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…
It appears Will Muschamp‘s Columbia reunion with one of his former Florida players won’t come to fruition as first thought.
Last months, reports surfaced that J.C. Jackson could be headed to South Carolina to join Muschamp’s first-year Gamecocks football program. However, 247Sports.com is now reporting that Jackson will not enroll at USC.
“Sources indicate Jackson is not eligible to transfer to the Gamecocks in a ruling that’s beyond South Carolina’s control,” the site wrote.
Instead, sources indicated to the recruiting website that Jackson will likely end up at Maryland. The Terps’ first-year coach, D.J. Durkin, was Muschamp’s defensive coordinator with the Gators when Jackson was a defensive back with the team.
Facing three felony charges in connection to an armed home invasion robbery, Jackson “transferred” from UF in May of last year. He was ultimately acquitted on all of those charges, and is currently enrolled at a California junior college.
A four-star member of the Gators’ 2014 recruiting class, Jackson was rated as the No. 21 corner in the country; the No. 37 player at any position in the state of Florida; and the No. 243 recruit overall by Rivals.com. He played in the 2014 opener, but missed the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury. Exiting the spring, Jackson was expected to take a starting job into summer camp in 2015 prior to the legal issues arising.
If Jackson lands at Maryland, or any other FBS program for that matter, he would be eligible to play immediately in 2016. The redshirt sophomore would then have three seasons of eligibility at his disposal.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a college football player has decided to leave his original home and look elsewhere.
The latest to be hit with attrition via a transfer is Virginia Tech, with the Hokies confirming speculation that Carson Lydon is no longer with the team and intends to transfer to an undetermined location. No reason was given for the linebacker parting ways with the program.
Should Lydon decide to move on to another FBS program, he’d likely have to sit out the 2016 season, leaving him with three seasons of eligibility remaining beginning with the following season.
Lydon was a three-star member of the Hokies’ 2015 recruiting class coming out of high school in Florida. In addition to Tech, Lydon held offers from, among others, Boston College, Cincinnati, Duke, North Carolina State, Rutgers and Syracuse.
As a true freshman last season, Lydon played in 11 games.
Earlier in the day, reports coming out of South Florida indicated that Juwon Young‘s time as a member of the Miami Hurricanes could be coming to an end. While it’s not at that point yet, there has been one confirmed development on that front.
Early Friday afternoon, UM announced that Young has been indefinitely suspended from the football program. The only stated reason was the vague “violation of department rules.”
According to a report, the suspension seemingly stems from the university’s investigation into a potential NCAA violation. From the Miami Herald:
Multiple people inside the UM football program do not expect Young to be on the team this season. One source cautioned that he’s in limbo and it’s still possible he could return but he’s not in a good position.
The matter, according to a source, involved Young gaining use of a luxury vehicle from a car agency. It’s unclear if Young paid for the vehicle or if he intends to.
As for additional specifics for the suspension itself?
The Herald‘s report went on to note that star defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad is being investigated for his involvement with the same agency; as of now, Muhammad remains an active member of the program.
As UM’s NCAA probation doesn’t end for another four months, the university is looking to get as far ahead of this situation as possible.
Young appeared in 14 games the past two seasons, including 10 in 2015.
Muhammad, a redshirt junior, played in 12 games in 2015, leading the team in both tackles for loss (8.5) and sacks (five). He underwent a minor surgical procedure in late April to repair an issue in one of his knees.
A legal victory in court could lead to one defender’s return to the Central Michigan football team.
Facing trial on four misdemeanor counts, Malik Fountain (pictured, No. 31) was found not guilty on all four counts by an Isabella County (Mich.) jury that took less than an hour to come to their decision. “In a move never seen before by defense attorney Joseph Barberi, jurors in the Malik Fountain trial filed out of the Isabella County Courthouse Thursday morning and hugged Fountain, his mother, father, sister and brother,” the Mount Pleasant Morning Sun wrote.
Fountain was arrested in April of this year and charged with two counts of assault, one count of aggravated assault and one count of jostling in connection to a December incident.
In the incident, Fountain was accused of hitting two women, one of whom claimed she needed surgery on her nose after being struck. One witness claimed another man threw a drink on Fountain and another individual and a fight broke out between the groups.
Fountain denied hitting any women during the imbroglio, and could’ve taken a plea deal on only the jostling charge but wanted to clear his name entirely by taking it to trial.
Based on the university’s student handbook, Fountain, indefinitely suspended since his arrest, would be eligible to return to the team immediately. However, that’s a decision that will be made after the player and his head coach, John Bonamego, discuss what to do moving forward.
After redshirting as a true freshman, Fountain played in all 13 games last season. His 67 tackles were third on the Chips, while his 4.5 tackles for loss were tied for second.