ESPNU 150 defensive end Chris Martin (Aurora, Colo.,/Grandview) has picked California over Notre Dame, Florida, USC and Oklahoma.
Martin, who de-committed from Notre Dame after Charlie Weis was fired, visited Cal over this past weekend. He told the Contra Costa Times he will be a rush linebacker.
A lot of them. And a lot of them already have familiar names.
The quality is very high here, which speaks well of the future.
Went with three receivers and no tight end, by the way.
QB Andrew Luck, Stanford
RB LaMichael James, Oregon
RB Chris Polk, Washington
WR James Johnson, Washington
WR Gino Simone, Washington State
WR Brice Butler, USC
OL David DeCastro, Stanford
OL Michael Philipp, Oregon State
OL Carson York, Oregon
OL Jonathan Martin, Stanford
OL Xavier Su'a-Filo, UCLA
K Vince D'Amato, California
DL Nick Perry, USC
DL Travis Long, Washington State
DL Aaron Tipoti, California
DL Chase Thomas, Stanford
LB Vontaze Burfict, Arizona State
LB Shayne Skov, Stanford
*LB Devon Kennard, USC
DB Desmond Trufant, Washington
DB John Boyett, Oregon
DB Sheldon Price, UCLA
DB Josh Hill, California
P Jeff Locke, UCLA
*Kennard started the final three games of the season at linebacker after playing end most of the season.
The school just announced that quarterback Jake Locker will return for his senior season, despite projections that he'd be selected in the top-half of the first round of this spring's NFL draft.
“After a great deal of careful thought and deliberation, I have decided to return to Washington and play my senior year,” Locker said in a statement. “I am very excited about this team’s opportunities and potential for the upcoming season and I am looking forward to being a part of it.”
- The Holiday Bowl isn't only about Tucson and Lincoln -- it's about Youngstown, Ohio. Know that Mark Stoops' tenure as the Wildcats defensive coordinator has been a success.
- Arizona State gets a couple more offensive commitments, which it needs, and four will enroll early.
- Some California notes -- there should be some Jahvid Best news soon.
- The focus isn't yet the Rose Bowl for Oregon. This competition is dead even inside the Ducks defense.
- Setting up the Las Vegas Bowl showdown between BYU and Oregon State.
- More on Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh and his contract extension.
- Temple might be distracted when it plays UCLA because its coach might not be there anymore. The Bruins are back at practice.
- USC cornerback Josh Pinkard, a sixth-year senior who missed two years with injuries, is out of the Emerald Bowl because of a knee injury. What does the future hold for marginalized running back C.J. Gable?
- Some good recruiting news for Washington State.
Jeff from San Francisco writes: Are you going to take this Heisman decision laying down? It was the most blatant display of East Coast bias in years. Kudos to ESPN for actually showing the regional breakdown of votes. Obviously this is water under the bridge at this point, but a real travesty for [Stanford running back Toby] Gerhart to leave that ceremony empty handed.I (mostly) disagree.
Of the five finalists, Gerhart piled up the best numbers playing against the best competition. He was the most consistent performer. And he's a senior (he could come back next year due to an injury hardship from 2007 but that's unlikely).
Ezra Shaw/Getty ImagesStanford running back Toby Gerhart finished second in the closest Heisman race in history.
Still, it's not like he was the victim of an anti-Gerhart, anti-Stanford conspiracy. He lost a vote. So it goes.
Six weeks ago, how many thought Gerhart really had a chance? Most folks around Stanford seemed to pin their predominant hopes on him just earning an invitation to the ceremony in New York.
Ingram was in the Heisman discussion for much of the year. He played on a team that was in the national title hunt all season and will play Texas for the BCS championship. His margin likely rested on voters who lean toward the "best player on the best team" voting philosophy.
Sure, Ingram dominated his region in the Southeast. But so did Gerhart in the West.
Where Ingram beat Gerhart was in the neutral areas.
Is that East Coast bias? Not really.
Is it fair to believe that some folks back east didn't get to see that much of Gerhart? Sure. Is it fair to believe that many of the inaccurate and ignorant statements we've heard and read about the defenses Gerhart and Ingram faced skewed some perceptions away from the truth? Probably.
Did I, like you, raise an eyebrow when I learned of voters who didn't include Gerhart in their top three? Absolutely.
But when I watched Ingram accept the award with grace and humility, I had a hard time mustering much frustration over the process. Great player. Great young man. Kudos.
And Gerhart didn't walk away without any hardware, either. He beat out Ingram for the Doak Walker Award, which is given to the nation's best running back.
Gerhart had a dream of a final season at Stanford. He's a consensus All-American, he was named the best player in the nation at his position and his team is going to its first bowl game since 2001.
Lots of us feel Gerhart should have won the Heisman Trophy. But was his not winning a travesty?
Not to me.
According to this LA Times report, coach Rick Neuheisel believes Prince will return this week, but Prince didn't seem as confident.
"One doctor told me that I might be ready to play or I might not," Prince told the Times. "There is no set timetable."
If Prince can't go senior Kevin Craft is his likely replacement, though true freshman Richard Brehaut also is an alternative. Craft started against Kansas State and Stanford when Prince was previously hurt.
Huskies quarterback Jake Locker, who's still considering whether he wants to return for his senior season, is projected as the No. 1 overall pick.
Yes, Locker is slotted to go to the St. Louis Rams, ahead of such luminaries as Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and Tennessee's Eric Berry.
Locker has until Jan. 15 to make his final decision, but Huskies head coach Steve Sarkisian said he expects his quarterback to decide before the deadline. He also said he was "optimistic" that Locker will decide to return.
Here are the official comments on the contract provided by the University.
“I am proud and thankful that Stanford University and Bob Bowlsby have entrusted me with the opportunity to represent this great university as its football coach. I am committed to the Stanford model of striving for academic and athletic excellence. These past three years have convinced me that Stanford will win on the football field and continue to graduate young men who will be leaders in their chosen fields.
“The associations developed with our administration, faculty and staff along with the parents and young men we have and are presently recruiting will make the Stanford model the benchmark for academic and athletic achievement.”
Athletic director Bob Bowlsby:
“Jim and his staff have done an extraordinary job of revitalizing our football program. I am very excited to have Jim leading our efforts in the years ahead. Coach Harbaugh has energized our recruiting, improved competitiveness in all phases of the game and brought fun back to Stanford football. Most notably, the rejuvenation has taken place while maintaining the highest graduation rates in Division 1-A football.”
Stanford president John Hennessy:
"The Stanford football program has made impressive progress under Jim Harbaugh's leadership. We are proud of the advances made by our scholar athletes. We are committed to continuity and stability in our football program, and to continuing the upward trajectory provided by Jim and the entire coaching staff."
- No regrets for Stanford running back Toby Gerhart after he lost the closest race for the Heisman Trophy.
- Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh has signed his contract extension. Some notes on that.
- Because Army lost to Navy, UCLA will play in the EagleBank Bowl against Temple on Dec. 29 at RFK Stadium.
- USC cornerback Josh Pinkard has a knee injury and running back Stafon Johnson hasn't made a final decision on the NFL.
Kirby Lee/WireImage.comMark Stoops will join FSU's staff following the Holiday Bowl.
Mark Stoops was hired Friday to be Florida State's defensive coordinator under transitioning head coach Jimbo Fisher, thereby ending the successful tandem he had with head coach -- and brother -- Mike at Arizona.
Stoops was a top candidate for the head-coaching job at Youngstown State, but he likely sees this as the best step for him toward one day getting a chance to lead his own BCS conference program. This allows him to step out of his brother's shadow and to move into a football hotbed where there are more future job opportunities.
Mark Stoops will remain with Arizona until after the Wildcats play Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 30.
It will be interesting to see what Mike Stoops does next. With his brother, the Wildcats' defense was "in the family." The issue with the next coordinator will be whether he's asked to retain the Stoops system, which has been very effective through the years, or will he have the autonomy to bring in his own system. Keep in mind Mike Stoops is an old defensive coordinator himself, so it could be a challenge for him to keep his fingers out of the batter.
Not to mention it's his program.
Another element to consider is the Wildcats will be rebuilding on defense. They lose seven starters, including all three linebackers. Ends Ricky Elmore and Brooks Reed -- probably the best tandem in the conference in 2010 -- will be a good starting foundation, and Stoops has recruited well, but there will be unformed clay for a new guy to work with.
In other words, it won't be a bad year to tweak the system because a lot of guys won't have much experience in the old system.
Stoops may promote from within -- linebackers coach and assistant head coach Tim Kish might be a possibility.
Other names to think about include Boise State's Justin Wilcox, Utah's Kalani Sitake, Air Force's Tim DeRuyter, Texas Tech's Ruffin McNeill or perhaps former Arizona linebacker Ricky Hunley.
The guess here is that Stoops, considering his family connections, has plenty of names in his rolodex.
For her story, click here.
To the notes.
Kenny from Florence, Ariz., writes: You must be as blind as the rest of the Pac-10 media leaving Ricky Elmore (who DID lead the Pac-10 in sacks) off your all conference team, right?
Ted Miller: First, making these teams is never easy. There are always reasonable arguments to support guys who got left off.
I picked California's Tyson Alualu and Washington's Daniel Te'o-Nesheim as my two first-team All-Pac-10 ends over Elmore, who led the conference with 10.5 sacks.
Alualu finished third on the Bears with 60 tackles, which was the most among conference defensive linemen. He also had 7.5 sacks, 10 tackles for a loss and two forced fumbles.
Elmore had 43 tackles, which ranked seventh on his team, with11.5 tackles for a loss and one forced fumble.
There seem to be three sets of numbers out there for Te'o-Nesheim. The Huskies official website credits him with 11 sacks and 14 tackles for a loss. The Pac-10 credits him with 9.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for a loss. The NCAA with 10 sacks and 13 tackles for a loss.
In any event, Te'o-Nesheim also had 37 tackles, which ranked seventh on his team. But this put him over the top with me: Five forced fumbles.
All three have good resumes, but based on the overall numbers -- and the scuttlebutt I pick up during the season -- Alualu and Te'o-Nesheim get the nod.
There's also this: Both of them are seniors. Elmore is a junior.
So we'll see him next year.
Jared from Portland writes: It seems to me that having the BCS rankings use the Coaches poll is a bad Idea. For one, the coaches are biased and benefit themselves when they rank their teams high. For example see Brian Kelly as the only coach to cast a No. 1 vote for Cincinnati. Point two is that while head coaches have a great understanding of how good other teams in their conference are, I don't think they know about the rest of the country. How many ACC games do you think Mike Riley watched this season? Why doesn't the BCS use the AP Poll which is written by guys whose job it is to watch and analyze college football 24-7?
Ted Miller: I'm with 'ya completely.
It's absurd that the sport information director, er, coaches vote is included in the BCS standings.
Back in ancient times -- you know, pre-BCS -- there wasn't a whole bunch of money at stake, so the voting wasn't viewed with as much skepticism.
Now, just imagine a coach sitting there knowing if he votes Team X two or three spots higher -- and demotes Team Y a couple of notches -- it might mean an extra $4.5 million for his conference.
That's why the coaches vote needs to remain transparent.
As for the AP poll, it pulled itself out of the BCS formula after the 2004 season.
Polls in themselves are nothing more than beauty contests that are laden with various sorts of regional biases and inconsistent methodology. Most voters spend a lot of time on their ballots and do their best. But some don't.
It's the system we have and I have little hope of it changing dramatically anytime soon.
So learn to love it.
Chris from Eugene, Ore., writes: How about the job Coach Greg Roman did for Stanford. Toby G is good, but they really did one amazing job running the ball. It always seemed Gerhart would have about 10 plays a game in which he was untouched for 5 yards downfield. Oregon, USC, ND and UW DC's had no answers and at times you wondered if it mattered who was running the ball.
Ted Miller: A good point. Stanford's young offensive line -- only one senior -- was dominating at times this year, and Roman and Tim Drevno deserve a lot of credit for that.
A lot of folks -- media and fans -- were wondering if the O-line would fall off when Chris Dalman left unexpected last year. It didn't.
Aaron from Miami writes: Why is it that voters (for all-conference teams, Heisman Trophy, etc...) are allowed to turn in the ballots before all the games have been played? I ask this because the Ducks only have one first team all-Pac 10 member. I would be curious if that would have been the case if the ballots were sent in after the Civil War. Would Masoli be first team ahead of Canfield, would it have been James ahead of Rogers? Maybe not, but it would have been nice to see. I don't want to take anything away from those two players they had amazing years and are very deserving (even after the Civil War was played), but the Ducks won the conference by two games!!! Also I have a feeling that this trend is going to end up giving the Heisman Trophy to an undeserving Colt McCoy (did you see that last game) because voters sent in their ballots early.
Ted Miller: The "why" is convenience and efficiency.
And let's face it. There are some folks who are going to vote for "their" candidate, no matter what the numbers say. Those are the sorts who got their ballots in early.
As for my take: I think all awards and honors should not be voted on before the final game. It's an award for the season, and the season is 12 games long. Waiting an extra day or two for results shouldn't be a big deal.
By the way, I think Gerhart should win the Heisman, but I'd stop well short of saying Colt McCoy is "undeserving."
Tom from Palo Alto writes: Thought you'd enjoy some number-crunching I've done on recruiting across the country -- it really validates the tough job Washington, Wazzou, Oregon, and Oregon State have.
Ted Miller: For the recruiting obsessed, Tom's considerable work will be very interesting.
The newspaper reported that "Harbaugh is likely the Jayhawks’ top choice" and added that Harbaugh would be "KU’s home-run hire."
One element that could add validity to these reports: It appears that Harbaugh still has yet to sign the three-year contract extension he agreed to a year ago, which was reported to be worth $1.25 million a season.
The extension was originally held up because of the economic climate, and some folks at Stanford -- who apparently struggle to understand supply, demand and a free market -- protested the numbers, which would still rank below average among FBS coaches.
Kansas likely will offer double that to lure Harbaugh away from Northern California to Lawrence, where a dollar goes a lot further anyway.
Harbaugh presently is in New York with running back Toby Gerhart for the Heisman Trophy ceremony on Saturday.
- The men behind the Arizona Wildcats have bowl preparations, too.
- Arizona State gets another O-line commitment.
- Stanford's Toby Gerhart and Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh got to the Heisman Trophy ceremony the newfangled way: They earned it. Here's why Gerhart should win.
- Praise for the Las Vegas Bowl matchup.
- Oregon begins its Rose Bowl preparations -- and coach Chip Kelly picks up some more hardware.
- This UCLA recruit sounds like he's pretty good.
- The fifth and final transformative moment for USC.
- A look at bowl game gifts.