FBI sniffing around Cam Newton situation

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The bizarre case of Cam Newton‘s post-Florida recruitment has taken yet another odd turn as it’s being reported that a federal agency has taken an interest in the situation.

According to TMZ.com, the FBI has requested a meeting with John Bond, the former Mississippi State quarterback who was allegedly solicited by a middleman claiming to represent the Newton family and seeking upwards of $200,000 for Newton’s signature on a letter of intent.  Bond took the solicitation to the higher-ups at MSU, who then turned the information over to the NCAA, which subsequently launched an investigation a little less than a year ago.

Bond’s attorney confirmed to TMZ that the FBI has requested a sit-down meeting with his client.  According to the attorney, the FBI agent said “we are interested in whether young men are being shopped to colleges.”

If the FBI is interested in speaking to Bond, it would then stand to reason they would also want to speak to his former MSU teammate Kenny Rogers.  Rogers is reportedly the middleman who allegedly made it known to Bond — maybe not directly, however — that Newton’s talents were available for a low six-figure sum of money.

The accusations of Newton’s football skills being for sale was the first of two “scandals” to hit the Auburn quarterback and Heisman frontrunner in less than a week.  Earlier today, FOX Sports.com, citing a single unnamed source, reported three instances of academic cheating were committed by Newton while he was at Florida in 2008, and that he was facing expulsion before deciding to transfer from the Gainesville school to a Texas junior college in early 2009.

The five days of reports have taken their toll on a reputation Newton has steadily rebuilt since being charged with buying a stolen laptop in 2008.  It’s also taken its toll on Newton’s head coach, who was at a Mike Gundy-level of pissed off at his press conference this afternoon.

I’m trying to defend something that is quite frankly garbage,” Chizik said, before really starting to roll.

“Is there a wizard behind the curtain? I don’t know. Is there one, is there two, are there 10? I don’t know and I don’t care. But what I do care about is coming to the defense of not only a great football player but a great human being who comes from a great family.

“Now if you really want to do your homework, go and start with his Little League coach, then go to his junior high coach, then go to his high school coach, then go to his junior college coach and then come talk to any coach at Auburn. And you’re all going to hear the same thing. So this is a waste of my time, but I’m going to address it because I’m defending a young man who deserves it.”

Newton was a little — OK, a lot — less emotional in his response to the latest round of allegations.  In fact, he seemed to simply shrug them off with a wave and a smile that seemed to say “when God be blessin’, the devil be messin’“.

“Am I hurt? No. Am I curious? A little bit,” Newton said. “But it really doesn’t bother me that much. I’m a blessed individual. …

“I’m not here to bash anyone. I’m here to go to school and win football games at Auburn. My sole focus right now is to win this football game coming up on Saturday.”

Who knows if there is any truth and to what degree these myriad reports hold — and Lord knows Newton is far from sainthood — but it’s a sad indictment of the whole ugly mess that it’s the accused who’s taken the high road, while adults all around him have chosen to step straight into the gutter.

UPDATED 7:22 p.m. ET: Courtesy of our friends at NBC Sports.com, here’s video of Chizik’s emotional defense of Newton.

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Report: Ed Oliver expected to play for Houston vs. Memphis

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It appears college football hasn’t seen the last of Ed Oliver.

A knee injury suffered last month has sidelined Oliver for four straight games, leading some to speculate that the All-American defensive tackle was sidelining himself in order to protect his draft stock.  A heated sideline dustup with his head coach last week, for which Oliver later apologized, led some to opine that Oliver would indeed shut it down for good at the collegiate level.

Monday night, however, ESPN reported that Oliver is expected to play in Friday’s game against Memphis.  The website cited a source close to the player as the basis for its report, although, officially, Oliver is day-to-day according to the football program.

The winner of that game will claim the AAC West crown and a spot opposite UCF in the conference championship game the following weekend.

Double-teamed most times — and even triple-teamed on occasion — Oliver was held sack-less through the first five games of this season.  The last two in which he played, however, he was credited with three — two against East Carolina, one against Navy.  It was in that latter game in which he was injured.

In March of this year, Oliver announced that the 2018 season would be his last at the collegiate level as he will leave the Cougars early and make himself available for the 2019 NFL draft, where he is widely projected to be a Top Five selection at worst.

After a consensus Freshman All-American season that saw him land on numerous first-team All-American squads, Oliver was a consensus All-American in a 2017 season that saw him become the first underclassman to win the Outland Trophy in the 70-year history of the award.

In his first two seasons with the Cougars, the 6-3, 290-pound Oliver had totaled 39.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks.  In addition to the three sacks, Oliver has 13.5 tackles for loss this season; his 1.9 tackles for loss were tied for third nationally prior to his injury.

Virginia Tech’s second-leading receiver in 2017 to transfer

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Another day, another Hokie hightailing it out of Blacksburg.  Possibly.

Sunday, linebacker Rico Kearney announced via Twitter that he would be transferring from Virginia Tech. A day later, teammate Sean Savoy took to the same social media vehicle to announce that he too will be transferring from Tech.

The wide receiver said he came to his decision after discussions with his parents.

The tweet announcing the transfer, though, has since been deleted.  It’s unclear if that’s an indication of a change of heart on Savoy’s part, although Justin Fuente addressed both departures Monday.

“We’ve been through a lot with both of them, quite honestly, more than most people know. Nothing bad with their behavior, but just been through a lot and helping them grow up and mature,” the head coach said. “And sometimes it’s hard on young players when they’re forced into action before they’re ready, out of necessity or whatever the reason may be. Like I said, that’s a tough deal and we wish them nothing but the best

Savoy, a three-star 2017 signee, started 11 games as a true freshman, catching 39 passes for 454 yards and four touchdowns. The Washington D.C. native was second on the team in all three categories last year.

This season, however, Savoy had totaled 188 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 18 receptions. He started three of the 10 games in which he played.

Arkansas WR Jordon Curtis recovering after being hit by car

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A potentially serious, or even deadly, situation involving one member of the Arkansas football team has turned out okay for all involved.

According to multiple media outlets in the area, defensive back Jordon Curtis was hit by a car after leaving practice Sunday night. Curtis was walking in a crosswalk near the Razorbacks’ practice facility when he was struck.

From the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:

According to UAPD, officers were dispatched to the scene at 5:26 p.m. Sunday. The officer reported that Curtis was bleeding from a wound above his right eye, but was able to answer cognitive questions about his date of birth and hometown. An ambulance transported Curtis to Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville.

The driver of a blue 2007 Hyundai Veracruz was issued two citations for failure to yield to a pedestrian at a crosswalk and for speeding too fast for conditions. The report states that four witnesses observed the driver never hit his brakes, but the driver stated he tried to stop but was unable to avoid hitting Curtis.

Thankfully for all involved, Cutis was treated and released from the hospital not long after the incident.

“We’re very fortunate, and our thoughts and prayers will be with him and his recovery,” head coach Chad Morris said Monday. “He will not be around this week, but is doing good. We’re very, very, very fortunate. Again, our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”

A redshirt freshman, Curtis played in the 2018 season opener but hasn’t seen any game action since.

Reports: Clemson transfer Kelly Bryant scraps planned Miami visit

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We don’t know yet to where Kelly Bryant will transfer.  Based on the most recent intel, though, we can divine one destination that has been taken out of play.

It was reported last week that, after rumored interest, the former Clemson quarterback would be visiting Miami on Nov. 24, with a decision on a future college football home coming on Dec. 4.  While the decision date is still the same, the visit to the Hurricanes reportedly won’t take place.

Miami was supposed to be the fifth of five official visits the graduate transfer can take.  Instead, that fifth visit will go to Auburn at some point next week.  Bryant has already taken an unofficial visit to Auburn earlier this month.

Officially, Bryant has taken visits to North Carolina (HERE), Missouri (HERE), Arkansas (HERE) and Mississippi State (HERE).

As a graduate transfer, Bryant will be eligible to play in 2019 regardless of where he ultimately lands.  Next season would be his final year of eligibility.

Bryant had started 18 games in a row at quarterback for the Tigers, winning 16 of those contests, before he was benched in favor of five-star 2018 signee Trevor Lawrence in September.  Bryant labeled Dabo Swinney‘s decision to bench him as “a slap in the face.”

That perceived slap triggered the much-discussed decision to transfer on Sept. 26.