Zach Barnett

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Iowa State QB Joel Lanning now Cyclones’ starting middle linebacker

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Joel Lanning began the 2016 season as Iowa State’s starting quarterback, but by the end of the year he’d ceded the job to Jacob Park.

But just because Lanning is no longer the Cyclones’ top quarterback doesn’t mean the coaching staff is letting his other talents go to waste on the sideline. He became a running specialist toward the end of last season and may reprise that role in 2017. But that’s not all.

Lanning, who Iowa State lists at 6-foot-2 and 235 pounds, is also practicing at linebacker. And doing quite well at it.

“He’s the No. 1 mike linebacker for us right now,” linebackers coach Tyson Veidt told the Des Moines Register. “(He’s) doing a great job there running with the ones. It’s certainly his job to lose.”

Lanning’s quarterback style made him familiar with frequent contact. He rushed 121 times for 518 yards and a team-high 11 touchdowns in 2016, including a 17-carry, 171-yard, five-touchdown effort in a 66-10 thrashing of Texas Tech.

While both Lanning and the Iowa State coaches are still trying to figure out what, exactly, Lanning’s role will be this season, it’s clear it will be a prominent one. It’s looking now as if Lanning will play primarily on defense while playing spot duty on offense. (Note to Lanning: make sure you switch shoulder pads when transitioning from quarterback to linebacker and vice versa.)

“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 paper.

Former Michigan CB Jourdan Lewis charged with misdemeanor domestic assault

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Former Michigan cornerback Jourdan Lewis has been charged with pushing his girlfriend, dragging her and putting his hand to her throat, culminating in misdemeanor domestic assault charges.

According to an Ann Arbor police deport obtained by Land of 10, officers were called early Wednesday morning after Lewis and his live-in girlfriend got in an argument over who pays the bills at their apartment. He began throwing pillows and a blanket at her when, after moving to the closet, he grabbed the woman by the hair, dragged her, grabbed her by the neck and held her to the floor “for about three seconds.”  (Officers on the scene did not see visible marks on her neck.)

“When asked if Lewis had grabbed (the woman’s) throat he stated that he may have grabbed it while trying to get her off him but had no intentions to hurt (her),” the police report said. “Lewis stated at no time was he trying to assault (her), he was trying to leave.”

Police located Lewis near the Wolverines’ football offices and arrested him, but did not pursue charges. After reviewing police files, but the prosecutor reversed that decision the next day. Lewis pleaded not guilty. The charges carry maximum penalties of 93 days in jail and a $500 fine.

Lewis was a consensus All-American in 2016 and a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s best defensive back. In 48 career games, Lewis collected 133 tackles, six interceptions, 8.5 tackles for loss and one forced fumble during his time in maize and blue.

“It’s sad that somebody would want to control you so bad they would ruin your life over it,” Lewis tweeted hours after the incident, but later deleted the message.

He is due back in court for a pretrial hearing on April 12. The NFL Draft begins April 27.

Former Florida QB Treon Harris set to start at Tennessee State

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Former Florida quarterback Treon Harris has transferred to Tennessee State in preparation for a battle for the starting job.

That battle ended before it began.

Incumbent O’Shay Ackerman-Carter was granted a release Monday in order to pursue a quarterbacking gig closer to his Jacksonville hometown. He entered both of the past two seasons as the Tigers’ starter before losing both years to injury, the latest an ACL tear.

“O’Shay’s a little dejected, but he said he thought transferring was the best thing for him and his family,” Tennessee State head coach Rod Reed told the Nasvhille Tennessean. “I had a long conversation with him earlier today. He’s been given permission to contact some other schools and look elsewhere. I think his injuries also had a lot to do with it.”

Harris will now compete with Michael Hughes for the starting role. “I’ve still got plenty to prove. And we’ve still got competition at the position with (Hughes),” he told the paper.

In two off-and-on seasons at quarterback for Florida, Harris completed 174-of-346 (50.3 percent) passes for 2,695 yards (7.79 yards per attempt) with 18 touchdowns against 10 interceptions while rushing 171 times for 570 yards and three touchdowns.

Texas-Texas Tech rivalry somehow comes up during Congressional hearing

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Big 12 football was among the last topics you’d expect to come up during today’s Congressional hearing, but, given the news cycle these days, perhaps the unexpected should be expected.

As FBI director James Comey testified before Congress, Texas Representative Mike Conaway tried to equate the 2016 election with the Texas-Texas Tech football rivalry. Or something. See if you can make sense of this.

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Suddenly drawn into the inner-workings of Washington, Texas Tech sprung its head up to take advantage.

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Tune in next week, when the Wisconsin-Minnesota rivalry somehow gets drawn into the health care debate.

Colorado announces passing of Ralphie IV

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Colorado has announced that Ralphie IV, the Buffs’ retired, rumbling mascot, passed away Sunday. She was 19.

A month shy of the buffalo’s 20th birthday, Ralphie was euthanized after her longtime veterinarian determined wide-scale liver failure put her health in rapid and irreversible decline.”She was ready to go today,” caretaker John Graves said to Colorado’s official site. “It was very peaceful … almost 20 is fairly old for a buffalo.” Ralphie was buried in her retirement home of Henderson, Colo.

Donated to Colorado by Ted Turner, Ralphie IV was one of the longest-serving and most successful mascots in Buffaloes history. She served as the Buffaloes’ mascot from 1998-08, leading the charge for a record-tying 75 games, including six bowl games and CU’s 2001 Big 12 Championship victory.

“Ralphie IV will be greatly missed by all,” Graves said.  “It really is a sad day for the Ralphie Program, the University and for CU fans across the nation.  Fans knew Ralphie IV for her right horn that grew crooked, the Handlers that had the privilege to work with her knew her for her unique personality.

“She had a great career at the University and enjoyed all the times she led the football team onto the field, both at Folsom and at away stadiums. After retirement she lived a great life grazing away in her pastures. We lost a great buffalo, a great mascot, and a great icon.”