Donnie Corley

Getty Images

Unnamed assistant says former Michigan State staffer Blackwell acted unprofessionally

Leave a comment

Curtis Blackwell is no longer a member of Michigan State’s recruiting staff, and there’s at least one person inside the Spartans’ football building happy about that.

Blackwell interviewed, taken out in handcuffs and later suspended with pay in early February for his involvement in a sexual assault scandal involving Josh KingDonnie Corley and Demetric Vance. The three players were later dismissed from the program and are set to face charges, and Blackwell was let go at the end of last month.

But on Wednesday the Detroit Free Press obtained an interview an unnamed Michigan State coaching staff member conducted with MSU Police in which he lobbied multiple complaints against Blackwell’s status and conduct within the program.

Saying he was “not a Curtis guy,” the assistant accused Blackwell of improperly toeing the lines between his job as Michigan State’s director of college advancement and performance and his role as co-founder of the Sound Mind, Sound Body football camps, which he was (somehow) allowed to keep while on Michigan State’s payroll.

Those complaints include leveraging his status to pursue inappropriate relationships with parents of Michigan State players, taking a trip to a Spartans NCAA basketball tournament game on a booster’s dime and withholding critical information on SM/SB camp alums from the rest of the staff.

The unnamed MSU coach told police it was because “Curtis makes money off these kids’ parents,” through the Sound Mind, Sound Body camp, “so he is loyal to them.”

Whether or not the unnamed assistant or his colleagues approved of Blackwell’s work, the boss certainly did. Mark Dantonio hired Blackwell in 2013 and said he had no regrets about bringing him aboard. “I don’t have any regrets about bringing Curtis in. It’s just that things changed this year,” Dantonio said. “Up to that point, I think we were going in the same direction, but in the last four or five months I believed the philosophy just changed.”

Before his contract was allowed to expire on May 30, Blackwell enjoyed a raise to $129,000 a year after the Spartans’ Big Ten championship and College Football Playoff appearance following the 2015 season.

Three Mich. St. players charged with felony sexual misconduct named, dismissed from team

Donnie Corley
Getty Images
6 Comments

After nearly four months of uncertainty, the identities of the trio of suspended Michigan State football players have been revealed.

Monday, the Ingham County Prosecutors Office announced that it would be charging three unidentified MSU Spartans in connection to an alleged sexual assault that took place on Jan. 16 at an off-campus apartment complex.  Tuesday, arrest warrants for third-degree criminal sexual misconduct, a felony, were issued for wide receiver Donnie Corley, defensive end Josh King and defensive back Demetric Vance.

Additionally, King was charged with one count each of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and capturing/distributing an image of an unclothed person.

Not long after the warrants were issued and charges were announced, head coach Mark Dantonio released a lengthy statement announcing that all three players have been dismissed from his football program.  Below is the statement, in its entirety.

With the criminal sexual conduct charges filed against Josh King, Donnie Corley and Demetric Vance, I have decided that regardless of the final outcome of the criminal process, these three individuals have been dismissed from our program, effective immediately.

“When we choose student-athletes to come to MSU, we enter into a relationship with them and their families, and we welcome them into ours. We emphasize that success on the field is not enough, as I made clear when all three individuals were suspended four months ago upon us learning of the allegations. They also must embrace our core principles, which include integrity, respect and accountability. The individuals in this case put themselves in a compromising position and did not live up to the standards we have outlined for our program.

“Sexual assault has no place in our community, and I want to share my deep concern for the young woman affected and her family.

“This is an extremely challenging situation that we have taken very seriously and has affected everyone in this program. The high standards I have established for this program will not change, and the values that we teach to everyone in this program will be enforced. I expect all of our players and staff to conduct themselves in a manner that reflect the ideals of this university.

The most noteworthy of the players from a football perspective is Corley.

As a true freshman last season, Corley finished second on the team with 453 receiving yards, while his 33 receptions and three receiving touchdowns were third.  With the departures of Josiah Price and R.J. Shelton for the NFL, Corley was to have been MSU’s leading returning receiver.

That honor now falls to junior Felton Davis III (12-150-1).

King was a four-star 2016 signee who started two of the nine games in which he played as a true freshman.  A four-star 2016 signee as well, Vance took a redshirt last season.

USC QB Sam Darnold, Houston DL Ed Oliver headline FWAA Freshman All-America Team

Photo by Harry How/Getty Images
Leave a comment

USC quarterback Sam Darnold and Houston defensive lineman Ed Oliver were the stars of the FWAA’s Freshman All-America Team for the 2016 season, and Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente and USC head coach Clay Helton shared the award for First Year Coach of the Year.

The FWAA’s Freshman All-America Team, announced today, includes 20 true freshmen including Oliver, Ohio State running back Mike Weber, Oklahoma State running back Justice Hill and Florida State defensive lineman Brian Burns.

Fuente is coming off his first season as the head coach at Virginia Tech after a successful stint as head coach at Memphis, with an ACC Coastal Division championship and appearance in the ACC Championship Game. Helton overcame a rough start to coach USC into a top 10 finish and a Rose Bowl victory over Big Ten champion Penn State. Both have been head coaches before, of course, but the FWAA First Year Coach of the Year is open to any coach in his first full season as a head coach at his current school.

OFFENSE

  • QB Sam Darnold, USC
  • RB Mike Weber, Ohio State
  • RB Benny Snell, Kentucky
  • RB Justice Hill, Oklahoma State
  • WR Ammon Richards, Miami
  • WR Demetris Robinson, California
  • WR Ty Lee, Middle Tennessee
  • TE Isaac Nautta, Georgia
  • OL Michael Jordan, Ohio State
  • OL Jawaan Taylor, Florida
  • OL Ryan Bates, Penn State
  • OL Thomas Shoaf, BYU
  • OL Ben Bredeson, Michigan
  • AP Donnie Corley, Michigan State

DEFENSE

  • DL Ed Oliver, Houston
  • DL Dexter Lawrence, Clemson
  • DL Brian Burns, Florida State
  • DL Dre’Mont Jones, Ohio State
  • DL Reggie Walker, Kansas State
  • LB Logan Wilson, Wyoming
  • LB Troy Dye, Oregon
  • LB Leo Lewis, Mississippi State
  • LB Josiah Tauaefa, UTSA
  • LB David Reese, Florida
  • DB Xavier Crawford, Oregon State
  • DB Javon Hagan, Ohio
  • DB Taylor Rapp, Washington
  • DB Jessie Bates, Wake Forest
  • DB Clifton Duck, Appalachian State

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • K Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia
  • P Tom Sheldon, North Carolina
  • KR Tony Pollard, Memphis
  • PR Malik McGue, Army

Michigan State survives late Notre Dame rally to win 36-28 in another classic

12 Comments

College football is often a game of runs. No game was a better example on Saturday night than the latest classic between Michigan State and Notre Dame.

The Irish opened scoring with a nice quarterback scramble from DeShone Kizer to go up 7-0 in the first quarter but watched rather helplessly as the team found all sorts of ways to allow the Spartans to take control of the game.

During a 36 point run by Michigan State, just about every wild thing that could go wrong did for Notre Dame. There was a muffed punt recovered in the second quarter that was followed quickly by quarterback Tyler O’Conner lofting a pass into the end zone that receiver Donnie Corley simply snatched away from the hands of a defensive back.

As if that play was bad enough, the Spartans converted a two-point conversion out of a swinging gate formation, recovered another fumble and picked off Kizer to help fuel the run. It was an impressive swing of momentum that seemed to signal a runaway in South Bend.

The Irish had other ideas however.

Kizer eventually started to make things happen and helped swing momentum back in favor of the home team by finding Equanimeous St. Brown, who made a circus catch in the corner of the end zone to kick off a 21 point run.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Notre Dame cut Michigan State’s lead to just one score with over six minutes left when Kizer found Durham Smythe for yet another touchdown pass and it was the Spartans who suddenly found themselves in a second half drought.

Kizer eventually got the ball back with just over four minutes left in the fourth quarter but was sacked on third down to end stop a streak of three straight touchdown drives. With 3:37 left, Brian Kelly curiously opted to trust his defense and called a timeout to punt the ball instead of going for it on fourth and seven.

The decision would end up costing the Irish head coach as Michigan State salted the game away behind a clutch O’Conner throw and some quality runs Gerald Holmes.

The win gives the Big Ten another big non-conference victory early in the season and should vault MSU even higher in the polls as a potential conference title contender.

As for Notre Dame, it could be a long season for Kelly and his staff with such a young and inexperienced defense. The Irish still have a few remaining marquee games left but dropping two of their first three all but knocks them out of the College Football Playoff race and could signal some potential changes coming on the team as soon as next week.

Big plays help Michigan State take a 15-7 lead over Notre Dame at halftime

Getty Images
1 Comment

Any time Notre Dame and Michigan State get together, a hard-fought and close game with a few wild bounces is likely to emerge.

That was certainly the case on Saturday night from South Bend as the Spartans used a crazy second quarter push to take a 15-7 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The Irish were in control for most of the first quarter, mounting a nine play, 91 yard drive for the first score of the game on a DeShone Kizer quarterback scramble from 14 yards out. The signal-caller continued his strong play to begin the season with 6-of-9 passing for 103 yards in the first half but only had a handful of opportunities to show what he could do thanks to several miscues by his teammates.

A wild sequence of events in the second quarter was able to shift the momentum for the Spartans however. After getting stopped on third-and-six, Michigan State punted the ball away, only to recover it when it glanced off a Notre Dame blocker’s leg. Set up at the Irish 38 yard line, quarterback Tyler O’Conner lofted a pass into the end zone that receiver Donnie Corley simply snatched away from the hands of a defensive back.

https://platform.vine.co/static/scripts/embed.js

The team converted a two-point conversion out of a swinging gate formation on the next snap to take an 8-7 lead. That would have been plenty to keep momentum on their side had the Spartans not recovered a fumble on the very next Notre Dame offensive snap and then later mounted a 92 yard scoring drive in the final minute of the half thanks to an R.J. Shelton catch and run touchdown.

If there was one first half highlight for the Irish, it was likely in the form of a Tyler Newsome 71 yard punt — the longest in nearly two decades for the Irish.

Given what we’ve seen in the first half and in prior outings between these two teams, the final two quarters should be plenty of fun on NBC  tonight.