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Virginia announces recruiting class of 22

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

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia football program signed 21 student-athletes to a National Letters of Intent (NLI) for the 2013-14 academic school year head coach Mike London announced. One additional recruit enrolled at UVa in January, topping the class off at 22. Highlighting the nationally ranked class are 10 signees from the state of Virginia, including six from the Richmond region and three from the Tidewater region.

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

George Adeosun
6-6 • 295 • OL
Alpharetta, Ga.
Alpharetta HS

Played offensive tackle at Alpharetta High School for head coach Jason Dukes … a native of Nigeria, didn’t start playing football until reaching high school … started junior season on the junior varsity team and an injury forced him to make varsity debut blocking ESPN’s No. 2 recruit and Auburn signee Carl Lawson … holding his own, he remained on varsity for the remainder of his career … student body president at Alpharetta High School … a four-star player by 247sports … a three-star player by Rivals.com, ESPN.com and Scout.com.

Zach Bradshaw
6-3 • 210 • ATH
Damascus, Md.
Damascus HS

Played linebacker, receiver and kick returner for head coach Eric Wallich at Damascus High School … named to the Maryland Consensus All-State team at linebacker … also named to Maryland’s Big School All-State team at linebacker … Washington Post All-Met first team and Montgomery Gazette first team honoree … one of the state’s top all-around performers, a defensive standout who had more than 600 receiving yards and handled kick return duties … played in the 2012 Chesapeake Bowl … listed as three-star player by ESPN.com, Rivals.com, Scout.com and 247Sports … attended the same high school as current UVa safety Brandon Phelps.

Tyrell Chavis
6-3 • 290 • DT
Richmond, Va.
Varina HS/Fork Union Military Academy

Was a 2012 signee with Virginia before attending Fork Union Military Academy for a post-graduate season where he played for coach John Shuman … offensive guard and defensive tackle for head coach Stu Brown at Varina High School … first-team all-district offensive lineman … first-team all-region offensive and defensive line … Touchdown Club of Richmond first-team defensive lineman … first-team All-Metro offensive and defensive line … is a four-star player by 247Sports and the No. 9 prep player in the country … a three-star player by Rivals.com and ESPN.com … played at Varina with current UVa cornerback Maurice Canady … son of Marie Chavis … has an older brother, Robert … enjoys cooking.

Malcolm Cook
6-1 • 195 • S
Richmond, Va.
Fork Union Military Academy

Played safety for head coach Captain Brian Hurlocker at Fork Union Military Academy, playing for the high school team … was an All-Prep League and Virginia Prep/Rivals.com All-State honoree … made 96 tackles and intercepted nine passes, four of which he returned for touchdowns … amassed 369 interception yards … had a 100-yard interception for a touchdown against St. Christopher’s … returned two interceptions for touchdowns against Georgetown Prep … scored a receiving touchdown against Liberty Christian in the VIS Division 1 State Championship game … caused three fumbles during the season … caught four passes for 59 yards … spent first three years of high school at Armstrong High School in Richmond where he also played quarterback … made 67 tackles and had seven interceptions at Armstrong in 2011 … returned five of his interceptions at Armstrong in 2011 for touchdowns … a four-star player by 247Sports … a three-star player by Rivals.com, Scout.com and ESPN.com … ranked the No. 27 safety in the nation by 247Sports … ranked the No. 13 prospect in Virginia by the Roanoke Times.

Corwin Cutler
6-4 • 180 • QB
Chesapeake, Va.
Ocean Lakes HS

Played quarterback at Ocean Lakes High School for head coach Chris Scott … senior season was cut short due to injury, but still threw for over 2,100 yards and 30 touchdowns … VHSL Group AAA All-State first-state first-team honoree … named a VHSCA All-State first-team quarterback as a senior … All-Tidewater first-team honoree while guiding the Dolphins to an unbeaten regular season and Beach District Championship … Beach District Offensive Player of the Year and first-team All-Eastern Region … threw for over 1,700 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2011 … finished high school career with 4,635 career passing yards in regular season games, which ranks No. 12 all-time on the South Hampton Roads career passing list … ranked by ESPN.com as a four-star player and the No. 21 quarterback in the class of 2013 … a three-star player by 247Sports, Scout.com and Rivals.com … ranked the No. 14 prospect in Virginia by the Roanoke Times … nickname is Turtle.

Jack English
6-5 • 260 • DL
Richmond, Va.
St. Christopher’s School

Played tight end and defensive line at St. Christopher’s School for head coach Michael Turner … Richmond Times-Dispatch All-Metro second team in 2012 … was a three-year letterwinner in football, earning all-state, all-prep and All-Metro honors twice … as a tight end, made 11 catches for 204 yards and one touchdown in 2012 … made 56 tackles and 17.0 tackles for loss … also collected five sacks for a loss of 43 yards … made 50 tackles, including 20 tackles for loss and seven sacks in 2011 … also plays baseball and basketball … all-prep and all-state pitcher and outfielder on the baseball team … is a three-star player by ESPN.com and Rivals.com … ranked the No. 18 prospect in Virginia by the Roanoke Times … son of Ben and Loretta English … has an older brother, Patrick … has an older sister, Kate.

Kirk Garner
5-11 • 180 • S
Olney, Md.
Our Lady of Good Counsel High School

Played safety and receiver at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School for head coach Bob Milloy … rushed 10 times for 70 yards and one touchdown … caught 18 passes for 270 yards … made 42 tackles on defense and two tackles for a loss … snatched four interceptions and caused two fumbles … returned a kickoff against Gonzaga for a 78-yard touchdown … returned 14 punts for 128 yards … Maryland Consensus All- State honoree … All-State Big Schools first team at defensive back … All-WCAC first team at wide receiver … All-Gazette first team … All-Met second team as a defensive back … played in the 2012 Chesapeake Bowl … made 33 tackles as a junior in 2011 … a four-star player by Rivals.com … a three-star player by 247sports, ESPN.com and Scout.com … current Cavaliers E.J. Scott and Vincent Croce attended the same high school.

Tim Harris
6-2 • 190 • DB
Richmond, Va.
Varina HS

Defensive back and wide receiver at Varina High School for head coach Stud Brown … Richmond Times-Dispatch All-Metro first team … played in the Chesapeake Bowl … ranked the No. 10 prospect in Virginia by the Roanoke Times … All-Capital and All-Central Region first-team honoree … ranked as the No. 11 recruit in Virginia according to the 2013 Daily Press Fab 15 … a four-star performer by 247sports, ESPN.com, Scout.com and Rivals.com … the No. 124-rated player in the nation by 247sports and the No. 16 rated cornerback … the No. 179-rated player in the nation by Rivals.com and the No. 14-rated cornerback.

Keeon Johnson
6-3 • 200 • WR
Kannapolis, N.C.
A.L. Brown HS

Wide receiver at A.L. Brown High School for head coach Mike Newsome … in 2012, made 41 catches for 535 yards and five touchdowns … ranked as MaxPreps.com’s No. 25 wide receiver … member of the 2012 Carolina All-Gridiron team … represented the North team in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas … as a junior in 2011, caught 39 passes for 795 yards and nine touchdowns … a three-star performer by 247sports, ESPN.com, Scout.com and Rivals.com.

Zack Jones
5-11 • 180 • WR
Chesapeake, Va.
Oscar Smith HS

Wide receiver at Oscar Smith High School for head coach Richard Morgan … earned VHSL Group AAA all-state second-team honors as a wide receiver in 2012 … caught three passes for 85 yards, one touchdown and had 116 all-purpose yards in the 2011 Group AAA Division 6 state title game, helping Oscar Smith win its second title in four years … caught 32 passes for 675 yards and eight touchdowns in 2012 … named first-team all-district and all-region … named to the All-Tidewater second- team … caught 52 passes 1,015 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior … had a 90- yard kick return for a touchdown and a 70-yard punt return for a touchdown in 2011, the only two times he registered a kick return … also punted for over a 40- yard average … all-district and all-region first-team … All-Tidewater and all-state … three-star performer by 247sports, ESPN.com, Rivals.com and Scout.com … ranked the No. 19 prospect in Virginia by the Roanoke Times … brother of former UVa captain Perry Jones.

Micah Kiser
6-2 • 215 • LB
Baltimore, Md.
Gilman School

A linebacker and tight end at the Gilman School for head coach Biff Poggi … was a three-year letterwinner and a three-time All-Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association Conference honoree … two-time Maryland Consensus All-State first- team defense … two-time All-Metro first-team … was the 2012 All-Metro Defensive Player of the Year … Baltimore Sun ‘s Defensive Co-Player of the Year … helped Gilman to a MIAA A Conference title defense … was a 2012 Semper Fidelis All- American … accumulated 111 tackles, two forced fumble and intercepted three passes, while returning two for touchdowns … was a team captain in senior and helped lead Gilman to a No. 19 ranking in the USA Today Super 25 high school team rankings … was a 2011 MaxPreps Air Force Junior All-American second-team linebacker … made 91 tackles and forced three fumbles as a junior in 2011 … a four- star player by 247sports and ESPN.com … a three-star player by Scout.com and Rivals.com …. also played lacrosse at Gilman in 2011 with current Cavalier Ryan Tucker … played the 2010 season of football at Gilman with current Virginia wide receiver Darius Jennings … volunteers with Ronald McDonald House Charities and the Agape House … son of Michael and Donna Kiser … has a younger brother, Jordan.

Andre Levrone
6-2 • 195 • WR
Laurel, Md.
Our Lady of Good Counsel

Played wide receiver and safety at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School for head coach Bob Milloy … suffered a lower extremity injury in the first game of 2012 and didn’t return to play until the final three games of the year … caught nine passes for 117 yards … rushed twice for 63 yards … ranked the No. 42 wide receiver in the nation and No. 2 wide receiver in Maryland by Rivals.com … ranked the No. 11 recruit from Maryland by Rivals .com … ranked the No. 1 wide receiver in Maryland by 247sports … selected first-team all-combine of the US Army All-American Junior Combine … named preseason all-state first-team by MaxPreps … named Top Performer out of the 30 participants from the state of Maryland at the Army All- American Combine by MDHigh.com … named the No. 2 wide receiver at the Top Gun Showcase Camp by Rivals.com … a three-star player by 247sports, ESPN.com, Rivals.com and Scout.com … son of Andre and Angie Levrone … has an older brother, Jonathan … has an older sister, Raquel … brother Jonathan served a tour in Iraq as a tanker in the U.S. Army … mother Angie was a high school MVP for three years in track & field, gymnastics and cheerleading … father Andre, Sr. played linebacker for his base team while serving in the Marine Corp … cousin Kevin Levrone is a IFBB Hall of Fame body builder, four-time first-runner-up to Mr. Olympia … current Cavaliers E.J. Scott and Vincent Croce attended the same high school.

Brendan Marshall
6-5 • 210 • QB
Gaithersburg, Md.
Our Lady of Good Counsel

Played quarterback and punter at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School for head coach Bob Milloy … completed 102-of-172 passing attempts for 1,375 yards and seven touchdowns to lead Good Counsel to an 11-1 record and a national rank of No. 43 … was an honorable mention All-State Big Schools first-team as a punter … had 37 punts for 1,351 yards which comes to a 36.51 average … seven punts were inside the 20 … also named All-Sentinel first-team punter … in 2011 he threw for 1,471 yards and 13 touchdowns as a junior … a three-star player by 247sports, ESPN.com, Rivals.com and Scout .com … current Cavaliers E.J. Scott and Vincent Croce attended the same high school.

Jack McDonald
6-5 • 275 • OL
Quincy, Mass.
Boston College HS

Played the offensive and defensive line at Boston College High School for head coach Joe Gaff … also played for two seasons for head coach Jon Bartlett … three- year starter on the offensive line … two-time Catholic Conference All-Star … 2012 Catholic Conference Offensive Lineman of the Year … 2012 Massachusetts Super 26 all-state team … three-time scholar athlete … 2011 Massachusetts Division I state champion … 2012 Patriot Ledger All-Scholastic … 2012 Boston Globe All-Scholastic … earned High Honors or Honors every term of high school … volunteers at My Brothers Keeper, an organization that delivers presents and furniture to families in need … son of John and Michelle McDonald … has an older sister, Kiley … has two younger brothers, Michael and Dylan … uncle Cliff McDonald played offensive tackle at New Hampshire and held the New England Heavyweight boxing title … cousin Cliff McDonald, Jr. played football at Dartmouth.

Taquan Mizzell
5-10 • 185 • RB
Virginia Beach, Va.
Bayside HS

Played running back at Bayside High School for head coach Darnell Moore … a five- star player by Rivals.com … the first five-star recruit to come to UVa since current Jacksonville Jaguar Eugene Monroe in 2005 … a Parade All-American honorable mention honoree … ranked the No. 29 player in the nation by Rivals.com and the No. 5 running back in the class … a ESPNU Top 150 prospect, ranking in at No. 78 … ranked by ESPN.com as the No. 9 running back in the nation … a four-star recruit by ESPN.com, Scout.com and 247sports … ranked the No. 3 player in Virginia by the Roanoke Times … ranked as the No. 6 recruit in Virginia according to the 2013 Daily Press Fab 15 … a Lemming Top Player for MaxPreps.com as the No. 4 running back prospect in the nation … ranked the No. 51 prospect in the nation by MaxPreps.com … selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl … had a 72-yard kickoff return that set up the game-winning score as the East beat the West, 15-8, in the U.S. All-American Bowl which was played in the Alamodome in San Antonio … also played in the Chesapeake Bowl and rushed for one touchdown … All-Tidewater first-team honoree … All-Beach District first-team honoree at running back and kick returner … finished senior season with 1,231 yards rushing with 31 touchdowns … accounted for over 2,000 all-purpose yards … led Beach District in rushing … added five receiving touchdowns and returned two punts and one kickoff for scores … finished high school career with 416 regular-season points, which ranks No. 2 all-time in South Hampton Roads history … collected more than 3,500 career rushing yards … All-Beach District first-team running back and kick returner … All- Tidewater first-team honoree … VHSL Group AAA All-State second team honoree … rushed for 1,198 yards and 23 touchdowns as junior in 2011 … nickname is Smoke.

Sadiq Olanrewaju
6-6 • 280 • OL
Gaithersburg, Md.
Salisbury School (Conn.)

Played offensive line and defensive line at the Salisbury School for head coach Chris Phelps … registered 16 tackles and 2.5 sacks for a loss of 21 yards … helped the Salisbury School to the 2012 New England Championship … a three-star player by 247.com, ESPN.com, Scout.com and Rivals.com … listed as the No. 64 overall player in Scout.com’s East 100 rankings … helped school to a 9-0 record during his senior season … named to Max Emfinger’s Northeast Top-75 list … named No. 3 player in Connecticut by Rivals.com … helped team defeat Phillips Exeter Academy to win the Jack Etter Bowl and win its second New England Preparatory School Athletic Council title in the last three years.

Eric Smith
6-5 • 280 • OL
Decatur, Ga.
Columbia HS

Played offensive line at Columbia High School for head coach David Edwards … also played for former head coach Mario Allen … Atlanta Journal-Constitution All-DeKalb honoree … is a three-star player by 247sports and ESPN.com … team finished 5-5 during his senior season … starting center on high school basketball team … named to Class AAAA All-Region 6 team.

LaChaston Smith
6-0 • 215 • LB
Statesville, N.C.
South Iredell HS

January early enrollee and will participate in spring football … a linebacker and running back at South Iredell High School for head coach Scott Miller … was MVP of the North Carolina AA State title game after rushing 25 times for 159 yards and three scores … scored the game-winning touchdown with 19 seconds left in 30-27 win over Carrboro … missed most of senior season with an injury … upon return in opening round of playoffs rushed for a state single-game record of seven touchdowns on 13 carries for 191 yards and all in the first half … did not play the second half … played in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas … as a junior made 82 tackles, 12 of which went for a loss … also had 1.0 sacks and two interceptions … added 99 tackles, 24 of which went for a loss in 2010 … also had 7.0 sacks and forced seven fumbles … Catawba Valley Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore … all-conference selection as both a sophomore and junior … listed as a four-star linebacker by ESPN.com … listed as three-star player by Rivals.com, Scout.com and 247Sports … national position ranked by Rivals.com at No. 36, ESPN.com at No. 40 and Scout.com at No. 45 … son of Janice Smith … has three sisters, Shakayla, Tatiana and Kendrea Mayfield … has one brother, Preston Ellis … brother Preston ran track at Livingstone … nickname is Ray Ray.

Max Valles
6-5 • 210 • ATH
Sicklerville, N.J.
St. Joseph (Fork Union Military Academy)

Was a 2012 signee with Virginia before attending Fork Union Military Academy for a post-graduate season … played wide receiver, defensive end and safety for head coach Paul Sacco at St. Joseph High School in Hammonton, N.J. … finished 2011 with 13 catches for 204 yards and four touchdowns … on defense had 33 tackles and seven sacks … grabbed one interception, caused three fumbles and recovered one … part of a defense that allowed only 17 points the entire season (1 rushing TD, 1 passing TD & 1 FG) … member of three state championship teams, including 2011 with a 10-0 record … All-South Jersey … all-state … Press Athlete of the Fall … named All-Cape-Atlantic League … Philadelphia Inquirer South Jersey Defensive Player of the Year … also a All-Cape-Atlantic performer as an outfielder for the St. Joseph baseball team … son of Paul and Pamela Valles … has two older brothers, Andre, and Hakeem, a sophomore in 2012 on the football team at FCS Monmouth … volunteers at the St. Joseph eighth grade football camp … plans to major in criminal justice.

Eric Tetlow
6-6 • 300 • OL
Richmond, Va.
Mills E. Godwin HS

Played on the offensive line at Mills E. Godwin High School for head coach John Phillips … saw time all over the offensive line, including at center … started on the defensive line as well at Godwin … VHSL Group All-State second-team and VHSL Group AAA Coaches All-State second-team honoree on offense … VirginiaPreps.com’s All-Central Region first-team honoree … led an offensive line at Godwin that produced two players who each averaged over 96 yards rushing per game in 2012 … ranked the No. 36 prospect in Virginia by the Roanoke Times … played in the 2012 Chesapeake Bowl … a three-star player by ESPN.com, 247sports and Rivals … listed as the No. 41 offensive tackle prospect in the nation by ESPN.com … listed as the No. 23 prospect in Virginia by ESPN.com … a two-star player by Scout.com … also played baseball, basketball and wrestling first two years of high school … father Peter, who was born and raised in Australia, was a world-class swimmer, won national championships and qualified for the Olympics before coming to the United States to swim at Harvard … father was ranked as high as seventh in the world in the 1,500-meter freestyle.

Donta Wilkins
6-2 • 305 • DT
Woodbridge, Va.
Potomac HS

Played offensive and defensive line at Potomac High School for head coach Jerry Roadcap … VHSCAA All-State AAA first-team honoree as an offensive lineman … All- Met first-team honoree and two-time Northwest Region offensive and defensive player of the year … recorded 100 tackles with 12.5 sacks and 27 tackles for a loss in 2012 … played in the Chesapeake Bowl … recorded 90 tackles and 10 sacks in 2011 as a junior … also recorded 20 tackles for a loss … in 2011 was a VHSCAA All-State AAA honoree on both offense and defense … was a first-team defensive honoree and a second-team offensive honoree … ranked the No. 12 prospect in Virginia by the Roanoke Times … ranked the No. 18 defensive tackle in the nation by 247sports and the No. 13 player in the Commonwealth of Virginia regardless of position … is a four-star player by 247sports … ranked a three-star player by ESPN.com, Rivals.com and Scout.com.

Connor Wingo-Reeves
6-3 • 220 • LB
Midlothian, Va.
Monacan HS

Played linebacker and tight end at Monacan High School for head coach Danny Parsons … collected 93 tackles, two interceptions and two forced fumbles as a senior in 2012 … Richmond Times-Dispatch All-Metro second-team performer in 2012 … a first-team All-Dominion District linebacker … ranked the No. 40 prospect in Virginia by the Roanoke Times … a two-star player by 247sports, ESPN.com, Scout.com and Rivals.com … also plays basketball for Monacan.

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Strong message at Texas; RB Bergeron is gone

Marqueston Huff, Joe Bergeron

If there was one thing the Texas football program needed, it was a focus on discipline and getting a toughness back. That is what makes head coach Charlie Strong a terrific hire for the program after cutting ties with Mack Brown. Strong’s message to the team was put on display once more Friday morning with news of senior running back Joe Bergeron being dismissed from the roster.

Bergeron is the seventh player to be booted from the Texas football program since Strong arrived on his saddle in Austin. That number has skyrocketed in the past week with four others being dismissed this week. Running back Jalen Overstreet and defensive end Chevoski Collins were also dismissed by the program on Thursday for various violations, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Wide receivers Kendall Sanders and Montrell Meander were also suspended by Strong on Thursday as a legal situation stemming from an alleged sexual assault.

Bergeron had been sent home from spring practice earlier this year, so seeing Strong come to this decision may not be quite a shock, although the head coach did sing the praises of the running back during a spring tour. Strong has said from day one as the Texas head coach he needed to make some changes to overhaul what could be a sleeping giant of a program at this point. Strong has always been focused on discipline and he does not waste time coddling players, which is a little bit of the dose of reality seemingly needed in Austin.

Bergeron was third on the team in rushing in 2013, accumulating 362 rushing yards and four touchdowns in 13 games.

Don’t mess with Texas? Don’t mess with Strong, that much is for sure.

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Media covering Big Ten picks Ohio State as the favorite, Wisconsin in west

Urban Meyer

The Big Ten is late in the media day circuit, getting started on Monday in Chicago, but we already have a favorite from the media; Ohio State.

The Buckeyes were named the media favorite in a media poll organized by The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, with members of various organizations spread across the Big Ten’s footprint casting their votes and predictions for each Big Ten division and conference champion. There is no formal media poll organized by the Big Ten, so the Cleveland-based newspaper has taken on the responsibility of giving Big Ten fans a preseason poll that swung and missed on the outcome a year ago (nobody picked Michigan State, but that happens). Ohio State received 23 first-place votes to win the Big Ten’s new east division. Defending Big Ten champion Michigan State received the other 10 first-place votes in the east and finished second in the preseason poll. Michigan and Penn State followed, respectively. Big Ten newcomer Maryland was picked to finish fifth in the east, followed by Indiana and the other Big Ten rookie, Rutgers.

The Big Ten’s west division was a bit more open according to the poll voters. Wisconsin came out on top with 15 first-place votes, but Iowa comes in a somewhat surprising second place with 11 first-place votes. Nebraska finished third with five first-place votes and one voter gave Northwestern (fourth in the preseason poll) a first-place vote. Minnesota, Illinois and Purdue round out the west division.

Ohio State received 19 out of 29 votes to win the Big Ten. Michigan State received nine votes and Nebraska received one vote. Wisconsin received no votes to win the Big Ten despite being picked to win the west division.

You can see the full unofficial preseason media poll for more voting results.

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Baylor’s Art Briles admits to interest in Texas vacancy

Art Briles

When a dream job comes along, few reasonable people would likely fault anyone for exploring the possibility of leaving all that you have built behind to take the new opportunity. Fortunately for Baylor, their head coach shrugged aside the idea of coaching at Texas this past offseason.

Baylor head coach Art Briles took over the desolate and often hopeless program prior to the 2008 season after a successful stint as a head coach at Houston. Briles was asked to do what seemed to be impossible; turn Baylor football into something worth respecting in the Big 12. After starting out his career in Waco with identical 4-8 seasons, the building blocks were starting to form a foundation and Baylor broke through with a 7-6 record in 2010, the first winning season for the Bears since 1995 in the old Southwest Conference. The next season Robert Griffin III exploded on the scene to win the Heisman Trophy and lead Baylor to a 10-win season, a top 25 finish and the first bowl win for the school since the 1992 season. Last year Baylor won the Big 12 championship and played in the Fiesta Bowl. As far as stock is concerned, Briles may have peaked and could have cashed in.

This is why it only makes sense that Briles would not only be one of the top candidates for the vacancy in Austin, once Texas found a way to move on from Mack Brown, but Briles also had an interest in the job. Was Briles interested? You bet. Yesterday while moving through the ESPN car wash with a stop on the Paul Finebaum radio show, Briles admitted as much.

Briles, of course, chose to stay where he is at Baylor at a big time for the program. The Bears are coming off the first Big 12 championship in school history, appear to be a threat once again in the conference and move into a brand new football stadium this season. Times are good for Baylor. Briles is a big reason why, and it is nice to see someone choose to stay put to see through it all, especially when it is very likely Texas could have made Briles a wealthier man for years to come.

Texas may not have nabbed Nick Saban from Alabama, but the Longhorns ended up with a pretty good coach anyway by hiring Charlie Strong away from Louisville.

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SEC Network’s Time Warner deal increases launch viewership to 60 million

A cable truck returns to a Time Warner Cable office in San Diego, California

Things continue to be developing smoothly for the SEC Network, just weeks away from going live on the air. After successfully putting together deals with Comcast and COX Networks, the new network has added another big name to the cable distribution line-up; Time Warner. Just for good measure, the SEC Network has added Bright House Networks to the mix as well. The total potential reach for the launch of the SEC Network is now expected to total an estimated 60 million homes.

John Ourand of Sports Business Daily broke the news about the agreement, which was later confirmed by a release from the SEC Network on Thursday.

“We know we have customers who want the SEC-ESPN Network, and are pleased to bring it to them,” said Andrew Rosenberg, Senior Vice President of Content Acquisition for Time Warner Cable. “This deal will help ensure that fans and alumni of SEC universities won’t miss any important games.”

“By delivering the SEC Network across Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks’ nationwide footprint, including key markets within SEC territory, we are meeting the demands of fans while also adding value to customers’ video subscriptions in advance of the network’s launch next month,” said Sean Breen, Disney and ESPN Media Networks senior vice president of affiliate sales.

There is still one giant hurdle remaining for what is already being praised as a masterful launch for the network; DirecTV. There is also some growing concern about ESPN’s involvement with the SEC Network and the College Football Playoff, as expressed by Bart Doan on The Student Section, but as far as preparing for a grand debut, ESPN has been hard at work at the negotiating table to make sure everything is lined up for the launch of the new network. It may just be a matter of time before there is a deal with DirecTV signed by all parties. At this point, DirecTV would be wise to not be labeled as the one provider without the network.

The SEC Network will launch on August 14.

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Four Cincy players forced to retire, QB Legaux working his way back

Cincinnati v Louisville

The playing careers for a pair of Cincinnati players have come to an end as a result of a car crash last September. Wide receivers Mark Barr and Javon Harrison will no longer play football due to injuries suffered in a tragic auto accident that claimed the life of offensive lineman Ben Flick.

In addition to Barr and Harrison, Cincinnati head coach Tommy Tuberville confirmed to Tom Groeschen of the Cincinnati Enquirer that safety Marcus Foster and defensive back Drake Burns will also no longer be able to play football. All four players will remain on scholarship.

Harrison was listed in stable condition once taken to a hospital following the accident, but Barr was placed in critical condition. Barr was released from a hospital nearly a month later.

In more positive injury news out of Cincinnati, quarterback Munchie Legaux is making some good progress on his return to football. After suffering a devastating knee injury early last season, Legaux was granted an extra year of eligibility and he is looking to make it count. Tuberville expects Legaux to be in uniform and available to practice once the Bearcats open training camp. With Gunner Kiel stating his case for the starting job in the spring, Legaux may have to be at 100 percent and work to win the job back once he is.

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Larry Scott already stumping for Pac-12 champ in playoff

Larry Scott

As to be expected, the past couple weeks of conference media days has brought a number of tired debates back to the surface. Among them has been the debate over eight-game conference schedules or nine-game schedules. For the Pac-12, the answer is simple. Commissioner Larry Scott addressed the benefits of having a nine-game conference schedule as college football moves into the College Football Playoff era this fall.

“We know that there will be continued controversy and debate, but the clear statement has been made that strength of schedule is going to be a determining factor in figuring out which of the four teams ought to be competing in that playoff,” Scott said during his state of the Pac-12 press conference this week at the Pac-12 media day event in California. The College Football Playoff selection committee will be placing an emphasis on strength of schedule when determining its rankings and choosing which four teams will be selected to participate in the College Football Playoff. the Pac-12 has opted to go with a nine-game conference schedule in part to raise the overall strength of schedule for the conference. Of course, it also makes it easier to schedule for all Pac-12 schools when they only have to fill three non-conference spots as opposed to four. The Pac-12 also backed out of a conference-wide scheduling agreement with the Big Ten that would have raised the strength of schedule for both conferences.

Scott chose to focus on the depth of the Pac-12 in 2014, a wise strategy considering the national respect for Oregon, Stanford and UCLA along with the rising expectations for programs like USC, Washington and Washington State. With some quality depth, the Pac-12 could be the most entertaining conference to watch this fall, so folks on the east coast may have to prepare for some late nights. The Pac-12 also has a chance to impress on a national level with some key non-conference match-ups.

“This year the Pac‑12, again, has scheduled a very tough non‑conference slate that includes 13 games against bowl teams from a year ago,” Scott said. “Highlights of our non‑conference match‑ups this year include five games against Big Ten opponents – Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Rutgers and Illinois. We’ve got three games against Notre Dame this year – Stanford, USC, Arizona State all playing against Notre Dame, and of course UCLA’s match‑up in Dallas against Texas early in the season.”

But Scott’s final remark about the schedule was one with a slight aim at the ACC and SEC. Both the ACC and SEC will play eight-game conference schedules. Whoever comes out on top of the Pac-12 is likely to have a decent shot at playing in the College Football Playoff, which Scott is already stumping for as best he can.

“Here it is with the most competitive nine‑game conference schedule in the nation, our champion will be incredibly well‑positioned in this first-ever historic College Football Playoff.”

Some power conference is going to get left out of the four-team playoff, if not more. Scott clearly believes his conference should not be on the outside looking in.

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WR Rhodes moving from Big 12 champs to MAC champs

Dino Babers

Former Baylor wide receiver Robbie Rhodes is moving from one conference champion to another. Rhodes is transferring to Bowling Green, a report by ESPN.com has confirmed. Bowling Green won the MAC championship in 2013 and is the preseason favorite to win the conference again in 2014.

A month ago it was learned Rhodes was no longer with the Baylor Bears, 2013 Big 12 champions. Earlier in the offseason Rhodes was arrested and charged for possession of marijuana and tampering with physical evidence, but the charges were never levied against him.

Rhodes appeared in 11 games last season for Baylor, recording 10 receptions for 157 yards. Where he goes from here is unknown at this time for the true sophomore. He still has three years of eligibility remaining. At Bowling Green, Rhodes will feel comfortable being inserted into the offense once he is eligible, because there will be many similarities between what the Falcons do and what Baylor runs. Bowling green head coach Dino Babers (pictured) is a former receivers coach at Baylor.

Due to NCAA transfer rules, Rhodes will have to sit out the 2014 season but will have multiple years of eligibility once he is eligible to resume playing for Bowling Green in 2015.

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Texas media guide published with recurring typo

University of Texas Introduces Charlie Strong Getty Images

Everybody makes a typo from time to time, and I may be one of the biggest culprits. But I also do not print and release 200-page media guides for some of the largest college football programs in the country, like Texas.

The Texas Longhorns media guide was released with a typo at the bottom of each and every page of the media guide, misspelling the website address for Texas sports website (TexsaSports.com). Hey, mistakes happen but this one happened to be printed through the entire media guide.

How could something like this happen?

This is just a hunch, but it is not as though somebody manually typed the same typo for each page of the media guide. The media guide was more likely formatted so the address only needed to be typed once and it would appear on each page of the media guide. This may have also been one of the first things entered into the media guide as well, so it could have easily been forgotten.

For what it is worth, the typo has been corrected.

Helmet sticker to SB Nation.

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Notre Dame WR Mahone sentenced to 10 days in jail

Notre Dame v Michigan

Notre Dame wide receiver Will Mahone will serve 10 days in jail after pleading guilty to four misdemeanor counts of resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, assault and aggravated menacing. Felony charges were wiped off his record as part of his plea.

A county judge offered Mahone some leniency in the sentencing, telling Mahone he felt a stronger sentence should be enforced. Mahone will also serve a year on probation and he received credit for two days in jail served following the initial arrest until bail was posted.

As noted by Keith Arnold of Inside the Irish, Mahone still has an uncertain future at Notre Dame. Following Mahone’s arrest, Notre Dame suspended the receiver indefinitely while the legal process played out. Mahone is not currently enrolled at Notre Dame, leaving a cloud of uncertainty surrounding his future at this point. An attorney representing Mahone has said Mahone would like to be able to return to Notre Dame when the time is appropriate, but no decision on his fate has been made just yet.

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Ohio State fires band director and will investigate sexual culture

Ohio State Marching Band

This one strays a bit away from the football side of our usual conversation, but few would argue the marching band is as much a part of the college football experience as anything else. Ohio State’s marching band is one of the best in the country, earning the nickname The Best Damn Band in the Land for a good reason, but it is currently in an unfortunate position. Ohio State has fired band director Jon Waters and continues to investigate what is being referred to as a sexualized culture within the organization.

Ohio State has been investigating the marching band for the last two months, according to The Columbus Dispatch, following a complaint registered by a parent of a member of the band. The investigation turned up evidence of students routinely harassing or hazing each other, usually new students. Further complicating things is information suggesting the director of bands was aware of such activity and did nothing to prevent it from continuing. One of the specific complaints claimed students in the band went on parade in their underwear in the middle of the night. This was allegedly done under the supervision of Waters and other staff members. This obviously goes against the university’s sexual harassment policy, which prompted the investigation, which gathered testimony from nine witnesses as well as Waters, other staff members and the concerned parent and child.

You can read the full 23-page report, which includes some vulgar and not-safe-for-work descriptions.

Some may to write off some of the information in the report as “college kids doing college things,” but even if that is the case there still is a line that needs to be drawn, especially from the leaders of the organization. Knowing the student policies, if Waters did indeed allow some of these thing to continue then the university was absolutely in the right to take swift action.

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Friedgen ready to open up Rutgers offense, fix Nova’s mechanics

Ralph Friedgen

This year marks the return of Ralph Friedgen to a college football sideline. The former head coach at Maryland is getting back in the swing of things as offensive coordinator at Rutgers, and it is a transition he believes has gone smoothly as well as one he seems to be embracing. No longer in charge of directing the daily operations of the football program, Friedgen can focus more on mapping out the offensive schemes the Scarlet Knights will use this fall, the first as a Big Ten member.

With Friedgen in charge of the offense, things are going to change as he tries to make use of what is available to him. Do not expect Friedgen to ask Rutgers to do anything he does not feel they are capable of doing, and perhaps that will be a good thing.

“What I think we have to be careful about – and I think it happened a little bit in the spring – is we can wear these kids out and not have anything left,” Friedgen said in a sit-down interview with veteran Rutgers scribe Tom Luicci for ScarletKnights.com. “My philosophy is to have a balance between run and pass… If you’re only one dimensional then they’re going to make you play left-handed and I don’t like to play left-handed. I like to take what the defense gives us.”

One of the biggest concerns for Rutgers may be the play of quarterback Gary Nova. Friedgen arrived hearing plenty about Nova’s ups and (mostly) downs, but he feels confident he can get the most out of his starting quarterback. Friedgen has also taken some measures to improve Nova’s mechanics.

“I’ve made one correction with his mechanics. He threw the ball on his toes, which puts a lot of pressure on your arm and can lead to arm problems. I was always taught, especially when I was in the NFL, to put your heel in the ground and push off like you’re a pitcher and then get your waist and hips right. It seems to have helped him.”

You can read the full Q&A with Friedgen on ScarletKnights.com.

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Report: Washington suspends QB Miles for season opener

Washington v Oregon State Getty Images

If you are having trouble keeping up with the status of Washington quarterback Cyler Miles, you are forgiven. It has been quite a back-and-forth situation this offseason. For those keeping score, Miles is currently suspended for the season opener at Hawaii, according to Washington beat reporter Adam Jude, of The Seattle Times.

Jude reported the news of a suspension via Twitter;

Miles and former wide receiver Damore’ea Stringfellow were connected to an on-campus assault incident that led to the suspensions. Miles was not charged for the incident. Stringfellow later decided to transfer to Nebraska, and then to Ole Miss. Miles was suspended by Washington on February 6 and then reinstated on May 14. After seeing Miles serve a suspension through spring practices, it comes as a small surprise to see he will now be suspended for the first game of the season, although this is also a way for new head coach Chris Petersen to lay down the (football) law and send a message to the entire team right off the bat.

Miles was expected to be the leading candidate to be Washington’s next starting quarterback after the departure of Keith Price. That may prove to be the case in the long run regardless of this news, but he will have some catching up to do while Jeff Lindquist and/or Troy Williams take care of leading the offense in the season opener.

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Updated: Texas WRs charged with felony sexual assault, suspended

Kendall Sanders

A pair of Texas wide receivers was reportedly charged for felony sexual assault Thursday. Arrests for Kendall Sanders and Montrel Meander are currently pending. The two have already been suspended by Texas.

The felony sexual assault charges are considered second-degree in nature and stem from an incident that took place earlier this week, according to The Austin American-Statesman. Sanders also faces an additional charge for what is being reported as improper photography. Bail for each has been set at $75,000 for Meander and $95,000 for Sanders ($75,000 for each and an additional $20,000 for the improper photography charge to Sanders).

According to police records acquired by The Austin American-Statesman, University of Texas police found an alleged victim crying under a desk with no shoes. The victim claims to have agreed to consensual sex with Meander, but Sanders knocked on a door and was let in by Meander. At that time, the alleged victim claims, Sanders began to force himself on the alleged victim. When Meander returned to the room, the alleged victim claims both Texas receivers continued to “forcibly” penetrate the victim. After seeing what was believed to be a camera flash, the alleged victim got dressed and left. University of Texas police was notified of the incident early Monday morning and began investigating quickly.

Texas head coach Charlie Strong issued a statement regarding the suspensions.

Sanders has been in legal trouble before at Texas. He was suspended from the 2013 season opener following a DUI charge. He started seven games last season for the Longhorns, finishing the year third on the Longhorns in receiving yards with 361 yards and a touchdown. Sanders was also used on special teams, with 10 kickoff returns over 12 games. Meander is a redshirt freshman after sitting out the 2013 season.

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Auburn QB Nick Marshall’s $1,000 fine is paid

Nick Marshall

Auburn’s preseason All-SEC quarterback Nick Marshall has had his fine for possession of marijuana paid in full. As far as the police are concerned, the case is now closed.

According to a report by Al.com, Marshall was fined $1,000 for possessing a small amount of marijuana and another $100 for illegally tinted car windows. The fine was paid in full by Marshall’s mother. Because the fine was paid, Marshall will not be required to attend a court hearing, which was to be scheduled for September 10.

Marshall was originally scheduled to attend SEC Media Week last week, but in light of this infraction with the law head coach Gus Malzahn decided not to bring the quarterback to the highly covered event as a punishment. Malzahn has not announced any decision on potential lost playing time to be served by Marshall, although it appears he may not have to miss playing time based off the school’s drug policy.

Marshall was named to the preseason All-SEC First Team offense during SEC Media Week.

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U.S. passport glitch only adds to potential problems for Conference USA

US passport

One of the more difficult tasks in organizing and running a college football program may be the responsibility of arranging for the travel of the team. Throw in the need to get passports for all players and coaches and other staff members, and a headache probably enters severe migraine territory for those in charge of travel plans. Schools in Conference USA and the MAC are working now to ensure their programs would be prepared for a potential trip to the Bahamas this holiday season, but delays in receiving passports are not helping that cause right now.

As reported by NBC News, the U.S. State Department’s global database for issuing travel documents has crashed, leading to even more delays in the process for many. Fortunately, Conference USA and MAC schools would not need the passports until December.

UAB head coach Bill Clark said at Conference USA media day this week his team is still working to get their passports. Although there is plenty of time between now and the Christmas Eve kickoff, now is the time to get in the required paperwork.

“They’re trying to get everyone in our conference to get passports,” Clark said to Al.com. “We have not (gotten our passports yet) but we need to get them. I’ve got mine, but we’ve got to get the players passports.”

Of course, every school in Conference USA needs to prepare for the possibility of playing in the Bahamas Bowl, not just one or two schools. The same is true for the MAC, so in all a total of 26 schools are likely scrambling to make sure they get the passport paperwork filed quickly, if it is not already submitted.

“Nobody else in the league had either,” Clark added. “Two of the coaches said to please remind our athletic directors that we’ve all got to get those. We’re planning on getting them.”

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