One of the constants on Illinois’ defense in 2013 can’t be counted on to do the same in 2014.
The Illini announced in a press release Friday morning that linebacker/defensive end Houston Bates has decided to transfer from the football program. The release stated that Bates wants to move closer to his home in Louisiana to finish out his collegiate playing career.
“Houston is a terrific and bright young man, who was a great teammate on our football team,” said head coach Tim Beckman in a statement. “We certainly would have liked to have Houston remain on the team, but he indicated that he wanted to finish closer to home and his family. We wish him nothing but the best as he moves on in his career.”
After starting two games in both 2011 and 2012, Bates started all 12 games as a junior last season. He finished second on the team with 12 tackles for loss, a total that was good for ninth in the Big Ten. His 3.5 sacks were second on the team as well.
Bates was a three-star recruit coming out of high school in Covington, La., in 2011.
“I want to thank my teammates and coaches, along everyone who supported me here at the University of Illinois and allowed me to graduate with a degree from such a prestigious institution,” Bates said. “My degree from the UofI allows me to accomplish whatever I want in my life. I wish everyone in the Fighting Illini program nothing but the best. I’m taking this opportunity to finish my playing career closer to home so that my family and friends will be able to see me play.”
Because he has graduated, Bates will be eligible to play at the FBS level in 2013. There’s no word on what specific institutions near his home would be of interest.
The rebuilding of SMU is a project that is no easy task. As Chad Morris gets ready for his second season on the job, he continues to do what he can to build a foundation based on Texas recruits. For the second straight season, SMU assembled a recruiting class consisting of only Texas recruits.
“I’m extremely proud of that,” Morris said last week, per The Dallas Morning News. “You’ll hear a lot of talk about us being Texas tough.
“The toughest thing was trying to create the momentum that we had a year ago, especially coming off a season that wasn’t up to our standards. The majority of our kids were committed to us before the season ever started.
SMU is the only FBS program to land a recruiting class consisting of just players from the state of Texas over the past two recruiting classes. The state of Texas has always been a large and competitive recruiting state, and SMU is certainly facing some stiff competition left and right between traditional heavyweights like Texas and Texas A&M, emerging powers in Baylor and TCU and rising conference rival Houston in addition to other programs from the Big 12 and SEC and beyond making visits into the Lone Star state.
If restoring pride in the SMU program is going to succeed, installing a strong Texas connection is a smart way to go for Morris and the Mustangs.
“It was important for us to do that, to build that continuity, build that relationship with these guys,” Morris said. “The majority of them had big-time offers, so we were battling all the way up to the final hour.”
It has become a Tennessee tradition to see The Rock painted before or after big games during the football season, but this week the noteworthy spot on Tennessee’s campus is simply paying tribute to Vol for life and two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Peyton Manning.
The artist who takes the time to paint The Rock is Payton Marie Miller, and she has become quite the sensation around campus with her artistic twist on Tennessee’s campus. Coming from a family with a strong rooting interest in the Vols, it is no coincidence her name is Payton.
“My dad is a huge Tennessee fan and one day my mom just randomly asked him if he liked the name Payton,” Miller explained in a profile story by Rocky Top Insider last year. “I think it was right after THE Peyton had just finished up at Tennessee and my dad jumped all over it.”
Here is what she did to The Rock for Senior Day last season…
Here are some of the other images of The Rock from last season…
In late November the NCAA denied a waiver request filed by Syracuse to gain a sixth year of eligibility for quarterback Terrel Hunt. After filing an appeal for one last chance to gain a year of eligibility back, the NCAA has once again informed Hunt his playing days are officially over. Sam Blum of The Daily Orange reports, via Twitter, he has been informed by Hunt the NCAA denied his appeal.
Hunt’s 2014 and 2015 seasons were each cut short due to injuries. Hunt broke his leg in 2014, leaving him unavailable for the final seven games of the 2014 season. A year later, Hunt tore his Achilles tendon in the season opener against Rhode Island. He was lost for the entire 2015 season, after his brief appearance in the season opener. Because of the significant time lost due to injury, Syracuse and Hunt each hoped the NCAA would grant the rare sixth year of eligibility, but that was clearly not in the cards in the NCAA offices.
Hunt’s Syracuse career is now officially over with 2,621 passing yards and 24 total touchdowns.
The Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl on Sunday, which means tight end Jeff Heuerman is now the answer to a fun little trivia question for years to come. Heuerman became the first football player to win both a College Football Playoff national championship and a Super Bowl.
Heuerman was a senior tight end for Ohio State in the 2014 season, catching 207 yards and two touchdowns for the Buckeyes, who captured the first College Football Playoff national championship under the new postseason championship structure. He went on to be a third-round draft pick of the Broncos in the 2015 NFL Draft, but he tore his ACL in Denver’s rookie camp in May 2015. He was subsequently ruled out for the entire 2015 season, so his place in history comes with a tiny caveat. But he still will get a Super Bowl ring to go with his national championship ring from a year ago.
The search will go on now for the first player to both play in and win a College Football Playoff national championship and a Super Bowl. Former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton was unable to make his own history with a Super Bowl win, but he may get another crack at that again before his career is done.
Helmet sticker to Reddit.