You get the feeling there’s a certain segment of the college football universe that would have rather seen Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey sink like boulders in last week’s NFL Draft. But they didn’t, hearing their names called fourth and eighth overall, respectively, while Michigan tight end Jake Butt waited until the fifth round to hear his name called. Coupled with the fate of former Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith‘s fall from perhaps the No. 1 overall pick to the second round of the 2016 Draft and it certainly has the making of a large-scale boycott of the 2017-18 college football bowl season.
At least that’s what some are bracing for.
Sports Illustrated‘s Pete Thamel talked to people all around the issue and found a variety of opinions. College coaches were fearful but reluctantly understanding. NFL personnel were apathetic bordering on encouraging, happy to see their free talent pool protect itself. Agents will surely poke and prod certain first-rounders to skip their non-Playoff games.
But what about the players?
Thamel asked one. Here’s what Penn State running back Saquon Barkley had to say:
“I would have a hard time doing it,” Barkley said. “But I’m not going to sit here and say I would never do it. I don’t know. I could be in a situation next year where I have close to two broken ankles, God forbid, or something going on in my upper body and I can’t play in a game if I’m considering playing in the NFL.”
Thamel made it clear Barkley hadn’t fully thought through the issue until the question was asked of him. Penn State won the Big Ten last season and will enter 2017 a favorite to win it again. Clearly, Plan A for Barkley and the Nittany Lions will be to reach the College Football Playoff and win this issue into irrelevance.
But if they don’t?
It’s simply impossible to say at this point for Barkley or anyone else. There were a lot of variables at play that led Fournette and McCaffrey to skip their 2016 bowl games, and the same would have to happen for any as-yet mystery players to do the same in 2017.
I guess if you have football talent, there’s almost always a spot for you somewhere.
The latest example of that phenomena is Auston Robertson, who was dismissed by Michigan State in April not long after word surfaced that the defensive lineman was facing charges of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. It’s alleged that Robertson sexually assaulted the victim in her apartment after being driven home from a party, with the lineman’s girlfriend waiting in the vehicle while the assault took place.
Despite the allegations and pending court case — Robertson is free on a $250,000 bond — the lineman will be permitted to continue his collegiate playing career at a Kansas junior college.
[Attorney Brent] Leder said Robertson had been given the opportunity to attend Garden City Community College in Kansas to play football and attend school. He said the school’s football coach knew the circumstances surrounding the situation and was willing to take on the responsibility of supervising Robertson’s movements.
Robertson would not use the move as an attempt to evade future court proceedings, Leder said.
“He’s here fighting these charges, and he will be at all future court dates,” Leder said.
While it’s certainly the most serious, this is not Robertson’s first brush with the law.
The lineman had been committed to the Spartans but did not sign with MSU in February of 2016 after he was charged with misdemeanor battery in his home state of Indiana. Robertson subsequently signed with MSU in late March of that year after he entered into a pretrial diversionary program, with the charge dropped a month later.
Prior to that, he had been charged with criminal mischief, damaging or defacing property and resisting arrest in a separate incident. Those charges were later dropped.
A four-star recruit, Robertson was rated as the No. 9 weakside defensive end in the country and the No. 3 player at any position in the state of Indiana. The only recruit in MSU’s class that year rated higher than Robertson was fellow four-star defensive end Josh King.
As a true freshman, he played in seven games.
One of the bigger intra-conference transfers this offseason is all but officially official now.
Word surfaced earlier in the day Tuesday that Darren Carrington had pulled the trigger on a transfer to Utah. Later on that night, the former Oregon wide receiver’s father confirmed to Lynn Worthy of the Salt Lake Tribune via email that, yes, his son will be playing for the Utes in 2017 as a graduate transfer.
From the Tribune:
The circumstances are definitely not what we planned,” Carrington wrote. “However we are so thankful to Coach [Kyle] Whittingham, Dr. Chris Hill-AD and the U of Utah, for providing darren with an opportunity to not only finish is college football career but also for him to be known not just for 2 bad decisions, but as a man of God. One who made some mistakes have learned from them and is now better as a result.
“Special shout out to OC [Troy] Taylor for being the catalyst.
Earlier this month, Oregon announced that it had dismissed Carrington, a move that came a couple of weeks after the senior was arrested on charges of driving under the influence of intoxicants.
The senior’s 606 yards receiving last year were tops on the Ducks, while his five receiving touchdowns were tied for first. His 43 catches were second on the team as well.
In mid-November of last year, Carrington caught a 17-yard touchdown pass with two seconds left that carried the unranked Ducks to a 30-28 win over the then-12th-ranked Utes 30-28 in Salt Lake City. October 28 of this year, Carrington will come “home” as Utah will travel to Eugene to take on the Ducks.
Steven Clark will indeed give college football at this level another go.
In a text message to the Syracuse Post-Standard, Clark confirmed that he has decided to transfer to Western Michigan. The move comes a little over a month after a health issue prematurely ended his time at Syracuse.
While the school’s medical results were disputed by his family, Clark (pictured, No. 72) was medically disqualified by ‘Cuse in June because of a genetic disorder that makes him susceptible to blood clots. Not long after, the defensive lineman stated on Twitter that he had “requested… permission to contact other schools in order to see if I can go anywhere else to play.”
According to the Post-Standard, “four independent doctors cleared Clark for physical activity — two before the disqualification and two after.” WMU doctors will need to sign off on Clark’s health as well.
If that happens, Clark would be eligible to play immediately for the Broncos.
The lineman ended his Orange career having played in 21 games, starting nine of those contests. He was credited with 37 tackles, three tackles for loss and a pair of fumble recoveries.
Coming to SU as a three-star 2015 recruit out of Alabama, Clark held offers from, among others, Florida, Memphis and Vanderbilt.
An incident involving one former Michigan State football player and one ex-Spartans basketball player continues to make headlines a year later.
In mid-July last year, former MSU hoops star hoops star and current Golden State Warrior Draymond Green was arrested and charged with assault following an altercation at an East Lansing drinking establishment. According to police reports at the time, the target of the alleged assault was Spartans cornerback Jermaine Edmondson.
Fast-forward a little over 12 months later, and Edmondson, along with his girlfriend Bianca Williams, has filed a civil lawsuit in California against Green. Per mlive.com, the attorney representing the plaintiffs “declined to specify an amount of damages her clients are seeking.”
“I think about what happened with Draymond every day,” Edmondson said according to the website. “I still feel his hand on my jaw. There are nights when I wake up crying. I don’t understand why my name has been turned into this joke, and he gets all this credit for being a superstar and for standing up for women.”
Less than a week after the incident, Edmondson, who claimed during today’s press conference he longer felt safe on the university’s campus because the incident involved the beloved Green, was granted a release from his MSU scholarship and transferred from the Spartans. Reportedly, however, the incident and transfer had nothing to do with each other.
Edmondson ended up at a Div. II program in Virginia, but did not play at all during the 2016 season.
Green ultimately saw the original assault charge dropped, instead paying a noise violation fine.
“Draymond looks forward to defending himself and clearing up the misinformation put forth today,” a portion of a statement from Green’s publicist read.