With Wilton Speight seemingly holding down the quarterback position for the foreseeable future, Shane Morris has decided his time at Michigan should come to an end. Reportedly.
According to ESPN.com‘s Tom VanHaaren, Morris is planning to pursue a graduate transfer from UM. Should Morris leave the Wolverines in such a manner, he’d be immediately eligible to play at another FBS school in 2017.
He has one year of eligibility remaining.
Morris came to Ann Arbor with significant hype, a four-star 2013 recruit rated as the No. 3 pro-style quarterback in the country by 247Sports.com. In four years with the program, he started a total of two games.
The first start came at the end of his true freshman season, with an injury to Devin Gardner opening the door for Morris to start the bowl game that year. His second was memorable as well.
Morris shot to the epicenter of what became a national debate over concussion protocols after his apparently concussed self was reinserted into a mid-October game in 2014. The situation brought significant criticism on the football program, but also led to the Big Ten adopting a conference-wide standard for concussion treatment.
In 2015, Morris not only lost out on the starting job to graduate transfer Jake Rudock but also fell behind Speight on the depth chart. Spight then beat him out for the starting job this season.
Both Speight and John O’Korn, who served as the primary backup in 2016, will return for the 2017 season.
During his time at UM, Morris completed 47 of his 92 pass attempts for 434 yards, zero touchdowns and five interceptions. In mop-up duty this season, he went 4-5 for 45 yards.
Shortly after Alabama’s SEC championship game win over Florida Saturday, Nick Saban stated that Shaun Dion Hamilton is “probably going to be out for the year” because of an unspecified knee injury. If one report is accurate, you can take “probably” out of the equation.
Citing unnamed sources, al.com has reported that the starting inside linebacker sustained a torn ACL in his right knee during the win. An MRI confirmed the severity of the injury, although the football program has not yet acknowledged any specifics..
The injury will keep Hamilton sidelined for the College Football Playoff semifinal and, should ‘Bama get past Washington, the championship game as well.
Entering the league title game, Hamilton was second on the Tide in tackles. His 64 tackles are now third on the Tide.
He’ll be replaced in the starting lineup by Rashaan Evans.
It was reported over the weekend that Oregon could have its opening at head coach filling by Tuesday. A day later than that timeline, it appears the Ducks are on the verge of doing just that.
According to a tweet from ESPN.com‘s Brett McMurphy, Willie Taggart of USF will be named as the next head football coach at Oregon. No timeframe for an announcement was given. FootballScoop.com subsequently confirmed the initial report.
The latter site added that Taggart was informed the job was his last night and that the coach wanted to let his Bulls players know today, presumably prior to an announcement being made.
USF’s Willie Taggart will be named Oregon’s coach, a source told @ESPN
— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) December 7, 2016
We can add, Taggart was told last night that he was getting the job, wanted to let his players know today https://t.co/gnmOH78nk3
— FootballScoop Staff (@FootballScoop) December 7, 2016
Taggart was interviewed by UO athletic director Rob Mullens in Dallas last Thursday. Tony Dungy, whose son played his football for both the Ducks and Taggart at USF, has publicly stumped for the coach to be hired by the Pac-12 program.
In his fourth season with the Bulls, Taggart has seen his win total increase every year, going from two in his first season in 2013 to four to eight to a 10-win season this year that has another game to go. It’s unlikely Taggart sees this season through, however.
Taggart has also been the head coach at Western Kentucky. After a 2-10 start, he guided the Hilltoppers to a pair of seven-win seasons before leaving for the Bulls.
In addition to Taggart, Boise State’s Bryan Harsin also reportedly interviewed for the Ducks job. The program reportedly offered the position to Matt Rhule, who left Temple after he was named the head coach at Baylor Tuesday.
With Oregon apparently closed, there are no current Power Five jobs open, which seemingly means that P.J. Fleck will be staying at Western Michigan for at least another season. Counting USF, there are currently eight Group of Six jobs that will need to be filled — Cincinnati, FAU, Georgia State, Houston, Nevada, San Jose State, Temple
After nearly a month on the job, Jeff Tedford has made his first official hires at Fresno State.
Tuesday, Fresno announced that Tedford has added four assistant coaches to his first Bulldogs staff — Jamie Christian (running backs/special teams coordinator), Kirby Moore (wide receivers), Scott Thompson (tight ends) and J.D. Williams (defensive backs). Those four represent nearly one-half of what will be a nine-man coaching staff.
Just two of the four have been position coaches at the FBS level before — Christian and Williams.
The former spent the 2016 season as the running backs coach at UNLV, his second season with the Rebels. Christian has also spent time at FBS programs like Houston (2012-14, special teams coordinator/tight ends/inside receivers), Arizona State (2007-11, special teams coordinator/inside receivers) and Idaho (2006, special teams coordinator/running backs).
The latter was also an assistant at UNLV the past two seasons, serving as the corners coach as well. That was his second stint at UNLV, the first coming 2010-13. He’s also been a defensive backs coach at Utah (2009), Washington (2006-08) and Cal (2002-05).
Moore was an offensive grad assistant at Washington last year, his second year in the profession. Thomas was an offensive assistant at USC in 2016. Prior to that, he held football staff positions at USC (2010-15) and Tennessee (2009).
Christian, Thompson and Williams are all former Bulldogs football players. Williams also served as an assistant at his alma mater (2000-01).