Indefinitely suspended by the Tulsa football for an August felony arrest, record-breaking wide receiver/return specialist Damaris Johnson has apparently decided he will not return to school.
Johnson’s now-former head coach, Bill Blankenship, told the Tulsa World it appears the receiver is set on jumping early to the NFL despite a plan that was put in place — a plan that he was apparently amenable to and following — that would’ve allowed him to return in 2012. After withdrawing from school in December and reportedly moving back to Louisiana, that now looks to be out of question.
“It looks like he made the decision to try to throw his lot in with the NFL and see what happens,” Blankenship told the paper. “It was my hope that he would want to stick around and work his way back onto the field and make things better for himself. …
“I just want to make it clear we didn’t close the door on that. We gave him a game plan. It was a very workable plan. He did go to class for a lot of the first semester. Apparently he didn’t finish up well.”
Johnson was charged with felony embezzlement during the middle of summer camp this past year after being accused of paying just over $13 for roughly $2,800 in merchandise at a Macy’s department store in Tulsa. Johnson, along with a girlfriend who worked at the department store, ultimately pleaded guilty and received a deferred sentence.
Johnson, the NCAA’s leader in career all-purpose yards, was the team’s leading receiver last year with 57 receptions for 872 yards and four touchdowns. He was also the team’s second-leading rusher with 560 yards and seven touchdowns, and returned a punt and a kickoff for a touchdown.
The Associated Press named Johnson a second-team All-American following the 2010 season.
With spring practice getting set to kick of en masse all across the country, there’s more of the expected personnel attrition settling in and coming to light.
On his Twitter account Wednesday, Andy Dodd announced that it is in his “best interest” to transfer from LSU and continue playing college football elsewhere. “This decision was not an easy one, but it is what’s best for me moving forward,” the offensive lineman wrote.
Dodd was a three-star member of the Tigers’ 2013 recruiting class, rated as the No. 17 guard in the country.
After taking a redshirt as a true freshman, the lineman played in eight games the next two seasons. He played in six games, with one start, in 2016.
Another graduate transfer has made a move, albeit with a slightly different bent than most others.
Auburn confirmed Wednesday that Casey Dunn has been added to Gus Malzahn‘s football roster. The center comes to The Plains as a graduate transfer, which makes him eligible for the 2017 season.
He also comes to Auburn from Jacksonville State, an FCS school that would’ve made him immediately eligible aside from the grad transfer exception. Oh, and his new position coach is excited to have him in the personnel fold as well.
The past two seasons, Dunn was an FCS All-American. While Dunn comes to the Tigers as a center who started 27 games at that position for the Gamecocks, he could play anywhere along the interior of the Tigers’ offensive line.
Malzahn is also very familiar with Dunn’s talent as the lineman started for the JSU squad that took him to overtime in 2015.
Earlier this week, Brad Lambert added a longtime Power Five assistant to his Charlotte coaching staff. Not long after, he has added another.
The 49ers announced in a release that Keith Henry has been hired by Lambert as his running backs coach. The 49ers’ coach at that position last season, Damien Gary, will shift to wide receivers.
Henry and Lambert (pictured, left) were on the same staff at Wake Forest, so they have a previous working relationship.
“Keith brings a lot of experience to our program,” said Lambert in a statement. “Having coached on both sides of the ball, he brings an added dimension of a defensive perspective to our offense. We’re really glad he’s coming on board with us. He’s a North Carolina native who’s played in North Carolina and has recruited for many, many years in North and South Carolina. That will be a huge benefit to our program with the relationships he’s built over the years.
“He’s been very successful and been a part of winning football at Ohio, Wake Forest and Catawba.”
Henry spent 11 seasons with the Demon Deacons (2001-11). He coached on the defensive side of the ball for the first 10 years before spending his final season with the ACC school as special teams coordinator. His last job on the offensive side of the ball came as wide receivers coach at Ohio in 1996.
An off-field incident involving alcohol has unofficially cost an assistant coach a job.
It had been reported that Gerad Parker, who served as Purdue’s interim head coach last season, decided to leave his new job at Cincinnati to take another at East Carolina. That reported move was complicated after reports surfaced that, following a going-away party in West Lafayette early Tuesday morning, the coach was pulled over and charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.
Parker had been expected to take over the wide receivers coach job at ECU; Wednesday, multiple reports indicated that the Pirates are moving on from the coach in light of the recent development.
In a tweet that has since been deleted from his Twitter account, Parker apologized. “I’m sorry to all my friends and family,” the coach wrote. “Thanks to all that have reached out and shown support.”
Parker would’ve replaced Phil McGeoghan, who left ECU in late January for a job with the Buffalo Bills. ECU’s search for a replacement will continue.