Jayhawks (finally) confirm Jake Heaps transfer

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A little over six weeks ago, reports surfaced that Jake Heaps would be transferring from Kansas.  The Jayhawks denied the initial reports, and head coach Charlie Weis got miffed when asked about Heaps’ status two weeks later.

Now, however, there’s some clarity to the situation.

In a release this evening, KU confirmed that Heaps is one of two seniors who have decided to pursue other opportunities. The other is wide receiver Andrew Turzilli.

Both players have graduated and will be eligible to play immediately this season if they remain at the FBS level.

Regardless of where Heaps lands — speculation has run the gamut from Boise State to Hawaii to SMU to Fresno State to Utah State — it will be the third stop of his collegiate career.

In December of 2011, it was reported that Heaps would be transferring from BYU to Kansas. After sitting out the 2012 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules, Heaps started nine games for the Jayhawks in 2013. During that lone season on the field in Lawrence, Heaps completed just 49 percent of his passes and tossed 10 interceptions versus eight touchdowns.

Reports that Heaps would be leaving Lawrence came two weeks after Montell Cozart was tabbed by head coach Charlie Weis as the Jayhawks’ starter.

Heaps was a four-star member of the Cougars’ 2010 recruiting class and the No. 1 pro-style QB in the country according to Rivals.com.

“I am very grateful for the opportunity given to me by Coach Weis to play football and earn my college degree at the University of Kansas,” said Heaps in a statement. “My wife and I have truly enjoyed being part of the Jayhawk community. We have made lifelong friends through this experience and we will always consider ourselves Jayhawks.”

Turzilli, a three-star member of KU’s 2010 recruiting class, started seven of the 24 games in which he played for the Jayhawks. He finishes the KU portion of his career with 27 receptions for 491 yards and two touchdowns.”

“Andrew, who graduated in May, and Jake, who will graduate at the end of June, have decided to explore other opportunities,” said Weis. “I’m proud that both of these young men leave Kansas as graduates. I would like to thank them for their contributions to KU football and wish them the best.”

In addition to Heaps and Turzilli, KU also announced that running back Darrian Miller was leaving for “personal reasons.”  Miller’s departure is actually a bit of a blow as he finished second on the team in rushing in 2011 and 2013 — his official bio states he took classes, but did not play in any games in 2012 — with 599 and 322 yards, respectively.

WATCH: trailer for Joe Paterno movie starring Al Pacino released

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If you’re wondering what a legendary college football head coach who fell from grace looks like (very briefly) through the prism of Hollywood, you’re in luck.

It was confirmed in the summer of last year that Oscar-winning actor Al Pacino was set to star as former Penn State coach Joe Paterno in an HBO-produced film, with the movie focusing on the immediate aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky child-sex scandal that erupted in November of 2011 and Paterno’s subsequent dismissal nearly two weeks later.  “Paterno,” directed by Barry Levinson and also starring Emmy Award-winning actress Kathy Baker, is set to premiere at some point this spring.

Ahead of that, a trailer for the highly-anticipated flick was released Friday.

The film is expected to center on how much Paterno, the unquestioned king of Happy Valley during his half-century reign, knew about Sandusky’s crimes, when he learned about them and whether he did enough with the information he had.

“He did act upon it,” Pacino said by way of pennlive.com. “He did say he thought someone should look into this. But a guy like Paterno, he’s like an emperor, he’s like a king. He didn’t take up with it because it was out of his control, and I think this is a character who’s used to control.”

“The film lays out the elements of the story and leaves you to make your own judgment,” said Levinson. “There are times when you may feel one way, and times when you may feel a totally different way, and I think that’s what makes the piece so compelling.”

Gus Malzahn’s new contract includes over $24 million in guaranteed money, increased buyout for Auburn

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Auburn head coach Gus Malzhan is a rich man. He’s set to become even richer.

It’s no secret that the Tigers’ head coach agreed to a new deal back in December that was worth a reported seven years at roughly $7 million a season. While the overall value of that would work out to around $49 million if Malzahn stays on the Plains until 2025, that’s not quite the amount that the school is committing to the coach if they decided to make a change down the road.

Speaking at a news conference for new athletic director Allen Greene on Friday, Auburn president Steven Leath told the Montgomery Advertiser that just over half of the money in the deal is fully guaranteed (so roughly $24.5 million) and that while there is an increased buyout on the Tigers side, it is not close to the reported $49 million mark that some thought it would be when figures were flying around at the end of 2017.

“I’m still a trust guy,” Leath told the paper. “Gus and I are functioning well together. We know the basic tenets, we’ve drawn things up and sent it to his attorney. So we’ll get that cleaned up pretty soon.”

He also confirmed the deal has not been signed by either side.

While Malzahn does seem like he’s on solid footing after guiding the team to an Iron Bowl victory, a SEC West title and a New Year’s Six bowl berth last season, he’s certainly no stranger to the hot seat given the fan base he works with and the sky-high expectations for the school. Either way, he’ll enter 2018 as one of the highest paid coaches in the country and a very rich man going forward, even if it wasn’t quite the security that some thought he was getting after a rumored flirtation with Arkansas several weeks ago.

Auburn checks in at No. 16 in CFT’s Way-Too-Early Top 25 for next season.

Wisconsin renews Paul Chryst’s contract again, keeps him in Madison until 2023

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It’s becoming a regular occurrence around Madison this time of year but Wisconsin has renewed head coach Paul Chryst’s contract once again.

The UW Athletic Board approved the deal on Friday and keeps Chryst around with a five-year contract that runs through January 31, 2023. Other terms of the contract were not announced but this is pretty standard operating procedure for the school after the board did the same back in 2017 and 2016 to keep the coach on what amounts to a rolling five-year deal.

Based on his upgraded deal that agreed to last winter, Chryst is set to set make $3.3 million in 2018 with additional annual raises of $100,000 each year through 2023.

Chryst is 34–7 at his alma mater (53-26 overall as a head coach) and is coming off the team’s best season several years after going 13-1 in 2017 and capping things off with a victory over Miami in the Orange Bowl. The Badgers could be even better in 2018 given what returns to the starting lineup and were slotted in at No. 5 in CFT’s Way-Too-Early Top 25 for next season as a result.

Colorado State officially announces hire of John Jancek as Rams’ new defensive coordinator

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Mike Bobo finally has his defensive coordinator as Colorado State announced on Friday that long time coaching veteran John Jancek was hired to run the Rams’ defense.

“I’ve had the opportunity to coach on the same staff with John at Georgia, and I’ve coordinated offenses that have gone up against his defenses,” Bobo said in a statement. “He has a great deal of experience coaching and winning at the highest levels of college football, and I’m very excited he is part of the Ram Family.”

The hire of Jancek comes a little over a week after the program nearly brought in former Alabama assistant Derrick Ansleywho was set to head to Fort Collins to take the DC job before getting hired by the Oakland Raiders and their new coach Jon Gruden. The team had an opening at the position after Marty English retired following the 2017 season.

Jancek most recently was a defensive consultant at Kentucky this past season but spent the three years prior as the coordinator at SEC rival Tennessee. All told, this is his fifth stop as a defensive coordinator at the FBS level — including a stint at Georgia that overlapped with Bobo’s tenure in Athens from 2005-2009. He also spent one season as the safeties coach at South Florida in 2016 in his last full-time on the field role as a coach.

Jancek’s move west caps off a busy week for Colorado State’s staff after Dave Johnson was hired as run game coordinator and offensive line coach on Tuesday.