Saturday, July 25, 2009

The O-Line, Jeff Grimes, Recruiting, and Hogmollies

 

It's no secret that the biggest need to Auburn this recruiting class is at the offensive line position. The depth chart across the front 5 is very junior heavy and while Auburn is "ok" for now, and for some part still "ok" for the 2010 season; looking down the road at 2011 and the Panic Button is ready to be pressed.

Here's the depth chart as it currently sits (according to Rivals):

 

OT OG OC OG OT
L. Ziemba (JR) Byron Isom (JR) Ryan Pugh (JR) Mike Berry (JR) Andrew McCain (SR)
AJ Greene (So) Bart Eddins (JR) Mike Berry (JR) Jarred Cooper (So) Vance Smith (So)
    Bart Eddins (JR) Rudy Odom (SR)  
         

 

That's not very deep at all especially considering that Eddins is essentially "first sub" whenever a lineman would need to spell for a series. Then factor in that fact that there are only 6 other lineman (excluding longsnappers) on the roster, and five of which are freshman (Charles Bates, Andre Harris, Blake Burgess, John Sullen, Andrew Parmer, with Darrell Roseman being the lone JR).

To his credit, Grimes knows he has depth issues, but that isn't going to stop him from trying to redshirt his three lone true freshman (Sullen, Harris, and Burgess):

"You're not going to have guys coming in and playing a lot as true freshmen," Grimes said. "That's not the way you'd like for it to be. We'd like for those guys to come in and redshirt and have a year or two and get ready to go. But that's fixing not to be the situation for us.

"Most of the guys we have on scholarship are juniors. We're re ally heavily stacked in the junior class, which will be great for this year and next year, but not great after that."

But according to that same article:

To that end, AU will probably pursue roughly a half-dozen offensive linemen in the 2010 class, including perhaps a couple of junior college players.

"It all comes down to signing the best players you can get," Grimes said. "If we can get two or three high school players next year that are just as good -- and we feel like are physically and mentally capable playing as a true freshman -- then we would sign a guy who has four years of eligibility rather than a guy with two."

The main problem is that the recruiting results aren't there yet. So far Auburn has only signed 2 Lineman for the 2010 class. Shon Coleman (6'7 275) from Olive Branch, MS; who Rivals rates as a 3 Star and Moody (AL) Lineman Chad Slade (6'6 316) who is Unranked by Rivals. The addition of former FSU Seminole and Rivals 4 Star Aubrey Phillips could help. However, Phillips at best is a work in progress and should probably redshirt too. His weight has become and issue and now his eligibility will be in doubt due to his transferring.

Philips has become an interesting story, but that's for another day. Here's an FSU blog really laying into Philips about leaving. All you really need to read is their lead:

Yesterday on the Jeff Cameron show, the topic of now departed FSU signee Aubrey Phillips came up.  Phillips was a four-star recruit by rivals.com, and signed with the 'Noles in February.  Many had concerns about Phillips ability to play for legendary Florida State offensive line coach Rick Trickett.  Trickett is widely regarded as the premier offensive line coach in college football and he prefers his linemen to be athletes and in impeccable shape.  When he signed, Phillips weighed about 320lbs (he is 6'5").  He assured FSU that he wanted to play for Rick Trickett and that he would be willing to put in the work to get down to his assigned goal weight (about 300lbs) by the time he reported for summer camp.  Phillips was essentially tasked with losing 15-20lbs over the course of 22 weeks, which is not that difficult for a person of his age and size.  Instead of working to lose the weight and come into camp in even a modest approximation of physical fitness, Phillips ballooned to more than 340lbs.  That's right, instead of dropping 20, he added 20 (or as much as 30, depending on who you ask). 

If you're an Auburn fan, or just a fan of common sense, then I recommend just ending your reading right there. The rest of the article takes the Pro-FSU approach to Phillips. For an Auburn perspective here's E-Wood's Mobile Press take.

SO WHAT NOW?

Well it's not looking that good. Lineman recruiting is quick and painless. You normally want to snatch guys up as fast as you can since good Lineman are a prized commodity. Taking a look at Rivals.com Top Offensive Lineman, that are uncommitted, have interest in Auburn and have Auburn offers, there are a couple of guys to keep an eye and ear out for:

 

NAME SCHOOL RIVALS RANK RECRUITED BY
Damien Robinson Olive Branch (MS) Olive Branch 4 Star Trooper Taylor

 

Robinson has been diplomatic with his recruiting and hasn't listed any clear favorites. However, the fact that both Darren Bates and Aubrey Phillips are both from Olive Branch, and in doing a little research on Robinson, there are a couple of Auburn connections:

"Damien's a blue-collar guy who doesn't talk a whole lot but leads by example. He's always going to do the right thing. He's a really good player and an excellent person."
That approach helped Robinson make a smooth adjustment after he moved to Olive Branch from nearby Memphis before his freshman season in 2006. So did the daily battles in practice against future Division I signees at defensive end like K.J. Wright (MSU), Chris Zinn (Auburn) and Marlon Walls (Tennessee).
Robinson also matched up from time to time last fall with Aubrey Phillips, a Florida State signee who was arguably the state's No. 1 offensive line recruit.
"Damien is a couple inches taller, but their weight is similar," Samsel said. "Aubrey's feet were a little better, but Damien has better upper-body strength than Aubrey had at the same point. Damien's been in the weight room more."
His bulk and power is a big reason Robinson may not have to wait for playing time when he gets to college in 2010, according to OB assistant Marcus Autry.
"Damien's got great balance and big hands recruiters look for," said Autry, a Pontotoc native who played offensive guard for Auburn a decade ago. "He can cover up the average defensive lineman. He's been exposed to a lot of coaching in college camps. I think he'll be ahead of everyone else with his fundamentals and technique."
While Robinson - who will be joined by Division I prospects in Auburn commit Shon Coleman (6-7, 275) and Eric Lawson (6-7, 325) on what once again figures to be the state's biggest offensive line - is enjoying his time in the spotlight, football doesn't monopolize his attention.

So a former teammate, a current teammate, and position coach, all with connections to Auburn. Fingers crossed on that one.

 

NAME SCHOOL RIVALS RANK RECRUITED BY
James Stone Nashville (TN) Maplewood 4 Star Phillip Lolley

Not much on Stone, many feel he's a UT Lock, however he did has this to say about Auburn:

Auburn: "They're focused on family and core values. That always makes for a good team."

NAME SCHOOL RIVALS RANK RECRUITED BY
Eric Lawson Olive Branch (MS) 3 Star Curtis Luper

Yet another OBHS Lineman. He currently doesn't have an Auburn offer, but was rumored to be a part of the Big Cat Weekend.

NAME SCHOOL RIVALS RANK RECRUITED BY
Aleon Calhoun Navasota (TX) Navasota 3 Star Curtis Luper

Auburn is hoping for a visit here. He does have the Tigers listed in his "Top 5" but it looks more and more that he wants to stay in state.

NAME SCHOOL RIVALS RANK RECRUITED BY
Chase Hughes Springville (AL) 3 Star Trooper Taylor

Many people still think Auburn is the team to beat for Hughes. Especially considering that Jeremy Richardson (his Springville Teammate) was one of Auburn's first comittments

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Catching Up With Former (and Current) Tigers

 

CAPE COD ALL-STARS

-Brian Fletcher was named a starter and Kevin Patterson and Hunter Morris participated in the HR contest for the Cape Cod League. Pretty big honors for 3 current Tigers to be, essentially, called the best of the best, in the Summer League.

JOSH DONALDSON

- Part of the deal that sent Rich Harden to the Cubs, The A's aren't sure what to do with Donaldson. They are so hard up for 3B Help (Nomar is not the Answer) that even Donaldson (a catcher) has seen some platoon roles:

The A's continue experimenting with some of their top hitting prospects at third base. Adrian Cardenas, hitting .353 with Double-A Midland entering Sunday, is splitting time between second and third. Catcher Josh Donaldson is also playing some third for Midland. He played third at Auburn before switching to catcher during his junior season.

Speaking of that trade. The New York Daily News recently reexamined it. Jesse Spector called it a bad deal for the Cubs (saying Harden wasn't exactly needed) but mentions this about JD:

As for Donaldson, he's hitting .266 with five homers for Double-A Midland, but has a .393 on-base percentage thanks to a ridiculous 61 walks in 362 plate appearances. The Cubs' first-round pick in 2007, Donaldson needs to show a little more power, but at 23 could have a future.

Finally Glen Dickey, for the San Francisco Examiner, wrote about the Struggling A's and why they need to turn their attention to the youth in their organization. One of those youthful guys is Donaldson. However, just where he will be continues to be a mystery. However, the Catcher Experiment may be over, at least according to Keith Lieppman, the A's longtime director for player development:

Lieppman likes outfielders Travis Buck and Aaron Cunningham, both of whom have been up with the A’s but are in Sacramento now. He thinks Josh Donaldson, now at Midlands, has a shot in the near future. “We signed him as a third baseman and converted him to catcher, but with Kurt Suzuki playing so well, we’ll probably shift him back to third.”

TIM HUDSON

-Looks like we might see Huddy pitch this year after all. However, what that does to the Braves rotation for the second half of the season is still a mystery (my call, as a Braves Fan, is move Kawakami to the bullpen, send Kris Medlen back down to Gwinett to get more starts, and trade Vasquez in the off-season for the Power OF). In Hudson's first start back with High A Myrtle Beach:

Sunday's stats: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K
As with so many teams in the National League, if you squint your eyes and tilt your head funny, the Braves are kind of in it, so who couldn't use Tim Hudson? Making his way back from last year's Tommy John surgery, Hudson's 2009 debut was a rousing success, as he threw strikes, sat at average velocity while touching 93 mph and, most importantly, reported no discomfort afterward.

BRETT BUTTS

Speaking of the Braves. Former Tiger Brett Butts is a part of the Mississippi Braves "closer by committee system":

The M-Braves had a closer earlier this season, but since Rafael Cruz (12-for-15 on save opportunities) was promoted to Triple-A Gwinett on May 28, it has been bullpen-by-committee.

Four current members of the pen had at least two saves through Friday, and another was 1-for-1. Brett Butts (2-for-3) had a 3.14 ERA through 36 appearances, and Cory Gearrin (2-for-3 here; 9 saves at Myrtle Beach) had 3.32 through 17.

"We'll go with whoever's available that night and make it work," Wellman said.

CHEZZ MCCANN

Gave back the River Region by participating in the Montgomery Metro Baseball League All Star Game.

CLETE THOMAS

For now, he looks like he's in Detroit for good. Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press is pretty convinced that Clete is a microcosm of the Tiger's Season as a whole.

Clete Thomas is not the most important Tiger, not by a longshot. But he is, to me, a microcosm of this team as it enters the second half of the season.

Thomas is young and athletic. He has shown flashes of major league ability, but we don't know if he is ready yet. He has a chance to play in the postseason, but he could also fade by September.

BRENT SCHOENING

From WLTZ in Columbus come the struggle of former Auburn Pitcher Brent Schoening

 

In a pushpinned post from Rivals and poster "Goods":

If you are in the Houston area please consider donating white cells, or if you know someone in the area, please pass this message along as it could help save a friend's life. He desperately needs help. If you have any questions, or would like more details, please let me know.
Our friend Brent Schoening has been battling Leukemia in Houston at MD Anderson Cancer Center for the past 10 months. The details about his battle and story can be read from the news story and his sister's update below. For the past 10 months, he's endured a bone marrow transplant, heavy chemo, extreme pain, and currently has been fighting a fungus that has attacked his face, because his immune system has been eviscerated. I spoke to his mother a little bit ago. I'm not sure how he's still alive but he's fighting.
For those that don't know Brent, was a pitcher at Auburn in the late 90's. Off the field he was one of the nicest and most mild-mannered friends you could ever have....once on the mound, he was a fierce competitor that didn't like to lose....as shown by his record.
Here is the process for finding out if you can donate, per his sister's message:
If you are in the Houston area, or If you know anyone in the Houston area that can give white cells for Brent please tell them to call (713) 792-7777, Extension 5, and to tell them you are calling to find out about donating white blood cells to Brent Schoening. This is the number for the MD Anderson's blood bank and they will prescreen them to see if they qualify to give. Not everyone will be able to give - that's why we need as many people as possible to call and try and give. Please tell your family, friends, co-workers, etc, to pass this along if they know anyone in the Houston area- or anyone who can be in the Houston area, to help continue saving my brother's life. Once they are prescreened they can let us know and Mom will put them on a schedule to give for Brent.
To sign up for updates and read past updates: http://www.carepages.com/carepages/WeloveyouBrent

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Baseball Quick Hitters

 

A couple of quick baseball news and notes.

MIKE BIANUCCI:

Monster Mike” had a tremendous start at Low-A Hickory earlier this year (.331/15 HR) and earned a call up. He’s struggle a bit since, only hitting .167 for Bakersfield. Here’s a quick youtube clip from Mike before his call up.

GARRETT BUSH: While techinally not a Tiger yet, the high drafted SS might still be coming to Auburn. At least that’s what one blog thinks:

I thought he might be signable in the top ten rounds, but it’s more difficult this far down. Great pick for talent and draft position, but I fear he may end up at Auburn without $250K heading in his direction.

TONY CALDWELL- TC has had a nice summer with the Waynesboro Generals. So good that he made that league’s All-Star game, which he had to miss because of injury:

Tony Caldwell of the Generals was scheduled to participate in the derby and 60 yard dash, but had to scratch from both contests as well as the game due to an injury.

“He took a foul ball off his foot last night in the game,” Waynesboro coach and South Division assistant Andy Chalot said. “It is nothing serious, but it was hurting him today so that he couldn’t play.”

HUNTER MORRIS- Talk about a tremendous summer. Hunter Morris is tearing it up at the Cape Cod league and his exploits are starting to become the stuff of legends:

Trundy said it didn’t quite compare with the shot that Falmouth first baseman Hunter Morris hit at Cotuit last Sunday. We heard reports last week that Morris’ shot cleared the second line of trees behind the fence at Cotuit and ranked among the longest home runs in years on the Cape. Trundy backed up that account.

"It was ridiculous," Trundy said. "I’ve coached in the league now for 15 years—11 years as a head coach—and it certainly was one of the longest balls I’ve seen hit. It was one that when you see it hit, you know you’re not going ot see many like that. That was jaw-dropping—everybody just kind of went, ‘Oh my gosh!’ the minute he hit it. It almost went kind of quiet, because you had that long to watch it, to be honest with you. He’s a strong kid, and he’ll continue to develop as a hitter. But the power is obviously there."

And he follows that up with Big game after big game. Including one where he was a triple short of the cycle.

CLETE THOMAS- Speaking about just missing the cycle. Clete Thomas did just that (missing out by a double) on the Tigers final game before the All-Star Break. Since being recalled from AAA Toledo, Thomas has been scorching, hitting at an above .500 clip. He’s gotten people taking notice as well:

"Seems like every getaway day or every day game he always comes up and performs," [Detroit Tigers All-Star CF Curtis} Granderson said. "He's a well-rounded player. He can play defense, he can throw, hits for average and hits for power.

"He's a very balanced player and has a lot of potential going forward."

Including his skipper:

"He's staying in the strike zone better," said manager Jim Leyland. "I think the main thing is he's staying on the ball. He's shortened up (his swing) a little bit, but the main thing is he's swinging at strikes."

TRENT MUMMEY- Finally, here’s a nice little article on Trent Mummey’s Summerball experience.

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The 2009 Preview (In Haiku)

 

Ah. The Haiku. You remember that in High School English. The simple 5 syllable-7 syllable-5 syllable poems that made every student feel like a weird combination of Yeats and Confucius. If you are any type of Auburn fans you’ve already read at least eight different “previews” of the upcoming season. Until now. The AUPPL is proud to present. The 2009 Season. In Haiku.

LA Tech (Sept. 5)

Dooley Led Bulldogs

versus Auburn. Déjà vu.

outcome stays the same

*for those not in the now. LA Tech is the Bulldogs and are coached by Derek Dooley. Son of the Legendary Georgia coach who was only 11-13-1 against Auburn

Mississippi State

Mississippi State

Name too long for a haiku

‘least we won’t wet “Croom’d”   

West Virginia

Mountaineers on the Plains

Pat White Gone. Noel Devine?

Still there. Still fast. Yikes.

Ball State

Ball State comes in next.

Bowl team last year. NOT again.

Mid Major Snack Cake.

Tennessee

On to Rocky Top.

First year coaches. Squaring off.

Kiffin. Chizik. Boom.

Arkansas

Bobby Petrino.

Jet Gate. Lowder. Old Story.

New Chapter Starts here.

Kentucky

Kentucky fans wish

this was January and

basketball season.

LSU

Bourbon. Vomit. Chaw.

Cussing Kids Welcome You to

Lovely Baton Rouge

Ole Miss

Ole Miss now dark horse

but at day’s end we’re Auburn

and they’re still Ole Miss

Furman

Furman. Good breather.

Amen Corner Begins next.

Better rest and pray.

Georgia

Deep South’s Oldest Now.

No Knowshon. No Matt Stafford.

Battle ‘tween hedges.

Alabama

Simple Advice Now.

Need to salvage a season?

You just Beat Bama.

Read more...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

An Open Letter to Auburn Girlfriends and Wives

 

First of all, did I tell you how cute you looked today? Do something different with your hair? Is that a new dress? No. Oh well. I guess you just looked extra nice today, but really that’s everyday isn’t it?

As you probably heard NCAA 10 for Playstation3 and Xbox and Wii and everything else came out today. For that, I’m sorry. You have to know I had no control over that. It really just snuck up on me. So I won’t be able to make it to your cousin’s wedding this weekend. I know you are sad, but we both know that you didn’t really like her anyway and you were just going to to wedding to see how drunk your Uncle Jake was going to get and how many bridesmaids he was going to hit on.

Oh and your parents’ anniversary party next weekend? The one at the lake? Yeah, that’s not going to happen either. Look on the bright side, at least now you don’t have to watch your dad give me a scowl and mutter how I “ruined his little girl”. Tell them Happy Anniversary and whatnot.

I know what you’re thinking. It’s just a video game. I’m not sure how many times I have to remind you, it’s not. It’s more than a game. Remember last Christmas? When I asked for a New Mexico State Aggies shirt? You couldn’t understand why. Well, this is why. This is why it’s more than a game. I built that team up. From the ground up. I recruited and strategized and tweaked my playbook until finally, we got a shot at a BCS game. It took 3 seasons but when we got that Fiesta Bowl invitation I could tell good things were on their way. They certainly were. A season later we were back in the Fiesta Bowl, and we won it this time. Little NMSU. In the Big Show. Taking on Texas and winning that trophy. Then the hard work paid off, we got an invitation into the Big XII (bye bye Baylor) and by year nine we had two BCS championships and a Heisman Winner. I just wanted something special to commemorate that. Did I get that shirt? No. I didn’t. You got me a pair of Croakies and some Columbia Fishing shirts (which I love). When I asked about my beloved Aggies you just rolled your eyes and said something about “that stupid game”. Still, I’ve moved on. It still stings a bit, though.

I’d like to also take the time to apologize for that fight last year. The one where I called your sister a not so nice word (See You Next Tuesday) because her kid jammed a copy of Air Bud: Golden Receiver into my PS3. Yet it still had my copy of NCAA 09 in it. I know she’s six and didn’t know any better (still that’s not really an excuse).

I’m also like to go ahead and apologize in advance for whatever fight is going to occur over the next two months. I’ll just go ahead and say it now, “It’s my fault. Totally my fault. I’m sorry honey”. I went ahead and bought some apology cards from Hallmark in advance just to be safe (I think 12 should do).

I know you don’t “get it”. You don’t understand why I continually slam my controller down and yell things at a tv screen. Or that time when I took little pixelated Kodi Burns into the promised land of the BCS and I shed a tear when he was at the Heisman Ceremony. He earned that trophy. So did I.

You keep saying it’s just a game. Again, you’re wrong. Still I love you. I think it’s cute when you want to play against me. However, we’ve learned that lesson didn’t we? I hope you’ve improved your game from last year. Just because you are learning the game is no excuse for the drubbing I laid on you last year. 210 to 7. Seriously, honey, if you can’t run with the Big Dogs, then stay on the porch. It was cute you wanted to try though.

So, I just decided to write you this letter, as sort of a preemptive strike. I won’t be seeing much of you this week or next or really that much for the next two months. It doesn’t mean I don’t love you. Hardly. It’s just that right now the focus should be on my Dynasty. That’s what’s important. I hope you understand.

If you don’t agree, then let me call to mind the past two months. Remember how I was super helpful? How I babysat your cousin. How I took out the trash without being asked? How I bought you those new shoes? How about how I watched all of the Bachelorette and didn’t complain ONE TIME. Even when that dude wanted to lick that chick’s toes. I even went to see the Proposal with you. Even though you know how much I wanted to see The Hangover and you know how much I hate Ryan Reynolds. I still saw the proposal. Remember when you’re friend Sarah came into to town because her boyfriend dumped her? How she stayed up all night crying and you two ate Ice Cream and talked about how stupid men are? Did I say anything besides “Yes. Honey; You are so right honey”? No. I didn’t. I was supportive even though Sarah had it coming. I know I said I’d go kick her boyfriends ass. But really all that was done so I could get some points for July 14th, when I’d finally be reunited with EA Sports NCAA 10. Oh, and I’m not kicking Sarah’s boyfriends ass. He’s a freaking Marine for crissakes. He’d kill me.

But just know I still love you. I’m just telling you what you can expect. I’ll see you in September.

Love,

Auburn Husbands and Boyfriends.

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Auburn gets a commitment from Guile from Streetfighter

 

Meet Joel Bonomolo who may or may not be Auburn’s latest commitment. A DE from a Fullerton CA JUCO. Again, he may or may not be committed. This says yes. No official word yet.

Also no official word that Joel (besides having a cool name) isn’t actually Guile from Street Fighter (with an official Bama Bang haircut):

One thing is for sure. If this holds. Then Joel is about to gain about 2,000 new facebook friends.

Read more...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Quick Hitter: Auburn adds baseball assistant

 

While the rest of the world was inundated with the almost 3 hour long memorial service for Michael Jackson, Auburn sent out this press release:

Link Jarrett Named Director of Player Development For Auburn Baseball Team

(the two are unrelated, of course). Here’s some quick hitters:

1. Yes, the is an awesome baseball name. Continuing to prove the point that Baseball Players, and former players, always have the coolest names. Seriously, the name Link Jarrett sounds like either a) a 70’s Porn Star b) an 80’s Cop show or c) Awesome Baseball player name.

2. He will mainly be in charge of hitting and assisting in recruiting. I know a lot of fans will wonder when the pitching help is coming, but honestly, that’s CJP’s field and specialty.

3. He comes from East Carolina. A team that went to a Super Regional and ended ranked #16 last year.

4. from the release:

Over the course of his four years at East Carolina, the program went 161-87 (.649) with three straight 40-win seasons. In 2008 ECU lead Conference USA in batting average (.317), slugging percentage (.499), on-base percentage (.408), runs (498), hits (702), RBI (464), home runs (89), total bases (1,105) and walks (307). In 2007, the team led the league in home runs (68) and was third in batting average (.291), slugging percentage (.453), on-base percentage (.374) and RBI (364).

5. Finally a quick comparison of ECU and Auburn and how the ranked nationally in those same categories:

STAT ECU Nat’l Rank AUBURN Nat’l Rank
Batting Avg .339 15 210 .286
Slugging % .546 12 35 .516
Runs 565 4 119 391
Hits 814 1 162 546
HR 108 7 103 10

So yeah, that’s a marked improvement. However, those numbers are slightly skewed because the factor in ECU’s added games during their conference tourney, regional, and Super Regional play.

So, Welcome Coach Link. War Eagle

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Pro Football? In July? Oui!

 

A little admission first, I kind-of sort-of dig Canadian Football. Not because I have affinity for Canadians to begin with (I do)but because it’s like our "football” yet different. I won’t go into all the differences here, but ever since CSS started carrying CFL games on Saturday afternoons, I’ve found myself strangely drawn in. Probably because it fills a certain football shaped heart-hole during the hot summer months.

Well, Auburn fans have a bit of reason to cheer because Tray Blackmon will be making his CFL debut tonight for the Calgary Stampeders. Making his Rookie Debut for the Defending Grey Cup champs.

After reading a couple of new articles about Tray, you can tell he’s really matured since leaving the Tigers:

From a Calgary Herald article:

"I was basically just living free and not trying to be a role model," said Blackmon. "I didn't have a male role model growing up, I didn't have anyone to look up to, so I didn't expect anybody to look up to me. But once I matured, I realized that there are kids, even here in Canada, who know about me and they look up to me and want to be like me, so you have to be a role model for the kids and put forth a positive image.

From a blog post from Tray himself:

I sit back and think about it and I believe this is the path God wanted me to take. I truly believe that. I have no regrets about Auburn even though I never got the chance to play my final season there. I hurt my wrist and missed a lot of time in my third year at Auburn and then I was thinking about transferring and trying something different. Luckily, I ended up here.
No matter what, I have nothing bad to say about the people at Auburn. I love them because they took really good care of me and they’re still like family to me. That’s why I say that this is just the way things were meant to be and I’m trying to seize the moment and take advantage of it.

He won’t be alone in the Stampeders backfield. He’ll be joined by former Tiger and Jacksonville State Gamecock LeMarcus Rowell. Speaking of Rowell, you have to love this from his team bio:

In his rookie season, Rowell dressed in six regular-season games for the Red and White. He recorded two tackles and seven special-teams tackles. In the season finale against BC on Nov. 1, Rowell grabbed his first interception and returned it 37 yards. It was the third-longest interception return by a Stamps player for the season and he did it without his helmet, which had fallen off during the play.

Even then he’s still won’t be the only Tiger in the league. Which boasts a veritable who’s who of former Tigers.

Damon Duval is practically a super star for the Montreal Alouettes. Tre Smith (pictured above) and Prechae Rodriguez are both big for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Finally, Former Nose Tackle Josh Thompson was a member of the Montreal team as of June 19th, but isn’t listed on the teams roster anymore.

Need another reason to follow the CFL? I’ll let this promo do the rest of the heavy lifting:

Hell. Yes.

As for Blackmon, we wish him luck in the Great White North and will now change his unofficial “Little Ball of Hate” nickname to it’s French Translation: “Peu de Boule de Haine”

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