The Middle Tennessee State football program has been hit with some personnel attrition a couple of months ahead of its official move from the Sun Belt to Conference USA, head coach Rick Stockstill confirmed Thursday.
According to Stockstill, quarterback Shaun White and offensive lineman Roberto Loya have been dismissed from the Blue Raiders team. As is ofttimes the case, the publicly stated reason for the twin dismissals is violations of unspecified team rules.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to be on this football team and represent Middle Tennessee,” Stockstill said in a statement. “Our program has high standards both on and off the playing field and Shaun and Roberto will not be with us after failing to live up to those expectations. We wish both players well in their future endeavors.”
Both White and Loya were listed as backups at their respective positions. The former played in four games last season as a redshirt freshman while the latter played in all 12 games, mostly on special teams.
Even more damaging than those dismissals, though, is the loss of a player due to injury.
Part-time starting Justin Jones (pictured), Stockstill, said, will miss the 2013 season due to a toe injury suffered during spring practice. The surgery and subsequent rehab will keep him away from football for up to eight months, sidelining the player for what would’ve been his senior season.
“Justin has to undergo surgery which will require him to be out for six to eight months,” MTSU coach Rick Stockstill said. “He has been a valuable member of this program the past four years, and we wish him a very speedy recovery.”
Jones started 11 of the 37 games he played during his MTSU career. He was on track to earn a starting job until the spring injury derailed what was left of his collegiate career.
Texas and Texas A&M can’t seem to get together to renew their rivalry on the football field, but the two programs still find their scheduling paths crossing every now and again.
Texas and Rice announced in separate press releases Thursday afternoon that the two schools have reached an agreement on a new three-game series that will renew the in-state rivalry yet again. The first game of that series will be played at NRG Stadium in Houston on an undetermined date in 2019. The final two games will be played in Austin during the 2021 and 2023 seasons.
The 2019 game on Rice’s end will replace a previously-scheduled matchup with A&M. According to Rice, A&M requested a release from that game because of a scheduling conflict.
The Longhorns and Owls have met 94 times previously, the most recent coming just this past season. Those 94 games represent the most Rice has ever played against a single opponent.
UT owns a 72-21-1 edge in the all-time series. The Owls only win in the series since 1965 came in October of 1994.
Yesterday we noted that Sonny Dykes had likely landed the man that will help direct Cal’s offense in 2016. Today we get the confirmation.
In the expected press release, Cal confirmed that Jake Spavital has been added to Sonny Dykes‘ staff as offensive coordinator. Additionally, Spavital will coach a Golden Bears quarterbacks room that will be without leading passer Jared Goff for the first time since the 2012 season.
Spavital replaces Tony Franklin, who abruptly left the program last month to take the same job at Middle Tennessee.
“Jake is one of the brightest young coaches in college football and he is a tremendous addition to our coaching staff,” Dykes said. “We were looking for someone to join our coaching family that shares our vision and has a similar offensive philosophy to what we have used to produce some of the nation’s top offenses for nearly two decades. Jake has gained a tremendous amount of experience by working with some of the top coaches in the game, while he has tutored some of the best quarterbacks in college football history. Both will pay huge dividends for us.”
Spavital had spent the past three seasons at Texas A&M, first as co-offensive coordinator in 2013 and then as coordinator in 2014 and 2015. He also coached quarterbacks all three seasons.
In early January of this year, it was announced that the two parties were “mutually parting ways.”
For the Tennessee faithful in the audience, it appears you can finally breathe a sigh of relief.
On National Signing Day eight days ago, UT received a commitment from Jonathan Kongbo, one of the top junior college prospects in this year’s recruiting class. While Kongbo had committed to the Vols, he hadn’t yet sent the university a signed National Letter of Intent binding him to the football program; that meant other programs could continue to pursue the highly sought after defensive end.
Any ongoing pursuit from rival schools has unofficially come to an end, however, as Wes Rucker of 247Sports.com, citing a source close to the player’s recruitment, is reporting that Kongbo has indeed sent his signed NLI to the university. The delay reportedly involved Kongbo’s father.
Kongbo had signed the letter, but his father had not. Tennessee was able to announce him as a signee because he had signed his financial aid agreement.
Kongbo told SEC Country earlier this week that his father was out of town and he was waiting for him to return to sign and send the letter.
Rivals.com rated Kongbo as a five-star prospect coming out of Arizona Western Community College in Yuma. Not only that, but both Rivals and 247Sports’ composite rankings had the lineman rated as the No. 1 JUCO prospect in the country.
In addition to UT, Alabama, Florida State, Ole Miss and USC were finalists for the 6-6, 260-pound end.
A move that has been two months in the making has been confirmed by one of the principles involved.
In an interview with The Oklahoman, Barry J. Sanders confirmed that he will be transferring into the Oklahoma State football program and playing his final season of college football with the Cowboys. Sanders will graduate from Stanford this summer; as such, he will be eligible to play immediately for OSU in 2016 after he arrives this June.
In early January, Sanders confirmed his intention to transfer from the Cardinal after receiving a release from his scholarship. That confirmation came a month or so after speculation began growing that Sanders, the son of Heisman-winning OSU legend Barry Sanders, was considering a move to his father’s alma mater, talk that prompted Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy to address the issue.
As the younger Sanders will be following in some rather sizable Stillwater shoes, he discussed the move with his father before deciding to become the second Barry Sanders to have his name on an OSU uniform.
“His message to me was to keep an open mind,” Sanders told the newspaper. “I think that he would have wanted me to look at more schools. He definitely didn’t want me to make a decision without considering other options. What I told him was that this was something I’ve been thinking about for some time. I just knew this was the right decision and the right fit for a variety of different reasons.
“So when I kind of explained my reasons behind it, he was pretty comfortable with it and he’s just as excited as I am.”
Sanders was a four-star member of the Cardinal’s 2012 recruiting class, rated as the No. 9 running back in the country and the No. 2 player at any position in the state of Oklahoma. He chose Stanford over, among others, Alabama and the Big 12 OSU.
The last three seasons, Sanders has rushed for 672 yards (5.8 yards per carry) and five touchdowns. He’s also caught 12 passes for 89 yards and averaged 9.5 yards on 10 punt returns.