With the ACC announcing its Grant of Rigths agreement in April, realignment at the highest level of college football looks to be on hold for the foreseeable future. The same can now be said for Conference USA’s expansion plans for the immediate future.
In a statement on Tuesday, the conference board of directors “elected to remain, for the foreseeable future, with its current membership plan.”
“We are thrilled with our membership going forward and excited about our collective potential,” commissioner Britton Banowsky said. “Our organization has established a great foundation in an increasingly stable environment. The system has found calm waters, which is helpful to all of us.”
Depending on your interpretation of “foreseeable future,” C-USA’s membership beginning in 2014 will be as follows (unless another league plucks a team or two): UNC-Charlotte, FIU, Florida Atlantic, Louisiana Tech, Marshall, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, Old Dominion, Rice, Southern Miss, UAB, UTEP, UTSA and Western Kentucky.
The conference had been considering adding two more members to become a 16-team league.
Kiy Hester‘s winding college football journey is set to take him to yet another destination.
On his personal Twitter account over the weekend, Hester announced that he will be transferring to Florida International and spending his final season of collegiate eligibility playing for Butch Davis‘ squad. The defensive back will be leaving Rutgers as a graduate transfer.
Hester had also considered Pitt before opting for the Conference USA school.
Hester, once committed to RU as a high school prospect, was originally a four-star member of Miami’s 2014 recruiting class. In September of that year, he received a release from his UM scholarship and transferred to Rutgers that same month.
The past three seasons, Hester started 19 of the 29 games in which he played. Eight of those starts and 11 of the appearances came during a 2017 regular season that saw him earn honorable mention All-Big Ten honors after finishing fourth in the conference with 1.2 passes defensed per game.
In December of last year, Hester opted to transfer from the Scarlet Knights.
Welp, so much for that.
In mid-December, Bailey Granier (pictured, No. 75) announced on Twitter that he would be transferring from Vanderbilt to Tulane after graduating. However, on the same social media site this month, Granier revealed that, instead of Tulane, he would instead be transferring to UCF to finish out his collegiate playing career.
The offensive lineman, who attended the Green Wave’s spring game this year, gave no specific reason for the about-face.
Granier played in 27 games during his time with the Commodores, starting five of those contest during that time. All of those starts came at right tackle — two this past season, three in 2015.
As you’re likely well aware already, it’s not just Power Five programs who see a roster reshuffling this time of the year.
The latest Group of Five school to experience that personnel phenomenon is Bowling Green, with Cam Jefferies announcing on his personal Twitter account that, “[a]fter a countless amount of prayer and conversation with those closest to me,” he will be transferring from that Falcons. The cornerback gave no specific reason for the decision to move on from the MAC school.
According to his tweet, Jefferies is set to graduate from the university in August. He will have two years of eligibility remaining.
A two-star recruit coming out of high school in Ohio, Jefferies took a redshirt as a true freshman in 2015. The past two seasons, the defensive back started 12 of the 21 games in which he played. Seven of those starts came this past season.
Clemson has officially bid adieu to a highly-touted member of its 2017 recruiting class.
Earlier in the day Monday, reports surfaced that Hunter Johnson had decided to transfer from the Tigers, with a couple of Big Ten schools already listed as potential landing spots. Not long after that news made the rounds, Dabo Swinney acknowledged the reports, calling the quarterback “one of the best young men I’ve ever coached” in sending his former player his well-wishes.
“While it is always disappointing to lose a great person and a great player, I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to work with Hunter and watch him grow and develop over the last year and a half,” the full statement attributed to the head coach began. “Hunter is one of the best young men I have ever coached and has a very bright future ahead of him.
“I wish him all the best as he decides on his destination.”
Johnson himself issued his own statement through the school’s sports information department addressing the development.
“I want to thank Coach Swinney and the Clemson family for giving me the opportunity to be a part of something special,” said Johnson. “I’ve met some amazing people who I will forever call family. I am a better man and a better football player because of my time spent at Clemson. Go Tigers!”
The composite board on 247Sports.com had Johnson rated as the No. 2 pro-style quarterback in the country and the No. 30 player at any position for the Class of 2017. As a true freshman, Johnson completed 21 of his 27 passes for 234 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in seven appearances.
It’s believed that Johnson, who will have to sit out the 2018 season but would then have three years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2019, is eyeing Northwestern or Purdue as potential transfer destinations.