Rutgers Scarlet Knights

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 03:  Running back Myles Gaskin #9 of the Washington Huskies rushes against linebacker Najee Clayton #28 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on September 3, 2016 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
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LB Na’jee Clayton rowing his boat from Rutgers to Western Michigan

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Provided he’s not in Minnesota, P.J. Fleck will have some Power Five linebacking help come the 2017 season.

On his Twitter account Tuesday, Na’jee Clayton intimated that he had decided to move on from Rutgers and would be joining Fleck’s Western Michigan football program. In a conversation with nj.com, the linebacker subsequently confirmed that Kalamazoo will serve as his new college football home.

Clayton had left the Scarlet Knights in September for what were described as personal reasons. According to the website, there had been no communication between the player and the coaching staff from the time of his departure to his decision to move on to the Broncos.

A three-star 2015 recruit, Clayton was rated as the No. 14 player at any position in the state of New Jersey. After playing in six games on special teams as a true freshman, he played in two this season before leaving the team.

After sitting out the 2017 season to satisfy NCAA transfer bylaws, Clayton will have two seasons of eligibility remaining beginning in 2018.

Minnesota abruptly, but not surprisingly, fired Tracy Claeys as the football program’s head coach Tuesday evening.  Fleck, who reached an agreement in principle on a new contract with WMU but hasn’t signed it yet as the two sides haggle over pay for his assistant coaches, has been mentioned prominently as a potential candidate to replace Claeys.

Multiple Level II violations part of NCAA’s Notice of Allegations sent to Rutgers

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 26: Head coach Kyle Flood adjusts his headset while playing the North Carolina Tar Heels during the Quick Lane Bowl at Ford Field on December 26, 2014 in Detroit Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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More than a year removed from the Kyle Flood‘s dismissal, Rutgers’ football program is still being impacted by that era.

Citing sources with knowledge of the situation, nj.com is reporting that, following an 18-month investigation, the NCAA has issued a Notice of Allegations to RU.  In general, a NOA “outlines the rules that the institution is alleged to have broken and describes the facts of the case.”

According to nj.com, “there are seven possible violations stemming from allegations that some members of the athletics department had not been operating in full compliance with NCAA standards.” Those violations range from academic improprieties to drug-testing irregularities to the recruiting ambassador program.

In a letter from Robert Barchi, the RU president confirmed the university has received the NOA from the NCAA.  According to Barchi, the violations are mostly Level II (Significant Breach of Conduct), the second-most severe under the NCAA’s revamped structure.  Barchi also acknowledged that the NCAA has levied a failure-to-monitor charge on the program.

Below are the specific violations the NCAA is alleging has occurred going back as far as 2011, the final season under Greg Schiano.

  • The former head football coach is alleged to have provided a former student-athlete with an impermissible extra benefit by directly contacting a professor seeking special consideration for the student-athlete in an academic course relating to the 2014-2015 academic year. In addition, he is charged with failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance in the football program, violating the principles of NCAA head coach responsibility legislation. Both allegations are deemed Level II by the NCAA.
  • A former assistant football coach is alleged to have had improper off-campus recruiting contact with a prospective student athlete in 2014 (Level III) and the NCAA has also charged the coach with unethical conduct for providing false or misleading information to the NCAA and the institution during the investigation. (Level II)
  • The NCAA has alleged that between the 2011-12 academic year and the Fall of 2015, the Rutgers football host/hostess program, staffed by student workers, was not properly operated and supervised as required by NCAA legislation; that two student hostesses had impermissible off-campus contact and electronic correspondence with prospective student athletes; and that the former football director of recruiting impermissibly publicized the recruitment of prospective student-athletes. (Level II)
  • It is alleged that between September 2011 and the Fall of 2015, the University and the Director of Sports Medicine employed practices and procedures that violated the institution’s drug-testing policy by: failing to notify the Director of Athletics of positive drug tests; along with the former head football coach, failing to implement prescribed corrective and disciplinary actions and penalties; and failing to identify select drug tests as positive in accordance with University policy. (Level II)
  • Because of the scope of these alleged violations, the NCAA has also alleged that between 2011 and 2016, the University failed to monitor its football program regarding its host/hostess program and drug-testing program. (Level II)

In a statement, the university said it “has already taken significant steps to address these allegations and will continue to work cooperatively with the NCAA to ensure that our athletics program meets the highest standards of ethical behavior and is in strict compliance with all NCAA and Big Ten policies.”

While it began under Schiano, most of the alleged violations occurred under Flood.

In September of last year, Flood was suspended for three games in the wake of a university investigation into his alleged actions.  The probe centered on an email that Flood sent from a private email account to an RU faculty member regarding the eligibility of one of his former football players.

The NCAA kicked off its probe of the football program in the spring of that year, prior to Flood’s suspension.  The head coach, along with athletic director Julie Hermann, were dismissed in late November of 2015.

Rutgers has 90 days to respond to the NOA.

Jerry Kill reportedly nearing deal to become Rutgers offensive coordinator

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 3: Head coach Jerry Kill of the Minnesota Golden Gophers looks on before the game against the TCU Horned Frogs on September 3, 2015 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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As his former program emerges from turmoil, former Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill is working his way back into college football.

According to a report from NJ.com, Rutgers is set to hire Kill to serve as Chris Ash‘s offensive coordinator. Kill, 55, earned Big Ten Coach of the Year honors in 2014 before emotionally walking away from the game during the middle of the ’15 season due to his ongoing bout with epilepsy. He spent the 2016 season as an associate athletics director at Kansas State, working with the Wildcats’ football program.

“Kill’s hire is considered imminent but pending the finalization of details,” the site writes.

Kill’s hiring would represent a stark departure from who the Scarlet Knights as an offensive coordinator last season. Drew Mehringer, half of Kill’s age at just 28, was a disciple of the Urban Meyer/Tom Herman system.

Kill, owner of a 152-99 record as a head coach, has not served as an offensive coordinator since doing it at Division II Pittsburg State (Kan.) in 1993, but implemented ground-based systems at Southern Illinois, Northern Illinois and Minnesota.

Rutgers ranked 102nd nationally in rushing and 112th in yards per carry this fall.

“I would say I feel about 90-percent better than I did a year ago,” Kill told the Wichita Eagle last week, noting he’s lost 25 pounds and is now working only 80 hours per week. “I would probably still be coaching had I felt this good then. But I have changed a lot. I went from 2 1/2 hours of sleep for 12 years to six hours of sleep now. That is a huge deal.”

Tom Herman reportedly pulling Rutgers OC to Austin

Tom Herman talks to the media during a news conference where he was introduced as Texas' new head NCAA college football coach, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016, in Austin. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
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If there’s one thing Tom Herman has made clear since arriving at Texas, it’s that he likes his guys. Herman immediately hired six Houston staffers to come with him to Austin, with more coming after the Coogs’ Dec. 17 bowl game.

But one of those guys presumably making the caravan up Highway 290 is no longer available. Major Applewhite was named Houston’s head coach on Friday.

So, what to do? Easy: Hire a different one of Herman’s guys.

According to Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated, Herman will hire Rutgers offensive coordinator Drew Mehringer to serve as his passing game coordinator.

On the surface, this may seem like a questionable hire for Herman. In his one season coordinating the Scarlet Knights’ offense, Rutgers finished 128th nationally — that’s dead last — in yards per play and 127th in scoring. It’s hard to do worse than that.

However, there’s more to the situation than that. First, Rutgers was in the first year of a major rebuild with, uh, questionable talent while playing a schedule that included Washington, Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State.

Beyond that, though, Mehringer is the ultimate Herman protege. After graduating from Rice in 2010 — which, incidentally, is the year I graduated from college, as if my life wasn’t already enough of a failure — where he spent two seasons playing under Herman, Mehringer spent four seasons as a graduate assistant under Herman — two at Iowa State and two at Ohio State.

If Herman went to “head coaching school,” as he descries it, for three years under Urban Meyer, Mehringer spent four in the Graduate School of the Tom Herman offense.

After his first tour of duty under Herman, Mehringer immediately became a co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for a season at James Madison, coached under Herman again as wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator at Houston in 2015 and then spent this season under former Herman colleague Chris Ash at Rutgers.

Much like how Chad Morris brought Clemson two graduate assistants with him to become SMU’s offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, Herman will place Mehringer behind the wheel of his offense — while keeping a firm grip on the wheel himself.

BC, Rutgers to renew Big East rivalry in future home-and-home

20 Sep 1997:  Running back Quinton Lee of the Boston College Eagles  (left) moves the ball during a game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Rutgers Stadium in Piscataway, New Jersey.  Boston College won the game, 35-21. Mandatory Credit: Al Bello  /Allsport
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Boston College’s departure from the ACC a decade ago brought an end to their “rivalry” with Rutgers. That regional series has been on hiatus since, but is set to be renewed. Eventually.

FBSchedules.com first reported that the two football programs have reached an agreement on a future home-and-home series. Nj.com subsequently confirmed the initial report.

The Scarlet Knights will travel to Chestnut Hill On Sept. 12, 2026, with the Eagles headed to Piscataway Sept. 11 the following season.

The two teams played each other every year from 1981-2004. The last 14 matchups came when both were members of the Big East.

BC owns a 19-6-1 edge in a series that was first played in 1919. The Eagles own a 13-game unbeaten streak against the Scarlet Knights — there was a tie in 1994 — and a 10-game winning streak as well. RU’s last win came in 1991.