It’s a great day to be a Duck.
Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota and center Hroniss Grasu have decided to return to school for the 2014 season rather than go pro, the school announced on Tuesday.
Mariota, a redshirt sophomore, and Grasu, a redshirt junior, announced their intentions a day after earning all-Pac-12 accolades from the conference’s head coaches for the second straight year.
“It is an honor to be a student at the University of Oregon and to have the opportunity to represent our institution on the football field alongside my teammates,” said Mariota. “I look forward to earning my degree next year and to the rest of my career at this great University.”
This season, Mariota threw for 3,412 yards and 30 touchdowns and rushed for 582 and nine scores. He was the Heisman front runner for a good chunk of the season until his team lost games against Stanford and Arizona in November. He’ll be considered one of the front runner for the award next year as well.
Grasu is already a three-year starter and will once again anchor a solid Duck line in 2014.
“The University of Oregon is a special place and I’m extremely happy to be returning for my senior year,” Grasu said. “To be a student-athlete in this community is an honor and an experience I’ll continue to cherish with my teammates.”
With these two players returning next season, it all but assures that the Ducks will once again be in the national title conversation. If they had gone pro, head coach Mark Helfrich would’ve been faced with a major rebuilding effort in his second season. Now, the transition will be much easier.
LSU coach Les Miles is one of the more interesting figures in college football, as you all know.
To that point: He’s had the market cornered on Australian punters for the last six seasons. First it was Brad Wing — who was awesome, unlike the officiating in that video — in 2010 and 2011, then it was Jamie Keehn, who punted for LSU from 2012-2015.
But fear not, LSU has another Aussie punter this year in redshirt freshman Josh Growden. Take it away, Les:
I can only imagine Miles is referring to this when he said “speak Australian:”
Ohio State suspended wide receiver Torrance Gibson for the season, but the decision to ban the redshirt freshman didn’t come from coach Urban Meyer or the athletic department.
Meyer made that distinction known on Monday, via ESPN.com:
“It was not from the athletic department or football,” Meyer said during his weekly news conference Monday. “I disagree with it.”
Meyer didn’t provide any details on what transpired or what, if anything, could be done about it given his opposition to the discipline. Ohio State has not commented on the nature of the violation.
Gibson was suspended for a violation of Ohio State’s student code of conduct. He was previously suspended for a game during the 2015 season, a year in which he redshirted.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart said running back Nick Chubb, who tore his PCL last year in a gruesome injury, is 100 percent ready to go for the Bulldogs’ opener Saturday against North Carolina.
Smart said Chubb won’t be on a “pitch count,” confirming that the star running back won’t be limited at all in Week 1. His availability will be key for a Georgia offense that hasn’t named a starter yet, though could very well go with true freshman Jacob Eason over senior Greyson Lambert.
Chubb, who was injured Oct. 10 last year in Georgia’s loss to Tennessee, carried 92 times for 747 yards with seven touchdowns in 2015. The junior has 2,294 yards and 21 touchdowns to his name since exploding onto the national scene as a freshman in 2014.
Unlike his counterpart in Austin, Kansas State coach Bill Snyder revealed who his starting quarterback for Week 1 will be on today’s Big 12 teleconference.
Jesse Ertz, who started K-State’s season opener last year only to suffer a season-ending torn ACL on the first play of the game, will get the nod for the Wildcats’ opener at Stanford on Friday.
Ertz beat out Joe Huebner and Alex Denton to win the job back.
“In all reality, he’s been more consistent than the other two,” Snyder said.
K-State went 6-7 last year with Huebner as its quarterback and lost to Arkansas in the Liberty Bowl. Huebner completed 47.6 percent of his passes for 1,837 yards with nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions, and also rushed 180 times for 613 yards with 13 touchdowns.
Ertz, a former two-star recruit from Burlington, Iowa, hadn’t appeared in a college game before suffering that season-ending injury against South Dakota State last year.