The status of two of Virginia Tech’s veteran cornerbacks for the Maryland game is up in the air, including one who had fought his way back to the playing from a serious offseason injury.
Both Antone Exum and Kyle Fuller are dealing with injuries ahead of the Terps, the former with a fresh ankle injury and the latter with a lingering groin strain. The pair’s position coach didn’t sound optimistic Monday about either senior’s availability.
“Right now, the way things are standing, it’s not looking like we’re going to have certain guys,” defensive backs coach Torrian Gray said according to the Roanoke Times.
The absence of Exum, especially on Senior Day in Blacksburg, would be particularly disheartening.
Exum has spent the eight months recovering from a torn ACL he suffered during a January pickup basketball game, but was medically cleared late last month. After initial signs pointed to him returning for the Oct. 5 game against North Carolina, Exum decided to give himself another week to heal. That week bled into the next game against Pittsburgh.
While he returned for the Oct. 26 loss to Duke, Exum injured his ankle in the win over Miami this past weekend.
Fuller strained his groin during the mid-October bye week and has been limited ever since, although he’s played in every game. Fuller, who started the first seven games before giving way to both his injury and Exum in the starting lineup, entered the Hurricanes game leading the ACC in passes defended (12) and passes broken up (10).
The good news for the Hokies is that, because of the injury issues at the position, Kendall Fuller and Brandon Facyson have emerged as promising and productive players at the front-end of the secondary. The freshmen have combined for nine interceptions this season, with Fuller tied for ninth nationally in interceptions per game and Facyson tied for 14th.
Less than a week after his unexpected and abrupt departure from Georgia Tech, Dedrick Mills has found himself a new college football home.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Mills has enrolled Garden City Community College in Kansas. As his next stop, which won the 2016 junior college national championship, plays below the FBS level, the running back will be eligible to play immediately in 2017.
Very late last week, Tech announced that Mills had been dismissed from the program for an unspecified violation of athletic department rules.
Last season, Mills’ 771 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns led all Tech ball carriers., with 169 of those yards coming in the bowl win over Kentucky. Mills put up all of those numbers as a true freshman despite being suspended on two different occasions for a total of three games.
More than likely, Mills will spend one season at the JUCO level before moving back to the FBS. Whatever team grabs him at that time would be getting a talented player who would still have two years of eligibility remaining.
At the moment, the injury news for Jamari Bozeman is bad. Depending on how things play out over the next several weeks, it could be bad.
According to the Toledo Blade, Bozeman will definitely miss the 2017 opener against Michigan State because of what’s described as an upper-leg injury. Additionally, the Blade reports that the defensive back will probably miss the entire non-conference schedule, which, in addition to MSU, includes the home opener against FCS South Dakota Sept. 9 followed by road trips to Northwestern and Middle Tennessee the next two weeks.
Somewhat ominously, the newspaper writes that, beyond that, “his status for the rest of the season is uncertain.”
A 12-game starter for the Falcons at safety last season, Bozeman led the team in interceptions with three. He was named third-team All-MAC after last season.
The good news is that Bozeman, a true sophomore this year, has yet to use his redshirt and would get this season of eligibility back if the injury is severe enough to sideline him for the entire 2017 campaign.
Myles Brennan is, more than likely, the future at the quarterback position for LSU. In the here and now, however, the precocious true freshman will have to bide his time — at least for now.
After a significant, and maybe unexpected, push from the true freshman Brennan, Danny Etling Tuesday was officially named as the Tigers’ starting quarterback in a battle that Ed Orgeron described as “very close.” Etling, a transfer from Purdue, came into the competition as the incumbent, starting the last 10 games of the 2016 season after taking over the job from Brandon Harris.
“We believe in Danny. We hope he has a great year,” the head coach said according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
In his first season at LSU, Etling completed 160-of-269 passes (59.5%) for 2,123 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions. In his 10 starts, the Tigers went 7-3 in a season that saw them finish 8-4.
Brennan was a four-star 2017 signee, rated as the No. 6 pro-style quarterback in the country.
Etling’s first start in his second season with the team will come Sept. 2 against BYU in the neutral-site opener.
For those not familiar with HEB Grocery Company, it’s a grocery giant founded in Kerrville, Texas, in 1905 by a man named Florence Butt. H-E-B now owns nearly 400 stores stretching across south and central Texas and central Mexico. H-E-B essentially owns the San Antonio area and leases back to its million-plus residents, so it makes sense that when UTSA and Texas State wanted to brand their rivalry, they turned to H-E-B.
Starting this season, the UTSA-Texas State series will now be known as the H-E-B I-35 Showdown
Cue the AD boilerplate!
“We’re thrilled that H-E-B has become the title sponsor for the I-35 rivalry football games between UTSA and Texas State,” UTSA Associate Vice President/Director of Athletics Lynn Hickey said. “No matter the sport, both fan bases always show up in strong support when the Roadrunners and the Bobcats get together on the playing fields. This newly-branded name for the football games this season and next will only add to the rich history between the two schools.”
“It is great to have H-E-B supporting the I-35 football series between Texas State and UTSA,” Texas State Director of Athletics Larry Teis said. “H-E-B has a great relationship with the state of Texas and both universities. We have continued to play UTSA in other sports and the rivalry is strong for our student-athletes and fans.”
The two schools are natural gridiron rivals. They sit just 50 miles apart — connected by Interstate 35, of course — and compete for athletes and regular students alike. The Roadrunners and Bobcats have been Olympics sports rivals for years, primarily as members of the Southland Conference. Each football program is (obviously) in FBS now and have met only once, a 38-31 UTSA win in 2012, since the Roadrunners’ program launched in 2011.
The series will resume Sept. 23 in San Marcos, with Texas State making a return visit to San Antonio on Sept. 22, 2018.