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UConn confirms return of Randy Edsall as head coach

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Randy Edsall has shown that, indeed, you can go home again — even after a less-than-amicable divorce.

Following up on the reports that first surfaced Tuesday, UConn officially confirmed Wednesday that Edsall has returned as the head football coach of the Huskies.  Edsall replaces Bob Diaco, who was fired two days ago after three years on the job.

The new old coach will be formally introduced at an 11 a.m. ET press conference Friday.

“We are excited to welcome Coach Edsall back to the University of Connecticut,” said president Susan Herbst in a statement. “He possesses the passion, experience and commitment to lead our program and develop our student-athletes, both on and off the field.”

“Coach Edsall is the right fit for our university, football program and student-athletes,” athletic director David Benedict said. “He led UConn to its most successful period in the history of our football program, and I believe he will provide consistent leadership and long-term success once again.”

Edsall spent a dozen seasons as UConn’s head coach, guiding the Huskies to a 74-70 record from 1999-2010. Since Edsall departed for Maryland, UConn has gone 24-49 in six seasons.

Fired by Maryland midway through the 2015 season after posting a 22-34 record with the Terrapins, Edsall is spent the 2016 season as “Director of Football Research” for the NFL’s Detroit Lions.

“It is an honor to have the opportunity to rejoin and lead the UConn program,” said Edsall. “I want to thank President Herbst, Athletic Director David Benedict and the rest of the administration for believing I am the right person to build this program and develop its student-athletes. I look forward to working with David, our student-athletes and the entire athletic department.”

Mindful of his controversial departure from Storrs — he left for the Terps job immediately after the Fiesta Bowl without telling his players personally — Edsall issued a mea culpa for the manner in which he left.

“Certainly as I look back on it, I wish I had done things differently in that instance,” said Edsall. “I completely understand and respect that there are loyal fans, supporters and former players that still have not forgotten and it will take time to forgive. I have many incredible memories of my time at UConn and I hope the fans do too. It is my goal to get us back to that level of success and I hope that all of the Husky fans out there will be along for the ride.”

Not including bonuses, Edsall will earn $1 million in guaranteed compensation in the first year of the five-year deal.  Diaco was paid $1.7 million in what turned out to be his final season with the Huskies.

According to the school, the buyouts for UConn and Edsall will mirror each other beginning at $3 million and decreasing $1 million each year to zero after the third year.

‘Family reasons’ lead two-year starter at WR to leave Utah

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Suddenly, Utah’s receiving corps is significantly depleted.

The Utes confirmed Thursday that Raelon Singleton has decided to leave Kyle Whittingham‘s football program.  The school cited unspecified “family reasons” for the redshirt junior wide receiver moving on from the Utes.

“We are sorry to see Raelon leave, but understand that his family comes first,” a statement from the head coach read. “We appreciate his contributions to our program over the last four years and wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

Singleton, a native of the state of Texas, will graduate from the university in May.  That would make him eligible to play immediately in 2018 at another FCS school if that’s the route he chooses to take.

The past two seasons, Singleton was the Utes’ second-leading receiver yards-wise.  He had 36 receptions for 531 yards and four touchdowns this past season, and went 27-464-4 in 2016.

With Singleton’s departure and leading receiver Darren Carrington‘s expired eligibility, the Utes will have to replace 106 receptions and 1,511 yards.  That twosome also combined for 10 touchdown catches; as a team, the Utes had 18 this past season.

Peter Sirmon steps down as Bobby Petrino’s DC at Louisville

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It’s that time of year for a handful of coaching surprises.

The latest such development comes from Louisville, with Jody Demling of CardinalAuthority.com the first to report that Peter Sirmon has stepped down as the U of L’s defensive coordinator.  The football program subsequently confirmed that Sirmon has left Bobby Petrino‘s coaching staff.

“I would like to thank Peter Sirmon for all his work this season at the University of Louisville,” a statement attributed to the head coach began. “I wish him and his family all the best.”

Sirmon just completed his first season with the Cardinals.  In his lone season, the U of L finished 70th in scoring defense (27.4 ppg) and 62nd in total defense (388.1 ypg); in the year prior to arrival, they were 71st (27.1 pp) and 59th (387 ypg), respectively, in those categories.

Prior to the U of L, Sirmon had served as the coordinator at Mississippi State for one season in 2016.

QB Zerrick Cooper announces transfer from Clemson

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Not surprisingly, Clemson’s quarterback room will have one less familiar face in it this season than it did last.

Using Clemson’s official Twitter account, Zerrick Cooper announced Friday that he has decided to transfer from the Tigers.  In his statement, the quarterback indicated that he was moving on in order to find a better opportunity for playing time.

“This is no reflection of the Clemson family,” Cooper wrote, “but rather a direct reflection of my drive to lead, play & compete.”

Cooper was a four-star member of the Tigers’ 2016 recruiting class, rated as the No. 7 dual-threat quarterback in the country.  After redshirting as a true freshman, Cooper, along with Hunter Johnson, served as the backups to starter Kelly Bryant following the competition to replace Deshaun Watson.

Of the two, the strong-armed Cooper saw the most action as he completed 25 of his 41 attempts for 256 yards and a pair of touchdowns in seven games.  Johnson, a true freshman who was a five-star 2017 signee, attempted 27 passes.  However, by the end of the season, Johnson had seemingly become Bryant’s primary backup.

Both Bryant and Johnson will return in 2018.  Perhaps more than anything, however, Clemson signed Trevor Lawrence, the top-rated player in the Class of 2018, as part of the first-ever early signing period last month.

Alabama reportedly raids Penn State staff for new WRs coach

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Nick Saban‘s latest reshaping of his coaching will reportedly come at the expense of a Big Ten school.

Earlier Thursday, a report surfaced that Mike Locksley was being promoted by Saban to offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.  As Locksley served as Alabama’s wide receivers coach this past season, it left Saban in search of a new coach for that positional group.

According to FootballScoop.com, that search has ended as Penn State’s Josh Gattis is expected to take the job.  Gattis will also serve as the Tide’s co-offensive coordinator.

A couple of other outlets confirmed the initial report.

Gattis had spent the past six seasons on James Franklin-led coaching staff, the first two at Vanderbilt and the last four at Penn State.  In addition to receivers coach, Gattis held the title of passing-game coordinator and assistant special teams coordinator with the Nittany Lions.