I'm not really a fan of FOX's Bill O'Reilly. But there is a segment/concept on his show -- The No Spin Zone -- I see befitting for the topic related to the Patrick Johnson saga.
On my way home from today's Virginia Tech practice -- yes I'm covering the Hokies who are in town for the Orange Bowl -- I called back some of my buddies at The U who had left me a few irate messages pertaining to the Rivals.com 5-star cornerback, who announced yesterday he was no longer considering The U (I know this will be it for the PJ stuff, I promise!).
As you know, college coaches and staff members are prohibited by the NCAA from commenting publicly about potential recruits. But it doesn't mean they can't tell us how they feel off the record. Let's just say The U is steaming over Johnson. No, nobody at The U was surprised Johnson, USA Today's Defensive Player of The Year, decided to officially cross UM off its list. They are just surprised at how he has tried to spin the story. Johnson told reporters Sunday that UM "wasn't showing him enough love."
According to UM sources, it was apparently Johnson who wasn't showing UM any love. In fact, the source said UM tried on several occassions in the past month to reach Johnson on his cell phone and usually never received phone calls back. One assistant who was handling his recruiting visited Johnson at Blanche Ely High. Officials supposedly called Johnson in his classroom to tell him to meet up with the UM official after school. Johnson agreed. But according to the source, Johnson never showed or explained why he blew the visitor off.
Hurricanes fans can at least thank Johnson for this: his announcement Sunday gives UM more than a month to fill his scholarship. Tallahassee Lincoln's T.J. Bryant and Booker T. Washington's Brandon Harris may not have the size and athleticism of Johnson. But UM sources say either are more than capable of being just as good as Johnson if not better. As for Johnson, the UM source said this: "Bet the house whenever we play him the first ball is going over his head for a touchdown."
Anyway, I figured that would light U guys up. I've got my Hokies story and notes to write.
** By the way, the Hurricanes dropped out of the Top 25 in men's hoops. Can't say I'm surprised. But I will say this, UM fans shouldn't be so down on this team. Not only is Winthrop a very good mid-major, this UM hoops team in my eyes is still very good and capable of making the NCAA tournament. Are they Top 25 material? Not yet. Did they play a favorable schedule to get to 12-0? Yeah. But I really believe the chemistry and makeup of this team is good enough to win at least 20 games and push for the tournament. Winthrop was a veteran team that knew how to beat UM. And it might be a blessing in disguise for UM. The Hurricanes needed a jolt before ACC play and this might have been what they needed.
** By the way, I saw new Dolphins head-man Bill Parcells at today's Hokies practice. I had never met the Tuna before, but the dude is intimidating. He's tall, about 6-3, 6-4 and he carries around a real-life intensity. You could feel it. He spoke to the Hokies players for about three minutes about what he was there for -- basically to check them out. He said "I'm looking for some football players. No dope heads or lazy guys. Football players." Got to say it was encouraging for the Dolphins to see their head-honcho already at work.