N. Illinois starting LB in critical condition after shooting

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There’s very sobering news coming out of DeKalb this afternoon as its being reported that a starting member of the Northern Illinois football team is hospitalized following a shooting Tuesday night.

According to the DeKalb Daily Chronicle, and confirmed by the school, NIU linebacker Devon Butler was shot during an incident at an off-campus apartment building last night and is listed in critical condition as of late Wednesday morning.  Police officials told the paper that they have two suspects in custody, but details of what led to the shooting aren’t clear at this time.

A fire official said that a man, later identified as Butler, was shot once — it’s unclear where he was shot — and was taken to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries.  Butler was later transferred to another hospital.  DeKalb Police Chief Bill Feithen, the Daily Chronicle writes, said Wednesday morning that the victim was still alive.

NIU is expected to release a statement later today on the developing situation.

The junior finished second on the team in tackles last season, and his performance earned him third-team All-MAC honors.

Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to Butler and his entire family, both immediate and extended.

UPDATED 3:06 p.m. ET: The DeKalb police chief told the Daily Chronicle that he is “cautiously optimistic” Butler will recover, while his department has also released a statement revealing additional details that led to the shooting.

At 11:56 p.m. on Tuesday, April 5th DeKalb police received a report of gunshots in the area of Aspen Drive and Hillcrest Drive in DeKalb. An ambulance was also requested. DeKalb investigators determined that shots were fired from a vehicle at Apartment 3, 1009 Aspen Drive. One of those shots penetrated the window in Apartment #3 and struck Northern Illinois junior linebacker Devon Butler, a visitor at the apartment.

DeKalb investigators determined Apartment #3 at 1009 Aspen Drive was targeted as a result of a drug transaction that occurred earlier Tuesday. DeKalb Police Chief Bill Feithen emphasized that there is no indication that NIU student Devon Butler had any knowledge of nor was involved or present during that drug transaction earlier in the day. Devon Butler arrived at the apartment late Tuesday evening to meet with friends.

The DeKalb police investigation is proceeding quickly and two suspects are now in custody and charged with attempted first degree murder (Class X felony), aggravated battery with a firearm (Class X felony), aggravated discharge of a firearm (Class 1 felony), and unlawful delivery of cannabis (Class 4 felony). The suspects charged include Mark O. Orozco age 24 and Richard F. Van Arsdale, III, 20 years old, both of DeKalb.

UNLV completes coaching staff with three new additions

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Wednesday, Tony Sanchez began the day with three holes on his UNLV coaching staff. By the close of business that day, they had all been filled.

UNLV has confirmed that Eric Brown, Steve Irvin and Garin Justice have officially been hired for on-field roles on Sanchez’s staff. Brown will serve as outside linebackers coach, Irvin as cornerbacks coach and Justice offensive line coach.

Justice, who comes to the Mountain West Conference program after spending the past two seasons at Florida Atlantic, will also carry the title of running-game coordinator. That stint at FAU was Justice’s first on-field job at the FBS level.

“We are fortunate to have brought in a very accomplished offensive line coach,” said Sanchez in prepared quotes distributed by the school. “Garin Justice is one of the top up-and-coming assistants in the country right now and did a great job building an elite offensive line at FAU.”

Brown spent the past five seasons in the same role at Idaho, while Irvin was the defensive coordinator at FCS San Diego the past five seasons.

“Steve was one of the up-and-coming young coordinators in the country,” Sanchez said. “He did a phenomenal job at USD, including helping his team get a big win over NAU in the first round of the playoffs last year. He has a lot of experience with cornerbacks, has recruited Texas before and is a UNLV and Eldorado alumnus, which are all plusses. …

“We are excited to bring in Eric Brown as our 10th assistant. He is a coach’s son with a lot of experience and energy that will help us improve on the defensive side of the ball.”

Brown is the son of the late longtime Fresno State assistant and coordinator Dan Brown.

After transferring from USC last year, E.J. Price tweets he’s leaving Kentucky too

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No stranger to transfer, E.J. Price is embarking on a search for a new college home — again.  Whether football is involved, however, seemingly remains to be seen.

On his personal Twitter account Thursday morning, Price announced that he is “stepping away” from the Kentucky football program.  In the tweet, the offensive lineman stressed, in all-caps, that “I WAS NOT KICKED OFF I AM LEAVING.”

In a subsequent tweet. he stated it was “time for me to overcome football.”

Earlier this month, head coach Mark Stoops mentioned “some inconsistencies with [Price] that he needs to iron out.” In another tweet, the lineman stated the following:

Price was a four-star member of USC’s 2016 recruiting class, rated as the No. 8 offensive tackle in the country.  He transferred from USC to Kentucky in July of last year.

Because of NCAA transfer rules, Price was forced to sit out the 2017 season.

NCAA grants South Alabama TE Andrew Reinkemeyer a sixth season

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South Alabama recently received some positive news on the personnel front.

A USA spokesperson (for the university, not the country) confirmed to al.com that Andrew Reinkemeyer has been granted a sixth season of eligibility by the NCAA. The tight end will use that additional season of eligibility, his last, to play for the Jaguars in 2018.

The decision to grant Reinkemeyer an extra season of eligibility was seemingly a no-brainer.

As a true sophomore at a Kansas junior college, Reinkemeyer suffered an injury in the 2015 season opener and didn’t play again that year. After transferring to USA, Reinkemeyer missed the entire 2016 season because of the torn Achilles tendon that cost him most of the previous season at the JUCO.

Finally healthy last season, Reinkemeyer caught 10 passes for 75 yards for the Sun Belt Conference program. He was the leading receiver amongst Jaguars tight ends in 2017.

North Carolina formally announces hiring of ex-Tennessee RBs coach Robert Gillespie

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The latest addition to Larry Fedora‘s North Carolina coaching staff has been confirmed.

Following up on reports that surfaced earlier this month. UNC announced Wednesday that Fedora has hired Robert Gillespie. While not confirmed by the football program in the release, it’s expected Gillespie will serve as the Tar Heels running backs coach, a position he’s held for most of his coaching career.

“We are excited to welcome Robert and his family to Chapel Hill,” Fedora said in a statement. “He has a well-earned reputation as a great offensive coach and recruiter, and he has a wealth of experience working with running backs at a very high level. We are happy to have him join our staff as we get into the bulk of spring practice.”

Gillespie fills the hole created by the departure of Gunter Brewer, who left as the Tar Heels’ wide receivers coach for a job with the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this month. It’s expected that Luke Paschall, currently the running backs coach, will assume Brewer’s role with receivers.

Gillespie, a former Florida running back, spent the past five seasons as the running backs coach at Tennessee. He was originally retained by new UT head coach Jeremy Pruitt before parting ways with the football program shortly after National Signing Day.

In addition to UT, Gillespie has spent time on coaching staffs at South Carolina (2006-08), Oklahoma State (2009-10) and West Virginia (2011-12). He was the running backs coach at each of those stops.