Ole Miss, Mississippi State among schools in contact with Gunner Kiel

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Last week it was reported that Gunner Kiel was in attendance at a Cincinnati spring scrimmage, with the Bearcats reportedly optimistic of their chances of landing the former Notre Dame quarterback.

A few days later, it appears there could be some Southern competition for Kiel’s future services.

In a conversation with ESPN.com‘s Joe Schad, Kiel confirmed that he has already been in contact with SEC schools and in-state rivals Mississippi State and Ole Miss — divisional rivals of LSU, which Kiel had verbally committed to before abruptly flipping to the Irish — as well as Kansas State.  Additionally, Tennessee was mentioned by the player as a possibility along with MAC schools Ball State, Miami (Ohio) and Northern Illinois.

Kiel, the top-rated quarterback in the Class of 2012, told Schad that he would like to make a decision on a new school at the end of spring football, meaning one should be forthcoming in late April or early May.

“This is something you don’t want to do,” Kiel said of transferring. “But at the same time I’m doing what’s in my best interest and to get on the field.”

The fact that Kiel couldn’t get on the field with the Irish played a role in his decision to leave the South Bend school.  Kiel spent his true freshman season as the scout team quarterback, and would’ve entered spring practice/summer camp behind starter Everett Golson and fighting for reps with a handful of other quarterbacks on the roster.

On that competition front, Irish head coach Brian Kelly said he and his staff “had created an opportunity for him to compete in the spring, so I was a little surprised from that standpoint.”

In that same vein, Kiel told Schad that he wants to go to a school where he will have “a great relationship with my position coach” as well as an opportunity to win the starting job in 2014.  Or, as some might derisively say, the opportunity to be handed the starting job without an actual competition.

Ohio State transfer Jared Drake moves on to the FCS

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After moving on from Ohio State, Jared Drake has opted to drop a couple of rungs on the college football ladder in continuing his playing career.

On his personal Twitter account Thursday, Drake announced “that the next stop on this long journey will be with the Leathernecks of Western Illinois University!” As Western Illinois plays at the FCS level, the linebacker will be eligible to play immediately in 2018.

Drake came to the Buckeyes as a walk-on in 2015.  he played in nine games the past two seasons, almost exclusively on special teams.

According to his official OSU bio, Drake had “added long snapping to his résumé along with his responsibilities as a linebacker.”

Houston, UTSA announce tweaks to twin home-and-homes

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The aftereffects of Hurricane Harvey continue to linger, in this case as it pertains to college football scheduling.

Houston and UT-San Antonio in March of 2016 announced a future four-game series, with two of the games set to be played at the latter’s home (2017, 2023) and two in the former’s (2022, 2024). Because of the once-in-500 years flooding event in the Houston area last August, however, the 2017 game was canceled.

In a press release Thursday, UTSA confirmed that the canceled 2017 game will now be played on Aug. 30, 2025, at TDECU Stadium in Houston. The 2023 game, which had been scheduled to be played in San Antonio, will now be played in Houston.

The 2022 and 2024 games had been scheduled for Houston’s home but will now be played in San Antonio’s Alamodome.

The two football teams have met twice previously, in 2013 and 2014. The road teams won each of those matchups, with the Roadrunners spoiling the opening of UH’s new stadium in the 2014 game.

Oregon LB arrested for removing parking boot dismissed by Ducks

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In April, Fotu Leiato was arrested on a couple of charges related to the illegal removal of a parking boot from his vehicle.  A month later, we’ve learned Leiato was given the boot from his current football program for good measure.

247Sports.com was the first to report that Leiato has been dismissed by first-year Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal.  Further to the point, the linebacker’s dismissal came a day after his April arrest but the news didn’t surface until Thursday.

In the April incident, Leiato was arrested on charges of second-degree criminal mischief, second-degree theft and criminal trespassing.  That was actually his second arrest this year as he was charged with misdemeanor trespassing in January.

The combination of the two arrests led Cristobal to pull the trigger on a dismissal.

Coming to Eugene as a three-star safety, Leiato played in 37 of 38 games the past three seasons.  The Washington native earned the first start of his collegiate playing career during the 2017 season.

The senior had been in line to earn a starting job exiting spring and heading into the summer phase of the offseason.

LB Darrin Kirkland announces transfer from Tennessee

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Darren Kirkland‘s injury-plagued time on Rocky Top has come to an end.

On his personal Twitter account Thursday evening, Kirkland announced that he has decided to transfer out of first-year head coach Jeremy Pruitt‘s Tennessee football program.  The linebacker gave no specific reason for his decision to move on from the Volunteers.

“Tennessee will always hold a special place in my heart,” Kirkland wrote. “These moments have been priceless and I’m a better player and man from this experience.”

As a graduate transfer, Kirkland would be eligible to play for another FBS program in 2018.  Not only that, but he will have two seasons of eligibility remaining counting this year.

A four-star 2015 signee, Kirkland started 10 games as a true freshman and then another six in a sophomore campaign marred by a high-ankle sprain that forced him to miss four games.  In summer camp last year, he suffered a knee injury severe enough to sideline him for the entire 2017 season.

The rehab from that injury kept Kirkland from being a full participant in Pruitt’s first spring practice this year.