It’s going to be one of your favorite story lines of the 2017 season, even if you’d forgotten it was happening before reading this post. Joel Lanning, Iowa State quarterback, is now Joel Lanning, Iowa State linebacker.
Lanning made the transition in March with the understanding he would start at middle linebacker while retaining his role on offense in a limited capacity. “Coach (Matt) Campbell told me, ‘If everything works, you’re probably going to be throwing up after all the games because you’re going to be playing so much,” Lanning told the Des Moines Register during the spring.
At Big 12 Media Days on Monday, Campbell said he was impressed to the point of excited about Lanning’s feel for his new position.
“I was probably taken back a little bit about just as much growth as he was able to make from practice one through 15,” Campbell said. “I do think, playing where he played, he really has an understanding about playing at that depth of where he played on the offensive side, but now it’s just a different mindset and a different mentality.
“But Joel always played with a linebacker’s mentality at quarterback, but transitioning to now tackling and playing in space and doing those things, I think that’s been probably his biggest transition, but it’s really been fun to watch. I thought by practice 13, 14, 15, boy, he really looked like he belonged for sure.”
Lanning completed 99-of-169 passes for 1,290 yards with nine touchdowns against three interceptions while rushing 121 times for 559 yards and three scores in splitting time at quarterback with Jacob Park last season. The hunch here is he’ll rack up as many tackles in 2017 as he had completed passes in ’16.
Recently, Nevada’s men’s basketball roster has taken on a decidedly gridiron hue.
Thanks to injuries and off-field issues, Eric Musselman‘s hoops team was down to just seven scholarship players. Because of those numbers, 6-5 Wolf Pack wide receiver Elijah Cooks was added to the basketball roster earlier this month. Monday night, 6-2 wide receiver-turned-safety Justin Brent confirmed on Twitter that, with the blessing of head football coach Jay Norvell, he too will be joining the Wolf Pack basketball team.
According to the Reno Gazette Journal, Brent was recruited as a basketball player by, among others, Georgetown, Marquette, Purdue, Virginia Tech and Xavier. He ultimately signed with Notre Dame with the intention of playing both sports at the school, but ultimately transferred from the Fighting Irish to the Wolf Pack.
Brent will begin practicing with the team, which will be the main job of both of the football players. While Cooks has traveled with the team to two games since joining, he has yet to take the floor with his new squad, although Mussleman admitted that he nearly put the receiver in late in their recent game against Utah State.
Last season as a true freshman, Cooks caught two passes for 23 yards. Brent, a redshirt junior, totaled 21 yards on his one reception before being moved from offense to defense.
All four-star 2018 recruits are officially accounted for.
After the first-ever Early Signing Period in December and the annual National Signing Day earlier this month, just one of 347 four-star recruits remained unsigned by FBS programs. That one, Tyrone Sampson Jr. of Detroit, had reportedly zeroed in on Arizona State, Mississippi State and Nebraska as likely destinations but, instead of signing on the first Wednesday of February, opted instead to continue studying his options as schools such as Illinois, Missouri and West Virginia had entered the picture.
In the end, however, it appears that the one-time Syracuse commit will at least begin his collegiate playing career not at a Power Five program but rather at a Mountain West Conference school according to the offensive lineman as well as his new football coach.
That commitment came shortly after Sampson visited the Bulldogs’ campus.
Sampson was rated as the No. 7 center in the country and the No. 346 recruit overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board. He had been committed to Syracuse for more than eight months before decommitting in December.
Easily the highest-rated member of Jeff Tedford‘s second recruiting class, Sampson is the first four-star recruit signed by the football program since 2015 (wide receiver L.J. Reed) and just the fourth such prospect in the school’s history, joining quarterback Derek Carr (2009) and offensive tackle James Paulk (2005).
Earlier this month, Randy Edsall lost one of his assistant coaches to the NFL. This week, he’s turned to one from the FCS ranks as a replacement.
UConn announced Monday the hiring of Eddie Allen as the Huskies’ new special teams coordinator. Allen comes to Storrs after spending the past three seasons in the same role at Delaware.
The hire fills a hole a created by the departure of Chris White, who has been named as the tight ends coach for the Detroit Lions.
“Eddie’s aggressive approach to special teams was exactly what I was looking for in our special teams coordinator,” a statement from the head coach began. “His teams have shown the ability to block kicks and be very fundamentally sound in the core four units involving special teams. He has delivered very good results as a special teams coordinator in all the places he has worked.”
Prior to Delaware, Allen spent six seasons as the special teams coordinator at Rhode Island. He was a football staffer for Greg Schiano at Rutgers (2005-07) before that.
This will mark Allen’s first on-field job at the FBS level.
“I am extremely excited to join Coach Edsall’s staff,” the New Jersey native said in his statement. “Being from the Northeast, I have followed the program closely through the years and I am looking forward to getting around our players and doing my part in the future of success of the program.”
And now we know a little bit more of the rest of the story.
Just a short time ago, Miami announced that defensive line Craig Kuligowski was leaving the football program after two years to pursue unspecified opportunities elsewhere. Subsequent to that announcement, Bruce Feldman of SI.com tweeted that Nick Saban and Tuscaloosa could be the assistant’s ultimate destination.
Kuligowski and Saban have a previous connection as the former played defensive line under the latter at Toledo in 1990. Saban is searching for a replacement to Karl Dunbar, the Crimson Tide’s defensive line coach who left for a job with the Pittsburgh Steelers earlier this month.
Other names floated as possibilities have included former FAU head coach Charlie Partridge and former UA assistant and current South Carolina line coach Lance Thompson.