For the third — and possibly fourth — time this offseason, Alabama is watching as a player has left the football program in search of a better shot at receiving playing time.
The latest player to take his leave of the program is Petey Smith, who the Birmingham News has confirmed is transferring from the Tide to Holmes (Miss.) Community College.
The linebacker participated in spring practice, but shortly thereafter spoke to head coach Nick Saban about his future with the program. After apparently seeing the writing on the depth chart, Smith chose the transfer option as the next step in his football career.
“Basically, I just felt that I wasn’t giving it my all,” Smith told the News. “I’m not going to say I wasn’t happy. I didn’t feel like I had an opportunity to show what I could do with reps and everything. Instead of waiting, I thought I’d just go somewhere else. …
“I just thought it wasn’t the place for me. I didn’t want to wait until my junior or senior year. …I’m just gonna go (to Holmes), play the football season and then I can really choose what school I want to go to through the recruiting process over again.”
Smith went on to tell the paper that he’s talked to schools from schools in the SEC, Big Ten and ACC, although he declined to name any specific schools that have expressed interest.
A member of Alabama’s 2010 recruiting class, Smith was the No. 32 inside linebacker in the country and given a three-star ranking by Rivals.com. He was a redshirt his true freshman season last year.
Punters are transfers too and Northwestern just picked one up.
The Bowling Green Daily News is reporting that Western Kentucky punter Jake Collins was given his release from the school and will be a graduate transfer to Northwestern. He is listed as a redshirt freshman and will be immediately eligible.
Collins has been the Hilltoppers punter the last three years and averaged 40.2 yards per punt last season. If you’re scratching your head hearing the name or school and wondering where you remember him from, Collins went viral for perhaps the worst fake punt in the history of fake punts when WKU played Florida International:
Collins will likely wind up replacing Hunter Niswander with the Wildcats after he graduated. His departure does leave WKU without a punter listed on their roster though some changes and walk-ons might wind up filling the spot for the 2018 season.
While some coaches fight tooth and nail to release any information about their program like who might be starting a game (cough, Jim Harbaugh, cough), that is not exactly how Clemson’s Dabo Swinney runs his shop. Case in point came Wednesday when the team released a “preseason” depth chart that featured few surprises but plenty of talent as the Tigers likely begin the year in the top four of just about everybody’s early polls.
Of course, the one storyline most people will focus on is the quarterback position for the team. Senior Kelly Bryant is listed as the starter as expected following spring practice but it is notable that there’s now a clear pecking order behind him as he fights off five-star freshman Trevor Lawrence, who was the clear No. 2 at the position following the transfer of Hunter Johnson. There seems to be some distance between Lawrence and fellow (redshirt) freshman Chase Brice, which means just about everybody will be wondering if No. 2 at the spot will eventually take over if Bryant gets off to a slow start in 2018 after some struggles in Clemson’s postseason run.
Elsewhere, there were a handful of positions that raised an eyebrow, including running back Travis Etienne jumping over last year’s starter at the position in Tavien Feaster. Adam Choice will also see plenty of time as that’s yet another deep spot for the team. Also notable is Kendall Joseph sliding over to take the starting job at middle linebacker in place of the guy who manned the same spot last season in Tre Lamar.
The school also notes that they have 17 returning starters (including both specialists), including their fearsome defensive line that “is the first in NCAA history to have four returning players who have been a first or second-team All-American previously.” Needless to say, Clemson will once again be the heavy favorite to win the ACC and make yet another trip to the national championship game.
The latest incident to trigger a resetting the “Days Without An Arrest” trigger is a rather serious-sounding one.
According to multiple media outlets in the area, Kentucky’s Marcus Walker was arrested early Thursday morning on multiple drug charges. WKYT-TV in Lexington reports that the defensive back was jailed — and remains jailed at this time — on charges of trafficking in cocaine and marijuana as well as one count of possession of drug paraphernalia.
From the Lexington Herald-Leader:
Walker… was arrested at 4:40 a.m. Thursday by Lexington Police. He was allegedly trafficking in about 5 pounds of marijuana and 4 grams of cocaine, his arrest citation said. He was also charged with possessing drug paraphernalia.
A large amount of cash was also found when Lexington Police executed its search warrant at a home on Unity Drive, police said.
A UK spokesperson stated that the football program is “aware of the situation and are in the process of gathering more information.”
247Sports.com‘s composite board had Walker rated as a three-star recruit in the Class of 2015. After redshirting as a true freshman, the Florida native played in 21 games the past two seasons — 12 in 2017, nine in 2016. He’s been credited with 17 tackles in those two seasons, including a career-high seven in a 2016 win over Austin Peay.
It’s been more than half a century since they last met, but a pair of teams from the ACC and Big Ten are set to get it on once again. Eventually.
Both Pitt (head coach from 2012-14: Paul Chryst) and Wisconsin (current head coach: Paul Chryst) announced Thursday that the football programs have reached an agreement on a future home-and-home series. The Panthers will travel to Madison on Sept. 19, 2026, while the Badgers will make the trek to Heinz Field the following season on Sept. 11.
“In speaking with (Wisconsin athletic director) Barry Alvarez, we both felt this was a great scheduling opportunity,” Alvarez’s Pitt counterpart, Heather Lyke, said in a statement. “Despite our regional proximity, we’ve rarely played each other in football. It is a challenging and compelling non-conference game that our respective teams and fans can look forward to.”
The two teams have played each other twice previously, with the most recent coming during the 1967 season. The last time the Badgers faced the Panthers in Pittsburgh came in 1937.
Pitt has won all three games in the mini-series, two of which were played in Madison (1938, 1967).