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Starting guard Marcus Applefield leaving Rutgers as a grad transfer

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Abruptly, and unexpectedly, Rutgers has a hole in the middle of its offensive line to fill.

Wednesday, starting offensive lineman Marcus Applefield took to Twitter to announce that he has chosen to leave RU.  No reason for the departure was even hinted at in the lineman’s tweet.

Applefield will be leaving the Scarlet Knight Knights as a graduate transfer, meaning he can use his final season of eligibility in 2018 if he lands at another FBS program.

This past season, Applefield started 10 of 12 games at right guard for the Scarlet Knights.  All told, he played in 27 games the past three seasons after taking a redshirt as a true freshman in 2014.

Each of the last three years, Applefield, a three-star recruit coming out of high school in Florida, was an Academic All-Big Ten selection.

Wilton Speight confirms restrictions placed on transfer from Michigan

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One of a few players who has decided to part ways with the Michigan football program of late, Wilton Speight has shed some additional light on his move away from Ann Arbor.

In late November, Speight announced that he had decided to transfer from the Wolverines. There was some question as to whether Speight would remain with the team through the postseason, as well as what if any restrictions were placed on his transfer.

On social media Friday, Speight clarified those two areas of concern.

So, in addition to the six other teams in the Big Ten East as well as 2018 cross-divisional foes Nebraska, Wisconsin and Northwestern, the quarterback will also be barred from transferring to 2018 non-conference opponents Notre Dame, Western Michigan and SMU.

As the Virginia native is leaving U-M as a graduate transfer, he’ll be eligible to play immediately in 2018 if he opts for another FBS school. Next season will be Speight’s final year of eligibility.

J.T. Barrett’s third QB of the Year award headlines B1G football honors

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It’s award season in college football, with the Big Ten the latest to hand out postseason football honors.

Thursday, the conference announced the winners of 15 awards, ranging from Punter of the Year to Defensive Back of the Year.  Headlining the announcements was Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett being named the Quarterback of the Year, the third time in his career he’s received that award.  In fact, an OSU quarterback has won that honor in five of the last six years it’s been given out — Barrett, in 2014 and then again in 2016 and 2017, and Braxton Miller in 2012 and 2013.

Penn State’s Saquon Barkley was the recipients of a pair of awards, Running Back of the Year and Return Specialist of the Year. Barkley was also named as the B1G’s Offensive Player of the Year, while Iowa’s Josey Jewell claimed defensive honors.

Paul Chryst of unbeaten Wisconsin’s was named as the league’s Coach of the Year.  Chryst’s workhorse running back, Jonathan Taylor, earned Freshman of the Year accolades.

Below are all of the recipients of this year’s awards.

Rutgers reportedly reworks Chris Ash contract through 2022

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A former Rutgers head coach may be having a difficult time being hired for another head coach gig, but current Rutgers head coach was just given a boost of confidence from his bosses. According to a report from NJ.com, Rutgers has reworked the contract of Chris Ash to now run through the 2022 season, giving Ash a two-year extension as a result.

Ash originally signed with Rutgers in December 2015 on a five-year contract, which was valued at $11 million. In addition to commitments to improve the football facilities, Rutgers is now investing more in their head coach as part of the new agreement in place. Per NJ.com;

The two additional years on top of the three he had remaining are worth $5.1 million total, according to a Rutgers official. Ash’s starting salary was $2 million per year with annual raises of $100,000 and those terms remained unchanged: He will make $2.2 million in 2018.

As noted in the report, this is actually the first official contract Ash will have on the record. The previous two seasons, Ash was working off a signed Memorandum of Agreement with the promise of working out an official contract. That deal was in place as Rutgers was awaiting word from the NCAA on any potential sanctions stemming from incidents that occurred under the previous head coach, Kyle Flood.

Ash took the Rutgers job prior to the 2016 season, his first job as a head coach after serving as an assistant under Urban Meyer at Ohio State. The first year on the job did not go well with a rebuilding project on his hands and injuries to key players. The Scarlet Knights went 2-10 in 2016 and suffered humiliating losses in Big Ten play. The 2017 season saw some steps forward for the Rutgers program result in doubling the win total from the previous season. The gaps between Rutgers and the top programs in the Big Ten were still visible from the moon and the season ended with a loud thud in the form of a 40-0 loss at Indiana and a 40-7 setback at home against Michigan State, but the larger picture of Rutgers in 2017 had some positives the 2016 season simply did not.

Report: Tennessee working to hire Greg Schiano

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Tennessee fans wanted a former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach to lead their program, and AD John Currie is about to bring them one. Just not that former Bucs head coach.

Greg Schiano will be named Tennessee’s new head coach today, according to a report from USA Today‘s Dan Wolken.

Schiano made his name in college football for turning around Rutgers, which at the time was the Kansas of its day. He guided the Scarlet Knights to an 11-2 season and a No. 12 final ranking in 2006, setting the stage for Rutgers to enjoy Big Ten membership today.

He would inherit a similar rebuild in Knoxville. While the Vols aren’t as historically bad as Rutgers, the program did suffer through its first 8-loss season and first winless SEC campaign this fall.

Schiano, of course, is now Ohio State’s defensive coordinator, and he would be expected to complete his duties with the Buckeyes before joining the Vols full-time.