Texas Tech landing a verbal commitment from blue-chip quarterback Jarrett Stidham on Friday came as a massive win for Kliff Kingsbury, but it also represented a bit of a trend in recent years.
Stidham isn’t the nation’s No. 1 overall recruit, nor is he rated by Rivals as a five-star prospect. But for Texas Tech, earning the verbal commitment of an in-state quarterback with scholarship offers from Texas and Texas A&M is just about unheard of. Not even Graham Harrell wasn’t offered by Texas or Texas A&M back in 2004.
Consider this, though: In three of the last four recruiting cycles, the nation’s top prep player has gone to a non-traditional power. South Carolina (Jadeveon Clowney), Mizzou (Dorial Green-Beckham) and Ole Miss (Robert Nkemdiche) all landed No. 1-rated, program-altering players in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Granted, that streak ended this year when Da’Shawn Hand signed his National Letter of Intent to play for Alabama. But in the Rivals era (2002-present), no No. 1 player had gone to a non-traditional power program until Clowney committed to South Carolina. The Gamecocks have had four seasons of 10 or more wins in program history; three came with Clowney on the team.
2015’s No. 1 recruit, defensive tackle Trenton Thompson (Albany, Ga.) seems like a good bet to wind up at a traditional power. But that a good number of these highly-rated recruits, No. 1 or otherwise, are winding up at Ole Miss or Texas Tech or Virginia (which landed 2014’s No. 5 overall recruit) perhaps speaks to the success programs can have in the digital/social media age, making in-roads with high schoolers that weren’t possible 10 years ago.
Nebraska coach Mike Riley has the well-earned reputation of being the nicest guy in college football and his players can probably give him a wholehearted endorsement after this week.
That’s because the Cornhuskers were able to attend rapper Kendrick Lamar’s concert in Lincoln on Friday night after their coach surprised the whole team with tickets to the show. Naturally, said players were quite pumped to be going.
As cool as taking the team to a Kendrick Lamar concert is, I personally can’t wait to see what one-upmanship this inspires across college football. One can already imagine Jim Harbaugh taking the team to see Migos in London next summer…
A key member of Indiana’s recruiting class won’t be able to play for the Hoosiers this season as a result of a serious compliance gaff at the school.
Freshman defensive back Bryant Fitzgerald was ruled by the NCAA to be a non-qualifier according to a statement released by the program and, as a result, will now be unable to play or practice for the team. A waiver was requested but both it and the appeal were denied.
At the heart of the matter seems to be the IU compliance office incorrectly advising Fitzgerald what classes to take in order to be eligible right away at the school in the eyes of the NCAA. As the above statement and a later one from athletic director Fred Glass make clear, this was a mistake on the school’s part that will cost the defensive back a full season and not about anything he did or didn’t do.
Fitzgerald was a three-star recruit coming out of high school in nearby Avon, Ind. but was expected to make a serious run at playing time given past comments by head coach Tom Allen. It certainly seems like a bummer all around for player, school and coach but the situation is what it is at this point.
We can joke about Lane Kiffin turning FAU into the real ‘Last Chance U’ in 2017 but… it’s kind of happening for real.
In addition to adding several alums from the Netflix show, the Owls have been stocking the roster left and right with FBS transfers this offseason and added yet another just before the season starts in West Virginia wide receiver Jovan Durante.
Durante has started 17 games in his first two seasons in Morgantown, racking up 331 yards and two touchdowns as a sophomore in 2016. He was expected to assume a starting role once again this year but didn’t report to the Mountaineers preseason camp for what WVU coach Dana Holgorsen described as personal issues.
The South Florida native will have to sit out the 2017 season but will have two seasons of eligibility for the Owls after he redshirts this year.
When BYU announced this week that linebacker Francis Bernard was going to redshirt this season, only a few people seemed to think anything was really amiss. That does not seem to be the case anymore just a week before the Cougars start their season.
The Salt Lake Tribune talked with Bernard’s brother, James, about the matter and it appears the family is not too happy over the situation and is now looking to transfer. While that wouldn’t normally be much to write home about, the fact that the younger Bernard wants to move up the road to Holy War rival Utah is bound to raise some eyebrows.
“Just to be clear: My brother wants to transfer, regardless,” James Bernard told the paper. “We talk almost every day. He just doesn’t want to stay there any more.”
He went on to say that the reason that first prompted the redshirt announcement was not related to academics or playing time but a potential Honor Code issue with the school. What exactly that violation was however, is not exactly being made clear by the program to the family.
Bernard was suspended from the team’s bowl game last year for an unspecified violation of team rules but was given every indication that he would be back in the good graces of the team prior to preseason camp. That is obviously not the question and it appears a brewing transfer battle to move from Provo to Salt Lake City will soon be taking place between two bitter rivals over the junior linebacker.