And now we know the rest of the story.
Just a short time ago, Texas A&M announced that linebacker Darian Claiborne and defensive lineman Isaiah Golden had been dismissed from the football program. No specific reason was given, although each had an off-field incident — or two in Claiborne’s case — over the past several months.
As it turns out, those off-field issues stretched late into the month of May as well.
According to Brent Zwerneman of the San Antonio Express-News, both Claiborne and Golden were arrested June 3 and charged with aggravated robbery. The charges stem from an alleged drug deal gone bad late last month.
From Zwerneman’s Twitter account, which contained a College Station Police Department report on the incident:
“On this date, as part of the ongoing investigation, Detectives with the College Station Police Department were able to obtain arrest warrants for two suspects in this offense. Their investigation into this incident revealed the following information.
“On May 23, 2014 at approximately 2255 hrs, officers with the College Station Police Department were dispatched to the 2000 blk of Holleman Drive W in regards to a report of an aggravated robbery that had just occurred. Upon arrival officers met with two victims, a 20 year old male and a 22 year old male, and learned that the reported robbery had actually occurred a short distance away at their apartment in the 1100 blk of Jones Butler Road. They further stated that a third victim, a 20 year old male, was at that apartment and that he had been struck in the head during the robbery by one of the suspects. Officers responded to the apartment, located the third victim, and found him to have suffered minor injuries as a result of being struck.
“Investigation at the scene found that the three victims had entered into an agreement to purchase a quantity of marijuana from the suspects. When the suspects arrived at the apartment to complete the transaction, one of the suspects produced a handgun, pointed it at one of the victims while the other suspect took the money that was present to purchase the marijuana. While this was occurring, one of the victims stood up from the couch and was struck in the face by the suspect with the handgun. The suspects then fled the area on foot and the victims notified police.
“The investigation into the aggravated robbery continued by the Criminal Investigations Division and the suspects were able to be identified. Through the continued investigation, detectives were able to obtain warrants charging the two suspects for this offense on June 3, 2014.”
In other words, head coach Kevin Sumlin had no choice to part ways with a pair of players who were expected to be starters in 2014.
In the year prior to Seth Littrell‘s arrival in Denton, North Texas went through an abysmal one-win season. Twelve months later, they participated in the postseason. A couple of months after that, the football program’s head coach has been rewarded for the immediate turnaround.
In a press release Friday afternoon, UNT announced that the university and Littrell have reached an agreement on a new five-year deal. The school’s Board of regents has already signed off on the contract.
With the new deal, the 38-year-old Littrell is now signed through the 20121 season.
There’s no official word yet as to what financial enhancements were included as part of the new pact. Last season, his first as a head coach, Littrell was paid $815,000. That number was third among Conference USA coaches in 2016 according to USA Today‘s salary database.
“We are excited to announce this new agreement with coach Littrell,” said athletic director Wren Baker in a statement. “Under one of the brightest young coaches in the country, our football program had the second-best turnaround in the nation last season and his performance was recognized by his colleagues and media members around the nation. This new contract represents an aggressive move to keep coach Littrell, his staff, and their positive momentum intact. This is validation of the successful efforts that Seth has led in the early stages of the turnaround of North Texas football.”
While the Mean Green finished the 2016 regular season 5-7, they were one of the five-win teams to qualify for a bowl game. It was the program’s first bowl appearance since 2013 and just the second in the last dozen years.
The four-win turnaround from the previous season was the second-best at the FBS level.
North Carolina’s reported poaching of North Texas’ coaching staff is officially official.
UNC acknowledged in a press release Friday that Mike Ekeler has been hired as the Tar Heels’ new linebackers coach. Ekeler will take over the job previously held by John Papuchis, who was promoted to defensive coordinator after Gene Chizik abruptly stepped down to spend more time with his family.
“We’re thrilled to add Mike to our coaching staff,” said head coach Larry Fedora in a statement. “He’s a well-respected, energetic coach who has worked with other members of our defensive staff in the past, which will make the transition to Carolina that much easier. He’s an outstanding coach and recruiter who will be a great fit for our program. We look forward to having Mike and his wife and kids join the UNC family.”
Ekeler spent the 2016 season as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for the Mean Green. Prior to joining UNT, he spent two seasons as inside linebackers coach at Georgia.
He’s also worked on coaching staffs at USC (2013), Indiana (2011-12), Nebraska (2008-10), LSU (2005-07) and Oklahoma (2003-04). At the latter two stops, Ekeler served as a graduate assistant.
Not surprisingly, Syracuse’s top returning defensive back will get to spend a little additional time with the Orange.
On social media Thursday, Antwan Cordy announced that the NCAA has granted him a medical hardship waiver for his 2016 season. Because of the medical redshirt, the safety will have two seasons of eligibility at his disposal instead of just the one prior to the decision.
Should he choose, Cordy could play for the Orange in 2017 and 2018 seasons.
Cordy started the first two games last year, but sustained what turned out to be a season-ending arm injury in a Week 2 loss to Louisville.
In 2015, Cordy started all 12 games for the Orange, with the 5-8, 175-pounder’s 12 tackles for loss leading the team and setting a school record for defensive backs. That total was also second in the ACC amongst secondary players (Duke’s Jeremy Cash, 18).
Paul Chryst is certainly taking a unique approach in reconstituting his Wisconsin coaching staff.
Earlier this month, Chryst hired Jim Leonhard as his new defensive coordinator despite the latter having just one year of experience as a coach at any level. Now, reports have surfaced that Chryst is bringing Bob Bostad back to Madison to fill a vacancy on the staff.
While Bostad was an offensive assistant during his first tour of duty with the Badgers, he’ll be a defensive coach in this latest stint. Specifically, he’ll serve as UW’s inside linebackers coach.
Bostad would technically replace Justin Wilcox, the coordinator Leonhard replaced after Wilcox took the head-coaching job at Cal last month.
From 2006-11, Bostad was an assistant for the Badgers — the first two seasons as tight ends coach, the last four as offensive line coach. After spending four seasons as the line coach for two NFL franchises — Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2012-13), Tennessee Titans (2014-15) — Bostad spent the 2016 season as tight ends coach at Northern Illinois.
In a coaching career that spans 27 seasons, this would be Bostad’s first job on the defensive side of the ball.
UPDATED 12:59 p.m. ET: Wisconsin has confirmed the hiring of Bostad.