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USC backup center Cole Smith retiring from football

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USC will down one center this spring following the sudden retirement of Cole Smith. The backup center, a redshirt junior, is retiring from football for health-related concerns. On Twitter, Smith confirmed he is retiring mainly due to a patellar dislocation, although arthritis was a concern as well.

Smith committed to USC in August of 2014 shortly after receiving a scholarship offer from the Trojans when Steve Sarkisian was the head coach. The son of former NFL player Doug Smith, Cole Smith served his three-year collegiate career adding depth to the USC offensive line as a backup and reserve player. There was a chance Smith would be able to compete for a starting role in the fall if he was able to play to the best of his abilities, but sometimes injuries get in the way. Unfortunately for Smith, this was a decision that will be best for his long-term health.

According to Reign of Troy, USC will continue to honor Smith’s scholarship to allow him to complete his degree. SMith’s scholarship will not count against USC’s total scholarship count.

Notre Dame drops from second to sixth on all-time wins after losing NCAA appeal

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Notre Dame president Rev. John Jenkins was quite angry Tuesday afternoon when the NCAA denied the school’s appeal against vacating the Irish’s wins from the 2012-13 seasons. But the NCAA did deny the appeal, which means 21 wins have now vanished into the ether.

While we can all agree this is an ultimately silly penalty — we all saw Notre Dame win those games — the rules are the rules, and those 21 wins are now gone. Which actually has a significant affect on Notre Dame’s standing on college football’s all-time wins list.

In dropping from 907 wins to 886, Notre Dame sunk from second all the way to sixth, falling below Texas, Ohio State, Nebraska and Alabama. Here’s the full top 10, according to Winsipedia:

1. Michigan — 943 wins
2. Texas — 898
Ohio State — 898
4. Nebraska — 893
5. Alabama — 891
6. Notre Dame — 886
7. Oklahoma — 884
8. Penn State — 878
9. USC — 834
10. Tennessee — 833

Though some of the programs ahead of them may be down at a given time (Texas and Nebraska currently) it’s nay impossible to imagine all of them being down at once. Which means it will take decades for Notre Dame to make up the ground it lost today — if it ever does.

USC WR Joseph Lewis suspended following domestic violence charge

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USC has suspended wide receiver Joseph Lewis after the former U.S. Army All-American after Lewis was arrested and charged in a domestic violence-related incident on Monday.

According to a report from USCFootball.com, Lewis was charged with “corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant” due to visible injury to an alleged victim. The charge is a felony offense and Lewis could face up to four years behind bars if convicted.

“USC takes all reports of domestic abuse seriously and is cooperating fully with the law enforcement investigation,” a university spokesperson said in a statement shared by USCFootball.com. “While this student code of conduct issue is being investigated, the student has been suspended from all football-related activities. Student disciplinary records and student conduct proceedings are confidential at USC and protected by law.”

Lewis, a five-star recruit in USC’s Class of 2017, appeared in three games for the Pac-12 champion Trojans last season. He caught four passes for a total of 39 yards in his spare playing time, but three of those receptions were good for a first down. This incident and news obviously puts Lewis’s availability for spring football practices and workouts on the backburner for now, until the legal process plays out. For now, Lewis is still a part of the USC football program despite being suspended.

USC announces extensions for Tee Martin, Clancy Pendergast

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Last month, reports surfaced that USC had extended the contract of offensive coordinator Tee Martin.  Monday evening, the football program did those reports one better.

The football program has confirmed that not has Martin received a contract extension, but so has his coordinator counterpart on the other side of the ball, Clancy Pendergast, as well.  The details of the twin extensions were not released.

Martin, who was the subject of numerous reports connecting him to various jobs the past few months, has been at USC since 2012, and was promoted to coordinator in December of 2015.  Pendergast has been the Trojans’ defensive coordinator the past two seasons.

Just last week, the football program announced that head coach Clay Helton had signed a contract extension as well.

Illini officially add 27-year-old USC grad assistant as DL coach

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For the most recent hire to his Illinois coaching staff, Lovie Smith decided to go young.  Really, really, really young.

Following up on reports from earlier in the week, the Fighting Illini confirmed that Austin Clark has been hired by Smith as his new defensive line coach. Clark spent the last two seasons as a defensive graduate assistant at USC, working specifically with both the Trojans’ defensive line and linebackers.

At 27 years old — he’ll be 28 in August — Clark is one of the youngest on-field assistants at the FBS level.

“Austin Clark came in for his interview and just blew us away with his enthusiasm and detail,” Smith said in a statement. “He brings an outstanding attitude and high level of energy to our program. Our players are going to love working with Austin. He is extremely detailed and has a plan for each of the guys on the defensive line. Austin gained some great experience in his previous position, and will be a terrific addition to our staff.”

Clark began his coaching career in 2015 as a recruiting assistant at his alma mater Cal, where he played defensive tackle for six injury-plagued years from 2009-14.