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Notre Dame adds 17 to 2012 football roster

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(Notre Dame’s press release on the Irish’s 2012 recruiting class.)

One transfer student and 16 high school seniors will have their names added to the University of Notre Dame football roster in 2012.

The 16 student-athletes who signed National Letters of Intent represent 13 states – three from Indiana, two from North Carolina, plus one each from California, Florida, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

As listed by group, Notre Dame adds 10 skill players, four power players, one big skill player and one specialist. As listed by position, Notre Dame adds five defensive backs, two wide receivers, two defensive linemen, two offensive linemen, two running backs, one linebacker, one long snapper and one quarterback.

Four of the 17 players – transfer running back Amir Carlisle and early-enrollee freshmen defensive lineman Sheldon Day, quarterback Gunner Kiel and defensive back Tee Shepard – enrolled at the University in January and are taking classes. They will participate in Notre Dame’s spring football practices that begin March 21. The other 13 players have signed national letters of intent and will arrive on campus by June 18 for the start of summer school.

Among the 16 players that will be freshmen for the Irish this fall are:

–       Four who were selected for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio: DL Jarron Jones, QB Gunner Kiel, RB KeiVarae Russell and DB Elijah Shumate.

–       Five who played in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in Phoenix: DL Sheldon Day, WR Justin Ferguson, OL Mark Harrell, DB Tee Shepard and OL Ronnie Stanley.

–       Nine members of the SuperPrep All-America Team: QB Gunner Kiel, RB KeiVarae Russell, WR Chris Brown, OL Ronnie Stanley, DL Jarron Jones, DL Sheldon Day, DB Tee Shepard, DB Elijah Shumate and DB C.J. Prosise.

–       Three members of the SuperPrep Elite 50: QB Gunner Kiel (10th), DB Tee Shepard (22nd) and DB Elijah Shumate (37th).

–       Eight members of the MaxPreps Top 200: QB Gunner Kiel (second), DL Jarron Jones (22nd), DB Tee Shepard (39th), OL Ronnie Stanley (116th), DL Sheldon Day (119th), DB Elijah Shumate (149th), WR Justin Ferguson (175th) and RB KeiVarae Russell (183rd).

–       Five members of the ESPNU 150: QB Gunner Kiel (52nd), WR Justin Ferguson (85th), DB Tee Shepard (90th), DL Jarron Jones (102nd) and DL Sheldon Day (143rd).

–       Eight members of the Rivals.com 250: QB Gunner Kiel (20th), DB Tee Shepard (76th), DB Elijah Shumate (113th), RB KeiVarae Russell (124th), OL Ronnie Stanley (176th), RB Will Mahone (197th), DL Jarron Jones (199th) and DL Sheldon Day (244th).

–       Nine members of the Scout.com Top 300: QB Gunner Kiel (38th), DB Tee Shepard (39th), DL Sheldon Day (50th), DB Elijah Shumate (55th), OL Ronnie Stanley (66th), RB Will Mahone (201st), RB KeiVarae Russell (207th), DL Jarron Jones (229th) and DB CJ Prosise (276th).

–       Seven members of the 247Sports Top 247: QB Gunner Kiel (24th), DB Tee Shepard (50th), DL Sheldon Day (81st), DB Elijah Shumate (103rd), DL Jarron Jones (107th), RB KeiVarae Russell (122nd) and OL Ronnie Stanley (145th).

–       One recipient of their state’s respective Mr. Football player of the year awards: QB Gunner Kiel (Indiana).

–       One Gatorade State Football Player of the Year: QB Gunner Kiel (Indiana).

–       Three members of Tacoma News Tribune Western 100: RB KeiVarae Russell, DB Tee Shepard and OL Ronnie Stanley.

ECU transfer Kurt Benkert wins Virginia’s starting QB job

In this photo taken Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015 East Carolina quarterback Kurt Benkert rolls out to pass during NCAA college football practice in Greenville, N.C. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
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Four months ago, Kurt Benkert was one the losing end of a quarterback competition at East Carolina.  Fastforward to today, and he’s now the trigger man in a Power Five offense.

First-year Hoos head coach Bronco Mendenhall announced Wednesday that Benkert will start the season opener against Richmond.  Benkert had been involved in a competition that included returning starter Matt Johns and Texas/Arizona transfer Connor Brewer.

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Benkert came to the Cavaliers as a graduate transfer, but is not a one-year stop-gap as he has two years of eligibility remaining.

Named the Pirates’ starter in early August of 2015, Benkert sustained a right knee injury a couple of weeks later that knocked him out for the entire season.  Blake Kemp took over and kept a stranglehold on the starting job through spring practice this year, triggering Benkert’s decision to move on.

Benkert has attempted 10 passes in his collegiate career, all in 2014.

In starting all 12 games for the Cavaliers last season, Johns’ 2,810 passing yards were third in school history while his 20 touchdowns were tied for fourth.  His 17 interceptions, though, were the most of any FBS quarterback in 2015.

Cassius Peat granted release by Mich. St., appears headed to JUCO

COLLEGE PARK, MD - NOVEMBER 15:  A Michigan State Spartans helmet on the bench during a college football game against the Maryland Terrapins at Byrd Stadium on November 15, 2014 in College Park, Maryland.  The Spartans won 37-15.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
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Earlier this month, Mark Dantonio stated that Michigan State was giving Cassius Peat “an opportunity to work on his academics and get himself in order” as his status with the program was “in flux.”

A week or so later?  He gone.

MSU confirmed Wednesday that Peat has been granted a release from his scholarship and will transfer from the Spartans.  And, in fact, the defensive lineman may have already found a new home, one at the junior college level.

Peat, initially a UCLA commit, was a three-star 2015 recruit who was rated as the No. 3 player at any position in the state of Arizona.  He took a redshirt as a true freshman, and had been listed as the No. tackle heading into summer camp.

However, according to mlive.com, Peat did not report for camp amidst his academic issues.

Ex-Oregon St. DB goes home to LaTech as grad transfer

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Running back Justin Davis #22 of the USC Trojans is defended by safety Cyril Noland-Lewis #17 of the Oregon State Beavers in the second half at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 27, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. USC defeated Oregon State 35-10.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
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A week after transferring from Oregon State, Cyril Noland-Lewis has found a new home that happens to also double as his hometown.

The Ruston News Star, among others, has reported that Noland-Lewis is transferring into the Louisiana Tech football program.  As he is coming to Tech as a graduate transfer, he will be eligible to play for the Bulldogs in 2016, his final season of eligibility.

The defensive back, who went to high school in Ruston, was at the Bulldogs’ practice Tuesday as Tech continues preparations for the season opener Sept. 3 against Arkansas.

Noland-Lewis started 10 games for the Beavers last season.  Six of those starts came as a safety, the others as the nickel corner.  OSU moved Noland-Lewis to cornerback this offseason, where he ultimately found himself buried on the depth chart in summer camp.

The 6-0, 198-pound fifth-year senior, who began his OSU career as a linebacker, played in a total of 37 games during his time in Corvallis.

Tyler Rodgers, NMSU’s starting QB, arrested on battery charge

BATON ROUGE, LA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Tyler Rogers #18 of the New Mexico State Aggies drops back to pass against the LSU Tigers during the first quarter of a game at Tiger Stadium on September 27, 2014 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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It’s not been a good day for a couple of starting quarterbacks at Group of Five programs.

The Las Cruces Sun-News has reported that New Mexico State’s Tyler Rogers turned himself in last Friday on a warrant that had been issued for him Aug. 14.  The junior was booked on one count of misdemeanor charge of battery against a household member.

The alleged victim is Rogers’ girlfriend. A verbal altercation at a party allegedly turned physical in a vehicle later on. When police arrived, the woman, who was initially crying, “downplayed the incident and said that it wasn’t really anything and that the altercation did not get physical and didn’t consider Mr. Rogers grabbing her arm as being a physical altercation.”

The woman decided against completing a domestic violence supplement report, and, according to the Sun-News, it’s unclear if the woman is cooperating with police.

“I was very disappointed in hearing the news but we are in the information gathering stage,” NMSU athletic director Mario Moccia said in a statement. “These are allegations that we take very seriously and we look forward to getting as much detail as possible so the university can be informed and the athletic department can make an informed decision moving forward.”

Because “it is a misdemeanor, there isn’t a suspension coming forth right now,” head coach Doug Martin said.

Rogers has started 15 games the past two seasons for the Aggies.