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Backup RB transferring from Washington

Dezden Petty AP

For the second time in a week, Washington is losing a player to transfer.

According to Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times, head coach Steve Sarkisian acknowledged Saturday that running back Dezden Petty has decided to take his leave of the Huskies football program. No reason for the decision was given.

As is ofttimes the case, though, a crowded depth chart — including Bishop Sankey and his 1,439 yards — could’ve factored heavily into utilizing the departure option.

As a redshirt freshman last season, Petty rushed for 99 yards on 29 carries.  He was a two-star member of the Huskies’ 2011 recruiting class.

Last weekend, it was confirmed that defensive lineman Corey Waller would be transferring from UW as well.

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Injured Penn State O-lineman hopes to play this year

Miles Dieffenbach

As it turns out, one of Penn State’s most experienced offensive linemen won’t miss the entire 2014 season.  Maybe.

Back in late March, it was reported Miles Dieffenbach sustained what was only described at the time as a serious knee injury during spring practice. The lineman confirmed Saturday that the serious knee injury was indeed, as rumored, a torn ACL that he incurred when he collided with a teammate.

Dieffenbach underwent surgery and is currently going through the rehab process. Because he would not be eligible to appeal for a sixth season of eligibility — he would only have one season lost to injury — Dieffenbach, a senior, is pushing for a return for the final month or so of the season.

“Right now I’m in a really good place,” Dieffenbach said at the annual Lift For Life event. “I haven’t had any hiccups. Everything is feeling good, my strength is good and right now I’m staying on track. Hopefully I’ll be back for the last 3-4 games.”

The Nittany Lions’ last four games of the upcoming season are, in order, Indiana, Temple, Illinois and Michigan State. The earliest of those games, the Hoosiers matchup, takes place Nov. 8, just over seven months after Dieffenbach suffered the injury. Such a timeframe would certainly be well within the realm of possibility for a return, especially for a lineman.

The past two seasons, Dieffenbach has started 23 games at both left and right guard.

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Ex-LSU RB Jeremy Hill shows off Tiger Stadium back tat

LSU running back Hill leaps over Alabama defensive back Perry for a first down during their NCAA football game in Baton Rouge Reuters

Yeah, chalk this post up to “it’s the offseason and how many days again until the start of the new season?”

That said, Jeremy Hill, one of the most talented — and troubled — to ever play running back at LSU, was selected in the second round (55th overall) by the Cincinnati Bengals in the May NFL draft after leaving the Bayou Bengals early.  Hill has gone on to sign his rookie contract and commence his professional career, but hasn’t forgotten from where he came.

Nor will he ever be able to forget from where he came.

And by “ever” I mean:

Yes, folks, that’s a tattoo of Jeremy Hill in his LSU uniform and a tiger standing in front of Tiger Stadium.  Out of the many questions I have — “how the hell much did that cost?” and “how the hell is there enough time to do that?” chief among them — one stands out: why in the name of the Mad Hatter are there helicopters hovering above Tiger Stadium in the tat?

Somebody needs to get that question answered post haste because it’s going to bother me to no end until it’s resolved.

Oh, and to answer my question up top: 45.  45 long, long, long days until the official start of the 2014 college football season.

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Nick Marshall won’t partake in SEC Media Days

Alabama v Auburn

For whatever reason, Auburn has decided to prolong, amplify and inflame the off-field situation involving its starting quarterback.

In a statement, AU has announced that Nick Marshall will not take part in the SEC Media Days as scheduled.  In Marshall’s stead, tight end C.J. Uzomah will step up and take the starter’s place.

The move also insures that Uzomah, offensive lineman Reese Dismukes and defensive lineman Gabe Wright will be answering questions that would’ve been directed toward their teammate.  Questions their teammate should be there to take and answer in an effort to move forward as quickly as possible.

Instead, Auburn has decided to drag this situation out.  They’ve decided that, instead of Marshall addressing his weed citation head-on and right away, they’ll hide their starting quarterback.  They’ll keep him from the big, bad media.  And they’ll allow his teammates to take the media flack.

Marshall may have made a misstep, but his football program has tripped all over its junk with this inexplicable — and inexcusable — decision.

Kudos, Gus Malzahn & Company.  Well done.  Now you won’t have to deal with this until the start of summer camp — instead of dealing with it now and getting it out of the way.  Unbelievable.

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Today’s must-read: Mark Richt a better human being than everybody

Mark Richt AP

Mark Richt was beyond classy when it came to a potential walk-on who tragically passed away in January of 2011.

Three years later? Yeah, the head football coach at Georgia is, as the headline declares, pretty much a better human being than just about anyone who’ll read this.

Seth Emerson of the Macon Telegraph has blessed his paper’s readers with a beautifully-written piece on Richt and his desire to help his players post-football. Richt and his support staff were able to save one former player from taking his life; another former player who played for Richt took his life prior to that.

“I don’t want this to happen to another one of my boys,” a source told Emerson Richt said. And the rest is history.

And an absolute must-read. Trust me, you want to click HERE and read this.

Bravo, Seth.  Bravo.

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Arrested Tide DT blew .13 after backing into car

Nick Saban AP

And now we know (a little bit more of) the rest of the story.

Earlier today it was reported that Alabama defensive tackle Jarran Reed was arrested early Sunday morning and charged with driving under the influence.  While no details were available at the time, al.com has obtained some of the particulars from what led up to the arrest.

From the website:

According to Tuscaloosa police, Reed had a blood alcohol content of 0.13 percent, above the legal limit of 0.08.

Reed was driving a 2001 White Dodge Charger, according to a TPD news release, when an officer saw him collide with another vehicle at 1:50 a.m. while backing out of a parking spot.

In a statement, head coach Nick Saban expressed disappointment in the latest legal predicament involving one of his players.

“We are disappointed in Jarran’s actions and this is obviously not the kind of behavior we expect from our players. It is a privilege to represent the University of Alabama and there are responsibilities that go along with that privilege. We’ll evaluate the situation and determine the appropriate discipline so better choices and decisions can be made in the future.

Reed transferred to the Tide from the JUCO ranks earlier this year and worked with the first-team defense during spring practice.

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‘Teary-eyed’ Nick Marshall ‘very regretful’ during pot citation

Alabama v Auburn

As expected, some additional details are emerging as it pertains to the recent legal incident involving starting Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall.

Late this past week, Marshall was cited for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana as well as window tint following a traffic stop.  Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn said in a statement that he’s “very disappointed” in the incident, although he stopped short of saying what if any punishment the Heisman contender will be facing.

In an interview with WRBL-TV, Reynolds, Ga., chief of police Lonnie Holder, the man who issued the citations, revealed that Marshall was contrite, apologetic and teary-eyed during their encounter following the traffic stop.

“He was very regretful,” Holder said. “He was very respectful. He was very apologetic. He seemed like he was disappointed in himself. He did get a little teary eyed as we had the conversation. I think sometimes what those kids need, they need somebody to talk to them and say, hey, you made a mistake, don’t let it happen anymore. …

“I explained to Nick that I was really disappointed in him. I told him that there are a million kids that look up to him. He is a role model whether he wants to be or not. I was disappointed that we have athletes out there doing that. I explained to him that we are not going to treat him any differently. I was disappointed in him. I hope he learns from his mistake and this will put him on the right path.”

(Writer’s note: I want Holder to be the chief of police in my current city.  Just putting that out there in case he has any thoughts of heading to God’s Country.)

Marshall, in his first year as a starter, helped lead the Tigers to the BCS title game.  Based on a previous announcement, Marshall is scheduled to be one of three Tigers to represent Auburn at the SEC media days, which begins Monday.  Whether that remains the case — the Auburn players and coaches will speak to the media Monday — is unknown, although an AU official told CFT that Marshall will still appear as scheduled.

Here’s to hoping he does.  Man up, address it, get the media side of it out of the way and move on.  It’d be the best move for all sides, and would allow for Marshall to enter summer camp without it — and the questions — hanging over his and his team’s head.

(Tip O’ the Cap: al.com)

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Frosh Husker WR charged with pot possession, running from cops

Jariah Tolbert

And here I thought the good herb made you lazy and incapable of opening your eyelids fully let alone performing a physical act as taxing as running.

According to the Omaha World-Herald, though, Nebraska’s Jariah Tolbert was charged recently for an incident that occurred in the middle of last month. Per the World-Herald, the wide receiver was charged with possession of marijuana and obstructing a peace officer.

An arraignment on the charges is set for next week. From the paper:

Tolbert was cited and jailed after he ran from University of Nebraska-Lincoln police officers, according to a police report. Police reportedly received a call about someone smoking marijuana between two outdoor tennis courts near the intersections of 17th and Vine Streets.

It’s unknown what if any punishment the player may be facing from the football program.

Coming out of high school in New Orleans, Tolbert was a two-star member of the Cornhuskers’ 2014 recruiting class. He arrived on campus earlier this month.

(Photo credit: Nebraska athletics)

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Report: former four-star QB Tyler Bruggman leaving Wazzu

Tyler Bruggman

Earlier this offseason, Austin Apodaca decided to transfer out of the Washington State football program. Sunday, it’s lather, rinse, repeat at the quarterback position for the Cougars. Reportedly.

In a tweet from Britton Ransford of WazzuWatch.com, it’s being reported that Tyler Bruggman has decided to leave Wazzu and transfer elsewhere. No reason for the abrupt and surprising departure was given, and to where Bruggman will definitively move is unknown at this early stage.

Bruce Feldman of FOXSports.com, however, subsequently confirmed the departure and tweeted that Bruggman “has been released to Arkansas, Duke, Louisville & Indiana.”

As is ofttimes the case, the school has not addressed the player’s status with the team despite what’s now multiple reports.

Bruggman was a four-star member of Mike Leach‘s first Wazzu recruiting class in 2013, rated as the No. 18 pro-style quarterback in the country and the No. 6 player at any position in the state of Arizona.  He took a redshirt as a true freshman last season.

Shortly before national Signing Day in 2013, he flipped to Wazzu from Arizona State, so the Sun Devils could be a potential destination. He also held offers from, among others, Arizona, Arkansas, BYU, Duke, Michigan State and Ole Miss.

With the twin departures of Bruggman and Apodaca, the situation behind starter Connor Halliday is dire as CougCenter.com detailed:

That leaves [Luke] Falk, a walk-on redshirt freshman, and true freshman Peyton Bender as players likely to fill out the depth chart next season. The Cougars were thought to be loaded at quarterback just a few months ago and are now precariously thin at the most-important position.

(Photo credit: Washington State athletics)

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Tide DT Jarran Reed arrested on DUI charge

Jarran Reed

Apparently, one member of the Alabama Crimson Tide had too good of a weekend.  Or Mark Richt has lost control of Nick Saban‘s squad.  One of the two.

Regardless, al.com is reporting that Jarran Reed was arrested very early Sunday morning and charged with driving under the influence.  What preceded the traffic stop that led to the charge has yet to be released.

According to the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office website, Reed was released on a $1,000 bond.

Earlier this offseason, the defensive tackle transferred to the Tide from the JUCO ranks.  If Reed is suspended or misses any games, it could have an impact on the Tide’s defensive line rotation as the website wrote that “[h]e worked significant time with the first team throughout spring practices.”

Reed was a three-star recruit coming out of East Mississippi Community College in Scooba, Miss.

This is the second time in a week or so that a Tide player has dipped his toes in legal hot waters.  The day after the Fourth of July, running back Kenyan Drake was charged with obstructing government operations.

(Mugshot credit: Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office)

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FSU’s Rudolph, five-star 2014 WR, recovering from foot surgery

Travis Rudolph

If Travis Rudolph is to make an immediate impact at Florida State as expected, he’ll have to overcome a lingering health issue.

During a charity event Friday, the Tallahassee Democrat reported, the touted wide receiver was seen wearing a walking boot on his left foot.  Head coach Jimbo Fisher subsequently confirmed that Rudolph recently underwent surgery to correct an ongoing issue in his foot.

The good news, though, is that it sounds as if the medical procedure won’t have an impact on the player’s availability for the start of summer camp in early August.

“He had a little bone that they put a screw in,” Fisher said. “He should be ready by the end of the month, and should be good to go. He shouldn’t miss anything.”

If healthy, and at least on paper, Rudolph has the type of talent to contribute to the Seminoles’ offense right away, especially given the dearth of experience in the receiving corps.

A five-star member of FSU’s 2014 recruiting class, Rudolph was rated as the No. 1 wide receiver in the country, the No. 1 player in the state of Florida and the No. 11 player at any position in the country. He was one of three five-star members of FSU’s most recent class, joined by running back Dalvin Cook and fellow receiver Ermon Lane. Cook and Lane were the Nos. 3 and 5 players, respectively, in Florida.

(Photo credit: Rivals.com)

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Sports Illustrated being sued over Ok. St. ‘exposé’

SI OSU Cover

Amidst the (well-deserved) adulation heaped on it for breaking the return of a Prodigal Hoops King to Ohio, Sports Illustrated received a little negative press as well Friday.

If you recall, an “exposé” was published by SI on the Oklahoma State football program back in September of last year that immediately had holes poked in it as well fun poked at it. Not so surprisingly, the “exposé” — it alleged illicit payments to players and drug use and hostess sex with recruits as well as academic frauddidn’t sit well with those in and around the OSU program.

According to the Associated Press, the magazine/website will now be forced to deal with and defend their own words in court.

Per the AP, an individual connected to the Oklahoma Fellowship of Christian Athletes has filed a lawsuit against the media entity based on a portion of the claims made in the “exposé.” In the SI piece, it was alleged that plaintiff John Talley, as the AP writes, “was wrongly portrayed as an overzealous booster who improperly paid OSU football players.”

The lawsuit was filed in Payne County (Okla.) District Court. The details of the suit, including any damages being sought, weren’t released.

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SEC coaches ranked on entertainment value? Sure, why not

Les Miles AP

It’s late in the offseason, so that means it’s time for newspapers and blogs alike to stir up some manure and/or feces ahead of the start of a new season.

The latest example? The Montgomery Advertiser‘s Josh Moon.

Ahead of the start of SEC Media Days this coming week, Moon posted a ranking of the coaches in that conference based on what’s described as “entertainment value.” His No. 1? South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier.

Based on any metric you could possibly devise, Moon is absolutely correct. Spurrier is easily the most entertaining head coach in the SEC — and (ever-so-slightly) ahead of Mike Leach in the whole of college football. In fact, he’s so far ahead of the rest of the conference pack, at least No. 2 and possibly No. 3 should’ve been left blank in deference to the Ol’ Ball Coach’s intrinsic ability to entertain fans and foes alike.

For the most part, Moon’s list is what it is: a lot of fun and really well done. I will, though, for the sake of argument (and a weekend post on a slooow day) take exception to the slotting of two of the coaches.

First, Nick Saban is at No. 8 in the 14-team league. Here’s Moon’s rationale:

“Whine if you want, Bama fans, but you know it’s true. Watching Alabama football games is slightly less boring than C-SPAN’s coverage of a Congressional hearing on interest rates. I’d rather watch soccer. There’s more scoring.

And then Saban strolls to the mic for interviews and acts as if he’s working towards solving world hunger. Other than the occasional news conference tantrum and two watchable games per year, it’s dreadful. It’s like “Boardwalk Empire”: all the pieces are there, and they usually work OK, but it’s so boring your eyes bleed.”

Maybe it’s just me, but I love just about everything about Tuscaloosa Saban. Love watching Saban’s Tide football team play on the field, love listening to Saban any time off of it, love the ofttimes condescending nature of Saban’s tone with the media.  His views on fast-paced offenses are self-serving, but nobody’s perfect.

To me, Nick Saban is THE most fascinating person/personality in all of college football — yes, above Spurrier, Leach, Delany, Slive and the whole lot of them. Does that equate to entertaining? No, especially not if compared to the OBC or The Pirate. With all due respect to the esteemed Mr. Moon, though, No. 8 is just way too low for my tastes.

Even more “indefensible?” Les Miles at No. 4.

“The guy eats grass, wears a hat that’s a minimum two sizes too small, makes funny videos of himself, once invited me to ride along to the airport with him so we could finish an impromptu interview and routinely says some of the craziest nonsense you’ve ever heard. He also wins. His teams can be a tad boring at times, even a bit Bama-ish. But Les … oh, Les is never boring.”

OK, this slotting shouldn’t and won’t stand without some (lighthearted) push back.

Behind Spurrier? Absolutely; every other current head coach in the country stands in line behind the OBC. Behind Auburn’s Gus Malzahn (Moon’s No. 2) and Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin (No. 3)? Nope.

Les Miles rappelling down a building… Les Miles butt-tweeting… Les Miles making out with a pig… Les Miles exalting and basking in swatting away the basketball dreams of a child… Les Miles clapping like a seal that got kicked out of the rookery for said clapping… Les Miles just being Les Miles is infinitely more entertaining than anything anyone not named Spurrier could ever hope of putting on the table.

A solid offseason list and good fodder for discussion, but Miles at No. 4?  C’mon now Mr. Moon.

(Writer’s note: excellent work, good stuff.  Just having a little weekend fun.)

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For future Miss. St.-K-State series, ADs hash(tag) it out on Twitter

TCU v Kansas State

This is very, very likely a first: a future home-and-home series discussed very much in the public domain and agreed to on a social media website.

Friday afternoon, Mississippi State athletic director Scott Stricklin and his counterpart at Kansas State, John Currie, engaged in an absolutely fascinating Internet conversation.  In a web video, the latter proposed a future Bulldogs-Wildcats (cats vs dogs) home-and-home series while the former sent out the initial dates: Manhattan for a 2016 game and a return trip to Starkville the following year.

Stricklin pointed out the video on his Twitter feed and, well, history ensued in the form of a live-tweet negotiation.

So, there you have. it.    Save for the crossing of the t’s and dotting the i’s, Kansas State and Mississippi State have a future home-and-home date on their collective plates.

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Urban talks LeBron’s return to Ohio

LeBron James

Earlier this millennium — that reads and sounds so odd, but not anymore so than using “aughts” — then-Notre Dame assistant Urban Meyer offered a scholarship to All-State wide receiver — and basketball megastar — LeBron James.

The relationship cultivated at that time reaped an appearance by The King at an Ohio State game last season as the Ohio State head coach’s guest.

Friday, the Prodigal King returned home to Ohio after the future basketball Hall of Famer announced he would be re-signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers.  Not so unexpectedly, and after a brief delay relative to Les Miles, Meyer took to Twitter to address the news.

A few hours after that tweet, Meyer spoke to Doug Lesmerises of the Cleveland Plain Dealer about what, just four short years ago, many thought would’ve been an impossible let alone improbable return.  Not surprisingly, Meyer went with what many would consider hyperbole but’s actually closer to reality when it comes to what it means for the state in general and Northeast Ohio specifically.

“When I heard the news, I was like, ‘They’re going to shut down the whole state,’” Meyer, an Ohio native, said. “I’m really happy for Northeast Ohio. Now we’ve got to go get a championship.”

(Writer’s note: a professional sports championship in the city of Cleveland that’s 50 years in the making, by the way.)
(Life-long, 45-year-old Cleveland pro sports fan note: ugh.  It’s a slap in the face, punch in the gut, kick in the tentacles to type that.)

James has long been connected to the flagship university in his home state.

On more than one occasion, the hoops star has stated publicly that, if he wouldn’t have jumped to the NBA right out of high school — that pro league has since changed that rule — he would’ve played basketball for the Buckeyes.  Hell, he even has his own locker in the OSU men’s basketball team’s locker room.

Given his return to Northeast Ohio, those around the basketball and football programs can expect to see the Chosen One around more and more.

As far as Meyer is concerned, that’s more than fine.

“He’s got an open door,” the coach told the paper. “If he wants to catch a pass, we can probably figure that out, too.”

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Jameis Winston adds fuel to ‘two more years’ fire

Jameis Winston

Here we go again.

Just about a month ago, eyes all across the college football landscape collectively rolled when the father of Jameis Winston was quoted as saying that the family “want[s] Jameis to succeed with one more year in baseball and two more years in football.” Provided off-field concerns don’t derail it, the Florida State quarterback, who’d be draft-eligible in 2015 because he’d be three years removed from high school, would stand a very good chance of going No. 1 overall in the NFL draft next April/May.

Most people aren’t buying the “two more year” talk. Winston, though, has once again hinted that could very well be the case.

At the Manning Passing Academy Friday, Winston was asked about his future with the Seminoles. The redshirt sophomore’s response, and his focus, may surprise you.

“It’s very important to me. I was always raised as a student first and an athlete second,” Winston said to NFL.com in regards to earning his degree before moving on to the NFL.

“I think that’s the main purpose in college. Some athletes lose that perspective. It’s about being a student-athlete, and not just getting that easy money and going to the league. Even if kids leave early, I would want them to come back and get that degree.”

Winston, incidentally, is majoring in social science with a business minor.

It would tremendous for the game of college football in general and the Seminoles in particular if Winston returned for at least two more seasons (he technically has three years of eligibility remaining). Still, Winston will have a decision to make at some point before mid-January: remain in college as the big fish in a small pond, or head off to the money-green waters of the NFL.

We’re thinking that, right now, no one, including Winston himself, has a clue what the future six months down the road holds.

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