In a televised press conference (insert face palm here) late Sunday afternoon, New Jersey cornerback Jabrill Peppers announced, as has long been expected, he has verbally committed to play his collegiate football at the University of Michigan. The 2014 prospect opted for the Wolverines over a group of finalists that included LSU, Notre Dame, Penn State, home-state Rutgers and Stanford.
Peppers, the 10th verbal in UM’s 2014 recruiting efforts, has been a lifelong UM fan, and the recruiting process was simply a matter of the teenager following his heart.
“Go Blue, baby!” Peppers said during the announcement. “I’m going to Michigan. …
“It was always my dream to play for Michigan. They were my favorite team since I was a young kid.”
(Writer’s note: it’s at this point in the program where we’re compelled to remind you that verbal commitments are non-binding and nothing is official until pen is put to paper on National Signing Day early next February. Thanks in advance for your cooperation in this matter.)
Both Rivals.com and ESPN have the 6-1, 210-pound defensive back rated as the No. 2 player in the country at any position. 247Sports.com rates him as the No. 8 player in the Class of 2014, while Scout.com has penciled him in at No. 11 on their big board.
If Peppers’ verbal commitment turns into a signing, and if Peppers maintains his current ranking, he would be the highest-rated recruit UM has ever signed since Rivals‘ founding back in 2002. The previous high? Ryan Mallett as the No. 4 player in the Class of 2007.
USC makes hiring of Virginia’s Vic So’oto official
The massive renovation of Clay Helton’s USC football coaching staff has taken another official step.
Last week, it was reported that USC was expected to poach Vic So’oto from Virginia. As Clint Sintim‘s hiring as So’oto’s replacement was announced a few days later, the latter’s move to the Trojans was a mere formality.
Tuesday, USC football confirmed So’oto’s addition to Clay Helton’s staff. As he did with the ‘Hoos, So’oto will serve as the Trojans’ defensive line coach.
LSU football has officially replaced one of the hottest young coaches in the sport.
Not long after LSU football claimed the 2019 national championship, Joe Brady left to take over as the offensive coordinator for the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. Earlier this month, it was reported that Scott Linehan was expected to be hired as Brady’s successor.
Tuesday, LSU confirmed that Linehan has indeed been named by Ed Orgeron as the Tigers’ new passing-game coordinator. The 56-year-old Linehan has spent the past 17 seasons he’s been a coach at the NFL level.
Linehan was out of coaching this past season.
“Scott brings a wealth of knowledge to our offense,” the LSU football head coach said in a statement. “We wanted to bring in someone who will expand our passing game and with Scott’s experience as an NFL head coach and offensive coordinator we feel this is the best move for our offense. After talking to numerous people with NFL experience and interviewing Scott we knew he was the right fit for the LSU Tigers.”
In 13 of those seasons in the NFL, Linehan served as an offensive coordinator.
Dallas Cowboys, 2015-18
Detroit Lions, 2009-13
Miami Dolphins, 2005
Minnesota Vikings, 2002-04
In the other four NFL seasons in which he wasn’t a coordinator, Linehan was the head coach of the St. Louis Rams (2006-08) and passing-game coordinator for the Cowboys (2014).
Linehan’s last job at the collegiate level came as the offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach at Louisville (1999-2001). From 1996-98, he was the coordinator at Washington.
The American Athletic Conference will again play football in 2020, the conference confirmed on Tuesday.
The American revealed its 2020 conference schedule, a 44-game slate that completes the 88 total games AAC teams will play in 2020. As a reminder, UConn is no longer an American member, meaning the conference will have 11 football-playing members for the foreseeable future. All 11 teams will still play an 8-game league schedule, and the conference will still hold a title game.
The 2020 season will also be the conference’s first under the new rights agreement it struck with ESPN in March. As such, at least 40 American home games will be shown on the ESPN family of networks, and at least half of those will be on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2. The conference will play a total of 12 games on Thursday or Friday nights.
“We are excited to announce our 2020 schedule as we enter the next phase of our longstanding relationship with ESPN,” said commissioner Mike Aresco. “With the continued success our schools have had, I have no doubt that we will once again provide our fans, and ESPN, with compelling matchups throughout the season in both conference and nonconference play. We look forward to another outstanding season of American Athletic Conference football.”
The season will begin on Saturday, Aug. 29 when Navy “hosts” Notre Dame at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland. That game will be shown on ESPN with College GameDay in tow as part of the network’s season kick-off effort. While the full schedule can be viewed here, highlights include:
North Carolina at UCF, Sept. 4 (Friday)
South Florida at Texas, Sept. 5
Temple at Miami, Sept. 5
Houston at Washington State, Sept. 12
Cincinnati at Nebraska, Sept. 26
TCU at SMU, Sept. 26
Memphis at SMU, Oct. 1 (Thursday)
UCF at Memphis, Oct. 16 (Friday)
Memphis at Cincinnati, Oct. 31
Memphis at Navy, Nov. 14
Cincinnati at UCF, Nov. 21
UCF at South Florida, Nov. 27 (Friday)
The 2020 American season will conclude with the sixth annual American Championship on Saturday, Dec. 5.
George Costanza was never much of a college football fan. He was a New Yorker, after all. But he was a fan of the No. 7, and so he would have a new favorite college football player in 2020.
A product of Orlando’s Jones High School, Sevyn Banks has been a member of Ohio State’s defensive backfield since 2018. The former 4-star recruit has received limited playing time in the Buckeyes’ loaded defensive backfield, but figures to compete for a starting spot in 2020.
And now he’ll do so in his namesake number.
Banks announced Monday he will switch from No. 12 to No. 7 for the upcoming season.