The preseason ACC Player of the Year won’t get a chance to make an immediate impact for Clemson this fall.
Specifically, he’ll have to wait two games.
In a release Friday evening, Tigers coach Dabo Swinney said wide receiver Sammy Watkins will serve a two-game suspension for his offseason arrest for drug related charges.
“I told Sammy this past May that there would be a high-end (number of games) and a low-end, and it would be up to him as to the length of his suspension,” Swinney said in a prepared statement. “He has done everything we have asked and then some, so the two-game suspension is the low-end. He just finished his responsibilities last week and I met with Bob Arial (Watkins’s lawyer) today to make sure everything had been completed properly.
“The game of football, or a game of football will never be more important to me than teaching young people important life lessons. I have learned that many times something that seems to be the worst thing that can happen to you can become the best thing. I know Sammy will learn from this and use this to make a difference in other people’s lives. I look forward to having number-two back on the field soon.”
In addition to his preseason ACC honors, Watkins has been named to several award watch lists and preseason All-America teams.
“I accept this suspension,” said Watkins. “I made a mistake and realized that when this first happened. One thing we learn in this program is that there are consequences for your actions. The entire summer has been a learning experience. I am ready to get past this and look forward to September 15 when I can return to game day in Death Valley.”
Clemson opens up the season in Atlanta against Auburn before hosting Ball State.
In Auburn’s 113-year history, it’s never played a Big Ten opponent in a regular season game. That’ll change in five years.
Penn State and Auburn announced Monday morning a home-and-home series to take place in 2021 and 2022. The first game will be played in State College on Sept. 18, 2021 and the return will take place at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Sept. 17, 2022.
“This is another great opportunity for our players and fans to be part of something special,” Auburn Director of Athletics Jay Jacobs said. “Bringing together elite programs rich in tradition is what college football is all about. We look forward to this home-and-home series with Penn State.”
Making matters betters is the home-and-home nature of this series, instead of playing it as a neutral site one-off to begin a season. Those games are fun (and, far more importantly, generate a ton of revenue) but having Penn State travel to Alabama and Tigers fans going to State College is a far better experience for traveling fanbases.
Auburn and Penn State have met twice before in bowl games, with the most recent meeting a 13-9 Tigers win in the 2003 Capital One Bowl.
Penn State also added a 2021 home game against Ball State on Monday, per ESPN’s Brett McMurphy.
Notre Dame rising redshirt junior wide receiver Torii Hunter Jr.‘s status with Brian Kelly’s football team won’t change after he signed with the Los Angeles Angels over the weekend.
Hunter is Notre Dame’s leading returning receiver after catching 28 passes for 363 yards and two touchdowns last year. But even though he now has a professional baseball contract, his focus will remain on football and the beginning of preseason camp in August.
Hunter, the son of former Minnesota Twins, Angels and Detroit Tigers All-Star/Gold Glover Torii Hunter Sr., was a 23rd-round pick in this year’s MLB Draft.
Hunter, an outfielder, was primarily used as a pinch runner and defensive replacement for Mik Aoki’s Irish baseball team this spring. He worked a crazy schedule (“what is sleep?” he asked) to split time between baseball, spring football and classwork in March and April and hit .182/.308/.182 in 11 at-bats.
Hunter’s baseball highlight came at Florida State, though, a few days after he made a spectacular catch reeling in a Malik Zaire deep ball in Notre Dame’s Blue and Gold Game.
Auburn could be the beneficiary of an offensive transfer in the not-too-distant future, but the football program has apparently sustained a loss on the other side of the ball.
In a tweet posted to his personal Twitter account Sunday, Justin Thomas-Thornton revealed that he will be “pursuing my collegiate football and academic endeavors elsewhere.” The defensive lineman gave no reason for his decision to leave The Plains.
Thomas-Thornton, a four-star 2014 signee, played in the 2015 opener against Louisville, but didn’t see any other action the remainder of the year.
If Thomas-Thornton opts for another FBS program, he will be forced to sit out the 2016 season. He’d then be left with two seasons of eligibility that he’d be able to use beginning in 2017.
Finally, a personnel attrition post on this late-June Sunday that doesn’t involve Baylor.
In mid-May, wide receiver Ryan Sousa announced via Twitter that he had decided to transfer out of the Florida football program, and ultimately landed at FCS Southern Illinois. A little over six weeks later, a fellow Gator receiver has apparently made a similar decision, with Scout.com reporting that Alvin Bailey will leave Jim McElwain‘s squad.
No reason was given for the receiver’s decision, although the recruiting website has an idea as to why.
The Gators added five receivers in the 2016 recruiting class, three of which were on campus in the spring. Junior college transfer Dre Massey seemed to pull ahead of Bailey in the month long practices held between March and April.
The school has declined to address Bailey’s status with the football program.
Bailey was a four-star member of UF’s 2013 recruiting class, rated as the No. 22 receiver in the country. The production never quite matched the recruiting pedigree, though, with Bailey catching three passes for 49 years in his career in Gainesville. All of those stats came during the 2015 season.