Sadly, a vehicular tragedy has hit the Bowden family for the second time in a decade and the Akron football family for the second time in less than a week.
The Polk County (Fla.) Sheriff Department confirmed Friday night that Taylor Jeffrey “T.J.” Bowden was one of two males killed in a car accident very early Thursday morning. A third passenger in the vehicle miraculously survived after the vehicle in which the three males, all between the ages of 22 and 25, were riding plunged into a creek and was not found for several hours.
The accident occurred at 2 a.m. ET after the three had left a Winter Haven bar. A sheriff’s spokesperson stated that investigators believe alcohol and speed were a factor in the crash, although toxicology reports on the driver will be needed to make the former determination. The driver, authorities said, was 25-year-old Rafael Fernandes De Aguiar Valim.
The 23-year-old Bowden is the grandson of Florida State coaching legend Bobby Bowden. He’s also the son of Akron assistant coach Jeff Bowden (pictured). His uncle, Terry Bowden, is the head coach of the Zips.
“I can’t express the grief I feel right now,” Jeff Bowden said in a statement. “Please keep us in your prayers.”
“Our whole family had just celebrated Christmas together in Panama City, as well as celebrated T.J.’s graduation from Florida State just three weeks ago,” Bobby Bowden said in a statement that was released through the University of Akron. “We will cherish those last memories together with T.J. forever.”
Earlier this week, Akron offensive line coach Alan “Tank” Arrington died as a result of injuries sustained in a two-car accident in Mississippi.
In 2004, 15-year-old Bowden Madden, Bobby Bowden’s grandson, along with the ex-FSU head coach’s son-in-law were killed in a car accident in Tallahassee.
Michigan State is dealing with yet another lawsuit over an alleged sexual assault but this time it has nothing to do with the growing Larry Nassar scandal at the school.
The Detroit Free Press reports that a federal lawsuit has been filed against the university by former Spartans wide receiver Keith Mumphery, alleging that he was “permanently dismissed from Michigan State based on false allegations of sexual misconduct and sexual exploitation by a female Michigan State student.”
“The disciplinary process and ultimate finding were motivated by an anti-male and anti-athlete discriminatory bias against,” the suit added.
Mumphery was a fifth round pick in 2015 by the Houston Texans but was cut by the franchise prior to the 2017 season after the Free Press published details regarding the alleged sexual assault case. It was later revealed that Mumphery was banned from going on campus in East Lansing until 2019 by the university as part of the disciplinary process, which began with the alleged incident back in March of 2015.
The Free Press notes that the female student at the center of the case has also sued Michigan State in federal court but tells a much different story than Mumphery does about the alleged incident and subsequent actions by the university.
Needless to say, it’s been a trying few months for the Spartans given all that has gone on at the school and you can now add this matter to the growing list of things that MSU will have to deal with.
The bowl game named after a pirate is moving to a pirate ship. No, seriously.
In an ‘only in college football’ type of move, former ESPN reporter Brett McMurphy is reporting that the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl is moving from St. Petersburg’s Tropicana Field (home of MLB’s Rays) to Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium (home of the NFL’s Bucs).
The move is being framed as being a way to boost attendance for the game after several years of lackluster crowds at the rather remote baseball stadium in the Tampa area. Raymond James is no stranger to hosting bowl games, serving as the home of the Outback Bowl as well as hosting the national title game in 2017 between Clemson and Alabama.
The Gasparilla Bowl is owned and operated by ESPN and will pit teams from the American against a squad from either the ACC or Conference USA on December 20th.
Another former Power Five player has decided to ply his football wares at a lower level of football.
The latest to do so is Romeo McKnight, with Illinois State announcing via Twitter that defensive end will be continuing his collegiate playing career for the Redbirds. Because ISU plays at the FCS level, McKnight will be eligible to play in 2018.
Including this upcoming season, the lineman will have three years of eligibility remaining.
The announcement from ISU comes a little over a week after McKnight decided to transfer from Iowa.
McKnight was a three-star member of Iowa’s 2016 recruiting class. In large part because of a knee injury that cost him the entire 2017 season, the defensive lineman never played a down for the Hawkeyes.
Another of the handful of Clemson defensive linemen who have transferred thus far this offseason could be close to finding a new home.
Reports surfaced Tuesday that Josh Belk will be visiting a pair of SEC schools this week — Georgia and South Carolina. The latter will play host to the ex-Tigers lineman on Wednesday, the former a day later on Thursday.
Belk was a four-star member of Clemson’s 2018 recruiting class. Because he enrolled early and attended classes, he’ll be forced to sit out the 2018 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules. Beginning with the 2019 season, the South Carolina would have four years to play four seasons.
In the middle of last week, Belk announced his decision to transfer from the Tigers.
In addition to Belk, three other Tigers defensive linemen have transferred this offseason. In late January, Jabril Johnson opted to leave Clemson and ultimately ended up at West Virginia; two weeks later, Sterling Johnson took to Twitter to announce his transfer before moving on to Coastal Carolina this month. Quaven Ferguson, arrested for armed robbery in March, had announced his transfer as well prior to that off-field incident.