2013-01-14

FBS Offseason 1 - Underclassmen

Welcome to the offseason.

If you think there is not much happening in college football during January, after the BCS-Championship game and the first to play game end of August or beginning of September ... well then you are wrong.

Yes, they don't play much football in that time.

But still things are happening, which do decide the direction your favourite program will take.

An on-going progress until there is closure in the NFL coaching carousel is the departure and arrival of new head coaches and assistants.

It makes no sense to get into that issue in detail at the moment, since this process will easily take another 3-4 weeks (after Superbowl weekend and some more) until the NFL has all their pieces together and THEN it is possible for the last college team to make their move and fill the last gaps on their coaching staff.
Of cause there is also always a chance that after that moment a coach is fired or does step down, like last year when Bobby Petrino did step down, after he lied to his Athletic Director and left Arkansas in a hurry before season start.

I will look at the coaches changes probably in February, and then it should be save for almost all teams.

Next thing which happens is the realignment of teams to new conferences.
In the past that was just a few every few years, but in the last years did basically a ton of teams change conferences.
It's like a domino effect, when the big programs decided to increase their conferences to 12 or beyond, the left behind conferences had to fill up their ranks by other teams from lower levelled conferences and so on.
First conference which will probably does fall completely out of the football universe will be the Western Athletic Conference.

I will have also a look in that issue somewhere in the future.

Then there is recruiting for the next generation. I will not cover that, because it is from my point of view insane.
All those rankings and ratings are worthless, if there is not the right coach at the right time to bring that talent in full strength on the field.
If you look at some football teams this season and their positive (like UCLA) or negative (like Southern Miss) turnaround, the difference is not the recruiting class of 2012.
It's a factor in that, yes, but the main factor was the coach or the coaching stuff in total.
I will not cover over 120 teams with 50-100 players each, that's insane.
I hope you understand that.

Most recent event in college football is the early entry declaration of players who did play at least 3 years on college level.
This progress is at full speed at the moment and I already hinted the problem with this possibility for players.

There is no guarantee you get drafted and then you are not only unemployed, but you also lost your chance on a college degree (at least a free one, if you pay for your last year in college you can do graduate, but not play football).
Of cause there would have been also the chance you get not drafted after your senior season, but at least then you have the college degree.

It's a bet and at least the big time starters can hope for the first or second round of the draft.
But ... there is no guarantee.
The kids can check with some advisory board of the NFL, but they can be wrong. They project the highest round and then you have to decide.

Let's have a look at the underclassmen of last year’s draft.

There were 67 players on that list (some do list only 65, because some do technically not count as underclassmen, but those players did leave college football with a year or more left to play).

You have to remember, that those players did sign up to leave for a chance in the NFL.
They WANTED to play in the NFL.

It's not like a senior player is not drafted by a team and does not play, because he doesn't want to or did not get a roster spot.
No, those guys did throw everything into the jackpot and waited for the lottery win.

First the good news:
19 Players were taken in the first round. Since there are only 32 picks, that's more than half of all picks in the first round. For those kids, it did pay of big.
8 players were taken in the second round, 7 in the third, 6 in the forth. Those did get some nice contracts but it was not what they were looking for, right? Well, if they get a contract extension in their fourth year, it still went OK, I think.
1 was taken in the fifth, 1 in the sixth and 2 in the seventh round. Well, from financial point of view this is still a lottery. If they can stay in the league and prove they are worth it, they might get big dollars. More likely they will end up with veteran minimum or get cut. Still, there are exceptions.
The same is valid for the 4 undrafted free agents who are still on some rosters. And there is one 6th rounder on a practice squad and 3 undrafted free agents are also listed as practice squad members.
What does that mean? It means you can train with the teams, but are not allowed to play. You get not much money and they are still hoping to get promoted to full squad member.

So for those 52 players is the NFL dream still alive and for some it already paid off.

No let's have a look at the gamblers who failed.
ALL went undrafted.
So if you get drafted your chances are higher to make the team, which is logical.
I found 2 players of those undrafted who do play in the CFL and 2 players are listed as UFL members.
That's for sure not a big dollar chance.
It's an earn-some-money-out-of-your-talent-and-hope-for-the-better-chance.
The most stunning number is that 11 players were not drafted and I did not found any record of them being a member of any football roster. I could be that they went to Europe or somewhere else and do earn a nickel for playing, or maybe they do work as burger flippers. I don’t know.

While I did the research for this blog entry I did read a lot about those kids and many had issues with their schools, were kicked off their teams or suspended and did decide to better declare for the draft, than getting their life on track.
But there were also kids with more confidence than you expect to be healthy.
When I looked up their names on the internet I found often "What was ... thinking by declaring for the draft?"
So many people were stunned at that time and so am I after I did count the lottery losers.

11 players did basically throw their chances for an education for free away.

I can understand that many players do hear the money call and suddenly you have a lot of friends they never met before, but how can they get that stupid?

Those first 4 round picks were told they can get as high as 1-2 round and you can bet that they got nervous, once the second round was over.
But I'm sure those other kids did receiver much lesser round prognoses and they did still declare?

Well, I can't change anything on that.
The deadline for this year declaration is 15th of January and so far 72!!! did declare.
They can still change their mind, so this number is not final, but ... hello? 72???

There are 6!! TEs on the list (last year there were only 11 TEs drafted) and a PUNTER (last year only 2 were drafted). It’s not that there won’t be any competition. There will be around 20*124 seniors from the FBS plus the same number from the FCS and even more from lower divisions.

We will see how this will turn out.
I personally do think that this development is more than concerning.
Of cause those kids/young men can do what they think is best for them, but this system as it is today is a system build on the suffering of hundreds, if not thousands, of kids every year.
Maybe this is the Amercian Way of Life, I don't know, but since colleges do earn a lot of money in this game, maybe they should take better care of their players.
How?
I really don't know.
But it seems wrong that talented kid does everything to get into the NFL, gets pampered on this way, as long as he brings the return of invest, gets the impression to be Superman and Hyperion in union as long as he plays football and once reality comes calling, they fall as hard as possible.
Maybe keeping them on the ground regarding their status in society would be a start.

‘Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

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