I don’t have a lot of time tonight, but I am going to pass along a few things.
First, some quick “dot connecting” that grew out of the big Sports Illustrated piece that hit yesterday.
One interesting passage from that article dealt with “NFL draft guru” Mel Kiper. He is the annoying guy with the “Lego man” hair on ESPN every April during draft coverage. Apparantly he is close to Gary Wichard. This quote from the article calls into question his impartiality in his rating of Wichard clients.
Gary also used his contacts in the media to help him recruit. In 2000, before a meeting with Stanford defensive lineman Willie Howard, Gary arranged for ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper to call. Gary and I were talking to Willie in Gary’s office when Gary’s phone rang, and he put it on speakerphone.
“Viper, how are you?” Gary said. That’s what he called Mel, Viper or Vipe. “Viper, I’m sitting here with the best defensive lineman in college football. Do you know who that is?”
“You must be with Willie Howard,” Mel said.
Gary used Mel like that all the time. In the agent business, people know Gary and Mel are close, and some people suspect that Mel ranks players more favorably if they are Gary’s clients.
Speaking of Blake, his profile is still up on this UNC site, which is pretty strange.
I also want to point out two national articles that are worth reading. Kalani Simpson of Fox Sports points out that UNC blaming the players is a cop-out, while ESPN’s Bomani Jones does not buy Butch’s defense. I don’t have time to highlight the good quotes — but both pieces are worth your time.