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North Carolina announces 17 new football signees

Larry Fedora AP

(Below are the bios released by North Carolina on the 17 new members of its 2013 recruiting class.)

Mikey Bart
Defensive End
6-3, 245
Buford, Ga. (Buford)

Pronounced MIKE-ee • Prepstar All-Southeast Region • Finished second in the county with 12.5 sacks • Earned first-team all-state as a defensive end and tight end • Played in the state championship game four times and won three of those • Was named the county player of the year • Ranked the No. 24 tight end in the country by ESPN.com, No. 33 by Scout.com and No. 81 by 247sports.com • Considered the No. 114 player in Georgia by ESPN.com • Team captain • Gwinnett County TD Club Player of the Year • Played at the same high school as current Tar Heel Nathan Staub • Coached by Jess Simpson • Helped lead his team to the state championship in baseball • Born Michael Joseph Bart on March 26, 1995 • Son of Karen and Tom Bart.

Lucas Crowley
Offensive Line
6-3, 270
Ponte Vedra, Fla. (Nease)

Rated the No. 5 center in the country by ESPN.com • Considered the No. 12 center in the country and one of Florida’s top 100 prospects by Rivals.com • Listed as the No. 20 center in the nation by Scout.com • Ranked the No. 50 offensive guard in the nation by 247sports.com • Named first-team All-First Coast • Member of the Jacksonville Times-Union Super 24 team • First-team all-state • MaxPreps Second-Team Medium Schools All-America selection • Prepstar All-Southeast Region selection • Coached by Shane Matthews • Born Lucas Wisham Crowley on Sept. 7, 1994 • Son of Dan and Laurie Crowley.

Dajaun Drennon
Defensive End
6-4, 230
Clementon, N.J. (Timber Creek)

Pronounced duh-WAN • Listed as the No. 4 weakside defensive end in the country by 247sports.com • Considered the No. 10 player in New Jersey and the No. 19 weakside defensive end in the nation by Rivals.com • Ranked the No. 29 defensive end in the country by Scout.com • Ranked the No. 20 outside linebacker by recruiting analyst Tom Lemming • Played in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl in Houston • Played for Team USA at the 2012 IFAF World Championships • Helped lead Timber Creek Regional to the South Jersey Group IV state championship • Considered the No. 49 defensive end in the nation by ESPN.com • Racked up 60 tackles and had 14 quarterback sacks as a senior • Participated in the US Army Combine • Coached by Rob Hinson • Born Dajaun Raleigh Drennon on Oct. 18, 1994 • Son of Ann and Raleigh Drennon.

Jordan Fieulleteau
Wide Receiver
6-3, 200
Raleigh, N.C. (Wakefield)

Pronounced fee-ALL-toe • Enrolled at UNC in January • Honorable-mention Parade All-America • Named to the North Carolina Associated Press All-State team and the NCPreps.com All-State team • Received the most votes on the AP all-state team • Prepstar All-Atlantic Region • Member of the ESPN 300 team • Ranked the No. 9 player in North Carolina by ESPN.com and the No. 43 receiver in the nation • Made 111 catches for 1,669 yards and 25 touchdowns as a senior • Led the team in scoring • Wakefield was 11-2 and advanced to the state playoffs • As a junior, posted 86 receptions for 1,200 yards and 24 touchdowns • Third-most touchdown receptions in state history and second-highest reception total in a season • Has the most touchdown catches in the nation in past two seasons • Coached by Rod Sink • Son of Kendra Clarke • Born June 10, 1995.

Khris Francis
Running Back
5-9, 195
Durham, N.C. (Hillside)

Enrolled at UNC in January • Member of North Carolina’s Shrine Bowl team • Considered the No. 29 running back in the country by ESPN.com • Ranked the No. 95 running back in the country by Scout.com • Listed as the No. 18 running back in the country by 247sports.com • Prepstar All-Atlantic Region • Ran 251 times for 2,100 yards and 27 touchdowns as a senior • Also had 328 yards and five touchdowns receiving • Was twice named the conference offensive back of the year • Rushed for 2,251 yards with 31 touchdowns as a junior • Also added 90 yards in receptions with one touchdown • Coached by Antonio King • Son of Chris and Bobbi Hadersbeck • Born December 25, 1993.

Marquis Haynes
Bandit
6-3, 220
Jacksonville, Fla. (University Christian)

Pronounced mar-KEECE • Member of the Jacksonville Times-Union Super 24 team • Prepstar All-Southeast Region • Considered the No. 32 weakside defensive end in the nation by 247sports.com, No. 43 by Rivals.com and the No. 44 overall defensive end by ESPN.com • Ranked among the top 175 defensive ends in the country by Scout.com • Helped lead University Christian to a come-from-behind victory over Dade Christian in the 2-A state championship game • Named first-team All-First Coast on defense with 73 tackles and 25 sacks as a senior • Also had 219 yards receiving and two touchdowns as a tight end and served as the team’s kicker • Registered 21 sacks as a junior • Coached by David Penland • Also plays basketball • Born Marquis Jacori Haynes on Dec. 16, 1993 • Son of Maurice and Kim Haynes.

Brad Henson
Offensive Line
6-5, 295
Surf City, N.J. (Monsignor Donovan)

Named the No. 13 guard in the nation by CBSSports.com • Listed the No. 25 guard in the country by Scout.com • Rated the No. 11 player in New Jersey and the No. 26 offensive guard in the country by Rivals.com • Four-year starter • Named first-team all-state • Ranked among the top 25 offensive guards in the nation by ESPN.com • Coached by Dan Duddy • Born Bradley Winn Henson on Nov. 28, 1993 • Son of Bradley and Elizabeth Henson.

Johnathan Howard
Wide Receiver
6-4, 195
Rochelle, Ga. (Wilcox County)

2012 MaxPreps Small School All-America selection • Named to the ESPN 300 list of the nation’s top recruits • Listed as the nation’s No. 24 wide receiver and No. 22 player in Georgia by ESPN.com • Class A all-state selection by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution • Named the AJC’s Offensive Class A Player of the Year • Invited to the Macon Touchdown Club as one of the Super Seven athletes in middle Georgia • Had the second-highest single-season receiving total in Georgia history with 1,630 receiving yards as a senior • Also scored 19 total touchdowns and finished the season with 115 catches • Ranked the nation’s No. 75 wide receiver by Scout.com • Considered among the top 100 players in Georgia and the No. 92 wide receiver in the country by Rivals.com • Coached by Mark Ledford • Born Johnathan Jamaul Howard on Nov. 28, 1994 • Son of Lonnie and Veronica Howard.

Nazair Jones
Defensive Lineman
6-5, 250
Roanoke Rapids, N.C. (Roanoke Rapids)

Pronounced nah-ZEER • Member of North Carolina’s Shrine Bowl team • Prepstar All-Atlantic Region • Competed in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl in Houston • Considered the No. 10 player in North Carolina and the nation’s No. 26 strongside defensive end by Rivals.com • Listed as the No. 9 player in North Carolina and the No. 17 strongside defensive end by 247sports.com • Ranked the No. 11 player in North Carolina and the No. 40 defensive end in the country by Scout.com • Also played at defensive tackle and on the offensive line • Born Nazair Tyrron Jones on Dec. 13, 1994 • Son of Tammy Jones.

Desmond Lawrence
Defensive Back
6-1, 175
Charlotte, N.C. (Charlotte Christian)

Prepstar All-Atlantic Region • Ranked the No. 8 player in North Carolina and the 28 safety in the country by Scout.com • Considered the No. 20 player in North Carolina and the nation’s No. 39 safety by Rivals.com • Played in the Oasis Shrine Bowl Game, an all-star game for players from private schools in North and South Carolina • Named 2012 All-Observer Team • Two-time all-conference and all-state performer • Received the Gridiron Great award for South Charlotte • Was a nominee for the US Army Bowl • Played on both sides of the ball and was an accomplished tailback as well as a standout defensive back • Rushed 139 times for 1,299 yards and 11 touchdowns to lead his team to the NCISAA 3-A championship • Also had 14 catches and a touchdown • Coached by Jason Estep • Born Desmond Lanell Lawrence on Nov. 30, 1994 • Son of Val Watters and Frank Lawrence.

T.J. Logan
Running Back
5-10, 180
Greensboro, N.C. (Northern Guilford)

Prepstar All-America • Honorable-mention Parade All-America • Rated a top-100 player in the country by CBSSports.com’s Tom Lemming • Member of Prepstar’s Dream Team (top 150 players in the country) • Ranked the No. 4 all-purpose back in the country by Rivals.com and the No. 2 overall player in North Carolina • Considered the No. 13 running back in the country by Prepstar • Listed as the No. 10 all-purpose back in the country and a top five player in North Carolina by 247sports.com • Earned AP all-state honors and was named North Carolina’s AP player of the year for 2012 • MaxPreps Medium Schools First-Team All-America selection • Rushed for 3,146 yards and 47 touchdowns as a senior, averaging more than 10.7 yards per carry, despite playing I the fourth quarter only twice • Had 25 receptions for 344 yards and six touchdowns • Also completed all eight pass attempts for 144 yards and had 12 punt returns for 241 yards (20.1 avg.) • Rushed for 5,614 yards and 85 scores his last two seasons in at Northern Guilford • Set NCHSAA records with 510 yards and eight touchdowns in the state championship game as Northern Guilford completed an undefeated season and won the 3AA title • Coached by Johnny Roscoe • Born Tyrone Courtney Logan on Sept. 3, 1994 • Son of Tyrone and Sheila Logan.

Donnie Miles
Defensive Back
5-11, 200
Lawrenceville, Ga. (North Gwinnett)

Prepstar All-Southeast Region • Ranked among the top 100 players in Georgia by Rivals.com and ESPN.com • Considered the nation’s No. 38 safety by Scout.com • Is the No. 66 rated safety in the country by Rivals.com • Played defensive back and running back • Posted more than 50 tackles as a junior and rushed for 674 yards and nine touchdowns splitting time at tailback • Also made 24 catches for 269 yards • Team finished 11-2 and was ranked the No. 4 team in Georgia • Team won back-to-back 7-AAAAA championships • Coached by Bob Sphire • Grew up in Carol City, Fla., outside of Miami • Born Donnie Ray Miles on Aug. 3, 1994 • Son of Donnie Miles Sr. & Diane Turner.

R.J. Prince
Offensive Lineman
6-6, 300
Albemarle, N.C. (Albemarle)

Enrolled at UNC in January • Prepstar All-America • Named to the North Carolina Associated Press All-State team and the NCPreps.com All-State team • Named to the Charlotte Observers’ All-Observer First Team • Member of North Carolina’s Shrine Bowl team • Competed in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl • Ranked the No. 33 offensive tackle in the nation by 247sports.com • Listed as the No. 41 tackle by Rivals.com • Considered the No. 36 offensive tackle in the country by Scout.com and one of the top 10 in the South • Listed as the No. 34 offensive tackle by ESPN.com • Coached by Danny Akins • Son of Valerie and Roger Prince Sr. • Born April 19, 1995.

Ryan Switzer
Athlete
5-10, 175
Charleston, W.Va. (George Washington)

First-team Parade All-America selection • Named to the East team roster at the 2013 Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl • Rated the No. 7 wingback by Tom Lemming • Two-time winner of the Kennedy Award, given to the West Virginia state player of the year • Only the sixth two-time winner in the award’s 66 years • Twice named the West Virginia Gatorade Player of the Year • Twice named the Kanawha Valley Football Player of the Year by The Charleston Daily Mail • Class AAA all-state selection • Twice named the conference player of the year • Three-time first-team all-state • Two-time first-team all-state captain • Finished his senior season with 206 carries for 2,379 yards and 32 touchdowns • Also caught 20 passes for 253 yards and four touchdowns and returned three interceptions for scores • Had another 40 rushing touchdowns as a junior • Scored 103 touchdowns in his prep career and finished in the top five in West Virginia history in touchdowns and points • Had more than 8,100 all-purpose yards • Is George Washington’s all-time leader in rushing, scoring total yards • 2012 Under Armour National Combine champion • 2011 SI.com honorable-mention All-America • Prepstar All-Atlantic Region selection • Coached by Steve Edwards • Helped lead George Washington to the 2011 AAA state basketball title • Was the AAA state track champion in the 4x100m and 4x200m relays • Son of Michael and Ashley Switzer • Born Nov. 4, 1994.

Mitch Trubisky
Quarterback
6-3, 205
Mentor, Ohio (Mentor)

Pronounced truh-BISS-kee • Enrolled at UNC in January • Named Mr. Football in the state of Ohio by the Associated Press, an annual award given to the top high school player regardless of division • Ranked the No. 19 quarterback in the country by Scout.com • Prepstar All-Midwest Region • Honorable-mention Parade All-America • Member of the ESPN 300 team • Is the most prolific passer in the Greater Cleveland area, becoming the first to pass for more than 9,000 career yards and more than 4,000 yards as a senior • Rated the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback by 247sports.com and the No. 3 player in Ohio • Passed for 4,063 yards as a senior, including 1,593 in four playoff games • Also rushed for 899 yards • Scored 108 points and was responsible for 51 touchdowns • Threw for 42 touchdowns and rushed for 18 • Team finished 12-2 and advanced to the state semifinals • Mentor was 30-8 during his three-years the quarterback • Among the top 10 passers in Ohio history with 9,126 yards and 92 touchdowns • Also rushed for 1,559 career yards and 33 touchdowns, averaging 4.1 per carry • Also served as Mentor’s punter in 2012 and had a 40.8 average • Coached by Steve Trivisonno • Son of Jeanne and Dave Trubisky • Born August 20, 1994.

Brian Walker
Defensive Back
5-11, 175
Charlotte, N.C. (Mallard Creek)

Member of the ESPN 150 team (top 150 players in the country regardless of position) • Considered the No. 14 cornerback in the country by ESPN.com • Member of the Rivals 250 team • Prepstar All-America and All-Atlantic Region • Member of North Carolina’s Shrine Bowl team • Named to the NCPreps.com All-State team • Named to the Charlotte Observers’ All-Observer First Team • Considered the No. 12 player in North Carolina and the No. 39 cornerback in the nation by Rivals.com • Listed as the No. 12 player in the state by 247sports.com • Ranked the No. 20 player in North Carolina and No. 59 cornerback in the country by Scout.com • Twice named I-Meck 4A all-conference • Picked off six passes as a senior and added 13 pass breakups • Team finished 13-1 and advanced to the state semifinals • As a junior, he had 30 tackles, 12 pass breakups and three interceptions • Coached by Mike Palmeiri • Born Brian Keith Walker on Nov. 7, 1995 • Son of Kelvin and Latonia Walker.

Greg Webb
Defensive Tackle
6-2, 310
Erial, N.J. (Timber Creek)

Prepstar All-America • Member of Prepstar’s Dream Team (top 150 players in the country) • Considered the No. 10 defensive tackle in the nation by Scout.com and one of the top 100 players regardless of position • Considered the nation’s No. 12 defensive tackle by 247sports.com composite rankings • Ranked the No. 14 defensive tackle in the country by Prepstar • Member of the ESPN 300 • Listed as the No. 6 player in New Jersey, the No. 15 defensive tackle and the No. 159 player regardless of position by ESPN.com • Played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl following his senior season • Considered New Jersey’s No. 5 player and is ranked the No. 20 defensive tackle in the country by Rivals.com • Had a dominant junior campaign with 94 tackles, 24 tackles for losses, 13 sacks and three fumble recoveries • Missed the first two months of his senior season with a torn ACL • Returned for the NJSIAA South Jersey IV final and helped lead his team to a 57-27 victory in the championship game • Was a high school teammate of Dajaun Drennon at Timber Creek Regional High School • Posted 57 tackles, 24 tackles for losses and six sacks as a sophomore • Coached by Rob Hinson • Born Greg Jerome Webb III on Jan. 16, 1995 • Son of Virginia and Greg Webb Jr.

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Indiana’s Wilson fires misguided shot at Big 12 and Notre Dame

Kevin Wilson

There was a time the Big Ten had what seemed to be a competitive advantage in the BCS bowl picture by not playing a conference championship game when the ACC, Big 12 and SEC were. Now the tables have been turned and folks around the Big Ten are starting to fire shots at the Big 12, a conference without a championship game.

One of the big questions yet to be answered entering the new era of college football is what the impact of playing a conference championship game or not playing one will hold on the College Football Playoff selection committee’s line of thinking when it comes to choosing the four best teams in the country. Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson may not be ready to have a program worthy of sniffing that conversation any time soon, but he certainly feels the Big 12 and Notre Dame are getting an easier path to the postseason mix.

Wilson, a former offensive coordinator at Oklahoma, suggested the Big 12 is avoiding a challenge that is embraced by the Big Ten, ACC, Pac-12 and SEC with a conference championship game. Not playing the game gives the Big 12 a competitive advantage. To drive his point home, Wilson made a golf reference that suggests Big 12 schools and Notre Dame are playing the equivalent of 17 holes while the ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC are playing the entire back nine.

That is probably an unfair statement, of course, especially in the case of the Big 12. Unlike in the Big Ten, every Big 12 school plays the entire conference using a nine-game schedule for the 10-team conference. Wilson’s Hoosiers will not have to play Wisconsin, Nebraska, Northwestern or Minnesota this season. A true champion can be crowned in the Big 12 by having every member play the entire conference. Wilson’s point, though, is the added challenge of playing a conference championship game has the advantage of padding a school’s strength of schedule, but also provides a giant risk by potentially missing out on a playoff spot or perhaps a spot in another lucrative bowl game with a loss. Of course, this argument is nothing new.

Notre Dame is a slightly different situation, as a football independent, but the Irish have established a track record of organizing competitive schedules. This season the Irish play Michigan, Stanford, North Carolina, Florida State, Arizona State and USC. All but Michigan appear in the preseason coaches poll. Indiana faces just two teams ranked in the same preseason poll this fall (Ohio State and Michigan State). Notre Dame has no started a new relationship with the ACC, guaranteeing multiple games each season against ACC competition, in addition to annual rivalry games against USC, Stanford an Navy. Notre Dame also takes their show on the road in the Shamrock Series against other power conference opponents on neutral sites.

Is Wilson out of line, or does he have a point worth discussing further? Feel free to share your opinions down in the comment section.

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Who replaces Bortles? UCF not rushing to find out

George O'Leary

It is that time of the year again when head coaches with vacancies at quarterback refuse to show their cards on making a final call on who will lead the offense on the field. This often happens at schools looking to replace established quarterbacks from the previous season, whether it be because the coach honestly is not sure which way to go with it or because he does not want to give the season opening opponent a hint of whom to prepare for in week one. Where UCF head coach George O’Leary falls on this subject is probably anyone’s guess, but he is not making any decisions on a starting quarterback to replace Blake Bortles anytime soon.

”I’ll let you know when I’m going to name one, it’s not a big secret,” O’Leary said, according to the Associated Press. ”I’ll let you know when I feel comfortable about somebody.

With Bortles now in training camp with the Jacksonville Jaguars after being drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft, the competition is now wide open in Orlando. Sophomore Justin Holman is the lone option with any previous playing experience, but redshirt freshman Pete DiNovo, freshman and Boise State transfer Tyler Harris and redshirt sophomore Nick Patti are all going to be given a chance to win the job.

Reporters covering the Knights, defending American Athletic Conference champions, are not the only ones hounding O’Leary for an answer as camp opened up Thursday. “Everybody’s trying to get a jump on it,” O’Leary said. “My wife’s going to be the first one to know. And she’s out of the state, so good luck.”

It may be best to allow the competition play out with so much unknown about the new options, but there is a benefit to narrowing the decision down as quickly as possible. Knowing who will lead the offense during the season will give everybody on the offense a chance to develop an identity and comfort level with the quarterback. With a somewhat challenging schedule facing the Knights, getting as much taken care of early on could be a benefit in the long run.

UCF will open up the 2014 season in Ireland against Penn State in week one. The Knights topped the Nittany Lions in State College last fall, kickstarting their run to the Fiesta Bowl.

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Kirk Ferentz says 10-game conference schedules are coming

Kirk Ferentz

Every change in college football over the last few years has been about expanding and growth. That philosophy could be shifting to the length of a conference schedule. Forget about the debates over eight-game conference schedules or nine-game conference schedules. Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz says 10-game conference schedules are coming, at least in the Big Ten.

While making his way through the ESPN car wash on Thursday, Ferentz was asked about conference scheduling when he dropped that thought for all to ponder. Via Brett McMurphy’s Twitter feed;

The Big Ten will be using a nine-game conference schedule, similar to the Pac-12 and Big 12. The ACC and SEC are sticking with eight-game conference schedules but adding a non-conference scheduling requirement for all members to add one game against another power conference opponent each season. The hypothetical 10-game conference schedule format would seem to solve a number of scheduling concerns for any conference with more than 12 teams, such as the ACC, SEC and Big Ten. With a two division format, six games are reserved for division games, leaving just two (ACC, SEC) or three (Big Ten) spots for cross division games. If a conference has locked crossover games (the SEC has paired crossover match-ups, the Big Ten scrapped them with its new division alignment), that reduces the number of opportunities to schedule other teams from the other division while rotating through the conference. The cross division scheduling may not be a major concern in the Big Ten, but it has been a topic of concern in the ACC and SEC.

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said at this week’s Big Ten media day the Big Ten will stop playing FCS teams while discussing future plans to increase the strength of schedule for the entire conference. Moving to a 10-game schedule would likely have a positive effect on overall conference strength of schedule, but it also makes it more difficult for top contenders to get out of the regular season without a scratch. That could be something that comes back to haunt a Big Ten champion in the College Football Playoff era as well.

Are 10-game conference schedules a realistic possibility? Yes, although the question may be if that leads to the extension of the regular season from 12 games to 13 or 14. More games means more TV money, which means it is very much a realistic possibility.

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Oklahoma to return to Houston after 14 years, in 2016

Big 12 Football Media Days

Oklahoma will open the 2016 season in one NFL stadium, and if all goes well it could end in another. The Sooners and Houston have agreed to open the 2016 season in NRG Stadium in Houston, home to the NFL’s Houston Texans as well as the AdvoCare Texas Kickoff. The 2016 season will conclude with the College Football Playoff championship game in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, home of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Houston Chronicle was the first to report the possibility of a 2016 opener between the Sooners and Cougars, and Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com later confirmed the report to be a done deal via Twitter. The Texas Kickoff is one of the newest neutral site game sin college football, joining Atlanta’s Chick-fil-A Kickoff and the Cowboys Classic in Arlington, Texas. The first game in the series was played last season between Oklahoma State and Mississippi State and continues this season with LSU and Wisconsin. Texas A&M and Arizona are scheduled to appear in the game in 2015.

This season’s game between LSU and Wisconsin is expected to top last year’s attendance of 35,874 fans, and next year’s game with Texas A&M involved should see a nice turnout as well at the gate. Oklahoma and Houston should make for a good crowd at the game as well, especially if Houston can continue to build its program between now and then and emerge as a top power from the “Group of Five” (I really hate that term) conferences.

Oklahoma leads the all-time series with Houston, 2-0. The most recent of those two meeting came in 2004, with the Sooners winning by a blowout score of 63-14. As noted by The Dallas Morning News, Oklahoma’s last trip to the city of Houston went well. The last time the Sooners were in town they left with the Big 12 championship after topping Colorado in the 2002 Big 12 Championship Game in the same stadium.

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Former Penn football player dies in lobster diving accident

Miami v South Florida Getty Images

A former Ivy League football player who was heading to the Miami Hurricanes this fall was the victim of a diving accident in South Florida. Joseph Grosso, a starting linebacker for the Pennsylvania Quakers, died in a scuba diving accident in Pompano Beach, Florida on Wednesday. According to multiple reports, Grosso was diving alone while lobster diving.

“The entire Penn football family is saddened by the tragic news of Joe’s passing,” Penn football coach Al Bagnoli said in a statement shared by The Daily Pennsylvanian. “Joe was a terrific young man, an accomplished student and an outstanding player. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his entire family during this very difficult period.”

Grosso was added to the football roster for the Miami Hurricanes on Tuesday, according to The Miami Herald. Grosso was to be a walk-on for Al Golden’s program this fall after graduating from Penn. He was intending to continue with law school at Miami and play one mroe year of college football with the Hurricanes.

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Ohio State’s Sprinkle pleads no contest

Tracy Sprinkle

A dismissed Ohio State defensive lineman pleaded guilty to his role in a massive altercation outside an Ohio bar earlier this month. Tracy Sprinkle will now wait to see if he will be allowed to return to the Buckeyes roster in time for the fall season after pleading no contest for a reduced charge for failure to comply, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

Sprinkle had his charges reduced after drug tests using various samples returned negative results just days after the arrest. Sprinkle had been facing a cocaine possession charge. Police admitted the drugs may have come from another person apprehended in the vehicle, according to Eleven Warriors. Because the drug test came back negative, Sprinkle was fortunate to be able to negotiate a lesser charge. He was fined $500 and placed on two years of probation. He will also be required to do some community service.

Sprinkle was arrested over the weekend of July 4 for his role in a bar brawl. He was later dismissed by head coach Urban Meyer, but an Ohio State spokesperson suggested a potential return to the team would not be eliminated from the discussion of his future.

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Florida State (over)loading up on QB recruits in 2015

Jameis Winston

It is amazing what a national championship can do to a program’s recruiting production. Just take a look at Florida State, now with three quarterback recruits verbally committed for the Class of 2015. For now.

As of today, Florida State has three four-star quarterbacks lined up in the Class of 2015, according to Rivals. That includes in-state prospects Deondre Francois and De’Andre Johnson and Maryland recruit Kai Locksley, the son of Maryland offensive coordinator Mike Locksley who surprised some Thursday afternoon by committing to the Seminoles. Locksley’s verbal came slightly before that of Francois, which makes the recruiting plan a bit interesting for Florida State moving forward. In case you forgot, Florida State is already in a pretty solid position under center with the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Jameis Winston, returning for just his sophomore season. Florida State also added four-star quarterback J.J. Cosentino in the most recent recruiting class. Simply put, life is good for head coach Jimbo Fisher as far as quarterbacks are concerned. Francois, Johnson and Locksley are all classified as dual-threat options, while Cosentino is scouted more as a typical pro-style quarterback. Winston, of course, is labeled a dual-threat quarterback as well, so that may give a sense for which direction Fisher would like to go on offense. Hey, it worked last season, but what do you do with all of that talent under center?

The first question to address is the future of Winston in Tallahassee. Winston has stated he intends to play two more seasons for Florida State before deciding on his pro future, which echoed comments made by his father earlier in the offseason. If Winston does stay on campus through the end of the 2015 season, the next question is what goes through the minds of four four-star quarterbacks hoping to be the next starter for Florida State? What are the odds Francois, Johnson, Locksley and Cosentino are all still in Tallahassee? They may not be all that great.

For Fisher, that is a problem he will have to begin sorting through now, although the additions of Francois, Johnson and Locksley will not become official until the next signing day, if they all choose to stay committed to Florida State. By then Fisher will have a better idea of whether or not Winston really will be back in 2015 or if he ends up heading into the NFL. The planning for the position all hinges on Winston’s decision, and Winston’s decision could be an influential one to the future decisions of the Class of 2015 quarterbacks. If Winston does come back, might one of these Class of 2015 quarterbacks re-open his recruiting process? It certainly would not be out of the question, nor would it be against the norm in college football recruiting. Florida State is even in a position where it would not be worth sweating over if one of the quarterbacks did start looking again.

Florida State’s recruiting “problem” is one that every program would love to have. There is never anything wrong with having too much talent in a recruiting class, just ask Alabama.

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Potential DL starter one of three no longer with Tar Heels

Shawn Underwood

North Carolina’s depth and talent on the defensive side of the  ball, especially along the line, has taken a hit ahead of the start of summer camp.

A UNC spokesperson confirmed to the Raleigh News & Observer that three players — defensive tackles Shawn Underwood and Greg Webb as well as linebacker Clint Heaven — are no longer on the UNC football team. The two defensive linemen left for personal reasons, while the latter has already transferred to Northern Iowa.

By the far the biggest loss is that of Underwood.

Underwood played in 20 games the past two seasons, starting five of those contests. He would’ve entered summer camp as a favorite to land a starting job.

Webb, a touted four-star member of UNC’s 2013 recruiting class, took a redshirt as a true freshman last season, while Heaven played in five games as a redshirt freshman in 2013.

In addition to that trio, the status of offensive lineman J.J. Patterson is up in the air. Patterson played defensive tackle as a redshirt freshman in 2013 before moving to guard this past spring.

(Photo credit: North Carolina athletics)

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Four-star 2008 signee-turned-MLBer returns to Bulldogs

Rashun Dixon

Apparently you can, in a sports sense, come home again.

In 2008, Rashun Dixon was a four-star member of Mississippi State’s recruiting class, the last of Sylvester Croom‘s tenure.  Dixon never suited up for the Bulldogs, however, as he was drafted in the 10th round of the Major League Baseball draft by the Oakland Athletics and embarked on a career in professional baseball.

A handful of years later, however, he’s back.

According to InsideMSUSports.com, the 23-year-old Dixon has decided to return to the Bulldogs as a walk-on player.   Because he’s never played a down of college football, he maintains all four years of eligibility and could ultimately earn a scholarship.

At least in his past sporting life, the talent was certainly there.

Rivals.com rated Davis as a four-star recruit in 2008 and as the No. 19 safety in the country that year.  What specific position he will play in his second football go-around is to be determined, although the website wrote that “his No. 85 suggests he will be utilized on the offensive side of the ball,” which could mean either tight end or wide receiver for a player listed at 6-2 and 210 pounds.

After six years in Oakland’s farm system — he batted under .250 for his career — and following his release last fall, Dixon opted to give football another shot.  Dixon is the younger brother of Anthony Dixon, who led MSU in rushing every year from 2007-09.

(Photo credit: Rivals.com)

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Former Boise St. RB Aaron Baltazar now leaving Wazzu

Deon'tae Florence AP

Well that was abrupt.

Back in April it was announced that Aaron Baltazar had followed Chris Petersen to the state of Washington, transferring from Boise State into the Washington State football program.  Less than four months later?  Never mind.

A Wazzu spokesperson confirmed to the Idaho Statesman that the running back is no longer a member of the team.  No reason was given for the abrupt and unexpected departure.

In the short-term it’s no loss for Mike Leach and the Cougars as Baltazar would’ve been forced to sit out the 2014 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules.  Wherever he lands next, he’ll have three seasons of eligibility remaining beginning in 2015.

As a true freshman last season, Baltazar was second on the Broncos in rushing before suffering a torn ACL the fifth game of the year and, obviously, missed the remainder of the year.

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Wake suspends leading returning rusher

Wake Forest v Miami Getty Images

One of the most important pieces of Wake Forest’s running game will apparently not be available for the foreseeable future.

A Wake spokesperson has confirmed to the Associated Press that Dominique Gibson has been indefinitely suspended from the football team.  Other than an undisclosed violation of team rules, no reason was given for the punitive measure.

Entering summer camp, he was being viewed as a likely starter, or at the very least one of the two heads in a two-headed rushing attack.

Gibson’s 138 yards last year made him the Demon Deacons’ leading returning rusher.  He had a pair of touchdowns in 2013, one each rushing  and receiving.

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Auburn remembers Lutzenkirchen with number on practice field

Phillip Lutzenkirchen, Joey Gautney

Auburn continues to find ways to pay tribute to one of its own. Following death of former tight end Phillip Lutzenkirchen, killed in an auto accident in June, fans took to rolling Toomer’s Corner and there was a video tribute following a memorial service that was very touching. With Auburn now set to open up camp ahead of the 2014 season, the defending SEC champions will continue to remember Lutzenkirchen with his old uniform number (No. 43) painted on the practice field.

The number is painted in each end zone, and a look at the final touch can be seen through this tweet from Auburn’s Twitter account;

Auburn opens camp Friday afternoon.

Helmet sticker to Al.com.

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Hoke: ‘if we opened the season today,” Gardner would be starter

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Throughout this offseason, Brady Hoke has declined to definitively tap the incumbent, Devin Gardner, or his challenger, Shane Morris, as Michigan’s starting quarterback.  Instead, the UM head coach demurred and insisted he’d wait until early on in summer camp to declare a starter.

Thursday, Hoke deviated from that tack slightly.

Taking his turn in the Big Ten coaches ESPN car wash, Hoke was, of course, asked about the Wolverines’ quarterback situation.  The coach, compared to how he’s been since spring practice, was surprisingly candid.

“Going in (to camp, there will be a competition),” Hoke said according to mlive.com. “We’ve got great competition. (But) if we opened the season today, Devin would start for the Wolverines.”

Of course, “if we open the season today” is a tremendous qualifier.

Gardner started every game last season before a foot injury he suffered in the loss to Ohio State in the regular-season finale sidelined him for the Wolverines’ bowl game.  In his first career start, and as a true freshman no less, Morris completed 24-of-38 passes for 196 yards and interception as UM dropped a 31-14 decision to Kansas State in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.

While Gardner was at one time quoted as saying that “it was amazing how much better [quarterback competition this spring] made me,” the incumbent at the position –despite his pre-spring proclamation— exited the 15 practice sessions without a firm grasp on the starting job.  That thought was buttressed as, at the end of spring practice in mid-April, Hoke acknowledged that Morris had narrowed the gap on Gardner.

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Ball State officially adds ex-Cincinnati DE

Joshua Posley

Earlier this summer there was speculation that a member of the Cincinnati Bearcats would be on the move to the MAC.  Thursday, that came to fruition.

Ball State announced in a release that Joshua Posley has transferred into the football program.  Because of NCAA transfer rules, the defensive end will have to sit out the 2014 season.

He will have two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2015.

“We are pleased to welcome Joshua to the football program and the University community,” Pete Lembo said in a statement. “We have known him since his high school days at Warren Central and have built a strong relationship with the coaching staff there. Joshua is an outgoing guy and a strong student. … We hope he transitions well to a new environment this fall and is ready to compete for playing time once spring practice arrives.”

A pair of high school teammates, Darnell Smith and Anthony Winbush, are already with the Cardinals, which likely played some role in the transfer decision.

Posley, an Indianapolis native, played in four games during his two years with the Bearcats.

(Photo credit: Cincinnati athletics)

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Miami QB Ryan Williams becomes a first-time father

Wake Forest v Miami

As he continues rehabbing a serious knee injury, Ryan Williams will have a much, much, much more important job to perform in the coming months.  And years.

The Miami quarterback announced via Twitter that he and his wife, Deanna, are now the proud parents of a bouncing — and rather large — baby boy.  Roman Louis Williams, the first child for both mom and dad, was born July 29 and weighed in at a healthy nine pounds even.

The couple had announced back in March that Deanna was expecting.

Here’s a picture of the newest member of the Williams clan, courtesy of the newly-minted father’s Instagram account:

Ryan Williams' Son

Sincere congratulations to the new parents from all of us.

Williams suffered a torn ACL in early April and underwent surgery shortly thereafter, meaning the prohibitive favorite to replace Stephen Morris as the starter entering spring practice won’t hit the practice field through at least September.  The earliest Williams is expected to begin participating in practice is at some point in October, if then.

With Williams sidelined for the foreseeable future, Jake Heaps, the Kansas transfer, and Kevin Olsen are expected to be the two main combatants for the starting job, at least early on.  For his part, Heaps has been quoted as saying he didn’t come to The U “to be the backup.”

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