For the third — and possibly fourth — time this offseason, Alabama is watching as a player has left the football program in search of a better shot at receiving playing time.
The latest player to take his leave of the program is Petey Smith, who the Birmingham News has confirmed is transferring from the Tide to Holmes (Miss.) Community College.
The linebacker participated in spring practice, but shortly thereafter spoke to head coach Nick Saban about his future with the program. After apparently seeing the writing on the depth chart, Smith chose the transfer option as the next step in his football career.
“Basically, I just felt that I wasn’t giving it my all,” Smith told the News. “I’m not going to say I wasn’t happy. I didn’t feel like I had an opportunity to show what I could do with reps and everything. Instead of waiting, I thought I’d just go somewhere else. …
“I just thought it wasn’t the place for me. I didn’t want to wait until my junior or senior year. …I’m just gonna go (to Holmes), play the football season and then I can really choose what school I want to go to through the recruiting process over again.”
Smith went on to tell the paper that he’s talked to schools from schools in the SEC, Big Ten and ACC, although he declined to name any specific schools that have expressed interest.
A member of Alabama’s 2010 recruiting class, Smith was the No. 32 inside linebacker in the country and given a three-star ranking by Rivals.com. He was a redshirt his true freshman season last year.
Just a little over a month after leaving South Carolina, Connor Mitch has found himself a new college football home.
On Twitter Monday, Mitch revealed that he will continue his collegiate playing career at James Madison. As the Dukes play at the FCS level, and Mitch himself is a recent graduate of USC, the quarterback will be eligible to play immediately in 2016.
Additionally, Mitch will have two seasons of eligibility remaining.
Mitch started the first two games of the 2015 season for the Gamecocks before a hip injury and shoulder injury knocked him out for the remainder of the year.
Part of a five-man competition in the spring, Mitch fell behind the current front-runner, freshman Brandon McIlwain, as well as a pair of quarterbacks injured for portions of the spring, senior Perry Orth and sophomore Lorenzo Nunez. That positioning on the depth chart apparently led to his mid-May transfer.
During his time in Columbia, Mitch completed 15-of-35 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown. He also added 48 yards and another touchdown on 17 carries.
Another former Baylor Bear has found himself a landing spot, although this time it’s not rival Texas that’s the beneficiary.
On Twitter overnight, Kam Martin announced that he has committed to play his college football for the Auburn Tigers. The running back’s decision came shortly after the Texas native took a visit to The Plains.
Martin opted for Auburn over TCU.
“The main reason I committed to Auburn was because it’s family, man,” Martin told SEC Country in an interview after announcing his decision. “Those guys did everything that I wanted to hear and everything speaks for itself. It’s the SEC, one of the biggest fan bases in the nation and I just want to be a part of something big and special.”
Martin was one of five 2016 Baylor signees who were granted releases by the university from their National Letters of Intent last week. A four-star 2016 signee according to 247Sports.com, the 5-10, 178-pound Johnson was rated as the No. 7 all-purpose back in the country; the No. 39 player at any position in the state of Texas; and the No. 268 player overall on that recruiting website’s composite board.
As is the case with other 2016 Bears signees who have fled Waco, Johnson will be eligible to play immediately in 2016.
In Auburn’s 113-year history, it’s never played a Big Ten opponent in a regular season game. That’ll change in five years.
Penn State and Auburn announced Monday morning a home-and-home series to take place in 2021 and 2022. The first game will be played in State College on Sept. 18, 2021 and the return will take place at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Sept. 17, 2022.
“This is another great opportunity for our players and fans to be part of something special,” Auburn Director of Athletics Jay Jacobs said. “Bringing together elite programs rich in tradition is what college football is all about. We look forward to this home-and-home series with Penn State.”
Making matters betters is the home-and-home nature of this series, instead of playing it as a neutral site one-off to begin a season. Those games are fun (and, far more importantly, generate a ton of revenue) but having Penn State travel to Alabama and Tigers fans going to State College is a far better experience for traveling fanbases.
Auburn and Penn State have met twice before in bowl games, with the most recent meeting a 13-9 Tigers win in the 2003 Capital One Bowl.
Penn State also added a 2021 home game against Ball State on Monday, per ESPN’s Brett McMurphy.
Notre Dame rising redshirt junior wide receiver Torii Hunter Jr.‘s status with Brian Kelly’s football team won’t change after he signed with the Los Angeles Angels over the weekend.
Hunter is Notre Dame’s leading returning receiver after catching 28 passes for 363 yards and two touchdowns last year. But even though he now has a professional baseball contract, his focus will remain on football and the beginning of preseason camp in August.
Hunter, the son of former Minnesota Twins, Angels and Detroit Tigers All-Star/Gold Glover Torii Hunter Sr., was a 23rd-round pick in this year’s MLB Draft.
Hunter, an outfielder, was primarily used as a pinch runner and defensive replacement for Mik Aoki’s Irish baseball team this spring. He worked a crazy schedule (“what is sleep?” he asked) to split time between baseball, spring football and classwork in March and April and hit .182/.308/.182 in 11 at-bats.
Hunter’s baseball highlight came at Florida State, though, a few days after he made a spectacular catch reeling in a Malik Zaire deep ball in Notre Dame’s Blue and Gold Game.