The deadline for players declaring for the NFL draft is complete. The Portal is closed. Freshmen signing days are over. I have gone thru the roster of every All-Star game and noted all the players that are playing and marked them as gone. I am a little over two months into this year’s magazine which is a 6.5-month process. By the time I finish talking to the coaches I will have every player move captured. The extra Covid year is still the wild card here. Every player with college eligibility is not necessarily going to return as some will just leave football. Each of my All-conference blogs highlights the players that are coming back and the players not highlighted are gone. There is a slight chance that I missed on a player or two coming or going. If you look over this list and know that someone I have marked as returning is gone or vice versa please either tweet at me @philsteele042 or email Todd@philsteele.com. This is in preparation for the page 28 of the magazine which is the All-Conference points returning and lost. With that said here is the CUSA List of my All Conference players from last year and which ones are returning and which ones are gone.
Today I will look at the CUSA. Many group of five head coaches I talk to say that with the advent of the transfer portal and NIL that they develop players only to have them leave before their senior seasons as they get plucked by Power Five teams. Earlier the Sun Belt showed all 12 First Team Offensive players from 2023 have left their teams due to graduation or the portal. I will say that last year even after I talked to the coaches post spring some Group of Five teams lost key players to the portal so you can probably expect a few more names to be lost before August rolls around.
CUSA has eight of the 1st team Offensive players back but only two of the 1st team all defensive players back. . Of the first three teams of the CUSA 35 players are returning and 52 are lost so they are not in quite as good a shape as the MAC was.
While these numbers may change by the time the magazine goes to the press in June, right now 3 of the 9 teams have a positive number on the chart. Liberty leads the way at +27 points and return six players who were 1st team CUSA last year. Jacksonville St is +23 and they return all four of their players that were 1st team CUSA last year and Sam Houston registers a +18 in the All Conference points. It was interesting to note that Louisiana Tech had 12 players that were on one of the four teams for CUSA and they lose all 12 of those players with none returning.
Here is this year’s list and the players that are highlighted in yellow are the players returning and if they are not highlighted then they are gone.
Last year the VIP deal worked out tremendously. All VIP members had access to the magazine two days after we sent it to the press, and they had EXCLUSIVE ACCESS to the digital magazine for two full weeks. The magazines were shipped priority mail to them as they rolled off the press and VIP members had the actual magazine in their hands about 3 weeks before it went on sale at Barnes and Noble. This year I have added a Super VIP in which you get two magazines, and I am giving away the full year of Phil Steele Plus access ($99 value) all for just $69 including shipping. Here is a link and we do send out the magazines on the FIFO method of First In (first ordered) First Out (first shipped). So right now if you order your magazine will be shipped on the first day but that window is closing fast. Also I may change my mind on giving away a full year of Phil Steele Plus with the Super VIP order but it is available at least thru February.