Yesterday we noted a report that an Arizona State basketball player was giving up hoops in order to pursue a career in football.
This afternoon, a South Carolina student-athlete has done exactly the same, only in reverse.
The Gamecocks announced via a press release Monday that All-SEC Freshman Bruce Ellington has decided to commit to playing basketball for the Gamecocks and will no longer be a part of the football program. The move is actually a return to a full-time commitment to the hardwood for Ellington; in 2010-11 Ellington was USC’s leading scorer, and he played this past hoops season as well.
In March of last year the wide receiver decided to give up the round ball for an oblong one. Now, he’s officially switched his sports path.
“Basketball’s always been my first love,” said Ellington in a statement. “After giving it a lot of thought, this is the decision I’ve made. If you want to be great at something you have to commit to it full-time. I appreciate Coach Spurrier for giving me an opportunity to play football at South Carolina.
“It was a great experience, but right now I want to focus on basketball. I also want to thank all the fans for their support throughout my time in Columbia.”
During the 2011 football season, Ellington posted 707 all-purpose yards for the Gamecocks, with 211 receiving yards, 106 rushing yards and 390 yards on kick returns.
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.
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.
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.
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.”