Defense rests in Sandusky trial; closing arguments set for Thursday

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Three days was all it took for the defense to present its case in the Jerry Sandusky trial, one day less than the shorter-than-anticipated presentation by the prosecution. In all, the Sandusky trial should conclude about a week ahead of the original schedule. 

Relatively speaking, the defense made considerable strides in the past two days after getting thoroughly punished by the prosecution in Week 1. Though Sandusky’s lawyer Joe Amendola has had essentially no retort to the allegations by alleged victims, attempts to poke holes in the credibility of witnesses and testimonies finally gained traction yesterday and today.

As a result, Sandusky himself did not testify, despite the hint from Amendola last week that perhaps he would. Frankly, it was the only decision, as a testimony by Sandusky surely would have nullified everything the defense had done over the past 36 hours.

Amendola wasn’t desperate enough to risk sending his client to the stand. The defense closed strongly today — or, about as strongly as they possibly could outside of, say, an alibi — with a testimony from Dr. Jonathan Dranov, a family friend and colleague of John McQueary, Mike McQueary‘s father.

The testimony from Dranov corroborates a Patriot-News report last December that states Dranov was present at the conversation between McQueary and his father after the then-graduate assistant allegedly saw Sandusky and a young boy (alleged Victim 2) in the showers of an on-campus facility in 2001.

McQueary is a central figure in the Sandusky scandal, yet his account of the alleged incident has changed since his testimony for the grand jury indictment, so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that the defense called Dranov to the stand on the final day. Additionally, the defense presented a letter that shows McQueary went to a charity event hosted by Sandusky after 2001.

The cornerstone of that original grand jury indictment against Sandusky was the allegation involving alleged Victim 2, yet he did not testify during Sandusky’s trial and McQueary’s credibility is sketchy.  It’s as close as the defense has come to completely refuting an alleged incident of abuse.

The amount of overall evidence against Sandusky, who faces 51 counts related to child-sex abuse, is tough to overlook, but all the defense needed to do was place some amount of doubt in the minds of the jurors.

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Georgia ‘parts ways’ with four-star 2017 signee accused of assaulting mother of his child

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Not surprisingly, D’Antne Demery‘s time Between the Hedges was a brief one.

Earlier Sunday, reports surfaced that the 2017 Georgia signee had been arrested Saturday night in downtown Athens on misdemeanor charges of criminal trespass and simple battery.  The alleged victim, the mother of Demery’s one-year-old child, accused the recruit of assaulting her twice, the first time, after a verbal argument, by “grabbing her on the back of her neck… pushing her against the wall, and also grabbing her by the hair” and the second after allegedly throwing her.

Not surprisingly, UGA subsequently announced in a press release that Demery has been released from his signed National Letter of Intent. In other words, he has been summarily dismissed from Kirby Smart‘s football program.

Demery was a four-star 2017 recruit, rated as the No. 20 offensive tackle in the country; the No. 22 player at any position in the state of Georgia; and the No. 204 on 247Sports.com‘s composite board. Th 6-5, 319-pound lineman was one of 18 four-star players in Smart’s second recruiting class at the school.

After signing in February, Demery had been scheduled to report with the rest of the incoming freshmen in June.

Tom Herman pulls California QB recruit Cameron Rising away from Oklahoma

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Tom Herman has made his share of news since his late November arrival in Austin, but Saturday evening was probably the first time his Big 12 and national rivals perked up and took notice of the new Texas head coach for something that will happen on the field of play.

The Longhorns landed a commitment from Newbury Park, Calif., quarterback Cameron Rising, which would be news in and of itself. The 6-foot-3 signal caller is rated the No. 3 pro-style quarterback and No. 52 player nationally by Rivals for the class of 2018, making him the highest-rated player in Texas’s 4-man class.

But Rising’s pledge is especially notable for where he was already committed: Oklahoma. Rising had been committed to Oklahoma since August and publicly firmed up his pledge as recently as January. “I’m extremely happy (with the decision),” Rising said at the time. “The program is so good, they’re moving in the right direction. They had a slow start but then they picked it up and it was like a warm nice through butter.”

Herman’s tweet brings up an interesting point: the quarterback Oklahoma is most likely to target to replace Rising is the other Texas quarterback pledge.

Casey Thompson, hailing from Moore, Okla., became the first Texas quarterback commitment just nine days before Rising. Beyond just living in the Sooner State, Thompson is also the son of a former Sooner and the brother of another.

In fact, Oklahoma waisted no time in reaching out to Thompson. “OU hit me up already,” Thompson told Burnt Orange Nation, but Thompson indicated Herman and company told him ahead of time Texas would sign two quarterbacks.

And in a note the Texas coaches have likely reminded Thompson of in the past 24 hours, they offered Thompson before Rising. “Me and the [Texas] coaches have a very good relationship. I knew they planned to take 2 from the jump. Their current QB room is thin!”

Oklahoma may very well retaliate to Herman’s plunder with a steal of their own. But the point is Herman has arrived in the Red River Recruiting Wars, and he’s playing to win.

LSU lands Randy Moss’s son as tight end transfer

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They say these things happen in threes, so any program employing Warren Sapp‘s son better start preparing now. Days after Ray Lewis‘s son announced a transferRandy Moss‘s has done the same.

Thaddeus Moss announced his intention to leave NC State for LSU on Sunday, doing so in a post on his Twitter account.

Moss was recruited to NC State by then-Wolfpack offensive coordinator Matt Canada. Canada tried to get Moss to decommit and follow him to Pittsburgh, but that initial refusal worked out for the pair in the end.

“He had gotten fired and I had already gotten my mind made up,” Moss told The Advocate. “He had messaged me and was telling me stuff about Pitt and this stuff. It was all of this stuff. I don’t even think I messaged him back.

“That was actually the very first thing he said when he saw me. ‘Hey, you remember when I messaged you?’ It worked out for the better good.”

Ranked the No. 6 tight end in the class of 2016 by Rivals, Moss started three games last fall for NC State. He caught six passes for 49 yards and a touchdown.

As an undergraduate transfer, Moss will have to sit out the 2017 season before having three seasons to compete for the Tigers.

Michigan meets with refugees as part of Italian Spring Break trip

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Michigan is in Rome for Spring Break and Jim Harbaugh determined an act of charity would be the Wolverines’ first item of business upon landing on Italian soil.

After landing in Rome at 9 a.m. local time, the Wolverines immediately headed to the Borghese Gardens, where they distributed backpacks filled with blankets, shirts and shorts to refugees.

“What an experience,” quarterback Wilton Speight told the Toledo Blade. “I saw on the itinerary that we were going to have an opportunity to meet some refugees, but I didn’t know it was going to be like this where we could dive into each other’s lives and teach each other a thing or two about our background, our culture, our favorite sport. It’s been a cool experience.”

And for those wondering, Harbaugh has not reduced his Harbaugh-ness while overseas. In fact, the dollar-to-euro conversion may have actually increased it.