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Report: Aggies on their way to the SEC

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It’s still very, very early, and the details are very, very sketchy, but it appears that the weeks of speculation and rumors of Texas A&M moving on to the SEC are beginning to take some infant steps toward fruition.

AggieYell.com is reporting that Texas A&M has been invited, and has accepted, a spot to join the Southeastern Conference.

But hold your horses, folks.

While it’s entirely possible that the Aggies are moving on to the SEC, the formal announcement may not come for a few weeks.

Chris Level of RedRaiderSports — a man with some serious shoe leather — tweeted “Just got off the phone with AggieYell.com’s Jeff Tarpley. Aug 22nd is the day when A&M confirms they are headed to the SEC according to him.

“Bottom line is, everyone needs to focus on Monday, August 22nd. That is the first time anything can be official when it comes to the Aggies.

Interestingly, Aug. 22 is the same day the NCAA will hold a meeting to discuss the legality of airing high school games on institutional and conference networks.

A source has told us “[A&M move is] Not a done deal. If it becomes official, won’t happen for another week at earliest. Big ‘if’ though.”

An A&M official could neither confirm nor deny the report to us.

At this point, the general feeling is that talks between A&M officials and the SEC — we’ve been told there has been occasional contact between the two for the past year — are solid enough that A&M President R. Bowen Loftin and AD Bill Byrne feel a formal offer is coming and could go to their Board of Regents to discuss the matter further.

(Note: one suggestion would be changing the words to your War Hymn. Just sayin’)

Any new items for the Regents to discuss has to be placed on the agenda three days prior to a scheduled meeting.  And, unless it’s a special case, the new agenda has to be made public.  In other words, everybody should know no later than Aug. 19 whether the A&M is bolting for a new conference.

Assuming, of course, that Aug. 22 is the day A&M plans to announce the move. If there’s a move.

The recent report also begs the question of who else could be joining the SEC. A&M has been flamboyant about their possible new home, but SEC Commissioner Mike Slive has been, on the contrary, fairly quiet.

We are confident tipping on the point of certainty that the SEC would not solely invite A&M. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Florida State and Clemson are just a few of the programs being thrown around the rumor mill.

But we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. Word on the Big 12 street earlier was that if A&M were to leave, the Big 12 was fully prepared to move on as a nine-team conference — at least for the next few years.

That’s down the road, though, and this developing story is a day-to-day ordeal. At some point, however, we should expect to see some more certainty from it.

(Big thanks to John Taylor for contributing to this piece)

UPDATED 9:15 p.m. ET: And then there’s Chip Brown‘s report labeling Aug. 22 as “D-Day” for the Big 12:

There’s no agreement in principle, nothing,” Texas A&M System spokesman Jason Cook told OrangeBloods.com.

More from OB:

Two sources said the SEC presidents are being gathered Saturday in an emergency meeting to address the possible addition of Texas A&M.

The sources said the Aggies’ nine-member regents board is leaning toward leaving the Big 12 and are being fueled by a lack of confidence in the current configuration of the league – i.e. the relationship between Texas and ESPN (the Longhorn Network) and how it could negatively impact the rest of the members.

Hip issue forces Mizzou RB Morgan Steward to retire

Morgan Steward
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Thomas Tyner isn’t the only Power Five running back forced to step away from the sport because of injury.

Back in November of 2014, Morgan Steward sustained a hip injury during the early portion of Missouri’s summer camp.  Specifically, the running back said at the time, “[m]y hip joint popped out of place, tore things around, pulled off some of the bone.”

Surgery that November sidelined him until camp the following year, but Steward managed to play the first three games of the 2015 season. Unfortunately, the back was shut down in late September for the remainder of the year; five months later, he’s being shut down permanently as Mizzou officials have confirmed that Steward will be forced to retire from the sport and end the playing portion of his football career.

A three-star member of the Tigers’ 2012 recruiting class, Steward ran for 84 yards and a touchdown as a redshirt freshman. Prior to the hip injury the following year, Steward was viewed as a back who could potentially shoulder a significant portion of the running-game load, rushing for 117 yards and three touchdowns in a scrimmage during spring practice in 2014. Post-injury, he ran for 18 yards in the three 2015 games.

The good news for Steward is that he has his degree from Mizzou in business communications.

Ole Miss QB Ryan Buchanan opts to quit football

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - NOVEMBER 22:  Ryan Buchanan #9 of the Ole Miss Rebels throws a pass in the fourth quarter of a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Razorback Stadium on November 22, 2014 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Razorbacks defeated the Rebels 30-0.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
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Ole Miss had already lost one quarterback to a transfer the past couple of months.  Now, the Rebels are losing another via different means but essentially for the same reason.

In an interview with Scout.com, Ryan Buchanan confirmed that not only is he leaving the Ole Miss football team, but he’s leaving the sport, period.  Buchanan’s decision to step away from the game is actually the culmination of a process that began midway through a 2015 season that would see the Rebels win 10 games and a Sugar Bowl title.

“I came to the conclusion a few months ago that football would not be my future and it was time to start applying myself 100% to my future,” he said. “It’s time for me to find my passion beyond football.”

Buchanan, who said he briefly flirted with transferring to another school, informed head coach Hugh Freeze and his position coach, Dan Werner, of his decision a couple of weeks ago.

If Buchanan had decided to return to Oxford, he would’ve been no better than third on the depth chart. All-SEC quarterback Chad Kelly is firmly entrenched as the starter, while five-star 2015 signee and future at the position Shea Patterson is poised to be Kelly’s backup for a season before taking over the reins in 2017. There’s also no guarantee that the sophomore could beat out redshirt freshman Jason Pellerin for the No. 3 spot.

A four-star member of the Rebels’ 2013 recruiting class, Buchanan was rated as the No. 19 pro-style quarterback in the country and the No. 3 player at any position in the state of Mississippi.  After taking a redshirt as a true freshman, Buchanan attempted 22 passes and served as Ole Miss’ holder on kick attempts in 2014.  This past season, he attempted 13 passes, two of which went for touchdowns.

In early December, DeVante Kincade, a three-star recruit in Buchanan’s class, announced his decision to transfer from the Rebels.

Arkansas loses RBs coach to NFL for second straight year

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - SEPTEMBER 5:  Head Coach Bret Bielema of the Arkansas Razorbacks talks with a official during a game against the UTEP Miners at Razorback Stadium on September 5, 2015 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Razorbacks defeated the Miners 48-13.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
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Whatever the reason, the big boy league of football has taken a shining to one particular position on Bret Bielema‘s Arkansas coaching staff.

On Instagram Friday night, Jemal Singleton confirmed that he will be leaving Bielema’s football program.  While he didn’t specify it in his post, the running backs coach will be leaving for the same job with the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts.

The 40-year-old Singleton had spent just one season coaching that same position with the Razorbacks.

A photo posted by coachsings (@coachsings) on Feb 5, 2016 at 5:23pm PST

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This marks the second straight year that Bielema will be forced to replace a running backs coach to the NFL.  Almost a year to the day, Joel Thomas left Fayetteville for the same position with the New Orleans Saints.

Thomas owed the university $50,000 as part of his buyout last year; Singleton will owe $100,000, per the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.  If Singleton had waited until Feb. 16, that buyout figure would’ve been halved.

Unlike the post right before this one, there were signs of an impending on and around National Signing Day earlier this week.

He was notably absent from a signing day event at Walton Arena on Wednesday, and he did not attend another event to discuss the signing class Thursday in Little Rock, fueling speculation he was being courted by another program.

Singleton’s job with the Colts will be the Air Force graduate’s first at the NFL level.

Nebraska ‘parts ways’ with DL coach Hank Hughes

LINCOLN, NE - SEPTEMBER 5: Nebraska Cornhuskers head coach Mike Riley points out a missed call during their game against the Brigham Young Cougars at Memorial Stadium on September 5, 2015 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
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Surprisingly, Mike Riley has a self-made hole on his Nebraska coaching staff.

In a move that wasn’t on most if any radars, Hank Hughes will not return in 2016 as NU’s defensive line coach, Riley revealed Friday.  No reason was given for the the departure of the assistant.

“I want to thank Hank for his hard work and contributions to our football program over the past year,” Riley said in a statement. “We continue to build our program with the pursuit of championships always at the forefront of everything we do, and we will look for a great coach, teacher and recruiter to enhance our defense.”

Regardless of the reason or reasons — and the fact that Riley made certain to note that a replacement would be “a great coach, teacher and recruiter” points to at least a couple — it wasn’t an expected development. From the Lincoln Journal Star:

There was no sign of such a move Thursday night, with Hughes present at the Big Red Bash that celebrated the 2016 recruiting class.

Hughes had just completed his first season with the Cornhuskers. Additionally, it was his first season as an assistant on a Riley-led coaching staff.

As the Journal Star notes, Hughes was in the midst of a two-year deal that was to pay him $300,000 annually.