Both literally and figuratively, Texas A&M has suffered a significant loss heading into its first full offseason as a member of the SEC.
Following up on speculation that’s been running rampant in recent weeks and increased in intensity the past couple of days, offensive tackle Luke Joeckel officially confirmed that he’s foregoing his senior season for the NFL. While he had been leaning toward an early NFL leap, a final decision by the talented lineman wasn’t made until today.
“This was a very difficult decision for me,” Joeckel said in a statement. “I have thought long and hard and visited with my family and coaches. I feel it is in my best interest to come out. I appreciate all that Texas A&M has done for me and my family. It is tough to leave a great group of coaches and players, including my twin brother Matt. I know they will have a great season in 2013 and I will remain their biggest fan. … One thing that is certain, I am an Aggie and will always be an Aggie.”
Joeckel was a first-team All-American and All-SEC selection in 2012, named the winner of the Outland Trophy as well as the prestigious Jacobs Blocking Trophy given annually to the top lineman in the conference. From the first game of his true freshman season through the Aggies’ bowl win earlier this year, he started every game, 39 in all, at left tackle.
He’s considered one of a handful of players who could potentially be selected as the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming draft.
“Luke is projected to be one of the top players selected in the overall draft,” Aggie head football coach Kevin Sumlin said. “We appreciate everything he has done for Aggie football and Texas A&M and wish him well in the NFL.”
Just 27 hours shy of receiving his degree, Joeckel said in the release that he has “every intention of finishing as soon as possible.”
The Aggies are still awaiting an official decision from Jake Matthews, the other half of the best tackle combination in college football
‘No timetable’ for Wisconsin LB T.J. Edwards’ return from foot injury
Wisconsin will need all hands on deck if they hope to contain LSU’s Leonard Fournette in the 2016 opener at Lambeau field. Unfortunately for the Badgers, a key hand may be unavailable.
A report emerged late last week that T.J. Edwards would be sidelined indefinitely because of a foot injury. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote that “Edwards was seen wearing a walking boot this week and a source confirmed the redshirt sophomore is out” for the foreseeable future.
During the Big Ten Media Days Tuesday, head coach Paul Chryst somewhat addressed the linebacker’s status.
Paul Chryst said in local media session that there isn’t a timetable for ILB T.J. Edwards’ return from an injured foot. #Badgers
Leidner was one of the Gophers’ player representatives at the Big Ten Media Days Tuesday, and decided he’d share a post-operation picture of his surgically-repaired foot. Again, if your squeamish, look away.
Here’s what Minnesota QB Mitch Leidner endured this offseason. It’s amazing he’s healthy. This photo is likely NSFW. pic.twitter.com/3HmVyb9f0x
As if the photo doesn’t paint this picture, head coach Tracy Claeys acknowledged that the starter was worse off health-wise than the football program let on last year.
“We hid his injuries pretty good a year ago,” Claeys said according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “He was banged up pretty good. The foot injury he had was tough and really limited him.”
Now, though, Leidner proclaims himself, “[p]hysically, I’m in the best shape of my life, by far.” The fifth-year senior, projected by some to be a first-round quarterback prospect in the 2017 NFL draft, added that he feels “like I’m throwing the ball better than I ever have before.”
VIDEO: Body cam footage shows Iowa football player’s encounter with police
The story of an Iowa football player, Pokemon Go and Iowa City police now has some visuals to go along with the oral narrative.
Over the weekend, officers in that police department were searching for a suspect in a bank robbery. Hawkeyes defensive lineman Faith Ekakitie (pictured, No. 56) just happened to be in a park in that area and seemingly matched the description of the suspect — black man in black clothing wearing something on his head — prompting the officers to approach the lineman. When Ekakitie failed to respond to the officers’ commands, because he was wearing headphones, weapons were drawn.
Because of the national attention the incident has received, the ICPD on Tuesday released two body cam videos that shows exactly how the encounter between their officers and Ekakitie went down.
“I think it’s critical we get the information out so people can actually see the events as they actually occurred in real time,” says ICPD Sgt. Scott Gaarde in regards to releasing the videos.
In his social media missive, Ekakitie thanked the police officers involved for how they handled the situation.
“I would like to thank the Iowa City Police department for handling a situation very professionally,” the lineman wrote. “I would also urge people to be more aware of their surroundings because clearly I wasn’t.
“Lastly, I would urge us all to unlearn some of the prejudices that we have learned about each other and now plague our minds and our society. I am convinced that in the same way that we learned these prejudices, we can also unlearn them.”
Arrest on UCLA campus led to USC CB’s suspension for opener vs. Alabama
The Los Angeles Times reported that USC cornerback Isaiah Langley was arrested back in May at a frat party at rival UCLA on three misdemeanor charges — suspicion of trespassing, intoxication and resisting arrest. USC head coach Clay Helton subsequently confirmed that Langley will be suspended for the opener against Alabama because of the incident.
From the Times on the events surrounding the arrest:
Langley was attending a fraternity party at UCLA when he was arrested, according to Greenstein. She said Langley gave responding officers the wrong age and resisted arrest.
“When he was asked to leave, he refused,” Greenstein said. “Police were called and he was arrested for misdemeanor trespassing.”
As a true freshman last season, Langley appeared in 11 games as a backup corner. He was credited with 12 tackles in limited action.
On his official bio, the school wrote that “Langley will battle for key playing time at cornerback as a sophomore in 2016.”