Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant found himself on the campus of USC recently to speak to business students. And with Bryant on campus, USC football head coach Clay Helton was not one to let a photo op go to waste. Who could blame Helton?
Helton provided Bryant with a No. 24 USC football jersey and thanked the longtime basketball star for all he had done for the city of Los Angeles during his professional career. It seems Helton even took a few tips and words of advice from Bryant during the speaking engagement as well.
“To kind of see his competitive mindset and what he’s about. It was an hour-long presentation. It was unbelievable to see him in that real environment just be himself,” Helton said of Bryant’s speaking engagement, according to Lakers Nation. “I knew he was one of the fiercest competitors in all of sports. Now I know that without a doubt. He was able to talk to our students, I thought it was enlightening. I got a lot out of it to be honest with you.”
Bryant did not speak to the USC football team during his visit to the USC campus, although you would have to imagine Helton may want to try and arrange for that if he can. After all, Bryant spoke to the Philadelphia Eagles as the Eagles went on their run to a Super Bowl championship. If Bryant has a little magic in his words for the USC football program, then the Trojans may be able to take the next step on the ladder to their own national glory.
If nothing else, Bryant has a new jersey to add to his collection.
Dana Holgorsen has certainly developed an affinity for players who began their playing careers in the Pac-12.
On his personal Twitter account late last month, defensive tackle Kenny Bigelow announced that he would be transferring from USC to West Virginia. A week later, Denzel Fisher took to the same social media site to announce that he too would be moving on to WVU, joining Bigelow from rival UCLA.
Fisher’s pronouncement came after he had taken an official visit to the campus this weekend. He announced his decision to leave the Bruins in mid-March.
Both Fisher and Bigelow are headed to Morgantown as graduate transfers, making them eligible to play for the Mountaineers in 2018.
The last three seasons, Fisher played in 23 games for the Bruins, including seven appearances this past season. For his career thus far, he’s been credited with 30 tackles and four passes defensed.
It seemed all offseason that Michigan was going to be making changes on offense and co-offensive coordinator Tim Drevno was likely the odd man out on the coaching staff.
That’s exactly what ended up happening as Drevno returned to his old school at USC with a new title after reportedly also looking into a jump to the NFL. While the terms of his deal with Michigan was supposed to require him to pay a $150,000 buyout, it appears the Wolverines were really trying to facilitate a move out the door and as a result will actually be paying Drevno to head out West after he resigned.
Per the Detroit Free Press, UM athletic director Warde Manuel wrote a letter confirming the new terms of the separation:
“While your decision to leave your position at Michigan Football is disappointing, in recognition of your service to the University, we have agreed that the University will pay you a lump sum equal to three (3) months of your final base salary contained in the Agreement totaling $250,000 (three (3) months of $1,000,000 final base salary), subject to applicable withholding, on or before March 31, 2018.”
Michigan still makes out in the black despite the payment as Drevno was operating under a five-year deal worth $1 million a season. His replacement, Ed Warinner, makes less than half that amount.
There was a flurry of Alabama scheduling news on Saturday. First, it was reported that Alabama is in discussions with Notre Dame for a home-and-home series at an undisclosed date in the future. That report sparked a second item that the Tide is also reportedly discussing a home-and-home with Texas as well.
In a response to our tweet about such reports, Birmingham media personality Jim Dunaway tweeted the following:
Dunaway’s report has not been confirmed, but it passes the smell test. The Dallas kickoff game — officially known as the Advocare Classic — does not have a 2020 matchup lined up. LSU and Miami will meet at AT&T Stadium to open the upcoming season and Auburn-Oregon is set for 2019, but the 2020 date remains open. Further, Alabama does not have an opening week game on its ’20 slate and neither does USC, according to FBSchedules.
A 2020 game would, of course, be a rematch to the 2016 Advocare Classic, when the Tide stomped a pre-Sam Darnold USC outfit, 52-6.
Alabama helped start the modern tradition of neutral site openers and has been a near-annual participant ever since — which is why yesterday’s reports that AD Greg Byrne is looking away from such games was such big news. The Tide is 8-0 in neutral site openers, winning by an average score of 36-14. Alabama meets Louisville in Orlando on Sept. 1 of this year, and also has meetings with Duke (Aug. 31, 2019) and Miami (Sept. 4, 2021) in Atlanta in the offing.
Alabama is 4-0 all-time at AT&T Stadium, with a 41-14 win over Michigan and a 35-17 defeat of Wisconsin in addition to its USC blowout in previous Advocare Classics and a 38-0 blanking of Michigan State in the 2015 Cotton Bowl. USC is 0-2 at AT&T Stadium, falling 24-7 to Ohio State in the most recent Cotton Bowl in addition to the Alabama loss of 2016.
The Trojans have home dates with New Mexico (Sept. 19) and Notre Dame (Nov. 28) lined up for 2020.
Greene is turning orange. Well, Jalen Greene is at least.
The former USC wide receiver who announced he would pursue a graduate transfer earlier this month announced on Twitter that he would be heading East to play at Illinois in 2018. He will be immediately eligible to play for the Illini.
Greene was originally recruited by the Trojans as a dual-threat quarterback but eventually made the move to receiver. He caught eight passes for 98 yards at USC last season as a partial starter and added another eight receptions for 116 yards the year prior.
Illinois has already begun spring practice and has been trying several new players at wide receiver in the process to find a good complement to Mike Dudek on the outside. It seems Greene could find himself in the mix to be one of those guys when he arrives in Champaign.