In December of 2011, after less than a full year on the job at Pittsburgh, Todd Graham abruptly and unceremoniously left the Panthers for his “dream job” at Arizona State. A year and a handful of months later, Graham and his Sun Devils were in line to benefit from his time at Pitt… until his former employer stepped in.
Citing an unnamed source, ESPN.com‘s Joe Schad is reporting that Pittsburgh has denied Rushel Shell‘s request that Arizona State be one of the schools to which he can transfer. It was announced earlier in the week that Shell would be transferring from the Panthers football program, with the early speculation heavily centered on a landing with the Sun Devils.
While Shell did not play for Graham, he was recruited by the coach and his staff during their very brief tenure at Pitt.
Arizona finds itself in a similar position as its in-state rivals as Schad reports that a transfer to the Wildcats has been barred as well due to the presence of former Pitt assistants on Rich Rodriguez‘s staff. Shell will also not be permitted to transfer to the ACC, the conference to which the Panthers will be officially moving July 1 of this year.
Two of the schools on Shell’s transfer to-do list, Cal and UCLA, will presumably get the thumbs-up from the back’s former school.
Shell does have one option remaining if he truly wants to transfer to either Arizona school. “Shell can request a university hearing, outside the athletics department, in an attempt to have Pitt’s ruling overturned,” the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review wrote in confirming Schad’s report.
It’s understandable that Pitt would still harbor hard feelings over the manner in which Graham left the program, but the lingering animosity doesn’t make taking that frustration out on a kid any less wrong. The NCAA is in the midst of a maelstrom of issues that weakens its credibility by the day; the petulance with which some coaches and programs deal with transfers is one of those that gets little or no play but should.
When word first broke of NCAA violations against Ole Miss, word from the Rebels’ football program was one of caution, for it was uncertain how many were targeted against football versus women’s basketball and track and field.
It appears we now know.
On Tuesday evening, the Associated Press reported the NCAA levied 13 allegations out of a possible 28 against the Ole Miss football team, nine of which occurred under the watch of head coach Hugh Freeze. However, it appears the most serious violations were either already know or took place during the Houston Nutt regime.
Included in the allegations are Laremy Tunsil‘s improper benefits, for which the left tackle already sat seven games. Also included are accusations former Nutt assistant David Saunders participated in a scheme to produce fraudulent test scores for recruits — the same allegations currently levied against Louisiana-Lafayette.
The remaining allegations, as detailed by the AP, include run-of-the-mill violations such as having the wrong people provide transportation on recruiting visits or assistant coaches making improper contact with recruits, many of which Ole Miss has already self-reported.
ESPN recruiting analyst Gerry Hamilton provided a massive public service through his Twitter account on Tuesday, releasing a data dump of fascinating information about the signing class of 2016.
In short, Texas was the most popular breeding ground for FBS prospects, but half of all signees came from a clean sweep from Texas, across the Gulf of Mexico to Florida and up to North Carolina.
The Lone Star State produced 359 players, with nearly half of those heading to Power 5 institutions. In fact, Hamilton reports, 72 of 128 FBS programs and 38 of 64 Power 5’s signed at least one player from Texas.
Florida trailed with 327 players, followed by California with 248 players and Georgia with 225. For what it’s worth, Ohio was not included in the study.
Data dump, begin!
The American Athletic Conference released its 2016 conference schedule highlighted by, oddly enough, non-conference games that pit league gem Houston against Oklahoma (on opening day at Houston’s NRG Stadium) and Louisville (in Houston on Nov. 19).
Those two games, more than any others, will sink or swim the conference’s chances of not only grabbing the Group of Five spot in the New Year’s Six, but a spot in the College Football Playoff itself.
The 2016 conference slate kicks off with Navy meeting Connecticut on Sept. 10 and concludes with the second annual AAC title game on Dec. 3 at a to-be-determined campus site.
The AAC led the way in scheduling Power 5 opponents — highlighted by a Week 3 schedule that will see the entire East Division punching up a weight class — and includes the likes of Florida State, Maryland, N.C. State, Virginia, Syracuse, Kansas, TCU and Oklahoma (for all intents and purposes) visiting AAC campuses.
View the full AAC slate here:
Just like we all thought when watching him play at Notre Dame, Tommy Rees will be in the NFL in 2016. Just not as a quarterback.
The San Diego Chargers announced his hiring as an obnoxiously vague offensive assistant, assisting with the club’s offense in some form that they aren’t inclined to elaborate on.
After completing a career in which he threw for 7,670 yards with 61 touchdowns against 37 interceptions from 2010-13, Rees was cut by the Washington Redskins in 2014, then spent the 2014-15 seasons as a graduate assistant at Northwestern.