Raises, extensions for Spurrier, coaching staff announced

5 Comments

Following up on reports that surfaced Wednesday morning, South Carolina officially confirmed that head coach Steve Spurrier and his entire nine-man coaching staff are on the receiving end of amended contracts that includes both a extensions and raises.

Spurrier’s contract was  extended by one year, meaning the Ol’ Ball Coach is now signed through the 2018 season.  While the press release announcing the new deals did not detail the amount of a raise, it had been previously reported that Spurrier’s total pay would be bumped from $3.3 million to $4 million.

Spurrier recently completed his ninth season with the Gamecocks, finishing the season ranked as the No. 4 team in the country.  That ranking served as the highest in the postseason in the program’s history.

Prior to Spurrier’s arrival in 2005, the Gamecocks had never won 10 or more games in back-to-back seasons; 2013 marked the third straight season USC has won 11 games.

“Our sustained success has put our football program on a level that few others in the country have accomplished,” athletic director Ray Tanner said in a statement. “We are coming off our third-consecutive 11-win season, which represents the greatest era of success in Carolina football history. In addition, our student-athletes are achieving at the highest level – on the field, in the classroom and in the community. With three-straight Top-10 finishes, South Carolina is as good as any program in the country. The contract raises and extensions for Coach Spurrier and his staff are a reflection of that success and are well-deserved.”

Additionally, the release stated that “Coach Spurrier had a clause added to his contract that upon his retirement as head football coach, he would be offered employment by the University as a Special Assistant to the President and the Athletics Director provided he maintains his residence in Columbia and either the current President or the current Athletics Director continue to be employed by the University in their same capacities.”

“Ambassador Spurrier?”  Yep, sign me up.

“My staff and I thoroughly enjoy coaching under the direction of President Pastides and Athletics Director Tanner,” said Spurrier. “We appreciate the attitude of our Board of Trustees in keeping our salaries competitive with the rest of the SEC. We all hope to coach here many more years and we still have some goals that have not been accomplished yet.

“We thank our fans for the outstanding support that we always receive. A special thanks to all the fans that followed our team to Orlando for the big win over Wisconsin that enabled us to finish a school-record No. 4 in the nation.”

As far as the assistants go, Deke Adams, Kirk Botkin, Grady Brown, Shawn Elliott, G.A. Mangus, Joe Robinson, Everette Sands and Steve Spurrier Jr. had their contacts extended through the 2015 season.  Defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward‘s deal was extended through the 2016 season.

As was the case with Spurrier, the raises received by the assistants were not revealed.

Months after losing love for football, ex-Mich. St. RT Thiyo Lukusa transfers to Arizona

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Six months after proclaiming he hadn’t been in love with football since high school, Thiyo Lukusa has apparently once again found his fondness for the sport.

On his Instagram account this week, Lukusa revealed that he has decided to transfer to Arizona and continue his collegiate playing career with the Wildcats. “Plans changed, I’ve changed, schools changed, but change isn’t a bad thing,” Lukusa wrote.

It’s believed the offensive lineman won’t be eligible to play in 2017. If that’s the case, he’d have three seasons of eligibility remaining beginning in 2018.

Plans changed, I’ve changed, schools changed, but change isn’t a bad thing. #beardown #wildcats #UofA

A post shared by Thiyo Lukusa (@tshiyombu_aubrey) on Aug 19, 2017 at 2:10pm PDT

In February, Lukusa confirmed that he would be transferring from Michigan State.

A three-star 2016 signee, Lukusa was rated as the No. 9 player at any position in the state of New Jersey. He played in eight games as a true freshman.

Entering the offseason, Lukusa was penciled in as the Spartans’ starting right tackle.

Ankle injury will cost Kentucky’s Dorian Baker ‘significant time’

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Unfortunately for Kentucky’s passing game, the speculation has come to fruition.

Over the weekend, Dorian Baker sustained an injury to his left leg during a scrimmage.  The initial talk had it as a rather significant injury; Monday, the Wildcats confirmed that the senior wide receiver suffered a fracture-dislocation in his left ankle.

As a result, Baker will, at bare minimum, miss what the school described as “significant time” to, potentially, the entire 2017 season.

“We’re very disappointed for Dorian, as he had a good offseason and was helping lead our receivers during preseason camp,” head coach Mark Stoops said in a statement. “However, we are hopeful for a full recovery and look forward to his eventual return to the field.”

If there’s a silver lining amidst the injury clouds it’s that Baker has a redshirt at his disposal, which would allow him to return for the 2018 season should the injury sideline him for all of this year.

In three seasons with the Wildcats, Baker has totaled 88 receptions for 1,015 yards and six touchdowns.  In 2015, Baker’s 55 catches and three receiving touchdowns led the team.  Last season, after overcoming an early-season hamstring issue, he caught 14 passes for 208 yards a pair of touchdowns.

Reigning national champ Clemson officially names Deshaun Watson successor

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The man charged with the unenviable task of trying to replace one of the most accomplished quarterbacks in college football history has officially been identified.

Upon the completion of spring practice earlier this year, Dabo Swinney stated that, if Clemson “played a game today, Kelly (Bryant) would be the” starting quarterback.  Fast-forward a little over four months, and Bryant is indeed the guy who will replace Deshaun Watson under center for the reigning national champions.

The announcement from the Tigers is the culmination of what had been a three-way fight for the job, but the head coach also seemingly left the door slightly ajar for the competition to, at least, bleed into the early part of the 2017 season.

“He has earned it and I am proud of him. It has been a great competition, but this part is over,” Swinney said in quotes distributed by the team. “[Redshirt freshman] Zerrick Cooper is the number-two quarterback, but [freshman] Hunter Johnson is right there. We hope to get all three quarterbacks experience in the first part of the season.”

A junior, Bryant has played in 12 games and exactly 100 snaps.  In that time, he has completed 13-of-18 passes for 75 yards and a touchdown. He’s added 35 carries for 178 yards and another three scores.

Redshirt sophomore Tucker Israel, who wasn’t even a part of the unofficial competition, is the only other quarterback on the roster who has thrown a pass at the collegiate level (four attempts last season).

Essentially a three-year starter, Watson was responsible for 8,702 of the 9,382 yards and 76 of the 80 touchdown passes for the Tigers the past two season.

Clemson will kick off defense of its national championship Sept. 2 at home against Kent State.  They’ll begin ACC play two weeks later on the road against Louisville.

Ex-Louisville QB Kyle Bolin named starter at Rutgers

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Four months ago today, Kyle Bolin wasn’t even a member of the Rutgers football program.  With the start of a new season less than two weeks away, Bolin is officially the triggerman at the most important position in the sport.

Monday, the Scarlet Knights announced Monday that Bolin has been named as the team’s starting quarterback.  Bolin had been involved in what was ostensibly a three-way competition with Giovanni Rescigno, the starter to close out the 2016 season and presumptive front-runner to maintain the job exiting spring, as well as touted 2017 signee Johnathan Lewis.

“Really happy with the leadership that Kyle has brought to our football team,” head coach Chris Ash said. “He’s a really mature individual. Well-trained, well-coached in his past and just has got a wealth of experience and we’re really excited about what he’s going to bring to our offense.”

Despite his short time with the program, the move is not exactly a surprise as, one, Bolin has already been named a team captain and, two, he’s been taking more and more snaps with the first-team offense over the last couple of weeks.

Bolin started five games in 2015 as he and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson shared quarterbacking duties that season.  Jackson replaced Bolin after a pair of picks in the regular-season finale against rival Kentucky that year and, coming off his four-touchdown performance in the Music City Bowl win over Texas A&M, the former was firmly entrenched as the starter heading into the spring of 2016.

In early April of this year, Bolin opted to leave the Cardinals as a graduate transfer.  Less than a month later, he landed with the Scarlet Knights.