Syracuse running back Jerome Smith will play one final game for the Orange before testing the NFL waters. On Friday it was reported Smith will enter the NFL Draft this spring, skipping his final year of eligibility with the Orange.
“He just felt it was his time,” Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer said in a report by Syracuse.com. “He’s all set to graduate, all set with school. He felt like he finished school and there wasn’t any reason to hang around anymore. He felt like he was ready.”
Smith rushed for 840 yards and 11 touchdowns this season and has rushed for 2,145 yards and 15 touchdowns in his three years on the football field, with one game still to play. Syracuse will face Minnesota in the Texas Bowl next week. Smith was second in the Big East in rushing in 2012 and was seventh in the ACC this fall. Perhaps he would have benefited from another year in college, but with a degree in hand there may have been little to return for in 2014 in the eyes of Smith. This is not a particularly strong year for running backs in the draft, but where Smith may be projected to go could be debatable. It is not as though he is a first round draft pick, or perhaps even a second round draft pick.
Shafer recognizes this is SMith’s decision to make and he made a point to not get involved too much in preventing his player from pursuing his dream.
“I always tell every kid it’s a decision they have to make on their own,” Shafer said. “If I weigh in, that’s just another opinion. I was never in the business of talking anyone into staying or going. I want them to weigh the pros on one side, the cons on the other, and make the best choice for them.”
Ole Miss will be without a starting piece of its defensive puzzle for an extended period of time, both the player and the school revealed Tuesday.
With rumors swirling about his condition, C.J. Johnson confirmed on his personal Twitter account late this morning that he will be undergoing surgery at some point in the not-too-distant future. The linebacker sustained an injury to his left knee in last Saturday’s loss to Florida and did not return to the contest.
Subsequent to that posting, Ole Miss confirmed that Johnson underwent surgery earlier in the day to repair a torn meniscus in his knee. The procedure and rehab will sideline Johnson for a period of 4-6 weeks.
At the low-end of the prognosis, Johnson would miss the next four games — New Mexico State, Memphis, Texas A&M, Auburn — and return for the Nov. 7 game against Arkansas. The high-end would have him sidelined until the regular-season finale against Mississippi State.
Johnson had started all five games at middle linebacker for the Rebels. He started 26 games at defensive end the past three years before moving to linebacker.
Already in the crosshairs for his 2-3 team’s late-game failures, Butch Jones now finds himself under increasing scrutiny for something that allegedly happened a couple of months ago.
The website Gridiron.com, which features such respected journalists Tony Barnhart and Mike Huguenin among others, reported earlier today that the Tennessee head coach was involved in what was described as a “physical altercation” with senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder during summer camp this past August. The source close to the program added that practice film that day captured the alleged incident, although it’s unclear if that tapes still exists.
From the site’s report:
The incident occurred during fall camp, about the time that news started to come out about a few offensive linemen who were considering stepping away from the program. Crowder walked off the practice field one day and missed a day or two of practice, and Brett Kendrick and Dylan Wiesman were said to be contemplating their futures. Sources say the players’ actions stemmed from an incident between Jones and Crowder.
The website also made a Freedom of Information request seeking any correspondence between the university and the Crowder family be turned over, but writes that UT “administrators said any sort of letter or correspondence that may or may not have happened was covered under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.”
Monday, Jones labeled what began as message-board speculation that he had struck one of his Vols players as “absolutely ridiculous.” The Knoxville News Sentinel contacted Crowder’s father, with the paper writing that “he had no comment and did not want to give validation to message boards.”
At least publicly, the university has yet to address the allegations. Jones will get yet another chance to address the speculation with the media in the very near future.