Sunday, January 08, 2006

Reporters' Notebooks

Jim Masilak, Commercial Appeal: The nation's No. 1 ranked junior college recruit and football savior-in-waiting is from Memphis, but he's headed to Arizona (registration).

Jill Painter, L.A. Daily News: UCLA's Maurice Drew honored a wish made by his late grandfather that he leave college early and turn pro.

Chadd Cripe, Idaho Statesman: Boise State's new defensive coordinator is only 29, but Justin Wilcox is considered a rising star in the coaching profession.

Brett McMurphy, Tampa Tribune: Kyle Bronson, who as a freshman kicker had the second-best season in South Florida history, is likely leaving the team because he hasn't been awarded a scholarship.

Susan Miller Degnan, Miami Herald: There are five coaching openings on the Miami staff. An alarming number. But don't expect any of the positions to be filled for at least a week (registration).

Marc Morehouse, Cedar Rapids Gazette: Iowa's Kirk Ferentz is reeling in recruits, and it appears the Iowa coach is no longer on the radar of the Houston Texans (subscription, so story is in comments).

Carter Strickland, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia's leading receiver, Leonard Pope, has signed with an agent, meaning he won't be back for his senior season (registration).

Donnie Webb, Syracuse Post-Standard: Syracuse assistant Major Applewhite, the former Texas quarterback who used to bail out Chris Simms, is headed back to the Lone Star State. He is Rice's new offensive coordinator.

Otis Kirk, Northwest Arkansas Times: Score one for Arkansas in the unpredictable world of recruiting. Ben Cleveland, a tight end from Springdale, switched his commitment from Florida to Arkansas.

Angelique S. Chengelis, Detroit News: Matt Gutierrez, who was slated to be Michigan's starting quarterback in 2004 until he got injured, has transferred to Division I-AA Idaho State.

Randy King, Roanoke Times: Now that Marcus Vick is gone, who will become Virginia Tech's quarterback?

1 comment:

dawizofodds said...

Ferentz, Texans rumors seem to be losing their steam

Marc Morehouse
Cedar Rapids Gazette

Saturday wrapped up a whirlwind week of Iowa football recruiting.

Saturday, the Hawkeyes got a commitment from Ohio quarterback Rick Stanzi, a 6-foot-4, 193-pounder who
threw for 2,170 yards and 21 touchdowns as a senior at Lake Catholic High School in Mentor, Ohio.

Friday, Texas receiver James Cleveland firmed up his plans to graduate early from Baytown (Texas) Lee High and enroll at Iowa. Thursday, Texas defensive back Jay Valai got a visit from the head coach, affirming his commitment to the Hawkeyes. Dallas defensive lineman Braylon Broughton also got a visit from Iowa coaches.

This isn’t the type of activity you’d expect to see from a program with a coach supposedly interviewing for an NFL job.

That’s probably because Kirk Ferentz isn’t interviewing with the Houston Texans.

A Texans entourage, including owner Bob McNair, flew in and out of Denver Friday after what was termed a ‘‘tremendous’’ interview with Broncos offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak. The Houston Chronicle reported Saturday ‘‘all indications are that Kubiak, 44, now stands alone atop the list of candidates to replace Dom Capers as Texans head coach.’’

The Texans had an interview scheduled Saturday with Buffalo defensive coordinator Jerry Gray and today with San Diego offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.

The Chronicle reported that Ferentz remains a candidate, but, with no interview set up, the Texans’ interest ‘‘appears to be fading.’’

The latest round of Ferentz-NFL speculation also appears to be fading.

Ferentz isn’t mentioned among a dozen or so candidates in a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel update on Green Bay’s coaching search. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen threw Ferentz’s name out for the New York Jets’ job during an ESPN SportsCenter broadcast Friday night, but that’s probably nothing more than that, a throw.

Sources told The Gazette earlier in the week a Ferentz interview with the Texans was scheduled this weekend. Later, another source told The Gazette there was nothing to the story.

Ferentz’s work on the recruiting trail, which included stops this week in Utah, Dallas and Houston, says it’s full steam ahead at Iowa.

Stanzi’s commitment was sealed with a visit from offensive coordinator Ken O’Keefe Thursday night and a couple of phone calls from Ferentz Thursday and Friday.

‘‘I told him (Ferentz) that I can’t ask you to sign a pledge that you’re going to be there the next four or five years with Rick. That’s my perfect world,’’ said Joe Stanzi, Rick’s dad. ‘‘In my own humble opinion, I don’t think Kirk wants to go to the NFL. I think he just loves where he’s at. I think the lure might someday put in the NFL, but who knows when that will be.’’

Rick Stanzi wanted to commit to Iowa after his visit Dec. 16 but waited. The big sticking point was distance, not Ferentz-NFL rumors.

‘‘The best situation for Rick is to be with Coach Ferentz and his people,’’ Joe Stanzi said. ‘‘If you go to the next place because of that (NFL rumors) and if what you’re afraid of happening (Ferentz leaving) doesn’t happen, you’re going to look bad.

‘‘It (NFL rumors) happened last year, it’s going to happen next year, and it’s going to continue to happen. Whether Rick plays for him for one year or four or five years, he’s going to be fine with it.’’

marc.morehouse@gazettecommunications.com