When it comes to a timeline for the return of Jake Butt, another Michigan Jake seems to be a good place to start.
March 19 of last year, star linebacker Jake Ryan suffered a torn ACL in the midst of spring practice. Nearly seven months later, Ryan returned to the playing field for the sixth game of the season against Penn State Oct. 12. Fast-forward to Butt, who suffered his own torn ACL tear during winter conditioning workouts shortly before the announcement of the injury Feb. 13.
When asked Wednesday about the time frame for Butt’s returned, head coach Brady Hoke used Ryan and his recovery as a reference point.
“I haven’t really sat down and talked with the doctors, because (Butt) just had (the surgery), but he’ll work hard just like Jake did,” Hoke said. “I would think, though, to really have him back where you’d want him, it probably would be game three or four. So it is similar in some ways to (Ryan), but we’ll just have to see. Everybody heals differently.”
The Wolverines open the 2014 season at home against Appalachian State (uh-oh) before traveling to Notre Dame; barring some sort of miracle, those two games could very well be ruled out. The third and fourth games of the new year come Sept. 13 against Miami of Ohio and Sept. 20 vs. Utah. With the Big Ten opener a week later against Minnesota, UM could err on the side of caution and target that late-September date for a return.
The sooner Butt returns, though, the better for UM’s offense. As a true freshman in 2013, Butt finished third on the team in receptions (20), yards (235) and touchdowns (two). Butt was a four-star member of UM’s 2013 recruiting class, rated as the No. 5 tight end in the country.
That certainly didn’t take long.
A little over a week ago, P.J. Mbanasor was one of two cornerbacks who had decided to transfer from Oklahoma. Tuesday morning on his personal Twitter account, the defensive back announced that he “will be attending the University of Louisville in the fall.”
For what it’s worth, the Cardinals have yet to announce Mbanasor’s addition to the roster.
Mbanasor will likely have to sit out the 2017 season. He would then have two seasons of eligibility at his disposal beginning in 2018.
A four-star member of the Sooners’ 2015 recruiting class, Mbanasor was rated as the No. 19 corner in the country; the No. 17 player at any position in the state of Texas; and the No. 132 player on 247Sports.com’s composite board. After playing in 10 games with two starts as a true freshman, Mbanasor took a redshirt for the 2016 season.
It appears Pat Fitzgerald will still be stalking the sidelines in Evanston deep into the next decade.
Tuesday afternoon, Northwestern announced that it has reached an agreement with Fitzgerald, the program’s Dan and Susan Jones Family Head Coach, on a multi-year contract extension. The 42-year-old Fitzgerald’s extension would keep him as the coach of the Wildcats through the 2026 season.
Fitzgerald will be entering his 17th season as a coach at the school, 11 of those as head coach. From 1993-96, Fitzgerald was an All-American linebacker for the Wildcats and ultimately inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a player.
“This is home for me and my family, and I love this University,” a statement from Fitzgerald began. “I’m extremely privileged to coach the exceptional young men we invite here to earn the best education in college football and compete at the highest level in the Big Ten Conference. The best is yet to come, and we’re excited for the future.”
In his 11 seasons, Fitzgerald has guided NU to a 77-62 record overall and a 41-48 mark in Big Ten play. Fitzgerald has accounted for two of NU’s four 10-win seasons the program has produced, with both of those coming in the the last five seasons.
He is the winningest football coach in the school’s history.
Well, it was fun while it lasted.
In late February, reports surfaced that Tommy Tuberville was giving serious consideration to running for governor in the state of Alabama. Earlier this month, the former Auburn head coach had loaned his newly-formed campaign $100,000 as he filed the paperwork to form a principal campaign committee ahead of a potential gubernatorial run.
According to a report from 247Sports.com, the run has stopped before it ever really got started. Citing a person familiar with the situation, AuburnUndercover.com writes that “Tuberville will not run for governor in Alabama after two months of exploring the possibility in 2018.”
Other media outlets have subsequently confirmed the initial report.
Tuberville himself has yet to make an official announcement, although that could come as early as today. A Tuberville aide did confirm the news, however, telling the ABC affiliate in Montgomery, Ala., that “Mr. Tuberville decided this morning the timing for him to enter governor’s race is not right,” with Tripp Skipper adding, “He feels led to pursue other opportunities.”
Whether those other opportunities include a continuation of his long-time coaching career remains to be seen.
The 62-year-old Tuberville spent 10 seasons as the head coach at Auburn, famously guiding the Tigers to a six-game winning streak over the rival Alabama Crimson Tide during his tenure. “If it wasn’t for me, you wouldn’t have Nick Saban,” Tuberville said in a late-March radio interview when asked why Alabama football fans should vote for him.
A head coach most of the past two decades, Tuberville has a 159-99 record in stops that included Ole Miss (1995-98), Texas Tech (2010-12) and Cincinnati (2013-16) in addition to his time on The Plains.
Not long after Miami put the wraps on its second spring practice under Mark Richt, the chase to replace Brad Kaaya under center has seen a significant development.
In a press release Tuesday, The U announced that Jack Allison has decided to leave the Hurricanes football program. The redshirt freshman quarterback’s decision was triggered by a desire for a better shot at playing time elsewhere.
“Jack approached me and indicated that he felt like he would have more opportunities for playing time at another program,” the head coach said in a statement. “We wish him all the best in his future plans.”
The strong-armed Allison, who suffered a shoulder injury this past weekend, exited spring practice behind Malik Rosier, Kaaya’s backup the past two seasons, and Evan Shirreffs on the quarterback depth chart. Additionally, four-star 2017 signee N’Kosi Perry is expected to join the fray this summer and compete for the starting job as well.
A four-star 2016 signee, Allison was rated as the No. 8 pro-style quarterback in the country and the No. 27 player at any position in the state of Florida. He took a redshirt as a true freshman last season.
Allison is the second Hurricane to transfer out of the program since the curtain closed on spring practice. Monday, the university confirmed that defensive back Jeff James, the nephew of former U great Edgerrin James, “felt it was in his best interests to get a fresh start somewhere else.”