As if Ronald Darby‘s true freshman season at Florida State wasn’t outstanding enough, it becomes even more impressive when viewed in the light of what most would consider a rather significant injury.
Dating back to his high school days, Darby has been bothered by a hernia that he both literally and figuratively simply ran through — in addition to being a highly-touted football recruit, Darby is also something of a track phenom. The injury, though, had gotten to the point where simply running through it was no longer an option as the Orlando Sentinel reports the defensive back underwent surgery earlier this month to repair a sports hernia.
The procedure and subsequent rehab could sideline Darby through May, which would prevent him in participating in the Seminoles’ spring practice sessions that are set to commence in March. Darby could also miss the outdoor track season as a result of the surgery.
A Seminoles track coach told the Sentinel that, since Darby is on a football scholarship, they’ll defer to the football program as far as a timetable on a return to competition.
“We saw last year in high school that he had the injury last year and didn’t get it fixed and he didn’t run very well,” Ken Harnden said. “I would much rather get it right and come back and have him try to run really fast next year. So we’re not going to rush it.
“And they’re [the football program] paying the bills so we have to be careful with what we do over here.”
In 2012, Darby played in all 14 games and, at season’s end, was named the ACC’s Defensive Rookie of the Year. With fellow corner Xavier Rhodes leaving early for the NFL draft, Darby will be expected to play a more integral role in an FSU defense that’s been one of the top units in the country over the past couple of seasons.
Alabama’s still six months or so away from beginning the defense of its 2017 national championship, but there is some scheduling news for the following season to note.
According to FBSchedules.com, Alabama has signed a contract to play a game Nov. 23, 2019, against Western Carolina at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. The FCS program will receive a $525,000 guarantee to play what’s essentially a scrimmage that counts in the standings.
That game completes the Crimson Tide’s schedule for the 2019 season. UA had previously announced games against Duke on Aug. 31 of that year, as well ones against New Mexico State (Sept. 7) and Southern Miss (Sept. 21).
The game against the Blue Devils will be a “neutral-site” affair in Atlanta as one of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games that year.
As for the game against Western Carolina, it will mark Alabama’s fifth matchup with the FCS school. The Tide won the previous four meetings, obviously, and won that quartet games by a combined score of 201-20. The first meeting came in 2004, the last in 2014.
Mike Sanford is getting back to the roots that helped him land his first head-coaching job in the first place.
Last season, Junior Adams served as the offensive coordinator at Western Kentucky in addition to his duties as wide receivers coach. While he will maintain those continue carrying those titles in 2018, the Bowling Green Daily News reports, Sanford will take over as the game-day play-caller. Prior to coming to WKU, Sanford was the coordinator at both Notre Dame (2015-16) and Boise State (2-14).
Last season, the Hilltoppers were 89th nationally and 10th in Conference USA in scoring at 25.5 points per game.
In addition to Sanford taking over as the primary play-caller, the school also noted on its official website that “Sanford intends to take a more hands-on approach to the quarterbacks this season and will be aided with the addition of Matthew Mitchell as quarterbacks coach.” Last season, Mitchell was an offensive graduate assistant for the Hilltoppers.
The need for a new quarterbacks coach arose after Steve Spurrier Jr. left in February for a job at Washington State.
A day after it was announced on social media, Cal has officially added a Power Five transfer.
Sunday, Maurice “Moe” Ways revealed on Instagram that he would be transferring from Michigan to Cal. Monday evening, the Golden Bears announced that the wide receiver has signed a financial aid agreement with the university and will play for the football team in 2018.
Ways will be coming to Berkeley from Ann Arbor as a graduate transfer. The upcoming season will be his final year of eligibility.
In addition to the, uh, addition of Ways, Cal also announced that junior college outside linebacker Deon White has also been added to the roster.
“We are excited that Maurice and Deon are joining our program,” head coach Justin Wilcox said in a statement. “Both have tremendous upsides and with their skill sets we feel that they will help us immediately.”
A three-star member of the Wolverines’ 2014 recruiting class, Ways was rated as the No. 8 player at any position in the state of Michigan.
In 25 career games, the former Detroit Country Day high schooler caught eight passes for 71 yards. Ways started two of those contests, with both of those starts coming during his redshirt freshman season in 2015.
When Ryan Finley announced he would put off the NFL Draft in order to spend his senior season at NC State, Jalan McClendon announced he would not spend his own senior year backing up Finley.
Now we reportedly know where McClendon will spend his final season.
According to Yahoo‘s Pete Thamel, McClendon will pursue a graduate transfer to Baylor.
A Charlotte native, McClendon appeared in 21 career games as a Wolfpack. He completed 26-of-47 passes (55.3 percent) for 262 yards with one touchdown against four interceptions while rushing 40 times for 156 yards and two touchdowns.
At Baylor, McClendon will step into a depth chart with a hole left by a transfer of its own. The Bears spent 2017 juggling their QB1 spot between Arizona graduate transfer Anu Solomon, sophomore Zach Smith and freshman Charlie Brewer. Solomon graduated and Smith has transferred to Tulsa, meaning McClendon will have to compete with the rising sophomore and brother of former Texas Tech and Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Brewer. The younger Brewer was Baylor’s best signal caller in a downtrodden ’17 campaign, hitting 139-of-204 passes (68.1 percent) for 1,562 yards with 11 touchdowns against four interceptions.