July madness is on. Northwestern landed a pair of 2013 commitments on Tuesday and both play linebacker. Anthony Walker Jr., a 6-1, 208 pound OLB from Opa Locka (FL) Monsignor Pace was the first of the pair to be reported by Chris Nee of Rivals.com. Walker’s commitment came as little surprise as it was widely reported that Northwestern was numero uno on his list that included Purdue, Minnesota and Florida International among others. I almost feel like I could put the microphone out to the crowd on this one and you could sing in chorus the reasons why he chose “the ivy league” education combined with the chance to play Big Ten football, but most of all the feel he got with the coaches and he noted the character of the guys on the team. It’s a familiar tune these days, in a great way, and the ‘Cats are locking up 3-star talent at an alarming rate this summer. Walker Jr. was commit number 14 for 2013, but the tag of “most recent commit” lasted a mere few hours when I was alerted to this article from a local paper in California.
Brett Walsh an OLB committed to the ‘Cats. The Monrovia, California native is 6-2 and 205 pounds and chose the ‘Cats over Nevada, Fresno State, UNLV and South Dakota. He had interest from Boise State, Washington, BC, San Diego State and Wake, plus a few Ivy League schools like Harvard and Yale. He is currently unranked by Rivals but I read on Scout.com last night that national recruiting analyst Brandon Huffman expects the site to bump him to a 3-star in their next ratings update. That should be good news for those in the LTP community who believe that the services have downgraded players after they commit to the ‘Cats (see: Jaren Sina).
Welcome aboard Brett and Anthony! Northwestern’s 15 commitments for 2013 has fans scratching their heads as to how few scholarships remain for this class. It is time to ring up our resident recruiting expert to help us with the math. Quality always wins over quantity, however just for context of how the ‘Cats have made substantial progress with their aggressive first-to-offer strategy on many of their recruits (which continues to be mentioned by commits as something that was a factor), NU has more commitments than Texas (14) and Ohio State (14) and as many as USC (15) which are all top ten ranked classes. Scout.com has the 2013 class currently ranked 37th in the country.
Single Game Tickets On Sale July 23 at 9 am ct!
As if the recruiting buzz wasn’t enough to get you stoked for football, well then just look at the www.NUSports.com home page which has the logos of our seven home opponents just enticing you to purchase tickets. Here’s the real reason to step up NOW for season tickets – as of Monday at about 9:05 am the Nebraska game will be soldout as we get crushed by an onslaught of Huskers fans blowing up the phone lines. It’s time to step up, call your friends, email them and let them know to call 1-888-Go-Purple and tell them LTP sent you! When you get those conversions of NEW season ticket holders, let us know and we’ll give you a shout-out and post the tally on our board in the upper right corner. We’re closing in on one-third of our 200 season ticket goal. Let’s get to the 100 mark by Monday, shall we? Who’s got next?
The Penn State story continues to unravel. As you likely know, ESPN obtained new information regarding the fact Penn State administrators had the opportunity to institute reforms in 2004, but they passed. NCAA president Mark Emmert also weighed in on this and I was surprised at his candor about how unprecedented this is. This thing is just unraveling, but I don’t think any of us are surprised at this point. Take a look here. He was a guest on PBS’ Tavis Smiley show and offered this:
“I’ve never seen anything as egregious as this in terms of just overall conduct and behavior inside a university and hope never to see it again. What the appropriate penalties are, if there are determinations of violations, we’ll have to decide. We’ll hold in abeyance all of those decisions until we’ve actually decided what we want to do with the actual charges should there be any. And I don’t want to take anything off the table.” – NCAA President Mark Emmert on Tavis Smiley Show
Oh yeah, and Paternoville has been renamed “NittanyLionVille”. On a related note, the most painful job today in sports media world? Mizzou. It turns out Tigers head coach Gary Pinkel went in to “defending the greatness” of Joe Paterno mode at SEC media days and while I’m writing this late night on Tuesday, I suspect when Wednesday gets cooking so will the ire of fans across many sports at Pinkel’s comments and the sports info staff at Missouri will be thinking “did I sign up for this?”. You can read one of the many pieces on this here from the hometown angle.
Linsanity’s Purple Connection
The big news in the NBA (and all of sports for that matter) last night was the signing of Jeremy Lin by the Houston Rockets in a bit of salary gamesmanship that has many Knicks fans seething (once again) at James Dolan. One of the crucial players in this deal was Rockets GM, Daryl Morey, a Wildcat alum and passionate ‘Cats fan. You can bet fellow alum and Twitter fiend, Darren Rovell (the two are friends) will be tweeting away some delicious stats on the financial impact this will have to the Rockets franchise. Daryl is on my LTP Purple Mafia hit list and he knows it.
‘Cats Ring Cash Register
Well, membership sure has its privileges. The Big Ten/Pac12 announced a new deal for the Rose Bowl with ESPN, which, get this, upped its $30MM per year rights fee to $80 MM PER YEAR for the Granddaddy of ‘em all. That’s a 167% increase for the rights to broadcast the game (throw in a few more million for all-in production costs that ESPN will ante up). Obviously when both the B1G and Pac12 are participants (not a given) they will split this. The conferences rake a little off the top and then in the case of NU, they get a 1/12th cut. That means likely a few million more in the coffers of NU. HawkeyeNation.com breaks it down for you in much more detail here.
Little Caesar’s reupped for the sponsorship of the Motor City Bowl all but ensuring we’ll have that moniker gracing the facade of Ryan Field as our lone win since 1949. Please, no.
More interesting is the fact that the mojo that was gained by a consensus vote among B1G ADs to go to a 7-5 record to qualify for a bowl game has now lost momentum and B1G commish Jim Delany has conceded it looks like we’re back to a 6-6 model after other conferences weighed in. Fitz was for the 6-6 qualifying record.
Oh, Iowa. Our friends at BHGP are going to have their fun continued. The list of challenges Iowa has had at RB due to a combo of injuries, discipline problems, transfers and probably several other items I’m missing continues. I think at last count we’re at 37th on the depth chart and now a walk-on gets caught changing tags to lower the price on a shirt at a Dillard’s and faces 5th degree theft charges. Somehow, a 1000-yard rusher will emerge once again out of thin air.