Conference USA

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WKU RB Leon Allen medically cleared to return to practice

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Leon Allen‘s return from a devastating injury has taken a major step forward.

In September of 2015, Allen, one of the top running backs in Conference USA, sustained a significant and serious knee injury in Western Kentucky’s Week 2 win over Louisiana Tech.  While he received a medical hardship waiver in March of last year, he hadn’t played in a game or even fully participated in practice since the injury.

Tuesday, that all changed as the football program confirmed that Allen has been medically cleared to participate in practice.  The Hilltoppers will kick off spring practice Thursday afternoon, with the back adding the next chapter to his comeback.

“There are a lot of Western Kentucky fans that have been around the program multiple years who haven’t seen an athlete do some of the things he’s done on the field,” head coach Mike Sanford said according to the Bowling Green Daily News. “To me it’s disappointing to think there’s even a thought of him not having a chance to return to that football field.

“So the football side of it to me is extremely important to … end what he started well.”

Allen was far and away the Hilltoppers’ leading rusher in 2014, totaling 1,542 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground. Those totals were good for third in Conference USA and 18th nationally.

The multi-purpose back was also a threat out of the backfield, with his 51 receptions that season finishing up fourth on the team.

Report: former Alabama receiver suing Lane Kiffin, FAU

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Because, of course.

According to SECCountry.com, Antonio “A.C.” Carter, a former Alabama wide receiver, has filed a lawsuit against new Florida Atlantic head coach and former UA offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, FAU and the state of Florida.  The website writes that Carter’s “complaint… claims Kiffin deliberately misled him regarding a job on the FAU football staff in order to benefit from his family relationship with a prospect.”

The fraud suit was filed Tuesday in Shelby County, Ala.

Carter claims that he was told by Kiffin earlier this year that his hiring as assistant strength & conditioning coach for the Owls was a “done” deal.  He and his wife quit their jobs based on Kiffin’s assurances and moved to the campus, where Carter subsequently helped Kiffin and the Owls in recruiting.

However, after National Signing Day, Carter was told he would not be hired as he had not passed a background check.  Carter had two unspecified prior minor misdemeanor charges on his record, one of which he claimed the prosecutor refused to pursue more than seven years ago.  This turn of events came after an unnamed former four-star recruit with whom Carter had a personal relationship had already signed his National Letter of Intent with FAU.

“The prospect’s family had just celebrated New Year’s Eve together with Plaintiff Antonio Carter and his family just a few weeks earlier,” the lawsuit states per SECCountry.com. “It is believed that this relationship between Plaintiff Antonio Carter and the coveted prospect was known to the coaches and defendants at the time he was hired.”

The job would’ve paid Carter, who played receiver for the Crimson Tide in the late nineties, a one-year salary of $40,000 as well as provided $4,000 for moving expenses.  What type of financial damages Carter is seeking in the lawsuit wasn’t stated.

Former Alabama, WKU QB Parker McLeod not on Georgia’s roster

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It appears Parker McLeod‘s winding college football odyssey has taken yet another turn.

As initially noted by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, McLeod is not listed on Georgia’s updated spring roster. The quarterback joined the Bulldogs as a walk-on last season.

McLeod was a three-star member of Alabama’s 2013 recruiting class.  After redshirting his true freshman season, he left Alabama in May of last year before landing at WKU two months later.  Because of NCAA transfer rules, he was forced to sit out the 2014 season.

After never playing a down at WKU, McLeod moved on to UGA as a student only in 2015.

McLeod is the second quarterback to have departed the Bulldogs this month. A little over a week ago, UGA announced that Brice Ramsey has decided to transfer out.

With the twin departures this month, UGA now has two scholarship quarterbacks on the roster — sophomore and returning starter Jacob Eason and freshman Jake Fromm. The only other player at the position is walk-on Sam Vaughn.

In quotes distributed by the school after Kirby Smart had previewed spring practice with the media, the head coach addressed the depth, or lack thereof, at quarterback.

We’ve got three quarterbacks in the spring. Obviously, those three guys will be working. Sam (Vaughn) will be working with Jacob (Eason) and Jake (Fromm). We’re excited about the work that we’ve been able to get in with them right now through meetings. They’ve been doing some seven-on-seven on their own. The biggest thing right now is yeah, we’ve got a depth issue. We’ve got some really good preferred-type walk-on guys coming in in the fall. We don’t have another signee obviously coming in, and that’s something we’ve got to address in the upcoming year’s recruiting class. From a standpoint of development or arms, I’m more concerned with being able to get functionality at practice when you only have three quarterbacks. We don’t really have a person to move over there. We’ve got guys who played high school quarterback, but they’re at another position for us now and we don’t want to have to sacrifice that. We’ll continue to work the way we’ve got to with those three guys. They’ll get a lot of work, that’s the good thing, and we’ll probably have some help out there with us just to throw balls.

JaCorey Morris, USM’s top-rated 2016 recruit, has left Golden Eagles

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The highest-rated member of Southern Miss’ recruiting class last year has found himself on the outside of the football program looking in this year.

Multiple media outlets reported Friday evening that JaCorey Morris is no longer with the team. Just what led to the linebacker’s departure, and whether it was voluntary or involuntary, is very much an unknown.

Interestingly, Patrick Magee of the Sun Herald wrote that “USM head coach Jay Hopson [said] Friday that freshman linebacker JaCorey Morris won’t be with the squad for the 2017 campaign.” Some could interpret that phrasing as the door being at least slightly ajar for a return at some point beyond this season.

A three-star 2016 recruit, Morris was rated as the No. 24 inside linebacker in the country and the No. 22 player at any position in the state of Alabama. Originally committed to South Carolina, Morris instead became USM’s top recruit last year.

As a true freshman, though, he took a redshirt.

UTEP turns to long-time high school coach to oversee WRs

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Sean Kugler has turned to a much lower level of football to fill a void in his coaching staff.

UTEP confirmed via a press release that Chuck Veliz has been hired by Kugler as the Miners’ wide receivers coach. Veliz will replace Theron Aych, who left UTEP late last month to take the same job at Arizona.

Veliz had spent 13 years as the head football coach and athletic director at Montwood High School in El Paso. He retired from that job in February of last year amidst allegations that he stole money — it was alleged that upwards of $100,000 was unaccounted for — from the football program and various fundraisers.

Through his attorney, Veliz had vigorously denied any wrongdoing, including talk that he had physically abused his football players. Veliz has not been charged in connection to the financial allegations.

A graduate of UTEP, this will mark Veliz’s first coaching job at the collegiate level.