The curious case of a 2012 recruit and Jerry Sandusky

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Of all the stories that have surfaced in the week since the grand jury’s presentment of a 40-count indictment on Jerry Sandusky, this one is right up there with the most mind-boggling.

In an interview with WYFF-TV in Greenville, South Carolina high school linebacker Adam Ah Ching claims that Sandusky visited him earlier this year during spring football drills.  That alleged visit from Sandusky came months after the Greer High School senior claimed to have received recruiting letters from Penn State, presumably from Mike McQueary, the Nittany Lions wide receivers coach/recruiting coordinator who is now on paid administrative leave.

“[Sandusky] came to my last spring game going into my senior season. He liked how I moved, laterally, and how gifted I am,” Ah Ching said in regards to the man who was charged with sexually abusing eight children a week ago today.

Ah Ching’s high school coach, Will Young, told the TV station that “he is not aware anyone representing Penn State attended a spring game.” On his Twitter account Friday evening, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review‘s Joe Starkey tweeted that “Greer H.S. athletic director Travis Perry strongly denies that Sandusky was ever at Adam Ah Ching’s practice or games.”  The station writes Ah Ching stands by his story, that Sandusky was in the stands for the spring game at his high school.

Penn State has not returned emails requesting comment on what official or unofficial involvement, if any, Sandusky may have had with this recruit specifically or recruiting in general over the past several years.

The Associated Press subsequently reported that “Sandusky attended a football camp for Polynesian players in Utah over the summer and urged all in attendance to play for Paterno.”  Ah Ching was in attendance at that camp, which included coaches from 30 universities representing, among other conferences, the ACC, Big East and Pac-12.

Ah Ching said during the TV interview that after the scandal broke, he scratched the Nittany Lions off the list of schools he’s considering — he’s reportedly received offers from BYU, Colorado, Georgia Tech, Oregon State, UCLA, and Utah — and added that other recruits are doing the same (which is not necessarily the recruiting reality, incidentally).

“It’s very devastating to have a top-tiered program and have them drop like that,” said Ah Ching. “That really did play a big impact on where I wanted to go.”

For his part, Ah Ching’s father agrees with what his son thinks is a decision to take Penn State out of consideration.

“Do you want to be associated with the mess that’s still going to come down the road here?” Otto Ah Ching said during the interview.

It should be noted that we can find no information that Ah Ching was being recruited, heavily or otherwise, by Penn State other than recruiting letters, with that information coming from the player himself.  It should be further noted that there is no credible evidence whatsoever that any contact Sandusky may have had with Ah Ching came under the direction of the Nittany Lions football program.

Sandusky wrapping himself in the Penn State name, though, would not exactly qualify as a shocking development given his emeritus status at the university since leaving the football program in an an official capacity in the late nineties.

The State of Pennsylvania’s investigation into Sandusky’s alleged rapes of multiple children, including at least one that occurred on the campus, began in 2009.  School officials, including then-head coach Joe Paterno and in-limbo athletic director Tim Curley, testified in front of a grand jury in January regarding the allegations.

Sandusky had maintained an office in the Lasch football building and use of any facility on the Penn State campus since his retirement in 1999.  Three days after his arrest, it was reported that he was seen working out in the football facility’s weight room multiple times in the week leading up to the multi-count indictment.  He was finally banned from the campus after being charged.

In 2007, five years after being witnessed by McQueary sodomizing a 10-year-old boy, Sandusky was “selected to be the featured speaker at the commencement ceremony for Penn State’s College of Health and Human Development”, Starkey was quoted as relaying during a radio interview this week.

(Tip O’ the Cap: Charleston City PaperSportsByBrooks)

Colorado State adds Rice grad transfer V.J. Banks

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Rice’s loss has turned into a fellow Group of Five football program’s gain.

Saturday, Colorado State announced that V.J. Banks has transferred to the university and will play for Mike Bobo‘s Rams. As the cornerback will be coming to Fort Collins as a graduate transfer, he’ll be eligible to play immediately in 2018. The upcoming season will serve as Banks’ final year of eligibility.

Banks had announced on Twitter in late January that he had decided to transfer from the Owls.

Banks started 22 of the 36 games in which he played for the Owls, including 11 starts in 2016 and nine in 2015. The defensive back started the first two games of the 2017 season before an unspecified leg injury sidelined him for the remainder of the year.

For the Rice portion of his collegiate playing career, Banks totaled 75 tackles (one for loss), seven passes defensed, two interceptions and a forced fumble. He also returned seven punts for 30 yards (4.3 yards per return).

NC State board approves new deal for Dave Doeren

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In late November, after rejecting overtures from Tennessee in order to remain at North Carolina State, Dave Doeren agreed to a new contract with the university, pending the board rubber-stamping the agreement. This past week, that rubber met the stamp.

NC State confirmed that, on Thursday, the system’s Board of Trustees formally approved the new five-year deal for Doeren. The head coach’s new contract will now keep him with the Wolfpack through Dec. 31, 2022.

“We are on an exciting upward trajectory in football under the leadership of Coach Doeren,” said NC State athletic director Debbie Yow said in a statement. “He has assembled a terrifically talented coaching staff, as well, and that continuity and stability has been important to our current student-athletes and recruits.

“We are pleased that Dave will continue to lead NC State football, playing in one of the most challenging divisions in college football, the Atlantic Division of the ACC.”

In five seasons with the Wolfpack, the 46-year-old Doeren has compiled a 34-30 record, including a 15-25 mark in ACC play. The 2017 season was his best of the five, with a 9-4 overall mark that saw NC State finish in second place in the Atlantic after divisional finishes of seventh, fifth, fourth and tied-fourth the first four.

Under Doeren, the Wolfpack has played in a bowl game each of the last four seasons, posting a 3-1 mark in the postseason.

Nebraska clinches spring game attendance crown, Georgia pushes past Alabama

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Georgia got its revenge on Alabama on Saturday, I guess. Months after letting a lead slip away in the national championship game, Georgia wiggled past Alabama in the spring game attendance standings on Saturday but the Dawgs still had to settle for second place overall. A record crowd at Nebraska led to the Cornhusker faithful having the highest attendance for a spring game this season.

Nebraska set a school record on Saturday with 86,818 fans attending the spring game in Lincoln, the first under new head coach Scott Frost. It was the first time Nebraska recorded a crowd over 80,000 during the past five years. Nebraska surged to the top of the Big Ten spring attendance standings as well, and stayed comfortably ahead after Penn State recorded an estimated 71,000 fans at its spring game on Saturday. Ohio State had led the Big Ten the previous three years but stadium renovations limited Ohio State to 79,000 available seats this year at Ohio Stadium, and weather and schedule adjustments to the spring game resulted in a crowd of 47,803 for Ohio State’s spring game.

The SEC once again dominated spring game attendance numbers this year. With LSU and Mississippi State numbers still pending, the SEC has five schools in the top 10 in spring game attendance as of today; Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, and Texas A&M. As a conference, the SEC eclipsed the 400,000-fan mark for the fourth time in the last five years. Although the Big Ten is typically the second best conference in cumulative spring game attendance, the conference’s number took a big dip this season thanks to weather issues across the conference. Still, the number pulled in by Nebraska, Penn State, and Ohio State helped keep the Big Ten in second place ahead of the ACC.

Keep in mind spring game attendance is treated differently by every school, and the numbers often include estimates so the accuracy can be questioned. Even though there are still a handful of spring games left, none will rival the numbers put up today.

The updated top 10 is listed below, and a full database of spring game attendance can be found here (complete with conference breakdowns and a five-year record of spring game attendance figures by school).

2018 Spring Game Attendance Top 10

  1. Nebraska – 86,818
  2. Georgia – 82,184
  3. Alabama – 74,732
  4. Penn State – 71,000
  5. Tennessee – 65,098
  6. Florida State – 60,934
  7. Clemson – 55,000
  8. Florida – 53,015
  9. Oklahoma – 52,102
  10. Texas A&M – 48,129

Jeremy Pruitt felt some Tennessee players ‘flat out quit’ in spring game

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New Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruit has a message to his players and Tennessee fans. If you are going to enter Neyland Stadium, you better be prepared to work.

Following Tennessee’s spring game in Knoxville, Pruitt reflected on his first spring game as head coach with the media and he was not about to let anyone off the hook for a mediocre performance in the spring game. One thing you never want to hear from a head coach is that some of his players seemingly quit. That was the case for Pruitt today, without naming any specific players.

Even fans received some gripes from the new head coach.

Tennessee estimated a total of 65,098 fans came out to watch the Tennessee spring game, which is an impressive total and right around the average Tennessee typically draws for the spring game. But the crowd buzz must not have impressed Pruitt, who could be setting the tone for the fans in the fall in hopes they turn things up a bit once the games actually matter.

The same message is now being sent to the entire team. Pruitt has a high standard in mind, which is to be expected after being an assistant at Alabama. Was Pruitt truly this displeased with his team’s effort in the spring game? Or was he simply trying to play things down in order to let his players know there will be no room for poor efforts?