James Franklin denies improper contact with Danny O’Brien

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Quarterback Danny O’Brien showed tremendous potential at Maryland in 2010, being named ACC Rookie of the Year. One year later, the story surrounding O’Brien’s request to transfer from the Terps has gained plenty of notoriety.

But the attention surrounding O’Brien’s departure has less to do with O’Brien and more to do with head coach Randy Edsall, who decided block O’Brien from possibly transferring to Vanderbilt and reuniting with former Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin. 

The Washington Post reports, citing sources with knowledge of conversations between Edsall and O’Brien, that Edsall questioned whether there was improper contact between Vanderbilt coaches and O’Brien, along with Maryland transfers Max Garcia (O-line) and Mario Rowson (linebacker).

Speaking to 104.5 The Zone in Nashville, Franklin addressed the rumors that he was a reason behind Edsall’s decision to place a transfer restriction on the Commodores.

“I don’t like innuendos and comments being made about tampering and things like that. You guys know me. I am the type of guy, I am going to have relationships with my players. I hope to have relationships with the guys that play for me for the rest of my life.

“But the fact that people would make accusations that we tampered or did this or did that, again, I am just going to defend our program and defend our character and how we do things. But I think it is ridiculous to think that I am not going to have relationships with these kids after I leave places.”

“When I left [Kansas State] for Maryland, I talked to Josh Freeman every week. I still talk to Josh. Josh flew in for [my] birthday party. I am the type of guy, I am going to have relationships with my players.”

Edsall hasn’t addressed the rumor directly and the only comment he’s made about O’Brien’s departure was the following statement:

“I’m disappointed by Danny’s decision. Danny told me that he’s not committed to our program, that he’s not ‘all in.’ I want what’s best for all of our players. Danny wants a fresh start elsewhere. I wish him well.”

For that, among other things, the Maryland coach is getting lambasted by the media. 

But in Edsall’s defense — I know, I can’t believe I just said that, either — if Franklin was indeed improperly recruiting O’Brien, so to speak, Edsall can’t just let his players be open season to other coaches. Of course, this is all based on rumor. If there’s nothing to it, then Edsall looks frivolous.

O’Brien’s high school coach told Bruce Feldman yesterday that O’Brien is expected to appeal the Vandy ban. In other quarterback news, the Commodores picked up 2013 QB Johnathan McCrary, who gave his verbal commit to Vandy today.

After pulling out of transfer database, Auburn WR Kolbi Fuqua no longer with Tigers

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Never mind that initial never mind.

In early April, it was reported that Auburn wide receiver Kolbi Fuqua had entered the NCAA transfer database; nearly a month later, that first never mind arose as it was reported that Fuqua had pulled his name from the portal, seemingly signaling a desire to remain with the Tigers. Monday, however, an AU official confirmed that Fuqua is no longer a part of Gus Malzahn’s squad.

247Sports.com‘s Brandon Marcello writes that “Fuqua did not return to the Auburn football program following the conclusion of spring practices, a source close to the team tells Auburn Undercover. The circumstances surrounding his departure are not clear.”

The development comes a little over a week after Auburn added a commitment from Zach Farrar, a wide receiver who began his collegiate career at Oklahoma but heads to The Plains from the junior college level. Farrar comes to the Tigers with two years of eligibility he can begin using immediately this coming season.

A three-star member of the Tigers’ 2018 recruiting class, Fuqua was rated as the No. 28 player at any position in the state of Alabama. Fuqua played in one game this past season, and didn’t catch a pass in that very limited action.

JUCO next step for LSU transfer Dominic Livingston

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When Dominic Livingston announced in mid-February that he would be transferring from LSU, the defensive tackle indicated that the move was being made so as to be closer to his home in Texas because of unspecified family issues.  Monday, Livingston followed through on that plan of attack.

Speaking to 247Sports.com, Livingston confirmed that his collegiate playing career will continue at Kilgore College.  A community college in Kilgore, Texas, Livingston’s new college football home is roughly 200 miles from his hometown of Houston; his old home of Baton Rouge is roughly 270 miles from that same hometown.

Not surprisingly, Kilgore told the same website that he “will play a semester at Kilgore and go from there,” an obvious indication that he expects to be back at the FBS level in 2020.

If that is indeed the case, Kilgore would have three years of eligibility remaining beginning with the 2020 season.

A three-star member of the Tigers’ 2018 recruiting class, Livingston was rated as the No. 38 defensive tackle in the country and the No. 74 player at any position in the state of Texas.  As a true freshman, Livingston appeared in exactly one more game than I did.

Illini DE who suffered severe spinal injury speaking, eating and sitting up

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There is some positive news when it comes to a distressing situation that developed over the weekend.

Illinois true junior defensive end Bobby Roundtree sustained what was described as a severe spinal cord injury in a swimming accident Saturday and underwent surgery a day later.  According to the Associated Press, Roundtree is progressing well following the surgery and, while he remains hospitalized, is speaking, eating and sitting up.

Several members of the Illini football program, including Lovie Smith, traveled to Mease Countryside Hospital in Safety Harbor, Fla., to be with the injured player.

“Bobby Roundtree is exactly what you want in a student-athlete,” a statement from the head coach began. “He is a hard worker, dependable, a dedicated student and a leader.

“This is devastating to his teammates, the entire Fighting Illini family and his family and friends. We will give Bobby all the support possible as he battles through his recovery. Please keep Bobby and his family in your thoughts and prayers.”

Roundtree, who played his high school football in Largo, Fla., has started 20 games the past two seasons since coming to the Illini as a three-star member of their 2017 recruiting class.  This past season, the 6-5, 245-pound end led the Illini in tackles for loss with 12.5 and pass breakups, and was second in sacks with 7.5 and quarterback hits with four.

For that, the media named Roundtree honorable mention All-Big Ten for the 2018 season.

Iowa State officially adds Arkansas’ leading receiver

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Matt Campbell has officially added an experienced and productive piece to his Iowa State passing attack.

La'Michael Pettway revealed via Twitter in mid-January that he would be transferring from Arkansas; nearly four months later, he used the same social media vehicle to deliver the message that he would be continuing his collegiate playing career at Iowa State.  Monday, it was confirmed by the football program that the wide receiver has officially enrolled in classes at the university.

As a graduate transfer, Pettway will be eligible to play immediately for the Cyclones in 2019.

“I think the biggest thing he brings is he gives a veteran presence to this receiver group,” the head coach said according to the Des Moines Register. “[T]he opportunity to get a guy that’s done it at a very high level against really high-end competition can just add some veteran-ness to a group where there’s a lot of youth.”

This past season, Pettway led the Razorbacks in receiving yards with 499 and receptions with 30.  His four receiving touchdowns were good for second on the team.

Prior to 2018, Pettway had totaled 102 yards and a touchdown on seven catches.