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Alabama a potential landing spot for Rice grad transfer Preston Gordon

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Yet another Rice graduate transfer lineman is drawing interest from an SEC school.

Preston Gordon confirmed to al.com this week that he has had “some preliminary contact” with Alabama as a potential landing spot. Last month, the defensive tackle decided to take the graduate transfer route out of Rice.

As the Crimson Tide, which is also in play for a grad transfer quarterback, lost three linemen to the NFL and signed just two in the Class of 2018, a move to Tuscaloosa could make sense for both parties.

“If Alabama were interested, that’s a top-tier program and I would definitely be interested,” Gordon told the website. “As a D-lineman, that’s where it’s at, so it would definitely be high, high interest.”

Gordon has already received an offer from Texas Tech after visiting Lubbock, and has taken a trip to Kansas as well. The lineman also told the site that he has spoken with Syracuse, TCU, Tulane and UConn.

The last three seasons, Gordon started 28 games for the Owls, including all 12 in 2017. In 2016, Gordon tied for the team lead in sacks with 3.5, while his 6.5 tackles for loss led all interior linemen on the squad. This past season, he was third on the team in tackles for loss with 4.5.

Gordon’s former teammate and the Owls’ starting left tackle the past three seasons, Calvin Anderson, has drawn interest from Auburn as a graduate transfer and has already visited the Tigers. It’s believed that Michigan and Texas are the frontrunners, although Texas A&M has entered the mix for Anderson as well.

Devin Winters, 2018 prospect being recruited by Ole Miss, Syracuse, dies suddenly

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Less than two weeks before National Signing Day, tragedy has struck the recruiting trail.

According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, New Orleans high schooler Devin Winters was found unconscious in his home last Thursday night and was unable to be revived.  He was just 19 years old.

Details surrounding Winters’ passing, including a cause of death, have not been revealed.

“I’m so proud of him, and he was so loved,” Winters’ mother, Cavanda Kelley, told the Times-Picayune. “I know he’s in a better place right now. It’s hard. I’m trying. I’ve got a lot of support, and I thank everybody for it. [There are] so many people out here, half of them I don’t even know, but I’m thankful and grateful for everybody who came out to show love and support for my son.”

Winters, a two-star defensive lineman, was scheduled to take an official visit to Syracuse this weekend and then take one to Ole Miss the following weekend, just a couple of days before signing day.  The Daily Advertiser labeled Winters as a soft commit to the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns along with the Power Five interest.

“Very saddened by the unexpected (news),” former UL head coach and current Mississippi State tight ends coach Mark Hudspeth told the paper.  Billy Napier, the coach who replaced Hudspeth with the Ragin’ Cajuns, had continued to recruit the lineman.

Winters had also held offers from, among others, Cincinnati, Houston, Kansas, Oregon State and SMU.

Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to those affected by Winters’ passing.

Kansas re-hires coaching veteran Bill Miller

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Bill Miller is a veteran, both of Kansas and of college football coaching in general. He spent the 2009 season as the Jayhawks’ defensive coordinator, and once worked for Jimmy Johnson… at Oklahoma State.

On Monday, Kansas enlisted Miller for a second tour of duty as its linebackers coach.

“Bill Miller is as highly regarded as they come in the coaching community,” head coach David Beaty said in a statement. “The amount of respect he commands from his players and the coaches he works alongside is tremendous. He is a leader in our field when it comes to developing players, and I am ecstatic to have him joining our program.”

He spent the past four seasons as the linebackers coach at Florida State, but was not brought to Texas A&M with Jimbo Fisher and was not retained by Willie Taggart. Miller, who jumped into coaching in 1978 as a graduate assistant at now-defunct UT-Arlington, has also previously coordinated defenses for Oklahoma State, Miami, Michigan State, Arizona and Western Michigan.

With Miller’s arrival, Todd Bradford will move to safeties, defensive coordinator Clint Bowen will move to cornerbacks and Kenny Perry will be KU’s special teams coordinator.

Kansas finished the 2017 season ranked 115th nationally in yards per play allowed and second-to-last in scoring defense.

Big 12’s Preseason Defensive Player of the Year leaves Kansas for NFL

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Dorance Armstrong didn’t live up to the preseason hype, but that’s not stopping him from taking his game to the next level.

As all of the cool potential draftees are doing these days, Armstrong took to Twitter to announce that he has decided to leave Kansas with eligibility remaining in order to enter the April draft. The defensive end said he came to his decision “[a]fter weeks of praying and consideration with my family.”

Coming off a season in which he was first-team all-conference, Armstrong was tabbed by the media as the Big 12’s Preseason Defensive Player of the Year back in July. While he didn’t post Player-of-the-Year numbers, he was productive.

In 12 games, Armstrong was credited with nine tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. The year before, those numbers were 20 and 10.  The 6-4, 246-pound end started 29 straight games to end his Jayhawks career.

Most notably ahead of one of the last of those starts, Armstrong was one of three KU players stripped of their captaincy for their roles in the Baker Mayfield pregame handshake snub. All three were also reprimanded by the Big 12.

Iowa State resricts QB Jacob Park from transferring to Iowa, two FCS schools

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Jacob Park has been granted permission to leave Iowa State, but that permission will come with some strings attached.

A little over two weeks ago, Park announced that he would be transferring from Iowa State. That development came two months after Park took a sudden leave of absence due to what were described as “unspecified medical concerns.” Park subsequently confirmed that he was facing a one-game suspension after testing positive for marijuana prior to his sabbatical.

Wednesday, Park took to Twitter once again to reveal that he has been given a release from his ISU scholarship. However, the release comes with restrictions as the quarterback will not be permitted to transfer to another Big 12 school, Iowa and a pair of FCS programs — Northern Iowa and Drake.

Northern Iowa is next on ISU’s schedule in 2019; 2018 will be Park’s final season of eligibility.  Drake is not on any of ISU’s future non-conference schedules. The “Institutions on future schedules” exception would also preclude Park from signing with South Dakota State and Akron as ISU will face them in 2018.

Park had started the first four games of the 2017 season for the Cyclones in his second year in Ames. In his first season at ISU, he became the full-time starter in the latter portion of the 2016 season. During his time with the Cyclones, he completed nearly 60 percent of his passes for 2,971 yards, 21 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also ran for a pair of touchdowns in that span.

With this move, Park will be working on his fourth collegiate program in less than four years.

A four-star member of Georgia’s 2014 recruiting class, Park was rated as the No. 12 pro-style quarterback in the country; the No. 4 player at any position in the state of South Carolina; and the No. 229 player overall according to Rivals.com. Park worked mainly with the scout team during his only season with the Bulldogs.

In mid-June of 2015, it was confirmed that Park would be transferring from Georgia. After spending the 2015 season at the junior college level, Park transferred to ISU in February of 2016.