San Jose State Spartans

Baylor dismisses Art Briles as Bears’ head football coach

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On Memorial Day in 2011, Ohio State stunned the college football world by announcing the dismissal of Jim Tressel as the Buckeyes’ head coach.  Nearly five years to the day later, and with another Memorial Day fast approaching, Baylor has reportedly offered up a stunner of its own.

Under fire for their handling of allegations involving sexual assault allegedly committed by a handful of football players over the better part of a decade, Baylor announced that Art Briles is out as BU’s head football coach. The Briles dismissal comes two days after reports first began to surface that BU president Ken Starr was on the verge of being ousted as well.  Starr will become Chancellor, while Athletic director Ian McCaw has been placed on probation.

The university issued a press release announcing the decisions.

“We were horrified by the extent of these acts of sexual violence on our campus. This investigation revealed the University’s mishandling of reports in what should have been a supportive, responsive and caring environment for students,” said Richard Willis, chair of the Baylor Board of Regents. “The depth to which these acts occurred shocked and outraged us. Our students and their families deserve more, and we have committed our full attention to improving our processes, establishing accountability and ensuring appropriate actions are taken to support former, current and future students.”

“We have made these decisions, because, above all, we must safeguard our students and our campus,” said Willis. “We must set a new course to ensure the leaders of the University place a premium on responding effectively and with sensitivity to those impacted by the tragedy of interpersonal violence.”

“We, as the governing Board of this University, offer our apologies to the many who sought help from the University.  We are deeply sorry for the harm that survivors have endured,” said Ron Murff, chair-elect of the Baylor Board of Regents.

Prior to Briles’ arrival in Waco in 2008, the Bears hadn’t had a winning season 1995 (7-4) and had won 10 or more games just once (1980) in over 100 years of football.  Just in the past five years, Briles’ Bears won at least 10 games four times, including each of the past three seasons.  In the 25 years before Briles arrived, the Bears went to six bowl games; in eight years under Briles, the Bears went to six bowl games.

Overall, Briles finishes his BU career with a 65-37 record — and one gigantic stain on his once-sterling résumé.

Obviously, we’ll have more of this developing story throughout the day.

Nearly 30 percent of early entrants went undrafted

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 28:  A detail from the red carpet prior to the start of the 2016 NFL Draft on April 28, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Kena Krutsinger/Getty Images)
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North of 100 college football players decided earlier this year, in some form or fashion, to forego their remaining collegiate eligibility for an early shot at the NFL.  In the end, roughly seven out of every 10 of those players felt a draft.

In mid-January, the NFL announced that 96 players “have been granted special eligibility for the 2016 NFL Draft.”  Another 11 players with eligibility remaining “have in timely fashion under NFL rules officially notified the league office that they have fulfilled their degree requirements” and were eligible for the draft as well.

Add it up, there were 107 players who left collegiate eligibility on the table.  And, in the end, exactly 30 of those players were left without a seat once the draft music had stopped.

Below is the list of players who will hope to gain a foothold on an NFL club as an undrafted free agent:

Bralon Addison, WR, Oregon
Dominique Alexander, LB, Oklahoma
Travis Blanks, LB, Clemson
Peyton Barber, RB, Auburn
Dariusz Bladek, OG, Bethune-Cookman
Beniquez Brown, LB, Mississippi State
Trenton Coles, DB, Duquesne
Elijah Daniel, DT, Murray State
Terrell Davis, LB, British Columbia
Eric Enderson, P, Delaware
David Grinnage, TE, North Carolina State
Cayleb Jones, WR, Arizona
Denver Kirkland, OT, Arkansas
Darius Latham, DL, Indiana
Roger Lewis, WR, Bowling Green
Steve Longa, LB, Rutgers
Jalin Marshall, WR, Ohio State
Brett McMakin, LB, Northern Iowa
Marquez North, WR, Tennessee
Joe Powell, DB, Globe
Tyvis Powell, S, Ohio State
Alex Redmond, OL, UCLA
Aldrick Rosas, K, Southern Oregon
Tyrell Smith, OT, Massachusetts
Ron Thompson, DE, Syracuse
Corey Tindal, DB, Marshall
Quinn van Gylswyk, K, British Columbia
Cleveland Wallace III, CB, San Jose State
De’Runnya Wilson, WR, Mississippi State
Avery Young, OL, Auburn

Washington RB Deontae Cooper to spent 7th college season at San Jose State

SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 25: Washington Huskies running back Deontae Cooper #6 rushes the ball as Arizona State Sun Devils safety Laiu Moeakiola #28 and defensive back Jordan Simone #38 defend during the second half of play at Husky Stadium on September October 25, 2014 in Seattle, WA. The Arizona State Sun Devils won the game 24-10. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
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After spending six seasons at Washington, Deonate Cooper will spend his seventh and final collegiate campaign at San Jose State. And that number — seven — really says it all.

“I’m trying to escape this feel-good story,” Cooper told the Seattle Times on Monday. “It’s never going to leave me here.”

Cooper graduated from Citrus Hill High School in Perris, Calif., early, in time for spring drills in 2010. That’s when he suffered his first knee injury. Then he suffered another knee injury in 2011, costing him a second straight season. Then the same thing happen again in 2012.

He finally made his debut against Boise State in 2013, when he should have been a senior, and appeared in eight games that season. Cooper saw the field in all 14 games in 2014 and 10 games in 2015, racking up 653 career rushing yards and four touchdowns.

Cooper loves Washington, and Washington loves him back. He won Washington’s Guy Flaherty Most Inspirational Award in 2013 and was named a team captain in 2015.

But he decided, seven years later, it’s simply time to move on.

“Coach Sark brought me into something special and I didn’t even know it,” he said. “I knew nothing about UW before I came here. But, man, he brought me into something special, and having these thoughts of, ‘OK, I need to leave to chase this dream,’ it’s like, do I really want to leave the people, the fans?

“But this is the right route for me. I had to do it. But I definitely didn’t want to.”

Ron English one of four added to San Jose State staff

DEKALB, IL - OCTOBER 26: Head coach Ron English of the Eastern Michigan Eagles leads his team onto the field before a game against the Northern Illinois Huskies at Brigham Field on October 26, 2013 in DeKalb, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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In a move that’s been more than two years in the making, Ron English is officially back in the coaching profession at the collegiate level.

In a press release that confirmed the reports that surfaced late last month, San Jose State announced that English was one of four additions made to Ron Caragher‘s Spartans coaching staff.  As expected, English will serve as Caragher’s defensive coordinator.

This marks English’s first job since controversy marked the end of his last.

Eastern Michigan announced Nov. 8, 2013, one day before its game with in-state rival Western Michigan, that English had been fired as its head football coach.  A day later, athlete director Heather Lyle alluded to a tape of English using “wholly inappropriate language” in a team meeting that had been brought to her attention and triggered the dismissal.

English subsequently apologized for losing his poise and using “homosexual slurs” in the meeting.  In his mea culpa, English added that he is looking “forward to continuing a career that has been marked by molding men of integrity, passion, and intensity for 21 years.”

Unfortunately for the coach, that continuation took a two-year hiatus as he was sidelined for both the 2014 and 2015 seasons.

English spent nearly five full seasons as EMU’s head coach (2009-13).  Prior to that, he was the defensive coordinator at Louisville (2008) and Michigan (2006-07).

“I’m excited about the new defensive staff members we added to our program,” the coach said in a statement. “Ron English has experience as a coordinator at the Division I level and as a head coach at Eastern Michigan. His experience and success in coaching will be a great addition.”

English becomes the replacement for Greg Robinson, who announced his retirement as SJSU’s coordinator this past December.  Like English, Robinson was also a former Michigan coordinator.

In addition to English, the hirings of Arnold Ale as linebackers coach, Will Harris as defensive backs coach and Barry Sacks as defensive line coach were announced as well. Ale is a former teammate of Caragher’s at UCLA, while Sacks spent the past two seasons at New Mexico.

San Jose State QB Malik Watson latest to take grad transfer route

SAN JOSE, CA - NOVEMBER 29:  The San Jose State Spartans marching band plays their fight song against the Fresno State Bulldogs in the second quarter on November 29, 2013 at Spartan Stadium in San Jose, California.  The Spartans won 62-52.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
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Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a college football player has decided to ply his final season of college football wares elsewhere.

The latest to take that tack is Malik Watson, who announced via Twitter that he has “decided that I will not be returning to San Jose State for my senior and will be seeking elsewhere to pursue my dream.”  As Watson will graduate from SJSU this May, he will be eligible to play immediately in 2016 if he lands at another FBS school and enrolls in a grad program not offered at his former school.

Watson added that, as he awaits a new destination, he “will continue to train with my private QB coach in this meantime.”

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A California high school product who was born in Hawaii, Watson transferred from the junior college ranks to SJSU in 2014. After redshirting that first year, the 6-3, 208-pound Watson played in two games as the No. 3 quarterback on the depth chart.

In that time, Watson completed 9-of-15 passes for 59 yards and an interception. Of the 15 attempts, 14 came in the Week 3 loss to Oregon State.