Delvon Simmons

Touted 2011 signee gets his Tar Heels release

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North Carolina has officially lost a highly-rated member of their 2011 recruiting class, the school announced Wednesday afternoon.

By way of a press release, the Tar Heels publicly acknowledged that they have released defensive lineman Delvon Simmons from his national letter of intent.  Simmons had originally signed with UNC on signing day early last month.

“We have granted b his release and allowed him to pursue other options” was the extent of the quote from head coach Butch Davis sent out by the school on the first day of spring practice.

Word first surfaced last week that Simmons had asked for his release.  Simmons’ high school coach confirmed at the time that his former player was looking to transfer, although he declined to reveal the specific reasons behind the request.  It’s believed, though, that defensive line coach Brian Baker moving on to an NFL job six days after signing day played a significant role in Simmons’ abrupt change of heart.

As for where he might ultimately land, our buddy Chris Level of tweeted earlier today that “Texas Tech [will be] heavily in play.  Auburn and Florida too.”  The Red Raiders were one of Simmons’ five official visits, along with Iowa, Oregon, Rutgers and USC.

Prior to signing with the Tar Heels, Simmons was ranked as a four-star player and the No. 5 defensive tackle in the country according to had Simmons rated as a five-star player.

Vols ‘very confident there was no inappropriate conduct’ between Butch Jones, player

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 11:  Head coach Butch Jones of the Tennessee Volunteers watches the action during a game against the Chattanooga Mocs at Neyland Stadium on October 11, 2014 in Knoxville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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In the midst of reports that he had a physical altercation with one of his Tennessee players during summer camp this year, Butch Jones labeled the speculation “absolutely ridiculous.”

Apparently, his bosses agree with the head coach.

At a board meeting Thursday, UT-Knoxville chancellor Jimmy Cheek stated that he and athletic director Dave Hart had done their “due diligence” in investigating the accusations that Jones and senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder were involved in some type of physical skirmish during practice this past August.  The end result of interviews with Jones, coaches and players was the conclusion that there was nothing to the reports and message-board rumors.

“There’s been a lot of rumor and misinformation on social media and message boards about an alleged incident during football practice,” Cheek said according to‘s Wes Rucker. “It’s not our practice to respond to rumors, but I thought it was important to let you know that we’ve done our due diligence and Dave Hart and I are very confident there was no inappropriate conduct with any players or coaches.”

Shortly after Cheek spoke at the board meeting, Crowder took to Twitter with a series of missives that speaks around the issue.

Michigan’s keeping ‘fingers crossed’ for leading rusher’s availability

De'Veon Smith
Associated Press
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Michigan played without its leading rusher in Week 5.  The Wolverines are hoping there won’t be a repeat in Week 6.

De'Veon Smith sustained a lower-leg injury in the Week 4 win over BYU and didn’t travel with the team for last Saturday’s win over Maryland.  Smith has been practicing with his teammates throughout the first few days of this week, and head coach Jim Harbaugh is guardedly optimistic that the running back will be available for what’s turned into a huge Big Ten matchup with Northwestern Saturday in the Big House.

“He’s practicing and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’s going to stay good and be ready to play,” Harbaugh said during a radio appearance Thursday morning. “But we’ll (keep) looking at that every day.”

Despite essentially missing a game and a half, Smith currently leads the Wolverines with 331 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. He’s added four receptions for 35 yards and a touchdown coming out of the backfield the first four games.

Should Smith be unable to go again, the Wolverines have three other backs with at least 100 yards on the ground: Ty Isaac (187, 7.2 yards per carry), Drake Johnson (125, 4.2 ypc) and Derrick Green (100, 3.3 ypc).

In addition to Smith, Harbaugh is hopeful Channing Stribling will be available this weekend as well.  The starting cornerback didn’t play against the Cougars because of injury