Top recruit Da’Shawn Hand to announce decision Thursday

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The nation’s top college football recruit in the Class of 2014 will make his decision official on Thursday afternoon. Defensive end Da’Shawn Hand, of Virginia, will announce where he will be heading in 2014 live on NBCSN’s SportsDash with Yahoo Sports live Thursday at noon ET on NBC Sports Network’s SportsDash with Yahoo Sports and Rivals.com.

Hand is the top defensive end recruit according to Rivals.com, as well as the top recruit in the state of Virginia and in the nation. It is expected Hand will be choosing between Alabama, Florida and Michigan. LSU and USC may be upset picks. Hand just visited Florida this past weekend, so Gator fans are hoping something good came out of Saturday afternoon after seeing the Gators lose their homecoming game to Vanderbilt. Hand also visited Alabama in October and Michigan in September. Those are the only three official visits Hand made this season. Wherever he ends up going, he will be a force to reckon with in the trenches for opposing offensive linemen.

Hand’s decision will be made from his school’s gym at Woodbridge High School in Woodbridge, Virginia. He will be joined by his family, football teammates and coaches, the student body and marching band. It’s kind of a big deal.

For those who do not pay much attention to the recruiting game, Hand has been one of the top names in the Class of 2014 for some time now. The 6-foot-4, 248-pound defensive end was a standout player at the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge Presented by Under Armour at Soldier Field, and won defensive player at the three day event. He was recognized last year by Rivals.com as the High School Football Junior of the Year, and was chosen as a 2012 USA Today High School Football All-American.

You make the call. Which program is going to receive the commitment? Will there be any theatrics tied to the announcement?

Photo courtesy: Rivals.com

Penn State DE Torrence Brown the latest Nittany Lion to retire

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The hits just keep on coming for Penn State. Just days after a pair of Penn State players announced their retirement from football, defensive end Torrence Brown has announced his retirement from the game just before the start of the college football season.

“Due to multiple injuries and surgeries, my career at Penn State has come to an end,” Brown said in a statement shared on his Twitter account recently. “It has been tough coming to terms with this news but I know that everything happens for a reason and God will continue to guide me.”

Brown missed the majority of the 2017 season due to a knee injury suffered early in the year. He had hoped to return to the field this fall, but that clearly did not come to be for Brown as he battled back from injury.

Last week, Ryan Buchholz and Jordan Miner announced their retirements from the game. Prior to that, 2018 signee Nana Asiedu announced his retirement due to a heart condition. Quarterback Jake Zembiec also has retired due to a shoulder injury.

“We’re kind of having a strange year, to be honest with you,” Penn State head coach James Franklin said recently in response to some of the previously announced retirements, according to PennLive. “It’s challenging for them, it’s challenging for their parents, it’s challenging for us as a staff, in terms of managing a roster and depth, and those types of things. Most importantly, it’s difficult (because) this is their dream. This is their ultimate dream.”

Brown said he intends to follow through with the winter semester to earn his degree.

UCLA loses LB Josh Woods to season-ending knee injury

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UCLA’s defense was dealt a bad card just before the start of the 2018 college football season. Bruins head coach Chip Kelly announced to reporters that linebacker Josh Woods will miss the entire season due to a knee injury from Thursday’s practice.

“It’s a big blow,” Kelly said, according to a Los Angeles Daily News report. “Just a great young man, everything you want in a football player. So it’s hard for us to try to replace because we don’t have that much depth at that position. But right now our thoughts are with Josh.”

Woods was expected to be a starter for the UCLA defense this season. Last season, he appeared in seven games and recorded 30 tackles, including 23 solo tackles. His 2017 season was cut short due to a shoulder injury.

It remains to be determined if Woods will get the chance to play for UCLA again. The senior has already earned his degree but does have the option of using a redshirt for the 2018 season and continuing to play again in 2019.

Jeremy Pruitt still expects Vols’ highest-rated 2018 signee to enroll

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Tennessee has spent the whole of summer camp without its most highly-touted true freshman, but that could change in the not-too-distant future.

While JJ Peterson signed with the Vols this recruiting cycle, he has yet to enroll in classes at UT as he still has some academic requirements to clear. After Saturday’s scrimmage, Jeremy Pruitt seemed confident that the linebacker will join the team on the field sooner rather than later.

“He’s finishing up a class, and when he gets the class finished up, he’ll be here,” the head coach said by the Knoxville News Sentinel. “Would we have liked it… been last week? Absolutely. But that’s part of it. You’ve got to do it, and he’s working hard to do that.”

According to the News Sentinel, UT starts its fall semester this coming Wednesday.

A four-star member of the Volunteers’ 2018 recruiting class, Peterson was rated as the No. 3 outside linebacker in the country; the No. 7 player at any position in the state of Georgia; and the No. 48 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board.  The 6-3, 231-pound signee was the highest-rated prospect in Pruitt’s first class with the Vols, one that was 22nd nationally and eighth in the SEC.

Tennessee kicks off the 2018 season Sept. 1 against West Virginia in Charlotte.

Washington transfer K.J. Carta-Samuels earns starting QB job at Colorado State

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Nearly five months after landing in Fort Collins, K.J. Carta-Samuels has, as expected, been handed the keys to Colorado State’s offense.

On the depth chart released ahead of CSU’s opener against Hawaii Aug. 25, Carta-Samuels was listed as the Rams’ starting quarterback. Carta-Samuels’ backups are listed as Justice McCoy OR Collin Hill.

Hill suffered a torn ACL in mid-March playing a game of pickup basketball, but has been ahead of schedule in his rehab.

In early December of last year, Carta-Samuels announced that he would be leaving Chris Petersen‘s Washington football program. In January, it was reported that Carta-Samuels would transfer to UCLA, although he ended up at Colorado State two months later as a graduate transfer.

A four-star member of UW’s 2014 recruiting class, Carta-Samuels was rated as the No. 12 pro-style quarterback in the country and the No. 24 player at any position in the state of California. Budda Baker, a second-round pick in the 2017 NFL draft, was the only signee in the Huskies’ class that year rated higher than Carta-Samuels.

Carta-Samuels played in 25 games over the past three seasons. He ended the Huskies portion of his collegiate playing career with 310 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in completing 27-of-47 passes.