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Toledo, Jason Candle reach agreement on contract extension

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After just one year on the job, Jason Candle has earned himself some additional job security — or a bigger golden parachute should he be canned.

Toledo announced Wednesday that the university and its head football coach have reached an agreement on a contract extension.  Candle is now signed through 2021, meaning he received a one-year extension of his original five-year deal agreed to in December of 2015.

There was no word on what if any financial bump was included in the reworked contract.  Candle’s $675,000 salary in 2016 was second to Western Michigan’s P.J. Fleck ($820,000) in the MAC.  With Fleck now at Minnesota, Candle is likely the highest-paid coach in the conference.

“Jason has played a very important part of the success of our football program over the last eight years, first as an assistant coach and now as head coach,” said athletic director Mike O’Brien in a statement. “He is a tremendous leader and teacher of young men, and has a great desire to elevate our football program to even greater heights. We look forward to his leadership for many years to come.”

Candle spent seven seasons as a Toledo assistant, the last four as offensive coordinator, before taking over the program after Matt Campbell left for the Iowa State job.  In his first year as head coach, Candle guided the Rockets to a 9-4 record.

“I’m very appreciative of the support and confidence that President Gaber and Mike O’Brien have in me and my staff,” said Candle. “Our program is built on a strong foundation of success, and we are focused on bringing a Mid-American Conference Championship to this great University.”

Syracuse lands Toledo corner as graduate transfer

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The graduate transfer train continues to chug along, with an ACC program the latest to see a player pull into its station.

Jordan Martin (pictured, middle) confirmed to the Syracuse Post-Standard Sunday night that he has decided to transfer from Toledo to Syracuse.  As the cornerback is expected to be coming to the Orange as a graduate transfer, he’ll be eligible to suit up for Dino Babers‘ squad for the 2017 season, his final year of eligibility.

Martin’s quotes from his talk with the Post-Standard:

The process went pretty smoothly. Upon asking for my release from Toledo, I wanted to get my film out to as many schools as possible. I was familiar with Coach (Dino) Babers from him coaching in the MAC conference and (Bowling Green) being our rival school.

“They saw my film and brought me up for a visit. I loved the environment and the love I received from the coaching staff as well as the academic department. It’s a great school and they play some great teams, their schedule next year is hefty so it was pretty easy making my decision to play for them.

Including a 2015 season that saw him miss the entire year because of injury injury, Martin started 13 games the past three years.  Five of those starts came in 2016, with all of those coming in the last five games of the season.

Independents and Group of Five National Signing Day Recap: Irish bounce back, Memphis tops AAC

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Outside of the Power Five conferences, recruiting went about as expected in 2017.

Notre Dame continued to pound the national trail and landed a top 12 class full of players who will be expected to play early. BYU managed another impressive group that was one of the most diverse out there. The schools with a talent-rich backyard to draw on did well in the AAC.  Boise State was once again tops in the Mountain West and did better than a few peers in the region. And yes, Lane Kiffin earned that recruiting reputation by pulling in the best class of Conference USA.

Though there wasn’t much drama outside the top schools, there nevertheless was plenty of action for many programs on National Signing Day.

Top recruits (all rankings via 247Sports Composite): No. 67 overall Brock Wright (TE, Notre Dame), No. 154 overall Chaz Ah You (DB, BYU), Aisa Kelemete (DE, Boise State), Nick Robinson (TE, Memphis), Nicholas Sims (RB, Toledo)

Top classes: Notre Dame (No. 11 overall), Memphis (No. 58 overall), Boise State (No. 60 overall), BYU (No. 65 overall), Florida Atlantic (No. 71 overall), Toledo (No. 74 overall), Texas State (No. 87 overall)

Biggest storyline: Irish still land solid recruiting class

Despite the worst season in South Bend since Charlie Weis and a nearly brand new coaching staff, Notre Dame still managed to cobble together a top 12 class on Signing Day. Tight end Brock Wright was the highest rated player and should see early playing time but the number of quality offensive linemen was really evident in the group Brian Kelly signed. Will it be enough to help with a big turnaround? We’ll see.

Biggest surprise: Memphis runs away with things in the AAC but new coaches still fared well

Given all the turnover in the American this year, it should probably come as no surprise that the Tigers pulled the top recruiting class in the conference. That’s a testament to what Mike Norvell is building with the program and the fact that they don’t have to go far for players. Many of the same factors played a role in Scott Frost landing the second-best class at UCF. It was also pretty impressive what Luke Fickell did on the recruiting trail at Cincinnati and Charlie Strong did at USF given those two didn’t have a ton of time to get things lined up.

Don’t sleep on: Boise State, Colorado State

The Broncos were once again the class of the Mountain West on the recruiting trail and fended off several Pac-12 schools for prospects. That will put them firmly in the mix to win the league again in 2017 but don’t overlook another good job by Mike Bobo and staff at Colorado State in landing 17 three-star players.

We’ll see about: Everybody else

Cal’s Davis Webb shines in Senior Bowl victory

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It can be difficult to make too much out of one performance in the Senior Bowl as far as draft prospects go, but there is no denying you would much rather have a good performance to take away from Mobile, Alabama than a shaky one. Cal quarterback Davis Webb will return home with reason to feel good about what eh showed on the field in the nation’s top college football all-star game leading into the NFL Draft preparation season.

Webb orchestrated all three scoring drives for the South team in a 16-15 victory in the Senior Bowl on Saturday. Webb completed 11 of 16 of his passing attempts for 165 yards and a touchdown, a 39-yard scoring pass to Texas A&M wide receiver Josh Reynolds, who also had a good showing. The Cal quarterback led the South to two scores in the final three minutes of the first half. Webb was named MVP of the Senior Bowl.

For the North, Pitt quarterback Nate Peterman also played well with a six-yard touchdown pass to East Carolina’s Zay Jones late in the game. A failed two-point conversion attempt prevented the North from taking the lead on the South, however. Toledo running back Kareem Hunt was named the North’s Most Outstanding Player after rushing for 118 yards on 15 rushing attempts. Kansas State defensive end Jordan Willis received the South’s Most Outstanding Player award after forcing a pair of fumbles and recording a pair of sacks.

Geoff Collins puts finishing touches on first Temple staff

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A little over four weeks after landing his first head-coaching job, Geoff Collins has completed his first coaching staff.

Temple announced Thursday that Collins has made three additions to his initial staff: Tony Lucas, Cory Robinson and Andrew Thacker.  Lucas will serve as running backs coach, Robinson defensive backs and Thacker linebackers.

Lucas and Thacker join the AAC program from the FCS level.  The former had spent the past four seasons at Delaware State, the latter was at Kennesaw State for the 2016 season.

Robinson served in the same capacity at Toledo this past season.

With the trio of hires, Collins’ nine-man on-field coaching staff is full.  The coach had previously brought in Dave Patenaude (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks), Taver Johnson (defensive coordinator/safeties), and Jim Panagos (defensive line) from outside the program.  In late December, it was announced that Collins had retained three coaches from Matt Rhule‘s staff: Ed Foley (tight ends), Frisman Jackson (wide receivers) and Chris Wiesehan (offensive line).