Mississippi State disassociates itself from booster

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More details surrounding the story of Mississippi State, its former wide receivers coach and former Memphis-area recruits are coming forward.

It started when Bulldogs receivers coach Angelo Mirando stepped down suddenly eight days ago for what he claimed were unforeseen personal reasons. A few days later, it was reported by ESPN’s Joe Schad that Mirando resigned ”in the wake of an ongoing NCAA investigation into his recruitment of at least one Bulldogs player.” That player would later be identified as freshman Will Redmond. 

MSU would only confirm that it was collaborating with the NCAA to “examine a potential recruiting irregularity,” which was apparently coming to an end shortly. Mirando (pictured) was replaced by former Minnesota coach Tim Brewster. 

Now, through an open records request via the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, it’s apparent that the school has disassociated itself from a booster for engaging “in impermissible contact with the prospective student-athlete.”

The letter, which was written by MSU’s outside counsel Michael Glazier, is dated July 13 and addressed to a member of the Bulldog Club, MSU’s fundraising arm for athletics. The booster’s name has been redacted.

“The (NCAA) investigation has revealed that as a representative of Mississippi State’s athletic interests (Bulldog Club member), you engaged in impermissible contact with the prospective student-athlete and that other violations of NCAA rules also may have occurred,” the letter reads.

The letter refers to the following impermissible actions: A booster may not “participate in any organization recognized by the University as a supporter of the University’s athletic programs; assist the University in the recruitment of prospective student-athletes;  make a financial or gift in kind contribution for the support of the University’s athletics programs; receive any privilege associated with Mississippi State athletics that is not available to the general public.”

The Memphis Commercial Appeal also reported Tuesday that two former Memphis-area recruits — Georgia cornerback Sheldon Dawson and former Alabama signee Brandon Hill — are connected to NCAA interviews with a Mississippi State interest, although the exact topics are unknown. Dawson is reportedly set to speak with the NCAA this Friday while Hill spoke with the NCAA six months ago.

Hill’s coach at St. George’s, Brent Hill, told the Commercial Appeal “We didn’t see anything dirty… I never witnessed anything, and neither did our kid.”

What does all of this mean for Mississippi State? Not sure yet.

It’s not the first time the NCAA has visited Memphis this month, either. Auburn running back Jovon Robinson has already been declared ineligible for this season after it was discovered that at least one of Robinson’s grades at Wooddale HigH School was changed by a guidance counselor without approval.

Florida’s statement on Jim McElwain’s death-threat claim is interesting, to say the least

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Maybe it’s nothing, maybe it’s something.  Regardless, it’s something that bears watching.

Losers of two in a row and off to a 3-3 start to the season,  Florida has underperformed and underwhelmed to say the least.  So much so, in fact, that head coach Jim McElwain indicated Monday that he, his family, his coaching staff and players have been subjected to death threats by unknown individuals.

The head coach went into no detail publicly regarding the nature of the threats.  Apparently, it was the same privately when discussing the situation with his employer.

OK then.

Again, it could be in the same neighborhood as naked shark humping — nothing. Bears watching, though, as one very outspoken member of the Florida media is very much already doing publicly about a situation that was apparently reported to the media before it was reported to the police or even the university.

LOOK: Arizona State to wear Pat Tillman-themed uniforms

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Pat Tillman is essentially the Knute Rockne of Arizona State football, the central figure that will be as important to the program 100 years from now as he is today. And while Notre Dame will wear Rockne-themed uniforms later this season, so, too, will Arizona State.

The program revealed Tillman-centric uniforms on Monday for their Nov. 4 game with Colorado, based on the uniform Tillman wore as a member of the U.S. Army while fighting in Afghanistan.

Tillman played linebacker at Arizona State from 1994-97 (he was named the Pac-10’s Defensive Player of the Year as a senior) and then spent four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals before the events of 9/11 inspired him to join the U.S. Army. He was a member of the Army Rangers before he was killed in action in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004, at age 27.

Arizona State unveiled a Tillman statue at Sun Devil Stadium at its season-opening win over New Mexico State.

“Pat spent his whole life trying to be the best person he could possibly be,” Kevin Tillman, Pat’s brother, said at the unveiling. “He didn’t focus on money, he didn’t focus on fame, he didn’t focus on a pretty statue. It was, ‘How can I make myself a better person in all these different facets of my life?’ And ASU gave him an opportunity to do that.”

Jim McElwain says family, players have received death threats over 3-3 start

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Florida has lost two in a row and is off to a 3-3 start, and that streak will probably reach three on Saturday after the Gators meet No. 3 Georgia. While everyone knows SEC fans are passionate about their football, some have taken Florida’s struggles too far.

How far? By threatening to kill the players and coaches.

“I think it’s a pretty good lesson for the way things are,” head coach Jim McElwain said, via Only Gators. “There’s a lot of hate in this world and a lot of anger. And yet, it’s freedom to show it. The hard part is, obviously, when it’s threats against your own players, death threats to your families, the ill will that’s brought upon out there. And yet, I think it’s really one of those deals that really is a pretty good testament to what’s going on out there nationally. There’s a lot of angry people, and in this business, we’re the ones you take the shots at. And that’s the way it is.”

In my experience, it seems people lodging death threats are far more serious about the threat part than the, uh, other. But that’s easy for me to say, I’ve never received one.

Report: Sam Darnold expected to return to USC in 2018

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Sam Darnold was appointed the No. 1 pick of the 2018 NFL Draft on the second day of 2017. As a redshirt freshman, Darnold torched Penn State to the tune of 33-of-53 passing for 453 yards with five touchdowns and one interception in a 52-49 Rose Bowl win.

One problem, though. Darnold hasn’t played like a No. 1 pick this season.

While he hasn’t been the most disappointing player on what’s turning out to be a disappointing USC team, Darnold has posted pedestrian numbers (for him): hitting 63.5 percent of his passes for an even eight yards per attempt with 17 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. He ranks 38th nationally in passing efficiency. This puts him, coincidentally, one spot ahead of former USC quarterback Max Browne.

On Monday, NFL Draft analyst Benjamin Allbright shared a report that Darnold is expected to return to USC next season.

Considering Ronald Jones could return next season and that Stephen Carr is just a freshman, the prospect of Darnold returning in 2018 has to take the sting out of a lost 2017 for Trojans fans.