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FILE - In this Wednesday, July 19, 2017 file photo, Carolina Panthers interim general manager Marty Hurney speaks to the media during a news conference in Charlotte, N.C. The Panthers have reinstated interim general manager Marty Hurney after an NFL investigation found no wrongdoing into charges of harassment by his ex-wife. The NFL said in a statement Friday, Feb. 16, 2018 that our investigation identified no evidence to support an allegation of domestic violence or similar conduct that would constitute a violation of the personal conduct policy. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)
Hurney reinstated as Panthers interim GM after investigation
FILE - In this Wednesday, July 19, 2017 file photo, Carolina Panthers interim general manager Marty Hurney speaks to the media during a news conference in Charlotte, N.C. The Panthers have reinstated interim general manager Marty Hurney after an NFL investigation found no wrongdoing into charges of harassment by his ex-wife. The NFL said in a statement Friday, Feb. 16, 2018 that our investigation identified no evidence to support an allegation of domestic violence or similar conduct that would constitute a violation of the personal conduct policy. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron looks to pass in the second half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)
Bengals QB McCarron wins grievance, becomes free agent
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron looks to pass in the second half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)
FILE - In this Aug. 12, 2017, file photo, Oakland Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski looks on before a NFL preseason football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale, Ariz. Kicker Sebastian Janikowski's career with the Oakland Raiders after 18 seasons. Owner Mark Davis released a statement Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, thanking Janikowski for his contributions to the franchise. Janikowski is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next month and the Raiders told him this week they don't plan to retain him. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)
Kicker Janikowski's career with Raiders up after 18 seasons
FILE - In this Aug. 12, 2017, file photo, Oakland Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski looks on before a NFL preseason football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale, Ariz. Kicker Sebastian Janikowski's career with the Oakland Raiders after 18 seasons. Owner Mark Davis released a statement Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, thanking Janikowski for his contributions to the franchise. Janikowski is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next month and the Raiders told him this week they don't plan to retain him. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)
FILE - In this Dec. 10, 2017, file photo, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald warms up prior to an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans in Glendale, Ariz. New Arizona coach Steve Wilks says Fitzgerald has told him he'll return for a 15th NFL season. Wilks made the comment Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, in an interview on the "Doug &Wolf" sports talk radio show. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)
Coach: Fitzgerald says he'll be back for 2018 season
FILE - In this Dec. 10, 2017, file photo, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald warms up prior to an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans in Glendale, Ariz. New Arizona coach Steve Wilks says Fitzgerald has told him he'll return for a 15th NFL season. Wilks made the comment Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, in an interview on the "Doug &Wolf" sports talk radio show. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)
New York Jets quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates signals during the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the Detroit Lions, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
Jets promote QB coach Jeremy Bates to offensive coordinator
New York Jets quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates signals during the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the Detroit Lions, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
FILE - In this Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017 file photo, New York Jets quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates signals during the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit. The New York Jets promoted Bates from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018 replacing the fired John Morton.(AP Photo/Duane Burleson, File)
Jets promote QB coach Jeremy Bates to offensive coordinator
FILE - In this Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017 file photo, New York Jets quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates signals during the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit. The New York Jets promoted Bates from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018 replacing the fired John Morton.(AP Photo/Duane Burleson, File)
The Fox NFL crew broadcasts from the field before the NFL football NFC championship game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
AP source: Fox to air NFL draft along with ESPN, NFL Network
The Fox NFL crew broadcasts from the field before the NFL football NFC championship game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
FILE - This Dec. 31, 2017 file photo shows Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley watching warm ups before an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns in Pittsburgh. After six successful seasons guiding one of the NFLs most high-powered offenses in Pittsburgh, Haley is starting anew in Cleveland with the winless Browns, a team he once reviled but has always respected. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, file)
Former Steelers OC Haley excited about new start with Browns
FILE - This Dec. 31, 2017 file photo shows Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley watching warm ups before an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns in Pittsburgh. After six successful seasons guiding one of the NFLs most high-powered offenses in Pittsburgh, Haley is starting anew in Cleveland with the winless Browns, a team he once reviled but has always respected. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, file)
FILE - In this Dec. 20, 2015, file photo, Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel warms-up before an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, in Seattle. Former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel says he's making a football comeback. Manziel announced Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, that he will participate in the developmental Spring League in Austin, Texas, which will play from March 28 to April 15. The league is designed for players hoping to impress NFL scouts. The league confirmed Manziel will participate. (AP Photo/Scott Eklund, File)
Ex-Heisman winner Manziel attempts comeback in Spring League
FILE - In this Dec. 20, 2015, file photo, Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel warms-up before an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, in Seattle. Former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel says he's making a football comeback. Manziel announced Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, that he will participate in the developmental Spring League in Austin, Texas, which will play from March 28 to April 15. The league is designed for players hoping to impress NFL scouts. The league confirmed Manziel will participate. (AP Photo/Scott Eklund, File)
<p>Boston radio station WEEI will have all of its employees undergo mandatory sensitivity training on Friday, the network announced Wednesday, during which time all live programming will be suspended. </p><p>“Nothing is more important to WEEI than the close-knit and diverse Boston community we call home, and we are committed to actively contributing to its betterment,” WEEI said in a statement. “WEEI is in the process of closely reevaluating our policies and procedures in an effort to ensure that our programming is never intolerant or harmful to our listeners or our city.”</p><p>The decision comes after two recent incidents that led to the suspensions of two hosts.</p><p>Just before the Super Bowl, WEEI host Alex Reimer referred to Tom Brady’s daughter as “an annoying little pissant” and was suspended indefinitely. Brady expressed displeasure with the remark <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/01/29/patriots-tom-brady-boston-weei" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:during his weekly appearance on WEEI’s “Kirk &#38; Callahan Show”" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">during his weekly appearance on WEEI’s “Kirk &#38; Callahan Show”</a> but said at Super Bowl media day that <a href="http://boston.cbslocal.com/2018/01/29/tom-brady-alex-reimer-weei-super-bowl-opening-night-2018/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:he didn’t want Reimer fired" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">he didn’t want Reimer fired</a>. </p><p>On Friday, Christian Fauria, a former Patriots tight end-turned-WEEI host, <a href="https://deadspin.com/boston-radio-host-christian-fauria-does-insanely-racist-1822885361" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:used a grossly stereotypical Asian accent" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">used a grossly stereotypical Asian accent</a> when impersonating Brady’s agent, Don Yee, during a segment about a <em>Boston Herald</em> columnist falling for a tip from someone posing as Yee. Fauria <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/02/10/ap-fbn-radio-host-suspended" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:was suspended five days" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">was suspended five days</a>.</p><p>These are not isolated incidents, either.</p><p>In May, WEEI’s Kirk Minihane and his co-host, Gerry Callahan, <a href="https://deadspin.com/how-not-to-react-to-news-of-boston-fan-racism-1794848944" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:questioned the veracity of Orioles outfielder Adam Jones’s accusations" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">questioned the veracity of Orioles outfielder Adam Jones’s accusations</a> that he was berated with racial slurs during a game at Fenway. </p><p>Minihane was also suspended in 2014 <a href="http://www.wcvb.com/article/shelby-county-woman-found-who-disappeared-after-car-crash/17808832" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:after calling Erin Andrews a “gutless b----”" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">after calling Erin Andrews a “gutless b----”</a> for not pressing Adam Wainwright hard enough about grooving a fastball to Derek Jeter in the All-Star Game. “I think if she weighed 15 pounds more, she’d be a waitress at Perkins,” Minihane said a week later in what was nominally an apology. The network initially said Minihane would not be suspended but eventually caved after Fox pulled all its ads from the 100-plus stations owned by WEEI’s parent company, Entercom. </p><p>Several advertisers also pulled out of WEEI programming in the wake of Fauria’s comments, <a href="https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2018/02/12/city-boston-credit-union-suspends-advertising-weei/qKtz6vvt2waK8QlBMu4K1H/story.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:according to the Boston Globe" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">according to the <em>Boston Globe</em></a>. </p>
WEEI Suspends Friday Programming to Hold Mandatory Sensitivity Training for Employees

Boston radio station WEEI will have all of its employees undergo mandatory sensitivity training on Friday, the network announced Wednesday, during which time all live programming will be suspended.

“Nothing is more important to WEEI than the close-knit and diverse Boston community we call home, and we are committed to actively contributing to its betterment,” WEEI said in a statement. “WEEI is in the process of closely reevaluating our policies and procedures in an effort to ensure that our programming is never intolerant or harmful to our listeners or our city.”

The decision comes after two recent incidents that led to the suspensions of two hosts.

Just before the Super Bowl, WEEI host Alex Reimer referred to Tom Brady’s daughter as “an annoying little pissant” and was suspended indefinitely. Brady expressed displeasure with the remark during his weekly appearance on WEEI’s “Kirk & Callahan Show” but said at Super Bowl media day that he didn’t want Reimer fired.

On Friday, Christian Fauria, a former Patriots tight end-turned-WEEI host, used a grossly stereotypical Asian accent when impersonating Brady’s agent, Don Yee, during a segment about a Boston Herald columnist falling for a tip from someone posing as Yee. Fauria was suspended five days.

These are not isolated incidents, either.

In May, WEEI’s Kirk Minihane and his co-host, Gerry Callahan, questioned the veracity of Orioles outfielder Adam Jones’s accusations that he was berated with racial slurs during a game at Fenway.

Minihane was also suspended in 2014 after calling Erin Andrews a “gutless b----” for not pressing Adam Wainwright hard enough about grooving a fastball to Derek Jeter in the All-Star Game. “I think if she weighed 15 pounds more, she’d be a waitress at Perkins,” Minihane said a week later in what was nominally an apology. The network initially said Minihane would not be suspended but eventually caved after Fox pulled all its ads from the 100-plus stations owned by WEEI’s parent company, Entercom.

Several advertisers also pulled out of WEEI programming in the wake of Fauria’s comments, according to the Boston Globe.

<p>Now that signing day has wrapped up, teams have a few weeks to step back and analyze their 2018 classes before spring practices begin next month. Georgia won the first Wednesday in February in a landslide, wrapping up its 26-person class with seven five-star recruits in the fold to finish atop the <a href="https://247sports.com/Season/2018-Football/CompositeTeamRankings" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:247Sports Composite rankings" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">247Sports Composite rankings</a>, while reigning champion Alabama came in at No. 7 with two five-star players and 12 four-star signees. Georgia’s successful signing period came as no surprise as Kirby Smart continues to gain momentum in Athens, and the teams behind the Bulldogs in the top 10 were all perennial powers that routinely land some of the nation’s best recruiting hauls.</p><p>Below, we go beyond the headliners to look at the 2018 rankings from a different perspective, examining five teams, one from each Power 5 conference, that pleasantly surprised with their recruiting class’s spot in the final 247Sports Composite rankings. Because recruiting rankings are often a reflection of the past more than a predictive tool, these surprises reflect five teams that recruits view to be trending positively. Let’s look at why.</p><h3>Washington (No. 13)</h3><p><em>Five-star recruits: </em>0<br><em>Four-star recruits:</em> 11<br><em>Three-star recruits:</em> 10<br><em>In-conference class rank:</em> No. 2 in the Pac-12<br><em>2017 class rank: </em>No. 22 overall, No. 5 in the Pac-12</p><p>The Huskies finished 2017 ranked 16th in the final AP Poll after logging double-digit wins for the second consecutive season. Coach Chris Petersen is heading into his fifth year at Washington, and even after his team failed to return to the College Football Playoff after its first appearance in 2016, there’s a sense he is building something big. The Huskies managed to flip a four-star player who’d committed to USC, De La Salle (Calif.) DT Tuli Letuligasenoa, and they’re winning recruiting battles with the cream of the college football crop. If that continues, this team should be loaded to compete for the Pac-12 for years to come.</p><h3>South Carolina (No. 19)</h3><p><em>Five-star recruits: </em>0<br><em>Four-star recruits:</em> 9<br><em>Three-star recruits: </em>13<br><em>In-conference class rank: </em>No. 7 in the SEC<br><em>2017 class rank: </em>No. 21 overall, No. 8 in the SEC</p><p>South Carolina finished second in the SEC East in 2017, going 9–4 and 5–3 in conference play. That marked its first winning record since ’14 and its best record since ’15, and though the Gamecocks’ recruiting ranking didn’t rise dramatically from 2017, cracking the top 20 is evidence that Will Muschamp is not just riding the coattails of the previous regime two years into his stint in Columbia. Georgia will be an enormous obstacle in the division next season and likely for many to come, and the Bulldogs dipped into the Palmetto State to grab four-star linebacker Channing Tindall, the No. 3 player in the state, but the Gamecocks did land three of the top 10 in-state prospects, the same number as Clemson did (though they are still waiting on four-star Dutch Fork DB/WR Bryce Thompson to meet academic requirements). If South Carolina is as well-stocked as it appears to be, it might be able to make the Bulldogs’ road to Atlanta uncomfortable.</p><h3>NC State (No. 26)</h3><p><em>Five-star recruits:</em> 0<br><em>Four-star recruits: </em>6<br><em>Three-star recruits:</em> 17<br><em>In-conference class rank: </em>No. 6 in the ACC<br><em>2017 class rank: </em>No. 53 overall, No. 10 in the ACC</p><p>Jumping 27 spots is a remarkable leap for the Wolfpack after an up-and-down 2017. After losing the season-opener to South Carolina, NC State ripped off six straight wins, peaking at No. 14 in the AP Poll before losing to Notre Dame and Clemson in consecutive weeks. After a handful of offseasons on the hot (more like moderately warm) seat, Doeren flirted with the Tennessee job in November and ultimately parlayed those conversations into a new five-year contract to stay in Raleigh. That vote of stability must appeal to recruits, who have seen a talented team that’s never quite been consistent enough in recent seasons. And with the several of the Wolfpack’s star defensive linemen off to the NFL, including near-certain first-round pick Bradley Chubb, Doeren and company needed returns like this to keep pace in the ACC Atlantic.</p><h3>Baylor (No. 30)</h3><p><em>Five-star recruits: </em>0<br><em>Four-star recruits: </em>6<br><em>Three-star recruits:</em> 16<br><em>In-conference class rank: </em>No. 4 in the Big 12<br><em>2017 class rank: </em>No. 40 overall, No. 5 in the Big 12</p><p>Baylor won exactly one game in its first season under new coach Matt Rhule. In the wake of the sexual assault scandal that rocked campus, the Bears appeared to still be picking up the pieces from <a href="https://www.si.com/college-football/2016/05/26/baylor-art-briles-coach-fired-rape-scandal" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Art Briles’s ouster" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Art Briles’s ouster</a>—but their record was better than it looked at face value. Four of Baylor’s losses came in one-score games, two of which were against ranked teams: No. 3 Oklahoma on Sept. 23 and No. 23 West Virginia on Oct. 21. Despite a dismal record, Rhule proved last fall that his team, at its best, could play with anyone. Apparently recruits agree.</p><h3>Minnesota (No. 37)</h3><p><em>Five-star recruits:</em> 0<br><em>Four-star recruits:</em> 3<br><em>Three-star recruits:</em> 23<br><em>In-conference class rank:</em> No. 7 in the Big Ten<br><em>2017 class rank: </em>No. 59 overall, No. 12 in the Big Ten</p><p>The P.J. Fleck Effect is taking hold. The most exciting young coach to move jobs last offseason didn’t exactly deliver fireworks in year one at Minnesota as the Golden Gophers finished 5–7 and missed a bowl game, but when it comes to recruiting, he seems to be gaining a foothold. After just about a month on the job last winter, Fleck signed the country’s No. 59 class; now, after losing four more games than it did in 2016, Minnesota’s class ranks No. 37. (It’s also one of the larger recruiting classes out there, at 26 players.) Compared to other Big Ten teams, the Gophers are also upping their game, rising to seventh in the conference rankings after sitting above only Indiana and Purdue the previous season. Fleck’s biggest signing was arguably IMG Academy (Fla.) offensive lineman Daniel Faalele, a four-star recruit rated among the nation’s top 20 tackles. <a href="https://www.si.com/college-football/2017/03/07/daniel-faalele-img-academy-recruiting" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Faalele is inarguably Fleck’s biggest signing in a literal sense" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Faalele is inarguably Fleck’s biggest signing in a literal sense</a>: He is listed at 6&#39;8&quot; and 400 pounds.</p>
The Overlooked Success Stories of the 2018 Recruiting Cycle

Now that signing day has wrapped up, teams have a few weeks to step back and analyze their 2018 classes before spring practices begin next month. Georgia won the first Wednesday in February in a landslide, wrapping up its 26-person class with seven five-star recruits in the fold to finish atop the 247Sports Composite rankings, while reigning champion Alabama came in at No. 7 with two five-star players and 12 four-star signees. Georgia’s successful signing period came as no surprise as Kirby Smart continues to gain momentum in Athens, and the teams behind the Bulldogs in the top 10 were all perennial powers that routinely land some of the nation’s best recruiting hauls.

Below, we go beyond the headliners to look at the 2018 rankings from a different perspective, examining five teams, one from each Power 5 conference, that pleasantly surprised with their recruiting class’s spot in the final 247Sports Composite rankings. Because recruiting rankings are often a reflection of the past more than a predictive tool, these surprises reflect five teams that recruits view to be trending positively. Let’s look at why.

Washington (No. 13)

Five-star recruits: 0
Four-star recruits: 11
Three-star recruits: 10
In-conference class rank: No. 2 in the Pac-12
2017 class rank: No. 22 overall, No. 5 in the Pac-12

The Huskies finished 2017 ranked 16th in the final AP Poll after logging double-digit wins for the second consecutive season. Coach Chris Petersen is heading into his fifth year at Washington, and even after his team failed to return to the College Football Playoff after its first appearance in 2016, there’s a sense he is building something big. The Huskies managed to flip a four-star player who’d committed to USC, De La Salle (Calif.) DT Tuli Letuligasenoa, and they’re winning recruiting battles with the cream of the college football crop. If that continues, this team should be loaded to compete for the Pac-12 for years to come.

South Carolina (No. 19)

Five-star recruits: 0
Four-star recruits: 9
Three-star recruits: 13
In-conference class rank: No. 7 in the SEC
2017 class rank: No. 21 overall, No. 8 in the SEC

South Carolina finished second in the SEC East in 2017, going 9–4 and 5–3 in conference play. That marked its first winning record since ’14 and its best record since ’15, and though the Gamecocks’ recruiting ranking didn’t rise dramatically from 2017, cracking the top 20 is evidence that Will Muschamp is not just riding the coattails of the previous regime two years into his stint in Columbia. Georgia will be an enormous obstacle in the division next season and likely for many to come, and the Bulldogs dipped into the Palmetto State to grab four-star linebacker Channing Tindall, the No. 3 player in the state, but the Gamecocks did land three of the top 10 in-state prospects, the same number as Clemson did (though they are still waiting on four-star Dutch Fork DB/WR Bryce Thompson to meet academic requirements). If South Carolina is as well-stocked as it appears to be, it might be able to make the Bulldogs’ road to Atlanta uncomfortable.

NC State (No. 26)

Five-star recruits: 0
Four-star recruits: 6
Three-star recruits: 17
In-conference class rank: No. 6 in the ACC
2017 class rank: No. 53 overall, No. 10 in the ACC

Jumping 27 spots is a remarkable leap for the Wolfpack after an up-and-down 2017. After losing the season-opener to South Carolina, NC State ripped off six straight wins, peaking at No. 14 in the AP Poll before losing to Notre Dame and Clemson in consecutive weeks. After a handful of offseasons on the hot (more like moderately warm) seat, Doeren flirted with the Tennessee job in November and ultimately parlayed those conversations into a new five-year contract to stay in Raleigh. That vote of stability must appeal to recruits, who have seen a talented team that’s never quite been consistent enough in recent seasons. And with the several of the Wolfpack’s star defensive linemen off to the NFL, including near-certain first-round pick Bradley Chubb, Doeren and company needed returns like this to keep pace in the ACC Atlantic.

Baylor (No. 30)

Five-star recruits: 0
Four-star recruits: 6
Three-star recruits: 16
In-conference class rank: No. 4 in the Big 12
2017 class rank: No. 40 overall, No. 5 in the Big 12

Baylor won exactly one game in its first season under new coach Matt Rhule. In the wake of the sexual assault scandal that rocked campus, the Bears appeared to still be picking up the pieces from Art Briles’s ouster—but their record was better than it looked at face value. Four of Baylor’s losses came in one-score games, two of which were against ranked teams: No. 3 Oklahoma on Sept. 23 and No. 23 West Virginia on Oct. 21. Despite a dismal record, Rhule proved last fall that his team, at its best, could play with anyone. Apparently recruits agree.

Minnesota (No. 37)

Five-star recruits: 0
Four-star recruits: 3
Three-star recruits: 23
In-conference class rank: No. 7 in the Big Ten
2017 class rank: No. 59 overall, No. 12 in the Big Ten

The P.J. Fleck Effect is taking hold. The most exciting young coach to move jobs last offseason didn’t exactly deliver fireworks in year one at Minnesota as the Golden Gophers finished 5–7 and missed a bowl game, but when it comes to recruiting, he seems to be gaining a foothold. After just about a month on the job last winter, Fleck signed the country’s No. 59 class; now, after losing four more games than it did in 2016, Minnesota’s class ranks No. 37. (It’s also one of the larger recruiting classes out there, at 26 players.) Compared to other Big Ten teams, the Gophers are also upping their game, rising to seventh in the conference rankings after sitting above only Indiana and Purdue the previous season. Fleck’s biggest signing was arguably IMG Academy (Fla.) offensive lineman Daniel Faalele, a four-star recruit rated among the nation’s top 20 tackles. Faalele is inarguably Fleck’s biggest signing in a literal sense: He is listed at 6'8" and 400 pounds.

FILE - In this Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018, file photo, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson (56) celebrates what he thought was a touchdown on a Tennessee Titans fumble during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Kansas City, Mo. Derrick Johnsons tenure with the Kansas City Chiefs is coming to an end. The franchises career tackles leader and a four-time Pro Bowl selection, Johnson will become a free agent when his contract expires at the start of the new league year March 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga, File)
Chiefs' career tackles leader Johnson to become free agent
FILE - In this Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018, file photo, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson (56) celebrates what he thought was a touchdown on a Tennessee Titans fumble during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Kansas City, Mo. Derrick Johnsons tenure with the Kansas City Chiefs is coming to an end. The franchises career tackles leader and a four-time Pro Bowl selection, Johnson will become a free agent when his contract expires at the start of the new league year March 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga, File)
FILE - In this Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017 file photo, Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell takes a knee during the national anthem next to teammates Mark Canha, right, and Raul Alcantara before a baseball game against the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas. Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell says he will no longer kneel for the national anthem as he did last season as a rookie, when he became the first major leaguer to do so following the lead of many NFL players. He spoke Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018 as the As pitchers and catchers reported to spring training. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)
A's catcher Maxwell no longer will kneel for national anthem
FILE - In this Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017 file photo, Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell takes a knee during the national anthem next to teammates Mark Canha, right, and Raul Alcantara before a baseball game against the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas. Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell says he will no longer kneel for the national anthem as he did last season as a rookie, when he became the first major leaguer to do so following the lead of many NFL players. He spoke Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018 as the As pitchers and catchers reported to spring training. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)
Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Chris Moore (10) is tackled by Chicago Bears defenders as he rushes the ball in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Ravens-Bears to meet in Hall of Fame game on Aug. 2
Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Chris Moore (10) is tackled by Chicago Bears defenders as he rushes the ball in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2016, file photo, former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning claps as the team honored the 2006 Super Bowl winning team during half time of an NFL football game in Indianapolis. Peyton Manning is leading one more drive on a huge stage. The two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback will serve as honorary pace car driver for the 60th running of the Daytona 500. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)
Peyton Manning to lead field to green flag at Daytona 500
FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2016, file photo, former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning claps as the team honored the 2006 Super Bowl winning team during half time of an NFL football game in Indianapolis. Peyton Manning is leading one more drive on a huge stage. The two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback will serve as honorary pace car driver for the 60th running of the Daytona 500. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)
FILE - This Dec. 16, 2012 file photo shows Cleveland Browns wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi warming up before the Browns play the Washington Redskins in an NFL football game in Cleveland. Massaquoi revealed for the first time that he lost most of his left hand in an ATV accident last April. Massaquoi, who starred at Georgia before going to the NFL, was riding with friends when he crashed and was badly injured. Doctors attempted to save his hand, but were only able to keep his thumb. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, file)
Former Browns WR Massaquoi lost 4 fingers in ATV accident
FILE - This Dec. 16, 2012 file photo shows Cleveland Browns wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi warming up before the Browns play the Washington Redskins in an NFL football game in Cleveland. Massaquoi revealed for the first time that he lost most of his left hand in an ATV accident last April. Massaquoi, who starred at Georgia before going to the NFL, was riding with friends when he crashed and was badly injured. Doctors attempted to save his hand, but were only able to keep his thumb. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, file)
FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2016 file photo, Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson (53) walks off the field following an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans in Indianapolis. Jackson, 26, was one of two men killed when a suspected drunken driver struck them as they stood outside their car along a highway in Indianapolis. The Colts said in a statement Sunday, Feb. 4, 3018, that the team is &quot;heartbroken&quot; by Jackson&#39;s death. Authorities say the driver that struck them before dawn on Sunday tried to flee on foot but was quickly captured. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)
Colts will establish memorial scholarship for Edwin Jackson
FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2016 file photo, Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson (53) walks off the field following an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans in Indianapolis. Jackson, 26, was one of two men killed when a suspected drunken driver struck them as they stood outside their car along a highway in Indianapolis. The Colts said in a statement Sunday, Feb. 4, 3018, that the team is "heartbroken" by Jackson's death. Authorities say the driver that struck them before dawn on Sunday tried to flee on foot but was quickly captured. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)
Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim stands on the field before an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, in Seattle. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
Cardinals extend GM Keim's contract through 2022
Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim stands on the field before an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, in Seattle. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
Philadelphia Eagles&#39; Nick Foles holds his daughter, Lily, after the NFL Super Bowl 52 football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018, in Minneapolis. The Eagles won 41-33. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Matthew McConaughey hails Nick Foles in newspaper ad
Philadelphia Eagles' Nick Foles holds his daughter, Lily, after the NFL Super Bowl 52 football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018, in Minneapolis. The Eagles won 41-33. (AP Photo/Matt York)
In this Oct. 22, 2017 file photo, San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster (56) stands on the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Santa Clara, Calif. Foster has been arrested in Mississippi and charged with second-degree possession of marijuana. AL.com says the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff&#39;s Office arrest database indicates Foster, who just finished his rookie season, was arrested Friday, Jan. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
49ers linebacker jailed on suspicion of domestic assault
In this Oct. 22, 2017 file photo, San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster (56) stands on the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Santa Clara, Calif. Foster has been arrested in Mississippi and charged with second-degree possession of marijuana. AL.com says the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Office arrest database indicates Foster, who just finished his rookie season, was arrested Friday, Jan. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
FILE - This Dec. 12, 2017 file photo shows Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich speaking with members of the media during a news conference at the team&#39;s NFL football training facility in Philadelphia. The Indianapolis Colts have hired Reich as their new head coach. Team officials made the announcement Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018. Reich is expected to be introduced at a news conference Tuesday. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, file)
Colts hire Frank Reich as new head coach
FILE - This Dec. 12, 2017 file photo shows Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich speaking with members of the media during a news conference at the team's NFL football training facility in Philadelphia. The Indianapolis Colts have hired Reich as their new head coach. Team officials made the announcement Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018. Reich is expected to be introduced at a news conference Tuesday. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, file)
FILE - This Dec. 12, 2017 file photo shows Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich speaking with members of the media during a news conference at the team&#39;s NFL football training facility in Philadelphia. A person with direct knowledge of the deal tells The Associated Press that Reich has agreed to become the Indianapolis Colts new coach. The person spoke Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018 on condition of anonymity because no official had yet been made. An introductory news conference has not yet been scheduled. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, file)
Colts hire Frank Reich as new head coach
FILE - This Dec. 12, 2017 file photo shows Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich speaking with members of the media during a news conference at the team's NFL football training facility in Philadelphia. A person with direct knowledge of the deal tells The Associated Press that Reich has agreed to become the Indianapolis Colts new coach. The person spoke Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018 on condition of anonymity because no official had yet been made. An introductory news conference has not yet been scheduled. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, file)
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, right, gestures from the Stanford bench in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Colorado, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018, in Boulder, Colo. McCaffrey attended Stanford before leaving for a career in the NFL. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Buffs win third straight as Colorado downs Stanford 64-56
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, right, gestures from the Stanford bench in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Colorado, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018, in Boulder, Colo. McCaffrey attended Stanford before leaving for a career in the NFL. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich talks during NFL football Super Bowl 52 Opening Night Monday, Jan. 29, 2018, at the Xcel Center in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Colts hire Frank Reich as new head coach
Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich talks during NFL football Super Bowl 52 Opening Night Monday, Jan. 29, 2018, at the Xcel Center in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Arizona Cardinals NFL football player Larry Fitzgerald follows his shot out of a bunker onto the second green of the Pebble Beach Golf Links during the third round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am golf tournament Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018, in Pebble Beach, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Johnson shares the lead at Pebble Beach
Arizona Cardinals NFL football player Larry Fitzgerald follows his shot out of a bunker onto the second green of the Pebble Beach Golf Links during the third round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am golf tournament Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018, in Pebble Beach, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Pittsburgh Steelers fullback Roosevelt Nix (45) celebrates with Maurkice Pouncey (53) after rushing for a touchdown against the Houston Texans during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
Steelers sign Pro Bowl FB Nix to 4-year contract
Pittsburgh Steelers fullback Roosevelt Nix (45) celebrates with Maurkice Pouncey (53) after rushing for a touchdown against the Houston Texans during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
In this aerial photo, fans gather in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art as the Philadelphia Eagles NFL football Super Bowl victory parade proceeds along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, in Philadelphia. The Eagles beat the New England Patriots 41-33 in Super Bowl 52. (Jessica Griffin/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)
Police: 2 stabbed, officer assaulted during Eagles' parade
In this aerial photo, fans gather in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art as the Philadelphia Eagles NFL football Super Bowl victory parade proceeds along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, in Philadelphia. The Eagles beat the New England Patriots 41-33 in Super Bowl 52. (Jessica Griffin/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)
This is a photo of John DeFilippo of the Philadelphia Eagles NFL football team. This image reflects the Philadelphia Eagles active roster as of Tuesday, June 20, 2017. (AP Photo)
Vikings hire Eagles QB coach John DeFilippo to run offense
This is a photo of John DeFilippo of the Philadelphia Eagles NFL football team. This image reflects the Philadelphia Eagles active roster as of Tuesday, June 20, 2017. (AP Photo)
FILE - This is a 2017 file photo showing John DeFilippo of the Philadelphia Eagles NFL football team. The Minnesota Vikings have hired Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo as their offensive coordinator. DeFilippo replaces Pat Shurmur, who became head coach of the New York Giants. The deal was done Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, five days after the Eagles won the Super Bowl in Minnesota. (AP Photo/File)
Vikings hire Eagles QB coach John DeFilippo to run offense
FILE - This is a 2017 file photo showing John DeFilippo of the Philadelphia Eagles NFL football team. The Minnesota Vikings have hired Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo as their offensive coordinator. DeFilippo replaces Pat Shurmur, who became head coach of the New York Giants. The deal was done Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, five days after the Eagles won the Super Bowl in Minnesota. (AP Photo/File)
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, left, shakes hands with owner Jed York after an NFL football press conference Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, in Santa Clara, Calif. Garoppolo has signed a five-year contract with the 49ers worth a record-breaking $137.5 million. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Garoppolo, 49ers connect, completing long-term record deal
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, left, shakes hands with owner Jed York after an NFL football press conference Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, in Santa Clara, Calif. Garoppolo has signed a five-year contract with the 49ers worth a record-breaking $137.5 million. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, right, shakes hands with general manager John Lynch during an NFL football press conference Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, in Santa Clara, Calif. Garoppolo has signed a five-year contract with the 49ers worth a record-breaking $137.5 million. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Garoppolo, 49ers connect, completing long-term record deal
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, right, shakes hands with general manager John Lynch during an NFL football press conference Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, in Santa Clara, Calif. Garoppolo has signed a five-year contract with the 49ers worth a record-breaking $137.5 million. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo smiles as he poses for photographs after an NFL football press conference Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, in Santa Clara, Calif. Garoppolo has signed a five-year contract with the 49ers worth a record-breaking $137.5 million. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Garoppolo, 49ers connect, completing long-term record deal
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo smiles as he poses for photographs after an NFL football press conference Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, in Santa Clara, Calif. Garoppolo has signed a five-year contract with the 49ers worth a record-breaking $137.5 million. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo smiles during an NFL football press conference Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, in Santa Clara, Calif. Garoppolo has signed a five-year contract with the 49ers worth a record-breaking $137.5 million. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Garoppolo, 49ers connect, completing long-term record deal
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo smiles during an NFL football press conference Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, in Santa Clara, Calif. Garoppolo has signed a five-year contract with the 49ers worth a record-breaking $137.5 million. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, center, fields questions alongside general manager John Lynch, left, and head coach Kyle Shanahan during an NFL football press conference Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, in Santa Clara, Calif. Garoppolo has signed a five-year contract with the 49ers worth a record-breaking $137.5 million. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Garoppolo, 49ers connect, completing long-term record deal
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, center, fields questions alongside general manager John Lynch, left, and head coach Kyle Shanahan during an NFL football press conference Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, in Santa Clara, Calif. Garoppolo has signed a five-year contract with the 49ers worth a record-breaking $137.5 million. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, left, smiles next to head coach Kyle Shanahan during an NFL football press conference Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, in Santa Clara, Calif. Garoppolo has signed a five-year contract with the 49ers worth a record-breaking $137.5 million. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Garoppolo, 49ers connect, completing long-term record deal
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, left, smiles next to head coach Kyle Shanahan during an NFL football press conference Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, in Santa Clara, Calif. Garoppolo has signed a five-year contract with the 49ers worth a record-breaking $137.5 million. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn, from left, new head coach Matt Patricia; owner and chairman Martha Firestone Ford and president Rod Wood pose during an NFL football news conference at the team&#39;s training facility in Allen Park, Mich., Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Lions extend Quinn's deal to match length of Patricia's deal
Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn, from left, new head coach Matt Patricia; owner and chairman Martha Firestone Ford and president Rod Wood pose during an NFL football news conference at the team's training facility in Allen Park, Mich., Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia, right, hugs general manager Bob Quinn at their NFL Football training facility in Allen Park, Mich., Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Lions extend Quinn's deal to match length of Patricia's deal
Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia, right, hugs general manager Bob Quinn at their NFL Football training facility in Allen Park, Mich., Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
FILE - In this May 12, 2017 file photo, Philadelphia Eagles&#39; Sidney Jones speaks with members of the media during NFL football rookie minicamp at the team&#39;s training facility in Philadelphia. A group of fans have helped return Jones&#39; lost cellphone during the team&#39;s Super Bowl victory parade, but not before taking a selfie. Jones was with several of his teammates in Philadelphia on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, as they celebrated the Eagles&#39; 41-33 victory over the favored New England Patriots when his phone reportedly fell out of his back pocket. A photo appeared on the player&#39;s verified Instagram page shortly afterward that showed several smiling fans with the caption, &quot;Guess who dropped their phone at the parade!&quot; The fans promised to return it.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
Fans return Eagles CB Sidney Jones' lost cellphone
FILE - In this May 12, 2017 file photo, Philadelphia Eagles' Sidney Jones speaks with members of the media during NFL football rookie minicamp at the team's training facility in Philadelphia. A group of fans have helped return Jones' lost cellphone during the team's Super Bowl victory parade, but not before taking a selfie. Jones was with several of his teammates in Philadelphia on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, as they celebrated the Eagles' 41-33 victory over the favored New England Patriots when his phone reportedly fell out of his back pocket. A photo appeared on the player's verified Instagram page shortly afterward that showed several smiling fans with the caption, "Guess who dropped their phone at the parade!" The fans promised to return it.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
At the beginning of last week we discussed the result of my tests on my resting metabolic rate, which was measured by me lying in what looked like a bubble with a tube attached to my face for me to breathe into. We had to wake up at six in the morning to go and lie down again. It was quite strange. For the first 15 minutes, we had to lie down and breathe normally. For the second 15 minutes, we put the bubble over our head. The aim was to find out how many calories our bodies needed while resting - the minimum we would need to function if we were just lying down all day. The nutrition team told me that I need 2,880 calories just to exist - just to lie down and watch television on the sofa. They were able to combine that with estimates of how many I would need for the sessions I have been doing given my energy expenditure. That has come to between 5,500-6,000 calories per day to fuel my training efficiently and sustain my muscle mass and size. That was welcome news. Being a bigger person, you tend to eat more and it puts some science behind why you are constantly hungry, why you find yourself grazing and eating meals every three hours to satisfy this roaring fire in your belly. It also shows the level of detail they are willing to go to here at IMG. They have a bigger picture which has also been completed by blood tests to found out our levels of iron and vitamin D. It’s all about getting the most out of our bodies over the next nine weeks and it’s incredible to have that level of detailed analysis. This is a mentally taxing process, so that support is fantastic. Just a normal Tuesday morning in the lab������#GSSI A post shared by Christian Scotland-Williamson (@1csw) on Jan 23, 2018 at 6:16am PST At Worcester Warriors, I was fortunate to work with Jordan Higgins, who was the performance nutritionist during my three and a half years there. He helped me develop an in-depth knowledge of nutrition and helped me figure out how my body works. I rang him after being told about this data. I feel like it’s because of him that I’m in a position to appreciate how I can fine tune my body to the demands of the NFL. On Tuesday I had my first session with Larry Kirksey, who is an unbelievable receivers coach. He’s worked with legends - Jerry Rice and Terrell Owens to name two. I was in extremely good hands. Let’s just say there was a lot to improve on, but I was happy with my starting base. On Thursday there was another chance to work with Larry, and the changes even in that short time gave me a lot of satisfaction. Even if you have a bad day or a bad session, it’s about keeping perspective. You can’t expect to be ready for the NFL from day one. Some athletes who have been in football their whole life do not make it. After errors or dropped balls or inaccurate routes, you have to review everything and be ready to make even a small improvement in one element, like ball security. I remember during my early rugby career there were small moments that made me believe that playing professionally was feasible. Last week, there were one or two routes, one or two decent catches - running at speed at awkward, difficult angles - that made me think that I can do this. It felt like I was showing glimpses of something that could be great. In football, when you are coming out of three-point stances and begin to start your route, it is so much different to rugby. I used my GPS on my watch during one session, and I ran 3.2 kilometres. In a typical rugby session, you will travel between 4-5 kilometres at what is called ‘medium-intensity running’ as a lock. That’s between 40 and 70 per cent of your maximum velocity. Scotland-Williamson believes Christian Wade&#39;s footwork would excite NFL coaches Credit: Getty Images All of my running in football is at my maximum. The breaks between routes only allow you to get the very most you can out of every rep. Transitioning has been difficult, but the nature of rugby has given me a decent base of fitness. Now it’s about pushing on and trying to maintain precision. With coach Larry, we watched archive footage of Jerry Rice running routes in practice. Seeing the way he moved, how low he stayed and how he broke at top speed, was fascinating. I’ve no doubt players like Christian Wade would do well over here with their speed and footwork, but to see how bewildered Rice made his opponents was remarkable. Again, the insight of speaking to somebody that had coached him was a unique experience. Unique experiences and interactions keep building up over here. NFL Life is the area of our programme that aims to prepare us for the holistic experience of playing in the League. Larry and Pepper Johnson, who has two Super Bowl rings as a line-backer with the New York Giants and three more as a coach with the New England Patriots, addressed us last week. Both spoke about the importance of leaving a positive legacy, something to be proud of. Coach Johnson told us that his first ever training camp was a grind with very few days off. When they finally got one, it was a Sunday. Coach Johnson was getting dressed in his room, intending on going out with friends. A veteran walked past his room and asked if he knew the playbook they’d been working from. Coach Johnson replied: “Hell yeah, I do.” So the veteran said: “OK. But do you know it from the corner position? Do you know it from the safety position?” That’s when Coach Johnson realised the level of detail required. A line-backer is effectively the quarter-back of the defence. So for him to be able to direct the defenders in the secondary, he had to know where they were meant to be. If he was staring blankly at people when they asked him questions, he wasn’t leading. He realised that early on in his rookie season. You can’t just know your role, you need to know where others fit into the scheme. �� A post shared by Christian Scotland-Williamson (@1csw) on Feb 1, 2018 at 6:40pm PST While I was injured as a rugby player, the things that kept me going were NFL documentaries: A Football Life, America’s Game, 30 for 30. Those showed how many players have overcome adversity to become great, and Pepper impressed the importance of learning football history - even something as simple as who the best player in your position is, so you have a tangible goal and you respect the game. I hope I already appreciate that in some way. You can’t go into something like the NFL, which is so steeped in history, without doing so. You have to incorporate your ‘why’ - why are you sacrificing so much - with a knowledge of who has gone before you. We were given a two-day weekend for the Super Bowl and on Saturday there was a flag football tournament with a barbecue, which was really good fun. On Sunday, it was showtime. Last year, I was only able to watch the first half because I had training the next day. I think the Falcons were up 28-3 when I went to bed…I woke up and checked my phone to see that Tom Brady and the Patriots had come through. Being able to watch the game in the United States felt special. It was a topic of conversation for everybody - not just the sportsmen that I am around, but waitresses, police officers, postmen. Everyone was talking about the Super Bowl. We had some food before the game and headed back to watch the game in our villa. Watching American football will always be different for me, as I’ve said. I’m looking for trigger movements that are aiming to deceive opponents. Anthony Dablé and Moritz Boehringer have played in the NFL and can dissect a play in seconds. It’s far beyond the view of the armchair fan. It’s breaking down the mechanics of a play. Philadelphia Eagles tight-end Zach Ertz celebrates winning the Super Bowl Credit: AP Overall, I thought it was a great game. Tom Brady threw for over 500 yards but Nick Foles was exceptional. His story sums up the aura of the NFL. Someone can get cut and be on the brink of quitting. Then, within a season, they can win a Super Bowl as a back-up quarterback. The game also highlighted how important my position, tight end, can be to a team. Rob Gronkowski caught two touchdown passes but Zach Ertz held on for the game-winner. That showed how destructive men of that size can be when they have good hands and cause mismatches across the field. Until the final whistle, I didn’t believe the Patriots would lose. Even on the last play, the last throw of the dice when Brady threw a Hail Mary towards Gronkowski, who had three defenders covering him, it felt possible - close to inevitable. But to see Philadelphia Eagles win their first one is something I’ll always remember, as the first one I’d seen on American soil and for the reaction of people across the country. Jay Ajayi’s story does not only inspire British people like me. He was was traded by the Miami Dolphins in the middle of the season and he lifted the Vince Lombardi trophy. It shows that anything can happen in the NFL.
Diary of an NFL hopeful: Six thousand-calorie days and my first Super Bowl on American soil
At the beginning of last week we discussed the result of my tests on my resting metabolic rate, which was measured by me lying in what looked like a bubble with a tube attached to my face for me to breathe into. We had to wake up at six in the morning to go and lie down again. It was quite strange. For the first 15 minutes, we had to lie down and breathe normally. For the second 15 minutes, we put the bubble over our head. The aim was to find out how many calories our bodies needed while resting - the minimum we would need to function if we were just lying down all day. The nutrition team told me that I need 2,880 calories just to exist - just to lie down and watch television on the sofa. They were able to combine that with estimates of how many I would need for the sessions I have been doing given my energy expenditure. That has come to between 5,500-6,000 calories per day to fuel my training efficiently and sustain my muscle mass and size. That was welcome news. Being a bigger person, you tend to eat more and it puts some science behind why you are constantly hungry, why you find yourself grazing and eating meals every three hours to satisfy this roaring fire in your belly. It also shows the level of detail they are willing to go to here at IMG. They have a bigger picture which has also been completed by blood tests to found out our levels of iron and vitamin D. It’s all about getting the most out of our bodies over the next nine weeks and it’s incredible to have that level of detailed analysis. This is a mentally taxing process, so that support is fantastic. Just a normal Tuesday morning in the lab������#GSSI A post shared by Christian Scotland-Williamson (@1csw) on Jan 23, 2018 at 6:16am PST At Worcester Warriors, I was fortunate to work with Jordan Higgins, who was the performance nutritionist during my three and a half years there. He helped me develop an in-depth knowledge of nutrition and helped me figure out how my body works. I rang him after being told about this data. I feel like it’s because of him that I’m in a position to appreciate how I can fine tune my body to the demands of the NFL. On Tuesday I had my first session with Larry Kirksey, who is an unbelievable receivers coach. He’s worked with legends - Jerry Rice and Terrell Owens to name two. I was in extremely good hands. Let’s just say there was a lot to improve on, but I was happy with my starting base. On Thursday there was another chance to work with Larry, and the changes even in that short time gave me a lot of satisfaction. Even if you have a bad day or a bad session, it’s about keeping perspective. You can’t expect to be ready for the NFL from day one. Some athletes who have been in football their whole life do not make it. After errors or dropped balls or inaccurate routes, you have to review everything and be ready to make even a small improvement in one element, like ball security. I remember during my early rugby career there were small moments that made me believe that playing professionally was feasible. Last week, there were one or two routes, one or two decent catches - running at speed at awkward, difficult angles - that made me think that I can do this. It felt like I was showing glimpses of something that could be great. In football, when you are coming out of three-point stances and begin to start your route, it is so much different to rugby. I used my GPS on my watch during one session, and I ran 3.2 kilometres. In a typical rugby session, you will travel between 4-5 kilometres at what is called ‘medium-intensity running’ as a lock. That’s between 40 and 70 per cent of your maximum velocity. Scotland-Williamson believes Christian Wade's footwork would excite NFL coaches Credit: Getty Images All of my running in football is at my maximum. The breaks between routes only allow you to get the very most you can out of every rep. Transitioning has been difficult, but the nature of rugby has given me a decent base of fitness. Now it’s about pushing on and trying to maintain precision. With coach Larry, we watched archive footage of Jerry Rice running routes in practice. Seeing the way he moved, how low he stayed and how he broke at top speed, was fascinating. I’ve no doubt players like Christian Wade would do well over here with their speed and footwork, but to see how bewildered Rice made his opponents was remarkable. Again, the insight of speaking to somebody that had coached him was a unique experience. Unique experiences and interactions keep building up over here. NFL Life is the area of our programme that aims to prepare us for the holistic experience of playing in the League. Larry and Pepper Johnson, who has two Super Bowl rings as a line-backer with the New York Giants and three more as a coach with the New England Patriots, addressed us last week. Both spoke about the importance of leaving a positive legacy, something to be proud of. Coach Johnson told us that his first ever training camp was a grind with very few days off. When they finally got one, it was a Sunday. Coach Johnson was getting dressed in his room, intending on going out with friends. A veteran walked past his room and asked if he knew the playbook they’d been working from. Coach Johnson replied: “Hell yeah, I do.” So the veteran said: “OK. But do you know it from the corner position? Do you know it from the safety position?” That’s when Coach Johnson realised the level of detail required. A line-backer is effectively the quarter-back of the defence. So for him to be able to direct the defenders in the secondary, he had to know where they were meant to be. If he was staring blankly at people when they asked him questions, he wasn’t leading. He realised that early on in his rookie season. You can’t just know your role, you need to know where others fit into the scheme. �� A post shared by Christian Scotland-Williamson (@1csw) on Feb 1, 2018 at 6:40pm PST While I was injured as a rugby player, the things that kept me going were NFL documentaries: A Football Life, America’s Game, 30 for 30. Those showed how many players have overcome adversity to become great, and Pepper impressed the importance of learning football history - even something as simple as who the best player in your position is, so you have a tangible goal and you respect the game. I hope I already appreciate that in some way. You can’t go into something like the NFL, which is so steeped in history, without doing so. You have to incorporate your ‘why’ - why are you sacrificing so much - with a knowledge of who has gone before you. We were given a two-day weekend for the Super Bowl and on Saturday there was a flag football tournament with a barbecue, which was really good fun. On Sunday, it was showtime. Last year, I was only able to watch the first half because I had training the next day. I think the Falcons were up 28-3 when I went to bed…I woke up and checked my phone to see that Tom Brady and the Patriots had come through. Being able to watch the game in the United States felt special. It was a topic of conversation for everybody - not just the sportsmen that I am around, but waitresses, police officers, postmen. Everyone was talking about the Super Bowl. We had some food before the game and headed back to watch the game in our villa. Watching American football will always be different for me, as I’ve said. I’m looking for trigger movements that are aiming to deceive opponents. Anthony Dablé and Moritz Boehringer have played in the NFL and can dissect a play in seconds. It’s far beyond the view of the armchair fan. It’s breaking down the mechanics of a play. Philadelphia Eagles tight-end Zach Ertz celebrates winning the Super Bowl Credit: AP Overall, I thought it was a great game. Tom Brady threw for over 500 yards but Nick Foles was exceptional. His story sums up the aura of the NFL. Someone can get cut and be on the brink of quitting. Then, within a season, they can win a Super Bowl as a back-up quarterback. The game also highlighted how important my position, tight end, can be to a team. Rob Gronkowski caught two touchdown passes but Zach Ertz held on for the game-winner. That showed how destructive men of that size can be when they have good hands and cause mismatches across the field. Until the final whistle, I didn’t believe the Patriots would lose. Even on the last play, the last throw of the dice when Brady threw a Hail Mary towards Gronkowski, who had three defenders covering him, it felt possible - close to inevitable. But to see Philadelphia Eagles win their first one is something I’ll always remember, as the first one I’d seen on American soil and for the reaction of people across the country. Jay Ajayi’s story does not only inspire British people like me. He was was traded by the Miami Dolphins in the middle of the season and he lifted the Vince Lombardi trophy. It shows that anything can happen in the NFL.
At the beginning of last week we discussed the result of my tests on my resting metabolic rate, which was measured by me lying in what looked like a bubble with a tube attached to my face for me to breathe into. We had to wake up at six in the morning to go and lie down again. It was quite strange. For the first 15 minutes, we had to lie down and breathe normally. For the second 15 minutes, we put the bubble over our head. The aim was to find out how many calories our bodies needed while resting - the minimum we would need to function if we were just lying down all day. The nutrition team told me that I need 2,880 calories just to exist - just to lie down and watch television on the sofa. They were able to combine that with estimates of how many I would need for the sessions I have been doing given my energy expenditure. That has come to between 5,500-6,000 calories per day to fuel my training efficiently and sustain my muscle mass and size. That was welcome news. Being a bigger person, you tend to eat more and it puts some science behind why you are constantly hungry, why you find yourself grazing and eating meals every three hours to satisfy this roaring fire in your belly. It also shows the level of detail they are willing to go to here at IMG. They have a bigger picture which has also been completed by blood tests to found out our levels of iron and vitamin D. It’s all about getting the most out of our bodies over the next nine weeks and it’s incredible to have that level of detailed analysis. This is a mentally taxing process, so that support is fantastic. Just a normal Tuesday morning in the lab������#GSSI A post shared by Christian Scotland-Williamson (@1csw) on Jan 23, 2018 at 6:16am PST At Worcester Warriors, I was fortunate to work with Jordan Higgins, who was the performance nutritionist during my three and a half years there. He helped me develop an in-depth knowledge of nutrition and helped me figure out how my body works. I rang him after being told about this data. I feel like it’s because of him that I’m in a position to appreciate how I can fine tune my body to the demands of the NFL. On Tuesday I had my first session with Larry Kirksey, who is an unbelievable receivers coach. He’s worked with legends - Jerry Rice and Terrell Owens to name two. I was in extremely good hands. Let’s just say there was a lot to improve on, but I was happy with my starting base. On Thursday there was another chance to work with Larry, and the changes even in that short time gave me a lot of satisfaction. Even if you have a bad day or a bad session, it’s about keeping perspective. You can’t expect to be ready for the NFL from day one. Some athletes who have been in football their whole life do not make it. After errors or dropped balls or inaccurate routes, you have to review everything and be ready to make even a small improvement in one element, like ball security. I remember during my early rugby career there were small moments that made me believe that playing professionally was feasible. Last week, there were one or two routes, one or two decent catches - running at speed at awkward, difficult angles - that made me think that I can do this. It felt like I was showing glimpses of something that could be great. In football, when you are coming out of three-point stances and begin to start your route, it is so much different to rugby. I used my GPS on my watch during one session, and I ran 3.2 kilometres. In a typical rugby session, you will travel between 4-5 kilometres at what is called ‘medium-intensity running’ as a lock. That’s between 40 and 70 per cent of your maximum velocity. Scotland-Williamson believes Christian Wade&#39;s footwork would excite NFL coaches Credit: Getty Images All of my running in football is at my maximum. The breaks between routes only allow you to get the very most you can out of every rep. Transitioning has been difficult, but the nature of rugby has given me a decent base of fitness. Now it’s about pushing on and trying to maintain precision. With coach Larry, we watched archive footage of Jerry Rice running routes in practice. Seeing the way he moved, how low he stayed and how he broke at top speed, was fascinating. I’ve no doubt players like Christian Wade would do well over here with their speed and footwork, but to see how bewildered Rice made his opponents was remarkable. Again, the insight of speaking to somebody that had coached him was a unique experience. Unique experiences and interactions keep building up over here. NFL Life is the area of our programme that aims to prepare us for the holistic experience of playing in the League. Larry and Pepper Johnson, who has two Super Bowl rings as a line-backer with the New York Giants and three more as a coach with the New England Patriots, addressed us last week. Both spoke about the importance of leaving a positive legacy, something to be proud of. Coach Johnson told us that his first ever training camp was a grind with very few days off. When they finally got one, it was a Sunday. Coach Johnson was getting dressed in his room, intending on going out with friends. A veteran walked past his room and asked if he knew the playbook they’d been working from. Coach Johnson replied: “Hell yeah, I do.” So the veteran said: “OK. But do you know it from the corner position? Do you know it from the safety position?” That’s when Coach Johnson realised the level of detail required. A line-backer is effectively the quarter-back of the defence. So for him to be able to direct the defenders in the secondary, he had to know where they were meant to be. If he was staring blankly at people when they asked him questions, he wasn’t leading. He realised that early on in his rookie season. You can’t just know your role, you need to know where others fit into the scheme. �� A post shared by Christian Scotland-Williamson (@1csw) on Feb 1, 2018 at 6:40pm PST While I was injured as a rugby player, the things that kept me going were NFL documentaries: A Football Life, America’s Game, 30 for 30. Those showed how many players have overcome adversity to become great, and Pepper impressed the importance of learning football history - even something as simple as who the best player in your position is, so you have a tangible goal and you respect the game. I hope I already appreciate that in some way. You can’t go into something like the NFL, which is so steeped in history, without doing so. You have to incorporate your ‘why’ - why are you sacrificing so much - with a knowledge of who has gone before you. We were given a two-day weekend for the Super Bowl and on Saturday there was a flag football tournament with a barbecue, which was really good fun. On Sunday, it was showtime. Last year, I was only able to watch the first half because I had training the next day. I think the Falcons were up 28-3 when I went to bed…I woke up and checked my phone to see that Tom Brady and the Patriots had come through. Being able to watch the game in the United States felt special. It was a topic of conversation for everybody - not just the sportsmen that I am around, but waitresses, police officers, postmen. Everyone was talking about the Super Bowl. We had some food before the game and headed back to watch the game in our villa. Watching American football will always be different for me, as I’ve said. I’m looking for trigger movements that are aiming to deceive opponents. Anthony Dablé and Moritz Boehringer have played in the NFL and can dissect a play in seconds. It’s far beyond the view of the armchair fan. It’s breaking down the mechanics of a play. Philadelphia Eagles tight-end Zach Ertz celebrates winning the Super Bowl Credit: AP Overall, I thought it was a great game. Tom Brady threw for over 500 yards but Nick Foles was exceptional. His story sums up the aura of the NFL. Someone can get cut and be on the brink of quitting. Then, within a season, they can win a Super Bowl as a back-up quarterback. The game also highlighted how important my position, tight end, can be to a team. Rob Gronkowski caught two touchdown passes but Zach Ertz held on for the game-winner. That showed how destructive men of that size can be when they have good hands and cause mismatches across the field. Until the final whistle, I didn’t believe the Patriots would lose. Even on the last play, the last throw of the dice when Brady threw a Hail Mary towards Gronkowski, who had three defenders covering him, it felt possible - close to inevitable. But to see Philadelphia Eagles win their first one is something I’ll always remember, as the first one I’d seen on American soil and for the reaction of people across the country. Jay Ajayi’s story does not only inspire British people like me. He was was traded by the Miami Dolphins in the middle of the season and he lifted the Vince Lombardi trophy. It shows that anything can happen in the NFL.
Diary of an NFL hopeful: Six thousand-calorie days and my first Super Bowl on American soil
At the beginning of last week we discussed the result of my tests on my resting metabolic rate, which was measured by me lying in what looked like a bubble with a tube attached to my face for me to breathe into. We had to wake up at six in the morning to go and lie down again. It was quite strange. For the first 15 minutes, we had to lie down and breathe normally. For the second 15 minutes, we put the bubble over our head. The aim was to find out how many calories our bodies needed while resting - the minimum we would need to function if we were just lying down all day. The nutrition team told me that I need 2,880 calories just to exist - just to lie down and watch television on the sofa. They were able to combine that with estimates of how many I would need for the sessions I have been doing given my energy expenditure. That has come to between 5,500-6,000 calories per day to fuel my training efficiently and sustain my muscle mass and size. That was welcome news. Being a bigger person, you tend to eat more and it puts some science behind why you are constantly hungry, why you find yourself grazing and eating meals every three hours to satisfy this roaring fire in your belly. It also shows the level of detail they are willing to go to here at IMG. They have a bigger picture which has also been completed by blood tests to found out our levels of iron and vitamin D. It’s all about getting the most out of our bodies over the next nine weeks and it’s incredible to have that level of detailed analysis. This is a mentally taxing process, so that support is fantastic. Just a normal Tuesday morning in the lab������#GSSI A post shared by Christian Scotland-Williamson (@1csw) on Jan 23, 2018 at 6:16am PST At Worcester Warriors, I was fortunate to work with Jordan Higgins, who was the performance nutritionist during my three and a half years there. He helped me develop an in-depth knowledge of nutrition and helped me figure out how my body works. I rang him after being told about this data. I feel like it’s because of him that I’m in a position to appreciate how I can fine tune my body to the demands of the NFL. On Tuesday I had my first session with Larry Kirksey, who is an unbelievable receivers coach. He’s worked with legends - Jerry Rice and Terrell Owens to name two. I was in extremely good hands. Let’s just say there was a lot to improve on, but I was happy with my starting base. On Thursday there was another chance to work with Larry, and the changes even in that short time gave me a lot of satisfaction. Even if you have a bad day or a bad session, it’s about keeping perspective. You can’t expect to be ready for the NFL from day one. Some athletes who have been in football their whole life do not make it. After errors or dropped balls or inaccurate routes, you have to review everything and be ready to make even a small improvement in one element, like ball security. I remember during my early rugby career there were small moments that made me believe that playing professionally was feasible. Last week, there were one or two routes, one or two decent catches - running at speed at awkward, difficult angles - that made me think that I can do this. It felt like I was showing glimpses of something that could be great. In football, when you are coming out of three-point stances and begin to start your route, it is so much different to rugby. I used my GPS on my watch during one session, and I ran 3.2 kilometres. In a typical rugby session, you will travel between 4-5 kilometres at what is called ‘medium-intensity running’ as a lock. That’s between 40 and 70 per cent of your maximum velocity. Scotland-Williamson believes Christian Wade's footwork would excite NFL coaches Credit: Getty Images All of my running in football is at my maximum. The breaks between routes only allow you to get the very most you can out of every rep. Transitioning has been difficult, but the nature of rugby has given me a decent base of fitness. Now it’s about pushing on and trying to maintain precision. With coach Larry, we watched archive footage of Jerry Rice running routes in practice. Seeing the way he moved, how low he stayed and how he broke at top speed, was fascinating. I’ve no doubt players like Christian Wade would do well over here with their speed and footwork, but to see how bewildered Rice made his opponents was remarkable. Again, the insight of speaking to somebody that had coached him was a unique experience. Unique experiences and interactions keep building up over here. NFL Life is the area of our programme that aims to prepare us for the holistic experience of playing in the League. Larry and Pepper Johnson, who has two Super Bowl rings as a line-backer with the New York Giants and three more as a coach with the New England Patriots, addressed us last week. Both spoke about the importance of leaving a positive legacy, something to be proud of. Coach Johnson told us that his first ever training camp was a grind with very few days off. When they finally got one, it was a Sunday. Coach Johnson was getting dressed in his room, intending on going out with friends. A veteran walked past his room and asked if he knew the playbook they’d been working from. Coach Johnson replied: “Hell yeah, I do.” So the veteran said: “OK. But do you know it from the corner position? Do you know it from the safety position?” That’s when Coach Johnson realised the level of detail required. A line-backer is effectively the quarter-back of the defence. So for him to be able to direct the defenders in the secondary, he had to know where they were meant to be. If he was staring blankly at people when they asked him questions, he wasn’t leading. He realised that early on in his rookie season. You can’t just know your role, you need to know where others fit into the scheme. �� A post shared by Christian Scotland-Williamson (@1csw) on Feb 1, 2018 at 6:40pm PST While I was injured as a rugby player, the things that kept me going were NFL documentaries: A Football Life, America’s Game, 30 for 30. Those showed how many players have overcome adversity to become great, and Pepper impressed the importance of learning football history - even something as simple as who the best player in your position is, so you have a tangible goal and you respect the game. I hope I already appreciate that in some way. You can’t go into something like the NFL, which is so steeped in history, without doing so. You have to incorporate your ‘why’ - why are you sacrificing so much - with a knowledge of who has gone before you. We were given a two-day weekend for the Super Bowl and on Saturday there was a flag football tournament with a barbecue, which was really good fun. On Sunday, it was showtime. Last year, I was only able to watch the first half because I had training the next day. I think the Falcons were up 28-3 when I went to bed…I woke up and checked my phone to see that Tom Brady and the Patriots had come through. Being able to watch the game in the United States felt special. It was a topic of conversation for everybody - not just the sportsmen that I am around, but waitresses, police officers, postmen. Everyone was talking about the Super Bowl. We had some food before the game and headed back to watch the game in our villa. Watching American football will always be different for me, as I’ve said. I’m looking for trigger movements that are aiming to deceive opponents. Anthony Dablé and Moritz Boehringer have played in the NFL and can dissect a play in seconds. It’s far beyond the view of the armchair fan. It’s breaking down the mechanics of a play. Philadelphia Eagles tight-end Zach Ertz celebrates winning the Super Bowl Credit: AP Overall, I thought it was a great game. Tom Brady threw for over 500 yards but Nick Foles was exceptional. His story sums up the aura of the NFL. Someone can get cut and be on the brink of quitting. Then, within a season, they can win a Super Bowl as a back-up quarterback. The game also highlighted how important my position, tight end, can be to a team. Rob Gronkowski caught two touchdown passes but Zach Ertz held on for the game-winner. That showed how destructive men of that size can be when they have good hands and cause mismatches across the field. Until the final whistle, I didn’t believe the Patriots would lose. Even on the last play, the last throw of the dice when Brady threw a Hail Mary towards Gronkowski, who had three defenders covering him, it felt possible - close to inevitable. But to see Philadelphia Eagles win their first one is something I’ll always remember, as the first one I’d seen on American soil and for the reaction of people across the country. Jay Ajayi’s story does not only inspire British people like me. He was was traded by the Miami Dolphins in the middle of the season and he lifted the Vince Lombardi trophy. It shows that anything can happen in the NFL.

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