LITTLE ROCK — Across the land on the first Wednesday in February, a few themes were addressed. Needs. Character. Talent. Quality. Later.
As in, we filled ours, this group has it, best-ever class, preferable to quantity, and judging these guys is three years away. None of that information is documented, but history says the material is accurate. Last year, Athlon put together recruiting cliches, imposing a limit of one per coach. More than 50 coaches were included.
What else are coaches going to say? Part of their job is to keep ticket-buying fans enthused.
In a personal dream sequence, the coach is honest about the teenagers who have agreed to play at his school.
“We needed help on defense,” he says, “but we only signed two defenders, one because his dad is a big money guy and the other because his brother is a sophomore who looks legit. Juvenile records are sealed, the highlight film has been doctored, and I hope to move on before this group is on the field.”
The only recruiting cliche that I’m buying involves judgment day being down the road.
All I know about Arkansas’ class is the previous ranking and the fact that the Razorbacks missed out in the final hours on a a five-star defensive end who opted for Stanford and a cornerback who chose USC.
Being in the finals with those Top 10 programs is more encouraging than beating out lesser lights.
Seeking absolution, I confess to little interest in the Winter Olympics. For somebody who’s involvement with snow sports was limited to sledding down the big hill beside what used to be the Levy Exit in North Little Rock and doing a roller derby on sleds sort of thing on a neighbor’s downhill street with a hard right turn, there is a disconnect with the events in Sochi.
Almost 100 events will be shown during the 18 days of competition and I thought the dozen new events might be attractive. No thanks to the figure skating team event. Tricks on the slopes can be seen in person anytime there is ice on Arkansas highways. Women will participate in ski jumping for the first time, but watching one person after another fly is as numbing as watching a series of dunks or a long-drive contest.
The biathlon mixed relay would be OK if the competitors shot paint balls at the opposition.
Affinity for the Summer Olympics goes back to school days and success in class and on the track.
On the first count, only one member of our junior high p.e. class knew that Bobby Morrow had just won the 100 meter dash in Melbourne. On the second count, I was part of a winning relay team. Early to school in North Little Rock, four of us ganged up one morning to defeat a fast friend in one trip around the cinder track.
The loser picked up his package of cigarettes and went to the smoking “hole” to recuperate.
No surprise that Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is favored to win the 2014 Heisman Trophy; the fact that he is not an overwhelming choice speaks to the difficulty in repeating.
According to Bovada.lv, Winston is 2-1. Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota (7-2), Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller (4-1), Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon (5-1), and Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty (6-1) are under double-digits. In addition to Yeldon, Georgia running back Todd Gurley (12-1) and South Carolina running back Mike Davis (15-1) are on the short list from the SEC.
All three will be a focal point of the offense with the departure of senior quarterbacks, but Yeldon will have fewer opportunities. Sophomore-to-be Derrick Henry, who made 100 yards in the Sugar Bowl loss to Oklahoma, and Kenyan Drake, who had 104 vs. Arkansas, will share the carries.
Harry King is sports columnist for Stephens Media’s Arkansas News Bureau.