Update: Illini FB transferring to Auburn

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UPDATED 11:22 a.m. ET: in a press release, Illinois announced that fullback Jay Prosch will be transferring to Auburn.

“Jay Prosch has decided to transfer to Auburn and will be there for the current semester,” Illini head coach Tim Beckman said in a statement. “He will have an opportunity to be much closer to his mother, who continues to face health issues. We wish Jay the best as he makes this move.”

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New Illinois head coach Tim Beckman and the spread offense that he will be bringing to Illinois has cost the Illini its first current player.

According to the Mobile Press Register, fullback Jay Prosch (No. 35) has requested a release from his scholarship.  Prosch, a native of Mobile, Ala., said there were two factors that played into his decision.  One, to be closer to his sick mother, who was diagnosed with brain cancer last spring.  And, two, the fact that his position will be a non-entity in the offense Beckman will be installing.

“It has nothing to do with the school,” Prosch told the paper. “It’s really about the coaching change, and that sparked the idea that since there’s a coaching change maybe I can be closer to my mom, which would be awesome. …

“Ultimately, I want to be playing fullback somewhere, and I want it to be close to home.”

Prosch told the Press Register that the Illini has given him to speak to nearly 20 schools: 11 of the 12 SEC teams, plus South Alabama, Louisiana-Lafayette, Troy, UAB, Georgia Tech and Florida State.  The only SEC school to which he not permitted to speak?  Arkansas, which rehired the Illini’s former offensive coordinator, Paul Petrino, after Ron Zook was fired.

Whichever school he ultimately chooses, the football team will be landing a talented player; Pro Football Weekly named him first-team All-American.  Prosch reiterated that a team that utilizes his position in its game plan is imperative.  As is being closer to his mother.

“If I got to come to (the state of) Alabama to play for a school I really wanted to play for, that’d be awesome because I’d be closer to [his mom],” Prosch said. “But if I went to a school that was further away — like an SEC school or something — that I could play fullback for, I think it’d still be a win because one I’d be playing fullback and two I’d still be in the SEC and I’d be traveling closer to this area.”

The sophomore, who remains enrolled at Illinois, did allow there’s a slight chance he could stay at the school, although based on his own words labeling it a “slight chance” seems to be generous.

Due to the health of his mother, it would appear likely he could receive a waiver from the NCAA to play immediately in 2012 instead of sitting out a transfer year.

Jeff Banks looks to make Alabama’s special teams a strength

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If there is any crack in Alabama’s championship foundation, it may be on special teams. Looking to patch things up with the special teams, Alabama head coach Nick Saban has brought on new special teams coordinator Jeff Banks. The former Texas A&M special teams coordinator was officially announced as Alabama’s new special teams coach on Thursday.

“We are pleased to be able to add a coach the caliber of Jeff Banks to our staff as special teams coordinator,” Saban said in a released statement. “Jeff is well-respected across the country for his knowledge of the game and his ability to recruit. He is a great teacher and someone who will help our football team be successful.”

Banks comes to Alabama after five years at Texas A&M under former Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin, who was recently hired by Arizona. Special teams was one of the more consistently reliable aspects of the Aggies program under his watch, so Alabama hopes that can carry over to Tuscaloosa.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to join Coach Saban’s staff at The University of Alabama and work with such a talented group of student-athletes,” Banks said. “Coach Saban has built an unbelievable program that has a long tradition of success. I’m really excited to get out on the road recruiting, and I look forward to doing my part to help continue the success this program has enjoyed.”

Alabama ranked 90th in the nation last season in field goal percentage and 50th in the nation in punting average. Obviously, this has not hurt Alabama’s chances of competing for and winning national titles over the course of Saban’s time at Alabama, but it is somewhat remarkable just how many times special teams seems to make things just a little more difficult for the Crimson Tide. I suppose something has to at some point, right? In the recent College Football Playoff national championship, Alabama had to beat Georgia in overtime after a last-second field goal attempt at the end of the fourth quarter was missed.

The rich just keep getting richer at Alabama.

Temple prepares for next step in quest for new on-campus football stadium

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With time running out on the current lease at Lincoln Financial Field appearing on the horizon, Temple University continues to move forward with exploring their plans for a potential multipurpose facility that could be used to host Temple football on Temple’s campus. The school is now preparing to take the next step forward with the idea by presenting the plans to the City Planning Commission with the hope of being given the approval to continue pushing toward breaking ground on a new facility on Temple’s campus.

“We have said from the start that our first priority has been to engage with our neighbors and local leaders to determine the potential for, and impact of, this facility,” Temple president Richard Englert said in a released statement. “After more than two years of these discussions, and in light of the project’s tremendous value for Temple and North Philadelphia, I have concluded that the time is right to take this step.”

One of the biggest concerns about any on-campus football stadium is the reaction from the neighboring community that has been reluctant to embrace a football stadium being dropped right in the neighborhood.

Englert said in a released statement the university “will continue our conversations with neighbors to address concerns over the impact of the project.”

The football stadium would, in theory, be able to serve multiple purposes in addition to football and will be designed with surrounding economic opportunities in mind. Space for retail locations will be a part of the master plans to help inject some revenue into the surrounding area, and educational facilities will be included in the plans as well.

In all, the plan is currently estimated to cost roughly $130 million. Temple recently negotiated a short-term extension on their lease to use Lincoln Financial Field through 2019. If Temple is given the approval to move forward with their stadium plan, they could theoretically be able to play a true home game on their campus beginning in 2020.

Chuckie Keeton returns to Utah State as offensive assistant coach

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One of Utah State’s all-time best players is back with the program. Chuckie Keeton is joining the Utah State coaching staff, although his exact title has not yet been officially confirmed.

What role Keeton will take on remains to be officially announced, although the speculation is he will be an offensive assistant coach who will work with the Utah State quarterbacks. This will be Keeton’s second coaching job since his playing days came to a close. Keeton got started at Oregon State under former Utah State and Oregon State head coach Gary Andersen. Keeton joined the Oregon State coaching staff in 2016. With changes in the Oregon State program with a coaching change this offseason, now was as good a time as any for Keeton to return to Utah State, where he became one of the top players from a non-power conference program to become a bit of a household name.

Keeton shared his reaction to returning to his alma mater on Twitter.

Keeton holds a number of Utah State records including career records for completion percentage and pass efficiency and season records for most touchdown passes, passing yards, total offensive yards, and completion percentage. Utah State finished the 2017 season ranked 69th in the nation in passing offense and ended the year with 17 passing touchdowns to 13 interceptions.

Keeton’s college career was sidetracked by injuries far too often, but it will be good to see Keeton back with the Utah State program as he continues his coaching career.

Louisville, USF announce future three-game series

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This is one we would’ve liked to have seen when Lamar Jackson and Quinton Flowers would’ve been taking the field.

Be that as it may, Louisville and USF announced Thursday morning that the football programs have reached an agreement on a future three-game series.  The Cardinals will travel to South Florida for Sept. 21, 2024, for the middle game of the series.  The Bulls will head to Papa John’s Stadium Sept. 24, 2022, and Sept. 19, 2026.

“The USF and Louisville programs have featured some of the most exciting players in college football over the last few seasons,” USF athletic director Mark Harlan said in a statement. “We are excited to have Louisville returning to Raymond James Stadium and to add a three-game series with an exciting, top-level opponent with which we share a great deal of history.”

Tne two schools have met in football 11 times previously, most coming when both were members of the now-defunct Big East conference. They first played in 2003, with the last matchup coming in 2013.

The Cardinals hold a 6-5 lead in the mini-series.