Report: Gruden tells Vols ‘thanks, but no thanks’

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In the post right below this one, we noted that curiously missing from one prominent gambling website’s odds on favorites to land the Tennessee job is the one individual most often connected to the opening.

Apparently, the degenerates know what the hell they’re talking about.

In the latest, and hopefully the last, dot connecting Jon Gruden to UT, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported overnight that the Vols have made what’s described by sources close to the process as a very lucrative offer to the current ESPN personality. Based on the Chattanooga paper’s report, the only thing standing in the way of a consummation is money that would be devoted to assembling a coaching staff.

Or, ya know, the candidate actually agreeing to the opportunity in the first place.

According to Jimmy Hyams of WNML radio in Knoxville, Gruden, while he appreciated the opportunity, “is OUT as a candidate” for the Vols’ coaching job.  Gruden reportedly informed UT officials of his decision after phone conversations — but apparently no face-to-face meetings — took place over the past week.

Hyams went on to write via Twitter that “UT athletic director Dave Hart will continue to interview candidates in New York next week.”  An announcement on a new coach, per Hyams, is expected in the next 7-10 days.

UPDATED 9:33 a.m. ET: CBSSports.com NFL insider Mike Freeman, one of the most respected names in the big-boy league game, has confirmed Hyams’ report via Twitter.

“Reported earlier this week Gruden would speak with Tennessee AD. He has and source close to Gruden confirms he told the Vols no thanks,” he wrote.

Freeman then got to the heart of what many observers have felt about the whole Gruden-to-Vols phenomenon: the man who has not coached at any level since 2008 loved being pursued by colleges as he leveraged a return to the NFL sidelines.

“I”m told Gruden’s interest was moderate at best,” wrote Freeman. “To me, Gruden just wanted to be wooed, and use the Vols as bait for pro teams.”

UPDATED 10:59 a.m. ET: The Knoxville News Sentinel is the latest to report Gruden is no longer a candidate, writing that “Gruden has told Tennessee he is not interested in pursuing the Vols’ vacant head coaching job.”

Per a source, the News Sentinel states that Gruden decided against pursuing the job after discussing the opportunity with his family.

Dismissed Rutgers FB-turned-wrestler returns to football team

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After a pit stop in another sport, Razohnn Gross‘ athletic career in Piscataway has come full circle.

Shortly before the start of the 2015 season, Rutgers announced that five football players, arrested a couple of days earlier in connection to an assault, had been dismissed from the program.  Nine months later, Gross returned to RU athletics, albeit as a wrestler.

Another nine months later?  Nj.com is reporting that Gross has rejoined the Scarlet Knights football program.  The fullback is currently taking part in spring practice with the team.

The arrests of Gross and the others early last September was the result of what had been an ongoing investigation by the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office and the New Brunswick Police Department. The investigation initially kicked off in the spring following a reported home invasion in New Brunswick. Per reports, three men wearing masks forced their way into the home and left with an undisclosed amount of cash and marijuana as five students were held at gunpoint.

That was followed by the five football players allegedly attacking a group of individuals that left one of them, a student, with a broken jaw.  That attack, reportedly (ahem) unprovoked, was directly connected to the incident mentioned above.

It was reported at the time of Gross joining the wrestling team that he was “accepted into a pretrial intervention probationary program last month” and, if he “stays out of trouble for the necessary time, his record will be cleared.” Gross has stayed out of trouble since; in fact, RU’s wrestling coach, Scott Goodale, has been effusive in his praise for how he has taken advantage of the second chance.

USF dismisses player arrested after being shot in road-rage incident

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It’s been a rough last few days, to say the least, for Hassan Childs.

Over the weekend, the South Florida defensive back was hospitalized in stable condition after being shot Saturday night.  Sunday, Childs was arrested and charged with three counts of aggravated assault and one count of misdemeanor marijuana possession in connection to a road rage incident the night he was shot.  Childs allegedly pointed a gun at least twice at a man, Jovanni Jimenez, and his family and was ultimately shot three times by Jimenez.  Jimenez hasn’t been charged as he’s claimed self-defense.

To add insult to literal injury, the senior safety has now been dismissed from his football team by first-year Bulls head coach Charlie Strong.

“When you look at this university and how great an institution it is, and the football program, it is a privilege to represent this program,” Strong said according to the Tampa Bay Times. “And there are standards and there are values that we uphold, and our players understand it is an obligation and it is a responsibility to represent it the right way.”

Childs played in a total of 26 games during his time with the Bulls. Eight of those appearances came during the 2016 season. He was credited with 16 tackles during what turned out to be his last season with the program, setting career-highs with five tackles in games against East Carolina and Navy.

In 2013, his first year with the program, he led the team with three interceptions. Those were the only picks of his career.

Five-star LB out for rest of Ohio State’s spring after shoulder surgery

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Some negative injury news comes with a bit of a silver lining for one of the highest-rated members of Ohio State’s 2017 recruiting class.

Urban Meyer confirmed Tuesday that true freshman linebacker Baron Browning will miss the remainder of spring practice because of an injury.  The early enrollee underwent surgery Tuesday morning to repair an unspecified issue in his shoulder.  The Buckeyes head coach declined to reveal the details surrounding the issue that led to the medical procedure, although one report indicated it’s a torn labrum.

The good news for OSU is that Browning should be able to return to football activities at some pint in June.  Barring a setback, he’s expected to be a full participant in summer camp at the start of August.

A five-star member of the Buckeyes’ 2017 recruiting class, Browning was rated as the No. 1 outside linebacker in the country; the No. 4 player at any position in the state of Texas; and the No. 11 player on 247Sports.com‘s composite board.  Only two signees in an OSU class that ranked second nationally were rated higher than Browning (.9936) — cornerback Jeffrey Okudah (.9954) and defensive end Chase Young (.9953).

Browning is expected to contribute immediately as a true freshman this season.

Kentucky transfer WR Jeff Badet moves on to Oklahoma

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Jeff Badet may have left Kentucky, but he hasn’t climbed out from underneath the Stoops coaching umbrella.

On his personal Twitter account Tuesday morning, Badet revealed that he will continue his collegiate playing career at Oklahoma.  The Sooners, of course, are coached by Bob Stoops; the wide receiver’s former program, the Wildcats, are coached by Mark Stoops.

Badet chose OU over another Big 12 school, West Virginia.  The receiver had paid a visit to Morgantown late last month.

In mid-January, the Wildcats announced that Badet had decided to transfer out of the UK football program.  Badet is on schedule to graduate in May, meaning he’ll be eligible to play immediately in 2017 for the Sooners.

A three-star member of the Wildcats’ 2013 recruiting class, Badet was third on the team in receptions and receiving yards as a true freshman.  A leg injury in spring practice the following year — a tennis ball to the eye didn’t help either — led Badet to miss the 2014 season.  Returning in 2015, he was third in receiving (29-430); in 2016, he led the team in receiving yards (670) and yards per catch (21.6).

That latter number was tops in the SEC and sixth nationally.