Danny Sheridan

NCAA to talk to Sheridan over Cam Newton ‘bag man’ claims


Even as this part of CFT is technically called “The Rumor Mill”, we have been doing our best to avoid touching on vague claims made by USA Today‘s Danny Sheridan regarding information he purportedly has on Auburn’s recruitment of Cam Newton.  Unfortunately, the NCAA now has an interest, which means we are interested as well.

For those who are unaware, and as a bit of background, Sheridan is, among other things, the odds setter for USA Today and a lifelong resident of Mobile, Alabama.  And an unabashed Crimson Tide supporter and alumnus.  Over the past couple of/few months, Sheridan has appeared on the nationally-syndicated Paul Finebaum radio show claiming he has inside information from an NCAA source on the name of the individual — the infamous “bag man” — who allegedly paid Newton’s father Cecil to ensure his son signed with Auburn.

During his last Finebaum appearance a week or so ago, and despite a buildup that led listeners to believe he would reveal the name of the Newton “bag man”, Sheridan refused to give the individual’s name out of fear that he would be sued.  Or some people’s lives would be ruined.  Or something.  While he won’t talk publicly about any specifics out of fear of reprisal, he’s now apparently ready to sing to The Association in private.

Both Sheridan and his attorney confirmed to the Birmingham News that the NCAA called on Monday and requested an audience to discuss any relevant information he has or doesn’t have.  Sheridan agreed to the request, and will talk with investigators this week.

“I let them know that if they wished to talk to me, I will talk to them on or off the record about subjects of mutual interest,” Sheridan told the News. “I have no idea if the allegations against Auburn are true. I only know that what I reported was exactly what I was told.”

As Gene Chizik is fully aware — “You’ll know when we’re finished, and we’re not finished!” — the NCAA’s investigation into the Auburn football program is still open and ongoing.  NCAA president Mark Emmert said as much Tuesday during an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show, stating in very Roe Lach-like fashion that “when they’re closed, they’re closed.”

It should be noted that, while Cecil Newton admitted to soliciting  payment — reportedly between $100,000 to $180,000 — from Mississippi State before his son signed with Auburn a short time later, there has been no proof that the father solicited money from AU let alone received a payment from some nefarious booster wrapped in bag man clothing.  While it wouldn’t take a Beamon-esque leap in logic to assume that if Cecil Newton attempted to pry money from MSU he did the same with AU, there’s simply no proof we’re aware of that he did.

Whether Sheridan can shed any new light on the situation remains to be seen.  I do know one thing: there are many an Auburn fan who hopes Sheridan is as full of it as many, many members of the national media feel he is.

Report: Myles Jack leaves UCLA, will enter NFL Draft

Myles Jack
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Well here’s a bit of a shocker for you this morning. UCLA running back Myles Jack has reportedly withdrawn from UCLA and will prepare to enter the NFL Draft in 2016. The news was first reported, via Twitter, by Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated.

Jack has played linebacker and fullback for the Bruins, and his decision to turn pro now comes off feeling a bit strange. Head coach Jim Mora certainly questions the decision by Jack.

“I think it’s very risky to do this. There’s a lot of speculation to ….where he fits,” Mora explained, via Thamel. “I’ve been in 25 Draft rooms. I’ve never seen a guys taken off (two games of junior tape)… Myles’ talent is without question. I hope he’s put enough out there where they can get a true evaluation.”

Jack suffered a season-ending knee injury last month in a practice. The injury led USC Athletics Director Pat Haden to send him a letter wishing him well in a sign of good sportsmanship between conference and crosstown rivals. Perhaps the season-ending injury led Jack to consider the consequences of returning in 2016 in a UCLA uniform, with players not being compensated for their play. The question then becomes if Jack is a good enough talent to go in round one, or even round two, considering the latest injury situation for him.

Well, here is the instant opinion of our friend Josh Norris of Rotoworld and an NFL Draft analyst…

Jack was a two-time second team All-Pac-12 selection and Pac-12 Defensive and Offensive Freshman of the Year in 2013.

Hokies QB Brewer a gametime decision, but RB Williams out for the year

Michael Brewer
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Virginia Tech has been playing just about the whole season without starting quarterback Michael Brewer after the Hokies signal-caller broke his collarbone in the first game of the season. Now, Brewer is on his way back to the field. Brewer has been medically cleared to return to practice in Blacksburg. It may still be another few weeks until he gets back in a game for Virginia Tech.

Brewer broke his collarbone in Virginia Tech’s season-opening loss to Ohio State. Once he left the game, it seemed the Hokies were unable to give the defending national champions much of a fight for a second straight season. He was originally expected to miss eight to 10 weeks of action, which would have meant a return for a Halloween game against Boston College as the earliest likely date. Virginia Tech has a bye week after the Boston College game, meaning Brewer could then be available for a Thursday night division game against Georgia Tech on November 12. Considering all of that, the chance Brewer might be available to play this Friday night against N.C. State is quite a pleasant surprise for a Virginia Tech team in need of some help after dropping to 2-3 after a second straight loss last weekend. Andy Bitter of The Roanoke Times says Brewer could be a gametime decision for Frank Beamer.

The outlook is not quite as possible for Hokies running back Marshawn Williams. Williams will be out for the rest of the season after reinjuring his left knee in practice in late September. It is the same knee that was surgically repaired last December. Williams can use this season as his redshirt season as he has not played in a game this season. He will still have three years of eligibility remaining when he returns to the team next fall.