In the end, a former highly-touted high school prospect will start over at a much lower rung on the college football ladder.
According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Willie Allen has decided to attend Tyler Junior College and play football this season for the Texas JUCO. The offensive lineman told the Baton Rouge Advocate that he decided to take the JUCO route so as not to miss out on another season of eligibility as he had previously burned his redshirt.
The move comes nearly three weeks after Allen decided to transfer from LSU.
Prior to settling on the Texas JUCO, Allen had taken visits to, among others, Baylor and UCLA. TCU had also been given serious consideration by Allen, but he was blocked by LSU after that Big 12 program reportedly had contact with the player before he had formally requested a transfer.
A four-star 2016 signee, Allen was rated as the No. 10 player at any position in the state of Louisiana and the No. 17 tackle in the country. Only one lineman in the Tigers’ class that year, guard Donavaughn Campbell, was rated higher than Allen.
An unspecified leg injury suffered in the midst of summer camp sidelined him for his true freshman season and led to Allen taking a redshirt for 2016.
Allen was the third offensive lineman to transfer since December. That month, tackle Chidi Okeke opted to leave; four months later, Andy Dodd did the same.
Another member of Allen’s recruiting class, four-star defensive back Savion Smith, announced May 31 that he would be transferring as well.
It took decades to get a College Football Playoff in place but it might not take that long in order to expand the format the way things are going.
TCU head coach Gary Patterson, who was famously in the center of the playoff argument in 2014, appeared on Dallas/Ft. Worth’s KTCK The Ticket on Wednesday and certainly seemed to add his name to the growing list advocating for moving to a six- or eight-team format for the event going forward.
“I just think there’s enough parity that any of those six to eight can beat anybody on any given day,” Patterson said, according to the Dallas Morning News.
That wasn’t the only postseason talk the now-second longest tenured head coach in the country discussed either. The Horned Frogs famously missing out on the final four back in 2014 as co-champions of the Big 12 played a big part in the league adding a title game starting in 2017 and it seems like Patterson is acutely aware that will not become a magic bullet for the conference getting a team into the playoff going forward.
“Everybody said we have to have a championship game,” the coach added. “Well, I just watched a team not be in a championship game in the Big Ten and get in the playoff.”
He would of course be referring to the fact that Ohio State was in last year’s CFP semifinal instead of Penn State, which won the conference and beat the Buckeyes head-to-head.
ESPN and most of the college football braintrust seem intent on keeping the playoff at four teams for the foreseeable future so Patterson may have to wait a while before expansion comes to the postseason. Something says he is probably far from the last to suggest moving past four teams though.
While the perception is that the Big 12 is lagging behind on the field, the conference and its membership is doing just fine at the bank, thank you very much.
Friday afternoon, commissioner Bob Bowlsby announced that nine of the 10 schools in the conference will each receive a revenue payout of $34.8 million. And what of the 10th? In early February of this year, the Big 12 announced that it will withhold 25 percent of future revenue payments to Baylor, only releasing the monies to the scandal-plagued university “pending the outcome of third-party verification review of required changes to Baylor’s athletics procedures and to institutional governance of its intercollegiate athletics programs, among other matters.”
Thus far, Bowlsby said, that total is in the neighborhood of $6 million.
As for the other members, the windfall represents a 15-percent increase from a year ago. In 2016, each school received in the neighborhood of $30.4 million, which was a 20-percent increase from 2015.
When Tier Three revenue is taken into account, Texas will pull in nearly $50 million in revenue while Red River rival Oklahoma’s number is around $42 million.
That perpetual dark cloud hanging over the Baylor football program doesn’t appear to be showing any signs of dissipating at any point in the near future.
A knee injury kept Tanner Thrift from participating in the Bears’ spring game earlier this offseason. According to SicEm365.com — and a university official by way of the Waco Tribune — the offensive lineman has since decided to retire from the sport of football because of injury.
BU has yet to confirm the reports of Thrift’s retirement.
The past three seasons, Thrift has played in 31 games for the Bears. He started three of those contests at the guard position.
Exiting the spring, Thrift was listed as the starting center on first-year head coach Matt Rhule‘s depth chart. The younger brother of former BU starting quarterback Seth Russell, Daniel Russell, was listed as Thrift’s backup.
It’s a bad time for the Big 12. The conference isn’t signing blue chip prospects at the rate of its peers, isn’t producing draft picks at the rate of its peers and isn’t reaching and winning big games at the rate of its peers.
But the Big 12 is still getting paid at the rate of its peers.
The league’s contracts with ESPN and FOX combined with its 10-team set up have allowed the Big 12 to keep pace with the SEC and Big Ten and remain ahead of the ACC and Pac-12 in financial distribution. The Dallas Morning News‘s Big 12 writer Chuck Carlton tweeted on Friday the league’s per-school distribution will again grow 10 percent to more than $33 million in 2017-18.
The SEC distributed just north of $40 million in 2016-17, while the Big Ten was at $33 million by 2014-15.
However, since the Big 12 does not have its own television network, its conference distributions do not include third-tier rights, which its schools keep and sell on their own — like the Longhorn Network. So schools like Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas are likely getting paid equal or above their SEC and Big Ten peers.
Now if only they could start recruiting and winning like them, too.