Chad Morris

James Franklin made the Vanderbilt coaching vacancy more appetizing


With James Franklin being hired away by Penn State, the search for a new head coach to continue the momentum at Vanderbilt is officially underway. Fortunately for the program, Franklin helped make the job a more attractive one to the next coach.

“There is no question that James Franklin’s outstanding work has helped put Vanderbilt football on the national stage,” Vanderbilt vice chancellor and director of athletics David Williams said in a statement released following Franklin’s departure. “Because of James, Fumi, Shola and Addy Franklin, our program is stronger in every way than it was just a few short years ago.”

Vanderbilt had compiled back-to-back 2-10 seasons before prying Franklin away from Maryland, where he was considered the coach-in-waiting under Ralph Friedgen. Maryland’s loss may have turned out to be Vanderbilt’s gain. Franklin had an immediate impact on the Commodores, winning six games in his first season in Nashville and leading them to back-to-back bowl trips for the first time in program history.

“We have every expectation to hire an outstanding new football coach to build upon the progress that has been made in recent years,” Williams said. He will certainly have some attractive options to consider.

Will Vanderbilt be able to sway a head coach away from their current school to guide their program? The one name to keep a close eye on in this discussion would be Mark Hudspeth, the current head coach of Louisiana-Lafayette. Hudspeth has led the Ragin’ Cajuns to three consecutive 9-4 seasons and has ended the year with a bowl victory each year. If Vanderbilt is looking for a head coach who is ready to take the next step, Hudspeth should be the name at the top of the list.

Hiring a top assistant coach is certainly a path likely to be explored by Vanderbilt.

Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart has the SEC pedigree down and has been mentioned as a potential future head coach when the right opportunity comes along. Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris is currently one of the hottest names in the assistant coaching world. So is Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi. Vanderbilt could do worse than any of those names of course. Morris would probably be the best fit among the potential assistant coaching candidates.

Whether the next head coach succeeds to the level Franklin managed to do at Vanderbilt or not, or whether the next head coach can build upon the foundation laid by Franklin, remains to be seen. Perhaps the next coach will see Vanderbilt take a step back. Whatever happens, the position is a much more desirable one worthy of consideration by a number of top candidates that may not have given the job much thought four or five years ago. It is still likely to be a stepping stone position as opposed to a destination position, but it is not as slippery as a stepping stone it once was.

Rutgers reinstates WR Leonte Carroo to football team

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 28:  Wide receiver Leonte Carroo #4 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights makes a touchdown catch on the first play of the game against the Washington State Cougars at CenturyLink Field on August 28, 2014 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
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While the news of late has been littered with the exits of two SEC wide receivers, one team from the Big Ten is welcoming back a player who plays the same position.

In a press release, Rutgers confirmed that Leonte Carroo has been reinstated to the Scarlet Knights football program.  The release stated that head coach Kyle Flood, who is suspended himself, “reinstated Carroo after the student-athlete agreed to the conditions of his reinstatement and after he accepted the responsibility that comes with his return to the team.”

The reinstatement comes one day after a domestic violence charge against him was dropped after the alleged victim decided not to testify against he former boyfriend.  Carroo had been accused of slamming a woman with whom he had a previous relationship into the concrete outside of the RU football facility last month.

Carroo has missed the last two games (Penn State, Kansas) because of the suspension.  He will be eligible to return to practice today and play in Saturday’s game against 10th-ranked Michigan State.

Despite missing those two contests, Carroo is still tops on the team in receiving yards with 181 and tied for the team lead with three receiving touchdowns.  He’s also averaging nearly 26 yards per reception.

Carroo led the Scarlet Knights last season in receptions (55), receiving yards (1,086) and receiving touchdowns (10).

Pig Howard dismissed by Vols

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 5: Pig Howard #2 of the Tennessee Volunteers fumbles the ball through the end zone during overtime of the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Neyland Stadium on October 5, 2013 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
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It’s been a bad week for talented SEC wide receivers.

On the heels of Auburn giving the boot to D’haquille Williams following an alleged bar rampage, Tennessee announced Wednesday that Pig Howard has been dismissed from Butch Jones‘ football program.  Violations of unspecified team rules was the only explanation offered.

Howard had been suspended for the season opener for the same reason due to an unspecified incident several months before.  It’s unknown if the dismissal is related in any way to that suspension.

Injuries had allowed the senior to play in just two games this season, against Oklahoma and Western Carolina.  He had one reception for eight yards, with that coming in the overtime loss to the Sooners.

The past two seasons, Howard led the Vols in receiving with 54 and 44 receptions in 2014 and 2013, respectively.  He accounted for 1,006 receiving yards in that span, and has also scored a pair of rushing touchdowns.