Tuesday morning, a rumor began making the rounds that South Carolina’s Ace Sanders had told at least one person close to him that he was leaving the Gamecocks early for the NFL draft. We put in a call to Joe Kinnan of Manatee High School — Sanders’ father is on Kinnan’s football coaching staff — who told CFT that, the last he had heard, his former player would be returning to Columbia for another season.
Based on the chatter coming from Sanders’ Twitter timeline, that’s not likely to be the case.
In a tweet directed at himself a short time ago, Sanders wrote “welcome to the real world… Time to make it happen!” followed by one in which he speaks in the past tense of his time at the school.
“Day full of emotion for. Thank you everyone apart of #GamecockNation. I appreciate everything you did for me. #TearsOfJoy I love you guys!!!” Sanders wrote, which was followed up by a congratulatory message from former teammate and current Buffalo Bill Stephon Gilmore — “S/o to my homie @AceSanders1 going pro” — that was retweeted by Sanders.
The move would be more than mildly surprising as it had long been thought that he would indeed return for his senior season.
Early-entry paperwork needed to be submitted to the NFL by 4 p.m. this afternoon. The school has not yet confirmed Sanders’ future football intentions, although that seems to be a mere formality at the moment.
Sanders led the Gamecocks in receptions (45) and receiving touchdowns (nine) in 2012, and was one of the most electrifying punt returners at the FBS level. His 14.8 yards-per-return average was good for fourth in the nation, returning two of 29 punts for touchdowns.
The injury-plagued career of a member of South Carolina’s secondary has officially come to an end.
USC officials confirmed to The State that Ali Groves will not return to the Gamecocks football team. The defensive back has taken a medical hardship waiver, making him ineligible to suit up again for the Gamecocks.
The Georgia native will, though, remain on scholarship. He’s expected to graduate later this year with a degree in business administration.
A three-star member of USC’s 2013 recruiting class, Groves was rated as the No. 47 safety in the country. Groves sustained a right shoulder injury his true freshman season, with the injury lingering over the next couple of seasons as well.
This past spring, Groves, who didn’t play a down for the Gamecocks, was moved from cornerback to safety. Twice in his career, Groves was named to the SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll.
Baylor’s recruiting loss will turn into another football program’s gain. Again.
On his Twitter account Monday, 2017 quarterback prospect Kellen Mond announced that he has decided to verbally commit to play his college football at Texas A&M. Mond had been considered the crown jewel of Baylor’s 2017 recruiting class after committing to the Bears in the summer of 2015, but opted to decommit less than a week after Art Briles was dismissed as BU’s head football coach.
Shortly after decommitting from Baylor, Mond announced a new Top 3: Auburn, Ohio State and A&M. Those schools were listed in his order of preference at that moment, although the Aggies were, obviously, able to make up ground on the other two.
Mond visited College Station earlier this month, and, coupled with the Buckeyes landing a verbal from five-star quarterback Tate Martell — a former A&M commit, incidentally — had seemingly pared his choices down to the Tigers and Aggies. According to his tweeted announcement, A&M’s “tradition of excellence,” along with the coaching staff, led him to his latest commitment.
Mond, a Texas native who is playing his senior season at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., is rated as a four-star prospect on 247Sports.com‘s composite board. That recruiting website rates him as the No. 4 dual-threat quarterback in the country and the No. 103 player overall.
Ohio State announced earlier this month that it would be offering cold beers to all of-age fans during football games this fall in The ‘Shoe. A couple of weeks later, a fellow FBS member to the east has followed suit.
As part of its press release on new fan initiatives for the 2016 season, Pittsburgh announced that beer will be sold stadium-wide throughout Heinz Field this upcoming football season. Prior to this season, alcohol sales were only permitted to those ticket holders in the club and suite sections of the stadium.
The first opportunity for fans to take advantage of the new policy is the home opener against Villanova Sept. 3. The ACC opener Oct. 8 against Georgia Tech.
From the press release:
The expansion of this amenity will coincide with the implementation of appropriate safety measures for Pitt game days, ensuring the continuation of a fan and family friendly environment for all. (Such measures are already in place for Steelers home games. Aramark, Heinz Field’s official food and beverage concessionaire, provides comprehensive staff training in the sale of alcohol.) A portion of the funds from beer sales proceeds will be dedicated to drug and alcohol education programs for the overall student body through Pitt’s Division of Student Affairs.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, there are now nine Power Five members with a similar beer policy for football games. One of the nine is West Virginia, with the Post-Gazette writing that athletic director Scott Barnes cited data from WVU “suggesting that beer sales in the stadium could actually cut down on alcohol-related incidents.”
Not surprisingly, one member of Houston’s secondary will get back the time he lost last season.
According to a press release from the Houston sports information department, Howard Wilson has been granted a medical hardship waiver for the 2015 season. Wilson sustained a season-ending torn ACL in the third game of 2015, making the decision to grant the waiver a no-brainer.
The waiver will extend Wilson’s eligibility clock through the 2018 season, and makes him a redshirt sophomore for the upcoming season.
As a true freshman in 2014, Wilson played in all 13 games, starting one of those contests. He had three interceptions that season.
Prior to his injury, he started the first three games of last season. He’s projected to start at one of the corner spots for the Cougars entering summer camp.