By and large, the handful of spring games contested Saturday were rather pedestrian and mundane affairs, as should be expected.
Then there was Nebraska’s spring closer.
In the fourth quarter of the Cornhuskers’ annual spring game, No. 22 Jack Hoffman trotted off the sidelines and onto the field as the Red team was facing a critical fourth-and-one. Now, you won’t find Hoffman in your game-day program or on any online roster; you see, Jack is a seven-year-old little boy who is battling pediatric brain cancer and has been adopted by the NU football family.
With quarterback Taylor Martinez lined up in the shotgun, and Jake lined up directly to his left, well, the following happened:
“That was awesome for the team and for Jack,” Martinez said after the game in quotes distributed by the school. “He’s going to remember that for the rest of his life and so will I. It was awesome for him to score that touchdown.”
“Yeah, we drew up the play probably 30 seconds before so I’m sure it was all a blur for him,” fullback C.J. Zimmerer, who has been involved with Team Jack for several months, said. “I was telling some of the other reporters that he did a great job. We wanted to get him around the edge, giving him a nice lane to the end zone. He did a great job running his little legs there. He’s fast for a little guy. He did a great job for the pressure of 60,000 fans. I’m sure it was not very easy for a 7-year-old.”
To put an official stamp on the heartwarming, lump-in-the-throat gesture, here’s a portion of the box score Nebraska sent out following the spring game. Pay particular attention to the Red team’s leading rusher:
God bless little Jack as he continues his brave fight against this insidious disease. And God bless the Nebraska football program for what they have done, did and will continue to do for that little boy and his family.
One running joke that’s made numerous laps around the college football world this month has officially run its course.
After being taken ninth overall by the Oakland Athletics in the June Major League Baseball draft, Kyler Murray reached an agreement on a contract with the stick-and-ball club that will not only allow him to play football for Oklahoma in 2018, but will pay him a signing bonus of nearly $4.7 million for good measure. As Lincoln Riley was paid $3.1 million in 2017, there was a very real possibility that the Sooners’ starting quarterback would earn more in 2018 than OU’s head football coach.
Tuesday, however, that particular plotline was put to bed as the university’s Board of Regents confirmed a long-expected revised contract for Riley. The coach’s 2018 salary? $4.8 million (plus bonuses).
Take that, Kyler Murray.
The new salary figure would’ve made Riley the third-highest paid head coach in the Big 12 last season, behind only Texas’ Tom Herman ($5.5 million) and TCU’s Gary Patterson ($5.1 million). His actual salary last year was seventh in the conference.
In his first season at the helm for the Sooners, the 34-year-old Riley guided OU to a 12-2 record, a Big 12 championship and a berth in the College Football Playoff. In addition to a raise coming off that wildly successful year, Riley also had his contract extended through the 2023 season.
Not surprisingly at this point in the offseason, it’s once again time to push the “Days Without An Arrest” ticker back to double zeroes.
The latest to trigger a reset is New Mexico’s Rayshawn Boyce, with KOB-TV in Albuquerque reporting that the linebacker was arrested over the weekend on multiple charges stemming from an incident involving an ex-girlfriend last month. Specifically, Boyce has been charged with one count each of aggravated battery, battery of a household member, criminal damage to private property and negligent use of a deadly weapon.
From the television station’s report:
According to a criminal complaint, he attacked a man inside his ex-girlfriend’s home back in May and then hit his ex-girlfriend in the face. Boyce then left the house and fired shots at her vehicle.
Police interviewed Boyce, who admitted to being at the home but says he never went inside. He claims he fought the man outside of his ex-girlfriend’s apartment.
As a result of the incident, Boyce has been indefinitely suspended from the Lobos football by head coach Bob Davie, who’s had his own off-field issues this offseason.
“I want to emphasize that we have standards and expectations of conduct for all UNM student-athletes that include civility and mutual respect,” UNM athletic director Eddie Nunez said in a statement. “We cannot, and will not, accept anything less.”
After transferring in from a California junior college, Boyce played in eight games for the Lobos this past season. He was credited with 1.5 tackles for loss and one sack.
Hokie Nation, it appears you can unofficially breathe a huge sigh of relief.
Rumors were swirling earlier this month that Josh Jackson‘s eligibility at Virginia Tech for the 2018 season was up in the air over unspecified academic issues. While there is nothing yet official from the school, multiple media outlets in the area are now reporting that whatever issues there were have been resolved and the starting quarterback remains a part of the team.
Bitter went on to write in an online story on the situation that “[t]here’s no indication he’ll face any type of suspension, meaning he most likely will be the starter for the Hokies’ opener at Florida State on Labor Day night.”
Suffice to say, this is a sizable development for the Hokies’ football fortunes in 2018.
As a redshirt freshman last season, Jackson started all 13 games for the 9-4 Hokies. He passed for 2,991 yards and ran for another 324 yards while accounting for 26 touchdowns — 20 passing, six rushing. The yards were the most for an FBS freshman in 2017, while the touchdowns passes were the second-most at this level.
If Jackson had been ruled ineligible for the upcoming season, head coach Justin Fuente would’ve then turned to either redshirt freshman Hendon Hooker or redshirt junior Ryan Willis. The former hasn’t attempted a pass at the collegiate level, although the latter, a transfer from Kansas, passed for 2,530 yards on 432 pass attempts while with the Jayhawks. Willis sat out the 2017 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules.
The ever-benevolent NCAA continues to give, with UCF and one of its players the latest beneficiaries of The Association’s “never-ending” graciousness.
On his personal Twitter account late last week, Michael Colubiale announced that he has been informed by the NCAA that he has been granted a sixth season of eligibility. That ruling will allow the tight end to play the 2018 season for the Knights.
This upcoming season will serve as Colubiale’s final year of eligibility.
After missing the entire 2015 season due to injury, Colubiale played in all 25 games the last two years. He caught 10 passes for 221 yards and a touchdown in 2017, one season after he totaled two catches for 17 yards.
The ruling is a significant one for the Knights as they lost a combined 42 receptions for 479 yards and four touchdowns in 2017 at the tight end position due to the expired eligibility of Jordan Akins (30-459-4) and Jordan Franks (12-120). In fact, and aside from Colubiale, not a single tight end on UCF’s current roster has caught a pass at the FBS level.