Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Three more headed for NFL tryouts

Quarterback Billy Malone, offensive lineman Joseph Thompson and tight end Kendrick Holloway have all received official invites from NFL clubs to try out to make the league. Malone will try out for the Buffalo Bills in June and perhaps be joining former Tulane teammate J.P. Losman while Thompson and Holloway will head to Cleveland to try and make the Browns roster. On another note, Graham Harell, the brother of ACU backup quarterback Clark Harrell and Texas Tech QB standout will also head to Cleveland for a training camp invite. Good luck to the former Wildcats in their efforts to play on Sundays!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Scott to the Bengals!!!

Bernard Scott was the last pick in the sixth round and headed to Cincinnati Bengals. Bernard was one of the most productive running backs in NCAA history and it is no surprise that the NCAA Division II Player of the Year and Harlon Hill Trophy winner (DII Heisman equivalent) is headed to the NFL. Congratulations to Scott and we'll keep watching for Billy Malone and Joseph Thompson!

Scott will join Kenny Watson, Gary Russell, DeDe Dorsey and last year's starters Chris Perry and Cedric Benson at the running back position. The other five listed running backs for the Bengals were listed off the last active roster on Bengals.com. Check acusports.com for the official release, it's likely Lance will have quotes from each player by the end of the night.


Johnny Knox never got a chance to play with Danieal Manning at Abilene Christian University. But perhaps now, in the NFL, with the Chicago Bears selecting Knox in the fifth round of the 2009 NFL draft Sunday, he'll get that chance with Manning on Sundays. Manning, a second-round selection by the Bears in 2006 and a three-year letterman for the Wildcats, has already played three seasons for Chicago and emerged as the Bears top kickoff return man in mid-season last year. He scored his first NFL touchdown on a Thursday Night Football matchup against the New Orleans Saints on an 83-yard kickoff return to open the game. Knox, a two-year letterman for ACU, will try and bolster a wide receiving corps that hasn't had many star wideouts since Curtis Conway in the late 90's. Knox could be catching passes from the newly acquired Jay Cutler, who was a Pro Bowl quarterback for the Denver Broncos last season.

Stay tuned to see if Bernard Scott, Billy Malone or Joseph Thompson are drafted. If the remaining trio of NFL hopefuls is left out of the draft, likely they will get a shot at an NFL mini-camp or they may sign as preferred free agents following the draft.

Also, Wildcats fans, the ACU softball team will be competing for the LSC title in Abilene. ACU defeated Central Oklahoma to win the south site of the opening round of the tournament; Angelo State won the north site of the tournament and the two teams will meet at Poly Wells Field Friday at 5 p.m. for the first game of a best-of-three series to determine the champion. Click here to see loads of photos from the weekend and see the results of the south site portion of the LSC Softball tournament.

More Notes:
• ACU's men's golf team squeaked into its third-straight Regional Tournament and Mike Campbell and the Wildcats will be headed to Allendale, Mich. May 4-6.
Keith Null, West Texas A&M's quarterback was selected in the sixth round (196th overall) by the St. Louis Rams marking the second LSC player taken in the draft

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Potential big day and small gallery from LSC softball tourney

Lance will probably blog more on this later or at least write a release on acusports.com, but it could be a big day for Abilene Christian and its football program. Although it may take until Sunday, Johhny Knox, Bernard Scott and Billy Malone could be selected in the NFL draft this weekend. The first three rounds of the draft begin at 3 p.m. CST Saturday. Based upon previous projections, Knox the star wide receiver for the Wildcats the past two seasons might have the only chance to be selected today. Rounds four thru seven will take place Sunday where Knox and Scott are expected to be picked. Billy Malone might be drafted but is more likely to earn a preferred free agent contract after the draft. Offensive lineman Joseph Thompson also signed with an agent and hopes to get an invite to an NFL training camp as well.

So, Wildcats if you're not at Poly Wells Field cheering on the ACU softball team the next two days, tune into ESPN and see where some of the top football players to every put on the purple and white are selected in the NFL draft.

Here is a link to a small photo gallery from ACU's 3-0 win over Midwestern State yesterday at the LSC Softball Championship Tournament on ACU's campus.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Gearing up for the LSC Softball Tourney & an amazing highlight from this year's basketball season

Wildcats fans, beginning tomorrow at 4 p.m., ACU and Poly Wells Field will play host to half of the LSC's participants in the LSC Softball Tournament. ACU will play its first game of the four-team double-elimination tournament Friday at 6:30 vs. Midwestern State. Check out the tournament web site by clicking here.

And ... listen to head coach Chantiel Wilson's comments on the upcoming tournament.

One of the more amazing shots I've seen live came Jan. 19, 2009 in Canyon, Texas when ACU's own Dante Adams bounced in a shot from the baseline against West Texas A&M. Adams provided me the video file and I posted it to YouTube. Enjoy it below:

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

ACU track signee wins big honor at KU Relays

ACU women's track and field signee Lynette Atkinson of Ladue High School in St. Louis, Mo., was named the Most Outstanding Performer at last weekend's Kansas Relays in Lawrence, Kan.

She helped the Rams win the 4x200 relay (1:43.49), 4x400 relay (3:50.42) and sprint medley relay (4:05.76).  Ladue finished a close second in the 4x100 relay (48.63).

The conditions at Kansas weren't ideal for running: cold (about 40 degrees) and wet.  But Lynnette and her twin sister, Lauren – also an ACU signee – weren't deterred by the elements.

"These kids are all really good kids," Ladue head coach Keith Harder told the Suburban Journal about the Atkinsons. "They have a swagger, but they're very humble, they take it seriously and it's their life. They've worked hard to get to this point. They take nothing for granted."

Thursday, April 16, 2009

LSC Championship pages

The Wildcats are about to be in the middle of a multitude of spring Lone Star Conference Tournaments. The LSC is hosting the golf championship and you can click here for the LSC Golf Tournament Web Site to follow the Wildcats. Head coach Mike Campbell and ACU need a strong showing at the conference championships April 20-21 to earn a trip to the NCAA Division II South Central Region Golf Tournament in Michigan. The ACU track team is looking to defend its outdoor title in both the men's and women's divisions in Kingsville May 7-9. Here's the link to the LSC Track & Field Championships web site. And as you can see by the video, ACU is hosting the LSC Baseball Championship May 2-5 at Crutcher Scott Field. Click here to see the LSC Baseball Championship web page.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Knox projected to go early in 4th round

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper has posted his latest mock draft on espn.com, but unless you've signed up as an ESPN Insider, you can't see the entire draft.

However, since we're a full-service blog, let me just tell you that Kiper has former ACU wide receiver Johnny Knox going to the St. Louis Rams with the third pick of the fourth round (103rd pick overall).

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Former Wildcats, now Ruff Riders, help Abilene debut professional Indoor Football with win

After two failed semi-professional teams arrived almost as quickly as they left in the 1990’s, professional indoor football made its debut in Abilene Monday night. While the Abilene Prairie Dogs (1995-98) baseball team and the Abilene Aviators (1998-99) hockey team may have failed, perhaps the Ruff Riders’ star power and local football heroes could keep the newest Indoor Football League (IFL) team alive.

Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Quincy Carter and a handful of local players helped lead the Abilene Ruff Riders to a 39-24 victory over the Odessa Roughnecks in front of 3,982 fans at the Taylor County Expo Center.

Former ACU players Jerale Badon and Chris Morris each caught two touchdowns apiece from Carter. Badon, who holds ACU’s all-time receptions, yards and receiving touchdown records caught four passes for 91 yards while Morris had six catches for 83 yards.

Badon, who also had two kick returns for 18 yards, scored the first touchdown in team history with 14:06 left in the second quarter putting the Ruff Riders ahead 10-6. In the third quarter, the former ACU WR duo dominated; Morris caught a 22-yard score with 7:01 left, just 2:05 later, Badon caught his second touchdown ball from 26 yards out, and Morris scored on a 12-yard reception with 2:33 left.

Former ACU linebacker Brandon Henry also had a solid game with six tackles (four solo, two assisted) and he came up with a fumble recovery in the quarter on a kickoff that set up perhaps the game-sealing touchdown three plays later when Morris’ second touchdown put the Ruff Riders up 36-16. Henry also had a quarterback hurry.

Speaking of quarterback hurries former defensive lineman Willis Hogan (pictured) led the game with three as Abilene’s starting nose guard. Near the end of the first half, Hogan also intercepted a pass and returned it for a 6-yard touchdown, however, the play was called back due to a procedure penalty on the Ruff Riders.

Other than former Wildcat offensive lineman Matt Raesner who didn’t play, there is one more ACU connection for the Ruff Riders. ACU assistant women’s basketball coach Terri Pertuit’s husband and ACU assistant soccer coach Thomas Pertuit’s brother, Nich Pertuit, is the team’s placekicker. Pertuit scored the first points in the team’s history with a 24-yard field goal in the first quarter. He later added a 23-yard field goal in the fourth, and converted on 3 of 5 extra point attempts. Nich Pertuit is also Wylie High School’s Boys’ Soccer Coach.

Other Abilene connections on the roster were Michael Carrillio, the former Hardin-Simmons receiver. Carrillio caught four passes for 27 yards. The two McMurry players, Desmond Sanders and Rashon Lewis each made the 25-man roster, but only 21 are allowed to suit up for games, neither suited out.

As far as family entertainment goes, I personally thought the game was fun, and it was especially fun to see the former Wildcats and Carter in action. Badon is an especially big story because he’s been catching touchdown passes in the city of Abilene for a long time at Abilene High, ACU and now the Ruff Riders.

The new indoor team will also play host to a Saturday home game against the Omaha Beef at 7 p.m.

Abilene Reporter News coverage
Abilene vs. Odessa Box Score
Abilene Ruff Riders web site
Indoor Football League web site

Friday, April 3, 2009

It's been a while ...

Well, it's been a while since I posted on the blog.  Sorry for the delay, but with the big weekend coming up for the ACU baseball and softball teams, I thought I'd take some time to help Wildcat fans catch up in a few areas:

• The ACU football team will wrap up three weeks of spring practice Saturday at 10 a.m. with the annual Purple-White scrimmage at Shotwell Stadium.  All fans who are planning on attending the scrimmage need to both park and sit on the west (home) side of the stadium for two reasons: first, the stadium's east side suffered some damage from Wednesday's high winds as a light tower snapped in half and fell backward, crashing through the fence surrounding the stadium; and second, the restrooms on the east side of the stadium won't be unlocked.

• The scrimmage is set for a couple of hours in game-like conditions.  One of the players to keep an eye is sophomore-to-be running back Kyle Fox, who has performed well this spring.  In 2005, Fox was the Lone Star Conference South Division Freshman of the Year at Angelo State after leading the Rams to the NCAA Division II playoffs.  However, poor grades forced him out of school.  He's back in school this semester at ACU, and the coaching staff believes he could make an immediate impact in the fall.  If you'd like to read more about his situation, the Abilene Reporter-News has a story posted today.

• Speaking of football news, ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper called the office a couple of days ago to get some information on Johnny Knox and Bernard Scott.  That gave me the opportunity to ask him about the Wildcats' trio of offensive threats in Knox, Scott and Billy Malone.  Here's his take on each one:

Kiper on Knox:  "Right now I have him going late in the fourth or early in the fifth round.  He's got great return skills and speed and that's a tremendous combination.  Because he played at a lower level, there will be some questions about his making the transition, but his ability to play on special teams will give him an edge.  He won't play a major role as a wide receiver in his first year or two.  Wide receiver is one of the most difficult positions to transition to in the NFL, even for guys who played at major Division I schools."

Kiper on Scott: "I see him going anywhere from the fifth round to being a priority free agent.  He's got a great ability to run the football, but there will be some things he hasn't had to do in the NFL that he hasn't had to do at the Division II level.  One of those things would be blocking, and those schemes are more complicated at the NFL level than at the Division II level.  As for his off-field stuff, every team looks at that differently.  It only takes one team to take you, and that's the only team that has to believe in you."

Kiper on Malone: "He's a free-agent guy who will have to battle just to make it into a camp.  There are 15-20 quarterbacks who will go in the late rounds who'll be in the same position."

• The ACU softball and baseball teams will be in San Angelo this weekend for a pair of crucial series against the Rambelles and Rams, respectively.  Friday's single baseball game and Saturday's baseball doubleheader will be broadcasts on www.acusports.com.

• ACU senior decathlete Camille Vandendriessche made Wildcat track and field history Thursday, and that's difficult to do.  He became the first Wildcat athlete to win the decathlon at the Texas Relays.  Read more about it here.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

ACU senior catcher Jordan Schmitt has been the catalyst for the Wildcats' offense in 2009, posting the best season of his career.  Already the Lone Star Conference and ACU career record-holder for doubles and total bases, he's two RBI away from breaking that record and 24 hits away from breaking that record.

His season has caught the eye of pingbaseball.com, which featured him Thursday as the Division II Spotlight Player.  Here's the link to the Q&A with Jordan.