USC Trojans

PHOENIX, AZ - JANUARY 02:  Wide reciever David Sills #15 of the West Virginia Mountaineers celebrates after catching 15 yard touchdown reception against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the fourth quarter of the Motel 6 Cactus Bowl at Chase Field on January 2, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Mountaineers defeated the Sun Devils 43-42.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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QB-turned-WR David Sills leaving WVU to try hand as JUCO QB

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As evidenced by his play on the field last season, David Sills had the talent to make an impact on the receiving end of the passing game at West Virginia.  In his mind, however, the sophomore still has the itch to be the triggerman of said passing game.

WVU announced in a press release Thursday morning that Sills has decided to transfer out of Mountaineers football program.  According to a statement from Dana Holgorsen, Sills is moving on to an unspecified junior college “to pursue his dream of playing quarterback” at the collegiate level.

“We appreciate everything David has done for the Mountaineer football program. He has done everything asked of him and has been a great teammate,” the head coach said in a statement. “He has decided to transfer to pursue his dream of playing quarterback in college. We wish him nothing but the best in all of his future endeavors on and off the field.”

Sills was a three-star signee in 2015 who was rated as the No. 19 pro-style quarterback in the country.  He was moved to receiver, however, and caught seven passes for 131 yards and a pair of touchdowns in eight games as a true freshman.

This spring, the Mountaineers allowed Sills to get work in as a quarterback.

“(Sills) is in the quarterback room now. He wants to be a quarterback,” said Holgorsen back in March. “When he’s out there – and we can’t be out there with him – but you see him go from quarterback to receiver drill and moves back and forth a little bit. We’ll let it play out and see how it goes.”

Sills is arguably best known for accepting a scholarship offer from then-USC head coach Lane Kiffin as a 13-year-old seventh grader back in February of 2010.  He ultimately decommitted from the Trojans in June of 2014, a few months after Kiffin was canned.

USC AD Haden’s involvement in charitable foundation questioned

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - DECEMBER 12:  USC Athletic Director Pat Haden accepts the Outstanding Achievement in Business and Industry” Award  attend the University Kidney Research Organization Gala at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on December 12, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for the University Kidney Research Organization)
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USC director of athletics Pat Haden’s role in a charitable organization was called into question by a Los Angeles Times story published Saturday morning.

Haden, who is set to end his tenure as USC AD at the end of this month, and relatives were paid handsome sums for relatively small amounts of work with the George Henry Mayr Foundation while donations to the fund went into decline according to the paper.

Haden, his daughter and sister-in-law together collected about $2.4 million from the foundation for part-time roles involving as little as one hour of work per week, according to the foundation’s federal tax returns for 1999 to 2014, the most recent year available.

Half of that, about $1.2 million, went to Haden. His annual board fees have been as high as $84,000; the foundation paid him $72,725 in 2014.

During Haden’s tenure on the board, donations directed to USC, where he has been athletic director for nearly six years, far outpaced the amounts given to any other school, a Times analysis of the tax records shows.

The compensation Haden and two relatives received for work on the foundation did not violate any laws or the terms of compensation laid out by the trust agreement, but “philanthropy experts” told The Times they were unusually large.

The Times’ study also found USC was a significant beneficiary of funds awarded by the foundation during Haden’s time as chairman.

Though he refused an interview, Haden defended himself via statements to the paper sent through a USC spokesperson.

In one statement, Haden said Wells Fargo approved “the board’s composition, activities and compensation.” He said the board  “is proud of its work and the difference those scholarships have made in the lives of these thousands of students.”

The spokesperson also said Haden would recuse himself when donations to USC were discussed.

A rep for Wells Fargo told The Times tax returns showing one-hour work weeks for Haden and his relatives had been filed in error and would be amended.

As part of an effort to reduce his overall workload for health reasons, he has stepped down as chairman but remains a volunteer board member of the foundation.

Fresno State, USC announce new 3-game series

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 19:  Joe Fernandez #84 of the Fresno State Bulldogs makes a catch for a touchdown against  Justin Wyatt #29 of the USC Trojans during the game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 19, 2005 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
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Fresno State can tell recruits it will play at least one Power 5 opponent in each of the next eight seasons after amounting a new scheduling agreement with USC.

The Trojans will host the Bulldogs in 2019, 2022 and 2025.

USC leads the all-time series between the California schools 3-1, including comfortable victories in 2013 and ’14.

Prior to that, the Bulldogs memorably challenged a loaded USC squad featuring Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush in a 2005 clash. Fresno State led 42-41 in the fourth quarter, but the Trojans prevailed 50-42.

Fresno State’s only win in the series came in the 1992 Freedom Bowl when quarterback Trent Dilfer engineered a 24-7 triumph.

Taking on power conference teams is nothing new for Fresno State, which is set to play at Nebraska on Sept. 3.

The Bulldogs will play at Alabama and Washington next season, at Minnesota and UCLA in 2018 and host Minnesota in 2019. In 2020, they have a trip to Texas A&M on the docket while 2021 includes visits to Oregon and UCLA.

After the 2022 tilt with the Trojans, the Bulldogs will travel to Arizona State in 2023.

Utah graduate transfer Stevie Tu’ikolovatu headed to USC

LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 19:  Defensive tackle Stevie Tu'ikolovatu #90 of the Utah Utes blocks a pass by quarterback Tanner Mangum #12 of the Brigham Young Cougars during the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl at Sam Boyd Stadium on December 19, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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Utah graduate transfer Stevie Tu’ikolovatu won’t be in Salt Lake City anymore, but he will remain in the Pac-12 South.

The defensive tackle announced on Twitter Thursday he’s traded his Utah red for Trojan cardinal.

The Rose Park, Utah native registered 28 tackles, six tackles for loss, two sacks and four fumble recoveries and figures to slide immediately into the mix along USC’s defensive line.

And by immediately, we mean just that: USC opens with Alabama and its battering ram running game.

 

After spurning A&M, five-star 2017 QB commits to Ohio State

Tate Martell
Rivals.com
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As it turns out, Texas A&M’s loss will be a Big Ten school’s gain.  Probably.  Maybe.

In early May, 2017 five-star quarterback Tate Martell announced that he had decided to decommit from A&M and reopen his recruitment. That triggered a very public hissy fit from one of A&M’s assistant coaches, which also triggered both a backlash from other recruits and public rebuke from head coach Kevin Sumlin.

Exactly a week ago today, the Las Vegas Bishop Gorman product announced a new Top Five: Ohio State, Cal, USC, Colorado, UCLA.  Seven days later, Martell announced a new commitment from that group.

The 5-11, 203-pound Martell is rated as the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the country by 247Sports.com and is the No. 33 player overall on that recruiting website’s composite board.