, Jimbo Fisher, Mike Leach, Missouri, N.C. State, Ole Miss, Ole Miss, Oregon, Pac-12, Randall Mackey, Rick Neuheisel, Russell Wilson, SEC, South Carolina, Stanford, Stephen Garcia, Steve Spurrier, Tennessee, Tennessee, Tyler Bray, Tyler Gabbert, UCLA, USC, West Virginia, Wisconsin
Posted on: May 2, 2011 11:49 am
Edited on: May 2, 2011 11:50 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
N.C. State head coach Tom O'Brien shocked the Wolfpack fan base by granting an unconditional release to Russell Wilson late last week. O'Brien had already made it very clear publicly that it was time for junior Mike Glennon to take over the offense, and many assumed that Wilson had played his last game in an N.C. State uniform. Wilson has spent the spring playing minor league baseball for the Asheville Tourists, in the Colorado Rockies organiziation. Over the weekend, he reached out to the media to explain his decision to leave.
"I really want the fans, N.C. State alumni and most of all my teammates to know if I had been given an equal opportunity to compete for the starting job, I would not have asked for my release," Wilson said Saturday in a telephone interview with the Charlotte Observer. "I am a competitor."
O'Brien has stated that he believes starting quarterback should be a job that lasts "365 days a year" and in his announcement of the release stated that Wilson knew his stance on the situation. Wilson, who was MVP of the Wolfpack's 23-7 Champs Sports Bowl win, has always stated that his goal is to play professional baseball and professional football. In order to make it to the NFL, Wilson believes he needs one more season on the gridiron. But O'Brien is not the type to waver in his decisions, and stood firm when Wilson asked for a shot at the quarterback job. Now the heat will be on O'Brien and Glennon, as the starting quarterback will have to deal with the fall-out from a fan base that had fallen in love with the talented quarterback. If Glennon struggles, or possibly gets injured, the fingers will be pointed at O'Brien.
For Wilson, there are plenty of examples of how transfer players have heightened their NFL draft stock in just one year of play (ahem, Cam Newton). Wilson has graduated from N.C. State already, but retains one season of NCAA football eligibility. He will now find a school with a graduate program that N.C. State does not offer, and enroll as soon as possible.
Posted on: April 29, 2011 5:39 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Tom O'Brien made no secret of the fact that he wasn't expecting budding baseball star Russell Wilson back with the Wolfpack in 2011, and that he was ready to move on with Mike Glennon under center. Talking with Eye on Football at the end of March about the quarterback situation, O'Brien didn't even bother to mention Wilson's name.
But all the same, the assumption has been that if the Pack's most recognizable and -- arguably -- most talented player wanted to put off his baseball career to return to school for one more season on the gridiron, O'Brien would welcome him back with open arms. We found out this afternoon, that that is definiteively not the case; despite Wilson's apparent desire to return to N.C. State's quarterback position, O'Brien has granted Wilson an unconditional release to pursue his football opportunities elsewhere.
O'Brien's statement leaves little doubt as to his reasoning (emphasis added):
“Russell and I have had very open conversations about his responsibilities respective to baseball and football,” O’Brien said in a statement released by the school. “While I am certainly respectful of Russell's dedication to baseball these last several years, within those discussions I also communicated to him the importance of his time commitment to N.C. State football.In other words: show up for spring practice, or don't bother coming back for the fall. Wilson elected against the former, and O'Brien has followed through with his decision about the latter.
So what now? For the Wolfpack, it makes 2011 the first critical season for O'Brien in the post-Wilson era; if the coach needed to prove he could build on the gains of 2010 without his star quarterback, that will now go double since he's gone without him voluntarily.
And as for Wilson, having already graduated from NCSU means he can now transfer to any school with a graduate program NCSU doesn't offer and play without sitting out a transfer season. For instance, if Wilson wanted to enroll in a Parks and Recreation program and couldn't in Raleigh, he could do so at -- to choose an example entriely at random and not at all based in the realm of actual possibility, trust me -- Ole Miss.
But Wilson's future is for another afternoon; what we know today is simply that, for better or worse for either side, that future won't involve O'Brien or N.C. State.