K2

Suspended LSU trio might be back for ‘Bama

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One of the biggest unknowns when it comes the suspensions of three LSU players — aside from whether there are actually suspensions as the school refuses to acknowledge their existence — is just how long the suspensions will last.

The Daily Reveille broke the news that starting cornerback Tyrann Mathieu and leading rusher Spencer Ware would be suspended for the upcoming Auburn game for failing a drug test, while the Associated Press later reported that top nickel corner Tharold Simon would be suspended as well.  The school’s student paper added that the suspensions could be for multiple games, putting in doubt the availability of two starters and a top reserve for the Alabama game in two weeks.

Or, based on at least one report, the players could be available for the Nov. 5 showdown between the top two teams in the latest Associated Press poll and BcS rankings.

ESPN.com‘s Mark Schlabach is reporting that while the players have been suspended indefinitely by head coach Les Miles, there is a chance they could return for the game in Tuscaloosa.  That return would be based on the players meeting several requirements, although we’d assume “importance in keeping the Tigers on track for an SEC title and a shot at the national championship” would be high, so to speak, on the list of said requirements.

“There are some requirements in place which the players have to complete before they’ll be allowed back on the team,” a source familiar with the situation told Schlabach.  What those specific requirements would consist of is unclear.

It’s also unclear if these reports of failed drug tests constitute a first or second offense.  Per LSU’s drug policy for student-athletes, a second failed drug test would prompt a suspension for 15 percent of that sport’s games or a suspension of up to 30 days.  That 15 percent for football would represent a rounded-up number of two games, which would preclude any of the trio of players from playing in the Alabama game if this was their second case of dirty urine.

As has been reported by other media outlets, Schlabach writes that the players are facing sanctions for having tested positive for synthetic marijuana, which is one of multiple recreational and prescription drugs for which the university tests.

That weed substitute, more commonly referred to as K2 and which was developed at Clemson University, is described by one “pharmacologist” as “an herbal substance sold as an incense or smoking material that remains legal in the United States. The products contain one or more synthetic compounds that behave similarly to the primary psychoactive constituent of marijuana… THC.”

High Times describes it as “some really good s—.”

ECU transfer QB Kurt Benkert moves on to Virginia

In this photo taken Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015 East Carolina quarterback Kurt Benkert rolls out to pass during NCAA college football practice in Greenville, N.C. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
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On April 25, East Carolina announced that Kurt Benkert had decided to transfer out of the Pirates football program.  Less than a week later, the quarterback has found himself a new football home.

On Twitter Sunday afternoon, Benkert confirmed that he will be enrolling at Virginia and continuing his collegiate playing career with the Cavaliers.  Beckert also acknowledged his decision in a text message to 247Sports.com.

“I’m really excited to be here,” Beckert said in a portion of the brief text.

As Beckert is headed to UVa. as a graduate transfer, he will be eligible to play for the Hoos immediately in 2016.  Not only that, but he will have two years of eligibility remaining.

Beckert was named the Pirates’ starter in early August of 2015, but sustained a right knee injury a couple of weeks later that knocked him out for the entire season.  In Charlottesville, Beckert will join a competition that includes returning starter Matt Johns and Texas/Arizona transfer Connor Brewer.

Mark Richt continues to be the classiest of acts in college football

Mark Richt gestures after being introduced as the new University of Miami NCAA college football head coach, Friday, Dec. 4, 2015,  in Coral Gables, Fla.  (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)
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In my seven-plus years at CFT, I’ve never been shy in expressing my absolute and utter respect for Mark Richt, whether it was for an honorable against-the-grain stance on transfers or honoring a high school football player who tragically drowned before he could become a walk-on at Georgia or myriad other things.  Sunday, Richt solidified that respect.

As you may know, Richt and UGA parted ways this offseason, with the head coach ultimately moving on to Miami to take over his alma mater’s football program.  As expected, his departure from Athens was classy.

Just as expected, one of Richt’s returns to his old stomping grounds further showed his class.

Not to be outdone, Richt’s replacement showed his class as well.

Bravo to both head coaches.  Sometimes, most times, being classy is the absolute right move — even as Richt’s successor could take some lessons from his predecessor when it comes to transfers.

Ohio State draftees to sign contracts worth in excess of $110 million

Urban Meyer
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Forget about going shirtless at a satellite camp or a sleepover or climbing up a tree or any of the like; this is what you call a recruiting pitch.

During the course of the three-day NFL draft, a dozen former Ohio State Buckeyes were drafted.  While OSU failed to break its own record for most picks in a single draft, the 12 selections in the first four rounds were the most ever.

And, not surprisingly, those players are going to get paid.

According to PennLive.com‘s David Jones, those players will sign contracts that could be worth a total of $120 million.  Tim May of the Columbus Dispatch has the number pegged slightly lower at $111,462,707.  Either way, that’s a lot of cash — and a lot dollar signs for Urban Meyer to flout in front of potential recruits.

Of course, not all of that money is guaranteed, although the guaranteed dollars involved aren’t too shabby either.  From the Dispatch:

Just the signing bonuses alone, which range from Bosa’s projected $17,017,226 to Jones’ $383,393, have an expected total of $60,526,660. Unless a player does something to cause his contract to be voided, signing bonuses are theirs to keep.

Regardless of how you spin it, former Buckeyes did quite well financially the last couple of days.  And, as Jones alludes to when it comes to James Franklin and Penn State specifically and the Big Ten in general, Meyer and the Buckeyes are in an entirely different zip code than the rest of the conference — a fact that will no doubt come up on the vast expanses of the recruiting trail.

The good news for Franklin and Penn State: They had three of those 11. The bad news for them and everyone else in the league: Urban Meyer is probably preparing a recruiting flyer right now with a 9-figure dollar amount printed in big bold numbers.

Veteran NFL assistant reportedly to fill Alabama’s coaching vacancy

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Buffalo Bills
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On the same day some details emerged on an Alabama assistant’s “resignation,” that assistant’s potential replacement has been identified.

Citing unnamed sources, al.com is reporting that Karl Dunbar is expected to be hired as the Tide’s new defensive line coach.  Dunbar would replace Bo Davis, who “resigned” Friday amidst allegations of potential NCAA violations.

Dunbar served as Nick Saban‘s strength & conditioning coach at LSU from 2001-02, and then returned to Baton Rouge as Les Miles‘ line coach in 2005 after spending two years (2003-04) in the same position at Oklahoma State.

Most of Dunbar’s coaching career, though, especially recently, has come at the NFL level.

From 2006-11, Dunbar was the line coach for the Minnesota Vikings, and then held the same job with the New York Jets from 2012-2014.  Hired by Rex Ryan to coach the Buffalo Bills’ line in 2015, Dunbar was fired in March of this year.

Dunbar is a former NFL defensive lineman who played for Arizona in 1994-95, when Ryan was one of his Cardinals assistant.