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Committee launched to formulate plans for college football’s 150th birthday

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On Nov. 6, 1869, Princeton and Rutgers squared off in the first-ever college football game.  Nearly 148 years later, the powers-that-be in the sport are in the beginning stages of commemorating the momentous event.

The National Football Foundation announced in a press release that “[a] group of college football leaders announced plans today to launch a nationwide celebration to commemorate the game’s 150th anniversary.” The group will be headed by Kevin Weiberg, longtime college athletics administrator and former Big 12 Conference commissioner.

There are a baker’s dozen other individuals who will be involved in planning the festivities as part of the committee, including the two current athletic directors of the teams involved in the sport’s first game.

  • Todd Berry, executive director, American Football Coaches Association
  • Ari Fleischer, president, Ari Fleischer Communications
  • Bill Hancock, executive director, College Football Playoff
  • Steve Hatchell, president & chief executive officer, National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame
  • Pat Hobbs, director of athletics, Rutgers University
  • Chris Howard, president, Robert Morris University
  • Mike Kern, associate commissioner, Missouri Valley Football Conference/FCS Managing Director
  • Oliver Luck, executive vice president of regulatory affairs and strategic partnerships, NCAA
  • Mollie Marcoux Samaan, athletics director, Princeton University
  • Larry Scott, commissioner, Pac-12 Conference
  • Jon Steinbrecher, commissioner, Mid-American Conference
  • Bob Vecchione, executive director, National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics
  • Wright Waters, executive director, Football Bowl Association

“This is a very exciting moment for fans of college football,” Weiberg said in a statement. “Across the country, college football is a deeply ingrained part of life for millions and millions of people. While it’s too soon to know our exact plans, we want to put something together that is big and special, something fans can be proud of. We will work closely with leaders from all divisions of college football to build a national celebration for fans to enjoy.

“No one could have imagined that since the first football game was played on November 6, 1869 that college football would grow to become one of America’s greatest traditions, beloved by tens of millions of fans every year,” said Scott. “At all divisions of play, college football is special and we intend to launch a nationwide celebration to mark the anniversary.”

TE Jovani Haskins leaving Miami to ‘get fresh start somewhere else’

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A month and a half or so before Mark Richt kicks off his second summer camp at Miami, attrition has again hit the Hurricanes’ roster.

The U announced via a press release Tuesday afternoon that Jovani Haskins is no longer a member of the football program.  No specific reason was given for the tight end’s move away from Coral Gables, although it appears to be a mutual decision.

“I talked to Jovani and we both felt it was in his best interests to get a fresh start somewhere else,” the head coach said in a statement. “We wish him all the best in his future plans.”

A three-star member of UM’s 2016 recruiting class, Haskins was rated as the No. 19 tight end in the country and No. 10 player at any position in the state of New Jersey.  Prior to signing with The U, Haskins also held offers from, among others, Boston College, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ole Miss, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Virginia Tech and West Virginia. He took official visits to the latter two schools before committing to Miami a few days before National Signing Day.

The 6-4, 240-pound Haskins took a redshirt his true freshman season.

Rutgers WR John Tsimis to continue career at FCS level

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John Tsimis‘ has indeed decided to continue his playing career, albeit at a lower rung on the college football ladder.

On his Instagram account Wednesday, Tsimis announced that, after he graduates from Rutgers in June, he will be transferring to Towson “to exercise my 5th year of eligibility and pursue a [Master’s] degree.”  As the wide receiver will be coming in as a graduate transfer as well as the fact that the Tigers play at the FCS level, Tsimis will be immediately eligible.

Tsimis was honored on the Scarlet Knights’ Senior Night late last season, but had been waffling on whether to continue his career somewhere other than Piscataway.

“I would like to thank everyone who was involved in my career at Rutgers over the last four years,” Tsimis wrote on the social media website. “Although it didn’t always go the way I wanted it to on the field, I had a great experience and if given the opportunity I would choose Rutgers again.”

During his four seasons with the Scarlet Knights, Tsimis caught 36 passes for 348 yards and three touchdowns.  Last season, he had 11 receptions for 94 yards.

Rutgers adds another graduate transfer from B1G school

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Yeah, it’s just a kicker but it still counts, right? Sort of?

Regardless, nj.com, citing an unnamed source, is reporting that Andrew Harte has committed to Rutgers and will continue his collegiate playing career with the Scarlet Knights.  Harte offered some confirmation on his Twitter account as his profile has been edited to mention Rutgers football.

Because the placekicker was a walk-on at Minnesota and will be the same at RU, Harte won’t have a penalty year for transferring within the conference.  He’s also coming to Piscataway as a graduate, which would’ve given him immediate eligibility at another FBS program outside of the conference.

After redshirting as a true freshman in 2013, Harte played in four games the next two seasons. In that limited action, he attempted one extra point and three onside kicks.  Last season, he didn’t appear in any games.

Jerry Kill was Harte’s head coach for the first three years of his time with the Gopher and is now the Scarlet Knights’ offensive coordinator.

David Bonagura, RU’s main kicker last season, hit on 20-of-22 point-after attempts and 10 of 14 field-goal tries. His long was just 41 yards, however, and he connected on just one of his four attempts from beyond 40 yards.

Another pair of walk-ons, Justin Davidovicz and Gavin Haggerty, will be a part of the Scarlet Knights’ kicking fray this summer.

In February of this year, Ross Taylor-Douglas confirmed that he would be transferring to RU from Michigan. The running back-turned-defensive back comes in as a graduate transfer as well.

Ex-Rutgers QB officially enrolls at San Diego State

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Three months after it was initially indicated, Chris Laviano officially has a new college football home.

According to a press release, Laviano has signed an offer-in-aid and is enrolled in classes for the summer session at San Diego State.  The move paves the way for the quarterback to join the Aztecs football team for the upcoming season.

As Laviano is moving on to SDSU as a graduate transfer, he’ll be eligible to play immediately in 2017.  This will be Laviano’s final season of eligibility.

In late November of last year, Laviano opted to transfer from Rutgers.  Prior to that, Laviano had started 18 consecutive games for the Scarlet Knights until he was benched in October of last year.

In 2015, Laviano completed nearly 61 percent of his passes for 2,247 yards, 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. The completion percentage was the best for an RU player since 2008, while the yardage was good for eighth in school history.

Overall, he tossed 21 touchdowns and 15 picks during his time in Piscataway.

At SDSU, Laviano will compete with, among others, the incumbent Christian Chapman for the starting job. The 2016 starter missed spring practice this year as he recovered surgery on his thumb he underwent this offseason.

In his first full season as the starter, Chapman completed 153-of-251 passes for 1,994 yards, 20 touchdowns and six interceptions.  His 149.2 pass efficiency was second among Mountain West signal-callers.