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ESPN: Big 12 coaches not concerned after lowest draft picks in conference history

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It's nice that their not concerned. Too bad recruits are and it's something other conferences can use in recruiting.




West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen was more direct: "I don't think there's anything to worry about. I'm a little tired of [the media] making it a big deal."










Big 12 coaches not concerned after lowest draft picks in conference history






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Three-Point Stance: Tom Herman; Pac-12 snapshot, reflections on 2014






You’re probably tired of hearing about Tom Herman by now unless you’re a Texas Longhorns fan, but I see something happening in the Big 12 that happened in the Big Ten a few years back.

A head coach has arrived and changed everything about recruiting that we’ve come to know, not only for his program but perhaps for the league itself. Many will say I’m getting ahead of myself, comparing Herman’s entrance into the Big 12 to that of his mentor, Urban Meyer, into the Big Ten, and maybe I am overstepping,

But when I see Texas flip kids from Florida (Justin Watkins) away from FSU and California (Cameron Rising) away from Oklahoma and then take a defensive back (Caden Sterns) away from LSU, the program known as DBU that Sterns grew up dreaming of, I see a whole different approach to recruiting for Texas. Throw in stealing away an Oklahoma defensive lineman that many thought was a lock for the Sooners (Ron Tatum), and you have arguably the most interesting and exciting start to Texas football recruiting in Rivals.com history.

So what’s next? This 2018 in-state class isn’t nearly as diverse as it was in 2017, at least at the top, so Texas will need to continue to do a good job outside the state for certain positions. But it is a must for Herman to land a couple of the remaining big dogs in the Houston area, his recent stomping grounds, sooner than later to get momentum in state rolling a bit more.

But a few things are certain based on what I’m seeing from Herman: He will never stop recruiting a committed prospect he covets, he will not bow out on recruiting kids that many consider “locks†for other programs, and December and January should be as exciting for Longhorns fans as they’ve been in a long time, and that includes a couple of recent late runs by Charlie Strong in those months.

Meyer changed the Big Ten and brought a national title to the conference for the first time in over a decade. That’s a tall order for Herman, but you can’t ignore the early similarities, at least on the recruiting trail.





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Baylor Athletes Used Gang-Rapes as ‘Bonding’ Experience: Lawsuit



Grab her phone! Delete my numbers and texts!†the men shouted.
Jane Doe could hear their voices while she lay on her back in a Waco, Texas, apartment staring at glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling. As many as eight Baylor football players had just finished taking turns raping her, and they jumped to delete her phone evidence, according to allegations in a new lawsuit.


inRead invented by Teads
Doe’s complaint is the seventh federal Title IX lawsuit—which involve at least 15 women—filed against the nation’s largest Baptist university. At least 17 alleged victims of sexual or domestic violence have reported assaults by 19 Baylor football players, including at least four alleged gang-rapes. Another lawsuit claims there have been at least 52 rapes perpetrated by no fewer than 31 players on the team between 2011 and 2014.
In March, state investigators joined federal authorities to dig into how the school handled its years-long abuse scandal involving at least 125 alleged female victims.
Doe’s filing claims that the football team, under former Coach Art Briles and former Athletics Director Ian McCaw, “had run wild, in more ways than one, and Baylor was doing nothing to stop it.â€
Players hazed freshmen recruits by allegedly making them lure freshman girls to house parties, where the girls would be, according to the lawsuit, drugged and gang-raped—or in the alleged words of the football players “‘trains’ would be run on the girls.â€

The alleged gang-rapes, according to the suit, were a “bonding†experience for the team, during which they would take photographs and videos of “semi-conscious†girls and then “circulate†them to other players.
The lawsuit mentions a specific video—which lasts 21 seconds and features two female students apparently being gang-raped—that was shared.
Doe, a former Baylor volleyball player, filed the new lawsuit Wednesday, claiming she was gang-raped in a practice that had become common for the team. Doe is seeking attorneys’ fees, a jury trial, actual damages, and compensatory damages.
“Really, what we are seeking to enforce is just a safe education environment for the girls at the school,†which served as a “disciplinary black hole,†Houston attorney Muhammad Aziz, who represents Doe, told the Waco Tribune-Herald.
Doe’s alleged assault is referenced in several other lawsuits against Baylor, including one that claims the players admitted to “fooling around†with Doe, calling it “just a little bit of playtime.†They allegedly told their coaches the gang-rape was consensual.
According to a legal filing in February, when Briles learned the names of players allegedly involved in Doe’s rape, he responded, “Those are some bad dudes... why was she around those guys?â€

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Briles denied any attempted coverup of the sexual assaults in a public statement in March.
“Let me be clear. I did not cover up sexual violence,†he wrote in a letter, which addressed Doe’s alleged assault. “Anyone well-versed in my work as a coach knows that I strove to promote excellence, but never at the sacrifice or safety for anyone.â€
He added, “When I was alerted that there might have been an assault, my response was clear: The alleged victims should go to police, report it, and it should be prosecuted.â€
An attorney for former Athletics Director Ian McCaw also denied wrongdoing. “Mr. McCaw was faced with a complex situation wherein he desired to honor the wishes of the alleged victim, who was unwilling to speak to the police according to her coach, and a request from her coach for guidances as to where he should go with information he had obtained in 2013 about this incident,†Tom Brandt, McCaw’s attorney, told the Dallas Morning News. “Mr. McCaw responsibly directed the head coach to the Office of Judicial Affairs, which handles student conduct matters and was the appropriate venue to take such an allegation.â€
According to Doe’s lawsuit, in Baylor counseling sessions, she was never given any Title IX reporting options and was instead just provided statistics about how few women report sexual assaults, “in an apparent effort to dissuade†her from taking legal action.
Doe “and her parents were told that it was too late for criminal charges and they begged [Doe’s] head coach and the assistant volleyball coach to tell them what, if anything, Baylor could do about the assault,†the lawsuit says.
Baylor spokeswoman Lori Fogleman said in a Wednesday press release that Baylor has been in contact with Doe for months “in an attempt to reach an amicable resolution.â€
“Baylor has since initiated and structurally completed 105 wide-ranging recommendations in response to issues of sexual violence within our campus community, in addition to making changes within the university and athletics leadership and investing significantly in student support services,†said the statement.
“As this case proceeds, Baylor maintains its ability to present facts—as available to the university—in response to the allegations contained in the legal filing. The university’s response in no way changes Baylor’s position that any assault involving members of our campus community is reprehensible and inexcusable.â€
The night of her alleged assault, on Feb. 11, 2012, Doe says she was drinking and then drugged at an off-campus party at a football player’s apartment. At least one of her friends saw a player trying to pull her into a bathroom, according to the lawsuit.
She repeatedly told another player “no,†despite the fact that he was grabbing at her all night. She’d turned him down the day before, according to the suit.
Then, the lawsuit claims, Doe’s friends left, and one of the players picked her up, dumped her in his car, and drove her to another apartment, where the men took turns brutally raping her.
In the aftermath of the alleged assault, Doe says she was verbally abused and publicly humiliated. She claims some of the players sent her text messages about how much she “wanted it†and taunted her with threats about releasing nude photos from the alleged rape. They created fake phone numbers to increase the volume of messages, the suit claims.
According to the lawsuit, one football player involved in the alleged assault denied he would ever come on to her in the first place. He told her she was “easy and, like coach said, we (Baylor football players) don’t want easy,†the suit claims.
Then, the men allegedly burglarized her apartment. They stole money, clothes, and jewelry, according to Doe, and she reported the burglary to Waco’s police department. No charges were ever filed because the players agreed to return her belongings, the suit says.
Afterward, Doe said she was “terrified of what the football players would do next, citing concerns that the players were carrying guns at the time of the break-in,†according to the suit.
Later, the players allegedly tried to justify the burglary by spreading a rumor that Doe stole one of their dogs. In reality, Doe says, the dog was injured in a dogfight organized by the players in their free time and she paid for its medical treatment.
The Baptist university’s rampant sexual-assault problem was first thrust into the national spotlight when football player Sam Ukwuachu was convicted of raping another student in 2015. During trial testimony, it became clear that Baylor independently investigated the allegations against Ukwuachu but took no punitive action toward him other than suspending him from the football team.
In March, Ukwuachu’s conviction was overturned by a Texas appeals court, and he was granted a new trial.
The aftermath of Ukwuachu’s original trial—when he was sentenced to only six months in prison—led to an explosive report by Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton, which found a “fundamental failure†by the school to obey Title IX laws in protecting female students and a belief that the football program was “above the rules.†The firm’s investigators wrote that few students accused of sexual violence were ever punished and, at times, administrators engaged in retaliation or victim-blaming.
The fallout sparked the ouster of university President Ken Starr, Briles, and McCaw, among others.
Another lawsuit filed in January claims that a woman who was allegedly assaulted had joined the Baylor Bruins program—an all-female organization dedicated to hosting potential athletes—because she believed it to be an informal sorority.
That suit claims the program uses attractive women students to escort the football recruits.
But unofficially, “some Baylor Bruins were at times used to engage in sexual acts with the recruits to help secure the recruits’ commitment to Baylor,†the lawsuit states. It also alleges that more than one “hostess†was impregnated by football players and claims that at least one alleged victim was told by another hostess to tell police she had “‘consensual sex with one white male’ in an apparent effort to protect the Baylor athletes.â€
In addition to Ukwuachu’s case, former Baylor football player Tevin Elliot was convicted on sexua-assault charges. Another former player, Shawn Oakman, is awaiting trial on similar charges, and Tre’Von Armstead and Shamycheal Chatman—both also former players—have been indicted on charges related to a 2013 alleged gang-rape.
U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman ruled in March that sexual-assault victims have through spring 2018 to sue the school under the Title IX claim that it had created a dangerously heightened risk of sexual harassment or assault.



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Thursday 10: P5 teams poised to break out, or tumble, in 2017




Big 12 – Texas Longhorns


Texas fans have awaited a “breakout season†for seven years now, but they might finally get it in 2017. Tom Herman inherits a roster more talented than anything he had at Houston, where he compiled a 22-5 record in his first two seasons as a head coach and pulled upsets of a trio of Top 10 teams (Florida State, Oklahoma and Louisville).

The Longhorns, thanks to Charlie Strong’s recruiting prowess, have the foundation of two Top 10 recruiting classes to work with. There’s no longer a question at quarterback (Shane Buechele is the guy) and the team doesn’t lack for skill talent or starting aptitude in the trenches (Connor Williams is an All-American candidate at left tackle).

The Big 12 should be much better in 2017, but it’s not unreasonable for the Longhorns to make a three or four-game jump after a 5-7 campaign a year ago. There’s a reason why Texas sneaks in at the backend of every preseason Top 25 ranking – there’s just too much talent there for continued failure.

Another team to watch for: TCU




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Which first-year coaches need to win right away?



Every new coach has an ace in the hole, to pull out if things go poorly during his first season at the helm.

We're changing the culture here and it will take time. ... I inherited a roster in rough shape. ... These guys have to learn how to win.

College football fans know these lines well. First-year coaches recite them each November. They support the belief that the coach needs time to win. In most cases, it's a correct belief.

But not in every case. Some new coaches step into turnkey situations or at least ones where the roster, if developed correctly, can achieve some level of success. They shouldn't get the luxury of the "Hey, I'm new" excuse.

Here's a look at coaches who shouldn't be given a pass in Year 1, those justified in asking for more time, and those somewhere in between.

No excuses

Ed Orgeron, LSU: As LSU's defensive line coach and then interim head coach, Orgeron knows how much talent is packed into this roster. There's some youth on defense but plenty of speed and a game-changing pass-rusher in Arden Key. Leonard Fournette will be missed at running back but not as much as originally thought, as Derrius Guice looked great in SEC play last season. Quarterback mismanagement cost Les Miles his job, and while Orgeron doesn't inherit a great situation there, Danny Etling is tough and experienced. New offensive coordinator Matt Canada has the type of system to finally give LSU's offense a schematic edge it lacked under Miles. Alabama remains the team to beat in the SEC West and Auburn looks formidable, too, but LSU is good enough to win at least nine games in Coach Oeaux's first full season.


Tom Herman, Texas: Even as Texas went downhill last season, those around the sport noted that whoever coached the Longhorns in 2017 would have a roster ready to win. Herman has some challenges in Austin, namely upgrading recruiting, but he has enough depth to win in Year 1. The defense returns 10 starters, including second-team All-Big 12 lineman Breckyn Hager. Texas has numbers at the offensive skill spots other than quarterback, where Shane Buechele enters his second season as the starter. While the Oklahoma schools are justifiably projected atop the Big 12, Texas shouldn't be too far behind in Herman's debut season, especially if the Longhorns capitalize during the second half of the slate.


Charlie Strong, South Florida: The irony here is Strong steps into a better situation at USF than he ever had at Texas. The Bulls should be the American Athletic Conference favorite after returning 16 starters from an 11-win team, led by quarterback Quinton Flowers. Houston showed the past few seasons what a transcendent quarterback can do in the AAC, and Flowers may end up being better than Greg Ward Jr. Offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert, brought from Texas by Strong, will be able to mix and match in the passing game. The defense needs significant upgrades, but it's also Strong's specialty and an area where he should have more success than he did at Texas. Anything short of an AAC East title would be disappointing for Strong in Year 1.

Partially excused


P.J. Fleck, Minnesota: Fleck is a strong pivot from Tracy Claeys and Jerry Kill. The roster trends younger, and Fleck will need to build long-term depth through better recruiting. But let's not forget this team won nine games last season, its second most victories since 1905. Minnesota won under Kill and Claeys with defense and the run game, two areas that could still be strengths (secondary depth is a concern). Fleck should immediately improve the wide receivers, the position he played in college and where he started in coaching. While Claeys' tenure ended on a controversial note, Minnesota isn't a mess. While nine wins might be tough to repeat, a bowl appearance shouldn't be.


Willie Taggart, Oregon: The Ducks bottomed out last season, both on the field and in the locker room, and Taggart certainly inherits some challenges in Eugene. He also inherits one of the Pac-12's better offensive backfields in running back Royce Freeman (4,146 career rush yards, 44 touchdowns) and quarterback Justin Herbert, who has drawn positive reviews from opposing coaches. Combining the duo with a suddenly experienced offensive line, Oregon should be able to keep scoring. The defense is another story after finishing last in the FBS in expected points added in 2016. Taggart hired the right man to turn things around in coordinator Jim Leavitt, and if the unit simply makes marginal strides, more victories should follow. No one expects Oregon to win the Pac-12 North in Taggart's first season, but seven or eight wins is a reasonable expectation.

Tom Allen, Indiana: Like Minnesota, Indiana had unusual circumstances surrounding its coaching transition, which came after the team qualified for consecutive bowl games for the first time since 1990 and 1991. In promoting Allen, the Hoosiers' defensive coordinator, athletic director Fred Glass hopes to maintain continuity and positive momentum. Allen made an immediate impact on Indiana's defense last fall, and the unit no longer makes Hoosiers fans cover their eyes. The unit could show more improvement with nine starters back this fall. There are more questions on offense, as Indiana loses standout lineman Dan Feeney and running back Devine Redding. But quarterback Richard Lagow, wideout Nick Westbrook and others return. Indiana opens Big Ten play with Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan, but if it can handle business in nonleague play and down the stretch, another bowl appearance is realistic.


Give 'em a pass

Matt Rhule, Baylor: No first-year coach steps into a more delicate -- and unique -- situation than Rhule. The aftershocks from the Baylor scandal are still being felt, and Rhule, an outsider, will oversee a locker room that remains, at least in part, loyal to Art Briles. Baylor is hardly a mess on the field after making seven consecutive bowl appearances and going 50-15 between 2011 and 2015. Rhule inherits a roster that could be good enough to keep the bowl streak going. But the number of changes in Waco, not to mention schematic shifts Rhule will bring, make a step backward understandable if it occurs. Rhule received a seven-year contract for a reason. He deserves some time to get things right off the field first.


Justin Wilcox, Cal: It's always about winning in college football, but the goals for Wilcox's first year should be more abstract. Chief among them is improving a defense that last season finished 126th in expected points added, ahead of only Texas Tech and Oregon. It will take time to upgrade the talent, but Wilcox's mere presence should yield better results on that side of the ball. The rebuild on defense combined with major questions at quarterback and a brutal schedule -- Cal faces two Power 5 teams out of conference (North Carolina, Ole Miss) and visits Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Stanford and UCLA in Pac-12 play -- should lower expectations. The Bears could be the weakest team in the Pac-12 North, and Wilcox needs at least a year to get things on track.


Jeff Brohm, Purdue: Remember when Purdue went to 10 bowls in 11 seasons and won eight games or more six times during that span? You probably don't, but it happened from 1997 to 2007 under Joe Tiller. Purdue then endured one of the most forgettable stretches of any Power 5 program in recent years. Brohm looks like an excellent hire who will provide a much-needed jolt to a program with a strong history at quarterback. He inherits a promising quarterback in David Blough, but the lack of depth along the offensive line and in other spots suggests Purdue likely will struggle in Year 1. The start to the schedule does Brohm no favors, either, as Purdue opens with Lamar Jackson-led Louisville and faces Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin to open Big Ten play.




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Which unexpected teams could take a leap forward this coming season?



Seven Big Ten programs were ranked or received votes in last year's AP preseason poll. None was named Minnesota. Richard Pitino's Gophers were considered an afterthought but managed to come out of nowhere and finish 24-10 overall and 11-7 in conference play. Minnesota earned a No. 4 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Florida State was tabbed eighth in the ACC before the season. The Seminoles were picked behind NC State but were a top-10 team for much of the season and finished second in the conference. The Wolfpack were a No. 3 seed come March.


Butler was picked sixth in the Big East. Instead, Chris Holtmann led the Bulldogs to an improbable 25-win campaign, a second-place finish in the league and a No. 4 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Void of hype. Exceeding expectations. We give you a half-dozen teams that could wind up being next season's Minnesota, Florida State or Butler.

Missouri Tigers
Yes, the past two projected No. 1 picks, Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz, were unable to take their teams to the NCAA tournament. However, look for Michael Porter Jr.'s story to end with at least one relevant game in March. Porter is ultra-talented and versatile. He should have enough help in an SEC that will feature quite a bit of mediocrity. Missouri returns enough upperclassmen: fifth-year forward Jordan Barnett, junior guard Terrence Phillips and junior forwards Kevin Puryear and Jordan Geist. New coach Cuonzo Martin has also added a couple of key pieces, with top-50 recruit and former Illinois signee Jeremiah Tilmon, ex-Washington commit and Top 100 recruit Blake Harris and Canisius grad transfer/shooter Kassius Robertson. Also, don't be surprised to see Porter's younger brother, Jontay, reclassify and play with the Tigers this season. Porter will have to carry this group to get to the NCAA tournament -- but he's plenty capable.

Texas Longhorns
The Longhorns were brutal this past season, but that's what happens when you don't have a point guard and you can't shoot the ball. Well, Shaka Smart has found a solution to run the team with incoming floor leader Matt Coleman, who will make life easier for guys such as Andrew Jones, Kerwin Roach and Eric Davis Jr. Texas will add 6-foot-9, 250-pound Dylan Osetkowski, a versatile forward who transferred from Tulane, Top 100 forward Jericho Sims and ESPN's third-ranked prospect in the freshman class, Mohamed Bamba. The long and athletic big man can be a game-changer on the defensive end.

Oklahoma Sooners
Life after Buddy Hield didn't treat Lon Kruger and the Sooners well, at least not this past season, with a young Oklahoma team that won only 11 games. Jordan Woodard departs, but now all the young guys -- freshmen Kam McGusty and Kristian Doolittle as well as sophomores Rashard Odomes and Christian James -- have more experience. A wild card is athletic and talented big man Jamuni McNeace, a 6-foot-10 junior big man who the Sooners are hoping will make a leap this season. Kruger will also bring in local standout Trae Young, a point guard who was pursued by Kentucky and Kansas before he chose to stay close to home. Young should make an immediate impact with his ability to shoot it from deep and make those around him better.

Oregon Ducks
Sure, the Ducks lost a ton: Dillon Brooks, Tyler Dorsey, Jordan Bell and Chris Boucher all decided to leave school early following the program's Final Four run. Also toss in senior Dylan Ennis' departure, as well as that of reserves Casey Benson and Kavell Bigby-Williams, who have opted to transfer, and it appears to be a major rebuilding job in Eugene. However, Dana Altman will still have talent. Payton Pritchard returns at the point. The Ducks added grad transfer Elijah Brown. Georgetown transfer Paul White will be eligible. Plus, Troy Brown. (No. 14 in ESPN 100) arrives.


Georgia Bulldogs
Mark Fox will have to replace J.J. Frazier, his point guard and leading scorer. But he should return one of the top big men in the SEC -- and the country -- in senior Yante Maten. The key, though, will be the development of young off-guard Jordan Harris and talented freshman wing Rayshaun Hammonds, who was 38th in the ESPN 100. Another critical component will be whether the duo of William Jackson and Tyree Crump can help ease the loss of Frazier at the point.

Stanford Cardinal
Jerod Haase and the Cardinal finished 14-17 last season, but the good news is that Stanford will be the most experienced team in the Pac-12. Haase will have five of his top six scorers back. He adds a four-man class that includes a pair of top-50 recruits in athletic Seattle native Daejon Davis and small forward Kezie Okpala. Haase will build around senior big man Reid Travis, who is one of the best frontline players in the country when healthy. This team has more experience than just Travis, with fellow seniors Dorian Pickens and Michael Humphrey and juniors Robert Cartwright and Marcus Sheffield. Freshman Aussie point guard Isaac White could fight for minutes. Don't sleep on versatile 6-foot-9 forward Oscar Da Silva. Haase will also have the services of redshirt frosh Kodye Pugh, a long, 6-8 wing who should help



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