Arizona State Introduces Todd Graham

Todd Graham makes headlines again, this time for a good reason

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Todd Graham was labeled as disingenuous and a job hopper when he took off after one year with Pittsburgh for Arizona State.

Much of the criticism Graham received was merited. It’s not that Graham left the Panthers so soon — people change jobs all the time — but how he left. Graham didn’t tell his players in person he was leaving after asking them time and time again to commit to the program (and to him), and continued to bash Pitt after he left.

For that, you can understand why there was scoffing among media members every time Graham preached commitment at ASU.

But, in fairness to Graham, you have to report the good with the bad. Check out this letter sent to the Arizona Republic below about some lives Graham affected in a positive way:

I wanted to inform both The Republic and everyone in Arizona about a recent interaction I was fortunate enough to have with Arizona State University football coach Todd Graham. 

A very good friend of mine, Garrett Gorzalski, was in Hospice of Arizona with a terminal illness. We contacted the ASU Athletic Department to see if there was something we could do as a tribute to him to lift his spirits in the final days. 

Much to our surprise, we were immediately contacted by Coach Graham, who asked if he could come out and see Garrett personally. Despite being in LA for Pac-12 media day, he promised to come and see him as soon as he got back. 

Not only did Coach come to visit, he actually led us all in a prayer for my friend as well and promised to send the game ball to us should they beat Missouri. Most people would have just responded via email. 

This was a very special moment as it turned out to be one of the last we spent with Garrett. Coach Graham’s only response when questioned as to why he would show was, “That’s what we do.” He did when most don’t. Thank you. 

— Patrick Lewis, Tempe

Have to applaud Graham for following through. It was a kind gesture, and one Lewis and the Gorzalski family won’t soon forget.

(Hat tip: ESPN’s Pac-12 blog) 

Baylor issues statement in wake of president’s reported ouster

WACO, TX - DECEMBER 06:  Baylor University President and Chancellor Ken Starr runs onto the field with the Baylor Line before their game against the  Kansas State Wildcats on December 6, 2014  at McLane Stadium in Waco, Texas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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It appears the reports of the demise of Baylor’s president are, at least for now, premature.

Tuesday morning the college football world awoke to the news that BU was expected to remove Ken Starr as the university’s president before the end of the month, if not sooner.  The latter seemed to come to fruition as, a short time after HornsDigest.com released that report, the recruiting website updated to state that the school’s Board of Regents had indeed fired Starr.

Starr, in his sixth year as president, had been mentioned in a damning Outside the Lines report earlier this month as having been aware of at least one instance of assault involving a Bears football player and did nothing.

A short time after the Scout.com report surfaced this morning, Baylor released a statement in which Starr is not mentioned specifically, but the timeline for a public response to an independent report on the university’s handling of sexual assault allegations involving football players was detailed.

The Baylor Board of Regents continues its work to review the findings of the Pepper Hamilton investigation and we anticipate further communication will come after the Board completes its deliberations.  We will not respond to rumors, speculation or reports based on unnamed sources, but when official news is available, the university will provide it.  We expect an announcement by June 3.

Injury-plagued Utah TE Evan Moeai says he’s getting fifth year

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - SEPTEMBER 3: Close up view of the new satin red football helmets worn by the Utah Utes during their game against the Michigan Wolverines at  Rice-Eccles Stadium on September 3, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
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Finally, a break has gone Utah’s Evan Moeai‘s way.

On the very first play from scrimmage during the 2014 season opener, Moeai sustained what turned out to be a season-ending knee injury.  A year later, in the 2015 opener, the tight end went down with yet another season-ending injury.

According to the Deseret News, Moeai posted on his private Instagram account that he has received a fifth season of eligibility from the NCAA.  The Utes have yet to confirm the development, although it’s one that’s been expected.

Moeai began his collegiate career at the JUCO level, then played in three games during his first season with the Utes in 2013.  He, obviously, played in one game each of the last two seasons.

Moeai caught one pass for five yards in 2015 before he went down with his second season-ending injury.

Ex-Ohio State lineman to continue career at Cincinnati

CINCINNATI - NOVEMBER 13:  Fans of the Cincinnati Bearcats cheer on their team at the start of the game against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Nippert Stadium on November 13, 2009 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Less than two weeks after leaving Ohio State, Grant Schmidt has a new college football home — and he won’t even have to leave the state to get there.

Citing university sources, the Cincinnati Enquirer is reporting that Schmidt will continue his collegiate playing career at Cincinnati.  The offensive lineman had indicated earlier this month that the Bearcats would be his landing spot.

Because of NCAA transfer rules, Schmidt will be forced to sit out the 2016 season.  He would then have three years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2017.

A three-star member of OSU’s 2015 recruiting class, 247Sports.com rated Schmidt as the No. 52 offensive tackle in the country and the No. 1 player at any position in the state of South Dakota.  Schmidt was the first player from that state to sign with the Buckeyes, but he failed to become the first to play in a game as he didn’t see the field during his brief stint in Columbus.

Schmidt’s mid-May move was believed to be related to a logjam along the offensive line and his failure to make a dent on the depth chart during spring practice.

Josh Rosen, on UCLA’s $280 million deal: ‘we’re still amateurs though … gotta love non-profits’

SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 26:  Josh Rosen #3 of the UCLA Bruins runs back to the bench after he threw a touchdown pass to Kenneth Walker III against the Nebraska Cornhuskers during the Foster Farms Bowl at Levi's Stadium on December 26, 2015 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Here’s to guessing that, right or wrong, Jim Mora won’t be pleased with his young quarterback’s latest social media foray.

Late last week, the UCLA head coach used the public airwaves to help “guide” Josh Rosen down the straight and narrow.  Specifically, in regards to the Freshman All-American infamous “f**k Trump” cap flap this offseason, Mora stated that the rising sophomore was “heading towards Johnny Manziel” territory with stunts like that.

Hyperbole?  Yes.  But Rosen is seemingly hellbent on giving Mora further reason to continue down his odd “Money Manziel” path.

Shortly after it was reported that UCLA was set to sign a record-breaking $280 million apparel deal with Under Armour, Rosen took to social media to offer up some snark on the financial windfall that will line the pockets of the athletic department — and which the student-athletes won’t get a sniff.

We’re still amateurs though … Gotta love non-profits #NCAA

A photo posted by Josh Rosen (@josh3rosen) on May 24, 2016 at 8:53am PDT

(The tweet above was retweeted on Rosen’s personal Twitter account)

Coming from a kid who had a hot tub in his dorm his freshman season and whose parents graduated from Ivy League schools — one’s a surgeon — it might not be the actual money but the principle that has Rosen feeling feisty.  Whether his head coach gets just as feisty on his own JFF moral high ground in return remains to be seen.