Hoke on flipping prospects: ‘It’s recruiting. It’s competitive’

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As unbelievable as it may seem, Urban Meyer — or at least his “recruiting practices” — is getting a tiny bit of support from the coach of That School Up North.

Meyer has come under fire in recent days from coaches within his new conference over his “recruiting tactics”. Wisconsin’s Bret Bielema intimated on more than one occasion since signing day that the way Meyer goes about his recruiting business is illegal, and will have his boss discuss the issue with Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany. Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio has labeled the tactics the Ohio State head coach has brought to the conference “unethical”.

Michigan’s Brady Hoke? He’s good, thanks for asking.

Speaking in Columbus at a clinic for Ohio high school coaches, Hoke was asked about going after a recruit who has already verbally committed to another school and violating the “gentlemen’s agreement” that supposedly exists in the Big Ten, which appears to be from where most of the whining angst stems.

“Well, it’s competitive.  That’s what it is,” Hoke told Matt Barnes of NBC4 in Columbus when asked about the burgeoning recruiting controversy. “There’s no NCAA legislation about [recruiting a player committed to another school].  I think, at times, we’ve had guys who have left us late in the recruiting [process].  But, you know, it’s part of it.  For us, you want to do a great job of holding on to them and all those things.  It’s recruiting.  It’s competitive.”

Imagine that.  A coach realizing that he may have to actually do some work on the recruiting trail before and after he secures a verbal commitment. A coach realizing that, as long as it’s not illegal as Bielema has suggested — still awaiting a specific accusation instead of public generalities — it’s fair game.

Bravo, Coach Hoke.  Bravo.

As for Meyer, the OSU coach is not, as expected, very pleased with the accusations.  In fact, he vowed that the criticism will merely make him and his staff work that much harder on the recruiting front.

You’re pissed because we went after a committed guy?” Meyer asked rhetorically at the same Ohio high school coaches clinic Friday. “Guess what, we got nine guys [his coaching staff] who better go do it again. Do it a little harder next time.”

Consider the recruiting hornet’s nest stirred up, Big Ten coaches.  Congratulations, I guess.

Arkansas center giving up football, pursuing law enforcement career

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Zach Rogers ended the 2017 season as a starter at Arkansas.  Now, he’s set to begin the next first phase of his life post-football.

Rogers’ father confirmed to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that his son has decided to give up playing college football.  According to the dad, the offensive lineman is pursuing a career in law enforcement, with the Democrat-Gazette reporting that Rogers has already interviewed with two police agencies in Washington County (Ark.).

A three-star member of the Razorbacks’ 2015 recruiting class, Rogers was rated as the No. 27 offensive guard in the country and the No. 48 player at any position in the state of Texas.  After redshirting as a true freshman, Rogers played in three games in 2016.

Last season, when Frank Ragnow, a third-team All-American, went down with a season-ending injury, Rogers started the final five games of the year.  Those were the only games he started in his collegiate career, although he would’ve entered summer camp this year as the favorite to land the starting job in the middle of the Hogs’ line.

Now, as the Democrat-Gazette notes, new head coach Chad Morris oversees a roster without a player who’s ever played the center position at this level.

Arizona’s Rod Smith named OC at Illinois

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The postseason coaching carousel continues to spin, with Lovie Smith the latest to make a key addition to his staff.

Rod Smith, it was confirmed by the school Friday, has been hired by Smith to serve as the next offensive coordinator at Illinois.  In addition to his coordinating duties, Smith will also serve as quarterbacks coach as well.

Smith replaces Garrick McGee, who was fired two days before Christmas after two seasons with the Fighting Illini.

“Rod Smith brings terrific and exciting offensive experience to our staff at Illinois,” Smith said. “His background and development of dual-threat quarterbacks and multiple-threat offenses is the direction we are going here. Rod has developed explosive quarterback play and offensive performance at each of his coaching stops.”

Smith had spent the past six seasons as the co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Arizona.  With Rich Rodriguez‘s dismissal earlier this month, it was expected Smith wouldn’t be retained by new boss Kevin Sumlin, whose hiring was confirmed over the weekend.

Smith heads to Champaign armed with experience in the Big Ten, coaching quarterbacks and co-coordinating Indiana’s offense in 2011 as well as spending 2008-10 as Michigan’s quarterbacks coach.

Stanford’s Ryan Beecher diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

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One member of the Stanford football program has been dealing with a fairly serious health issue off the field, the school announced Friday.

Ryan Beecher revealed in a statement that he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma last month.  The inside linebacker has been undergoing treatments to fight the disease, although he remains enrolled in classes at the university.

Per the player, he intends to return to playing football for the Cardinal, although a timeline wasn’t specified.

“I look forward to making a full and healthy recovery,” a portion of Beecher’s statement read. “”With the help and support of my family, friends and teammates, I remain inspired to once again contribute to the Cardinal football team.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, non-Hodgkin lymphoma “is cancer that originates in your lymphatic system, the disease-fighting network spread throughout your body. In non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, tumors develop from lymphocytes — a type of white blood cell.”

A redshirt sophomore, Beecher (pictured, left) played in 13 games this past season.

Peter Sirmon named new DC at Cal

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And now it makes a little more sense.

Earlier Friday, Louisville announced that Peter Sirmon had abruptly stepped down as the defensive coordinator of the Cardinals.  Less than two hours after that confirmation, Cal announced that Sirmon has been hired in the same position with the Bears.

Sirmon will also serve as inside linebackers coach.

“Peter Sirmon shares our vision for Cal football and is an ideal fit for our coaching staff,” head coach Justin Wilcox said in a statement. “I have had the pleasure of working with Peter on previous staffs and understand the value he will bring. Peter is an excellent football coach, a top-notch recruiter and talented in the development of players both on and off the field. He will be an excellent teacher of the game as well as a tremendous mentor for our student-athletes in all aspect of their lives.”

Sirmon just completed his first season with the Cardinals.  In his lone season, the U of L finished 70th in scoring defense (27.4 ppg) and 62nd in total defense (388.1 ypg); in the year prior to arrival, they were 71st (27.1 pp) and 59th (387 ypg), respectively, in those categories.

Prior to the U of L, Sirmon had served as the coordinator at Mississippi State for one season in 2016.

“I’m excited to be joining the University of California and reuniting with Justin Wilcox.” Sirmon said. “We are like-minded in what we believe and in our approaches to both football and life. I’m looking forward to coaching championship football at Cal and helping create the best possible experience for the student-athletes in this program both on and off the field.”