Recruiting services are reporting today that Peoria, AZ offensive lineman Nick Rowland has picked Oregon as his college football destination. The facilities, size of the town, and the general atmosphere around campus helped seal the deal. It could not have hurt that Rowland was watching the Ducks thump California on the day he visited. Rowland was always a long shot for Washington, but UW became a finalist because of a close relationship with Coach Dan Cozzetto; in the end it wasn't enough to close the deal.
Recruitnicks ought not despair, as Washington is still in the running for some top high school offensive lineman. Expect a verbal commitment from at least one prospect later this month, while another target, Micah Hatchie from Hawaii, has set up a trip and will be here in December. Hatchie actually grades out slightly higher than Rowland, based the film we have seen and comments we have heard. UW is also looking at some JC talent to help the depth on both lines.
Things are accelerating in Eugene concerning the possible reinstatement of Oregon RB LeGarrette Blount prior to the end of the season. Rumors state he could play by November, but you know the Ducks would love to have him back in the lineup for Washington on October 24th.
When Blount was suspended for the season I looked at it for what it was...a blatant PR move to save the face of the Oregon Athletic Department. I thought the full season suspension was a bit much. I also thought it could easily be challenged in court because of lack of due process. I said at the time that the Ducks knew what they were doing on this one.
All the Ducks had to do was bide time and whisper in Blount's ear what he had to do to get reinstated. Oregon and the Pac 10 get credit for suspending Blount and standing up against hooliganism; it will be interesting to see what new Pac 10 commissioner Larry Scott decides to do on this one. If he backs down and reinstates Blount he makes himself and the conference look like idiots. Obviously letting the courts decide exonerates both the conference and Oregon.
According to Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times, the Big East will not publicly discuss the non-review of the two point Notre Dame conversion last weekend. The Pac 10 says they won't talk either...go ask the Big East because their officials were in the replay booth. Behind closed doors both sides are certainly talking, as replays clearly show the knee was down and could have been picked up in the replay. Of course, if the Big East had reviewed it they would have claimed it was inconclusive. They should have done the same thing on the reversal of the Polk TD. But hey...it is Notre Dame and the Big East continues to court them for future football membership.
Devin Aguilar is back at practice and ready to go for Saturday night's game against Arizona, while Nate Williams and D'Andre Goodwin are still out. Both Williams and Goodwin have plenty of experience to draw on, so my guess is that that if they check out physically by Friday night, they too will play. We will have some notes up after practice to check on their progress, but I am sure the coaches will continue to hold them out for at least another day.
One interesting note on the decision to cancel the BYU series is the actual money involved. Idaho received more than twice as much money to venture to Seattle as the Huskies were going to receive by traveling to Provo in 2011.The Hawaii series is more lucrative, but travel costs will surely eat that money. The contract calls for UH to pay Washington $400,000 for the Huskies play in Honolulu. Washington will pay UH the same amount when the Warriors play the return game. UW also gets to schedule an extra game by traveling to Hawaii, which means even more money for the department. Also figure that from a recruiting perspective a Hawaii trip helps Washington recruit more players from the Islands.
Bob Condotta of the Times picks up a few more tidbits on the scheduling changes after talking to UW Associate Athletics Director O.D. Vincent.
O.D. Vincent, UW's senior associate AD who has direct responsibility for football, says the school's No. 1 goal now is to play as many home games as it can, the biggest reason it got out of the BYU series to eliminate having to go there in 2012 and playing only five home games (though there is an admitted competitive advantage in playing a team UW is more likely to beat, as Steve Sarkisian mentioned eariler this week).
Craig Noble's football career is over because of a heart condition.