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Virginia stays in-house to fill coaching void

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Bronco Mendenhall didn’t have to look far to find someone to fill the hole on his Virginia coaching staff.

The football program announced in a press release that Mendenhall has promoted Vic So’oto (pictured, No. 37) to defensive line coach.  Last season, his first with the Cavaliers, So’oto, who played his college football for Mendenhall at BYU from 2005-10, served as a graduate assistant.

So’oto replaces Ruffin McNeill, who left Charlottesville earlier this month for a spot on Lincoln Riley‘s staff at Oklahoma.

“Vic was Ruffin’s understudy for the last year-and-a-half,” Mendenhall said in a statement. “He was my very first commitment at BYU when I became the head coach. He was a very good player for us and someone who has experience playing in the NFL.

“He’s very passionate. He is very knowledgeable about defensive football and our system. He knows the defensive line play in our system, inside and out. He’s a great teacher and fits perfectly and seamlessly into this position because he was taught and mentored by Ruff this past year. Our defensive front won’t miss a beat.”

Clemson’s championship team leads to multiple ESPY nominations

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The ESPYS are coming. ESPN’s annual summer tradition of showering star athletes with Hollywood praise is coming in July, and fans now have a chance to vote for their picks in multiple categories. As is typically the case, the reigning national champions tend to be well-represented.

The Clemson Tigers appear multiple times among the finalists for various ESPY awards. Former quarterback Deshaun Watson, now with the NFL’s Houston Texans, is one of four finalists for the Best Championship Performance award. Despite passing for 420 yards and three touchdowns without an interception and running for 43 yards and a score against Alabama in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game last January, Watson is up against some stiff competition in the category. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant, and Los Angeles Sparks player Candace Parker are the other finalists. Topping Brady or Durant may prove difficult for Watson considering the pedigree each of those two have. A player competing in the NBA Finals has won the award each of the past four seasons (three of them won by LeBron James). The only college football player to win the award was former Texas quarterback Vince Young in 2006 following his performance in the Rose Bowl against USC. Watson’s performance against Alabama was about as close to Young’s Rose Bowl as you can get, so maybe there is a chance.

Watson may stand a better chance of being named the Best Male College Athlete. He is the only college football player in the running and may have the most well-known name recognition across the nation compared to the others in contention, although Kansas basketball player Frank Mason could stand a chance.

Clemson’s victory over Alabama is also one of three finalists for Best Upset. The only other finalists for the award are the Mississippi State women’s basketball team upsetting the UConn women in the women’s Final Four and Denis Istomin toppling Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open. Clemson has a chance here, although the UConn women losing was a stunner. No college football game is up for Best Game despite a thrilling national championship game and a Rose Bowl for the ages. But then again, it’s hard to argue against Game 7 of the World Series and the Super Bowl, with a Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal Australian Open Final coming out as the three finalists.

Clemson is also up for Best Team, but against the Chicago Cubs, Warriors, Pittsburgh Penguins, Patriots, South Carolina women’s basketball and the United States women’s gymnastics team. It’s a loaded field.

Louisville quarterback and 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson is in the hunt for an ESPY though. His hurdle of a defender is in a tournament-style bracket of 16 plays for the Best Play ESPY. Given the No. 14 seed, Jackson is up against a pass by Aaron Rogers to Jared Cook that led to a playoff victory against the Dallas Cowboys, so once again it looks like a tough draw. Here’s the Jackson hurdle against Syracuse…

The ESPYS will air on Wednesday, July 12.

Ex-A&M WR Ja’Quay Savage transferring from Louisville too

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For the third time in his career at this level, Ja’Quay Savage will have a new college football home.

Savage revealed via Twitter Tuesday evening that he has decided to transfer from Louisville and continue playing elsewhere.  As the wide receiver has already received his degree from the U of L, he would be eligible to play for another FBS program in 2017.

Savage, who changed his name from Williams in 2015 to honor his mom, began his career at Texas A&M as a four-star 2013 recruit before transferring to Louisville in May of 2014.  After sitting out a transfer season, Savage started six of the nine games in which he played in 2015, catching 12 passes for 135 yards and a touchdown.

Last season, he didn’t catch a pass and likely would’ve been buried on the depth chart heading into summer camp.

Boston College, Michigan State announce future home-and-home

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Get out your calendars and get set to mark down yet another way-into-the-future football series.

Both Boston College and Michigan State announced Wednesday that the two programs have reached an agreement on a future home-and-home series.  The Spartans will travel to Chestnut Hill for a Sept. 21, 2024, game at Alumni Stadium, with the Eagles making the return trip to East Lansing’s Spartan Stadium Sept. 20, 2025.

BC and MSU have met six times previously, the last coming in the 2007 Champs Sports Bowl.  The Eagles lead the miniseries 4-1-1.

“Philosophically we want to play a strong schedule and adding a future opponent the caliber of Michigan State fits what we want to accomplish,” said BC athletic director Martin Jarmond in a statement. “To have one of the eight teams that have competed in the College Football playoff come to The Heights will be exciting for our young men competing on the field and our season ticket holders.”

With this addition, BC now has four Big Tn schools on its future schedules — Purdue (2018, 2020), Rutgers (2019, 2022, 2026, 2027) and Ohio State (2026, 2027).  MSU has one other future series against a member of the ACC, that coming in 2020-21 against Miami.

Pitt RB Rachid Ibrahim re-joining Paul Chryst in Wisconsin

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Rachid Ibrahim signed with Paul Chryst at Pittsburgh out of Rockville, Md., in 2013.

His career as a Panther got off to a good start, playing in 26 of 26 possible games while averaging 6.7 yards per carry on 60 rushes and 8.1 yards per grab on 20 receptions. However, Ibrahim suffered a torn Achilles in training camp before the 2015 season and did not see the field in the two following campaigns.

Ibrahim left the roster before spring practice and on Monday evening announced he will re-join Chryst at Wisconsin.

Officially a Badger🙏🏾 #OnWisconsin

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Ibrahim will join the Badgers’ roster as a graduate transfer, making him immediately eligible to appear for Wisconsin for one season. He joins a running back roster that saw its two leading rushers a year ago, Corey Clement and Dare Ogunbowale, leave due to graduation.