HS coach suggests a Spurrier-Swinney rasslin’ match

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When it comes to words, neither South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier nor Clemson’s Dabo Swinney are shy about lobbing shots at one another — especially the Ol’ Ball Coach.  Earlier this year, the two coaches tossed jabs at the other program following bowl games in which they didn’t even face each other.

While most consider it good-natured ribbing between the head coaches of the in-state rivals, one Atlanta high school football had a unique, tongue-in-cheek suggestion to work out whatever underlying issues there may be between the two.

Wednesday, both Spurrier and Swinney showed up for recruiting visits to North Gwinnett (Ga.) High School at around the same time.  The paths of the two coaches crossed briefly, with Bob Sphire taking full advantage of the situation.

“Dabo was leaving out when Spurrier was coming in, and I stopped them and said, ‘Look, I’ve got a fundraising idea. There’s a 1,000 kids over there in the cafeteria right now for lunch. We’re going to go over and wrestle, and I’m going to charge admission,'” the North Gwinnett coach said according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “They just smiled and laughed. They talked to each other for a little bit. I told Coach Spurrier that I get a kick out of his little digs, the way he stirs everybody up.”

Despite the age difference — Spurrier’s 68, Swinney’s 44 — my money would be on The OBC:

Shirtless Spurrier

Sadly, such a rasslin’ endeavor will likely never take place as the veil has been pulled back to reveal that — dammit — the two do actually like and respect each other despite the myriad barbs tossed about.

“Dabo was in here first, and I was telling him how entertaining those two have been with their quotes back and forth, and their banter. You know, the first thing (Swinney) said was ‘I really like him (Spurrier). We’re really good friends,'” Sphire said. “I will be darned if that wasn’t the first thing that Spurrier told me when I tried to stir it up. He said, ‘I really like Dabo. We’re really good friends.'”

Thanks, Coach Sphire.  Now I remember what it was like when I first learned that Santa Claus was nothing but a bald-faced lie perpetrated by society in general and my parents specifically…

(Tip O’ the Cap: GoGamecocks.com)

UTEP’s leading rusher in 2017 moves on to Georgia Southern

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A key cog in UTEP’s running game the season before last, Joshua Fields has decided to move on from the Miners after he was a less than a key cog the following year.

According to reports coming out of El Paso, Fields will transfer from the Conference USA school and continue his collegiate playing career at Georgia Southern. It’s expected that the running back, who will be a true junior this fall, will seek a waiver that would afford him immediate eligibility.

It’s unclear what specifics the El Paso native will cite in his appeal to the NCAA.

In 2017, Fields’ 362 yards rushing (on 89 carries) were tops on the team. According to the school, Fields was the first true freshman to lead the team in rushing since 2013.

This past season, however, Fields’ production dipped to 57 yards on 31 attempts, which works out to just 1.8 yards per carry. That yards-per-attempt figure was the lowest among all FBS running backs with at least 30 carries last year.

Receiving star of Western Kentucky’s spring game enters NCAA transfer database

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As one of five wide receivers signed as part of Western Kentucky’s 2019 recruiting class, Manny Allen was a breakout star during the Hilltoppers’ spring game earlier this offseason. Now, it appears the receiver is seriously considering plying his football wares elsewhere.

According to 247Sports.com, Allen’s name is now listed in the NCAA transfer database, a move that allows other football programs to contact the player without receiving permission from WKU. Allen, of course, could also pull his name from the portal and remain with the Hilltoppers.

Conversely, the university can pull Allen’s scholarship during the semester in which he entered the portal.

Allen was a three-star member of WKU’s most recent recruiting class who put pen to paper during the December early signing period, which allowed him to participate in spring practice with his new teammates. Prior to signing with WKU, Allen, who at one point was rated as a four-star prospect by 247Sports.com, had committed to Louisville (August of 2017), Nebraska (April of 2017) and USC (January of 2017).

A native of California, Allen was the highest-rated of the five receivers signed by the Hilltoppers this cycle.

During WKU’s spring game, Allen was on the receiving end of a pair of touchdown passes.

Status of Southern Miss’ leading receiver still up in the air

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Whether Southern Miss has a very key cog in its passing attack remains, at least for now, very much undecided.

In late January, it was reported that Quez Watkins had been forced to withdraw from Southern Miss and enroll at a junior college in an effort to get his academic house in order. According to Patrick Magee of the Biloxi Sun Herald, there is some positive news on the Watkins front as he writes that the wide receiver “is back on campus and taking classes at USM this summer.”

Magee adds that, “[i]f the redshirt junior hits all his marks in the classroom, he’ll be ready to take the field for the 2019 season.”

That said, the football program is still awaiting official word on Watkins’ status for the 2019 season, word that may not come until, at its outer reaches, sometime in August.

As a redshirt sophomore last season, Watkins led the Golden Eagles in receptions (72), receiving yards (889) and receiving touchdowns (nine). Watkins’ nine scores accounted for nearly half of the team’s 19 touchdowns through the air.

BREAKING! Baker Mayfield still not a fan of Texas Longhorn football — or UT QB Sam Ehlinger

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We’ve reached that point of the college football offseason where a former college football player spitting vitriol in the general direction of a former college football rival is a prominent part of the news cycle.

Or, put another way: You can take the player out of college football, but you can’t take the rivalry out of the player.

As a Heisman-winning quarterback at Oklahoma, Baker Mayfield went 3-0 as the starter under center against OU’s hated rival Texas. Even after his collegiate career culminated with a Heisman Trophy, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2018 NFL draft wasn’t averse to throwing up a Horns Down gesture at the Longhorns…

In the here and now, Mayfield is set to enter his first full season as the starting quarterback of the Cleveland Browns. Also in the here and now, Mayfield is also/still not averse to teaching impressionable and aspiring young football players the proper permutations of a perfectly-executed Horns Down.

Doubling down on that Horns Down lifestyle a week later, Mayfield, during an interview with a Norman radio station Wednesday, scoffed in the general direction of the “Texas is back” sentiment that surfaced following UT’s win over Georgia in last year’s Sugar Bowl.

“They said that when they beat Notre Dame a couple years ago [in 2016] and they won two or three games after that. I’m sick of that crap,” Mayfield, a Lake Travis High School product, said, before going on to excoriate UT starting quarterback Sam Ehlinger, a product of Lake Travis rival Westlake who has been a previous target of the Heisman winner’s jabs.

“He couldn’t even beat Lake Travis, so I don’t really care. His opinion on anything winning [doesn’t matter],” Mayfield said of Ehlinger during the interview. “Westlake is a great program, but the two best quarterbacks to come out of there are Drew Brees and Nick Foles. Sam can stay down there in Texas.”

“That will stir the pot. He doesn’t like me and I hope he knows I don’t like him either,” Mayfield added.

For those keeping score at home, the Ehlinger-led Texas Longhorns will face the Mayfield-less Oklahoma Sooners Oct. 12 in the 115th renewal of the Red River Shootout this season.  That next day, Mayfield’s Cleveland Browns will play host to the Seattle Seahawks, so it’s highly unlikely you’ll see the Horns Down agitator at the State Fair of Texas that weekend.

Probably.