State’s attorney reportedly vows to ‘get to the bottom of’ Winston situation

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A Florida state’s attorney vowed Friday his office will “get to the bottom of it and do the right thing” as it relates to the Jameis Winston investigation, USA Today‘s Dan Wolken is reporting.

William Meggs told the paper that he’s only read half of the complaint forwarded to him by the Tallahassee Police Department, a complaint that was initially filed in December of 2012 while Winston was in the midst of a redshirt season as a true freshman.  Multiple media outlets reported that the TPD had received a complaint alleging sexual battery against the Florida State quarterback.

Meggs stated that he has assigned two investigators to the case, although the alleged victim has yet to be interviewed.  The state’s attorney also intimated that the case thus far hasn’t been investigated properly.

“Since it’s now been dumped in our laps, we’re going to make sure it is properly investigated,” said Meggs. “Whether it has been so far, I don’t know.”

Meggs intimated similar shortcomings in the probe to FOXSports.com.

“Obviously, we’ll work as fast as we can,” Meggs said. “There are things that have to be done that have not been done.”

Meggs, FOXSports.com reported, declined to elaborate further.

As was reported yesterday, Meggs “doubt[s] very seriously” that his investigators will “get a statement from Jameis Winston,” with the state’s attorney noting that Winston “has a right against self-incrimination.”  As is also his right, Winston has retained counsel, with attorney Tim Jansen telling FOXSports.com that he has two witnesses with information that could clear his client.  One of the witnesses spoke to investigators Thursday, while the other is scheduled to be interviewed today.

The lag time between the initial complaint and it surfacing publicly has caused concern from several corners — and spawned numerous conspiracy theories — as Winston is the presumptive front-runner for the Heisman while his Seminoles are poised for a berth in the BCS title game.  Meggs, via Wolken, explains the procedural norm in such a case:

Meggs said in cases like this one, law enforcement agencies are supposed to provide his office with a probable cause affidavit at the time of the incident, at which point the state attorney would decide whether probable cause exists to get a warrant. His office never got a probable cause affidavit in this case, which suggests either Tallahassee police decided there was nothing to prosecute or the alleged victim declined to cooperate after filing the initial complaint.

Another area of concern has been the heavily-redacted TPD report on the alleged incident.  In that report, the alleged perpetrator is listed as being between 5-9 and 5-11; Winston is listed on the team’s official online roster as 6-4.  “I would say what y’all have doesn’t tell you anything,” Meggs told Wolken of the physical discrepancy.

A determination on whether the evidence gathered shows probable cause and thus supports an arrest is not expected until next week at the earliest, Meggs said.  It should be noted that, if Winston were to be charged with what would be a felony, he would suspended from the football team by the university.  That suspension would last until the case was resolved.

As of now, Winston’s status with the football team has not changed and he will be under center when FSU takes on Syracuse Saturday.

Heisman winner Chris Weinke hired as Tennessee’s running backs coach

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It can be argued that the only reason Tennessee has a national championship is because of Chris Weinke. As we know, the Vols claimed the 1998 national championship by defeating Florida State in the 1999 Fiesta Bowl, the first national championship game of the BCS era. Tennessee won that game, 23-16, thanks in large part to a pick-six thrown by Marcus Outzen, a third-string quarterback forced into action due to an injury by the two signal callers ahead of him on the depth chart.

Here’s how a Sports Illustrated article described Weinke and that FSU team in its 1999 preview issue:

Don’t think of 1999 as a new season for Florida State, think of it as the resumption of an old one. Before quarterback Chris Weinke was dumped on his head and suffered a season-ending ruptured disk in his neck in a 45-14 win over Virginia last Nov. 7, no team in the country was playing better than the Seminoles, who had bounced back from an early-season defeat at North Carolina State. So how cruel was this? Upset losses suffered by Ohio State, UCLA and Kansas State sent 11-1 Florida State to the national title game in the Fiesta Bowl, but without its best quarterback. The Seminoles and backup signal-caller Marcus Outzen struggled on offense and lost to Tennessee.

Nevertheless, Tennessee won that season’s title, Weinke would lead Florida State to the 1999 national title and take the Heisman Trophy a year after that. The past is the past.

But now the past is the present, as the former Florida State quarterback on Wednesday was announced as Tennessee’s running backs coach.

“I’m excited to have Chris Weinke on our staff to coach running backs,” Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt said in a statement. “He has played the game at the highest level and what he has accomplished on the field speaks for itself. He is also an outstanding coach and teacher of the game, coaching in the NFL, in college this past season and at the high school level. He has a great eye for talent and knows the game on the offensive side of the ball as well as anybody I’ve been around. He will be a great fit for our Tennessee program.”

Weinke entered the NFL as a 26-year-old and lasted seven seasons with the Panthers and 49ers before moving into coaching. He first worked as a trainer at IMG Academy, then moved onto coaching the high school program, where he went 19-2 as head coach and offensive coordinator. From there he deposited a stint as the Los Angeles Rams’ quarterbacks coach before spending the 2017 season as an offensive analyst at Alabama, where he hooked up with Pruitt.

Weinke will be charged with re-building the Vols’ backfield after losing John Kelly to an early entry into the NFL draft. Rising sophomore Ty Chandler is Tennessee’s leading returning rusher, carrying 71 times for 305 yards and two touchdowns in 2017.

Report: starting West Virginia defensive lineman Adam Shuler leaving to pursue career in track

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You don’t see this happen too often.

Citing multiple sources, Mike Casazza of EerSports.com is reporting that West Virginia defensive lineman Adam Shuler is no longer a member of the Mountaineers football team.  A team official stated the redshirt sophomore “is reportedly pursuing a career in track and field,” Casazza wrote.

It’s unclear whether the track & field pursuit would take place at WVU or at another university.

According to Shuler’s bio on the team’s official website, he finished runner-up as a high school senior in the discus at the Florida state track & field championships.  He finished third in the same event as a sophomore.

Shuler, a three-star member of the Mountaineers’ 2015 recruiting class, started 10 games this past season.  However, on the most recent depth chart, he’s listed as the backup to Ezekiel Rose at one of the defensive end spots.

In 12 games, Shuler’s three sacks were tied for third on the team while his eight tackles for loss were good for solo third.

East Carolina grad transfer QB Gardner Minshew will reportedly visit Alabama this weekend

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It appears the Jalen Hurts Transfer Protection Plan™ is close to being implemented.

Earlier this month, it was reported that Alabama had an interest in Gardner Minshew, the quarterback who announced late last month that he had withdrawn from East Carolina to tend to a personal matter in his home state of Mississippi.  That interest has ramped up since as al.com is reporting that Minshew will be visiting the Crimson Tide’s campus this weekend.

As a graduate transfer, Minshew would be eligible to play immediately this season at UA, or any other FBS program for that matter.

Alabama’s interest in a grad transfer at the position will do nothing to quell the rumors that Hurts, the starter for each of the last 29 games over the past two seasons, is a potential candidate for a transfer. Hurts was benched in favor of Tua Tagovailoa in the national championship game, with the true freshman’s comeback heroics signaling a likely changing of the guard under center.

As for Minshew, he started five games for the Pirates last season, throwing for 2,140 yards, 16 touchdowns and seven interceptions in completing just over 57 percent of his 304 pass attempts. Prior to his departure from ECU, he was penciled in as the Pirates’ 2018 starting quarterback.

Wake Forest WR Greg Dortch cleared for spring practice

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Unlike how his 2017 season ended, Greg Dortch‘s 2018 offseason is trending much more positively.

In Wake Forest’s late-October win over Louisville, Dortch went down with what turned out to be a season-ending abdominal injury. Four months after sustaining the injury, and with spring practice right around the corner, the wide receiver has been medically cleared to fully participate in practice.

Despite missing the last month of the regular season as well as the postseason, Dortch still led the Demon Deacons in receiving yards with 722. His 53 receptions and nine receiving touchdowns were tied for tops on the team as well.

In the game in which he was injured, he set the school record with four touchdown catches.