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Photo by: Colts.com

When Braden Smith entered the NFL draft as a 6-foot-6, 315-pound mauler, his strength was evident. But the true tale starts years before that.

As a freshman at Olathe South High School, the now Colts’ starting right tackle checked in at the same height, but with a gaudy 270-pound frame.

I repeat, as a freshman in high school.

“We had camp the first day that I had met him,” former Olathe South coach Jeff Gourley said. “I looked at my assistant coach who was in charge of our camp details and say, ‘Coach, why is the parent in with the freshmen group? Get him out of there.’ …


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Photo by: Colts.com

Alabama linebackers coach Sal Sunseri was up at Lakota West High School, but not to look at future Crimson Tide Ryan Kelly, but to take a peek at his teammate, Jordan Hicks.

“We were in the weight room at the time, then finally (Sunseri) looked over at me and said, ‘Who’s the kid in the corner?’” former Lakota West coach Larry Cox said. “And it was Ryan. He had to come in for a late workout. I said, ‘Well, that’s Ryan Kelly.’ He goes, ‘I love that kid’s work ethic. He’s out here by himself and he’s killing himself.’”

“I said, ‘That’s Ryan.’ (Sunseri) sat and he watched him. He looked at me and said, ‘He’s going to be a big timer.’ At the time I said, ‘Sal, nobody is really talking to Ryan.’ He goes, ‘Don’t worry, Alabama is going…


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Photo by: Colts.com

When Khari Willis was swooped up by the Colts in the fourth round, it wasn’t thought of as a flashy pick. Draft analysts saw him as a No. 3 safety and a backup at best.

But Chris Ballard saw something else.

The typically-stingy Colts GM is notorious for trading down and compiling stashes of draft picks. But you can’t blame him, he’s found some gems in Indianapolis.

But even with those tendencies, Ballard gave up two of his picks to move up 20 spots and select the 5-foot-11, 213-pound safety from Michigan State.

Willis was known for his exceptionally high character and leadership traits, but his athletic limitations were a concern. …


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Jalen Green | Photo by: Isaiah J. Downing (USA TODAY Sports)

With 5-star players furiously darting for “greener” pastures, it brings up the question: Is this the beginning of the end for the NCAA recruitment trail?

Everyone hates the NCAA. It’s like a rite of passage. You hate the NCAA before you even know what college is.

Just months ago it looked like the NCAA was on the verge of collapsing when California made the decision to allow student-athletes to make money off their name, image and likeness. But alas, that matter has blown in the wind.

Now there’s a new debate: Will this apparent new wave of 5-star recruits fleeing to the NBA’s G League mark the beginning of the end for college basketball?

Absolutely not.

It’s Not Just the Simple Argument

This isn’t about the undersized, unathletic seniors who grind in college for four, sometimes five years to transform themselves into NBA-caliber talent. This isn’t about the Devonte Grahams and the Malcolm Brogdons of the world. …


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Photo by: CBS Sports

Most NBA Draft boards feature a consensus Top 3, but this guy should be at the very top of every list.

This college basketball season was a mystery — it was a jumble of teams just continued to win or lose without any one team truly emerging. It almost felt like being the No. 1 ranked team was a cursing rather than a blessing. It was basically impossible to tell who the top-tier teams were.

While the season can be described only as mystifying, figuring out the NBA draft most certainly was not. For just about the entirety of the season, scouts have hinged on three prospects at the top of the 2020 class: LaMelo Ball, James Wiseman and Anthony Edwards.

It’s a relatively split opinion on who should go №1, but I’m going to tell you why Edwards should be that guy. …


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Utah State quarterback Jordan Love has been compared to, wait for it… Patrick Mahomes. With the buzz ever-increasing, just how good does he project to be?

In an NFL Draft class headlined by Justin Herbert, Tua Tagoalioa and Joe Burrow, it’s tough to vault yourself into the first-round conversation.

But Jordan Love has done exactly that.

The Utah State QB is one of the fastest risers in the 2020 NFL drafts. He’s captured the hearts of scouts across the country and solidified himself as a top-tier prospect. His name ripples across the nation as NFL fans begin to immerse themselves in the tale that is Jordan Love.

So is the hype real? Yes. Oh my god, yes.

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Photo by: Colter Peterson/Deseret News

First Things First

Love has skyrocketed up draft boards and has the looks of a legitimate franchise QB prospect, but there are some things that concern draft evaluators. …


As another wild NFL regular season gears down, the quarterback vacancy carousel revs it’s overbearing engine. Here’s a breakdown of the teams that could race to flood the quarterback market.

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Photo by: The Riot Report

The signal-caller, the captain, the quarterback — whatever name or nuance you want to use for them, quarterbacks remain the most important position in football. They’re building blocks for any team to form their roster around. You can have all the pieces around a QB, but it can fall apart because of that one player.

It feels like every year, there are a handful of teams that are desperate for a new quarterback and while the season isn’t over yet, general managers are always looking ahead. So who’s in need — who’s hitting the panic button?

Tier I: You Really Need a New Quarterback

Miami Dolphins

What are the Miami Dolphins? Ryan Fitzpatrick did his best to keep the Dolphins from getting the No. 1 overall pick (good job, I guess?). Josh Rosen looked just as bad as he did with the Arizona Cardinals last season. The Dolphins were just an oddity all season long. Were they tanking or not? Nobody knows. The one thing that’s certain is that Miami gets the chance to hit the reset button and coach Brian Flores will get his QB of the future. …


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Photo by: Twitter: LSU Football

From under the radar to the top of the college quarterback mountain, Joe Burrow is legitimate. And come April 2020, NFL teams will be unable to resist his gigantic ‘19 season.

Tua this, Tua that — it was all about Tua Tagovailoa going into the 2019 season. It was all about the #TankForTua movement. The generational talent out of Alabama was said to be the prize for whatever team was fortunate enough to get the No. 1 overall pick.

Then, everything changed.

Tagovalioa got hurt, the hype died down and Joe Burrow had an unreal season. It was unprecedented — nobody saw this coming. …


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Photo by: Sports Illustrated

While Graham’s rise was unpredictable, his 2019 season is proof of what an enigmatic work ethic can produce.

Quick! Guess who the Charlotte Hornets’ leading scorer is. It’s not Terry Rozier. It’s not Miles Bridges. It’s not P.J. Washington. Nope. It’s the most unlikely one of the batch — the one nobody predicted.

Devonte’ Graham spent four years at Kansas before the Hornets made him the No. 34 overall pick in 2018. At the time, scouts said the 23-year-old’s ceiling was a role player, no higher. But in just his second year, he’s taken those expectations and shattered them. Graham’s high school coach, Jason Smith, said his work ethic sets him apart.

I think that he’s met every jump and level with the appropriate work ethic and discipline,” Smith said. “He’s never gotten too high, never gotten too low. He had a phenomenal career at Kansas. And I think people are starting to see how talented of a player he is this year in the NBA because he’s been given an opportunity.” …


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Photo by: 24/7 Sports

From 12-Man football in Canada to Heisman candidate, Chuba Hubbard’s one-man ground demolition might be the next to burst down the NFL door.

Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard has put up 1,604 yards and 18 touchdowns in just nine games. Hubbard has been a true revelation in 2019. The 3-star recruit out of a small town in Canada was doubted by many, but he’s ignored all of that and worked relentlessly to make himself the Heisman candidate we see today. Hubbard’s high school coach, Tanner Stephens, said he thinks this is just the beginning.

He’s only been down in the states for three years and he’s going against guys that have trained like this their whole lives,” Stephens said. …

About

Sudeep Tumma

Sports enthusiast who lives to spread knowledge on the game.

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