Florida State v Clemson

Tajh Boyd laughs off, Dabo decries gambling ‘rumors’

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One of the best parts about the Internet is the vast amount of information available at one’s finger tips.  The worst part about the Internet is the vast amount of information available.  And some of the people disseminating it.

Case in point: a couple of hours prior to Clemson’s beatdown at the hands of Florida State, a “report” surfaced on a “website” — we’re not going to give the name here and funnel any traffic there; Google it — that Tajh Boyd had piled up an $80,000-plus gambling debt betting mostly on NFL games.  The fact that Boyd went out and had arguably his worst game as a starter on his biggest stage thus far only added to the squadron of black helicopters swirling overhead.

Because of the “report” — which the curator of the site told The State via email “comes from direct sources in Vegas that have ties to the bookies” — athletic director Dan Radakovich instructed his compliance department to investigate the “claims” and perform its due diligence.  According to the paper, university compliance officials interviewed Boyd as well as checking out the track record of the “site” before sending its findings to the ACC.

Those findings had everyone, at least at the university, in agreement: the “report” was baseless and Boyd is not a latter-day Art Schlichter.

“I don’t really know where that came from,” Boyd told the media Tuesday. “When I heard it, it was pretty shocking. That being built on top of the loss made it a rough little weekend.”

“I have Northland Cable. I only get two games on Sunday,” Boyd said, taking a jab at the rumors a gambling debt was centered on NFL games.

Boyd’s 78.2 passer rating was his second-worst since becoming a full-time starter in 2011, trailing only the 66.5 he put up against South Carolina that first season.  His 45.9 percent completion percentage was his worst since that 21-point loss to the Gamecocks, and the first time since the 2012 regular-season finale against the same team that he had completed less than 60 percent of his passes.

That performance only added fuel to the speculative fire… and served to raise the ire of Boyd’s head coach.

“That just added to my beautiful Sunday. … It’s disappointing that we live in this world where things like that happen,” Dabo Swinney said. “I have no reason to think that he lied to me. He’s never lied to me before. Obviously, it would be a major problem if you have somebody lying to you about something like that. You’d have to move on in a different direction. It’s that simple.

“I have no reason not to trust him, absolutely. No question, his integrity is impeccable.”

One final note: Boyd’s parents are contemplating a lawsuit, telling ClemsonInsider.com that “[t]hese reports are totally false. Please leave my son alone.”

South Carolina DB Ali Groves takes medical hardship, will remain on scholarship

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The injury-plagued career of a member of South Carolina’s secondary has officially come to an end.

USC officials confirmed to The State that Ali Groves will not return to the Gamecocks football team. The defensive back has taken a medical hardship waiver, making him ineligible to suit up again for the Gamecocks.

The Georgia native will, though, remain on scholarship. He’s expected to graduate later this year with a degree in business administration.

A three-star member of USC’s 2013 recruiting class, Groves was rated as the No. 47 safety in the country. Groves sustained a right shoulder injury his true freshman season, with the injury lingering over the next couple of seasons as well.

This past spring, Groves, who didn’t play a down for the Gamecocks, was moved from cornerback to safety. Twice in his career, Groves was named to the SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll.

Four-star 2017 QB Kellen Mond, an ex-Baylor commit, verbals to A&M

COLLEGE STATION, TX - OCTOBER 31: Texas A&M Aggies mascot Reveille runs onto the field before a NCAA football game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Kyle Field on October 31, 2015 in College Station, Texas. (Photo by Eric Christian Smith/Getty Images)
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Baylor’s recruiting loss will turn into another football program’s gain.  Again.

On his Twitter account Monday, 2017 quarterback prospect Kellen Mond announced that he has decided to verbally commit to play his college football at Texas A&M.  Mond had been considered the crown jewel of Baylor’s 2017 recruiting class after committing to the Bears in the summer of 2015, but opted to decommit less than a week after Art Briles was dismissed as BU’s head football coach.

Shortly after decommitting from Baylor, Mond announced a new Top 3: Auburn, Ohio State and A&M.  Those schools were listed in his order of preference at that moment, although the Aggies were, obviously, able to make up ground on the other two.

Mond visited College Station earlier this month, and, coupled with the Buckeyes landing a verbal from five-star quarterback Tate Martell — a former A&M commit, incidentally — had seemingly pared his choices down to the Tigers and Aggies.  According to his tweeted announcement, A&M’s “tradition of excellence,” along with the coaching staff, led him to his latest commitment.

Mond, a Texas native who is playing his senior season at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., is rated as a four-star prospect on 247Sports.com‘s composite board. That recruiting website rates him as the No. 4 dual-threat quarterback in the country and the No. 103 player overall.

Pitt joins trend of stadium-wide beer sales for football games

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Ohio State announced earlier this month that it would be offering cold beers to all of-age fans during football games this fall in The ‘Shoe.  A couple of weeks later, a fellow FBS member to the east has followed suit.

As part of its press release on new fan initiatives for the 2016 season, Pittsburgh announced that beer will be sold stadium-wide throughout Heinz Field this upcoming football season.  Prior to this season, alcohol sales were only permitted to those ticket holders in the club and suite sections of the stadium.

The first opportunity for fans to take advantage of the new policy is the home opener against Villanova Sept. 3.  The ACC opener Oct. 8 against Georgia Tech.

From the press release:

The expansion of this amenity will coincide with the implementation of appropriate safety measures for Pitt game days, ensuring the continuation of a fan and family friendly environment for all. (Such measures are already in place for Steelers home games. Aramark, Heinz Field’s official food and beverage concessionaire, provides comprehensive staff training in the sale of alcohol.) A portion of the funds from beer sales proceeds will be dedicated to drug and alcohol education programs for the overall student body through Pitt’s Division of Student Affairs.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, there are now nine Power Five members with a similar beer policy for football games.  One of the nine is West Virginia, with the Post-Gazette writing that athletic director Scott Barnes cited data from WVU “suggesting that beer sales in the stadium could actually cut down on alcohol-related incidents.”

Houston’s Howard Wilson granted medical hardship waiver

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Not surprisingly, one member of Houston’s secondary will get back the time he lost last season.

According to a press release from the Houston sports information department, Howard Wilson has been granted a medical hardship waiver for the 2015 season. Wilson sustained a season-ending torn ACL in the third game of 2015, making the decision to grant the waiver a no-brainer.

The waiver will extend Wilson’s eligibility clock through the 2018 season, and makes him a redshirt sophomore for the upcoming season.

As a true freshman in 2014, Wilson played in all 13 games, starting one of those contests. He had three interceptions that season.

Prior to his injury, he started the first three games of last season. He’s projected to start at one of the corner spots for the Cougars entering summer camp.