Barring an absolutely unforeseen chain of events, South Carolina will lose Jadeveon Clowney to early entry into the April 2014 NFL draft. Around the same time, and barring a change of heart, the Gamecocks will lose another standout member of its defensive line as well.
The father of Kelcy Quarles confirmed to GoState.com the long-held speculation that his son will be leaving collegiate eligibility on the table in order to begin his professional career a year early. Buddy Quarles said the decision came after the defensive tackle and the coaching staff discussed the issue and decided this would be the best course of action for the younger Quarles to take.
“I think they all came to that conclusion,” Buddy Quarles said. “They had a good assumption that he’s going to be leaving.”
The elder Quarles said his son will submit his paperwork to the NFL Draft Advisory Committee in the next week or two. As if putting an exclamation point on the impending ending of his playing career, Quarles will walk with the seniors during the final home game of the year vs. Clemson the last weekend of this month, the father said.
This season, Quarles is tops on the Gamecocks with 11 tackles for loss and seven sacks. The latter number is good for third among SEC defensive players.
In the midst of reports that he had a physical altercation with one of his Tennessee players during summer camp this year, Butch Jones labeled the speculation “absolutely ridiculous.”
Apparently, his bosses agree with the head coach.
At a board meeting Thursday, UT-Knoxville chancellor Jimmy Cheek stated that he and athletic director Dave Hart had done their “due diligence” in investigating the accusations that Jones and senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder were involved in some type of physical skirmish during practice this past August. The end result of interviews with Jones, coaches and players was the conclusion that there was nothing to the reports and message-board rumors.
“There’s been a lot of rumor and misinformation on social media and message boards about an alleged incident during football practice,” Cheek said according to GoVols247.com‘s Wes Rucker. “It’s not our practice to respond to rumors, but I thought it was important to let you know that we’ve done our due diligence and Dave Hart and I are very confident there was no inappropriate conduct with any players or coaches.”
Shortly after Cheek spoke at the board meeting, Crowder took to Twitter with a series of missives that speaks around the issue.
Michigan played without its leading rusher in Week 5. The Wolverines are hoping there won’t be a repeat in Week 6.
De'Veon Smith sustained a lower-leg injury in the Week 4 win over BYU and didn’t travel with the team for last Saturday’s win over Maryland. Smith has been practicing with his teammates throughout the first few days of this week, and head coach Jim Harbaugh is guardedly optimistic that the running back will be available for what’s turned into a huge Big Ten matchup with Northwestern Saturday in the Big House.
“He’s practicing and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’s going to stay good and be ready to play,” Harbaugh said during a radio appearance Thursday morning. “But we’ll (keep) looking at that every day.”
Despite essentially missing a game and a half, Smith currently leads the Wolverines with 331 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. He’s added four receptions for 35 yards and a touchdown coming out of the backfield the first four games.
Should Smith be unable to go again, the Wolverines have three other backs with at least 100 yards on the ground: Ty Isaac (187, 7.2 yards per carry), Drake Johnson (125, 4.2 ypc) and Derrick Green (100, 3.3 ypc).
In addition to Smith, Harbaugh is hopeful Channing Stribling will be available this weekend as well. The starting cornerback didn’t play against the Cougars because of injury