Things with Mississippi State and the NCAA over the allegations of impermissible benefits don’t seem to be getting better after an appearance by a summer 7-0n-7 coach on the Head to Head radio show Tuesday afternoon.
Byron De’Vinner, a summertime 7-on-7 football coach in Nashville, told the radio show he witnessed a money handshake between MSU defensive back Will Redmond and a booster. De’Vinner later confirmed to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger that the “handshake” included “about $200.”
The NCAA has been investigating MSU over possible “recruiting irregularity” which reportedly involves Redmond. The school later confirmed it was working with the NCAA to figure out specifics. News of the NCAA’s interest came late last month on the heels of the resignation of Bulldogs wide receivers coach Angelo Mirando.
While Mirando’s resignation was attributed to “personal reasons”, but ESPN’s Joe Schad reported that Mirando resigned ”in the wake of an ongoing NCAA investigation into his recruitment of at least one Bulldogs player [reportedly Redmond].” Per the Tuesday radio interview, De’Vinner says Mirando was aware of the reported money handshake between the booster and Redmond.
More from the report:
“Will Redmond is a kid that was basically taken advantage of by a booster and by an assistant coach,” De’Vinner said on the radio show.
De’Vinner, who said he is close Redmond’s family, refuted that the booster purchased a Ford Mustang for Redmond.
“But did I physically see inappropriate benefits? Yes, I did,” De’Vinner said, adding that the booster said he mailed Redmond a jacket and “lined up some other things.”
The report from the Clarion-Ledger does not say if the booster was a representative from MSU. Late last month, the school disassociated itself from a booster for engaging “in impermissible contact with the prospective student-athlete.” The name of the booster was redacted, but it was determined to be a member of the Bulldog Club.
De’Vinner also told the paper he interviewed for a job at Mississippi State in January. He adds that he has cooperated with both NCAA investigators and MSU compliance during the investigation.
Another of the handful of Clemson defensive linemen who have transferred thus far this offseason could be close to finding a new home.
Reports surfaced Tuesday that Josh Belk will be visiting a pair of SEC schools this week — Georgia and South Carolina. The latter will play host to the ex-Tigers lineman on Wednesday, the former a day later on Thursday.
Belk was a four-star member of Clemson’s 2018 recruiting class. Because he enrolled early and attended classes, he’ll be forced to sit out the 2018 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules. Beginning with the 2019 season, the South Carolina would have four years to play four seasons.
In the middle of last week, Belk announced his decision to transfer from the Tigers.
In addition to Belk, three other Tigers defensive linemen have transferred this offseason. In late January, Jabril Johnson opted to leave Clemson and ultimately ended up at West Virginia; two weeks later, Sterling Johnson took to Twitter to announce his transfer before moving on to Coastal Carolina this month. Quaven Ferguson, arrested for armed robbery in March, had announced his transfer as well prior to that off-field incident.
Yeah, this is absolutely fantastic. And extremely impressive.
Up until now, Olive Sagapolu has been mainly known to most nationally for his prowess on the football field. Entering his fourth-year season in Madison, Sagapolu has started 23 games during his time with the Badgers, including 10 in a 2017 season that saw him earn honorable mention All-Big Ten honors.
As it turns out, though, Sagapolu’s athleticism isn’t confined to merely on the field as, in this video sent out through UW’s official football Twitter account, the 6-2, 336-pound starting nose tackle lands a backflip on a beach in Hawaii.
To repeat: the man in that video weighs 336 pounds. 336 pounds.
Then again, it shouldn’t be all that surprising given the fact that Sagapolu spent a portion of his senior year at football powerhouse Mater Dei High School in California as a member of the varsity cheerleading squad. Seriously.
“In a way, (cheerleading) does help because it shows how athletic I can be and I’m getting,” Sagapolu said by way of 247Sports.com way back in August of 2015. “I mean, I’m about a 300-pound guy doing a backflip. You don’t really see that a lot. Doing these other kinds of tricks also helps with hand-eye coordination. It does help with football. …
“(People) were definitely surprised seeing me on the cheerleading team. They thought it was funny seeing… a big guy like me. For me, it is shocking to see the reaction from people’s faces. … Just the whole thing about cheerleading is very different from football. It was something I wanted to do for my senior year and have fun with it.”
A legal journey for one Tennessee football player that began last year is coming to an end.
In October of 2017, former UT running back John Kelly and current Vols linebacker Will Ignont (pictured, left) were cited for marijuana possession following a traffic stop. Kelly was the driver of the vehicle, Ignont a passenger.
Tuesday, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported, Ignont “received a pass disposition and will have his charge dismissed with court costs assessed.” Kelly, selected by the Los Angeles Rams in the 2018 NFL draft, pleaded guilty in the same court appearance.
Both Ignont and Kelly were suspended for the Kentucky game as a result of the incident, but returned the following week.
Ignont was a four-star member of the Vols’ 2017 recruiting class, rated as the No. 16 inside linebacker in the country. He played in six games as a true freshman and was credited with six tackles, one of which went for a loss.
Georgia lost quarterback Jacob Eason to a transfer, but gained a younger, more highly-regarded signal caller in Justin Fields with the 2018 recruiting class. With Fields on the roster and Jake Fromm not going anywhere, another Bulldog quarterback is considering leaving as well.
Stetson Bennett IV — who, outside of the current U.S. Attorney General, sports the best Southern name in circulation — has told Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart he might rather leave than spend his career as the No. 3 man in Athens.
“He’s looking at some different options,” Smart told the Macon Telegraph. “Stetson has done a tremendous job for us. We’re really excited what he has done for us. We’re exhausting every option to try to keep Stetson with us. We think he’s a very talented young man. I’ve spoke on behalf of that multiple times. We hope we keep him here. He has not made that decision yet.”
Listed at an even 6-foot-nothing and 172 pounds, Bennett was a successful quarterback at Pierce County High School and listed as a 2-star recruit before choosing to walk-on at Georgia rather than take scholarship offers from Group of 5 and FCS programs. Bennett redshirted as a freshman in 2017, sharing Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year honors with three other players.
Should Bennett transfer, his stature and walk-on status would draw easy comparisons to Baker Mayfield, which is ironic considering Bennett was tasked with mimicking the 2017 Heisman winner ahead of Georgia’s Rose Bowl win over Oklahoma.
Both of Bennett’s parents are Georgia graduates, so leaving would be a tough decision for the redshirt freshman.
“We need to keep Stetson there and help us,” Smart told the Telegraph. “We don’t really have many other guys to be honest. We have two young quarterbacks who will be walk-ons, who we think are good players. But we’ve invested a lot in Stetson with the development he took this spring, and with what he did in bowl practices. I’m excited to see what he can do. We’re encouraging him to stay so he gets that opportunity. I certainly respect what he has done this far for the University of Georgia and he’s a really good student as well. We’re selling him on the University of Georgia education.”