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Keyshawn Johnson Jr. not part of Nebraska team ‘right now,’ will take time off to ‘mature’ per dad

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This is certainly an interesting development.

Nearly two weeks ago, Keyshawn Johnson Jr. was cited for marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia.  Friday, Rivals.com is reporting behind its paywall, the wide receiver is not currently a part of the Nebraska football team.

From KETV.com‘s detailing of the report from HuskerOnline.com‘s Nate Clouse:

I’m told that Johnson Jr. will be taking somewhat of a leave of absence from the team right now, but the door is open for his return next January, assuming he has taken care of a few requirements prior to that time,” Clouse wrote.

According to Clouse, Johnson has returned to Los Angeles and will likely take classes online or at a junior college in the fall.

Johnson’s father, former USC All-American wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson, subsequently confirmed to the Omaha World-Herald that his son is indeed taking a leave of absence in order to “mature” and will not play in 2018

Thus far, the football program has declined to discuss Johnson’s status with the team moving forward.

A three-star 2017 signee who was an early enrollee and participated in spring practice, the younger Johnson had been expected to be an immediate contributor for the Cornhuskers this season.

Knee injury playing hoops will sideline Ohio State’s A.J. Alexander for entire 2017 season

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While it may have ultimately been the case anyway, Ohio State will now definitely have a new backup tight end for the upcoming season.

A team spokesperson confirmed to the Columbus Dispatch that A.J. Alexander will be sidelined for the entire 2017 season due to an unspecified knee injury.  The Cleveland Plain Dealer subsequently confirmed the initial report, adding that Alexander has already undergone surgery to repair the damage.

Alexander sustained the injury playing basketball earlier this month.

A three-star 2015 signee, Alexander took a redshirt as a true freshman.  As the backup to starter Marcus Baugh last season, Alexander caught four passes for 27 yards.

Redshirt freshmen Luke Farrell and Jake Hausmann will now vie for the No. 2 job behind Baugh, who didn’t practice this spring because of shoulder surgery.

Unnamed assistant says former Michigan State staffer Blackwell acted unprofessionally

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Curtis Blackwell is no longer a member of Michigan State’s recruiting staff, and there’s at least one person inside the Spartans’ football building happy about that.

Blackwell interviewed, taken out in handcuffs and later suspended with pay in early February for his involvement in a sexual assault scandal involving Josh KingDonnie Corley and Demetric Vance. The three players were later dismissed from the program and are set to face charges, and Blackwell was let go at the end of last month.

But on Wednesday the Detroit Free Press obtained an interview an unnamed Michigan State coaching staff member conducted with MSU Police in which he lobbied multiple complaints against Blackwell’s status and conduct within the program.

Saying he was “not a Curtis guy,” the assistant accused Blackwell of improperly toeing the lines between his job as Michigan State’s director of college advancement and performance and his role as co-founder of the Sound Mind, Sound Body football camps, which he was (somehow) allowed to keep while on Michigan State’s payroll.

Those complaints include leveraging his status to pursue inappropriate relationships with parents of Michigan State players, taking a trip to a Spartans NCAA basketball tournament game on a booster’s dime and withholding critical information on SM/SB camp alums from the rest of the staff.

The unnamed MSU coach told police it was because “Curtis makes money off these kids’ parents,” through the Sound Mind, Sound Body camp, “so he is loyal to them.”

Whether or not the unnamed assistant or his colleagues approved of Blackwell’s work, the boss certainly did. Mark Dantonio hired Blackwell in 2013 and said he had no regrets about bringing him aboard. “I don’t have any regrets about bringing Curtis in. It’s just that things changed this year,” Dantonio said. “Up to that point, I think we were going in the same direction, but in the last four or five months I believed the philosophy just changed.”

Before his contract was allowed to expire on May 30, Blackwell enjoyed a raise to $129,000 a year after the Spartans’ Big Ten championship and College Football Playoff appearance following the 2015 season.

Three Mich. St. players charged with felony sexual misconduct named, dismissed from team

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After nearly four months of uncertainty, the identities of the trio of suspended Michigan State football players have been revealed.

Monday, the Ingham County Prosecutors Office announced that it would be charging three unidentified MSU Spartans in connection to an alleged sexual assault that took place on Jan. 16 at an off-campus apartment complex.  Tuesday, arrest warrants for third-degree criminal sexual misconduct, a felony, were issued for wide receiver Donnie Corley, defensive end Josh King and defensive back Demetric Vance.

Additionally, King was charged with one count each of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and capturing/distributing an image of an unclothed person.

Not long after the warrants were issued and charges were announced, head coach Mark Dantonio released a lengthy statement announcing that all three players have been dismissed from his football program.  Below is the statement, in its entirety.

With the criminal sexual conduct charges filed against Josh King, Donnie Corley and Demetric Vance, I have decided that regardless of the final outcome of the criminal process, these three individuals have been dismissed from our program, effective immediately.

“When we choose student-athletes to come to MSU, we enter into a relationship with them and their families, and we welcome them into ours. We emphasize that success on the field is not enough, as I made clear when all three individuals were suspended four months ago upon us learning of the allegations. They also must embrace our core principles, which include integrity, respect and accountability. The individuals in this case put themselves in a compromising position and did not live up to the standards we have outlined for our program.

“Sexual assault has no place in our community, and I want to share my deep concern for the young woman affected and her family.

“This is an extremely challenging situation that we have taken very seriously and has affected everyone in this program. The high standards I have established for this program will not change, and the values that we teach to everyone in this program will be enforced. I expect all of our players and staff to conduct themselves in a manner that reflect the ideals of this university.

The most noteworthy of the players from a football perspective is Corley.

As a true freshman last season, Corley finished second on the team with 453 receiving yards, while his 33 receptions and three receiving touchdowns were third.  With the departures of Josiah Price and R.J. Shelton for the NFL, Corley was to have been MSU’s leading returning receiver.

That honor now falls to junior Felton Davis III (12-150-1).

King was a four-star 2016 signee who started two of the nine games in which he played as a true freshman.  A four-star 2016 signee as well, Vance took a redshirt last season.

Ex-Penn State LB sues insurance company over disability policy

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Former Penn State linebacker Nyeem Wartman-White is going to court with an insurance company in a case that is sure to draw interest from those around college athletics.

White took out a disability policy after the 2015 season when he opted not to declare for the NFL Draft the following spring. He returned to State College but was injured early on in the 2016 campaign during a non-conference game against Temple and tore his ACL, knocking him out for the rest of the season. That is apparently where the issues arise as he tried to collect after going undrafted last month in the 2017 NFL Draft.

PennLive.com reports that Wartman-White subsequently filed a lawsuit this week in U.S. Middle District Court against International Specialty Insurance Co., which holds the policy. The linebacker is seeking as much as $1.5 million in “actual, compensatory and punitive damages that amount to at least the benefits of the policy.”

The purchase of disability policies is nothing new in college football as high-profile sophomores, juniors and seniors often take out insurance in case they suffer a career-ending (or threatening) injury during the course of a season. Michigan tight end Jake Butt recently collected a reported $543,000 insurance payout after dropping in the draft following his ACL tear in the Orange Bowl, for example.

It seems as though Wartman-White is looking for a similar payment but, in light of this week’s lawsuit, he may have to go to court in order to collect on his policy.