More football, from the draft to walk-ons ...

11

February

Is Mike Jenkins dropping off a bit in April's NFL Draft? He might be, if the mainstream mock drafts are any indication. The trendy pick had been to have the former USF cornerback going seventh, to the Patriots, who stand to lose corner Asante Samuel. SI.com's Don Banks had Jenkins going there two weeks ago in his first mock draft. But late this past week, ESPN.com's Todd McShay (I'd link, but it's premium "ESPN Insider" stuff, so I'd be cruel for most of you) has another corner, Troy's Leodis McKelvin, in that spot, with Jenkins going 10th to the Saints, hardly anything shameful.

And Times correspondent Brendan Galella, always a friend of the blog, texted me Friday to say that when Mel Kiper Jr. went through his first round on NFL Live, he had Jenkins down at 18th, to the Texans. The NFL Network's Mike Mayock has Jenkins as the No. 4 cornerback in the draft, behind McKelvin, Virginia Tech's Brandon Flowers and Kansas' Aqib Talib.

This is all wildly premature -- the NFL combine isn't here yet, and USF doesn't have its pro day until March 7, and those two events will do more to change Jenkins' draft position than any mock drafts. Jenkins reportedly has an A-list agent in Eugene Parker -- you know how he's A-list? He's not returning my calls. Still, this raises a curious question or two: will Jenkins be the first cornerback drafted? And what can he do in the next two months to help his draft position?

-- USF has a tradition of open walk-on tryouts the day after signing day, so Thursday saw 69 players getting tested, poked and prodded at USF's soccer stadium. This is the blog of record for all things walk-on, but it's just too early. I can tell you six kids were invited to conditioning, which starts Monday, but I couldn't get names, only that it was one LB/DE, four defensive backs and a running back. Making it to conditioning doesn't mean you make it to even the spring roster, but three guys from last year's open tryout made the fall roster, with Micah Morgan and Lucas Darr played on special teams last fall. I don't remember Kenneth Luberice playing, but I know he won one the walk-on awards for the season. It's no coincidence that running back Ben Williams was hanging out at the stadium -- he's what all those guys are hoping to be. We'll get names as soon as they've shown enough to merit it, I suppose. ...

-- Ran into outgoing USF defensive line coach Dan McCarney on Sunday night, at the Tijuana Flats up in Wesley Chapel. I can report he was wearing a USF shirt, though he's leaving in the morning for his first day as a Gators assistant, taking the same job on Urban Meyer's staff. Jim Leavitt said Wednesday he wouldn't make any coaching hires until he knew what spots he had to fill -- right now, it's defensive line and cornerbacks, because Rich Rachel was shifted to a non-coaching position as director of high school relations. I know Leavitt prefers coaches he's worked with in the past, so I'm starting to go back through his past stops and will start making calls Monday. Any suggestions this side of Warren Sapp, I'll certainly add them to my list of possibilities ...

-- An interesting development this week in Notre Dame's future football schedules, as a memo was leaked, showing potential games for the Fighting Irish all the way through the 2020 season. Notre Dame's John Heisler confirmed the memo's authenticity to the Chicago Tribune but noted that the games listed were only projections in varying degrees of negotiations. Yes, USF's still on there for a trip to South Bend on Oct. 1, 2011, but what's intriguing are the rest of the Big East games.

Connecticut would play the Irish 10 times between 2009 and 2020, but none of them are at Rentschler Field, the Huskies' home stadium. Five are in South Bend, three are "off-site" games in Foxborough, Mass., and two others "off-site" in the new stadium in the Meadowlands in New Jersey. Again, we'd told you the Big East games were intended to get Notre Dame into the Northeast.

I show Pittsburgh with eight games against the Irish, five in South Bend and three in Pittsburgh. Rutgers is down for five games -- two in South Bend, two at the Meadowlands and one in East Brunswick. Syracuse goes to Notre Dame this fall, but that's all they're down for. And there are still some slots to be filled, but right now, Cincinnati, Louisville and West Virginia aren't on the list.

So I'll ask this -- would you rather play one game in South Bend, or 10, but have none of those 10 be in Tampa -- say three in Miami, two in Jacksonville? Again, I'm not saying USF was ever in position for anything like this, because of sheer geography. I'm just curious what you think ...

[Last modified: Thursday, May 27, 2010 12:10pm]

    

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