Mickey Plyler's Blog for June 29

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DaQuan Bowers will go public with his commitment to Clemson is a few weeks. Despite being a rising junior at Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School in Bamberg, SC, Bowers has decided to end his recruiting. This is significant when you consider what two high school coaches recently told me about the 6-6, 245-pound monster. One high school, coach said, “A Clemson assistant told me today that Bowers is the best prospect they have had on campus since Bowden arrived.” Another added, “Bowers is the best defensive linemen to come out of this state in the 25 years I have been coaching here.”

Also consider what the defensive line could look like in a few years because Clemson is in good shape with two rising juniors, Union’s Sam Hammond and Greenville’s Aterio Arnold. I have seen both of these guys play and think both are top prospects for the class of 2008.

Bumper Stickers

Bruce Feldman is a writer for ESPN.com and he has a wonderful blog that I would suggest you put among your favorites. I have had Feldman on my radio show and think have has some great insight. Recently on his blog he named his top college football t-shirts and the “Catholics versus Convicts” shirt inspired by the Notre Dame-Miami rivalry was number one.

I wanted to give a different twist and so here are the best and worst college football bumper stickers I have seen in my day:

1. On the downside of former University of North Carolina head football coach Dick Crum’s career, the stubborn Crum was not a fan favorite. The slide and the way he treated some people around Chapel Hill led to the classic bumper sticker, “I Would Rather Have Jock Itch than Dick Crum.”

2. Former Georgia head coach Ray Goff was coming off a year that was not up to the fans’ standards in Athens. Goff was from Moultrie, GA and was to open the next season against South Carolina, which inspired the bumper sticker, “If You Can’t Beat the Poultry, It’s Time to Head Back to Moultrie.”

3. Before we had the www.fire (Insert coaches name).com websites we had bumper stickers. The winner for the pre-mature campaign came from Georgia fans that were coming off of a 6-5 campaign in 1979. Dawg fans had printed, “Dump Dooley” bumper stickers before the 1980 campaign. Vice Dooley’s club rebounded with a national title in 1980.

The worst and most classless bumper sticker ever came from the Midwest. In 1988, Colorado star quarterback, Sal Aunese, was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Aunesse died in the middle of the 1989 season. An idiot Nebraska fan printed bumper stickers that said, “Go Big Red; Sal is Dead.” I know it was the work of one idiot but to this day I always pulld for the Buffaloes when they face Nebraska.

UVA Troubles

Speaking of Feldman, like I, he is not a big believer in Virginia head coach Al Groh. In his fantastic blog, Feldman wrote:

The UVA coach has been taking a lot of shots from former players of late, and on Sunday former Cavaliers D-lineman Chris Johnson and his family tell the Daily Progress about how Groh cost the family quite a bit of money in a story that deteriorates into a he said, he said.
The Nutshell: Johnson, who started four games at defensive end as a redshirt freshman in 2004, was suspended from Virginia for academic reasons in September during the 2005-06 school year. Following the season, Johnson said he and his father Eric, a local middle school principal, met with Groh in January to discuss the options for next season. Once Chris completed his semester at a local junior college, he also paid for tuition at Virginia to take summer classes to raise his grade point average and accumulate course hours. According to the family, the estimated out-of-pocket cost was $5,000, which Chris said he had no problem with.

"I put myself in this situation. Nobody told me not to go to class," Johnson told the paper. "… I thought I was going to come back to the team like I left, and that was with a scholarship."

Johnson said he paid the estimated cost himself by working for UPS, substitute teaching and refereeing basketball games. After he had accumulated the necessary hours to become eligible, Johnson said he and his mother, Marcia, met with Groh in April.
In that meeting, Johnson claims Groh indicated he would have to return as a walk-on and "earn" his scholarship back in camp and perhaps into the fall season, a contradiction to what Johnson said was explained to him in January.

"Why would I pay to go to Piedmont and come back as a walk-on when I can go somewhere else and have it all covered?" he said. "That's just dumb. That's what makes me mad about the whole situation. It makes no sense. If from the time we met with [Groh], if we knew there was no scholarship, why would I sit around Charlottesville and do everything that I did?"

Last Thursday, Groh denied to the paper telling Johnson a scholarship would be waiting for him. "There was no misunderstanding on my part as to what the message was in January," Groh said. "Apparently there was a misunderstanding in the hearing and not the saying. The message in January has remained consistent and will remain consistent. Chris would have options by which he could rejoin the team. Chris has chosen not to exercise those options."

Stoking this further, Grambling D-coordinator Luther Palmer said his school would have offered Johnson a full scholarship in January, which would have saved the estimated $5,000.

"I was not going to come back for coach Groh as a walk-on," Johnson said. "I told him I'll either come back the way I left or not at all. I told him I'm not a walk-on type player. I'm not saying I'm the best player in the world, but I feel like I can play out here and be successful. Virginia wasn't the only place for me to play ball."

My three cents: This isn't exactly what Al Groh needs right now, especially since he was already floundering from a PR standpoint. (Last week, Philip Brown, another UVA player bound for Grambling, slammed Groh on his way out the door too. As I had mentioned Wednesday, CB Philip Brown is planning on transferring from UVa to Grambling. Vince Redd also are looking to transfer there.

Brown, a former blue-chip recruit, blasted the UVa staff on his way out the door. "[Assistant coach] Mike London was the only person that called to see how I was doing," Brown told the Daily Progress. "He would call to check on me. Coach Groh never called me. Coach Groh could have probably cared less how I was doing. I am just disappointed in how they carried themselves.

"They sat in my house during recruiting and told my mom how they were going to make sure that I graduated, and then the first sign of academic troubles and I get the boot. Nobody wanted to work with me after that."

My hunch is that the story of Philip Brown might come up a time or two whenever a rival recruiter is visiting with a prospect's parents if Virginia is also in the picture.

I will try to have some guest on this subject on the radio show soon.

Offensive linemen

In wrapping up offensive linemen week on my radio show and blog, here are my top 10 offensive linemen in 2006:

1. Joe Thomas OT, Wisconsn

2. Kyle Young C, Fresno State

3. Dan Mozes C, West Virginia

4. Justin Blalock OT, Texas

5. Gosder Cherilus T, Boston College

6. Aaron Sears OT, Tennessee

7. Levi Brown OT, Penn State

8. Ryan Kalil C, So. Cal

9. Sam Baker OT, So.Cal

10. Doug Free OT, N. Illinois

Please excuse the typos and grammar. Also, please visit our sponsors, Tom Winkopp Realtor and Developer, Mr. Knickerbockers, George Coleman Ford and Brad Hughes Allstate Agency. It is there patronage that keeps the blog free. If you are interested in great advertising opportunities on the blog contact me at mickeyplyler@hotmail.com.

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