Five-star Malik McDowell likely to visit Buckeyes, ‘Noles

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It appears there won’t be a resolution to the Malik McDowell “situation at any point in the near future.

The five-star defensive end committed to Michigan State on National Signing Day but has not sent his National Letter of Intent to the university.  As McDowell is under the age of 21, his custodial parent — in this case his mother, Joya Crowe — must sign off on the NLI; neither of McDowell’s parents want their son to play for the Spartans — the father has backed off that stance somewhat — which is preventing the defensive lineman from officially joining the MSU program.

In a conversation with Rivals.com, McDowell’s dad confirmed that unofficial visits to schools such as Florida State and Ohio State would likely be in the offing before a final decision is made.  It’s believed the father would prefer to see his son play for the Buckeyes, while his mother, at least for the time being, seems to be of the mindset that any program other than the Spartans would be fine with her.

“I know he is open to taking some unofficials to Florida State and Ohio State,” Greg McDowell told the recruiting website. “We plan on doing some unofficials and see if he and his mom can resolve this. It’s possible she’ll be open to Michigan State as well, so we’ll have to see. …

“We plan on getting down to Florida State as soon as possible, and with Ohio State being a three-hour ride, we’ll drive over and sit down.”

The father also made sure to note that Michigan, the last of the four finalists, is still in the picture as well, with the site writing that “conversations are ongoing with all three finalists he did not pick on National Signing Day.”

Greg McDowell couldn’t make a prediction on when the situation would be resolved

“We have until April 1 to decide, so hopefully within the coming weeks we will have something,” the player’s dad said.

There is one option for Malik McDowell if neither parent is willing to sign off on the NLI.  From the Detroit Free Press:

If it turns out McDowell can’t get his mother to sign the letter of intent, or either parent to sign the Big Ten tender, he can still enroll at MSU. After one day of classes, a prospect is no longer considered a prospect, Smith said – he or she is considered a student-athlete.

So McDowell could sign the Big Ten tender after one day of classes and he would not need the signature of either parent.

But that would mean McDowell would have to pay out of his own pocket if he wanted to enroll in summer classes before his freshman season. Many incoming MSU freshmen take summer classes and take part in offseason workouts with the team.

Illinois boots three players charged with home invasion and robbery

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Illinois head coach Lovie Smith has dismissed three players charged with home invasion and robbery. Offensive linemen Darta Lee and Howard Watkins and tight end Zarrian Holcombe have all been dismissed from the program, according to a statement.

Lee and Holcombe were previously suspended by Smith for violations of team rules. Watkins had also been indefinitely suspended following the initial allegations. All three players claimed the incident that led to the charges was nothing more than an innocent prank, but the authorities and Smith didn’t seem willing to buy that claim.

Each player faces a mandatory prison sentence of 4-15 years on each count against them if found guilty.

Report: Conference USA to air at least 15 football games on Twitter in 2017

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Conference USA is in a position where it needs to think outside the box and look to stay ahead of the curve in a changing TV landscape. It appears to be ready to air games on Twitter in 2017.

A report from The Virginian-Pilot says broadcast company STADIUM will air at least 15 football games involving Conference USA teams this fall. STADIUM is the result of a recent merger between the American Sports Network, 120 Sports and Silver Chalice (which also owns Campus Insiders and the online ACC Digital Network). The ASN had owned the broadcast rights to Conference USA games through the end of the 2017-2018 sports season that will carry over to the STADIUM deal (allowing for Conference USA basketball games to be aired on Twitter as well). It was announced earlier this month STADIUM intended to broadcast Conference USA games on Twitter, but it was unknown how many games might make it to the networking service. STADIUM reportedly has an interest in continuing to air Conference USA contests beyond the next athletic season.

Conference USA still has broadcast deals with ESPN and CBS Sports in effect as well, so don’t expect the premiere matchups in the conference to be aired on Twitter. However, by sharing the games online, Conference USA is hoping to reach a wide-spread audience and have the opportunity to be a trending topic. It could work, as Twitter would make sure the game is given a steady feed to allow for a pleasant viewing experience and fan interaction in real time.

Conference USA saw TV revenue take a big hit over the last year. Last summer, Conference USA’s television revenue reportedly dropped to just $2.8 million for the entire conference following realignment changes. Finding a home on a streaming platform now would be key for the conference’s future stability.

Alabama DC Jeremy Pruitt named son after former Tide linebackers Reuben Foster and Ryan Anderson

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It is not at all uncommon for children born in the state of Alabama to be named after Alabama football legends, but it is not every day you see a child of an Alabama coach receives a name inspired by former Alabama football players.

Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt announced the birth of his new son, Flynt Anderson-Foster Pruitt, on Twitter. Alabama fans will likely already know the connection to the new child’s name, as used the last names of two former Alabama football players to create the middle name of Anderson-Foster; Ryan Anderson and Reuben Foster.

Maybe this is more common than I’m aware of, but regardless of how often a coach names a child after former players, this is a testament to the relationship the Pruitt family established with both former Alabama linebackers. And now there will be a bond for years to come between the coach and his family and Anderson and Foster.

Helmet sticker to Al.com.

Wisconsin’s season tickets for 100th anniversary of Camp Randall are a thing of beauty

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The Wisconsin Badgers are gearing up for their 100th season playing home football game sin Camp Randall Stadium. As part of the season-long celebration, Wisconsin put some brilliant artistic detail into their season tickets for the 2017 season.

Each ticket to a home Wisconsin game is designed like a retro-style program. These are beautifully done and mimic the style of a program cover from decades past. I’m particularly fond of the program cover for the Purdue game, which features Wisconsin’s Bucky floating in space with a ship with the Purdue logo nearby. Is that a space train? The Band Day program for the game against Florida Atlantic also looks fantastic.

These tickets will surely be must-have collectibles for Wisconsin fans. If Wisconsin wants to make a few extra bucks, then blowing up these images and selling them as posters may be a good decision as well. And I wouldn’t put it past Wisconsin to suit up in a retro-style uniform for at least home game this season in Madison.