South Carolina State athletics

55-year-old FCS player (likely) becomes oldest ever in Div. I

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Joe Thomas Sr. really put the “senior” in Senior Day Saturday.

In the first quarter of South Carolina State’s game against Savannah State, Thomas Sr. ran the ball for three yards on the first carry of his collegiate career.  What makes such a modest carry unique and noteworthy — and historic — is the fact that Thomas is 55 years of age.

While the NCAA does not keep such statistics, it’s believed that Thomas Sr. is the oldest player to ever take the field, let alone record a statistic, in Div. I history.  The FCS player very well could’ve broken the unofficial record at this level previously thought to be set by Tim Frisby, who walked on at South Carolina in 2004 at the age of 39 and played for both Lou Holtz and Steve Spurrier.

In 2011, 61-year-old Alan Moore kicked an extra point in an NAIA game to become the oldest player in the history of college football.  Four years before that, 59-year-old Mike Flynt suited up and played for Div. III Sul Ross State.

Thomas Sr., meanwhile, last played in an official football game in 1980 during the South Carolina state high school playoff semifinals.  Thomas’ long journey from there to here 36 years later is well-chronicled by SI.com‘s David Gardner HERE. Here, though, is a brief synopsis of his struggle that includes a current NFL player who’s also his son:

Thomas was raised in Blackville, South Carolina, a small town about 40 minutes from Orangeburg, where South Carolina State’s campus is located. Throughout his childhood, Thomas was partially deaf, but a doctor helped him clear his ears when he was 17. During his junior and senior seasons at Blackville High School, he was a star defensive lineman and a promising running back. But he did not get the opportunity to play college football.

When Thomas’s son, Joe Thomas Jr.—who now plays for the Green Bay Packers—enrolled at South Carolina State, Thomas Sr. decided to join him in the classroom and on the football field. Although he never had the opportunity to play in a game with his son, Thomas Sr. stuck with the football team with the hopes of getting in a game. On Saturday, he accomplished that goal.

The Charleston Post & Courier explains that Thomas Sr. has been strictly a scout team player and had not appeared on the team’s roster until Saturday. According to one official, “[h]e would come to practice for a week, then skip three weeks.”

The NCAA had to issue a waiver that allowed Thomas Sr. to play.

UConn head coach Randy Edsall: We’ve become a farm system, pay the players

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The FBI sting into college basketball malfeasance has gotten a lot of folks riled up on Friday afternoon, especially when it comes to NCAA rules and potential violations. This, in turn, is leading to everybody and their brother rehashing the argument to pay (or not pay) players.

While you would probably not have expected it, even football coaches are wading into the discourse and there’s a somewhat surprising line of thinking being taken by UConn head coach Randy Edsall on Twitter:

While Edsall’s first point about football coaches getting nervous about the FBI probe spilling over into their sport probably rings true, it’s not every day you see a head coach openly advocating for paying players and calling college football a farm system for the NFL.

The Huskies head coach’s latter tweet is referring to a proposal put forward by the SEC that was approved last month which essentially allows non-coaching analysts to evaluate film of recruits in ways they could not previously do so. This has led to many expecting programs (looking at you, Alabama) creating player personnel departments in even greater numbers to streamline evaluating prospects and allow certain staffers to handle more of the recruiting load.

Edsall is far from the first coach to advocate paying players but something says his comments on Friday will also mean he will just be the latest in a long line of advocates for advancing much the same cause, especially in light of the payments going on in college basketball that are just beginning to come to light.

Charlotte’s Greg Adkins reportedly Marshall’s new O-Line coach

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Country roads, take him home.

According to Sports Illustrated’s Bruce Feldman, Charlotte assistant Greg Adkins is expected to return to his alma mater of Marshall to take over as the Thundering Herd’s next offensive line coach.

Adkins is well known around Huntington for his work with the team back in the early 1990’s when they were winning NCAA titles and making regular title game appearances at the then-Division I-AA level. He also had stops at Georgia, Tennessee, Oklahoma State and with the Buffalo Bills among others before being hired at Charlotte by Brad Lambert.

The return of Adkins fills the hole on Marshall’s staff after the departure of offensive line coach Alex Mirabal, who left for Oregon earlier in the week.

Reports: Tim Drevno stepping down as Michigan’s OC

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An offseason of change in Jim Harbaugh‘s Michigan coaching staff continues, with one of the Wolverines’ million-dollar assistants stepping down.  Reportedly.

Multiple reports, including ones from The Wolverine Lounge and SI.com‘s Bruce Feldman, are indicating that Tim Drevno has decided to step down from his post as U-M’s offensive coordinator.  Drevno has been Harbaugh’s coordinator on that side of the ball each of his three seasons in Ann Arbor.

Drevno also served as the Wolverines’ offensive line coach.

Under Drevno’s direction, Michigan’s offense was tied for 91st nationally in averaging 25.2 points per game this past season.

The reports come three days after McElwain was officially announced as U-M’s new quarterbacks coach.  In the run-up to that hiring, it was reported that McElwain, the former coordinator at Alabama prior to his run as Florida’s head coach, could take over play-calling duties at U-M.

Arizona QB Brandon Dawkins to transfer from Wildcats

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An already crowded graduate transfer market has gained yet another entrant.

On his personal Twitter account Thursday night, Brandon Dawkins announced that he has decided to transfer out of new head coach Kevin Sumlin‘s football program. While no specific reason was given for the quarterback’s decision to move on, the presence of a Heisman Trophy contender, rising junior Khalil Tate, for the next two seasons likely played a significant role.

Dawkins is set to graduate this May, which will make him eligible to play immediately in 2018 at another FBS school if that’s the tack he takes.

Dawkins started nine games in 2016 and the first four games this past season before Tate took over.  For the Wildcats portion of his playing career, Dawkins completed just over 56 percent of his 334 passes for 2,418 yards, 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.  He ran for another 1,582 yards and 20 more touchdowns.