Seems like everyone is taking potshots at Johnny Manziel these days, as every move by last year’s Heisman Trophy winner gets put under the microscope. My take: Sure, he’s being a bit of a knucklehead, but let’s have some perspective here, folks. Based on what people are saying about him, you’d think he was an axe murderer or something. The commentary over his antics this past Saturday has been a bit much.
One person who isn’t joining in the dogpile is none other than the quarterback of the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, Joe Flacco.
“Being hated is not a bad thing … I don’t know if I’ll be too popular after [saying] this: I [didn’t] know how I really felt about Johnny Manziel,” Flacco told Jim Corbett of USA Today. “But I feel like now that everybody hates him, he’s quickly becoming my favorite player in college football.”
Good for Flacco to take a contrarian stand. But does everyone really hate Manziel, though? For all the consternation over his actions, the media can’t stop talking about him. Johnny Football gets page views and TV ratings and allows talking heads to make dramatic statements about his future. In other words, they really love him. Or, they love that they get to hate him. Either way, they need him more than he needs them. It appears that he realizes it, too.
And, perhaps, that’s the one thing they really hate.
Brace yourself, Paris, for the 2018 version of the Khaki Invasion.
Last year around this time, the Michigan football program took a trip to Italy as part of a spring practice schedule that included meeting the Pope as well as distributing backpacks to refugees. Thursday, as previously announced, the U-M program is leaving Ann Arbor to head to Paris and Normandy for what this year will be strictly a true vacation as the Wolverines’ have already put the finishing touches on their 15 spring practice sessions this year.
According to mlive.com, this year’s trip will include “tours of the famous Louvre Museum, Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame Cathedral, a football clinic for locals, civic and community service events.”
“It’s an educational opportunity,” head coach Jim Harbaugh said according to the Detroit News. “(We all) connect. Not all learning is done in the classroom or on the football field.”
The Wolverines will be entering their fourth season under Harbaugh. In the previous three years, they’ve gone a combined 28-11 and finished third (2015), third (2016) and fourth (2017) in the Big Ten East. Last year, Harbaugh was the highest-paid coach in the Big Ten and the third-highest in the country at just a shade over $7 million.
Yes, this is really a thing.
Josh Allen is expected to be one of the first. if not the very first, players selected in the 2018 NFL draft that kicks off tonight. However, overnight, years-old tweets surfaced after they were mined from the former Wyoming quarterback’s personal Twitter account that have landed the rocket-armed signal-caller in a bit of hot water.
Specifically, some of the tweets that surfaced, which have since been deleted, had Allen dropping n-bombs and other offensive language posted in 2012 and 2013, when Allen would’ve been around 15 or 16 years old. While it was later learned that most of the words in the offending tweets came from popular television shows or movies, Allen has since apologized by stating he was young and dumb.
With the Allen camp in full damage-control mode — Allen reportedly called Stephen A. Smith at two a.m. this morning to explain and apologize for the tweets — his former college football program has gotten involved as well, with Craig Bohl issuing a statement of support for his ex-quarterback.
“I know Josh has apologized for the Twitter comments he made while in high school,” the Cowboys head coach stated. “As a member of our football team, he had great relationships with his teammates and our fanbase. During his time at Wyoming, he embraced diversity. We wish him all the best on his big night.”
Despite the mini-controversy less than 24 hours before the draft, it’s not expected that it will impact Allen’s positioning.
On the same day they picked up a significant graduate transfer, Georgia has seen another player leave Kirby Smart‘s football program.
As all of the cool transfers are doing these days, Jaleel Laguins took to his personal Twitter account to confirm that, “[a]fter careful consideration with coaches and family, I’d like to announce that I will be transferring from The University of Georgia.” “Athens will always be a special place for me, but now it’s time to start a new journey,” the linebacker added.
A four-star member of the Bulldogs’ 2016 recruiting class, Laguins was rated as the No. 10 inside linebacker in the country and the No. 21 player at any position in the state of Georgia. He was the top-rated linebacker in UGA’s class that year, and only three signees on the defensive side of the ball — defensive tackles Julian Rochester and Michail Carter, and defensive end Chauncey Manac — were rated higher.
As a true freshman, Laguins played in six games. He took a redshirt for this past season, and would have to sit out the 2018 season if he moved on to another FBS program.
Laguins was the second Georgia player to transfer this week. Tuesday, Pat Allen, a four-star 2015 offensive lineman, announced on his private Twitter account that he too was moving on from the Bulldogs. Allen began the 2017 season as UGA’s starting left guard but lost it heading into Week 2 and never regained it.
While one football series between an ACC and Big Ten team may be hard to come by, North Carolina and Minnesota have put together a future home-and-home scheduling agreement to look forward to. The Tar Heels and Gophers will meet for the first time on the football field in 2023 and follow up with a second game in 2024, the schools announced on Wednesday.
North Carolina will host Minnesota on Sept. 16, 2023. The two schools will then open the 2024 season at Minnesota, either on August 31, 2024 or for a Thursday opener on August 29, 2024.
The ACC and Big Ten each require their members to play one game against another power conference opponent each season. North Carolina already satisfied that requirement in 2024 with a season-opener against South Carolina scheduled to be played in Charlotte, NC, but the 2024 game fulfills the power conference scheduling requirement for the Tar Heels. The home-and-home series will also satisfy Minnesota’s obligation to the Big Ten scheduling policy for both seasons (Minnesota is getting an exemption for 2018 and 2019 due to previous scheduling arrangements being in place prior to the Big Ten’s stance on strength of schedule in non-conference play.