Jerry Larson/Waco Tribune-Herald via AP

Ex-Baylor player Sam Ukwuachu has sexual assault conviction overturned by appeals court

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Former Baylor and Boise State football player Sam Ukwuachu has had his conviction for sexual assault overturned, but he is far from free just yet. The 10th Couth of Appeals in Texas overturned a sexual assault conviction on Thursday and is sending the case back to district court for a brand new trial.

The Court of Appeals determined phone evidence used by the prosecution was improperly used and attained.

“In six issues, Ukwuachu complains that the trial court erred by allowing the State to reference the cell phone records of his roommate during its cross-examination of his roommate and his roommate’s friend, that the indictment was defective, that evidence of an extraneous offense was improperly admitted, that his due process rights were violated due to an abuse of the grand jury process by the State, and that text messages between the victim and a friend of hers the night of the alleged offense were improperly excluded,” an elaborate ruling from the Court of Appeals explained. “Because we find that the trial court erred by disallowing the admission of evidence … we reverse the judgment of conviction and remand this proceeding for a new trial.”

“While I respect the 10th Court of Appeals, I disagree with their decision and reasoning in this case,” McLennan County District Attorney Abelk Reyna said upon learning of the appeal decision. “I am extremely confident in the decisions made by our prosecutors and the rulings made by Judge Johnson in the trial of this case.”

Ukwuachu transferred from Boise State to Baylor after being dismissed by the Broncos program in 2013, reportedly following a case of depression in Boise. Boise State denied any knowledge of Ukwuachu’s violence toward women when he was with the program, which was prompted by comments from former Baylor head coach Art Briles. Former Boise State head coach Chris Petersen did claim to have informed Briles of Ukwuachu’s violent past.

Ukwuachu was found guilty and sentenced to 180 days in jail and 10 years probation for rape in August 2015.

The alleged victim of Ukwuachu has already settled a lawsuit with Baylor.

‘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.