The two most heralded hires in college football this past off-season were in Westwood, California where Chip Kelly was brought in to fire up UCLA and in Lincoln, Nebraska where favorite son Scott Frost returned to bring glory back to the Cornhuskers.
Kelly was the head coach of the high-flying Oregon Ducks from 2009-2012 when Frost was his wide receiver coach.
Both had impeccable credentials and were sure to put UCLA and Nebraska among the elite of college football.
Both were upset this past Saturday, UCLA being pounded by 24 points by Fresno State (38-14) and once mighty Nebraska falling to Troy! Where is Troy anyway?
So, the Kelly Collapse and the Frost Folly are winless three weeks into the season and neither team has looked that good!!! They’re also off to historic, albeit negative ones, starts. UCLA is 0-3 for the first time since 1971 and Nebraska is 0-2 for the first time since 1957!
To add insult to the loss to Fresno, UCLA paid the Bulldogs $1.2 million to make the trek to the Rose Bowl. Of course, that was nothing compared to the $2 million Florida paid to Colorado State, but at least the Gators won, 34-10…
Lott IMPACT Trophy nominee Adarius Pickett of UCLA is holding up his end of the deal, leading the team in tackles each of the first three weeks and in double figures all those games (15, 12, 13) …
The four finalists for the Lott IMPACT Trophy in 2017 have all made NFL rosters – Winner Josey Jewell is with Denver, finalists Harrison Phillips is with Buffalo, Minkah Fitzpatrick is with Miami and Micah Kiser is with the Rams…
Texas’s win over USC was the 900th in school history, joining Michigan and Ohio State as the only programs with that many career victories…
The last nine offensive coordinators at USC have all been college quarterbacks…
Oklahoma State Defensive Coordinator Jim Knowles is known as “Sir Blitzalot.” …
Of all the ballyhooed freshman quarterbacks in the country, none are putting up the numbers like Texas Tech’s Alan Bowman who passed for 605 yards and five touchdowns in a win over Houston, 63-49, Saturday…
Lott IMPACT Trophy nominee Nick Bosa was hurt in the second half of the Buckeyes’ win over TCU, suffering what is described as a left groin injury…
2015 Lott IMPACT Trophy winner Carl Nassib (Penn State) has moved from the Cleveland Browns to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Five more universities received donations from the Lott IMPACT Trophy in 2018, bringing the total number of schools to receive monies for their general scholarship fund to 45. That represents $636,000 over 15 seasons that has been donated to the schools.
Kentucky picked up $28,000 thanks to Josh Allen winning the annual award along with three Player of the Week honors. Utah’s Chase Hansen won the Player of the Week twice to earn $2,000 for his school while Houston, Auburn and Kansas each got $1,000.
Alabama and UCLA are tied for the most monies received at $59,000 each over the 15 years. Ohio State is third at $41,000, Notre Dame fourth at $38,000 and Iowa and LSU tied for fifth with $35,000.
Allen, the Kentucky star, is expected to be a Top 5 selection in the April NFL Draft.
In addition to Allen, there’s a good chance the top five picks in the NFL draft will all be defensive players –Nick Bosa of Ohio State, Quinnen Williams of Alabama, Rashan Gary of Michigan and Ed Oliver of Houston, who was on the Lott Watch List in 2018.
Christian Wilkins of National Champion Clemson, a Lott finalist, could also jump into the Top 10.
A third Lott finalist, Washington’s Ben Burr-Kirven, is projected late in the first round of early in the second.
The other finalist– Ben Humphreys of Duke, is expected to retire because of multiple injuries during his college career and pursue a coaching career.
Brian Orakpo, a 2008 Lott IMPACT Trophy finalist from Texas, is now in the cupcake business. He’s partnered with teammate Michael Griffin to open a Gigi’s Cupcake store near Austin, Texas.
Orakpo, who had a terrific 10-year NFL career with the Redskins and Titans, recently announced his retirement, saying he’s refocusing on other things in his life.
“(I’m going to) concentrate on raising my kids, concentrate on being a better father, a better husband,” Orakpo said. “Because it’s a lot of sacrifice, whether you believe it or not, to play in this game. Our family endures a lot. And you’ve got to have a strong woman in your corner. You’ve got to have a strong backbone in your corner to endure what we do at a high level.”
Orakpo was anything but a cupcake on the football field. He was a four-time Pro Bowl selection and finished his career with 23 tackles and 66 sacks.
Jim Leonhard (2004 finalist) isn’t the only one moving up quickly in the coaching ranks. At 36 years old, he has just finished his second season as the Defensive Coordinator at Wisconsin. Then there’s DeMeco Ryans (2005 winner from Alabama) who was elevated to linebacker coach for the San Francisco 49ers in only his second season on the staff.
Chris Long (2007 Finalist from Virginia) was named the winner of the annual Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year for his contributions off the field. His foundation is focused on three areas: Clean Water to East Africa Villages, Military Appreciation and Youth Education. Long is a two-time Super Bowl winner (Patriots, Eagles)… Dont’a Hightower (2011 Finalist from Alabama) has now won three Super Bowls with the New England Patriots…Two Rams were also Lott finalists – Ndamukong Suh (2009 Finalist from Nebraska) and Micah Kiser (2017 Finalist from Virginia).
The 7th annual California Showcase, a free tryout for high school student-athletes, will be held Feb. 23 at the Great Park in Irvine.
Spearheaded by Lott IMPACT Trophy Board Member Terry Donahue, the Showcase has provided 794 student-athletes with $23 million in financial aid to Division II, Division III and NAIA universities.
For information, go to CaShowcase.org.