Player's lawyer on Leavitt: 'He hit him'

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USF head coach Jim Leavitt was fired by the school last week following a weeks-long investigation that concluded the now-former coach slapped a player at halftime of a November game.

Initially, the family and a former coach of the player — special teamer Joel Miller — were sources for the incident, then the family vehemently backed off the charges shortly after AOL Fanhouse went public with their story.  During the course of the investigation, Miller was emphatic in adhering to his story that Leavitt had not touched him.

Now that Leavitt is gone, Miller and his family have retained the services of a high-powered attorney.  And are singing a vastly different tune.

Speaking to the Tampa Tribune, attorney Barry Cohen — who represented the family of the late USF player Keeley Dorsey in a lawsuit against the school — said that, in essence, his client lied to investigators in order to protect the coach.

He (Leavitt) hit him,” Cohen, who was hired by the Miller family over the weekend, said. “He was trying to protect this coach earlier, and he didn’t tell what actually happened. …

“The truth is that he (Leavitt) did hit him and the witnesses saw it. He (Joel Miller) didn’t want the ripple effect if the coach got fired.”

Cohen also spoke to the St. Petersburg Times, telling that paper that Leavitt is to blame for not stepping “up to the plate”, which “put the kid in a very unfair position.”

“(Miller) didn’t try to hurt the coach. He went the other way, and tried to protect him,” Cohen said. “He didn’t go crying, he stood up for his coach. He feels very badly about this, but he was innocently involved. The coach should have stepped up to the plate and said the right thing. It put the kid in a very unfair position, where a lot of people have unfairly blamed the kid for this.”

Cohen also refused to say whether or not legal action would be taken against Leavitt, the university or both.

“I’m going to go where the evidence takes me,” Cohen said. “The boy is a great kid. He’s very upset over the situation.”

Translation?  Somebody’s gettin’ sued.

It should be noted that, both before his firing and after, Leavitt has vehemently denied striking Miller.

In Baker Mayfield, Texas set to face yet another QB who wanted to be a Longhorn

Baker Mayfield
Associated Press

Jameis WinstonJohnny ManzielAndrew LuckRobert Griffin IIIJ.T. Barrett. Oh, don’t mind me. Just recounting the number of quarterbacks with ties to the Texas football program that never received a sniff from Bevo’s famous snout.

Add another to the list, perhaps the most inexplicable of all: Baker Mayfield.

Mayfield played at Lake Travis High School in Austin, a powerhouse program in a state that specializes in them. Lightly recruited out of high school (he reportedly held only an offer from Florida Atlantic), Mayfield and his family reached out to the nearby program to see if they’d take him as a walk-on.

They said no.

“They told us he had five scholarship quarterbacks, so there wasn’t any need of ‘Bake’ coming out there,” James Mayfield, Baker’s father, told George Schroeder of USA Today. “I popped off that they had five scholarship quarterbacks that couldn’t even play for Lake Travis. That’s where our relationship stalled out.”

On one hand, it utterly boggles the mind why Texas would decline a successful high school quarterback willing to pay his own way on to the team, especially considering the state of the position at the time. On the other, one would see why Mack Brown‘s staff would pass on a kid with only an offer from FAU who says UT’s quarterbacks couldn’t start for his high school team.

Instead, Texas signed Tyrone Swoopes and Mayfield enrolled at Texas Tech. He won the starting job as a true freshman, transferred to Oklahoma, walked on and then won the starting job there.

And now he’s set to face the hometown team he at one time wished he could play for.

Mayfield has completed 88-of-135 throws for 1,382 yards with 13 touchdowns and three interceptions – good for a 178.52 passer rating, which ranks fifth nationally – while adding 138 yards and four scores on the ground. His counterpart, redshirt freshman Jerrod Heard, has connected on 42-of-76 passes for 661 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions (131.74 passer rating) to go with a team-leading 67 carries for 318 yards and three touchdowns.

“As perverse as all this has been, he’s where he wanted to be,” James Mayfield said. “He’s living his dream. If he had to do it all over again, he’d do it, with the same outcome.”

Appalachian State announces five-year extension for head coach Scott Satterfield

Scott Satterfield
Associated Press

One day after it was revealed its head coach was the second-lowest paid in college football, Appalachian State announced a five-year contract extension for head coach Scott Satterfield.

“We have the right coach leading our football program in Scott Satterfield,” Appalachian State AD Doug Gillin said in a statement. “In nearly three years as head coach, he has stayed true to his convictions, built the program the right way and set Appalachian State football up for sustainable success both in the Sun Belt Conference and at the national level.”

Satterfield had earned $375,000 annually, ahead of only Louisiana-Monroe’s Todd Berry at $360,000 a year.

Satterfield, 42, is 14-14 in his third season at the Boone, N.C., school. He led the Mountaineers to a 7-5 mark in their debut Sun Belt season, and has the club at 3-1 to start the 2015 campaign.

“It’s exciting for my family and me to know that we’re going to be at Appalachian for the foreseeable future,” Satterfield added. “I’m living a dream by being the head coach at my alma mater and can’t wait to continue to work hard to help this program reach heights that it has never reached before.”