Amir Carlisle granted waiver, will play immediately for Irish

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Well, this is certainly an unexpected– and head-scratching — development.

When it was confirmed back in January that Amir Carlisle would be transferring from USC to Notre Dame, the running back’s father made it clear that a change in employers — Duane Carlisle was with the San Francisco 49ers before moving to a job at Purdue last March — was the overriding factor behind his son’s transfer.

“It was our intention to stay (in California), but circumstances changed,” Duane Carlisle said, referring to his new job. “We’re a close-knit family. …

“This definitely was a family decision. It wasn’t just an Amir decision. We felt as though Notre Dame would be the best fit for him for the next four years.”

While it was initially thought that one of those four years would consist of sitting out 2012 to satisfy NCAA transfer rules, that’s turned out to not be the case.  According to the school, the NCAA has approved a waiver request submitted by the Irish that will allow the back to play immediately in 2012.

“I want to thank Notre Dame and its compliance office for helping me with this request,” Carlisle said in a statement. “I also want to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for giving me the blessing to play this year. I love being here at Notre Dame and can’t wait to run out of the tunnel this September wearing my gold helmet.”

Normally a waiver is only granted for extenuating circumstances such as the health issue of a close family members that necessitates a transfer closer to home.  There was no reason given by the school as to why the waiver request was submitted in the first place.

“I want to publicly commend the exemplary work done by our compliance office, specifically, Jen Vining-Smith,” head coach Brian Kelly said. “Amir was going to be a great addition to our team regardless of whether he was going to be able to compete for us this fall. Now we know we’ll be able to use his talents on the field and I’m very happy about that.”

A true freshman in 2011, Carlisle averaged over six yards on his 19 carries as well as catching seven passes, one going for a touchdown.  He was hampered by ankle and knee issues for most of his first and only season with the Trojans.

As a four-star member of USC’s 2011 recruiting class, Carlisle was the No. 4 all-purpose running back in the nation and the No. 9 overall player in the state of California according to Rivals.com.

The personnel news wasn’t all positive for the Irish, however, as it was also announced that four-star 2012 recruit Tee Shepard is no longer enrolled at Notre Dame and has moved back home to his family in Fresno, Calif.  At least on paper, it’s a significant loss for the Irish as Shepard was rated as the No. 4 corner in the country and the No. 11 player at any position in the state of California.

No reason was given for his unexpected and abrupt departure just a little over a month after signing with the Irish.

“Tee is a special person and it’s unfortunate it didn’t work out here,” head coach Brian Kelly said. “Everyone at Notre Dame wishes him all the best in the future.”

Tua Tagovailoa named Polynesian College Football Player of the Year

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Tua Tagovailoa may have lost out on the most famous trophy in college football, but he has claimed one that honors his heritage.

Thursday, the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame announced that Tagovailoa has been named as that organization’s Polynesian College Football Player of the Year.  The release states that “[t]he Award is presented annually to the most outstanding Polynesian college football player that epitomizes great ability and integrity,” and has been handed out annually since 2014.

The Hawaiian-born Alabama quarterback was the runner-up in the 2018 Heisman Trophy voting and earned consensus All-American status earlier this week.  The true sophomore was also named as the Walter Camp Player of the Year as well as the Maxwell Award winner.

“On behalf of the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Board of Directors, we congratulate Tua on a historic season,” said Polynesian Football Hall of Fame chairman Jesse Sapolu in a statement. “He is a tremendous role model and a source of great pride for Polynesians everywhere.”

Other finalists for this year’s award were Iowa defensive end AJ Epenesa, Notre Dame defensive back Alohi Gilman, Oklahoma offensive lineman Dru Samia and Hawaii wide receiver John Ursua.

Last year’s winner was defensive end Hercules Mata’afa of Washington State.

Mark Richt praises Manny Diaz as Miami DC officially leaves to take over at Temple

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Mark Richt has officially lost control of the defensive coordinator position on his Miami coaching staff, and now has a rather sizable hole to fill as a result.

It emerged earlier this week that, after interviewing for the Temple opening Monday, Manny Diaz had emerged as the front-runner for the Owls job.  Thursday, Temple confirmed that the Miami defensive coordinator has indeed been named as the program’s new head football coach.

Diaz replaces Geoff Collins, who left earlier this month for the same job at Georgia Tech.

Below is Richt’s statement on the departure:

This morning defensive coordinator Manny Diaz informed me that he has accepted the head coach position at Temple University. Throughout the process, Manny had been very transparent about the opportunity with both myself and Blake James.

“In his three years in Coral Gables, Manny proved to be one of the top assistant coaches in the country and did an unbelievable job leading our defense. I have no doubt that he will experience great success as a head coach and we wish him, Steph, Colin, Gavin and Manny all of the best.

“We have launched a national search for a new defensive coordinator and we have already received great interest from around the country. Our football program, our university and our facilities are among the best in the country, and coaches want to be a part of something special. Our coaches are on the road recruiting the next generation of Canes and I am excited about the young men scheduled to sign with us next week. Together, we are building champions!

Diaz spent the past three seasons as the Hurricanes’ defensive coordinator.  He also served as The U’s linebackers coach during that stretch.

The 44-year-old Diaz has also spent time as a coordinator at Mississippi State (2015 and 2010), Louisiana Tech (2014), Texas (2011-13) and Middle Tennessee State (2006-09).  This will mark the Florida State graduate’s first job as a head coach at any level.

Les Miles bringing nation’s No. 1 JUCO QB to Kansas

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Unlike the majority of his time at LSU, maybe Les Miles — and his offensive coaching staff — will be able to get something out of this quarterback?

In a missive posted to Twitter earlier this week, Thomas MacVittie announced that he has committed to continuing his collegiate playing career for Miles at Kansas. “Coach Les Miles, [offensive coordinator] Chip Lindsey and the staff at Kansas, I am ready to join the Kansas family and win a Big XII title,” MacVittie wrote in the tweet.

As a transfer from the junior college ranks, MacVittie will be eligible to play immediately for the Jayhawks in 2019.  Counting this coming season, the quarterback has two years of eligibility remaining.

247Sports.com rates MacVittie as the No. 1 JUCO quarterback — pro-style, dual-threat or otherwise — in this year’s class.  On the recruiting website’s composite board, he’s the No. 3 pro-style quarterback at that level of football.

MacVittie was originally a three-star Pitt 2016 signee who was the highest-rated recruit on the offensive side of the ball for the Panthers that year.  After taking a redshirt as a true freshman, he played in three games in 2017 — on special teams — and didn’t attempt a pass before deciding to transfer from Pitt in December of 2017.

MacVittie’s 2018 season was spent at Mesa Community College in Arizona.

Arkansas’ Demetrius Walker arrested on weapon, drug charges

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The latest incident to cause the “Days Without An Arrest” ticker back to double-zeroes is quite the prolific one.

According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Demetrius Walker was arrested by Fayetteville police officers Wednesday on multiple weapons and drug charges.  Specifically, the Arkansas linebacker is facing one count each of delivery of marijuana, possession of marijuana with purpose to deliver, possession of a schedule IV drug with purpose to deliver, simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Online records show that a search of Walker’s residence revealed, among other items, 95.8 grams of marijuana, 40 Xanax pills, a digital scale and an AR-15 rifle with one loaded magazine. KFSM-TV writes that “detectives from the 4th Judicial District Drug Task Force purchased marijuana during undercover operations from Walker with assistance from a confidential informant.”

As a result of the arrest, Walker has been indefinitely suspended from the Razorbacks football program.

The student-athlete has been suspended from our football program indefinitely, and we will continue to monitor the situation and cooperate fully with any related legal and campus processes. Our continued expectation is that our student-athletes conduct themselves and represent the University of Arkansas in an appropriate manner at all times.

Walker, a redshirt sophomore, was listed as the third-string weakside linebacker on Arkansas’ most recent depth chart, put out ahead of the regular-season finale late last month. He has played in six games, with all of those appearances coming last season.