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Know Your 2017 Opponents: Yale

The 2016 Yale Bulldogs might have experienced the biggest swings of any other school in college football.

They experienced the low of getting destroyed at home against Lehigh, giving up an amazing 63 points to the Mountain Hawks led that day by QB Brad Mayes in a 28 point defeat.

And they were dominated by some of their bigger rivals in Ivy League play, losing 42-7 to Penn and 31-3 to Princeton.

Yet of their three wins, they pulled off two enormous upsets - beating Ivy League title contender Dartmouth at home, 21-13, and finally breaking Harvard's nine year hex against them in "The Game", scoring a touchdown with 4 minutes left to secure a tremendous 21-14 win over their bitter Crimson Rivals.

The Ivy League starts play on September 16th, where Lehigh will find Yale travelling to Murray Goodman Stadium in the Bulldogs first game of the year.

The Mountain Hawks will be playing their third game of the season, and Mayes will be going against the team which he had a recor…

Know Your 2017 Opponents: Monmouth

Monmouth and Lehigh have a lot more in common than meets the eye.

They don't share a conference - the Mountain Hawks are in the Patriot League in all sports, while the Jersey Hawks (my name for Monmouth's mascot) compete in the Big South in football, and the MAAC in all other sports.

But athletically, in terms of everything from enrollment, participation to overall athletic department spending, Monmouth and Lehigh are like peas in a pod.  They are both universities; they both have between 4,000 and 5,000 undergrads; and the size of their athletic departments are similar as well.

The Mountain Hawks and the Jersey Hawks have also been frequent opponents of the other in football and men's basketball as well.  Since 2010, Lehigh has played Monmouth twice in men's basketball and five times on the gridiron.  (Recently, it was announced that Monmouth's hoop squad and their wacky bench antics will be headed to Stabler this fall to play Lehigh hoops as well.)

But in footba…

Know Your 2017 Opponents: Villanova

(Photo Credit: Akira Suwa/Philly.com)

Writing a season preview about Villanova used to be the easiest job in the world.

Just grab your boilerplate biographical information about future hall-of-fame head coach Andy Talley, do a little Googling of the Wildcat's next up-and-coming NFL prospects, come up with a dozen synonyms for the words "tough" and "challenge", and the preview basically writes itself.

But this season's task of facing Villanova is simply different than all of those other years.  Talley, the only coach Villanova has ever known since restarting their football program in 1985 after a failed attempt to pull the plug on it in 1981 in the middle of spring practice, has finally retired from the head coaching ranks.  While the same familiar trappings of high preseason rankings and potential NFL prospects remain, their new head coach, longtime Talley assistant Mark Ferrante, is now running the Wildcats and will be seeking his first win as a collegiat…

Five Burning Questions For Lehigh Heading Into Preseason Camp

There's a pretty good chance that senior WR Troy Pelletier, who made the Patriot League's preseason all-Conference team and is on the Walter Payton Award watch list to start the year, will be the starter in the season opener vs. Villanova.

It's also not a headline that junior RB Dominick Bragalone, also on the Patriot League's preseason all-Conference team, is likely to -shocker! - be a starter on September 2nd.

But that doesn't mean that there still aren't plenty of questions as the Mountain Hawks enter into their fall training camp for fans to think about.

Preseason Camp Starts Next Week, But Lehigh Student-Athletes Have Been Preparing All Summer

(Photo Credit: New Hampshire Union-Leader)

It's easy to tune in to college football coverage at the beginning of fall practices, to see the accolades like preseason all-America teams and preseason all-Conference teams and not think about all the hard work that has been put in to prepare for the upcoming season.

Try telling that to the family of senior WR Troy Pelletier, though.

"My family is in New Hampshire and my parents are able to make almost every game," he told me my email.  "[But] with my summer job and my commitment to the offseason workout program, I have only been able to spend four days at home since the past Christmas break."

Football players "appreciate the recognition" of preseason awards and nominations, senior OL Zach Duffy told me last week, but they also understand that most fans also don't see or appreciate the amount of work it takes to become the best football players they can be when there's no crowds, no reporters, and …

The 2017 Patsy Ratings: No. 1, Holy Cross

The pie-eating contests were what I loved the best about the Worcester Patsy Parties.

Maybe it was the Purple People Eater moniker, the fact that they coincided with a particularly busy party weekend, it wasn't abundantly clear, but they always made for a great shindig.

I remembered the undergrads, lined up, eating the blueberry pies one after another.  It never ended well, but for some reason all the unsuspecting young people, waiting for the starting gun to go off, made me smile, as if they didn't know what they were really getting into.

It wasn't just about the pies: there was all sorts of great food and drink there: the blueberry crush cocktails, of which I had too many on multiple occasions, stood out.

Today, however, the only crush experienced in the offices were the ones of Holy Cross' Patsy Rating spreadsheets hitting me in the head.

Patriot League Media Day: Duffy: "No Congratulations Are Needed"

(Photo Credit: Brown and White)

With this year's Patriot League Media Day being a Patriot League Media Conference call instead, the opportunity is there for media folks to tweet out things like preseason all-Conference lists and the preseason polls.

When the league posted their preseason all-Patriot League team, unsurprisingly there were seven Lehigh football players on it, one of whom was senior OL Zach Duffy.
I sent out a tweet congratulating the seven - Duffy, junior RB Dom Bragalone, junior P/K Ed Mish, senior OL Tim O'Hara, senior WR Gatlin Casey, senior WR Troy Pelletier, and senior DE Tyler Cavenas - and almost immediately Zach responded. No congratulations are needed since we haven't accomplished a single thing yet. Sorry if that sounds sour. We appreciate the recognition. — Zachary John Duffy (@ZachDuffy72) July 27, 2017 In the span of a tweet, Zach established immediately that re-reading one's press clippings from the 2016 season is not something this 2017 e…

The 2017 Patsy Ratings: No. 2, Lafayette

Frank Tavani always made sure the Patsies were celebrated in downtown Easton.

Perhaps it was the Bourger Field House needing an event to host in February when the men's wrestling team was out of town, or that field hockey practice was finishing up - the shindigs that Bourger fielded back in those days were great.

All that steak, not overcooked, was barbecued outside, filling the Eastonian air with charred meats usually only present during Lafayette/Lehigh week.  Many students would come up - giving up their vegan diets, maybe just this one time - to eat beautiful steak sandwiches, and to sip delicious Coke under huge cardboard cutouts of their beloved head coach.

Today, Lafayette has a new head football coach, and so far there's no Coke billboards with head coach John Garrett on them.  And there was no smell of steak as the Committee got the folder filled with the printouts of Lafayette's Patsy Ratings class.

The 2017 Patsy Ratings: No. 3, Lehigh

Where were you during the last Patsy Party at Lehigh?

It coincided with morning cocktails, I think - the actual memory is hazy, a gauzy film hanging over the proceedings like Vaseline over the eyelids.

It involved neon - a very large amount of neon, as Lehigh's incoming class was announced in the morning, lights on Murray Goodman's video scoreboard.  (The neon light, I think, came from the generator trucked into the stadium to fuel the temporary lights and scoreboard, of course.)

The actual party I was actually able to recreate through my Flickr feed on my phone.  Somewhere, there was a printout of several "LFN Drinks of the week" and a 1962 Freshman Dink dyed neon purple, probably because the undergrads at the time didn't think Brown and White was an appropriate color for the party.  And there was the blue curacao, of course, which made one of the concoctions that I don't exactly remember.

Today, there is no blue curacao as the thin, typewritten letter wit…

Lehigh's 2017 Broadcast and Streaming Schedule

Today, without an official release, Lehigh added some broadcast information to their 2017 football schedule.  It details the TV, radio, and streaming information for every game this season.

Like last year, every Lehigh broadcast in 2017 will have a the live broadcast on ESPN Radio of the Lehigh Valley.  If you're in Bethlehem, the broadcasts can be heard on AM 1160, AM 1230 and AM 1320, and from their website, you can always access a live stream of their broadcasts anywhere in the world.

And like last year, Service Electric Channel 2 will be carrying all of Lehigh's home games with the exception of the 153rd meeting of The Rivalry vs. Lafayette.  That game will be carried on WFMZ Channel 69.

Following college football teams in the current media landscape can sometimes feel like a maze of different providers and sources, and in the 2017 season, getting the whole picture is sometimes a bit tricky.  Below the flip, I'll try to offer some clarity.


The 2017 Patsy Ratings: T4, Fordham

I remembered the time when I ate the linguine at Dominick's.

It was back when the Yankees were good.  Before we knew that Alex Rodriguez was Alex Rodriguez, and when Fordham blew away all comers to have one of the best classes of the year.

It wasn't a party with a lot of music - just a huge, family style table with a bunch of Committee members and a really nice Chianti.

We thought we saw Jeter come in, though we weren't certain.  Maybe it was Kevin Eakin, we weren't sure.  But we were knee-deep in the pasta and four glasses in, so it was really all a sort-of blur.  Jokes about the Jumbo Points we just earned kept everyone laughing.

The enjoyment of that meal seemed a bit far away after seeing Fordham's report show up in a manila envelope marked "Fordham".  There seemed to be an effort to have the envelope be neat and crisp, at least.

The 2017 Patsy Ratings: T4, Georgetown

I remembered the Patsy Parties around Blues Alley.

The Hoyas, who have never won a Patriot League championship in football, have had more of an up-and-down record in the history of the Patsies.  And during one of those wins, Blues Alley was the place to be.

Rounds of Seafood Gumbo for all, along with a huge platter of red beans and rice.  Earth Wind and Fire - crashing Blues Alley during the Patsies - belting out "September" in front of a packed club.  They were treasured memories for all.

And then there was today, when some paper-clipped printouts were slid under the door in the Committee's offices.  Earth, Wind and Fire never seemed so far away.

The 2017 Patsy Ratings: No. 6, Bucknell

The smell of aged buffalo meat wafted through his imagination.

It was some prior incarnation of the Patsies, and it was Burger Day.  Flown in from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, they were the best bison burger meat the Big Sky had to offer, along with bonus buffalo milk cheddar slices.  The silky-tasting burgers, with the melted buffalo cheddar on fresh brioche, was a treasured memory.  Even the grilled mushrooms on the top seemed opulent in some way.

He also remembered the Bison's mascot, sitting down on the bench, awaiting the announcement of Bucknell's recruiting classes, Bucknell students waiting with baited breath hearing each name.

(Or perhaps they were in Sojka Pavillion for Midnight Madness, or a midweek game versus Loyola.  It's all a bit hazy.)

Nonetheless, it was still jarring to see a folder with coffee cup rings on it, "BUCKNELL" written on it in Sharpie and some numbers crossed out on it.  What happened?  Where were the burgers?

The 2017 Patsy Ratings: No. 7, Colgate

I had grown accustomed to the fanfare around the Patsy ratings.

I remembered that year when the Committee had Pitbull perform right by the pool, announcing the winner of that year's Patsies - the Colgate Red Raiders, he erroneously said (by then, they had rebranded to just "Raiders". )

The Walking Dead-colored mascot clad in Maroon embraced Pitbull as the fireworks exploded all around the pool.  The champagne flowed.  Caviar was consumed.  Shoe pastry was eaten.  "Colgate, we were born to be free," Pitbull ad-libbed.

What a difference compared to this year.

The Patsies came in a brown paper bag, thrown under the door of the Committee's offices.  Granted, the bag was thick - it appeared that they indeed did research, more so than the Pitbull years, it seems.  But the fanfare was gone.  All that was left were the numbers.

Explaining the Patsy Ratings

In this post, I figured I'd create the complete definition of the Patsy Ratings, which are scheduled to be released any minute now.

What are the Patsy Ratings, you ask?
The Patsy Ratings are the methodology Lafayette superfan Carney once created in an attempt to determine who had the "best" incoming class.

In his words:

"At the outset let me say that this is one big heap of crapola. If anyone thinks that he or she can rate 18 and 19 year old high school football players or declare one group of these kids superior to another is delusional. This, however, is an attempt to do just that, so what does it say about me? Many of you will take issue with the methodology or will rail against the outcome because you “know” that [fill in the name of your favorite school] had its best recruiting year ever. I invite you to post your criticism. Even more, I invite you to give us something better. It’s easy to say “you’re wrong.” It is much more difficult to find a better way and …

Greece, Sports, And Two Weeks In Paradise

The Greek port of Egina on the island of Aegina is a place with its own pace.  
It's a port whose activity is dictated by the day cruises that park there for a couple hours in order for international tourists to sample local seafood, walk through its narrow streets, and maybe stop to buy some souvenirs or maybe a cup of coffee.
We found ourselves there, myself and my family, during the last two weeks, blessed to be able to experience that pace far away from Trump's latest Twitter mishaps and the emotional ebb and flow of the never-ending sports calendar.  
It was a break from reality, with the ability to swim in Paradise in the clear waters in the Aegean Sea.  It was a time to shop lazily in local stores, cook our own fresh food with whatever came to mind, and meet up with family friends to chat and exchange ideas.  It was probably the closest I will ever come to being Garrison Kellior.
In disrupting my writing rhythms in America, it created a set of observations about followi…

If I Wrote The Opening Scene to the Barry Levinson/Al Pacino Penn State Movie

Spoiler Alert:  I don't know Barry Levinson.

Also, I am not close personal friends with Al Pacino.

But I have been fascinated by the recent announcement that Levinson will be directing, and Pacino will be starring, in an HBO movie about Penn State, tentatively called "Happy Valley".

The official logline for the film reads: “After becoming the winningest coach in college football history, Joe Paterno is embroiled in Penn State’s Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal, challenging his legacy and forcing him to face questions of institutional failure on behalf of the victims.”

I don't know Levinson, or Pacino, and I know there's already three pro writers on this project already whom I also don't know personally (for the record, Debora Cahn (Grey's Anatomy), John C. Richards (Nurse Betty), and David McKenna (American History X)).  I also know that it's based on the book by Joe Posanski (called Paterno, released shortly after the Sandusky scandal came to li…

Still Sad And Upset, I Try to Relearn How To Write In A Vastly Altered New World

I used to know how to write.

Sure, I have written a lot about Lehigh football, the Patriot League, the NFL, and whatever else I damn well please over the course of the last fourteen or more years.  Maybe I didn't write particularly great all the time -- but sometimes, maybe more by accident than by design, the writing turned out OK.

But the one constant was that I wrote.  I'd sit in front of the warm glow of the laptop monitor and write.  I'd start in the bedroom, before my tired wife would kick me out and I'd write on the laptop in the office so that the clicking of the keys didn't irritate her.

What I did know how to do was to put my face in front of the laptop and write about the sports subjects that interested me.

But these last few months, I've found it harder to come up with the energy to come up with posts every week.  Since it's the offseason, I've got some time to try to analyze it and think it through, and I think I've come up with a few…

Davenport, Kpassagnon Only Two Of Possible NFL Draftees Lehigh Faced Last Year

One of the more interesting aspects of covering Lehigh football for so long is the fact that you end up seeing future NFL players on their rise to the big show.

In fact, two players who squared off against the Mountain Hawks in particular have an excellent chance of being drafted on Day 2 or Day 3 of the NFL draft.

But those not the only Lehigh football opponents that will be hoping to get a phone call from an NFL team this Friday or Saturday.

Though few Patriot League, Ivy League or even CAA players enter their football programs with the NFL as their main goal, every football player that matriculates to these schools still harbor the dream of dominating their league and as a result get an opportunity to pursue their NFL dream.

And it is true that NFL scouts come to FCS football games to look for talent that might have been overlooked.  Many years ago I was in Hofstra's press box, watching the Pride take on New Hampshire, with NFL scouts from the Colts and Saints there to watch W…

Nick Shafnisky Is Pushing Hard to Get To Play at the Next Level in Football

"Don't take anything for granted, just keep pushing."
Those are the words of QB Nick Shafnisky, told to The Whitehall-Coplay Press all the way back in 2013, about his preparation as a high school athlete.
And they seem to summarize the Whitehall, PA native perfectly, then as now.
Dubbed the "Male Athlete of the Year" by that publication, the article goes on about Shaf's many exploits at Whitehall high school - leading the Zephyr football team to a co-Lehigh Valley Conference title, becoming the first player ever in that conference to rush and pass for over 1,000 yards, and earning the league's co-MVP award as well.
He also was a member of the Zephyrs playoff basketball team, and for good measure also helped set a record for the 4x100 relay team as well.
At Whitehall, and at Lehigh, coaches pushed him, but it was his own hard work that helped make him the best athlete he could be.
This weekend, Shaf, like every eligible college football player, will be …

Lehigh Offense Continues To Impress During Spring Game, Win 48-34

Some spring games are loaded with drama as to who might be rising into starting positions.

On Lehigh's offense, which boasts a backup quarterback-turned-starter that threw for 1,000 yards last year, a 1,000 yard rusher, and two of the Top 10 receivers in all of FCS, drama for starting positions was, shall we way, lacking.

Instead, the scrimmage became a show as to what Lehigh fans might be able to hope to see in Setpember, a reminder of all the good things that may be in store.

In that sense, even though they started out slow, junior QB Brad Mayes, junior RB Dominick Bragalone, senior WR Troy Pelletier and senior WR Gatlin Casey showed that they indeed still knew how to play some football.

They all came to play, and in the process gave Lehigh fans a taste of an offense that has the potential to be special yet again.

Despite 48-34 Win By Offense In Brown and White Game, Lots to Like From Defense

Many will look at the spring game final results and stats and see that the offense "won" this Saturday's Brown/White game, 48-34.

They'll see a stat sheet they might expect from a Mountain Hawk team: 121 yards passing from junior QB Brad Mayes, touchdown receptions from senior WR Troy Pelletier and senior WR Gatlin Casey, as well as a touchdown run by junior RB Dominick Bragalone.

But that doesn't tell the full story of the game, played on a wet Saturday morning under mostly overcast skies.

In the early portion of the scrimmage, the Brown defense racked up sacks, tipped passes and shut out the White offense for nearly an hour before Mayes would finally find Casey in the end zone.

If there was any question how the new four-man defensive front might work out for the Mountain Hawks, they were answered today with a solid performance early.

QUICK RECAP: Offense Prevails In Brown/White Game, 48-34

It was good to see some football in Murray Goodman stadium today.

Battling raindrops under an overcast, spring sky, Lehigh's offense (the White team) won the "official" game, 48-34 over the Lehigh defense (the Brown team), using a modified scoring system.

But the spring practice was defined by the early statement of the defense, with a big interception by junior CB Donavon Harris and a slew of tipped balls by the Mountain Hawks' experienced defensive front.

Eventually, though, the offense would settle down, and junior QB Brad Mayes and his backup, senior QB Matt Timochenko, would start to make hay and put touchdowns on the scoreboard.

Junior WR Cam Richardson, who won the Jim Gum scholarship award before the game, made much of his opportunity working alongside senior WR Gatlin Casey and senior WR Troy Pelletier with the first-string offense.  The Northwestern Lehigh product caught 4 balls for 60 yards, and was a frequent target of Mayes and Timochenko.

Tune in later …

LFN's Look at the Spring Offense and Special Teams

(Photo Credit: The Morning Call)

Going to practice this Wednesday, I wondered how things were going with the Mountain Hawks this spring.

You never really know what to expect until you go, and on a surprisingly chilly evening, I arrived up at Lehigh's practice fields.

A lot of times at practice you hear jeremiads from the coaching staff on "spirited competition" and competing for positions.  But you don't always see it on the practice field.

On Wednesday, though, it was there.  I saw it.

Maybe it's a product of a lot of players knowing where they fit on the team, and that's certainly what is my impression in regards to the Lehigh offense.

When you have returning all-Patriot League players at running back, wide receiver, and the offensive line, that's one level of comfort.  When you have a returning quarterback that started three games, including an FCS playoff game, and led an 63-35 win over Yale with 524 yards passing, that's yet another level of co…

LFN's Look at the Spring Defense

Last season, a disappointed LB Colton Caslow talked about the Lehigh defense after a top 26-21 loss to nationally-ranked Villanova.

Caslow, LB Pierce Ripanti and LB Evan Harvey had combined for 27 tackles against the Wildcats, but it wasn't enough to spring the upset.

"None of those plays I made would have been possible if I didn't have the fantastic teammates I have around me out there," he said after the game.  "Everyone's just been flying around, we're getting all eleven players to the ball, everyone has a lot higher energy out there, and we're in a lot better shape than we were last year."
Caslow's disappointment would be the last time he'd experience that emotion after a regular-season football game, as Lehigh then proceeded to win their next nine games and the Patriot League championship.  Caslow, and the defense, never averted their focus and improvement from that point forward.

This weekend at the Brown/White spring scrimmage, w…

Curley, Schultz and Spanier May Serve Time in Jail in Penn State Scandal, But it Doesn't Feel Like Enough

Finally, I hoped, some justice would prevail.

It had been 19 years since the then-President of Penn State, Graham Spanier, had emails hit his inbox that Gerald Sandusky was being investigated about an incident involving Sandusky and a child in the showers in Penn State's Lasch building.

Recently, Spanier had opted for a public trial in an effort to prove his innocence, but a former Penn State athletic director, Tim Curley, and former Penn State legal counsel, Gary Schultz, had pleaded guilty for the lesser charge against them - endangering the welfare of children - to avoid that spectacle.

Spanier chose instead to fight his way in court that he was innocent - that the reams of information unearthed by Louis Freeh's report were wrong about his involvement with Sandusky's crimes.

Late on Friday afternoon, on a day of many other news events and distractions, the verdict was in: Spanier was found guilty of the same crimes for which Curley and Schultz pleaded guilt last week

Position Switches Something To Watch In Lehigh's Spring Session

Probably the biggest news from the first few days of spring practice is a few changes on the depth chart that may not seem that important at first, but could pay off later this fall.

It's the switch of rising senior Marc Raye-Redmond to the offensive side of the ball, and rising junior Nick Thevaganayam to the defense.

Raye-Redmond last season played mostly on special teams, and was listed as a defensive back.  In his role on special teams, Marc excelled, not only notching 12 tackles but also getting 184 return yards alongside rising senior WR Gatlin Casey on kickoffs.  Against Princeton last year, he had two returns for 49 yards.

Thevaganayam also mostly appeared on special teams, rushing the ball a couple of times, but was buried on the depth chart behind junior RB Dominick Bragalone, junior RB Micco Brisker and senior RB Nana Amankwah-Ayeh.


Lehigh's 2017 Spring Season To Feature Continuity On Offense And Special Teams, Even With Different Coaches

(Photo Credit: Gaby Morera/The Brown and White)

There's a lot of excitement in Lehigh Nation about the upcoming spring football season as the Mountain Hawks look to defend their Patriot League Championship.

Some things will be very familiar: watching RB Dominick Bragalone running the football, WR Gatlin Casey and WR Troy Pelletier catching them, and C Brandon Short anchoring the offensive line.  Even Lehigh's quarterback, QB Brad Mayes, will be a very familiar face, considering that he's already spent a lot of time on the field the last two years.

But elsewhere, there's a lot of newness - as is common for many FCS programs this time of year.

The departure of offensive coordinator Drew Folmar (Elon), special teams coach Ryan Dougherty (Oklahoma) and running backs coach Jamel Mutunga (Princeton) has meant some promotions and new faces on the coaching staff.

So this Spring, in defense of their Patriot League Championship, what's in store?  Start off with some staff p…

Seven Positive Thoughts About All the Patriot League Recruiting Classes

It's recruiting season.  Every incoming recruit is a Patriot League all-star, everyone is a first team all-American, everyone is undefeated.  It's all good times, a chance for kids to be admitted to some of the best Universities in the world.  In that, it's a win for everyone.

While we wait for each of the remaining recruits to be announced as a part of their recruiting classes, I thought I'd comb through all of the incoming classes of the Patriot League and tell you what sticks out to me.

This summart isn't a ratings-based system, than folks like 247Sports have in terms of measuring the number of "starred recruits" (they list Holy Cross as the "winner"), or even a hybrid-based system, like LFN's yearly Patsy Ratings (last seasons "winner": Lehigh) or HERO Sports' list of the top overall FCS recruits (which lists Lafayette as the "winner").  It's just one guy, looking at the recruit lists, and giving his opinion.

Why Just Sticking To Sports Will Never Work

One of the hottest topics in the sportswriting niche of the world has been the following online debate, kicked off by Bryan Curtis over at The Ringer.  The name of his piece was "The End of 'Stick to Sports'", and it was a thinkpiece that truly got writing minds thinking.  "Sportswriters have been awakened by Donald Trump’s presidency," the byline read.  "Is that what their readers want?"

It's had an interesting effect on the entire sportswriting community - a response veering from general agreement, to "we never really did stick to sports anyway" and "I will always stick to sports and let others talk about politics."

What it isn't is cut and dry.  I think the problem with this so-called "debate" is that it attempts to make sportswriting into a binary choice - either you stick to sports or you have your sports explore other topics.

Art is not a series of binary choices, and if you agree sportswriting is a for…

Lehigh's 2017 Recruitment Class Big on Championships and Big on Versatility

(Photo Credit: Dan Gleiter/PennLive)

Head coach Andy Coen came into the conference room at Taylor Gym with a broad smile on his face - the type of face that comes from winning a Patriot League Championship last year, of course, but also the type of face that comes from a man quite happy with his incoming recruiting class.

The fifteen names in the incoming class, "with four extra guys to announce later [on]", Coen said, seemed to fill Lehigh's needs, the fifth consecutive year that Lehigh has been recruiting with the same type of  scholarships as the rest of FCS.

"We had to shore up some depth, we really had to get a little bit of everything," he said.  "We graduated a lot of guys in the secondary, so it was important to get a good group there this year, and I think we did that."

Four defensive backs were announced today as being a part of the incoming class, DB Divine Buckrham, DB Tre Cundiff, DB Tre Neal, and DB Jaylen Floyd.

"The four defensiv…

Recruit Q+A With DB Divine Buckrham

In the run-up to signing day, I caught up with a few of the new recruits to ask them about their recruiting stories and their high school football career.

Today our subject is DB Divine Buckrham, who competed at The Kiski School, which is based just outside of Pittsburgh, PA.

The Kiski School is an all boys, small, private school with an enrollment of 210 students.

Despite its small size, it has a long, storied history of football, too.

"From the early 1950's to the present, it is well documented that Kiski has fielded teams deep in football lore and history," Kiski's team website says. "Many of the country's greatest football players of the time started their careers at Kiski."

Situated not far from State College, PA, Kiski graduates include QB Darryl Clark and RB Curtis Enis, two names which should be well known to Nittany Lions fans.


The 2017 Pre-Signing Day Big Board for Lehigh

With a little over a week to signing day, the incoming football class of 2021 is in real focus.

I'm always hesitant to jump the gun on verbals to Lehigh.  I've been around this long enough to realize that commitments can change.

But I've also found that when you get this close to signing day, you've got a fairly good picture as to what the class looks like.

All verbals are considered "verbals" and are very much unofficial until signing day, but many student-athletes have tweeted their commitments and their tweets are included below.

So a week before signing day, here's some information as to what we know here at LFN about the incoming class.

(A huge thank-you to Rich Heelan and Todd Cuddington, who have done a great job as they always do tracking recruits.  Their constantly-updated spreadsheet is here.)

Story Of Philadephia Eagles' 1968 Mud Bowl Parallels 2016 Election

How do you write about sports when it doesn't feel like a game anymore?
This is the crux of the question I've been struggling with over the last few weeks.

Like many of you, I was shocked at the election of Donald Trump to become our next President.  Also like many of you, I paid as he did things differently when it came to talking about the political foes he defeated, how he went about assembling a cabinet, and how he engaged the press.

Everything about this point in time in history feels historic.  No set of Americans have ever elected someone like Donald Trump as President.  Nobody, not Trump of the mobs of Twitter people that seem to follow him, have used Twitter to attack people so directly almost like a weapon, especially focused at journalists that are trying to get at the truth.

Frankly, nobody knows what's coming next.

So how do you write about sports at a time like this?  How do you compartmentalize what you're feeling about the election, and crack open the…