As expected, Virginia Tech will have to find a new focal point for their 2012 ground game thanks to an early departure for the NFL.
At a press conference Friday morning, running back David Wilson announced he is foregoing his remaining eligibility with the Hokies in order to make himself available for the April draft. Wilson said he was given a second-round grade by the NFL’s draft advisory committee, which obviously played a role in the decision-making process.
“This is something I really wanted to do,” Wilson said. “It’s been my goal since I was eight and a dream of mine…I couldn’t pass it up.”
Wilson is the second Hokie to declare for early entry into the draft; Wednesday, star cornerback Jayron Hosley announced his decision to leave early.
In 2011, Wilson’s 1,709 yards led all ACC backs and is fourth in the country at the moment. For his efforts, Wilson was a unanimous first-team All-ACC pick and was named the conference’s Offensive and Overall Player of the Year.
With Wilson’s departure, five of the top 12 rushers in the country — San Diego State’s Ronnie Hillman (No. 3 in total rushing yards), Utah State’s Robert Turbin (No. 10), Washington’s Chris Polk (No. 11) and Temple’s Bernard Pierce (No. 12) being the others — have already announced they are leaving school early. Two other draft-eligible RBs — Oregon’s LaMichael James (No. 2) and Alabama’s Trent Richardson (No. 6, with the title game remaining) — are expected to follow suit.
Two seniors in that group as well, it likely means that just three of the top dozen rushers in 2011 will be on a collegiate field when the 2012 season kicks off.
One day after it was revealed its head coach was the second-lowest paid in college football, Appalachian State announced a five-year contract extension for head coach Scott Satterfield.
“We have the right coach leading our football program in Scott Satterfield,” Appalachian State AD Doug Gillin said in a statement. “In nearly three years as head coach, he has stayed true to his convictions, built the program the right way and set Appalachian State football up for sustainable success both in the Sun Belt Conference and at the national level.”
Satterfield had earned $375,000 annually, ahead of only Louisiana-Monroe’s Todd Berry at $360,000 a year.
Satterfield, 42, is 14-14 in his third season at the Boone, N.C., school. He led the Mountaineers to a 7-5 mark in their debut Sun Belt season, and has the club at 3-1 to start the 2015 campaign.
“It’s exciting for my family and me to know that we’re going to be at Appalachian for the foreseeable future,” Satterfield added. “I’m living a dream by being the head coach at my alma mater and can’t wait to continue to work hard to help this program reach heights that it has never reached before.”
What has long been rumored became fact Friday, as Wisconsin announced a 10-year agreement with Under Armour.
“I am absolutely thrilled about our new partnership with Under Armour,” AD Barry Alvarez said in a statement. “Kevin Plank and his team have established a brand that fits perfectly with the Wisconsin athletics story and culture. Our primary focus at Wisconsin is, of course, our student-athletes, and Under Armour’s passion and commitment to high quality and innovation will benefit our student-athletes for years to come. Our entire department is looking forward to a long and mutually productive relationship with the Under Armour team.”
The new deal will pay the Badgers a total of $7 million in cash and product in 2015-16 and is valued at $96 million over the life of the contract, good for second in the Big Ten, trailing only Nike’s new contract with Michigan.
Hidden within the contract are two nuggets that UA offered to sway the Badgers away from Adidas, from the Portland Business Journal:
Wisconsin will get as much as $500,000 from Under Armour to “rebrand” athletic facilities. It’ll get $150,000 to build out an Under Armour retail space in a campus gift shop called Bucky’s Locker Room. It also gets two summer internships for students at Under Armour’s Baltimore headquarters.
“The University of Wisconsin is an institution built on the highest values of academic excellence, and we are extremely proud to be teaming up with one of the most vibrant, distinctive and successful athletic programs in the country to help elevate the performance of all Badgers with innovative footwear and apparel,” added Plank.
Wisconsin’s departure continues to weaken the stronghold Adidas had built in the Midwest after losing Michigan to Nike and Notre Dame to Under Armour in recent years (the company still owns apparel rights for Indiana and Nebraska). The Badgers are now the 41st Division I athletics department and 17th FBS program to join UA.