Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus has decided he will leave the Illini a season early and try his hand at the NFL. The consensus first team All-American announced the decision in a school release, which you can read below.
“First, I want to congratulate my teammates and coaches for a great win against UCLA in the Fight Hunger Bowl — it was a great feeling to get back to winning, especially with a defensive performance like we had,” Mercilus said in a statement. “With that said, after a lot of prayer and discussion with my family, I have decided the time is right for me to forego my senior year and enter the 2012 NFL draft.
“I want to thank coach (Ron) Zook, coach (Vic) Koenning, coach (Keith) Gilmore and the entire Illini staff for helping me get to this point. To the entire Illinois community — students, professors, athletic department and fans — thank you for all of your support during my time here in Champaign; these have been some of the best times of my life and I will never forget all that this university means to me. Finally, thank you to my teammates — without you guys, I would not be in the position to make this decision. I have faith that Illinois will rise to the top and I will be there to support you.”
Mercilus led the country and tied a school regular season record with 16 sacks this season. He also broke the Big Ten’s single-season record with nine forced fumbles and ranked second in the country with 22.5 TFL’s.
The Holtz family coaching tree just added another branch.
Louis Leo Holtz III, better known as Trey, has joined the Ohio State staff, according to a post on his Instagram account. Holtz is the son of Louisiana Tech head coach Skip Holtz and the grandson of College Football Hall of Fame coach Lou Holtz.
“Super excited to start my coaching career in Columbus!!,” Holtz wrote, captioning a photo of him making the “O” inside Ohio Stadium.
Ohio State has not officially announced Holtz’s hiring, but it’s a safe bet Holtz will join Urban Meyer‘s staff as a graduate assistant or quality control assistant.
Holtz played his college career at Texas as a walk-on quarterback out of powerhouse Plant High School in Tampa. He did not throw a pass, but played in 23 games as a junior and senior as the holder on field goals and extra points.
Louisville running back L.J. Scott has transferred to Eastern Kentucky, according to a report Sunday from Kennedy Hardman of WTVQ in Lexington, Ky.
The school has not announced Scott’s arrival, but Hardman reports Scott is already enrolled in classes at EKU.
Scott was a reserve runner in his first two seasons at Louisville and fell out of favor in Bobby Petrino‘s offense in 2016. He carried 29 times for 201 yards and two touchdowns as a freshman in 2014 and rushed 39 times for 180 yards and four scores in 2015. His numbers dipped dramatically in 2016, though, totaling only three rushes for 15 yards. Scott battled a hamstring injury during the season but saw his usage dip even before the ailment popped up.
Scott will have one year to compete for the Colonels.
Not to be confused with the Michigan State running back of the same name, Scott was a consensus 3-star recruit when he signed with the Cardinals out of Harding, Ohio, in 2014.
New Baylor head coach Matt Rhule is absolutely loving being in charge of a football program that has its own stadium to call home. The look on Rhule’s face as he walked on to Baylor’s football turf and soaked it all in after years as the head coach of Temple and having to share space in an NFL venue said it all. It did not take long for Rhule and his staff in Waco to find a way to show off the stadium and the atmosphere either, as Baylor has been lighting the stadium Baylor green for recruiting visits since Rhule’s arrival.
It has become apparent that “Baylor Lit” is Rhule’s go-to catchphrase any time he receives positive recruiting news for the program, like a player committing to the university. Coaches are not allowed to directly and publicly comment on recruits before they are enrolled, so many coaches have taken to Twitter with a brief catchphrase to let their followers know something good just happened. Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin, for example, would say “Yessir!” on his Twitter account.
Because ideas are stolen all the time around college football, Houston appears to have been inspired by Baylor and is lighting their stadium red for similar purposes.
And because College Football Twitter will never let such a thing slide, the jokes have been running wild between fans of the schools.
There are some other schools I’d be curious to see duplicate this light show exhibition. Maybe Middle Tennessee could light the sky blue? Notre Dame could provide a golden shine to the sky. Syracuse plays in a dome, unfortunately, but an orange-lit sky would be cool to see. And of course, Hawaii could go with a full spectrum of the colors of the rainbow.
What I am trying to say is, lighting the sky in your team’s colors is cool and more schools should give it a try.
Helmet sticker to Reddit.
Oregon co-offensive coordinator David Reaves was arrested early Sunday morning and charged with DUII, reckless driving and reckless endangerment. In response to the arrest, Oregon has placed Reaves on administrative leave and is already moving to terminate his contract.
According to a report from The Oregonian, Reaves was pulled over at 2:12 a.m. in Eugene. Suspected of being impaired while operating the vehicle, and following an on-scene investigation, Reaves was charged and booked into a county jail at 5:18 a.m. He was released from jail later Sunday morning. There was an adult passenger in the car.
“University of Oregon assistant football coach David Reaves was arrested last night and charged with Driving Under the Influence by members of the Eugene Police Department,” a statement from Oregon director of athletics Rob Mullens said. “Reaves has been placed on administrative leave and the process to terminate his employment with cause has commenced. The University has high standards for the conduct of employees and is addressing this matter with the utmost of seriousness.”
Reaves was hired specifically to coach tight ends and take on the role of passing game coordinator while he and Mario Cristobal shared the role of offensive coordinator.
Reaves was hired by Oregon just five days ago to join the coaching staff assembled by new head coach Willie Taggart. For Taggart, this is just the latest in a bizarre sequence of events since being hired away by USF to take on the head coaching responsibility at Oregon. Taggart’s strength coach Irele Oderinde has already been suspended by the university after multiple Oregon football players were hospitalized following offseason workouts. All players that were receiving treatment have since been released from the hospital.