Thanks to his immense talent level, it’s been a foregone conclusion for more than a year that Marqise Lee would leave USC early for the NFL. Thanks to myriad nagging injuries in 2013, that thought’s been further cemented in the minds of most draft observers.
For his part, though, Lee is only focused on the here and now at the moment even as an early jump remains inevitable.
Tuesday, the wide receiver told reporters that he hasn’t made a decision yet on returning to the Trojans for another season or making himself available for the April draft.
“I’ve been focusing on trying to leave all the outside stuff out,” Lee said. “Just focus on the weekend and actually getting the job done.”
Lee did not play against Colorado last Saturday, the third complete game he’s missed this season because of various knee and shoulder issues. He is, though, on track to play against archrival UCLA this weekend.
His first two seasons with the Trojans, Lee totaled 191 receptions and 25 touchdowns, including 118 and 14 in 2012. Because of the injuries — and Matt Barkley‘s departure — Lee has just 44 catches and two touchdowns. He’s caught two or fewer passes in three of nine games this season; that had happened just four times in 25 career games entering 2013.
Obviously the coaching staff wants him to return — even as they may not — with Lee’s position coach already getting his pitch to stay lined up.
“My deal for him is, ‘Do do you want to come back and try to see if you want to be a top-five pick?'” receivers coach Tee Martin said. “‘If just being a first-rounder is good for you, then go ahead.”
One of the top playmakers in Nebraska’s passing game has avoided what was originally a serious legal charge.
According to KETV-TV in Omaha, Stanley Morgan was arrested following a traffic stop May 6 in Port Orange, Fla., for possession of 21.4 grams of marijuana; according to the penal code in the state of Florida, possession of more than 20 grams of weed is considered a felony. However, the television station wrote, “prosecutors charged the case as ‘possession of cannabis not more than 20 grams,’ making it a misdemeanor.”
Why the the charge against Morgan went from a potential felony to a misdemeanor — or reduced as the Associated Press reported — wasn’t detailed. A misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia charge was dropped as well.
Cornhuskers defensive back Antonio Reed was also in the vehicle that was driven by his teammate and was charged with misdemeanor pot possession as well.
“Head Coach Mike Riley and the Athletics Department are aware of a recent incident in Florida involving Stanley Morgan Jr.,” a statement from the university began. “We will have no additional comment until we have all information regarding this matter.”
Morgan’s 33 receptions for 453 yards were second on the team last season. With Jordan Westerkamp‘s departure, the junior is the Cornhuskers’ leading returning receiver.
Also a junior, Reed played in 22 games last season. He was credited with 22 tackles.
Last month, Jordan Fogal used Twitter to announce his decision to transfer from Utah. This month, he’s taken to the same social media website to reveal his new college football home.
In a tweet, Fogal acknowledged that he be enrolling in a Masters program at Colorado State and will be playing football for the Rams. While the school has yet to confirm the safety’s move, he is now being followed on Twitter by head coach Mike Bobo.
As a grad transfer, Fogal will be eligible to play immediately in 2017 at CSU.
After spending two seasons at the junior college level, Fogal played in 11 games the past two years. Fogal’s two interceptions last season were tied for fourth on the team.
The defensive back’s 2015 season came to a premature end after three games because of an injury. He then played in eight games in 2016 for the Utes.
Iowa tight end Noah Fant’s return home to Omaha, Nebraska for the summer became a lot more newsworthy than he would have liked this week.
According to a local police report, Des Moines TV station 13WHO reports that Fant was approached by a area man on Tuesday night who pointed a handgun at the sophomore football player and told him to leave the area:
Fant left the park and called police. He initially told them he didn’t want to press charges but said if police were able to find him he would. He told officers he believed the suspect lived in a house near the park because he’d seen the man before in the area.
As officers were searching the area near the park they spotted a man matching the description provided by Fant run into a home. Police were able to talk to the man’s mother who convinced him to come to the door. Officers reported the man, 23-year-old Matthew Trimble, was heavily intoxicated and placed him in the back of their cruiser for their own safety. Trimble’s mother says her son told her that he had confronted a group he believed to be smoking marijuana in the park. She agreed to turn over his handgun to officers. Police say the gun was loaded with one round in the chamber and 11 in the magazine.
Trimble was later charged with one count of Making a Terroristic Threat with a Firearm after Fant identified that he was in fact the one who pulled the gun on him.
Luckily Fant (or anyone else) was not injured in the incident and everything eventually played out somewhat peacefully. The Omaha native caught nine passes for 70 yards and one touchdown last season for the Hawkeyes and is expected to return to the team later on.
School officials did not release a statement on the incident involving Fant but did tell Landof10 that they were looking into the matter as of Thursday evening.
Northwestern’s task of replacing the Big Ten’s leading receiver from a year ago appeared to take a hit on Friday.
InsideNU reports that wide receiver Solomon Vault will miss the upcoming 2017 season after undergoing “lower body surgery” and will now take a redshirt for the year.
The speedy pass-catcher had 15 receptions for 164 yards and two touchdowns last season for the Wildcats and was expected to step up and see a big increase in targets with all-Big Ten receiver Austin Carr off to the NFL. In addition to his duties catching passes from Clayton Thorson, Vault was also Northwestern’s first choice at kick returner after scoring a whopping five touchdowns on returns in the past three years.
Assuming that Vault does indeed take 2017 off, he’ll have just one year left to play in 2018 as a redshirt senior.
The school has not yet confirmed the report about Vault but it certainly seems that the Wildcats’ special teams are set to take a hit going forward if he even misses part of the upcoming campaign for the program. It was already going to be difficult to replace so much production at receiver too and this bit of news will only server to reinforce that point as Northwestern enters their summer workout programs in the next few weeks.