Report: S. Miss., SEC schools are transfer no-no’s for Wes Lunt

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We don’t yet know to where Wes Lunt will transfer, but we do know where it won’t be.  Reportedly.

According to Jeremy Fowler of CBSSports.com, Oklahoma State is restricting the quarterback from transferring to Southern Miss as well as any SEC school.  Such restrictions would severely limit desirable destinations for Lunt as he had been considering five schools; three of them — Southern Miss, Tennessee and Vanderbilt — are now off-limits because of his former school in general and his ex-coach specifically.

Still on Lunt’s radar are Illinois and Louisville.  Lunt either has or will in very short order visit the Illini, who are currently considered the front-runners by default.

A school spokesperson confirmed the head-scratching restrictions to Fowler, and stated it was between OSU head coach Mike Gundy and Lunt when asked why the player would not be released to that set of schools.  It’s unclear why Gundy — ya know, the “I’m a man, I’m 40” rant guy when it came to defending one his players from the sharp barbs of the mean ol’ media — placed such restrictions on Lunt.

The Southern Miss football program is now headed by Todd Monken, who served as Gundy’s offensive coordinator in 2011 and 2012; the Cowboys and Golden Eagles are not slated to face each other during the regular season at any point over the next nine years.  After sitting out the 2013 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules, Lunt will have three years of eligibility remaining; the only SEC school Oklahoma State will face in the regular season during that four-year timeframe is Mississippi State in 2013.

Ironically, Gundy spoke to at least two different schools this offseason about their head coaching vacancies, and would’ve been free to move to those programs without restriction.  The two schools he’s known to have spoken with about their openings?  Arkansas and Tennessee, both members of the SEC.

Excellent work, Coach Gundy.  You and your university and T. Boone should be very proud of the pettiness and double-standards on full display.  Stay classy, Stillwater.

UPDATED 6:26 p.m. ET: According to Zach Kerker, sports director at 1450 in Springfield, Ill., Lunt’s high school coach stated that his former player is also restricted from transferring to Pac-12 schools as well as Central Michigan (on OSU’s non-conference schedule in 2015 & 2016).  The reason behind the restrictions?  “They could play in bowl games,” the coach said.

Pitiful.  Absolutely pitiful situation.

Third ex-Vandy football player sentenced to 15 years for rape

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A third former Vanderbilt football player will spend a sizable portion of his adult life behind bars.

In June of this year, Brandon Banks was found guilty on one count each of aggravated rape and aggravated sexual battery related to a 2013 gang rape of an unconscious woman. Friday, Banks was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

In July of last year, one of Banks’ former teammates, Cory Batey, was sentenced to 15 years after being found guilty of aggravated rape. Four months later, another former Vandy football player, Brandon Vandenburg, was sentenced to 17 years after being found guilty of the same charge as Batey. The judge gave Vandenburg a longer sentence than Batey because the former was the leader in the attack and betrayed the woman’s trust.

Banks, Vandenburg, Batey and another ex-Vandy football player, Jaborian ‘Tip’ McKenziewere initially charged Aug. 9, 2013, with five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery each after a police investigation determined that the four had raped an unconscious woman.

On June 28 of 2013, Vanderbilt announced that four unnamed players had been indefinitely suspended amid reports that the players were connected to an alleged sex crimes case.  The next day, Vandy officials further clarified the players’ statuses, releasing a statement announcing the dismissals of the four.  That release further added that none of the four will be permitted to return to campus without permission from the office of student conduct and academic integrity.

McKenzie has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.  He has agreed to testify against his former teammates in exchange for what he hopes is a lighter sentence.

Georgia Tech dismisses leading rusher Dedrick Mills

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I believe this one would qualify as a significant development.

In a very brief press release, Georgia Tech announced Friday afternoon that Dedrick Mills has been dismissed by Paul Johnson from the football team.  The only reason given was an unspecified violation of Tech athletics department rules.

The head coach is expected to meet with the media following practice later on this afternoon.

Regardless of the specific reason for the dismissal, Mills’ departure serves as yet another blow for the run-heavy Yellow Jackets.

Last season, Mills’ 771 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns led all Tech ball carriers.  169 of those yards came in the bowl win over Kentucky.  Mills put up all of those numbers as a true freshman despite being suspended on two different occasions for a total of three games.

Mills’ dismissal is the second huge blow to their 2017 running game as Marcus Marshall, who was second on the team last season with 624 yards, announced in late November that he would be transferring from Tech.  Less than a month later, he moved on to James Madison.

With those twin departures, Clinton Lynch‘s 415 yards last season makes him the team’s leading returning rusher.

LOOK: Notre Dame unveils alternate uniforms honoring Knute Rockne’s legacy

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As you may know, I’m hardly a fan of the alternate uniform craze.  These, though, I can very easily get behind.

Notre Dame on Friday released images of new uniforms the Fighting Irish will wear for their Nov. 18 game against Navy.  From helmet to shoes, the new duds will serve as a head-to-toe tribute to the legendary Knute Rockne.

The players will all have the name “ROCKNE” emblazoned on the backs of their jerseys, while the helmets replicate the leather ones of Rockne’s era.  The cleats also will pay homage to the era in which Rockne, also a former player at the school, coached the Fighting Irish to five national championships from 1918-1930.  In those 13 seasons, the Irish lost just 12 games under Rockne.

Additionally, the sleeves will be adorned with the words from one of Rockne’s most famous speeches.



Penn State OKs James Franklin’s new deal, reportedly worth nearly $6 million annually

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James Franklin is now in some very heady financial company.

Friday morning, Penn State’s Board of Trustees Committee on Compensation, as expected, unanimously approved an amended contract for their head football coach.  While no details were released — that’s expected to happen later today — it’s believed the amended deal will extend through the 2023 season.  Franklin’s old contract ran through 2019.

Additionally, Bruce Feldman of SI.com is reporting that the new six-year deal will average $5.8 million annually.  What Franklin’s compensation for 2017 and beyond will, again, be divulged later on today.

The average of $5.8 million a year would make him the fourth-highest-paid coach in college football, behind only Alabama’s Nick Saban and a pair of fellow Big Ten coaches — Ohio State’s Urban Meyer and Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh.

Set to enter his fourth season with the Nittany Lions, Franklin has an overall record of 25-15 at the school.  After a pair of 7-6 seasons to begin his tenure, 2016 was a breakout one for the program as they went 11-3 and won the Big Ten championship for the first time since 2008.

Expectations are extremely high coming off that breakout season as the Nittany Lions are ranked sixth in the preseason coaches’ poll.