By now you’ve probably heard about the highly touted Mizzou football recruit from the St. Louis area who will head to junior college instead of debuting with the Tigers as expected.
Cue the Sheldon Richardson déjà vu.
PowerMizzou.com broke the news that Chase Abbington, running back at Fort Zumwalt South, will enroll at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College instead of Mizzou in the fall of 2013.
Translation: The only four-star recruit featured in the Tigers’ 2013 class isn’t going to be in Columbia, Mo., anytime soon.
But will he be there at all?
These things sometimes happen, almost always due to academic issues. If the recruit is really good — the most recent example being Richardson — Mizzou will have to fight to ensure it is the destination that follows the junior college detour.
Richardson nearly got away. The New York Jets rookie defensive lineman starred for the Tigers last year, but came close to playing big-time college ball on the West Coast. After his initial Mizzou commitment was derailed by academic issues in 2009, he attended the College of Sequoias in Visalia, Calif. He thought about staying in the state, and switched his commitment to the University of Southern California in 2010. He later switched back to Mizzou — largely due to encouragement from a family that wanted him closer to his St. Louis home.
Mizzou might find itself in a similar situation with teams coming after Abbington, who ran for 2,398 yards and 39 touchdowns the past two seasons. His letter of intent to play for the Tigers means nothing now, and there will be other schools that make a run. SEC rival Arkansas could be one. The Razorbacks offered Abbington a scholarship before he picked Mizzou.
“I’m still a Tiger and always will be. I’ll be there soon,” Abbington told PowerMizzou.com.
The task for the Tigers will be keeping it that way.
DREW ON THE MOVE
A former Tiger will now lead the Bucks.
Less than a week after losing his job as the Atlanta Hawks’ head coach, Larry Drew was formally announced as the newest head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks today. Drew, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, agreed to a three-year deal with his new team last week.
The quick rebound speaks to Drew’s status as an up-and-coming head coach in the NBA.
After starring as the point guard for former Mizzou hoops coach Norm Stewart from 1977-80, Drew was the 17th pick of the 1980 NBA draft. His NBA playing career spanned a decade and included five teams and averages of 11.4 points and 5.2 assists per game.
He then climbed the coaching ladder as an assistant coach. His big break came in Atlanta following the 2010 season, when the departure of then-coach Mike Woodson turned into Drew’s first chance as an NBA head man.
The 55-year-old built a 128-102 record with the Hawks over the past three seasons, guiding the team to three postseason appearances and a trip to the 2011 conference semifinals.
His contract ended after this year, and the Hawks — under the new management of Danny Ferry — elected to hire Spurs assistant Mike Budenholzer instead.
It didn’t take long for Drew to bounce back.
MOE INJURED, CUT
The NFL is a tough business, as former Mizzou wide receiver T.J. Moe recently learned firsthand. Not long after the New England Patriots rookie free agent fought off comparisons to former Patriots star Wes Welker, he found himself off the team.
The Patriots waived Moe after a season-ending torn Achilles’ tendon, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Moe — who received a reported $8,000 signing bonus and a $22,000 guaranteed base salary — could potentially fight his way back to the team’s injured reserve, if he clears waivers.
Interesting note: The second-highest paid priority free agent the Patriots brought in this year was Moe’s Mizzou teammate, offensive lineman Elvis Fisher. He received a reported $7,500 signing bonus and $7,500 guaranteed base salary.
SPEAKING OF SHELDON
When it became known that Sheldon Richardson would make his NFL debut as a member of one of the most scrutinized teams in a city never short on drama, there was good reason to wonder how the mix would turn out.
How would Richardson — the player who rocked the boat with his “old-man football” comment before the Tigers played Georgia last season — handle ruthless New York fans and media?
So far, so good.
Richardson has already been praised by Jets coach Rex Ryan for his speed and versatility. Hes also is apparently adapting to the rookie lifestyle just fine, carrying veterans’ helmets to and from practice as part of his initiation.
As long as his performance continues to back up his carefree way and sometimes eyebrow-raising comments, the Boss Hog and the Big Apple should get along just fine.