Already without quarterback Tommy Rees and linebacker Carlo Calabrese for Saturday’s season opener against Navy in Dublin, Ireland, because of suspension, Notre Dame will be without one of its best offensive weapons too.
Keith Arnold over at Inside the Irish reports that running back Cierre Wood has been suspended for Saturday’s game, and perhaps longer. Notre Dame’s independent student newspaper, The Observer, has also confirmed and contributed to the story. Brian Kelly later confirmed that Wood, along with defensive end Justin Utupo, would be suspended two games for a violation of team rules.
“Our players are aware of the standards I set for our program and that failure to meet my expectations will result in consequences,” Kelly said. “Justin and Cierre violated our team rules so I’ve suspended them for the first two games of the season.”
Apparently, though, it wasn’t a sudden move:
While the news stayed air-tight throughout the preseason, the suspension isn’t news to Wood or the running back depth chart. While the senior from Oxnard, California has taken reps with the first team — as recently as yesterday — the position grouping has done its best to adapt to the situation, working in reserves Riddick, Atkinson, and cross-training running back-turned-cornerback-turned running back-again Cam McDaniel in case of an emergency. (Slot receiver Davonte Neal and transfer Amir Carlisle are also capable options.)
It’s a big loss, bigger than Rees to be honest. Everett Golson was named the starting quarterback for Saturday’s game last week and there’s a good chance he will remain the starting QB if he plays well.
Wood, on the other hand, was a 1,000-yard rusher last season and averaged over five yards per carry. Reportedly replacing him for a game (or longer) won’t be impossible — or maybe that difficult — but there’s no denying the playmaking ability Wood brings to the football field.
Just a little over a month after leaving South Carolina, Connor Mitch has found himself a new college football home.
On Twitter Monday, Mitch revealed that he will continue his collegiate playing career at James Madison. As the Dukes play at the FCS level, and Mitch himself is a recent graduate of USC, the quarterback will be eligible to play immediately in 2016.
Additionally, Mitch will have two seasons of eligibility remaining.
Mitch started the first two games of the 2015 season for the Gamecocks before a hip injury and shoulder injury knocked him out for the remainder of the year.
Part of a five-man competition in the spring, Mitch fell behind the current front-runner, freshman Brandon McIlwain, as well as a pair of quarterbacks injured for portions of the spring, senior Perry Orth and sophomore Lorenzo Nunez. That positioning on the depth chart apparently led to his mid-May transfer.
During his time in Columbia, Mitch completed 15-of-35 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown. He also added 48 yards and another touchdown on 17 carries.
Another former Baylor Bear has found himself a landing spot, although this time it’s not rival Texas that’s the beneficiary.
On Twitter overnight, Kam Martin announced that he has committed to play his college football for the Auburn Tigers. The running back’s decision came shortly after the Texas native took a visit to The Plains.
Martin opted for Auburn over TCU.
“The main reason I committed to Auburn was because it’s family, man,” Martin told SEC Country in an interview after announcing his decision. “Those guys did everything that I wanted to hear and everything speaks for itself. It’s the SEC, one of the biggest fan bases in the nation and I just want to be a part of something big and special.”
Martin was one of five 2016 Baylor signees who were granted releases by the university from their National Letters of Intent last week. A four-star 2016 signee according to 247Sports.com, the 5-10, 178-pound Johnson was rated as the No. 7 all-purpose back in the country; the No. 39 player at any position in the state of Texas; and the No. 268 player overall on that recruiting website’s composite board.
As is the case with other 2016 Bears signees who have fled Waco, Johnson will be eligible to play immediately in 2016.
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.