Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Gilligan-Evans headed to Holy Cross

Caleb Gilligan-Evans, a fullback out of Archbishop Stepinac High in White Plains, N.Y., was listed as a member of Holy Cross's official recruiting class.

The 240-pound Gilligan-Evans committed to Yale in December while Tom Williams was still the Bulldogs' head coach. Gilligan-Evans and his family met with new Yale coach Tony Reno. While coming to Yale was still a possibility, Gilligan-Evans explored his options and is one of 30 players listed as part of Holy Cross' recruiting class.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Agent: Witt is "ecstatic" with showing at NFL combine

I spoke to Mark Magazu, the agent representing former Yale quarterback Patrick Witt, who said he believes that Witt's performance at the NFL combine in Indianapolis was impressive enough to make him one of the top 10 quarterbacks in April's draft.

Witt interviewed with 21 NFL teams and Magazu said his performance throwing the ball left hitting feeling "ecstatic."

"He could look to his left, look to his right and realize that he belonged them, Magazu said.

Magazu said Witt was especially effective on the deep throws. Performing in a group with Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden, Wisconsin's Russell Wilson, Boise State's Kellen Moore, Ryan Lindley of San Diego State and Derron Thomas of Oregon, Magazu said that Weeden and Witt threw the ball the best. Of course it should be noted that Magazu is Witt's agent and it is his job to portray his client in the best possible light and he was not allowed inside during the throwing competition. Still, the fact is that Witt came out of this weekend feeling he is in better position than he was coming in.

Witt did not run the 40 or do the bench press. Magazu said that Witt will run the 40 at his pro day which will be held at Yale next month. The exact date is still to be determined. Mar. 22 was the initial day being looked at but they want to pick a day when other high profile quarterbacks won't be holding their pro days so that as many scouts as possible can see him work out.

As for the agility drills, Witt was eighth among 13 quarterbacks in the 20-yard shuttle with a time of 4.37, he was ninth among 15 QBs with a vertical leap of 31.5 inches. His time of 7.34 seconds in the 3-cone drill placed him 11th among the 13 quarterbacks and his broad jump of 101 inches was 15th among 16 quarterbacks.

Magazu said he placed Witt on a strict nutrional diet but as soon as his work was done at the combine they headed over to the Steak&Shake and ordered a shake.

Witt is headed home to Georgia but is planning to return to New Haven to turn in his final essay, the last requirement before he graduates, and then will have his pro day at Yale. Last time I checked in at Yale there was the possibility of a pro day and the hope was to have it either the day before or after UConn's pro day. Well, UConn's event is scheduled for March so it would make sense to have it either on the 27th or 29th if Yale's other prospects want to perform for the pro scouts.


Looking at Patrick Witt's combine numbers

I've had a few requests for an update on how former Yale quarterback Patrick Witt performed at the NFL combine.

The NFL Network televised some of the combine and I did see Witt threw twice. His first throw on a long route down the sideline was overthrown while he was right on target for the shorter throw. I placed a call to his agent to get a sense of any feedback he received from NFL scouts. As for the agility drills, Witt did not run the 40 or do the bench press. His best performance came in the 20-yard shuttle as his time of 4.37 was eighth among 13 quarterbacks and his vertical jump of 31.5 inches was tied for ninth among 15 QBs. Witt had a time of 7.34 in the 3-cone drill (11th among 13 QBs) and had a broad jump of 101 inches (15th among 16 quarterbacks).


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Patrick Witt at NFL combine

The next four days could go a long way of determing former Yale quarterback Patrick Witt's NFL prospects.

Witt, one of the rare Ivy Leaguers to be invited to the NFL combine, is one of 19 quarterbacks taking part in the festivities which for quarterbacks began today with a pre-examination including x-rays, orientation and interviews. Tomorrow there will be measurements (height, weight, wing span, side of hands and whatever else they can come up with), interviews with the media and psychological testing. On Sunday quarterbacks will go through the drills for the NFL scouts.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

It's official: Tom Williams hired at UTEP

There is an official release on the Texas El Paso website announcing the hiring of former Yale football coach Tom Williams as the safeties coach at the school.

I'm thrilled to be back in my home state of Texas," said Williams in the release. "I'm excited to be at UTEP with an established coach like coach Price and his staff. I'm looking forward to getting started."


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Tom Williams accepts job at UTEP

According to a report on the coachingsearch.com website, former Yale head football coach Tom Williams has accepted a job as the safeties coach at Texas El Paso.

I was able to confirm the hire and will have more on the story on Monday.

Williams is a native of Ft. Worth, Tex. who posted a 16-14 record in his three seasons at Yale before resigning in December following an internal investigation into claims that he overstated his credentials as a Rhodes Scholarship candidate when he was at Stanford in the early 1990s.

The UTEP position became available when Al Simmons left to become the co-defensive coordinator at Colorado State.


A little recruiting talk

I've been getting some questions about recruits and a request to post names with heights and weights.

My initial plan was to do this when I heard back from the coach of Caleb Gilligan-Evans to see if he would be a part of Yale's incoming freshman class. However, I am not gotten anything new on Gilligan-Evans to report.

I did hear back from Choate coach Erik Cooper last week who confirmed that receiver Avery Lewis is headed to Yale. Lewis, who was originally a part of last year's Yale recruiting class before opting to take a post graduate year at Choate, will add some size at receiver.

I do not have Gilligan-Evans, Christian Conway or his twin brother Jackson Conway on this list. That doesn't mean they won't end up at Yale but until I get confirmation that they are definitely coming I just don't think it is appropriate to include them. I expect there to be some other names on the final list when Yale makes the recruiting class official.

Max Archuleta, RB 5-7 170 Canyon (CA) 1,131 yards

Aaron Ault, DE 6-4 210 Lake Brantley (FL)
Stephen Buric, TE 6-5 210 Eastlake (FL)
Austin Carter, LB/HB 6-1 220 Choate 96 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks
Cole Champion, S 6-0 195 St. Thomas Aquinas (FL)
Ryan Dillard, DB 5-10 175 Buford (GA)
Roger Kilgore, WR/DB 5-10 180 Bishop Ahr (NJ)
Ben Killion, OL, 6-6 280 Wootton HS (MD)
Carl Kreitzberg, OL 6-4 270 West Salem (OR)
Avery Lewis, WR 6-5 200 Choate
Sebastian Little, LB/WR 6-0 205 Cheshire
Luke Longinotti, OL/DL 6-4 270 Junipero Serra (CA)
Braden Meador, OL 6-5 275 Montgomery (TX)
Pat McHugh, DT 6-1 255 St. Anthony's (NY)
Mikhail Reece, DE 6-5 230 Gaither (FL)
Aaron Reuland, WR 6-0 210 Mission Viejo (CA)
Derrek Ross, OL 6-3 270 Oak Hills HS (OH)
Dusty Ross, OL 6-4 265 Oak Hills HS (OH)
Matt Rubino, WR, 6-2 185 Holy Spirit (NJ)
Tom Undercuffler, DB 6-1 185 Berlin
Luke Thomas, LB 6-1 215 Sacred Heart Prep (CA)
Blake Thomson, LB/TE 6-2 210 Battle Ground Academy (TN)
Adam Van Valkenberg, LB 6-3 215 Lake Brantley (FL)
Eric Williams QB 6- 190 St. Ignatius (OH)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Report: UTEP coach talking to Tom Williams

According to a report on the http://coachingsearch.com/ website Texas-El Paso football coach Mike Price has spoken to former Yale football coach Tom Williams about an opening on the UTEP staff.

A position became available on Price's staff when safeties coach Al Simmons recently left to become the co-defensive coordinator at Colorado State.

Williams posted a 16-14 record at Yale from 2009-11 including a 7-3 mark in 2010 before being forced to resign after Yale conducted an internal investigation into claims that he overstated claims of being a Rhodes Scholarship candidate as an undergraduate at Stanford.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

New coaching staff is in place

As I mentioned in my previous post about new coach Tony Reno, the new coaching staff is in place. The staff will be officially announced tomorrow but here it is:

Offensive coordinator - Kevin Morris: Former UMass head coach had a total of nine years as the offensive coordinator at the I-AA or FCS level with four years at Northeastern followed by five years at UMass before he ascended to the head coaching spot at UMass in 2009. UMass had a 43-19 record and made a trip to the 2006 national championship game during his time as the offensive coordinator.
Defensive coordinator - Rick Flanders: Returns to the coordinating role he held for 12 seasons under Yale coach Jack Siedlecki. Flanders spent the last three seasons coaching defensive backs on Tom Williams' staff. During the 2007 and 2008 seasons, Flanders was the coordinator of a Yale defense which led the FCS in scoring defense.

Here is the rest of the staff listed alphabetically:
Kris Barber, tight ends: A former quarterback at Yale, Barber comes to Yale after spending one season on Tim Murphy's staff at Harvard. Before helping the Crimson winning the 2011 Ivy League title, he spent three seasons at Colorado School of Mines.
Kevin Cahill, special teams coordinator/wide receivers: Cahill spent the last three seasons coaching special teams at the University of Maine. He also had stints coaching running backs and receivers during his four years in Maine.

Larry Ciotti, running backs: Another member of Siedlecki's staff to return to the fold. Ciotti's first season at Yale was 1991 and he helped Rashad Bartholomew become Yale's all-time leading rusher. Ironically, that mark was broken by Robert Carr and then Mike McLeod, both who were coached by Ciotti's. Ciotti won five state titles during a 19-year run as the head coach at Hand High before coming to Yale.

Joe Conlin, associate head coach/run game coordinator/offensive line: One of three coaches Reno hired off of Harvard's staff, Conlin helped the University of New Hampshire to seven straight NCAA tournament appearances before joining Harvard in 2011.
Dave Petzing, outside linebackers: Spent the last two years as a graduate assistant on the Boston College staff and in 2009 was a volunteer assistant at Harvard. His coaching career begin as a student volunteer assistant coach at Middlebury when injuries ended his playing career.
Steven Vashel,, defensive backs: Another member of the staff with stints at Harvard and Maine. Vashel spent the last three seasons coaching defensive backs at Maine and he helped the Black Bears lead the Colonial Athletic Association in pass defense. Vashel got his start coaching in college at Trinity in 1991 and three years later was on the staff at Harvard.
Dwayne Wilmot, recruiting coordinator/defensive line: Another member of the 2011 Ivy League champion Harvard staff, Wilmot spent five seasons holding down both positions at Maine, the school where he was a standout wide receiver.


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Catching up with Tony Reno

With a little bit of a break in my schedule, I was able to sit down with Yale head coach Tony Reno for the first time since the press conference announcing him as the 34th coach in Yale football history. Many of the highlights from the interview are available in this video.

With tomorrow being the one-month anniversary of his official appointment, it seemed to be the perfect time to run a story documenting what it's been like for Reno since getting hired. While I don't intend on rehashing everything that's going to be in the story (since that would defeat the purpose of filing a story), there's some other info that didn't make it into the piece that I can share with you.

First of all, Reno said he has been thrilled with the attitude of the returning players and couldn't say enough good things about the leadership being shown by team captain Will McHale.

Reno said that Yale will line up defensively in a 3-4. The move makes sense since other than Chris Dooley, Yale is left with a lot of unproven players at defensive tackle while the return of McHale, Wes Moyer (who is coming back for a fifth season of eligibility), Brian Leffler, Will Vaughn and Ruan Falbo gives the Bulldogs plenty of options at linebacker.

With three players back who started at offensive tackle (Roy Collins, Wes Gavin and Ben Carbery) and the loss of both starting guards, Reno did not rule out the possibility to moving one of the tackles inside.

The coaching staff is pretty much in place but is not being officially announcement until later this week, according to Reno. Rick Flanders is the only holdover among the assistant coaches and is moving back to being defensive coordinator. Reno also hired Kris Barber, Joe Conlin and Dwayne Wilmot off the Harvard staff he was a part of for the last three years. He addressed the talk that Murphy was a little perturbed with Reno snaring three assistants but Reno said his relationship with Murphy continues to be a good one. Multiple sources have confirmed to me that Larry Ciotti is expected to return to the role of running backs coach he held under Jack Siedlecki.

Finally, spring camp begins on Mar. 28 with the spring game being held on Apr. 21. One change from the Williams' tenure is that the Blue-White game will be exactly that - a game. Williams looked at it as a glorified practice while Reno said the plan will be to have the No. 1 offense and No. 2 defense on one squad and No. 1 defense and No. 2 offense on the other and let the teams go at it.


Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Report: Morris to be Yale's offensive coordinator

According to an entry on the coachingsearch.com  ticker, former UMass head coach Kevin Morris has accepted the Yale offensive coordinator job.

 Morris, a former head coach at WPI as well, had offensive coordinating stints at Stony Brook, Northeastern and UMass. He spent the last three seasons as the head coach at UMass.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Witt on list of official invites to NFL combine

The list of players heading to the NFL combine was released today and former Yale quarterback Patrick Witt was the only Ivy League player on the list.

That Witt is heading to Indianapolis later this month is not breaking news as I reported this the day that I spoke to his agent late last month but now that the official list was out, I thought it was worth mentioning.

Witt is one of 19 quarterback on the list and I can't recall the last Yale player to attend the NFL combine. He will be in Indianapolis from Feb. 23-26, with the final day the one where he works out for the scouts. UConn will be well represented with receiver Kashif Moore, defensive lineman Kendall Reyes and kicker Dave Teggart are also expected to take part in the combine.

Karl Dorrell, whose name emerged as a potential candidate late in the search for Yale's new football coach, has been hired as the quarterbacks coach with the Houston Texans.


Monday, February 06, 2012

Duron appears on "The Voice"

Dez Duron, who saw action at quarterback in Yale's junior varsity games in 2009 and 2010, appeared on NBC's "The Voice" tonight after the Super Bowl but did not the cut as none of the judges pressed the approval button.

Here is a link to the song he performed


Saturday, February 04, 2012

Rhodes Trust releases its timeline regarding Patrick Witt

The Rhodes Trust has declined comment on the allegations, raised in a New York Times story, that former Yale quarterback Patrick Witt's Rhodes Scholarship candidacy was over before he pulled out of consideration because of a scheduling conflict.

Here is the official statement released by the Rhodes Trust, which I just received from Rhodes Trust American Secretary Elliot P. Gerson.

Statement of the Rhodes Trust

On November 1, 2011, Mr . Elliot Gerson, American Secretary of the Rhodes Trust, told the Yale University Institutional Representative for the Rhodes Scholarships, Ms . Katherine Dailinger, that the Trust had learned of a complaint lodged against Mr . Patrick Witt, a candidate for a Rhodes Scholarship. Mr . Gerson asked for a conversation between him and a Yale official regarding the matter. On November 2, Ms . Dailinger told Mr . Gerson that Mr . Witt would phone him the following evening.

On November 3, Mr . Gerson explained to Mr . Witt that the Rhodes Trust had learned of a complaint lodged against him at Yale. On Friday, November 4, Mr . Gerson informed Yale officials that the Trust would require Yale to re-confirm in writing by November 15 its endorsement of Mr . Witt and asked Yale to explain to Mr . Witt the Trust's decision to ask for Yale's endorsement anew.

On Monday, November 7, Mr . Gerson contacted Ms . Dailinger to confirm that the Rhodes position had been communicated to Mr . Witt. Ms . Dailinger replied that she was waiting for Mr . Witt to call her back.

Mr . Gerson has been told by Yale that Mr . Witt was informed on November 8 that his continued eligibility would be contingent upon Rhodes' receipt of this new endorsement.

Mr . Witt initiated communications with the secretary of the Rhodes interviewing committee in Atlanta on November 7 regarding the possibility of scheduling his interview in Atlanta to allow him to play in the Harvard game on the day of the interviews (November 19). He was advised that the arrangements he sought were not feasible in view of Rhodes' standard procedures. The Rhodes interviewing committee in Atlanta was not ever told about the complaint and the Trust's request for re-endorsement because the Rhodes Trust did not want the Committee to be prejudiced should Yale have elected to issue a new endorsement.

On November 13, before Yale's re-confirmation was due, Mr . Witt informed the Rhodes Trust that he was withdrawing from the Rhodes competition.

Elliot F. Gerson
American Secretary
Rhodes Trust

In the e-mail, Gerson repeated what he was quoted as saying in the New York Times story "as to the one question, I can say to you too Jim, as I did to the NYT reporter, that the words used in the original New York Times article, that 'his candidacy was suspended unless the university decided to re-endorse it’ were a very reasonable characterization of what happened."


Friday, February 03, 2012

Preston lands at Lindenwood

Mike Preston, who coached Yale's offensive line for the last three seasons, has been officially named to the same position at Lindenwood in St. Charles, Mo.

During Tom Williams' tenure at Yale, I thought that no position on the team showed more growth than the offensive line so I think that's a good hire for Lindenwood. He is the third member of Yale's 2011 staff to find a new job as Brian Stark was hired as a West Coast scout for the Denver Broncos, Ikaika Malloe is now the special teams coach at Portland State and now Preston is at Lindenwood, a school which just recently moved from playing in the NAIA to the NCAA.

As for Tony Reno's staff at Yale, look for updates on the new coaching staff beginning next week and perhaps as early as Monday.

The only holdover among the assistant coaches is Rick Flanders, who moves back to being the defensive coordinator after serving as a defensive backs coach for the last three seasons. Former Harvard assistant coaches Kris Barber, Joe Conlin and Dwayne Wilmot are also on the staff. Hopefully the entire staff will be officially announced by the end of next week. Yale is completely background checks on the hires and obviously that is a process where they figure to practice due diligence after former Yale football coach was forced to retire over claims that his resume included inaccuracies.

Speaking of incorrect info, there was a report in the Oregonian that receiver/defensive back David Garlington "signed" with Yale on Wednesday yet his name shows up on Southern Oregon's official list of signees. So I contacted his high school coach at Skyview in Vancouver, Wash. and can report that he will not be a part of Yale's class,

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Little commits to Yale

The Sebastian Little story took an unexpected turn this week.

The Cheshire receiver/linebacker had been heavily recruited by Yale but with the uncertainty surrounding the Yale program after the resignation of head coach Tom Williams, Little ended up committing to Harvard.

Earlier today Cheshire coach Mark Ecke e-mailed the Register's lead high school football writer Mike Pucci to tell him that Little was committing to Yale but then sent another e-mail asking Mike to hold off on reporting that info. Finally Ecke got back to Mike and confirmed that Little would indeed be committing to Yale. I know that the previous Yale staff loved Little and saw him as being an outstanding linebacker prospect.

A story in the Meriden Record-Journal, the paper which first reported Little's commitment to Harvard,  documents what happened with Little's decision to decommit from Harvard and come to Yale. As the story indicates, the decision to reopen the process was Little's and his family's and not the case of Reno going after a player committed to Harvard.

The Record-Journal also reported that Choate receiver Avery Lewis also committed to Yale. I'll have to check into that in the morning. The Lewis situation was a little bizarre. What I was told originally is that Lewis was set to commit to Yale and all he had to do was make his visit to meet with the Yale coaches last month. However, when he left Yale after his visit, there was no offer made to Lewis and the Choate coaches were left to wonder if they needed to burn up the phone lines to find a landing spot for Lewis, who came to Choate from Texas with the idea of landing at Yale. While it was not as set in stone as what happened with Xavier defensive lineman Sean Marinan, there was some skepticism about Lewis landing at Yale.

Finally, the father of new Yale commit Blake Thomson, a tight end/linebacker out of Battle Ground Academy in Nashville, Tenn. sent me a link to a blog he has been writing documenting his son's recruitment. The blog said that Thomson was set to commit to Harvard only to get word a couple weeks back that he was not accepted. The previous Yale coaching staff did not recruit Thomson but with Reno coming over from Harvard and three of his assistant coaches also being on Tim Murphy's Harvard staff, there was a connection there and now Thomson is bound for Yale.

Tennessee linebacker latest reported Yale commitment

According to the Battle Ground Academy website, linebacker Blake Thomson has committed to Yale.

There will be an event at the school where five players, including Thomson, will be signing letters of intent. In Thomson's case, it will merely be a ceremonial move since Yale does not give out athletic scholarships.

Thomson was named to the Tennessee Sports Writers Association Division II-AA All-Star guard and was named the Division II-AA Defensive MVP as well as the Academic MVP.

In case you haven't noticed, I have stopped listing the number of players committed to Yale. This is not an accident. I've been getting comments on this blog saying that new Yale football coach Tony Reno is not honoring the promises to recruits made when Tom Williams was the head coach. I have asked the people making those claims to contact me directly at jfuller@nhregister.com but none have done so. I have reached out to all the recruits who committed to Yale before Reno was hired. I've heard back from all but four.

Of the 24 players I had listed as Yale commits before adding in Thomson, I can confirm that 21 of them are still committed to Yale. I've confirmed that Roger Kilgore, Ben Killion, Carl Kreitzberg, Pat McHugh, Matt Rubino and Tommy Undercuffler are still committed to the Bulldogs. Caleb Gilligan-Evans, a running back at Archbishop Stepinac, is meeting with Reno this weekend according to his high school coach Mike O'Donnell

"Caleb has been offered and did verbally commit to Yale in Dec.," O'Donnell said in an e-mail to me this morning. "We will know more after the meeting this weekend."

The status of Christian and Jackson Conway, running backs out of Bronxvlle (N.Y.) is to be determined.

There's an interesting entry on a blog at the Journal News website concerning the Conway brothers and Gilligan-Evans which casts doubt on the Conway brothers being at Yale in the fall.

I'll repeat my request when people have been posting comments to this blog about Yale failing to honor commitments to the players who were recruiting by Williams and his staff, send me an e-mail at jfuller@nhregister.com and I will investigate those claims. Posting anonymous comments to the blog ripping on Tony Reno and Yale is not accomplishing anything.