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Wazzu adds 24 as part of 2013 signing class

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

The following student-athletes signed Financial Aid Agreements or a National Letter of Intent and enrolled at WSU in January and are attending classes:

LYMAN FAOLIU
Defensive End
6-2 / 275
Vallejo, Calif. / Vallejo HS / College of San Mateo ‘12

FAOLIU’S JUNIOR COLLEGE CAREER
Attended College of San Mateo…as a FRESHMAN, tallied 36 tackles with 6.5 tackles-for-loss including two sacks…also intercepted one pass and forced one fumble…as a SOPHOMORE, named to the All-NorCal Conference team…recorded 46 tackles including 3.5 tackles-for-loss and two sacks…also recovered a fumble…rated three stars by Rivals.com and member of ESPN’s Top-100 Junior College players…enrolled in January and have three years to play two.

FAOLIU’S HIGH SCHOOL CAREER
Attended Vallejo High School…as a JUNIOR, earned all-league second team honors as a defensive lineman…as a SENIOR, named all-league first team as both an offensive and defensive lineman…also threw shotput and discus.

IVAN McLENNAN
Linebacker
6-3 / 220
Hawthorne, Calif. / Leuzinger HS ‘11 / El Camino College ‘12

MCLENNAN’S JUNIOR COLLEGE CAREER
Attended …as a FRESHMAN, earned All-Central Conference honors after making 77 tackles, 10.5 tackles-for-loss and three sacks…intercepted one pass and recovered three fumbles…as a SOPHOMORE earned Junior College All-American honors and First Team All-Central Conference honors after making 79 stops including 9.5 tackles-for-loss and 1.5 sacks…had one interception he returned of a touchdown…also forced a fumble and recovered one…rated three stars by Rivals.com…rated the No. 24 junior college prospect and No. 2 outside linebacker prospect by 247Sports.com.

MCLENNAN’S HIGH SCHOOL CAREER
Attended Leuzinger High School…as a SENIOR, named All-Bay League i rst team and defensive MVP of 2011 Lions All-Star game.

JACOB SEYDEL
Offensive Lineman
6-6 / 285
Riverside, Calif. / Arlington HS ’11 / Riverside City College ‘13

SEYDEL’S COLLEGE CAREER
Attended Riverside City College…full qualifier out of high school, went to junior college route…as a FRESHMAN, earned All-Central Conference second team honors…enrolled at UCLA following freshman year but came back to Riverside for the 2012 season…as a SOPHOMORE, named to All-Central Conference first team…rated two stars by Rivals.com…enrolled in January and will have three to play two.

SEYDEL’S HIGH SCHOOL CAREER
Attended Arlington High School…as a SOPHOMORE, named All-Inland Valley League honorable mention…as a JUNIOR, earned First Team All-Inland Valley League honors and helped Lions to a 10-2 record…as a SENIOR, named First Team All-Inland Valley League and helped AHS to a 9-2 record.

ROBERT LEWIS
Wide Receiver
5-10, 160
South Gate, Calif. (South East HS)

As a SOPHOMORE made 14 catches for 192 yards and two touchdowns and carried 137 times for 1,085 yards and seven scores…as a JUNIOR earned second team All-Los Angeles and first team All-Eastern League honors…rushed 142 times for 1,090 yards and seven scores…caught 14 passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns…had two punt returns for touchdowns, one kickoff return for a touchdown and also scored once on a fake punt…as a SENIOR was named the Player of the Year in the division, league and region…led South East HS to a 13-1 record and its inaugural City Section D-II Championship…also played running back, safety and returned kicks…scored 36 total touchdowns…had 203 carries for 2,023 yards and 30 touchdowns, and 20 receptions of 338 yards…as a defensive back made 59 tackles, five interceptions and blocked three kicks…named All-Area First Team by the Los Angeles Times and was All-Los Angeles City Section Division II Team…ranked the nation’s No. 10 running back prospect by Rivals.com…named No. 26 prospect in California by ESPNU…rated four stars by ESPNU rated the No. 106 overall prospect in the West Top 150 by Scout.com…rated the No. 13 wide receiver prospect in the West by FoxSportsNext.com.

B.J. SALMONSON
Offensive Lineman
6-5, 285
Everson, Wash. (Nooksack Valley HS)

As a JUNIOR named first-team Class 1A all-state as a defensive lineman and all-state honorable mention as an offensive lineman by Associated Press…named all-classii cations Whatcom County and first-team all-NWC on both lines… finished season with 78 tackles (30 solo) including 16.5 for loss and 9.5 sacks…as a SENIOR named to 2011 Ron Siegel Washington State Preseason Senior All-State Team…named i rst-team all-state on offensive line by Associated Press… named to Seattle Times Red Chip list.

The following signees plan to enroll at WSU in August, 2013:

DAQUAWN BROWN
Cornerback
6-0 / 175
Los Angeles, Calif. / Dorsey HS ‘13

HIGH SCHOOL
Attended Dorsey High School….as a JUNIOR, earned all-league second team honors after making 52 tackles, 30 solo, and three interceptions…as a SENIOR, named All-City Section i rst team, All-Coliseum League first team and All-Region first team by the Los Angeles Times …made 55 tackles, five interceptions and broke up 10 passes…returned two kickoffs for touchdowns…selected to play in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl…named Most Outstanding Defensive Player at the Cal-State All-America game…named to the West Top 150 by Scout.com…rated three stars by ESPN.com, Rivals.com and Scout.com…ranked the No. 33 cornerback in the country and No. 55 overall prospect in California by Rivals.com…high school teammates with current Cougar linebacker Jeremiah Allison.

TYLER BRUGGMAN
Quarterback
6-2 / 202
Phoenix, Ariz. / Brophy College Prep ‘13

HIGH SCHOOL
Attended Brophy College Prepatory and played for coach Scooter Molander…as a SOPHOMORE, earned All-Region honorable mention after passing for 1,304 yards, 11 touchdowns and six interceptions…as a JUNIOR, helped Brophy Prep to an 11-1 record…named Phoenix Metro Player of the Year by Arizona Republic after completing 156-of-259 passes for 2,497 yards and 37 touchdowns and two interceptions…as a SENIOR, guided Brophy Prep to an 11-3 record and earned all classification All-State second team by the Arizona Football Coaches Association…also named All-State Division I honorable mention by Arizona Republic, Division I Section III Offensive Player of the Year …completed 177-of-323 (.548) passes for 2,803 yards with 33 touchdowns and eight interceptions…also rushed for four touchdowns…threw for 300+ yards three times and tossed 3+ touchdowns seven times…threw for 368 yards and six touchdowns against Pinnacle High School….named to Academic All-State first team…rated four stars by ESPN.com, Rivals.com and Scout.com… one of 12 quarterbacks named to the Western 100 by the Tacoma News Tribune…ranked the No. 49 overall prospect in the West Top 150 by Scout.com…ranked the No. 18 quarterback prospect in the country by Rivals.com…ranked the No. 2 overall prospect and top quarterback prospect in Arizona by ESPN.com.

RIVER CRACRAFT
Wide Receiver
6-2 / 205
Trabuco Canyon, Calif. / Santa Margarita HS ‘13

HIGH SCHOOL
Attended Santa Margarita High School…as a JUNIOR, earned All-State, All-CIF and All-Trinity League honors after catching 46 passes for 654 yards and six touchdowns…helped SMHS to a CIF State D1 title…as a SENIOR, named All-County by the Orange County Register and Trinity League Offensive Player of the Year after recording 51 receptions for 935 yards and 10 touchdowns…also intercepted one pass and recorded i ve pass breakups…selected to play in South Bay BMW West Coast Bowl, caught two passes for 32 yards including a 17-yard touchdown…rated three stars by ESPN.com, Rivals.com and Scout.com…ranked the No. 91 overall prospect out of California by ESPN.com…high school teammates with fellow Cougar signee Riley Sorenson.

ISAAC DOTSON
ATHLETE
6-3 / 210
Bellevue, Wash. / Newport HS ‘13

HIGH SCHOOL
Attended Newport High School…as a JUNIOR, rushed for 741 yards and 12 touchdowns…also passed for 1,073 yards and 10 touchdowns…also named All-League in basketball…as a SENIOR, earned All-Area honors by the Seattle Times and allleague i rst team after rushing for 1,047 yards and 17 touchdowns…also threw for 765 yards and 11 touchdowns…named a red chip prospect, one of Washington’s top 100 prospects by the Seattle Times…rated three stars by Rivals.com and ESPN.com…ranked the No. 16 prospect in Washington by ESPN.com…father, Michael, wrestled for the Cougars 1983-86, was a three-time NCAA and Pac-10 qualii er and earned All-American honors as junior.

DANIEL EKUALE
Defensive Line
6-4 / 290
Pago Pago, American Samoa / Nuuuli Technical HS ‘12

HIGH SCHOOL
Attended Nuuuli Techincal High School, graduated in 2012…rated three stars by Scout.com…ranked the No. 92 defensive tackle prospect by Scout.com and America Samoa’s top overall prospect by 247sports.com.

CARLOS FREEMAN
Offensive Line
6-3 / 290
Oklahoma City, Okla. / Midwest City HS ‘13

HIGH SCHOOL
Attended Midwest City High School…as a SENIOR, helped MCHS to an 11-1 record and earned All-State accolades from the Oklahoma Coaches Association…named District 3 Offensive Lineman of the Year…also ranked state’s No. 1 heavyweight wrestler… allowed just one sack in 23 career starts…named to The Oklahoman’s Super 30 prospect list for the state of Oklahoma…rated three stars by ESPN.com, Rivals.com and Scout.com…ranked the No. 25 center prospect in the country by Scout.com and the No. 11 overall prospect out of Oklahoma by ESPN.com…carries a 4.0 GPA.

DARIUS LEMORA
Safety
6-0 / 185
Port Arthur, Texas / Memorial HS ‘13

HIGH SCHOOL
Attended Memorial High School…as a JUNIOR, earned 5A All-State honorable mention by the Associated Press…as a SENIOR, earned All-District second team after making 54 tackles, two sacks and two pass breakups…earned Academic All-District first team…rated two stars by ESPN.com, Rivals.com and Scout.com…named the No. 96 safety prospect in the country by ESPN.com.

PAULO LEPUA
Defensive Line
6-3 / 265
Habor City, Calif. / Narbonne HS ‘13

HIGH SCHOOL
Attended Narbonne High School…as a JUNIOR, tallied 14 sacks…as a SENIOR, named Los Angeles City Lineman of the Year, All-City Section first team and All-Area by the Los Angeles Times and South Bay Daily Breeze Defensive Player of the Year after recording 26 sacks…All-State first team by calhisports.com…selected to play in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl, made three tackles including one sack… ranked the No. 64 overall prospect in the West Top 150 by Scout.com… one of 11 defensive linemen named to the Western 100 by the Tacoma News Tribune…rated three starts by ESPN.com, Rivals.com and Scout.com…rated the No. 41 defensive tackle in the country by Scout.com.

COLE MADISON
Tight End
6-6 / 270
Burien, Wash. / Kennedy HS ‘13

HIGH SCHOOL
Attended Kennedy High School…as a SOPHOMORE, earned First Team All-Seamount League at defensive tackle and offensive tackle…as a JUNIOR, named First Team All-Seamount League as a tight end and defensive end and Seamount League Offensive Lineman of the Year…tallied 15 receptions for 265 yards along with 37 tackles and two sacks…invited to Army Bowl Junior Class Combine…as a SENIOR, First Team 3A All-State by the Associated Press…named Defensive Interior Player of the Year and First Team All-Seamount League as a tight end and as a defensive lineman…also earned all-league honors in basketball three times…named to the West Top 150 by Scout.com…ranked the No. 9 guard prospect in the West by Scout.com…rated three stars by ESPN.com and Scout.com…ranked the No. 42 guard in the country by Scout.com and the No. 14 overall prospect in Washington by ESPN.com.

VINCE MAYLE
Wide Receiver
6-3 / 220
Natomas, Calif. / Inderkum HS / Sierra College ‘13

HIGH SCHOOL
Attended Inderkum High School…as a SENIOR, rushed for 661 yards and caught 11 passes for 299 yards…also made a team-best 12 sacks.

JUNIOR COLLEGE
Played basketball for Shasta Community College in 2009-10…attended Sierra College to play football in 2012……as a SOPHOMORE in 2012, named to the All-America i rst team by the California Community College Association, All-California and Valley Conference Offensive MVP after leading all California Junior Colleges with 16 touchdown catches…tallied 61 receptions for 984 yards…rated four stars and a top-5 junior college WR prospect by ESPN.com.

MATT MEYER
Offensive Line
6-6 / 290
Lynden, Wash. / Lynden HS ‘13

HIGH SCHOOL
Attended Lynden High School…as a JUNIOR, earned All-Northwest Conference second team…helped football and basketball teams to 2A State Championships and the baseball team to the championship game……also named All-NWAC first team in basketball and baseball…earned all-league second teams honors in football and all-league first team in basketball and baseball…as a SENIOR, earned all-league honors at both offensive line and defensive end and helped LHS to its second straight2A State Championship…named All-State offensive lineman by the Seattle Times and the Associated Press…earned All-State honors at defensive end by the Tacoma News Tribune…named a red chip prospect by the Seattle Times…rated three stars by ESPN.com, Rivals.com and Scout.com.

JAMAL MORROW
Running Back
5-8 / 180
Menifee, Calif. / Heritage HS ‘13

HIGH SCHOOL
Attended Heritage High School…as a SOPHOMORE, rushed for 731 yards and eight touchdowns…as a JUNIOR, rushed 207 times for a school-record 1,777 yards and 21 touchdowns…also caught 15 passes for 139 yards…as a SENIOR, named to All-CIF Central Division first team, All-Valley Offensive Player of the Year, All-Area by the Press Enterprise and Sunbelt League Player of the Year after rushing for a school-record 2,092 yards and 15 touchdowns…reached the 200-yard mark six times…also caught two touchdown passes…averaged 9.96 yards-per-carry and helped HHS to the CIF Southern Section semifinals…also made 26 tackles, two interceptions and forced two fumbles…rated three stars by ESPN.com, Rivals.com and Scout.com…ranked the No. 84 running back prospect in the country by Scout.com.

CODY O’CONNELL
Offensive Line
6-8 / 350
Wenatchee, Wash. / Wenatchee HS ‘13

HIGH SCHOOL
Attended Wenatchee High School…as a JUNIOR, named All-Big Nine second team…named Offensive Line MVP as the NW Elite Football Camp in May, 2012…as a SENIOR, earned all-classifications All-State honors by the Seattle Times and Tacoma News Tribune despite missing most of season with knee injury…also named 4A All-State by the Associated Press and Big Nine Lineman of the Year… named a red chip prospect, one of Washington’s top 20 prospects by the Seattle Times…rated three stars by ESPN.com and Rivals.com…rated the No. 75 offensive tackle prospect in the country and No. 10 overall prospect in Washington by ESPN.com… honorable mention Northwest Nugget by the Tacoma News Tribune.

PEYTON PELLUER
Linebacker
6-2 / 225
Sammamish, Wash. / Skyline HS ‘13

HIGH SCHOOL
Attended Skyline High School…as a SOPHOMORE, earned 4A All-State honors by the Associated Press after making 176 total tackles including 110 solo…as a JUNIOR, helped SHS to a state championship and named 4A All-State by the Associate Press after making 153 total tackles including 122 solo…as a SENIOR, helped SHS repeat as state champions…was named First Team All-State by the Seattle Times and Tacoma News Tribune and 4A All-State by the ¬Associated Press after making 55 tackles including 40 solo, two sacks and one interception…missed four games due to an injury…selected to play in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl, led the West team with six tackles, including three solo…named a red chip prospect, one of Washington’s top 20 prospects by the Seattle Times…rated four stars ESPN.com and three stars by Rivals.com..ranked the No. 25 middle linebacker prospect in the country and the No. 5 overall prospect in Washington by ESPN.com…one of 14 linebackers named to the Western 100 by the Tacoma News Tribune…named an honorable mention Northwest Nugget by the Tacoma News Tribune…father, Scott, started at linebacker for the Cougars 1977-80 and played five seasons in NFL for the New Orleans Saints…grandfather, John, played end for WSU 1953-55 and his great grandfather, Carl Gustafson, played flanker for the Cougars from 1925-27 and was given WSU’s Fred Bohler Award for inspiration…uncle, Steve, played quarterback at Washington and later played eight years in the NFL, five for the Dallas Cowboys and three for the Kansas City Chiefs.

RILEY SORENSON
Offensive Lineman
6-5 / 320
Santa Margarita, Calif. / Santa Margarita HS ‘13

HIGH SCHOOL
Attended Santa Margarita High School…three-year starter at SMSH…as a SOPHOMORE, named All-State SuperSoph Team by GoldenStatePrep.com…as a JUNIOR, named All-Trinity League first team and helped SMHS to a California Division I State Championship…as a SENIOR, named All-Trinity League first team…rated three stars by ESPN.com. Rivals.com and Scout.com…ranked the No. 67 offensive line prospect in the country by Scout.com…high school teammates with fellow Cougar signee River Cracraft.

GERALD STERLING
Defensive Line
6-4 / 275
Aliceville, Ala. / Aliceville HS ‘13

HIGH SCHOOL
Attended Aliceville High School…as a JUNIOR, recorded 15 sacks and also caught two touchdowns as a tight end…as a SENIOR, tallied 15 sacks, forced 10 fumbles, recovered four fumbles and blocked one field goal…also rushed for five touchdowns rated three stars by ESPN.com, Rivals.com and Scout.com…ranked the No. 79 defensive tackle prospect in the country and No. 33 overall prospect out of Alabama by ESPN.com.

EMMITT SU’A-KALIO
Defensive Line
6-4 / 250
Pago Pago, American Samoa / Kanana Fou HS ‘13

HIGH SCHOOL
Attended Kanana Fou High School…rated two stars by Scout.com…chose WSU over Utah, Wisconsin and Colorado.

CHARLESTON WHITE
Defensive Back
6-1 / 170
Amarillo, Texas / Palo Duro HS ‘13

HIGH SCHOOL
Attended Palo Duro High School…as a JUNIOR, had 46 receptions for 759 yards and six touchdowns…as a SENIOR, earned 4A All-District 3 i rst team honors as a wide receiver and a defensive back after making 50 tackles, six pass breakups, two interceptions and catching 26 passes for 557 yards and six scores…rated three starts by ESPN.com and two stars by Scout.com…rated the No. 209 wide receiver prospect in the country by ESPN.com.

GERARD WICKS
Running Back
5-10 / 195
Carson, Calif. / Long Beach Poly HS ‘13

HIGH SCHOOL
Attended Long Beach Poly High School…as a JUNIOR, rushed for 772 yards and 11 touchdowns…averaged 8.0 yards-percarry…as a SENIOR, named Pac-5 Division Offensive Player of the Year and All-CIF Pac-5 Division i rst team…also named to All-Area Team by Long Beach Telegram after rushing 156 times for 1,596 yards and 20 touchdowns…also named the Division 1 All-State team by MaxPreps…selected to play in South Bay BMW West Coast Bowl, rushed 10 times for 52 yards…named to the West Top 150 by Scout.com…one of 10 running backs named to the Western 100 by the Tacoma News Tribune…rated three stars by ESPN.com, Rivals.com and Scout.com…ranked the No. 51 running back in the country and the No. 77 overall prospect in California by Rivals.com

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Jimbo Fisher sounds fine with Jameis Winston playing baseball

Jameis Winston AP

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston admitted earlier this month he’ll eventually have to choose between baseball and football, but wants to continue his two-sport career for as long as he can.

Jimbo Fisher, too, is all for his Heisman-winning quarterback continuing his career on the diamond. From Fisher’s appearance on ESPN’s First Take this morning (h/t to Coaching Search):

“Baseball is a game of failure. Baseball is a much greater game of failure. It’s a whole different mindset. Anytime you’re competing in any sport, I think it’s good, but what baseball teaches you is how to overcome adversity. It teaches you how to fail and fail and fail, and still be able to perform.

“I think as a quarterback, I don’t care how good you are, there are going to be bad moments. … I think baseball slows it down for him and has made him a better (football) player.”

That’s a good take on it, though Winston only had five hits in 39 at-bats with eight walks and nine strikeouts for FSU this spring. Batting involves an awful lot of failure — and even when you don’t fail and hit a ball hard, there’s still a chance you’ll make an out. If Fisher thinks playing baseball is making Winston mentally tougher, then by all means should he continue to play.

Where I’d be worried if I were Fisher is Winston pitching. Winston is a much better pitcher than he is a hitter, posting a 1.08 ERA with 31 strikeouts and seven walks in 33 1/3 innings last season. But every pitch he throws is putting strain on his ulnar collateral ligament, and if one day he feels a pop in his right elbow and needs Tommy John surgery…it could very well wipe out a full season of his football career.

It’s not a huge risk, given Winston doesn’t pitch an awful lot for FSU. But baseball’s rash of Tommy John surgeries this season has created such a panic over any minor elbow discomfort, that if Winston does feel a little twinge one day next spring maybe it’d be best for his football career to shut down his baseball one.

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Auburn WR commit is Rivals No. 1 class of 2016 recruit

Auburn logo

The recruiting class of 2016 is still a year and a half away from its signing day (unless an early signing period materializes), but Rivals released some early ratings for the group and ranked wide receiver Nate Craig as 2016′s top recruit.

That’s good news for Auburn fans, since Craig pledged his verbal commitment to the Tigers on July 21.

Of course, a verbal commitment isn’t really a commitment and 18 months separate us from February 2016. But Craig did commit to Auburn while holding offers from powerhouse programs like Alabama, Florida State, Notre Dame, Ohio State and USC, among many others.

If his rating holds, the Tampa native would join Percy Harvin, Derrick Williams and Dorial Green-Beckham, all of whom were wide receivers ranked as the No. 1 recruit in their respective classes.

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Beavers’ standout center may not be ready to start season

Oregon State v Arizona State Getty Images

Oregon State C Isaac Seumalo became an instant starter for the Beavers the day he stepped onto the team’s practice field as a true freshman. Seumalo, however, may not open the season as a starter this fall due to a broken foot he suffered during the Hawaii Bowl.

Seumalo missed all of spring practice due to his recovery, and Oregon State head coach Mike Riley doesn’t have a definitive timetable for the center’s return.

“I think it’s on pretty good schedule to be ready to play, if not at the very first game, early,” Riley told the Oregonian’s Gina Mizell at Pac-12 Media Days. “So we’re going to be very, very careful with that. So that’s why I’m being very careful when I say he’s going to play. But I anticipate him being ready. I would think he might be ready for the first game, but maybe not.”

Oregon State opens the season against against the Portland State Vikings and returns to the islands to play the Hawaii Warriors on Sept. 6. If Seumalo hasn’t returned to the lineup by that point, the Beavers have an open date, which will grant the lineman an extra week to heal.

Seumalo, who was named to the Outland Trophy watch list this summer, is one of the nation’s top interior blockers. He’s already considered the top center prospect for the 2016 NFL draft by ESPN’s draft guru, Mel Kiper Jr.

“Seumalo is another center who could easily move to guard, and is also athletic enough to handle tackle,” Kiper wrote. “He already has 25 starts, but will be coming into the season with a layer rust after missing the spring with a foot injury.”

Riley is considering the possibility of moving Seumalo to guard upon his return. Riley told Mizell that he actually prefers Seumalo to play right guard, while sophomore Grant Bays steps in as the team’s new center.

Either way, the Oregon State offensive line is far better with a healthy Seumalo in the lineup than when he’s not.

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Ohio State AD: B1G expansion ‘is about money’

Gene Smith

Ohio State AD Gene Smith knows how to pander to his audience. Within the course of two days, Smith gave two different spins on the addition of Rutgers (and Maryland) to the Big Ten Conference.

Smith defended the league’s addition of Rutgers Saturday in an interview with NJ.com’s Dan Duggan.

Smith stated Rutgers “will bring a lot to the table.” The Buckeyes’ athletic director complimented Rutgers’ prestigious academic programs. He also mentioned the football team’s success under former head coach Greg Schiano and the money the school put into the program during that period.

The idea Rutgers was chosen to become a member of the Big Ten Conference due to a business decision was merely an after thought.

Smith was far more candid Sunday during an interview with The Columbus Dispatch’s Todd Jones. When Smith was asked directly about the Big Ten’s additions of Rutgers and Maryland, Smith stated the obvious.

“From a business point of view, it makes huge sense,” Smith told Jones. “This is a business deal. This is about money. Everybody wants to dodge that; I don’t. It’s about the stability of our conference for the long term.”

Smith looks at these moves as a way to adjust to the changing landscape of college football and the United States’ shifting population.

“It provides a new geography for us to have a presence in, for a number of reasons: television, recruiting, (and) providing Penn State with some geographical partners,” Smith stated. “The reality is, growth was inevitable for intercollegiate athletic conferences. We needed to be part of that.

“As far as the shifting population, that is reason enough by itself to look at the concept of expansion.”

With the Big Ten’s media days set to commence Monday and Tuesday, a big spectacle will be made of the additions of Rutgers and Maryland. The two programs will be accepted as equals among the likes of Ohio State, Michigan, etc. The reality is these program were merely business acquisitions which proved to be a means to an end for the Big Ten Conference.

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Steve Spurrier expects Mike Davis to turn pro after season

Mike Davis

South Carolina RB Mike Davis rushed for 1,183 yards and 11 touchdowns last season as a sophomore. If he has a similar junior campaign, Davis won’t return to Columbia for his senior season.

“Mike Davis, if he has a big year, he’s going to go pro,” South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier told ESPN.com’s Edward Aschoff after his annual media golf event Thursday. “And we’re going to tell him to go pro, because he should. The lifespan of a running back is only a certain amount of years. If a young man after three years can go, we’re going to shake his hand and let him go. That’s why you keep recruiting more running backs.”

After Spurrier watched former RB Marcus Lattimore suffer two major knee injuries, which put his potential professional career in jeopardy, the coach’s only recourse is to recommend Davis leaves after this season, whether he has an outstanding year or not.

“The thing as a running back is your life expectancy isn’t long in the NFL,” South Carolina running backs coach Everette Sands told Aschoff. “Here in the SEC, it’s probably the closest thing to the NFL.”

South Carolina will help Davis by employing a running back rotation this fall with fellow juniors Brandon Wilds and Shon Carson in the backfield. This will prevent some of the wear and tear other feature backs around the country will experience.

While Davis isn’t considered the top running back prospect potentially available for the 2015 NFL draft — that distinction belongs to Georgia’s Todd Gurley — his size (5-9, 223) coupled with a physical running style projects well to the next level. Early projections rank Davis as a Top 5 prospect at his position prior to the start of the 2014 season.

Davis’ ability to play at a high level and avoid injuries will set him up to make an easy decision after the season.

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Auburn’s Gabe Wright expects to bounce between DT and DE

Gabe Wright, Bo Wallace

While Auburn’s run to the national title game last season was spurred by the team’s innovative offense and overwhelming rushing attack, the Tigers’ defense was led by defensive tackle Gabe Wright. Wright proved to be one of the most disruptive interior defenders in the nation, but his role is expected to expand this fall.

Wright will start the season at defensive tackle, but he’ll also be expected to receive repetitions at defensive end.

Wright was forced to play defensive end during spring practice due to injuries along the defensive line, and the Tigers’ coaching staff came away  impressed with his play.

“(Auburn defensive line coach Rodney Gardner) actually wanted to put me in last year, but he just stated I wasn’t mentally ready,” Wright told al.com’s Brandon Marcello. “I respect and I don’t second-guess his decision. If I’m called upon, I will answer the call. There’s no doubt about that. It just shows his confidence in me.”

Wright also wasn’t physically ready to play defensive end last year. He’s down to 290 pounds with enough the athleticism to set the edge and rush the passer.

“I’ve been wanting to drop down body weight since I’ve been here — and body fat –  which has been done,” Wright said.

Wright’s versatility will provide insurance along the Tigers’ defensive line after losing Dee Ford to the NFL and Carl Lawson to a potential season-ending ACL injury. Wright’s ability to provide depth at defensive end also allows the ultra-talented Montravius Adams to gain more repetitions at defensive tackle.

While Wright remains one of the best interior defenders in college football, his biggest contribution this season may be his ability to play defensive end until Lawson is fully healthy or one of the Tigers’ young pass rushers are ready to take over the spot.

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Urban Meyer’s wife tells Gator fans to ‘get over it’

25th Outback Bowl - Florida Gators v Penn State Nittany Lions Getty Images

Urban Meyer won 65 games, three SEC championships and two national titles during his six seasons as the head coach of the Florida Gators. Yet, there is still lingering resentment within the Gators’ fan base regarding how Meyer left the program.

Meyer’s wife, Shelley Meyer, isn’t happy with the grief her husband still has to endure from faceless detractors.

“All of my comments are about message board people,” Shelley Meyer told The Gainesville Sun’s Pat Dooley. “I still go to Gainesville four times a year. Nobody ever says anything mean to me. What I care about are the people down there who love us and know us. The people who hate us I don’t even know.

“I just wish people would get over it. I wish we could have been there 12 years. I’m the most bummed that we weren’t there 12 years.”

For some of the irrational members of the fan base, it was about more than slipping to an 8-5 record in 2010. It wasn’t about the large contingent of malcontents left on the roster when Will Muschamp took over the program. Urban Meyer’s decision to leave the program due to health concerns and then take the Ohio State coaching job a year later was a betrayal of the fans’ trust.

“But here is my perception (about Florida fans): I think they feel like they were kind of left at the altar,” Shelley Meyer said. “They feel a betrayal, even though they were so mad at him about how our last season (2010) went. You can’t please them. You can’t please all fans anywhere; you can’t. And I’ve just accepted that, and I love when our fans are behind us and support us and I love that they love their team, but we can’t take it personally.

“Because, not one person that is close to us (from their time in Florida) has ever come up and said anything bad. ‘Why did you leave? You faked it. You weren’t sick. You had this Ohio State thing lined up the entire time.’ I would hear that all the time, and I was like ‘Uh, no.’ Because I was not coming here. So, trust me, that was not planned. So, the people who are critical of us, it’s not the people who know us. It’s the people who aren’t even around the program. They just want their team to win, and whoever can get their team to win, that’s who they’re for. And if you can’t do it or if you left them, then they’ll hate you.”

The Gators’ fan base is also currently suffering from envy. It’s easy to see how well the Buckeyes have played under Urban Meyer’s direction. Ohio State is 24-2 the past two years. Florida, meanwhile, is 22-16 under Muschamp, and the program is coming off a 4-8 season.

Only time and Florida once again playing at a high level will defuse the hatred toward the Meyers that currently exists within a fan base that previously adored them.

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Report: Big Ten plans to play more games in NYC

New Era Pinstripe Bowl - Rutgers v Notre Dame

The Big Ten Conference is adamant about expanding its presence on the East Coast, particularly in New York City.

Adding Rutgers to the league, reaching an agreement with the Pinstripe Bowl and opening an office in Manhattan wasn’t quite enough to sate the conference’s desires.

The Big Ten Conference is considering hosting regular season contests in New York City at Yankee Stadium and Washington D.C., according to cbssports.com’s Jeremy Fowler.

The conference would use the neutral sites to help cultivate rivalries between Penn State and its newest members, Rutgers and Maryland.

“Like with Yankee Stadium — would there be a case where Rutgers or Penn State or Maryland, would they want to move a game to an iconic stadium like that?” Big Ten Network president Mark Silverman posed to Fowler. “You could bring in, for Rutgers, probably another 10 to 15,000 people there. Is that a game that makes sense to move there? Probably.”

It can also serve as an opportunity for the new schools to benefit from the more established programs in the conference. Teams like Ohio State, Michigan, Nebraska and Wisconsin have national followings and their fans travel well. Bigger venues to host these programs will be beneficial for both the programs playing in the games and the conference.

High-profile venues can also be used to entice marquee opponents as additions to non-conference schedules. Rutgers, for example, will travel to Seattle this fall to open the season against the Pac-12′s Washington State Cougars at CenturyLink Field. Rutgers can use the lure of Yankee Stadium to bring in other opponents from the Pac-12, Big 12 or SEC.

By potentially using stadiums at key demographic locations, the Big Ten Conference will be taking full advantage of its expanded footprint and the markets it cherished when the decision was made to expand to 14 teams.

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UCLA specialist leaves team, replaced by JUCO punter

Jim Mora

Football coaches never let their teams or its fans forget that special teams are a third of the game.

UCLA expected to be strong on special teams this fall with both their kicker and punter returning after last season. Instead, UCLA head coach Jim Mora must deal with replacing one of the Bruins’ specialists as fall camp approaches.

Punter Sean Covington has left the team, according to bruinreportonline.com’s Tracy Pierson. A reason behind the departure has yet to be divulged.

Covington finished fourth in the Pac-12 Conference last season with an average of 42.6 yards per punt, and he received an honorable mention as an all-conference performer. Covington booted nine punts of 50 yards or longer and pinned opponents inside the 20-yard line 18 times. Covington was expected to be even better this season after winning the job as a true freshman.

UCLA plans to replace Covington with the JUCO addition of Matt Mengel.

“He has an NFL leg,” kicker/punter guru Chris Sailer says told Pierson. “Strongest leg I’ve seen since (USC’s) David Buehler. Huge in kickoffs. Big potential as a field goal kicker and punter. The sky is the limit.”

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Kevin Sumlin issues challenge to Bob Stoops

Kevin Sumlin

Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops recently took a shot at a former rival, the Texas A&M Aggies, and their soft non-conference schedule during an interview with ESPN. Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin didn’t back down from the challenge when asked about Stoops’ comments.

“Coach Stoops has the right to say whatever he wants, but if he wants to play us again we’ll take him up on that,” Sumlin told aggiesports.com.

It was the perfect response from Sumlin. Not only does he avoid going tit-for-tat with Stoops, but it’s a potential opportunity to strengthen the Aggies’ schedule in the future and rekindle a playing relationship against Texas A&M’s former conference, the Big 12.

The reality is Stoops was correct in his assessment. Texas A&M doesn’t play a bunch of “toughies.”

Since Sumlin took over the program, the Aggies’ non-conference schedule has included the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, SMU Mustangs, South Carolina State Bulldogs, Sam Houston State BearKats, Rice Owls, UTEP Miners, Lamar Cardinal and ULM Warhawks.

Oklahoma, meanwhile, has scheduled the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (twice) and the Tennessee Volunteers over the same period.

The blame can’t be laid at Sumlin’s feet. Schedules are made years in advance. Even so, the programs Texas A&M scheduled were never among the country’s best. But that’s set to change in the coming years when Texas A&M plays the Arizona State Sun Devils (2015) and the UCLA Bruins (2016).

And there is still room to add the Sooners to those schedules.

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Rich Rodriguez’s message to Nick Saban: ‘Cry me a river’

During SEC media days, Alabama head coach Nick Saban once again made his case for a rule to be implemented which would slow some of the uptempo offenses found around college football.

Saban cited injury concerns as well as a lack of player development and coaching as reasons why college football needs to slow the pace of these offenses.

Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez is having none of what Saban is selling.

“Cry me a river. No one comes to games to watch defensive coaches,” Rodriguez told ESPN.com’s Brett McMurphy.

There are two positions which clearly exist within this bickering.

First and foremost, Saban sees uptempo play and lack of substitutions as a competitive advantage for teams that play at a major faster pace than most of the teams in the SEC. Meanwhile, those coaches who can’t recruit with the likes of Alabama simply see it as a way to even the playing field.

And, despite Rodriguez’s bold claim, Alabama is one of the most successful teams in college football with a defensive mastermind at the helm. Rodriguez may be an offensive genius, but the Arizona Wildcats are 16-10 the last two seasons and the coach has never led a team to a national championship game.

Nick Saban’s response to Rodriguez should be very simple — to paraphrase hockey great Patrick Roy — “I can’t hear what Rich is saying, because my ears are blocked with two of my four national championship rings.”

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Ohio State AD: ‘Rutgers will bring a lot to the table’

Gene Smith

As the wheels of conference realignment spun, a league’s “footprint” became more important than athletic success. A school’s market was more valuable than what it could bring to the field of play.

The Big Ten Conference’s inclusion of Rutgers may have been the most obvious case of a “Big 5″ conference looking more at a school’s location than how it will improve the league’s level of play.

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith, however, believes Rutgers is a major asset to the Big Ten.

“There’s some long-term historic rivalries, like ours with that team up north, and then there’s those that emerge,” Smith told NJ.com’s Dan Duggan. “I think the Rutgers-Penn State one will probably elevate itself over time and it will be one of those contests that everybody will look forward to all the time. I think Rutgers will bring a lot to the table.”

Smith cited the school’s previous success on the gridiron under former head coach Greg Schiano and the money the school pumped into the program during that era. The Scarlet Knights were 56-33 with six bowl appearances during Schiano’s seven seasons.

Under the supervision of Kyle Flood, the Scarlet Knights have remained competitive. They were 9-4 in 2012 but stumbled to 6-7 last season.

Despite these middling results against lesser competition, Rutgers remained attractive to the Big Ten Conference. Smith admitted the school’s location in New Jersey, as part of the New York City market, still remains a factor in Rutgers’ inclusion to the league.

“The East Coast, obviously from a market point of view, is huge for us,” Smith. “We have to have a presence on the East Coast and Penn State needed some partners on the East Coast. Rutgers does that.”

Even when another athletic director within the Big Ten Conference defends the inclusion of Rutgers from an academic and athletic standpoint, the school’s location still remains the No. 1 reason they were invited. After all, the Scarlets Knights are expected to finish last in the Big Ten’s eastern division.

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Stanford’s Ty Montgomery could miss USC game

California v Stanford Getty Images

Stanford’s Ty Montgomery is one of the nation’s top wide receivers, but he may not be ready to play by the start of the season.

Montgomery already missed the entirety of spring practice after he underwent surgeries on his arm and knee. Stanford head coach David Shaw then told Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News during Pac-12 media days that Montgomery is questionable for the season-opener against UC-Davis and “It will be close for USC.”

Montgomery led Stanford with 958 receiving yards last season. He was also named a Walter Camp All-American as a returner after he  averaged 30.3 yards per kick return.

Standford’s staff plans to bring Montgomery along slowly, and the coaches hope he will be ready by the end of the summer.

“Hopefully, by the end of training camp, he’ll be able to do more contact stuff,” Shaw added.

If Montgomery misses a game or two, Stanford QB Kevin Hogan will have to rely heavily on senior WR Devon Cajuste. Cajuste finished second on the team last season with 642 receiving yards. Sophomore Francis Owusu would be first in line to fill in for Montgomery until his return.

And Stanford can always rely heavily on its overwhelming running attack if the passing game sputters.

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Report: Penn State tabs Sandy Barbour as new AD

CAL ATHLETIC DIRECTOR SANDY BARBOUR

After two and half years of turmoil in the school’s leadership, Penn State University has finally found the person it wants to lead its athletic programs.

Sandy Barbour, who previously served as Cal’s athletic director, will take over the same role at Penn State, according to ESPN.com’s Brett McMurphy. Barbour fills the role vacated by soon-to-be-retired Penn State AD Dave Joyner, who took over the position after the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

Barbour, 54, was Cal’s athletic director from 2004 until she resigned from the position on June 27. Prior to Cal, Barbour served as Notre Dame’s deputy director of athletics from 2002 to ’04.

During her time with the Golden Bears, the university’s football team was 68-57.  However, the program has been on a steady decline over the past four years. Part of the reason Barbour was eventually forced out at Cal was based on the football program’s 1-11  record last season and it finished dead last in the Pac-12 among graduation rates.

Barbour was able to get a new stadium built for the football program, but she left Cal with $445 million in debt due to athletic renovations, according to the San Francisco Gate.

There will also be a question of how Barbour will mesh with the coaching staffs already in place.

Penn State’s football program was kept afloat by former head coach Bill O’Brien. Once O’Brien left for the NFL, Penn State made a major hire by luring James Franklin away from Vanderbilt. However, there are always concerns over how attached a new athletic director is with a head coach they didn’t hire.

Barbour will provide Penn State with something the university has lacked in recent years…stability. But her recent track record makes this a questionable hire.

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Reserve LB is fifth Georgia defender arrested this off season

Georgia v Clemson Getty Images

It hasn’t exactly been a banner off season for the Georgia Bulldogs and head coach Mark Richt.

The team’s off-the-field issues continued Saturday morning when reserve linebacker Davin Bellamy was arrested on charges of DUI and speeding, according to the Athens-Clarke County (Ga.) jail log. Bellamy, a redshirt freshman, was booked at 5:02 a.m. and released an hour and 20 minutes later after posting a $2,000 bond.

Bellamy is the fifth member of the Bulldogs’ defense to be arrested this off season.  The linebacker’s arrest comes on the heels of the team dismissing defensive tackle Jonathan Taylor from the team Wednesday after his second arrest. Taylor was the third member of the unit to be dismissed.

Since this is Bellamy’s first offense, he isn’t expected to be dismissed from the team, but the Georgia’s student-athlete handbook stipulates that any athlete with a DUI charge is required to be suspended for 20 percent of the team’s season. As a result, Bellamy will miss at least the first two games of the season against the Clemson Tigers and the South Carolina Gamecocks. Coach Richt could decide to extend the suspension beyond two games if he deems it necessary.

The loss of Bellamy deals a blow to the Bulldogs’ linebacker depth. Bellamy, a three-star recruit in the 2013 class, was projected to be a backup behind junior Jordan Jenkins at Jack linebacker. Without Bellamy in the lineup, sophomore Johnny O’Neal will now have an opportunity to gain more playing time within the linebacker rotation.

Bellamy’s arrest is the seventh overall for the program since the end of last season and the 32nd in the past four years.

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