Philip Nelson

Report: Texas Tech ‘appears to be front-runner’ for ex-Gopher QB

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Texas Tech has seen its quarterback depth depleted by transfers of late, but the Red Raiders could see that same avenue as a way of replenishing the position.

In a little blurb that appears in his weekly, all-encompassing notes column, Charley Waters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press wrote that Texas Tech “appears to be the front-runner” for the services of Philip Nelson.  This past week, Nelson surprisingly decided to transfer from Minnesota.

Waters also lists UCLA “as a possible destination” for the quarterback.

Over the past month, the Red Raiders have seen both Baker Mayfield and Michael Brewer transfer out of the football program for various reasons.  Mayfield and fellow true freshman Davis Webb combined to start all 13 of Tech’s games this season, with the former attempting 340 passes and the latter 361.  Brewer was the presumptive frontrunner for the starting job before a back issue that flared up during summer camp led to Webb and Mayfield sharing the signal-calling responsibilities throughout the year.

Webb will head into spring practice as the favorite to win the job.

The past two seasons, Nelson, who was a three-star member of the Gophers’ 2012 recruiting class, has started 16 games.  Nine of those starts came as a true sophomore in a 2013 season in which he led the run-heavy Gophers in passing yards (1,306) and passing touchdowns (nine).  He was also third in rushing yards (364) and rushing touchdowns (six).

Wherever Nelson ultimately lands, he won’t be eligible to play until 2015 as he’ll have to sit out the 2014 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules.

Former Texas A&M WR Thomas Johnson arrested on murder charge

Thomas Johnson
Associated Press

A very disturbing story has emerged out of Dallas, where former Texas A&M wide receiver Thomas Johnson sits in a Dallas County jail cell after allegedly admitting to hacking an unsuspecting jogger to death with a machete.

Just before 8 a.m. Monday, authorities say Johnson went to White Rock Creek Trail, a popular jogging trail in northeast Dallas, and randomly slashed a jogger to death. “It appears Mr. Johnson picked this victim at random. Absolutely random,” Deputy Chief Rob Sherwin told the Dallas Morning News. “He just attacked him. … It’s just very unusual. It’s quite shocking.”

Johnson then walked away from the scene in search of a cell phone. An onlooker had already dialed 911, and when police arrived Johnson allegedly told them there was a man “laying down with a sword in his head and not moving.”

“I just committed capital murder,” Johnson said and then repeated, according to his arrest affidavit. The only motive police reported was that Johnson was angry at his situation in life at the time of the slaying.

The victim, an unidentified male between the age of 25 and 35, passed away at a nearby hospital.

Johnson, meanwhile, remains in a Dallas County jail in lieu of $500,000 bail.

Johnson was a highly-regarded member of Kevin Sumlin‘s first recruiting class at Texas A&M. As a true freshman in 2012, the Dallas native caught 30 passes for 339 yards and one touchdown through the Aggies’ upset of then-No. 1 Alabama and then simply… disappeared. He went missing for three days in November 2012 before turning up back home in Dallas. His mother told the San Antonio Express-News last April Johnson would like to return to college football, but a return to the game never materialized.

No punishment from SEC for Bielema’s sideline interaction with Alabama player

Bret Bielema

Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema will not be disciplined by the SEC office for his brief interaction with Alabama offensive lineman Cam Robinson last weekend. A video showing Bielema exaggerating his interaction with Robinson at the end of a play was reviewed by SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, and the commissioner has discussed the situation with the Razorbacks coach.

“I visited with Bret over the phone on Monday and we discussed the play that has now become widely reviewed through a brief video clip,” Sankey said in a released statement. “Football is played in an intense competitive environment and I reminded him of the need for head coaches to resolve with their own players issues that may arise, which was his intent. The unsportsmanlike penalty assessed on the play was not directly associated with Bret’s efforts to intervene at the end of the play and we are moving forward in a positive manner.”

That appears to be the end of the discussion regarding Bielema’s act. I personally think there should have been some more done here by the league’s commissioner, but we will see if Bielema avoids putting himself in a similar position moving forward.