Harbaugh officially ditches The Farm for money-green NFL pastures

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Along with more reputable media outlets, we had been told multiple times by several different sources that, if Jim Harbaugh were to leave Stanford, his inclination would be to ply his coaching wares in the NFL.

Unfortunately for the Cardinal faithful — and, as it turns out, Michigan fans as well — that turned out to be precisely the case.

Eschewing a very real and legitimate shot at the Wolverines vacancy, or remaining at Stanford with a 2011 Heisman Trophy contender at quarterback firmly in his back pocket, Harbaugh has instead opted to take his talents to the next level.  Culminating a week’s worth of rumors attaching him to various NFL openings, Harbaugh has officially agreed to become the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.

Harbaugh was introduced at a press conference Friday afternoon local time after agreeing in principle on a five-year, $25 million deal.

“Jim Harbaugh has done an outstanding job of advancing the football program at Stanford University and I am grateful for all of his tremendous work,” athletic director Bob Bowlsby said in a statement. “Coach Harbaugh has led the program with integrity, vision, enthusiasm and energy and his teams have played with precision and exceptional passion. Jim has been a relentless recruiter and he has been successful in enticing some of the finest scholar-athletes in the nation to attend Stanford University. We wish Jim all the best with his new challenges and we know that he will continue to be highly successful.”

“We are grateful to Jim Harbaugh for re-energizing the Stanford football program over the past four years,” university president John Hennessy said. “He helped build momentum that we are confident will continue into the future.  We made Jim the best offer we could commensurate with our role as a university.  We wish him the best of luck and look forward to his continuing contributions to football in the Bay Area.”

As for where Stanford will now turn for a replacement, the current scuttlebutt is that the school may very well look to stay in-house.  Specifically, offensive coordinator David Shaw and associate head coach/assistant head coach offense Greg Roman have been mentioned as very real possibilities.  Roman was reportedly a finalist for the Vanderbilt opening, and will interview for the Pittsburgh job Sunday.

Other possibilities that have been winding their way through the grapevine?  Oregon State head coach Mike Riley and Tulsa head coach Todd Graham.  The latter has already interviewed for the vacancy at Pittsburgh, while the former would appear to be a longshot at best, especially after being considered the top contender to replace Pete Carroll at USC last January.  Riley ultimately turned down the opportunity, and signed a contract extension through the 2019 season with the Beavers.

Given his deep Pac-10/West Coast roots, and the fact that he’s not currently attached to a coaching job, former Oregon head coach Mike Bellotti will most certainly be mentioned as well.

Regardless of where the Cardinal ultimately turn, this is a very, very significant blow for a program that’s very much on the rise and is/was poised to be a major player on the national scene for years to come.  Fortunately for those with a vested interest in the program, Harbaugh left the team in much, much better shape than when he first took over.

USF the landing spot for Michigan transfer Eddie McDoom

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Nearly two weeks after leaving the Midwest, Eddie McDoom is heading south.

Over the weekend, it was reported that McDoom intends to transfer into Charlie Strong‘s South Florida football program. USF, which opens the 2018 season Sept. 1 against FCS Elon, subsequently confirmed McDoom’s addition to the roster, including his official addition to the online roster.

McDoom will be forced to sit out the 2018 season to satisfy NCAA bylaws. The wide receiver will then have two years of eligibility remaining beginning with the 2019 season.

Earlier this month, it was reported that McDoom was no longer a part of the Michigan football program.

McDoom, a three-star 2016 signee, finished the Wolverines portion of his playing career with 16 receptions for 140 yards. The Florida native also ran the ball 24 times for another 203 yards.

Lingering effects of devastating 2016 knee injury forces Michigan’s Grant Newsome to retire

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As the player himself stated, not all stories have a happy ending.

Michigan offensive lineman Grant Newsome sustained a serious knee injury in early October of 2016 and spent 38 days in the hospital, including more than a week in intensive care, as doctors fought to save his leg. Newsome missed the entire 2017 season as he recovered from the devastating injury, and then was sidelined for spring practice this year as he still awaited medical clearance to resume playing football.

Optimistic of a return in early May, Newsome instead announced Monday that he will be forced to retire from the sport. Newsome’s injuries included a dislocated knee, fractured tibia, three torn knee ligaments as well as significant and extensive nerve damage in the area, and the latter issue is what in very large part foiled Newsome’s comeback attempts.

“Despite the near-miraculous healing in the knee, the totality of the injury was too much,” Newsome wrote in his Twitter missive, “as some recent secondary injuries coupled with the fragile nature of a vascular graph have made the risk of playing football again one that is too great for me to accept. …

“One day I will be able to play catch with my kids, to chase after them as they learn to ride a bicycle, to stand on my own two feet and applaud them at their graduation.”

Newsome plans to remain with the Wolverines as a student coach, working with U-M’s tight ends. He will also enroll in graduate school and work toward earning his Master’s degree.

Prior to the injury, Newsome, a four-star 2015 signee, started the first five games of the 2016 season at left tackle after starting one game as a freshman in 2015.

Former four-star Florida State lineman moves on from football

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With the start of the 2018 season less than two weeks away, Florida State will have one fewer option in the trenches than expected.

Corey Martinez took to his personal Twitter account Monday to announce that he has decided “to move on from football and do what’s best for myself and my family.” The lineman also provided some details as to what his post-football future will hold.

“As I continue my life journey,” the fifth-year senior wrote, “I look forward to stepping foot into the construction industry so that I can work my way into becoming a project manager and apply for my General Contractors license in the near future.”

On 247Sports.com‘s composite board, Martinez was rated as four-star 2014 signee. That same board had the Tampa product as the No. 14 offensive guard in the country and the No. 33 player at any position in the state of Florida.

Martinez played in 11 games the past three seasons after redshirting as a true freshman. He started three games during his time with the Seminoles, with all three of those starts coming during the 2016 season.

Florida State AD Stan Wilcox takes over Oliver’s Luck’s old NCAA job

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As had been rumored, Florida State is in search of a new athletics boss.

The NCAA announced Monday that Stan Wilcox has accepted the position of executive vice president of regulatory affairs. Wilcox has been the athletic director at Florida State since August of 2013, and FSU will now be forced to launch a national search for a replacement.

Wilcox will replace Oliver Luck, the former West Virginia athletic director who left the NCAA in June of this year to take on the job of XFL commissioner.

“Stan is a highly-respected, visionary leader in intercollegiate athletics, and I’m excited to have him join our senior leadership team at the national office,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a statement. “Stan’s nearly three decades of experience working in athletics administration at Notre Dame, Duke and Florida State, among others, have clearly demonstrated his commitment to providing student-athletes with the opportunity to excel in both academics and athletics while being successful in life.”

“I want to thank Stan for everything he has done at FSU. We’re excited for him, and we all wish him the best in his new position,” said FSU president John Thrasher in his statement. “Our success on the playing fields under his leadership has been exceptional, with national championships in football, soccer, and softball over that time. We finished ninth in the 2017-18 Learfield Director’s Cup last year, and our student-athletes reached a cumulative 3.0 GPA this past year.”

Below is Wilcox’s full statement on his departure from Tallahassee:

I am honored and humbled to join Mark Emmert’s leadership team at the NCAA.

I am so grateful for the opportunities and experiences that have led me to this point. The Big East Conference, Notre Dame University, Duke University and most recently Florida State University have provided a depth and breadth of experiences on which I will rely heavily moving forward.

I am excited to return to the NCAA, where my intercollegiate athletics career began.

Lastly, I would like to express my gratitude to former Florida State University Presidents Eric Barron and Garnett Stokes, and current President John Thrasher. The success we have enjoyed in Tallahassee would not have been possible without their trust, guidance and support, and without the fine efforts of our student-athletes, coaches and athletics support staff.

My wife Ramona and I are excited to start this new chapter in my career and in our lives together.