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Iowa’s 2013 recruiting class

Kirk Ferentz AP

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

Nathan Bazata (BUDGET-uh)
Defensive Line
6-2, 280, Freshman
Howells, Nebraska (Howells HS)
High school honors – - Nominated for Gatorade Football Player of the Year as a senior . . . named Division I Player of the Year by Huskerland Prep Reports . . . earned fi rst team all-state and all-district honors as a senior, being named honorary captain . . . was first team all-state as a sophomore and junior as well . . . Career – - four-year letterman as defensive lineman and team captain as a senior as prep team posted 47-3 record in four seasons . . . helped prep team win state championships as a freshman and sophomore, while placing as runner-up as a junior and reaching quarterfinals as a senior . . . recorded 45 tackles as a senior, including nine QB sacks and 11 tackles for loss, with one touchdown on a recovered fumble . . . collected 91 tackles as a junior, with 24 tackles for loss and nine QB sacks, along with a safety . . . had 118 tackles as a sophomore, with 10 tackles for loss, four QB sacks and one safety . . . 71 tackles, including fi ve tackles for loss and two QB sacks as a freshman . . . also four-year wrestling letterman and earned three letters in track, throwing both shot and discus.
Personal – - Born 7/15/94 . . . open major . . . parents are Laurie and Dan Bazata . . . member of prep Honor Roll . . . high school coach was Mike Speirs.

Ike Boettger (BOT-gir)
Tight End
6-6, 235, Freshman
Cedar Falls, Iowa (Cedar Falls HS)
High school honors – - Selected to compete in 2013 Iowa Shrine Game . . . named first team all-state by Des Moines Register and Iowa Newspaper Association as a senior . . . first team all-conference and all-metro honors as a senior . . . was fi rst team all-metro as a junior . . . Career – - played tight end, wide receiver, quarterback and defensive back as a prep while earning two letters . . . helped prep team post 22-4 record as a junior and senior, reaching state semifinals each season . . . had 33 receptions for 452 yards and four touchdowns as a senior . . . on defense registered 61 tackles, five QB sacks, six pass break-ups and two fumble recoveries . . . in seven games as a junior quarterback, completed 58-95 pass attempts for 750 yards and nine touchdowns, with one interception . . . team captain in both football and basketball . . . three-year basketball letterman, earning second team all-conference in basketball as a junior.
Personal – - Born 10/05/94 . . . given name is Isaac . . . business management major . . . parents are Kris and Tim Boettger . . . member of prep Honor Roll with a 3.5 career GPA . . . high school coaches were Pat Mitchell and Brad Remmert.

LeShun Daniels (Luh-SEAN)
Running Back
6-0, 215, Freshman
Warren, Ohio (Harding HS)
Hawk-Item – - Attended Harding HS as a junior and senior after attending Dekalb, Ill. HS as a freshman and sophomore.High school honors – - Earned first team all-state, all-district, all-county and all-conference honors as a senior . . . named Lake Erie League Player of the Year as a senior . . . all-county first team as a junior . . . honorable mention all-conference and all-area as a sophomore . . . Career – - earned three letters in football and four in track . . . rushed for 1,614 yards and 15 touchdowns on 261 attempts as a senior as team posted 9-2 record . . . rushed 165 times for 908 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior . . . totaled 243 yards and one touchdowns on KO returns as a junior . . . rushed 88 times for 406 yards and five touchdowns as a sophomore at Dekalb HS, helping team reach playoffs for first time in over 20 seasons . . . team captain as a senior . . . earned all-state honors on 400-meter relay team as a junior . . . football team captain as a senior . . . ranks fourth in career rushing yards at Harding HS.
Personal – - Born 6/04/95 . . . pre-physical therapy major . . . parents are Alicia and LeShun Daniels . . . member of National Honor Society and prep Honor Roll . . . high school coach was Steve Arnold.

Colin Goebel (GO-bul)
Offensive Line
6-5, 280, Freshman
Lisle, Illinois (Naperville North HS)High school honors – - Earned prep All-America honors and was selected to compete for Team USA in International Bowl . . . fi rst team all-state and all-conference as a senior . . . first team all-state and all-conference as a junior, while being named conference Offensive Lineman of the Year . . . named to Chicagoland Underclassman All-Area team as a freshman and sophomore . . . Career – - earned three letters as offensive and defensive lineman, helping prep team reach state playoffs three straight seasons . . . also lettered two years prep wrestling team.
Personal – - Born 8/04/94 . . . Health Services major . . . parents are Gail and Brian Goebel . . . earned academic all-conference recognition . . . high school coach was Sean Drendel.

Brant Gressel (GRES-uhl)
Defensive Line
6-2, 280, Freshman
Centerville, Ohio (Centerville HS)
High school honors – - Earned all-state honorable mention honors as a senior, along with being first team all-conference and all-district . . . first team all-conference and honorable mention all-district as a junior . . . Career – - helped prep team post 30-14 record over four years, while advancing to state playoffs in three seasons . . . team captain as a senior . . . collected 38.5 tackles as a senior, including 8.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 QB sacks . . . also had two recovered fumbles and one forced fumble and one pass break-up in fi nal season . . . 34 tackles and 4.5 sacks as a junior, while also collecting two recovered fumbles, one caused fumble and two blocked punts . . . also competed for prep baseball team.
Personal – - Born 1/17/95 . . . engineering major . . . parents are Lisa and Tony Gressel . . . . two-time scholar athlete as a prep . . . high school coach was Ron Ullery.

Andre Harris
Wide Receiver
6-0, 170, Freshman
Kirkwood, Missouri (Kirkwood HS)
High school honors – - First team all-state as a senior . . . first team all-conference as a junior and senior . . . Career – -played both wide receiver and defensive back for prep team that posted three-year record of 34-5 . . . prep team reached state semifi nals as a sophomore, lost in championship game as a junior and won state title with perfect 13-0 record as a senior . . . totaled 600 receiving yards and five interceptions as a senior, scoring 11 touchdowns . . . totaled 300 receiving yards and four interceptions as a junior, scoring four touchdowns . . . team captain as a senior . . . also competed as a sprinter for prep track team.
Personal – - Born 8/04/95 . . . open major . . . parents are Tausha and Aaron Harris . . . high school coach was Matt Irvin.

Josey Jewell
Linebacker
6-2, 200, Freshman
Decorah, Iowa (Decorah HS)
High school honors – - Named to Des Moines Register Elite named as all-area Player of the Year by Cedar Rapids Gazette/KCRG-TV as a senior . . . first team all-district as a junior and senior . . . second team all-district as a sophomore . . . Career – - three-year letterman as linebacker and running back . . . helped prep team post 34-6 record in three seasons . . . team reached state playoffs as a sophomore, was state runner-up as a junior and won state title with perfect 14-0 record as a senior . . . recorded 62 solo tackles and 38 assists as a senior, with one interception and two recovered fumbles . . . 86 solo tackles and 58 assists as a junior, with one interception and one fumble recovery . . . 42 solo stops and 24 assists as a sophomore, with one interception . . . career totals include 190 solo tackles and 120 assists . . . as a senior rushed 166 times for 1,314 yards and 21 touchdowns, along with 11 receptions for 91 yards and 15 punt returns for 250 yards and a touchdown . . . 150 rushing attempts for 1,475 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior, with six receptions for 43 yards and one touchdown . . . gained 451 rushing yards and scored three touchdowns on 96 carries as a sophomore . . . football team captain as a senior . . . also competed in basketball, baseball and track throughout prep career . . . all-conference and all-district in discus as sophomore and junior . . . placed 18th in discus at state championships as a junior . . . all-conference in shuttle hurdle relay as a junior, placing 12th at state meet . . . first team all-conference and third team all-state in baseball as a junior as prep team finished as state runner-up.
Personal – - Born 12/25/94 . . . environmental studies/business major . . . parents are Paula and Bobby Jewell . . . member of National Honor Society . . . earned academic all-district recognition.

A.J. Jones
Wide Receiver
6-3, 190, Freshman
Dallas, Texas (South Oak Cliff HS)
High school honors – - Earned second team all-district honors as a senior . . . Career – - helped prep team post 19-3 record as a junior and senior, advancing to state playoffs each season . . . team captain as a senior . . . recorded 23 receptions for 390 yards and seven touchdowns as a senior . . . also lettered in basketball and track.
Personal – - Born 1/22/95 . . . given name is Anjeus (Ahn-JAY-us) . . . sports management major . . . parents are Krashawn Cloud and Herbert Jones . . . high school coach was Emmett Jones.

John Kenny
Linebacker
6-2, 215, Freshman
Carmel, Indiana (Carmel HS)
Hawk-Item – - Enrolled at Iowa for spring semester and will take part in spring practice. High school honors – - Named to Indianapolis Star Super Team as a senior . . . earned fi rst team all-state and all-conference honors as a senior and junior . . . Career – - helped prep team post three-year record of 31-5, including state championship as a junior . . . recorded 98 tackles as a senior, including 14 tackles for loss and four QB sacks, while also collecting four forced fumbles, one recovered fumble and two blocked kicks . . . collected 120 tackles as a junior, including 19 tackles for loss, eight QB sacks, four forced fumbles, four recovered fumbles, one touchdown and one blocked kick . . . 86 tackles as a sophomore, with 12 tackles for loss, six QB sacks, two forced fumbles and one recovered fumble . . . team captain as a senior . . . also lettered in lacrosse and hockey.
Personal – - Born 6/20/94 in Charlotte, N.C. . . . open major . . . parents are Debbie and Shawn Kenny . . . . carried a 3.2 prep GPA . . . high school coach was Kevin Wright.

Desmond King
Defensive Back
5-11, 185, Freshman
Detroit, Michigan (East English Village Prep)
High school honors – - Earned first team all-state honors . . . also first team all-city and named to Dream Team as a senior . . . first team all-state and all-city as a junior . . . first team all-city and second team all-state as a sophomore . . . Career – - established Michigan high school record with 29 career interceptions . . . set school record for career rushing yards . . . rushed for 2,360 yards and scored 33 touchdowns as a senior . . . recorded 56 tackles and seven interceptions as a senior . . . rushed for 1,610 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior, with 49 tackles and 12 interceptions on defense . . . rushed for 811 yards and nine touchdowns as a sophomore, with 44 tackles and 10 interceptions on defense . . . team captain as junior and senior . . . competed on three teams that advanced to state playoffs, including regional championship as a senior . . . helped prep team post three-year record of 32-6 . . . four-year letterman in track, competing in sprint events and relays.
Personal – - Born 12/14/94 . . . mass communications major . . . member of prep Honor Roll and Principal’s List . . .. . . mother is Yvette Powell . . . high school coach was Rod Oden.

Derrick Mitchell
Wide Receiver
6-1, 190, Freshman
St. Louis, Missouri (Vashon HS)
High school honors – - Selected to compete in Illinois vs. Missouri all-star game . . . third team all-state as a senior . . . fi rst team all-conference and conference Athlete of the Year as a junior and senior . . . Career – - played wide receiver, defensive back, quarterback and running back . . . helped prep team advance to state playoffs as a senior . . . totaled 712 rushing yards, 468 passing yards and 205 yards on KO returns while scoring 14 touchdowns as a senior . . . scored 17 touchdowns as a junior, with 518 rushing yards, 277 receiving yards and 302 yards on KO returns . . . collected 39 tackles, two interceptions and one fumble recovery as a junior . . . as a sophomore had 17 receptions for 338 yards, while collecting 31 tackles on defense . . . football team captain as a junior and senior . . . also competed on varsity teams in basketball, baseball and track as sophomore, junior and senior.
Personal – - Born 8/18/95 . . . open major . . . father is Derrick Mitchell, Sr. . . . member of Honor Roll all four years as a prep . . . high school coach was Reginald Ferguson.

Jonathan Parker
Running Back
5-8, 175, Freshman
St. Louis, Missouri (Christian Brothers HS)
High school honors – - Second team all-conference, all-metro and all-state as a senior . . . second team all-conference as a junior . . . Named Special Teams Player of the Year as sophomore and senior . . . Career – - played running back, wide receiver and linebacker, as well as returning kicks . . . helped prep team reach state playoffs for three seasons, posting a 24-2 record his fi nal two years . . . team posted undefeated record in conference play for three straight seasons . . . rushed 162 times for 1,111 yards and 18 touchdowns as a senior, along with 16 receptions for 213 yards and one score . . . rushed 125 times for 982 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior, with 10 receptions for 264 yards and two touchdowns . . . as a sophomore had 83 rushing attempts for 600 yards and eight touchdowns, with two receptions for 35 yards . . . career KO return totals include 18 returns for 555 yards (30.8 average) and two touchdowns . . . team captain as a senior . . . also competed in basketball and track.
Personal – - Born 3/01/95 . . . business major . . . mother is Shirley Wilson . . . high school coach was Scott Pingel.

Damond Powell
Wide Receiver
5-11, 180, Junior
Toledo, Ohio (Rogers HS)
Snow, Utah CC
Junior College – - Attended Snow Community College in Ephraim, Utah . . . helped team post 11-1 overall record as a sophomore and No. 2 national ranking . . . honorable mention all-America and All-WSFL as a sophomore . . . 41 receptions for 1,231 yards and 14 touchdowns as a sophomore . . . led the nation in yards per reception (30.0) and ranked third in yards per game (102.6) . . . junior college coach was Tyler Hughes.High school honors – - Named second team all-district and first team all-city as a senior . . . Career – - earned three letters as wide receiver . . . team captain as a senior . . . helped prep team reach state playoffs while posting a 9-3 record as a junior . . . also lettered in basketball (four) and track (two) . . . three-year basketball team captain . . . as a senior led team to Final Four in state tournament, earning Mr. Basketball honors for the state of Ohio.
Personal – - Born 10/31/92 . . . business major . . . parents are Nikita and Damond Powell, Sr. . . . high school coach was Rick Rios.

Malik Rucker (muh-LEEK)
Defensive Back
6-0, 170, Freshman
Minneapolis, Minnesota (Robbinsdale Cooper HS)
High school honors – - Earned first team all-conference and all-metro honors, as well as being named conference defensive MVP as a senior . . . first team all-conference and all-metro as a junior . . . honorable mention all-conference as a sophomore . . . Career – - three-year letterman as defensive back and receiver, while also returning kicks and punts . . . helped prep team post 9-3 record as team captain as a senior after reaching playoffs as a junior . . . recorded 83 tackles as a senior, including 60 solo stops . . . forced five fumbles and had three interceptions, scoring one touchdown . . . as wide receiver had six receptions for 157 yards and two scores . . . also recorded 83 tackles as a junior, with two forced fumbles and two interceptions . . . had one punt return for a score . . . recorded 20 tackles as a sophomore . . . also competed in basketball and track.
Personal – - Born 6/25/95 . . . open major . . . mother is Chanda Smith Baker . . . high school coach was Willie Howard.

Nic Shimonek (SHIM-oh-nik)
Quarterback
6-4, 196, Freshman
Corsicana, Texas (Mildred HS)
High school honors – - Finalist for state Player of the Year as a senior . . . honorable mention all-state as a senior and junior . . . named district and area Offensive Most Valuable Player while earning first team honors as a junior and senior . . . first team all-district and all-area as a sophomore . . . honorable mention all-district as a freshman . . . Career – - led prep team to runner-up finish in Texas Class 2-A Division II as a senior, helping team post 13-2 overall record . . . passed for 2,714 yards and 33 touchdowns as a senior, completing 160-252 passes, with just six interceptions . . . rushed for 850 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior . . . as a junior completed 193-291 attempts for 2,939 yards and 37 touchdowns, with three interceptions, while also rushing for 220 yards and nine touchdowns . . . team posted 13-1 record in junior season, reaching state semi-finals . . . completed 139-243 attempts for 1,885 yards and 21 touchdowns as a sophomore, with nine interceptions . . . as a freshman completed 64-143 attempts for 673 yards and six touchdowns, with 11 interceptions . . . helped team reach state playoffs as a freshman and sophomore . . . career totals included 8,211 passing yards and 97 passing touchdowns . . . holds school and area passing records for career completions, yards and touchdowns . . . team captain as a senior . . . also four-year letterman in basketball and baseball.Personal – - Born 8/22/94 . . . business/engineering major . . . parents are Tresa and Kenny Shimonek . . . carried over a 3.75 prep GPA . . . high school coach was Patrick Harvell.

Reggie Spearman
Linebacker
6-3, 225, Freshman
Chicago, Illinois (Simeon HS)
High school honors – - First team all-state as a senior and
named to Team USA . . . named first team all-city and All-Chicago Public League as a senior . . . Career – - helped prep team earn city championship three straight years . . . team won Chicago Prep Bowl at Soldier Field as a senior, posting a combined 21-5 record his last two seasons . . . recorded 120 tackles as a senior, with 12 QB sacks and two interceptions . . . team captain as a senior . . . also competed for prep track team.
Personal – - Born 8/17/96 . . . sports management major . . . parents are Belinda and William Spearman . . . high school coach was Dave Culbreath.

Akrum Wadley (ACK-rum)
Running Back
5-11, 170, Freshman
Newark, New Jersey (Weequahic HS)
High school honors – - Second team all-state as a senior . . . named Essex County Player of the Year as a senior . . . first team all-conference, all-city and all-county as a senior . . . first team all-conference as a junior while being named offensive Rookie of the Year . . . Career – - played both running back and defensive back, while also competing in basketball and track as a prep . . . helped team post 9-3 record as both a junior and senior, reaching state championship game each season . . . team captain as a senior . . . holds school record for touchdowns in a season . . . 105 rushing attempts for 1,548 yards and 25 touchdowns as a senior, along with 11 receptions for 153 yards and two scored . . . totaled 371 yards and four touchdowns on special teams, including 95-yard return in state championship game . . . recorded two QB sacks and a fumble recovery on defense.
Personal – - Born 3/13/95 . . . communications major . . . parents are Sheronda Phelps and John Wadley . . . high school coach was Brian Logan.

Solomon Warfield
Defensive Back
6-0, 185, Freshman
Lorain, Ohio (St. Edward HS)
High school honors – - Earned first team all-Ohio honors as a senior . . . Career – - helped prep team post 15-0 record and claim state title as a sophomore . . . recorded 81 tackles as a senior, with one interception, five pass break-ups and one forced fumble . . . four-year football letterman, while also competing for prep track team.
Personal – - Born 12/09/94 . . . business major . . . parents are Vernita and Ryan Warfield . . . high school coach was Rick Finotti.

Sean Welsh
Offensive Line
6-3, 285, Freshman
Springboro, Ohio (Springboro HS)
High school honors – - Named Offense-Defense All-America as a senior . . . earned second team all-state honors as a senior, along with being first team all-district, all-conference and all-division . . . named to All-Ohio first team by JJ Huddle/Muscle Milk . . . first team all-division as a junior and second team as a sophomore . . . named first team all-area by Dayton Daily News as a junior and senior . . . Career – - earned four letters in football as offensive and defensive lineman . . . team captain as a senior, helping team post perfect 10-0 record.
Personal – - Born 10/13/94 . . . business/marketing major . . . parents are Deb and Matt Welsh . . . . earned Principal’s List and Scholar-Athlete honors four straight years . . . high school coach was Ryan Wilhite.

Derrick Willies (WILL-eez)
Wide Receiver
6-4, 205, Freshman
Rock Island, Illinois (Rock Island HS)
High school honors – - Selected to participate in fourth annual International Bowl . . . first team all-conference as a senior in only season at Rock Island HS . . . first-team all-conference and second team all-state as a junior at Burlington, Iowa HS . . . Career – - recorded 56 receptions for 877 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior . . . 57 receptions for 934 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior . . . team captain as a junior . . . set high school career records for receiving yards and touchdowns and single game records for yards and receptions . . . also played end and safety on defense . . . competed in track (hurdles, sprints) and basketball as a prep, winning 300-meter dash state title as a junior.
Personal – - Born 10/12/94 in Banning, Cal. . . . engineering major . . . parents are Mandie and Derrick Willies . . . . member of prep Honor Roll . . . high school coach was Bryan Stortz at Rock Island HS.

Jon Wisnieski (Wiz-NEW-ski)
Tight End
6-5, 220, Freshman
West Des Moines, Iowa (Dowling HS)
High school honors – - Names to elite all-state first team and all-district first team as a senior . . . honorable mention all-conference as a junior . . . Career – - member of state championship team as a sophomore . . . helped prep team post 18-6 record in final two seasons, reaching state playoffs each season while playing tight end and linebacker . . . team captain as a senior . . . recorded 24 receptions for 234 yards and four touchdowns as a senior . . . eight receptions for 119 yards and two touchdowns as a junior . . . recorded 36 tackles, with one interception for a touchdown, as a junior . . . also lettered in both basketball and baseball.
Personal – - Born 9/21/94 . . . business major . . . parents are Barb and Dave Wisnieski . . . . earned academic all-state honors for football . . . member of National Honor Society . . . member of prep Honor Roll . . . high school coach was Tom Wilson.

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TCU appears to have washed its hands of Brandon Carter

Brandon Carter, Nigel Tribune AP

A rough day for this particular football program continues as one of the most productive and experienced pieces of TCU’s passing game puzzle looks to be no more.

During his time at the Big 12 Media Days, Gary Patterson was asked if he hoped Brandon Carter would remain at TCU and return to the Horned Frogs at some point. The head coach’s response was surprisingly — and refreshingly — blunt.

“No,” said Patterson in regards to the wide receiver’s potential return. “He has a redshirt year, and I think the best thing for him is to get a new start. It’s setting a precedent — you have to go to school.”

Carter was charged with possession of marijuana in late April — it was later dropped — but that wasn’t the reason for the parting of ways. Rather, it was Carter’s effort in the classroom — or lack thereof — that put the talented receiver on the outside of the football program looking in.

“Academically he will not make it,” Patterson said.

Carter entered Week 10 of the 2013 season second on the team in receptions with 17 and tied for third in receiving yards with 197. In early November, however, he took a leave of absence for personal reasons. Those “personal reasons” turned out to be related to a family matter.

Coming into last season, he was the Horned Frogs’ leading returning receiver as his 36-590-6 statline from 2012 was second only to the since-departed Josh Boyce.

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With first-year QB starter, Saban downplays Tide’s title chances

Blake Sims AP

In his first year as a starting quarterback in 2009, Greg McElroy helped lead Alabama to a BCS title.  In 2011, in his first year as a starting quarterback, AJ McCarron helped lead the Tide to Nick Saban‘s second of three BCS titles at UA.

With McCarron’s eligibility expired, Saban will be looking to replace that experience and production under center with yet another first-year starter.  Ahead of that, the coach is looking to tap the brakes on, well, any optimism that may be rearing its ugly, unwanted and unwarranted head.

The two main combatants in the fight to replace McCarron are fifth-year senior Blake Sims (pictured) and Florida State transfer Jacob Coker.  Entering 2014, and even with inexperience at the most important position on the field — neither Sims nor Coker have started a game at the collegiate level — the Tide is viewed as a betting favorite to claim yet another national championship.

At least for the moment, Saban is pooh-poohing and downplaying any type of favorite talk despite what’s happened the last two times he’s had a first-year starter at quarterback.

“Well I think it is a little bit unrealistic because basically what you’re talking about is two guys [who] are untested,” said Saban during an ESPN interview when asked about title expectations. “And when you have an untested player at that position, you can be pleasantly surprised with the way they develop and how they do and how the team sorta rallies around them and the impact of their leadership, decision-making, those things are critical at the quarterback position. …

“They can also go to where they turn the ball over and do some things that make it hard to overcome. Because quarterback is such a critical position to me. Football is a great team game, but then there’s the quarterback. And most successful teams have a guy that, at least in their system, is functionally successful for the other players on the team. And in our case, because we have good skill guys, it’s important that our guy can distribute the ball to those guys and make those guys effective players for us.”

(Writer’s note: the Tide QB competition is officially a two-man thing, based on Saban’s quotes.)

Entering summer camp, and even as he has yet to take a snap as a member of the Crimson Tide, Coker is viewed as the heavy favorite to win the starting job.  Consistency and lack of turnovers will be key regardless of which player actually wins out.

Whether Coker’s the way it plays out remains to be seen; what’s certain is that, with a first-year starter, Saban & Company will rely on its loaded backfield, including the three-headed monster of T.J. YeldonDerrick Henry and Kenyan Drakearrest and suspension notwithstanding — to help the starter get his feet wet, especially early on.

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Gator TE reportedly transferring to Temple

Colin Thompson

Temple has added a late-in-the-offseason transfer pickup from the top conference in college football, the Philadelphia Daily News reported Tuesday.

Citing multiple sources with knowledge of the situation, the Philadelphia Daily News reports that tight end Colin Thompson has transferred into the Owls football program. Officials from neither Temple nor Florida, where Thompson spent the past two seasons, have confirmed the player’s addition to/departure from their respective rosters.

No reason was given for the departure, although a search for playing time would be a good place to start.

It was reported last month that Thompson would be looking to transfer to a school closer to his home in Warminster, Penn. Thompson visited Penn State before apparently opting for Temple, while Stanford, UCF and Villanova all expressed some level of interest in his services.

A four-star member of the Gators’ 2012 recruiting class, Thompson was rated as the No. 6 tight end in the country and the No. 5 player at any position in the state of Pennsylvania. He played in three games, all last seasons, during his time in Gainesville, and didn’t catch a pass in his brief UF career.

A foot injury during summer camp of his true freshman season derailed the immediate impact Thompson was expected to make.

(Photo credit: Florida athletics)

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Ex-Illini O-lineman, current D-II player passes away

Shawn Afryl

The Illinois football family has suffered a heartbreaking loss, the school announced Tuesday.

In a press release, the Illini confirmed that former offensive lineman Shawn Afryl passed away Monday.  The cause of death was not revealed, although media accounts state that the player collapsed during a workout and died a short time later after being rushed to a hospital.

Afryl was just 22 years of age.

“All of us in the Fighting Illini football family are greatly saddened by Shawn’s passing last night,” Illinois head coach Tim Beckman said in a statement. “He was a great teammate and a dedicated student. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Afryl took a redshirt his true freshman season in 2010, didn’t play in 2011 and saw action in one game in 2012. He graduated from Illinois in November of 2013, then, the school stated, enrolled at Winona State University (MN) for fall of 2014, where he planned on using his final season of eligibility.

Afryl was working out at Winona in preperation for the upcoming season when he collapsed

Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to all of those affected by Afryl’s way-too-soon death.

(Photo credit: Illinois athletics)

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Pat Fitzgerald launches verbal bombs at Cal’s Dykes, state of Nebraska

NCAA Football: Northwestern at California AP

As Steve Spurrier stated earlier today, and amidst his astronomy dissertationit’s the talkin’ season.

The latest to do some talkin’ is an unexpected source: Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald.  At a charity golf outing Tuesday, the Wildcats head coach not only took a shot at the coach of his team’s season-opening opponent but managed to offend an entire state for good measure.

In the season opener last August at Cal, the Wildcats (somewhat) easily dispatched the Golden Bears to the tune of 44-30.  Following the game, Cal head coach Sonny Dykes infamously confronted Fitzgerald during the traditional postgame handshake as the former felt the latter’s team feigned injuries in an attempt to slow down Cal’s offense.

That confrontation left Fitzgerald in a feisty, predicting mood nearly a year later.

“The way it went last year,” Fitzgerald said according to the Chicago Tribune, “I look forward to shaking that coach’s hand after we beat ‘em.”

OBC Lite, though, wasn’t done.

Nebraska will visit Evanston this year for a conference matchup Oct. 18. For whatever reason, Fitzgerald decided to take a shot at the entire state — while also acknowledging the likelihood of a significant ‘Husker Nation presence on his home turf this fall.

“It’s a pretty boring state, so they’re really excited to see Chicago,” Fitzgerald said. “I talked to the state senator about putting state troopers out on I-80 (to block them).”

OK then.

And stock up on some popcorn.  Just in case.

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Tide now Bovada’s co-favorites with FSU as title favorites

Nick Saban AP

Back in January, reigning BCS champion Florida State was the favorite to claim the first-ever championship in the College Football Playoff era.

Six months later, and a handful of weeks before the start of the 2014 season, the Seminoles have some company at the top.

According to Bovada.lv, FSU remains at the same 11/2 odds to win the 2014 FBS championship as they were earlier this year.  Joining them at 11/2, however, is Alabama.  In the moist recent set of odds, the Tide came in at 13/2.

In odds released a couple of weeks ago, the Tide stood at 6/1 while the ‘Noles were, again, at 11/2.

The team that’s made the biggest jump over the last seven months is Ole Miss, with the Rebels moving from 66/1 to 40/1.  Others trending upward are Oregon (7/1, from 12/1), Oklahoma (20/1, from 9/1), Auburn (10/1, from 14/1), UCLA (14/1, from 25/1), Georgia (18/1, from 25/1)LSU (20/1), from 25/1), USC (25/1, from 33/1) and Wisconsin (33/1, from 40/1).

On the flip side, Bovada has lost all kinds of respect for Stanford as the Cardinal has tumbled from 9/1 in January to 33/1 in July.  Clemson and Texas A&M have also taken precipitous drops, with both going from 25/1 to 66/1.  Ohio State (12/1, from 10/1), Michigan State (25/1, from 20/1), Baylor (28/1, from 25/1) and Florida and South Carolina (33/1, from 25/1) are among the others who have lost wagering ground to the field.

Below are the complete set of championship odds, again courtesy of Bovada.lv:

(Writer’s note: teams in red have longer odds, teams in blue have shorter odds, and teams in black stayed the same.)

2014 Title Odds

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Strong officially anoints David Ash as UT’s starting QB

David Ash AP

Monday saw the expected in David Ash being medically cleared to fully participate from the beginning in Texas’ summer camp that begins early next month.  A day later, yet another expected development became official.

UT head coach Charlie Strong announced during the Big 12 Media Days Tuesday that, yes, Ash is the Longhorns’ starting quarterback.  Strong stated that Ash is his starter entering camp, so that would technically leave the door cracked for either sophomore Tyrone Swoopes or incoming freshman Jerrod Heard to make a push for the job.

Barring an injury, however, that’s not expected.

Speaking of injury, though, it would behoove Strong and his offensive coaching staff to ensure that Swoopes and/or Harris are prepared given what’s transpired over the past 10 months or so.

Ash missed most of last year due to a concussion suffered early on in the season.  After incurring the original injury Sept. 7, Ash returned two weeks later only to see the concussion symptoms recur and sideline him yet again.  In late November, Ash was officially shut down for what little was left of the season.  In mid-January, he was cleared by the UT medical staff to resume football activities.

In mid-April this year, Ash broke a bone in his left foot and missed the remainder of spring practice.

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June Jones issues statement clarifying spring games for ‘have-nots’

June Jones

Last week, June Jones stepped into it by laughably suggesting that the non-Power Five conferences — his AAC, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West, Sun Belt — should move their games from the fall to spring in an effort to think outside the box and not get “left behind.”

A couple of days later, three of the commissioners from those conferences completely distanced themselves from the SMU head coach’s idea. A couple of days after said distancing, Jones has issued a statement clarifying the comments made during a radio interview and ensuring that people know it was his personal opinion and not that of his employer or his employer’s conference.

Here is Jones’ statement, in its entirety:

“My recent comments about the non-’Group of Five’ conferences possibly moving their football seasons to the spring were my own, and not those of SMU or the American Athletic Conference. Not being in one of these leagues creates unique challenges, and requires us to think out of the box. My comments were an example of this, and, I hope, triggered others to do so as well.

“Our conference experienced a great deal of national success in its first season. Two teams were ranked in the top 15 of the final AP poll and five were selected for bowl games. At SMU, we strive for that same level of success and will compete for American Athletic Conference Championships. We want to compete with and beat teams from the “Group of Five.”

So, there’s that.

And, hopefully, this’ll be the last time we ever have to discuss the USFL-ish notion of college football being played in the spring instead of the fall where it belongs.

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Penn State slapped with million-dollar suit filed by Jay Paterno

Penn State v Wisconsin Getty Images

The seemingly never-ending Paterno vs. Penn State battle royale is, well, never going to end.

The latest salvo in the ongoing feud between the two parties was fired by Jay Paterno, the son of the late Hall of Fame Nittany Lions head coach.  Joe Paterno was fired in November of 2011 by Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child-sex scandal, with his son facing a similar fate two months later.

In confirming his departure in January of 2012, Paterno said in a statement that he and his father’s replacement, Bill O’Brien, “reached the conclusion” that he would not be a part of the new coaching staff. The younger expressed no bitterness in his farewell statement, but, more than two years later, he has expressed it by filing a lawsuit against Penn State.

The suit was filed in a Philadelphia federal court and seeks $1 million in damages from the university. Former PSU assistant Bill Kenney is also a plaintiff the suit.

The suit claims in part that “Penn State destroyed any realistic prospect Plaintiffs had to obtain other comparable positions for which they were qualified and would have otherwise been competitive, either at the collegiate or professional level, or with positions with national media companies.”  In connection to that claim, the suit claims that, after his departure from Penn State, Paterno applied for head-coaching jobs at Boston College, Colorado, UConn and James Madison; Paterno, it’s claimed, didn’t receive an interview from any of those four schools.

You can view the entire lawsuit by clicking HERE.

In a statement, Penn State responded to the lawsuit thusly:

“It is common practice for incoming head coaches to select their own coaching staff. Penn State will have no further comment on this matter.”

Neither Paterno nor Kenney have been hired as assistant coaches since they “parted ways” with Penn State 30 months ago. Paterno looked into running for lieutenant governor of the state of Pennsylvania but opted out of that political pursuit.

In February of this year, the Paterno family added Penn State as a defendant in its lawsuit against the NCAA.

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GaTech dismisses three, suspends another for two games

Lynn Griffin

Just a couple of weeks ahead of the start of summer camp, Paul Johnson has whipped out his ban hammer and slammed it into his Georgia Tech roster.

In a release, Tech announced that three players have been dismissed from the football program: redshirt sophomore wide receiver Anthony Autry, redshirt freshman defensive lineman Darius Commissiong and redshirt sophomore defensive end Travin Henry . The dismissals were due to what the school described as violations of the Athletic Association’s student-athlete code of conduct.

Additionally, defensive back Lynn Griffin (pictured) was suspended for the first two games of the 2014 for the same reason. The redshirt sophomore will miss a home game against Wofford and a road trip to face Tulane.

The loss of Griffin will actually have the biggest impact as he played in 12 games last season. In addition to nine tackles during backup secondary duty, Griffin also returned eight kicks for 212 yards.

The other three saw little or no action during their time with the Yellow Jackets.

Autry caught three passes for 117 yards (yes, that’s nearly 40 yards per reception) before missing all of 2013 due to injury. Neither Commissiong nor Henry, who was moved from receiver to the defensive line this spring, played a down for Tech.

(Photo credit: Georgia Tech athletics)

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Saban takes issue with Bowlsby’s ‘cheating pays’ claim

Nick Saban AP

In opening the Big 12 Media Days Monday, commissioner Bob Bowlsby created a bit of a firestorm when, in the midst of a diatribe against the current enforcement practices in the NCAA, stated “cheating pays” and “[r]ight now, if you wanna cheat you can do it and get away with it and that needs to change.”

Tuesday afternoon, the highest-paid coach in college football took exception to the broad strokes painted by one of the most respected commissioners in the sport.

In a sit-down interview with ESPN radio “personality” Colin Cowherd, Nick Saban questioned Bowlsby’s take on the current climate of enforcement while espousing how the commissioner of his conference has stressed compliance throughout his time in the league. In fact, in Saban’s mind, social media has forced all of college football to keep their collective hands clean on the recruiting front.

Here are some of Saban’s comments on the situation, as transcribed by al.com:

“I don’t see that. I don’t know where people get those opinions. Like I think the compliance in our league is actually better than it’s ever been. I think Mike Slive, that was one of his babies when he came in, he was going to make sure that we had a clean league and people did it the right things. When you don’t walk the walk in our league, you’re going to get called down by our conference offices as much as the NCAA.”

“But I don’t see players getting bought. I don’t see players getting extra benefits any place. I think recruiting is so transparent now, I think most people are scared to death that they would get caught publicly — not by the NCAA, not by the conference office.

“But even if you have illegal contact with a player, he tweets that you talked to him. So that’s a violation. I mean, it’s so transparent, you almost have to do things correctly because I don’t think anybody needs to catch you. I think the public would catch you.”

Saban also seemed to take a bit of a shot at Bowlsby’s “cheating” crutch, saying that “[y]ou’re always looking for a reason and one of the easiest excuses is to say the other guy did something illegal… which I don’t buy into that.”

The coach did allow though, that “[a]gents are a problem.” That is an understandable stance on Saban’s part.

Over the past couple of years, various Tide players, including D.J. Fluker, Marcell Dareus and HaHa Clinton-Dix, have been accused of and/or suspended for having illicit dealings with agents or their middlemen.

The NCAA’s Enforcement Committee hasn’t met in over a year according to Bowlsby, which seems to be an indicator to the commish that the game of college football has become akin to the Wild West. According to Saban, though, there’s too much at stake for coaches and their staff to go rogue.

“The No. 1 thing that blows up my future and any coaches’ future is if you violate NCAA rules,” Saban said. “That’s a big risk to be taking over winning a football game when you’re talking about your family, your future and your career and all the hard work you’ve done professionally to get where you are.”

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Duke walk-on, son of John Mellencamp arrested again

Hud Mellencamp

One of those crazy rock-and-roll kids is at it again.

According to Laura Keeley of the Raleigh News & Observer, Duke defensive back Hud Mellencamp was arrested earlier this month and charged with illegal consumption of an alcoholic beverage.  The 20-year-old Mellencamp, who is the son of music legend John Mellencamp, is a walk-on entering his third year with the Blue Devils.

The school has yet to comment on what if any impact Mellencamp’s second run-in with the law the past two years will have on his status as a member of the team.

Last summer, Mellencamp and two other individuals, including his brother Speck and an Indiana football player, were charged with felony battery.  That case is still ongoing, although Mellencamp has remained with the team throughout.

(Photo credit: Duke athletics)

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Devonte Fields ‘separated’ from TCU pending investigation results

TCU v Baylor Getty Images

A very disturbing incident has, at least temporarily, cost TCU one of the top defensive players in the Big 12.

In a statement, TCU announced that “Devonte Fields has been separated from the University pending results of an investigation into the allegations against him.” The defensive end is under investigation by the Fort Worth Police Department for a domestic incident involving his ex-girlfriend.

According to reports, Fields’ ex accused him of pointing a gun at her; threatening to “blast” her while pointing the gun at her; and punching her with a closed fist.

Fields has yet to be charged in connection to the disturbance early Sunday morning. Should he be charged, especially if felonies are involved, the separation would likely and very quickly morph into a dismissal.

Earlier this month, Fields was named as the Big 12′s preseason Defensive Player of the Year. In 2012 he was the conference’s Freshman of the Year. His 2013 season was marred by a two-game suspension and, ultimately, a foot injury that limited him to three games.

In late January of this year, Fields claimed he was attacked, beaten and robbed three male suspects, one of whom fired five shots from a handgun into the air.  For whatever reason, Fields declined to press charges despite contacting police.

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Vols, WVU to open 2018 season in Charlotte

West Virginia v Oklahoma Getty Images

Once again, thank you College Football Playoff.

The latest college football programs to up their future scheduling games are Tennessee and West Virginia, with the schools that the Volunteers and Mountaineers will open the 2018 season against one another. The twist is it will be a neutral-site game, with the the two teams squaring off at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.

That stadium, the home of the ACC championship game as well as the Belk Bowl, will also play host to the North Carolina-South Carolina game in 2015.

“The game in Charlotte presents a tremendous opportunity for our football program to play against a quality opponent in West Virginia in a first-class NFL venue,” UT head coach Butch Jones said in a statement. “The Charlotte area is in close proximity to many of our fans, and the state of North Carolina is a key component in our recruiting efforts. We very much look forward to such a unique opportunity for our student-athletes and our program.”

The 2018 game, which will be played Sept. 1, will mark the first-ever meeting between the two football programs.  The Vols haven’t played a team from the Big 12 in the regular season — they faced Texas A&M in the 2004 Cotton Bowl — since opening 1997 against Texas Tech, while the Mountaineers’ last regular-season meeting with a member of the SEC came in 2010 versus LSU.

WVU will open the 2014 season at the home of the Atlanta Falcons against Alabama, while UT will play UAB on the Tennessee Titans’s home turf in 2015 and at Bristol Motor Speedway against Virginia Tech the following season.

“Our players enjoy playing in NFL Stadiums and this a great matchup for our program,” said WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen, who may or may not still hold that title four years down the road. “We recruit the state of North Carolina and Charlotte is a strong football area. Our fans have always supported us strongly in previous games in Charlotte and I think this is a matchup that they will really enjoy.”

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Report: TCU DE Devonte Fields pointed gun at ex-girlfriend, threatend to ‘blast you’

Devonte Fields, Wes Lunt

Star TCU defensive end Devonte Fields is being investigated by police for allegedly pointing a gun at his ex-girlfriend and threatening to shoot her, according to a report by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Fields allegedly punched his ex-girlfriend with a closed fist in the incident as well.

From the Star-Telegram:

There, 20-year-old Haley Brown told officers that Fields had apparently been standing outside the bedroom window listening to her talk to a mutual male friend. Brown told police Fields then punched out the window of their friend’s bedroom from the outside and began yelling at her.

“Haley stated that she thought Devonte was holding a gun in one of his hands and stated that he pointed it at her,” the report states.

“I should blast you!” he yelled at Haley, according to the report.

There are more details of the alleged incident in the Star-Telegram article, but if these accusations are true, Fields is in a world of trouble — and coach Gary Patterson would have justification to kick him off the team. No charges have been filed an arrest has yet to be made as the investigation remains ongoing.

Fields was tabbed as the Big 12 preseason defensive player of the year, though Patterson said Monday he was surprised at that and, as the Dallas Morning News’ Chuck Carlton put it:

Fields only played in three games last year and underwent foot surgery in October, but was the Big 12′s Freshman Defensive Player of the Year in 2012.

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