Chat with Bruce Feldman
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, college football Insider Bruce Feldman stops by to chat about the season. Check out his picks for this weekend.
Feldman is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine. He joined ESPN in July 1994 as a writer for ESPNET (now ESPN.com) and in May 1998 came to ESPN The Magazine. He spent much of the past two years in the South working on his book, "Meat Market: Inside the Smash-Mouth World of College Football Recruiting."
Send your questions now and join Feldman Thursday at 2 p.m. ET!
Bruce (2:00 PM)
Hi- Greeting from LA, where it's rained more in the past week than I've ever seen it here. I'm excited to talk some college football, recruiting, etc so let's get to it!
Nick (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
Do you think that the Florida recruiting class this year will live up to the hype in the seasons to come?
Bruce (2:03 PM)
Who knows? As I wrote yesterday in that ranking of the best recruiting classes of the decade, many times the most touted recruits don't live up to the hype. Some times it does, but look at that Ohio State class of 2002.. it wasn't like it was THE signing class of that season. AJ Hawk was a 3-star. Mike D'Andrea was the 5-star LB... I will say this from watching those all-star games, Gator recruits have been very impressive.
C. One (Spur, Texas)
What do you think of Texas A&M's apparent hiring of Tim DeRuyter? Will he be the guy that's able to fix their defense?
Bruce (2:04 PM)
I've heard good things about him. Keeping Von Miller around will help a lot at least for 2010.
Badgers return almost all of their offense from this past season. They lose some big pieces on the defense, while keeping a lot of others. What do you think of the 2010 prospects for Wisconsin?
Bruce (2:04 PM)
I'm on board... I think they should be somewhere in the top 12.
Charles (Marbury, AL)
What are the chances that Alabama repeats?
Bruce (2:05 PM)
The Tide will be most people's preseason #1. They return a lot on offense with McElroy, Julio and the two RBs. Defensively they do lost a lot of good players, but Dareus, Hightower and Barron look like they could be all-American caliber.
How involved is Urban right now?
Bruce (2:06 PM)
From what I've heard it sounds like he is very involved in recruiting and trying to lock up this class for two weeks from now.
Mikey (Lebanon, OH)
I'm hearing Ro Powell is flipping to USC. Any truth to that rumor?
Bruce (2:07 PM)
My hunch is no. Powell was pretty set up UF before Carroll was leaving. DOubt that changes.
Do you think Alabama's 2008 recruiting class has a chance to be the greatest of the modern era, at the end of their run?
Bruce (2:10 PM)
It's possible.. They're off to a good start, but that USC class I wrote about was amazing.. 4 #1s and 6
What do you think of FSU's recruiting class? Who else do you see in garnet and gold?
Bruce (2:11 PM)
Impressive.. They've got I think six defensive guys who are ranked in the top 12 at their position nationally and I could see them ending up with Corey Lemonier, who might be the best pass rusher in this whole recruiting class.
Brett (St. Louis)
What's the best class that Derek Dooley can get at Tennessee this season? Do you see post-signing day miracles like Lane got last year?
Bruce (2:14 PM)
UT will do well. The eight they already have in are very good.. I like Tyler Bray a lot, OT Ju'Wuan James is a huge get and I heard WR Matt Milton was superb in bowl practices.. If they can keep Justin Hunter and Markeith Ambles, people in Knoxville should be elated.
David (San Fran, CA)
Rumor is Lache Seastrunk (Texas RB) has committed to Oregon. How do you see him fitting into Chip Kelly's offense with LaMike James?
Bruce (2:15 PM)
Chip Kelly could make a great pitch to any RB prospect in the country. Come here and you will play in a dynamic offense that really does run the ball... That said, I talked to one coach who said he doesn't know what Seastrunk will do.
Nick (Bay Area via SLC)
Were you surprised that Whittingham turned down Tenn? Is he that high-profile of a coach? Is this a sign of things to come since MWC seems to get a bid every year regardless of NON AQ status?
Bruce (2:16 PM)
A little, but the timing and circumstance around the UT vacancy is tricky.. plus, you couldn't bring much of your own staff. That's a deal breaker for some guys.
I've seen a string of Stanford decommits...are they not getting in?
Bruce (2:17 PM)
It is a tough place to get admitted to and is different from almost every other FBS program in that regard save for the Academies.
How successful do you think Coach Dooley will be in his first season at Tennessee?
Bruce (2:18 PM)
My guess is around 6-6 or 7-5.. The whole O-line needs to be replaced and you're breaking in a new QB. They do have a lot of young talent in there but we're talking about a third system change in 3 yrs.. that's tough.
Do you see Ahmad Dixon actually sticking to his Baylor commitment this time?
Bruce (2:20 PM)
I think so. I talked to his HS coach two days ago... He said Ahmad just has a hard time saying no to anyone, but he tried to explain that Ahmad really didn't decommit from Baylor to UT... Anyhow, I'll have more on him in the blog Friday.
Hey Bruce, firstly, 1/3 way through Meat Market. Outstanding work on that. My question is on how you feel Oklahoma's class addresses their needs. 5 OL (with a 6th certainly possible) and a great deal of DB's. Do you feel they will be back to prominence by next season?
Bruce (2:21 PM)
Thanks.. Keeping Murray, Broyles, Beal, Lewis and Carter are big.. plus Landry Jones is developing and got some good experience. I do like the WRs they are bringing in to make an impact in 2010.
Scott S. (Iowa City, IA )
Is there anyone better than Kirk Ferentz at developing talent? Dallas Clark, Chad Greenway, Bob Sanders, Robert Gallery, Shonn Greene and Eric Steinbach are just a few of the 2 or 3 star recruits Ferentz has turned into NFL players. Do you see any hidden gems in Iowa's 2010 recruiting class?
Bruce (2:24 PM)
Good point.. I'd put the TCU guys, Boise, Grobe's staff and Riley's staff in there too. I liked what I've seen of AJ Derby but he's hardly a hidden gem and to be honest, I hadn't heard much about any of their other guys from sources I trust.
With ryan mallett returning what should the expectation be for the hogs?
Bruce (2:25 PM)
Top 15.. I think you'll see some people try to dismiss them as being this year's Ole Miss team but the difference is Bama will absorb most of the SEC West hype this year. That's good for the Hogs.
Mark C. (Stamford, CT)
Miami was doiminant at the beginning of the decade and you would never know if you read any of ESPN's "Decade in Review". The 2001 team is considered by many the best ever and somehow it was only ranked #2 in the decade. There are ten years in a decade.....what gives?
Bruce (2:26 PM)
Outside of this year, the previous 3-4 years were very shaky for UM.
Tom C. (Chicago, IL)
While USC has been able to reaffirm many of Carroll's commits, do you know of any that have been turned off by the Kiffin hire and looking elsewhere as a result?
Bruce (2:28 PM)
Haven't heard that really, but former USC commit Brice Schwab a huge JC OT did commit to ASU. How the Trojans close will be, along with Florida, one of the big stories of the next two weeks.
How good of a hire is Scott Lakatos for UGA from UCONN?
Bruce (2:29 PM)
REally good. I know some guys who have coached with him who say he is an outstanding teacher.
Zack (Greenville, PA)
Bruce, what do you think of Penn States recruiting? How do you see the Lions doing next year?
Bruce (2:32 PM)
It's going pretty well with some really promising defensive recruits with Khiari Fortt and Dakota Royer although it was a big blow to lose DL Dominique Easley to UF.. I think PSU will be battling with OSU, Iowa and Wisconsin although without a QB with much experience, I think theyre a shade behind that other three.
How will FSU be their first year under Jimbo?
Bruce (2:33 PM)
Ponder's back and they're loaded up on guys who should have an impact on the D.. I think they win at least 9 and maybe 10, but we'll see how consistent they can be.. The D needs to make huge improvement.
What's your opinion on Florida? Are they capable of winning the SEC east?
Bruce (2:34 PM)
Sure.. they still have some talent on D and Brantley looks like he should be a very good QB. Not sure who else is ready to win that division. Carolina put up a clunker in the bowl game and UGA needs to really step up on D.
Brian (Salem, NH)
If Boise ends up finishing the season undefeated and in the #1 or #2 spot at polls end, do they make the national championship game? Seems like the only thing preventing this from happening last year was the top two teams not loosing.
Bruce (2:36 PM)
Depends if there are two other undefeated teams out there.. if say it's Bama and Ohio State, I don't Boise trumps one of them even if BSU has beaten VT on the east coast.. That is the problem with playing in the WAC. There just isn't another top 50 or top 60 team in the league.
Does South Florida's recruiting base make it the best job in the Big East?
Bruce (2:36 PM)
Yes, I think it does.
What's the story on Justin Hunter decommiting from LSU?
Bruce (2:37 PM)
He's a kid who also has a hard time saying no. He committed to LSU when his coach who is very close to him was saying he shouldn't rush things.. I do know Willie Mack Garza at UT has done a good job recruiting him.
Josh (Knoxville, TN)
Why didn't the Vols go after Sumlin? The #s sure seemed to point to him being a better option (winning record and impressive history as a coordinator). Did Hamilton really pick Dooley b/c of a great interview? Tough to get excited about that.
Bruce (2:38 PM)
I guess he felt more comfortable with Derek Dooley. I do think Sumlin is going to be a big star in coaching and he will get a BCS conference job pretty soon.
What is LSU's class looking like?
Bruce (2:39 PM)
It's top 10 and could get to top 5 depending on how they close. It did hurt losing WR Justin Hunter though.
Your take on Jordan Hicks?
Bruce (2:41 PM)
Most impressive LB in the class.. my guess is Ohio State since he could enroll there later this spring and its home.
What is Auburn's class looking like?
Bruce (2:42 PM)
It's very impressive. Getting Mack on the O-line was big and landing Marcus Lattimore would be the capper.
What is the excitement level from USC fans regarding the Kiffen hire?
Bruce (2:44 PM)
I think they're waiting to see who else is on the staff. They like the assistants so far, but were hoping for Chow and OL coach Tim Davis too. I think if USC closes well in recruiting--and retaining WR Kyle Prater and RB Dillon Baxter--was pivotal perceptionwise, Trojan fans will be optimistic. Especially if the NCAA/Bush investigation doesn't end up hitting them hard.
Is Jake Heaps the real deal?
Bruce (2:45 PM)
I like him. Saw him for the week at the Elite 11. He's not a John Elway or Carson Palmer like pocket presence/prototype guy but maybe he's got some Ty Detmer in him.
How do you see ND closing out their current recruiting class? Any Teo-like surprises?
Bruce (2:47 PM)
Good question. Getting OL Seantrel Henderson would be huge for him, as would DL JR Ferguson and LB Christian Jones. Even landing one of them should sit well with ND fans.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
Bruce: How much longer can you see Al Golden staying at Temple before moving on to bigger, better things?
Bruce (2:48 PM)
If he wins at least 8 this year, I'd imagine that'd be it. Too many other big schools would have to come after him hard.
Justin (Austin, TX)
Is the Gilbert era at Texas going to be Mack Brown's last?
Bruce (2:50 PM)
Three more years for Mack? I don't know. I could see him doing TV but the way things are set up, he knows he's got it pretty good. He told me this spring he really does love what he's doing now and I think he's leery of giving up such a good thing and then a year later wondering "why'd I give it up?!?"
Frankie (Seaside, NJ)
Is Jaime Harper a real replacement for Spiller or is Clemson in the market for a new RB?
Bruce (2:51 PM)
He's a good combination to the speedy freshman who came on late Andre Ellington.
Brian (Salem, NH)
If Notre Dame scheduled easier teams, would that make recruiting easier for them as they could acutally win 9 or 10 games? Recruits come to Boise because they dont loose (even though they play cupcakes). Would this work for ND? Or is there too much money involved with the TV contract and such that ND pretty much has to schedule decent big 10 teams, USC, and amongst others?
Bruce (2:53 PM)
I don't think so. It's not like Boise is beating PAc-10 and Big 12 teams for a lot of players.
Everyone wants to know where Christan Jones and Christian Green will land up at?
Bruce (2:54 PM)
I think FSU will probably get at least one of them.
HeHateMe (Jacksonville, Florida)
I figured you didn't want to mention UF's 3 consecutive 5 loss seasons... ESPN signs your paycheck.
Bruce (2:56 PM)
I didn't say anything about UF. ESPN could care less whether I talk about UF, FSU or FIU.
Josh (Lincoln, NE)
The better question is whether Notre Dame's schedule could realistically get any easier?
Bruce (2:57 PM)
If the Irish dropped USC, it would get easier. Also it's not ND's fault that Michigan backslid in the past three years.
With the succesful year that TCU had, how do you think it will do for the recruiting class?
Bruce (2:59 PM)
I'm sure it will help, but keep in mind they've beaten a few bigger schools for players in the recent past. They got a QB who picked TCU over UF last year.
your thought on where Seantrel may land?
Bruce (3:00 PM)
Chris (Palm Desert, CA)
Is Tuberville any good at recruiting? Please say yes.
Bruce (3:01 PM)
You can't win as many games as he did in the SEC without being able to recruit... one caveat, perhaps his best recruiter from Auburn is now coaching on the FSU staff (Eddie Gran).
Any thoughts on who might be the next D Coordinator at Tennessee?
Bruce (3:03 PM)
I don't know. Kevin Steele would've been a good hire. Curious to see how fast Dooley can move. He needed to get a WR coach (Charlie Baggett) for this week bc Ambles and Justin Hunter were in play.
Bruce-Really love your work, very very good. My question is what is going to take for a team like the Gophers to take the next step? Do we need to land a bigger name coach?
Bruce (3:04 PM)
Thanks.. you need some stability. When you have as much turnover on the staff as they've had it's hard to develop those players and continue to move past other Big Ten teams.
phil (lubbock, tx)
in your opinion, who is texas tech's best recruit this year, and who will make the quickest impact??? Is scott smith an immediate impact guy???
Bruce (3:05 PM)
Kadron Boone or Shawn Coker, although Smith fills a big need since Tech has lost a lot of productive DEs.
Jake (VA Beach)
ND also has Oklahoma in place of Michigan for two years coming up
Why is Air Force so much more competitive than Army and Navy? What are Army and Navy still Div I?
Bruce (3:07 PM)
Huh? Navy's actually been very competitive. They thumped Mizzou in the bowl game, beat Notre Dame in South Bend and almost beat Ohio State in Columbus.
Has Oregon's trip to the Rose Bowl helped their recruiting? Is it a good class for them so far?
Bruce (3:08 PM)
Yes, it has. The more times the Ducks are seen on a national stage and playing in the Rose Bowl is exactly that it helps elevate the brand or Oregon Football to being known for something other than wacky uniforms.
Rob (Charleston, SC)
Bruce, is 2010 the year that the ACC finally makes a splash, or is it going to be more status quo?
Bruce (3:10 PM)
I don't know. I think so, but I feel like the ACC is a little like Cal. People get excited about the talent returning, see a big win and then board the bandwagon but in the past 6-7 years these teams almost never live up to the hype.. On paper, VT, Miami, FSU all should be a lot better next year but will they avoid the stumbles?
Why would Steele ever leave Clemson for a position at Tennessee? He is definately one of the best recruiters in state
Bruce (3:12 PM)
The Vols have a lot of money to offer and he did once play for UT.
How much longer will Tajh Boyd sit behind Kyle Parker at Clemson?
Bruce (3:13 PM)
I think Parker is going to be tough to overtake but will his baseball career get in the way?
Will UNC have the best D in the country next year?
Bruce (3:14 PM)
Maybe. They were 6th this year and all of of their top juniors came back and Soph DE Robert Quinn is going to be an All-American. They'd be my first thought as the best D around in 2010.
Will Tyler Bray be the starting QB for UT next year?
Bruce (3:15 PM)
I think he's going to be very good but that's asking a lot especially since you'll have almost an entirely new O-line in front of him. Right now I think it's wide open between Nick Stephens, Matt Simms and Bray. My guess is Simms for now.
ty (dallas, tx)
do you answer everyones questions or should i stop waiting on my question to be answered???
Bruce (3:16 PM)
what did you ask about?
Collin (Ontario, OR)
Bruce, what are your thoughts on Kellen Moore?
Bruce (3:17 PM)
Like him a lot. Smart QB. Makes great decisions. Amazing that Boise only had to beat E Washington for him.. Then again what was he 6-0, 170 at the time.. a 39-3 TD-INT ratio? That's sick.
What is it going to take to get IU headed in the "right direction?"
Bruce (3:17 PM)
Better officiating. Less gum.
Is Retting a difference maker for Boston College?
Bruce (3:18 PM)
He's got a terrific arm. I think he could go in there and push for the job.
Paul (Sacramento, CA)
Bruce, with Kiffin now at USC, do they have a shot at Powell?
Bruce (3:19 PM)
It's a long shot. They have a much better hope for Seantrel Henderson I think.
ty (dallas, tx)
I asked if you had any insight to what Texas tech's coaches were up to??? do you think we will retain our current recruiting class??? any idea on who we may lose or gain as a result of the coaching changes?? thanks
Bruce (3:22 PM)
Oh, they just lost one of the best prospects in their class, a linebacker from Memphis who is now staying in Memphis. Tuberville I've heard has tried to let the recruits know that this will still be a big passing offense with new OC Neal Brown there. Still, there is A LOT of turnover on the staff. We'll see how well they close.
Your most surprising recruiting class so far this year?
Bruce (3:23 PM)
Texas A&M is doing very well.
Bradford (Boise, ID)
Bruce, what is your assessment of Boise State's recruiting in general?
Bruce (3:24 PM)
Impressed by their scouting.. Wilcox unearthed Kellen Moore and they figured out Austin Pettis could be a star WR even though he was hobbled by injury in HS. His old QB Aaron Corp (from USC) had said he really struggled to run back then, yet Boise rolled the dice and look at him now. The guy is a TD machine.
Is Urban Meyer allowed to recruit for Florida even if he isnt really the coach?
Bruce (3:25 PM)
Sure, he hasn't stepped down yet. Maybe he goes on his leaving starting after Signing Day.
what do you think of the coaching staff Jimbo's assembled in Tallahassee?
Bruce (3:27 PM)
Sounds good. Gran is a force in South Florida recruiting and Greg Hudson is a terrific defensive coach and Mark Stoops is highly regarded as well. Those are some good pieces in place. Now if he could only get James Coley to come out of his shell a little and embrace the social networking things like Twitter.
your take on the best d line next year?
Bruce (3:27 PM)
UNC with Austin and Quinn.
Bruce, what are chances WVU can get McCartney of Wright? Look to be loosing more recuits each day.
Bruce (3:28 PM)
Not sure.. Doc Holliday has been a huge pest to WVU recruiting especially with Florida kids.
Do you think that McNeil, Shankwilder and Wilson are the best ECU can do?
Bruce (3:30 PM)
Probably but those aren't bad names. Those guys do have good resumes and players respond to them. It's ECU not OSU. You're not getting Nick Saban there.
Trevor (Tampa, FL)
All this talk about FSU's recruiting class, but where is the substance?? They needed help on the D-line and they aren't addressing that much. Alot of flash and no substance.
Bruce (3:32 PM)
Darious Cummings is supposedly a big-time DL and if they get Corey Lemonier that is a huge pick up. They really needed help in the secondary and Joyner is the best CB in the country.
ty (dallas, tx)
how many questions do you typically get when you do this???
Bruce (3:34 PM)
It depends.. sometimes it's 1000.. other times its around 500. The chat's move pretty fast.
Bruce (3:34 PM)
three more questions...
Blake (Abilene, TX)
who was your Team of the Decade, college of the decade and coach of the decade?
Bruce (3:36 PM)
My coach of the decade was Nick Saban.. the best team was the 2001 Miami team and the best program was USC.. There just wasn't a lull for them like there were for other programs and for a school to have three Heisman winners like that is incredible.
If Bama wins back-to-back titles, will Saban finally smile?
Bruce (3:37 PM)
Probably not. Smiling didn't help him to win those first two titles.
Will Donta's presence be felt in the middle of the D at all like Ro's was?
Bruce (3:38 PM)
Yes. One of the former Bama staffers I spoke to last week says he thinks Hightower and Dareus could be top 15 picks in the draft when they leave Bama.
Bruce (3:41 PM)
Thanks for all of the questions. If I didn't get to yours, send it to me via Twitter at BFeldmanESPN.