In late November, Marqise Lee was mum on what’s expected to be a decision that lands him in the NFL in 2014.
Shortly USC’s bowl game, that decision, whatever it turns out to be, will become official.
The wide receiver said Sunday he will “probably” announce his decision on his football future in the days after the Trojans’ Dec. 21 Las Vegas Bowl game against Fresno State. Lee intimated, by describing the postseason matchup with Fresno State as both a “little game” and a “last game,” that the postseason matchup will be his last as a Trojan.
“Right now, you’ve still got a game going on,” the junior said. “Thinking about that can affect the way I play. … I try not to think about it as much. Just go through this last little game not worrying about it because I am trying to have a great last game.”
If as expected Lee makes the early leap to the NFL, the true junior is expected to be one of the first receivers taken. Lee has battled both injuries and a coaching change in what’s been the worst of his three seasons in the Land of Troy.
His first two seasons with the Trojans, Lee totaled 191 receptions and 25 touchdowns, including 118 and 14 in 2012. Because of the injuries — and Matt Barkley‘s departure — Lee has just 50 catches and two touchdowns this season. He’s caught two or fewer passes in three of the nine games he’s played this year; that had happened just four times in 25 career games entering 2013.
It didn’t take that long to hear John Currie’s name mentioned for another Power Five gig.
The former Kansas State athletic director who memorably was run out of the same position in Knoxville following a messy coaching search at Tennessee has reportedly made the cut at Maryland and will be interviewed as one of three finalists at the school. Per the Baltimore Sun’s Don Markus:
Former Terps AD Kevin Anderson had taken a six-month sabbatical late last year from the position but eventually resigned in early April to formally vacate the job. Evans has been acting as athletic director ever since Anderson’s departure and has been with the school since 2014. That figures to give him a bit of a leg up on the other two candidates and it doesn’t hurt that he also has previous AD experience from his time at Georgia from 2004 to 2010, even if the ending was not the one he wanted in Athens.
As for Currie, his name being a finalist is notable given the messy divorce he had at Tennessee that saw him earning $75,000 a month during a paid suspension that he was placed on after nearly hiring Mike Leach to become the next Vols football coach. He formally split with the university in March (with a nice $2.5 million check) and has been lecturing at various schools ever since.
It remains to be seen which direction Maryland eventually goes but it seems pretty clear that the school isn’t going for an under the radar hire given the names on their shortlist.
Next spring you may very well be able to see a former San Antonio Gunslinger-turned-Pac-12 coach across the sidelines from a former San Antonio Rider turned-Pac-12 coach… in San Antonio.
If you’re throughly confused or don’t know the semi-pro teams that have operated in the state of Texas over the years, the former would be referring to new Alliance of American Football head coach Rick Neuheisel and the latter is referring to Mike Riley, who according to longtime NFL reporter and current SiriusXM host Alex Marvez is apparently leaving his gig as an assistant at Oregon State to be a head coach again with a new AAF franchise.
Riley re-joined the Beavers coaching staff this offseason as assistant head coach and tight ends coach, helping out his former QB Jonathan Smith in Corvallis after he was let go from Nebraska. His third stint on the sidelines for OSU does not appear to be a lengthy one based on this report though it’s possible he could coach the upcoming 2018 season with the team before going to Texas since the AAF does not start until February of 2019 as a unique new spring league.
The move does mark a return to San Antonio for Riley, who has spent plenty of time in the area over the years and was once the head coach of the Riders (a World League of American Football team) for two seasons in 1991 and 1992. Interestingly enough, that first coaching staff had now-Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst on it and saw current Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett become the starting quarterback.
Oregon State has not confirmed Riley’s departure or his temporary replacement if there is one but one figures to hear more details at a press conference for the AAF tomorrow.
Notre Dame linebacker Te’Von Coney on Tuesday pleaded guilty to marijuana possession as part of a case stemming back to 2016. Coney was one of five Irish players arrested on Aug. 19, 2016, when an Indiana State Police trooper made a traffic stop for speeding and discovered marijuana and an unregistered handgun in the car. Notre Dame safety Max Redfield, wideout Kevin Stepherson, cornerback Ashton White and running back Dexter Williams were also arrested.
Through a plea deal, Coney was sentenced to 363 days of probation and had a 180-day jail sentenced suspended down to time served.
White, Redfield and Stepherson were either booted from the team or transferred, while Coney and Williams have gone on to shine in South Bend. Williams rushed 39 times for 360 yards and four touchdowns last season and is expected to split starting duties this fall, while Coney was Notre Dame’s leading tackler a year ago, collecting 116 stops and 12.5 TFLs.
A Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., native, Coney’s plea is not expected to impact his status on the team. Irish head coach Brian Kelly said earlier this month he expected Coney, who is taking summer classes at Notre Dame right now, to play this fall “if he takes care of it (the court case) in the manner I expect him to.”
Wake Forest was active on the graduate transfer market Tuesday, picking up two kickers to add to its 2018 roster.
The Deacons announced Darren Ford as a transfer from Division III Hope College in Michigan and Eric Osteen from Army.
Ford connected on 25-of-38 field goals and 99 PATs at Hope while also averaging 40 yards per punt over the past two seasons. He also handled kickoffs for the past three seasons at Hope.
Osteen is a rare case; he graduated from Army back in 2013 and recently completed a 5-year tour of duty in the U.S. Army. He will kick for Wake Forest while pursuing an MBA. He was the Black Knights’ kickoff specialist in his former career, totaling 40 touchbacks in 110 kickoffs from 2011-12. He recorded five kickoffs in six tries during Army’s 2012 game against Wake Forest.
Ford and Osteen figure to slide into starting roles for the Deacons’ 2018 squad. Mike Weaver, a senior, handled place-kicking and kickoff duties for Wake Forest a season ago. He made 21-of-25 field goals and 52-of-56 extra points and posted 33 touchbacks in 83 total kickoffs.