After missing the final four games of Wisconsin’s season with a broken clavicle, Joel Stave had progressed to the point health-wise that there was talk he could possibly start in the Rose Bowl.
As it turns out, that’s all it was — talk.
Following the Badgers’ final practice before leaving for California, interim head coach/athletic director Barry Alvarez indicated in no uncertain terms that senior Curt Phillips will start at quarterback for UW against Stanford New Year’s Day.
“Curt won that championship game. He’s earned the right to start,” the former coach said.
Phillips replaced Stave following the injury and started all four games, including the 70-31 romp over Nebraska in the Big Ten championship game. While the Badgers were just 2-2 in Phillips’ starts, both the losses were in overtime — to unbeaten Ohio State and on the road against Penn State.
In those two losses, Phillips attempted a total of 50 passes. In the two wins? A whopping 15 total.
Phillips is actually the third quarterback to start for the Badgers this season. After transferring to UW from Maryland in the offseason, Danny O’Brien started the first three games before getting yanked in favor of Stave due to “performance issues.”
Former Florida defensive end Malik Langham has found his new college football home, and it resides in the SEC. Langham is heading to Vanderbilt, according to a report from 247 Sports earlier today.
Vanderbilt has not officially announced the addition of Langham at this time, and there is no direct confirmation offered by Langham on his social media profiles. However, Vanderbilt was one of the school s Langham originally evaluated during his recruiting process out of high school and the Commodores remained a potential landing spot for his latest transfer recruitment as well.
Langham was a four-star member of Florida’s Class of 2018, which was the first recruiting class signed by current Gators head coach Dan Mullen. The Huntsville, Alabama native committed to Florida just days after taking an official visit Auburn as his recruiting process came down the final stretch in the Class of 2018. Alabama had previously been considered a favorite to land his recruitment in the weeks leading up to signing day in 2018. With plenty of offers to consider, Langham also made an official visit to Notre Dame in addition to unofficial visits to Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Louisville, Ole Miss and more.
Langham appeared in two games for Florida in 2018, in which he recorded one assist on a tackle as a backup option for the Gators. Under the NCAA’s revised redshirt rules implemented last fall, Langham is able to preserve a year of eligibility because he did not appear in more than four games last season. That will give Langham four years to still play, although he will have to sacrifice one year of eligibility for the 2019 season due to NCAA transfer rules.
Former Tennessee quarterback, NFL Pro Bowler, and Super Bowl champion Peyton Manning was formally inducted to the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. Perhaps it was fitting that he was inducted alongside his position coach and offensive coordinator, and current Duke head coach, David Cutcliffe. The two were added to the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame over the weekend.
“Coach Cutcliffe – he’s such a mentor for me,” Manning said of his former quarterback coach in Knoxville. “He’s my coach; he’s my friend. He kind of remained my coach when I was in the NFL. To be in with Coach Cutcliffe, it’s very special and I’m very proud.”
Manning and Cutcliffe have remained close years after Manning left Tennessee for the NFL. Manning has relied on Cutcliffe in offseasons to prepare and rehab when needed with Cutcliffe nearby to offer his insight and expertise in helping Manning remain one of the top passers in the NFL. Manning has spent a few seasons in retirement form the NFL now and is heading to the ultimate hall of fame soon enough in Canton, Ohio. Manning has already been inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame, fittingly enough along with former antagonist, Florida head coach Steve Spurrier.
Joining Manning and Cutcliffe were former Tennessee student-athletes Charles Davis (currently a broadcaster for FOX’s NFL coverage) and Kara Lawson. Davis is a former defensive back for the Vols program and was a part of Tennessee’s 1985 SEC championship team. He spent years broadcasting college football games before being given a job covering the NFL instead. Lawson is a former women’s basketball player for the storied Tennessee basketball program. Like Davis, Lawson has been in the broadcasting game covering basketball.
Northwestern’s state-of-the-art football facility, literally on the shore of Lake Michigan, is now fully operational, at a low, low cost of $260 million.
The facility has everything — including an actual wild cat.
According to a story by Yahoo‘s Eric Edholm, a stuffed cat was donated to the program by Walter Siemian, the father of former Wildcat quarterback Trevor Siemian. The plan was to originally sell it and use the proceeds to benefit the program, but apparently Pat Fitzgerald saw the cat and fell in love.
Walter Siemian took down the predator — legally, of course — last November, sent the cat of prey in question to a taxidermist and then donated it to the program.
The initial understanding was that it would be sold, with the proceeds benefitting the program. After all, these things draw some serious coin. (One current listing here for a mountain lion, which this mammal appears to be, is going for more than $12,000.) But once Fitzgerald saw it, the story goes, there was no way he was letting it leave.
The cat was staying put. That’s also easy to see why. And it’s now the first thing you see when you enter the coaches’ meeting rooms.
The hope with facilities like these is that the enhanced investment into football will lead to the Northwestern coaching staff singing a different class of recruit, which will in turn allow the program to pair their stuffed mascot with some Big Ten championship trophies.
That’s the hope, at least.
The Los Angeles-to-Champaign pipeline is alive and well.
After landing wide receiver Trevon Sidney and defensive end Oluwole Betiku, Jr., the Fighting Illini have added wide receiver Josh Imatorbhebhe, he announced Monday.
“Transitions are never easy, but the support has definitely helped lighten the load,” Imatorbhebhe, No. 17 above, wrote in an iPhone note posted to his Twitter account. “Without further ado I’m pleased to announce my commitment to…
THE University of Illinois; with a plan to get my Masters (sic) in Strategic Brand Communications.”
A former 4-star recruit in the class of 2016 out of Suwanee, Ga., Imatorbehbhe redshirted in his first year on campus, then caught just two passes in his two seasons on the active roster, with his 2018 season slowed by an ankle injury.
Imatorbehbhe will have two seasons to play immediately for the Illini.