1. Kobe Bryant's season is over after tearing his rotator cuff. He will be 37 at the start of next season on what will likely be a bad Lakers team. Should the future Hall of Famer hang up the sneakers?
He probably should. He's only played in 177 games since the start of the 2011-12 season and just experienced the worst Lakers supporting cast in forever while he shot an embarassing 37.3% from the field. There's virtually no way he'll win another title and at this point needs three full seasons of being a primary scorer to try and pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the all-time scoring record.
But there is $25,000,000 on the table for 2015-16 and that's hard to pass up. After that it has to be the end.
2. Marshawn Lynch's dealings with the media received a lot of attention during last year's Super Bowl but his actions are even more covered during the Seahawks current title defense. What do you make of this?
It was somewhat interesting, quirky, and comical during last years run-up to the Super Bowl. In his defense I guess he might have had some bad relationships with some media members, doesn't like getting certain types of press, or has some sort of social disorder. I don't really know what triggered this situation a couple years ago after talking to the media for the past decade as a high profile college athlete and NFL star.
Most seem to be looking at his actions as a giant thumb in the eye of the big, bad NFL. "He's making the NFL look dumb, good for him!" "Why should he be forced to talk to the media, the NFL is so stupid!"
If this is supposed to be a valiant cause then good for Lynch. But is that what's going on?
It's looking like a business move. Credit to Lynch for finding monetary (and publicity) out of the situation but this hardly feels like a movement to get behind. A lot of people like his rebellious nature against the NFL but it'd be more sincere if he wasn't swinging cash on the side because of it.
I also wonder where does Lynch go from here? Last year he said, "I'm just all 'bout that action, boss" and this year he has trotted out "I'm here so I don't get fined" and "You know why I'm here." He's also used many repetitious one-liners with the media during the regular season and playoffs.
For some reason a wide swath of people not only think it's funny what he's doing but think his statements themselves are hilarious too. When did it become so easy to make people laugh? Good luck keeping this charade up in the future--although by the looks of it the public doesn't seem to be tiring of it anytime soon.
Yesterday, Lynch spoke with the media for the last time before the Super Bowl. Maybe I do feel bad for him now. He doesn't want to 'play the game' of using cliches talking about football or being misquoted. Now he's done some weird stuff, people think he's funny, but he doesn't have the personality to drive it any further. Now he's backed himself into a corner. Is it worth it?
3. College football's National Signing Day is just around the corner and the bulk of the country's top talent will be locked in to their respective schools. Which program has impressed you with their recruiting and which program do you think is underachieving?
I'm fairly impressed by what James Franklin has done in his first year at Penn State. It's hard to believe but the Nittany Lions' last three classes finished 24th, 33rd, and 46th in the country. As of this writing, Penn State is sitting with the 13th overall class. They'll likely get jumped by a few teams by next week but still, an improvement of 15 to 20 spots in the national rankings is a nice job in year one.
I would say UCLA is underachieving (currently at 18th nationally) but they're poised to pick up Soso Jamabo and Dechaun Holiday. That'll boost their class significantly and leave them with 4 prospects with Top 50-ish overall talent.
I'm pointing the finger at Miami who still hasn't been able to take off in recruiting under Al Golden. The Hurricanes head coach first class in the 2011 transition year finished 33rd and since then he's put together quality classes finishing 10th, 14th, and 12th. Right now, Miami is sitting at 20th overall and isn't in line to pick up any major national recruits next week.
4. Everyone loves to talk about quarterbacks. Who do you think is the best prospect at the position for the 2015 class?
Well, you have three players who earned 5-star status at quarterback this cycle: Josh Rosen (UCLA), Blake Barnett (Alabama), and Kyler Murray (currently Texas A&M but could be Texas next week).
Rosen is great but I'd prefer to pick someone with better running ability. Murray will probably be a terror in college with his athleticism but he's probably even smaller than Everett Golson. And you know why I'm not picking Barnett.
If I'm not going to be a homer and pick Brandon Wimbush (he's in the conversation) then I'll go with Jarrett Stidham.
Stidham is pretty much the total package and will benefit from leaving Texas Tech's class and signing with Baylor. He'll be able to use his legs more and not have to be throwing the ball all over the yard trying to play catch up like he would if he stuck with the Red Raiders.
247Sports even says he's the most likely to win the Heisman from the '15 quarterbacks. Let the hype train begin.
5. Of course Notre Dame won't be the only team welcoming in a whole new crop of freshmen next week. Who is the one true freshman on the 2015 Irish schedule that fans should watch out for?
How about I give everyone three! And they are all players Notre Dame handed out scholarship offers to this cycle. What's more, they're all defenders.
Even though he hasn't committed yet, it's expected that Iman "Biggie" Marshall will play for USC. He's a corner good enough to start right away even if the Trojans already have a few elite young talents in their secondary.
The second would be Malik Jefferson at Texas. He's already on campus and is a freak in the mold of Jaylon Smith--maybe even better. I would imagine only injury will prevent Jefferson from being a playmaker in South Bend during the Notre Dame season opener.
Lastly, the Clemson Tigers lost a lot of bodies on defense but welcome 5-star defensive tackle Christian Wilkins whose stock blew up over all-star weekend. He could definitely be a pain for the Irish when we visit Memorial Stadium during the fall.