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2013 LSU football signing class

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(Below are the bios released by LSU on the 27 new members of its 2013 recruiting class.)

Maquedius Bain
6-5 * 286 * Defensive Tackle
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
University School of Nova South

HIGH SCHOOL
A tough defender that possess great overall size and projects to play on the inside of the defensive line… A participant in the 2013 Under Armour All-American Game with the Black Team …A four-star rated prospect by ESPN.com and 247sports.com… Led University School of Nova South to a 3A State Championship in his senior season…Played on both offensive line and defensive line throughout high school…Rated the No. 13 defensive tackle in the nation by ESPN.com…Rated the No. 26 prospect out of the state of Florida by ESPN.com … Also played basketball in high school … Coached by Roger Harriott.

PERSONAL
Son of Monasha White … Born Feb. 1, 1994.

Kendell Beckwith
6-3 * 235 * Linebacker
Jackson, La.
East Feliciana High School

HIGH SCHOOL
One of the nation’s premier outside linebacker prospects for the Class of 2013 … Possesses great strength and athleticism that could also earn him snaps as a pass rushing defensive end at the collegiate level … Arguably the top prospect in the state of Louisiana for the Class of 2013 … A consensus four-star recruit by all of the national recruiting services … An Under Armour All-American who competed for Team Nitro at the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game held on Jan. 4 in Tampa, Fla. … Committed to LSU live on national television during ESPN’s broadcast of the Under Armour All-America Game … Was also named a 2012 MaxPreps Small Schools First-Team All-American as a high school senior … Named to the PrepStar Top 150 Dream team as the number 86 overall player in the nation … Tabbed as the No. 2-ranked recruit in Louisiana by ESPN, Rivals.com, Scout.com and 247Sports … Ranked as high as the No. 41 recruit nationally regardless of position and the fourth-ranked athlete in the ESPN 150 for 2013 … Also ranked No. 68 nationally in the Top247 by 247Sports, No. 84 in the Rivals100 and No. 138 in the Scout 300 … The nation’s fifth-ranked athlete by Rivals.com … Ranked as the No. 7 outside linebacker nationally by 247Sports … Also the nation’s 15th-ranked defensive end by Scout.com for 2013 … A member of the Advocate Super Dozen … Named the Class 3A Defensive Most Valuable Player and a first-team Class 3A all-state selection by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association while leading East Feliciana High School to a berth in the state semifinals with a 9-4 record in 2012 … One of the state’s top defenders while finishing his senior season with 91 total tackles, including 17 sacks and 23 tackles for loss … Also forced two fumbles and recovered two fumbles on the year … Honored as the inaugural winner of the 104.5 ESPN Capital City Prep Player of the Year award with his effort in 2012 … Named the 2012 Warrick Dunn Award winner and the WAFB Sportsline Player of the Year … Earned the No. 1 ranking in sportsNOLA’s Nifty Fifty for 2012 in a ranking of the state’s top seniors … Kicked off the recruiting process with an invitational to attend “The Opening” on July 5, which is an all-star prospect camp held each summer on the Nike Campus in Beaverton, Ore. … Coached at East Feliciana High School by Cedric Anderson.

PERSONAL
Born on Dec. 2, 1994 … Parents are Wendell and Urhonda Beckwith … Brother, Wendell Beckwith, Jr., plays defensive end for Tulane University … Cousin, Darry Beckwith, was a two-time second-team All-SEC linebacker at LSU during his collegiate career from 2005-08 before signing a free agent contract with the San Diego Chargers in 2009.

Josh Boutte
6-4 * 324 * Offensive Line
New Iberia, La.
Westgate High School

HIGH SCHOOL
An impact player on offense who gives up no ground and is quick off the ball … Participated in the 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl West Team … Named to the 2011 5A All-State Team as a junior and honorable mention all-state as a senior … Earned a four star rating from 247sports.com, Rivals.com, PrepStar and Scout.com … Listed in the PrepStar Top 150 Dream Team as the 114th player overall … Given a three star rating by ESPN.com … 247sports.com ranked him as the nation’s No. 8 offensive guard and the 4th-best overall prospect in Louisiana … Rivals.com ranked him as the No. 7 offensive guard in the nation … Ranked as the No. 8 best offensive guard prospect in the nation by Scout.com … … A member of the Advocate Super Dozen … Coached by Ryan Antoine.

PERSONAL
Mother is Marla Boutte … Born May 20, 1994.

Tashawn Bower
6-5 * 241 * Defensive Line
Somerville, N.J.
Immaculata High School

High School
A player with the size, length and strength to be a standout pass rusher at the college level … Rated as a four star recruit by ESPN.com, Rivals.com, Scout.com and 247sports.com … Ranked as the No. 11 best defensive end in the nation by ESPN.com, the No. 14 defensive end by Rivals.com, No. 17 by 247sports.com and No. 22 by Scout.com … Ranked as the No. 4 prospect in the state of New Jersey by ESPN.com, No. 9 by Rivals.com and No. 14 by 247sports.com … Rated in ESPN.com’s top 150 as the No. 132 prospect in the nation … Participated in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl for the East squad … Clocked at a 4.80 40-yard dash time … Coached by Pierce Frauenheim.

Personal
Mother is Corri Bower … Born February 18, 1995.

Jeryl Brazil
5-9 * 181 * Athlete
Loranger, La.
Loranger High School

HIGH SCHOOL
An impact player on either side of the ball and anywhere on the field, he was LSU’s first commitment for the class of 2013 … Played quarterback, running back, and cornerback for Loranger High School … Participant of the Under Armour All-American Bowl Game (Black Team) … Named to the Class 3A All-State Team as an athlete … Accounted for 300 all-purpose yards in 26-21 win over University Lab Cubs on Sept. 7, 2012 … Rated No. 60 in the 2013 ESPNU 150 … A four star prospect according to ESPN.com, Rivals.com, Scout.com, and 247sports.com … Rated as Louisiana’s No. 3 best overall prospect by ESPN.com, No. 8 by Rivals.com, and No. 6 by 247sports.com … Nationally, rated as the No. 8 best cornerback by ESPN.com, No. 12 by 247sports.com, No. 17 by Rivals.com, and No. 22 by Scout.com … Named a PrepStar Top 300 All-American … … A member of the Advocate Super Dozen … A profound track athlete, in 2011 he was the Class 3A state championship in the 100m and 200m races … As a junior he broke the Louisiana state record in 55 meters in 6.25 seconds, the same record that once belonged to former LSU speedster Trindon Holliday … Coached by Sammy Messina

PERSONAL
Parents are Pamela and Jeryl Brazil Sr. … Born March 28, 1994.

John Diarse
6-1 * 205 * Wide Receiver
Monroe, La.
Neville High School

HIGH SCHOOL
A versatile playmaker in all three phases of the game in high school … Projects as a wide receiver … Graduated from high school in December and enrolled at LSU in January … Will take part in spring practice with the Tigers … A participant in the 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl … Recorded a reception in the 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl… Led Neville to the 4A Finals as a senior and accounted for 148 yards rushing, 151 yards passing and two touchdowns in the team’s 29-22 loss to Karr…Named the 4A Offensive MVP by Louisiana Sports Writers Association… Name to the 2012 Class 4A All-State football team… Received the Louisiana Farm Bureau Insurance Mr. Football Award as voted on by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association… Ranked as the No. 10 prospect in Louisiana by Rivals.com… … Named a PrepStar Top 300 All-American … Rated the No. 23 athlete in the nation by ESPN.com… A member of the Advocate Super Dozen … Threw for 1,685 yards and 18 touchdowns while collecting 1,327 yards on the ground and 21 rushing touchdowns his senior season… Recorded three interceptions at defensive back as a junior… Coached by Mickey McCarty.

PERSONAL
Parents are Shelia & John Diarse Sr. … Born Dec. 10, 1994.

Andy Dodd
6-3 * 330 * Offensive Line
Lindale, Ga.
Pepperell High School

HIGH SCHOOL
A devastating run blocker who can play either guard or tackle … One of the top guard prospects in the country following a stellar prep career at Pepperell High School … Played offensive tackle during his senior season in 2012 … Wrapped up his high school career as a first-team Class 2A all-state selection by the Georgia Sportswriters Association in his final prep season … Helped pave the way to a berth in the Class 2A state playoffs for Pepperell High School in 2012 … A four-star prospect by such national recruiting outlets as ESPN, 247Sports and Rivals.com … Ranked No. 180 among all recruits nationally and No. 9 among offensive guards in the ESPN 300 for the Class of 2013 … Earned a No. 241 national ranking and No. 11 ranking among offensive guards in the final Top247 released by 247Sports … Tabbed the nation’s 12th-ranked guard by Rivals.com … The 20th-ranked prospect in the state of Georgia by 247Sports and the 21st-ranked recruit in the Peach State by ESPN and Rivals.com … A three-star prospect and the 34th-ranked offensive guard for the 2013 signing class by Scout.com … Played tight end as a junior in 2011 … Coached in high school by Jeff Shiflett.

PERSONAL
Born on Nov. 27, 1994 … Parents are Larry and Rebecca Hunter.

Fehoko Fanaika
6-6 * 340 * Offensive Line
Sacramento, Calif.
College of San Mateo

PRIOR TO LSU
Graduated from the College of San Mateo and enrolled at LSU in January 2013 to take part in spring practice … A powerful run blocker who started at offensive guard for two seasons at San Mateo … Earned California Community College Football Coaches Association First-Team All-America honors at offensive guard in 2011 … Helped guide his team to an 8-3 record and 62-24 victory against Diablo Valley in the Bothman Bulldog Bowl in 2011 … Paved the way for a rushing offense that averaged more than 300 yards a game on the ground in 2011 … Rated as a three-star offensive guard by Rivals.com … Played high school football at Florin High School in Sacramento … Coached in high school by by Mike Morales.

PERSONAL
Born Aug. 15, 1992 … Represents the first football player in LSU history with Tongan heritage.

Greg Gilmore
6-4 * 275 * Defensive Tackle
Hope Mills, N.C.
South View High School

High School
A disruptive tackle who uses his aggressiveness to blow up plays in the back field … Participated in the 2013 Under Armour All-American Game for the Black Team … Rated as a five star prospect by Scout.com and a four star prospect by ESPN.com, 247Sports and Rivals.com … Named the No. 1 player in the state of North Carolina by ESPN.com … Graded as the nation’s No. 5 defensive tackle, the No. 2 player in North Carolina and the 59th best overall player in the country by 247Sports … Listed as a member of the ESPN 150 as the 83rd ranked player overall and No. 8 rated defensive tackle … A member of the Rivals 250 as the No. 5 rated defensive tackle … … Named a PrepStar Top 300 All-American … Assessed as the number five defensive tackle by Scout.com … Played in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas … Named to the Associated Press North Carolina All-State Team … Posted 90 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and two sacks his senior season … Registered 79 tackles, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and two sacks his junior campaign … Earned first-team All-Mid-South 4A Conference honors his junior and senior year … Named to the All Cape Fear Regional Team … Coached by Randy Ledford

Personal
Parents are Tina Ward and Glen Gilmore … Born Nov. 28, 1994.

Frank Herron
6-5 * 245 * Defensive End
Memphis, Tenn.
Memphis Central High School

High School
A strong defensive end with solid stature, he will be able to cause issues for opposing offensive lineman … Rated as a five star recruit by Rivals.com and PrepStar and as a four star by ESPN.com, 247sports.com, and Scout.com … Named to the PrepStar Top 150 Dream Team … Recorded 57 tackles, seven tackles for loss, and seven sacks in his junior season at Memphis Central High School … Tallied 26 tackles, six for tackles for loss, two and a half sacks, and forced one fumble in his senior campaign … Rated as the No. 2 player in Tennessee by Rivals.com and 247sports.com and No. 6 by ESPN.com … Rated as the No. 5 defensive end by Rivals.com and Scout.com, while being rated as the No. 7 defensive end by 247sports.com … Participated on the East Team in the US Army All-American Game where he recorded one sack for a 10 yard loss … Coached by Lynord Crutchfield

Personal
Mother is Wahlisha Hawkins … Born September 9, 1994.

Rickey Jefferson
5-10 * 187 * Defensive Back
Destrehan, La.
Destrehan High School

HIGH SCHOOL
A versatile skill-position prospect who projects to play in the secondary at LSU … Standout wide receiver during his prep career at Destrehan High School … Caught 36 passes for 562 yards and five touchdowns to lead the Wildcat offense during the 2012 season … Honored for his performance as an honorable mention Class 5A all-state performer by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association following his senior season … A consensus four-star recruit by all of the major national recruiting services … Earned a No. 176 national ranking among all prep recruits in the Rivals250 and a No. 14 ranking among cornerback prospects rated by Rivals.com in the Class of 2013 … Ranked No. 185 overall and No. 23 among wide receivers in the ESPN 300 … The nation’s 24th-ranked wide receiver by Scout.com and 39th-ranked prospect at the position by 247Sports … One of the top prep prospects in the state of Louisiana for the Class of 2013, earning a No. 6 ranking by Rivals.com, a No. 9 ranking by ESPN and a No. 11 ranking by 247Sports among in-state recruits … Ranked No. 4 among high school seniors in the state of Louisiana in sportsNOLA’s Nifty Fifty for 2012 … Named a PrepStar Top 300 All-American … An all-district performer as both a wide receiver and return specialist in his sophomore season at Destrehan High School in 2010 … A member of the Advocate Super Dozen … Emerged as one of Louisiana’s top young prospects as a dynamic sophomore with 35 carries for 300 yards and three touchdowns, 18 catches for 327 yards and four touchdowns and 275 return yards and two touchdowns on special teams … Coached in high school by head coach Stephen Robichaux.

PERSONAL
Born on Dec. 28, 1994 … Parents are John and Elaine Jefferson … Younger brother of former LSU starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson.

Anthony Jennings
6-2 * 205 * QB
Marietta, Ga.
Marietta High School

HIGH SCHOOL
A dynamic dual-threat quarterback who graduated from high school in December … Enrolled at LSU in January and will take part in spring practice … A consensus four star prospect by all of the major recruiting publications … Made the finals of ESPN Rise’s Elite 11 passing competition … Named the MVP of the Elite 11 Atlanta Region over 86 quarterbacks from 19 states, including 21 with Division I offers … Of the 86 competitors, the only quarterback from his region to make the Elite 11 finals … Earned Georgia Sportswriters Association first-team all-state honors as an athlete his junior season and Atlanta Journal Constitution honorable-mention all-state honors as a quarterback his senior season … Played in the Georgia Junior Bowl … Rated as the fifth-best dual-threat quarterback by Rivals.com and the eighth best by ESPN.com … Regarded as the number 16 pro-style quarterback back by 247sports … A member of the ESPN 300 as the 221st best prospect in the nation and a member of the Rivals 250 as the 127th best prospect in the nation … Named to the PrepStar Top 150 Dream Team as the number 10 quarterback in the nation … Considered the 11th ranked prospect in the state of Georgia by Rivals.com … Racked up 2,187 yards and 19 touchdowns through the air and 500 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground his junior campaign … Averaged over five yards a carry on the ground and passed for over 800 yards his senior season … Led his team to an 8-4 record his senior campaign and a 5-1 district record his junior season after missing half of the season due to injury … Coached in high school by Scott Burton.

PERSONAL
Parents are Taneisha Raine and Will Jennings … Father played on the defensive line at the University of Georgia from 1990-1993 … Born Oct. 31, 1994.

Avery Johnson
6-1 * 180 * WR
Pompano Beach, Fla.
Ely High School

PRIOR TO LSU:
Attended Hargrave Millitary Academy in Chatham, Va., following his senior year of high school.

HIGH SCHOOL:
A physically gifted wide receiver with good route running skills and the speed to stretch the field … Enrolled at LSU in January and will take part in spring drills … Consensus four-star prospect by every major recruiting publication … Amassed 113 catches for 1,752 yards and 20 touchdowns over his three-year stay at Ely High School in South Florida … Ranked the No. 23 wide receiver prospect in the nation by ESPN … Listed as the No. 36 overall player from the state of Florida and No. 101 prospect in the Southeast according to Scout.com … Placed No. 7 on the Miami Herald Florida Top 101 list … The No. 3 recruit on the Miami Herald Broward County Top-25 recruit list … Earned All-County honors in 2009 … Played for the white team in the 2012 Under Armour All-American game under former NFL head coach Steve Mariucci … Played his freshman season of high school at Redemptorist in Baton Rouge and was teammates with current LSU junior OL La’El Collins and sophomore RB Jeremy Hill … Coached in high school by Rodney Gray.

PERSONAL
Younger brother of former LSU All-American cornerback and current Arizona Cardinals all-pro Patrick Peterson … Is currently going through the process to legally change his last name from Johnson to Peterson in Jan. of 2013 … Parents are Shandra and Patrick Peterson … Born Oct. 7, 1992.

Melvin Jones
6-3 * 245 * Linebacker
Lake Charles, La.
Washington-Marion High School

HIGH SCHOOL
Tremendous athlete that will bring size and speed to the linebacker position … Named by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association to the 4A All-State Team as a junior and senior … Earned a four star rating from 247sports.com and Scout.com … Earned a three star rating from Rivals.com and ESPN.com … Listed as a Top 300 All-American and the number 10 inside linebacker by PrepStar … 247sports.com ranked him as the No. 171 recruit in the nation … Rivals.com ranked him as the No. 22 recruit in the state of Louisiana and No. 29 best recruit at his position … Scout.com ranked him as the No. 176 recruit in the nation and No. 8 best recruit at his position … Recorded 78 tackles and an interception as a junior and followed that with 125 tackles as a senior … Also played quarterback in high school … A member of the Advocate Super Dozen … Coached by Freddie Harrison.

PERSONAL
Parents are Vicki and Troy Jones … Born Sept. 28, 1994 … Dad signed as a running back with Texas A&M out of high school … Spent two years with the Aggies before finishing his career at McNeese State.

Christian LaCouture
6-5 * 290 * Defensive Tackle
Lincoln, Neb.
Lincoln Southwest High School

HIGH SCHOOL
A talented prospect who projects to play defensive tackle at LSU … Graduated in December and enrolled at LSU in January … Will take part in spring practice … Honored as a Semper Fidelis All-American following the 2012 season … Played all four positions on the defensive line as a senior in 2012 … Also started at both fullback and tight end on the offensive side of the ball … Registered 98 tackles with 14 tackles for loss on defense as one of the nation’s elite defensive line prospects … Guided Lincoln Southwest to a berth in the first round of Nebraska’s Class A state playoffs in 2012 … Honored as a Class A first-team all-state pick and Nebraska super-state selection by the Lincoln Journal Star after the 2012 season … Followed his senior season with an appearance on the West squad at the 2013 Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in Carson, Calif. … A four-star prospect and the No. 14-ranked strongside defensive end recruit in the country for the Class of 2013 by both 247Sports and Scout.com … Ranked No. 128 among the nation’s top recruits in the Scout 300 for the 2013 recruiting season … Named the No. 2-ranked prospect in the state of Nebraska for his signing class by 247Sports … Rated a three-star recruit by ESPN and Rivals.com … Rated the nation’s No. 17-ranked strongside defensive end and No. 2-ranked recruit in Nebraska by Rivals.com … ESPN’s No. 45-ranked defensive tackle nationally for 2013 … Started high school football career at Odessa Permian (Texas) before eventually moving to Lincoln, Neb. … Coached at Lincoln Southwest by Mark King.

PERSONAL
Born on Sept. 4, 1994 … Parents are David and Amy LaCouture … His dad was a four-year ice hockey letterwinner at the University of Maine where he was a key member of the Black Bears’ 1993 NCAA National Championship squad.

Quantavius Leslie
6-4 * 190 * Wide Receiver
Hogansville, Ga.
Hinds (Miss.) Community College

PRIOR TO LSU
A fast and physical deep-threat wide receiver who played for Hinds (Miss.) Community College for two seasons after high school … A four-star prospect according to ESPN.com, Rivals.com and 247sports.com… Listed as the No. 5 wide receiver in the nation by 247sports.com … In 2012 recorded 517 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in six games… Averaged 21.5 yards per catch in 2012… Named to the 2011 National Junior College Athletic Association All-State First Team … Coached by Gene Murphy

HIGH SCHOOL
Led his team to an 8-4 record in his senior season…Coached how Pete Wiggins

PERSONAL
Parents are Barbara Addie and Harold Leslie … Born Feb. 1, 1992.

K.J. Malone
6-3 * 307 * Offensive Line
Ruston, La.
Cedar Creek School

HIGH SCHOOL
A physical run blocker that who can play any position on the offensive line, including center … Had success at left tackle throughout high school … Named to the 2012 1A All-State team by Louisiana Sports Writers Association … A four-star recruit according to ESPN.com … Listed as the No. 23 prospect in Louisiana by 247sports.com … Rated the No. 18 prospect in Louisiana by ESPN.com… …Rated as the No. 23 guard in the nation by ESPN.com… Named to the PrepStar All-Southeast Region team … Led Cedar Creek to a 9-3 record in his senior season…Coached by Ben Haddox

PERSONAL
Parents are Kay and Karl Malone Sr. … Dad played in NBA for 18 seasons and is considered one of the best players to ever play the game … He’s a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame…Born May 8, 1995.

Lewis Neal
6-1 * 234 * Defensive End
Wilson, N.C.
James B. Hunt High School

High School
A very quick and explosive player off the line … Averaged nearly 10 tackles and a one sack per game … Recorded 68 tackles, eight sacks and one safety in his senior campaign … Rated a four star recruit by ESPN.com and a three star by Rivals.com, 247sports.com and Scout.com … Rivals.com ranks him the No. 18 player in North Carolina, while ESPN.com ranks him the No. 19 player in the state and No. 25 by 247sports.com … Ranked as the No. 27 defensive end in the nation by Rivals.com, No. 29 by 247sports.com, No. 33 by Scout.com and No. 39 by ESPN.com … Named MVP among defensive lineman at the Top Gun Camp in Williamsburg, Virginia … Participated in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl where he walked away with Defensive Player of the Year honors … Coach by Randy Raper.

Personal
Mother is Cynthia Neal … Born May 17, 1995.

Michael (M.J.) Patterson
6-2 * 218 * Defensive End
Winnfield, La.
Winnfield Senior High School

HIGH SCHOOL
A skilled pass rushing defensive end who was one of LSU’s first commitments in the Class of 2013 … Committed to LSU on March 28, 2012 … A consensus three-star prospect by all of the major recruiting services … Honored by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association as a two-time all-state and all-district performer during his prep career at Winnfield Senior High School … Earned first-team Class 2A all-state honors as a senior in 2012 while making 69 tackles and nine sacks along with two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries on the year … Guided Winnfield Senior High School to a 10-2 mark and a berth in the second round of the Class 2A state playoffs in 2012 … Recorded 75 tackles with 10 sacks and two interceptions returned for touchdowns en route to an honorable mention all-state selection during his junior season in 2011 … Led Winnfield to the 2011 Louisiana High School Athletics Association Class 2A State Championship Game with a 14-1 mark … Winnfield suffered its only defeat of the 2011 season to John Curtis in the 2011 2A state title game held in the Superdome in New Orleans … Earned back-to-back first-team All-District 3-2A honors in 2011 and 2012 … Also a two-time All-CENLA selection by The Alexandria Town Talk … The 19th-ranked weakside defensive end recruit nationally and 15th-ranked prospect in the state of Louisiana for the 2013 recruiting season by Rivals.com … Tabbed the No. 20-ranked weakside defensive end in the country and No. 18-ranked player in Louisiana for 2013 by 247Sports … Rated No. 46 among defensive ends nationally by Scout.com and No. 52 by ESPN … Coached at Winnfield High School by Andy Pyles.

PERSONAL
Born on Nov. 2, 1994 … Parents are Michael Patterson, Sr., and Kim Vincent.

Ethan Pocic
6-7 * 285 * Offensive Line
Lemont, Ill.
Lemont High School

HIGH SCHOOL
A strong and physical offensive lineman known for his run-blocking abilities… First team Parade All-American as a senior … Graduated from high school in December and enrolled at LSU in January … Will take part in spring practice … Named a 2013 Under Armour All-American and first-team USA Today All-American… Given five stars by PrepStar and named to the Top 150 Prep Star Dream Team … A four-star prospect according to Rivals.com and ESPN.com … Rated as the No. 3 offensive lineman in the nation by Rivals.com … Ranked as the No. 35 player overall and No. 2 offensive tackle in the nation by Prep Star … Named to the IFCA 6A All-State team… Rated the No.3 prospect in Illinois by ESPN.com … Led Lemont to a state semifinal appearance as a senior… Coached by Eric Michaelsen

PERSONAL
Parents are Kim and Gary Pocic… Born Aug. 5, 1995… Brother Graham played at the University of Illinois where he started 36 games on the offensive line in his four years with the Illini … Earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors twice.

Hayden Rettig
6-2 * 201 * Quarterback
Los Angeles, Calif.
Cathedral High School

HIGH SCHOOL
One of the elite signal callers in the country for the Class of 2013 … Committed to LSU on May 22, 2012 … A consensus four-star prospect by all of the major recruiting outlets nationwide … Honored as a 2013 U.S. Army All-American … Earned honorable mention All-America honors from Parade Magazine as a senior … One of three quarterbacks invited to play for the West squad at the 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas … Recognized among his peers for his size and arm strength in practice leading up to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl … The No. 85-ranked recruit nationally in the Rivals100 and the nation’s No. 5-ranked pro-style quarterback by Rivals.com for 2013 … Also the ninth-ranked prep recruit in the state of California by Rivals.com … Given a rating of 93 by 247Sports with a No. 170 national ranking in the organization’s final Top247 … Tabbed the No. 12 pro-style quarterback recruit in the country and No. 20 player in California by 247Sports … Ranked No. 217 in the ESPN 300 for 2013 with a scout rating of 83 … ESPN’s No. 17-ranked pocket-passing quarterback nationally and No. 20-ranked recruit in California for 2012 … The 19th-ranked quarterback recruit in the Class of 2013 by Scout.com … Wrapped up a stellar senior season at Cathedral High School in 2012 by passing for 3,424 yards while completing 261 of 485 attempts on the season … Threw for 40 touchdowns with just 18 interceptions on the year … Guided the Cathedral Phantoms to a 10-3 mark en route to a berth in the semifinal round of the California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section Playoffs during his senior season in 2012 … Threw for a season-high of 443 yards on 30 completions in a 37-27 victory over Harvard-Westlake on Oct. 27 … Burst onto the national scene as one of the top prospects at his position as a junior by throwing for a career-best of 508 yards and six touchdowns in the 2011 season opener.

PERSONAL
Born on Dec. 23, 1993 … Parents are Mark and Carol Rettig … Brother, Chase, is the starting quarterback at Boston College … Graduated from Cathedral High School in December and enrolled at LSU in January for the start of the 2013 spring semester … Will take part in spring drills at LSU beginning in March.

Duke Riley
6-1 * 205* Linebacker
River Ridge, La.
John Curtis High School

HIGH SCHOOL
A speedy linebacker that has the ability to put pressure on the quarterback and cover receivers down field … Honored as the Most Outstanding Defensive Player of the 2A All-State Team by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association … Named to the 2012 Class 2A All-State Team by LSWA … Led John Curtis to a Class 2A State Championship in his junior and senior seasons … Racked up 10 total tackles and scored a touchdown on a 80-yard fumble recovery in the 2012 Class-2A State Championship Game … Earned MVP honors in the 2010 Class-2A Title Game where he recorded 21 tackles … A four-star recruit according to ESPN.com … Given three stars by Rivals.com, 247Sports and Scout.com … Listed as the No. 17 prospect in Louisiana by ESPN.com … Ranked as the No. 23 prospect in Louisiana by 247sports.com … Rated as the No. 26 linebacker in the nation by ESPN.com … Recorded 124 tackles in his senior season … Coached by J.T. Curtis.

PERSONAL
Born Aug. 9, 1994 … Parents are Kesha Riley and Duke Bergham.

Rashard Robinson
6-1 * 163 * Defensive Back
Pompano Beach, Fla.
Blanche Ely High School

HIGH SCHOOL
Participated in the Offense-Defense Bowl as a member of the defense … Earned a four star rating by 247sports.com and Rivals.com … Earned a three star rating by Scout.com and ESPN.com … 247sports.com ranked him No. 10 best recruit at his position, No. 17 best recruit in the state of Florida and No. 118 nationally … Rivals.com ranked him No. 26 at his position and No. 44 in the state of Florida … Scout.com ranked him number 32 at his position … Named a PrepStar Top 300 All-American …
Coached by Charles Hafley

PERSONAL
Parents are Carol Scriven and Reginald Robinson … Born July 23, 1995.

DeSean Smith
6-4 * 226 * Tight End
Lake Charles, La.
Barbe High School

HIGH SCHOOL
One of the top pass catching tight ends in the nation who has the ability to split outside and make plays down the field … Selected to the 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl and played for the West squad … Invited to attend the prestigious U.S. Army Coaches Academy … Rated as a consensus four star prospect by every major recruiting service … Named to the PrepStar Top 150 Dream Team as the number 92 overall player in the nation … A member of both the ESPN 150 and the Rivals 250 … Regarded as the 68th best player in the nation by Rivals.com … Listed as the number two, four and five tight end in the nation by Rivals.com, 247Sports and ESPN.com, respectively … Ranked as the fourth best prospect in the state of Louisiana by Rivals.com and the fifth best prospect in the State of Louisiana by ESPN.com and 247Sports … A member of the Advocate Super Dozen … Hauled in his second touchdown with two minutes left in the fourth quarter in Barbe High School’s 27-point comeback against West Monroe in the 5A State semifinal game … Caught two touchdowns in Barbe High School’s state championship game loss to Archbishop Rummel High School … Named to the Louisiana Sports Writers Association Class 5A All-State squad his junior and senior season … Notched 815 yards and 11 touchdowns his senior season … Hauled in 43 passes for 764 yards and seven touchdowns his junior campaign. … Coached by Mike Cutrera.

PERSONAL
Born on Nov. 2, 1994 … Parents are Colleen and Gary Smith

Kevin Spears
6-3 * 190 * Wide Receiver
New Orleans, La.
Holy Cross High School

High School
A tall and very athletic player has the potential to step in a contribute immediately … Caught 60 passes for 1,060 yards and 11 touchdowns in helping Holy Cross reach the 4A state semifinals in 2012 … Did not play football as a junior … Rated as a four star recruit by ESPN.com and Rivals.com and a three star by 247sports.com … ESPN.com ranks him as the No. 46 wide receiver in the nation while 247sports.com ranks him as the No. 81 wide receiver … Ranked as the No. 15 prospect in Louisiana by ESPN.com and the No. 26 best player in the state by 247sports.com … Coached by Barry Wilson.

Personal
Parents are Stacey Garner and Kevin Spears, Sr. … Born January 29, 1995.

Logan Stokes
6-4 * 240 * Tight End
Muscle Shoals, Ala.
Northeast Mississippi Community College

PRIOR TO LSU
Athletic tight end that has played as both a pass-catcher and a run-blocker … Transfers to LSU after spending two seasons at Northeast Mississippi Community College … Hauled in 10 passes for 80 yards as a sophomore in 2012 … Named to the 2012 National Junior College Athletic Association All Region XXIII Second Team and a Mississippi Association of Community/Junior College All-State honoree … Rated No. 85 by Scout.com… Named to the PrepStar All-Southeast Region team … Coached in junior college by by Ricky Smither … Prepped at Muscle Shoals (Ala.) High School where he was coached by Scott Basden.

PERSONAL
Parents are Sheila Wimberly and Patrick Stokes … Born Dec. 4, 1992.

Tre’Davious White
5-10 * 170 * Defensive Back
Shreveport, La.
Green Oaks High School

HIGH SCHOOL
Considered one of the nation’s top cornerback prospects for the Class of 2013 … A five-star recruit as the nation’s No. 2-ranked cornerback and No. 9-ranked prospect nationally regardless of position by 247Sports … Given five stars by PrepStar and named to the PrepStar Top 150 Dream Team … Reached four-star status in recruiting rankings released by ESPN, Rivals.com and Scout.com … Ranked as the No. 35 prospect nationally and No. 6 cornerback by Rivals.com … Ranked No. 58 in the Scout 300 as the nation’s No. 6-ranked cornerback prospect by Scout.com … The top-ranked recruit in Louisiana by both Rivals.com and Scout.com for the Class of 2013 … Named a U.S. Army All-American during his senior season at Glen Oaks in 2012 … Started in the defensive backfield for the West squad at the 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio … Wowed scouts with his athleticism and coverage skills in practice in preparation for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl … Displayed tremendous return skills in the game after returning the opening kickoff 33 yards and adding a 19-yard return in the first quarter … Had one carry for eight yards for a first down on a fake punt by the West squad in the fourth quarter … Added two tackles on defense as he finished the game with 60 all-purpose yards … A member of the Advocate Super Dozen … Played primarily as a quarterback during his prep career at Shreveport’s Glen Oaks High School … Passed for 593 yards and rushed for 306 yards while accounting for 11 touchdowns during a stellar senior season in 2012 … Honored as a first-team Class 3A all-state selection by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association following the 2012 campaign … Emerged as an elite prospect during his junior season in 2011 while passing for 1,710 yards and 20 touchdowns and rushing for 804 yards and eight touchdowns from the quarterback position … Added 45 tackles and four interceptions on the defensive side of the ball as a junior at Glen Oaks … Also a standout basketball player during his prep career at Glen Oaks while earning second-team Class 3A all-state honors from the LSWA as one of the state’s top guards in the spring of 2012 … Coached by Spencer Heard.

PERSONAL
Born on Jan. 16, 1995 … Parents are David White and Lashawnita Ruffins … Related to former LSU All-America cornerback Morris Claiborne.

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Michigan’s Gardner-Funchess combo going off on App State

Devin Funchess

It doesn’t appear a replay of the 2007 nightmare is in the offing for Michigan.

At the end of the first half in Ann Arbor, the Wolverines are up on transitioning-into-FBS Appalachian State 35-0.  The first three of those five UM touchdowns came from the right arm of quarterback Devin Gardner to the hands of wide receiver Devin Funchess.

Gardner has completed 11 of his 12 passes for 153 yards.  Funchess, wearing his new jersey number well, has seven catches for 93 yards in the first half.

Additionally, sophomore running back Derrick Green, a five-star member of UM’s 2013 recruiting class, has rushed for 85 yards on eight carries.  Green’s backup, De’Veon Smith, has been even more productive in rushing for 99 yards on just six carries.

Defensively, the Wolverines have held the Mountaineers to just 74 yards of total offense — UM has 334 — and have not allowed a third-down conversion (0-8).  ASU has just four-first-half first downs, and went three-and-out on six of their first seven drives.

Appalachian State, which stunned Michigan seven years ago in the Big House, was 4-8 last year and is in its first season as a member of the Sun Belt Conference.

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Miller-less Buckeyes struggling to find offense vs Navy

Keenan Reynolds ,

Ohio State is experiencing first hand just how valuable Braxton Miller may have been to the Buckeyes offense. Without the experienced playmaker under center, Ohio State finds themselves in a tough battle with Navy in Baltimore. The Midshipmen hold a 7-6 lead at the half.

J.T. Barrett was given the start for Ohio State at quarterback, and he has shown some signs of being a young player. Barrett scrambled out of a tackle but tossed a bad interception deep in the Navy end of the field. It was picked off by Navy, but the Mids were unable to do anything with the football but run time off the clock. That is fine with Navy though.

Keenan Reynolds has led the signature triple-option offense for Navy as expected, and was bailed out by a video review overturning what was originally ruled a fumble recovery by Ohio State deep in the Navy end. A lapse in time management may have hurt Navy at the end of the first half when a timeout was not called with time ticking away in the final minute. Instead of having time for at least one more play, Navy was forced to go right to a field goal attempt in the final seconds of the first half. The kick was wide to keep the score set at 7-6.

Navy will get the football to start the second half. If this is going to be a low-scoring contest, that may eventually pay off for Navy as the offense could wear down Ohio State’s defense over time.

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UCLA defense scores 3 TDs in second quarter at Virginia

Ka'Deem Carey, Myles Jack

Perhaps the UCLA Bruins are still shrugging off some jet lag from a flight across the country. UCLA’s offense is off to a sluggish start on the road against Virginia Despite the rough start, the Bruins are still on top on the scoreboard 21-10 at the half. You can thank the defense for that.

UCLA took a 7-0 lead on a 20-yard interception returned for a touchdown by Ishmael Adams early in the second quarter. Later in the second quarter UCLA added to the lead with a 75-yard fumble recovery returned for a touchdown by defensive back Randall Goforth just as Virginia was moving the football. On the ensuing drive Eric Kendricks (12 tackles) picked off a pass from Greyson Lambert and returned it 37-yards for a third touchdown in the second quarter. That led to a quarterback change for Mike London and Virginia, with Matt Johns coming in under center on the next drive. Linebacker Myles Jack has recorded 11 tackles and broken up a pass in the first half. Defense has not been the problem for the Bruins.

Heisman Trophy contender Brett Hundley has failed to take advantage of his performance early on in front of the east coast. Hundley has completed seven of 14 pass attempts for 98 yards and has been sacked three times.

At some point UCLA will need to do something on offense. They may not have to do it today though.

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Penn State QB makes history in Croke Park Classic

Christian Hackenberg

Not even Kerry Collins, Todd Blackledge or Michael Robinson did what Penn State’s sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg accomplished Saturday in the Croke Park Classic against the UCF Knights.

Hackenberg is the first quarterback in Penn State history to throw for 400 yards or more in a single game as he lead the Nittany Lions to a thrilling 26-24 victory over the Knights in Dublin, Ireland.

The sophomore finished 32-of-47 passing for 454 yards. The performance was highlighted by a game-winning drive. Hackenberg was 4-of-6 passing for 47 yards during the final 1:13 of the contest to set up the winning field goal by senior kicker Sam Ficken.

During the performance, pundits were drooling over the potential which Hackenberg represents. Hackenberg forced a couple of throws which resulted in interceptions, but those poor throws didn’t take away from the fact he was the best player on the field. This was simply a great performance to build upon a resume that may result in Hackenberg becoming the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 or 2017 NFL draft.

And Penn State capitalized on the talent it has behind center.

Once the team couldn’t establish the run early in the game, the onus fell on Hackenberg to carry the team. He was clearly able to do so. The young signal caller was able to evade pressure in the pocket, make throws on the move and manipulate UCF’s secondary to complete a beautiful 79-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Geno Lewis to give the Nittany Lions a 20-10 lead entering the fourth quarter.

Lewis finished with 173 receiving yards. Redshirt freshman DaeSean Hamilton was nearly as good with 11 receptions for 165 yards.

For UCF, head coach George O’Leary waited far too long to make a crucial change at quarterback.

Redshirt freshman Pete DiNovo started the game and struggled mightly. DiNovo was a paltry 3-of-8 passing for 18 yards in the first half. O’Leary then inserted Justin Holman into the lineup during the third quarter, and the sophomore brought instant energy to the lineup. Holman led the Knights to 21 points in the second half with 204 passing yards. He added a pair of touchdowns, one passing and one running. Holman had his team in a position to win with 1:13 remaining, but the Knights’ defense simply couldn’t hold.

Despite the outcome, the two teams learned something equally important about their quarterbacks.

Penn State quickly came to the realization it must rely heavily on Hackenberg this season as the offensive line continues to gel and the running game struggles. UCF, meanwhile, will almost certainly move forward with Holman behind center, and the Knights will be a better team for it.

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Michigan WR Funchess looks to carry on new uniform tradition

Devin Funchess

Michigan football has a relatively new history of suiting up key players with historic uniform numbers for players. Wide receiver Devin Funchess, playing tight end last season, wore the number 87 jersey, which is the number previously worn by one of the all-time greats in Michigan football history, Ron Kramer. With Funchess moving to wide receiver this season, the Wolverine decided it was best to leave that uniform number to the tight end position.

“It was an incredible honor to be selected to wear the number 87 Legends jersey in honor of Ron Kramer,” Funchess said in a statement shared by Michigan. “I spoke with his son, Kurt, and many of my teammates before I decided to change my number and they were all unbelievably supportive. Ron Kramer was the best tight end in Michigan history, and I think his number should be worn by someone playing that position.”

Funchess will now wear the number one on his uniform. The inspiration to wear that uniform number came from watching former Michigan receivers make big plays wearing the number.

“I watched a lot of Michigan greats over the offseason and kept seeing receivers wearing number one making plays, from Anthony Carter to Derrick Alexander, David Terrell and Braylon Edwards, and I wanted to carry on another Michigan tradition this season.”

Funchess gives Michigan a big target at receiver and it should help boost the quality of receivers for Michigan at what might be a bit of a question mark at the start of the new season. Michigan opens the seaosn at home against Appalachian State.

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Ohio State’s Heuerman will wear Braxton’s No. 5

Braxton Miller

Ohio State opens the news season in Baltimore this afternoon against Navy. The Buckeyes were dealt a major blow to the roster, and thus their lofty expectations, with the loss of quarterback Braxton Miller to a shoulder injury before the season started. Though Miller will not be playing on the field, his presence will be recognized.

Ohio State tight end Jeff Heuerman, a co-captain for the Buckeyes, will wear Miller’s uniform number as a tribute to the injured quarterback.

A classy move, for sure.

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Halftime: Penn State QB is the difference in Croke Park Classic

Christian Hackenberg

Quarterback play is what currently separates the Penn State Nittany Lions from the UCF Knights in the Croke Park Classic in Dublin, Ireland. The Nittany Lions lead the Knights 10-3 thanks to the play of sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg.

Early in the contest, the Knights were winning at the line of scrimmage. The Nittany Lions running game was shut down, and Hackenberg was under duress when he dropped back to pass. The 11 yards on the ground Penn State did accumulate came courtesy of Hackenberg scrambling from the pocket.

Penn State adjusted by moving the pocket and allowed Hackenberg to take over in the passing game. The sophomore was able to complete multiple passes on third down to extend drives which eventually resulted in points. At the half, Hackenberg is 17-of-26 passing for 218 yards. Redshirt freshman wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton was the biggest beneficiary of Hackenberg’s play with 107 receiving yards through two quarters.

Hackenberg was allowed to get on track after a roughing the punter penalty granted the Nittany Lions a first down during their initial drive. Hackenberg connected with Hamilton for a 44-yard gain, which eventually resulted in a 1-yard rushing touchdown by Zach Zwinak. The score held up as the difference going into halftime.

Pete DiNovo, meanwhile, struggled during his first start as UCF’s quarterback. DiNovo was 3-of-7 passing for 18 yards. The quarterback’s inability to connect in the passing game allowed Penn State to load the box and shut down the Knights’ running game. The Knights only had 17 yards via the ground game.

Due to DiNovo’s ineffectiveness, UCF head coach George O’Leary replaced him just before halftime with sophomore Justin Holman, who served as Blake Bortles‘ backup last season.

O’Leary now has a decision to make coming out of halftime. Will he allow Holman to continue at quarterback, or will the coach go back to DiNovo?

The answer will decide UCF’s fate during the second half of play.

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CFB after dark: Houston falls to in-state underdog, Arizona’s offense still rolling

Larry Coker

Saturday may be the first full day of college football, but quality games were being played into the wee hours Friday night.

The biggest surprise on the night came from UTSA’s stunning 27-7 upset of the Houston Cougars. The Roadrunners are in their fourth season as a program and are led by head coach Larry Coker (remember him?). The program enters its first season as a full-fledged FBS member. Yet, UTSA dominated a Cougars squad that was expected to compete for an American Athletic Conference championship this year and features one of the best young quarterbacks in the nation in John O’Korn.

O’Korn and the Cougars couldn’t get on track on offense. Houston only managed 206 total yards. The Cougars were held to minus-26 yards rushing. The Roadrunners also intercepted O’Korn four times.

The Roadrunners, meanwhile, relied on a strong running game. UTSA accumulated 146 yards on the ground and three rushing touchdowns.

Coker is now 20-15 overall as he continues to build the Roadrunners program. Despite being 60-15 during his six seasons as the head coach of the Miami Hurricanes and a national championship, Coker couldn’t be happier than he is today.

“It’s probably the most rewarding thing I’ve been involved with as far as coaching is concerned,” Coker told SI.com’s Pete Thamel.

In Las Vegas, the underdog UNLV Rebels didn’t have a chance against the Arizona Wildcats.

UNLV ran into a buzzsaw Friday night during a 58-13 loss to the Arizona Wildcats. Arizona’s redshirt freshman quarterback Anu Solomon starred during his first start. Solomon threw for 425 yards and four touchdowns as the offense rolled up a school record 787 total yards. The performance was stunning after Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez waited until earlier in the week to finally name Solomon the starting quarterback.

During the Wildcats’ impressive offensive effort, two running backs, Terris Jones-Grigsby and Nick Wilson, as well as two receivers, Austin Hill and Samajie Grant, accumulated 100 yards on the ground and in the air.

The Wildcats added an exclamation point to start of their season. Arizona’s next opponent? The UTSA Roadrunners.

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Auburn’s Robenson Therezie ruled eligible to play against Arkansas

Robenson Therezie, Brett Bartolone

One the eve of college football’s first Saturday of the season, the Auburn Tigers received very good news. The team’s “star” on defense, Robenson Therezie, will be eligible to play against the Arkansas Razorbacks.

The news was announced Friday night on twitter by the school’s sports information director, Kirk Sampson.

There were concerns Therezie wouldn’t be able to play at the start of the season. Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn said two weeks ago Therezie was “working through some eligibility issues.”

The school never specified the issues, but Therezie was cleared just in time. The senior is a key cog in Ellis Johnson‘s defense. Not only is Therezie an opportunistic pass defender, but he is also a strong run defender. Last season, Therezie finished sixth on the team with 57 total tackles and led the team with four interceptions. His leadership in the secondary only adds to the team’s most experienced unit. Four of the five starters among the Tigers’ defensive backs are seniors. This level of experience will only help as the team attempts to repeat as SEC champions.

The addition of Therezie also helps build depth along the Tigers’ secondary. The senior isn’t guaranteed to start against the Razorbacks, though. The coaching staff prepared junior Justin Garrett to start over the course of two weeks. Garrett can now be counted upon when needed to provide quality reps in the defense. It will be up to Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn to decide whether or not Therezie starts.

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Access denied: FIU doesn’t provide credential for only beat writer

Ron Turner, FIU

Exposure is everything in today’s college football landscape. Unfortunately for the players at Florida International University, the school’s decision makers don’t feel the same way.

FIU and the Miami Herald are caught in a little tiff.

The Herald is the only news agency in the area which employs a beat writer to cover FIU athletics. In the infinite wisdom of those making decisions at FIU, they denied access to the Herald’s beat writer, David J. Neal, for the Panthers’ season-opener against Bethune-Cookman.

“It’s unprecedented for any local team to refuse to credential our beat reporter without reason,” Miami Herald Executive Editor Aminda Marqués Gonzalez said. “The team does not get to choose who covers the program.”

The newspaper decided not cover the game at all after FIU denied the credential.

“We’re very disappointed the Herald has decided on this course,” Sandra Gonzalez-Levy, FIU’s senior vice president for external relations, said. “Credentials were given to other reporters. We regret that this is the Herald’s choice.”

FIU never provided a reason why Neal’s credential was denied.

It’s simply another misstep for a football program has been in a downward spiral since it fired Mario Cristobal. During Cristobal’s tenure the coach led the Panthers to two bowl games before he was unceremoniously dismissed. The team then struggled to find any coaching candidates that were interested in the vacant position. The team eventually hired Ron Turner, who finished with an 1-11 record during his first season.

Furthermore, the people hurt by this decision are the players. They don’t get the exposure they deserve for the work they’ve done. And the community doesn’t have the opportunity to read about a program the newspaper is willing to support.

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Texas Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury receives contract extension

Kliff Kingsbury

An 8-5 record for a first-time coach was impressive enough for Texas Tech’s brass to pony up more cash. On the eve of the college football season, Texas Tech announced a three-year contract extenstion with head coach Kliff Kingsbury. 

“The new deal, which will run through the 2020 season, has a guaranteed total base of $24.2 million. Including this season Tech will pay Kingsbury an average of $3.5 million per year,” sources told FOX Sports‘ Bruce Feldman.

Kingsbury’s original contract was slated to end in 2017.

According to Feldman, Kingsbury signed the deal Friday, and it makes him the fourth highest-paid head coach in the Big 12 Conference behind Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops, Baylor’s Art Briles and Texas’ Charlie Strong.

“The deal also affords the charismatic 35-year-old to earn as much as an extra $1.5 million in bonuses each year,” Feldman reported. “Kingsbury can max $34.7 million over the length of the contract.”

Bottom line:  This is a preventative measure by Texas Tech.

The school is investing heavily in Kingsbury to keep him in Lubbock long term. Kingsbury is one of the youngest and most exciting coaches in college football. Despite graduating from Texas Tech, there was continued whispers Kingsbury would eventually leave the program for a higher profile program or the NFL. But Kingsbury put those rumors to rest.

“This is where I want to be and I couldn’t be happier,” Kingsbury said in the statement.  “I can’t wait to take this thing to the next level.”

A potential departure will be difficult anyhow.

Texas Tech isn’t simply investing to keep a popular young coach in town. The university is setting up the athletic department for success in the future.

Earlier Friday, Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt updated numbers to promote the school’s “Campaign for Fearless Champions.” The school has already raised $75 million, but the number is far short of its goal of $185 million.

The school also unveiled plans Friday to continue to fund improvements in 17 sports.

“We want to move as quickly as we can, but we are dependent upon having the funding streams and revenue in place,” Hocutt told the Lubbock Avalanche’s Don Williams. “We will continue to visit with folks about investing into these facilities, and as the opportunity presents itself — from a funding mechanism, from fundraising success — we will move forward.”

As part of the campaign, Texas Tech plans to build onto Jones AT&T Stadium by adding a “three-level south end zone building that can house 30 suites — 15 each on levels two and three — and a Hall of Fame, stadium club and athlete dining hall on the lower level.”

In order to make money, a program has to spend money.

An investment in a talented young coach like Kingsbury is a legitimate step in the school realizing its vision. Kingsbury, meanwhile, must continue to prepare his team for Saturday’s opponent, Central Arkansas. Kingsbury’s extension is certainly a good start to the Reds Raiders’ season.

“There has never been a more exciting time within our football program than now,” Hocutt said. “I am very proud of the program Coach Kingsbury is building and I know our fans are as well. We can’t wait to kick off the season tomorrow night at Jones AT&T Stadium and are looking forward to a bright future.”

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Report: Les Miles picks Anthony Jennings to start at QB

Anthony Jennings

The LSU Tigers have a difficult match-up against the Wisconsin Badgers to open the season, and sophomore quarterback Anthony Jennings will be the man responsible to lead the Tigers onto the field.

“… Jennings will start at quarterback for the Tigers in their season opening game against Wisconsin here Saturday,” a source told The Times-Picayune‘s Jim Kleinpeter.

Jennings is in a competition with fellow sophomore Brandon Harris to earn the spot vacated by Zach Mettenberger. Last season, Jennings served as Mettenberger’s backup. Jennings played in nine games and started the Outback Bowl against the Iowa Hawkeyes. In limited playing time, Jennings was 13-of-29 passing for 181 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

Due to his role last year, Jennings was projected as the favorite to win the starting position. However, he struggled mightily in the bowl game. LSU won the contest despite his play. And Harris was a highly-regarded four-star recruit.

While Jennings is on the verge of opening the season as the Tigers’ starting quarterback, this competition likely isn’t over. LSU head coach Les Miles has been very secretive of the play of his quarterbacks during fall practice. Jennings might have the slight edge due to experience, but a slight dip in his play may cause Miles to go in a different direction at quarterback.

Miles said earlier this month he would name a starter when “it’s appropriate or when it’s right or two quarterbacks aren’t going to play, we’ll name a starter.”

The head coach has yet to officially name Jennings the starter, which means Harris may even have a chance of playing at some point against the Badgers.

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Suspended LB claims Oklahoma made him a ‘scapegoat’

Texas v Oklahoma

Oklahoma linebacker Frank Shannon isn’t pulling any punches after being suspended by the university for a year due to an accusation of sexual assault.

Shannon’s attorney, Aletia Timmons, spoke with the media Friday. Timmons painted a completely different picture than the one that was originally given regarding Shannon’s status.

The most pertinent statement made to the media was Shannon’s claim of innocence.

Shannon and his representation took the linebacker’s claims a step further.

The university reportedly conducted an internal investigation before it handed down it’s punishment. In doing so, Shannon claims the school “failed” him and made him into a “scapegoat.” Shannon even submitted to a polygraph test to clear his name.

Shannon never considered the possibility of transferring from the University of Oklahoma.

“I’m not running,” Shannon told Timmons during their initial meeting, according to The Oklahoman. “I’m not going to be branded as a rapist.”

Instead, Shannon plans to publicly protest the university’s decision to have him suspended.

Shannon’s adamant views make this a compelling case. The university and its football team have to err on the side of caution. Whereas, Shannon obviously feels like his name is being dragged through the mud.

The only thing that bring some finality to this case is the results of the ongoing investigation by the police department. The university can’t budge on its current stance after stating it “takes very seriously its obligation in cases like this.” And Shannon shouldn’t back down if he’s innocent.

Shannon, who was Oklahoma’s leading tackler a year ago, still has the “ability to appeal any decision reached by the University to a district court.” Until then, he’ll have to wait on the sidelines until some type of decision is made.

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UCF unveils new helmet for Croke Park Classic

George O'Leary

Head coach George O’Leary and the UCF Knights are fully immersing themselves into the pageantry which comes along with playing the team’s first game in Dublin, Ireland against the Penn State Nittany Lions.

The team is taking in the culture and loving the cooler temperatures of the Emerald Isle.

“This is football weather,” O’Leary told the Orlando Sentinel.

We can’t forget about the tweak to the uniforms. The Knights will have a little bit of luck on their side with their logo for the special game.

Penn State, of course, won’t be making any changes to their classic uniforms.

It also appears Ireland readily accepted O’Leary and his Knights.

Reminder: The game begins 8:30 a.m. EST to kick off the first Saturday of college football with the right combination of rolling green field and talented football teams.

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Report: Josh Shaw being investigated for possible domestic violence

Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl - Fresno State v USC Getty Images

The Josh Shaw story has taken a turn for the worse.

Not only did Shaw fabricate a story about saving his drowning nephew, which made the USC cornerback appear to be a hero, the reality of the situation may be more unfortunate than initially believed.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed Friday it is investigating a potential domestic abuse situation between Shaw and his girlfriend. The incident in question occurred last weekend.

In the earlier police report, officers responded to a call in an downtown Los Angeles apartment building after a “a report of a woman’s screams from a third-floor unit.”

“A neighbor reported seeing a man run across or scale a balcony, and gave a general description of the individual.”

The man fit the Shaw’s description, but he hasn’t been identified as the one exiting the building through a pried window.

The police would like to question Shaw further, but his attorney has declined the opportunity to do so.

“We would have like to hear from Mr. Shaw to provide some clarity about the situation, but that is not going to happen,” Capt. John McMahon, head of Central Division patrol, said. “In light of that, our investigation into a possible domestic dispute will continue.”

Donald Etra, Shaw’s attorney, said his client “has already spoken to the LAPD twice. We believe that is enough. The matter is over and there is no need to talk to them further. … Enough is enough.”

Shaw is indefinitely suspended from USC’s football. A return this season will likely depend on the outcome of the investigation and whether or not his teammates will accept him back. USC head coach Steve Sarkisian released a statement upon making the decision to suspend Shaw.

“We are extremely disappointed in Josh,” Sarkisian said in a statement. “He let us all down.  As I have said, nothing in his background led us to doubt him when he told us of his injuries, nor did anything after our initial vetting of his story.”

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