Danny O'Brien

Budmayr setback puts O’Brien squarely on Badgers’ radar

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As if he wasn’t already.

Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema confirmed Wednesday that quarterback Jon Budmayr suffered a setback in his recovery from an issue with his right (throwing) elbow that’s plagued him since last summer camp, casting further doubt on his short- and long-term future with the Badgers.  And making it more likely that, once again, UW will look outside the current roster for experienced help at the position.

The Wisconsin State Journal, not surprisingly, writes that “[t]he situation is desperate enough that the Badgers are expected to make a strong push to land” Danny O’Brien, the former freshman All-American who announced last month that he’s transferring from Maryland.  O’Brien has privately expressed interest in the Badgers, but UW will not be the only program vying for the QB’s services.

Todd Willert, O’Brien’s high school coach who maintains contact with the family on an almost daily basis, told CFT during a phone conversation Wednesday that at least 15 schools have expressed an interest in his former player.  O’Brien, Willert said, will “take three or four official visits” beginning in the next week or so, and hopes to have a decision on where he will play in 2012 made no later than late April.

The East Forsyth (NC) High School head coach would not divulge the names of any of the schools O’Brien is considering “out of respect to Danny and the family.”  The rumor mill, however, operates under no such restrictions.

While numerous schools have been mentioned as potential landing spots, the current scuttlebutt is that there are three quasi frontrunners: Wisconsin, Penn State and Vanderbilt, with the latter widely viewed as O’Brien’s likely destination due in large part to his close relationship with Commodores head coach James Franklin.

The only certainty in where O’Brien will land, Willert said, is that they must run some type of pro-style offense.  The fact that Bill O’Brien will be installing such an offense is a significant reason why the Nittany Lions are on the QB’s radar and its chances should not be underestimated.

Regardless of where O’Brien ultimately lands, his team will be getting more than the on-year rental the Badgers got out of Russell Wilson in 2011.  O’Brien will graduate from Maryland in May and will have two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2012.

UCF announces largest financial gift in school history for athletics department renovations

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UCF announced the largest financial gift in school history from UCF alum Kenneth Dixon. The donation will help give UCF the support needed to move forward with its athletics facility upgrades, including an athletics village. Among those upgrades will be an expansion to the school’s baseball stadium and basketball facility, as well as a better atmosphere outside the football stadium for fans.

As far as the football program is concerned, the upgrades to the football operations and athletics headquarters have received a $2 million commitment to date. Most of the renovations will help bring the school’s other sports programs up to a more level playing field, but the football stadium will be given a fresh look on he outside with a plaza and promenade to make for a more inviting atmosphere for UCF fans before and after home football games.

In all, UCF is looking to invest $25 million in the renovation project, and the recent donation from Dixon has helped the school cross the $10 million benchmark.

“With more than $10 million committed to our $25 million facilities vision, our goal is to build the best Athletics Village in the nation,” UCF Athletics Director Danny White said in a released statement. “Thanks to Ken Dixon’s gift of more than $5 million, we’ve taken a major step in that direction.”

Duke QB Thomas Sirk to transfer

Duke quarterback Thomas Sirk (1) looks to pass against North Carolina during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
AP Photo/Gerry Broome
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Duke quarterback Thomas Sirk is leaving Durham in search of a new place to play football in his final year of eligibility. Duke announced Monday morning Sirk will transfer in 2017.

Sirk was recently declared a no-go for Duke’s spring football practices as he returns from an Achilles injury suffered last season. Sirk was granted an extra year of eligibility, his sixth, from the NCAA last November. It will be his final year of eligibility.

Sirk was Duke’s leading passer in 2015 with 2,625 passing yards and 16 touchdowns with eight interceptions. He was also Duke’s leading rusher that season with 803 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns. Naturally, he will likely be a quality dual-threat option for whatever program lands his services in 2017. As a graduate transfer, he will be eligible to play this fall at any FBS program.

Minnesota Row the Boat bobblehead features Gopher mascot rowing a boat

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 3: Goldy, mascot for the Minnesota Golden Gophers performs before the game against the TCU Horned Frogs on September 3, 2015 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
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With the rights to use “Row the Boat” successfully acquired through a deal with Western Michigan, Minnesota is going all in with the merchandising efforts to capitalize on the motto of P.J. Fleck. Aside from being able to use the motto for program-building measures, Minnesota has the rights to market the saying on merchandise, including an upcoming bobblehead featuring Minnesota’s Gopher mascot.

A limited edition University of Minnesota bobblehead featuring Goldy Gopher rowing a boat was unveiled on Friday by the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum. Though just an illustration now, it looks incredibly promising and I sort of want to add it to my bobblehead collection.

The bobbleheads are available for pre-order at a cost of $40.00. They should begin shipping in July of this year, in plenty of time for the first season of the Fleck era at Minnesota.

Ex-Rutgers QB transferring to San Diego State

PISCATAWAY, NJ - OCTOBER 15: Quarterback Chris Laviano #5 of Rutgers attempts a pass during the second quarter against Illinois on October 15, 2016 in Piscataway, New Jersey. Illinois defeated Rutgers 24-7. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
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It appears one of Rutgers’ transferring quarterbacks has found a new home.

In late November, Chris Laviano became one of three Scarlet Knights signal-callers who decided to transfer from Chris Ash‘s football program.  Over the weekend, as relayed by the San Diego Union-Tribune, Laviano has decided to continue his collegiate playing career at San Diego State.

As Laviano would be coming to the Mountain West program as a graduate transfer, he’d be eligible to play immediately in 2017. This coming season will be his final year of eligibility.

Laviano had started 18 consecutive games for the Scarlet Knights until he was benched in October of last year.

In 2015, Laviano completed nearly 61 percent of his passes for 2,247 yards, 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. The completion percentage was the best for an RU player since 2008, while the yardage was good for eighth in school history.

Overall, he tossed 21 touchdowns and 15 picks during his time in Piscataway.