A few thoughts to jump start your Tuesday morning:
TRASK WOULD BE A NICE FIT WITH THE SAINTS
Unless the New Orleans Saints elect to sign or trade a veteran quarterback, they’re faced with the prospects of trying to wing it next season with Taysom Hill, who has doubled as a goal line running back/receiver in the past, or former Tampa Bay Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston. Can they transform Hill into a productive NFL quarterback? Is there an exorcist who can cast out the snakes that call the space between Winston’s ears home?
If they don’t trade or sign a free agent, the next choice would be to go after a QB in the draft. The five most highly ranked QB prospects – Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, Trey Lance and Mac Jones – will all be long gone by the time the Saints choose. They’ll use that first rounder to fill a position of immediate need such as landing a wide receiver with speed such as Elijah Moore (Ole Miss) or possibly Terrace Marshall Jr. (LSU).
It’s in the second round they are likely to seek out a QB and that’s where Florida’s Kyle Trask fits in. ESPN NFL reporter and Insider Jeremy Fowler, who was at Florida’s pro day last week, has been reporting there is a lot of buzz within the Saints organization about Trask. There are advantages with Trask. He’s proven he’s patient after waiting three years for his turn to play at Florida so he wouldn’t have to play right away. He’s a very accurate thrower who is smart and able to conceptualize info from a coach then implement it immediately during a game. Trask is a film room junkie who is a sponge when it comes to absorbing new information plus he’s a hard worker on the practice field.
Trask would be a rather nice fit with the Saints, but there are others out there who seem to think he will be targeted by the Chicago Bears, who have all but given up on Mitch Trubisky and who signed retread Andy Dalton via free agency. Given the stability of a coaching staff headed by Sean Payton and playing half the games indoors, the Saints would be a far better landing spot for Trask than Chicago.
BAYLOR DID IT WITH TRANSFERS
Of the eight players that play the bulk of the minutes for Baylor’s newly crowned NCAA champions, four of them arrived via the transfer route. Scott Drew has done a very good job in recent years of luring highly regarded high school talent to Baylor, but he has done an exceptional job of plugging holes in his roster by adding quality transfers. Transfers accounted for 53 points, 12 rebounds, 8 assists, 4 steals and 2 blocked shots while hitting 6-11 from the 3-point line in the Bears’ 86-70 win over previously unbeaten Gonzaga.
Ma’Cio Teague (19 points, 2-3 on 3-pointers) started his career at UNC-Asheville of the Big South Conference. Davion Mitchell (15 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists) started out at Auburn. Coming off the bench were Adam Flagler (13 points, 3-4 on 3-pointers) and Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua (6 points, 2 rebounds). Flagler transferred in from Presbyterian and Tchamwa Tchatchoua started his career at UNLV.
In a perfect world, every national championship team would be built from the ground up by high school recruits who stick it out four years but times have changed. Kids who aren’t one-and-done, rarely stick it out four years. Soon the NBA and G-League will be drafting kids straight out of high school, ending the one-and-done. Kids who aren’t drafted aren’t necessarily going to stick around at the school where they sign either. Within a few weeks the NCAA will be implementing legislation that will give an athlete one transfer without having to sit a year and that will hasten the departure of a lot of kids in search of a fresh start to their careers. Currently, there are more than 1,200 basketball players with their names in the NCAA transfer portal a number that is likely to change by at least a couple hundred more by the end of the spring semester nationwide.
There are some estimates that as many as half the kids in the transfer portal will be unsuccessful landing a scholarship to play someplace new so not every kid who leaves is going to have a happy ending. And, how many of the kids who transfer are going to land at a place where they will be a good fit both academically and athletically?
Scott Drew is obviously ahead of the curve when it comes to understanding how to use transfers to his advantage. As we are going to see in the future, the really good coaches are the ones who will know how to pick and choose transfers who can make their teams better. The ones who choose poorly are the ones who will find themselves pink-slipped.
ANOTHER NAME SURFACES FOR UF IN THE TRANSFER PORTAL
With the addition of transfers Brandon McKissic (from UMKC) and C.J. Felder (from Boston College) and the possibility of adding one or two more whose names are in the portal, Florida Mike White might field a starting lineup that includes four or five transfers next year.
Florida is a finalist for Penn State shooting guard Myreon Jones (6-3, 180), a Birmingham native who has two remaining years of eligibility, and Furman small forward Noah Gurley (6-8, 210), from Fayetteville, Georgia, also with two years of eligibility. Jones is expected to decide in the next couple of days between Florida, LSU, Ole Miss and Arkansas. Gurley has eight finalists including UF, Alabama, Auburn, Duke, Tennessee, Marquette, San Diego State and Miami. He plans to announce his decision on Sunday.
Meanwhile, a new name has surfaced for UF. The departure of Chris Beard from Texas Tech has several players on the move including small forward Micah Peavy (6-7, 210). Florida recruited Peavy hard out of Duncanville High School in Texas but so there is a relationship in place. Peavy can play the wing offensively and can defend four positions on the floor.
GATORS ON THE MOVE IN BASEBALL POLLS
The Gators are on the move in the collegiate baseball polls. By taking two out of three from Ole Miss last weekend, the Gators moved up at least one spot in all four of the major polls with the highest ranking at Collegiate Baseball where they are now ranked 9th.
The Gators host Stetson tonight at the Florida Ballpark and Florida A&M Wednesday.
Jordan Carrion, who hit the first home run of his Florida career and gave the Gators five critical outs on the mound in relief in the series clinching 6-5 win over Ole Miss, was selected SEC Co-Freshman of the Week.
Collegiate Baseball poll: 1. Vanderbilt 23-3; 2. Arkansas 22-4; 3. Texas 20-8; 4. Tennessee 24-5; 5. South Carolina 19-7; 6. TCU 20-7; 8. Ole Miss 21-6; 9. FLORIDA 18-9; 10. Texas Tech 20-6; 11. Oklahoma State 18-7-1; 12. Mississippi State 20-7; 13. Oregon State 20-6; 14. UCLA 16-9; 15. East Carolina 22-5; 16. Arizona 18-8; 17; Michigan 13-5; 18. Arizona State 16-7; 19. Notre Dame 12-5; 20. Oregon 16-6; 21. Miami 16-8; 22. Georgia Tech 14-9; 23. Georgia 18-9; 24. Sacramento State 18-6; 25. Stanford 16-5; 26. UC-Irvine 16-9; 27. San Diego 19-5; 28. Florida State 15-9; 29. Nebraska 13-5; 30. Old Dominion 21-5
Baseball America poll: 1. Arkansas 22-4; 2. Vanderbilt 23-3; 3. Ole Miss 21-6; 4. Mississippi State 20-7; 5. Louisville 18-8; 6. Texas 20-8; 7. Tennessee 24-5; 8. East Carolina 22-5; 9. South Carolina 19-7; 10. FLORIDA 18-9; 11. Texas Tech 0-6; 12. Notre Dame 12-5; 13. Virginia Tech 15-9; 14. TCU 20-7; 15. Georgia Tech 14-9; 16. Arizona 18-8; 17. Pittsburgh 13-9; 18. Florida State 15-9; 19. Oregon 16-6; 20. Miami 16-8; 21. Oregon State 20-6; 22. Louisiana Tech 20-7; 23. Oklahoma State 18-7-1; 24. Michigan 13-5; 25. Indiana State 13-7.
USA Today Coaches poll: 1. Vanderbilt 23-3; 2. Arkansas 22-4; 3. Ole Miss 21-6; 4. Tennessee 24-5; 5. Mississippi State 20-7; 6. Texas 20-8; 7. TCU 20-7; 8. Texas Tech 20-6; 9. East Carolina 22-5; 10. Louisville 18-8; 11. FLORIDA 18-9; 12. South Carolina 19-7; 13. Oklahoma State 18-7; 14. Notre Dame 12-5; 15. Miami 16-8; 16. Georgia Tech 14-9; 17. UCLA 16-9; 18. Oregon State 20-6; 18. Oregon State 20-6; 19. Louisiana Tech 20-7; 20. Oregon 16-6; 21. Florida State 15-9; 22. Arizona 18-8; 23. (Tie) Stanford 16-5 and Michigan 13-5; 25. Virginia Tech 15-9
D1Baseball.com poll: 1. Vanderbilt 23-3; 2. Arkansas 22-4; 3. Ole Miss 21-6; 4. Texas 20-8; 5. Mississippi State 20-7; 6. Tennessee 24-5; 7. Louisville 18-8; 9. East Carolina 22-5; 10. TCU 20-7; 11. South Carolina 19-7; 12. FLORIDA 18-9; 13. Notre Dame 12-5; 14. Oklahoma State 18-7-1; 15. Georgia Tech 14-9; 16. Louisiana Tech 20-7; 17. Florida State 15-9; 18. Miami 16-8; 19. Oregon 16-6; 20. Oregon State 20-6; 21. UCLA 16-9; 22. Arizona 18-8; 23. Virginia Tech 15-9; 24. Pittsburgh 13-9; 25. Michigan 13-5
GATORS WIN SOFTBALL SERIES WITH GEORGIA Charla Echols launched a pair of home runs in her first two at bats to pace the 5th-ranked Gators (27-4, 10-2 SEC) to an 8-1 win over No. 20 Georgia Monday night in Athens. In winning the series with Georgia, the Gators moved into sole possession of second place in the SEC, trailing Arkansas which is off to a 12-0 start.
Echols, who hit three homers in the series, gave the Gators all the runs they would need with a 2-run homer in the first and then added a solo homer in the third. Echols leads the Gators with eight home runs and 34 RBI.
Picking up the win for UF was Katie Chronister (6-1, 2.00 ERA), who allowed five hits and one run in four innings. Natalie Lugo earned her third save by pitching three hitless innings, lowering her ERA to 1.45.
The Gators will face South Florida in a doubleheader at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium Wednesday evening.
AS THE TRANSFER PORTAL TURNS (SEC HOOPS)
Arkansas: One player has transferred out and one has transferred in. The newbie is former Pitt small forward Au’Diese Toney.
Auburn: Three have transferred out, one has turned pro and one has transferred in. The newbie is former Mizzou point guard Xavier Pinson.
Kentucky: Former 5-star point guard Devin Askew (6-3, 195) placed his name in the transfer portal Monday. Two have transferred out, two have declared for the pros and two have transferred in.
Mississippi State: Two players have transferred out.
Missouri: Three players have transferred in and five have transferred out.
Ole Miss: Nysier Brooks (7-0, 240) is transferring in from Miami. He averaged 7.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.0 blocked shots per game … Antavion Collum (6-7, 234) is transferring to Cal State-Bakersfield ... Ole Miss has had five players transfer out and one declare for the pros.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks have had three transfer out and two declare for the pros.
Tennessee: Two have transferred out, one has declared for the NBA and one has transferred in.
Texas A&M: Four players have transferred out.
Vanderbilt: Four players have transferred out.
Non-SEC transfers of note …
Point guard Jarrod West (5-11, 185), who Florida was recruiting, has committed to Louisville. West averaged 12.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 2.5 steals per game for Marshall.
Cole Swider (6-9, 225) is transferring to Syracuse. He averaged 5.7 points and 2.8 rebounds coming off the bench for Villanova.
Joining Micah Peavy in the exodus of players from Texas Tech are Kyler Edwards (6-4, 195) and Marcus Santos-Silva (6-7, 245). It is expected that signee Jaylon Tyson will ask out of his letter of intent. Peavy, a former 5-star recruit, averaged 5.7 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. Edwards averaged 10.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. Santos-Silva averaged 8.3 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.
Maryland landed power forward Qudus Wahab (6-11, 237) from Georgetown and guard Fatts Russell (5-10, 165) from Rhode Island. Wahad averaged 12.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game for the Hoyas, while Russell averaged 14.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game.
ONE FINAL PITHY THOUGHT: With Gonzaga’s loss to Baylor, the hopes and dreams of all those leagues populated mostly by directional, small private and religious-affiliated schools that we call “mid-major” or “low-major” were once again crushed, just as they were for Butler, VCU and Wichita State in previous years. I may be in the minority here, but I think it would be good for college basketball for a team from a non-power league to win it all, just as I believe it would be good for college football to expand the playoff so that a team from one of the non-power leagues can have a shot at the rarified air.