The All-Name Team: Monikers made for the national spotlight
Columbus East (Ind.) QB Gunner Kiel has a name worthy of his blue-chip hype
Ohio St. is big on apostrophes: Se'Von Pittman, Bri'onte Dunn, De'van Bogard
Alabama recruited CB Geno Smith -- not to be confused with West Virginia's QB
Green-Beckham's 2012 impact on Mizzou
Storylines that defined Signing Day
Top 50 recruits in the class of 2012
The top 15 recruiting classes of all time
Since I don't watch anything besides Chuggington, it took nearly a month of the NBA season before I caught a SportsCenter highlight that showed the words WORLD PEACE emblazoned on the back of the former Ron Artest's jersey. One thought immediately came to mind.
You can't have a third-life crisis and simply appoint yourself to the All-Name Team. I could drive to the courthouse today, fill out some paperwork and leave as Smokestack McGillicuddy, but that would be just as cheap as someone naming himself Metta World Peace. True all-namers either get tagged with a brilliant nickname as a child -- former Mississippi State offensive tackle Floyd "Pork Chop" Womack, for example -- or a parent looks down at a bundle of joy and says, "I think I'll name this boy D'Brickashaw."
In one week, a new crop of college football players will sign their letters of intent. Some will turn otherwise ordinary monikers into household names. Others will come with names ready-made for the spotlight.
Sadly, 2012 is a down year for names. It's tough to be sandwiched between 2011, when Honolulu safety Wave Ryder signed with Navy and Miami defensive end Godspower Offor signed with Wake Forest, and 2013, when Dee Liner of Muscle Shoals, Ala. -- guess which position he plays? -- and Myrtle Beach, S.C., cornerback D'Andre "Chocolate" Wilson will enter the fray. Still, 2012 has a few magic monikers. Nothing quite as magical as Beezow Doo-Doo Zopittybop-Bop-Bop, but alas, Mr. Zopittybop-Bop-Bop is 30 years old and has a criminal record, so it's doubtful he would qualify to make the roster of his hometown Wisconsin Badgers.
Gunner Kiel of Columbus, Ind., will have to compete against three other quarterbacks for the starting job at Notre Dame, but Kiel is the only man in the race with a name that fits the position. (We'll conveniently ignore the fact that Joe Montana, the ultimate case of a quarterback turning an otherwise ordinary name into an iconic one, starred at Notre Dame.)
Auburn, meanwhile, seems destined for the 2012 team title. The Tigers have a commitment from Wando, S.C., defensive lineman Gimel President, whose name sounds like a drink Don Draper might order after a long day smoking Lucky Strikes and designing Samsonite ads. Auburn also has a commitment from Birmingham, Ala., linebacker Cassanova McKinzy. This should create an interesting dynamic when Auburn plays Ole Miss, because it's only natural that a Cassanova will (tackle) Philander Moore.
Ohio State has the inside track on the prestigious All-Apostrophe award. The Buckeyes have commitments from Cleveland safety De'van Bogard, Canton, Ohio, tailback Bri'onte Dunn, Windsor, Colo., offensive tackle Joey O'Connor and Canton defensive end Se'von Pittman. If new Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, the master of the flip, could somehow convince Murfreesboro, Tenn., tailback I'Tavius Mathers to spurn Ole Miss and come to Columbus, the Buckeyes would be the princes of intra-name punctuation.
Speaking of flipping, how can Louisiana-Lafayette coach Mark Hudspeth allow Lafitte, La., linebacker Tevyn Cagins to sign with Louisiana-Monroe? If Hudspeth could flip the 6-foot-2, 185-pounder, he'd have Ragin' Cajun Tevyn Cagins on his roster.
On his roster at Washington, coach Steve Sarkisian has a Joshua (Perkins) a Matthew (Lyons) and a John (Timu). In a week, Sarkisian also will have a Psalm. Psalm Wooching, from Kailua Kona, Hawaii, committed to the Huskies last week. Wooching wore No. 1 in high school, and what does the first Psalm say? "And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water..." Sounds perfect for a rock-solid 6-foot-3 back who will play his games next to Union Bay.
One potential name nightmare scenario could happen during bowl season. If West Virginia happens to meet Alabama in a bowl, it's quite possible that Geno Smith could get intercepted by Geno Smith, given that the Mountaineers' senior quarterback makes a bad read and throws in the vicinity of the Atlanta cornerback who plans to sign with the Crimson Tide next week.
No, West Virginia fans, I won't shut my mouth. Besides, I'm just talkin' about Isaac Hayes, the Mendota Heights, Minn., offensive lineman committed to play for his home state Golden Gophers. And while we're on the subject of complicated men, the Fitzgerald Toussaint Award for the recruit whose name sounds the most like a James Bond villain's goes to Stern Vile, a massive offensive lineman from Amsterdam who transferred to Florida Atlantic after two seasons at Eastern Arizona College.
Unfortunately, the class of 2012 is woefully short on quality nicknames. A year later, no one can match the majesty of Benton "Munchie" Legaux, the Cincinnati freshman who became the Bearcats' starting quarterback when Zach Collaros injured his ankle. The best nickname so far in this class is Louisville commitment Abraham "Nacho" Garcia, who, as I unfortunately learned during a 2010 bus trip with Garcia's seven-on-seven team, is not one biscuit under 339 pounds.
But Nacho has broad shoulders. I have no doubt he can carry the banner of best nickname until Chocolate Wilson takes his rightful place on the 2013 All-Name Team.
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