The Daily Dig: What a Weekend Edition

Bad Review for Derrick Caracter; Four UTEP Miners have a chance to realize their dream of making an NFL roster; Back on Campus, the Miners wrapped up spring ball and Tony Barbee makes a cameo.  In The Dig.


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Deep Backfield:  Miner RB Jason Williams had a knockout performance at the Miners Spring Game.  Also, Carson Meger once again showed his potential.

Williams made a quick mark on the game, as the running back accounted for the first two touchdowns and didn't carry the ball on either. The scoring opened on the first possession, when he threw a halfback pass to a wide-open Donovan Kemp for a 20-yard strike. He then caught a 12-yard pass from Meger to give his team a 14-3 lead.

Battle for No. 3:  Bret Bloomquist has a nice roundup of UTEP's backup QB battle.  Judging by the stats, Carson Meger looks like he might have edged out Tim Curry.  We'll see if James Thomas II can stay healthy next season and provide a buffer zone between Trevor Vittatoe and Meger.

In a good way, for the potentially large question of who will backup quarterback Trevor Vittatoe, UTEP's spring practices just complicated the picture. James Thomas II entered the spring injured but far and away the most likely candidate to be the No. 2. After strong springs, Tim Curry and Carson Meger thrust themselves into that picture by grabbing their huge opportunities.

Proving His Worth:  Here are Meger's stats and a nice nugget on his potential to land a scholarship.

Meger finished the spring game 14-of-27 for 182 yards and three touchdowns while directing his Blue team to a thorough 31-17 victory over the Orange. Three weeks ago, coach Mike Price said this spring was Meger's chance to earn a scholarship, and he stated his case well.

Best at What They Do:  Bob Stull continues to write a feature in El Paso, Inc.  He used the platform to point out the winners of UTEP's Team MVP awards.  Randy Culpepper and Blessing Okagbare won Male and Female Athlete of the Year overall.

In addition, team MVP awards were presented to Donald Buckram, Damon Cromartie-Smith and Greg Hiett for football; Culpepper, men’s basketball; Jareica Hughes, women’s basketball; Alix Moncada and Andrea Palafox, rifle; Tanner Taff, men’s golf; Rosana Gomez, women’s golf; Catherine Chavez, volleyball; Jo Radcliffe, soccer; Camilla Carrera and Stacie Townsend, softball; Nicodemus Ng’etich, men’s indoor track and field; Dimitrios Fylladitakis, men’s outdoor track and field; Okagbare, women’s indoor track and field; Anna Wessman, women’s outdoor track and field; Ng’etich, men’s cross country; Risper Kimaiyo, women’s cross country; Marina DeLuca, tennis; Jimmy Salais and Kaleena Roche, cheerleading; Stacie Townsend, women’s strength and conditioning; Austin Contreras and Steve Riddick, men’s strength and conditioning; and Casey Rangel, athletic training.

The Margarits Ain't Bad Either:  Some students from London have been stuck in EP for a few weeks.  UTEP has taken them in.

Bad Call?  ESPN's Eamonn Brennan grades the decisions of early entrants who have hired agents.  Derrick Caracter got an F.  NMSU's Jahmar Young managed to get a lower grade than DC.  Can't say I disagree with Brennan's points on Derrick.  Do you?

Derrick Caracter, Jr., F, UTEP: Caracter isn't ready. The formerly troubled Louisville big man experienced a renaissance at UTEP this season, rebuilding his once-promising career into something recognizable during UTEP's impressive C-USA regular-season title run. It was great to see. But it doesn't change the fact that Caracter, while skilled in the post, is undersized, a tad overweight, and unlikely to be drafted earlier than the late second round. He needs another year to rebuild his stock; a player with a history this volatile needs two years of renaissance to be all the way back.

 

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The Memphis Tigers

Dan Wolken wants to know where Memphis will end up if conference realignment hits.  He has a nightmare scenario.

Left Out:  Memphis hasn't had a lot of success in the NFL draft.

Memphis was shut out during the NFL Draft for the sixth time since 1998. The Tigers had only a seventh-round selection, defensive tackle Clinton McDonald, in last year's draft. McDonald went to the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Houston Cougars

The Houston Chronicle says the UH defense "ruled the day" at the Cougars spring game.  If giving up 708 yards and 7 TD's is a sign if improvement, I like UTEP's chances next year.

With all the strides the defense has made, the offense still generated 708 yards and seven TDs. Keenum, who finished eighth in the Heisman Trophy voting last year, accounted for only 18 of the Red's 72 pass attempts. Keenum completed 11, didn't throw an interception and had a pair of TD passes. Senior receiver Kierrie Johnson, hampered much of last season by a hamstring injury, went on a seven-catch, 150-yard, two-TD rampage.

All About Potential:  Fendi Onobun was drafted by the St. Louis Rams.  He had two catches for 33 yards in a pass-crazy offense.  But, he had a good workout.  Meanwhile, Jeff Moturi runs a 4.42 and has 26 career touchdowns.  He didn't get drafted.  Only in the NFL.

Marshall Thundering Herd

Who's Got Next?  Marshall had their spring game too.  The Gazette is anxious to see what Willy Korn will do when he hits campus in the fall.

It wasn't as simple as A-B-C. Because we don't know if ex-Clemson quarterback Willy Korn will be the quarterback in the fall. Or if it will be Brian Anderson, aka "B.A.'' We'll, well, see.

Tulane Green Wave

Rubbing Salt:  Tulane wideout Jeremy Williams signed a free agent contract.  Tulane fans are remembering his impressive effort against UTEP.

His most impressive performance came in the Wave’s 45-38 overtime victory against the University of Texas El-Paso, when he recorded 324 all-purpose yards for third all-time in Tulane single game history and third in the nation in 2009.

Tulane's athletic department also has a blog up.  Good idea.

Wave Runner:  At the Tulane spring game, the running backs stole the show.

Junior running back J.T. McDonald rumbled for 71 yards on 11 carries (6.5 ypc) and two touchdowns, while sophomore back Stephen Barnett carried the ball a game-high 12 times and reeled off 61 yards (5.1 ypc) and a score. The most pleasant surprising performance of the day came from freshman walk-on N’Gal Tillman, who ran for 54 yards on six carries (9.0 ypc), including a game-best 30-yard scamper.

Tulsa Golden Hurricane

Too Much of a Good Thing:  The Tulsa World's John Klein takes a look at the expansion of the NCAA Tournament.  A 68 game tournament doesn't help Tulsa, they need a 98 game tourney to get Wojcik in the dance.

"With just three additions, I think the debate will be about the 14th-place team from the Big East or the eighth or ninth in the Big 12," Sutton said. According to ESPN's bracket expert Joe Lunardi, if there had been three extra slots available this year, the three "extra" teams would have been Illinois, Virginia Tech and Mississippi State.

Central Florida Golden Knights

2nd round draft pick Torell Troupe had a monster performance at the combine.  Check these numbers out.

Troup finally moved into the national spotlight with a strong performance at the NFL Scouting Combine, where he finished tied for third among defensive linemen in the bench press by lifting 225 pounds 34 times. That was better than Nebraska defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh, one of the top overall draft prospects, who completed 32 repetitions. Troup also ran unofficial 40-yard dash times of 5.10 and 5.16, solid numbers for a defensive tackle. The Bills won't have to worry about Troup's work ethic. He's dropped 30 pounds since entering college.

Random but Noteworthy

Nobody Likes You:  Tony Barbee's first Auburn recruit is a good one.  Barbee is impressing the locals after signing the #1 player in the state of Alabama.

"He is a huge recruit for me and for the program as we try to establish Auburn as one of the programs to beat on the floor and in recruiting in the Southeast,'' Barbee said in an Auburn press release. "In getting the best player in the state of Alabama in the Class of 2010 was very important to establish that we are going to go after the best, and Josh is the best in Alabama this year.

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