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Georgia Southern being sued by two fired offensive coordinators

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This week brought word that Penn State had filed suit against one of its former defensive coordinators.  Thursday brings word that the legal shoe is on the other foot as it pertains to another FBS program and a couple of its former assistants.

According to USA Today‘s Dan Wolken, David Dean and Rance Gillespie filed separate lawsuits last month against Georgia Southern, its athletic association, its head football coach, Tyson Summers, athletic director Tom Kleinlein as well as what were described as multiple GSU administrators.  In early December, both Dean and Gillespie were fired from their positions as co-offensive coordinators.

“The lawsuits allege breach of contract, fraud and tortious interference after the school failed to execute the 18-month contracts the coaches signed initially, then pressured them to sign shorter deals two days before their dismissal,” Wolken wrote.

More from Wolken’s report:

After being offered the job by Summers and receiving formal offer sheets, both David Dean and Rance Gillespie signed 18-month contracts on Jan. 27, 2016, that established June 30, 2017, as the end of their term.

Both coaches claim that more than nine months later, they learned the school’s Board of Regents and the Georgia Southern University Athletic Foundation never signed the contracts. According to the lawsuits, Summers notified the coaching staff on Nov. 3, 2016, that new contracts were being prepared.

The second contract, which was given to the coaches following the 10th game of the season on Nov. 16, had changed the end of the agreement to Feb. 28, 2017.

The lawsuit alleges that Summers, Kleinlein, senior associate athletics director for business operations Jeff Blythe and director of football operations Cymone George “conspired to change the terms of the January Contract and specifically the employment end date” in order to save money, knowing they would be making coaching changes on the offensive staff.

In the civil action, the former coordinators are suing for loss of compensation and accrued interest as well as attorney fees.

Last season under Dean and Gillespie, the Eagles dropped from 24th to 79th in scoring offense, 24th to 104th in yards per play and from first to 29th in rushing as their 363 yards per game average in 2015 plummeted precipitously to 224.  Southern’s record fell accordingly to 5-7 after going a combined 17-7 the previous two seasons.

That subpar record led to speculation Summers could be one-and-done at the Sun Belt school prior to the head coach firing both of his coordinators.

Ohio State corner Joshua Norwood leaving Buckeyes

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Entering this week, Ohio State had been one player above the NCAA’s 85-man scholarship limit.  Thanks to Joshua Norwood, the Buckeyes are right at the number again — at least for the moment.

Citing two sources close to the program, Tim May of the Columbus Dispatch is reporting that Norwood has decided to transfer from OSU.  The Cleveland Plain Dealer subsequently confirmed through an OSU spokesperson the Dispatch‘s initial report

May added that it’s believed the Georgia native will continue his collegiate playing career at Georgia Southern.  A GSU official declined to confirm the cornerback will be added to the football roster, although an announcement could be coming over the next handful of days.

If Norwood lands at GSU or any other FBS program, he’ll likely have to sit out the 2017 season to satisfy NCAA transfer bylaws.  He’d then have two years of eligibility at his disposal beginning with the 2018 season.

A three-star member of the Buckeyes’ 2015 recruiting class, Norwood took a redshirt as a true freshman.  He played in 11 games last season, mainly on special teams, and was credited with eight tackles.

Although no specific reason for the transfer was given, being buried on the depth chart exiting spring practice was likely the impetus for the move.

Independents and Group of Five National Signing Day Recap: Irish bounce back, Memphis tops AAC

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Outside of the Power Five conferences, recruiting went about as expected in 2017.

Notre Dame continued to pound the national trail and landed a top 12 class full of players who will be expected to play early. BYU managed another impressive group that was one of the most diverse out there. The schools with a talent-rich backyard to draw on did well in the AAC.  Boise State was once again tops in the Mountain West and did better than a few peers in the region. And yes, Lane Kiffin earned that recruiting reputation by pulling in the best class of Conference USA.

Though there wasn’t much drama outside the top schools, there nevertheless was plenty of action for many programs on National Signing Day.

Top recruits (all rankings via 247Sports Composite): No. 67 overall Brock Wright (TE, Notre Dame), No. 154 overall Chaz Ah You (DB, BYU), Aisa Kelemete (DE, Boise State), Nick Robinson (TE, Memphis), Nicholas Sims (RB, Toledo)

Top classes: Notre Dame (No. 11 overall), Memphis (No. 58 overall), Boise State (No. 60 overall), BYU (No. 65 overall), Florida Atlantic (No. 71 overall), Toledo (No. 74 overall), Texas State (No. 87 overall)

Biggest storyline: Irish still land solid recruiting class

Despite the worst season in South Bend since Charlie Weis and a nearly brand new coaching staff, Notre Dame still managed to cobble together a top 12 class on Signing Day. Tight end Brock Wright was the highest rated player and should see early playing time but the number of quality offensive linemen was really evident in the group Brian Kelly signed. Will it be enough to help with a big turnaround? We’ll see.

Biggest surprise: Memphis runs away with things in the AAC but new coaches still fared well

Given all the turnover in the American this year, it should probably come as no surprise that the Tigers pulled the top recruiting class in the conference. That’s a testament to what Mike Norvell is building with the program and the fact that they don’t have to go far for players. Many of the same factors played a role in Scott Frost landing the second-best class at UCF. It was also pretty impressive what Luke Fickell did on the recruiting trail at Cincinnati and Charlie Strong did at USF given those two didn’t have a ton of time to get things lined up.

Don’t sleep on: Boise State, Colorado State

The Broncos were once again the class of the Mountain West on the recruiting trail and fended off several Pac-12 schools for prospects. That will put them firmly in the mix to win the league again in 2017 but don’t overlook another good job by Mike Bobo and staff at Colorado State in landing 17 three-star players.

We’ll see about: Everybody else

Peyton Manning, Steve Spurrier (again) among 13 elected to College Football Hall of Fame

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If you’re looking for a class with star power, this one has it.  In spades.

Monday morning, the National Football Foundation announced the 2017 class that will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame this year.  The group includes 19 players and three coaches.

Players:

  • BOB CRABLE – LB, Notre Dame (1978-81)
  • MARSHALL FAULK – RB, San Diego State (1991-93)
  • KIRK GIBSON – WR, Michigan State (1975-78)
  • MATT LEINART – QB, Southern California (2003-05)
  • PEYTON MANNING – QB, Tennessee (1994-97)
  • BOB McKAY – OT, Texas (1968-69)
  • DAT NGUYEN – LB, Texas A&M (1995-98)
  • ADRIAN PETERSON – RB, Georgia Southern (1998-2001)
  • MIKE RUTH – NG, Boston College (1982-85)
  • BRIAN URLACHER – DB, New Mexico (1996-99)

Coaches:

  • DANNY FORD – 122-59-5 (66.9%); Clemson (1978-89), Arkansas (1993-97)
  • LARRY KEHRES – 332-24-3 (92.9%); Mount Union (Ohio) (1986-2012)
  • STEVE SPURRIER – 228-89-2 (71.8%); Duke (1987-89), Florida (1990-2001), South Carolina (2005-15)

Spurrier is already in the Hall of Fame as a player.  He will become just the fourth individual to be inducted as both a player and a coach, joining Bobby Dodd, Amos Alonzo Stagg and Bowden Wyatt.

In 2011, Faulk was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  Gibson is likely known to most as the former Los Angles Dodgers baseball player, whose home run trot in the 1988 World Series remains one of the most iconic moments in the sport’s history.

Kehres is the only head coach at any level of college football to finish with a winning percentage above .900 — his Purple Raiders won a staggering 332 of 359 games (with three ties) for a .929 win percentage during the incredible run that lasted nearly three decades.

Urlacher is the first player from the University of New Mexico to be elected, while the “other” Adrian Peterson is just the second from Georgia Southern (Tracy Ham, 2007).

South Carolina’s Shawn Elliott lands Georgia State job

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For the second time today, a non-offensive or defensive coordinator has filled an FBS head-coaching vacancy.

According to 247Sports.com, South Carolina offensive line coach Shawn Elliott will be the next head coach at Georgia State.  An official announcement from the football program is expected to come by Friday at the latest.

Elliott would replace Trent Miles, who was fired by the Sun Belt Conference school in mid-November.

This would be Elliot’s first head-coaching job, although he did serve as the Gamecocks’ interim coach when Steve Spurrier abruptly retired midway through the 2015 season.

Elliott has spent the past seven seasons at USC, having been retained by new head coach Will Muschamp.  Prior to that, he had spent his entire coaching career at his alma mater Appalachian State, a career that began in 1996.

UPDATED 5:29 p.m. ET: The Elliott hiring is now official.