If there is one thing a Bret Bielema-coached team tends to do well, it is run the football. If Saturday’s spring game for Arkansas is any indication, Bielema will have some tools to work with on the ground in 2014. The first-team offense rushed for 252 yards and recorded four touchdowns in the process. Korliss Marshall, who had been on the defensive side of the football, showed why he belongs on the offensive side of the ball by stealing the show with 99 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Last year’s leading rusher, Alex Collins, and second-leading rusher, Jonathan Williams, split reps with Marshall on the first-team offense, which means Arkansas could have a three-headed monster developing for the fall. Collins led the Razorbacks with 1,026 yards and four touchdowns in 2013. Williams notched 900 yards on the ground along with four touchdowns. Marshal appeared in eight games on offense, with 17 rushing attempts for 146 yards. Expect Marshall’s numbers to go up in the fall if the spring game is considered a preview of things to come.
The strength on the ground should be of little surprise tough. Arkansas finished a dismal 2013 season ranked third in the SEC in rushing offense. The first-team rushing offense may have been dialed in, but on the flip side of the conversation you can suggest the Razorbacks have some holes to plug on defense. Last year the Razorbacks were 11th in the SEC in rushing defense, allowing 178.42 yards per game. Alabama and Auburn combined for 585 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns in back-to-back games against the Razorbacks, and LSU ended the season by rushing for 238 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-27 victory against their Arkansas rivals.
It took a little while longer than what some of the early mock drafts had projected, but Alabama has finally joined some rarefied Player Selection Meeting air.
With the 11th overall pick of the 2018 NFL, the Miami Dolphins selected Alabama defensive back/Swiss army knife Minkah Fitzpatrick. With that selection, the Crimson Tide has now seen a player taken in the first round of the draft each of the last 10 years, joining the Miami Hurricanes as the only program that can make that claim.
The All-American Fitzpatrick was the second player from the SEC taken thus far, joining Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith, who was taken eighth overall by the Chicago Bears. And, just as we were getting ready to post this, one of Fitzpatrick’s teammates, Da’Ron Payne, was taken by the Washington Redskins with the 13th-overall pick.
You can add yet another notch to Baker Mayfield‘s burgeoning list of accomplishments.
In the weeks leading up to the 2018 NFL draft, most mock drafts had either USC quarterback Sam Darnold or Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen going No. 1 overall to the Cleveland Browns. In the last 24 hours, however, there was a growing buzz surrounding the Oklahoma signal-caller for that top spot.
Thursday night, at a little after 8 p.m. ET at AT&T Stadium, that buzz turned into a reality as the Browns made Mayfield the first pick of this year’s draft. And, not only did he become the fourth-ever Sooner to be taken No. 1 overall, he becomes the only player who began his collegiate career as a walk-on to be selected first in the draft.
Famously, Mayfield walked not once but twice in his collegiate playing career — first at Texas Tech and then again at Oklahoma after he decided to transfer from the Red Raiders. Mayfield, a three-star 2013 recruit who was rated as the No. 42 pro-style quarterback in the country, actually held offers from pre-Lane Kiffin Florida Atlantic, New Mexico and Rice before opting to become a walk-on in Lubbock.
While with the Red Raiders, Mayfield became, it’s believed, the first-ever to start a season opener as a true freshman walk-on.
After transferring to the Sooners and sitting out the 2014 season, the Austin, Tex., native became one of the most prolific quarterbacks in college football history. He helped lead the Sooners to the College Football Playoffs two of the last three seasons and put together back-to-back years in 2016 and 2017 that were the best, passer rating-wise, in the history of the game. He capped off that prodigious statistical run by winning the 2017 Heisman Trophy in one of the biggest landslides in the award’s history.
The Michigan Wolverines may have their new starting quarterback. Shea Patterson, after a drawn-out battle for eligibility this season, will be eligible to play for the Wolverines this fall. According to a report from The Detroit News, Patterson has been granted a transfer waiver from the NCAA after the NCAA, Michigan and Ole Miss came to terms on an agreement to allow for Patterson to become eligible.
From The Detroit News report;
An agreement has been reached among the NCAA, Michigan and Ole Miss, according to the source, and with the completion of some paperwork, Patterson will be eligible to play this fall.
The source requested anonymity because an official announcement has not been made, but that announcement is expected soon.
A Michigan official said Thursday night the athletic department has “no new information on a final decision from the NCAA.”
Ole Miss had been holding up the transfer process for Patterson because the school did not accept Patterson’s reason for wanting to transfer from the Rebels to Michigan. Frustrated with the process, Patterson ripped Ole Miss and former head coach Hugh Freeze. With Ole Miss blocking the transfer for Patterson, the former Ole Miss quarterback had been hanging in limbo with Michigan with no idea if he would be cleared to play this fall for the Wolverines or if he would have to sit out a season due to typical NCAA transfer rules.
Because Ole Miss was placed on probation amid scandal, Patterson sought a transfer after feeling he had been misled and lied to by Freeze and Ole Miss. Now at Michigan, Patterson can immediately begin focusing on competing for the starting job at quarterback for Jim Harbaugh and Michigan. Given how much Michigan could stand to improve at the position, Patterson could give the Wolverines a much-needed boost this fall.
A formal announcement on Patterson’s status at Michigan is expected to be made once the legal paperwork is completed between the NCAA, Michigan, and Ole Miss.
A year ago, Michigan State linebacker Jon Reschke was on the move out of East Lansing. However, perhaps time has healed enough wounds to see Reschke return to the Spartans. Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio is leaving the door open for that possibility, but Reschke’s fate with the program may be left in the hands of his former teammates.
Reschke never found another program to transfer to for the 2017 season and has since undergone ACL surgery. He would need to get a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA to continue playing college football, but if he does, then Dantonio says he may welcome Reschke back if his current players decide to welcome him back.
“I’ve talked to our football team about it,” Dantonio said, according to MLive.com. “That’s our football team’s decision on that one. I think there’s certain things that you go through relative to your football team so that decision will get made as we go forward. I think it’s more important to talk to our players about that, if and when that happens.”
Football coaches allowing team members to determine the fate of a player that has fallen out of the good graces of the program is nothing new, and considering the circumstances surrounding Reschke’s departure from the program, this seems like a logical decision. Dantonio is allowing the players to determine whether or not they want to give someone who lost control a second chance rather than bring a guy who was perceived to be a bad egg back into the program without testing the waters within the locker room.