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Johnny Football goes back to school

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Former Texas A&M quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel is heading back to school this semester. As he puts his NFL career on hold — albeit as the collective choice of the NFL as a whole as opposed to Manziel stepping in to re-evaluate his career — Manziel has reportedly enrolled in classes at Texas A&M.

According to The Dallas Morning News, Manziel is listed as a senior at Texas A&M and is taking online classes from his Los Angeles home. So scratch the idea of seeing Manziel walking around Texas A&M’s campus this fall, unless he flies in to check out the Aggies in Kyle Field. Manziel previously studied for a degree in recreation, parks and tourism sciences at Texas A&M before leaving school early to pursue a career in the NFL.

The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner played his final season of college football in 2013. The Cleveland Browns selected Manziel with the 2nd pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. His brief NFL career has been a train wreck off the field with not very much to show for it on the field either. Manziel was suspended for the first four games of the 2016 NFL season due to a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. The Browns released Manziel from their roster in mid-March.

Manziel’s Twitter activity over the past few months has been sparse, but when he does pop up in the timeline he has expressed regret about how things have turned out for him since leaving the Aggies for the NFL.

Other times, he has not been so apologetic…

Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin has said Manziel would always be welcomed back to be around the program, even when Manziel has been at his lowest. To Sumlin, Manziel is a key member of the Aggies family, and it is easy to understand why. Sumlin took over as head coach of the Aggies as they moved into the SEC from the Big 12, and it was a wild debut. Manziel lit up the SEC by storm and topped No. 1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa en route to a Heisman Trophy at the end of the season. Manziel’s success combined with Texas A&M’s move to the SEC helped spark a significant push in fundraising and donations fo the school, leading to a massive renovation of Kyle Field and more for the university.

Here’s hoping this is a step in the right direction for Manziel to get his life and priorities back in order.

Reports: Maryland OC Walt Bell to take same job at Florida State

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Willie Taggart has found himself someone to (help) guide his first offense at Florida State.

While there’s nothing official yet from the football program, 247Sports.com was among the first to report that Maryland’s Walt Bell is set to be named as FSU’s offensive coordinator. Bell is also expected to serve as FSU’s quarterbacks coach.

ESPN.com subsequently confirmed the initial reports.

The 33-year-old Bell spent the past two seasons as the coordinator at Maryland.  Prior to that, he held the same job, along with quarterbacks coach responsibility, at Arkansas State from 2014-15.

While Bell called plays during his stint with the Terrapins, it’s expected Taggart will have play-calling responsibilities with the Seminoles.

Wazzu statement: ‘The tragic news today surrounding Tyler Hilinksi is devastating to all’

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Tuesday night, the Pullman Police Department confirmed that 21-year-old Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski was found dead in his apartment of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.  Very early Wednesday morning, the football program and athletic department released statements addressing the devastating developments.

HEAD FOOTBALL COACH MIKE LEACH
We are deeply saddened to hear the news of Tyler’s passing. He was an incredible young man and everyone who had the privilege of knowing him was better for it. The entire WSU community mourns as thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

INTERIM ATHLETIC DIRECTOR John Johnson
The tragic news today surrounding Tyler Hilinski is devastating to all. Tyler was a tremendous individual, great friend and teammate, and he will be deeply missed. Our hearts go out to his family and friends.

Earlier tonight, the football team was brought together and informed of the tragedy. There, they were met by campus and department counseling and psychological services, including athletics’ on-staff clinical psychologist and a licensed mental health counselor, along with WSU Athletics medical team. The university will continue to coordinate and provide ongoing counseling care for all student-athletes as long as needed.

Washington State QB Tyler Hilinski found dead in apparent suicide

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There is utterly tragic and horrific news coming out of Pullman Tuesday night.

According to the Pullman Police Department, Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski was found dead at his apartment late Tuesday afternoon of what was described as an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. “A rifle was discovered next to Hilinski and a suicide note was found,” the police stated in a release.

Police officers were called to the residence at 7:30 p.m. ET (4:40 p.m. local time) for a wellness check after the redshirt sophomore failed to show up for a team activity earlier in the day.

Hilinski was just 21 years old.

As of this posting, there’s been no official response from the football program regarding the passing of Hilinski.  Wednesday, the university had been expected to announce the new athletic director replacing Bill Moos, Florida Atlantic’s Pat Chun; because of the football player’s death, that press conference will be rescheduled for a later date.

In place of Luke Falk, Hilinski started Wazzu’s Holiday Bowl loss to Michigan State.  With Falk off to the NFL, Hilinski was expected to be the Cougars’ starting quarterback in 2018.

Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to all of those impacted by Hilinski’s way-too-early passing.

Former Nebraska OL coach Mike Cavanaugh hired by Syracuse

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Dino Babers has added a very experienced trenchman to his Syracuse coaching staff.

The school confirmed Tuesday that Babers has hired Mike Cavanaugh as his next offensive line coach. In a coaching career that spans 32 seasons, Cavanaugh has been a line coach in some form or fashion for 31 of them.

“Mike has an outstanding track record of teaching and developing quality offensive linemen,” Babers said in a statement. “He’s done it successfully at every level in college as well as the pros. This was an opportunity to add someone whose knowledge and experience will greatly enhance our staff and benefit our players.”

The past three seasons, Cavanaugh was the line coach at Nebraska. At the FBS level, he’s also served as a line coach at Oregon State (2005-14) and Hawaii (1999-2004).

From 1997-98, Cavanaugh was the assistant offensive line coach for the NFL’s San Diego Chargers.

“I’d like to thank Coach Babers for this opportunity and for welcoming me into the Syracuse family,” Cavanaugh said. “He and his staff have coached some of the most prolific offenses in college football. I’m excited to learn from them and to be part of the championship-caliber program they are building at Syracuse.”

The 2018 season will mark the first time since 2004 Cavanaugh is not a part of a Mike Riley-coached staff.