Goodbye from Ben

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Hey, all.

There’s really never a good lede for something like this, and if there was, it’d probably be self-indulgent anyway. So, here it is: yesterday was my last day at CFT. Beginning today, I’m moving on to a new opportunity in my career (and if you’re looking for more information, you can find it on my Twitter account).

You’ll still see some conference previews over the next day or so with my byline on them like some sort of ghost of college football past, but this is my last post.

I’m sad to be leaving CFT and NBCSports. I’ve had three tremendous years here and there are a lot of people who are responsible for that. Rather than spend (most of) my last post on CFT talking about me, I’d like to take a few moments and acknowledge them.

First, I have to thank my loving family and friends, who have given me their unconditional support and understanding while I chase the dream.

Thank you to Mike Florio and Larry Mazza. They’re two of the brightest, hardest working gents I’ve ever had the pleasure of getting to know. They were there from Day 1 and gave me a chance out of faith. I am forever thankful to them.

Thank you to Tom Seely, Rick Cordella, Mike Miller, all the news desk guys and gals, past and present. There are some truly great people at NBC and I can’t say enough about how much fun they’ve been to work with over the years.

Thank you, John. Y’all, he’s more than my boss. He’s become a dear friend and I’ll cherish that for the rest of my life. I feel blessed to have had such a solid working and personal relationship with him. There were days when we’d literally email each other at the same time about the same site-related things. It was beyond creepy.

Finally, thank you. Yes, you. Thank you for reading, for making CFT a part of your day… or week… or whenever it is you visit. I appreciate it and I know John appreciates it. We haven’t always agreed on things, and that’s okay because you all have continued to be so loyal to this site. That alone rises above everything else. I mean, there were days when I could barely construct a sentence with a proper subject-verb agreement — yet y’all kept on comin’ back anyway.

I’ll certainly miss it here. CFT has been such a big part of my life over these last three years. It’s one of the first things I see in the morning and usually the last thing I shut down before I go to bed. Naturally, there is a sense of ownership I’ve gained from all of this. Moving on is definitely going to take some getting used to, but I will always look back on my time here fondly. Who knows, maybe our paths will cross again some day.

Until then, and with tears unapologetically welling up in my eyes, I say be good to each other, enjoy the season, and go Mean Green.

Signing off,

Ben

Former four-star Oklahoma LB Levi Draper enters transfer portal

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It appears the Oklahoma Sooners football team will have some depth in its linebacking corps pared.

Thursday, it was reported that Levi Draper is entering his name into the NCAA transfer database, the first step in leaving OU.  An Oklahoma Sooners football official subsequently confirmed that Draper will be entering the portal.

The linebacker’s time in Norman hasn’t officially come to an end, however, as he could always pull his name from the portal and return.

A four-star member of Oklahoma’s 2017 recruiting class, Draper was rated as the No. 5 inside linebacker in the country and the No. 2 player at any position in the state of Oklahoma.  On the 247Sports.com composite, he was the No. 118 prospect overall.  Only three signees in the Sooners’ class that year were rated higher than Draper.

Injuries helped lead to Draper take a redshirt as a true freshman.  The past two seasons, Draper played in 28 games.  Most of that action came on special teams.

When Draper does find a new school, it should be as a graduate transfer.  That would then leave him with two years of eligibility to use.

Draper is one of a handful of Sooners who have entered the portal of late. From the school’s student newspaper:

This is the second Sooner linebacker to enter the portal in the last two days, as Ryan Jones reportedly entered it on Wednesday. Along with the two linebackers, wide receiver Mykel Jones, safety Ty DeArman, defensive linemen Coby Tillman and Troy James will all be transferring.

It’s not all attrition at OU, however. Earlier this week, the program confirmed the addition of UCLA transfer wide receiver Theo Howard.  The receiver was honorable mention All-Pac-12 in 2018.

Howard graduated from UCLA in December, giving him immediate eligibility at OU this coming season.

Texas A&M transfer Kellen Diesch lands at Arizona State

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The Arizona State football roster is the latest to benefit from a player coming in from a Power Five program.

In early December, Kellen Diesch entered the NCAA transfer database, the first step in a move away from Texas A&M. A month later, Diesch has taken the next step as 247Sports.com has reported that the offensive lineman will transfer to the Arizona State football team.

In fact, the website notes that Diesch is in Tempe and already enrolled in school at ASU.

As a graduate transfer, Diesch will be eligible to play for the Sun Devils immediately in 2020. The upcoming season will serve as his final year of eligibility.

A four-star member of A&M’s 2016 recruiting class, Diesch was rated as the No. 11 offensive tackle in the country and the No. 17 player regardless of position in the state of Texas. The only signee in the Aggies’ class that year rated higher was strongside defensive end Justin Madubuike.

After redshirting as a true freshman, Diesch has played in 21 games the past three years. A dozen of those appearances came this past season.

Despite the recruiting pedigree, the 6-6, 298-pound lineman didn’t start a game for the Aggies.

DE who began his collegiate career at Coastal Carolina, signed with Syracuse before flipping to NC State is back in transfer portal

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The NC State football program is the latest to find out first-hand that Jeffrey Gunter may have an issue with commitment.

In January of 2019, Gunter opted to transfer from Coastal Carolina. Three weeks later, he tweeted he was transferring to Syracuse… before deleting the tweet. Two days later, however, Syracuse confirmed the defensive end’s addition to the roster. Feb. 26, though, Gunter reneged on that commitment, tweeting he would no longer be transferring to Syracuse and would instead move on to NC State.

That commitment stuck… for all of 11 months, as it turned out, as 247Sports.com is now reporting that Gunter is listed in the NCAA transfer database

During his one season with the NC State football program, Gunter was the Co-Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year. He had to sit out the 2019 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules.

After totaling 14 tackles for loss and five sacks in 2018, Gunter, a two-star 2017 signee, was named first-team All-Sun Belt Conference.

It’s worth to note that, in Gunter’s winter of decommitment last year, he had also considered moving to either North Carolina or Oregon. Whether those two schools will be in play this time around is unclear.

Former Maryland DB Qwuantrezz Knight now transferring from Kent State

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A former member of the Maryland Terrapins football team is now a former player on yet another team. At least, he’s nearly former.

According to 247Sports.com, Qwuantrezz Knight is now listed in the NCAA transfer database. The defensive back just completed his first season at Kent State.

This past season, Knight led the Golden Flashes in tackles for loss with 10.5.  In Kent’s first-ever bowl win this past season, Knight was named as the game’s defensive MVP.

The move is odd, if for nothing more than the struggle Knight went through just to see the field in 2019.

Leaving the Maryland Terrapins football program shortly after head coach DJ Durkin was fired amidst scandal in the midst of the 2018 season, Knight ultimately transferred to Kent State in January of last year.  Four months later, Knight filed an appeal with the NCAA for a waiver that would’ve granted him immediate eligibility, a waiver that cited “depression symptoms”; in early June, that initial waiver was denied.

Armed with the ability to appeal the original decision, Knight did as much and it proved successful as the MAC program confirmed in June of last year that the appeal was successful and the waiver granted.

Presumably, Knight will be leaving Kent as a graduate transfer.  That would allow him to play immediately at a third FBS school.