HERE'S THE BEEF
Every year Joe Terranova, a Ford Motor Company training and communications supervisor who lives in Dearborn, Mich., assays the latest herd of college football recruits and tries to decide which schools got the primest cuts. Then, in a prose style that has spent a little too much time on the broiler, he divulges the winners. This year's picks:
1. Illinois. Although the Fighting Illini, who last year "managed to turn Champaign's Memorial Stadium into an outdoor insane asylum," have lost a lot of talent, coach Mike White has filled the gaps with 17 high schoolers and 10 J.C. transfers. Promising newcomers include defensive tackle Alec Gibson, tight end Jerry Reese, wide receiver Stephen Pierce, defensive back Todd Avery and, assuming he meets academic eligibility requirements, Guy Teafatiller, the nation's top J.C. defensive lineman last year while at Cerritos College in Norwalk, Calif. White also signed Jim Bennett, who completed 117 of 201 passes for 1,995 yards and 22 TDs for Aurora (Ill.) West High. Terranova concludes, "Although the Illini found a bed of thorns, not roses, in Pasadena, a return trip is definitely in the cards."
2. Auburn. " J. Edgar Hoover would be proud of this group, for their mug shots appeared on most-wanted posters throughout the South." Pat Dye's posse rounded them up, and they include, on the defensive line, "a trio of buffet lovers: Nate Hill (6'5", 250), Tracy Rocker (6'3", 250) and Ron Stallworth (6'5", 240)." Dye also corralled Jim Thompson (6'6", 230), "one of the finest pure-center prospects in the country," and fullback Reggie Ware, "your basic Whopper with Everything." In addition, there are 16 "linemen/linebacker types" headed Dye's way.
3. USC. Does Ryan Knight really run "like a butterfly with hiccups," as Terranova claims? He'd better, because if he "had not signed with USC, the most exciting thing about Trojan football in 1984 would have been the National Anthem." Knight set California schoolboy records for rushing yardage in both a season (2,620) and a game (501). He had 57 touchdowns in two years, not bad for a hiccuping butterfly.
4. UCLA. Gaston Green and Eric Ball will give USC's crosstown rivals a running threat, too; Terranova calls them "a tailback tandem equal in potential to that of SMU's former Pony Express, Eric Dickerson and Craig James. Ball is so good he started autographing footballs in the Pop Warner League."
5. Georgia. "The Bulldogs' main recruiting goal in 1984 was to perk up the offense, and Maxwell House couldn't have done it better." Six quarterbacks who passed for a total of 11,595 yards as high school seniors should certainly get things brewing, and running back Cleveland Gary "could be as dominant an SEC player as Herschel Walker or Bo Jackson."
Completing the Top 10 are Michigan, Texas A&M, Washington, Pittsburgh and Florida. Terranova promises that none of them will go hungry this fall.
SELF-KNOWLEDGE AT PRINCETON
Princeton's sports information office recently issued a press release announcing that the Robert L. Peters Jr. '42 Award, which annually honors an alumnus "for significant contributions to the athletic community," would be bestowed this year on baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn, '48. The release was obviously the handiwork of a Princetonian with a deep philosophical bent. It said that news of the award was to be embargoed until after the ceremony because "the recipient does not know his identity."