The roller coaster ride that is Tee Shepard continued down the tracks Thursday, with the talented defensive back receiving some good news on the qualifying front.
Citing an Ole Miss spokesperson, the Jackson Clarion-Ledger reported overnight that Shepard has been cleared academically and will be a part of the Rebels football team in 2014. Because he played at a level below the FBS in 2013, Shepard will be permitted to play this season and have three years of eligibility remaining.
Shepard had originally given a verbal commitment to rival Mississippi State before flipping to Ole Miss three days later on signing day this year. That was merely the latest leg of what’s been an interesting journey for the player.
Notre Dame announced back in March of 2012 that Shepard was no longer enrolled at the school, two months after he enrolled as an early signee as part of the Irish’s 2012 recruiting class. The stated reason for Shepard’s decision at the time was the desire to be back closer to his family in Fresno.
After leaving South Bend, Shepard considered transferring to Fresno State as well as USC before ultimately landing at a junior college.
Shepard, a four- or five-star player depending on the recruiting service, was rated as the No. 4 corner in the country in the Class of 2012 and the No. 11 player at any position in the state of California by Rivals.com.
Jimbo Fisher‘s native and adopted states could soon be crossing paths on the gridiron, this time in the regular season.
Mike Casazza of the Charleston Gazette-Mail was the first to report that West Virginia and Florida State are in talks for a game that would open the 2020 season, and that the two sides were close to finishing the deal. ESPN.com‘s Brett McMurphy subsequently confirmed that report.
The game, which would be the latest iteration in the long-running Chick-fil-A Kickoff series, would be played Sept. 5 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
The football programs have met three times previously, with all three coming in the Gator Bowl. As WVU was in the process of moving from the Big East to the Big 12 in February of 2012, it cancelled a 2012-13 home-and-home series with the Seminoles.
The final of what was a trio of FSU wins over WVU came in the last game for Bobby Bowden, the legendary head coach of the Seminoles who coached the Mountaineers for six seasons before leaving for Tallahassee.
Bowden’s successor at FSU, Fisher, is a native of Clarksburg, WV.
As you no doubt know by now, the Big 12 announced earlier this month that the conference will expand. Wednesday night, a pair of entertainment heavyweights threw their celebrity behind two of the potential candidates.
A handful of teams have been mentioned as possibilities, from Houston to UConn to USF to BYU to Tulane to East Carolina to Cincinnati to Colorado State to Boise State. Additionally, Memphis and UCF have been heavily speculated on for months, and they’re the two programs that have seen Memphis native Justin Timberlake and Nebraska fan Larry the Cable Guy, respectively, stumping for them within a couple of hours of each other.
It’s highly, highly doubtful that the celebrities throwing their support behind their favorites will have any impact whatsoever on the process or the Big 12’s ultimate decision. Still, it certainly can’t hurt in the court of public opinion.
A situation that began to grow legs earlier this week now has some video evidence to prop it up. Purportedly.
Monday, reports surfaced that a group of Washington State football players triggered a brawl at a backyard party in Pullman early Saturday morning. The players allegedly threw fireworks at attendees, which twice led to a request by the house’s residents to leave. A third request saw the verbal engagement escalate into a physical confrontation on the part of the players, with one of the residents being knocked unconscious for 10 minutes and another sustaining a broken jaw that’s going to require reconstructive surgery.
The names of the Cougars reportedly involved have not been divulged.
A police investigation into the situation is ongoing, and felony charges against those involved are possible. One snippet that will be of interest to those investigating the brawl was obtained and posted by Spokane Spokesman-Review.
Head coach Mike Leach has yet to comment publicly on the incident, although athletic director Bill Moos released the following statement:
In regards to the events that took place over the past weekend, the university was made aware of the situation shortly after the incident occurred. It is our understanding there is a thorough investigation underway by local law enforcement and we will cooperate fully as we take these matters seriously. In addition, facts are being gathered within the athletic department in order to provide assistance. We have high expectations for the conduct of WSU student-athletes, and treat any alleged allegations with the utmost transparency. The WSU athletic staff is in constant communication with the Office of the President and the Office of Student Life to ensure that university leadership is aware of the continuing investigation by local law enforcement. We will refrain from further comment until the findings of the investigation are complete.
For the third consecutive day, it’s time to hit the reset button on the “Days Without An Arrest” ticker.
The latest to trigger a move back to double zeroes is North Texas’ Turner Smiley, with the Denton Police Department’s website showing that the wide receiver has been charged with driving while intoxicated. The arrest took place shortly before 4 a.m. CST Wednesday.
No details of what led up to the arrest and charge are available.
A UNT spokesman first confirmed that the football program is aware of the development, and later a statement attributed to head coach Seth Littrell was released.
We are aware of the situation regarding Turner Smiley from earlier this morning and we are still in the process of collecting all the facts. Until I have an opportunity to talk with him I will refrain from further comment. We have high expectations for all of our student-athletes and we take situations like this very seriously. We will take an immediate and appropriate course of action after I speak with him.
Last season, Smiley was third on the team in receptions (25) and receiving yards (255). He’s the leading returning receiver on the Mean Green, and the only player on the roster with more than 17 receptions last season.