Later today, USC will announce whether Matt Barkley will be healthy enough to return to play in the Sun Bowl early next week (here’s a hint: he won’t).
Following the Trojans’ first postseason game since 2009, one of Barkley’s top targets over the past three seasons will announce whether he’ll return to play one more collegiate season.
After USC arrived in El Paso Wednesday for on-site bowl preparations, wide receiver Robert Woods confirmed to reporters that he will reveal his NFL intentions Monday, after the Trojans square off with Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl. It’s expected the true junior will forego his final season of collegiate eligibility, with the Orange County Register writing that “[s]ources said Woods would probably turn pro, barring a last-minute change of heart.”
Woods is USC’s career leader in receptions, but has seen his role in the passing game decreased by the continuing emergence of Marqise Lee, who staked his claim to the Biletnikoff Award earlier this month after eclipsing Woods’ single-season school receiving record. Despite being relegated to “an afterthought” and Option B behind Lee, Woods still managed 73 catches for 813 yards and 11 touchdowns thus far this season.
If as expected Woods makes himself available for the 2013 NFL draft, the Los Angeles Times writes that Woods stated “he received a draft evaluation from the NFL that gave him a range that topped at the second round.”
While we’re here, and in other USC Sun Bowl news, the Trojans likely didn’t endear themselves to either the El Paso Chamber of Commerce or the Yellow Jackets thanks to a pair of “incidents” upon their arrival. As far as the former is concerned, defensive lineman Leonard Williams referred to El Paso as a “sh***y city” in a tweet that was subsequently deleted; in the latter misstep, the Trojans as a team were an hour or so late for a dinner feting both Sun Bowl participants. Tech ended up leaving the feast just as the USC entourage was arriving.
Yep, never a dull moment when a Lane Kiffin-coached team is involved.
On Wednesday in practice, Texas tight end Andrew Beck went down with a foot injury. Texas later announced the injury was a broken foot, and it will cost Beck some playing time at the start of the year.
This is the second time this offseason Beck has been sidelined with a lower body injury. He also sat out of spring practices with a broken foot. It has been unconfirmed if the injury is to the same foot or not. Whatever the case may be, Beck will be out of action for the next six to eight weeks at the minimum. Going off of that timeline, the earliest Beck might be available would be for the Big 12 opener against Iowa State in Ames, Iowa on Thursday, September 28. That is six weeks out from now. The two weeks after that will be games against Kansas State and Oklahoma.
The Longhorns will have to figure out who to trust at the tight end position now. The leading candidate may be Syracuse graduate transfer, Kendall Moore. Moore started four games for the Orange in 2014 and 2015, so his starting experience is limited. Moore just joined the Texas program at the end of July and was immediately thought to be a potential starter in the event Beck suffered a setback with his foot. The depth at the tight end position is not quite where Herman would ideally like to have it, but the Longhorns may be able to survive the first part of the season with their heads above water until Beck is able to return.
With the start of a new college football season just around the corner, Georgia suddenly has a concern in the defensive secondary to address. Senior Malkom Parrish reportedly suffered a foot injury that will require surgery. As a result, his status for the start of the season is now in question.
The news of the injury surfaced Thursday after reporters noticed Parrish had been missing from practice for a second straight day. Seth Emerson of Dawg Nation reported the injury was a broken bone, according to an anonymous team source. Georgia has not commented on the injury status at the time of this writing. Taking the place of Parrish on the practice field was Aaron Davis, who normally plays a safety position for the Bulldogs.
Georgia’s defense returns a loaded unit of starters from last season, including Parrish. His absence from the defense for whatever amount of time he may miss could be critical if recovery time extends deeper into the season. Georgia opens the 2017 season at home against Appalachian State and continues the next week on the road against Notre Dame.
Notre Dame and Purdue originally had a four-game schedule set in place between 2021 through 2026. Today, the Boilermakers and Fighting Irish added two more games to that scheduling agreement to extend the series into 2028.
Notre Dame will host Purdue on September 4, 2027. Purdue will host the Irish the following season, on September 23, 2028. A game previously scheduled for September 26, 2026 that was to be played on a neutral field to be determined at a later point, will now be played on Purdue’s campus.
“Having been on the other side of the series some years ago, I am familiar with the history and tradition of the Purdue-Notre Dame matchup,” Purdue athletics director Mike Bobinski said in a released statement. Bobinski is a Notre Dame graduate and former Irish baseball player. “Sellout crowds, national television, two outstanding universities in close proximity and intensely competitive games. I am excited that the series will resume and know our fans will be, as well.”
The addition of the Irish to the 2027 schedule forced Purdue to reschedule a previously scheduled game against Wake Forest of the ACC. That game will now be played on September 9, 2028. Purdue also announced it has added Memphis to the schedule in 2020 (September 12, 2020), and Indiana State in 2022 (September 10, 2022).
Purdue’s power conference scheduling commitment in the Big Ten is fulfilled through 2021 and from 2023 through 2029. Purdue currently needs a power conference or power conference equivalent opponent in 2022. The Big Ten recently relaxed its policy regarding FCS opponents, which is why Purdue is permitted to schedule Indiana State in 2022.
James Conner may be gone, but he’s far from being forgotten.
Pitt announced that the first 30,000 fans in attendance for this year’s Homecoming game will receive an exclusive Conner bobblehead. Pitt squares off against ACC rival North Carolina State in Heinz Field that afternoon.
From the release:
As the Panthers wear the famous Pitt retro colors at Heinz Field against the Wolfpack, fans will have the opportunity to take home a bit of memorabilia of Conner wearing the same iconic uniform.
Conner finished a career marked by a very public and courageous battle with cancer with 56 total touchdowns and 52 rushing scores, both ACC career records. His 3,733 yards rushing are second only to Tony Dorsett in school history.
Earlier this year, Conner was selected in the third round of the NFL draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers, who also calls Heinz Field home.