Recruiting trail leads Mark Richt to jail

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Ah, the lengths coaches will go to in their efforts to land a top recruit.

Josh Harvey-Clemons is a five-star player in the Class of 2012, rated as the No. 2 “athlete” in the country and the top player in the state of Georgia.  Along with Florida, late-surging Florida State and Miami — he’s taking a visit there this Saturday, the final weekend before signing day — Georgia is considered one of the front-runners and would, obviously, love to keep the top-rated player in the state home.

As part of that effort, head coach Mark Richt and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo paid a visit to Harvey-Clemons Wednesday night, taking in a Baptist church service with the linebacker/wide receiver’s family.  During the course of that service, Harvey-Clemons’ grandfather and legal guardian Woodrow Clemons, owner of a bail bondsman’s company, received a call that three individuals needed his services in order to get out of jail post-haste.

Harvey-Clemons and Clemons’ daughter, the player’s aunt, are also bail bondsmen and left church to go spring the individuals.  Richt initially decided to stay but, after Harvey-Clemons’ aunt forgot her ID in a vehicle at the church, Harvey-Clemons’ uncle Roy Hart told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Coach Richt and Coach Bobo went to jail with my wife to take the ID to them. Coach Richt wanted one more time to talk with Josh before they hit the road. They talked at jail for about 20 or 30 minutes I guess.”

Ever the recruiter, Richt returned to the church following his trip to jail and, as he was saying the obligatory goodbyes, attempted to gauge where his program stood in its pursuit of Harvey-Clemons.

“Coach Richt said ‘Tell me Roy, how do we look with Josh?’” Hart said. “I said ‘Coach, you’re in the running. Nobody really knows except for Josh. He’s not saying much. He hasn’t made up his mind so nobody knows except for him.’ Then Coach Richt asked if Georgia was still looking good and if they still had an opportunity to get him. I assured him that they did.”

While Harvey-Clemons is taking his final official visit to the Hurricanes this weekend, it’s believed his top two choices are the Bulldogs and Gators.  Based on the latter’s legal history over the past few years, having a recruit who also doubles as a bail bondsman could come in very, very handy for the Gainesville school.

Kentucky transfer Eli Brown granted immediate eligibility at WKU

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As it turns out, Western Kentucky will be the beneficiary of a Power Five playing sooner than most had expected.

When Eli Brown transferred to WKU in late March, nearly six weeks after leaving Kentucky, it was thought that the redshirt junior linebacker would have to sit out the 2018 season. However, both the Hilltoppers and the player have confirmed that Brown has been granted immediate eligibility, which will allow him to compete in 2018 as well as the 2019 season.

The school didn’t specify on what grounds the waiver was granted, although Brown had left the Wildcats for the Hilltoppers in order to be closer to family.

“Not only is Eli one of the best high school linebackers of the last decade in our area, he is an incredible young man with a powerful story,” a statement from WKU head coach Mike Sanford began. “We’re ecstatic that he will be able to play for us this season. I commend the NCAA for truly putting the student-athlete first in this decision.”

A four-star member of UK’s 2015 recruiting class, Brown was rated as the No. 20 outside linebacker in the country and the No. 2 player at any position in the state of Kentucky according to 247Sports.com. Brown was the highest-rated player in the Wildcats’ class that year.

After taking a redshirt as a true freshman, Brown played in 12 games in 2016. Because of injuries to others, the 6-2, 215-pound redshirt sophomore started five games this past season and was seemingly in line for significant playing time at the SEC school in 2018 prior to his decision to transfer.

Another player, this one a 2018 signee, leaves Dino Babers’ Syracuse program

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For at least the eighth time this offseason, a player has decided to exit Dino Babers‘ football program.

According to the Syracuse Post-Standard, and citing a Syracuse spokesperson, running back Akeem Dixon has parted ways with the SU team. The only reason given was unspecified personal reasons.

Dixon enrolled at the university in May after signing with the Orange in February as a member of the school’s 2018 recruiting class.

A three-star signee, Dixon was rated as the No. 75 running back in the country coming out of high school in Vero Beach, Fla. Prior to his departure, the 6-0, 235-pound recruit was expected to contribute immediately as a true freshman.

Dixon was one of three running backs the Orange added this offseason, joining fellow 2018 three-star signee Jarveon Howard and Oklahoma transfer Abdul Adams. The latter will be forced to sit out the 2018 season due to NCAA bylaws.

In addition to Dixon, defensive end Justin Ellis (HERE), linebacker Troy Henderson, defensive tackle Kayton Samuels (HERE) and four defensive backsJuwan Dowels, Daivon Ellison, Cordell Hudson and Rodney Williams — have all left the Orange in the last few months.

Report: Baylor LB DeMarco Artis, WR Rajah Preciado leave team

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Baylor linebacker DeMarco Artis and wide receiver Rajah Preciado have left the team, according to a report from SicEm365The site reports that the pair leave the program on good terms; both players are still on the online roster as well as the paper roster that was distributed at Big 12 media days on Monday.

Artis was a rising sophomore from Sanford, Fla. He appeared in six games as a true freshman in 2017, recording one tackle and one hurry.

Preciado was a junior from College Station, Texas. Appearing in 18 games over his freshman and sophomore seasons, Preciado did not record a catch but posted 14 career tackles and returned one kickoff for 10 yards.

 

 

Former Ohio State defensive MVP Mike Kudla passes away

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Former Ohio State defensive end Mike Kudla passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, according to a Facebook post from his high school alma mater, Highland High School in Medina, Ohio. Kudla was 34.

Kudla signed with Ohio State in 2002 and immediately helped the Buckeyes to their first national championship since 1968. He would go on to become one of the top 15 sack artists in Ohio State history, a First Team All-Big Ten performer and Ohio State’s defensive MVP in 2005. He recorded 41 tackles, 11.5 TFLs and 9.5 sacks.

Kudla worked in business after football and eventually returned to Ohio State in 2012 as managing director of development for the Fisher College of Business. At the time of his death, Kudla worked as the owner of Core Plex, which “built medical facilities all over the country.”

“Despite his success on and off the football field, Mike remained humble and was extremely generous with his time and resources,” Highland school district director of communications Dawn Marzano wrote in the Facebook post. “He was always willing to share his experience and mentor youth. He was loved and respected by many and will be missed terribly.”