- A couple of Michigan alums got married in the Big House.
- This is fantastic. Les Miles with perhaps his best one-liner to date.
- Penn State will face punishment, just not from the NCAA, writes Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated. I wholeheartedly agree.
- Remember how a selection committee is supposed to be transparent? Well, here you go…
- How much will Boise State’s travel costs go up now that the Broncos are in the Big East? The Idaho Statesman crunches some numbers.
- Maryland coach Randy Edsall has hired a PR firm. Really.
Monday offseason one-liners
When John Chavis left the LSU Tigers to become the defensive coordinator of the Texas A&M Aggies, he walked away from a $1.3 million contract.
Chavis reportedly wanted his annual salary increased to $1.7 million to make him, along with Auburn’s Will Muschamp, the nation’s highest paid defensive coordinator.
When LSU brass decided that wasn’t going to happen, Chavis refused to sign a new contract. Instead, Texas A&M stepped up to the plate and lured him away to College Station.
Whether or not Texas A&M matched Chavis’ asking price, the assistant coach won’t see the full amount of his contract next season due to a buyout in his previous contract with LSU.
Chavis owes LSU $400,00 as part of the provision, according to The Shreveport Times‘ Glenn Guilbeau. The school intends to pursue the money it is owed.
“I’m not sure if we’ll get it, but we’re going to try to get it,” LSU board member Ronald Anderson told Guilbeau. “That was part of his contract. It’s his obligation.”
Whether or not LSU receives the payment may determine the future of former defensive line coach Brick Haley. Haley is currently on staff, but he was replaced by Ed Orgeron. Unlike Chavis, Haley signed a new contract offered after the season. However, his status along with the $450,000 contract remain uncertain until Chavis’ situation is finalized.
Haley is currently serving as a staff “intern.”
“I’m told that by June, if he decides to stay, they’ll decide what he’ll be doing and that title would change,” Anderson said.
You can take the football player out of Alabama, but you can’t take the Crimson Tide out of the football player.
Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix left Alabama as a highly decorated safety before becoming the 21st pick by the Green Bay Packers in the 2014 NFL draft.
The safety didn’t take to Twitter Friday to rip the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions or even the Minnesota Vikings, though.
Clinton-Dix’s contempt for the rival LSU Tigers remains strong, and he made sure to point out what type of hire the program made when Kevin Steele was named its new offensive coordinator.
Kevin Steele defensive coordinator for LSU? last-time he was a DC he got 70 points scored on him. 😂
— Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (@haha_cd6) January 31, 2015
The game Clinton-Dix referred to was the 2012 Orange Bowl. Steele was the defensive coordinator of the Clemson Tigers at the time. His defense surrendered 595 total yards to the West Virginia Mountaineers on their way to scoring 70 points.
The embarrassing performance eventually cost Steele his job.
Despite the pitiful performance and being a few years removed from defensive coordinator duties, LSU head coach Les Miles was excited about Steele’s inclusion to his coaching staff.
“He has a great defensive mind and he’s an outstanding recruiter,” Miles said when the hire was officially announced, per ESPN. “He knows our players and our system and his knowledge of the SEC and the SEC Western Division makes him a great fit. We are very excited the Kevin will be joining our staff.”
Miles and LSU might be excited about the hire, but Clinton-Dix obviously thinks it’s a joke.
The spring game is an annual tradition in college football.
However, Kliff Kingsbury and his Texas Tech Red Raiders were forced to change up their spring schedule due to a couple of factors.
First, the Red Raiders won’t hold a spring game this year, according to the team’s official site.
“Due to the replacement of seating inside Jones AT&T Stadium, the annual Spring Game has been cancelled and there will be no other open practice opportunities for fans in Lubbock,” the statement read.
Also, the team will accommodate its projected starter at quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, who is also a member of the baseball team.
“Individual practices dates will be determined on a week-by-week basis in order to accommodate sophomore quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ baseball schedule, the school announced. “Mahomes will pitch and play in the outfield for the preseason No. 5 Texas Tech Baseball team this spring.”
Mahomes started the final four games of the 2014 campaign, and the freshman’s performance was impressive. The two-sport star passed for 1,428 yards, 14 touchdowns and two interceptions during that stretch.
Iowa’s Tevaun Smith didn’t just one-up New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. a day after he set a world record. The junior from Toronto, Canada easily surpassed Beckham’s mark and caught nearly as many one-handed passes in a minute than he did all season.
Beckham originally set the record Thursday by making 33 catches without a drop in 60 seconds. Smith, who caught 43 passes for 596 yards last season, decided he was up to the task with 41 one-handed snags.
The Iowa Hawkeyes athletic department recorded the record-breaking event, via ESPN:
— ESPN Highlights (@HighlightsESPN) January 30, 2015
After being challenged, Beckham will surely attempt to break the new record.
“The type of person I am, I love breaking records, no matter what it is,” Beckham said Thursday in an interview with CBS New York. “I look forward to breaking and going above and beyond what somebody else has done.”
There is very little Vernon Adams can prove with another year at Eastern Washington.
During his time as a member of the Eagles, the quarterback has proved he’s one of the elite players at the FCS level of play, and he helped lead his team to three straight playoff appearances.
In 37 career games, Adams threw for 10,438 yards, 110 touchdowns and 31 interceptions. Plus, the quarterback ran for 1,232 yards and 11 more touchdowns.
However, none of this means he’s ready to make the leap from the FCS level to play for the Oregon Ducks, who just played in a national championship game.
Adams is still entertaining the idea of transferring, though, as he prepares to visit Eugene this weekend.
“I’m not saying I’m leaving Eastern, but I’m just going to check it out and see what they have to say,” Adams told The Spokesman-Review‘s Jim Allen.
FCS coaches believe Adams can play at the level, but it may not be the right time for the quarterback to make the move.
“If I was advising him, I’d say he should stay,” Sam Houston State’s K.C. Keeler told The Oregonian‘s Andrew Greif.
Keeler once coached Joe Flacco at Delaware before eventually becoming the Bearkats’ head coach. Sam Houston State even faced Eastern Washington to open its 2014 campaign.
“I walked out of that saying I don’t think I’ll see a better quarterback in the country and in my time coaching, I can’t list a whole lot better than I just saw,” Keeler said. “I have no reservation saying he’ll go into the Oregon locker room and that he’ll be as talented as anybody. It’s just there are a lot of things that go into being a starting quarterback.
“I’m disappointed he’s leaving because I think what players have to understand is bigger is not better, better is better. He’s developed an unbelievable following at Eastern Washington and I’d be disappointed he’s leaving our level. I’m not excited that he’s trying to bump up to a higher level. The more he plays, the better he’s going to get, and I don’t know if that’s the situation at Oregon.”
One obstacle Adams will face if he does decide to transfer is waiting to become part of the Ducks program until this summer. The quarterback is on track to graduate in June, which means he wouldn’t be able to participate in Oregon’s spring ball.
“I think there’s a real risk for Vernon Adams to do that,” former Oregon receivers coach and current Montana coach Robin Pflugrad said. “Can Vernon Adams do it? I’m a firm believer he can having seen him and having watched him from afar. It’s just going to be a totally different challenge for him and some of that is mental.”
The coaches were in agreement on one thing. If Adams does transfer to Oregon, they’ll be rooting for him to succeed.
“We’d cheer for him and a lot more than when he was playing against us, too,” Montana State’s Rob Ash said.
With National Signing Day five days away, here’s your daily reminder that recruiting hype doesn’t necessarily translate into on-field success.
D’Vonta Derricott was a four-star JUCO member of Kansas State’s 2014 recruiting class, rated as the No. 3 outside linebacker prospect coming from that level of football. Derricott never saw the field in 2014, taking a redshirt for his first season in Manhattan.
As it turns out, Derricott won’t ever see the field for K-State as he has decided to transfer, announcing via Twitter Thursday that he’s moving on to Eastern Kentucky. According to the Manhattan Mercury, Derricott had been removed from K-State’s Alamo Bowl roster, although head coach Bill Snyder seemed to indicate that the door was at least slightly open for a return.
Because EKU plays at the FCS level, the linebacker will be eligible to play immediately in 2015. Counting this season, he will have two years of eligibility remaining.
(Photo credit: Kansas State athletics)
The work week began with word that a Michigan player has decided to leave Ann Arbor. As it turns out, it’ll end the same way. Times two.
First off, on Instagram Friday, Russell Bellomy announced that he will transfer out of the UM football program. In a very heartfelt statement, the quarterback asked that “you respect my decision and support me in whatever I do.”
Below is the statement, in its entirety.
“To those of you that know me well, I always try my hardest never to get emotional; however, I write this with a heavy heart. My heart is packed full of experiences, acquaintances and irreplaceable memories that I will reminisce on for the rest of my life. I love each and every one of my teammates, both former and present, and I hope y’all know that every day I busted my butt for you and the benefit of UM.
“I will receive my degree at the end of this semester and have decided to sign my release that enables me to play my 5th year as a graduate student at another university. I pray that you respect my decision and support me in whatever I do, because this was not an easy process. I am forever grateful to have attended and played for UM and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. “For I know the plans I have for you…” #GoBlueAlways”
As noted in the statement, Bellomy will be a graduate transfer, which means he would be eligible to play in 2015 if he decides to move on to an FBS program. The release granted by Michigan, which Bellomy showed on his social media post, allows him to transfer to any school not on the Wolverines’ schedule.
Bellomy, a three-star member of the Wolverines’ 2011 recruiting class, played in six games during his time at UM, completing 4-of-23 passes for 46 yards and four interceptions. Three of those interceptions came in a 23-9 loss to Nebraska in October of 2012, a game in which he was forced into action because of an elbow injury to starter Denard Robinson.
A short time later, teammate and defensive end-turned-tight end Keith Heitzman did the same thing as Bellomy, and on the same website to boot.
“The past few years have been an unforgettable journey full of ever lasting memories, both exciting and saddening. I have experienced the spoils of winning and the heartbreak of losing. I have always blamed my struggles on external factors and never realized that all of this was part of the process of becoming a Michigan man. It has been the most challenging yet rewarding 4 years of my life and for that I will be forever grateful.
“However, this moment right now has manifested itself into the toughest experience as of yet. I have signed my release form allowing me to talk with other schools for the potential to transfer. As of right now I will leave this great institution in the spring with a degree in hand and friendships that will last a lifetime. I have to make the best possible decision for me, therefore, I feel like I need to explore my options. I have to thank all the fans for their continued support through the turbulent times over these past few years and promise that Michigan is destined for greatness in the future. #forevergoblue”
Last season, Heitzman caught two passes for 32 yards and a touchdown in playing in all 12 games. Heitzman was a three-star member of UM’s 2011 recruiting class, and will be eligible to play immediately at an FBS school because he will be a grad transfer.
Monday, it was reported that running back Justice Hayes would be leaving as a graduate transfer. Prior to that, and between the firing of Brady Hoke and the hiring of Jim Harbaugh, linebacker Michael Ferns and offensive lineman Kyle Bosch left the program as well. Both of those players ultimately landed at West Virginia.
After a year away from the game, it appears Clancy Pendergast could be back in it if he so desires. Reportedly.
Accord to Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News*, Pendergast has emerged as the front-runner for the defensive coordinator job at Utah. The Utes have been without a coordinator on that side of the ball for well over a month after Kalani Sitake left for the same post at Oregon State.
Pendergast was last on the sidelines as the coordinator at USC in 2013, his lone season with the Trojans. He wasn’t retained as part of Steve Sarkisian‘s new coaching staff. For the three years before that, he served in the same position at Cal.
Prior to that, Pendergast had spent 15 seasons as an assistant at the NFL level. During his stint as coordinator with Arizona (2004-08), the Cardinals earned the franchise’s first-ever Super Bowl berth following the 2008 season.
(*Yes, I’m well aware of all y’all’s feelings toward Mr. Wolf. Please, save yourself the breath and keystrokes. Thanks in advance.)
We still don’t know who will be Central Michigan’s next head football coach. We can, though, apparently cross off one of the rumored candidates for the job of the school’s coaching to-do list.
Citing an individual with knowledge of the discussions, Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press is reporting that Brady Hoke is not in the mix for the CMU job. Snyder writes “[t]hough CMU considered Hoke… it was not a fit* between the two sides.”
Hoke, of course, was fired as Michigan’s head coach in early December. Prior to his time at UM (2011-14) and San Diego State (2009-10), Hoke served as the head coach at Ball State of the MAC from 2004-08.
The CMU job came open Jan. 22 when Dan Enos abruptly stepped down to become the offensive coordinator at Arkansas. The Chips are currently the only FBS team without a head coach.
Athletic director Dave Heeke stated that he would employ a search firm to aid in the search and would like a replacement in place by signing day Feb. 4; that seems highly unlikely, although not impossible.
Aside from Hoke, other rumored candidates have included Detroit Lions special teams coordinator John Bonamego, Tennessee wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni, Ferris State head coach Tony Annese, Virginia Tech offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler, Alabama offensive line coach Mario Cristobal and Illinois defensive coordinator Tim Banks among many, many others.
(*Allow me to get ahead of this: In the comments section, feel free, if it makes you feel better, to let the hefty jokes rain down like beads at Mardi Gras.)
Ohio State’s run to the College Football Playoff championship will have a trickle-down effect economically for the university as a whole.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, OSU officials expect to see an increase of $3 million over last year’s figures when it comes to the sale of licensed merchandise. While the paper writes that “[t]he percentage gain isn’t close to what OSU saw in 2002 when the Buckeyes beat Miami for the national crown, when royalties doubled to $5 million that year over the year before,” it is a figure that will benefit many.
Oddly enough, the greatest financial benefit won’t end up in the athletic department coffers. From the Dispatch:
For every dollar that goes into the licensing office, 55 cents goes to academic affairs, which handles scholarships, libraries, ongoing programs and the university’s 14 college units; 15 cents goes to the athletics department; 15 cents goes to the alumni association; and 15 cents goes to the student life program and its 1,000 student organizations.
That means that just $450,000 or so will go to the athletic department, while the remaining $2.55 million will be directed toward entities that benefit the present and past student populations.
The title run will also continue benefiting small businesses that sell Buckeye gear.
“People were energized long before the game, and people are still coming through the door,” Lori Leavitt Watson, vice president of one such business, told the Dispatch. “This has legs for us.
“What that (championship) does is people are willing to spend money. We had two people call and say they had planned on restringing their flag poles in the spring, but now? Nope. ‘We’re going to do it now, and we want that flag right now.'”
It’s not exactly a shock that Arian Foster stated during an interview Friday that he had accepted money from boosters during his time playing running back at Tennessee; in a documentary that aired in 2013, Foster acknowledged as much.
This time around, though, Foster got into specific dollar amounts, which always piques the interest of some.
During the radio interview with Dan LeBatard Thursday, the current Houston Texans running back was asked about receiving what would be impermissible cash benefits from UT boosters while he was a player. From the Knoxville News:
“You have people help you out here and there,” Foster said Thursday on the Dan LeBatard show. “Boosters and alumni and ex-players, they all know how it is, man. It’s hard living check to check when you don’t have enough money to go out to the movies or any kind of leisure activity. And you’re not allowed to get a job. Especially when I was in college, they were a lot more stringent on those rules, so at any given chance I got the opportunity, I took a free handout. Absolutely.”
LeBatard pushed Foster for an exact dollar figure. Foster guessed that it was “40, 50 grand throughout my entire career.”
Foster was in Knoxville from 2004-08. His coach during that time was Phillip Fulmer, who released a statement after Foster’s comments in the 2013 documentary became public.
“As the head coach at Tennessee for 17 years, I took great pride in having a program that was NCAA compliant, as did our staff and administration,” Fulmer said at the time. “If we knew of a violation, big or small, we reported it.”
Foster’s comments come amidst a push, especially amongst the Power Five conferences, to put some of the billions of dollars the sports makes back into the pockets of the players in the form of bridging the cost-of-attendance gap. They also come one day after Seattle Seahawk defensive end Michael Bennett called the NCAA “one of the biggest scams in America.”
UPDATED 3:04 p.m. ET: That certainly didn’t take long.
Shortly after we posted the above, UT fans took to Twitter to blast Foster for his admissions during the radio interview yesterday. At first Foster took this tack…
… and then, as the rhetoric from the other side began to ratchet up, he changed course…
… and ultimately landed here:
Grab your popcorn and head on over to Foster’s Twitter feed HERE. This could be fun for an hour or two.
If you thought the third-string quarterback who helped propel Ohio State to a three-win postseason run that culminated in a national championship, and who eschewed early entry into the NFL draft, would be the current Heisman front-runner, you’d be wrong.
Instead, it’s his backfield mate Ezekiel Elliott, who Bovada.lv has installed as a 6/1 favorite to win the 2015 Heisman Trophy. Considering Elliott’s late-season run, his placement as the front-runner is hardly a surprise.
Over the last three games, which included wins in the Big Ten championship game and the College Football Playoff semifinal and championship games, Elliott, just a sophomore, carried the ball 76 times for 696 yards and eight touchdowns. That’s more rushing yardage than Wake Forest (479) and Washington State (478) totaled the entire season. His eight rushing touchdowns in that three-game span were more than Wake (four), Wazzu (five) and Kent State (six) had in 12 games in 2014.
The last running back to win the Heisman was Alabama’s Mark Ingram in 2009.
As for the player alluded to in the lede? Cardale Jones is at 14/1, tied with a pair of running backs — Alabama’s Derrick Henry, Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine — and behind seven other players. Right behind Jones are the other parts to OSU’s upcoming three-headed quarterback battle: J.T. Barrett at 16/1, Braxton Miller at 18/1.
Getting back toward the top, a pair of SEC players are right on Elliott’s heels, with Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott, a midseason Heisman favorite last year before fading, and LSU freshman running back sensation Leonard Fournette at 7/1. TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin is not far behind the top three at 15/2.
There are no finalists for the 2014 version of the award on the initial 2015 odds list as all three — Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon, Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper — all left early for the NFL.
Below are the complete set of 2015 Heisman Trophy odds, again courtesy of Bovada.lv:
In that vein, the man who led the Blazers to a mini-renaissance, only to see it mercilessly executed, is lying in wait for what many are projecting to be a resurrection.
Speaking to Kevin Scarbinsky of al.com, Bill Clark stated that he’s had several opportunities to coach elsewhere since the sport was controversially axed in early December. Clark wouldn’t divulge any particular programs, but did allow that there were head-coaching as well as assistant offers on the table.
He turned them all down, in part because he wants to see how the situation at UAB plays out — “My heart is still at UAB. I love those people” — and in part because he’ll be fully vested in the state’s retirement system within a year.
Despite the program going on the chopping block, the 46-year-old Clark will still be paid the final two years of his contract, which will allow him to hit the 25-year mark of the state’s vesting threshold later in 2015.
Football-wise, Clark labeled it a “definite possibility” he’d return to the Blazers if the program was reinstated. There was, though, one potentially significant qualifier when it comes to a return.
“There’s a glimmer of hope for me and a lot of folks,” he said. “I love Birmingham and I love the state of Alabama, but a lot of things would have to happen, and it would have to be done correctly.”
The intimation from Clark is that the financial commitment from the school would need to be very tangible as the Blazers would essentially be a start-up program again as nearly every player of merit has fled the university to continue their playing careers elsewhere. Commitment outside of the financial from the administration would also seem to be paramount, although the program would seemingly have the backing of some well-heeled boosters who were ready to step in and save the sport in the first place. Even the faculty at the school would be behind a revival.
The situation’s gotten to the point where a state lawmaker is “seeking a ‘full, thorough, independent’ review of the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees to investigate accusations of board interference involving UAB athletics,” which serves as yet another suggestion that an about-face may be in order — and Clark may be the man to lead it.
In 2014, Clark’s first season at the school, the Blazers posted a 6-6 mark, the first time the team had finished a season with at least a .500 record since 2004. That’s the last time UAB was bowl-eligible, although the Blazers weren’t invited to play in a bowl game at the conclusion of this past season.
Last year was just the fourth time in the program’s 19-year history that the Blazers finished .500 or better, with the other two coming in 2000 and 2001.
Based on his lone season, and his loyalty to the school, Clark deserves the first crack at making it five. That’s the least the university could do if the sport’s reinstated.
Either Jim Mora or the person responsible for the UCLA head coach’s Twitter account needs to pick up a copy or of “Twitter for Dummies.”
Mora’s Twitter account was originally abandoned earlier this month after a tweet war erupted in the wake of the post-bowl handshake imbroglio with kindly Bill Snyder. Mora then moved to a private Twitter account before resurrecting the old one, as BruinsNation.com explained.
The account then posted the following photo late last night, one in a series of screen snaps astutely compiled and saved by the same SBNation.com website:
That would be a Bruins uniform photoshopped onto the body of Maea Teuhema, a five-star 2015 recruit Mora and the Bruins are trying to flip away from LSU. That would also be an NCAA no-no as coaches are not permitted to acknowledged unsigned prospects in such a manner.
In a gallant attempt to cram the toothpaste back into the tube, one in which we harken back to the golden age of “the dog ate my homework” excuses, the account went here with its explanation:
As of now, if you attempt to access Mora’s Twitter account, you get the following
When it comes to social media in general and Twitter specifically, Mora might want to take to heart the (paraphrased) sage advice Brian Fantana gently offered Champ Kind: “Take it easy, Champ. Why don’t you sit this next one out, stop tweeting for a while.”
Things seemingly got a little dicey on the quarterback recruiting front for Texas A&M and its faithful over the last week.
Kyler Murray, one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the Class of 2015, has been a long-time verbal commitment to Texas A&M, his father’s alma mater. Then came a tweet from Murray’s personal Twitter account in which he showed a picture of a Texas Longhorn jersey while on a surprise visit to Austin.
Just as quickly as the recruit caused a rise in Aggie Nation’s collective blood pressure via Twitter, Murray, following an in-home visit from A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin, brought it back down on the same social media website Thursday night with a short and simple missive less than a week before National Signing Day.
In an interview with ESPN.com a short time later, Murray explained that the face-to-face with Sumlin yesterday reaffirmed his commitment to the Aggies.
“Texas A&M is where my heart is at,” Murray said late Thursday night. “Coach [Charlie] Strong and Texas is a great opportunity, but I felt that A&M was the place for me. Not because of my dad having played there, but just the right place for me. …
“It went well. All my questions were answered. I just can’t wait to get this all over with and get back to playing ball.”
To further buttress Murray’s commitment, an in-home visit from Strong that had been expected Friday won’t take place after all.
Murray would/will be a four-star member of A&M’s 2015 recruiting class, rated as the No. 5 dual-threat quarterback in the country and the No. 9 player at any position in the state of Texas by Rivals.com. It’s at this point in the program where we note that verbal commitments are non-binding and nothing is official until the Herbie Hancock is put on paper next Wednesday, but it doesn’t appear as if Murray will be flipping at any point in the near future.
A&M, though, is not completely out of the woods when it comes to procuring Murray’s talents for at least the next three years, although the competition could come from another sport.
Meanwhile, baseball is a threat to A&M… when it comes to Murray. As an infielder with power at the plate, he projects as a potential first-round selection in the June amateur draft, and he’ll likely have to decide between signing a pro baseball contract or playing college football.
If he does play football, he has said he intends to play baseball as well at the college of his choosing.
It’s highly likely Murray will opt for football with baseball as a secondary collegiate option ala Jameis Winston, especially given the new MLB restrictions on amateur spending, but it’s a situation that bears keeping at least one eye on when June rolls around.
(Photo credit: Rivals.com)