NCF Nation: Julius Williams

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

Big East lunchtime links

April, 24, 2009

Posted by's Brian Bennett

The grandson of former Syracuse coach Dick MacPherson will be playing for the Orange, Donnie Webb writes in the Syracuse Post-Standard. Richard "Macky" MacPherson, center and long-snapper in the class of 2010, accepted a scholarship offer from Doug Marrone on Thursday.

"It left me speechless," MacPherson said. "Deep in my heart, I knew I wanted to go to Syracuse. Syracuse has pretty much been my whole life. I was a ball boy when Coach Paul Pasqualoni was here. I got to see everything and how it worked. I fell in love with the place."

• Pitt got a commitment from a highly-regarded defensive tackle, Paul Zeise writes in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

• Ryan Stanchek, who was one of the best offensive linemen in the Big East, may not hear his name called in this weekend's NFL draft, Mike Casazza says in the Charleston Daily Mail.

• The Hartford Courant's Desmond Conner takes a look at the draft prospects for UConn's Julius Williams, Cody Brown, Will Beatty and Dahna Deleston.

• Jamaal Westerman, who nearly jeopardized his NFL chances by playing through a torn biceps last year for Rutgers, is recovered now and waiting on some good news, Jenny Vrentas says in The Star-Ledger.