Arizona State Sun Devils

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Report: Pac-12, Larry Scott strike deal on contract extension

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Depending on your vantage point, this is either tremendous news when it comes to stability or another sign that the league will continue to remain stuck in neutral behind the two current conference behemoths.

According to a report from Pete Thamel of SI.com, Larry Scott has reached an agreement on a contract extension with the Pac-12.  The new deal would keep Scott as the conference’s commissioner through 2022.

Scott had one year remaining on his old deal.

Thamel writes that “terms of the deal aren’t known.” According to a report from USA Today‘s Steve Berkowitz in May of last year and based on tax return filings, Scott was paid nearly $4.1 million for the 2014 calendar year, making him the highest-paid commissioner in collegiate athletics.  By comparison, the Big Ten’s Jim Delany pulled in $3.1 million for the same period.

Scott’s tenure with the Pac-12 was initially marked by what was a then-record television deal with ESPN and FOX Sports in 2011.  Since then, that conference has watched both the Big Ten and SEC secure new deals that earn its members anywhere from $8 million to $13 million more annually than their Pac-12 counterparts.

And then there’s the inability of the Pac-12, under Scott’s guidance, to secure a distribution agreement with DirecTV for its collection of conference networks, causing it to lag well behind the networks offered by the Big Ten and SEC.

ASU adds former Sun Devils and Dallas Cowboys QB Danny White, ex-Wyoming coach Dave Christensen to staff

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Arizona State has announced the addition of former Sun Devils quarterback Danny White to the staff as a consultant. White, who previously played football for the Dallas Cowboys, returns to the program to help out as an ambassador for the program he once played a key role in building. It also seems to be a thrill for head coach Todd Graham.

“As a lifelong Dallas Cowboy fan Danny White has always been one of my heroes,” Graham said in a released statement. “He is one of the finest persons I have ever met. What he brings to our program and what he can do to make a difference in our player’s lives is something I am looking forward to. He will be tremendous for us.”

White played quarterback for the Arizona State program from 1971 through 1973 and played a role in leading the team to a 32-4 record, three WAC championships and victories in the first three Fiesta Bowls in the bowl game’s existence. This all helped pave the way to receiving an invite to join the Pac-8, along with Arizona, to former the Pac-10. White will not have any direct coaching responsibilities with the program but will assist with prep work and handle other responsibilities to represent the program in front of potential donors.

In addition to the White announcement, Arizona State also announced the addition of former Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen. Christensen is taking on a non-coaching consultant role with the program, bringing with him 35 years of coaching experience as a head coach and assistant.

“Dave Christensen brings a lifetime of knowledge and experience in college football to our program,” Graham said. “He’s been a part of championships and that will be invaluable to our program.”

James Johnson tweets decision to transfer from Arizona State

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Another day, another player leaving to look for greener playing time pastures.

The latest to suffer personnel attrition is Arizona State, with James Johnson taking to his personal Twitter account to announce his decision to transfer from the Sun Devils.  The defensive back will be graduating from ASU this May, which would allow him to play immediately at another FBS program for his final season of eligibility.

A three-star member of the Sun Devils’ 2013 recruiting class, Johnson was rated as the No. 84 safety in the country coming out of high school in California.  He held offers from, among others, Fresno State, Houston, Nevada and Oregon State.

After redshirting as a true freshman, Johnson played in 23 games the next two seasons. Injuries limited him to just one game this past season.

Nearly three dozen teams show interest in Clemson grad transfer

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It was expected there would be a significant market for a Clemson defensive lineman leaving the Tigers as a graduate transfer. Suffice to say, that is indeed the case.

This past week, Dabo Swinney‘s football program confirmed that Scott Pagano would be leaving the team and transferring elsewhere. The head coach also revealed that the tackle would “probably” end up at a West Coast school to finish out his career.

Teams in that part of the country are indeed interested in the one-year rental, as are myriad others as 247Sports.com is reporting that 32 made contact with the lineman in the hours after his impending pending departure was announced. Arizona State, Cal, Oregon, USC, Washington and Hawaii are among the teams out west who have expressed interest.

A handful of Power Five programs further east have expressed interest as well, including Arkansas, Baylor, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisville, LSU, Maryland, Nebraska, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Purdue, Texas and Texas A&M. Group Five teams that have shown interest include Charlotte, East Carolina, FAU, FIU, Louisiana Tech, Memphis, SMU, Temple and Utah State.

Coming out of high school in Hawaii as a four-star 2013 recruit, Pagano was rated as the No. 24 tackle in the country and the No. 2 player at any position in the state. Pagano started 13 games the past two seasons, four of which came in 2016.

North Texas a possibility for transferring Arizona State WR

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A Pac-12 school’s loss could end up being a gain for one from Conference USA.

This past week, Ellis Jefferson decided to transfer from Arizona State and continue his collegiate playing career elsewhere.  That elsewhere could ultimately be North Texas, with the Denton Record-Chronicle‘s Brett Vito reporting that “it appears as if Jefferson has interest in UNT.”

Jefferson went to high school in Denton, and the wide receiver’s younger brother is following in his football footsteps at the same school.  Vito does add one important part of the transfer equation: “The question now is if UNT has interest in Jefferson.”

Given the talent he’d be bringing, the answer would seemingly be yes.

A three-star 2013 signee, Jefferson took a redshirt as a true freshman. The next two seasons, the 6-4, 200-pound receiver showed promise as he caught a combined 23 passes for 304 yards in 2014 and 2015. He had a pair of receiving touchdowns for good measure.

His production dropped precipitously last season as he caught just two touchdowns for 21 yards in 2016.

Jefferson would be eligible to play immediately in 2017 as a graduate transfer.  The upcoming season will be the receiver’s final year of eligibility.