This weekend’s clash against Florida State is set to be one of the biggest college football games in Louisville history and the Cardinals are taking full advantage of all the attention that comes with a top 10 matchup to honor one of their city’s native sons.
The school announced on Thursday that the university would be honoring the legacy of Muhammad Ali with several presentations set to be unveiled over the course of Saturday’s game.
“The Ali Family has been tremendous supporters of our program,” Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich said in a statement. “Muhammad Ali’s presence and generosity to our department will never be forgotten and the support Lonnie and her family have given in all aspects have meant a lot to me during the course of my career at the University of Louisville. They are treasured in our community and we wanted to properly thank them for everything they’ve meant to the city and the university.”
The legendary boxer passed away in early June but was well known for his support of the hometown Cardinals over the years. Both Ali’s wife Lonnie and son Asaad are scheduled to attend Saturday’s game against the Seminoles and will be heavily involved in the day’s festivities.
According to the school, a 30-foot painting of the boxer’s signature butterfly icon with the words ‘Ali’ will sit in the northwest corner of the end zone at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. The Cardinals will also wear a customized helmet sticker honoring Ali for the matchup and the school’s student section will wear more than 3,000 custom made Ali t-shirts.
Additionally, Asaad Ali will present both teams with a commemorative coin prior to kickoff and Lonnie Ali will be honored on the field during the first quarter for her and her husband’s work in various public service and humanitarian initiatives. Several highlights and video tributes will also be shown in the stadium throughout the game.
Kudos to Louisville for rolling out the red carpet to Ali’s family and honoring ‘The Champ’ in such a thoughtful way. With the No. 2 team in the country rolling into town, it will be interesting to see if Lamar Jackson and company are able to sting like a bee and pull off the upset as a result.
It appears Auburn’s search for a new offensive line coach may not take very long.
Tuesday, reports surfaced that Herb Hand was leaving The Plains to take the line job at Texas. The veteran will also be adding to title of co-offensive coordinator with the Longhorns.
One day later, UConn confirmed in a press release that its line coach, J.B. Grimes, has resigned his position, effective immediately. It just so happens that Grimes spent three seasons (2013-15) coaching at Auburn before moving on to Cincinnati for the 2016 season and, ultimately, UConn.
“I want to thank J.B. for his efforts during his time with us,” head coach Randy Edsall said in a statement. “I wish J.B and his family nothing but the best.”
Grimes spent one season with the Huskies.
It appears the door is at least slightly ajar for Jauan Jennings‘ return to Rocky Top.
A University of Tennessee spokesperson confirmed to the Knoxville News Sentinel that Jennings is enrolled in classes for the current semester. Jennings has met with both new head coach Jeremy Pruitt and athletic directors Phillip Fulmer about the possibility of being reinstated to the Vols football program.
“I think (Pruitt has) put some parameters around it,” Fulmer stated during a radio interview late last week, “and I guess everybody has got to figure out what those are and if they’re really going to do it. That’s up to them.”
The wide receiver’s status with the football program remains up in the air, nearly two months after Jennings went off on a profanity-laced social-media tirade aimed at the coaching staff. The day after, he was dismissed by interim head coach Brady Hoke, who made the decision in concert with then-athletic director John Currie.
In early September, prior to the off-field issue, Jennings suffered what turned out to be a season-ending wrist injury that limited him to three catches for 17 yards in just one game.
Jennings, who originally came to the Vols as a quarterback, was second on the team in 2016 with 580 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. His 40 receptions were tied for second on the team as well.
So much for a Primetime renewal in Tallahassee.
Late last month, just prior to Florida State’s Independence Bowl matchup with Southern Miss, speculation surfaced that there was mutual interest in Deion Sanders joining Willie Taggart‘s first FSU staff as defensive backs coach. During an in-game interview, the College and Pro Football Hall of Famer was asked about the speculation but did little to quash it.
Nearly a month later, that potential reunion has reportedly been quashed.
Sanders, whose NFL career ended in 2005, has never coached at the collegiate level. He started his own ill-fated charter school in 2012 and coached the football team there, while he served as the offensive coordinator at a private school in Texas this past season.
The former Seminole great currently serves as an analyst for the NFL Network.
As the Washington State family begins to mourn and attempts to process this tragedy, several of Tyler Hilinski‘s teammates and coaches used social media to help sort through the tangled gamut of emotions they’re running through.
Overnight, word surfaced that the redshirt sophomore quarterback had been found dead of what’s believed to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. “He was an incredible young man,” head coach Mike Leach said in a statement, “and everyone who had the privilege of knowing him was better for it.”
On both Twitter and Instagram, heartbroken Cougar football players and coaches dealt with the devastation left in the suicide’s wake.
And this might be the most important message to come out of this tragedy. Maybe in death, Tyler Hilinski can help someone find the hope and the help they need.
R.I.P young man.