In the immediate aftermath of the Bret Bielema bombshell Arkansas dropped on the college football world Tuesday afternoon, it took, at most, nanoseconds for Paul Chryst‘s name to be brought up as a potential replacement at Wisconsin.
On multiple levels, that particular dot-connecting makes immense sense. Chryst was born in Madison and lived on UW’s home turf until he was in his mid-teens. He spent one year as an assistant on former head coach and current athletic director Barry Alvarez‘s UW staff in 2002, returning for Alvarez’s final season in 2005 and remaining on as Bielema’s offensive coordinator until landing the job as Pittsburgh’s head coach in December of last year.
In response to the aforementioned dot-connecting, Chryst has released a statement through his current employer that will do nothing to quell the speculation as it relates to his former employer.
“I understand the speculation surrounding my name given today’s developments,” Chryst said in the statement. “I am committed to the Pitt football program and the University of Pittsburgh. I am focusing all my time and energy on our team’s bowl game preparation and recruiting a great group of young men to join our program and this outstanding university. We are working hard every day to re-establish this program and I am excited about the future of Pitt football.”
Given one the schools involved and their recent coaching history, a Todd Graham-sized grain of salt may not only be necessary but warranted.
Other than an expression of being “very surprised,” Wisconsin has given no indication in which direction they may head for a replacement for Bielema.
You may want to pay attention to Jaheim Oatis as he’s a rather big deal, literally and figuratively, on the recruiting trail.
Otis hails from Columbia, Mississippi, and will be in the eighth grade this school year. What makes Oatis unique from other football recruits is that, not long after finishing up the seventh grade, he says he stands 6-4 and weighs in at 284 pounds; Scout.com lists him at 6-5, 287 pounds.
Even more unique? Late last week, he revealed via his personal Twitter account that he has already received offers from Alabama, Mississippi State and Ole Miss.
Oatis isn’t all size, either, as evidenced by his running a 40-yard dash at Ole Miss earlier this year.
Oatis also plays baseball — he claims to have been clocked pitching at 84 mph — as well as basketball — he was the MVP at an AAU tournament this summer. When it comes football, he plays offensive line along with tight end.
Just ahead of the start of summer camp, Bowling Green has further solidified its depth and experience along its offensive line.
Appearing at the MAC football preview Wednesday, Mike Jinks confirmed that John Kurtz has been added to his Bowling Green football roster. Kurtz comes to the Falcons as a graduate transfer, which would technically give him immediate eligibility.
“He played spring football for Cincinnati and was in the rotation for playing time on the offensive line,” Jinks said according to the Toledo Blade. “He’s a kid who has a chance to have an impact right away.
“The opportunity is there for him to play right away for us. This is a big ‘get’ for us.”
Jinks also hinted that Kurtz, who has two years of eligibility remaining, could be a redshirt candidate for the 2017 season as well.
Despite being just a two-star 2014 recruit, he was rated as the No. 12 player at any position in the state of Kentucky. During his time with the Bearcats, Kurtz played sparingly.
Maybe the third time will be a charm for Cameron Echols-Luper?
On his personal Instagram account Wednesday, Echols-Luper revealed that he has decided to continue his collegiate playing career at Western Kentucky. According to the Bowling Green Daily News, the decision was made following a visit to the school earlier this week.
As a graduate transfer, the wide receiver will be eligible to play immediately in 2017 for the Hilltoppers. However, he has to finish up some schoolwork at his former school, Arkansas State, before officially moving on to WKU.
Echols-Luper began his collegiate career at TCU in 2013, transferring to ASU in 2015. After sitting out that season, he was third on the Red Wolves in receptions (26) and receiving yards (407). His 15.7 yards per reception was second on the team.
In early March, Noah Jefferson announced on Twitter that he would be transferring from USC to Arizona. Nearly five months later?
Wednesday, UA head coach Rich Rodriguez announced that Jefferson will not, as previously expected, be playing for the Wildcats this season. No reason for the abrupt and unexpected about-face was given.
The coach did, though, intimate that a future pairing between the player and the program isn’t out of the question.
Jefferson wouldn’t have been eligible to play in 2017 for the Wildcats even if his move to the desert had come to fruition. He would’ve, though, had two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2018 at his disposal.
A four-star member of USC’s 2015 recruiting class, Jefferson played in 14 games, starting one of those, as a true freshman. After starting the season-opening loss to Alabama last season, Jefferson never played another down for USC.