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Indiana signs 22 on National Signing Day

Kevin Wilson AP

(Below is Indiana’s press release on the players added as part of its 2013 recruiting class.)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana head football coach Kevin Wilson announced Wednesday the signing of 22 student-athletes to National Letters of Intent to play for the Hoosiers in 2013.

“We executed our plan very well and are excited about this class,” Wilson said. “We are very fortunate to have a good amount of returning starters, but we backed that up with, what on paper, is a very, very strong class, which is critical in building our program. There is potential to help on the defensive side, up front, at linebacker and on the perimeter. Offensively, we have 14 returning linemen and three quarterbacks. With those returners, we were able to concentrate on some other positions, including running back, wide receiver, tight end and the defense.”

IU signed 13 defensive players, five offensive players and four athletes. The Hoosiers added six defensive linemen, four linebackers and three defensive backs on defense and two tight ends, two wide receivers and one running back on offense.

The class features players from eight different states, including five from Indiana, five from Florida, four from Georgia, four from Ohio, one from Illinois, one from Louisiana, one from Nebraska and one from New York.

“We recruit as a team,” Wilson said. “There was not one lead recruiter on any one student-athlete. We had multiple coaches going to schools over and over, whether it be the areacoach, the assistant coach, the position coach, the coordinator or me. We also had tremendous behind the scenes administrative help and support. It was a great team effort that put together what is a very strong class.”

(Writer’s note: below the jump are the complete bios of all 22 members of Indiana’s 2013 recruiting class.)

Antonio Allen
DB – 5-10, 205
Indianapolis, Ind./Ben Davis H.S.
Prep/Personal: Safety for head coach Mike Kirschner at Ben Davis High School … played in the 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl … first Indiana student-athlete to ever participate in the game … won the push-up contest with 76 in one minute … collected 74 tackles, two tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, two interceptions and one fumble recovery as a senior … Indiana Associated Press Class 5A All-State as a junior and senior … Indiana Football Coaches Association Top 50 and All-State as a junior and senior … selected to the 2012 Indianapolis Star Super Team and named Position Award winner (defensive back) … two-time all-conference selection … finished his career with 241 tackles, three interceptions, eight pass breakups, four tackles for loss, four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery… rated the No. 5 prospect in Indiana and the No. 231 prospect overall by Rivals.com … rated the No. 19 safety nationally by ESPN.com … high school teammate of IU redshirt freshman wide receiver Caleb Cornett … threeyear letterwinner … parents are Antonio and Althenia Allen … born on Nov. 19, 1994, Antonio Lee Allen, Jr., intends to study business.

Daryl Chestnut
RB – 5-10, 190
Miami, Fla./Christopher Columbus H.S.
Prep/Personal: Running back for head coach Chris Merritt at Christopher Columbus High School … rushed 111 times for 1,208 yards (10.9 average) with 14 touchdowns as a senior … first team All-Dade County selection … team earned regional championship in 2011 and 2012 … collected 526 yards on 44 rushes with eight TDs as a junior … rated the No. 8 all-purpose back nationally by Rivals.com … three-year football letterwinner … parents are Daryl Chestnut and Alva Strachan … born on Dec. 31, 1994, Daryl Chestnut intends to study communications.

Christopher Cormier
DL – 6-2, 315
New Iberia, La./Arizona Western C.C.
2012 (Sophomore): Defensive tackle for head coach Tom Minnick at Arizona Western Community College … ranked third on the team with 44 tackles and added three tackles for loss … first team All-Arizona Community College Athletic Conference selection … second team All-Western States Football League honoree … team won the El Toro Bowl and conference championship. 2011 (Freshman): Defensive tackle at Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas … played in three games and made seven tackles with two tackles for loss. Prep/Personal: Defensive tackle for head coach Greg Alexander at Alief Hastings High School in Houston … named Old Spice Red Zone Player of the Year … fouryear football and two-year basketball letterwinner … uncle is Larry Johnson … Christopher H. Cormier was born on Sept. 6, 1991.

Patrick Dougherty
DL – 6-5, 260
Aurora, Ohio/Aurora H.S.
Prep/Personal: Defensive end and offensive tackle for head coach Bob Mihalik at Aurora High School … posted 120 tackles, 12 sacks, including one safety, 50 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and 15 pass breakups over his junior and senior seasons … first team all-state selection as a senior … two-time all-district and all-conference selection … team advanced to the state semifinals in 2011 and 2012 … also played basketball … averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds as a junior … parents are Frank and Lynn Dougherty … born on Sept. 3, 1994, Patrick Dougherty intends to study business.

Chase Dutra
ATH – 6-1, 205
Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg H.S.
Prep/Personal: Safety and wide receiver for head coach Brett Comer at Brownsburg High School … Indiana Associated Press Class 5A All-State and Indiana Football Coaches Association (IFCA) Top 50 and all-state as a senior … team captain was selected to the 2012 Indianapolis Star Super Team … runner-up to signee Antonio Allen for the Indianapolis Star Position Award (defensive back) … IFCA Top 50 and all-state and Associated Press honorable mention all-state as a junior … two-time all-conference selection … closed his career with 1,827 rushing yards on 183 carries (10.0 average) with 22 touchdowns … made 54 receptions for 1,033 yards and eight scores … added a school record 883 yards on 34 kick return yards (26.0) … also holds single-game record with 210 kick return yards … recorded 327 yards on 21 punt returns (15.6) with three TDs … collected 72 tackles with one interception, one forced fumble and 15 passes defended … rated the No. 9 prospect in Indiana and the No. 51 athlete nationally by Rivals.com … team captured conference championships in 2011 and 2012 and ranked in the top 10 all four years … four-year football and three-year basketball letterwinner … born in Turkey and grew up in Alaska … parents are Jim and Tammy Dutra … Chase Michael Dutra was born on Jan. 19, 1994.

Rashard Fant
DB – 5-10, 165
Atlanta, Ga./Our Lady of Mercy H.S.
Prep/Personal: Athlete for head coach Mike Earwood at Our Lady of Mercy High School … three-time all-state, all-region and all county selection … named the team’s offensive and special teams player of the year twice … played in the 2013 Offense-Defense All American Bowl … rushed for 614 yards on 33 rushes (18.6 average) with five touchdowns as a senior … recorded 303 yards on 21 receptions with five scores … added a pair of kick return and punt return TDs … made 36 tackles, four interceptions and nine pass breakups at cornerback … carried the ball 33 times for 543 yards (16.5 average) and nine touchdowns as a junior … brought in 21 balls for 361 yards and four scores … returned one kick and two punts for TDs … collected 41 tackles with one INT touchdown return … compiled 826 rushing yards and 11 scores to go along with 24 catches for 461 yards and six TDs as a sophomore … posted five kick return and six punt return touchdowns … rated the No. 14 athlete nationally, the No. 16 prospect in Georgia and the No. 147 prospect overall by ESPN.com … four-year football, three-year basketball and one-year track and field letterwinner … starting point guard since freshman season … holds school record for most career touchdowns (63) and all-purpose yards … posted a school record 4.37 40-yard dash time … parents are Randy Fant and Donna Wilson-Fant … born on Jan. 8, 1995, Rashard Ahmad Fant intends to study business.

Danny Friend
TE – 6-5, 240
Morris, Ill./Morris Community H.S.
Prep/Personal: Tight end and defensive end for head coach Alan Thorson at Morris Community High School … made 15 receptions for 283 yards and four touchdowns as a senior … added 56 tackles, 33 solo, seven sacks, three interceptions (one touchdown), one fumble recovery, one forced fumble and one blocked field goal … a 2012 Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Class 5A All State selection … named the 2012 Herald-News Defensive Player of the Year and the 2012 Northern Illinois Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year … two-time all-conference honoree … team went 12-2 and advanced to the state championship game … as a junior, recorded 18 catches for 262 yards and five TDs … posted 34 tackles, two sacks, three fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles … rated the No. 24 player in Illinois by 247Sports.com and the No. 26 tight end nationally by Scout.com … three-year football, three-year basketball and two-year track and field letterwinner … recognized on the 2011 and 2012 Class 5A All-State Academic team … high honor roll student … parents are Patrick and Sherry Friend … David Patrick Friend was born on Jan. 15, 1995.

Steven Funderburk
LB – 6-3, 231
Port St. Lucie, Fla./Iowa Western C.C.
2012 (Sophomore): Linebacker for head coach Scott Strohmeier at Iowa Western Community College … tallied 49 tackles, a half-sack, 7.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions (88 yards), both returned for touchdowns, and one fumble recovery … first team all conference selection … team went 12-0 and won the 2012 National Junior College Athletic Association national championship … teammate and defensive lineman Jordan Heiderman also a member of the signing class.
2011 (Freshman): Played in 11 games and posted 13 tackles at Tulane University … tallied seven stops at Army. 2010: Redshirted the 2010 season at Tulane University.
Prep/Personal: Linebacker for head coach Will Kelley at Treasure Coast High School in Port St. Lucie, Fla. … made 69 tackles, 52 solo, with nine tackles for loss, three interceptions, seven pass breakups and one fumble recovery as a senior … first team all district selection also named the team’s most valuable player … four-year football, basketball, baseball and track and field letterwinner … parents are Magdaline Funderburk and Charles Pauldo … born on July 5, 1991, Steven Funderburk intends to study education.

Myles Graham
ATH – 6-0, 215
Miami, Fla./Chaminade-Madonna College Preparatory
Prep/Personal: Running back for head coach Tim Tyrell at Chaminade-Madonna College Preparatory … rushed for 852 yards on 75 carries (11.4 average) with 14 touchdowns in seven games as a junior … also added five receptions for 113 yards and one score … a second team All-Broward County selection … missed senior season with an injury … rated the No. 93 running back nationally by 247Sports.com … two-year football letterwinner … parents are Mario and Teresa Graham … born on Aug. 20, 1995, Myles Alexander Graham intends to study business or criminal justice.

Isaac Griffith
WR – 6-0, 180
Fort Wayne, Ind./Homestead H.S.
Prep/Personal: Wide receiver for head coach Chad Zolman at Homestead High School … finished his career with school records in receptions (119), yardage (2,453) and touchdowns (37) … set school single-season marks in points scored (162) and receiving TDs (22) … owns school single-game records for most scores (six), most points (36) and most receiving touchdowns (five) … also has the longest punt return TD (80 yards) … Indiana Associated Press Class 5A All-State and Indiana Football Coaches Association Top 50 and all-state as a senior … honorable mention Associated Press All-State as a junior … two-time all-area and AllNortheast Conference selection … team won four conference championships … rated the No. 12 prospect in Indiana by ESPN.com … first commitment in the 2013 signing class … four-year football letterwinner … parents are Kim and Shannon and Kim Griffith … Shannon is the head football coach at Division III Manchester (Ind.) College … born on July 31, 1994, Isaac William Griffith intends to study sport marketing and management.

Jordan Heiderman
DL – 6-3, 280
Norfolk, Neb./Iowa Western C.C.
Junior College: Defensive tackle for head coach Scott Strohmeier at Iowa Western Community College … collected 43 tackles with 4.5 sacks (38 yards) and nine tackles for loss in 2012 … earned second team all-conference honors … team went 12-0 and won the 2012 National Junior College Athletic Association national championship … posted 42 tackles, three sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss in
2011… team went 9-2 and won the Graphic Edge Bowl … redshirted in 2010 … teammate and linebacker Steven Funderburk also a member of the signing class.
Prep/Personal: Defensive tackle for head coach Tom Olson at Norfolk (Neb.) High School … two-year football and four-year wrestling letterwinner … parents are Rick and Ann Heiderman … born on Sept. 3, 1991, Jordan Heiderman intends to study sport marketing and management.

Evan Jansen
TE – 6-4, 245
Mason, Ohio/Moeller H.S.
Prep/Personal: Tight end for head coach John Rodenberg at Moeller High School … caught 14 passes for 180 yards and a pair of touchdowns as a senior … team won the state championship for the first time in 27 years and the eighth time in school history … Moeller also has five national championships … rated the No. 41 tight end nationally by ESPN.com … three-year football letterwinner also played basketball … honors student … parents are Norbert and Karen Jansen … born on Dec. 22, 1994, Evan Jansen intends to study pre-medicine.

David Kenney
DL – 6-2, 250
Indianapolis, Ind./Pike H.S.
Prep/Personal: Defensive end for head coach Derek Moyers at Pike High School … selected to the 2012 Indianapolis Star Super Team and named Position Award winner (defensive line) … Indiana Associated Press Class 5A All-State and Indiana Football Coaches Association (IFCA) Top 50 as a senior … IFCA AllState selection as a junior and senior … played in the 2013 Offense-Defense All-American Bowl … posted 76 tackles, nine sacks, 19.5 tackles for loss, 29 quarterback hurries, one forced fumble and four pass breakups as a senior … two-time allconference selection and Pike defensive most valuable player … made 68 tackles, 11 sacks, 17 tackles for loss, nine quarterback hurries, three fumble recoveries and one forced fumble as a junior … honorable mention all-state Associated Press in 2011… rated the No. 6 prospect in Indiana, the No. 11 weak-side defensive end nationally and the No. 244 prospect overall by Rivals.com … two-year football letterwinner … parents are David and Kristen Kenney … born on Feb. 6, 1995, David Khristopher Kenney intends to study biology.

Darius Latham
DL – 6-5, 291
Indianapolis, Ind./North Central H.S.
Prep/Personal: Defensive and offensive lineman for head coach Keith Shelton at North Central High School … Indiana Football Coaches Association Top 50 and all-state as a junior and senior … Indiana Associated Press Class 5A All-State as a senior and honorable mention as a junior … selected to the 2012 Indianapolis Star Super Team … runner-up to signee David Kenney for the Indianapolis Star Position Award (defensive line) … nominated for the 2013 U.S. Army AllAmerican Bowl … made 62 tackles with eight sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss in 2012 … two-time first team all-conference and All-Marion County selection … team captain as a senior and the defensive lineman of the year his final two seasons … posted 42 stops with 4.5 sacks and six TFLs as a junior … added 37 tackles with three sacks and four tackles for loss as a sophomore … rated the No. 3 prospect in Indiana and the No. 160 prospect nationally by 247Sports.com … rated the No. 14 defensive tackle nationally and the No. 239 prospect overall by Rivals.com … four year football and basketball letterwinner … teammate of IU redshirt sophomore quarterback Tre Roberson in youth football league … started all four seasons he has played basketball … currently averaging 16 points, eight rebounds and 2.5 assists … team’s most valuable player was selected to the Hoosier Basketball Magazine North/South All-Star team as a junior … North Central won the state championship his freshman season … parents are Cori Latham and David Turner … born on Nov. 9, 1994, Darius Kyree Latham intends to study sport marketing and management.

Clyde Newton
ATH – 6-1, 215
Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte H.S.
Prep/Personal: Linebacker and running back for head coach Binky Waldrop at Charlotte High School … made 108 tackles, 74 solo, with two sacks, one interception and one forced fumble as a senior … rushed for 1,938 yards with an 8.4 average and 23 touchdowns … named the 7A District Player of the Year … twotime all-district selection also recognized as the team’s most valuable player … holds school records for most 200-yard games (seven) and most yards in a game (299) … rushed for 1,033 yards and a 7.4 average as a junior … team won four district championships … four-year football letterwinner also earned letters in track, wrestling and weight lifting … mother is Barbara Ann Bryant … brother, Leonard Bryant, played defensive back and lettered at IU from 2002-04 … Clyde Newton was born on Sept. 20, 1993.

Marcus Oliver
LB – 6-1, 220
Hamilton, Ohio/Hamilton H.S.
Prep/Personal: Linebacker and running back for head coach Bob Jacoby at Hamilton High School … made 135 tackles, 92 solo, with one sack, 10 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, one blocked kick and one defensive touchdown in 2012 … also rushed for 587 yards with six scores … all-state, all-district and Greater Miami Conference Player of the Year … two-time first team all-conference … posted 131 stops, 88 solo, four sacks, six TFLs, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, with one INT (TD), one blocked kick and one rushing touchdown … rated the No. 39 inside linebacker nationally by Rivals.com … named to the J. Kyle Braid and Wilks Leadership teams … threeyear football, two-year basketball and two-year baseball letterwinner … parents are Lonnie Oliver and Kimberly Gibson … born on Feb. 8, 1995, Javier Demarcus Oliver, intends to study athletic training.

Noel Padmore
DB – 5-11, 175
Flowery Branch, Ga./Flowery Branch H.S.
Prep/Personal: Cornerback for head coach Chris Griffin at Flowery Branch High School … teammate and linebacker Kris Smith also a member of the signing class … first team all-state, all-region and all-area selection as a senior … posted 101 tackles, five tackles for loss, four interceptions, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and 17 pass breakups from 2011-12 … named the team’s outstanding defensive back as a junior and senior … played in the 2012 East-West Metro Atlanta All-Star Game … team captured the Region 8-AAAAA championship in 2011 and 2012 … rated the No. 48 cornerback nationally by ESPN.com … fouryear football letterwinner … also lettered in track and field … parents are George and Christine Padmore … Noel was born in Monrovia, Liberia … born on Nov. 2, 1994, Noel Padmore intends to study communications.

T.J. Simmons
LB – 6-0, 230
Lakeland, Fla./Lakeland H.S.
Prep/Personal: Linebacker for head coach Bill Castle at Lakeland High School … finished his career with 325 tackles … made 121 tackles, three sacks, 32 tackles for loss, two interceptions and one fumble recovery as a senior … first team allstate selection and two-time all-county selection … Top 16 player in Polk County and Bright House Top 30 player … rated the No. 53 inside linebacker nationally by ESPN.com … also lettered in weight lifting … mother is Pamala Willis … Timothy B Simmons was born on Oct. 24, 1994.

Kris Smith
LB – 6-2, 215
Flowery Branch, Ga./Flowery Branch H.S.
Prep/Personal: Linebacker for head coach Chris Griffin at Flowery Branch High School … teammate and cornerback Noel Padmore also a member of the signing class … made 103 tackles, 12 sacks, including one safety, and 21 tackles for loss as a senior … first team all-state and all-region selection … named the team’s most outstanding linebacker … played in the 2012 GACA North-South All-Star Game and the 2012 East-West Metro Atlanta All-Star Game … participated in the 2012 U.S. Army National Combine … team won the Region 8-AAAA championship in 2011 and 2012 … rated the No. 41 outside linebacker nationally by ESPN.com … played two years of football at Flowery Branch and also lettered in track and field … 2012 Flowery Branch Scholar-Athlete … parents are Sean Smith and Pam Smith … born on Nov. 18, 1994, Kristopher Bryce Smith intends to study law.

Laray Smith
ATH – 6-0, 185
Staten Island, N.Y./Xaverian H.S.
Prep/Personal: Running back for head coach Joe DeSiena at Xaverian High School … rushed for 1,700 yards with 16 touchdowns and added four receiving scores over his junior and senior seasons … two-time all-borough, all-city and allconference honoree … a Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl selection … rated the No. 2 prospect in New York and the No. 12 all-purpose back nationally by 247Sports.com … three-year football letterwinner also runs track … currently owns the fastest indoor 300m time nationally and the second-fastest indoor 200m and 400m time nationally … two-time high school All-American sprinter on the track … placed third at the USA Track & Field Junior Olympics in the 400m … two-time, top-five finisher at New York state championships … took eighth at the New Balance High School Indoor National meet in the 200 … has run 10.43 in the 100m, 21.4 in the 200m, 47.3 in the 400m and 6.55 in the 55m … parents are Lawrence Smith and Sandra Burnett … born on Oct. 31, 1994, Laray Smith intends to study communications.

Maurice Swain
DL – 6-5, 305
LaGrange, Ga./Troup H.S.
Prep/Personal: Defensive lineman for head coach Lynn Kendall at Troup High School … two-year all-state selection … made 65 tackles with seven sacks, 15 tackles for loss, 33 quarterback hurries, two fumble recoveries and one fumble return TD as a senior … all region honoree played in the Georgia vs. Florida Bowl … three-year captain named the team’s most valuable defensive lineman … 43 tackles, eight sacks and 16 tackles for loss as a junior … played in the 2011 Rising Senior Bowl … rated the No. 56 defensive tackle nationally by ESPN.com … fouryear football lettterwinner … parents are Maurice Swain and Shani Garrett … born on July 25, 1995, Maurice T. Swain intends to study business or graphic design.

Anthony Young
WR – 6-1, 175
Lakewood, Ohio/St. Edward H.S.
Prep/Personal: Wide receiver for head coach Rick Finotti at St. Edward High School … made 35 catches for 520 yards (14.9) and 10 touchdowns as a senior … returned four kickoffs and one punt for scores … All-Ohio selection and special teams athlete of the year … holds school records for the most career receiving TDs (14), most receiving touchdowns in a game (three) and the longest kick return score (99 yards, twice) … three-year football and three-year track and field letterwinner … All-American sprinter in four events … won 10 state titles in Ohio … owns Ohio’s indoor state records in the 60 meters (6.80 seconds) and 200 meters (21.34) … led team to indoor and outdoor track and field state team titles in 2012 … three-year honor roll student … parents are Michael and Jackie Young … born on July 19, 1994, Anthony Young intends to study special education.

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Utah State says Chuckie Keeton likely out for the season

Chuckie Keeton

The return of Chuckie Keeton to the football field did not go as planned this fall. And now it looks as though it is over. Utah State sent out a release Wednesday evening stating Keeton is likely out for the rest of the 2014 season.

Keeton suffered a left knee injury against Wake Forest earlier in the season. The injury was to the same knee that underwent surgery last season for a torn ACL and a torn MCL. The initial feeling seemed optimistic at the time, although the team decided it was bets to play it safe. He sat out Utah State’s game against Arkansas State as a caution. Apparently things have not gotten much better in the weeks since the injury took place.

“Chuckie’s health is our top priority and he has not been cleared to play by our medical staff,” said Utah State head coach Matt Wells in the school’s released statement. “We will continue to monitor his progress throughout the fall, but given his current condition it is unlikely that he will play in any games in the foreseeable future.”

Keeton has never redshirted during his collegiate career, but this is his senior year. Whether or not he will be able to use a medical redshirt remains to be seen at this point. Here’s hoping Keeton can find a way to stay healthy though and maybe get another chance on the field. He has battled injuries throughout his collegiate career, so the concern is great for his potential future.

One thing is for sure. College football is much more entertaining and enjoyable when Keeton is healthy. Sadly, we have not been treated to enough of it.

As for Utah State, Darrell Garretson will once again assume the starting job for the Aggies. Just as he did last season, Garretson will look to lead Utah State forward through Mountain West Conference play. Last year, while filling in for Keeton, Garretson threw for 1,436 yards and 10 touchdowns and led Utah State to the Mountain West Conference championship game, where Utah State fell shy against Fresno State. This season could play out in similar fashion.

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Alabama RB Jones has surgery for torn tendon in finger

Florida Atlantc v Alabama

It is a good thing Alabama is stacked at the running back position, because one player is going to be out of action for an extended period of time. Tyren Jones will be out for several weeks after undergoing surgery on his finger.

Nick Saban announced Wednesday Jones had surgery to repair a torn tendon in his finger. Fortunately for the Crimson Tide, running back depth is not a concern in Tuscaloosa. T.J. Yeldon remains the team’s starter, followed by Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake on the depth chart before getting to Jones.

Jones had rushed 13 times for 89 yards and a touchdown in the three games he has appeared in. He is fifth on the team in rushing.

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Promising USC freshman receiver suffers hamstring

Fresno State v USC

USC saw some promise in freshman wide receiver Ajene Harris last weekend against Oregon State, but he will be sitting on the sideline this weekend. Harris suffered a hamstring injury, which was announced by head coach Steve Sarkisian following Wednesday’s practice.

This is a setback for Harris, who has been impressive to the USC coaches and making a push for a significant role in the offense. While it remains unknown just how much time he will miss, the future is still incredibly bright for Harris, a former three-star recruit according to Rivals.

Last week Harris caught three passes for 30 yards, with a chunk of that coming ona  21-yard reception. He had been swapped in and out of the first team offense through the first few weeks, but that was more a credit to the quality depth at the position USC is playing with than anything else. Hamstring injuries are tricky to predict. The severity of the injury is unknown, but hamstring injuries have a way of lingering longer for some players than others without any way to know when it will be fully healed.

Helmet sticker to Conquest Chronicles.

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Louisville congratulates Bridgewater on first NFL win with billboard

Teddy Bridgewater

Former Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater got his first start in the NFL on Sunday afternoon for the Minnesota Vikings. He was injured in the game, but he got the job done before having his first start end early. Everyone, it seems, is sending him congrats this week, including Louisville.

As seen in Minneapolis, this digital billboard message congratulates the former Louisville Cardinal on his first start and victory with the Vikings.

Bridgewater went 19-of-30 for 317 yards to help the Vikings defeat the Atlanta Falcons, 41-28. He was carted off the field with a sprained ankle on Sunday and underwent a MRI on Monday. It remains unknown if he will be playing Thursday night, for those college football fans looking to kill some time before Oregon and Arizona kick off.

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Will Brady Hoke reach the end of the season?

Brady Hoke

The temperature is boiling in Ann Arbor for head coach Brady Hoke and athletics director Dave Brandon. Will either of these two men be able to hold onto their jobs through the entire football season?

Noted Michigan football historian and author John Bacon feels somewhat confident in suggesting Hoke’s job will be safe for the remainder of the season, but an evaluation will likely take place after that. As for Brandon, well…

I asked Bacon for a quick clarification. He says a change of head coach is still likely, but it will not happen or begin to take place during the course of the season.

This seems to make sense, if you believe change is inevitable at Michigan. If the university feels the leadership needs a change starting at the AD position, why let go of the football coach now and allow the AD a chance to hire the next head coach? This would be similar to a major league baseball team allowing a lame duck general manager to hire a new manager and make some trades. Hoke may very well be on his way out at the end of the season unless he finds a way to get the Wolverines to rattle off a winning streak and Big Ten championship nobody sees coming. But for the state of the football program, not much will be better by making a change at head coach now compared to the end of the season. It is a different situation with an athletics director.

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Pac-12 offers another reason to lose sleep Thursday night

Oregon v Arizona

The Pac-12 has been serving up plenty of excitement for college football fans choosing to stay up late and sacrifice a few hours of sleep on Thursday nights this season. In week one we saw Rutgers and Washington State trade blows on college football’s first Thursday night. The following week saw Arizona take to the road to escape San Antonio with a win over UTSA. Last week rewarded late-night viewers with the first dominant performance by UCLA of the season, on the road at Arizona State on a Thursday night.

There may be some concerns about the Pac-12’s late night kickoffs, but there is no disputing the games have been worth staying up for from an entertainment standpoint. The Thursday night game this weekend could be another. No. 2 Oregon hosts Arizona in a cross-division match-up between 4-0 teams with a revenge factor on the line. Arizona snapped Oregon’s Rose Bowl dreams last year in blowout fashion.

The game is scheduled to kickoff at 10:30 p.m. on the east coast. Degenerates like me will be going against the east coast bias narrative and staying up to watch it, but how important is it that the nation’s second-ranked team is playing so late, when the majority of the potential east coast viewership will be going to bed well before the game is over? Should this continue to be a concern for the Pac-12? Will voters be influenced purely by the score because they didn’t stay up to watch the Ducks and Wildcats?

Ultimately, the concern as far as a playoff standpoint should be a non-issue, if you believe the members of the selection committee for the College Football Playoff are doing their due diligence. But from a conference standpoint, it feels as though the Pac-12 misses out on an opportunity to showcase one of the banner programs in the conference the last few years. A game involving two 4-0 teams deserves a better primetime slot for a larger audience, does it not?

This goes back to one of the problems the Pac-12 has been facing. The conference is improving its football brand. Teams are better and the conference should be going the extra mile to ensure more potential viewers get a chance to see them. By kicking off half past ten o’clock in the night, the reach has to be decreasing. Or is it?

Thursday night is highly competitive for college football now that the NFL has a weekly game on Thursday nights. This week the college football card of UCF-Houston and FAU-FIU will likely be squashed by the NFL match-up between the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings. Throw in some playoff baseball (Baltimore Orioles hosting Detroit Tigers in the early game and Los Angeles Angels hosting the Kansas City Royals in the later game), and you can see why the Pac-12 may not be too upset having Oregon and Arizona kicking off at 10:30 p.m. The Pac-12’s core audience is on the west coast, so the time difference is not as much a concern to them. By the time Oregon and Arizona kick off, the NFL will be in the second half (and given the track record for Thursday night football this season, the game will be ugly and fans will be looking for something different), the two other college games will be wrapping up and the only real competition for viewers will be with baseball.

What will you be watching Thursday night?

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LSU transfer among two Arizona players leaving team

UNLV v Arizona

Jordan Allen‘s stay in the desert didn’t last nearly as long as expected.

According to the Arizona Daily Star, the defensive end was one of two Arizona football players to leave the football program recently.  No reason was given for the decision, although the Star did indicate that Allen (pictured, left) is likely done with football.

Allen started the first game of the year for the Wildcats, although his playing time has dipped dramatically since.  It’s unclear if that was the impetus for his decision.

In early April of this year, Allen left LSU seeking a transfer.  At the end of that month, he landed at Arizona.

Allen’s decision to transfer from the Tigers earlier this spring was reportedly more about academics than football as the lineman he couldn’t get into grad school at LSU after receiving his bachelor’s degree.

Allen entered the 2013 season as a starting end before losing that job. He ultimately played in all 13 games for the Tigers after missing most of the 2012 season with a knee injury.

A four-star member of LSU’s 2010 recruiting class, Allen was rated as the No. 10 strongside end in the country coming out of high school in West Monroe, Louisiana.

In addition to Allen, linebacker Mekani Kema-Kaleiwahea has left the program as well.  Kema-Kaleiwahea, who would like to transfer to a place closer to his home in Hawaii, has been buried on the depth chart after competing in summer camp for a starting job.

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Former UCF assistant on O’Leary: ‘a racist he is not’

George O'Leary AP

A former assistant of George O’Leary‘s has come to the defense of the UCF head coach.

In a lawsuit filed by Paul Ferraro late last week, the former UCF defensive coordinator accused O’Leary of making racist remarks and creating a work environment “permeated by bullying, threatening behavior, and repeated discriminatory epithets.” While O’Leary has not yet responded to the accusations, David Kelly has.

In an interview with FOXSports.com‘s Bruce Feldman, the former Knights wide receivers coach, who’s black, was incredulous when discussing the accusations made against his former boss by Ferraro, who he also considers a friend.

“I never have heard (O’Leary) say anything that could be interpreted as derogatory, degrading, or slightly disrespectful regarding any race, or sect of people,” Kelly told Feldman. “George O’Leary is a lot of things to a lot of people, I’m sure, but a racist he is not.

“I worked for him for many years, and no, I didn’t always agree with everything he did, but I have always had the utmost respect for him.

“Many things that I practice today, in all walks of my life, are derived from many of the things that I learned from him.”

Ferraro, who maintained in the suit that he’s owed $15,000 by UCF, wrote in an email to O’Leary and the staff at the time that “[n]o longer will I put up with your constant verbal abuse of both our coaching and support staff. Threatening coaches on a regular basis with their jobs and racial slurs mixed in to make a point is wrong.” Ferraro was hired in late December of last year and left in early March; the school claims he resigned, the coach claims he was fired.

Kelly resigned in November of 2011 amidst a cloud of NCAA controversy, and acknowledged that he “[o]bviously wasn’t present during any of the interchanges that [O'Leary] had with Paul at UCF.”

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Syracuse’s second-leading receiver already ruled out of UofL game

Syracuse v Northwestern Getty Images

For the second consecutive week, Syracuse will be without a top threat in its passing game.

Tuesday, offensive coordinator George McDonald confirmed Ashton Broyld will not be available for the Orange’s game Friday against Louisville. Broyld suffered an unspecified lower-leg injury in the loss to Maryland and did not play in the loss to Notre Dame last weekend.

The original prognosis was for the junior wide receiver to miss a couple of weeks, so this doesn’t exactly come as a surprise to the staff.

“He was out there running around so he’s pushing his rehab to get out there,” McDonald said, “but I think he still might be another week or so away.”

Barring a setback, Broyld should return for the October 11 game against Florida State.

At the time of the injury, Broyld was tops on the team with 11 receptions and was second with 125 receiving yards. Broyld’s now tied for second and fourth, respectively, in those categories.

Last season, Broyld led the team last year in both categories (52-452).

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Big Ten issues statement on autonomy recommendations

Big Ten Logo

Wednesday, the ACC released a statement laying out its priorities for the Power Five’s looming autonomy structure.  A day later, yet another league heavyweight has done the same.

In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, the Big Ten laid out its own point-by-point agenda for further enhancing the benefits of student-athletes.  Not so surprisingly, the agenda is almost a mirror image of the one laid out by the ACC, and what’s been discussed ad nauseam over the past year or two.

As there is no new territory plowed in the Big Ten’s statement, it’s presented below without commentary.  Do with it and discuss it as you will:

The Big Ten Conference announced today that it has notified the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) of initial recommendations designed to provide enhanced benefits for student-athletes that are members in good standing with their individual universities as part of the NCAA’s new autonomy governance structure.

For the past two years, the conference has publicly stated its desire to continue providing student-athletes with an unmatched educational and athletic experience, including comments made by Commissioner James E. Delany at the July 2013 Big Ten Football Media Days, at the Collegiate Commissioners Association meeting on September 25, 2013, at the July 2014 Big Ten Football Media Days, and in statements issued by the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors on June 1, 2014 and June 24, 2014.

The Big Ten will work to implement the following proposals through individual institutional action, conference-wide action or under the NCAA autonomy governance structure:
Cost of Education: Redefine full grant-in-aid to meet a student-athlete’s cost of education, as determined by the federal government.
Multi-Year Scholarships: Guarantee all scholarships. If a student-athlete is no longer able to compete, for whatever reason, there should be no impact on institutions’ commitment to deliver an undergraduate education.
Lifetime Educational Commitment: Ensure that scholarships are available for life. If a student-athlete leaves a university for a professional career before graduating, whether the career materializes, and regardless of its length, the scholarship will be honored after his or her playing days are complete.
Medical Insurance: Provide improved, consistent medical insurance for student-athletes.

The Big Ten has also agreed to address additional student-athlete welfare issues including, but not limited to, health and safety, time demands and comprehensive academic support by way of a “Resolution” that creates a specific pathway and timeline for implementation.

The Big Ten Conference is an association of 14 world-class universities committed to the pursuit and attainment of athletic and academic excellence. Big Ten institutions feature broad-based athletic programs which provide nearly $200 million in direct financial aid to almost 9,500 student-athletes on 350 teams in 42 different sports.

We look forward to working with the ACC, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC through the NCAA autonomy governance structure toward adoption and implementation of these proposals.

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All signs pointing to Blake Sims starting for ‘Bama vs. Ole Miss

Florida Atlantc v Alabama

While acknowledging early last week that he was “a little bruised” and “sore,” Blake Sims was very emphatic that he would be “very fine” and available for a key SEC West matchup coming off a bye week.

As it turns out, the Alabama quarterback knew exactly what he was talking about.  Probably.

Sims suffered an injury to his right (throwing) shoulder in the third quarter of the Sept. 20 win over Florida,  but did return to the game after missing a series to put a bow on a record-setting performance.  In the days leading up to the bye weekend, Sims was very limited in practice as the team looked to get him healthy.

Head coach Nick Saban said Monday that Sims returned to throwing a football very late last week.  Now, with the Ole Miss game just three days away, all of the signs are pointing to Sims being under center when the Tide takes the field against the Rebels.

Blake has done really well in practice,” Saban said on the SEC head coaches teleconference Wednesday. “He hasn’t had any issues this week so far in terms of being able to throw the ball. We’re really pleased with the way he’s progressed. He’s been able to take all the reps he’s prescribed to take. We’re pleased with that.”

Should Sims suffer a setback, Florida State transfer Jacob Coker would make his first career ‘Bama start. That, though, doesn’t appear likely.

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Colorado State shuts down starting TE/H-back for rest of season

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In early September, Jim McElwain labeled Kivon Cartwright‘s availability as week-to-week because of injury. Unfortunately for the starting tight end/H-back, the prognosis is no longer nearly as optimistic.

Following Tuesday’s practice, the head coach revealed that Cartwright will be forced to undergo additional surgery on his injured ankle. The procedure will cost Cartwright the remainder of the 2014 season.

Cartwright has been dealing with the ankle issue since the offseason.

“We’re going to go ahead and actually go back in and re-tighten up that screw, because it didn’t heal properly,” McElwain said. “For his best interests on that, it just never healed right. So we’re going to go back in and fix it so everything’s right for the rest of his life.”

Cartwright played in the opener against Colorado — one catch, 22 yards — but hasn’t played since. Last season, he was fourth on the team in receptions (27) and receiving yards (462). His six receiving touchdowns tied for the team lead.

Because this is the second season he’s missed because of injury — he didn’t play as a true freshman — Cartwright could seek a sixth season of eligibility from the NCAA. McElwain said that’s something that will be addressed after the 2014 season is complete.

Steven Walker, Cartwright’s replacement, is currently second on the Rams with 14 receptions and third in receiving yards with 157.  His two touchdown catches are tied for second on the team.

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Michigan going back to Devin Gardner at QB

Devin Gardner

Not so unexpectedly, Michigan is going back to its recent past at the most important position on the field.

Wednesday, embattled UM head coach Brady Hoke confirmed Devin Gardner will get the start at quarterback for Saturday’s game against Rutgers.  Prior to being benched in favor of Shane Morris in the loss to Minnesota last week, Gardner had started 16 of the previous 17 games for the Wolverines.

In his four starts this season, Gardner has thrown six interceptions against just five touchdowns.  In a pair of 2014 starts against Power Five teams, Gardner has tossed five picks and zero touchdowns.

Morris suffered a concussion and lower-leg injury in his first regular-season start after Gardner was benched.  It was the former injury and the football program’s botching of it that led to calls for both Hoke and athletic director Dave Brandon to be fired.

Hoke has defended the handling of the situation, while president Mark Schlissel apologized and admitted that the situation wasn’t handled properly.  In the wake of the fiasco, UM is reviewing its injury protocols, particularly as it relates to head injuries, although no sanctions from the Big Ten are expected.

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Bonnafon gets starting call again at QB for Louisville

Reggie Bonnafon AP

For the second week in a row, Louisville will be sans its starting quarterback for a conference game.

On a teleconference Wednesday, Bobby Petrino confirmed that Will Gardner will not start Friday’s game against Syracuse.  Petrino did allow that “[t]here’s a chance [Gardner] will be available” in an emergency-type situation.

“Will was out there last night and did more in practice,” Petrino said. “Reports from the training room this morning was there was limited swelling so we get a chance to get him out today at practice again.”

Gardner suffered a left knee injury in the win against FIU.  He left in the third quarter didn’t return.

With Gardner out, at least at the beginning, Reggie Bonnafon will make his second consecutive start.

In his first collegiate start against Wake Forest, a 20-10 win, Bonnafon completed 16-of-32 passes for 206 yards. He had no touchdowns but also no interceptions. The true freshman added 46 yards on the ground against the Demon Deacons; in the first four games, Gardner ran for minus-72, so obviously Bonnafon adds a dimension that the starter doesn’t possess.

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Pair of Fresno State DBs, including Arizona transfer, quit team

Fresno State v USC Getty Images

Fresno State’s secondary depth took an unexpected twin hit Tuesday.

According to head coach Tim DeRuyter in a press release sent out late Tuesday night, both cornerback Bryan Harper and free safety Justin Holmes have decided to quit the Bulldogs football team. The moves apparently came from out of the blue, at least publicly.

The pair left due to unspecified personal reasons.

“We appreciate their contributions and we wish them well in the future,” DeRuyter said in a statement.

Harper transferred to Fresno State from Arizona in 2013 and sat out that season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules.  The decision to leave came after Harper had started the first two games of the season.  The Fresno Bee wrote that Harper “was excused from practice on Monday while at home in Los Angeles to tend to a family issue.”

Coming out of high school in Ontario, California, Harper was a three-star member of the Wildcats’ 2012 recruiting class.

Holmes, meanwhile, didn’t record a tackle this year after redshirting as a true freshman last season.  He was a no-show at practice Monday.

Neither Harper nor Holmes was listed on the most recent two-deep depth chart.

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