After transferring from Florida to Miami, Gerald Willis was forced to sit out the 2015 season. As it turns out, he’ll be forced to sit out the first game of the 2016 season as well.
According to Matt Porter of the Palm Beach Post, Willis will be suspended for the Hurricanes opener next week. The only reason given was violations of unspecified team rules.
The U, opens the 2016 season Sept. 3 against FCS Florida A&M, has yet to publicly address Willis’ status for the opener.
Willis left the Gators in January of 2015. A month later, he landed with the Hurricanes. He subsequently claimed he was actually dismissed by UF head coach Jim McElwain and was seeking what was described as a “run-off waiver” that would’ve given him immediate eligibility; that waiver was denied.
Willis was a four-star member of the Gators’ 2014 recruiting class, rated as the No. 6 strongside defensive end in the country. He played in five games as a true freshman last season. Willis’ stay at UF was a brief one as, a couple of months after a verbal disagreement over a pair of cleats escalated into a physical altercation with a teammate, it was announced that Willis was leaving the program.
It was reported over the weekend that a trio of Hurricane starters, wide receiver Stacey Coley, linebacker Jermaine Grace and defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad, could be suspended for 1-3 games in connection to an investigation into their use of luxury vehicles.
Star wide receiver Stacy Coley has not been made available to the media since Miami opened summer camp Aug. 4, and now we know why. Reportedly.
According to the Miami Herald, an investigation into Miami football players’ involvement with a luxury car rental agency has been expanded to include Coley. Also under investigation are star defensive lineman Al-Quadin Muhammad and linebackers Jermaine Grace and Juwon Young; the latter has been indefinitely suspended by the football program and reportedly won’t return to the team because he wasn’t forthcoming in the initial stages of the school’s investigation.
The Herald writes that the investigation involves “players who might have used cars from a South Beach luxury car rental agency, in exchange for future promises.”
At this point, the NCAA is not involved. However, if the university uncovers any violations, they will forward those to The Association.
The Hurricanes are already bracing themselves for the potential losses of Coley, Muhammad and Grace early on this season.
The U will face Florida A&M, FAU and Appalachian State the first three games of the season.
Coley was second on the Hurricanes last season in receptions (47), yards (689) and receiving touchdowns (4). He opted to pass on the NFL draft to return for his senior season this year.
The new home of the ‘Canes has a new name.
The Miami Dolphins announced Wednesday plans to rename Sun Life Stadium to Hard Rock Stadium moving forward, culminating a half-billion renovation project undertaken by Fins owner Stephen Ross. Heading into its 30th football season, the new moniker will be Hard Rock Stadium’s eight different name and fourth corporate sponsor, the third since 2009.
The Orlando-based restaurant chain applied to trademark the name “Hard Rock Stadium” on June 8, according to the Palm Beach Post.
Hard Rock Stadium has been the home of Hurricanes football since 2008 and home of the Orange Bowl since 1996 and continuously since 2000. The stadium has hosted five Super Bowls — but none since 2010, the impetus for the renovations — two BCS national championship games and one College Football Playoff semifinal.
The Manning Award released its 30-member Watch List on Monday, in case you needed reminding which quarterbacks were the best in college football. The Manning separates itself from the Davey O’Brien and Unitas quarterback awards — and, more often than not, the Heisman and Maxwell, too — by taking bowl performances into account before handing out its trophy.
“We once again have a great group of quarterbacks returning to college football this fall,” said Archie Manning in a statement. “While this Watch List has many of the best returning players, we look forward to making midseason additions as teams settle on definite starters and as young players step up and make names for themselves. I’m really looking forward to getting the season rolling to see which guys will rise to the top and become Manning Award finalists.”
The Watch List includes:
- Tommy Armstrong, Nebraska
- J.T. Barrett, Ohio State
- C.J. Beathard, Iowa
- Jake Browning, Washington
- Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee
- Dane Evans, Tulsa
- Luke Falk, Washington State
- Quinton Flowers, South Florida
- Skyler Howard, West Virginia
- Lamar Jackson, Louisville
- Brad Kaaya, Miami
- Chad Kelly, Ole Miss
- Trevor Knight, Texas A&M
- Taylor Lamb, Appalachian State
- Wes Lunt, Illinois
- Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech
- Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
- Nick Mullens, Southern Miss
- Kent Myers, Utah State
- Josh Rosen, UCLA
- Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State
- Cooper Rush, Central Michigan
- Seth Russell, Baylor
- Brett Rypien, Boise State
- Brandon Silvers, Troy
- Brent Stockstill, Middle Tennessee
- Zach Terrell, Western Michigan
- Phillip Walker, Temple
- Deshaun Watson, Clemson
As far as snubs go, Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer and/or Malik Zaire feel like pretty big ones. If you’re the type to get upset about preseason watch lists, that is. (Which you shouldn’t be.)
The Manning Award will announce its midseason Watch List additions — which either Kizer or Zaire will be — on Oct. 12, its 10 finalists on Nov. 30, and its winner on Jan. 11.
Watson will attempt to become the first repeat winner in the 12-year history of the award. Previous winners (Matt Leinart, Tim Tebow, Johnny Manziel and Jameis Winston) are 0-for-4 in their attempts to repeat.
The Big 12, Pac-12 and, this season, the Big Ten will all play a nine-game league schedule this season. Whether the ACC joins them at some point in the future remains to be determined.
Earlier this week it was reported that ESPN had gained scheduling concessions from the ACC in exchange for a conference network set to launch in 2019. As part of those concessions, the ACC has to determine whether it wants to play eight conference games and two non-conference games against Power Five teams each season, or nine conference games plus one Power Five non-conference game.
Friday morning, ACC commissioner John Swofford and the conference’s 14 athletic directors participated in a conference call to discuss the scheduling issue, with the potential existing for a vote on the preference moving forward. Instead, the league has tabled the talk for the moment.
“ACC athletic directors remained deadlocked Friday on the league’s future football scheduling model and delayed resolution, perhaps until October’s annual fall meeting,” David Teel of the Newport News Daily Press wrote.
Before concessions were made to ESPN in order to acquire their own network, it’s believed the conference’s athletic directors were 8-6 in favor of an eight-game slate. A nine-game schedule would allow for teams to play those in the other division more often, and there seems to be a growing sentiment in favor of that tack.
According to Teel, however, “[s]chools with annual state rivalries against Southeastern Conference opponents – Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech and Louisville – advocate 8-plus-2.” North Carolina, North Carolina State and Virginia are among those who favor the 9-plus-1 model.