Last season as one of the top defensive players in the country, Tyrann Mathieu was the only player from that side of the ball among the five finalists for the 2011 Heisman Trophy.
In what is nothing less than a shocking and significant development, the player nicknamed the Honey Badger will have no shot at repeating that feat or, more importantly, helping LSU defend its SEC title.
At a press conference Monday afternoon, head coach Les Miles announced that the All-American cornerback is no longer on the team after violating team policy. What that specific violation was has yet to be revealed.
“This is a very difficult day for our team,” Miles said in a statement. “We lose a quality person, teammate and contributor to the program. However, with that being said, we have a standard that our players are held to and when that standard is not met, there are consequences.
“It’s hard because we all love Tyrann. We will do what we can as coaches, teammates, and friends to get him on a path where he can have success. We are going to miss him.”
Mathieu was one of three players suspended for one game last season, reportedly for failing a drug test. The drug in question was allegedly synthetic marijuana.
Suffice to say, this is a huge blow for the Tigers, ranked No. 1 in the coaches’ poll and No. 4 in our attempt at preseason prognostication. Already somewhat thin at the position thanks to the departure of fellow All-American corner Morris Claiborne, Mathieu’s departure leaves a gaping and inexperienced hole in the secondary.
Mathieu’s loss will also be felt on special teams. Last season as a sophomore, Mathieu returned two punts for touchdowns and finished fourth in the nation in returns with a 15.6 average.
On April 25, East Carolina announced that Kurt Benkert had decided to transfer out of the Pirates football program. Less than a week later, the quarterback has found himself a new football home.
On Twitter Sunday afternoon, Benkert confirmed that he will be enrolling at Virginia and continuing his collegiate playing career with the Cavaliers. Beckert also acknowledged his decision in a text message to 247Sports.com.
“I’m really excited to be here,” Beckert said in a portion of the brief text.
As Beckert is headed to UVa. as a graduate transfer, he will be eligible to play for the Hoos immediately in 2016. Not only that, but he will have two years of eligibility remaining.
Beckert was named the Pirates’ starter in early August of 2015, but sustained a right knee injury a couple of weeks later that knocked him out for the entire season. In Charlottesville, Beckert will join a competition that includes returning starter Matt Johns and Texas/Arizona transfer Connor Brewer.
In my seven-plus years at CFT, I’ve never been shy in expressing my absolute and utter respect for Mark Richt, whether it was for an honorable against-the-grain stance on transfers or honoring a high school football player who tragically drowned before he could become a walk-on at Georgia or myriad other things. Sunday, Richt solidified that respect.
As you may know, Richt and UGA parted ways this offseason, with the head coach ultimately moving on to Miami to take over his alma mater’s football program. As expected, his departure from Athens was classy.
Just as expected, one of Richt’s returns to his old stomping grounds further showed his class.
Not to be outdone, Richt’s replacement showed his class as well.
Bravo to both head coaches. Sometimes, most times, being classy is the absolute right move — even as Richt’s successor could take some lessons from his predecessor when it comes to transfers.
Forget about going shirtless at a satellite camp or a sleepover or climbing up a tree or any of the like; this is what you call a recruiting pitch.
During the course of the three-day NFL draft, a dozen former Ohio State Buckeyes were drafted. While OSU failed to break its own record for most picks in a single draft, the 12 selections in the first four rounds were the most ever.
And, not surprisingly, those players are going to get paid.
According to PennLive.com‘s David Jones, those players will sign contracts that could be worth a total of $120 million. Tim May of the Columbus Dispatch has the number pegged slightly lower at $111,462,707. Either way, that’s a lot of cash — and a lot dollar signs for Urban Meyer to flout in front of potential recruits.
Of course, not all of that money is guaranteed, although the guaranteed dollars involved aren’t too shabby either. From the Dispatch:
Just the signing bonuses alone, which range from Bosa’s projected $17,017,226 to Jones’ $383,393, have an expected total of $60,526,660. Unless a player does something to cause his contract to be voided, signing bonuses are theirs to keep.
Regardless of how you spin it, former Buckeyes did quite well financially the last couple of days. And, as Jones alludes to when it comes to James Franklin and Penn State specifically and the Big Ten in general, Meyer and the Buckeyes are in an entirely different zip code than the rest of the conference — a fact that will no doubt come up on the vast expanses of the recruiting trail.
The good news for Franklin and Penn State: They had three of those 11. The bad news for them and everyone else in the league: Urban Meyer is probably preparing a recruiting flyer right now with a 9-figure dollar amount printed in big bold numbers.
On the same day some details emerged on an Alabama assistant’s “resignation,” that assistant’s potential replacement has been identified.
Citing unnamed sources, al.com is reporting that Karl Dunbar is expected to be hired as the Tide’s new defensive line coach. Dunbar would replace Bo Davis, who “resigned” Friday amidst allegations of potential NCAA violations.
Dunbar served as Nick Saban‘s strength & conditioning coach at LSU from 2001-02, and then returned to Baton Rouge as Les Miles‘ line coach in 2005 after spending two years (2003-04) in the same position at Oklahoma State.
Most of Dunbar’s coaching career, though, especially recently, has come at the NFL level.
From 2006-11, Dunbar was the line coach for the Minnesota Vikings, and then held the same job with the New York Jets from 2012-2014. Hired by Rex Ryan to coach the Buffalo Bills’ line in 2015, Dunbar was fired in March of this year.
Dunbar is a former NFL defensive lineman who played for Arizona in 1994-95, when Ryan was one of his Cardinals assistant.