Sat., Apr. 18, 2015
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Jio Fontan denied that Indiana is “100 percent out” of his recruitment, but the 6-foot, 185-pound point guard transferring from Fordham did say that it was leaning that way.
Fontan was initially supposed to visit Bloomington on Saturday for Indiana’s game against Kentucky, but that plan fell through and he ended up visiting Miami (Fla.).
“Honestly, it’s really hard, even for me explain, kind of,” Fontan said Saturday as he was getting off a plane in Miami. “The last time I talked to coach (Tom) Crean, he seemed very interested. (Assistant coach Roshown) McLeod seemed very interested. It was just a little bit of miscommuniction. I kind of got a different feeling toward the program. I still like Indiana basketball. I really like the university. It just didn’t work out, unfortunately.”
Fontan reiterated that Indiana wasn’t completely out, but said it was “looking that way now.” He said he expects to visit Southern California and Tennessee, and could make one more visit to either Arizona, Oklahoma State, Kansas State or another school. He is trying to enroll for the spring semester so he can begin playing again after final exams in Dec. 2010.
East Coast recruiting reporter Adam Zagoria initially reported the Miami visit and said that Indiana had been ruled out of the picture.
There are 926 Heisman Voters.
Dustin and I are two of them.
It is, quite frankly, difficult to keep up with the college football scene enough to feel as though you have done the work necessary to cast a vote for this award. We’re so focused on covering Indiana. As Dustin joked, a 12-year-old who has the ability to just sit and watch games all day might be better able to make this decision.
But we are professional journalists who spend much of our time thinking about, asking about and watching football. Hopefully we’ve been diligent enough in our research.
Here’s how I voted, and why.
1. Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska defensive tackle
Frankly, it’s absurd that Charles Woodson is the only defensive player to win the Heisman. And he had to dabble in offense to do it. If the saying that defense wins championships so often turns out to be true, then surely there’s been a year or two (or more) during which the most dominant player in the country played on that side of the ball. It’s also true that line play dictates how well most football teams fare; you just need to watch a lot of film to see the work those guys do. Because at first glance you’re always looking at the fancy QB or hard-hitting linebacker.
Anyway, Suh changed games more than any player I saw (thanks to computers and technology for allowing me to find some replays of Nebraska games). He was a constant force for the Cornhuskers. He is so physical and so skilled. His motor is downright amazing.
2. Mark Ingram, Alabama running back
This was a tough one for me, because Gerhart obviously did so much for his team. Ingram, though, played against better defenses. The SEC is so far and above any other conference right now. To average 6.2 yards per carry is truly impressive. He’s more dynamic than Gerhart, as he was able to run through and around tackles and also caught 30 passes.
3. Toby Gerhart, Stanford running back
If the Heisman were purely an MVP award, Gerhart would probably move up on my list. He carried the ball 311 times and scored 26 touchdowns. He’s a superb athlete who chose Stanford so he’d get the chance to be a running back. He’s a true power back who wears defenses down. I just don’t think he’s Ingram’s equal.
This is Dustin Dopirak now. And this is how I voted, and why.
First, a brief preamble. This is the first season since I was in college that I’ve covered an FBS football team, and I think it’s the season that I’m least qualified to choose a Heisman Trophy candidate. Of all the people who appreciate college football, I don’t think anyone watches less than people who cover a singular team for a newspaper. We watch one game per day, from beginning to end, then spend most of the rest of the day writing about it, missing countless games that could shape our votes in the process. We see statistics and highlights, but you don’t really know how someone played if you don’t watch him in a game from beginning to end. I was far more qualified to vote for this when I was 12 and flipped channels from noon until I went to bed.
I mention all of that in part because since I submitted my ballot, I’ve come to regret not voting for Ndamukong Suh. The man is an absolute one-man wrecking crew on defense. He will be a force at the next level, and if Texas would have missed that last-second field goal, he would have shaken up the BCS championship all by himself. If my vote is the reason Suh doesn’t win the Heisman, I publicly apologize.
So now for the guys I actually voted for.
1. Toby Gerhart, Stanford: Talk about a one-man wrecking crew. Gerhart’s numbers (1,736 yards and 26 touchdowns) are simply absurd, and it certainly seemed like earned every one of them. For someone that was projected by everyone to be a linebacker, he has incredible speed, agility and athleticism and he could really do it all. With Gerhart in the backfield, Stanford, which not long ago was the laughing stock of the Pac-10, went 8-4 and was in the Rose Bowl hunt. Plus, Gerhart only had one shaky game and it was against Wake Forest in the second game of the season. Granted, the Pac-10 has never been known for its run defenses, but he had three 200-yard games and rushed for multiple touchdowns nine times. In the last four games of the season, which included wins over Oregon, USC and Notre Dame, he rushed for 13 touchdowns. That’s more than a season for most people.
2. Mark Ingram, Alabama: Ingram certainly had a stellar year, and it was the best on the team that I think will end up the national champion in January. He totaled 1,864 yards and 18 touchdowns between rushing and receiving to lead the Tide to an unbeaten record, and he had 189 total yards and three touchdowns in what was unquestionably the biggest game of the college football season, the SEC championship victory over Florida. The biggest reason I picked Gerhart, though, is that I think a lot of Ingram’s success had to do with the team around him. Obviously, Ingram’s no slouch. It’s not like you could put me in the Alabama backfield and I could do the same thing. But I just got the impression that everything Gerhart did he really had to earn.
3. Colt McCoy, Texas: Part of me wanted to vote for McCoy to win it. You’re never supposed to put a player’s entire career into consideration for this, but it just seems a bit of a shame to me for McCoy to be the only member of the trio of quarterbacks that went to New York last year — along with Tim Tebow and Sam Bradford — never to win the trophy. He has more wins than any quarterback in college football history. He’s thrown for 112 touchdowns, and I think he belongs in the discussion among the best college quarterbacks ever. But he didn’t come close to matching his 2008 numbers and against a weaker Big 12, he just had too many rough outings. He was lucky to beat Suh and Nebraska, and he had a rough day against Oklahoma as well. That said, he still belongs in New York.But if I could do it over again, I would have put him behind Suh.
Tracy Smith was in desperate need of pitching help for this coming season, but he managed to find a couple of good arms in Bloomington, one of them coming from his own home.
Smith’s son Casey has decided to graduate early from Bloomington North High School so he can enroll at Indiana in January and play for the Hoosiers this season. Smith will also add Matt Ernest, a wide receiver on the football team, to the pitching staff.
“I think it helps us big time,” Smith said. “We have a couple of guys hurt,and we’re not quite sure where they’re gonna be. We’re just so young on the mound. Now, Casey’s gonna be a freshman and younger than our youngest guys. but we’re hurting with numbers. We only had seven healthy pitchers in the fall. If Ernest comes a long, he’s a guy who can legitimately throw 90 mile an hour, so he could help us. If Casey is in the mid-80s and his breaking ball is working than he can be serviceable out of the bullpen.”
The younger Smith decided in late fall that he would try to graduate early. He had actually taken college course on IU’s campus for credit already and he took a government course through a program with Indiana called IU High School online to complete the requirements for graduation.
“It was funny, we’d just sitting at the kitchen table,” the younger Smith said. “(Tracy) would come home and talk about how some guys had left, and they’d lost people to some injuries. Then he made a joking comment, like, ‘Hey, maybe if you decided to come to Indiana, you could come this semester.’ And I got excited about it. I went into talk to my guidance counselor and found out how I could do it. I went in to approach (Tracy) and said, ‘I’ll really take you up on that if you really want to do it.'”
Ernest, meanwhile, was a four-year letter winner in baseball in Crown Point, Ind., and was itching to get back in the game after two years away from it. He appeared at tryouts in the fall. Smith said he saw him throw a few pitches, cracking 90 miles per hour on the radar gun and was sold.
“I said, OK, we’ll get through football season and talk about it later,” the elder Smith said. “But you have a spot in the spring if you want it.”
Said Ernest: “I was just going in there thinking it was going to be a fun thing to do for a day. I was surprised, because that’s four or five miles per hour more than I’d ever thrown in high school.”
You can do some tricky things with statistics, especially in a game that has any many measures as basketball.
But you need not look askance at the one tidbit that best explains what happened here today. There’s no trickery involved.
Kentucky out-rebounded Indiana 49-24 and therefore pushed away from the Hoosiers’ most valiant effort and easily won at Assembly Hall for the first time since 1981. The Wildcats now lead the series 30-23.
Here, for your enjoyment, is what both head coaches and a few players had to say following the game.
Christian Watford screams during Indiana’s win against Pittsburgh. The Hoosiers play host to Kentucky today. Chris Howell | Herald-Times
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