Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Shotwell left out of combine ... no really

Kyle Shotwell hasn’t been invited to the NFL Combine.

Seriously. And it has nothing to do with his emergency appendectomy over the weekend.

Cal Poly’s all-everything linebacker was the Buck Buchanan Award winner, which goes to the best defensive player in Division I-AA football.

He was the top tackler in last week’s East-West Shrine Game and earned the Pat Tillman Inspirational Award in the process.

Yet, he won’t be working out in front of scouts at the combine, scheduled for Feb. 21-27 in Indianapolis.

According to the official combine Web site, “top executives, coaching staffs, player personnel departments and medical personnel from all 32 NFL teams will be on hand to evaluate 300 of the nation's top college football players eligible for the upcoming NFL Draft.”

That list wasn’t made public by the time this blog was posted but was supposed to be unveiled by Feb. 1.

That list of the “nation’s top college football players” is already said to include players like Michael Allan, a Division III tight end out of Whitworth College.

But not the best defensive player in Division I-AA?

So any level-of-competition knock on Shotwell is out the door, although that was scrapped after the Mustangs’ win over San Diego State when the 6-1, 235-pound senior linebacker had four sacks in one of the most dominant individual performances by I-AA player this season. Shotwell also held his own against many big-name I-A prospects in the Shrine Game, leading all players with seven tackles.

Must be the size thing, which is something “undersized” Buchanan winners Jordan Beck and Chris Gocong encountered during the draft process the previous two years.

Beck, now with the Atlanta Falcons, and Gocong, now with the Philadelphia Eagles, were expected to compete for starting jobs before going down with season-ending injuries as rookies.

Makes you wonder what games the scouts making the combine recommendations were watching this past fall.

"It’s disappointing," he said. "I guess the invites come from lower-level scouts and depend entirely on those people. If you don’t get a high enough grade, you’re not invited. But I’ve heard as many as 30 or 40 players who don’t get in the combine are still drafted. I’ve also heard that 30 or 40 players who go (to the combine) aren’t drafted. ... I’ve known all along that I’m not a third-round pick because I’m not 6-2 or 6-3 or whatever. But I’m going to get there somehow or someway."

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Women's team hobbling along

Hurting. That’s the best way to describe the Cal Poly women’s basketball team.
The Mustangs lost their Big West Conference home opener Thursday, playing without starting guards Sparkle Anderson and Toni Newman because of injuries and minus Kyla Howell because of academic troubles.
Anderson is out for the year with an ACL injury. Newman is sidelined for the time being with a stress fracture.
Injuries have always been a story for the Cal Poly’s women’s basketball program.
In fact, 2005-06 was one of the few years when Faith Mimnaugh’s squad wasn’t ravaged by injuries. Aside from a foot injury that sidelined senior wing Courtney Cameron for seven games, Cal Poly remained relatively healthy throughout the season.
But in 2004-05 — a year after playing without floor leader Michelle Henke for an entire season because of a knee injury — the Mustangs were without star forward Katy Paterson for much of her senior season because of mono. They also lost starting wing Michelle Allotey to a knee injury five games in and forward Emilie Ravn, who played in just four games the previous season because of an ACL injury, missed two-thirds of the season recovering from the injury.
Both players, who would be eligible to play this season, have since left the program, joining the likes of Paige Billingsley, Caroline Rowles and Stephanie Brown as Mustangs starters who have ended their careers early because of recurring injuries.