Report: potential ‘major violation,’ Miami dropping a dime preceded Joker’s resignation

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Bit by bit, day by day, we’re able to piece together a little more of the surprising — some would say stunning — resignation of Joker Phillips as Florida’s wide receivers coach Wednesday.

The departure was labeled “personal reasons” initially, although it was subsequently reported that an NCAA violation was behind the resignation.  Specifically, a “bump” with a potential recruit, which would be considered a very minor, secondary NCAA violation — and which wouldn’t normally prompt a well-respected coach to leave his post so suddenly, if at all.

According to Yahoo!, however, there appears to be more behind the alleged NCAA violation that forced the Joker’s hand.  From Pat Forde and Charles Robinson:

Former University of Florida wide receivers coach Joker Phillips resigned this week after the NCAA received a photo of the coach sitting in a restaurant with a high school recruit during a mandated dead period in recruiting, multiple sources told Yahoo Sports.

Three sources told Yahoo Sports the photo was turned over to the NCAA by an individual with ties to the Miami Hurricanes athletics program. Should the NCAA determine Phillips improperly recruited during a mandated dead period, it could be considered a major NCAA violation.

Sitting with a potential recruit in a restaurant during a dead period would not only seem to bend the spirit of the “bump” rule, but would ostensibly shatter it into myriad pieces.

Essentially, the “bump” rule involves a coach accidentally coming into contact with a potential recruit — i.e., bumping into him/her — during an impermissible contact period. A brief exchange would be considered a secondary violation and would result in less than a slap on the wrist; what the Yahoo! report is describing extends far beyond what’s normally thought of as a violation of the “bump” rule, and could cause significant issues for Phillips NCAA-wise.

What it would mean for the Florida football program and potential sanctions, minor (more likely) or major (less likely), from an emasculated NCAA is unknown at this point in time.

Neither the NCAA nor Florida, obviously, are commenting on the situation, including Yahoo!‘s most recent allegations.

Memphis lands Arizona State grad transfer QB Brady White

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Brady White came to Arizona State as the highest-rated quarterback signee in the program’s history.  Three years later, he’ll write the final chapter of his collegiate playing career a lot further east.

In an announcement posted to his Twitter account Tuesday night, White revealed that, “[a]fter weeks of prayer, reflection, and discussion with my family,” he has decided to transfer from ASU to Memphis.  White heads to the Tigers as a graduate, which give him immediate eligibility in 2018.

Not only that, but White will be eligible to play in 2019 as well.  The Memphis Commercial Appeal is also reporting that White could have another season beyond that via a medical hardship waiver.

A four-star member of the Sun Devils’ 2015 recruiting class, White was the No. 4 pro-style quarterback in the country; the No. 10 player at any position in the state of California; and rated as the No. 68 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board.  And ASU’s offensive coordinator when he signed? Mike Norvell, who is now the head coach at Memphis.

After redshirting as a true freshman, White appeared in three games in 2016, completing 25-of-49 passes for 259 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.  He started one of those games, in early October against UCLA.  A foot injury not only ended that season prematurely, but kept him out for the 2017 season as well; that’s the missed season that will likely get White a sixth year of eligibility in 2020.

Reports: Maryland OC Walt Bell to take same job at Florida State

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Willie Taggart has found himself someone to (help) guide his first offense at Florida State.

While there’s nothing official yet from the football program, 247Sports.com was among the first to report that Maryland’s Walt Bell is set to be named as FSU’s offensive coordinator. Bell is also expected to serve as FSU’s quarterbacks coach.

ESPN.com subsequently confirmed the initial reports.

The 33-year-old Bell spent the past two seasons as the coordinator at Maryland.  Prior to that, he held the same job, along with quarterbacks coach responsibility, at Arkansas State from 2014-15.

While Bell called plays during his stint with the Terrapins, it’s expected Taggart will have play-calling responsibilities with the Seminoles.

Wazzu statement: ‘The tragic news today surrounding Tyler Hilinksi is devastating to all’

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Tuesday night, the Pullman Police Department confirmed that 21-year-old Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski was found dead in his apartment of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.  Very early Wednesday morning, the football program and athletic department released statements addressing the devastating developments.

HEAD FOOTBALL COACH MIKE LEACH
We are deeply saddened to hear the news of Tyler’s passing. He was an incredible young man and everyone who had the privilege of knowing him was better for it. The entire WSU community mourns as thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

INTERIM ATHLETIC DIRECTOR John Johnson
The tragic news today surrounding Tyler Hilinski is devastating to all. Tyler was a tremendous individual, great friend and teammate, and he will be deeply missed. Our hearts go out to his family and friends.

Earlier tonight, the football team was brought together and informed of the tragedy. There, they were met by campus and department counseling and psychological services, including athletics’ on-staff clinical psychologist and a licensed mental health counselor, along with WSU Athletics medical team. The university will continue to coordinate and provide ongoing counseling care for all student-athletes as long as needed.

Washington State QB Tyler Hilinski found dead in apparent suicide

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There is utterly tragic and horrific news coming out of Pullman Tuesday night.

According to the Pullman Police Department, Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski was found dead at his apartment late Tuesday afternoon of what was described as an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. “A rifle was discovered next to Hilinski and a suicide note was found,” the police stated in a release.

Police officers were called to the residence at 7:30 p.m. ET (4:40 p.m. local time) for a wellness check after the redshirt sophomore failed to show up for a team activity earlier in the day.

Hilinski was just 21 years old.

As of this posting, there’s been no official response from the football program regarding the passing of Hilinski.  Wednesday, the university had been expected to announce the new athletic director replacing Bill Moos, Florida Atlantic’s Pat Chun; because of the football player’s death, that press conference will be rescheduled for a later date.

In place of Luke Falk, Hilinski started Wazzu’s Holiday Bowl loss to Michigan State.  With Falk off to the NFL, Hilinski was expected to be the Cougars’ starting quarterback in 2018.

Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to all of those impacted by Hilinski’s way-too-early passing.