The 2016 Under Armor All-America Game is scheduled for Saturday, January 2 at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida. ESPN's coverage of the game will begin at 11:00 am Central time. As usual, the game's roster is loaded with blue chip prospects from all over the country and several will be announcing their college commitment before, during, or after the game, including some top Texas Longhorn recruiting targets.
The major pay sites and media affiliates have had reporters writing and tweeting updates from the UA game practices in the lead-up to the game, and some tidbits related to Texas targets were already discussed here.
BON does not have an editor or contributing author on the scene in Orlando, but we have the next best thing in semi-regular BON reader and first-time (and quite possibly last-time) contributor B.J. Hammerroni, who as it turns out is the less-famous second-cousin (once removed) of Anthony Crispino, who you may have seen delivering "second-hand news" on his numerous appearances on Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update segment. Not to be outdone, Hammerroni - who more than likely gets all of his UT football and recruiting news from the Chuck F'n Strong Twitter account - happened to be in the Orlando area this week and reached out to BON to pass on some pieces of news about recruits that he's been hearing second-hand. What follows is a transcript of our conversation.
Burnt Orange Nation: B.J., thanks for calling in and sharing what you've heard for our readers.
Hammerroni: Hey, good to talk with you. Before I start, I have to ask you something, does the Texas staff have a thing for baseball players now? I heard they had Brian Giles on a Christmas visit, and they've got that quarterback recruit who's a big baseball star.
BON: I think you're referring to the defensive tackle D'Andre Christmas-Giles, who took an official visit to Texas a few weeks ago, not Brian Giles, who's been retired from baseball for almost six years. But yeah we're all pretty excited about Shane Buechele. His dad was a major league 3rd baseman for several years and Shane's a pretty good baseball player himself for sure.
Hammerroni: Wait, who?
BON: Shane Buechele, the senior from Arlington Lamar? He just made 2nd team all-state and he graduated early. He'll be on campus for spring practice.
Hammerroni: Don't know him, but I heard UT had recruited Mark Belanger to play quarterback too.
BON: No, you mean Sam Ehlinger, the junior from Austin who was 6A Offensive Player of the Year. Mark Belanger was a gold glove shortstop for the Orioles in the 60s and 70s. I'm pretty sure his college eligibility is exhausted, plus he's been dead for 17 years.
Hammerroni: I guess I heard wrong then. Whoever they're recruiting at QB he better be better than the ones they've got now. You know about the new offensive coordinator, this mad man Sterling Cooper? I heard when he watched film of UT's offense from this season he got so sick to his stomach that when he came to Austin he brought along a vat of Maalox.
BON: Yeah, no, he didn't bring Maalox, and...
Hammerroni: What, you're saying you didn't get heartburn from watching Jerrod Heard run out of bounds for a five-yard loss instead of throwing the ball away at least twice a game?
BON: Oh, no, there were a lot of us who had that feeling this season. But the new OC is Sterlin Gilbert. Sterling Cooper is the ad agency on Mad Men. And he brought Matt Mattox, the offensive line coach at Tulsa, with him to Austin.
Hammerroni: Um, agree to disagree. I'm pretty sure he brought Maalox.
BON: Let's move on to recruiting and the Under Armor All-America game. There's a lot of Texas targets in town for the game, what are you hearing about them?
Hammerroni: I hear that UT's coaches are trying to catch a whale and a shark. I'm pretty sure that's what Chris Hemsworth was doing in that new movie of his that bombed, so I don't know what they're thinking there.
BON: We're not talking about In the Heart of the Sea. They're recruiting a running back named Devwah Whaley and a linebacker named Jeffrey McCulloch, whose nickname is "The Shark".
Hammerroni: Whoever it is, I hear Alabama wants the shark really bad, too. I heard these Alabama boosters at a bar talking about the shark and how UT, A&M, Stanford and Notre Dame are also after it, and they said, "We're going to need a bigger boat... full of cash!"
BON: Hey now! Even if that did happen, McCulloch seems like a really good dude and not the type to be bought like that. Another big name being talked about is Jean Delance. Have you heard much said about him?
Hammerroni: Woah, he's in Orlando too?!?
BON: Yes, he's been in town all week for the Under Armor game practices.
Hammerroni: Man, I need to find him and get his autograph. I loved him as Q on Star Trek: The Next Generation! He was so great in that character!
BON: No, I'm talking about the offensive tackle from North Mesquite, not the actor John de Lancie. Though I agree, he was greatness. Another player UT fans will be playing close attention to on Saturday is defensive back Eric Cuffee from Waco. Have you heard any news on him?
Hammerroni: Hmm, Cuffee. He's a really thin guy right?
BON: Eric Cuffee? No, not at all. He's 6 feet and 190 or so pounds. Who said he was really thin?
Hammerroni: I overheard these guys talking about him a few months ago, they said he was "Aggie lean". So I figured he must wear a 25-27 pants size and a belt fastened at only one notch.
BON: I think what you heard were the rumors from a while back that he was leaning toward committing to Texas A&M, not that he was "Aggie lean", but I see what you did there. Supposedly he's really cooled on A&M and a lot of people think he'll commit to Texas soon.
Hammerroni: He's cooled on A&M? They're really having a lot of problems there. That team just hasn't been the same since Idina Menzel left for the NFL.
BON: Idina Menzel???
Hammerroni: Yeah that great quarterback from a few years ago. A real magician on the field, was always using a great spin move, could freeze defenders right in their tracks. They called him "Adele Foosball".
BON: B.J., that was Johnny Manziel, the Heisman Trophy winner who's now with the Cleveland Browns and whose nickname was "Johnny Football". Idina Menzel is the Broadway star who did the voice of the character Elsa in the movie Frozen.
Hammerroni: I'm still pretty sure it was Idina Menzel that played QB for A&M. I just heard that on his way out of College Station before going to the NFL he did a wicked monologue about a vagina, sang to Kevin Sumlin, "Here I go, no more wasted time. You need to learn to live without me", and left town without paying the rent.
BON: I don't even know what to say about that. Let's just move on. Anther key UT target, linebacker Dontavious Jackson, is in Orlando. Has any info about him made its way to you?
Hammerroni: Oh yeah, that kid's in pretty bad shape. Everybody who talks about him says he's really sick and ramming down a bunch of Aleve.
BON: I doubt that, but they're probably saying he plays for the Alief Elsik Rams. What other players are you hearing a lot about?
Hammerroni: I've heard a wide receiver named Grover Cleveland from Westeros has been dominating in practices. And Texas is recruiting this guy Rahssan Thornton as a fake linebacker, but word is he's gonna stick with LSU because they'll let him play a real position.
BON: The wide receiver is Tyrie Cleveland, not the former President Grover Cleveland who's been dead for over a century, and he's from Westfield High near Houston, not the mythical land of Game of Thrones. And I'm surprised you got Rahssan Thornton's name right but what's this about a fake linebacker? What does that even mean?
Hammerroni: Hey I don't get it either, all I heard was they wanted him as a fox linebacker.
BON: The fox linebacker is a linebacker-defensive end hybrid in UT's defense. You're mistaking F-O-X for F-A-U-X. Those words don't mean the same thing and they aren't pronounced the same way. Seriously, how do you not know... Oh, never mind. Is there anything else you want to share?
Hammerroni: Yeah, I heard a little nugget about this Deontay Anderson guy. Word has it he's crazy and he's about to be committed to an old asylum in Mississippi.
BON: That's highly unlikely. Who told you that?
Hammerroni: Apparently that's the word from this soothsayer with a crystal ball. She also said he's known to flay high pastries on an anvil.
BON: No, no, no. He's not crazy, 247 Sports's Crystal Ball projects him to commit to Ole Miss. He's not going to a mental asylum. And he's been playing high safety for Manvel, not flaying pastries on an anv...
Hammerroni: Hey man, it's been fun but I've gotta run. I just heard somebody say John de Lancie is nearby. I'll call you later.