Barry Brunetti (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Welcome back to another edition of WVU's Where Are They Now? The weekly column that is your one-spot-stop to catch up on news that your former Mountaineers have made during the past week. I scour the Internet for news, blurbs, and other tidbits about what former Mountaineers are up to in life outside of Morgantown.
During this past week, the WVU BOG voted on, and passed, an amendment to Policy 18 allowing alcohol sales at WVU sporting facilities (such as Mountaineer Field and WVU Coliseum), Mike Casazza of the Daily Mail did some fact-checking and a little bit of digging to refute Chucky Landon's mostly erroneous article detailing future Mountaineer HC, Dana Holgorsen's supposed bouts of public drunkenness and lewd conduct.
Life outside of Morgantown during the past week was a quiet one for our former Mountaineers. In fact, it was so quiet, I didn't even have a good candidate for the weekly Marc Bulger It-May-Or-Not-Be-News Item of the Week. That doesn't even require real news.
So, since it was a slow week, to replace that, I'm going to vary a little from my theme of having news about WVU Pros. More about that in a sec.
Avon Cobourne will start training camp with his new CFL team, Hamilton Tiger-Cats, this week, Jedd Gyorko earns yet another honor, sort of. Owen Schmitt will face some competition at FB for the Eagles next season, a look at how Devin Ebanks could be used in the post-Phil Jackson era, and Chris Neild makes an impression at the Redskins' offseason workouts.
In that shift from my normal theme, I'm going to tell you what Ole Miss head coach, Houston Nutt, has to say about Barry Brunetti, the former Mountaineer QB who transferred to Ole Miss during this past off-season.
Avon Cobourne- The Mountaineers' all-time leading rusher made a name for himself in the CFL playing for the Montreal Alouettes. Cobourne helped to lead the Alouettes to back-to-back Grey Cup wins in 2009 and 2010. Cobourn earned the MVP Award for the 2009 Grey Cup. Cobourne's contract expired after last season, and the Alouettes chose to sign former Green Bay Packers RB, Ahman Green, than to re-sign Cobourne. Cobourne was quickly picked up by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
CFL training camps are opening this week, with the Tiger-Cats camp getting fully underway on 6/5. Unless an Cobourne suffers an injury, he will be the Tiger-Cats opening day starter. The T-Cats are in a full-on rebuilding mode, and Cobourne is a key piece of that puzzle.
Devin Ebanks- Mike Brown was hired as Phil Jackson's replacement following his retirement. Going into the off-season, the Lakers held exit interviews where they told Ebanks to work on learning the shooting guard position over the summer. Although the Lakers have a team option on Ebanks contract, that recommendation by Lakers' management leads me to believe that they wanted Ebanks back regardless of who the next coach was. Phil Jackson's teams have been known for their Triangle Offense since Michael Jordan's Bulls teams from the nineties. That is most likely to change with Mike Brown in charge, and a player that Ebanks played behind last season, Steve Blake, will have to shift more to a play-making position with an aging Derek Fisher as the Lakers only PG. If Blake does end up playing more at the point, then Ebanks could see much more playing time next year if he follows the Lakers' directions, both at SG and SF.
Jedd Gyorko- Another week, another time the hot-hitting Jedd Gyorko earns some kind of honor. The former Mountaineer infielder is now one of the hottest prospects in minor league baseball in the Padres farm system. He was named the #1 player on Baseball America's Hot Prospect List. This week MadFriars.com, a Scout.com website dedicated to the San Diego Padres farm system, named Gyorko as one of their Players of the Month, as Senior Writer John Conniff wrote:
Lake Elsinore 3b/DH Jedd Gyorko .361/.428/.672 Gyorko played in all 29 of the Storm’s games and led the team in every offensive category. He had an unreal 44 hits, 23 of them for extra-bases and 7 home runs for a total of 142 total bases. The former college shortstop has a strong arm, good hands and surprising range at the hot corner. This season he is hitting .424 with runners in scoring position.
Owen Schmitt- Tommy Lawlor of SB Nation: Philly is in the midst of writing a position-by-position breakdown for the Philadelphia Eagles, where Schmitt was their starting fullback last season after Leonard Weaver suffered a season, and perhaps career, ending knee injury. Schmitt was an effective player last season for the Eagles. He had 17 catches on the season, but not very many carries. The FB rarely ever carries the ball in an Andy Reid offense. Schmitt caught balls out of the backfield at a 7.2 yards per catch clip. Most of his receptions earned the Eagles a 1st down. He played well, but not well enough to guarantee himself a staring position next season, writes Lawlor.The Eagles drafted USC FB, Stanley Havili, in the 7th round of April's NFL Draft to drive competition at that position. Lawlor's article breaks down the battle at that position very well and is worth the read. I will spoil the ending: Lawlor believes Schmitt will still be the starter for this upcoming season.
Chris Neild- Earlier this week, I told you how Neild fit in with the Washington Redskins. Also during this week, the Redskins players are undergoing player organized practices. These practices are open to the media, and the next-to-last-pick in the NFL Draft is doing his part to impress his new teammates. John Keim of the the Washington Examiner loves Neild's size.
"He's almost as tall as he is wide," Keim wrote. "Considering it's a position where leverage is an absolute, that build will definitely help him. I'll be anxious to see him in one-on-one drill, assuming camp opens at some point, to see what he can do. And against double teams in preseason games. For now, all we know is that he has a good build for the postion."
Barry Brunetti- Brunetti was granted a waiver to be able to play immediately next season after transferring to Ole Miss during the off-season. Normally, when a player transfers between schools, that player must sit out a year before being eligible to play. Brunetti was granted the hardship waiver because of his mother's declining health. His mother was injured in a car accident in 2002 and Brunetti chose to leave Morgantown and be closer to home. (I think the other part of his decision to leave is named Geno Smith.)
During this past week, Houston Nutt was asked at the SEC meetings who Ole Miss' starting quarterback would be opening day. Brunetti impressed at the Rebels' Spring Game, leading Nutt to say this:
"If we played tonight, Brunetti would probably go out there first," Nutt told GoVolsExtra.com. "I love his attitude and his work ethic. I just really appreciate the way he goes about his business."
I leave you this week with Brunetti's Shining Moment in a Mountaineer uniform. "Already!?!"