Le’Veon Bell leaving Spartans; Dion Sims likely to follow

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Michigan State has officially lost one important piece of its offensive puzzle, and has all but officially lost another.

In a tweet posted to his Twitter account this afternoon, running back Le’Veon Bell announced that he was leaving the Spartans early for the NFL draft.  While MSU has not yet confirmed Bell’s status for 2013, a school official acknowledged to CFT that Bell has informed head coach Mark Dantonio of his decision.

“As hard as it was to leave [S]partan nation, it was even harder to pass on such a great opportunity I have in front of me!” Bell wrote on Twitter. “But I love and thank [S]partan nation for everything! I will always be a Spartan!”

Bell is currently third in the nation in rushing yards per game at 137.9, while his 12 rushing touchdowns were tied for fourth in the Big Ten.  He was named first-team All-Big Ten after rushing for 1,793 yards, second in school history to Lorenzo White’s 2,066 in 1985.

In addition to Bell, ESPN.com‘s Joe Schad among others are reporting that tight end Dion Sims is set to make the same early leap as his teammate.  Sims finished the 2012 season third on the Spartans in receptions (36) and receiving yards (475).

When Sims’ decision becomes official, he’ll become the first player at his position to declare thus far.

UPDATED 12:58 p.m. ET: A short time ago, Sims also tweeted that he has played his final season in East Lansing.

“I want to thank #SpartanNation for 4 of the best years of my life! I’ll always bleed green & white!!!”

Oregon WR Bryan Addison serving ‘in-team suspension’

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That’s certainly a new way to describe it.

Monday, Mario Cristobal announced that Oregon freshman Bryan Addison is serving what he labeled as an “in-team suspension.” The only reason given for the punitive measure was an unspecified violation of team policy.

“He’s part of the team,” the head coach said of the wide receiver according to 247Sports.com. “But he will be practicing with the team in a couple of weeks as long as he abides by what he needs to.”

Addison had played in the first three games of the 2018 season, but hasn’t taken the field in any of the last four.  He has one reception for 12 yards, which came in the Week 2 win over FCS Portland State.

A four-star 2018 signee, Addison was rated as the No. 1 player at any position in the talent-rich state of California.  Only one signee, offensive lineman Penei Sowell, was rated higher than Addison in the Ducks’ class this year.

After less than two months at Pitt, Jeff George Jr. ascends to No. 2 QB

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That certainly didn’t take long.

In late August, after summer camp had closed, Jeff George Jr. was confirmed to have transferred to Pitt. Through the first three weeks of the 2018 season, the son of former Illinois great Jeff George wasn’t even listed on Pitt’s depth chart; the last five weeks, he’s been listed as the Panthers’ No. 3 quarterback.

On Monday, however, Pat Narduzzi confirmed that George has been elevated to the No. 2 spot behind starter Kenny Pickett. George’s ascension comes at the expense of Ricky Town, the former USC quarterback who transferred to Pitt late last year.

“Jeff’s come in and really picked stuff up well,” the head coach said, adding, “We have confidence in Ricky as well.”

The move up the depth chart continues a roller coaster that’s been George’s last few months.

It was confirmed in mid-August of this year that George had decided to transfer from Michigan.  The quarterback announced two months earlier that he had decided to transfer to U-M, which came approximately five months after he decided to transfer from Illinois.

In starting five games last season, George was the Illini’s leading passer after throwing for 1,273 yards.  He accounted for seven of the Illini’s eight touchdown passes on the year, as well as 10 of their 19 interceptions.

All told, George started nine games during his time in Champaign.  His first career start? At Michigan in October of 2016, a 41-8 loss that saw George complete four of his 15 passes for 95 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Pickett’s 117.8 pass efficiency rating is currently 10th among ACC quarterbacks and 103rd nationally, which raises the specter that George could ascend to the starting job for the 3-4 Panthers before it’s all said and done.

Report: Foot surgery could sideline Ohio State WR Austin Mack for the rest of the regular season

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Ohio State’s loss this past Saturday has proven costly in more than just the won-loss column.

Austin Mack went down with a foot injury early in the second half of the upset loss to Purdue in Week 8 and left the stadium on crutches.  Tuesday, Austin Ward of LettermanRow.com is reporting that the wide receiver underwent surgery on the injured foot and is expected to be sidelined for a period of 6-8 weeks.  247Sports.com subsequently confirmed the initial report through an OSU spokesperson.

Even on the low end of that 6-8 week timeline, Mackwould be sidelined for the remainder of the regular season.  Should the Buckeyes earn a spot in the Big Ten championship game, the junior receiver’s availability would be unlikely as well.

The good news, such as it is, is that Mack should be healthy enough to play in whatever bowl game for which the Buckeyes qualify.

This season, Mack is third on the Buckeyes with 26 receptions, while his 331 receiving yards are good for fourth.  Both of those totals are already career-highs.

Overwhelming favorites Alabama, Tua Tagovailoa see Bovada title, Heisman odds shorten

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During this current college football season, three of the surest things are upsets, Rutgers continuing to embarrass the Big Ten and oddsmakers really loving the defending national champions in general and one of its players specifically.

Bovada.lv has released its latest set of odds to win the 2018 College Football Playoff championship, with Alabama yet again the overwhelming favorite to claim the title at 1/2. Those odds are a bit shorter than the 5/9 the Crimson Tide was at just a week ago.

Clemson and Notre Dame both saw their odds shorten as well, with the former going from 13/2 to 5/1 and the latter from 19/2 to 13/2. Ohio State, meanwhile, fell from 7/1 to 12/1, the same as rival Michigan. The Wolverines, coming off a big road win over Michigan State, were also at 12/1 last week at this time.

Individually, Tua Tagovailoa saw his stranglehold on the odds to win the 2018 Heisman Trophy increase. A week ago, the Alabama quarterback was at 2/3; he’s now at 4/11.

Tagovailoa’s two main competitors saw their odds lengthen, with Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray at 7/2 (3/1 a week ago) and Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins at 12/1 (3/1).

The biggest climber has been Michigan’s Shea Patterson, with the quarterback going from off the board last week to 12/1 and behind only Tagovailoa and Murray.

Below are the complete set of national championship and Heisman odds, again courtesy of Bovada.lv: