Deservedly so, most of the Heisman focus these first four-plus weeks of the 2016 season has been squarely on Lamar Jackson and the stunningly phenomenal season the Louisville quarterback is putting together. There are others, though, who merit mention.
Case in point? Greg Ward Jr.
In No. 6 Houston’s Thursday night 42-14 romp over UConn, the quarterback completed just over 84 percent of his passes for 389 yards and three touchdowns, and ran for 65 yards and two scores for good measure. The win was the Cougars’ eighth in a row, with the last loss coming Nov. 21 of last year to… these very same Huskies.
On at least one occasion in avenging the loss, though, Ward Jr.’s sterling completion percentage got a little help from one of his receiving friends.
The latest virtuoso performance, which included his third 300-yard passing game of the season, pushed Ward Jr. to 1,503 yards of offense (1,325 passing, 178 rushing) and 13 total touchdowns (eight passing, five rushing) in four games while also battling a lingering shoulder issue. For comparison’s sake, and you know we’re not alone in doing so, Jackson will enter Week 5 with a statistical ledger that’s straight from a teenager’s video game: 1,856 yards of total offense and a ridiculous 25 total touchdowns in his four games.
While it’s still quite a ways down the road, Ward’s Cougars and Jackson’s Cardinals will square off in what’s shaping up to be a monumental mid-November Thursday night game that could go a long way in determining not only the Heisman race, but helping to shape the playoff picture as well. In between, voters, don’t forget about the kid from Houston.
Steven Clark will indeed give college football at this level another go.
In a text message to the Syracuse Post-Standard, Clark confirmed that he has decided to transfer to Western Michigan. The move comes a little over a month after a health issue prematurely ended his time at Syracuse.
While the school’s medical results were disputed by his family, Clark (pictured, No. 72) was medically disqualified by ‘Cuse in June because of a genetic disorder that makes him susceptible to blood clots. Not long after, the defensive lineman stated on Twitter that he had “requested… permission to contact other schools in order to see if I can go anywhere else to play.”
According to the Post-Standard, “four independent doctors cleared Clark for physical activity — two before the disqualification and two after.” WMU doctors will need to sign off on Clark’s health as well.
If that happens, Clark would be eligible to play immediately for the Broncos.
The lineman ended his Orange career having played in 21 games, starting nine of those contests. He was credited with 37 tackles, three tackles for loss and a pair of fumble recoveries.
Coming to SU as a three-star 2015 recruit out of Alabama, Clark held offers from, among others, Florida, Memphis and Vanderbilt.
An incident involving one former Michigan State football player and one ex-Spartans basketball player continues to make headlines a year later.
In mid-July last year, former MSU hoops star hoops star and current Golden State Warrior Draymond Green was arrested and charged with assault following an altercation at an East Lansing drinking establishment. According to police reports at the time, the target of the alleged assault was Spartans cornerback Jermaine Edmondson.
Fast-forward a little over 12 months later, and Edmondson, along with his girlfriend Bianca Williams, has filed a civil lawsuit in California against Green. Per mlive.com, the attorney representing the plaintiffs “declined to specify an amount of damages her clients are seeking.”
“I think about what happened with Draymond every day,” Edmondson said according to the website. “I still feel his hand on my jaw. There are nights when I wake up crying. I don’t understand why my name has been turned into this joke, and he gets all this credit for being a superstar and for standing up for women.”
Less than a week after the incident, Edmondson, who claimed during today’s press conference he longer felt safe on the university’s campus because the incident involved the beloved Green, was granted a release from his MSU scholarship and transferred from the Spartans. Reportedly, however, the incident and transfer had nothing to do with each other.
Edmondson ended up at a Div. II program in Virginia, but did not play at all during the 2016 season.
Green ultimately saw the original assault charge dropped, instead paying a noise violation fine.
“Draymond looks forward to defending himself and clearing up the misinformation put forth today,” a portion of a statement from Green’s publicist read.
I’m quite certain that Larry Fedora is absolutely thrilled over this development.
On Aug. 1, North Carolina football players will report to campus. A day later, the Tar Heels will kick off their sixth summer camp under Fedora. Exactly two weeks after that? Fedora will be forced to leave his football squad as part of the UNC contingent that will be in attendance at the university’s hearing in front of the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions.
The two-day hearing will take place Aug. 16-17 in Nashville, Tenn.
The news comes exactly two months after, for the third time in as many years, UNC responded to a Notice of Allegations connected to a decade-long academic scandal.
In June of 2014, the NCAA informed UNC “that it would reopen its original 2011 examination of the past academic irregularities.” The first NOA was sent to the university in 2015, with UNC accused of lack of institutional control as to student-athletes in multiple sports, including football, receiving preferential access to the controversial African and Afro-American Studies (AFAM) courses dating all the way back to 2002. In April of 2016, UNC received an amended NOA that replaced “lack of institutional control” with “failure to monitor.”
A decision from the NCAA on what if any punitive measures the football program will face is expected to come two months or so after the conclusion of the hearing. Such a timeline would, of course, put the resolution right in the middle of the football season.
It should be noted that Fedora is not facing any type of misconduct connected to the academic scandal.
At least partially, Michigan players will see their offseason travel wishes for next year granted.
Fresh off their spring break trip to Rome this year, Jim Harbaugh revealed last month that his Wolverines football players, following a team vote, were eyeing a trip next year that would include stops in Paris and London. At the Big Ten Media Days Tuesday, Harbaugh confirmed that they would indeed be taking the team to Paris around the same time next year.
Instead of London, however, U-M will take in the sights at historically-steeped Normandy.
The trip to Rome this year cost in the neighborhood of $800,000, although that particular tab was picked up by a well-heeled booster of the program. It’s expected that the same scenario financially will play out for this trip as well, regardless of the cost.