There have been and will be myriad non-surprises when it comes to players leaving eligibility on the table for a shot at the NFL. This one doesn’t exactly fit neatly into that category.
In an announcement made by his new agent, Peter Shaffer, LSU’s Tharold Simon has confirmed that he’s leaving the Tigers early for the NFL draft. The move is somewhat surprising, at least in the vein that the cornerback was not one of a handful of draft-eligible Tiger underclassmen who had been mentioned as realistic possibilities for an early departure.
Nonetheless, Simon has officially taken his leave of Baton Rouge.
“I have loved every minute of being a LSU Tiger, and my heart will always remain at this incredible institution that taught me so much about being an athlete, student and person,” Simon said a statement. “I truly hope that I will be lucky enough to make an NFL roster and do LSU proud.”
Simon led the Tigers in interceptions with four this season.
Safety Eric Reid and linebacker Kevin Minter are Tigers who had previously announced their decisions to leave LSU a year early. LSU is expected to lose at least two additional juniors before the Jan. 15 deadline.
Michigan’s the latest football program to see its roster hit with the annual spring personnel attrition.
The father of Kingston Davis confirmed to Sam Webb of Scout.com that his son informed UM officials earlier Friday of his intention to transfer from the Wolverines. Apparently there were two reasons that triggered the running back’s decision: a crowded backfield and chatter that he would be changing positions.
While 2016 leading rusher De'Veon Smith is gone, the Wolverines’ second-, third- and fourth-leading rushers from last season — rising sophomore Chris Evans (614 yards), rising junior Karan Higdon (425), rising fifth-year senior Ty Isaac (417) — all return. Kareem Walker, a four-star 2016 recruit rated as the No. 4 running back in the country, sat out last season because of academics but should be a part of the rotation as a redshirt freshman. They also added four-star (O'Maury Samuels) and three-star (Kurt Taylor) backs as part of their 2017 recruiting class.
A three-star 2016 recruit, Davis was rated as the No. 1 fullback in the country in that year’s class. As a true freshman, the 6-1, 245-pound back carried the ball twice for 17 yards.
Jeff Tedford‘s first coaching staff at Fresno State is once again whole.
As first reported earlier this month, the Bulldogs have confirmed that Tedford has hired Jamar Cain as his defensive line coach. Cain will replace Tony Tuioti, who left last month — after less than two months with the football program — to coach outside linebackers at Tedford’s former employer, Cal.
“We’re excited about Jamar, I’ve had my eye on him a long time,” said the head coach in a statement. “He had a proven track record as a winner at North Dakota State, he’s highly respected in the field, a quality person, a great recruiter, and cares about the student-athletes on-and-off the field.”
Cain comes to Fresno from San Jose State, where he had spent less than two months as the line coach for the Mountain West rivals. Prior to that, he spent three seasons (2014-16) as the line coach at FCS power North Dakota State.
Prior to NDSU, Cain was an assistant defensive line coach at Wyoming (2013), Cal Poly (2009-12), and Missouri State (2006-08). While with the Cowboys, Cain was promoted to interim defensive coordinator at midseason after Chris Tormey was “relieved of his duties.”
A week after it was first reported, the new hire for Dino Baber‘s coaching staff has been officially announced,
Syracuse confirmed in a release Friday that Steve Stanard has been hired by Babers. Stanard will serve as the Orange’s defensive ends coach.
“Coach Stanard understands exactly what we want to do defensively,” Babers said in a statement. “Both his familiarity with our system and his experience running defenses at other places are tremendous assets for our program. We’re very excited to have Steve as part of our family.”
Stanard replaces Tom Kaufman, who left earlier this month for the defensive coordinator job at FCS Tennessee-Chattanooga. Kaufman had served as the Orange’s linebackers coach in 2016, his first with the football program.
The past three seasons, Stanard was the coordinator at Wyoming, but wasn’t retained following the 2016 season. This will mark his first job at a Power Five school.
“My family and I are excited and thankful to Coach Babers for this opportunity,” Stanard said. “The football tradition at Syracuse is second to none and I very much look forward to assisting Coach Babers in achieving the goals he’s set for this program – both on and off the field.”
We don’t yet know to where Aaron Cochran will transfer, but the potential landing spots have been narrowed.
Jake Trotter of ESPN.com revealed on Twitter that the Cal transfer has whittled his to-do list down to three: Auburn, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. The offensive lineman is already known to have taken an official visit to the Cowboys nearly three weeks ago.
Per Trotter, he’ll visit The Plains this weekend, then Lubbock two weeks later.
In early February, Cochran announced that he would be transferring from Cal. As he is leaving Berkeley as a graduate transfer — he’s expected to graduate this spring — the lineman would have instant eligibility at another FBS school.
Cochran started 16 of the 28 games in which he played during his Cal career. 10 of those starts came this past season.
And, regardless of where he lands, his new school will be getting a very large human being.
For what it’s worth, Cochran is listed at 6-8, 350 pound on his official Cal bio page.