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Kliff Kingsbury confident Texas Tech defense will improve in 2017

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Maybe this will be the year Texas Tech figures out how to play a lick of defense. History would suggest that is probably not going to be the case, but Red Raiders head coach Kliff Kingsbury sounds confident in the direction of the defensive unit under defensive coordinator David Gibbs in his third year on the job in Lubbock.

“Coach Gibbs didn’t come to Lubbock and get dumb all of the sudden,” Kingsbury said in an interview with ESPN. “He’s had success everywhere he’s been.”

Texas Tech is coming off a season in which they ranked last in the Big 12 in total defense, allowing nearly 100 more yards per game (554.3 ypg) than the next worst team in the conference, Kansas (456.2 ypg; and Kansas at least beat Texas). Texas Tech has finished in the bottom two of the conference in total defense each season since 2014, which has left the program trying to break out of its reputation with frustrating results on defense. Hiring Gibbs was a good move for Kingsbury after Gibbs had a short and successful stint at Houston. For Kingsbury and Gibbs, playing the long game has been and needs to be the plan, and taking the lumps along the way is part of the process.

“He’s frustrated. He’s competitive. He wants to be successful. I can’t tell you how much respect I have for him for sticking it out,” Kingsbury said in his interview with ESPN. “He’s had opportunities to go other places and start over. He’s well-respected in this profession and he wants to get it right here. I admire him for that. It would be an easy out to go somewhere else at this point. He wants to do it here and wants to show we can get this fixed.”

The biggest concern for Texas Tech has been in establishing depth on defense. This has been an area of focus in recruiting and development the last few years, and the hope is that work is going to begin paying off this season.

Transferring BYU QB Kody Wilstead finds new home at Kansas JUCO

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With eight quarterbacks on the roster, Kody Wilstead opted to leave the Cougars in mid-March.  A little over a month later, Wilstead has found a new home, albeit a little further down on the college football ladder.

According to the Deseret News, Wilstead has signed to play at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas.  As Coffeyville is a junior college, the quarterback will be eligible to play immediately in 2018.

It’s expected that Wilstead will spend at least one season at the JUCO level before looking at making a move back up to the FBS.

Wilstead, a three-star 2015 signee, took a redshirt as a true freshman last season after serving an LDS mission the previous two years.

After Wilstead’s departure, the seven remaining Cougar signal-callers are, in alphabetical order, Stacy ConnerJoe CritchlowHayden GriffittsBeau HogeTanner MangumBaylor Romney and Zach Wilson. Mangum, last year’s starter, is recovering from an Achilles tendon injury he suffered in November of last year but remains on track to return for the start of summer camp in August.

Army’s Donovan Franklin tweets transfer to Kansas

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This is something you don’t see all too often.

Donovan Franklin (pictured, No. 26) tweeted out late Tuesday night that, “[a]fter careful consideration I am happy to announce that I have decided to continue my academic and athletic career at the University of Kansas.” Franklin had spent the past two years at the United States Military Academy at West Point, playing his college football for the Army Black Knights.

It’s unclear what led the slotback to leave the service academy and head to the Big 12 school.

Franklin was a two-star prospect coming out of high school in Maryland in Army’s Class of 2015.  After playing in two games in 2016, he carried the ball one time for seven yards this past season.

The 5-9, 185-pound Franklin was listed as a defensive back coming out of high school, and could assume such a role yet again with the Jayhawks.  That likely won’t happen this season, however, as it’s expected he will have to sit out the 2018 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules.

After committing to Oklahoma earlier this month, Notre Dame grad transfer Jay Hayes flips to Georgia

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That whole thing where Oklahoma landed a graduate transfer from Notre Dame?  Never mind.  Pretend it never happened.

April 15, a little over a week after he announced his transfer from Notre Dame, Jay Hayes took to Twitter to confirm that he had committed to continuing his collegiate playing career at Oklahoma.  Ten days later, the defensive lineman has done an about-face, taking to the same social media service to announce that he is flipping from OU to Georgia.

“This is it!” the lineman wrote, presumably meaning there will be no more flipping.

As a graduate transfer, Hayes will be eligible to play immediately for the Bulldogs in 2018.  This will be the lineman’s final season of eligibility.

Hayes, a four-star member of the Irish’s 2014 recruiting class, played in 26 games for the Irish over the last three seasons, including starts in all 13 games at defensive end in a 2017 season that saw him record 27 tackles and a sack.

Auburn lands UMass transfer lineman over UCLA, USC

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At least in this graduate transfer battle, the SEC has gotten over on the Pac-12.

Tuesday, Jack Driscoll, who decided to transfer from UMass earlier this offseason, confirmed that he had narrowed his potential landing spots down to three — Auburn, UCLA and USC.  A day later, the offensive lineman took to Twitter to announce that he will be enrolling at AU and continuing his collegiate playing career with the Tigers.

Driscoll will graduate from UMass early next month, and will be eligible to play immediately in 2018 on The Plains.  The upcoming season will be the first of two years of eligibility the 6-5, 294-pound lineman has remaining.

After starting eight games as a redshirt freshman in 2016, with most of those starts coming at left guard, he started all 12 games in 2017.  All of those starts this past season came at right tackle for the football-independent Minutemen. He was named to Phil Steele’s All-Independent first team while he earned second-team All-Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) honors for good measure.