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When ‘physically, mentally ready,’ door wide open for Keyshawn Johnson Jr.’s return to Nebraska

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Keyshawn Johnson Jr. has yet to play a down for Nebraska, but, if it’s up to Mike Riley, he will at some point down the road.

Earlier this month, the son of former USC great Keyshawn Johnson was cited for marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia.  This past week, the younger Johnson decided to take a leave of absence, with his father stating that his son needed some time to “mature” and will not play for the Cornhuskers in 2017.

Left open at the time was the question of whether Johnson Jr. would ever play for the ‘Huskers, period.  Friday, Riley left the door wide open for a return.

“We’re disappointed that he’s not here with us right now today,” the head coach said according to the Lincoln Journal-Star. “I think there’s kind of a wellness factor for Keyshawn going home. We talked to him about the possibility of maybe enrolling part time and taking care of his progress toward his degree, and also getting in great shape.

“And we opened the door for return, which is just kind of left open that we’ll deal with at the time that he is physically and mentally ready to do that.”

A three-star 2017 signee who was an early enrollee and participated in spring practice, the younger Johnson had been expected to be an immediate contributor for the Cornhuskers this season.

Kerry Coombs adds assistant DC to Ohio State coaching responsibilities

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Heading into the 2017 season, Kerry Coombs will have an additional title on his coaching résumé.

Ohio State announced Thursday that Coombs has been promoted to assistant coordinator, defense, by Urban Meyer.  Coombs will retain his titles of special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach as well.

Greg Schiano will remain in his role as defensive coordinator.

“Kerry Coombs is absolutely deserving of this promotion to assistant coordinator, defense,” the head coach said in a statement. “He is an outstanding coach, instructor and mentor to the young men in this program. He is one of the best recruiters in the nation. He is incredibly loyal, and we at Ohio State are very fortunate that he loves this school and loves being a Buckeye.”

Coombs will be entering his sixth season with the Buckeyes, one of two assistants, the other being wide receivers coach Zach Smith, who have been with Meyer all five of his seasons in Columbus.

The past two years, three of Coombs’ corners — Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley in 2017, Eli Apple in 2016 — have been selected in the first round of the NFL draft. Another, Bradley Roby, was taken in the first round of the 2014 draft.

Nebraska linebacker Greg Simmons leaves the Huskers

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It has been a busy day for Nebraska football news here at College Football Talk, but here’s one more story to fill your plate. Redshirt freshman linebacker Greg Simmons is no longer with the Nebraska program, according to reports.

Sean Callahan of Huskers Online reported Simmons has left the football team, as confirmed by a Nebraska spokesperson. No reason for his departure was given.

Simmons did not play for Nebraska in 2016, in part due to a neck injury suffered in fall camp. After the spring practice season, Simmons was buried on the depth chart. Simmons was a three-star member of Nebraska’s Class of 2016 and chose the Huskers over offers from schools like Louisville, Kentucky, Maryland, Miami, among others.

As of now, there is no indication where the Florida native will head next. Should he transfer to another FBS program, he will be required to sit out the 2017 season even though he did not play a down for the Huskers in 2016. However, if he transfers to a lower division program beneath the FBS ranks, he will be eligible to play right away in the fall. Simmons has three years of eligibility remaining after burning a redshirt season in 2016.

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.

‘Personal reasons’ trigger Nebraska coaching staff shuffling

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With a little over a month until summer camp kicks off, Mike Riley has been forced to tweak his Nebraska coaching staff.

The Cornhuskers announced that, because of unspecified personal reasons, Bob Elliott will not be able to perform his on-field duties as safeties coach for the Cornhuskers.  Instead, he’ll slide into an off-field role as a defensive analyst.

With the 63-year-old Elliott out, NU announced the promotion of the recently-hired Scott Booker to take his place.  In addition to his duties as safeties coach, Booker will also serve as special teams coach for the Cornhuskers.

Booker has spent 14 years of his coaching career at the FBS level, most recently at Notre Dame from 2010-16.  The last five years, Booker held titles of special teams coordinator and tight ends coach.  In March, he was hired by Riley as a special teams consultant.

Elliott, who beat a rare form of blood cancer nearly two decades ago and had to receive a kidney transplant earlier this decade, was hired in February.

“We are sorry to see Bob Elliott leave our full-time on-field staff,” Riley said in a statement. “Bob is a wonderful man and a great football coach and he has built a great rapport with our staff and the players in our program. We respect Bob’s decision and we are confident that he will continue to have a positive impact on our program. …

“It’s an unusual time to make a coaching hire. But we are fortunate that Scott worked with our staff this past spring and brings great experience and energy to our program. We are confident that he will add to our program as a coach, teacher and recruiter.”