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ESPN acquires Miami Beach Bowl, will move it out of Florida


The state of Florida will play host to one less bowl game when the 2017 postseason rolls around.

The American Athletic Conference, which created the Miami Beach Bowl and has owned and operated the event since 2014, announced Friday that the game has been purchased by ESPN.  The AAC will continue its affiliation with the bowl game; it’s expected Conference USA, the MAC and Sun Belt will do the same.

The conference also confirmed that the game will no longer be played at Marlins Park or in the state of Florida.  A new venue will be announced at a later date, although the state of Texas is the early favorite to land the bowl.

“We are proud of the postseason opportunities that we have been able to provide to student-athletes through our founding of the Miami Beach Bowl, and we appreciate the relationships that we have built with the Miami Marlins, Marlins Park and the cities of Miami and Miami Beach,” said AAC commissioner Mike Aresco said in a statement. “This transfer makes sense on many levels. We are excited to enhance our overall relationship with ESPN and to continue our affiliation with the bowl.”

Memphis (2014), Tulsa (2016) and USF (2015) have previously represented the AAC in the game.  The first two won their matchups with BYU and Central Michigan, respectively, while the latter dropped a 10-point decision to Western Kentucky.

Temple QB Tommy Wyatt comes full circle, transfers to Rutgers

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A former Georgia player is not the only FBS transfer Rutgers is adding to its roster in the midst of spring practice.

Tommy Wyatt took to Twitter this past weekend to confirm that the former New Jersey high school has decided he’s “coming home” to play at Rutgers. The quarterback said in his statement announcing the RU decision that he has received a scholarship release from his now-former school, Temple.

Nj.com writes that because “Wyatt walked on at Temple and is likely to walk-on at Rutgers, he should be allowed to compete in 2017 with four years to play four.”

Wyatt was originally slated to sign with Rutgers last year but academics led him, at least initially, to Temple. The 6-4, 215-pound signal-caller took a redshirt in his first and only season with the Owls.

Geoff Collins hires third Temple WRs coach in three months

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Maybe the third time will be a charm?  Possibly?

When Geoff Collins took over for Matt Ruhle as Temple’s head coach, he retained Frisman Jackson as wide receivers coach; less than two weeks later, Jackson left for a job with the NFL’s Tennessee Titans.  No worries as Collins hired Keith Gaither to replace Jackson; six weeks later, however, Gaither left for the same job at East Carolina.

A week after that departure, Collins has (again) filled the same hole on his initial coaching staff, with philly.com reporting that Stan Hixon will serve as the Owls’ receivers coach (for now).  The Owls subsequently confirmed the development.

Most of the last decade or so for Hixon has been spent at the NFL level, with stops at the Houston Texans (2014-15), Buffalo Bills (2010-12) and Washington Redskins (2004-10).

Hixon’s last job at the collegiate level came at Penn State.  From 2012-13, he was Bill O’Brien‘s receivers coach while also holding the title of assistant head coach.

Other collegiate stops during a coaching career that stretches back to 1980 include LSU (2000-03), Georgia Tech (1995-99), Wake Forest (1993-94) and South Carolina (1989-92).

East Carolina looks to Temple for new WRs coach

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After a hiccup related to an off-field incident, Scottie Montgomery has filled a hole on his East Carolina coaching staff.

The football program announced that the second-year head coach has added Keith Gaither as a Pirates assistant. Specifically, Gaither will serve as ECU’s wide receivers coach.

Gaither comes to Greenville after spending a little over a month in the same position at Temple.

“Keith’s background of success at all levels not only speaks highly of his coaching ability, but also his aptitude to understand, implement and value various offensive philosophies,” Montgomery said in a statement. “His recruiting ties, especially across North Carolina, run deep and will impact our program significantly.”

Prior to his very brief stint at Temple, Gaither was the receivers coach at Army. He’s also spent time as an assistant on coaching staffs at Ball State (2011-14) and Elon (2009-10).

Montgomery had been prepared to hire former Purdue interim head coach-turned Cincinnati running backs coach Gerad Parker in the position that ultimately went to Gaither. However, after a going away party late last month, Parker was arrested on a charge of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.  The football program opted to move in a different direction as a result of that incident.

Nearly three dozen teams show interest in Clemson grad transfer

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It was expected there would be a significant market for a Clemson defensive lineman leaving the Tigers as a graduate transfer. Suffice to say, that is indeed the case.

This past week, Dabo Swinney‘s football program confirmed that Scott Pagano would be leaving the team and transferring elsewhere. The head coach also revealed that the tackle would “probably” end up at a West Coast school to finish out his career.

Teams in that part of the country are indeed interested in the one-year rental, as are myriad others as 247Sports.com is reporting that 32 made contact with the lineman in the hours after his impending pending departure was announced. Arizona State, Cal, Oregon, USC, Washington and Hawaii are among the teams out west who have expressed interest.

A handful of Power Five programs further east have expressed interest as well, including Arkansas, Baylor, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisville, LSU, Maryland, Nebraska, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Purdue, Texas and Texas A&M. Group Five teams that have shown interest include Charlotte, East Carolina, FAU, FIU, Louisiana Tech, Memphis, SMU, Temple and Utah State.

Coming out of high school in Hawaii as a four-star 2013 recruit, Pagano was rated as the No. 24 tackle in the country and the No. 2 player at any position in the state. Pagano started 13 games the past two seasons, four of which came in 2016.