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Football

Outside the men’s room: It’s all in the stars?

By Kirk Haaland, CycloneFanatic.com blogger (All recruiting rankings in this piece are from the Rivals.com database)

It took seven seasons of Dan McCarney at the helm in order to reel in what would be the best recruiting class of his tenure. That year, Coach Mac’s class was headlined by six four-star and eight three-star recruits. Before we delve too deeply into the exactly inexact science of recruiting rankings, let’s preface all of this with the obvious; rankings don’t mean a thing at the time of Signing Day. It is a science that, as was mentioned, is exactly inexact.

It was McCarney’s eighth class, in 2002, that looked to be his best on paper and each recruit brought in was an average of 2.74 stars. So what was the big fallout from the class that may have ultimately been the undoing of McCarney’s regime when he “resigned” after the 2006 season? Here are the 14 players that were mentioned above, first the three-star guys:

Amecus Daniels, Mike Hmoud, Jimmy Morris, Saheed Richardson, Korey Smith, Kyle Smith, and Waye Terry.

And the four-star guys:

Austin Flynn, Stevie Hicks, Curtis James, Frederico Samuel, Max Steward, and Collin Menard.

Incidentally, this topic was breached last week and we should remember that some of these guys had their careers cut short due to injury (Jimmy Morris—great guy that I had a number of classes with—and Waye Terry specifically). But how many of these names do you recognize? I’m guessing not many. Austin Flynn and Stevie Hicks are the only two guys of the headline recruits that made a noticeable impact on the football program, and it was actually a huge impact in both cases.

Now, let’s compare to the class the Paul Rhoads intends to sign on Wednesday. A class that could be argued isn’t even his first full class as he didn’t have two full years to make all of his inroads.

While coach Rhoads will only bring in two four-star recruits, it will also be chock full with an astounding 17 three-star players. When you add in the eight two-star guys, the average stars per recruit of the 2010 class as it currently sits comes out to 2.78 stars. Certainly, the legacy of this class will be formed over the next five years, but it’s hard to not be excited so early into Paul Rhoads’ tenure—especially when this recruiting is coupled with the success on the field this past season. Now is also a good time to remember the recruiting philosophy of coach Rhoads: “It isn’t the players you don’t get that hurt you, it’s the players you get and can’t play that hurt you”.

It was that very reason the 2002 class, by and large, was such a failure. There were far too many empty scholarships to make an impact as a whole on the program.

Given my very limited knowledge and ability to scout talent on the football field, you may want to just skip over the rest of this paragraph. But the two guys I’m most excited about will fill in at one of the greatest needs (linebacker) and those guys are Jeremiah George and Floyd Mattison. George who is a three-star recruit was likely under-recruited due to the lack of height looks like an absolute player. Mattison has been characterized as a “workout freak” with how he has tested out with his speed, quickness, and strength. We’ll have to wait and see how that will translate onto the football field.

A win is a win As has been noted by many on the forums lately, a win is a win. I know it wasn’t dominating and I know it was closer than many would like to see on a regular basis against a conference cellar dweller (albeit a Colorado team that has played nearly everyone tough so far), but I just can’t complain over a win. There were bright spots and there were…not so bright spots, to put it as kindly as possible.

Chris Colvin has begun to live up to the message board hype (not usually a very easy task) and is doing especially well creating for teammates. In the past two games when he has played well he has made a few circus shots that weren’t the prettiest, if he starts playing under control all the time and passing in those situations he will be much better off. I just can’t imagine that shots like that will continue to fall.

Justin Hamilton was the spark on Saturday and played his best game of the year, 10 points and 12 rebounds. He is the most solid defender in the post and is the one guy that seems to usually get to the right spot in help-side rotations.

It was good to see you again Mr. Brackins, you’ve been missed.

Some quick thoughts… • Congrats to the wrestling team on another dual victory! The team seems to be progressing as the year goes on at nearly every weight class. I’d like to see a Long and Nickerson rematch at some point in the future.

• The women’s team is just too young to not have ended up with a loss to a mediocre team like Kansas State. The fact that the team is 16-4 and ranked is a phenomenal testament to Bill Fennelly after losing five seniors from last year’s squad.

• I’m not a proponent of the NCAA tournament expansion. My biggest beef with the current setup or with how the bracket would look should they just add three more play-in games is with what teams are selected for the play-in games. I love that in college basketball the “little guys” get in and get their chance. I hate that those little guys get thrown into the play-in game that isn’t really apart of all the madness. I would prefer we take the last two at-large teams from “BCS conferences” and let them play in that game where the winner gets the final at-large slot as a 12/13 seed.

• Reading some of this stuff on “the Smiley Face Killers” is just downright creepy. Whether any of that is true or played a role in the recent missing student case is yet to be seen, but I hope beyond hope that Jonathan Lacina somehow shows up alive and well.

Did you know… By now I think we are all well aware of the NCAA tournament classic in 1992 between Duke and Kentucky that is best known for Christian Laettner’s game winning shot. But did you know that in the second round of that very tournament that Duke beat Iowa 75-62 and Kentucky beat Iowa State 106-98?

Trivia Time Last week’s question: What Cyclone scored the most points in an NCAA tournament win? How many points and who was that game against?

Answer: Kelvin Cato scored 29 points in a first round win over Illinois State in 1997.

This week: Who are the only two Cyclone men’s basketball players to lead the team in scoring their freshman, sophomore, and junior seasons?