EUGENE, OR – SEPTEMBER 28: Quarterback Marcus Mariota #8 of the Oregon Ducks passes the ball during the first quarter of the game against the California Golden Bears at Autzen Stadium on September 28, 2013 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
The scramble to land graduate transfers at the most important position on a football field is slowly beginning to heat up.
According to a report from 247Sports.com, former USC quarterback Max Browne will pay an official visit to Pittsburgh this weekend. 2016 starter Nathan Peterman‘s eligibility has expired, which will open up a competition for the Panthers beginning in the spring.
It’s also expected that the former USC signal-caller will visit North Carolina at some point in the not-too-distant future, although that is likely dependent on whether current Tar Heels starter Mitch Trubisky leaves early for the NFL as some expect.
Browne began the 2016 season as the starter, but lost his job to Sam Darnold after the Trojans stumbled out of the gate at 1-2. With Darnold under center, USC finished the regular season on an 8-1 run and won their last eight after losing Darnold’s first start by four points to Utah.
Browne spent the 2014 and 2015 seasons as Cody Kessler’s primary backup.
It looks as if Drew Lock will have a new backup when the 2017 season rolls around.
On his personal Twitter account Thursday night, Marvin Zanders announced that he has decided to transfer out of the Missouri football program. The redshirt sophomore said he’s leaving to pursue other opportunities that will further his education and playing career, although where that will be is still to be determined.
— dad (@MarvinZanders) December 9, 2016
Zanders was a three-star 2014 signee who played in just one game in 2015 after redshirting as a true freshman. As Lock’s primary backup in 2016, Zanders played in a total of eight games. In limited action, he completed 10 of 12 passes for 114 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for 198 yards and a pair of scores.
The decision of Zanders to move on leaves the Mizzou quarterback cupboard somewhat bare at the moment.
Zanders’ departure leaves Mizzou with 3 scholarship QBs: Lock, Jack Lowary & Micah Wilson. Estes committed but he’s opened recruitment
— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) December 9, 2016
At least for now and when it comes to one particular assistant, Mark Dantonio won’t have a hole to fill on his Michigan State coaching staff.
Earlier this week, it was reported that Spartans offensive line coach Mark Staten was one of five finalists for the head-coaching job at Div. II Northern Michigan. On his Facebook page Thursday, by way of ESPN.com, Staten indicated that he will be staying at MSU.
Left unsaid is whether Staten withdrew from the search process because he wanted to remain in East Lansing or if he became aware the program had decided to go in a direction that didn’t include him.
Decision was made after a lot of prayer, talking with family, friends and mentors. I appreciate all of those involved as I will continue to battle on as a Spartan. God Bless and Go Green!
Staten has been a part of Dantonio’s coaching staff for the past 13 seasons, the first three at Cincinnati and the last 10 at MSU. He’s been the Spartans’ line coach for the past five years.
Temple lost its head coach to an FBS program in the state of Texas. Could the Owls find his replacement in the form of the former head coach at that state’s flagship university? Or, as is looking more and more likely, could they “lose” him to a fellow AAC school?
According to at least one report the former could be the case as the Philadelphia Inquirer, citing a source familiar with the situation, reported that Strong and Temple officials have spoken about the vacant head-coaching job. How strong, so to speak, the former Louisville and Texas head coach’s interest is in the AAC football program is something the source couldn’t gauge, the Inquirer noted.
That said, “[t]hey had a conversation with Strong, that is a fact,” the source said.
The strongest, so to speak, competition for Strong may very well be coming from USF, with Roy Cummings of Florida Football Insiders reporting that “[i]t is believed that USF has already begun negotiating a contract with Strong.” A subsequent report from the Tampa Bay Times noted that USF spent Thursday in heavy pursuit of Strong.
The 56-year-old coach had previously been connected to the USF job, and his deep ties to the fertile recruiting grounds in the state that makes a marriage almost a no-brainer for both sides.
Strong was fired by the Longhorns in November after going just 16-21 during his three seasons in Austin. UT currently owes Strong roughly $11.2 million as part of his buyout. Per the terms of his contract, Strong must make “reasonable efforts” to obtain another job. If he does, USA Today wrote, “Texas’ obligation to him will be offset by an amount equal to 50% of the total compensation Strong receives from his new job.”
Matt Rhule, who left Temple for Baylor earlier this week, was paid just north of $1 million for his final season with the Owls, a figure that was eighth amongst AAC coaches. Willie Taggart, who created the USF vacancy by leaving for Oregon, was the fifth-highest paid coach in the conference at $1.7 million.
Strong’s salary final salary of $5.2 million was sixth nationally.