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Larry Brown Sports Tagline. Brown Bag it, Baby.
#pounditFriday, January 27, 2023

Stories by Larry Brown:

1 QB prospect receiving hype as potential No. 1 draft pick

NFL Draft theater

Apr 28, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; A general overall view as NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft at the NFL Draft Theater. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Draft order is in the process of being set, and the Chicago Bears are already on the clock. Teams are deep in their player evaluations in preparation for April’s event. It seems like this year’s controversial player is Will Levis.

Some people think Levis is terrible and can’t understand why he’s receiving hype as a first-round pick. Others like him a lot and even think he could go No. 1 overall.

CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson projected Levis to go No. 1 overall in his most recent mock draft. It’s important to note that Wilson himself ranks Levis third in the class and had the Colts trading up to get Levis.

Even if Wilson doesn’t have Levis first among the quarterbacks, having him third is still pretty high.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. released a video on Twitter Thursday in which he shared why he likes Levis so much.

Levis began his college career at Penn State before leaving for Kentucky and putting up a big season in 2021. Levis passed for 2,826 yards, 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions along with 9 rushing touchdowns while leading the Wildcats to a 10-3 season. This season, amid serious hype, Levis passed for 2,406 yards with 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions while Kentucky went 7-6.

Those who watched Levis against Tennessee and Vandy will never understand the hype surrounding him. But people like Mel are offering their strong support for the young QB.

Boris Becker offers harsh prediction about Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal speaks after a win

Aug 11, 2019; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Rafael Nadal from Spain during the awards ceremony during the Rogers Cup tennis tournament at Stade IGA. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Boris Becker offered a harsh prediction about Rafael Nadal after seeing the Spanish star lose early in this year’s Australian Open.

Nadal lost to Mackenzie McDonald in the second round of the Aussie Open after being bothered by a hip injury. The 36-year-old won in Melbourne last year as Novak Djokovic was denied entry into the country, which helped Nadal separate himself in their battle for the most majors.

As far as Becker is concerned, if Nadal is to win any more majors, it won’t be at the Australian Open.

The former German tennis star has provided some commentary for Eurosport.

“The question was: Will he play until he’s 40? I don’t think so. Yesterday was already the first step towards his retirement,” Becker said of Nadal.

“An injury like that is hard, and at this age, it takes even longer to get back into shape. I hope and pray that he will get well soon and that we will see him looking fresh again in Paris at the latest, but I think his days are numbered,” Becker said.

That is a tough comment to say that Nadal’s days are numbered.

Becker said he knows the clay court season will be Nadal’s priority, and he still would pick the Spaniard to win the French Open. But he doesn’t anticipate Nadal playing the Australian Open again.

“I think he will want to play Paris again. But I don’t know if he will take on Australia again. That’s why we should celebrate him as long as we have him.” Becker said.

Becker hailed Nadal as more than just a tennis legend, calling him a “sports legend.” He thinks Rafa should be celebrated while he is playing. But like we all know, at some point Nadal will have to call it quits the way Roger Federer recently did. Becker thinks the hip injury is one more thing pushing Nadal towards the end of his career.

Nadal’s 22 majors are one more than Djokovic’s 21 and two more than Federer’s 20.

Livvy Dunne says LSU added new security, rules due to her popularity

Olivia Dunne smiles

Jul 20, 2022; Los Angeles, CA, USA; American gymnast Olivia Dunne arrives on the red carpet before the 2022 ESPY Awards at Microsoft Theater. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Livvy Dunne recently revealed that LSU added new security measures and rules for students due to concerns over her popularity.

Dunne is a junior and competes in the all-around. She was an All-American on the bars in 2021. She’s a talented gymnast who has achieved fame via social media thanks to her athletic success, personality, and good looks.

Dunne has over 10 million followers across social media platforms (over 3.1 million on Instagram and nearly 7 million on TikTok). She is so popular that she attracts crowds on the road, including the sort of scene you would have expected to see after an NSYNC concert.

Take a look at the scene after an LSU-Utah competition:

Following that scene and competition, LSU had to add security for Dunne.

“That was insane. It really was,” Dunne said of the scene during an interview with “TODAY” that was released on Friday.

“They gave us some new rules for us athletes just to keep us safe, to not go into the stands after meets. And we have a new security person that travels with us,” Dunne said in the interview.

LSU gymnastics coach Jay Clark told reporters last week that they will be creating a perimeter around their bus for when they load/unload on the road.

“We will have security detail with us now when we go on the road and we will be working to create a perimeter around where we get on the bus, where we load,” Clark told reporters last week, which came days after the Utah incident.

Dunne did not even compete in the competition against Utah because she was injured.

Dunne is represented by a famous talent agency and is the highest-earning female college athlete thanks to new Name, Image and Likeness rules that allow for endorsement deals. Dunne has deals with Forever 21, Vuori and LinkTree.

Florida makes decision on Jaden Rashada’s Letter of Intent

Jaden Rashada with hats in front of him

The Florida Gators have made a decision about Jaden Rashada’s Letter of Intent.

Rashada signed his National Letter of Intent on signing day last month, but there were reports a week ago saying that he was going to request his release. He ended up doing so this week.

Florida had to make a decision about whether they would release him, and they did.

On3 reported Friday that the Gators have released Rashada.

The question for Rashada now is what he will do next. He returned to his home in Pittsburg, Calif. and has time to find a new school before the fall. But the 5-star quarterback is getting close to being too late to enroll in a school for this semester, which could hurt his development ahead of his freshman season.

Rashada already has one visit set up.

Chargers GM has interesting response to rumors about Brandon Staley

Brandon Staley wearing a headset

Oct 31, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley looks on during the second half against the New England Patriots at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

There were widespread calls for Brandon Staley’s job after the Los Angeles Chargers blew a 27-0 lead in the playoffs and lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars last weekend, but apparently those calls were not shared by the Chargers’ front office.

The Chargers made a few changes to their coaching staff this week, as they got rid of their offensive coordinator as well as their quarterbacks coach. Those moves were indications that the Chargers were dissatisfied by the way things went but were not going to make a change at head coach.

On Thursday, Chargers GM Tom Telesco was asked if Staley’s job was ever in question.

“No. That was probably more [media] discussion than ours,” Telesco said. “The front office’s belief in Brandon hasn’t changed. He’s got our belief. Our players believe in him. He’s a tremendous leader.”

Telesco hired Staley, so it’s not too surprising that he believes in the coach. But for him to say the firing rumors are more media and fan talk than front office talk is an issue.

Staley cost the Chargers a playoff spot last season by completely botching an unspoken tie truce he had with the Raiders. Then this season, the team blew a 27-0 lead against the Jags.

Staley has shown multiple times that he does not know how to handle things in crunch time. But the Chargers are a cheap organization, so they more than any team probably can’t afford to pay a coach buyout.

Ben Simmons ejected after being called for two technical fouls

Ben Simmons walking off the court

Ben Simmons’ game against the Phoenix Suns on Thursday night ended earlier than expected.

Simmons was ejected just a few minutes into the third quarter of his Brooklyn Nets’ game against the Phoenix Suns. Simmons got called for an offensive foul on a screen he was setting, which ws his fifth foul. Then he got called for two technical fouls, triggering his ejection.

Simmons had 7 points, 4 rebounds and 6 assists in 18 minutes prior to being tossed. His Nets had been hot, winning 12 straight games from Decemer-January. But they had lost three in a row entering the game at Phoenix.

Simmons is averaging 7.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game this season.

Andy Reid has great quote about Chiefs’ game in Germany

Andy Reid on the field

August 14, 2021; Santa Clara, California, USA; Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs will be playing one of their games in Germany next season, and Andy Reid is excited for that game.

The Chiefs are preparing for their Divisional Round game against the Jaguars on Saturday. While speaking with the media on Thursday, Reid was asked about the NFL’s announcement that the Chiefs would be one of the teams playing an international game for the 2023 season.

Reid predictably said he hadn’t thought about the game. But there is one thing he does know: he’s looking forward to the food.

“I look forward to getting a bratwurst,” Reid said.

Reid is known for his love of food. His players know it and gave him an appropriate Christmas gift.

Here’s hoping Reid is able to find the perfect brat while in Germany.

The other team that will be playing in Germany next season is New England. The Jags, Bills and Titans will be playing games in London.

Chiefs fans, you’ll love this Andy Reid cheeseburger shirt. Reid loves his cheeseburgers, and you can wear it. This makes a perfect gift for you or a friend. You can buy it here.

Deion Sanders flips 5-star recruit to Colorado

Cormani McClain poses

Super 16 Lakeland High School football – Cormani McClain in Lakeland Fl. Monday July 5, 2022. Photo Credit: ERNST PETERS/ THE LEDGER

5-star cornerback recruit Cormani McClain on Thursday announced his commitment, and he has flipped schools to go play for Deion Sanders.

McClain has committed to play at Colorado. McClain, who is from Lakeland, Fla., shocked many in October when he committed to Miami. However, he did not sign with the Hurricanes on signing day. His mother said they had a “false alarm” and would not be signing that day.

It was believed at the time that McClain put his decision on hold because of a recruiting push from Sanders. That proved to be the case.

In his announcement video with 247 Sports’ Carl Reed, McClain said that he was choosing to play for the Buffs.

McClain said the opportunity to play under a great former cornerback in Sanders factored heavily into his decision.

This is the second year in a row that Sanders successfully flipped the top cornerback recruit. Last year, Deion flipped Travis Hunter from Florida State to Jackson State. Now Sanders has flipped McClain from Miami to Colorado.

Tim Brewster responds to criticism from Danny Kanell

Tim Brewster in front of his players

Tim Brewster responded on Twitter Wednesday to some criticism from Danny Kanell.

Brewster is the tight ends coach for Colorado. He drew attention after his introductory speech he gave to his Colorado players went viral. In the video, Brewster spoke authoritatively and like a drill sargeant.

Kanell, a former Florida State quarterback who is now a college football analyst, threw some shade at Brewster over the speech.

“If you ever wondered why college coaches don’t work in the NFL….this in a nutshell is why,” Kanell tweeted.

Brewster saw the criticism and responded a day later. He pointed out that he coached tight ends in the NFL, and pointed to Antonio Gates as one of his success stories.

“Hey Danny I coached 5 years in the NFL and would like to think was very successful, ask Antonio Gates,” Brewster responded.

Gates’ rookie season was in 2003, which was Brewster’s second season with the Chargers. He was there at the start of Gates’ career, helping the former basketball player successfully transition into an eventual All-Pro player.

Maybe Brewster is wise enough to know what situations call for his tough-guy persona, and which ones don’t.

Interesting player favored to win Heisman Trophy

A look at the Heisman Trophy

Dec 10, 2022; New York, NY, USA; Detail view of the Heisman Trophy won by Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams (not pictured) in the Astor Ballroom at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York, NY. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The 2022 college football season is in the books, and it’s time to look ahead to the 2023 season. One question for the 2023 season is who will win the Heisman Trophy.

So far, USC quarterback Caleb Williams has strong odds to pull an Archie Griffin and win back-to-back Heisman Trophies. But there is one player who has better odds to win the trophy: Drake Maye.

SportsBetting.ag released its odds this week for next season’s Heisman Trophy, and the North Carolina quarterback was at the top of the list. There were several players on the list.

Here are the players with odds better than +2000.

Drake Maye +525
Caleb Williams +550
Jordan Travis +800
Michael Penix Jr. +1200
Sam Hartman +1200
Bo Nix +1400

Of course, the six players with the best odds are all quarterbacks. You know the crazy thing? Five of the six quarterbacks on the list transferred schools.

Maye has been at North Carolina from the start, but Williams went from Oklahoma to USC; Travis went from Louisville to Florida State; Penix went from Indiana to Washington; Hartman from Wake Forest to Notre Dame; and Nix from Auburn to Oregon.

It’s easy to see why Maye made the list. In his redshirt freshman season for North Carolina, Maye passed for 4,321 yards, 38 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Maye also rushed for 698 yards and 7 touchdowns. He finished 10th in Heisman voting for the 2022 season. If he improves on those numbers next season, he’ll probably receive an invite to New York City, but winning it is a different question.