Sunday, July 30, 2017

BG with yet another LB Verbal

So, the commits keep rolling in for Falcon football.  The young man is named Deandre Fitz-Henley and he is from Clearwater, Florida. He's a 6'0", 220 pound ILB and another highly ranked player.  247 has him listed as a 3-star recruit, the #37 ILB in the country and the #150 player overall in Florida for the class of 18.

He is a highly sought after player.  He had reported offers from Akron, App State, Cal, Colorado State, UMass, Southern Miss, UT and Washington.

He's a huge get for BG on signing day.  Combined with Antwuan Johnson yesterday, that's two very highly ranked ILBs for BG...forming the future nucleus of the BG defense.

He is BG's 11th verbal, by my count.  Six of them have been defensive players.

Some more on Mr. Fitz-Henley.

Here are some interesting numbers...representing his Freshman and Sophomore years...
After totaling 60 tackles as a freshman, he earned a starting spot at outside backer, adding 124 tackles (eight for a loss), two sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery last season.
He was also 2nd team FHSF Class 3A All-State Elite Team that year.

Interestingly, his hometown paper said he had narrowed his choices down to App State, Colorado State and UT...and was going to announce his choice tomorrow, which he pre-empted with this tweet.

He also had 101 tackles and 4 sacks as a junior.

Clearly, quality programs were trying to get this guy, and BG has the commit.  He'll look great in orange and brown.

Welcome to the Falcons, Deandre.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

BG has new verbal, 3-star LB

BG's Dayton-area recruiting pipeline continues to flow, as the Falcons picked up a verbal commit from one of the higher ranked players we have gotten...Antwuan Johnson, an ILB from Dayton.  He had played at Dunbar but is transferring to Wayne for his senior season of HS.

He's a 3-star recruit on 24/7 and is the #32 ranked player in Ohio and the #30 ILB in the nation. He stands 6'1" and 232 pounds.

He's had an interesting HS career.  He started at Springfield and committed to UM while a sophomore.  He transferred to Dunbar for his junior year and de-committed from Michigan with the arrival of Harbaugh.  They had a big year, going 9-1 but then the Dayton Public Schools told them to throw their last game.  As a result, the entire DPS system is on 3-years probation for all boys and girls sports.  So, Johnson, along with other athletes, are seeking to play elsewhere.  For him, it was Wayne HS in Huber Heights.

(The Dayton thing is pretty amazing.  You can see a video of them trying to throw the game here).

Matt Wilcox, a true FR WR, is also from Wayne, as well as transfer LB Dorian Hendrix and transfer WR Tristan Davis.  (Also Rodrick Caldwell of the Men's Basketball team).

According to 24/7, he had offers from Kentucky, Michigan, CMU, UC, Indiana, Iowa, Louisville, Miami, OU, Purdue, Toledo and WVU.

He was second-team all-district.  I can't find a lot of stats, but in a game early in his junior year, he had 22 tackles, a QB hurry and interception.

Here's what his coach at Dunbar said about him:
“He’s the leader of our defense and makes everything go,” Powell said of Johnson. “He’s the engine of our defense and the leader who we needed. He steps up in meetings. He makes our job a lot easier. You bet I’m glad to have him back.”
Welcome to the Falcons, Antwuan.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Football player update, including new transfer

Along with the materials for MAC media day, we had the release of the new two-deep and then a graduate transfer coming in.

We'll start with the two-deep, comparing it to the spring.

On the o-line, there's one change...the starters now are Hunter, Taborn, McAuliffe, Bright and Labus, with Bright being the new starter, replacing Jack Kramer who is now back up C.  Note that Taborn played T as a true Fr last year due to injury but has been moved into G.  The backups are pretty much the same just shuffled around a little.  Often, a line doesn't have a true two-deep...there's usually a guy who is next up and you'd move people around.

Also interesting is that Grant Loy is now listed as the backup QB.  Loy came here as a walk-on and you'd have expected Elijah Cunningham or even Seth Doege to be the backup.  They probably want to redshirt Doege, but Loy did beat Cunningham out for an important spot.  Most teams end up using their backup QB.  Also, we still have camp to go as well.

There's also interesting developments at WR, where the starters are Guyton, Redding and Miller, with Pough, Phatavoung and Jared Wyatt backing them up.  What's interesting is that Marquis Zimmerman, who had 22 catches last year, is not on the two-deep.  I have literally no news on this...he could be injured.  He'd even be a candidate to redshirt. See below... Also, Matt Wilcox who enrolled early is not on the two-deep at WR but is listed as returning kicks.

Wilson and Cleveland are at RB and Folkerstma and Skattebo are at TE/FB.

On the d-line, the biggest issue is that Tyrik Jones was on the depth chart for Spring and has now left the program.  Brian Sanders, a JR from Cass Tech who appeared in 11 games will start the fall opposite David Konowalski, with R-FR Diron Hutchins and Jr. Jonah Harper as backups.  Hutchins is making his first game appearance.  Jonah Harper played first at Notre Dame College and then was here last year and red-shirted.

On the inside, Schweiterman and Smith with Lautenen and Junior backing up remains stable.

At LB--a position with high profile losses--BG returns Nate Locke in the middle with Aaron Banks and Brandon Harris on the outside, just as they had in the spring.  The backups now are R-FR Amari Posey, Jerry Judd and Nilijah Ballew, with Posey replacing KY transfer Dorian Hendrix on the chart.
In the d-backfield, Jeffries and Jackson remain starting CBs, with Milton and Stephens remaining backups.  At S, JUCO Garth has moved into starting Rover (no surprise) with Bozeman at the other safety.  Tavarous Wade and Ben Hale (returning from injury) are backups, with Jerry McBride not on the current depth chart.

On special teams, you have Matt Wilcox and Josh Cleveland on KRs and Wilcox on PRs.  Suder and Davidson are solid at K.

Finally, BG did add another graduate transfer, and this could be an impact player.  His name is John Kurtz.  He did not redshirt at UC, so he has two years to play his one season at BG.  Jinks says he has an opportunity to make an impact right away.  He doesn't appear to have played a lot at UC, but Jinks says he could play right away, or provide depth and allow a younger player to be red-shirted.  Or saved for next year.  Obviously something to keep an eye on.

Thanks to the commenter who pointed me here...

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Media Day Catch Up

Was out of town for a couple days, so just now catching up on the media day stuff for the football season, which is growing bigger every day in the windshield.

You've heard by now that BG was picked to finish 3rd in the East.  This is probably about right and on the optimistic side of the bubble, which is fine.  Coach Jinks agreed, saying that given last year, this is a reasonable place.  Of course, as pointed out by the same Coach Jinks in the Blade, we were picked to win the East last year and most people were wrong so let's hope they are wrong again this year...though that's only partly comforting....they could be wrong low too.

UT is the overwhelming favorite to break their struggles and win the MAC Championship this year.  All the stars are aligning, including PJ Fleck leaving, NIU continuing to rebuild, etc.  Whether it happens, that remains to be seen.  But they are the favorites.

If you are looking at the BG schedule, the Falcons play OU, Akron, NIU and UT at home in the MAC, and Miami, Buffalo, Kent and EMU on the road.  According to these rankings, probably the three toughest games are at home (see below) with two winnable road games.


1 - Ohio (11 first place votes), 131 points
2 - Miami (12 first place votes), 129 points
3 - Bowling Green (1 first place vote), 88 points
4 - Akron, 79 points
5 - Buffalo, 41 points
6 - Kent State, 36 points

West Division
1 - Toledo (22 first-place votes), 142 points
2 - Western Michigan (1 first-place vote), 107 points
3 - Northern Illinois (1 first-place vote), 89 points
4 - Eastern Michigan, 74 points
5 - Central Michigan, 62 points
6 - Ball State, 30 points

As has been said here before, with the non-conference schedule, a 6-6/5-3 season would be a success for the Falcons at this time in the Jinks era and represent a step forward.  Anything above that means that we have guys who can win games...there will be a game by game look, but for right now, BG going 6-6 and to a bowl game would be enough progress for me to feel good about our future.  Less than that--like 4-8, which is possible--and you start to look at things a different way.

In the Blade, Coach said that the team needs to be more disciplined...cutting down on turnovers and "unexplainable" big plays on defense.  Isn't that an interesting word.  Unexplainable.  What has to happen for a big play to be "unexplainable?"

BG's new MLB, Nate Locke, had an interesting comment:
“[Defensive coordinator Perry] Eliano is doing a great job of catering his defense to the players we have,” Locke said. “We’ve had conversations about what he wants particular linebackers to do, what he wants different safeties and cornerbacks and other position players to do. We want to make sure the defense relies on the strengths of our different players.”
What's interesting is that when Jinks did his review of the team last winter, he said one of the biggest problems was asking players to do things they couldn't and continuing to do it way too long before adjustments were made.  One factor is that he said he didn't have enough evaluation time because he went to Texas Tech's bowl game...and he did note this Spring that he felt that he was getting much improved player evaluation.  Anyway, Nate is telling us that their building the team around the players who are there, which is the only way to go, especially with our young and unproven defense.

So, that's the media day update.  It's going to be an interesting year, to be sure.  As a fan, you can ee the guys can recruit.  Now you want to see them execute winning game plans, make adjustments, etc.  Some improvement this year and moving some of those recruits into their roles as time moves forward...and maybe we can get back on the track again.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Football Verbal---Antonio Smith

There's another new football verbal...Antonio Smith, a  strong side DE from Westerville South, which of course is in the Columbus Area.  He's 6'4" and 213, and a 2-star recruit from 24/7.  They rank him as the #101 SDE in the country.

He's reported to have offers from Air Force and Georgetown, which tells you he's a good student.  Also, Buffalo, UT, Kent....and Youngstown State and a set of other FCS offers.

He was honorable mention all-conference as a junior.

We had another player named Antonio Smith,  famous for taking one of the most brutal hits in program history, but he was from Miami.

One thing this Antonio Smith had to know is that he's sliding into a position of needs, especially the DLine, but end in particular.

So, anyway, welcome to the Falcons, Antonio.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Former Falcon Enjoying Breakout Year in CFL

You will remember Kamar Jorden from the Clawson years.  He played for BG in 2010-11 after transferring from Hudson Valley Community College, and they were big years.  He was first-team All-MAC both years and ended up on the Top Ten in career receptions (at the time) despite playing only two seasons.

He's certainly paid his dues.  He bounced around the Arena League, two Vikings training camps and then a couple years as a deep reserve with the Calgary Stampeders, where his perseverance has been rewarded.

In last night's game against Winnipeg, he had 6 catches for 97 yards and a score.  As of this morning, he leads the CFL in receiving yards and TDs...though not all the teams have played the same number of games.  It doesn't matter.  He's having a great season for one of the top teams in the league and he's played on one Grey Cup title team and played in the title game last year as well.

Always a Falcon.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Football Updates

So, considering we are sitting here in the middle of the summer, there was some news from the football program today.  We will summarize.

First, an alert tweeter noted that in the bottom of this article about RB Davieon Hargrove from Trotwood-Madison, that BG is getting two Dayton area transfers from high-level FBS programs.

The first is Roland Walder, a LB from UK who is transferring following his redshirt season.  He was a 3-star recruit---also at Trotwood-Madison---and is 6'3" and 220.  247 had him ranked as the #57 LB in the country, and he's listed as an ILB.  He was part of an exodus of LBs--4 have left Big Blue.  He also had offers from Nebraska, Syracuse, Pitt and UC before heading to Lexington.  He comes in at a position of need for BG and while I am leery of transfers, you have to believe he's got a shot to be a contributor.

The other young man is Tyler Traylor from Centerville.  He was a star WR in HS who went unsigned on NLI day.  At 6'3" and 205, he has good height.  He went to UC and redshirted last year as well.  He was #54, which tells me that he was moved to LB, but who knows what position they envision him playing at BG.

Besides that, the roster is out with the freshmen now in the house.

I looked through the roster.  The only NLI freshman who is not listed now is TE Travis Koontz.  He could be a grey shirt, but would be an odd guy to do that with since he was a highly ranked recruit.  You may remember him as the guy who verballed to BG, then committed to UT and then ended up back with BG.  Anyway, I haven't been able to find anything about him online, let me know if you have anything.

Beyond that, o-lineman JC Bartok is no longer listed on the roster.  He had been with the program for two years and had yet to appear in a game.

Also. Calen Taylor is no longer listed on the roster.  He is a RB from Missouri who came to BG after a year the West Point prep school.  He was with BG for one year, red-shirting.

Finally, WR Tim Tupa is no longer listed.  He had appeared on the depth chart though he never appeared in a game and was out last year with an injury.  Yes, his Dad is Tom Tupa.

There appear to be three FR on the roster who are new to me.

The first is Denzel Norvell, a RB from Dayton Thurgood Marshall.  This one is a little harder to figure out.  BG lists him as a FR, but here you can see that he played two seasons at Mt. St. Joseph, which is a DIII school in Cincy.  Not sure how that all sorts out.  His second year he averaged 6 yards a carry.

There are two WRs.  Aidan O'Connor from Lima and Justin Sawmiller of Kenton.  Sawmiller's bio says he played one season at UC and is listed as a FR as well.

Anyway, that's a decent amount of news for early July.  Inside of two months to the opener!

Great Blade Story on Anthony Henderson

Welcome back to the grind.  A little Falcon goodness to kick off the day after the holiday.  We all remember Anthony Henderson, who played at Start HS and then was with the BG program for 5 seasons, where he adjusted his game to go from a scoring threat to a defensive specialist and a pro...they want him to score again.

Great Blade story, worth a read.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Football Verbal: Raveion Hargrove

There's a new verbal for BG, and it iss another highly recruited and rated player.  This is Raveion Hargrove, an all-purpose back from Trotwood-Madison, down in Dayton.  He's 5'7" (listed anywhere from 5'5" and 5'8z") and 162, so he might sort of be a Josh Cleveland type guy, which I think is the type of player that can be really dangerous if we're in some of our more spread sets.  He's a 2-star on 24/7 and 3-star composite.  They ranked him as the #60 player in Ohio and the #104 RB in the nation.

He had attracted a lot of attention on the recruiting trail.  He had offers from Akron, Ball State, EMU, Kent, Miami, OU, UT and Youngstown State and EKU in FCS.

He's an interesting player and he's highly productive.  He brings speed to the equation--this article on Scout says he is among the fastest players in Ohio and put up "video-game" numbers in HS.  As a sophomore, he rushed for 3,039 yards and 31 TDs.   Those were Dayton-Area records.  He ran for 1,700 yards as a junior with 21 TDs.  He's rushed for 300 yards in a game 4 times.

He was first-team all-state in Division III of Ohio as well as being first team all-district.

Also, Trotwood-Madison is one of the state HS football powers, making 6 straight state semis.

Obviously, most of the MAC was offering this young man and he is highly productive on the field, which I always like to see.  Nickname is "Shock."

Welcome to the Falcons, Raveion.

Happy Independence Day!!

Happy Independence Day to the Falcon Nation.

Celebrate Wisely.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Austin Valdez lands at Syracuse

So, the word is finally out on Austin Valdez.  To no one's surprise, Syracuse is the choice.  For obvious reasons, that was a likely choice, along with Notre Dame and Wake Forest based on the relationships.  Anyway, he's going to Syracuse.

Not sure what he is expectations were when he left, but LB is a position of strength for Syracuse.  He's expected to provide depth at the position, where the Orange have 3 seniors.  They also added a JUCO player, and Andrew Armstrong (a former BG commit) saw a number of snaps as a true FR.

Valdez was an all-MAC performer for BG in the 2015 Championship season and then battled injuries last year.

Best of luck to him for his final season of college football.