Denials flowing as ‘Noles, Hokies dismiss SEC talk

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As Ben noted in the post just below this one, Louisville has denied premature speculation connecting them to a move to the Big 12 should Texas A&M decide to leave the conference for the money-green(er) pastures of the SEC.

Now, two other schools that have been connected to the SEC via the ever-churning machinations of the rumor mill have also attempted to toss some cold water on the rampant speculation.

First and foremost, Florida State president Eric Barron told the Associated Press that he has not had any conversations with the SEC about a move from the ACC.  Of course, and I as hear the steady hum of black helicopters hovering overhead, he doesn’t say whether anyone connected to the Tallahassee school has spoken to the conference about a move.  Barron does say that the ACC “is a good conference”, but, as expected, would not comment on what his university would do if presented the opportunity to jump ship for the SEC.

On the other side of the ACC, one of FSU’s conference brethren has brought its own bucket of water to the expansion fire burning on the outskirts of Blacksburg.

Speaking to David Teel of the Newport News Daily Press, Virginia Tech athletic director Jim Weaver attempted to downplay any rumors connecting his school to the SEC, saying their current conference is “the right fit” and, after fighting as hard as they did to get in, it wouldn’t make sense to get out now.

“We always wanted to be in the ACC,” Weaver told the Daily Press, referring to their time in the Big East before jumping to their current conference “Now we’re there. Why would we want to go somewhere else when we finally have what we want?”

Weaver also doesn’t see the ACC being ransacked by the SEC, due in large part to the fact that pilfering the likes of Florida State and Clemson wouldn’t pull in any new television money as the SEC already has a large footprint in the states of Florida and South Carolina.  The same theory would apply to Georgia Tech, another school rumored to be of interest (writer’s note: they’re not; trust me) should the SEC go to 16 teams.  Of course, adding a school like the Hokies would increase the SEC’s geographic footprint, as would adding the Aggies.

So, do all of these “denials” mean FSU or Tech — or both — won’t be jumping to another conference at some point in the future?  Of course not.  But it does tap the brakes ever so slightly on the rampant speculation as far as their schools are concerned.  Texas A&M, on the other hand, is apparently on a train headed east with no brakes and no way to stop until they hit Birmingham…

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.