November 11, 2011

Mailbag on the Mesa

Editor's note: Every Friday ASR Publisher Edward Lewis will answer some questions from fans about the Aztecs in this weekly mailbag. Send questions to edwardflewis@yahoo.com, @EdwardLewisASR on Twitter, post questions on the message board or put questions on ASR's Facebook page.

Ian: Let's say Ronnie Hillman ends up leading the nation in rushing after everything's said and done. He will probably decide to bolt to the NFL, but where is he projected to go? Third or fourth round? Wish he would stay around to get his degree and keep SDSU relevant in the MW.

This is a topic we just can't stop stumbling across, and one that us media members address amongst ourselves every time we're out at practice. This week, I was having a chat with somebody inside SDSU's athletic department about Hillman, and we both agreed he would fall somewhere between late second round to early fourth round if he went out after this season. Our reasoning for that was because whenever he plays NFL-caliber defenses, he sort of folds. This year, at Michigan and versus TCU, he only had 164 yards on 41 carries and also had four fumbles. Last year, against BYU, TCU and Utah, he only had a combined 170 yards on 28 carries. Although he did perform well against the only other BCS team SDSU played in 2010, Missouri, if you take away his 93-yard and 75-yard scampers, he finishes that game with 21 carries for 60 yards. So while it's great that he's piling up 200 yards against Cal Poly and UNLV and Wyoming, we both agreed the NFL scouts would like to see him do it against a TCU or a BYU or a Michigan once in a while.

However, we also agreed that we weren't necessarily sure how he would increase his draft stock by coming back next season. SDSU is going to be starting a rookie quarterback and two new offensive linemen. And we're pretty sure he'd rush for another 1,500 yards and 20 touchdowns anyway. It's going to be a tough call for Hillman. But my gut is starting to lean toward him leaving.


Solayman: If Dwayne Polee is granted a waiver by Monday (I know that's a huge if), what are the chances he would play against Baylor?

Huge "if," but I'll humor you. I think it'd be a lot like the Lorrenzo Wade situation a few years ago when he was reinstated from his suspension. Steve Fisher didn't give him the 34 minutes he deserved right away, and eased him into games 10 or 15 minutes at a time. I would think they'd do the same with Polee and bring him in off the bench for 10-to-15 minutes against Baylor, then give him more minutes versus USC, and then consider starting him that weekend. But again, it's a huge if. The NCAA seems to take a while with these requests, huh?


MontyDAztec: What do / would recruits think about a potential move to the Big East / West for Aztec football / basketball?

Good question. For the 2012 recruits, I don't think it would change a thing. Kids already have their top eights, top fives and top threes, and I seriously doubt any of them would vault SDSU in there at this point in the game just because the Aztecs got put in a conference that may or may not even be a BCS conference when all is said and done.

The real impact of this move, though, would be in 2013. Every day over the summer, I called at least one recruit per day and asked him about his process. Usually one of my questions was "Does conference prestige matter?" Surprisingly, an alarming number of kids said yes. So if SDSU does get into a big-name conference, a lot of recruits that crossed the Aztecs off the list just because of their Mountain West ties, all of the sudden will keep SDSU there. I think it would certainly help them land more recruits, and most likely help them get that four-star recruit they haven't had since Lynell Hamilton.



Tommy: A lot of people are saying Matt Morin was a mistake because of his four touchdowns to eight interceptions this season with his high school team. What gives with his stats?

You really have to go out to Chaparral High games to see him. I hate to throw coaches under the bus, but that staff really struggles to help him out. First of all, if he's told me once, he's told me 57 times, "I'm better under center." Yet the first week of the season, he was in shotgun probably about 90 percent of the snaps, running a spread option offense. I don't know about you, but if I have a three-star quarterback who's the No. 19-rated pro-style quarterback in the country, who's telling me he's better under center than he is getting killed faking handoffs out of the spread, I'm pretty sure I'm going to develop a pro-style system for the kid.

Which Chaparral eventually did the next week against Oceanside, when he threw for 258 yards and two touchdowns. But I've heard they've gone back to the spread a little bit throughout the rest of the season, which is why his stats are so weird. He leads their team in rushing and rushing touchdowns, though, so you know he's tough. Plus, I talk to him once a week usually at SDSU's games, and he carries himself really well. He should be a good one for the Aztecs, despite his stats this season. It's just a shame Chaparral doesn't have him on the fast track to starting as a true freshman at SDSU.


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