Good morning. Breakfast is served.
It’s February 25th — 56 down, 311 to go.
And 4 till Texas vs. Kansas, the sequel.
YESTERDAY: The Texas women notched their 25th win of the season (in Lubbock). The Texas men dominated the first night of the Big 12 swimming and diving championships. The No. 3 Oklahoma men crushed Oklahoma State, and Buddy Hield had 17. No. 1 Villanova fell to No. 5 Xavier. In other Top 25 news, No. 7 North Carolina, No. 11 Louisville, No. 13 Oregon, No. 21 Texas A&M and No. 23 Notre Dame won; No. 8 Iowa, No. 9 Arizona lost.
TODAY: Texas baseball opens a four-game home series with Stanford (6, LHN, 104.9). Texas softball begins hosting duties of its own Texas Invitational. The Big 12 swimming and diving championships continue.
TOMORROW: More Texas-Stanford (6:30, LHN, 104.9). There’s a Texas softball afternoon doubleheader (Texas-Abilene Christian at noon, followed by Texas-Tulsa at 2:30). More swimming and diving.
Feb. 25 has a sports history. On this date, Jersey Joe Walcott died, at the age of 80 (1994); Phil Rizzuto, the former Yankees shortstop and longtime Yankees broadcaster, was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame at the age of 76 (1994); new Cowboys owner Jerry Jones fired Tom Landry as head coach, replacing him with Jimmy Johnson (1989); SMU was given the death penalty, wiping out the 1987 football season for the Mustangs (1987); the Cardinals traded Steve Carlton to the Phillies (1972); and Cassius Clay won the heavyweight championship with a fifth-round TKO of Sonny Liston. The very next day, Clay announced he had changed his name to Muhammad Ali (1964).
Today’s sports birthdays: Jimmer Fredette (27), Joakim Noah (31), Paul O’Neill (53), Todd Blackledge (55), Kurt Rambis (58) and Ric Flair (67). Other notables: Chelsea Handler (41), Carrot Top (51). And George Harrison would’ve turned 73 today.
Today’s trivia: Which Green Bay Packers quarterback did Brett Favre supplant as starter, in September 1992? (Answer’s at the end of Breakfast.)
Top of the menu: Longhorns recruiting. Or, everything you wanted to know about incoming Longhorn Andrew Fitzgerald but were afraid to ask.
Part 3 of our ongoing Class of 2016 series examining the Longhorns’ incoming freshmen is on Fitzgerald, the Flower Mound Marcus defensive end who was labeled the dark horse of Texas’ class by Charlie Strong on national signing day.
Fitzgerald, who wasn’t rated in our Fabulous 55 this year, was ranked as the state’s 33rd-best prospect by 247Sports’ composite ratings of the industry’s top sites, right above No. 34 Jaylon Jones, the Allen cornerback who signed with Ole Miss and right below No. 32 Mark Jackson Jr., the Cibolo Steele defensive end who signed with Oklahoma.
How four of those top sites rated Fitzgerald:
Fitzgerald’s career numbers at Marcus: 20 sacks over the last two seasons. For UT purposes, those are the highlight stats to know.
“I say this guy right here will be the dark horse of this class,” Strong told us on signing day. “He’s a guy that goes hard all the time. He has one speed, and he’s going to go hard. … When we turned the tape on, I said, ‘Oh god, I don’t need to see anything else.’ If he’s going to play like that, we have to have him.”
Dark horse of the class? If he pans out as this class’ dark horse, he’d join these other past Texas signing-day dark horses:
2015: The signing day star — OLB Malik Jefferson. The eventual dark horse — Too soon to say definitively, but perhaps 3-star DE/OLB Breckyn Hager.
2014: The signing day star — QB Jerrod Heard. The eventual dark horse — 3-star RB D’Onta Forema, who was considered the 125th best prospect in the state at the time.
2013: The signing day star — OT Kent Perkins. The eventual dark horse — OLB/DE Naashon Hughes, who came in at No. 561 overall nationally on signing day.
2012: The signing day star — RB Johnathan Gray (or DT Malcom Brown). The eventual dark horse — How about Alex De La Torre, who arrived as an OLB rated the nation’s 531st overall prospect but settled into a starting role as H-back?
2011: The signing day star — RB Malcolm Brown. The eventual dark horse — Taylor Doyle, who was the nation’s 759th overall prospect but ended up stating two years at center.
The last 10 defensive ends Texas has signed: Fitzgerald (2016), Malcolm Roach (2016), Charles Omenihu (2015), Quincy Vasser (2015), Breckyn Hager (2015), Derick Roberson (2014), Jake McMillon (2014), Hassan Ridgeway (2012), Caleb Bluiett (2012) and Cedric Reed (2011).
Hager is now an outside linebacker.
Three things you should know about Flower Mound Marcus: (1) The Chicago Bears’ general manager is a Marcus Marauder — Ryan Pace, who spent the past 14 years with the Saints before getting hired by Chicago last year. (2) Marcus can claim alumni who went on to play in the NFL (Chris Sanders), NBA (Marcus Smart), MLB (Ryan Pressley) and MLS (Sam Garza). (3) Marcus produced one of the nation’s top overall recruits this year in tight end Kaden Smith, who was considered the nation’s No. 2 tight end prospect. He signed with Stanford.
Our Fitzgerald package includes a main bar from Brian Davis, an everything-you-need-to-know look at his high school career, and interactive map of Texas’ 2016 class and a look at what Fitzgerald’s walking into as a Longhorns linebacker.
So, what else is being written about the Longhorns?
The No. 8 Texas women beat Texas Tech 76-55 last night in Lubbock, the first time the Horns have won 25 games since 2004. We advanced the Texas-Stanford series with a look at the season debut of second baseman Joe Baker. And we advanced softball’s Texas Invitational with a feature on hot-hitting Celina Felix.
AROUND THE BIG 12: Baylor kicks off spring football practices on Thursday. We advanced the conference’s spring season, and we’ll be there in Waco to get the first look at Bears quarterback Seth Russell, who’s been cleared to throw. The Dallas Morning News wrote about the Big 12’s most irreplaceable player and also posed an interesting question: Where would Texas A&M rank in today’s Big 12 had the Aggies never bolted for the SEC? Baylor’s biggest spring to-do: Rebuild those lines, the Waco Tribune-Herald wrote to advance spring football. Here’s the Daily Oklahoman’s coverage of OU’s men’s win over Oklahoma State on Wednesday night, and Berry Tramel wrote on Sooners’ standout Ryan Spangler‘s big night. The Tulsa World wrote on what OU is getting in new defensive line coach Calvin Thibeodeaux. Texas and Kansas meet on Monday night, and Jayhawks coach Bill Self made the case for three of his KU players’ All-Big 12 credentials, while the Lawrence Journal-World’s Tom Keegan wrote about Kansas’ penchant for making the most of its chances.
AROUND THE FORTY ACRES
Football: The Baltimore Ravens said Wednesday they’ll place the franchise tag on kicker Justin Tucker if they can’t sign him to a long-term deal.
Men’s basketball: Five UT players were named to the Big 12’s all-academic team — Prince Ibeh, Danny Newsome, Demarcus Holland, Connor Lammert and Isaiah Taylor. UT’s five selection led the league.
Women’s basketball: Wednesday’s 76-55 win over Texas Tech was UT’s 13th win of 20 or more points. Imani Boyette is three blocks away from second place all-time at Texas. The Horns host TCU on Saturday night. And UT signee Joyner Holmes, a senior at Cedar Hill, has been named one of five national finalists for the Naismith Trophy (national high school girls player of the year). The winner is announced on March 10.
Swimming and diving: As expected, the No. 1-ranked Texas men fared well in the opening night of the Big 12 champiosnhips at the Texas Swim Center. UT took wins in the 200 medley relay, the 800 free relay and the one-meter diving event (Cory Bowersox). Still, it’s West Virginia, not Texas, that’s leading after the first day. The seventh-ranked women set a school record in the 200 medley relay (Tasija Karosas, Jordan Surhoff, Mimi Schneider and Rebecca Millard). UT took the 800 free relay as well. Texas led the team standings.
Soccer: Five different Longhorns (Morgan Murphy, Kayra Dollas, Julia Dyche, Alexa Adams and Katie Glenn) all scored in UT’s 5-2 win over Monterrey Tech in Wednesday night’s spring opener.
Track and field: The Big 12 indoor championships begin Friday in Ames. The men are ranked No. 6 in the country, the women No. 5.
On Feb. 25, 1986: After 20 years in power, Philippines president Ferdinand Marcos fleed the nation, paving the way for Corazon Aquino to take over.
On Feb. 25, 1948: The Communist Party took control of Czechoslovakia.
On Feb. 25, 1836: Connecticut inventor Samuel Colt was granted a patent for the Colt revolver.
Trivia answer: In a Sept. 20, 1992 game against the Bengals, Green Bay Packers quarterback Don Majkowski suffered a torn ligament injury to his ankle. He was replaced by Brett Favre, who finished the game – and held on to the starting job for the next 15 years. Majkowski, by the way, turns 52 today.
OK, Breakfast is over. Thanks for stopping by.
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