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:
This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
Wednesday, Tony Sanchez began the day with three holes on his UNLV coaching staff. By the close of business that day, they had all been filled.
UNLV has confirmed that Eric Brown, Steve Irvin and Garin Justice have officially been hired for on-field roles on Sanchez’s staff. Brown will serve as outside linebackers coach, Irvin as cornerbacks coach and Justice offensive line coach.
Justice, who comes to the Mountain West Conference program after spending the past two seasons at Florida Atlantic, will also carry the title of running-game coordinator. That stint at FAU was Justice’s first on-field job at the FBS level.
“We are fortunate to have brought in a very accomplished offensive line coach,” said Sanchez in prepared quotes distributed by the school. “Garin Justice is one of the top up-and-coming assistants in the country right now and did a great job building an elite offensive line at FAU.”
Brown spent the past five seasons in the same role at Idaho, while Irvin was the defensive coordinator at FCS San Diego the past five seasons.
“Steve was one of the up-and-coming young coordinators in the country,” Sanchez said. “He did a phenomenal job at USD, including helping his team get a big win over NAU in the first round of the playoffs last year. He has a lot of experience with cornerbacks, has recruited Texas before and is a UNLV and Eldorado alumnus, which are all plusses. …
“We are excited to bring in Eric Brown as our 10th assistant. He is a coach’s son with a lot of experience and energy that will help us improve on the defensive side of the ball.”
Brown is the son of the late longtime Fresno State assistant and coordinator Dan Brown.
No stranger to transfer, E.J. Price is embarking on a search for a new college home — again. Whether football is involved, however, seemingly remains to be seen.
On his personal Twitter account Thursday morning, Price announced that he is “stepping away” from the Kentucky football program. In the tweet, the offensive lineman stressed, in all-caps, that “I WAS NOT KICKED OFF I AM LEAVING.”
In a subsequent tweet. he stated it was “time for me to overcome football.”
Earlier this month, head coach Mark Stoops mentioned “some inconsistencies with [Price] that he needs to iron out.” In another tweet, the lineman stated the following:
Price was a four-star member of USC’s 2016 recruiting class, rated as the No. 8 offensive tackle in the country. He transferred from USC to Kentucky in July of last year.
Because of NCAA transfer rules, Price was forced to sit out the 2017 season.
South Alabama recently received some positive news on the personnel front.
A USA spokesperson (for the university, not the country) confirmed to al.com that Andrew Reinkemeyer has been granted a sixth season of eligibility by the NCAA. The tight end will use that additional season of eligibility, his last, to play for the Jaguars in 2018.
The decision to grant Reinkemeyer an extra season of eligibility was seemingly a no-brainer.
As a true sophomore at a Kansas junior college, Reinkemeyer suffered an injury in the 2015 season opener and didn’t play again that year. After transferring to USA, Reinkemeyer missed the entire 2016 season because of the torn Achilles tendon that cost him most of the previous season at the JUCO.
Finally healthy last season, Reinkemeyer caught 10 passes for 75 yards for the Sun Belt Conference program. He was the leading receiver amongst Jaguars tight ends in 2017.
The latest addition to Larry Fedora‘s North Carolina coaching staff has been confirmed.
Following up on reports that surfaced earlier this month. UNC announced Wednesday that Fedora has hired Robert Gillespie. While not confirmed by the football program in the release, it’s expected Gillespie will serve as the Tar Heels running backs coach, a position he’s held for most of his coaching career.
“We are excited to welcome Robert and his family to Chapel Hill,” Fedora said in a statement. “He has a well-earned reputation as a great offensive coach and recruiter, and he has a wealth of experience working with running backs at a very high level. We are happy to have him join our staff as we get into the bulk of spring practice.”
Gillespie fills the hole created by the departure of Gunter Brewer, who left as the Tar Heels’ wide receivers coach for a job with the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this month. It’s expected that Luke Paschall, currently the running backs coach, will assume Brewer’s role with receivers.
Gillespie, a former Florida running back, spent the past five seasons as the running backs coach at Tennessee. He was originally retained by new UT head coach Jeremy Pruitt before parting ways with the football program shortly after National Signing Day.
In addition to UT, Gillespie has spent time on coaching staffs at South Carolina (2006-08), Oklahoma State (2009-10) and West Virginia (2011-12). He was the running backs coach at each of those stops.