Kevin Newsome, a high school quarterback from Chesapeake, Virginia, has withdrawn his commitment to Michigan and is re-opening his recruiting.Rivals.com quoted Newsome’s father saying that Michigan is still in the running, but it now appears that Newsome’s family and his high school coach are telling him he ought to stay in Virginia to play his college ball.Michigan does still has a verbal commitment from Shavodrick Beaver, a speedy run-pass threat from Texas who looks like a good fit in coach Rich Rodriguez’s spread offense. And the Wolverines appear to have a good chance at landing Tate Forcier of California and Eugene Smith of Florida.But the loss of Newsome hurts Rodriguez as he attempts to import an offense that’s radically different from anything Michigan has run before. That offense can’t go without a quarterback, and Rodriguez can’t catch a break as he tries to land one.
A promotion in 2015 was quickly followed by a demotion a year later for Todd Fitch. Not long after the latter went down, Fitch left town for a fresh start to his coaching career.
Friday, Skip Holtz announced that Fitch has been hired as his offensive coordinator at Louisiana Tech. Additionally, Fitch will serve as the wide receivers coach for the Bulldogs.
Fitch had spent the past three seasons at Boston College, first as receivers coach and passing-game coordinator in 2013-14 before being promoted to offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2015. However, BC head coach Steve Addazio announced in mid-January that he had hired Scott Loeffler as his coordinator, effectively demoting Fitch back to receivers coach.
Three weeks later, Fitch headed south.
“I am excited to be joining a staff that is part of growing something special,” Fitch said. “This coaching staff has laid the groundwork for a program that has already done some great things and is building a foundation for future success. I am excited for the opportunity to be on a staff with Skip Holtz again and to keep growing this program.”
In addition to BC, Fitch had also been a coordinator at East Carolina and USF. Holtz was the head coach at both of those stops.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a college football player has decided to ply his final season of college football wares elsewhere.
The latest to take that tack is Malik Watson, who announced via Twitter that he has “decided that I will not be returning to San Jose State for my senior and will be seeking elsewhere to pursue my dream.” As Watson will graduate from SJSU this May, he will be eligible to play immediately in 2016 if he lands at another FBS school and enrolls in a grad program not offered at his former school.
Watson added that, as he awaits a new destination, he “will continue to train with my private QB coach in this meantime.”
— Malik Watson (@MalikIkaika8) February 6, 2016
A California high school product who was born in Hawaii, Watson transferred from the junior college ranks to SJSU in 2014. After redshirting that first year, the 6-3, 208-pound Watson played in two games as the No. 3 quarterback on the depth chart.
In that time, Watson completed 9-of-15 passes for 59 yards and an interception. Of the 15 attempts, 14 came in the Week 3 loss to Oregon State.
T.J. Neal does not yet know where he will continue his collegiate career, but it appears the linebacker has significantly narrowed the field.
A little less than two weeks ago, Neal, after being told by the coaching staff that they were planning to move him from middle to strongside linebacker, decided to transfer out of the Illinois football program. As he will be a graduate transfer upon earning his degree in May, Neal will be eligible to play at another FBS program in 2016.
Enter West Virginia and Auburn, two teams which have been in contact with Neal and vice versa. According to al.com, Neal will visit Morgantown this coming Monday, then head to The Plains a week later.
Upon the announcement of an impending departure, Illini head coach Bill Cubit said the Pennsylvania native “was talking about playing closer to home.” Even as a move to Auburn would be the exact opposite of that, Neal seems genuinely excited over the prospects.
“Being able to play down there in Alabama, it’s like a dream come true,” Neal told Brandon Marcello of al.com. “From my high school, I never thought I’d play at a big-time school like Auburn. To have a chance now, it’s exciting to play against some of the top players in the country.”
According to blueandgoldsports.com, Penn State and Pittsburgh are/were also in play. It’s unclear if he’s visited or plans to visit those schools in his home state, although it was originally thought that the Nittany Lions could be high on Neal’s to-do list.
Not only is Neal a native of McKeesport, Pa., but Tim Banks, the Illini’s co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach the past four seasons, left in December to become the Nittany Lions’ coordinator. PSU has also seen a pair of linebackers, Troy Reeder and Gary Wooten Jr., transfer out this month, meaning the opportunity for a starting job would certainly be on the table.
Regardless, Neal expects to make a decision shortly after the Feb. 15 visit to Auburn. He would then enroll in his new school of choice shortly after his graduation from Illinois.
Neal was a two-year starter for the Illini who finished second on the team in tackles (109) this past season. He was named honorable mention All-Big Ten for his play in 2015.
Back in November of 2014, Morgan Steward sustained a hip injury during the early portion of Missouri’s summer camp. Specifically, the running back said at the time, “[m]y hip joint popped out of place, tore things around, pulled off some of the bone.”
Surgery that November sidelined him until camp the following year, but Steward managed to play the first three games of the 2015 season. Unfortunately, the back was shut down in late September for the remainder of the year; five months later, he’s being shut down permanently as Mizzou officials have confirmed that Steward will be forced to retire from the sport and end the playing portion of his football career.
A three-star member of the Tigers’ 2012 recruiting class, Steward ran for 84 yards and a touchdown as a redshirt freshman. Prior to the hip injury the following year, Steward was viewed as a back who could potentially shoulder a significant portion of the running-game load, rushing for 117 yards and three touchdowns in a scrimmage during spring practice in 2014. Post-injury, he ran for 18 yards in the three 2015 games.
The good news for Steward is that he has his degree from Mizzou in business communications.