Battling leukemia, 2013 RB signee vows to suit up for Chips

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In 2012 as a high school senior, Derrick Nash led the state of Michigan in rushing.  In February, the running back signed a National Letter of Intent to play his college football at Central Michigan in what he called “the greatest moment in my life.”  Three months later, Nash received the worst news of his young life.

Leukemia, diagnosed following a trip to the emergency room for what was thought to be mono or the flu.

The prom, his graduation ceremony and even his first year of college football have been replaced by chemotherapy sessions at University Hospital in Ann Arbor.  The good news is Nash was told by doctors that “everything would be fine. I would be able to get better” and play football again after sitting out the 2013 season.

Nash, though, wasn’t sure that would be with the Chippewas, telling Hugh Bernreuter of mlive.com that he was “worried [CMU] coaches were going to give up on me.”  That was one fear in this whole process for which there was no need.

“One of the first things we told him was that he was going to play football again and that he was going to play for CMU,” Chips head coach Dan Enos (pictured) said. “Keeping him on scholarship was a no-brainer. It’s the right thing to do. That’s the philosophy from the president through the athletic director to the coaches. You do the right thing.”

Added Enos, “I can’t wait until he can run onto our field before a game wearing a CMU uniform. That’ll be a great moment for a lot of people.”

Nash will continue undergoing chemo treatments for the next five months or so, but could be released from the hospital as early as late this month.  The website writes that Nash “expects to receive a medical redshirt season and begin working toward the 2014 season” following his release.

Thoughts and prayers go out to Nash as he continues his battle to beat this insidious disease.  And here’s to hoping he realizes his dream by running out on to the field in September of 2014 with his teammates as the Chips take on Purdue.

Odds for each possible College Football Playoff championship scenario favor Alabama

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If there was any question which team is the favorite to win the College Football Playoff national championship, perhaps the latest odds released from Bovada will remind you once again just how much confidence is placed in Alabama. The Crimson Tide have the best odds to win the national title in all of the possible outcomes for the national championship this season with a 5/7 shot of beating Clemson and a 9/2 shot to beat Notre Dame in the championship game.

Bovada released the odds for all eight possible national championship game scenarios. After noticing the odds continuing to favor the SEC champion and defending national champions from Alabama, it is also pretty clear the odds are not in Notre Dame’s favor this postseason. Notre Dame had the longest odds to win the national title with an 18/1 shot of beating Alabama and a 28/1 shot to beat Oklahoma. But don’t confuse that for thinking Notre Dame would have a more difficult chance of beating Oklahoma than they would Alabama. Those odds also take into consideration Notre Dame not only has to beat Clemson to reach the title game but also that Alabama has to lose to Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl semifinal.

Here are the odds for each possible outcome as released by Bovada on Monday.

Alabama Beats Notre Dame 9/2
Alabama Beats Clemson 5/7

Clemson Beats Oklahoma 13/2
Clemson Beats Alabama 7/2

Oklahoma Beats Notre Dame 22/1
Oklahoma Beats Clemson 16/1

Notre Dame Beats Oklahoma 28/1
Notre Dame Beats Alabama 18/1

Indiana adds Utah transfer QB Jack Tuttle

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Though he sounds like a William Faulkner character, Jack Tuttle is a former Utah Ute and now the newest Indiana Hoosier. Indiana head coach Tom Allen announced the transfer quarterback addition on Monday.

A San Marcos, Calif., native, Tuttle signed with Utah out of Mission Hills High School in 2018 but did not see action for the Utes this fall. The former 4-star recruit opted to transfer, and will sit out the 2019 season and compete for the IU quarterback job in 2020 as a redshirt sophomore.

“Jack Tuttle is a tremendous addition to our program and we are happy to welcome him to IU,” Allen said. “He is extremely talented and brings a huge skillset to our quarterback room. We look forward to his arrival on campus next semester and his development as a Hoosier.”

The Hoosiers were quarterbacked this fall by sophomore Peyton Ramsey. Assuming Ramsey remains healthy and a Hoosier, he would hold the job until his graduation after the 2020 season, meaning it could be 2021 before Tuttle sees the field in a major way for Indiana.

Report: Despite USC hiring, Kliff Kingsbury could be an NFL head coaching target

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One of the more surprising moves of the 2018-19 coaching market, at least to me, was Kliff Kingsbury agreeing to become USC’s offensive coordinator.

The former Texas Tech head coach agreed to the job a week and a half after his firing, knowing Clay Helton could be out of a job after 2019 and before the chance NFL teams could truly inquire about his interest. He’s now officially a USC employee, but that hasn’t stopped NFL teams from sniffing, according to FOX’s Jay Glazer.

In a Sunday morning report, Glazer said NFL teams, in their never-ending hunt to copy whoever won the previous Sunday, are looking for the next next Sean McVay now that the first next McVay, John DeFlilippo, has lost his lost his job as the Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator — and that choice could indeed be Kingsbury.

“Teams were actually looking at his USC contract to see if maybe (they) could lure him before he really starts,” Glazer said.

Kingsbury himself said he drew interest from McVay himself, telling Dan Patrick he was “close” to joining the Rams.

It would be wild for a coach fired for going 35-40 in six seasons at his alma mater to immediately ascend to an NFL head coaching post, but even more wild for a USC offensive coordinator job to be in between those two stops.

Still, it seems incredibly unlikely for that to happen — for obvious reasons.

And if Kingsbury’s USC buyout (which is unknown, due to USC’s status as a private school) keeps him from a possible NFL head coaching job, well, there are worse consolations than living in Los Angeles as Kliff Kingsbury.

NC State hires former Duke, Florida OC as QBs coach

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NC State has hired Kurt Roper as its quarterbacks coach, the program announced Monday. He will replace Eli Drinkwitz, who left to become the head coach at Appalachian State.

The program announced Friday that running backs coach Des Kitchings and wide receivers coach George McDonald will replace Drinkwitz as co-offensive coordinators.

“I’m excited that Des and George will have the opportunity to oversee and develop our offense,” NC State head coach Dave Doeren said Friday. “They have a great working relationship and respect for each other and their familiarity with our offense will provide us with great continuity for our players and recruits.”

Roper arrives in Raleigh after spending the 2018 season as the quarterbacks coach at Colorado, where he was not retained after Mike MacIntyre‘s firing.

David Cutcliffe disciple, this will mark Roper’s fifth job after leaving Cutcliffe’s Duke staff after the 2013 season — where he had held the same job as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the previous six seasons. Roper left Durham to become Florida’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2014, where Will Muschamp was ultimately fired that fall. He found refuge as an offensive analyst for the Cleveland Browns in 2015, then re-united with Muschamp as South Carolina’s co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2016. That lasted only two years, when Roper was told to leave and found employment at Colorado, where he again got in for the final year of an outgoing coaching staff.

“My family and I are thrilled about coming to NC State as a part of Coach Doeren’s staff,” said Roper. “Working for a great coach at a great university with an unbelievable fan base is a great opportunity and I can’t wait to get started.”

Here’s hoping Roper’s arrival does not portend a similar fate for Doeren and company.