Graham all for renewing Pitt’s rivalry with Penn State

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Between 1893 and 2000, in-state rivals Penn State and Pittsburgh met on a football field 96 times and, in the process, became one of the most heated — and thoroughly enjoyable — rivalries in the sport.

Unfortunately, since that September game in the first year of the new millennium — and with the schools having previously shed their football independence for conference membership — the series has gone into hibernation.  At least one of the coaches currently involved, though, would like to awaken and renew the rivalry.

Speaking after a meeting with five high school coaches representing the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association, first-year Panthers head coach Todd Graham seemed very enthusiastic and excited about the possibility of the two schools once again getting it on.

“I can remember watching that game growing up and the tremendous tradition that that game was, and we would actually love to play that game in the future,” Graham said according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “It would be something that we’d be very much in favor of.”

Graham made it clear, though, that he had not broached the subject with Paterno, who was also in attendance but did not speak to the media afterwards.

“No, no, I did not. No, I did not. But I gotta get rolling, guys,” Graham said.

There was a push by some in the state government a couple of years back to renew the series, but the intensity and pace of those talks has substantially subsided.

Our guess?  There’s a chance you won’t see the two schools meet on a football field again until JoePa steps down, which we’re guessing will be 2020 at the earliest.  Pitt turned down what was essentially the legendary coach’s idea of an all-sports conference made up of Eastern(ish) schools back in the early eighties and, as the Lehigh Valley Express Times wrote back during that mini-push in ’09, Paterno has never forgiven Pitt for its decision.

Hopefully that’s either changed or wasn’t the case in the first place as college football is a better game when rivalries like PSU-Pitt exist.  And are actually played instead of being relived through fading memories.

Western Kentucky’s Joel Iyiegbuniwe declares early for draft

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There’s a new leader in the clubhouse for “Early Entrant With the Most Vowels in his Surname.”

On his personal Twitter account over the weekend, Joel Iyiegbuniwe announced that he is leaving Western Kentucky early and making himself available for the April NFL draft. The linebacker, a native of Bowling Green, Kent., stated that he came to his decision “[a]fter much thought, prayer and discussion with my family, coaches and advisors.”

This past season, Iyiegbuniwe led the Hilltoppers in tackles with 117, tackles for loss with 11.5 and forced fumbles with three. He was named first-team All-Conference USA following the regular season.

Including last season, Iyiegbuniwe had started 27 straight games at outside linebacker for the Hilltoppers.

Today is the deadline for draft-eligible players to inform the NFL of their intentions.

Kent State announces signing of ex-Auburn QB Woody Barrett

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One day after Woody Barrett announced that he has found a new college football home, the school has confirmed as much.

Kent State sent out a press release Monday evening acknowledging that Barrett has signed with the football program. After spending the 2017 season at a Mississippi junior college, the quarterback will be eligible to play immediately in 2018.

Counting this coming season, Barrett will have three years of eligibility remaining.

“We’re excited about Woody’s potential, his ability and his raw tools both throwing and running the football,” new Golden Flashes head coach Sean Lewis said in a statement. “And we’re excited to have him on campus to be training with our team as we get ready for spring ball.”

A four-star member of Auburn’s 2016 recruiting class, Barrett was rated as the No. 6 dual-threat quarterback in the country that cycle. He took a redshirt as a true freshman, then opted to transfer from the Tigers in May of last year, ultimately ending up at the JUCO level.

At Copiah-Lincoln Community College this past season, Barrett passed for 1,294 yards and eight touchdowns in nine games, adding another 485 and six on the ground.

Michigan confirms hiring of Sherrone Moore as TEs coach

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One hole on Jim Harbaugh‘s coaching staff has been filled.

The football program confirmed Monday that Sherrone Moore has been hired and will serve as Harbaugh’s tight ends coach. Moore will replace Greg Frey, who moved on to a job on Willie Taggart‘s staff at Florida State.

The 31-year-old Moore — he’ll turn 32 in early February — spent the past four seasons coaching tight ends at Central Michigan. This past season, he added the title of assistant head coach as well as taking over as the MAC program’s recruiting coordinator.

Moore began his coaching career as an offensive graduate assistant at Louisville from 2009-12. He was promoted to tight ends coach in 2012, spending that season as well as 2013 in that role.

NC State QB Jalan McClendon puts his name on graduate transfer market

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Ryan Finley announced earlier this month he will return to NC State for his senior season, which means his backup is leaving. Jalan McClendon revealed Monday he will pursue his options elsewhere for his final season of college football as a graduate transfer.

“I’ve enjoyed every bit of this university,” McClendon said in a statement. “My teammates and coaches, the fans, the atmosphere, even the food! I appreciate everything that NC State has done for me and I wouldn’t take it back for anything.”

McClendon appeared in 20 games as a member of the Wolfpack, completing 26-of-47 passes for 262 yards with a touchdown and four interceptions while adding 46 carries for 223 yards.

“Jalan has been phenomenal throughout his career,” head coach Dave Doeren said in a statement.  “He’s been a great leader and a great teammate and has done everything we could’ve asked a young man to do. We wish him the best and will always consider him an important part of the Wolfpack family.”

McClendon was a 3-star recruit out of West Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte.