MICHIGAN STATE 2013 COMMIT QUITS FOOTBALL TO FOCUS ON RAP CAREER

File this one under strange decisions. Jay Harris decided that college football and an education was not not him and he chose to pursue a rap career. I have to wonder how his mother feels about this. He is not the first to do this. Rapper The Game gave up a basketball scholarship to pursue music. The odds of going to the NFL are long but the odds to make it big in rap may be longer. We all know how much a college degree could have helped him long term. Harris was a 3 star rated recruit by 247 with other BCS offers.

According to a new post via Philly.com (the source of the original story) MSU is calling this a “mutal decision” by Harris and the coaching staff. So in real world terms this is what they mean: We pulled the kids scholarship after he posted a video of himself firing up a fatty behind the wheel of a car and smoking the ganj in some weird attic with all sorts of tagging on it.

Of course the best part is now that Harris is claiming he told the coaching staff that he wanted out two weeks ago, yet the release comes now…. Hmmm, call me skeptical of the story that he called it quits after all, but then again I may just be a jadded sports writer who’s seen one too many fishy stories to believe anything these days.

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Saban a Bargain at $5.3 Million

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In today’s day and age of college football fans regularly gasp at the salaries of the head football coaches. The academic world cringes, mainly because of ego, because they are the important part of a university. The small sports supporters often question why football gets so much leverage with the athletic departments. It’s really very simple. Big time college football drives the school. It’s the catalyst for the almighty bottom line $$ and there is no denying it. Below is an excerpt of Tom Van Riper’s piece on Nick Saban’s impact on Alabama for Forbes Magazine (The Magic Of Nick Saban: Everyone Wants To Go To Alabama)

“You basically know Saban’s record on the field: 68-13 since arriving in Tuscaloosa in 2007, with three national titles. The athletic department money has followed suit: 2012 produced revenue of $124.5 million and profit of $19.4 million, according to data from USA Today, up from $67.7 million in revenue and $7.1 million in profit in 2007. Football accounts for about two-thirds of all revenue and $45 million in profit, while the school’s other sports teams collectively lose money.

But the money flowing directly from Bryant-Denny Stadium is just the start. If you think that a top college football coach earning seven figures is overpaid, think again. To appreciate just how modest Saban’s $5.3 million salary is, take a wider look around campus. Since 2007, Tuscaloosa has swelled its undergraduate ranks by 33% to over 28,000 students. Faculty count has kept pace: up 400 since 2007 to over 1,700. But it’s more than growth – it’s where the growth is coming from. According to the school, less than a third of the 2007 freshman class of 4,538 students hailed from out of state. By the fall of 2012, more than half (52%) of a freshman class of 6,397 students did. Various data from US News and the New York Times shows that the school’s out-of-state tuition cost – nearly three times higher than the rate for in-state students – rose from $18,000 to $22,950 a year during that period.

Add it all up – more students from outside Alabama paying ever-increasing premium tuition bills – and the school realized $50 million more in out-of-state tuition revenue for last fall’s incoming class than it did for the same class in 2007 ($76 million vs. $26 million). Kick in the additional $8.5 million in in-state tuition, which rose to $9,200 a year from $6,400 over the same period, and overall tuition revenue rose to $104 million from $46 million for the respective 2012 and 2007 freshman classes. And to boot, the school’s most recent capital campaign (i.e. donations from alumni and others) raised $600 million for scholarships and facilities, the most ever.”

Ranking the Top SEC Recruiters

247 sports has a really cool feature they recently unveiled where they rank not only the players and classes but also the assistant coaches doing the work. They have a point system where the coaches gets points for each commitment as the primary or secondary recruiter. The average numerical rating for the prospects is heavily weighted as well. There are currently 4 SEC assistants in the national top 10. There are 22 coaches in the top 50. I would theorize that by National Signing Day that the SEC will take a large chunk of the top 100. It’s good to keep in mind that its really early for 2014 recruiting but this is something pretty cool that I’ll pay close attention to as the summer camp circuit draws near. This feature really allows you to see who the “ace recruiter” is on your staff for that particular recruiting cycle. Keep in mind that I hand picked and ranked the SEC coaches out of the national rankings (this ranking does not reflect their national ranking).

1. David Beaty (Texas A&M)- Currently has 5 prospects committed. (3) 4 stars and (2) 3 stars for a total of 71.12 points.

2. Clarence McKinney (Texas A&M)- Currently has 4 prospects committed. (1) 5 star and (3) 4 stars for a total of 65.57 points.

3. Kirby Smart (Bama)- Currently has 5 prospects committed. (4) 4 stars and (1) 3 star for a total of 63.76 points.

4. Dameyune Craig (Auburn)- Currently has 4 prospects committed. (1) 4 star and (3) 3 stars for a total of 59.78 points.

5. Matt Luke (Ole Miss)- Currently has 4 prospects committed. (3) 4 stars and (1) 3 star for a total of 57.61 points.

6.Frank Wilson (LSU)- Currently has 4 prospects committed. (2) 4 stars and (2) 3 stars for a total of 57.36 points.

7. Corey Raymond (LSU)- Currently has 4 prospects committed. (1) 5 star, (2) 4 stars, and (1) 3 star for a total of 54.34 points.

8. Vince Morrow (Kentucky)- Currently has 4 prospects committed. (1) 4 star and (3) 3 stars for a total of 51.83 points.

9. Tommy Thigpen (Tennessee)- Currently has 5 prospects committed. (1) 5 star, (1) 4 star, and (3) 3 stars for a total of 51.14 points.

10. Derrick Nix (Ole Miss)- Currently has 4 prospects committed. (1) 4 star and (3) 3 stars for a total of 50.22 points.

11. Mark Elder (Tennessee)- Currently has 3 prospects committed. (1) 4 star and (2) 3 stars for a total of 47.53 points.

12. Brad Lawing (Florida)- Currently has 2 prospects committed. (2) 4 stars for a total of 45.71 points.

41. Tony Hughes (Mississippi State)- Currently has 1 prospect committed. (1) 4 star for a total of 21.91 points.

MSU QB Position: Where it Stands Right Now

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There is no position MSU fans are watching more than QB. It is currently causing widespread heartburn and praying. As of right now in year 5 of the Mullen era, MSU has 2 scholarship QB’s in Tyler Russell and Dak Prescott. Mullen has seemed to be snakebit in QB recruiting with signees like Dylan Favre and Nick Shuessler leaving the program. Also add in 3 star walk on Jamil Golden who didn’t make his grades and has moved on. Lets take a look where MSU QB currently stands.

Tyler Russell- 5th year senior and incumbent starter. Tyler brings a wealth of experience which includes 4,566 passing yards and 37 TD’s in his career. We know what Tyler brings to the table: big arm, accurate, smart, and leadership. It’s hard to ask for anything more than how Tyler plays and how he represents MSU.

Dak Prescott- 3rd year sophomore who got his first taste of action last year. The 6’2 235 lb battering ram threw for 4 TD’s and ran for another 4 as a freshman. Dak has a big arm and his passing paired with his running ability makes him dangerous. He is currently rehabbing a turf toe surgery but will be 100% by fall. Many MSU fans are very excited about the “Dak Attack” which is right on the horizon.

signee Cord Sandberg- The 4 star prospect stands 6’2 200lbs and look like a Tebow clone who can actually throw the ball. Big arm and athletic. ESPN had him rated as the 246th prospect in America. The latest scuttlebutt on some MSU premium boards is that he is headed to the MLB. I’m approaching it as if he isn’t coming but I’m holding out a sliver of hope.

signee Damian Williams- 6’1 215 lb prospect out of Metairie, La that was a composite 3 star. Passed for 1900 yards and 18 TD’s while adding 874 yards and 10 TD’s on the ground. Looks to be a steal and a very good get from late in the process last year. A true dual threat QB that is set to be on campus in June.

**Wild Card** possible transfer Steven Bench- Currently at Penn State but has announced his leaving. He is a 6’3 206 lb composite 3 star coming out of high school. He’s classified as a pro style QB but dropped a sub 4.6 at MSU camp last summer. He is originally from Cairo, Ga so a move to the south seems likely. He will know where he’s going in early June so he can start school first semester of summer. Bench really liked MSU in the recruiting process last year and appears to like MSU again. As of right now it appears to be an MSU and USF battle. Gotta like MSU’s chances with the depth chart.

Notable SEC OOC Games

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8/29 North Carolina at South Carolina

8/31 Alabama vs Virginia Tech- Atlanta, Georgia

8/31 Mississippi State vs Oklahoma State- Houston, Texas

8/31 Washington State at Auburn

8/31 Georgia at Clemson

8/31 LSU at TCU

9/7 Florida at Miami (fla)

9/14 Tennessee at Oregon

9/14 Ole Miss at Texas

9/14 Southern Miss at Arkansas

9/14 Louisville at Kentucky

9/21 SMU at Texas A&M

9/21 Missouri at Indiana

9/28 South Carolina at Central Florida

11/30 Florida State at Florida

11/30 Georgia at Georgia Tech

11/30 Clemson at South Carolina

11/30 Wake Forrest at Vandy

The SEC has some interesting out of conference match ups this year. Not all of these are high profile games but they were enough to catch my eye. The biggest thing that jumps out is 6 SEC schools have big openers in the first weekend of football. Clemson, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma State, and North Carolina provide very tough test for their SEC opponents. The next week Florida rekindles their in state matchup with Miami. The following week Ole Miss and Tennessee have tough road trips to Austin and Eugene. Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina finish with their traditional rivalries.

All in all its a fun slate that should provide some cool games. With so much of college football based on tv viewership, many of these should draw nice interest. The SEC conference slate is brutal enough but that doesn’t stop everyone from scheduling to prove who the best conference is. I’ve already started my kickoff countdown and I’m patiently waiting week 1 where we will see what a lot of the SEC is made of.

Ole Miss Schedule: Game by Game Confidence Ranking

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at Vandy 49%- This game is truly a coin flip and the only reason I gave Vandy 1 extra % is because its at home. It’s funny how huge this game is and how much it affects the rest of the season. A win could bump the remaining percentages by 10% but a loss could drop them by 10%.

vs Southeast Missouri 99%- There will be a party in the grove this day. The Redhawks don’t have a chance.

at Texas 40%- The Longhorns will probably be favored but I think the Rebs have a pretty good shot here. If Ole Miss can fix their defensive performance from the meeting last year in Oxford, an upset would not shock me.

at Bama 15%- This is a very long shot. I’ve already seen 2 OM bloggers ( hottytoddy.com & Seph something on Bleacher Report) pick the Rebs. First off, going to T-Town and knocking off The Crimson Tide is almost impossible. Second, the Rebs don’t beat Bama. All time record is 50-8-2 and Ole Miss has won 3 times in the last 30 years.

at Auburn 45%- This one looks a bit controversial on the surface. Look deeper. Ole Miss comes off a slug fest at Bama and Auburn comes off a bye week. Auburn will be much improved from last year. I give Auburn the slight edge because of home field and the extra week to prepare.

vs Texas A&M 37%- This is a game that the Rebs should have won last year and A&M played a terrible game but turnovers saved them. This game should be a shoot out. Ole Miss comes off 2 straight really tough road trips and gets rewarded with Manziel in Oxford. Somehow this is Pete Boone’s fault.

vs LSU 40%- I’ve picked LSU 2nd in the west so I have to have them winning here. Doesn’t mean I feel good about it. LSU lost a lot and make no mistake, this is a very winnable game. Traditionally Ole Miss plays LSU very tough. The main reason I have LSU favored is scheduling. This is the tail end of murders row.

vs Idaho 99%- Finally a break from the insanity. This one will be a massacre. Big win for Rebs.

vs Arkansas 90%- The Hogs should be much improved but they simply do not have the offensive firepower to compete with Ole Miss. Look for a wide margin of victory in Oxford.

vs Troy 90%- The Trojans have a really nifty spread offense (11th nationally in total offense) and have been known to give SEC schools trouble. That said, they won’t win in Oxford.

vs Missouri 66.6%- I don’t think Mizzou is capable of going and getting a tough SEC road win. They’re decent on offense and average on defense. That’s not a good recipe facing Hugh Freeze’s offense. The thing I don’t get is the 2 bloggers I mentioned in the Bama description have the Rebs losing this one. How do you beat Bama on the road but lose to Mizzou at home? Rebs roll over the Tigers in Oxford.

at Mississippi State 30%-This will be the main one Rebel fans will disagree with me on and that’s fine. I think Freeze ignited the rivalry fire and MSU plays inspired ball. Traditionally in this series, the home team wins.

Quick Analysis – First thing is whoever made this schedule should be strung up. The first 7 are ridiculous. Auburn, LSU, & A&M are all winnable games but being sandwiched in that stretch like they are makes them collectively more difficult. The schedule ends much better so the first 7 will tell the tale. I can’t say enough about how big Vandy is. Win that one and they take off. Lose that one and the next 6 games are depressing. Solely based on my %’s I think Ole Miss has 5 wins in the bank. Texas, Auburn, A&M, and LSU are all close to being swing games. Split those and the Rebs are golden. Drop all 4 and it gets dicey. I think Ole Miss definitely gets 5 wins. They will probably find a way to get 6 and return to a bowl. 7 is doable but 8 is pushing it. 5-7 wins is their sweet spot with 8 being a possibility. Anything more or less than that and I’d be surprised.

MSU Schedule: Game by Game Confidence Rankings

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vs Oklahoma State 40% – It’s a big game on a neutral field in Houston. A lot of MSU fans say we have no shot. I disagree. I think they will be favored and I give them a slight edge due to offensive firepower.

vs Alcorn 100%- I know you are never supposed to say 100% but I don’t care. You destroy Alcorn at home, no questions asked.

at Auburn 66.6 %- I think MSU will be favored and depending on the OSU game, this can almost be a must win. I think they’ll be ready. Catching Auburn early will be beneficial. I think they will be much improved by midpoint of the season.

vs Troy 99%- Last years scare at Troy should force MSU to take them more seriously this year. At home this game should be no issue.

vs LSU 15%- I love the renewed chorus every year that “this is the year we beat LSU”. The fact is that in my lifetime that I remember football, MSU has beaten them once. I always count LSU as a loss. I gave a %15 chance since its in Starkville.

vs Bowling Green 85%- An interesting OOC matchup for MSU. They play good football in the MAC. Why not some MACtion in Starkville? Should be a pretty easy win.

vs Kentucky 80%- I think the Wildcats will be much improved under Stoops. They will give a tougher game than lately. I really like our chances at home and give us a big edge.

at South Carolina 19%- I’ve got the Gamecocks winning the east and being a BCS bowl type team. I just can’t give the Bulldogs much chance on the road. They are very talented and MSU has traditionally given Spurrier fits so I do t think he’ll take this one lightly.

at Texas A&M 40%- Another game many don’t think MSU has a chance but I think there is a shot. Last years effort against the Aggies was pathetic and I look to give them a run. They’ll be favored and it will be in their house so I give them the edge.

vs Alabama 10%- Bama is Bama and Saban is on a roll. Not much a chance here but if Mullen gets them to play the best game of the year and they play their worst, it’s possible. It’s in Starkville so I gave MSU a 1 in 10 chance.

at Arkansas 75 %- This is my most brash pick to me because MSU doesn’t win at War Memorial Stadium. I think Bielema will have the Hogs much improved but they lack the offensive firepower to compete next year.

vs Ole Miss 70%- After last years shellacking in Oxford, I expect renewed vigor. The facts are that MSU has won 9 of the last 10 in Starkville with the one exception being Eli’s farewell. I’m pretty confident MSU returns the Egg.

Quick Analysis- By the %’s I feel good about 7 wins. Just going off of the numbers though it is a decent possibility to only get 6 of the 7 I feel good about. Now to the games I’m not confident in. I’m basically throwing Bama, LSU, & USC out the window to start. There is a slight possibility but it would be a huge upset. I only gave a slight edge to OSU and A&M. There is a pretty good chance MSU can get one of those. All in all I think MSU’s most probable range is 6-8. I feel really good about 7. I would be surprised with 5 or 9.