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Stanford loses CB Terrence Brown to the NFL, too

Terrence Brown, Nelson Agholor AP

Hey, at least it’s not a tight end, right?

After losing two players from that position the day before, Stanford announced Tuesday that cornerback Terrence Brown is foregoing his final season of eligibility to apply for early entry into the April NFL draft.  Brown will earn his degree this spring after four years at the school.

“I have decided to forgo my final season at Stanford and make myself eligible for the 2013 NFL Draft,” Brown said in a statement posted on the school’s Facebook page. “I would like to thank the entire Stanford Football program, especially Coach Shaw and Coach Mason, for helping to put me in this position. My admission to Stanford University in 2009 was a life-changing event for me, and all of the faculty, students and staff I have met since have truly blessed and enriched me. I will forever and always be a Cardinal. The past four years have been a great experience for me at Stanford, and I feel well prepared to move on to the next level.

“I am on track to graduate from Stanford University in June with my degree in Science, Technology & Society and feel excited to move on to the next chapter of my life. I would like to thank my family for supporting me throughout my college career, and to thank God for blessing me with my talent and opportunity.”

Brown started all 14 games this season, and 23 the past two years.  He was named honorable mention All-Pac-12 following the 2012 season.

Monday, tight ends Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo announced they were leaving early for the NFL as well.

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Auburn wins recruiting battle with Tide for dual-threat QB

Woody Barrett

Auburn’s offense scored a nice recruiting victory against in-state Iron Bowl rival Alabama on Wednesday. Woody Barrett of Winter Garden, Florida, has verbally committed to Auburn, which gives Gus Malzahn a four-star dual-threat quarterback to look forward to in 2016. Auburn and Alabama were the finalists in the recruiting process.

Barrett announced his decision Wednesday during a ceremony at his high school, West Orange High School. Barrett is currently rated three stars by Rivals.com, although he receives a four-star ranking from other recruiting services. Barrett missed out on a big recruiting weekend at Auburn due to playing in his school’s spring game (high school spring games are apparently a thing that happens). But Auburn quarterback coach and offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee was on hand to see how he performed. The relationship established with Lashlee through the recruiting process proved to be a deciding factor for Barrett.

“I got a real good vibe,” Barrett said after the visit to Auburn, per Rivals. “The team bond, I saw how the team connected with each other and how the coaches got along. Everybody had one team goal and it was to win another national championship.”

As a junior, Barrett passed for 1,558 yards and 24 touchdowns and rushed for 813 yards and nine touchdowns.

If you are feeling bad for Alabama, don’t. Nick Saban pulled in a four-star quarterback in the Class of 2015 with Blake Barnett.

Photo credit: Rivals.com

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Ex-USC Trojan Max Wittek named starting QB at Hawaii

USC v California

The page has officially been turned for Max Wittek. The former USC quarterback has been named the starting quarterback at Hawaii for the season opener against Colorado.

The Star-Advertiser in Honolulu reported the news earlier today, though it was widely expected Wittek would be tabbed the starter for the program. Wittek reportedly took the majority of the snaps as spring practices came to a close and he was voted co-captain by his teammates. Wittek joined the program last fall but was unable to play due to a timing issue regarding his graduation from USC.

The last we saw Wittek on the football field was in 2013 with USC. As a sophomore, Wittek split playing time with Cody Kessler, who took control of the starting job following a Week 2 loss at home against Washington State. Wittek had completed just three of his eight pass attempts and was intercepted once as the Trojans and went down in flames (a 10-7 loss to Mike Leach and his Cougars) and the hot seat on Lane Kiffin reached a boil.

Hawaii opens the 2015 season at home on Thursday, September 3 against the Pac-12’s Colorado. Wittek and the Rainbow Warriors then pack their bags to take on defending national champion Ohio State in Columbus the following week. Wittek once guaranteed a victory over No. 1 Notre Dame. Will he be ready to make any bold predictions against another (potentially) No. 1 team?

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Greyson Lambert says he’s going down to Georgia

Greyson Lambert

A day after Georgia head coach Mark Richt confirmed his program’s interest in Virginia quarterback Greyson Lambert, the graduate transfer took things one giant step further. Lambert is apparently heading to Georgia this fall.

Lambert told Joe Schad of ESPN he will be transferring to Georgia, where he will be eligible to compete for the starting job under center immediately. Lambert does not have to sit out a season due to being a graduate transfer. Richt had confirmed Georgia was actively recruiting Lambert’s services yesterday at an event in Macon, Georgia. This was all he could say without committing any NCAA violations. Once Lambert’s transfer is made official, Richt will be free to comment freely about the new addition to the Georgia offense.

Georgia is looking for a replacement to Hutson Mason this fall. Out of the spring it looked like a three-horse race between Brice Ramsey, Falton Bauta and Jacob Park. Despite transfer rumors after the spring practices concluded, Richt says he expects all three of those options to be a part of the program in the fall. Throw Lambert into the mix and the quarterback depth is padded. Lambert brings starting experience to the position and that likely bodes well for his chances of starting for the Bulldogs, but it is far from a given.

Lambert was Virginia’s leading passer in 2015 despite only playing in nine games. He passed for 1,632 yards and 10 touchdowns but was intercepted 11 times while completing 59.0 percent of his pass attempts. Lambert threw six red zone touchdowns while completing just 46.4 percent of his attempts inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. Georgia was much more efficient in the passing game in red zone opportunities, completing 65.5 percent of pass attempts for 17 touchdowns and just one interception (Lambert was picked off twice inside the 20-yard line).

Of course, Lambert would figure to have a more reliable offense around him if he wins the starting job at Georgia. The Bulldogs have Nick Chubb running the football to take the pressure off the passing game, which can in turn lead to a more effective pass attack when called upon.

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ESPN giving CBS Sports Network a slice of MACtion

MAC Championship - Ohio v Northern Illinois Getty Images

The MAC will be adding a new network to its list of broadcast partners in 2015; CBS Sports Network. The cable sports network operated by CBS and CBS Sports will be the new part-time home for MAC football and basketball through a new sublicense agreement with ESPN.

According to a statement released by the MAC Wednesday morning, CBSSN will broadcast up to 12 football and 12 basketball games per year through 2018-2019. This season will see six football games played on the cable sports network. That will include a pair of Thursday night games and a game on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.

“Today’s announcement is another important step in the continued growth of Mid-American Conference television coverage,” said Mid-American Conference Commissioner, Dr. Jon Steinbrecher. “Having CBS Sports Network join us is part of our vision for the growth of live national coverage for our fan base. This agreement provides another platform to showcase the outstanding students attending Mid-American Conference member institutions.”

The total viewership for CBS Sports Network is still minimal compared to the potential audience the MAC would land on any of the ESPN networks, but it does help give the conference a spotlight all to its own rather than buried under higher-profile matchups appearing on ESPN or ESPN 2 from the college football line-up or other sports programming. It also helps ESPN avoid going up against any Thursday night NFL game, a venture a platform like CBS Sports Network would be much more inclined to take on at this time.

CBS Sports Network now has college football broadcasting deals in place for home Army and Navy games, the MAC, Conference USA and the Mountain West Conference. CBSSN has also aired notable Division 2 and Division 3 games in recent years.

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Mizzou’s prized DT recruit cleared by NCAA

Terry Beckner Jr.

All systems are a go for Missouri defensive tackle Terry Beckner Jr. Beckner Jr., one of the top recruits in Missouri’s Class of 2015, has been cleared by the NCAA to be eligible to play this fall.

Beckner Jr. committed to Missouri on signing day, but coaches admitted he still had some work to do in order to become eligible to be a part of the program by the fall. That typically means there are some academic concerns in need of addressing, but Gabe DeArmond of PowerMizzou.com reported Tuesday (via Twitter) Beckner has been cleared to play this fall. That is typically a positive sign with regard to academic concerns for any player or recruit.

As noted by The Columbia Daily Tribune, Missouri is set to begin summer sessions on Monday, and Beckner is registered in the campus directory.

Beckner was a four-star recruit out of East St. Louis, Illinois. His 6.0 Rivals rating is the highest of any of Mizzou’s Class of 2015 members and is the highest since Dorial Green-Beckham was rated a 6.1 by Rivals in the Class of 2012.

Photo credit: Rivals.com

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Alleged Howard’s Rock vandal faces up to 20 years in jail

The iconic Howard’s Rock at Clemson was vandalized two years ago. Now the man charged with the crime against one of college football’s more unique marks is heading to court.

Micah Rogers of Pisgah Forest, North Carolina will have his day in court on July 20, according to his attorney. Rogers was charged with grand larceny and malicious injury to property of more than $10,000. If found guilty of vandalizing Howard’s Rock, Rogers faces up to 20 years in jail.

In June 2013 Clemson confirmed Howard’s Rock, name din honor of College Football Hall of Famer Frank Howard, had been vandalized earlier in the month. The university announced a small part of the rock was broken off its pedestal. Rogers was arrested later in the month on a pair of misdemeanor charges at the time. The charges were later upgraded after the estimated damage to the rock was valued at over $10,000. Surveillance cameras allegedly caught Rogers in the act and a witness identified him.

Police later arrested the father of Micah, Michael Rogers, and 17-year old Alden James Gainey for their alleged connection to the vandalism. Each was charged with felony counts of conspiracy and obstructing justice.

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After scare, ACC football could be back on in Ireland for 2016

Notre Dame v Navy Getty Images

It looked as if the chances college football would be played in Ireland in 2016 were dead. It turns out it was just on life support.

Aviva Stadium in Dublin is expected to be announced as a host venue for a 2016 game between ACC programs Boston College and Georgia Tech. The42 in Ireland reports a formal announcement will be made by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and everything is good to go forward. That announcement could come as early as tomorrow. Croke Park, which had previously hosted Penn State and UCF to open the 2014 season, has been ruled out as a potential venue due to the Gaelic Athletic Association determining it was not financially viable. Fortunately, for those rooting for college football abroad, there seems to be support to see through on bringing American college football back to the country of Ireland.

ACC commissioner John Swofford has said in the past he was interested in taking ACC athletics abroad to Europe when possible, and Boston College and Georgia Tech have long been tied to a possible game in Ireland. When the game would be played is still to be determined, assuming it happens, but there have been discussions and rumors suggesting this game in Ireland would be more likely to be played later in the season as opposed to a season-opening game. However, that was also likely due to scheduling conflicts with the GAA and the Croke Park Classic. A change in venue may open up the possibility of a season-opening game abroad, which would seem to be more desirable for the participating schools. Although, a game abroad later in the season also gives each school and the ACC a chance to showcase its product in an exclusive time slot in the midst of the season, for whatever that is worth.

As schedules sit right now, Boston College has two non-conference games (vs. UMass and at Northern Illinois) scheduled for mid-September, with two vacancies in the first two weeks of the season. Georgia Tech has a vacancy in the first weekend of the season. Georgia Tech’s non-conference schedule is already full too, which suggests the Yellow Jackets will be playing a conference game in the opening week of the 2016 season once the ACC schedule is finalized (which may not be until the spring).

Aviva Stadium was the host stadium for the 2012 Emerald Isle Classic between Notre Dame and Navy to open the season. Notre Dame easily won that game (50-10) to kick off an undefeated regular season that landed the Irish in the BCS National Championship Game against Alabama. Aviva Stadium has a seating capacity of 55,000. The 2012 game between Notre Dame and Navy had an attendance of 48,820. Last season’s Croke Park Classic in Croke Park between Penn State and UCF saw a total of 53,304 fans attend the game.

Boston College played in the first American college football game in Ireland back in 1988 in the first Emerald Isle Classic. The Eagles defeated Army, 38-24 before 42,525 fans in Lansdowne Road. That game was played in mid-November. The 1989 Emerald Isle Classic between Pittsburgh and Rutgers was played in early December. The 1996 Shamrock Classic between Notre Dame and Navy in Croke Park was played in early November, so there is a track record of playing in Ireland later in the season. Georgia Tech would be making its first trip to Ireland.

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Texas Tech CB La’Darius Newbold transferring to Illinois State

Gary Patterson, La'Darius Newbold

Texas Tech cornerback La’Darius Newbold is transferring to Illinois State, both schools announced Tuesday.

“We are always trying to find depth in our secondary and were especially looking for some help at the safety position,” Illinois State coach Brock Spack said in a statement. “We like big players who can run at that position, and La’Darius fits that mold. He is a player who has the physicality we like as well and gives us some time to work with him and get him in the system.”

In three years with the program, Newbold appeared in four games and recorded two tackles.

Newbold will have two years of eligibility remaining and be able to play immediately for the Redbirds.

Illinois State finished 13-2 in 2014, falling 29-27 to North Dakota State in the FCS title game.

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National Football Foundation releases 2016 CFB Hall of Fame ballot

Eric Crouch #7

On Tuesday the National Football Foundation released a list of 200 names under consideration for the 2016 class of the College Football Hall of Fame. While 200 sounds like a lot – and it certainly is – consider that more than five million people have played college football since Rutgers and Princeton first took the field on that November day in 1869.

From that group of 200, the NFF membership and its Honors Court will whittle the list down to around 15 FBS players and a couple of coaches at the FBS level.

“The Hall’s requirement of being a First-Team All-American creates a much smaller pool of only 1,500 individuals who are even eligible to be on the ballot, so being in today’s elite group means an individual is truly among the greatest to ever have played the game, and we are proud to announce their names,” NFF president and CEO Steve Hatchell said in a statement. “We look forward to announcing the 2016 Hall of Fame Class on the Friday before the College Football Playoff National Championship.”

To be eligible for consideration, players must be a First Team All-American, be an upstanding citizen and complete his playing career between 10 and 50 years ago. Coaches must win at least 60 percent of their games and coach at least 100 games.

Among the names on this year’s list are Florida State linebacker Derrick Brooks, Nebraska quarterback Eric Crouch, Notre Dame wide receiver Rocket Ismail, USC quarterback Matt Leinart and Miami linebacker Ray Lewis.

The 2016 class will be announced during January’s College Football Playoff extravaganza in Scottsdale, Ariz., and inducted at the NFF’s annual dinner at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria on Dec. 6, 2016.

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UConn creates rivalry with UCF… to the surprise of UCF

Central Florida at Connecticut

Rivalries are, in a way, like friendships. Both take two to tango. And, like a friendship, calling yourself a rival of someone or something puts you on equal footing with that person or thing. For instance, I could call myself a friend of our own John Taylor, but Taylor could never call himself my friend considering he’s never acknowledged my existence. I could call him my rival but, again, the whole acknowledging-my-existence thing prevents us from having the true rivalry I so desperately crave.

On that note, Connecticut on Tuesday declared a rivalry with Central Florida. They’re calling it the “Civil Conflict.”

Let’s now cut to Orlando, where the Knights stand with question marks above their heads.

The schools have played twice: a 62-17 UCF win in 2013 and a 37-29 UConn upset last October. It was after that Huskies win, the program’s only AAC win last season, that head coach Bob Diaco for what would later become college football’s sparest rivalry.

“Maybe I’ll, with my money, make a trophy,” Diaco said last November, as uncovered by Matt Brown of SportsonEarth. “I’ll buy it myself. I’ll put a big, giant Husky and another big, giant Knight on it. Make a stand. Put it out in the hallway.”

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College Football Playoff sets kick times for 2015-16 extravaganza

College Football Playoff National Championship - Media Day Getty Images

Despite Bill Hancock‘s continued insistence to the contrary, the College Football Playoff has not yet claimed New Year’s Eve as its own. Go ask your non-diehard friends when the next semifinals are, and chances are they’ll tell you New Year’s Day. And why wouldn’t they? The Rose and Sugar bowls were on Jan. 1 this year, and that seemed to work out okay for everyone.

That changes in 2015.

Despite reported pressure from ESPN, the Playoff will indeed place its semifinals on Dec. 31 two out of every three years, beginning this New Year’s Eve.

Announced officially on Tuesday afternoon, behold your 2015-16 New Year’s viewing schedule:

New Year’s Eve
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl – noon ET
Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic or Capital One Orange Bowl – 4 p.m. ET
Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic or Capital One Orange Bowl – 8 p.m. ET

New Year’s Day
Fiesta Bowl – 1 p.m. ET
Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual – 5 p.m. ET
Allstate Sugar Bowl – 8:30 p.m. ET

The sequence of the two semifinals will be announced along with the pairings on Selection Sunday, Dec. 6.

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After leaving Terps, RB Albert Reid transfers to UVa.

Clemson v Maryland

It appears Albert Reid‘s college football journey will take him from one former ACC program to a current one.

Speaking to 247Sports.com, Reid confirmed to the recruiting website that he has decided to continue collegiate playing career at Virginia.  Reid’s transfer from Maryland was confirmed in mid-April, becoming the first of two running backs to leave the Terps in the last month and a half.

Reid will be a graduate transfer who will have two seasons of eligibility remaining beginning in 2015. He had been granted a medical hardship waiver shortly before his decision to transfer was announced.

As Reid’s already sent in a signed grant-in-aid to UVa., the back stated that he’s “looking forward to hitting the ground running at Virginia.”

A four-star member of the Terrapins’ 2012 recruiting class, Reid was third on the team in rushing in 2013 with 294 yards. He ran for just 61 yards in 2014, and was having trouble moving up the depth chart in a crowded backfield this spring.

Reid becomes the third graduate transfer the Cavaliers have added this offseason, joining tight end Charlie Hopkins (Stanford) and wide receiver T.J. Thorpe (North Carolina).

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PHOTO OF THE DAY: Charlie Strong brings tigers to work

Charlie Strong AP

You need another definitive reason as to why Charlie Strong is tougher and more bad-ass than both you and I put together?  Neither you (more than likely) nor I bring wild animals to work, and the Texas head coach does.

OK, they’re technically tiger cubs, but, still, Charlie Strong brought tigers into his UT office and kicked back like he’s watching a couple of chihuahuas rasslin’ on the floor.  And it’s not even “Take Your Pet Tigers to Work Day,” that I’m aware of anyway.

Regardless, Strong 1, rest of humanity (minus zoologists) 0.

Your move, Kevin Sumlin.  Maybe rope you a steer and haul it into work.  Or, might I suggest, as an ode to your stiffest competition in the SEC West, taking a couple of baby elephants to your A&M offices?

Or just fly the swagcopter somewhere really cool.  That’d work too.

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Georgia Tech gives RB Dennis Andrews the boot

Dennis Andrews, Nate Andrews AP

While Georgia Tech overall has significant depth in its backfield, the A-Back position has taken a bit of a hit this afternoon.

Head coach Paul Johnson, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting, confirmed Tuesday that Dennis Andrews has been dismissed from his football program.  The only reason given was the standard unspecified violations of team rules.

As for the significance of the development, the Journal-Constitution wraps it up rather nicely:

As one of two A-backs returning with significant experience, Andrews was expected to be a member of the A-back rotation. However, without him, Tech’s only returnee at the position who has played extensively is Broderick Snoddy, who is coming back from a broken leg suffered last season.

On the depth chart released after spring practice, Snoddy and walk-on Isiah Willis were listed at the No. 1 A-backs, with redshirt freshmen Clinton Lynch and Qua Searcy behind them. Andrews was noteworthy for his absence among the top four.

As a redshirt sophomore last season, Andrews ran for 106 yards on 16 carries. That yardage total was good for 11th on the run-heavy Yellow Jackets, although the yards per carry was fourth among players with at least 10 carries.

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Kentucky agrees to home-and-home with S. Miss.

Ryan Seaberg

Because UAB had disbanded its football program last December — you may have heard it’s since been resurrected — Kentucky had a hole in its 2016 football schedule.

After this afternoon, consider it filled.

In a press release, Southern Miss announced that it has reached an agreement on a two-game series with the SEC school.  And, in a move that may surprise some, it’s actually a home-and-home series.

Per the release, the Golden Eagles will travel to Lexington, Ky., on Sept. 3, 2016, to open the two-game series, with the Wildcats making their first-ever trip to Hattiesburg and Carlisle-Faulkner Field at M.M. Roberts Stadium on Sept. 2, 2017.

The programs have met twice in football, the first coming in 1949 and the last in 1986. UK won both meetings, which were played in Lexington.

“I’m very pleased that we were able to reach an agreement with the University of Kentucky for a home-and-home football series beginning in 2016,” said Southern Miss athletic director Bill McGillis. “I’m excited for our team and certainly excited for our fans. Given that we have hosted in-state SEC foes, Mississippi State and Ole Miss, just a handful of times over the last 40 years and have never hosted a member of the SEC outside the state of Mississippi, this qualifies as ‘big news’. Home games at The Rock to open the season against an outstanding Mississippi State program this fall and against Kentucky in 2017 provide wonderful opportunities to showcase Southern Miss and these games will have a significant impact on not only the city of Hattiesburg, but the entire Pine Belt region.

“Lexington will also be a super destination for our fans to visit in 2016 – UK has a fan base noted for its great hospitality and its passion for the Wildcats – and I know it will be an exciting trip.”

The 2017 game will mark the first time Southern Miss has hosted an SEC opponent who hails from outside of the state of Mississippi.

There is one casualty as a direct result of this new series. Southern Miss had been scheduled to play BYU in 2016; McGillis confirmed on Twitter that the BYU game has been pushed off the 2016 slate and will be rescheduled on a future to-be-determined date.

Additionally, McGillis confirmed that the 2017 game with Tennessee has been moved from Sept. 2 to Sept. 16.  That movement could trigger yet another development.

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