Co 2020-21 Iggy Award Winner MPG (special again)
- Aug 15, 2011
National Dolphin Day is celebrated on April 14 every year. On this day, we celebrate dolphins — one of the most intelligent and friendly mammals in the world. Dolphins are cetacean mammals that belong to the same family as whales and porpoises. There have been many representations of dolphins in popular culture through books and films. Most of these popular representations are accurate. Dolphins are extremely social and friendly beings. They love company and have an acute sense of hearing. Yes, they can hear many more frequencies than adult humans. Dolphins can be found in many parts of the world although they prefer shallow waters.
3-star Philadelphia EDGE Kion Wright 'felt the love' during his Syracuse football visit (247sports.com; $; Bailey)
Class of 2023 prospect Kion Wright "felt the love" on his Syracuse football unofficial visit on Friday. From the moment he stepped foot on campus, Wright said the program's coaches and staff members made him feel like a priority.
And the 6-foot-2, 230-pound junior from Cheltenham High School in Philadelphia saw that energy carry into conversations throughout his trip. On the recruiting front, he said he was told that he's near the top of the Orange's defensive end board this cycle.
"They showed a lot of love overall," Wright said, "so that definitely stuck out."
Rated three stars by the 247Sports Composite, Wright is listed as an EDGE who has the versatility to play defensive end or outside linebacker. He received his scholarship offer from SU running backs coach Mike Lynch and defensive line coach Chris Achuff in mid-January and now holds opportunities from Penn State, Ole Miss, Nebraska, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Maryland, Duke, Colorado, Cincinnati, Boston College and Connecticut, among others. Wright counted Alabama, Georgia, Oregon, Michigan and North Carolina as programs expressing interest.
SU, though, is "up there" in the busy recruitment. Achuff has kept in touch with phone calls and messages a few times per month. And he strengthened the impression he's made on Wright on Friday, particularly in the film room as his experience working at the NFL level shone through.
Aiden Black Recaps 'Awesome' Syracuse Visit (SI; McAllister)
Class of 2024 Milford (PA) Delaware Valley tight end Aiden Black is one of Syracuse's top targets in his recruiting cycle. The 6-3, 225 pound tight end visited the Orange recently to get a closer look at the program.
"Awesome," Black said. "Got a full tour of the campus and facilities. I really liked the facilities and the coaching staff. Always trying to keep their players healthy and in line."
One significant highlight of the visit was speaking with his position coach, primary recruiter and other members of the staff.
"Coach Anae, coach Achuff as well as a recruiter Deon (Maddox) who brought us around campus," Black said. "It was great talking to them. They are awesome coaches. Coach Anae wants to see me develop as I take on a leadership role on my high school team and loves that I play physical."
Black was also able to learn about the Syracuse football program and the university.
"Lots of history and important people," Black said.
Still early in his process, Black does not have any favorites at this point in his recruitment. He did say, however, that he likes Syracuse and enjoyed the visit.
Next up for Black is visiting Appalachian State on April 13th and Maryland on the 23rd. Those are his two other offers in addition to Syracuse.
Ja’elyne Matthews, offered by Rutgers football as a freshman, posts his 2021 highlights (rutgerswire.usatoday.com; Dyer)
Ja’elyne Matthews posted his freshman highlights this week, showing just why he is one of the top players in New Jersey in the class of 2025.
Matthews was the first freshman in the state to be offered by Rutgers. He was a standout on the offensive line but also put up some impressive performances on the defensive side of the ball for Toms River North.
Playing defensive tackle, he finished his freshman season with 45 tackles, five tackles for a loss, two sacks and seven quarterback pressures.
The 6-foot-6, 300-pound Matthews played on both ends of the offensive line but he showed a clear comfort level on the left side. His highlights show a play who finishes his blocks well and has impressive footwork for being just a freshman.
In addition to Rutgers, he holds offers from Boston College and UConn. Both of those offers came in late January.
Earlier this month, Matthews made a visit to Syracuse. He has been to Rutgers a total of three times since receiving his offer.
Syracuse Football: 3 deceased legends I’d love to converse with over pizza (itlh; Fiello)
So recently I did a post about three living legends of Syracuse football that I’d love to sit down and talk with over a pizza. Cutting it down to three was difficult for sure but I had to ponder alive or deceased as well. So I decided to make two separate posts which still made it difficult to decide but at least this way I could still limit it somewhat.
There are legitimately many names I could include for various reasons but I think a list of 10-20 would be a bit long and not allow for much explanation but three makes it also interesting to see who you’d choose most.
As I stated in the previous post, I am a 49-year-old, lifelong fan so there are some who would be interesting to talk to about the history of the program, playing outdoors, coaching various players or even if I could go back to the 1800s, how did it feel playing in pea green and light pink jerseys versus changing to the Orange in 1890?
But without further ado, here are three Syracuse football legends who are sadly deceased that I’d like to talk with over pizza.
1- Floyd Little
Floyd Little might be the #1 name I’d choose overall to sit down with (though Don McPherson might be a VERY close second) because there is just something about him that I’ve always admired and respected along with the actual desire to talk to over drinks or a pizza.
Obviously, as one of the 44s and a tremendous NFL career, his on-the-field accomplishments compare to any name you want to bring up. But off the field, Mr. Little carried himself with dignity and class in a way that he also appeared approachable and down to earth.
I also think with Mr. Little, we could discuss more about the history and future of the number 44 and even ask about Ernie Davis and Jim Brown. I’d also absolutely love to talk to him about the current Syracuse product and what he thinks could help it and why he loved it and the community so much to come back and support it.
2- Coach Dick MacPherson
For the same reason in the first post I mentioned Don McPherson, Coach Mac was a pivotal figure in my fandom. I was 15 when they had that amazing season in 1987 and was a fan before it and after it but truly believe this season made me a bigger fan. Those two men (and Pearl Washington on the basketball side) definitely threw gasoline on the spark that already was lit in my fandom.
What would Coach Mac say about the ups and downs of Coach Babers’ tenure versus the struggles he saw as well? Does he think if he stayed at SU instead of going to the Patriots he would have built a bigger legacy here? What was it about that ’87 season that made them so special? I’d also love to sit down with him and watch the 1988 Sugar Bowl game with him to get his take on how it played out. There is also something about his personality that we’ve seen publicly that makes me believe he’d be an enjoyable and enlightening conversation.
3- Greg Robinson
This one has me conflicted. I think Ernie Davis would make an amazing conversation and Chris Gedney went to Liverpool HS while I was at rival CNS so that could be a fun conversation too. Those two I think would be fun conversations for sure but in the end, I went with former Syracuse head coach Greg Robinson.
42 From ACC Included in 2022 NFF Hampshire Society (theacc.com)
The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) announced today the members of the 2022 NFF Hampshire Honor Society, including 42 Atlantic Coast Conference student-athletes.
The NFF Hampshire Honor Society is comprised of college football players from all divisions of the NCAA, NAIA and sprint football who each maintained a cumulative 3.2 GPA or better throughout their college careers.
An elite group of 1,559 players from 313 schools qualified for membership in 2022, the Society’s 16th year. The 1,559 honorees are the second most in a single year during the program’s history. The initiative has now honored 14,640 student-athletes since its inception.
Nominated by their respective schools, members of the NFF Hampshire Honor Society must have:
- Completed their final year of playing eligibility in Fall 2021;
- Graduated players, who have remaining eligibility but will not return to collegiate play (e.g. declared for NFL Draft or retired from football), may also be nominated.
- Attained a minimum undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.2 (4.0 scale);
- Met all NCAA/NAIA-mandated progress towards degree requirements; and
- Been starters or significant contributors throughout the 2021 season.
ACC Players included in the 2022 NFF Hampshire Honor Society:
Zion Johnson, Boston College
Matt Bockhorst, Clemson
Jack Maddox, Clemson
Baylon Spector, Clemson
Will Spiers, Clemson
Will Swinney, Clemson
Jake Bobo, Duke
Casey Holman, Duke
John Taylor, Duke
DeCalon Brooks, Florida State
McKenzie Milton, Florida State
Ryan Johnson, Georgia Tech
C.J. Avery, Louisville
Lou Hedley, Miami
Trenton Gill, NC State
Camden Woods, NC State
Garrett Bickhart, Pitt
Grant Carrigan, Pitt
Kirk Christodoulou, Pitt
Josh Black, Syracuse
Kingsley Jonathan, Syracuse
Airon Servais, Syracuse
Mandy Alonso, Virginia
Adeeb Atariwa, Virginia
Joey Blount, Virginia
Danny Caracciolo, Virginia
De'Vante Cross, Virginia
Luke Finkelston, Virginia
Virginia Hayden Mitchell, Virginia
Jelani Woods, Virginia
Tae Daley, Virginia Tech
Brock Hoffman, Virginia Tech
James Mitchell, Virginia Tech
Tyrell Smith, Virginia Tech
Luke Tenuta, Virginia Tech
Terrance Davis, Wake Forest
Miles Fox, Wake Forest
Luke Masterson, Wake Forest
Traveon Redd, Wake Forest
Donald Stewart, Wake Forest
Zach Tom, Wake Forest
Luiji Vilain, Wake Forest
Asmussen | DeVito making quick adjustment (news-gazette.com; Asmussen)
Tommy DeVito is starting to feel at home in his new college town.
He’s got a favorite place to eat in Champaign (Cactus Grill), a grasp of the Illinois offense and a healthy disdain for the “spring” weather.
“This wind gets hectic,” DeVito said in an understatement.
The graduate transfer quarterback from Syracuse is three months into his one-season adventure with Bret Bielema’s Illini. You get the idea there is no place he would rather be.
On Thursday morning, DeVito had his second session with the media. And it was as comfortable and familiar as the earlier Q&A from late January.
He has embraced the challenge of starting over after four years at Syracuse.
“It’s been exciting,” DeVito said. “Learning curve, for sure. New players on the field, learning a lot of the receivers, running backs. It’s one thing to throw routes in the indoor versus going out there with a live defense because you’ve got to react to them.”
For a quarterback, making connections with the receivers is near the top of the priority list.
So far, so good.
“It’s gotten better and better every day,” DeVito said. “Every practice we’ve been there. Every time I go up in the film room, we’re communicating, learning from one another and always trying to improve in that aspect.”
The quarterbacks talk amongst themselves. On the field and in meetings.
DeVito’s main competition for the starting job, returnee Art Sitkowski, is limited in spring ball because of wrist and shoulder surgeries. He is expected to be full-go for training camp in August.
DeVito and Sitkowski, two transfers who call New Jersey home, share their experiences.
“After I come off a drive, me and Art are talking, ‘What’d you see here? What’d you see there?’” DeVito said. “We just pick off each other’s minds, see what we can do better and the offense can do better as a whole.”
To DeVito, competition is a good thing.
WVU's Lee Kpogba (left)
WVU football: Kpogba making the most of second opportunity (wvgazettemail.com; Hunter)
After spending the past year as somewhat of a college football nomad, wandering from one campus to another, West Virginia middle linebacker Lee Kpogba seems to have found a place to settle down for a little while after months on the move.
A native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Kpogba originally made a verbal commitment to WVU prior to his senior season at Parkland High School, but a short time later he changed his mind and wound up signing with Syracuse.
“As a kid, I always liked West Virginia,” explained Kpogba. “I used to watch [WVU safety] Karl Joseph; he was one of my favorite players. When I came up here for a visit, it was my first [Power Five] offer that I had received, and I was overwhelmed. I decided to commit early without considering my other options. But then they had a coaching change, and I decided to decommit.”
He eventually inked a National Letter of Intent with Syracuse as part of the class of 2019, and in two years with the Orange he played in 22 games, as a backup at linebacker and a special teams stalwart, recording 44 tackles. Then, following the 2020 season, he got into off-field trouble and eventually left the Syracuse program. That started his search for a new Division I home.
“After my sophomore year, I was suspended from Syracuse, so I ended up at East Mississippi Community College,” explained Kpogba, whose name is pronounced with a silent P and G (KO-ba). “I didn’t participate in spring ball last year, so football was taken away from me for a couple of months.
“I went down to East Mississippi, and I wasn’t sure I was going to get another D-I opportunity. Fortunately I got one, and I’m just grateful. I’m going to make the most of it.”
Kpogba arrived at EMCC, which has one of the best junior college football programs in the country, in the summer of 2021 and quickly established himself as one of the top defensive players at that level. An NJCAA all-region player, he helped the Lions to a 9-1 record and a No. 6 national ranking by leading the team with 84 tackles, 5.5 of which were for lost yardage.
Saban: Current state of college football not ‘sustainable’ (AP; Russo)
Nick Saban’s willingness to adapt and often be a catalyst for change in college football, both on the field and off, has propelled Alabama to six national championships in 13 seasons.
The 70-year-old coach is confident his program will continue to thrive during this new era of college athletics, with players having more opportunities to earn money than ever before and more power to determine where they play.
But the current state of college football has Saban concerned.
“I don’t think what we’re doing right now is a sustainable model,” Saban told The Associated Press in a recent interview.
That’s a common theme among coaches these days, with Clemson’s Dabo Swinney and Southern California’s Lincoln Riley among the most prominent who have echoed Saban’s sentiments. The combination of empowered athletes and easily accessible paydays is changing the way coaches go about their business.
The uncertainty comes with the NCAA in a weakened state following last year’s Supreme Court loss and in the midst of a dramatic restructuring. Schools and the NCAA itself would prefer federal legislation to regulate how athletes are compensated for their names, images and likenesses, but when that might come and in what form is unknown.
That has led to concerns about vast sums of money flowing in and around college athletics, including brazen entities called collectives put together by well-heeled donors whose donations have traditionally funded everything from lavish facilities to multimillion-dollar buyouts of fired coaches around Power Five conferences.
“The concept of name, image and likeness was for players to be able to use their name, image and likeness to create opportunities for themselves. That’s what it was,” Saban said. “So last year on our team, our guys probably made as much or more than anybody in the country.”
Paying a player to attend a particular school is still a violation of NCAA rules, but NIL deals have quickly become intertwined with recruiting — both high school prospects and the growing number of college transfers.
“But that creates a situation where you can basically buy players,” Saban said. “You can do it in recruiting. I mean, if that’s what we want college football to be, I don’t know. And you can also get players to get in the transfer portal to see if they can get more someplace else than they can get at your place.”
Riley told reporters last week NIL has “completely changed” recruiting.
The Onondaga Lake Parkway railroad bridge has been a pain for truck drivers and an object of fascination for decades. N. Scott Trimble | email@example.comN. Scott Trimble | firstname.lastname@example.org
The untold history of CNY’s notorious Parkway bridge: Why it’s so low, so strong and so stubborn (PS; $; Croyle)
Within a span of 12 hours on a June day in 1963, two tractor-trailers crashed into the now infamous railroad bridge over Onondaga Lake Parkway.
A curious Post-Standard reporter at the time, wondered how much abuse the bridge could take. Could it possibly keep its structural integrity after being hit twice in a single day?
So, the reporter called the New York Central Railroad, which owned the bridge at the time, and got a definitive response.
“These bridges are well built,” a spokesperson said. “Trucks just bounce off them.”
Those two accidents are among the earliest mishaps in the long, grisly history of Syracuse’s most stubborn piece of infrastructure.
The 10-foot, 9-inch-tall bridge has become a punchline in Central New York – a piece of the cultural identity that separates locals from out-of-towners. It’s inspired memes, countless jokes and even a line of t-shirts.
But little is known about its origins. Why does it sit so low over such a busy road? Why is it so dang durable? And whose bright idea was it to put it there in the first place?
The history of the low-hanging, truck-crumpling bridge dates back more than 150 years, long before there was a major route along Onondaga Lake. It was built to get trains over the Oswego Canal, and even for the time, it was a rocksteady marvel of iron, stone, and strength.