The calendar is just about ready to flip over to June and with that date change comes time to kick off plenty of summer camps for high school recruits around the country.
While all eyes will be on major outings such as USC’s annual Rising Stars Camp or Florida’s Friday Night Lights, there may be a smaller school’s camp that will draw just as much attention. The one in question? Well of course it would be Lane Kiffin’s first summer camp at Florida Atlantic.
While the draw of Kiffin alone is enough to elicit some higher than normal interest, the list of coaches tagging along for the Owls’ June 5th camp is even more eyebrow-raising than that of the hosts. Namely that includes Jim Harbaugh (and the rest of the Michigan staff per the Sun-Sentinel) along with a few familiar faces from the Tennessee staff, among others.
Yes, that’s right, Kiffin’s old employer is all set to buddy up with the ex-Vols coach down in Boca according to a report from FAUOwlAccess.com.
Given recent limits put on satellite camps by the NCAA, it certainly makes plenty of sense for schools like Michigan and Tennessee to send their staffs to work camps at places like FAU given the latter’s close proximity to so many top recruits. Likewise, it’s pretty understandable to see Kiffin bring in some even bigger names to his first summer camp in order to draw attention to the program he took over in the offseason.
Still, it should be more than a little interesting for many fans in the Volunteer State to see a few Tennessee coaches working alongside the man many blame for their program’s slide in recent years. It’s been several years (and coaching stops) since Kiffin left Knoxville so perhaps next month we’ll find out if time really does heal all wounds.
To the surprise of nobody though, FAU hasn’t even played a game under their new head coach and the Owls are already making waves and finding plenty of time in the national spotlight.
Hit the pause button on Shaq Wiggins and his intent to transfer to Tennessee. There appears to be a new contender in the running. The Clarion-Ledger reports Wiggins is visiting Mississippi State even after previously committing to the Vols last month as he pursues a graduate transfer destination from Louisville.
Wiggins arrived at Mississippi State on Sunday and the visit will reportedly go through at least Monday night, according to The Clarion-Ledger‘s report. Wiggins is a graduate transfer so he will be eligible to play immediately for any other FBS program this fall.
Wiggins announced his intent to transfer out of Louisville in March. His previous connections to former Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham was a key reason why he ended up transferring to Louisville from Georgia. Perhaps not so coincidentally, Grantham is now at Mississippi State. However, Mississippi State was initially reported to be on a short list of schools Louisville was blocking Wiggins from considering, likely because of the Grantham connection after Grantham left the Louisville staff. Other schools reported to be blocked included Kentucky, Notre Dame, Purdue and Western Kentucky (a mix of future opponents and regional rivals). Fortunately for Wiggins, an appeal to be able to consider Mississippi State was approved.
Wiggins previously announced his commitment to Tennessee in late April. Now that remains in question as Mississippi State was initially going to be high on Wiggins’ personal list when he decided to transfer. With the Bulldogs once again a potential option, they could swipe Wiggins from the Vols at the 11th hour.
After surprisingly announcing in late April that he would be transferring from Texas Tech, Jonathan Giles revealed a week ago his Top 10 list for potential landing spots. Over the weekend, he had whittled that list down to three.
Monday evening, he whittled it down to one.
On his social media accounts, Giles revealed that he has decided to further his education at LSU and continue his collegiate playing career with the Tigers. The wide receiver’s other finalists were Florida State and Oregon.
Those in the Top 10 that were under consideration included Georgia, Louisville, Ohio State, Purdue, SMU, Tennessee and Wisconsin.
Giles won’t be of immediate help to the Tigers’ passing attack as he will have to sit out the 2017 season, but he’ll still have two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2018.
The 5-11, 184-pound Giles led the Red Raiders in receptions (69), receiving yards (1,158), receiving touchdowns (13) and yards per catch (16.8) as a true sophomore last season. However, he exited spring practice earlier this year second on the depth chart, which triggered his decision to leave Lubbock.
The Champions of Life have some expensive hardware to celebrate the ending of their 2016 season.
Invoices obtained by the Knoxville News Sentinel show that Tennessee’s football program spent a whopping $37,193 on 164 “Music City Bowl Champions” rings in April as part of an order that also included seven pendants celebrating the Vols’ postseason victory.
Tennessee defeated Nebraska 38-24 last December in a game where star defensive end Derek Barnett broke the school’s all-time sack record. The rings, which clocked in at $220 a piece with numerous diamonds set around the school’s famous block T logo, were handed out to 110 players, 22 members of the coaching staff and 39 support staff personnel according to the paper.
“Rings are very, very special. Each team is bonded by a championship ring. Each team is bonded by that ring, and that ring tells a particular story,” head coach Butch Jones said in November. “It’s like a storybook of that particular season, so that’s why the sides are important, why the front of it is very important. I think it also builds pride in your institution.”
In addition, the school purchased eight extra rings for staff members to celebrate their victory over Virginia Tech in the Battle at Bristol to bring the Vols’ total ring budget to nearly $40,000 on the year. Documents also show that the trip up to Nashville for the Music City Bowl cost Tennessee a further total of $1,070,75, which sounds like a pretty penny until factoring in a $1.3 million bowl distribution from the SEC.
Buying rings to celebrate bowl games or notable achievements of a good year are not uncommon in college football but that five-figure total being spent on a win in the Music City Bowl probably isn’t what Vols fans want to be seeing after a rather disappointing season in 2016.
One of the more surprising transfers of the 2017 offseason has given a rather broad hint as to his next college football home.
Late last month, Jonathan Giles, a semifinalist for the 2016 Biletnikoff Award, announced that he would be transferring from Texas Tech. Two weeks later, the wide receiver took to Twitter to release a Top 10 list for potential landing spots, and, not surprisingly, it includes several high-profile programs.
It’s unclear if the fact that Ohio State, Florida State and LSU are listed Nos. 1-3 means anything.
It’s also unclear when Giles will whittle that list down to, first, official visits as well as, ultimately, his final decision. Giles will have to sit out the 2017 season regardless of where he lands, but will still have two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2018.
The 5-11, 184-pound Giles led the Red Raiders in receptions (69), receiving yards (1,158), receiving touchdowns (13) and yards per catch (16.8) as a true sophomore last season However, he exited spring practice this year second on the depth chart.