2019 College Baseball Thread

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  1. bertwing

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    Fall Report: Arkansas[​IMG]
    FALL REPORT Kendall Rogers - November 15, 2019

    It’s still fall, but Arkansas sure looks like a team ready to make a third-straight trip to the College World Series.

    The Razorbacks have become an Omaha mainstay during the Dave Van Horn era, and the last two seasons have been special. The Hogs finished as the national runner-up two seasons before not skipping a beat last season with righthander Isaiah Campbell and others stepping up, and the team making yet another trip to Omaha.


    Once again, the Hogs fell just short of a national title. But there’s no time for sulking in Fayetteville, as Van Horn’s club looks like a national contender yet again. Sure, there are some question marks. The Hogs might not have that bonafide Friday night ace they had the last two seasons with Campbell, and Blaine Knight before that, but they have plenty of options and welcome back righthander Connor Noland and lefthander Patrick Wicklander.

    Everything else looks to be in outstanding shape for the Hogs.

    “You know, after the fall, as coaches, we feel great about the depth of our pitching staff. I think it’s one of the deeper staffs we’ve had,” Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. “Obviously the big question right now is who is going to step in and take Campbell’s spot? That’s a good question. We’re not sure we have that guy just yet, but I’m also not sure anyone expected Campbell [last fall] to be as good as he was in the spring, so there’s still plenty of time.

    “It’s really hard to evaluate the offense right now because we had some guys hurt this fall, we took things easy with guys like Casey Opitz and things like that,” he continued. “But if we have everyone healthy and playing, I think our offense will be right where it was last season in terms of production. But again, right now, it’s about finding that No. 1 guy on the pitching staff. We’ll keep running guys out there until we find a fit.”

    From an injury standpoint, the Hogs will be ready to go in the spring. Casey Martin continues to come back from a hamate bone injury, Matt Goodheart will be ready to roll following an offseason shoulder procedure and highly touted junior college product outfielder Braydon Webb was off to a hot start this fall before hurting his shoulder diving for a ball back in September. None of those injuries are expected to be lingering issues into the 2020 campaign.

    There are no guarantees in the always rugged SEC, but the Hogs looks like a team ready to compete with a stout top of the lineup and a multitude of options on the mound.

    Now, it’s about putting all the pieces together. Let’s check out the Hogs this fall:

    Position Players
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    • Heston Kjerstad put together yet another outstanding fall for the Razorbacks. He looks like someone ready to be a high first-round draft pick next summer. Kjerstad hit well over .300 this fall and slugged five or six home runs. What’s interesting about Kjerstad, though, is that Arkansas played him at first base 80 percent of the time this fall. It’s not that the Hogs are dead set on moving him to first base, but Van Horn wants to get creative with the positional assignments at time in the spring. He said there’s a chance he plays first.

    “He did nothing but hit … as usual,” Van Horn said. “I played him at first base about 80 percent of the time, so we can see how he looks in case we decide to put him over there at times. He did fine over there. There are some little mechanical things we can fix, and it’s not overly smooth, but he made every play. He catches the ball really well.”

    • Casey Opitz has been a productive player throughout his Arkansas career, but took a massive step forward as a sophomore last season. In addition to showcasing his talents behind the plate, he also developed into a strong offensive contributor. Opitz only caught about 10 percent of the time this fall as the Hogs were resting him, but Van Horn says his strides in other areas was noticed. For instance, Opitz gained around 15 pounds of muscle after the season until now and is up from around 160 since he arrived in Fayetteville to 198 now. For the record, a scout recently told me Opitz was viewed anywhere from a second-to-fourth rounder for next summer.

    “We put him in some scrimmages at times here and there,” he said. “He knew he had to get stronger and he’s done that. He looks like a big-time pro guy now. The ball is totally different off his bat right now. Now that he’s gotten his size, he’s hitting for power and there’s no doubt in my mind he’ll catch in the big leagues. He’s just so good back there. That’s the way I feel about him.”

    • Casey Martin has had some bad luck with injuries over the past few months. DVH revealed that he played the final few weeks of the season with a shoulder injury before breaking his hamate bone this fall. Though his fall wasn’t filled with opportunities, he showed some strides in some key areas.

    “He didn’t play much this fall, but he’s had some tough luck. That shoulder was really bothering him at the end of last season,” Van Horn said. “He was having a good fall. He knows that his battle is cutting down on strikeouts and putting the ball in play more often, and he was doing that before he got hurt.”

    • Matt Goodheart didn’t play this fall after having offseason shoulder surgery, but DVH said he’ll be ready to go in the spring.

    • Another injured player this fall was Grayson (Texas) transfer Braydon Webb. Webb put together an outstanding 2019 campaign in the junior college ranks, hitting .450 with 14 home runs and 66 RBIs. He hurt his shoulder diving for a ball early this fall and didn’t play again. However, Van Horn saw all he needed from the talented outfielder.

    “He had a great fall when he played and was a really athletic left fielder for us,” he said. “He’s just now getting back from that cracked bone in the back of his shoulder, but he was starting. He’ll start. The way he approaches the game – he kind of has that same type of twitchiness that Casey Martin had.”

    • Former Freshman All-American Christian Franklin appears to be Dom Fletcher’s replacement out in center field. Though Fletcher was a premier defender who took outstanding routes and had great instincts, Franklin is much faster. He also took a step forward with the bat this fall, showing more consistency and hitting the ball with authority.

    “He’s really taken a step forward with the bat,” DVH said of Franklin. “He’s hitting the ball with authority and everything is better with the bat. He’s a great runner and though he’s likely to be our center fielder, we’ll also look at some other guys like Webb, too.”

    • Two intriguing infielders to watch in the spring include redshirt freshman Zach Gregory and Arizona State transfer Cole Austin. Gregory is a 5-foot-10, 175-pounder, who had a solid summer at the Northwoods League. He has played each day this fall at second base or designated hitter and has impressed from the left side. Meanwhile, Arkansas is Austin’s third destination and showed up this fall ready to roll. He hit just .208 with the Sun Devils last season, but DVH said he had a productive fall.

    “Gregory came back this fall wanting to prove something, and he’s one of those guys who really stepped up and impressed,” he said. “Austin is really interesting, I’d say. He had a good fall and I think he could end up being a good one for us.”

    Pitching
    • Arkansas is still figuring out its weekend rotation as fall workouts culminate. Two things are for certain – righthander Connor Noland and lefthander Patrick Wicklander are safe bets to be in the rotation. Noland is a former two-sport player for the Hogs but has since given up football to focus exclusively on his baseball career. Noland sat more 88-90 and up to 91 mph with his fastball last season but was more 90-93 with the offering this fall, along with quality secondary stuff. Meanwhile, Wicklander, who will sit around 90-92 mph with his fastball, had a quality fall as well. There are no “set in stone” roles for the Arkansas pitching staff now, but I feel good about saying Noland and Wicklander will be in the rotation. The Hogs also welcome back another talented righthander in Kole Ramage.

    “Nolan didn’t get below 90, I don’t think, this fall, and his secondary stuff has been pretty good, too,” Van Horn said. “He’s becoming that full-time guy and he’s got a great opportunity to be really good. I think from a rotation standpoint, we’ll probably do some experimenting early in the spring.”

    • Redshirt sophomore righthander Caleb Bolden is an interesting arm to watch in the spring. Bolden had a nice role for the Hogs back in 2018 but missed this past season because of an injury. Bolden is working his way back and has been up to 90 mph with his fastball this fall. He’s pitching at around 60-70 percent now, and the Hogs feel like he could be a big-time contributor come February.

    “He was our Tuesday starter in 2018, and during the second half of that season everything started going backward. He had Tommy John surgery and he’s about 12 months removed from it right now,” he said. “He’s bigger and stronger. If we can get him back to where he was, I think he can be a dude for us.”

    • Young lefthander Kaden Monk could be working his way into a much larger role in the spring. Monk, a 6-foot-3, 160-pounder, has a wiry frame and has impressed the coaching staff with great command of multiple offerings.

    “He’s a skinny lefty, and he’s made a big, big jump for us,” he said. “He’s throwing strikes and everything out of his hand moves. He’s throwing strikes, so if that continues, we’ll see where he factors in the spring.”

    • Three more returning arms to watch include junior righthander Zebulon Vermillion, and sophomore righties Elijah Trest and Jacob Burton. Vermillion has always showed potential with his lively arm but has yet to put all the pieces together. Vermillion had a strong fall, getting up to 95 mph with his fastball, along with a new out pitch – a quality changeup. Trest is another lively arm who was up to 96-97 mph with the offering this fall. The big key for Trest between now and the spring is making sure he stays on top of the slider. Finally, Burton is another mid-to-upper 90s fastball guy, but he got hit well in the fall.

    “With Trest, he just needs to get on top of the slider a little bit, and they’re working on a changeup with him as well,” he said. “Burton has pretty electric stuff, but still gets hit at times.”

    • Two freshmen that have a chance to make a huge impact in their inaugural campaigns are righthanders Peyton Pallette and Blake Adams. Pallette is a 6-foot, 160-pounder, who earned rave reviews earlier in the fall and continued his successful ways throughout. He has whippy arm action and is up to 95 mph with his fastball. Pallette has a good spin rate, with Van Horn saying his breaking ball was somewhere around 3100. Pallette has some natural life to his fastball and pitched at 93-95 throughout the fall. Meanwhile, Adams is up to 96 mph with his fastball, and DVH believes there’s more in the tank for the young righty. He also possesses a very effective breaking ball.

    “Pallette’s fastball moves really well and Adams is a physical kid,” Van Horn said. “Pallette has one of the quickest arms I’ve ever seen. And it’s kind of funny. When we signed him, he looked like he was 13 years old and about 155 pounds. He’s a little over six foot now and the sky is the limit with him.”
     
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  3. duc15

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    Oregon St us heading to Mississippi St in non-conference

     
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  4. FadeMe

    FadeMe Well-Known Member
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    [​IMG]

    That gets me fired up. Should be a great series. That might be worth traveling to Starkville for.
     
  5. devine

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  6. Tobias

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  8. blind dog

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    Looks like my call to wvu athletic department paid off
     
  9. Boo MFer!

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  10. Tobias

    Tobias dan “the man qb1” jones fan account
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    that was one very forced reference, boom
     
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  11. Boo MFer!

    Boo MFer! UCF has a clown car of talent at RB and WR.
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    You’re one very forced reference, Tobias!
     
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  12. blind dog

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  14. infected donkey

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  15. Beagle

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  16. tigr2ndbase

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    Rammer Jammer i saw your brother signed with Seattle. How’s his arm? They come to Tampa over the summer. Hope he’s pitching so I can go watch.
     
  17. Rammer Jammer

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    Pete Frates Leaves Behind Incredible Legacy
    FEATURES Aaron Fitt - December 9, 2019

    This story by Aaron Fitt originally ran on our site in 2016. Pete Frates passed away peacefully Monday at the age of 34, after a heroic battle with ALS that inspired millions of people. Here’s a look at his remarkable legacy.


    I called John Frates on Sunday afternoon, a day after Boston College swept a doubleheader at Georgia Tech to clinch a spot in the ACC tournament. Frates was in good spirits, and when he saw my unknown California number pop up on his cell phone, his mood brightened even more, if only for a moment.

    “When I saw this number come up, I thought, ‘OK, maybe this is the cure.’ Because it could happen any time,” he said.

    It was such a simple, powerful statement of optimism and belief that it gave me goosebumps on my end of the line. John Frates is so unwaveringly upbeat that he expects to get a phone call any day with the news that a cure has been discovered for ALS, the disease that has turned his son’s life upside down.

    By now, you are probably familiar with Pete Frates’ story. The former Boston College baseball player was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) in 2012 at the age of 27. The neurological disorder kills cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing muscles to weaken and often leading to paralysis and death.

    Shortly after his diagnosis, Pete dedicated his life to increasing awareness of ALS and raising funds to aid the search for a cure. In 2014, he achieved national fame when he and his friend Pat Quinn launched the Ice Bucket Challenge, which went viral on the internet and raised more than $200 million for the ALS association. He was named Sports Illustrated’s Inspiration of the Year, and a SportsCenter documentary about his story was nominated for an Emmy.

    “Pete’s had the highest accolades — Sports Illustrated, the Emmy’s, the Red Sox signed him to a lifetime contract,” John Frates said. “But first and foremost, he was a college baseball player.”

    So it was important to Pete to keep the momentum going in the fight against ALS, and to make college baseball a leading participant in that fight. That’s how Band Together to Strike Out ALS began.

    A little backstory: In 2011, CollegeBaseballInsider.com presented its inaugural Tom Walter College Baseball Inspiration Award, named after Wake Forest’s head coach, who donated one of his kidneys to a player who needed a transplant. In 2014, the award was renamed the Tom Walter/Pete Frates College Baseball Inspiration Award. The Frates family got to know Walter and College Baseball Insider co-founder Sean Ryan, and when they all got together this winter along with BC head coach Mike Gambino to discuss potential honorees for this year’s award, they came up with the idea for Band Together.

    [​IMG]Pete Frates with BC coach Mike Gambino, his father John and brother Andrew, and Wake Forest coach Tom Walter (John Quackenbos/BC Athletics)


    The plan was simple: try to get teams across the country to wear a special wristband during May, which is ALS Awareness Month. The wristbands read “Strike Out ALS” and “PF3” — Frates’ initials and jersey number. It took a little work, but they got the NCAA to sanction the program, which they hoped would catch on the way Coaches vs. Cancer has caught on in college basketball.

    The wristbands were immediately and widely embraced among programs in New England and also gained some traction in other conferences across the country. This past weekend, every school in the ACC wore the wristbands — and players expressed deep appreciation for the opportunity to participate in the effort to raise awareness for ALS.

    “I think it’s incredible,” NC State first baseman Preston Palmeiro said. “Honestly up until everything that happened with the Ice Bucket Challenge and Pete Frates, I really didn’t have a great understanding. Obviously you know Lou Gehrig’s disease and you know that famous speech, but it’s pretty incredible to be a part of this, and what the ACC’s doing, and how everybody’s involved. I’m just glad that we can participate any way we can and just help spread the word and get information spread around and do what we can to help out.”

    [​IMG]Preston Palmeiro sporting a Strike Out ALS wristband (Aaron Fitt)


    “Awareness” is not an easy thing to measure, but it is vitally important for a cause like this.

    “We’re sticking to a straight playbook, which is that awareness leads to funding research and then to an eventual cure,” John Frates said. “In this one, we never, ever expected this. I ended up losing a little bit more (money) than I expected on the wristbands, because I wanted it to be high quality for the college players, but the outpouring has been amazing for us. Every time I turn around, there’s some Division II schools doing it. High schools are now doing it, we’ve had a Little League doing it. So it has the potential to be even bigger, better next year.

    “It goes back to Pete’s story; I remember when he was first diagnosed, we thought, ‘If we could only get his story out there…’ It was so compelling. We had this guy who was so athletically gifted, who did things the right way through dedication and effort, and had this beautiful woman by his side despite this terrible diagnosis.”

    Pete and Julie Kowalik started dating in the summer of 2011, and Julie stayed by his side and became his full-time caregiver after his diagnosis less than a year later. They were married in 2013, and the the next year Julie gave birth to their daughter, Lucy.

    Walter and his Demon Deacons were visiting Boston College earlier this month when Frates became just the second person to have his number retired by BC baseball.

    “We got to see Pete and his family, his little girl’s getting big, and his wife is just so energetic and proud of Pete,” Walter said. “We all wish we had family like that — pretty special group.”

    John Frates called the number retirement ceremony “an out of body experience.”

    [​IMG]John Frates called the reriting of Pete’s number “the pinnacle” (John Quackenbos/BC Athletics)


    “We’ve had so many magical moments, but we’d take them all away in a heartbeat if we could just get him out of bed,” he said. “That’s the part behind the curtain that we don’t show as much because it’s so devastating, so we try to keep the message as upbeat and positive a possible.”

    Shortly after Pete’s diagnosis, the Frates family met with Joe O’Donnell, who founded the Joey Fund to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in memory of his son Joey, who fought the disease.

    “He kept saying to us, ‘Pete’s not well known. But baseball owns ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease. This is your moment,’” John Frates recalled. “I said, ‘My God, this guy’s right.’ My wife Nancy and I even toyed with the idea of going to medical school, which seems like a lunatic idea, but we were desperate. We thought, ‘OK, we can go find a cure ourselves.’ Well, we’re too old, we’ve lost too many brain cells, and that’s not what we do.”

    But the idea that baseball is inextricably linked with ALS — from Lou Gehrig to the late East Carolina coach Keith LeClair — inspired the Frates family, and gave them a roadmap.

    [​IMG]Players across the ACC and the nation participated in Band Together To Strike Out ALS (John Quackenbos/BC Athletics)


    “One of Pete’s major goals when he got sick, in this fight to strike out ALS and end this disease, was making it baseball’s cause,” said Gambino, whose bond with Frates dates back to his days as an assistant coach at BC when Frates was a player. “Pete was a college baseball player, first and foremost, a New England college baseball player. To get this to be our cause in college baseball would be an absolutely amazing thing. Pete and the FrateTrain and the Ice Bucket Challenge, how much money they raised — the ultimate goal is five, 10, however many years down the road, we don’t have to do it anymore because the disease is gone.”

    After Pete was diagnosed, Gambino called him and John into his office and said he wanted to hire Pete as his director of baseball operations. Pete would travel with the team, and John would travel with them.

    “So I’ve watched him instill his values, his integrity,” John said. “Pete was a great mentor for some of the guys. Even some of the seniors now, he was still speaking, still traveling, didn’t have much in the way of difficulties or obstacles. So some of the seniors now remember him giving not only baseball advice but life advice. He was great at that stuff.”

    Third baseman Joe Cronin is one of the current BC seniors who developed a close relationship with Pete, who continued to text the players constant messages of encouragement after he could no longer travel.

    “To be around Pete, he came on every trip with us when we were freshmen, so I’ve known him for four or five years now,” Cronin said. “I think the biggest thing for us is it gives us perspective on stuff, and it’s just inspirational. He’s faced with that disease, and we’ve seen what it’s done to him, and how upbeat he’s been throughout everything — he’s always the one picking us up. So I think that’s something that’s tremendous for us. And then to see what he’s done for ALS, it makes us sit there and think, ‘If this is what he’s doing, and he’s got that (disease), we have nothing to complain about.’ We’re so lucky to be where we are, and we just want to win for him, because we know how bad he wants us to win.”

    The Eagles are very likely headed to the NCAA tournament even after their early exit from the ACC tournament this week, and Pete is reveling in their accomplishments.

    “I don’t know how many more magic moments are left for Pete, but this is certainly one of them,” John said. “He loves his boys. I hate to say it, but they’re almost on equal footing with his wife and child.”

    So BC’s success has brought some happiness into a household where life isn’t easy. John said Pete usually gets up at 5 or 6 p.m. and spends about four or five hours up in his chair, then goes to bed around 11.

    “His quality of life is not what anybody wants, especially not at 31 years old. But his will and desire to see this thing through is so powerful,” John said. “We don’t want to be greedy, we just need a treatment right now. There’s so many folks that need help. The hard part is the around-the-clock care that he now has because he’s on a ventilator. That was a game changer — he’s literally on life support. We’re running an ICU unit. I’m looking at his bedroom door now, there’s a nurse just sitting there in case he rings his alarm bell, wired to his pillow. The only muscle he can use is his head. So it’s devastating, horrific, but he never lets us use the word ‘tragic.’ ‘Tragic’ is reserved for children dying of horrific diseases or soldiers dying in war.”

    John and Nancy hold out hope that a cure will come in time to help Pete. But in the meantime, they are carrying on his work. They watch a lot of old videos of speeches he delivered back in 2012 or 2013, before he lost the power to speak. And they stay true to his message.

    “The message we’re delivering today is the exact same message that he penned himself back in 2012,” John said. “It is fulfilling to know that he was chosen for this, there’s no question. I don’t in any way want to think of him as a martyr for ALS, but this thing will be cured because of his efforts.”

    So spread the word. And spread the power of belief.
     
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  21. devine

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  22. Rammer Jammer

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  23. Rammer Jammer

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    Time for a 2020 thread PG just dropped there preseason rankings
     
  24. JGator1

    JGator1 I'm the Michael Jordan of the industry
    TMB OG
    Florida GatorsTampa Bay RaysTampa Bay BuccaneersTampa Bay LightningChelsea

  25. tigr2ndbase

    tigr2ndbase Well-Known Member
    Donor
    Mississippi State Bulldogs

    Seasons getting closer fellows. Hoping to have my back patio finished so I can prop up to watch games this year. Grill, fire pit, lake and wildlife view, and college baseball. Doesn’t get better than that.
     
  26. blind dog

    blind dog #1 Ladycock fan
    Donor
    Arkansas RazorbacksSt. Louis CardinalsGreen Bay PackersTiger WoodsBarAndGrillWu-tangCoors Light

    https://d1baseball.com/top-25/2020-d1baseball-preseason-top-25/

    1 [​IMG]Louisville 51-18 3
    2 [​IMG]Vanderbilt 59-12 1
    3 [​IMG]Miami 41-20 19
    4 [​IMG]Florida 34-26 NR
    5 [​IMG]Georgia 46-17 18
    6 [​IMG]Texas Tech 46-20 4
    7 [​IMG]Arkansas 46-20 6
    8 [​IMG]Auburn 38-28 9
    9 [​IMG]Arizona State 38-19 NR
    10 [​IMG]Mississippi State 52-15 5
    11 [​IMG]LSU 40-26 14
    12 [​IMG]Florida State 42-23 8
    13 [​IMG]Michigan 50-22 2
    14 [​IMG]UCLA 52-11 7
    15 [​IMG]Duke 35-27 16
    16 [​IMG]NC State 42-19 NR
    17 [​IMG]Stanford 45-14 10
    18 [​IMG]Wake Forest 31-26 NR
    19 [​IMG]Georgia Tech 43-19 17
    20 [​IMG]Texas A&M 39-23 20
    21 [​IMG]East Carolina 47-18 13
    22 [​IMG]Oklahoma State 40-21 11
    23 [​IMG]North Carolina 46-19 15
    24 [​IMG]Oklahoma 33-23 NR
    25 [​IMG]Ole Miss 41-27 12
     
  27. Pharm

    Pharm Right Handed
    Donor
    Florida State SeminolesAtlanta HawksAtlanta FalconsCalgary Flames

    Acc and sec appear to be loaded again
     
  28. devine

    devine Make Devine A Mod Again
    Donor
    West Virginia MountaineersPhoenix SunsPittsburgh PenguinsTiger WoodsNational LeagueBarAndGrillCoors Light

    Wrong thread dumbass
     
    blind dog, Marbles and bertwing like this.
  29. Tobias

    Tobias dan “the man qb1” jones fan account
    Donor
    North Carolina TarheelsAtlanta BravesCharlotte HornetsNew York GiantsManchester CityNational LeagueLos Angeles Angels of AnaheimBarAndGrill

    arkansas fan living in the past? sounds about right!
     
    devine likes this.
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