Updated: Johnny Manziel leaves Manning Academy early; camp denies report of hangover

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Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel is scheduled to appear at SEC Media Days this week. Being the reigning Heisman Trophy winner and current face of the program are reasons enough for Manziel to make the trip to Hoover, but appearing in front of reporters would also give the redshirt sophomore an opportunity to smooth over what’s been a somewhat turbulent, albeit a bit overblown, offseason. In fact, keeping Manziel away from the cameras would only raise more questions about his ability to handle the spotlight.

Besides, being media savvy has never been Manziel’s problem. Staying out of the headlines in the current 24/7 news cycle has been a different story.

Thanks to that inability, Manziel will need to work that charisma again this week.

Per ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, Manziel left the 2013 Manning Passing Academy early after missing assigned meetings and practices due to an illness. Manziel was working as a counselor for the camp, which is now in its 18th year.

An earlier report from Rumors and Rants said that Manziel was booted from the camp after he went out partying Friday night and arrived late and hungover to the camp Saturday. Camp officials have denied that report.

“Johnny Manziel did participate in some activities in the 2013 Manning Passing Academy as a college counselor/coach,” a statement from the camp said. “After missing and being late for practice assignments, Johnny explained that he had been feeling ill. Consequently, we agreed that it was in everyone’s best interest for him to go home a day early.”

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning also released his own statement.

“I can remember a 20-year-old Eli (Manning) missing a meeting and catching some flak. We always have counselors who leave early. Johnny was great with the campers for the time he was here. He had to leave early. I wish him the best and I want him to come back as a counselor next year,” Manning said.

For what it’s worth, Mark Passwaters of Rivals.com reports “on good authority” that Manziel was not drunk and kicked out of camp.

Manziel nor Texas A&M have commented on the situation, and it’s doubtful Manziel will deviate much from the Mortensen report when he is undoubtedly asked about the Manning Academy this week.

Updated 5:00 p.m. ET: In a text message to Kate Hairopoulos of the Dallas Morning News, Manziel’s father said his son is at home “resting and recuperating from dehydration,” but would not elaborate on the Manning Academy story. Additionally, Texas A&M confirmed Manziel will still be present for SEC Media Days this week.

Former LSU QB Brandon Harris announces commitment to UNC

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Former LSU quarterback Brandon Harris has found himself a new home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Harris announced via Facebook and Twitter he has chosen to commit to North Carolina.

“Obviously, it has been an important time for me, looking for a great situation and another opportunity to grow as a young man and as a student as well as a football player,” Harris said in his statement. “After my [official] visit this weekend to the University of North Carolina, I’m going to get that opportunity. With that being said, I’m fully committed to UNC this upcoming year and I look forward to the opportunity to play for coach [Larry Fedora] and UNC.”

Harris will be eligible to play for UNC immediately this fall after graduating from LSU this summer, and the timing may not be better for Harris. UNC is losing its starting quarterback (Mitch Trubisky) to the NFL and has a wide open spot to fill in the starting lineup as a result. But the job will not automatically go to Harris upon his arrival at UNC after missing out on spring practices at North Carolina.

Harris played in just four games last season, in which he passed for 139 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions. Since the season-opener against Wisconsin, Harris was reduced to backup duty and did not play in any of LSU’s seven final games of the 2016 season, including the bowl game against Louisville. Harris announced his decision to transfer in February, which was pretty much expected given how last season played out amid a coaching change.

Report: Foot injury puts Georgia WR Riley Ridley on sideline for spring

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Georgia wide receiver Riley Ridley has not been practicing this spring, but it has nothing to do with his offseason misdemeanor from a couple of weeks ago. Instead, a foot injury appears to have sidelined Ridley for the spring.

According to a report from Gridiron Now, Ridley has been out due to the foot injury. When the foot injury occurred is not reported. Even if his foot was not injured, it remains unknown if Ridley would be participating int he spring, at least at this point. Georgia head coach Kirby Smart has said Ridley will be internally disciplined for his misdemeanor pot possession from earlier this month.

“He’ll receive discipline,” Smart said. “We are very disappointed in his decision. We do not condone that behavior. I think Riley is going to learn a valuable lesson from this mistake.”

When Ridley may be available again remains unknown, as does what exactly the punishment to him will be from Smart. A one-game suspension is the expected result for Ridley according to the university’s student-athlete handbook.

USF DB Hassan Childs in stable condition after overnight shooting incident

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USF defensive back Hassan Childs was injured in a shooting incident overnight. Fortunately, Childs is currently said to be in stable condition, according to USF.

“We are deeply concerned that an incident occurred overnight in which one of our guys, Hassan Childs, was injured in a shooting,” a statement from USF head coach Charlie Strong said. “Thankfully, Hassan is in stable condition and being well cared for, and no one else was injured. There is an ongoing investigation of the incident and we are in the process of gathering further information.”

The shooting took place off campus, but details about the incident have not been reported.

Childs played in eight games for the Bulls last year. He recorded 16 tackles and returned two punts for three yards in a backup role.

Turner Field on schedule to be ready for Georgia State season opener

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The Atlanta Braves opened the doors to their brand new baseball stadium over the weekend to fans as the baseball team gets ready to open the 2017 season in their new digs. Meanwhile, at the old home of the Braves, Georgia State University is moving along according to schedule in downsizing and renovating Turner Field to serve as the permanent home of the football program. So far, so good, as the university fully anticipates the stadium will be ready to go for the season opener on August 31 against Tennessee State.

The job that’s being done is incredible,” Athletic Director Charlie Cobb told 11Alive. “Each and every time I walk in, I see something new being done.”

Renovation and construction at Turner Field got started in February. The entire project will be done in phases as the university plans to develop around thew football stadium for an expanding university. As far as the stadium goes, the seating capacity will be retrofitted to hold a capacity of 23,000 fans. That will be the first phase of the master plan, with a second phase to complete building the rest of the stadium and add additional seating for fans.

“We plan on doing some unique things capturing the history of the stadium, but also creating a football facility that speaks to Georgia State,” Cobb said. “One of the stories we want to tell is the fact that it went from being an Olympic venue, to the home of the Braves, and now to the home of Georgia State. I think we can write that third chapter.”

Georgia State previously played its home games in the Georgia Dome, the now former home of the Atlanta Falcons of the NFL. The Falcons are also moving into a new football stadium this season. The Falcons’ new home at Mercedes-Benz Stadium will also welcome some college football action to the stadium this season with the annual Chick-fil-A Kickoff will move to the new stadium from the Georgia Dome. This year’s Chick-fil-A Kickoff features Alabama and Florida State on September 2 and Georgia Tech and Tennessee on September 4. The SEC Championship Game and the Peach Bowl will also be hosted in the new stadium and the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship Game will be played there on January 8, 2018.

Georgia State may have their new home, but perhaps one day they will get to play in the new stadium too.