Of course that’s the latest plotline in the Manti Te’o soap opera.
Ahead of a two-part interview with Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, alleged mastermind of the dead girlfriend hoax, that will air Thursday and Friday, Dr. Phil McGraw told Mike Taibbi of NBC‘s TODAY show that he “believes Tuiasosopo genuinely fell in love with the Notre Dame star linebacker during the course of the two-year deception.”
The deception involved Tuiasosopo creating a a “girlfriend” — Lennay Kekua — with whom Te’o had a mostly online relationship. The deception was so involved and so deep that, at one point, Te’o proclaimed Kekua as “the love of my life” following her “death” after a “battle” with leukemia. At some point during a relationship that consisted of social media interaction as well as lengthy telephone conversations, Tuiasosopo, who continued to maintain to Dr. Phil that he was the voice of Kekua despite reports to the contrary, began to have romantic feelings for the Heisman Trophy runner-up.
“Here we have a young man that fell deeply, romantically in love,” McGraw told Taibbi. “I asked him straight up, ‘Was this a romantic relationship with you?’ And he says yes. I said, ‘Are you then therefore gay?’ And he said, ‘When you put it that way, yes.’ And then he caught himself and said, ‘I am confused.'”
(Rest of America: so are we)
Coming out of the interview with Tuiasosopo, Dr. Phil told Taibbi that he believes “absolutely, unequivocally” that Te’o played no role in the creation of the hoax and was simply duped by an individual who “had a number of life experiences that damaged this young man in some very serious ways.”
Te’o had previously sat down for an on-camera interview with Katie Couric and denied any involvement.
Below is the video from the TODAY show segment that aired Wednesday morning, with clips from Dr. Phil’s extensive interview with Tuiasosopo:
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Tennessee has become the latest FBS program to see players leave in search of greener playing-time grass, with a pair of offensive linemen reportedly set to make their exits from Knoxville.
According to a pair of tweets from UT radio network sideline reporter John Brice, Vols linemen Dontavius Blair (pictured) and Ray Raulerson have decided to leave Butch Jones‘ football program. According to 247Sports.com‘s Wes Rucker, “multiple program sources have indicated in the past week to GoVols247 that Blair and Raulerson were indeed looking to leave the program in hopes of having better chances to play.”
Both are expected to transfer to FCS programs to either continue their playing careers or, in the case of Blair, finish it.
Blair played in nine games last season, Blair in five. Neither player started a contest as a Vol.
When it came to the 2016 season, neither player was expected to be a significant part of any line rotation.
It appears Will Muschamp‘s Columbia reunion with one of his former Florida players won’t come to fruition as first thought.
Last months, reports surfaced that J.C. Jackson could be headed to South Carolina to join Muschamp’s first-year Gamecocks football program. However, 247Sports.com is now reporting that Jackson will not enroll at USC.
“Sources indicate Jackson is not eligible to transfer to the Gamecocks in a ruling that’s beyond South Carolina’s control,” the site wrote.
Instead, sources indicated to the recruiting website that Jackson will likely end up at Maryland. The Terps’ first-year coach, D.J. Durkin, was Muschamp’s defensive coordinator with the Gators when Jackson was a defensive back with the team.
Facing three felony charges in connection to an armed home invasion robbery, Jackson “transferred” from UF in May of last year. He was ultimately acquitted on all of those charges, and is currently enrolled at a California junior college.
A four-star member of the Gators’ 2014 recruiting class, Jackson was rated as the No. 21 corner in the country; the No. 37 player at any position in the state of Florida; and the No. 243 recruit overall by Rivals.com. He played in the 2014 opener, but missed the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury. Exiting the spring, Jackson was expected to take a starting job into summer camp in 2015 prior to the legal issues arising.
If Jackson lands at Maryland, or any other FBS program for that matter, he would be eligible to play immediately in 2016. The redshirt sophomore would then have three seasons of eligibility at his disposal.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a college football player has decided to leave his original home and look elsewhere.
The latest to be hit with attrition via a transfer is Virginia Tech, with the Hokies confirming speculation that Carson Lydon is no longer with the team and intends to transfer to an undetermined location. No reason was given for the linebacker parting ways with the program.
Should Lydon decide to move on to another FBS program, he’d likely have to sit out the 2016 season, leaving him with three seasons of eligibility remaining beginning with the following season.
Lydon was a three-star member of the Hokies’ 2015 recruiting class coming out of high school in Florida. In addition to Tech, Lydon held offers from, among others, Boston College, Cincinnati, Duke, North Carolina State, Rutgers and Syracuse.
As a true freshman last season, Lydon played in 11 games.
Earlier in the day, reports coming out of South Florida indicated that Juwon Young‘s time as a member of the Miami Hurricanes could be coming to an end. While it’s not at that point yet, there has been one confirmed development on that front.
Early Friday afternoon, UM announced that Young has been indefinitely suspended from the football program. The only stated reason was the vague “violation of department rules.”
According to a report, the suspension seemingly stems from the university’s investigation into a potential NCAA violation. From the Miami Herald:
Multiple people inside the UM football program do not expect Young to be on the team this season. One source cautioned that he’s in limbo and it’s still possible he could return but he’s not in a good position.
The matter, according to a source, involved Young gaining use of a luxury vehicle from a car agency. It’s unclear if Young paid for the vehicle or if he intends to.
As for additional specifics for the suspension itself?
The Herald‘s report went on to note that star defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad is being investigated for his involvement with the same agency; as of now, Muhammad remains an active member of the program.
As UM’s NCAA probation doesn’t end for another four months, the university is looking to get as far ahead of this situation as possible.
Young appeared in 14 games the past two seasons, including 10 in 2015.
Muhammad, a redshirt junior, played in 12 games in 2015, leading the team in both tackles for loss (8.5) and sacks (five). He underwent a minor surgical procedure in late April to repair an issue in one of his knees.