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6-9, 394-pound Aussie holds offers from LSU, Michigan… and has never played a high school snap

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In their never-ending quest to unearth recruiting talent, college football coaches leave no stone unturned.  Or, in this case, no massive boulder.

17-year-old Daniel Faalele, a 6-9, 394-pound native of Australia who is enrolled at the famed IMG Academy in Florida, holds offers from, among others, Arkansas, Georgia LSU, Miami, Michigan and Oregon State.  The fact that someone as large as Faalele is drawing big-time interest on the recruiting trail is far from surprising; the fact that he has never played a single snap in a high school football game only serves to add to his burgeoning legend.

According to an excellent piece by ESPN.com‘s Thomas Neumann, Faalele was discovered by a recruiter from the University of Hawaii at a Melbourne-area gym.  Faalele, who had never even watched a football game let alone played the sport prior to coming to the United States, ultimately made his way last August to IMG Academy, home to some of the top football recruits in the country.

Faalele didn’t play a down his first season at IMG, although he did practice with the team as the coaching staff opted to ease him into the sport.  This spring, though, the offensive tackle is expected to work with the first team as he continues to progress as a Class of 2018 recruit.

The scary part, however, may just be that, as enormous as he already is, he’s yet to reach his peak physically.  From Neumann’s story:

Thanks in part to a background in rugby and basketball, Faalele has quick feet and extraordinary agility for someone his size. Despite weighing close to 400 pounds, he doesn’t appear fat because his frame is so solid.

“He’s just a freak of nature, obviously,” IMG strength coach David Ballou said. “As thick as he is and as big as he is, you wouldn’t expect him to move like he does. He’s a powerful dude, but he’s had limited strength background before coming here. From our perspective, his training age is 1. He’s an untapped gem.”

Matt Rhea, IMG head of sport science, said Faalele boasts the highest jumping power he has ever measured — including some pro athletes — and that the Aussie phenom has acceleration speed that is off the charts compared to typical prep running backs or linebackers. All that said, Ballou and Rhea are molding Faalele to be leaner.

“I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if he gains 40 pounds of muscle,” Rhea said. “Even as good as he looks and moves now, there’s still a transformation that is coming. He may gain 40 pounds of muscle but lose 80 pounds of fat. That kid at 350, with that muscle mass, is going to be impressive.

Faalele is currently unranked by 247Sports.com, although the recruiting website writes that the lineman “was one of the reasons Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh elected to have a satellite camp in Melbourne.” Interest in Faalele is certainly increasing as, two days ago, he received an offer from Georgia.

Perhaps the best part of the original ESPN.com story is the nugget thrown in at the very end.

Just imagine if he had been discovered a few years earlier and had the opportunity to play four varsity seasons. With that in mind, consider that Faalele has a younger brother, 11-year-old Taylor, back home in Melbourne.

“I think he’s actually projected to be bigger than me,” Faalele said. “He’s 6-foot, 250 pounds and [wears] size 13 [shoes]. He wants to come to IMG as well, so hopefully he can follow in my footsteps.

Baylor strength coach apparently no longer with the program

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It seems every bit of news related to Baylor football nowadays has to do with the school’s on-going sexual assault scandal but it appears there is one bit of information coming out of the program that doesn’t have something to do with that.

A school spokesperson told ESPN on Friday that football strength coach Kaz Kazadi has been “reassigned to a role outside the athletic performance staff.” A report from the local ESPN Radio affiliate in Waco indicates that the move will eventually have the coach leaving the school altogether.

Kazadi spent nearly a decade with the Bears and played a big role in the team’s on-field turnaround under the former coaching staff. Several former players took to Twitter on Friday to express their shock over the loss of one of the cornerstones of the team in recent years.

After the hire of Matt Rhule this offseason, it isn’t too surprising to see some turnover among those staff members connected to the previous regime. Baylor’s new head coach brought most of his strength staff with him from Temple so it was probably only a matter of time before Kazadi moved on, though the timing of the quasi-announcement (the Bears started spring football last weekend) is somewhat interesting.

Either way, it appears Baylor will have a new direction in the weight room going forward.

Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh has ditched his Dockers for another

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Peanut butter and jelly. Milk and cookies. Batman and Robin. Maize and blue. Jim Harbaugh and khakis.

All are iconic combinations, but it appears the latter is undergoing a few changes right now.

The Michigan head coach’s affinity for a pair of khakis has been so strong over the years that it’s become almost comical how much he likes the style of pant. Heck, he even got a commercial out of it a few years ago when he specifically started getting outfitted with Dockers brand khakis.

Despite being a paid endorser though, it appears that Harbaugh has dropped the famous Levi’s brand version of khakis to attack the day with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind in another pair of pants.

Not only is the switch from Dockers to Lululemon result in a lot more comfort for the Wolverines coach, it’s probably a bit more of a hit to the ol’ wallet than dropping by Walmart for a pair of khakis off the shelf. It probably doesn’t make a huge difference for Harbaugh though given that he’s the highest paid coach in the country but it might result in a few more trips to the mall.

Either way, what it does mean is that now we demand a new commercial featuring Harbaugh and khakis. After all, if you’re upping the clothing game, you’ve got to up the ad game as well.

Former Penn State president found guilty of role in Sandusky scandal

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Former Penn State president Graham Spanier’s day in court has come and has resulted in a guilty verdict.

The Centre Daily Times is among the outlets reporting that a jury has found Spanier guilty of one count of endangering the welfare of children in a trial related to his role in the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal. In addition, Spanier was found not guilty on two other counts, one a similar child endangerment charge and the other a count of criminal conspiracy.

The verdict comes after lengthy deliberations by the jury in the case, which took a turn last week when former Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz plead guilty to child endangerment charges as part of the same trial. All three figure to be sentenced in the next few months.

Prior to the scandal, Spanier was widely considered to be one of the most respected college presidents in the country and heavily involved in NCAA matters. However he was one of several key figures fired by the school as a result of covering up the actions of Sandusky, the Nittany Lions’ former defensive coordinator who was found guilty on 45 charges of sexually abusing minors.

While the verdict is likely to be appealed, Spanier is nevertheless facing the prospect of joining Sandusky behind bars as a result of his own involvement in the scandal.

Dad of RB Kingston Davis says son will transfer from Michigan

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Michigan’s the latest football program to see its roster hit with the annual spring personnel attrition.

The father of Kingston Davis confirmed to Sam Webb of Scout.com that his son informed UM officials earlier Friday of his intention to transfer from the Wolverines.  Apparently there were two reasons that triggered the running back’s decision: a crowded backfield and chatter that he would be changing positions.

While 2016 leading rusher De'Veon Smith is gone, the Wolverines’ second-, third- and fourth-leading rushers from last season — rising sophomore Chris Evans (614 yards), rising junior Karan Higdon (425), rising fifth-year senior Ty Isaac (417) — all return. Kareem Walker, a four-star 2016 recruit rated as the No. 4 running back in the country, sat out last season because of academics but should be a part of the rotation as a redshirt freshman. They also added four-star (O'Maury Samuels) and three-star (Kurt Taylor) backs as part of their 2017 recruiting class.

A three-star 2016 recruit, Davis was rated as the No. 1 fullback in the country in that year’s class. As a true freshman, the 6-1, 245-pound back carried the ball twice for 17 yards.