The beginning of preseason practices didn’t open up with particularly good news for Air Force. It’s not simply that the Falcons are down five players, it’s that the handful was expected to major contributors this season.
Air Force coach Troy Calhoun announced Friday that linebacker Jamil Cooks, receivers Brandon Hirneise and Mikel Hunter, tight end Devin Durden and safety Anthony Wooding are not with the team. Calhoun added that the five were not suspended, but aren’t on the roster.
“Right now, they’re not practicing, they’re not here,” Calhoun said, adding that the players were, however, still enrolled in the academy.
The Colorado Springs Gazette states that when players aren’t part of the team, it’s typically because of one of four reasons: a violation of the honor code, academics, military performance problems or a physical fitness issue.
Of the five, the absences of Cooks and Wooding may be felt most. Wooding was the team’s fifth-leading tackler last year with 57 tackles, with Cooks adding another 50. Hunter was the team’s third-leading receiver last year with 14 receptions for 244 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Just ahead of the start of summer camp, Bowling Green has further solidified its depth and experience along its offensive line.
Appearing at the MAC football preview Wednesday, Mike Jinks confirmed that John Kurtz has been added to his Bowling Green football roster. Kurtz comes to the Falcons as a graduate transfer, which would technically give him immediate eligibility.
“He played spring football for Cincinnati and was in the rotation for playing time on the offensive line,” Jinks said according to the Toledo Blade. “He’s a kid who has a chance to have an impact right away.
“The opportunity is there for him to play right away for us. This is a big ‘get’ for us.”
Jinks also hinted that Kurtz, who has two years of eligibility remaining, could be a redshirt candidate for the 2017 season as well.
Despite being just a two-star 2014 recruit, he was rated as the No. 12 player at any position in the state of Kentucky. During his time with the Bearcats, Kurtz played sparingly.
Maybe the third time will be a charm for Cameron Echols-Luper?
On his personal Instagram account Wednesday, Echols-Luper revealed that he has decided to continue his collegiate playing career at Western Kentucky. According to the Bowling Green Daily News, the decision was made following a visit to the school earlier this week.
As a graduate transfer, the wide receiver will be eligible to play immediately in 2017 for the Hilltoppers. However, he has to finish up some schoolwork at his former school, Arkansas State, before officially moving on to WKU.
Echols-Luper began his collegiate career at TCU in 2013, transferring to ASU in 2015. After sitting out that season, he was third on the Red Wolves in receptions (26) and receiving yards (407). His 15.7 yards per reception was second on the team.
In early March, Noah Jefferson announced on Twitter that he would be transferring from USC to Arizona. Nearly five months later?
Wednesday, UA head coach Rich Rodriguez announced that Jefferson will not, as previously expected, be playing for the Wildcats this season. No reason for the abrupt and unexpected about-face was given.
The coach did, though, intimate that a future pairing between the player and the program isn’t out of the question.
Jefferson wouldn’t have been eligible to play in 2017 for the Wildcats even if his move to the desert had come to fruition. He would’ve, though, had two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2018 at his disposal.
A four-star member of USC’s 2015 recruiting class, Jefferson played in 14 games, starting one of those, as a true freshman. After starting the season-opening loss to Alabama last season, Jefferson never played another down for USC.
For the first time since his unceremonious exit from Ole Miss, Hugh Freeze has spoken publicly. Somewhat.
In what was described as a brief interview with USA Today Sports Wednesday, the former Ole Miss head coach said his family and church have helped him get through the storm of the last few days. When asked if his family was standing by him, Freeze responded, “Oh, gosh, yeah.”
“God is good, even in difficult times,’’ Freeze told the website. “Wonderful wife and family, and that’s my priority.”
“I got some good friends,” the former head coach added.
The stunning news dropped last Thursday night that Freeze’s tenure as the head coach at Ole Miss had come to an end because of at least one call from his university-issued cell phone to a known escort service. While Freeze blamed the call on a misdial, the administration found a “pattern of misconduct” during a deep dive into his phone records, leading the school to confront the coach about the situation.
After meetings with Freeze Wednesday night and then again Thursday morning, it became apparent that, if he didn’t resign, the school was going to fire him.
Because of a moral turpitude clause in his contract, there was neither a buyout nor a settlement.