NCF Nation: Greg Isdaner

Big East lunchtime links

April, 27, 2009

Posted by's Brian Bennett

The Cincinnati Enquirer's Bill Koch has an interesting look at how building a signature athletic hub on campus has both helped and hurt Cincinnati financially. The Bearcats are facing a budget shortfall and have had to cut three men's sports teams.

In addition to the debt from the facility that must be financed, Varsity Village costs approximately $1.1 million a year to operate -- $700,000 for utilities and $400,000 in maintenance and custodial costs, [athletic director Mike] Thomas said.
UC, compared with the seven other Division I football schools in the Big East, is ill-equipped to absorb that kind of debt year after year. According to Thomas, the average combined revenue produced by the men's basketball and football programs among the eight Big East football schools is $26 million per year. UC ranks last in that group at $14 million.

• Greg Paulus was in Syracuse this weekend and apparently met with Orange football coaches on Sunday night, Donnie Webb writes in the Syracuse Post-Standard.

In draft news ...

• Pat White was thrilled to be drafted by the Wildcat-running Miami Dolphins, Mike Casazza writes in the Charleston Daily Mail. Within this story, there is word that undrafted offensive linemen Greg Isdaner (Dallas Cowboys) and Ryan Stanchek (Atlanta Falcons) have signed free-agent deals.

• UConn's Julius Williams and Tyler Lorenzen signed with Jacksonville, while Dahna Deleston signed with the Bears and Keith Gray inked with Carolina, Desmond Conner writes in the Hartford Courant.

• Louisville's Hunter Cantwell signed with the Carolina Panthers, Mike Grant says in The Courier-Journal.

Posted by's Brian Bennett

Twenty-seven Big East products had their name called over the weekend in the NFL draft. Three league schools had their best drafts ever.

Cincinnati had six players taken, the most of any Big East team and the most in program history. The previous school record had been five, which happened in 1998, 1960 and 1947. The Bearcats were one of only nine schools to have six or more players drafted this year.

Connecticut had never had a player taken in the first two rounds of the draft before Saturday. Four Huskies went in the first two rounds this year, including the school's first-ever first-rounder, running back Donald Brown.

Rutgers had a record-setting five players drafted, including the Scarlet Knights' first-ever first-rounder, wide receiver Kenny Britt. The most Rutgers had ever previously had drafted in one year was three, in 2007.

Here's a rundown of all the league draft picks and some commentary:


Player, Position, Round, Team

Connor Barwin, DE, 2, Houston Texans

• DeAngelo Smith, DB, 5, Dallas Cowboys

Brandon Underwood, DB, 6, Green Bay Packers

Mike Mickens, DB, 7, Dallas Cowboys

Trevor Canfield, OG, 7, Arizona Cardinals

Thoughts: Kind of surprising that Mickens went after Underwood and Smith, when he was generally regarded as the best pro prospect of the three for most of his career. The fifth round is lofty territory for a punter, but Huber is that good.


Player, Position, Round, Team

• Donald Brown, RB, 1, Indianapolis Colts

Darius Butler, DB, 2, New England Patriots

Will Beatty, OT, 2, New York Giants

Cody Brown, OLB, 2, Arizona Cardinals

Thoughts: We thought UConn would have a huge day, and the Huskies sure did.


Player, Position, Round, Team

Eric Wood, C/OG, 1, Buffalo Bills

George Bussey, OT, 5, New England Patriots

Thoughts: Bussey didn't get much pre-draft buzz, but the Patriots must have liked the former walk-on who became a three-year starter and All-Big East performer. Wood will play guard for the Bills.


Player, Position, Round, Team

LeSean McCoy, RB, 2, Philadelphia Eagles

Scott McKillop, LB, 5, San Francisco 49ers

LaRod Stephens-Howling, RB, 7, Arizona Cardinals

Derek Kinder, WR, 7, Chicago Bears

Thoughts: OK, Pitt fans. How do you feel about McCoy going to Philly? Will you still root for him? Getting McKillop in the fifth round seems like a steal.


Player, Position, Round, Team

• Kenny Britt, WR, 1, Tennessee Titans

Mike Teel, QB, 6, Seattle Seahawks

Jason McCourty, DB, 6, Tennessee Titans

Courtney Greene, DB, 7, Seattle Seahawks

Tiquan Underwood, WR, 7, Jacksonville Jaguars

Thoughts: I didn't think Teel would get drafted, but good for him. The Titans and Seahawks must have liked Greg Schiano's program.

South Florida

Player, Position, Round, Team

Tyrone McKenzie, OLB, 3, New England Patriots

Thoughts: Despite all that Florida talent, the Bulls had the smallest draft class in the Big East.


Player, Position, Round, Team

Tony Fiammetta, FB, 4, Carolina Panthers

Ryan Durand, OG, 7, Tennessee Titans

Thoughts: Durand was another guy who wasn't on many mock draft boards. There were some good fullbacks in the Big East, including Pitt's Conredge Collins and Louisville's Brock Bolen. But Fiammetta was the only one drafted.

West Virginia

Player, Position, Round, Team

Pat White, QB/WR, 2, Miami Dolphins

Ellis Lankster, CB, 7, Buffalo

Pat McAfee, K, 7, Indianapolis

Thoughts: Can't wait to see how the Dolphins, who showed a lot of creativity on offense last year, use White.

Prominent players who went undrafted:

Hunter Cantwell, Louisville

Greg Isdaner and Mortty Ivy, West Virginia

Jamaal Westerman, Rutgers

• C.J. Davis, Pittsburgh

Julius Williams, UConn

Posted by's Brian Bennett

The Syracuse Post-Standard's Bud Poliquin says Greg Paulus going to Syracuse to be the Orange quarterback is a "no-brainer." Paulus is expected to meet with Doug Marrone early next week.

There is no intelligent reason, then, for the Orange to dismiss Paulus or for Paulus to reject the Orange. None. And the more I ponder this potential union, the more I sense it will become official sooner than later.
Indeed, where are the pitfalls?
SU has a hole at quarterback and some 400,000 Carrier Dome seats to sell across the Orange's eight-game home schedule . . . and here comes Paulus, the gracious hometown boy who completed 66% of his passes for some 3,700 yards and 43 touchdowns in his senior season alone at Christian Brothers Academy, which went 13-0 on his watch that year.  

• While the Orange wait on that possible arrival, they withstood another departure. Freshman offensive lineman Michael Kay has become the eighth scholarship player to leave the team this spring, Donnie Webb writes.

• Former West Virginia guard Greg Isdaner, who made a curious decision to turn pro after his junior year despite negative feedback from NFL scouts, remains optimistic that he'll be drafted this weekend, Mike Casazza says in the Charleston Daily Mail.

• Darius Butler came to Connecticut with something to prove, and he'll have accomplished that when he gets drafted -- possibly in the second round -- this weekend, Desmond Conner writes in the Hartford Courant.

Posted by's Brian Bennett

The Big East has asked Konica Minolta Gator Bowl officials to meet within the next month to renegotiate their contract, Mitch Vingle says in the Charleston Gazette. While the Big East would like to do away with its rotating deal with the Big 12, it won't be easy to convince the Gator of that. And there's this telling quote from bowl president Rick Catlett:

"When we meet with (Big East commissioner) Michael (Tranghese)," Catlett said, "we need to know the rules in regard to Notre Dame. Then we'll see what we feel comfortable with."

• West Virginia junior Greg Isdaner's decision to enter the NFL draft raised a lot of eyebrows. But as Bob Hertzel writes in the Times West Virginian, Isdaner has never been one to take the conventional route.

"I'm doing this with house money," he said. "What's the worst scenario? I'm not good enough to play in the NFL? If I don't make it, I'll go back to graduate school," he said.

• Syracuse may be on the verge of swiping another Big East recruit away and a second player who had been committed to Louisville, Donnie Webb writes in the Syracuse Post-Standard.

• South Florida added a highly-ranked junior college defensive end to its impressive recruiting haul, Greg Auman says in the St. Petersburg Times.'s All-Big East team

December, 10, 2008
Posted by's Brian Bennett

Here are my selections for the 2008 All-Big East team:


QB: Pat White, West Virginia
RB: Donald Brown, Connecticut
LeSean McCoy, Pittsburgh
Kenny Britt, Rutgers
Mardy Gilyard, Cincinnati
Nate Byham, Pittsburgh
Ryan Stanchek, West Virginia
Anthony Davis, Rutgers
C.J. Davis, Pittsburgh
Greg Isdaner, West Virginia
Eric Wood, Louisville


DL: Cody Brown, Connecticut
DL: George Selvie, South Florida
Connor Barwin, Cincinnati
Arthur Jones, Syracuse
Scott McKillop, Pittsburgh
Tyrone McKenzie, South Florida
Mortty Ivy, West Virginia
Mike Mickens, Cincinnati
Darius Butler, Connecticut
Carlton Williams, South Florida
Courtney Greene, Rutgers


P: Kevin Huber, Cincinnati
K: Pat McAfee, West Virginia
Mardy Gilyard, Cincinnati
Jasper Howard, Connecticut