Locker Room: Clemson on a roll. Who won?

You here college football coaches say it all the time, especially when they are a new hire. “We must build a fence around our state.” That would certainly be a good thing, but what do you do when somebody like Clemson starts erecting a fence around the nation?

Some of the folks who make a living in the world of college football recruiting are saying that the Tigers are on the threshold of having the greatest recruiting season in history. What does that mean to the rest of the ACC? Big trouble. Clemson already has the most talented program in the conference. Expect the margin to get wider, much wider. In fact, this is not good news for all of college football.

The Tigers presently have the top rated 2020 class in the country. Do not be surprised if it doesn’t get better. Clemson presently has commitments from four, 5-star players, and nine, 4-star players. It takes most programs three recruiting classes or more to get that many highly rated number of recruits, but the Tigers are in a position to possibly finish with as many as nine, 5-star players. Following last weekend they had the number one quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei from John Bosco in California, the number one rated defensive end in Bryan Bresee from Maryland, the number one rated tailback in Markus Bowman from Florida, and the number one rated defensive back in Fred Davis from Florida.

The Tigers also have four star players from Texas, South Carolina, D.C., North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky. Presently the top recruiting school in Georgia is Clemson, not Georgia. The top recruiting school in Florida is Clemson, and the top recruiting school in the Carolinas is Clemson.

There are other schools having outstanding recruiting seasons and that’s not a surprise, but consider this, Clemson has won two of the past three national championships and has never had the top rated recruiting class. LSU is second, Alabama third, Miami four, Florida State five, Florida six, Penn State seven, Notre Dame eight, Ohio State nine, and North Carolina 10.

What should Virginia Tech and Virginia be most concerned about? Not Clemson. They are never going to out-recruit the Tigers in the present environment. But Miami is four, FSU five, and Carolina 10. One had to wonder how long the Tar Heel program was going to lay dormant. Then UNC hired Mack Brown and the talent level is about to increase in Chapel Hill. So that’s a problem on the way, but consider this. UVa currently has the 38th ranked recruiting class in the nation, West Virginia 39, and Va. Tech is 56th. There are 10 ACC schools with classes currently ranked higher than the Hokies.

However, it’s not time to jump off the ledge. It is May, and there is a long way to go, but six ACC schools have alarming leads over the Hokies. Tech presently has three, 3-star recruits. Compare that to Clemson’s four, 5’s, and nine, 4’s, or Miami’s 10, four stars, or FSU’s seven, four stars, and Notre Dame also plays football vs. the ACC and has eight, 4-stars. It is something to be concerned about.

Virginia has one four star recruit, and three, 3-stars. The four star is the featured recruit in the state so far in 6-7, 280 offensive tackle Jimmy Christ from Sterling. It’s great he is also from the state. Christ turned down Clemson, Alabama, Florida, Notre Dame, Michigan, and Penn State to play for the Cavaliers. A big get for Bronco Mendenhall.

Christ is easily the highest rated player from Virginia to stay in state so far. The number one rated player, outside linebacker Antoine Sampah from Woodbridge will play for LSU, number five, linebacker Ethan West of Cosby will play for Carolina, number six, cornerback Keontae Jenkins of Virginia Beach will travel all the way to TCU, as will ninth rated, offensive lineman Al-Trique Barlow from private school Bishop Sullivan. It is the first time that TCU has ever landed two top rated players from Virginia. The 10th rated player, offensive tackle Rueben Adams of Woodbridge has pledged to Penn State, 16th rated athlete, Joe Johnson of Life Christian, a private school, will play for North Carolina State, and 20th rated athlete Lamareon James of Indian River will also play for the Tar Heels. Other than UVa landing Christ, the third rated player in the state, the Hokies do hold a commitment from the 17th state rated player Tyler Warren, a quarterback from Mechanicsville.

Best Horse Lost:

I understand there are rules. There certainly should be, but do we take it a bit too far sometimes? I’m not a horse racing guy. Never even raced my grandfather’s old Studebaker back home when I was a kid.

But the best horse won the Kentucky Derby last Saturday. The flat out best horse won the race, but the judges said it didn’t count. Why? Because the horse that finished second lodged a protest. Yes, the horse that won did fade out coming around the final turn and it appeared did impede a horse’s progress. But that horse was not going to win the race, and did not lodge a protest. The horse that finished second did, and countless replays indicate that his progress was not impeded at all. Bump or no bump, the best horse won the race.

Then the victory was taken away and rewarded to a horse that flat out was not as good and was not going to win the race under any circumstance and one that was not interfered with in any way. I do not understand. It appears to me that people and in this case a horse, have to endure too many questions these days just because they win. The best horse won the Derby. The most deserving horse won the Derby. Then they took the victory away. Seemed a bit unfair to me. Whatever happened to “Just win Baby!”

Very Disturbing:

There has been an extensive investigation by the FBI in the world of college basketball for over two years. It continues to bring convictions. You would have thought the days of carrying around cash in paper bags were over. Maybe so, but it’s now much more involved. The investigation will continue as FBI investigators say there is far too much out there for it to end anytime soon. As of today nine people have been convicted in connection with fraud or bribery in college basketball. It involves a variety of methods and involvement by more people that you would like. But the bottom line is there are methods being used to make sure that numerous players, their families, or both, and agents, are being rewarded handsomely to play college basketball.

Just last week a major investigation was launched by the NCAA into the Arizona program after receiving information from the FBI. It’s the second investigation at Arizona. The hope should be that the NCAA doesn’t deliver another politically correct decision. The hammer needs to fall on college basketball, and it needs to fall hard.

By DAN CALLAHAN, The Patriot