It’s official: Brock Osweiler declares for the NFL

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Following up on the rumors and speculation that had been building over the last several days, Arizona State quarterback Brock Osweiler will indeed depart from Tempe a year early and head to the NFL Draft.

The announcement was made in a school release sent out Friday afternoon, which of course  mentions that he’s the tallest quarterback in the country (he’s 6’8″!).

Reports last night indicated Osweiler might hold a press conference for the announcement.

Osweiler finished a disappointing 6-7 season with 4,036 passing yards. He also set new school records for completions (326), attempts (516) and completion percentage (63.2), and threw for 26 touchdowns. He’s thrown for 5,082 yards and 33 touchdowns in his three-year career at ASU.

Below is a statement from the junior:

Winter Break was an important time for me and after much deliberation, I came to an important decision. In a lot of ways it was similar to my last year in high school. In high school, I was heavily recruited and visited a few of the top programs in the country. Of all of the recruitment trips, it was ASU that struck a lasting cord. Every person I encountered was so kind and it made my decision at the time more difficult to make. As a young man, I had some serious decisions to make, not even 18 years old and I had to make a choice that would ultimately impact my life forever.

As many of you know, before I chose to live in Arizona, I had a commitment to Gonzaga University to play basketball. For a over a year I was certain that this was my path, it wasn’t until May 16th of 2008 that I was certain I had to be ASU’s quarterback. My coach at the time, McCarvel stood by my decision and I graduated a semester early from my class. By January 2009 I was officially a Sun Devil.

ASU has taken excellent care of me and the city of Tempe has changed my life for the better. Not a single day has gone by where I have had to second guess or question my decision to enroll at ASU. I knew that in my heart this was part of my destiny. While I bleed and sweat Maroon and Gold I have now made the second-most difficult decision in my life. I have decided to declare myself eligible for the NFL draft. It was an exceptionally difficult decision to make, but having spoken to my family and close friends it became clear to me that this is the next path I must take to advance my personal and professional career.

I wish I could truly thank everyone that has helped me through my years at ASU, but there isn’t a proper way to match what everyone has done for me. I have been touched by the most amazing people and have made relationships I know will last my entire life. When I arrived in Arizona I was spellbound and culture shocked by Kush stadium. Seventy-two-thousand people could fit in the stadium which is 40,000 more people then the entirety of my hometown of Kalispell, Montana.

ASU has been my home for the last three years. I will never forget how many people have gone out of their way to make ASU home for me. I would like to thank the fans that have supported me through out all of the trials and tribulations. Sincerely, there is nothing like walking onto Kush Field before kick off and having the crowd erupt. There are so many things that I will miss about ASU, but I know that I will be a Sun Devil until I die. I have a pitchfork tattoo on my ribs to symbolize the BEST three years of my life. Thank you again for all of the support and positive wishes throughout this process.

Third ex-Vandy football player sentenced to 15 years for rape

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A third former Vanderbilt football player will spend a sizable portion of his adult life behind bars.

In June of this year, Brandon Banks was found guilty on one count each of aggravated rape and aggravated sexual battery related to a 2013 gang rape of an unconscious woman. Friday, Banks was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

In July of last year, one of Banks’ former teammates, Cory Batey, was sentenced to 15 years after being found guilty of aggravated rape. Four months later, another former Vandy football player, Brandon Vandenburg, was sentenced to 17 years after being found guilty of the same charge as Batey. The judge gave Vandenburg a longer sentence than Batey because the former was the leader in the attack and betrayed the woman’s trust.

Banks, Vandenburg, Batey and another ex-Vandy football player, Jaborian ‘Tip’ McKenziewere initially charged Aug. 9, 2013, with five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery each after a police investigation determined that the four had raped an unconscious woman.

On June 28 of 2013, Vanderbilt announced that four unnamed players had been indefinitely suspended amid reports that the players were connected to an alleged sex crimes case.  The next day, Vandy officials further clarified the players’ statuses, releasing a statement announcing the dismissals of the four.  That release further added that none of the four will be permitted to return to campus without permission from the office of student conduct and academic integrity.

McKenzie has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.  He has agreed to testify against his former teammates in exchange for what he hopes is a lighter sentence.

Georgia Tech dismisses leading rusher Dedrick Mills

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I believe this one would qualify as a significant development.

In a very brief press release, Georgia Tech announced Friday afternoon that Dedrick Mills has been dismissed by Paul Johnson from the football team.  The only reason given was an unspecified violation of Tech athletics department rules.

The head coach is expected to meet with the media following practice later on this afternoon.

Regardless of the specific reason for the dismissal, Mills’ departure serves as yet another blow for the run-heavy Yellow Jackets.

Last season, Mills’ 771 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns led all Tech ball carriers.  169 of those yards came in the bowl win over Kentucky.  Mills put up all of those numbers as a true freshman despite being suspended on two different occasions for a total of three games.

Mills’ dismissal is the second huge blow to their 2017 running game as Marcus Marshall, who was second on the team last season with 624 yards, announced in late November that he would be transferring from Tech.  Less than a month later, he moved on to James Madison.

With those twin departures, Clinton Lynch‘s 415 yards last season makes him the team’s leading returning rusher.

LOOK: Notre Dame unveils alternate uniforms honoring Knute Rockne’s legacy

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As you may know, I’m hardly a fan of the alternate uniform craze.  These, though, I can very easily get behind.

Notre Dame on Friday released images of new uniforms the Fighting Irish will wear for their Nov. 18 game against Navy.  From helmet to shoes, the new duds will serve as a head-to-toe tribute to the legendary Knute Rockne.

The players will all have the name “ROCKNE” emblazoned on the backs of their jerseys, while the helmets replicate the leather ones of Rockne’s era.  The cleats also will pay homage to the era in which Rockne, also a former player at the school, coached the Fighting Irish to five national championships from 1918-1930.  In those 13 seasons, the Irish lost just 12 games under Rockne.

Additionally, the sleeves will be adorned with the words from one of Rockne’s most famous speeches.



Penn State OKs James Franklin’s new deal, reportedly worth nearly $6 million annually

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James Franklin is now in some very heady financial company.

Friday morning, Penn State’s Board of Trustees Committee on Compensation, as expected, unanimously approved an amended contract for their head football coach.  While no details were released — that’s expected to happen later today — it’s believed the amended deal will extend through the 2023 season.  Franklin’s old contract ran through 2019.

Additionally, Bruce Feldman of SI.com is reporting that the new six-year deal will average $5.8 million annually.  What Franklin’s compensation for 2017 and beyond will, again, be divulged later on today.

The average of $5.8 million a year would make him the fourth-highest-paid coach in college football, behind only Alabama’s Nick Saban and a pair of fellow Big Ten coaches — Ohio State’s Urban Meyer and Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh.

Set to enter his fourth season with the Nittany Lions, Franklin has an overall record of 25-15 at the school.  After a pair of 7-6 seasons to begin his tenure, 2016 was a breakout one for the program as they went 11-3 and won the Big Ten championship for the first time since 2008.

Expectations are extremely high coming off that breakout season as the Nittany Lions are ranked sixth in the preseason coaches’ poll.