Jets will eye these six NFL draft prospects during Senior Bowl week – NY Daily News – New York Daily News

The Jets will kick off their critical off-season evaluation process in Mobile, Ala., for Senior Bowl week. General manager Mike Maccagnan & Co. have plenty of roster upgrades in mind, including bolstering the offensive line and pass rush.

Here’s a six-pack of prospects to keep an eye on this week:

Montez Sweat, Mississippi State EDGE

Jets GM Mike Maccagnan and Montez Sweat

Jets GM Mike Maccagnan and Montez Sweat (Getty Images/AP/NYDN composite)

Sweat doesn’t have the sizzle like projected No. 1 overall pick Nick Bosa, Kentucky’s Josh Allen or Florida State’s Jachai Polite, but there’s no denying his production the past two seasons since transferring from Michigan State.

The 6-6, 245-pound Sweat has racked up 22 ½ sacks and 30 tackles for loss in his final 26 games in college. It’s unclear if he makes the best sense in new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ attacking 4-3 scheme, but there’s no denying that he has the skills to make a difference at the next level.

Sweat is obviously not a candidate to be picked with the third overall pick, but Gang Green will be entertaining offers to trade down and collect more premium draft picks. Sweat could make sense depending on whether the Jets strike a deal to collect more premium draft capital.

Jaylon Ferguson, Louisiana Tech DE

The 6-5, 262-pound Ferguson isn’t exactly a household name, but he sure lit up the stat sheet last season by leading the country with 17 ½ sacks and finishing second with 26 tackles for loss. Ferguson’s career college numbers are staggering: 45 sacks and 67 ½ tackles for loss in four seasons will get everybody’s attention.

Ferguson has explosion, but he’s not an athletic freak. He’ll have a great opportunity to show NFL talent evaluators this week that his numbers aren’t a mirage. The Jets won’t take him in the first round, but he might be an intriguing option if they can collect more draft picks.

Dalton Risner, Kansas State OT

Dalton Risner.

Dalton Risner. (Sue Ogrocki / AP)

It’s no secret that Maccagnan & Co. will need to make offensive upgrades to better serve and protect Sam Darnold. The 6-5, 308-pound Risner might be better suited to kick inside to guard at the next level. He can also play center.

Maccagnan needs to bring in more offensive linemen after grabbing only two of them in his first four drafts. The Jets will be looking to replace two or three linemen this offseason in addition to beefing up their depth.

Risner will likely be a second-third rounder. The Jets don’t have a second-round pick thanks to the trade with the Colts last year that landed Darnold. Things will change quickly, of course, if Gang Green moves out of the No. 3 spot.

Andre Dillard, Washington State OT

The 6-5, 310-pound Dillard has proven to be solid in pass protection in Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense.

The three-year starter has good feet and length. He has the skill set to be productive in a zone-blocking scheme, but there are fair questions about his strength at the point of attack right now.

Regardless, he’s an intriguing option on Day 2 for a team that will be looking to improve their offensive line.

Zach Allen, Boston College DE

Zach Allen.

Zach Allen. (Gerry Broome / AP)

Allen has been a disruptor the past two years even if he hasn’t gotten home as much as he would have liked. The 6-5, 285-pounder had 15 and 15 ½ tackles for loss the past two seasons, respectively, but only managed 10 ½ sacks in the past 26 games.

Allen has the tools to be a difference maker off the edge at the next level. He’s a first-round talent, who would come into play if the Jets decide to get creative and wheel and deal.

Michael Dieter, Wisconsin OL

The versatile offensive lineman started a school-record 54 games at three different spots: Left guard, center and left tackle. The 6-6, 321-pounder is probably best suited at guard right now. His position flexibility is intriguing for a team that desperately needs an influx of talent up front.

Nickel: If these Badgers hockey players look familiar, it's probably in their DNA – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

John Byce (left) and Alicia Pelton (right) with their son, Ty Pelton-Byce (center) and daughter, Kaya. (Photo: Alicia Pelton)

MADISON – Ty Pelton-Byce’s parents wanted what was best for their son, and when that meant playing at Harvard, they supported it. Though John Byce and Alicia Pelton were both Wisconsin Badgers standouts – in hockey, baseball and track – the Madison couple understood their son’s calling to leave the nest.

“We really want him to have his own path,” Alicia Pelton said. “As much as everyone wanted him to go to Wisconsin – neighbors and friends and family wanted it in a way – there can be added pressure to go to Wisconsin and be a legacy player.”

So Ty went his own way. For two years, he played hockey at Harvard.

But the best part about any good family is you always can come home again. So when things didn’t go as planned – depression affected Pelton-Byce’s ability to concentrate on his studies and he decided to make a change – he wrote a letter to the University of Wisconsin and was accepted as a transfer student. Pelton-Byce, a forward, is now just settling into his new Badgers hockey uniform – and resembling his dad sometimes.

John Byce (Photo: Alicia Pelton)

In fact, while watching the Badgers men’s hockey team on the ice, do a lot of these guys remind you of anyone?

They should. The UW roster is full of young men whose older brothers, parents – and even grandparents – once wore the Wisconsin jersey.

For Pelton-Byce, there was always an appreciation for the UW program. He used to watch a highlight video, “Drive for Five,” over and over and over again, on which he could see his father score a hat trick to help Wisconsin win the 1990 NCAA championship against Colgate.

John Byce finished his career with 77 goals and 165 points in 169 games before graduating from UW in 1990. He also played baseball for the Badgers.

Pelton-Byce’s mom was a triple jumper for UW in the late 1980s. She played professional basketball in Europe when John’s hockey career took him there. But later, Pelton-Byce grew up in a house with trophies and old cardinal and white jerseys commemorating his parents’ athletic achievements as Badgers.

Alicia Pelton, Wisconsin Badgers track (Photo: Alicia Pelton)

“But my parents were definitely really good about letting me choose my own path,” Pelton-Byce said.

After a semester at Madison Area Technical College, Pelton-Byce is practicing with the Badgers now and will be eligible to play next fall.

“I’m definitely happy to be back after everything I went through there,” he said.

“He’s in the best place,” said Alicia, noting that the UW hockey program and school have a good support system.

Other players feel right at home here as well. Jake Bunz’s father, Garry Bunz, played at UW from 1984-‘87, so Jake grew up spending Friday and Saturday nights watching the Badgers on home ice.

“I was looking at other schools but in my heart I wanted to be a Badger no matter what,” said Bunz.

Forward Dominick Mersch closely followed the career of big brother, Michael Mersch, who played for UW from 2010-’14 and was a second-team All-American his senior year. He was part of the WCHA championship team in 2013.

Not only is Dominick a personal finance major, as was Michael, but he wears the same jersey number: 25.

“I’ve really followed in his footsteps,” said Dominick. “We both have big bodies and we work hard in the corners.”

Their father, Michael, would be proud, no doubt. The former Illinois-Chicago player died about 15 years ago from Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but his sons hope to leave a legacy at UW of being hardworking, high-effort guys.

“I think it speaks volumes of the program here. We’re like a family in that locker room,” Dominick said. “Once you go here, you’re part of the program forever.”

UW forward Mick Messner considered East Coast schools but always kind of knew he wanted to be a Badger. His grandfather, Gary Messner, was the 1954 team captain and a first-team all-Big Ten guard for the UW football team. Also, Mike Messner’s aunt, Sara Messner, captained the UW swim team during her 1988-’92 career.

Brock Caufield, whose family name is known around the state, felt a similar pull to UW. His dad, Paul Caufield, was part of three NCAA Division III championship teams for UW-Stevens Point, where he became the school’s all-time leading scorer with 254 points and 126 goals in 148 games. He then joined the coaching staff as an assistant.

“I remember standing up against the boards watching all the games,” said Brock.

Caufield’s grandfather Wayne Caufield played for the Milwaukee Admirals in the 1970s, so it was no surprise Brock wanted to stay in-state to play at UW.

“Hockey has always been a small world to me,” said Brock. “Ever since I got here, it’s been a family atmosphere. You feel at home here. These are almost your brothers. Being around them every day is a special bond. I’m sure that has something to do with going down from generation to generation.

“We have alumni here all the time, giving back. It’s something I want to do when I’m done.”


When Ty Pelton-Byce plays for Wisconsin next year, he will become part of the multiple father-son hockey connections at the school.

Murray Heatley (1968-’71)
    Dany (1999-2001)
    Mark (2003-’05)

Gary Winchester (1970-’74)
    Brad (1999-2003)

Dean Talafous (1971-’74)
    Pete (2002-’05)

Bob Suter (1975-’79)
    Ryan (2003-’04)

Lee Skille (1975-’76)
    Jack (2005-’07)

Mark Johnson (1976-’79)
    Patrick (2007-’11)

Pat Ford (1984-’88)
    Jason (2014-’18)
    Keegan (2014)

Gary Shuchuck (1986-’90)
    Alex (2014-’16)

Gary Bunz (1984-’87)
    Jake (2015-‘19)

Ken Keryluk (1978-’82)
    Zac Keryluk (2015-’16)

In addition, 18 families have had two or more brothers play hockey at UW:

Michael and Dominick Mersch

Jason and Sean Dhooghe

Tanner and Tyler Barnes

Jason and Keegan Ford

Ryan and Sean Little

Robert, Dave, Tom and Paul Lundeen

Tony, Don and Rob Granato

Jeff and Rob Andringa

Mark and Dany Heatley

Jim and Mark Jefferies

Jim and John Johannson

Gary and Tom Kuklinski

Scott and Todd Lecy

Scott and Steve Sabo

Jeff and Scott Sanderson

And there were even twins:

Mark and Mike Strobel

Brad and Murray Johnson


Warren Gatland open to Premiership return once he quits as Wales rugby boss – Mirror Online

Warren Gatland is exploring a coaching return to the Premiership as he prepares for his last Six Nations with Wales.

The New Zealander last week spoke of talks with the British & Irish Lions over leading them on what would be his third tour in charge when they visit South Africa in 2021.

Gatland will leave Wales at the end of this year’s World Cup after more than a decade in the job.

The 2019 Six Nations remains his first priority, but he also has one eye on what’s next and English club rugby could appeal to the former Wasps coach.

“I have had a couple of discussions with some people, but there is definitely nothing concrete,” said Gatland. “Maybe at the end of the World Cup I’ll be unemployed.

Win or lose, 2019 will see the end of Gatland’s 11 years with Wales

“I was looking to take a few months off then start looking again in 2020 and potentially do some Super Rugby in New Zealand. But I am also aware there are not a lot of jobs in New Zealand. That might not be an option.

“So it’s a case of maybe looking at whether it is a job back in club rugby in the Premiership, France or Japan. Maybe I’ll coach [Welsh club side] Merthyr Tydfil!”

Gatland won three Premiership titles with Wasps between 2003 and 2005. They also enjoyed Heineken Cup glory in 2004.


Merthyr Tydfil play in the second tier of Welsh rugby union

Rugby will see a coaching merry-go-round this year.

Ireland boss Joe Schmidt and New Zealand’s Steve Hansen are also moving on after the autumn’s World Cup. England’s Eddie Jones is expected to do likewise.

Gatland plans to begin his last year as Wales boss with Six Nations glory. They start against France in Paris on February 1.


Gatland’s 2017 Lions matched world champions New Zealand in their own backyard

Mentioned as a possible successor to Jones with England, Gatland is readying himself for his 10th Six Nations with Wales.

Since he took charge in 2007, they have won three Six Nations titles, two with Grand Slams.

“It’s my last Six Nations… with Wales!” added the 55-year-old, who also had three years as Ireland boss from 1998. “I think we’ll do well and I’m looking forward to it.”

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Saints WR Michael Thomas Sends Strong Message To NFL – The Spun

New Orleans Saints’ wide receiver Michael Thomas has sent a strong message to the NFL in the wake of his team’s heartbreaking NFC Championship Game loss.

The Saints fell to the Los Angeles Rams in overtime on Sunday night, but it’s a missed call in the fourth quarter that has New Orleans upset.

A blatant pass interference penalty on a key third-down attempt went uncalled, forcing the Saints to settle for a field goal, which allowed Los Angeles to tie the game up late.

Thomas has taken to social media to remind the NFL of a rule that could have saved the Saints:

It’s a real rule.

From the NFL’s rulebook:

The Commissioner’s powers under this Section 2 include the imposition of monetary fines and draft-choice forfeitures, suspension of persons involved in unfair acts, and, if appropriate, the reversal of a game’s result or the rescheduling of a game, either from the beginning or from the point at which the extraordinary act occurred.

The rule exists in the NFL’s “extraordinarily unfair acts” section.

Of course, Roger Goodell probably isn’t going to do anything with this, but it’s interesting to find out that something could actually be done.

Parkes Tennis News – Parkes Champion-Post

Well hasn’t it been a great summer of tennis in Australia and it’s not finished yet.

While the temperatures have been scorching and not really conducive to tennis in our neck of the woods, the action all across Australia has been sizzling.

Great to see some of our younger players making breakthroughs over the past month. Names most wouldn’t have heard of including Alex Bolt, Alexei Popyrin, Kim Birrell and Astra Sharma.

These players have been toiling around on different pathways to try to make their mark on the professional tennis scene either through Challenger or Pro Tour Events(one level down), US College tennis(on scholarship and getting a degree whilst playing college tennis) or relocating to Europe to train(with 1000s of other hopefuls in Tennis Academies).

Tennis Australia deserve credit for giving wildcards to Bolt, Popyrin and Sharma to give them the opportunity for not only an amazing experience on home soil but a boost to their bank accounts to help them follow their programs for 2019.

Birrell meanwhile gained her wildcard through the Australian Wildcard process where the top 16 ranked women who would not have direct entry into the maindraw from their rankings, play off with the winner guaranteed a place in the main draw.

For their efforts Bolt, Popyrin and Birrell will all receive $155k for losing in the third round.

A final shout out to Aussie Ash Barty. Today she plays Petra Kvitova in the quarter finals and she is not only a very clever tennis player but an outstanding human.

Ash is certainly a fine role model to girls and boys in all sports on how to behave before during and after competition. GO ASH!

Sydney International

On the local front Parkes families enjoyed many different activities at the Sydney International during the first week in January. Over 120 people travelled to the event on various days.

Abbey Kennedy, Nia Boggs, Maddy and Lily McCormick all enjoyed being ballkids for the first time. They had some late nights with the weather delays and Abbey and Nia were lucky enough to enjoy their time on centre court.

Unfortunately for Maddy and Lily, their scheduled centre court times were when the matches were delayed due to the rain.

Thursday saw Anna and Lachlan Orr along with Jono and Thomas Wilkinson have an amazing time playing on centre court as part of the ANZHotShots Kinds on Court promotion.

A beaut initiative from Tennis Australia across all the States lead-in tournaments to encourage grassroots tennis.

They had a tour under Ken Rosewall Arena along the players ‘tunnel of fame’ eyeing off the trophy cabinets as well as around the complex. Through the stringing room, the gym, media area, players lounge and tournament desk the kids wandered, eyes wide open and soaking in all they could.

Their time on court was loads of fun and their families seemed even more excited about the whole experience. Friday was a real treat for Parkes families. With over 80 in the group it was a huge day which started with a Red Ball Schools competition.

Great to see teachers from Parkes Christian School and Holy Family School in Miss Barrass and Mr Berger acknowledge what an opportunity this would be for their students and followed through with an application.

Both schools were notified mid December they were successful and teams were formed. Lachlan Unger, Ruby Wilson, Jack Greenland and Clare Amery made the Christian School Team while Hayden Arndell, Sam Westcott, Tarlei Glastonbury and Charlotte Baird represented Holy Family managed by Mr McDonald.

They enjoyed matches against other schools from across NSW including another far regional team from Ungarie Public. Picton Public School was the winners on the day while the Christian School defeated Holy Family in the playoff for third and fourth.

While the school teams participated Coach Helen Magill had organised to give the parents total respite and take all the siblings for a special Tour(visiting all the places as above on Thursday) and then those siblings under 12 years were treated to a Kids on Court session playing on Ken Rosewall Arena and then finally making a guard of honour for Ash Barty as she came on for her semi final against Elise Mertens.  

An extensive album of photos and videos are on Parkes Tennis Facebook Page.

Something which can’t be measured is how much Country kids and families appreciate experiences like these days that money can’t buy. All the Parkes families were so appreciative, Tennis Australia Media team decided they would like to give them another treat and they organised for Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares(doubles champions) to meet-n-greet the group.

The kids were all so excited even though they had no idea who these men were. After the session the media team called Helen again and commented that was the best Player Meet session they had had all week and could they get some interviews with some the kids about their experience at Sydney International.

Of course they could and low and behold when the Parkes group met again and were asked who wanted to do an interview, they all put their hand up. A single file ensued in front of all the spectators watching the big screen and one by one the Tennis Australia media team interviewed everyone.

They then took some footage of them playing, went in KRA and videoed them watching a match and organised for a further Meet-n-greet with Diego Swartzmann if he won the semi final(he lost). Finally they asked could one of our players toss the coin for the Womens Doubles Final.

The task was made easy when Helen gave media a ‘lucky number’ and all the players had to choose between 1-50. Ethan Hunt guessed exactly(43) and beamed with excitement as he headed to Show Court 1 to perform his duties.

Always so nice to see our kids and their families thoroughly enjoying different experiences through tennis and when they are received so well and show their appreciation to those around them, everyone’s a winner.

Also during the week at the Sydney International there were daily morning workshops before the start of play to educate and network different sectors of tennis. Brendon and Sharon Hunt attended a Clubs Masterclass Session talking about ways Clubs.

Councils and Coaches can work better in synergy to grow the sport while Alison McCormick and Caroline Kennedy attended a Tournament Director and Officials Workshop talking through the challenges of tournament player  behaviours and working through child and volunteer protection strategies.

Local Tennis for term one

Tennis in Parkes will kick off on Monday, February 11 with ANZHotShots. HotShots tennis is Australia’s official development program for girls and boys aged four-12 years. Especially designed scaled equipment and low compression balls linked with fun and interesting sessions are the success of this program.

ANZHotShots involves half hour sessions and has been specifically designed for 4-12 year age group with a distinct emphasis on fun, fitness and skill development with their philosophy of ‘Learning through Play’ whilst providing a progressive pathway for all players.

The coach to player ratio is 1:4 so there is plenty of individual attention for EVERY child. The eight week program is $100 and includes a FREE racquet and t-shirt and a chance to be the 2019 Australian ANZHotShot of the Year and win a trip to the 2020 Australian Open.

There will also be the opportunity for private lessons. All of our coaches have successfully completed their Community Coaching Courses and are excited to take on some private lessons as well as HotShots this year. They are available throughout the week and on Saturdays.

Squads will also be a factor this year to continue to encourage a team culture and hopefully get to a few more tournaments and match play days in 2019.

All enquiries are welcome for any junior activities through Helen Magill either email- or SMS or phone- 0407 253 888.

Senior Competition

The Senior Competition will start on Tuesday, February 12. The comp is a great way to meet some people and socialise while getting some exercise over a two hour period. Teams consisting of three players playing one set of singles and two sets of doubles each week using two courts is the format.

Start time-7pm and finish approximately 9pm. Cost is $10/week. Team entries preferred but will accept individual entries and place into teams where possible. Standard is mixed with Line 1 being predominantly competent players, Line 2 casual players and Line 3 developing players or hackers.

Teams may consist of more than three players and rotate throughout the comp as they see fit with shift workers in mind. Entries to Helen by February 8.

Social Tennis

Tuesday morning ladies take to the court from 8.30am-11am. These ladies are of all standards and would love some new members to their ranks. They enjoy a social game and a chat and a little exercise as well.

Saturday evenings from 6.30pm is mixed social tennis and similar to the ladies on Tuesday mornings, this group enjoys a fun hit, a cuppa and plenty of socialising. All welcome and just turn up.

Parkes Tennis Treasurer Brendon Hunt has been developing a webpage so people can register online and keep up to date with all information.

The online regos will hopefully be ready for term two competitions while other tennis information is complete. This will enhance people’s knowledge and engagement of tennis activities and will run in addition to the very active Parkes Tennis Facebook page.

The Ace’s column will still continue every week as it’s great to have so much positive feedback from not only the community and local families, but from expats and families across the globe on how much they enjoy reading the stories on all things tennis. Media platforms have come a long way in such a short time haven’t they?

Florida State Football Issues Apology For MLK Day Tweet – The Spun

Florida State’s football program has taken to Twitter to issue an apology for their controversial Martin Luther King, Jr. Day tweet.

The Seminoles’ official recruiting account posted a message for MLK Day with a photoshopped image of the icon in FSU gear.

Many took issue with the photoshopped image, saying it was tone-deaf and insensitive.

Florida State ended up deleting the tweet:

florida state tweet about mlk day

Florida State’s football program has since taken to Twitter to issue an apology for the tweet.

“In a well-intentioned effort to recognize Martin Luther King, Jr. on this special day, a member of our recruiting staff created a graphic using one of Dr. King’s quotes – ‘If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.’ The quote resonated with our program’s Do Something mantra.”

“However, in our attempt to more closely connect the message to FSU, we foolishly posted a graphic that was not in line with our intent. We are sorry for missing the mark in our attempt to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy.”

You can view the full statement below:

Several college football programs have tweeted graphics in response to today’s holiday, but Florida State’s tweet clearly missed the mark.