Chat with Bruce Feldman
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, college football Insider Bruce Feldman stops by to chat about the college gridiron.
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 Friday at 2 p.m. ET!
bruce feldman (2:03 PM)
Glad to be home from our signing day show wednesday.. Thanks for dropping by. Let's get to it.
Bruce, Are the rumors that are floating around about Jadeveon Clowney considering UGA true?
bruce feldman (2:05 PM)
I hadn't heard that from anyone I'd believe. When Clowney came to our studio late Wednesday afternoon, he did tell us that Clemson is seriously in the mix now with So Carolina and Bama though.
Stephanie (Phoenix, AZ)
Jim Tressel doesn't care about recruiting rankings or class rank. Will Muschamp remarked on what the scouts look like. How much credence should be put into recruiting rankings and class rank? Isn't there a huge regional bias with majority of scouts and services? For example, if you scout 200 kids from Florida and maybe 10 from Colorado, obviously any list will have more kids from Florida.
bruce feldman (2:09 PM)
Coaches tend to only "care" about recruiting rankings when they're classes are in the top five or they got some four or "five-star" recruit. Their assistant coaches and in-house recruiting guys pay attention to the rankings. That doesn't mean they take their cues from them as if they trust the evaluations. But if it validates things for their fan bases and bosses, they like it.... As for your point about the regional bias, there is something to it. It's pretty much bound to happen. It's like out of sight out of mind. The more you see a prospect, the more reasons you can find to be impressed by him.
Dan (New York)
Bruce, the Big East can't be as bad as it was last year...Right?
bruce feldman (2:09 PM)
Probably not. I think USF and WVU get better and Rutgers, Cincy and Lville should be better too.
C.J. (San Diego)
Can You explain to me about this loophole that USC supposedly have?
bruce feldman (2:13 PM)
I talked about this on the CF Live show yesterday... Since in 2010 and even in years before USC has essentially "undersigned" by taking 17, 18 recruits in a class, whereas some programs repeatedly sign 27 and 28, Kiffin had some flexibility. He could count mid-year signees back to the 2010 class, which meant they could do that for their 8 midyears and then since they also are appealing the sanctions on the scholarship count (to get it reduce from 25-20 instead of 25-15), the sanctions are stayed till the appeal is ruled on. So they could sign up to 25 for the 2011 class. They didn't sign quite that many but combined they brought in 30 newcomers as part of the 2010 AND 2011 classes.
bruce feldman (2:13 PM)
Kiffin was loading up to brace for the sanctions taking a roster that had 50 scholarship players a month ago and now it has 80.
Frank (Ann Arbor, MI)
What are your thoughts on Brady Hoke's first recruiting class at Michigan?
bruce feldman (2:15 PM)
It's OK... He had little time to sell kids who didn't know him at all. Michigan lost two key guys before he got hired, Dee Hart a top RB and Dallas Crawford a top CB. Those are both talents they could really use at two spots where they're just average at RB and really suspect at CB. Getting the TE away from Arkansas was good though. Judge Hoke as a recruiter on 2012 class not the 2011 one.
Jimmy (Scottsboro, AL)
Any idea when Kouandjio will annouce a decision between Alabama, Auburn and New Mexico?
bruce feldman (2:16 PM)
I guessed Bama 10 days ago and I'll still with that.
Are these rumors about Jacoby Brissett to Florida legit? And if so, does he expect to play QB in Weis' system?
bruce feldman (2:17 PM)
Not sure. A few guys who cover UF say it's going to be Florida... I honestly don't know what the Gators plans for him will be. If he goes to play QB, it won't be easy beating out Jeff Driskel eventually.. then again, it shouldn't be easy to win any QB job.
Schlabach put out a way-too-early Top 25 for next year. Whose your top 5?
bruce feldman (2:19 PM)
I'll go with OU at #1.. after that, in no set order: Bama, Oregon, LSU, FSU, Stanford, Ok.State, Ark.
Bruce - no comment yet on the huge story on signing day? Black Mama going to Oregon instead of USC is huge!
bruce feldman (2:20 PM)
Check out my blog from yesterday. I wrote a lot about it there.http://insider.espn.go.com/ncf/blog?name=feldman_bruce&id=6086950#comments
David (Warm and Sunny California)
Why did UCLA do so poorly in recruiting this year? Is it Neuheisel being on the hot seat?
bruce feldman (2:21 PM)
A few factors.. going 4-8 in your first year is bad, going 4-8 in Year 3 is a lot more damning. Worst still, UCLA had major questions about the make-up of the coaching staff all winter, carrying over to Signing Day. They're fortunate they kept Brett Hundley and got what they got.
Winner of Oklahoma v FSU have an inside shot at BCS title game?
bruce feldman (2:21 PM)
did I swee a tweet that urban meyer is headed to notre dame?
bruce feldman (2:22 PM)
You did. I RTed something from Brian Hardin, the ND sports information director. Meyer is going there to headline their coaching clinic.
Daniel (New York, NY)
How much does luck factor into a college player's success? Example, if Rhett Bomar doesn't get kicked off OU, do we ever hear of Sam Bradford? If Perrilloux sticks with his UT commitment, does Colt McCoy get his chance? Are there any players you can think of that could have been great, but just got lost in the depth chart?
bruce feldman (2:25 PM)
That's a interesting point. Circumstance, timing and place are key in all walks of life. Course, you'd think that Bradford would've found a way regardless. I mean if Tedford doesn't go to scout Garrett Cross at a JC, he never spots his QB Aaron Rodgers, who had ZERO offers coming out of HS. Then Rodgers goes to Cal, clearly Tedford helped develop him and he has that drive and that chip on his shoulder... he keeps working and now he might be the best QB in football.
Stanford in your early top 25? Without Harbaugh? Is it only because of Andrew Luck or do you think Shaw will be just as successful as HC?
bruce feldman (2:26 PM)
Stanford probably is in my preseason top 10. HUGE factor is Andrew Luck, but they have some good talent coming back.. All the RBs, Coby Fleener, Chris Owusu.
Donnell (Ashburn, VA)
Which freshmen will have a bigger impact for OU this season, Williams, Metoyer, someone else?
bruce feldman (2:27 PM)
I'll say Williams because DeMarco Murray's gone and there's more room for opportunity... I'd probably have answered differently if Ryan Broyles left early but he didnt.
Max (Oklahoma )
They have to stop this SEC oversigning . It is absolutely ridiculous. Would you please do an expose' on a hand full of players that are victims to this , this year when the dust settles and we see who they are. This message needs to get to the kids. Thanks
bruce feldman (2:29 PM)
I've written quite a bit about it and why it's lot more complicated than many people think. I think my biggest issue with it is how upfront coaches are if they don't give a heads up to a recruit that they might ask him to redshirt.
Are you surprised at how quickly Jimbo has gotten the ball rolling and does anyone even remember who Bobby and Mickey are anymore?
bruce feldman (2:30 PM)
Not really. He hired some great recruiters and had good timing with Miami and UF going through coaching transitions at the same time as he's riding the crest of energy that tends to come with a first year full recruiting cycle.
Bruce, I loved your book. What does it say about recruiting when a school (Wisconsin) recruits one player for over a year and loses out to a school that, with and entirely new coaching staff and a freshman already in classes, not to mention the playbook, has only been recruiting him for less than five weeks (Florida)? How ticked must Bielema and his staff be to spend so much time in Florida and lose him because, in all likelihood, he was never leaving the state of Florida?
bruce feldman (2:32 PM)
Thanks! I know it's very frustrating for a staff to put that much time and energy into it. They think they developed relationships but it's so hard to figure the whims of a teenager going through the recruiting process. It would crack me up whenever some fan on a message board would talk about how after a commitment comes out that "aw, we knew he was a silent commit" for months." Please. The coaches never can be sure what anyone is telling them.
What do you think of the speed that will be at Chip Kelly's disposal in the next few years?
bruce feldman (2:33 PM)
It's scary... Again, I wrote a lot about this Thursday in the blog.
Trey (Long Beach)
Bruce, how impressive is it that Kiffin can bring in the class that he did to load up in light of the sanctions? People can say what they want about Lane, but the guy is an incredible recruiter!
bruce feldman (2:34 PM)
Agreed. He is relentless, which is a huge factor in recruiting. He also connects better when he's "on" than most people would think. He's confident and a lot of kids are drawn to him.
Mitch (Kathleen, GA)
Why doesn't the NCAA have an early signing period in football like they do in basketball? Might curb some of the grayshirt/oversigning problems, at least to a limited degree...
bruce feldman (2:37 PM)
I think an early signing period in football would cause more trouble than it solves.. Just because something's a good thing in hoops doesn't mean it would be in football. The season's run at different times and in football coaches recruit 10 times as many prospects. You'd have kids committing even earlier than they do now and with even less of their academic profiles developed, which means you'd have even more of a gray area academically.
How do you think the Vols will do in 2011. 8-4
bruce feldman (2:38 PM)
I'd say eight wins sounds realistic. There's a lot back on offense and the schedule is manageable. Not sure yet if Dooley can get them into the top 20 but we'll see.
Jimmy (Scottsboro, AL)
To clarify my previous question about Kouandijo - do you have any "handle" on WHEN he will announce his decision? BTW, I like your guess that he will choose Bama!!!
bruce feldman (2:40 PM)
Thanks.. I do not. I'd guess it would happen in the next week, but that is just a guess. The longer he waits the more the pressure mounts.
Jim (Parks, NE)
How good a coach is Scott Frost? Will he end up back at Nebraska or will he stick at Oregon? If he goes to Nebraska what will be his postion? Not OC surely?
bruce feldman (2:43 PM)
I think he's a rising star. I know the guy connects well with his players. Look at how Jeff Maehl blossomed. He has worked with a lot of great coaches in the past 10 years and he's get a handle on the Chip Kelly offense. That's a lot to like. Now who knows how well he'd do as a playcaller. The first time is a crapshoot in regards to any coach. Look how well Dana Holgorsen did after leaving TTU in his first go. Other guys though prove to not have as much of a knack for it, but if I'm Nebraska, I'm very curious.
Jessica Liao (Los Angeles, CA)
Does it seem like Jimbo Fisher sabotaged Bobby Bowden to get the HC position? I don't understand why he couldn't have had this recent success back when he was the HC in waiting.
bruce feldman (2:44 PM)
He needed to have his own staff. the chemistry on the FSU staff before needed to be shaken up. It was a stale mix. Now, I'm not saying Coach Bowden shouldve been forced out like that but I do think that whole Coach in Waiting stuff caused more problems than it solved.
What do you think of Brian Kelly having a full year to recruit at ND? It's pretty impressive what he was able to do.
bruce feldman (2:47 PM)
It seemed like a home run hire 13 months ago and after some rocky moments, it seems like a home run hire in retrospect. This is a guy with a proven track record. He knows EXACTLY what he's doing. It wasn't a Charlie Weis situation where he had never done it as a head coach or worked in college. .... I spoke to Kelly on Tuesday and asked him something about in the days after the blowout loss to Navy and he talked about how it was a setback but he knew that everyone inside his program believed and were on board and within 48 hours it was full speed ahead and look how he finished. In years past ND fizzled in recruiting late, losing a few blue-chippers. This year, they closed with a flurry.
Brian (Columbus, OH)
You called Geno Smith a legit Heisman contender next season, whats the bigger factor, Geno's smarts and ability or Holgerson being his OC, or a perfect blend for both of them? Over/Under 4000 yds for Geno?
bruce feldman (2:48 PM)
A great blend of both. Geno should've welcome Dana with a crate of Red Bull. He is going to do wonders for his career. The OVER.
Is there any reason why a perennial powerhouse like VT should be out of the top25 recruiting rankings?
bruce feldman (2:50 PM)
Lost two great RBs and a winner at QB. I know David Wilson could be special as could the new QB big Logan Thomas, but experience is a concern.
How much upside does EJ Manuel have? Gonna be nice to have a QB actually make it thru a full game without some type of ailment?
bruce feldman (2:51 PM)
Am curious to see how much they can expand the package he operates with him after an offseason as the starter.
Bruce,I don't see how it can be so complicated. How hard is it to count how many scholarships you have to offer?
bruce feldman (2:55 PM)
One of the things that makes it complicated is that you have outside people (media, bloggers) trying to do your accounting without truly knowing your books. Meaning a guy seems to get forced out of a spot and then he complains and says he was a good student. The coach can't explain why and cite reasons of how he wasn't a good student for fear of legal privacy issues and because it looks petty. Many schools also essentially hedge their bets when they have 6, 10, 12 borderline academic recruits who may or may not qualify. And not that many schools know for certain going into their senior seasons who is a lock to qualify and who isn't.
Jim (Big Ten country)
Does Max in Okie believe it is just the SEC oversigning?
bruce feldman (2:55 PM)
I don't know. I'll let you ask him.
Nick (Nor Cal)
Hey Bruce do you thinkm Tedford keeps his job at Cal after this season.
bruce feldman (2:58 PM)
Good question. HE has recruited well, again, but do they have a QB ready? They haven't really had one since Aaron Rodgers left. Also they didn't lose many starters on offense, but they did lose TB SHane Vereen who was very good and they lost a lot in their front seven.... There could be five openings in the Pac-10 after this year: WSU, ASU, Zona, Cal and UCLA. I suspect at least two come open, probably three.
Mark (U Dub)
Bruce, you like what Sark and Co. are building up at UW?
bruce feldman (2:59 PM)
I do. They finished strong. They're committed to winning up there. I think his AD who came from LSU gets it. And Sark has the personality to build that place again.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Bruce, Did Butch Davis do the best recruiting job in America this year sigining a Top 20 class amidst all the turmoil while somehow keeping his job?
bruce feldman (3:00 PM)
He's up there, although I'd have to say Dabo Swinney might've trumped him.
bruce feldman (3:00 PM)
Three more questions..
Were you expecting a better class from Miss. State after the good year they had?
bruce feldman (3:01 PM)
Yes, but losing some key assistants really hurt.
Bruce, saw the article today on espn about USC warning their players about the party in Vegas. Haden seems to be doing a great job being proactive. Much different than Garrett, right?
bruce feldman (3:02 PM)
Yes, waaaay different. Pat Haden was a major upgrade from Garrett. Also, they needed to fix their compliance office and they did.
bruce feldman (3:09 PM)
Give me a second...
I know you're biased against USC, but you got to admit Lane and Ed can recruit with the best of them.
bruce feldman (3:16 PM)
People think every ESPN writer is biased against their favorite school. I spent over a year in Orgeron's war room at Ole Miss for a book. I know all about his recruiting ability. And I commented on Lane earlier in the chat.
Doesn't Tressel's record speak for itself that recruiting rankings don't matter? Look how many LB's in particular weren't high on the list. Rolle, Laurinitis, Hawke, etc
bruce feldman (3:18 PM)
Yeah.. it's funny how some of his high-profile recruits didn't excel but they lesser ranked guys really did (3-star Hawk vs. 5-star Mike D'Andrea... Justin Zwick vs. Troy Smith).
Paul Lee (Kokomo, IN)
Do you think Florida will convert Burton, Reed, and Murphy into other positions because of the logjam at QB?
bruce feldman (3:20 PM)
I would think two of them will because they're too athletic not to get onto the field in some other way and Weis is a pro-style offense guy.
Kris (Hollidaysburg, PA)
Bruce, How long do you think it will be before WVU turns their recruiting around? This is the first year in a while that they haven't had any 5 star recruits, and according to ESPN and scout, they have no 4 stars. The obvious reason is that players weren't excited about going to play for a mediocre Bill Stewart-led team, and I'm hoping coach H. can turn that around soon. Thank you.
bruce feldman (3:21 PM)
I think it will take time before it's officially Holgorsen's program, meaning it's all his staff and his assistants.
How many games does Richt need to win to keep his job?
bruce feldman (3:21 PM)
At least eight.
Rutgers did really well in NJ and NY - probably their best ever. But, they don't get into Top 25. Is that a reflection on the talent in the Northeast or a bias against cold weather recruits? It seems like if Huggins was from Georgia or Florida he would be 5-star Top 10 national recruit.
bruce feldman (3:24 PM)
ESPN had Huggins as a top five RB, and I know people think highly of QB Gary Nova. I wrote in my top 10 impact early enrollee guys from Wednesday after DE Djwany Mera, but it hurt losing Josue Matias, their top OL recruit. And since they're not going to get many of the top prospects outside of their area, they are definitely limited.
What will it take for FIU to jump to a BCS conference? If possible, when do you see this happening, and where?
bruce feldman (3:25 PM)
It's going to take a lot. They need to grow beyond just one nice season. They need to take some big steps forward to get to where UCF is it, and UCF isn't even in a BCS conference yet.
bruce feldman (3:26 PM)
Thanks for all of your questions. If I didn't get to yours, send them to me via Twitter at BFeldmanESPN.