Man arrested in Toomer’s Corner tree poisonings

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An Alabama man has been arrested in connection to the poisoning of Auburn’s famed Toomer’s Corner oak trees, WTVM in Auburn is reporting.

According to the television station, 62-year-old Harvey Almorn Updyke of Dadeville, Ala., was arrested Wednesday night and has been charged with one count of first-degree criminal mischief, a Class C felony that carries a punishment of one to 10 years.

Updyke is currently being held on a $50,000 bond.

Police were first alerted to the possibility that the Toomer oaks had been poisoned when a caller to the Finebaum Show claimed he had spread a herbicide on the soil around the trees a week after Auburn’s Iron Bowl win over Alabama last year.  The caller gave his name as “Al from Dadeville” and ended his call with “Roll Damn Tide”.

Auburn police began the initial investigation in late January, and were later joined by the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries and the Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Department.  At a press conference Thursday afternoon, Auburn Police Chief Tommy Dawson refused to confirm that the Finebaum caller prompted the probe, and warned fans against exacting revenge for the act of a lone nut case.

“I don’t want to do anything that’s going to jeopardize the investigation and I don’t want to fuel the fires even further,” Dawson said. “I want to caution all the Auburn fans to act with the class we always act with.

“This is the exception rather than the rule. This is a person who obviously has problems to do something like this. So we want to use caution and let the justice system takes its course.”

Alabama athletic director Mal Moore had already decried the desecration of his rival school’s sacred landmark.

“It’s an awful act, a terrible thing to do,” Moore said in a statement Wednesday. “A lot of what makes our two programs so special is our many unique traditions. So, hearing this about Toomer’s Corner is upsetting to me in several ways. I certainly hope that whomever is responsible is held accountable.”

University experts, with the help of officials from several different agencies — for example, soil samples were tested at Mississippi State — are doing everything in their power to save the 130-year-old trees, although all evidence points to them fighting a losing battle.

“Spike 80 is an herbicide that is usually used for total vegetation control,” said Stephen Enloe, an assistant professor of agronomy and soil at Auburn. “It’s very good at what it does and that is kill all plants. This herbicide is really active on plants that are actively growing.”

Police believe Updyke acted alone and are not actively seeking any additional suspects. To view the reactions of the act, CLICK HERE.

UPDATED 6:37 p.m. ET: The kind folks at NBC would like us to pass this video along for you all. Judging by the comment thread on this story, this is a pretty big deal.

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Ohio State QB Joe Burrow undergoes surgery on broken hand, out indefinitely

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Well, that settles that.

While J.T. Barrett is the unquestioned starter at quarterback for Ohio State, Joe Burrow (pictured, right) and Dwayne Haskins (pictured, left) have been engaged in a competition for the backup job that began in the spring and continued on into summer camp.  At least for now, the competition is closed as OSU announced Wednesday morning that Burrows underwent surgery Tuesday to repair a broken bone in his right (throwing) hand.  The sophomore suffered the injury during a Monday practice.

While officially out indefinitely, it’s expected Burrows will miss at least a month of the season.

As Barrett’s primary backup last season, Burrows completed 22 of his 28 pass attempts for 226 yards and a pair of touchdowns.  A redshirt freshman, Haskins, a four-star 2016 recruit, has yet to attempt a pass at the collegiate level.

With Burrows out for the foreseeable future, true freshman Tate Martell has been elevated in the signal-calling pecking order as well.  A four-star 2017 recruit, Martell was rated as the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback in the country for this past year’s class.

After flirting with Oklahoma, USC, others, ex-LSU OL Maea Teuhema transfers to FCS

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After being indefinitely suspended by LSU for unspecified violations team rules and granted a release, Maea Teuhema had been linked to, among others, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, UCLA and USC.  In the end, the offensive lineman decided a lower rung on the college football ladder was, at least for now, the better option.

Southeastern Louisiana has officially confirmed that Teuhema has transferred into the football program.  As the Lions play at the FCS level, the offensive lineman will be eligible to play immediately in 2017.

“We’re excited to have a player of Maea’s caliber join our program,” SLU head coach Rob Roberts said in a statement. “He brings a lot of experience and it will be good to add another talented veteran to what is already a group we have a lot of confidence in.”

Teuhema’s brother, linebacker Sione Teuhema, transferred from LSU to SLU last year and is a starter for the Lions.

Teuhema, a four-star 2015 recruit, started 21 games the past two seasons, 11 at left guard as a true freshman and 10 at right tackle last season.  He earned Freshman All-American honors following the 2015 season.

This year, Teuhema had been slated to start at right guard for the Tigers.

Dismissed Georgia Tech RB Dedrick Mills headed to 2016 JUCO champ

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Less than a week after his unexpected and abrupt departure from Georgia Tech, Dedrick Mills has found himself a new college football home.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Mills has enrolled Garden City Community College in Kansas.  As his next stop, which won the 2016 junior college national championship, plays below the FBS level, the running back will be eligible to play immediately in 2017.

Very late last week, Tech announced that Mills had been dismissed from the program for an unspecified violation of athletic department rules.

Last season, Mills’ 771 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns led all Tech ball carriers., with 169 of those yards coming in the bowl win over Kentucky.  Mills put up all of those numbers as a true freshman despite being suspended on two different occasions for a total of three games.

More than likely, Mills will spend one season at the JUCO level before moving back to the FBS.  Whatever team grabs him at that time would be getting a talented player who would still have two years of eligibility remaining.

Bowling Green starting corner will miss at least opener, possibly entire 2017 season

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At the moment, the injury news for Jamari Bozeman is bad.  Depending on how things play out over the next several weeks, it could be bad.

According to the Toledo Blade, Bozeman will definitely miss the 2017 opener against Michigan State because of what’s described as an upper-leg injury.  Additionally, the Blade reports that the defensive back will probably miss the entire non-conference schedule, which, in addition to MSU, includes the home opener against FCS South Dakota Sept. 9 followed by road trips to Northwestern and Middle Tennessee the next two weeks.

Somewhat ominously, the newspaper writes that, beyond that, “his status for the rest of the season is uncertain.”

A 12-game starter for the Falcons at safety last season, Bozeman led the team in interceptions with three.  He was named third-team All-MAC after last season.

The good news is that Bozeman, a true sophomore this year, has yet to use his redshirt and would get this season of eligibility back if the injury is severe enough to sideline him for the entire 2017 campaign.