As the Tulsa Golden Hurricane prepares for Friday’s contest against the East Carolina Pirates, it may be the last time head coach Bill Blankenship leads the team unto the field.
Conflicting reports surfaced earlier in the evening regarding Blankenship’s future with the program.
FOX Sports’ Bruce Feldman originally reported Blankenship will be dismissed after tonight’s game. However, the Tulsa World‘s John Hoover spoke with Tulsa University president Steadman Upham, who claimed a decision hasn’t been made. Hoover admitted the dismissal is still expected, though.
The Golden Hurricane is 2-9 this season and currently in ninth place during the program’s first season as part of the American Athletic Conference.
During Blankenship’s tenure, the team fell apart during the past two seasons. Last year’s 3-9 served as a precursor to the current disappointing campaign. Blankenship is 24-26 overall entering tonight’s game.
However, expectations were raised in Tulsa due to the success of the coaches that immediately predated Blankenship. From 2003-10, the Golden Hurricane was 64-39 overall under the direction of Steve Kragthorpe and then Todd Graham.
Both coaches went on to accept higher-profile jobs before the reins were eventually handed to Blankenship, a former Tulsa quarterback who never coached at any level above the high school ranks before being named an assistant coach under Graham.
During two non-competitive seasons, a program that was previously known for producing great offensive football and served as a hotbed for the next top name in coaching circles devolved under Blankenship’s direction.
Upham may be waiting to make his decision, but it’s clear which direction he should be leaning.
Will Sunderland‘s legal issues just got a whole lot more serious.
Earlier this month, an arrest warrant was issued for Sunderland after he allegedly sold stolen property to an Oklahoma City business in mid-March. At the time, it was believed that the Oklahoma defensive back did not steal the items in question, which included a Playstation 4, controllers and games.
Wednesday, however, Sunderland was charged with felony burglary. According to both the Norman Transcript and The Oklahoman, this most recent charge is likely related to Sunderland allegedly stealing electronics from the dorm room of a pair of OU baseball players — that he then sold, leading to the original misdemeanor charge.
The latter newspaper went on to report that there may be video evidence of the incident.
According to the affidavit submitted by OUPD, Sunderland was seen on recorded video using a OneCard Swipe to enter Headington Hall, and his identity was later confirmed by the OneCard Swipe log. Video then shows Sunderland entering the third floor and walking down the hall that also leads to his room. Then, according to the affidavit, Sunderland appears to be walking toward the elevator lobby but is not seen again on the security footage until eight minutes later when he returns to view with a large unidentified object.
Cameras show Sunderland repeating similar actions for about 36 minutes before he is seen carrying a large red bag into an elevator alone. Once outside, cameras show Sunderland placing the red bag in the trunk of a vehicle parked outside Headington Hall. He then returned to Headington Hall with an unidentified male, and 31 minutes later, they exited carrying two white trash bags.
While Sunderland has turned himself in on the misdemeanor charge, he hasn’t as of yet on the felony.
After the misdemeanor charge, Sunderland was indefinitely suspended. What the felony charge does to his status with the football program moving forward remains to be seen.
Last season as a sophomore, Sunderland played in eight games. This season, Sunderland was expected to stake his claim to one of the starting safety jobs.
It appears that a former Alabama football player will remain in the Yellowhammer State to continue his collegiate playing career. Probably.
Earlier this month, it was reported that Shawn Jennings had decided to transfer from Alabama. On his personal Twitter account Wednesday, Jennings revealed that he has committed to playing football for the Sun Belt Conference’s South Alabama.
The linebacker also added a curious “[a]s of now” qualifier, indicating that, at the very least, the commitment could be described as soft at best.
If Jennings ends up on Joey Jones‘ USA team, or any other FBS program for that matter, he’d have to sit out the 2017 season.
A three-star member of the Tide’s 2016 recruiting class, Jennings was rated as the No. 21 player at any position in the state of Alabama. As a true freshman, he took a redshirt.
Jennings’ older brother, redshirt sophomore Anfernee Jennings, is in line to start at outside linebacker for ‘Bama this season.
For the second time this week, one Sun Belt Conference program has apparently landed a Power Five transfer.
Per a report from 247Sports.com, Camrin Knight has decided to transfer out of the Florida football program. The Gainesville Sun subsequently confirmed the initial report.
The recruiting website also reported that Knight will be transferring to Georgia State. Earlier this week, it was also reported that South Carolina’s Pete Leota would be transferring to GSU as well.
Barring something unexpected, Knight will be forced to sit out the 2017 season to satisfy NCAA bylaws.
A three-star 2015 recruit, Knight played in eight games as a true freshman tight end. His playing time was cut exactly in half last season, and he moved to linebacker this past spring.
It has been a busy day for Nebraska football news here at College Football Talk, but here’s one more story to fill your plate. Redshirt freshman linebacker Greg Simmons is no longer with the Nebraska program, according to reports.
Sean Callahan of Huskers Online reported Simmons has left the football team, as confirmed by a Nebraska spokesperson. No reason for his departure was given.
Simmons did not play for Nebraska in 2016, in part due to a neck injury suffered in fall camp. After the spring practice season, Simmons was buried on the depth chart. Simmons was a three-star member of Nebraska’s Class of 2016 and chose the Huskers over offers from schools like Louisville, Kentucky, Maryland, Miami, among others.
As of now, there is no indication where the Florida native will head next. Should he transfer to another FBS program, he will be required to sit out the 2017 season even though he did not play a down for the Huskers in 2016. However, if he transfers to a lower division program beneath the FBS ranks, he will be eligible to play right away in the fall. Simmons has three years of eligibility remaining after burning a redshirt season in 2016.