Spurrier on Manziel and why the Houston Texans may want to draft Clowney

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The Houston Texans have the first pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, and South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier thinks they will have a difficult decision to make between Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and Gamecocks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.

“I guess he’d like to play there in his home state,” Spurrier said in an interview with NFL Network when asked about Manziel suggesting the Texans would be making a mistake in passing on him in the NFL Draft. “I don’t know what they’re gonna do. He’s a dang good player, we all know that, and I think he’s going to be an excellent pro but obviously Jadeveon is a talent that doesn’t come around every year.”

Manziel recently made headlines by making it clear to the Texans that not drafting him with the top pick would be a mistake. Clowney is expected to be one of the top players drafted as well. Spurrier’s comments came moments after he made a comment about Clowney’s work ethic, which has been a bit of a topic of conversation over the past year. At first, Spurrier’s response comes off a bit surprising, until you realize we are talking about Spurrier.

“It was OK,” Spurrier said. “It wasn’t like [former South Carolina running back] Marcus Lattimore, you know, every player is a little different. But when the ball’s snapped, he’s got an explosion like you’ve never seen before.”

Without hearing the context of the conversation, Spurrier’s comments might lead some to think he was criticizing Clowney, but in hearing the interview the reaction may be different. Besides, it has been documented how Spurrier has come out in the public to possibly inspire Clowney to get on the field. He did so multiple times last fall as Clowney was banged up and unable to play at 100 percent at times. Whether this was friction between player and coach or just Spurrier being Spurrier is something Spurrier and Clowney may only know for sure.

Clowney’s work ethic may be worth questioning during the NFL Scouting Combine and leading up to the draft, but Spurrier did comment on how Clowney faced double team coverage time and time again and he still managed to have an impact on the game any time he was on the field even if the stats fail to show it. Spurrier commented on Clowney’s progression not being up to par with the progression seen a year ago, but when you are one of the top defensive players in the game the question should be how much more progression should be expected before going to the next level?

Ex-Nebraska WR Keyshawn Johnson Jr. reportedly lands at Arizona

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It appears Keyshawn Johnson Jr. will continue his collegiate playing career a little bit further west than where it began.

On the same day that Kevin Sumlin was hired as the head coach at Arizona, Nate Clouse of Rivals.com reported that Johnson will be enrolling at UA this week and play for the Wildcats. The son of former USC great Keyshawn Johnson will be eligible to play immediately for Sumlin in 2018.

In late June of last year, Johnson was cited for marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia.  Not long after, the wide receiver decided to take a leave of absence, with his famous father stating that his son needed some time to “mature” and would not play for the Cornhuskers in 2017.

At the time, the plan was for the junior Johnson to return to Lincoln and play his college football for Mike Riley.  With his father’s college offensive coordinator dismissed at the end of the regular season, Johnson took to Twitter in mid-December to announce that he wouldn’t be returning to the Cornhuskers.

Johnson was a four-star member of the Cornhuskers’ 2017 recruiting class who was an early enrollee and participated in spring practice, but never played a down for NU. Before signing with Nebraska, he held offers from, among others, Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Miami, Ohio State and USC.

Minnesota CB Zo Craighton tweets he’s transferring

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Roster attrition across college football continues unabated, with Minnesota the latest to lose one its football players.

Zo Craighton revealed on his Twitter account Monday that, “[a]fter prayers and considerations,” he has decided to transfer out of P.J. Fleck‘s football program. “There will always be a place in my heart for Minnesota,” the redshirt sophomore cornerback wrote in his social media missive. “I made friends for life and I appreciate the fan base for all the support.”

Craighton played in 11 games the past two seasons, missing the final nine of the 2017 season because of injury. Coming out of high school in Louisiana, the defensive back was a three-star member of the Gophers’ 2015 recruiting class.

Dick MacPherson’s grandson one of six added to Sean Lewis’ first Kent State staff

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Sean Lewis‘ first staff at Kent State will come armed with a famous coaching surname.

The football program announced Monday that Lewis has hired a total of six new assistants. One of the coaching sextet is Mackey MacPherson, the grandson of former Syracuse head coach Dick MacPherson.

The younger MacPherson will coach the Golden Flashes running backs after spending the past two seasons as an offensive graduate assistant with the Orange.  Both Lewis and MacPherson were on Dino Babers‘ staff at the ‘Cuse.

The other full-time assistant hired by Lewis are as follows:

Zac Barton — special teams coordinator
Brian Cochran — defensive line
Jon Cooley — safeties coach
Matt Middleton — wide receivers coach
Bill O’Boyle — offensive line

Nearly two weeks ago, Lewis announced the hiring of his coordinators on both sides of the ball.

Western Kentucky’s Joel Iyiegbuniwe declares early for draft

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There’s a new leader in the clubhouse for “Early Entrant With the Most Vowels in his Surname.”

On his personal Twitter account over the weekend, Joel Iyiegbuniwe announced that he is leaving Western Kentucky early and making himself available for the April NFL draft. The linebacker, a native of Bowling Green, Kent., stated that he came to his decision “[a]fter much thought, prayer and discussion with my family, coaches and advisors.”

This past season, Iyiegbuniwe led the Hilltoppers in tackles with 117, tackles for loss with 11.5 and forced fumbles with three. He was named first-team All-Conference USA following the regular season.

Including last season, Iyiegbuniwe had started 27 straight games at outside linebacker for the Hilltoppers.

Today is the deadline for draft-eligible players to inform the NFL of their intentions.