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#pounditWednesday, December 7, 2022

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Tennessee star WR lands perfect NIL deal

Jalin Hyatt catches the ball

Tennessee wide receiver Jalin Hyatt (11) with a catch during the NCAA college football game against Missouri on Saturday, November 12, 2022 in Knoxville, Tenn. Photo Credit: Saul Young/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

Tennessee wide receiver Jalin Hyatt recently signed the most fitting name, image and likeness deal in the short history of NILs.

Hyatt signed on with his namesake, World of Hyatt, and the deal will benefit his teammates and their families.

As part of the deal, World of Hyatt will provide gift cards and hotel credit to families of Tennessee players equivalent to their stay for the Orange Bowl in Miami. That’s where the No. 6 Volunteers (10-2) will take on No. 7 Clemson (11-2).

“This Hyatt-Hyatt collaboration is more than a natural fit, and it brings us all together when it really matters,” Hyatt said in a statement, via On3 Sports. “The World of Hyatt team gave me the ability to create a deal that benefited my teammates and our families.

“That’s real, as those are the people I care about the most. Knowing my teammates’ families will all have help to be at the game, and that they are being cared for on the road is amazing.”

Hyatt will also visit a number of World of Hyatt properties following the Orange Bowl.

Hyatt, who is a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, hauled in 67 receptions for 1,267 yard and 15 touchdown this season. The 15 touchdowns are a single-season program record and he’s just 32 yards shy of breaking Robert Meachem’s record for receiving yards.

Colorado recruit says new staff not honoring his commitment

Deion Sanders smiling

Dec 4, 2022; Boulder, CO, USA; Colorado Buffaloes head coach Deion Sanders speaks during a press conference at the Arrow Touchdown Club. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

When Deion Sanders arrived on scene at Colorado, his first order of business was to deliver a ruthless message to his players. He pulled no punches and advised them to enter the transfer portal.

“It ain’t gonna be no more of a mess that these wonderful fans, the student body and some of your parents have put up with for probably two decades now,” Sanders said. “I’m coming. And when I get here, it’s gonna be changed.

“So I want y’all to get ready. Go ahead and jump in that (transfer) portal and do whatever you’re gonna do, because the more of you that jump in the more room you make.”

Sanders’ harsh approach wasn’t limited in scope. In addition to the players already in-house, Deion had a few bits of bad news for the team’s commits.

Edge rusher Carson Mott, a three-star recruit from Simi Valley, California, revealed on Tuesday that Sanders pulled his scholarship offer.

“Just spoke to the new Colorado staff and was informed they would not be honoring my commitment,” Mott tweeted. “I am officially re-opening my recruitment.”

Mott had previously made his commitment to Colorado on June 13. He was heavily recruited at the time and had offers from Fresno State, Nevada, UNLV and a handful of other schools.

The 6-foot-5 Mott should have little trouble finding another offer, but having his scholarship pulled is further proof that Sanders is going to do things his way whether feelings are hurt or not.

High school team playing for state title has not completed a pass all season

Granada Hill poses

A high school team in California is competing for a state championship this weekend despite an unthinkable feat.

Granada Hills Charter High School in the Los Angeles area is set to face San Marin in the Division 4-A CIF State Football Championship on Saturday. The Highlanders are 12-2 this season and have advanced to the state championship game despite not completing a pass. Seriously.

Granada Hills, which is coached by NFL Network reporter Bucky Brooks, has attempted seven passes all season and has not completed a single one.

In an age where passing games are proliferating, it’s surprising to find such a run-heavy team. But it’s nothing short of shocking to encounter a team that has not even completed one pass all season.

So, how is Granada Hills getting it done? With a dominant run game thanks to a few great athletes, and good defense, as you probably figured out.

Granada Hills, which is where the legendary John Elway attended, has rushed for 5,918 yards in 14 games — good for an average of 422 yards per game. They most often run out of a single or double wing formation, which features seven linemen (including tight ends on each side of the line), a quarterback, fullback, and one or two wing backs. There are no receivers and no player is split out wide.

“In high school, you got to coach what shows up,” Brooks told the Los Angeles Times regarding his decision to go with a run-heavy offense.

Their star rusher is senior Dijon Stanley, a two-way player who is committed to Utah.

Dijon has rushed for 2,670 yards and 32 touchdowns. He is averaging 205 yards per game and has rushed for over 100 yards in each game. His best game came when he rushed for 378 yards and 5 touchdowns in a 44-7 playoff win over Palisades. On defense, Dijon has 33 tackles and an interception.

Dijon’s cousin, Darrell, is the other star player on the team.

A sophomore, Darrell Stanley has rushed for 1,294 yards and 19 touchdowns. He has 27 tackles and 4 interceptions on defense.

Plenty of other players have contributed to the running game too.

Senior DJ Williams has 694 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns; freshman Isaac Delgado has 287 yards and 5 touchdowns; and junior James Martin has 428 yards and 4 touchdowns.

On defense, Oliver Taylor leads the team with eight sacks, while Chance Heximer is second with five sacks. Junior John Williamson has four interceptions.

Part of the reason Granada Hills is playing for the state championship is because they likely should have been categorized in a tougher division for postseason purposes. After all, they did lose two games to fellow Los Angeles city section public high school during the regular season, being held under 30 points in both games.

Still, to see such a 1-dimensional team to make it this far is pretty cool.

The achievement shows that Granada Hills has some pretty superior athletes, and that they execute their run game to near perfection.

Their execution is great in large part because of how hard they work at practice.

“We work harder than a lot of people know. We practice every day at 5:30 in the morning. A lot of people can’t do that. They can’t fathom what we do,” Stanley said in a recent interview.

Here are a few highlights from Dijon Stanley’s great game against Palisades:

Giannis Antetokounmpo had great answer for question about his birthday plans

Giannis Antetokounmpo warming up

Oct 23, 2021; San Antonio, Texas, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) warms up before the game against the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

Giannis Antetokounmpo turned 28 on Tuesday, and hopefully he got to celebrate exactly as he wanted.

Antetokounmpo had 34 points and 13 rebounds in his Milwaukee Bucks’ 109-102 win over the Orlando Magic on Monday. After the game, the two-time NBA MVP was asked about his plans for his 28th birthday. He gave quite an answer.

“I don’t know if my lady have anything planned for me,” Antetokounmpo began. “I hope they have something planned for me. Maybe a birthday cake and like a birthday card or maybe like a birthday watch or maybe jewelry, I would love that. … I would not want to go to dinner because I have a game the next day. I want to be able to rest, get my treatment that I usually do and take my nap, play with my kids.”

To that point, Antetokounmpo gave a fine answer. But then it got better.

“Once I put my kids to bed, you never know what could happen. It might get a little bit freaky. It’s my birthday!” he said.

Hopefully Antetokounmpo got exactly what he wanted for his birthday. Maybe next time his birthday will fall on a day where he doesn’t have to play the next day so he can at least go out to dinner before the late-night show.

Also, think about how disciplined he is. So many players go out at night and hit the clubs or go to dinner. Antetokounmpo won’t even go to a birthday dinner because it might throw off his game-day routine. That’s the kind of dedication that leads to championships.

Willson Contreras could sign with rival team

Willson Contreras rounding the bases

Sep 7, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras (40) rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run against the Cincinnati Reds during the third inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Willson Contreras signed with the Chicago Cubs as a teenager in 2009 and has not played for any other team. But now he is being pursued by one of the Cubs’ biggest rivals.

On Tuesday, the New York Post’s Jon Heyman reported that the St. Louis Cardinals are among the favorites to sign Contreras.

The Cardinals need a new catcher for the first time in nearly two decades since Yadier Molina retired. Contreras would be a more than adequate replacement.

The 30-year-old catcher is a three-time All-Star who has batted .256 with an .808 OPS throughout his career. He has also averaged 26 home runs per 162 games.

In addition to the Cardinals, the Houston Astros are believed to be heavily in the mix for Contreras.

Martin Maldonado has served as Houston’s primary catcher the last two seasons. Maldonado is a defense-first catcher who has batted below .190 in two straight seasons.

Conor McGregor responds to Joe Rogan PED accusations in deleted tweet

Conor McGregor in the cage

Conor McGregor looks ahead. Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Conor McGregor responded on Twitter to apparent accusations from Joe Rogan about performance-enhancing drugs use.

Rogan had guest Derek of “More Plate More Dates” on his December 3 episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience” show. Derek bills himself as being able to spot when people are using supplements, and the two discussed McGregor, whose bulked-up body has drawn attention.

“He’s taking his shirt off and posing constantly and he looks like his piss would melt that USADA cup,” Rogan said on the show. “Like it would just like burn a hole right through the bottom of that USADA cup.”

McGregor has been out of the US anti-doping agency testing pool as he recovers from a broken leg suffered in a loss to Dustin Poirier in July 2021. In photos shared on social media, McGregor has looked massive. His thighs look enormous and his upper body is extremely built.

McGregor responded to Rogan in a tweet he has since deleted.

“Joe looks like his piss melts his knickers, in the company that long and never took a fight hahhaha @ufc oh tae kwon do competition , call the cops hahahahaah.”

If McGregor were to try and return to the cage next year, he would have to reenter the drug testing pool. The 34-year-old is 22-6 and has lost three of his last four fights.

As for Rogan, in addition to being a longtime analyst/broadcaster for the UFC, he is a longtime mixed martial artist. He has competed in taekwondo and is a black belt in jiu-jitsu.

Elite AL closer could be traded this offseason?

Liam Hendriks in his All-Star uniform

Jul 13, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Chicago White Sox pitcher Liam Hendriks during the 2021 MLB All Star Game between the American League and the National League at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

One top American League closer might not be the made man that we all thought he was.

Mark Feinsand of MLB.com is reporting this week that Chicago White Sox reliever Liam Hendriks has had his name come up in trade talks with other clubs. The 33-year-old Hendriks does have a no-trade clause but only a limited one that allows him to veto trades to five teams, Feinsand adds.

A three-time All-Star and two-time AL Reliever of the Year, Hendriks is one of the very best bullpen arms in all of baseball. The righty owns a 2.26 ERA over the last four seasons combined and punches out batters at an absurd rate (13.5 strikeouts per nine innings over that span as well).

But the White Sox were just a middling 81-81 team in 2022 and might have gotten notably worse this offseason with the departure of former MVP Jose Abreu (who led them in many offensive categories last year). If Chicago wants to avoid getting stuck in baseball purgatory, trading Hendriks to restock their farm system could be a good move.

Hendriks will make $14 million in 2023 with a $15 million club option for 2024 (which would convert into a guaranteed year if Hendriks got traded, Feinsand adds). A reliever of Hendriks’ caliber becoming truly available could really spice up the offseason market as there are some needy top teams out there.

Lakers coach goes viral for funny LeBron James-Dan Gilbert comment

Darvin Ham smiling

Nov 30, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers coach Darvin Ham at a press conference during the game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham knows his star player’s history just as well as anybody does.

Before the Lakers played the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Tuesday, Ham was asked about LeBron James’ glowing career record against the Cavs, James’ former team. Since he first left in 2010, James is 17-2 against Cleveland.

“It could be one or two things,” Ham replied. “[Either] he really wants to put on a show for his hometown crowd or he really doesn’t like Dan Gilbert.”

If it was not clear enough from the context of that video, Ham also later clarified that he was just joking, per Jason Lloyd of The Athletic.

James was drafted by the Cavs in 2003 and played the first seven seasons of his NBA career with them before leaving for the Miami Heat in 2010. James then returned to Cleveland in 2014 and played four more seasons with them (including leading them to an NBA title in 2016) before leaving again for the Lakers in 2018.

Amid all those ins and outs, James had a lot of drama with the Cavs owner Gilbert. In what is better known to the culture as “ComicSansgate,” Gilbert notoriously trashed James in an open letter to Cleveland fans when James first left in 2010. The two men eventually made peace before James’ return in 2014, but even in more recent years, it seemed like some tensions were still there.

Though James is now signed to the Lakers through at least 2024, there are inevitable rumors that he could return to the Cavs again to wrap up his NBA career … which would obviously lead to another round of Gilbert drama. But for now, we can just sit back and enjoy James’ head-to-head dominance of Cleveland (as well as Ham’s funny viral remark here).

Trea Turner reportedly turned down bigger contract from 1 team

Trea Turner running

Sep 4, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Trea Turner (6) during the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Trea Turner kicked off the MLB Winter Meetings this week by signing an 11-year, $300 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. According to one report, Turner turned down a bigger contract elsewhere.

The New York Post’s Jon Heyman reported on Tuesday that the San Diego Padres offered Turner $342 million.

The deal would have surpassed the $341 million Francisco Lindor signed for and given Turner the largest-ever contract for a shortstop.

We don’t know details on the contract, such as the length and whether any money was deferred. If we assume that the contracts were both for 11 years and similarly structured, then the San Diego offer would have been somewhat hampered by California’s significantly higher state income tax. Still, there were signs all along that Turner preferred to play on the East Coast. Turner turning down an extra $42 million guaranteed is a sign that the young shortstop really preferred to be in Philadelphia.

Turner, 29, is a career .302 hitter. He has led the NL in batting average once and stolen bases twice.

Dodgers favored by oddsmakers to land 1 top free agent shortstop

Dave Roberts looking on

Oct 11, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts (30) reacts during game one of the NLDS for the 2022 MLB Playoffs against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers defeated the Padres 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers may not be blinking after losing star shortstop Trea Turner in free agency.

Online sportsbook SportsBetting.ag released updated odds on Tuesday morning for where the top three remaining free agent shortstops (Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts, and Dansby Swanson) will end up.

Of those three, the oddsmakers favor the Dodgers to land Bogaerts, listing them as +300 favorites. They are followed in the Bogaerts sweepstakes by the Chicago Cubs (+400), the San Francisco Giants (+600), and the San Diego Padres (+600).

The Dodgers have also been given the fourth-best odds to sign Correa (+350), behind the incumbent Minnesota Twins (+150), the Cubs (+300), and the Giants (+300). Additionally, the Dodgers are listed in the top-three for Swanson at +550. Only the Cubs (+200) and the Twins (+550) are ahead of them there.

These updated odds come after Turner left the Dodgers to sign a massive contract with an NL rival. Coupled with the Dodgers’ other free agent losses so far this offseason (Cody Bellinger, Tyler Anderson, Andrew Heaney, Chris Martin, Tommy Kahnle, and more), they now have a good amount of money to throw at a replacement shortstop.

The four-time All-Star Bogaerts, who batted .307 last season with 15 home runs and 73 RBIs, seems all but certain to leave the Boston Red Sox as a free agent. Along with the teams listed in the odds above, a surprising club is in the mix to sign Bogaerts as well.