Florida v Georgia

Meyer’s retirement already impacting Gator recruiting efforts

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Aside from the preparations for the Gator Bowl against Penn State, one of the areas most immediately impacted by Urban Meyer‘s stunning resignation/retirement is Florida’s recruiting efforts.

And, already, it appears the Gators have lost out on a player they were favored to add to the 17 verbal commitments they currently have in their pocket for the 2011 class.

Thomas County (Ga.) Central football coach Bill Shaver told USA Today that one of his players, defensive lineman Ray Drew, will likely cross the Gators off his list in the wake of Meyer’s departure.  Drew is currently rated by Rivals.com as the No. 1 player in the country at his position.

“They’ll be out. Ray’s biggest draw to Florida was Urban Meyer,”  Shaver told the paper. “His schools now are Clemson, Georgia, Auburn and LSU. At first he was hot and heavy to go to Florida, but they signed a lot of defensive linemen. But he and coach Meyer really hit it off well.”

The nation’s No. 1 pro-style quarterback, one of UF’s 17 verbals, has for now taken a wait-and-see approach to the turnover in Gainesville.

“I just heard about the press conference a minute ago,” Florida high school QB Jeff Driskel said. “I don’t even know if it’s true yet. I’ve established a good relationship with Coach Meyer. I’ve also established a good relationship with (quarterbacks) coach (Scott) Loeffler. That I’m interested to see how it plays out. I never really thought about (Meyer’s departure). I always assumed he would be there.”

Just a guess, but we’re thinking that, if somebody whose name rhymes with “Schman Schmullen” were hired in the coming days, he’d be able to solidify Driskel’s commitment without much effort.  And a whole helluva lot of other commitments as well given his familiarity within both the state and the program.

Regardless of who it is, though, it would behoove athletic director Jeremy Foley to find Meyer’s replacement sooner rather than later.  As far as recruiting goes, this is bad, bad, bad timing on Meyer’s part.  You can almost hear the negative recruiting going on as I’m typing this.

Foley needs to stop the potential bleeding of the talent pipeline as soon as possible.

UPDATED 4:38 p.m. ET: Tampa running back Hunter Joyer, one of those 17 commitments, is remaining true to his verbal for now.

I’m still solid with them,” Joyer told the Tampa Tribune. “I don’t know who will replace (Meyer) but I’m solid with my commitment

Ex-Rutgers QB transferring to San Diego State

PISCATAWAY, NJ - OCTOBER 15: Quarterback Chris Laviano #5 of Rutgers attempts a pass during the second quarter against Illinois on October 15, 2016 in Piscataway, New Jersey. Illinois defeated Rutgers 24-7. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
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It appears one of Rutgers’ transferring quarterbacks has found a new home.

In late November, Chris Laviano became one of three Scarlet Knights signal-callers who decided to transfer from Chris Ash‘s football program.  Over the weekend, as relayed by the San Diego Union-Tribune, Laviano has decided to continue his collegiate playing career at San Diego State.

As Laviano would be coming to the Mountain West program as a graduate transfer, he’d be eligible to play immediately in 2017. This coming season will be his final year of eligibility.

Laviano had started 18 consecutive games for the Scarlet Knights until he was benched in October of last year.

In 2015, Laviano completed nearly 61 percent of his passes for 2,247 yards, 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. The completion percentage was the best for an RU player since 2008, while the yardage was good for eighth in school history.

Overall, he tossed 21 touchdowns and 15 picks during his time in Piscataway.

Record-breaking QB one of two coaches hired by New Mexico State

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Doug Martin‘s 2017 on-field coaching staff will have a decidedly familiar feel to it, even as it’s in some ways brand-new.

New Mexico State announced that two coaches have been hired by Martin, Chase Holbrook and Kai Brown.  The former will serve as tight ends coach, the latter as defensive ends coach.

Holbrook spent the 2016 season as a quality control coach for Mike Leach at Washington State.  A former NMSU quarterback, he still owns the school’s single-season and career records for passing, passing attempts, completions, touchdowns, total offense and total touchdowns.

Brown was a graduate assistant the past three seasons for the football program.

“We are really excited about Chase coming back to New Mexico State,” Martin said. “Having a former great quarterback that has his name written all over the Aggie record book will have a huge impact on us taking that next step. Chase really believes and cares deeply about the football program here. To have a coach of his talent join our staff makes us a better program immediately. …

“Kai has been a very loyal hard working coach for us as a GA and it gives me great pride to add him to our staff in a full time role. He brings a lot of enthusiasm to our program and has a great relationship with our players.”

This will be both coaches’ first foray into full-time coaching responsibilities at the FBS level.

Cal turns to Fresno State to complete Justin Wilcox’s staff

EAST LANSING, MI - SEPTEMBER 14:  A member of the California Golden Bears spirit squad waves a team flag while standing next to the Bears' mascot in front of the Michigan State Spartans crowd on September 14, 2002 at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Michigan.  California defeated Michigan State 46-22.  (Photo by Danny Moloshok/Getty Images)
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In late December, Fresno State hired Tony Tuioti as part of Jeff Tedford‘s first coaching staff with the Mountain West program.  Two months later, Tedford’s former Pac-12 employer has poached said staff.

By way of a press release, Cal announced that Tuioti has been hired as Justin Wilcox‘s outside linebackers coach.  Tedford served as Cal’s head coach from 2002-12; Tim DeRuyter, Fresno’s head coach for five seasons before being fired and replaced by Tedford, is now Wilcox’s defensive coordinator with the Golden Bears.

“Tony has a tremendous resume that showcases his diverse skill set and abilities both on and off the field,” Wilcox said in a statement. “Not only is he an excellent coach, but the experience he has as a director of player personnel will be a tremendous benefit to us in the structuring and organization of our recruiting operation. Finding someone with a skill set as unique and diverse as Tony’s is challenging. We are fortunate that we have found that in Tony and are looking forward to his contributions to our program.”

“Working at Cal for a coach like Justin Wilcox was an opportunity I could not pass up,” a statement from Tuioti began. “I have a tremendous feeling about the positive direction Cal is headed, and I really wanted to be a part of that and contribute all I could to a football program with tremendous potential.”

In 2016, Tuioti worked as a football staffer at Michigan.  His last on-field job at the collegiate level came at Hawaii (2012-13, linebackers coach; 2010-11, defensive line).

Georgia raising money to build Devon Gales a home

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It’s been close to a year and a half since Southern football player Devon Gales fractured his C6 vertebrae when covering a kick at Georgia. While the two sides will forever be linked, Georgia has gone above and beyond its duties to help improve his life.

In addition to regularly visiting him in the hospital and paying for his parents’ travel to Georgia, the Bulldogs will now raise funds to build him a house.

Gales received an NCAA Sportsmanship Award at the Bulldogs’ basketball game on Saturday, and it was announced that the UGAAA will launch a “Drive to Build a Dawg House” for Gales and his family.

“Anybody can just their prayer for you and send you on your way, but they didn’t. They took me as one of their kids, not just as another player, but as one of their children,” Gales said.

To contibute, text (707) 204-1707 to donate $5 toward the fund.