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Ex-Notre Dame LB files suit, accuses Brian Kelly, others of negligence

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Because of a diagnosis of spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the spine), Doug Randolph was forced to retire from football in March of 2016 after Notre Dame’s medical personnel failed to clear him for an on-field return.  Fast-forward a year and a half, and the former Fighting Irish linebacker is now claiming that he should’ve been prevented by the program from playing months earlier.

According to the Indianapolis Star, Randolph has filed suit against, among others, head coach Brian Kelly, with the Star writing that the former player is “alleging that results of a spinal scan were concealed from him and that he should not have been allowed to continue playing.”

The suit alleges that Randolph first suffered numbness during a September 2015 practice, but was cleared by trainer Rob Hunt to return to minutes later.  The crux of Randolph’s case stems from the aftermath of that initial incident.  From the Star:

The lawsuit states that Randolph’s symptoms continued after every impact he experienced on the field.

He had an MRI, and Hunt and a team doctor told Randolph it was safe for him to continue playing, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit says neither the imaging nor the results of the scan were given to Randolph. Randolph says his symptoms worsened during the season.

“If he had been told the truth about the results of this MRI scan, his football career would have ended on that date and all subsequent injuries and permanent damage he has endured would have never occurred,” the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit further claims that, during the Jan. 1, 2016, Fiesta Bowl, Randolph suffered what was described as complete numbness in all four extremities following a hit. “He informed Hunt, who told him to ‘continue playing’ and ‘get back in the game,'” the newspaper wrote, citing the complaint.

A series of doctor visits after that bowl game led to one doctor independent of the university determining that Randolph has “possible, if not probable, permanent nerve damage in his neck that had occurred as a result of continuing to play college football” beyond the September of 2015 incident.  Not long after that determination, Randolph was medically disqualified by the football program.

It should be noted that Randolph remained on scholarship and graduated from the university this past spring with a degree in management consulting.  Additionally, Randolph served as a student assistant coach on Kelly’s football staff for the 2016 season after he was medically disqualified.

Lamar Jackson leapfrogged by Baker Mayfield as Bovada’s Heisman favorite

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So much for that wagering momentum, I guess.

Entering the 2017 season as not only the reigning winner but also as seemingly an afterthought, a pair of scintillating performances to open the year pushed Lamar Jackson to the head of Bovada.lv‘s Heisman Trophy pack.  Coming off a 26-point Week 3 loss to now-No. 2 Clemson in which he totaled nearly 400 yards of offense and three touchdowns, the Louisville quarterback has seen his odds lengthen a bit from 7/4 a week ago to 11/2 in Bovada‘s latest Heisman release.

Bovada’s new betting front-runner?  Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, who went from 4/1 to 7/4.  Sam Darnold, 6/1, also saw his odds shorten slightly to a Jackson-match 11/2.

Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph, 10/1 in the previous odds release, is now at 9/1, same as the holding-steady-from-a-week-ago Penn State running back Saquon Barkley.

There’s also, interestingly, one true freshman on the board: J.K. Dobbins.  The Ohio State running back went from off the board to 40/1 odds.  His starting quarterback, J.T. Barrett, saw his odds go from 25/1 to 33/1.

Below is the latest set of 2017 Heisman Trophy odds, again courtesy of Bovada.lv.

Illinois adds UCF grad transfer QB Pete DiNovo

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Illinois has an immediate addition to its quarterback room.  Or its wide receivers room, depending on how things play out.

Pete DiNovo confirmed to the Tampa Bay Times Monday that he has decided to transfer to the Illini.  The acknowledgment comes a month after DiNovo decided to transfer from Central Florida.

As a graduate transfer, DiNovo would be eligible to play immediately this season.  Per the player, a former high school teammate and former high school coach currently at Illinois played a role in his decision.

“I couldn’t be happier with the way everything turned out,” DiNovo told the Times. “I can come up here and learn from Lovie (Smith) and everyone else on the coaching staff.”

DiNovo began his Knights career as a quarterback — he replaced Blake Bortles as UCF’s starter before being quickly replaced himself — before being moved to wide receiver before being moved back under center this offseason.  How the Illini will use DiNovo, who has an eye on a career in coaching after his playing days are over, remains to be seen.

UTEP stays in-house to replace fired OC Brent Pease

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Not surprisingly, UTEP will stay in-house following its in-season dismissal of one of its coordinators.

The Miners confirmed Sunday that offensive coordinator Brent Pease had been fired.  A day later, the football program announced that Brian Natkin has been given the keys to the offense by Sean Kugler and will call the plays moving forward.

Natkin began the season as special teams coordinator and tight ends coach.  He was an All-American tight end at UTEP a decade-and-a-half ago and became a full-time assistant at his alma mater in 2011.

Through three games, UTEP ranks second-to-last nationally in total offense at 204.7 yards per game and in yards per play (3.89). The Miners are also 125th (out of 130 teams) in scoring at 13 points per game.

The promotion of Natkin also means there will be some additional adjustments to Kugler’s staff.  Wide receivers coach Chuck Veliz will take over Pease’s other role as quarterbacks coach, while safeties coach Don Yanowsky assume Natkin’s duties as special teams coordinator.

Natkin will continue in his role as tight ends coach.

Oregon State QB Jake Luton discharged from hospital after leaving Wazzu game on a stretcher

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Oregon State quarterback Jake Luton was taken away on a stretcher after a tackle left him motionless on the Reser Stadium turf on Saturday.

Family members were called to the field, where medical professionals stabilized an apparently unconscious Luton and removed his face mask. The game continued, of course, as Oregon State lost to Washington State 52-23 despite Luton’s 179 passing yards and 22 rushing yards.

Luton tweeted on Saturday night that he’ll “be back.”

Luton has since been discharged from the hospital, according to The Oregonian, though his father posted a message stating Luton was probably dealing with a “thoracic spine fracture.”

Oregon State is off Saturday before hosting Washington on Sept. 30.