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Updated: Florida LB to transfer to UConn


UPDATED 5/5 @ 10:10 a.m. ET:  It sounds as though Stewart will be headed closer to home. Much closer, in fact.

In a phone conversation with Desmond Conner of the Hartford Courant, Graham Stewart said he would be transferring to UConn. Stewart, as is mentioned below, is from Connecticut.

Being closer to his family is the major reason behind the move. Stewart hopes to receive a hardship waiver from the NCAA that would allow him to play right away, but wanting to be closer to family (barring a health issue) probably won’t be enough by itself for the waiver to be granted.

Then again, I present to you Exhibit A: Amir Carlisle


Apparently, one season in Gainesville was enough for Florida linebacker Graham Stewart, who announced his intention to transfer from the program today.

Stewart, who is from Connecticut and was a four-star member of UF’s 2011 recruiting class, cited personal reasons for the decision. 

“I have some personal family issues that have caused me to evaluate how far I am away from home,” Stewart said. “I appreciate my time in Gainesville and have nothing but good things to say about Coach Muschamp and the staff at Florida, but some things are more important.  I really need to be closer to home.”

Stewart played in 12 games this past season, mostly on special teams. He did, however, block a punt against Ohio State in the Gator Bowl this past January. It’s unclear yet as to where Stewart will go.

“Graham has told me he wanted to leave to get closer to home due to some personal issues,” Will Muschamp said. “Family always comes first with me and he needs to be closer to his family. I’m thankful for his contributions to our team and wish him nothing but the best of luck. He will always have my support and backing if he needs any help in the future.”

(Hat tip: Tampa Bay Times) 

Was Washington loss the beginning of the end of the Steve Sarkisian era at USC?

Steve Sarkisian

Steve Sarkisian’s win totals in his six previous seasons are both a positive and a negative.

On one hand, he resurrected a moribund Washington program that went 0-12 under Ty Willingham in 2008 and took them to four consecutive bowl games from 2010-2013. He won nine games his last year in Seattle, then led a talented-yet-thin USC team to a nine-win season and AP No. 20 finish in 2014.

Those are good accomplishments. But the flip side of the argument is Sarkisian has never won double-digit games in a season, something that’s a necessity to keep one’s job at USC. The Trojans’ 17-12 loss to Washington last night — at home, no less — means the road to 10 wins and a Pac-12 title will be awfully difficult.

And worse yet, there are plenty of arguments to be made Sarkisian doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt and a little more time in Los Angeles to turn things around (#SarkAfterDark, his drunken rant at a booster event, certainly doesn’t help). The reaction from national media to last night’s loss looked like this:

Mandel, in his column, argued USC is right where it was two years ago with Lane Kiffin as its coach. And there’s this embarrassing thought, that looks more and more like a truth, for Pat Haden:

This one, however, was the most damning by far for many reasons, most notably that it came at the hands of Sarkisian’s old team. The sense among many Washington fans nearly two years ago was that the Huskies managed to upgrade coaches when the school lured Chris Petersen from Boise State upon Sarkisian’s departure to USC.

They were right.

USA Today’s Dan Wolken similarly wrote that USC needs to drop Sarkisian and bring in Chip Kelly from the Philadelphia Eagles.

This is the state of USC, and it may not get better. The Trojans start a brutal three-game stretch next Saturday at Notre Dame in primetime, then welcome Utah to Los Angeles the next week. A Halloween trip to Berkeley to face Jared Goff and Cal finishes it up. There’s a very real chance USC, for all its talent and all its hype, limps into November with a 4-4 or 3-5 record.

Sarkisian will have to engineer and sustain a major turnaround in these coming weeks, otherwise he’ll give Haden all the ammo he needs to unceremoniously jettison him after two years.

Starting Navy S Kwazel Bertrand undergoes surgery, likely out for season

Kwazel Bertrand, Jacobi Owens
Associated Press
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Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.

Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.

“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”

Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.