Mark Lindquist

Weekly Update

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CFB Storylines of the Week

Thursday, June 28, 2018


1. Last week, Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley netted a raise on a new five-year contract, which will keep him in Norman through the 2023 season. That is, if the Sooners are able to keep him through the duration of the deal. NFL teams are already taking note of Riley’s offensive creativity, with Albert Breer of MMQB writing that he has “captured the imagination” of the pro ranks. None of this is particularly surprising, especially with the NFL’s seeming increasing comfort in the risk of hiring a young, relatively unproven coach who has a clear upside (the Rams and Sean McVay jump to mind).


Of course, the NFL digging Lincoln Riley and Lincoln Riley digging the NFL are not mutually exclusive. At least at this time, the infatuation is one-sided. Riley told Breer that it would be “really difficult” to jump ship on the Sooners, though he did not rule out the possibility altogether for down the road. Realistically, he’s probably too embryonic in his coaching career -- and with a successful, contending program at that -- that he’s not going to seriously consider overtures in the short term.


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2. The much-ballyhooed 2018 quarterback class headlined by the likes of Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield has now given way to one which lacks much to put on the marquee. An NFL scout told Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller that he is “terrified” of the 2019 class of signal-callers and that there are “a lot of issues” even with the top gunslingers (Oregon’s Justin Herbert, Missouri’s Drew Lock and Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham are the three names most often cited for the top of the rankings totem pole).


We’ll throw in with the scout’s claims. This class is less impressive at the position and there’s a reason names like Nick Bosa and Ed Oliver are consistently forwarded as potential No. 1 selections. That said, NFL teams react to warm bodies at quarterback the way zombies react to library patrons reading physics books and Justin Herbert is going to look juicy enough considering the position has a steep, steep drop-off. We saw this two years ago, when position scarcity had three signal-callers off the board in the top-15 picks and then a drought until the Browns selected DeShone Kizer at No. 52. We could see a similar kind of top-heavy breakdown next spring.


3. Another few notes on the supplemental draft, here. Leading off, we have a new entrant into the proceedings. NFLDraftScout.com’s Rob Rang reported early in the week that Oregon State LB  Bright Ugwoegbu will be joining candidates Sam Beal, Adonis Alexander and Brandon Bryant as a hopeful to be selected on July 11. Ugwoegbu started 20 games during his career in Corvallis, but was suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules in the spring, after which he left the program. While we view Beal, Alexander and Bryant as realistic prospects to varying degrees, it’s unlikely that Ugwoegbu will be drafted upcoming.


Bryant had his pro day-style workout on Monday, turning in 40-yard dash times of 4.45 seconds and 4.52 seconds, with 14 NFL teams sending representatives to watch him put through the paces. Beal -- who could potentially go off the board as early as the second round in July -- will have his workout on Thursday.


4. When Tyler Hilinski’s parents appeared on ‘Good Morning America,’ they revealed that their son’s brain had been examined at the Mayo Clinic following the Washington State quarterback’s suicide in January. Signs of CTE were discovered, in what they said looked like the brain of a 65-year-old man. The sobering nature of the information is even starker when considering the fact that Hilinski was never definitively documented as having a concussion, either in high school or at Washington State. That the CTE could have been brought on simply due to the regular pounding of the sport is disquieting, especially in the face of the tragic ending to Hilinski’s story.


5. Michigan State both won in a major way and lost in a major way on the recruiting trail this past week. As positive people, we’ll start off with the major victory. That would be in gaining the pledge of five-star 2019 T Devontae Dobbs. A historic pledge for Sparty, that one, as his ranking of No. 7 on the ESPN 300 makes him the highest-ranked player to ever commit to the program. He could play either tackle or guard depending on how his 6-foot-5, 304-pound frame fills out over the next year-plus.


As we mentioned, though, not everything came up golden this week. Losing the pledge of four-star QB Dwan Mathis hurts in and of itself, but what makes it sting all the more is the fact that he opted in with conference foe Ohio State. Still, as unpalatable as that might be, it’s hard to overstate the importance of Dobbs’ commitment. There was a brief stretch where it looked like scandal at Michigan State might actually bring down HC Mark Dantonio, but he weathered that storm, is readying for a potential surprise run at the Big Ten and just landed the biggest recruit in program history. Things have turned around pretty well in East Lansing.


6. LSU has maybe possibly fingers crossed found a quarterback of the future in four-star Peter Parrish, who committed to the Tigers last Friday. Another quarterback of the future, anyway. It seems that every time the Tigers pick up a commitment in recent times, he’ll be the one to right the ship. That’s what they said about Myles Brennan coming out of high school. That’s what they said about Lowell Narcisse. And then Ohio State’s Joe Burrow looked at the depth chart and was like, “Nah, I can swing there” before transferring over as a graduate in the spring. That’s after two years of Purdue transfer Danny Etling.


Eventually, presumably, they’ll actually have to develop a quarterback of their own. They haven’t seriously attempted to do so since the ill-fated run of Brandon Harris. All of this brings us to Parrish, a track athlete who has shown tremendous improvement in his passing over the past year, morphing from a run-first (sometimes close to run-only) ground threat to a true dual-threat quarterback. His upside is tantalizing in an athletic-but-raw kind of way. We’re not going to bury Brennan or Narcisse quite yet, but if neither can mount a serious challenge to Burrow, Parrish is going to have an opportunity in one year. How ready he might be to take advantage of said opportunity will largely depend on just how far along he’s able to progress in his passing acumen.



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Mark Lindquist holds a master's degree from the University of Iowa and writes baseball and college football for Rotoworld.com. He's currently working on a memoir about life, death, rock 'n' roll and his year teaching at a Chinese university. You can reach him on Twitter @markrlindquist.
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