Morning Links: Ducks Land Thomas, Wolfpack Move On From Wilson
Thomas had been a strong USC recruit, as he grew up in South Central L.A. and had little reason to leave home. That reason changed as Oregon grew into a Championship contender, and promised him the one thing USC could not, a chance on offense. USC had been recruiting Thomas as a corner back, and while they said he’d have a shot on offense, his prospects didn’t look exactly stellar. They looked even more cloudy as USC got recruits from two other quality running back prospects, meaning whatever dim hope he had at lining up in the Trojan backfield was all but gone. Oregon on the other hand is willing to commit to the explosive Thomas as a running back, and their spread offense should be a good fit for his style of running. While both schools still were going to end up with top 25 recruiting classes, this move definitely moves Oregon up a notch or two, and puts a damper on a fine USC class. Although the Trojans recruited other backs, neither look to have the quickness and agility of Thomas.
N.C. State Prepares to Lose Wilson To Baseball:
In a somewhat surprising move N.C. State has announced that they are moving on from Russell Wilson as their quarterback and are prepared to go with Mike Glennon. While everyone knew that Wilson would be going to Spring Training with the Colorado Rockies, it was assumed that he would be back for his senior season. Wilson was a dynamic runner and a passer, who really improved the overall talent of the Wolfpack. He was a dangerous quarterback and was named All-ACC this past season. He was drafted in baseball this past year by the Rockies, but had left open the possibility of playing football next fall, until apparently the school closed that door. Now I can understand them preparing Glennon like he is the starter, but to publicly announce that Wilson won’t be back like this is pretty tacky. I know you want to give Glennon the shot you have been promising him, but I don’t think this makes your program any better.
Ravens and Gaither Meet, Attempt To Work Out Differences:
The Baltimore Ravens met with their star offensive tackle Jared Gaither as they begin to look towards next season and rebuilding their relationship. Gaither who was a restricted free agent last year, was holding out for a big contract and skipped voluntary mini-camps last season, which created a rift with the team. The gap widened when he was sidelined with both a heel and back injury, that forced the Ravens to put him on I.R. While many can say the Ravens took the high road, in holding firm with their offer and putting him on I.R. when Gaither took a cautious approach in recovery, their offense paid a price for it as they surrendered 40 sacks and struggled rushing the ball all year.
While it is possible that Gaither will be a restricted free agent again this season, if the free agency rules from last year are applied, I think it is much more likely that the free agency rules will revert back to those from prior to last season, making Gaither an unrestricted free agent. If Gaither is an unrestricted free agent, it might be tough for the Ravens to resign him, given a new salary cap and other pressing free agent needs. Despite being injured last season, I’d expect Gaither to still command a hefty price tag this offseason on the open market, and it might be too much for the Ravens to compete with.