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Potential camp phenom: Keith Eloi

Potential camp phenom: Keith Eloi

I touched on one aspect of being a phenom in my article defining the term but I buried it and it needs some more attention.

A player can only be a phenom once. By definition, once a player has moved through the initial buzz and excitement period he no longer is anonymous. Everyone knows which (usually small) college he went to, how a cousin of a friend of a position coach (never the same position as the player) recommended the player to the team, and how he's just taking it all in one day at a time.

Now, some aspects of being a phenom can carry over and happen more than once. Twice Marcus Mason has impressed in August and has developed a cult-like following. But two years ago we learned that he was a local product by way of Youngstown State, where he set some school records. You only can go through that initial period of discovery and the aspect of the unknown when it comes to what he can do on the field.

Rookie free agent wide receiver Keith Eloi is not exactly unknown. His notoriety has little to do with his accomplishments at Nebraska-Omaha. He caught 57 passes for 749 yards in two seasons there after transferring from junior college. As a kickoff returner he averaged 26.5 yards and took one to the house. Such production earned him a look with the Redskins in minicamp and he performed well enough there to land a spot on the 80-man roster, as one of six players fighting for one, maybe two roster spots and another one or two places on the practice squad.

What has separated Eloi from the masses and elevated him to cult status is his stardom on You Tube. In two videos he demonstrates his freakish vertical leap. In this one, he jumps out of a pool:

When I saw the description for the next one, I thought that he was jumping from the ground into the bed of a Ford F-150 that had the tailgate down. Nope.

It's easy to see Eloi attaining phenom status. All it will take will be a few leaping catches in practice, perhaps a one-handed grab during a preseason game and he'll be there. The odds of him making the team are long. He has to compete against two veterans, Marques Hagans and Roydell Williams, and a draft pick in Marko Mitchell, to take that fifth spot. But he could provide some lively and interesting moments on his way to the waiver wire.

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. announces retirement from NASCAR after 2017

Dale Earnhardt Jr. announces retirement from NASCAR after 2017

BY TYLER BYRUM, @theTylerByrum

One of the longest eras in NASCAR will come to an end concluding the 2017 season.

Early on Tuesday morning, Hendrick Motorsports announced that 18-year veteran, longtime Redskins fan and popular driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. would retire at the conclusion of the current season.

Earnhardt, son of the late legendary seven-time champion, Dale Earnhardt Sr., told his No. 88 team members before the organization released the news.

Last season, the 42-year-old missed the final 18 races of the NASCAR season due to a concussion. The injury resulted in a 32nd place finish in the NASCAR standings and it was the first time he missed the association's 'playoffs' since 2010. 

Throughout his long career, Earnhardt captured 26 race wins, two being the elusive Daytona 500 in 2004 and 2014. Due to the legendary status of his father, he never quite lived up to the level many placed on the Earnhardt family name. His win total is roughly a third of his father's and has not won a championship. Best career points finish for Earnahrdt was third in 2003, and finished fifth three times (2004, 2006, 2013). Starting in 603 total races, he has finished in the top 10 in nearly half of those races, 253 times.

Despite the lack of a championship, he was named NASCAR's most popular driver 14 times, trailing only Bill Elliott who won that honor 16 seasons. 

RELATED: EARNHARDT FORCED TO RACE IN EAGLES-THEMED CAR

At the end of 2017, Earnhardt's contract with Hendrick Motorsports was set to expire after 10 seasons with NASCAR's most successful team. Prior to his tenure with Hendrick, he was a part of Dale Earnhardt Inc. for eight years where he won 17 of his total 26 race wins. 

Currently, Earnhardt is 24th in the NASCAR standings, 50 points behind the cut-off for the final playoff spot. There are still 18 races remaining in the season for him to make up the ground with some of his best tracks still on the docket. In addition, a win would boost Earnhardt up into a playoff spot due to NASCAR's playoff system. 

With Earnhardt Jr. retiring, there will be one Earnhardt remaining in the Monster Energy Cup Series to carry the family name. Grandson of Dale Earnhardt Sr., and nephew of Jr., Jeffery Earnhardt is a regular in the series. 

Hendrick Motorsports announced in their release that they will not name a replacement for Earnhardt Jr. just yet. During his 18-race absence in 2016, he was replaced by a young prospect, Alex Bowman and four-time series champion Jeff Gordon.

It is anticipated either Bowman or 19-year-old William Byron, who Rick Hendrick signed to an Xfinity Series contract last season, will take his place. 

As a lifetime fan of the Washington football team, Earnhardt has been known to put his opinion of the team out there.

He was not happy with how the team handled Scot McCloughan situation, and publicly voiced his support of Kirk Cousins

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One significant stat that separates Christian McCaffery from Dalvin Cook

One significant stat that separates Christian McCaffery from Dalvin Cook

Football coaches hate fumbles, and Jay Gruden is no different. Remember that Matt Jones had established himself as the Redskins lead running back despite persistent fumbling issues his first two years in the NFL. That was until a goal line fumble Week 7 in Detroit. Jones never played again in 2016. 

Fast forward to Thursday night's NFL Draft, and the buzz surrounding the Redskins interest in Florida State running back Dalvin Cook and Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey could all boil down to fumbles.

Both Cook and McCaffrey visited Redskins Park, and both players possess the speed and game-breaking ability that could deliver big returns to the Washington offense. Since the NFL Combine, McCaffrey has emerged as the higher draft pick.

Their college statistics are fairly similar. Both players went for more than 5,000 total yards in three college seasons. The size is similar too, Cook gets listed at 6-foot, 209 lbs., while McCaffrey gets listed at 5-foot-11 and 203 lbs.

One area that's quite different: Fumbles. 

An average NFL running back fumbles once every 100 carries. Rich Tandler researched an incredible stat about the two players:

  • McCaffrey averages one fumble every 243 carries.
  • Cook averages one fumble every 63 carries. 

The difference is staggering. And it could be enough to keep the 'Skins away from Cook at 17.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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