SALT LAKE CITY—The Utah football staff finished its recruiting for 2012 with 28 signed commitments. The list includes two mid-year junior college players who signed National Letters of Intent in December.
The biggest beneficiaries were the offensive and defensive lines, which claimed 16 of the 28 scholarships and landed three four-star recruits: freshman Hiva Lutui (Euless, Texas/Trinity HS), freshman Jeremiah Poutasi (Las Vegas, Nev./Desert Pines HS) and junior Junior Salt(Glendale, Utah/Mt. San Antonio College).
While the Utes continued their tradition under coach Kyle Whittingham of recruiting primarily freshmen—adding 21 underclassmen—their seven junior college transfers included six linemen.
“Football starts at the line of scrimmage. If you’re strong up front, the other positions will usually thrive,” said Whittingham. “We needed immediate help up front after losing three all-conference linemen to graduation (offensive linemen Tony Bergstrom and John Cullen and defensive lineman Derrick Shelby) and because of the physicality of Pac-12 football. We believe the junior college linemen we signed will provide immediate help.”
Another priority position was quarterback, where the Utes looked to the future by signing two highly-rated freshmen: Parade All-AmericanChase Hansen from Utah’s Lone Peak High School and California prep star Travis Wilson (San Clemente HS).
“The Pac-12 conference is loaded at the quarterback position and the two we signed are very talented and should fit right in that mold,” said Whittingham.
In addition to the 15 linemen and two quarterbacks, the Utes added three defensive backs—including four-star freshman Justin Thomas (Orange, Texas/West Orange-Stark HS) —two linebackers and two receivers.
The coaching staff mined seven states for the 2012 class, signing 11 players from Utah, nine from California, three from Texas, two from Louisiana and one each from Arizona, Nevada and Hawaii.
As if this day wasn’t busy enough, Ole Miss announced late Monday evening star-crossed offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil‘s suspension has been capped at seven games, meaning he’ll miss Saturday’s trip to Memphis but return in time for Texas A&M visit to The Grove on Oct. 24.
From the university:
The University initially withheld Tunsil from competition at the start of the season as both the NCAA and the University examined several alleged improper benefits. During the course of the process, it was determined by the NCAA that Tunsil received impermissible extra benefits that included the use of three separate loaner vehicles over a sixth-month period without payment, a four-month interest-free promissory note on a $3,000 down payment for purchasing a used vehicle, two nights of lodging at a local home, an airline ticket purchased by a friend of a teammate, and one day use of a rental vehicle. In addition, it was determined that Tunsil was not completely forthcoming when initially questioned by NCAA investigators regarding the loaner vehicles. He later corrected his account and since apologized.
As part of his reinstatement conditions, the NCAA imposed a seven-game suspension, ordered Tunsil to pay the value of the extra benefits to a charity, perform community service, and he will also make the vehicle down payment.
Said Tunsil: “I take full responsibility for the mistakes I made and want to thank everyone for their continued support. I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and the entire Ole Miss family for how my choices affected our program. This was a learning experience, and I’m looking forward to being back on the field with my team and redeeming myself. The last 10 months have been a physical and mental battle for me, but I love playing this game more than anything else. I want to be here for my teammates who are depending on me to finish what we started together.”
The news is, obviously, great for Tunsil and head coach Hugh Freeze personally, as well as the entire Ole Miss football program. It’s also a nice plus for NFL scouts, as it means Tunsil’s first live action of 2015 will come against possible future No. 1 draft pick Myles Garrett.
Hope he’s been practicing.
Say it ain’t so, Steve.
According to a report from Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated Monday evening, Steve Spurrier is set to retire.
Spurrier, 70, is a legend the likes college football has never seen before and never will again.
He was a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback at Florida, then returned to his alma mater and turned the program into a juggernaut, leading the Gators to 122-27-1 record from 1990-01 and a national championship in 1996. After a stint with the NFL’s Washington Redskins, Spurrier landed at South Carolina, where since 2005 he’s racked up a school record 86 wins.
But those wins slowed down of late. After an SEC East championship in 2010 and three straight 11-2 seasons from 2011-13, the Gamecocks fell to 7-6 in 2014, and are off to a 2-4 mark this fall. With the possibility of losses to nemeses old and new like Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida and Clemson ahead, Spurrier, it appears, would rather fade away quietly to the putting green.
Perhaps no two sentences summarize Spurrier, then and now, more precisely than this:
Combined with his three years at Duke, Spurrier closes up shop with a 228-89-2 mark, and a bust in the coaches’ wing of the Hall of Fame waiting for him.