Ex-Penn State QB, former four-star RB added to UMass roster

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UMass Wednesday added a few players to its football program, including a player who is very familiar to/with its head coach and one who was once a highly-touted recruit at a skill position.

As had previously been speculated/reported, the Minutemen announced in a press release earlier in the day that, among others, quarterback Austin Whipple and running back Drew Harris were added to the roster. The former will be forced to sit out the 2014 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules while the latter will (possibly) be eligible to play immediately.

Whipple is the son of first-year head coach Mark Whipple. His brother, Spencer, serves as UMass’ tight ends coach.

In mid-June it was announced that Whipple was one of four players departing the Penn State football program. He spent the 2013 season as a walk-on who ended up taking a redshirt. He’ll have three years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2015.

It’s Harris, though, who could ultimately make the biggest impact.

The four-star recruit was rated as the No. 22 running back in the country in the Class of 2012. With offers from, among others, Arizona State, Arkansas, Georgia, Miami, Michigan State, Penn State, South Carolina and West Virginia, the Pennsylvania native signed with Virginia Tech. Unfortunately, Harris failed to qualify academically and spent 2012 and 2013 at a prep school and a New York JUCO, respectively.

There is some concern that Harris may not qualify academically at UMass, however.

In addition to Harris and Whipple, German defensive lineman Lukas Kolter and punter Brian McDonald were added to the Minutemen’s roster.

(Photo credit: Rivals.com)

Next Chance U: Dismissed Oklahoma QB Chris Robison will join Auburn transfer John Franklin III at FAU

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In a span of just a few hours, Lane Kiffin Tuesday bolstered his first Florida Atlantic roster with a pair of Power Five transfers.

In the middle of the afternoon Tuesday, Auburn confirmed that John Franklin III had decided to transfer from the Tigers in order to be closer to his Fort Lauderdale, Fla., home. Not long after, the quarterback-turned-wide receiver revealed on his Instagram account that he is “coming home and looking forward to playing my last collegiate season at FAU under Coach Lane Kiffin.”

Franklin would come to the Owls as a graduate transfer, giving him immediate eligibility.

Thank you Tiger Nation #WDE

A post shared by John Franklin III (@jf3_5) on Aug 15, 2017 at 12:45pm PDT

Not even four hours later, Chris Robison took to social media on his private Twitter account to announce that he too will be transferring into Kiffin’s FAU program. The quarterback was dismissed by Oklahoma earlier this month for violating unspecified team rules.

A four-star member of the Sooners’ 2017 recruiting class, Robison was rated as the No. 7 pro-style quarterback in the country; the No. 29 player at any position in the state of Texas; and the No. 173 recruit on 247Sports.com‘s composite board. As an early enrollee, Robison took part in spring practice and played in the spring game, completing 3-of-5 passes for 49 yards.

Roughly 12 hours after that game, he was arrested for being drunk in public. Because of only what were described as “personal reasons,” Robison wasn’t enrolled in summer classes and didn’t take part in football workouts during the same period.

Texas OT announces transfer from Texas Longhorns

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The Texas Longhorns are a program many are expecting to see take a step forward in the first year with new head coach Tom Herman at the helm, but the Longhorns saw the depth on the offensive line just take a hit on Tuesday. Jean Delance, a former four-star recruit of the Longhorns, has announced via Twitter he is departing the program and has already been granted a release from his scholarship.

Reports out of Austin have suggested Delance was being moved around the offensive line with others competing for a spot on the line. Beyond looking for a fresh start, as Delance explains in his shared statement, the other factors leading to his decision have not been shared.

As for that fresh start, Delance will have to sit out the entire 2017 season if he transfers to another FBS program according to NCAA transfer rules. He would be ruled eligible to play this fall, however, if he transfers to a football program at the FCS level or below.

The Longhorns are already dealing with some offensive line concerns ahead of the start of the 2017 season. Elijah Rodriguez , a projected starter according to My San Antonio, will be missing some time due to an ankle issue that continues to linger.

Colorado and Northwestern line up future home-and-home series

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Colorado and Northwestern have lined up a future home-and-home series for those planning ahead. The two schools announced a home-and-home series that will be played in 2025 and 2026, with each game being played on home campuses. None of that neutral field nonsense here!

Northwestern of the Big Ten will host Colorado of the Pac-12 on September 19, 2026. The Wildcats will make the trip to Boulder, Colorado the following season on September 11, 2027. The two schools have faced each other twice before, with Northwestern securing a 35-11 victory in 1951 and Colorado blowing out the Wildcats by a score of 55-7 in 1978. Each team won a game on their home field.

“This will be a great series for several reasons,” Colorado athletic director Rick George said in a released statement.  “Not only is it a quality match-up between two great academic and Pac-12 and Big Ten institutions, it’s important for us to get to that part of the country and the Chicago area for our alumni we have there.”

You may remember a few years back, before the Big Ten expanded to 14 members and both conferences had 12 members, the Pac-12 backed out of an arrangement for a full conference vs. conference scheduling agreement with the Big Ten. That would have been fun to watch, similar to the various conference vs. conference series in college basketball, so any time we can get a Big Ten and Pac-12 team on the same field is to be praised.

As a Big Ten member, Northwestern is required to schedule one game per season against another power conference opponent. Northwestern has the power conference scheduling commitment fulfilled in 2017 with Duke, 2018 (Duke, Notre Dame), 2019 (at Stanford), 2021 (at Duke), 2022 (Duke), 2023 (at Duke), 2024 (Duke), 2026 (Colorado), and now in 2027 (at Colorado).

The Pac-12 has no similar scheduling requirement for Colorado.

Arkansas will use new $137 million multimedia rights deal to upgrade stadium wifi

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Arkansas just signed up for a new 10-year multimedia rights deal with IMG College for a whopping $137 million, and the fans attending Razorback games are expected to reap the benefits in the future.

According to a report from Sports Business Journal, the new multimedia rights deal with IMG College — which handles multimedia rights distribution for all Arkansas sports coverage on TV and radio —  will help Arkansas fund a stadium-wide networking upgrade to a handful of Arkansas athletics venues, including Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. The upgrades will focus updating the wi-fi reception to allow for better connectivity for fans using their phones while attending games.

Now, if you are an Arkansas fan and feel as though you have heard about wireless upgrades before, that’s because you have. Arkansas announced plans to upgrade the wireless network status inside the stadium in 2014 as well. But anything upgraded in 2014 is already out of date by 2017 standards. It’s the same for mobile devices as it is the computer I am typing this one. Staying ahead of the curve in areas like this can be difficult, if not costly.

But with a brand spanking new multi media rights deal bringing in a dump truck of cash for Arkansas, the funds will be there to provide for the cost of upgrading the network inside the football stadium. So bring your phone, and your iPad, and whatever else you want to hook up to the network when you attend an Arkansas game. You might get improved service.