Nu'Keese Richardson

Ex-Vol Nu’Keese Richardson to give NAIA ball a go


When last we heard from Nu’Keese Richardson, he had dropped down from the FBS level to the JUCO ranks in an attempt to restart what was at one time a promising playing career.

Well over two years later, Richardson has tumbled even further down the football food chain.

Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post writes that “Richardson is enrolled at the University of Pikeville… and plans to go through spring football in April.”  The Kentucky school plays football at the National Association of Collegiate Athletics (NAIA) level.

“He just got here a couple weeks ago, and we’re glad we got him,” Pikeville receivers coach Justin Lamb told Lieser. “We have a coach from Florida, so he knew Nu’Keese and knew he was a great athlete. Once he realized he had nowhere to go, we got him here. We think he’s a great addition.”

The NAIA step is latest twist in the up-and-down (mostly down) career of Richardson.

A four-star member of Tennessee’s 2009 recruiting class and rated as one of the top receivers in the country, Richardson lasted less than one season with the Vols as he was dismissed by then-head coach Lane Kiffin following an arrest for attempted armed robbery.  He moved on to Hampton University in Virginia and participated in spring practice in 2010, but shortly thereafter he abruptly left the school — without telling his coaches.

Later that same year, he enrolled at Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College, but left that school after one semester.

While there were reports in January of 2011 that schools such as Kansas and Syracuse were interested, Richardson has essentially been off the football grid for nearly three years.  He had also been expected to enroll at Palm Beach State College in an attempt to earn an associate degree, although it’s unclear if he ever took that step.

According to Lieser, Richardson stated last year that he “was finished with athletics and hoped to move into the workforce.”

Was Washington loss the beginning of the end of the Steve Sarkisian era at USC?

Steve Sarkisian

Steve Sarkisian’s win totals in his six previous seasons are both a positive and a negative.

On one hand, he resurrected a moribund Washington program that went 0-12 under Ty Willingham in 2008 and took them to four consecutive bowl games from 2010-2013. He won nine games his last year in Seattle, then led a talented-yet-thin USC team to a nine-win season and AP No. 20 finish in 2014.

Those are good accomplishments. But the flip side of the argument is Sarkisian has never won double-digit games in a season, something that’s a necessity to keep one’s job at USC. The Trojans’ 17-12 loss to Washington last night — at home, no less — means the road to 10 wins and a Pac-12 title will be awfully difficult.

And worse yet, there are plenty of arguments to be made Sarkisian doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt and a little more time in Los Angeles to turn things around (#SarkAfterDark, his drunken rant at a booster event, certainly doesn’t help). The reaction from national media to last night’s loss looked like this:

Mandel, in his column, argued USC is right where it was two years ago with Lane Kiffin as its coach. And there’s this embarrassing thought, that looks more and more like a truth, for Pat Haden:

This one, however, was the most damning by far for many reasons, most notably that it came at the hands of Sarkisian’s old team. The sense among many Washington fans nearly two years ago was that the Huskies managed to upgrade coaches when the school lured Chris Petersen from Boise State upon Sarkisian’s departure to USC.

They were right.

USA Today’s Dan Wolken similarly wrote that USC needs to drop Sarkisian and bring in Chip Kelly from the Philadelphia Eagles.

This is the state of USC, and it may not get better. The Trojans start a brutal three-game stretch next Saturday at Notre Dame in primetime, then welcome Utah to Los Angeles the next week. A Halloween trip to Berkeley to face Jared Goff and Cal finishes it up. There’s a very real chance USC, for all its talent and all its hype, limps into November with a 4-4 or 3-5 record.

Sarkisian will have to engineer and sustain a major turnaround in these coming weeks, otherwise he’ll give Haden all the ammo he needs to unceremoniously jettison him after two years.

Starting Navy S Kwazel Bertrand undergoes surgery, likely out for season

Kwazel Bertrand, Jacobi Owens
Associated Press
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Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.

Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.

“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”

Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.