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July 25th Jump Off

The final five have been revealed in the Down the Drive Ring of Honor voting. You have until the season opener against Austin Peay to vote.

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Bearcat News

Targeting some rookie free agents - New England Patriots Blog - ESPN Boston
It looks like Vidal Hazelton could be targeted by the Patriots when free agency opens up once the NFL lockout is lifted. Vidal was an extremely talented wide receiver coming out of high school and when he signed with USC, he was among the top 5 WR in the class depending on which recruiting site you looked at. Injuries absolutely killed his career and his fresh start at Cincinnati lasted about one half. With all the hype built around him since high school, his college career was, needless to say, a major disappointment. Had he stayed healthy he's probably looking at a first or second-round selection in either last year's or this year's draft. Now he'll have to try his luck at free agency and, luckily for him, if a team like the Patriots are zeroing in on him, he's probably got a great shot at signing with an NFL team.

Big East player rankings: D-Line - Big East Blog - ESPN
The defensive line will be one of the best positions on the Bearcats and in the Big East in general. We at Down the Drive have lots of love for UC's D-Line next season but I'm not too surprised that Andrea only had Derek Wolfe (4th) among the top-10 players from that position in the conference next season. He's a veteran on that line, has the added incentives of a down year in 2010 and being a possible NFL draft pick, and has better talent around him. As for the rest of the list, there are some amazing players at DE/DT in the Big East next season from Brandon Lindsay of Pitt to Bruce Irvin of WVU to Greg Scruggs at Louisville. With inexperience at most offensive lines in the conference next season, it could be the year of the defense in 2011.

Getting to know "The Chazz Man" - Bull Run
Tim over at the Bull Run (Buffalo Bulls blog) interviewed Matt about their brand new quarterback, that one guy Chazz Anderson. The final months leading up to his ultimate transfer from UC to Buffalo were awkward to say the least and his move to WR in spring camp was the straw that broke the camel's back. He wants to play QB and I don't blame him, but he struggled at Cincinnati despite having some decent games under his belt. I love his character and pride, but the Bearcats are better off moving on with one of the backups to prepare them for the starting role in 2012. He will be extremely missed.

Recruiting - Halfway Home: Running Backs
Deionte Buckley was the first commitment of the 2012 Bearcats recruiting class and also the first running back taken. It was a good thing he commited early, too, because in all liklihood, UC will only take one more running back in this class. This is so for two reasons. First of all, the 2011 class was full of running backs with the headliner Jameel Poteat, Akise Teague, and Ralph David Abernathy. Secondly, the spread offense, no matter how many designed runs are incorporated into the scheme, simply doesn't use the running back position as much as, say, a pro-style Big Ten offense would. There just doesn't need to be a lot of depth at that position. However, as we've seen last year with Isaiah Pead Coach Jones loves to run the ball and would like to grab another one in the 2012 class. Also, an included update on the much heralded Dennis Norfleet out of Detroit, who is scheduled to visit UC on July 30th.

Around the BEast - Sources: UConn negotiating buyout with athletic director | Southeastern Connecticut News, Sports, Weather and Video | The Day newspaper
Apparently UConn isn't satisfied with Jeff Hathaway's performance, which seems surprising since the football program is coming off of a BCS bowl bid, despite being winning a watered down Big East. But it's the trend underneath those accomplishments that really put him on the hot seat. Most people probably never knew the UConn AD's name until the Robert Burton incident. You remember him right? He's that annoying booster that wanted his donations back because he didn't like the school's hiring of Paul Pasqualoni, which just proves how much power rich people think they have. Anyways, that was eventually smoothed over but UConn's president isn't happy with Hathaway's management style and hiring decisions under his tenor.

How a Providence blunder let Tim Duncan get away - The Dagger - NCAAB Blog - Yahoo! Sports
Wow, I know how the age old saying goes 'hindsight is 20-20', but man did Providence mess up by not allowing coach Rick Barnes to sign Tim Duncan. The idea seemed simple enough. Coach Barnes had one free scholarship to give but two of his current players were transferring to free up two more schalarship spots. But, at the time that the coach wanted to sign Tim Duncan and another player, it wasn't known if the two current players would transfer. Ultimately, the two players did transfer but it was too late for Duncan as he had already signed with Wake Forest. That's the kind of player like Kenyon Martin or Kemba Walker who can really put your program on the map and Providence dropped the ball big time not signing him.

Around the Nation

Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Arizona State Sun Devils among teams ready to emerge in 2011 - ESPN
Mark Schlabach ranks seven teams bound for a big year in 2011 that might not be near the top of everyone's watch lists going into the season. I can see all of these teams making huge leaps from 2010, primarily because of the extra year of experience for the coaches and quarterbacks. BYU will have true-sophomore, with 1 year under his belt, to lead the offense and the team was white hot near the end of the season. You know a Brian Kelly led team, especially one with the talent of Notre Dame, will have a huge season next year. But, Michigan in particular, seems surprising to me. Any rebound year from Rich Rod's will seem like a step in the right direction for the Wolverines. But that team is still extremely young everywhere and there's tons of questions about whether or not Denard Robinson with all the talent he has can switch from RR's spread to Brady Hoke's offense.

Jets logo unveiled: Do you like the look? - Cross Checks Blog - ESPN
In case you don't follow hockey (or live under a rock), the Atlanta Thrashers moved to Winnipeg to restore the Jets franchise. Here's their new logos. They're pretty ugly. Okay, to be fair, the two on the right are good, simple logos that I, if I were fan, would get behind. The crest on the left doesn't make sense. First of all, having an actual fighter jet on your jersey is just stupid. Second of all, I see how they are trying to honor the Air Force, but does Canada even HAVE an Air Force. Hell, do they even have guns or missles?! It's freakin' Canada for goodness sake!