Nation’s No. 1 2014 recruit opts for Tide over home-state LSU

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Surprise!  Nick Saban and his coaching staff have done it again on the recruiting trail.

In a press conference televised live on ESPNU Wednesday afternoon from his high school, Cameron Robinson, 247Sports.com‘s No. 1 player at any position in the Class of 2014, announced that he has verbally committed to play his collegiate football at Alabama.  The West Monroe, La., offensive tackle opted for the Tide over the other member of his Top Two, LSU.

The verbal to the Tide comes a handful of days after Robinson’s good friend, four-star Monroe, La., wide receiver Cameron Sims, committed to UA,

(Writer’s note: it’s at this point in the program where we, as always, note that verbal commitments are non-binding and nothing is official until pen is put to National Letter of Intent paper)

Robinson plans to graduate high school in December and, at least for now, enroll at Alabama in January.

The 6-6, 320-pound Robinson had narrowed down his choices to Alabama and LSU in late May, eschewing planned visits to schools like Georgia and Texas A&M.  As recently as late July, Robinson denied that he had a favorite among the two.

“Neither school has really separated themselves from each other,” Robinson said. “People are talking and don’t know what they’re talking about. Neither school has led for me. I don’t have a lead school other than those two. If I had to make a choice tomorrow I don’t know if I could because I actually don’t know where I want to go.”

In addition to being the top player in the country according to 247Sports.com, Rivals.com puts Robinson as the No. 3 player at any position while Scout.com ranks him No. 2.  Suffice to say, he’s the consensus No. 1 offensive lineman in next year’s class.

The fact that the Tide landed a verbal from one of the top players in the country, though, is hardly a surprise, even as they went into LSU’s backyard to do so.  Rivals ranks Alabama’s 2014 recruiting class — 19 commitments, 13 of them four-star players — as the No. 1 class in the country.  Since 2008, Saban’s second year in Tuscaloosa, the Tide has claimed that recruiting service’s top class a whopping five times.  The only time in that six-year stretch they weren’t the No. 1 class was 2010 when they were No. 5.

UA’s worst finish under Saban was the coach’s first year (No. 10, 2007).  To put the recruiting success with Saban involved into perspective, the Tide finished No. 30 (2002), No. 49 (2003), No. 24 (2004), No. 18 (2005) and No. 11 (2006) in the five years prior to Saban’s arrival.

Roll Damn Tide indeed.

Former Bowling Green head coach among two new USC hires

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The remaking of Clay Helton‘s USC staff continues.

The Trojans on Tuesday announced the hiring of two new assistants coaches, one each side of the ball.

Chad Kauha’aha’a has been hired away from Boise State as defensive line coach, and Mike Jinks has been announced as running backs coach.

Kauha’aha’a has coached in college football since 2005, almost exclusively as a defensive line coach. His previous stops include Weber State, Utah State, Utah, Wisconsin and Oregon State. He worked just one season at Boise, where his Broncos front ranked 10th nationally with 3.0 sacks per game and 23rd nationally in rushing at 122.9 yards per game allowed.

Jinks was most recently the head coach at Bowling Green, but prior to that served on Kliff Kingsbury‘s Texas Tech staff as running backs coach, which he did from 2013-14.

Prior to that, Jinks spent a decade and a half as a high school football coach in Texas, the last seven as the head coach at Cibolo Steele High School in the San Antonio area.

Ohio cop on Courtney Smith allegations against ex-Ohio State WR coach: ‘She’s petrified and I really believe her’

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Zach Smith no longer works for Ohio State and Urban Meyer is on his way out, but the controversy that consumed the two men — and, thus, the university that employed them — isn’t over.

The Columbus Dispatch on Monday got its hands on thousands of pages of documents relating to Courtney Smith‘s allegations against her ex-husband. At the core of the Dispatch‘s Tuesday report was video of an interview Smith conducted on Oct. 26, 2015, with Powell (Ohio) police officer Ben Boruchowitz, in which Smith describes how Zach Smith had shoved her the night before, and how the previous night’s incident was but another episode of domestic violence she had experienced.

In the video, recorded on body-cam footage and released to the paper after a months-long public-records complaint, Smith described how Zach had previously cut her hand on a tobacco can during an argument, how he had picked her up by her throat during an argument on a Dominican Republic vacation and how he had thrown her across the room while she was pregnant during the time they lived in Florida — all allegations that have since become public knowledge but were not so at the time.

Smith also described to the police officer how she had confronted Zach about an alleged affair and how he responded, “I’ll (expletive) kill you, I’ll destroy you.”

The video shows Boruchowitz going back and forth from the interview room to a phone, where he spoke with prosecutors. From the Dispatch:

In one of those phone conversations, Boruchowitz expressed his concern to a prosecutor for Courtney Smith’s safety due to Zach Smith’s alleged threats to kill her.

“She’s petrified, and I really believe her,” he said. ”… Based on the degree of violence that he’s done against her, you and I both know when there’s strangling and choking and those kinds of violence, (they) are pretty good indicators that there’s a high chance he may actually follow through with it.”

The interview ended with Boruchowitz stating he could charge Zach Smith with disorderly conduct, which she declined. Still, the Powell Police Department recommended charging Zach Smith with felonious assault and domestic violence, but the Delaware County (Ohio) prosecutor’s office declined to present the findings to a grand jury.

“We didn’t present it because after going through everything we went through, we didn’t find any felony charges that we thought we could prove,” Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O’Brien told the paper.

Smith remained employed at Ohio State through the 2015 season and the next two before he was fired days before training camp for the 2018 season began.

Ole Miss OC among Mack Brown’s new offensive hires

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Yet again, Mack Brown continues to outperform expectations among his staff hires.

After swiping Army’s Jay Bateman to run his defense, the new North Carolina head coach has hired Ole Miss offensive coordinator Phil Longo to run his offense. Assisting Longo on the offensive staff will be new wide receivers coach Lonnie Galloway and offensive line coach Brandon Jones.

“Phil Longo, Lonnie Galloway and Brandon Jones are three outstanding coaches, recruiters, teachers and mentors of young men,” Brown said in a statement. “Phil has been one of the most successful play callers in college football for many years and at every level. Lonnie and Brandon have tremendous ties to the state of North Carolina and will continue to build on their strong relationships with the great high school coaches in this state. I am so excited at how our coaching staff is taking shape and look forward to announcing the final pieces very soon.”

Longo has spent the past two seasons running the Rebels’ offense, where his 2018 unit ranked among the top 10 nationally at 510.5 yards per game. Longo’s hiring indicates Brown intends to bring the Air Raid to Chapel Hill.

Longo’s departure means Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke will have to replace both coordinators after his first season as the Rebels’ full-time head coach. Defensive coordinator Wes McGriff has already been replaced by former Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre.

Galloway has spent the past four seasons coaching wide receivers at Louisville but has plenty of experience in the Land of Flight. He played quarterback at Western Carolina and deposited coaching stints at Elon, East Carolina, Appalachian State and Wake Forest.

Jones spent the past two seasons as the offensive line coach at Texas Tech, his alma mater, and previously coached offensive lines at Cal and East Carolina.

Boston College extends Steve Addazio through 2022

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Throughout the past month, it seemed up in the air whether Boston College would fire head coach Steve Addazio or extend him. Now, two and a half weeks after Boston College concluded its regular season, we have our answer.

BC AD Martin Jarmond on Tuesday announced the school has extended Addazio by two seasons, keeping him under contract through 2022. In a letter written to BC supporters and released to the media, Jarmond wrote:

After every season we evaluate all aspects of our programs to make sure they are aligned with the core mission and principles of the Boston College athletics department.

While all of us wish our regular season in football had ended with more victories, we took important steps in the right direction this year: returning to the national rankings for the first time since 2008, capturing the nation’s attention with ESPN’s College GameDay on-campus, being in the running for the conference championship in November and playing in another post-season bowl.

In addition, our football student-athletes remain great ambassadors for our University and also continue to achieve tremendous success in the classroom, graduate at one of the highest rates in the country, and become successful leaders.

To continue building on our football program’s progress and promise, we are extending Coach Steve Addazio’s contract for two additional years through the 2022 season. Steve and I are committed to taking the next steps to enhance competitive excellence in Boston College football.

With Addazio under contract only through 2020, Boston College was in a rare position where the school really did have to either fire him or extend him. With another two years on his contract, Addazio can now credibly tell BC’s 2019 recruits that he is under contract through the length of their 4-year eligibility…. but not one season longer.

As far as endorsements from your AD go, this one is about as lukewarm as they get.

Boston College heads into the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl (Dec. 26 in Dallas) at 7-5 on the season. The Eagles started 7-2 and rose as high as No. 17 in the AP poll but lost their final three games: 27-7 to No. 2 Clemson, 22-21 at Florida State and 42-21 to No. 19 Syracuse in Chestnut Hill.

Addazio is an even 38-38 in six seasons at Boston College; his teams have never won more than seven games, and never gone better than 4-4 in ACC play (they’re 18-30 overall in conference).

So, while 2018 was not exactly a make-or-break year for Addazio at Boston College, 2019 definitely will be.