published Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

5-at-10: Recruiting everywhere, hoops clarity, best SI swimsuit covers and Rushmore of trash talkers

Buckle up gents, we're going to have a fast-paced couple of days. Starting first thing in the morning, we will have wall-to-wall recruiting coverage here at We're dealing with a lot of stuff.

From the "Talks too much" studios, let's light this candle.

Recruiting nationally

With the Super Bowl in the rearview — did you see the story that Vegas made a record $20 million on bettors in Sunday's blowout that had the underdog (Seattle) and the shortside on the the total (over) hitting? — let's talk the future.

The future of college football could be shaped in the next 24 hours as national signing day arrives. The painful trend of the "Hat dance" in which uncommitted players put three ball caps with college logos on a table and fake and feign and finally pick one is fading some. This is a good thing. No, it has not affected the dramatic status of the event, rather there simply are more and more players making their decisions before signing day.

That is as true this year as any. In fact several of the area schools of interest will have relatively quiet signing days. Still, the import of this day is self-evident and the issues are real in terms of the now and the tomorrow. Let's explore:

In Knoxville — There's a very fair argument that this is the high-water mark for the Butch Jones era in Orange. He will have been the head coach of UT for 14 months come Friday, and this will signify the most relevant the program has been since 2007. Read that again. The Vols are a player nationally in the recruiting rankings and this has been a source of pride and hope for the last year for Johnny Vols Fans everywhere who have been starved for good news. With 33 commitments — and only Cory Thomas seems in doubt — and a real chance to add four-star defensive lineman Michael Sawyers, the Vols will finish with a consensus top-five class.

In Tuscaloosa — The Tide have assembled one of the best all-time classes. Seriously, it's that good. And not only is this bunch loaded with stars, it directly fills needs, considering what was Bama's two biggest weaknesses last year. Alabama has the best offensive line group in the country and arguably the best secondary group in the country. Heck, there's a real chance freshman Cam Robinson will be in the mix to start at tackle next year. He's that good. This class is that good. Good grief.

In Athens — Georgia could close with one of the nation's biggest finishes. The Bulldogs likely will get a signing-day commitment from Lorenzo Carter, a five-star defensive end, and are in the mix for a slew of other announcements Wednesday, including Andrew Williams and current South Carolina-commit Bryson Allen-Williams. This is noteworthy considering the Bulldogs have the No. 8 class nationally with only 19 commits and could quickly move up. Also of note here is that Georgia has recruited two of the nation's top five running backs in Nick Chubb and Sony Michel.

In Auburn — The Tigers have maximized the turnaround miracle of 2013 and have a top-10 national class according to most of the services. This class could improve with five-star linebacker Rashaan Evans, Andrew Williams and Braden Smith expected to make signing-day decisions and Auburn being in the mix for each.


Recruiting locally

There are a few big-time prospects in our coverage area this cycle, including Rafeal Gaglianone, the Baylor kicker who has committed to Wisconsion, and East Hamilton cornerback Tre Herndon, who has been a longstanding Vandy pledge.

  • photo
    UTC coach Russ Huesman watches a scrimmage at Finley Stadium.
    Photo by Angela Lewis /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The large chunk of the rest of the cream of the local crop has been scooped up by UTC, including Northwest Whitfield defensive tackle Isaiah Mack and the talented McCallie duo of Cam Walker and C.J. Fritz. (We believe each of these three are very good gets for the Mocs. Very good.)

And locally, the crew of area high school recruits will be better even next year, highlighted by Notre Dame athlete Kareem Orr and Signal Mountain offensive lineman Harrison Moon, each of whom figure to have a host of SEC offers from which to pick.

For this year's class, we must tip our cap to the job done by Russ Huesman and staff, especially recruiting coordinator Will Healy, for putting together a recruiting haul that is so well-assembled that keeping the talent in the fold is the only chore left. In fact, we talked to a friend who is a college coach somewhere in the South, who, since he can't speak on players directly, requested anonymity, and he said, there are no fewer than five kids in UTC class that are mid-FBS-level players, including two from the Atlanta area that are legit.

As UTC continues its ascent, there are a couple of names in this class that could be an exciting part of the next few chapters of Mocs football. And that's the beauty and joy and goal of signing day.


AP hoops poll and foreshadowing

Last year, if memory serves, friend of the show StuckinKent made mention that, barring injury, the best college basketball teams in February are more times than not the best teams in March. The more we've thought about this the more sense it makes, especially when you factor in that we have roughly one month left in the regular season.

When the conference tournaments come around, we all will spend way too much time and energy looking for Cinderella rather than noticing the beauty of the teams we know. We want to be the super smart one in the office pool that had Valpo in the Sweet 16 or George Mason in the Final Four, so we search and scour for the upsets and the team du jour (hmmmm, that sounds good, we think we'll have that).

With that, and we touched briefly on this Monday here and on Press Row with Paschall on 105.1 FM, we're picking Syracuse. Period. We are not going to get conned by trying to figure out if Duke can shoot 43 percent from 3 for six straight games or whether UNC is going to play hard or whether UK will be mature enough or whatever.

We're all in and all Orange, man.


This and that

— Keith Law, ESPN baseball prospect guru, has ranked his 100 best prospects in the game, and three of the top 35 them are in the Dodgers system and could spend time with the Lookouts this offseason. Good times.

— Oh the humanity. Jared Lorenzen was trending on Twitter earlier this week, and the 320-pounder is playing quarterback for some team in Kentucky in some league that before now we were unaware of — here's a clip, and know that it's tough to stop watching the video. Enjoy. And dude, mix in a salad.

— On Monday night, SI honored it's top swimsuit model cover shots in the 50 years it has had the famous Swimsuit Edition. (Side note: We can remember when there was a ton of moral outrage in the Letters to the Editors of SI about the 'porn' that was the SI swimsuit edition. Wow, that seems like an eternity ago.) The top five on SI's list was Kathy Ireland in 1989, Kate Upton a few years ago in the arctic, followed by Tyra Banks, Christie Brinkley and Heidi Klum. What's your top five (and it's hard to see Christie Brinkley anywhere outside of the top three)?


Today's question(s)

There's some interesting items to discuss in the wake of the Super Bowl.

Have at it. Here are a couple more:

How far are the Falcons and Titans from being in the big game? Watching the Super Bowl, it magnified the distance between the elite and simply the good (Atlanta, despite its struggles in '13, can be viewed as a good team with a solid foundation) and the mediocre (Tennessee). It's crazy to think the Falcons beat a very similar version of these Seahawks in the playoffs 13 months ago.

  • photo
    Seattle Seahawks' Doug Baldwin dives between Denver Broncos' Mike Adams, left, and Danny Trevathan for a touchdown during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII football game Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Doug Baldwin is a Seattle receiver with a very pedestrian name, and apparently he is not a fan of being called a pedestrian receiver — or even an appetizer — as he was before the NFC title game two weeks ago by ESPN analyst Cris Carter. After having a big game against the 49ers, Baldwin politely called Carter and Kewshawn Johnson out for their analysis, saying that Baldwin respected what they did on the field, but proved that he and the Seahawks receivers proved they were better than they were getting credit for.

OK, Carter, a world-renowned trash-talker, did not let it go and told Baldwin to "Google him and see if [Carter] was in the Hall of Fame" as part of his retort. Baldwin did not say anything else until after Seattle won the Super Bowl, when he had five catches for 66 yards and a TD. And then Baldwin answered with this hammer to CBSSports, "That dude [Carter] who said that we were appetizers, he told me to Google him, and I did Google him, but I didn't see any Super Bowl appearances, and I also saw two losses in conference championships. I have a Super Bowl ring, and I would gladly show that to him. And if he doesn't have time to come see it, tell him he can Google it."

Game, set and match Baldwin. This got us thinking, who are on the Rushmore of trash-talkers? Discuss, and remember, don't start none won't be none.

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

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fechancellor said...

Ten Ring,

Reading Carver, you'd think he may believe he's the best player in HOF not to win a Super Bowl. We both know that ain't true.

Bully for Baldwin! He backed it up on the field twice. Yet he should have gone all the way there by saying, "I bet a lot of fans will also need to google Carter to see if he's in the HOF or not."

I'm with Christy, although I did read in Car and Driver where they noted during along ago Detroit Grand Prix, she backed up to a chain link fence and were surprised at the number of links it took, well, this is the "family hour." Could this be why she's a total adherent to the Total Gym?

I'd put TO on the list. He'd trash talk the opponents, once famously dancing on the Cowboy Star, which would gladly do myself, if I ever have the opportunity. He'd also trash talk his coaches, front office and teammates including his quarterback, Jeff Garcia. TO was never at a loss for words even if it seemed he might be at a loss of thought.

February 4, 2014 at 10:41 a.m.
dawg747 said...

Ten Cup: Top five for SI:

  1. 1970 cover with Cheryl Tiegs. First swimsuit issue I saw. A neighbor of mine gave me several SI issues and that one was in there and made a great impression on a 12 year old. Still can see the fishnet swimsuit from several years later.

  2. Kate Upton.

  3. Christie Brinkley.

  4. Kathy Ireland.

  5. Tyra Banks.

Keep up the great work here and on Press Row.

February 4, 2014 at 10:59 a.m.
chas9 said...

Jay-Z--You may be all in for The Orange, man, but the Orangeman mascot is one of the weakest in all of college basketball, maybe ahead of only Stanford's tree. The 'Cuse roundball team, however, is the berries.

As for SEC football recruiting, as Pasquali noted Friday, UK's stellar recruits also deserve mention.

Not sure if the Hefty Lefty Lorenzen mention was a tribute or a dig, but any mention is good publicity. And The Pillsbury Throwboy is surprisingly nimble for a big-boned boy.

Nobody proves 60 is the new 30 better than Ms. Brinkley. Christie is my number one, and the rest of your list is strong as battery acid. I'd also choose Cheryl Tiegs, Elle Macpherson and Heidi Klum for my volleyball team.

Yes, The Falcs are a huge way behind the Seattlers, but the big drop off is between the champs and whoever tries to be #2.

Did you hear that regarding tough weather headed his way Kansas City's mayor said "We don't want to pull an Atlanta"? Maybe any mention's not good publicity after all.

February 4, 2014 at 11:10 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

As much as Signing Day will be excited locally, I'm more interested in what the schedule is going to look like for this upcoming year. I know Wofford and Furman are stepping up in the race to fill G-South and Appy-State's shoes. However, given the mix of newbies and our seasoned vets, there is no reason why we can Seattle all of our competition this year.

I do remember all the brew ha-ha over the SI Swimsuit issue but back then, that was it. Unless you wanted to go to Cinema One and NO ONE was that crazy. Today, we have the Internet which makes all that controversy ancient history. :P

Spy- What's your take on this Jamie Casino guy since he's in your neck of the woods? My cousin Lauren shared on Facebook that two minute Nick Cage wannabe spot he did that ran during the Super Bowl. Good Grief is all I can say.

The Titans aren't even close to SB status. They will be chewed up and spit out. Atlanta will at least give the NFC a good fighting.

Cold and drizzly here in Dallas. That is all.

February 4, 2014 at 11:31 a.m.
chas9 said...

JMC--I was that crazy. Once. Cold & drizzly here, too. Looks like it's a-raining all over the world.

Stuckey--I saw the well-done UK football Superbowl ad. Thanks for the tip.

Yesterday's best-ever season, by position, team according to was The Yankees. Yogi was the catcher, Ruth the left fielder, and Jeter the shortstop, as you'd expect. But Mr. Coffee DiMaggio and Whitey Ford didn't make the cut. Hard to believe, but their rationale is hard to argue.

February 4, 2014 at 12:26 p.m.
Buschleague said...

5 Talking trash.. In the 96' western conf finals on the way to the Stanley Cup, Patrick Roy blasted Jeremy Roenick Saying " he couldn't hear what Jeremy says because my 2 Stanley Cup rings are plugging my ears". Roy ended up with 4 rings, Roenick 0.

That's Rushmore worthy.

I like what Baldwin said, Carter should tone it down.

February 4, 2014 at 12:31 p.m.
golfgal said...


It can't suck to bad to be a Manning today. Rumor has it 3 Mannings were spotted on the first tee at Augusta National yesterday. We should all be so lucky. I heard you may have played there once or twice, what sort of numbers did you post?


February 4, 2014 at 12:47 p.m.
ChattanoogaVol said...

The best trash talker of all time is Muhammed Ali. It's not even close.

After that, you really have to keep it in the ring, and (dare I say it) go with the American Dream, Dusty Rhodes and Mr. Dewayne Johnson, aka "The Rock". They are the two best trash talkers in professional rasslin' history.

My 4th and final spot would go to..................Gary Payton, aka "The Glove". Ask anybody who played against him.

Honorable mention: Two of the greatest to grace the hardwood: Michael Jordan and Larry Bird, as well as the best trash talker in NFL history: Shannon Sharpe.

February 4, 2014 at 12:52 p.m.
fechancellor said...

Nick Anderson: "Michael still has that quickness and explosiveness, but it's not as sharp. No. 45 is not No. 23."

February 4, 2014 at 1:04 p.m.
jgreeson said...

FE to the C —

Concur, good for Dougie Fresh Baldwin. Rule No. 1 of journalism — don't be part of the story. Cris Carter and some of his cohorts could use a reminder on that.

ChattanoogaVol —

No doubt. Ali is the grand champ of this category. And while the 'rasslers are great, that's a different branch.

Larry Bird is on our list and may be No. 2 behind Ali.

GG —

No doubt it would be a nice way to shake off a really bad day at the office to take your dad and brother and play 18 at the National. Cashing a monthly paycheck of $1.5 million would also help take our mind off it.

And we have played there twice — shot 92 with a 10 on No. 2 back in 2003. Shot an 83 with a birdie on No. 7 and playing the last six holes 1-over in 2011.

We could bore you with the shot-by-shot details, but we're afraid Spy and some of the others may scream foul.

Busch —

Rumor had it that Patty Roy seldom started it, but was more than capable of finishing it.


Spot on about the availability of skin now compared to then. Then it was "Hide it from the parents." Now it doesn't even move the moral compass needle.

And the players the Mocs are assembling make them the favorite for the foreseeable future. Great class.

9er —

This is not the Capital One mascot bowl. You should know that.

And yes the Hefty Lefty is quite nimble for a 320-pounder, and by that we mean he is able to move. Egad young'un have a vegetable and mix in a DIET Mountain Dew.

747 —

Thanks for reading and for listening to Press Row. You'll want to tune in today as our Rushmore will be recruiting busts and yes Brandon Miller will be on tap.

Our list would go: Ireland, Brinkley, Upton, McPherson and Banks with Rachel Hunter being right there too.

February 4, 2014 at 1:31 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

Quick question, did any of you that ever subscribed to Sports Illustrated actually receive your swimsuit edition in the mail? I subscribed to SI for several years and 51 weeks out of the year the latest edition would appear in my mailbox like clockwork. The swimsuit edition on the other hand...Most years it simply did not make it to my house and one year it showed up three weeks late dog-eared with a coffee stain on the front cover. At least I hope that was a coffee stain. C'mon postal workers, buy your own copy.

And for any young people reading this...A magazine is something we once received to inform us of what was going on in the world. It was like a tangible blog that told us the news from last week.

February 4, 2014 at 2:53 p.m.
chas9 said...

On a day when you could've legitimately slid in pix of Elle and Christie, we got the ugly mugs of Russ and Butch instead. Jay, go ahead and surrender your man card.

February 4, 2014 at 3 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

UT got the last visit with Sawyers and it's look like it's UT or GT for Sawyers. Tech's made a big run at the kid, too.

I think of some other 5 star backs to come to Georgia - Jasper Sanks, Isiah Crowell, Richad Samuel - and then wonder why so much stock is put into these rankings. Some service adds a star to a kid who decommits from Louisville to Georgia. So in the space of 15 seconds, he got just that much better?

Brinkley, McPherson, Ireland, Upton, Banks. Now that's a starting five. And that's leaving Paulina Porizkova in the bullpen.

JMC, other than naming my fantasy football team next year the Flaming Sledgehammers (which may have a much different meaning in Midtown Atlanta. I'm not saying ... I'm just saying), the two happiest people in Georgia are now Nathan Deal and Kasim Reed, because nobody's talking about them. Don't get me wrong, the police chief in Savannah needed to go (and has since been fired for reasons unrelated to the commercial), but they did make an arrest in Casino's brother's death.

But man is that over the top. I asked a friend in Savannah last night who kinda knows the lawyers in that town a little bit better did not have a ringing endorsement of Mr. Casino.

February 4, 2014 at 3:25 p.m.
Stewwie said...

Ali is a great call for this Rushmore and ought to be on everyone's list. Bird and MJ are good calls too. Bird: "Which one of you (guys) is playing for second?" MJ once (or more) started counting backwards from 40 each time he scored and eventually got to 0. Gary Payton is nothing but a talking trash can so he's good for this list too. Barkley never hesitated to run his yapper either. Then there's Reggie, Kobe, and KG.

NFL stars who liked to yap were Sapp, Ray Lewis, Chad Johnson, T.O., Keyshawn, and Deion. Nowadays, you've got Richard Sherman as the poster child for the NFL smack talk. But Tom Brady is underrated as a trash talker too simply because he never does it in the media but he leaves it all on the field. However, I'm sure he regrets telling Richard Sherman to "see me after the game" last year. Sherman held him to it though after the Seahawks beat the Patriots, which led to the Twitter pic of them with the title, "U Mad Bro?" Lol.

February 4, 2014 at 3:55 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Sitting in a restaurant in Toronto one afternoon, and the hostess was wearing not much of a dress and probably not even close to voting age, and in walks a junior hockey team. With their coach. One Patrick Roy. And as the hostess walks away, and a team of 12 year old boys turn their collective heads en masse to watch her walk away, so too does said coach. And this was right after we saw former Blues, Canadiens, Nordiques and Lightning coach Jacques Demers crossing the street while eating an ice cream cone.

February 4, 2014 at 4:05 p.m.
chas9 said...

Spy--Be careful about leaving sweet Miss Paulina in the bullpen. I saw the look in the eye of that fully horned bull in the Superbowl ad. Lickin' his lips.

February 4, 2014 at 4:20 p.m.
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