And there you have it. After months of speculation indicating that Johnny Manziel would be leaving College Station after two seasons as the starter, Johnny Football has done just that.
In a statement released Wednesday afternoon to The 12th Man, the now-former Texas A&M confirmed the inevitable by announcing that he has decided to make himself available for the May NFL draft. Manziel said his decision “was not an easy one” and that it came after consultation with “family, friends, teammates and coaches.”
In a phone conversation with Bruce Feldman of CBSSports.com, Manziel acknowledged “I feel very relieved” now that the decision has been made and that “[i]t’s a weight off my shoulders.”
Almost from the moment he became the first freshman — redshirt or otherwise — to win the Heisman Trophy in 2012, Manziel became the focus of an intense off-field spotlight that seemingly scrutinized his every move. While the offseason was rather noisy on the Manziel front, the 2013 season itself was refreshingly quiet, with the player — and the media — intent on focusing, for the most part, the on-field portion of his larger-than-life persona.
Still, the NFL question was never far from the mind, especially with tweets like “Bull**** like tonight is a reason why I can’t wait to leave college station” reminding everyone to enjoy Manziel while they can at this level. With his draft projections continuing to rise seemingly by the day — a top-five slot is certainly not out of the question — combined with the constant drama of the past offseason, Manziel’s decision was a no-brainer for those on the outside looking in.
Manziel leaves A&M with a slew of school records, a Heisman Trophy and consensus 2012 All-American honors — his 2013 season wasn’t bad, either — along with a ton of credit for making the Aggies transition from the Big 12 to the SEC as wildly successful as it was. Manziel also, whether you like him or not, leaves college football a poorer sport because he’s no longer a part of it.
Godspeed, JFF. See ya in Cleveland…
Ah, rivalries. The sibling-like struggle across the sport is what makes the college football world spin, and we got a great example of that in a report detailing Ole Miss’s response to its impending charges.
As we know, a key charge against Ole Miss was the Rebels’ attempted payment of a sum between $13,000 and $15,000 to a recruit that ultimately signed with Mississippi State, and the Rebels’ response was to turn around and bring their Egg Bowl rivals down with them.
According to Neal McCready’s inside-the-program accounting of the process for Rebel Grove, Ole Miss has a recording of Leo Lewis‘s mother asking other programs for money:
Ole Miss, per multiple sources, possesses a recording, and has given the SEC a copy, of Lewis’ mother asking Ole Miss for money and detailing incentives she received from other programs, including Mississippi State.
Considering the sourcing on this one, the phrase “including Mississippi State” is anything but an accident. It’s the college football version defense of the “Yes, Mom, I may have taken the booze from the cabinet, but Little Brother drank some of it, too!” defense.
To which the NCAA will likely respond: “But I haven’t spent four years investigating him.”
While the “they cheated too” last gasp of a defense likely won’t extend Ole Miss a stay of execution, you have to at least respect the Rebels for trying it.
Less than two weeks after a hole was created on his Texas Tech coaching staff, Kliff Kingsbury has made a move to fill it.
Tech confirmed early Thursday afternoon that Kingsbury has added Terrance Jamison as a Red Raiders assistant. Specifically, Jamison will serve as the team’s defensive line coach.
Jamison replaces Kevin Patrick, who left earlier this month for the same job at North Carolina State after one season in Lubbock.
“We’re looking forward to adding Coach Jamison to our staff,” a statement from Kingsbury began. “He is someone that has built a strong reputation in the coaching community. He will be a tremendous asset on our defensive staff as well as in recruiting.”
The past three seasons, Jamison was the line coach at Florida Atlantic. That was his first on-field job at the FBS level.
He’s also been a graduate assistant or quality control coach at Cal and alma mater Wisconsin.
“My family and I are grateful for the opportunity to join Coach Kingsbury’s staff,” Jamison said. “I’m excited about the potential of the defensive line group and working with (defensive coordinator David) Gibbs. I look forward to jumping right in and getting started with spring practices next week.”
At the moment, BYU is looking at one hellacious start to the 2019 season.
Thursday afternoon, BYU announced tat it has added a future home-and-home series with Tennessee. The Volunteers will serve as the host for a Sept. 7, 2019, matchup at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, with the second game set for Sept. 1 or 2, 2023, at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo.
The 2019 game will mark the first-ever meeting between the two football programs.
“There’s something about those orange and white checkerboard end zones that shouts ‘Tradition!’,” BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said in a statement. “When the opportunity to play a series with Tennessee presented itself, we didn’t blink. They’re a storied football program with a winning tradition, national championships, a classic stadium, incredible fans and hall of fame coaches.
“It will be a great experience to visit SEC country and play in Neyland Stadium, and later host Tennessee in Provo.”
BYU will kick off the 2019 season against Utah, followed by games against Tennessee, USC and Washington the next three weeks. They also have a pair of mid-October games against Washington State and Boise State.
UT’s other non-conference games that season include Georgia State, Chattanooga and UAB.
Lovie Smith is not a big fan of fighting amongst his Illinois players, a lesson he shared with his aptly nicknamed Fighting Illini squad Wednesday evening.
According to the Decatur Herald & Review, Illinois’ spring practice session yesterday came to an abrupt and premature end after a fight between players broke out. The names of those involved in the fisticuffs are not known as the media hadn’t been permitted to view practice.
From the Herald & Review‘s report:
…a source said Smith wanted to send a strong message about how he hates fighting and considers it an inexcusable transgression that robs the rest of the team of a chance to concentrate on getting better.
The field was cleared at about 5:35 p.m., nearly an hour before practice was scheduled to end. The players were sent to the locker room and the field was quickly cleared of equipment. Reporters were told there would be no interviews and were told to vacate the Memorial Stadium facility.
The Illini, which finished 3-9 in their first season under Smith last year, kicked off spring practice feb. 14 and will conclude it March 10 with the annual spring game.