While Auburn’s run to the national title game last season was spurred by the team’s innovative offense and overwhelming rushing attack, the Tigers’ defense was led by defensive tackle Gabe Wright. Wright proved to be one of the most disruptive interior defenders in the nation, but his role is expected to expand this fall.
Wright will start the season at defensive tackle, but he’ll also be expected to receive repetitions at defensive end.
Wright was forced to play defensive end during spring practice due to injuries along the defensive line, and the Tigers’ coaching staff came away impressed with his play.
“(Auburn defensive line coach Rodney Gardner) actually wanted to put me in last year, but he just stated I wasn’t mentally ready,” Wright told al.com’s Brandon Marcello. “I respect and I don’t second-guess his decision. If I’m called upon, I will answer the call. There’s no doubt about that. It just shows his confidence in me.”
Wright also wasn’t physically ready to play defensive end last year. He’s down to 290 pounds with enough the athleticism to set the edge and rush the passer.
“I’ve been wanting to drop down body weight since I’ve been here — and body fat — which has been done,” Wright said.
Wright’s versatility will provide insurance along the Tigers’ defensive line after losing Dee Ford to the NFL and Carl Lawson to a potential season-ending ACL injury. Wright’s ability to provide depth at defensive end also allows the ultra-talented Montravius Adams to gain more repetitions at defensive tackle.
While Wright remains one of the best interior defenders in college football, his biggest contribution this season may be his ability to play defensive end until Lawson is fully healthy or one of the Tigers’ young pass rushers are ready to take over the spot.
The concern over the long-term effects of concussions has prompted yet another college football player to give up the game.
According to the Twitter feed of the Lake County News-Herald‘s John Kampf, Ohio University quarterback Conner Krizancic has decided to retire from the sport of football because of concussion concerns. Krizancic sustained a concussion in the Bobcats’ spring game earlier this year, the third concussion, including two in high school, he had sustained during his playing career.
Kampf confirmed the player’s decision through his father.
Krizancic originally signed with Minnesota as a three-star prospect in 2014, but the Gophers quickly moved the Ohio product to wide receiver. The desire to play quarterback led Krizancic to transfer from Minnesota to Ohio in January of 2015.
After sitting out the 2015 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules, Krizancic joined the Bobcats’ quarterbacking competition this past spring. Post-spring, though, there had been talk of Krizancic moving back to receiver.
When Toledo takes the field for the first couple of games this coming season, they’ll do so a little lighter on the defensive side of the ball than expected.
First-year head coach Jason Candle has confirmed that linebackers Jaylen Coleman and Anthony Davis and defensive tackle Marquise Moore have been suspended for the first two games of the upcoming season. The players will miss the season opener Sept. 2 against Arkansas State and the home opener against Maine Sept. 10 before being eligible to return for the following weekend’s game against Fresno State.
The only reason given by Candle for the suspensions was “violations of athletic department policies.”
Coleman started the first half of the 2015 season before a broken leg sidelined him for the final six games. According to the Toledo Blade, he was the Rockets’ leading tackler at the time of the injury.
Moore played in all 12 games last season, while Davis played in four.
Heading into summer camp, Coleman and Moore would’ve been projected starters at their respective positions.
Teldrick Morgan had been a significant part of New Mexico State’s passing game the past two seasons. In 2016, he’ll try to play the same role at a Big Ten school.
Maryland announced in a press release that Morgan, a native of Hanover, Maryland, has transferred to the university and will continue his collegiate playing career with the Terps. As Morgan is coming to College Park as a graduate transfer, he will be eligible to play immediately in 2016.
The upcoming season will be the wide receiver’s final year of eligibility.
“Teldrick brings a great deal to our program and we’re excited that he’s a part of our family,” first-year Terps head coach DJ Durkin said in a statement. “It’s always great to bring a local kid back home, and on top of that he’s very skilled and brings a wealth of experience to our receivers unit.”
Each of the past two seasons, Morgan led the Aggies in receptions. He caught 75 passes in 2014, although that production dipped to 45 in 2015. A part of that drop was due to a groin injury that cost the 6-0, 195-pound receiver three games, as well as the continued emergence of Larry Rose III (1,651 yards rushing).
Morgan totaled 120 receptions for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns
Some kids/young adults will simply never learn, at least not the easy way. Case in point: Robbie Rhodes.
In June of 2014, reports surfaced that Rhodes had, ahem, “parted ways” with Baylor “for undisclosed reasons.” That move came a month after Rhodes was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and tampering with physical evidence, even as charges were never filed against him. Two months after “parting ways” with BU, Bowling Green announced that the wide receiver had transferred into its football program.
Nearly two years later? He gone. Again.
According to the Toledo Blade, Rhodes has been dismissed from the Falcons football team. The only stated reason was an unspecified violation of team rules.
Rhodes, a four-star 2013 recruit rated as the No. 8 receiver in the country that year, appeared in 11 games as a true freshman for the Bears, recording 10 receptions for 157 yards. After sitting out the 2014 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules, Rhodes played in seven games for the Falcons last season, recording three catches for 130 yards.
Rhodes’ departure leaves the Falcons with just two receivers who have caught passes at the collegiate level — Ronnie Moore (third on the team in 2015 with 72 receptions for 954 yards and six touchdowns) and Scott Miller (7-29 last season).