Ex-Irish corner Tee Shepard commits to Miss. St.

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A football odyssey that began in Northern California and continued (briefly) in the Midwest has culminated with a landing in the Deep South.

Just a couple of days ahead of National Signing Day, Tee Shepard confirmed to Rivals.com that he has committed to continuing his FBS playing career at Mississippi State.  Shepard had played at Holmes Community College in 2013.

I told them I’m a Dawg,” Shepard told the recruiting service. “They’re all excited. The players, the coaches and everybody are just excited. It’s crazy. The coaches were telling me all week about the same two things: football and academics. That’s what I’m happy about. Everybody is just excited right now.”

Shepard opted for the Bulldogs over, among others, Ole Miss, USC and Washington.

The Irish announced back in March of 2012 that Shepard was no longer enrolled at the school, two months after he enrolled as an early signee as part of Notre Dame’s 2012 recruiting class.  The stated reason for Shepard’s decision at the time was the desire to be back closer to his family in Fresno.

After leaving South Bend, Shepard considered transferring to Fresno State as well as USC.

Shepard, a four- or five-star player depending on the recruiting service, was rated as the No. 4 corner in the country in the Class of 2012 and the No. 11 player at any position in the state of California by Rivals.com.

QB Matt Fink enters transfer database, but leaves door open for return to USC

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With JT Daniels firmly entrenched (?) as Clay Helton‘s starter under center, this is far from a surprising development.

Speaking to Kyle Bonagura of ESPN.com, Matt Fink confirmed that he has decided to place his name into the NCAA transfer database in the first step of what will likely be a move on from USC — maybe.  In his post, Bonagura wrote that “Fink said he will complete his degree in communications from USC in early July and would be open to staying at the school if a better option doesn’t materialize.”

Should Fink leave — that still seems like the likely outcome regardless of any doors being left cracked — the quarterback would be eligible to play immediately at another FBS school.  He’d also have another year of eligibility that could be used the following season.

A three-star 2016 signee, Fink completed 13-of-18 pass attempts for 89 yards and a touchdown in seven career games.  The California product also ran for 106 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.

With Fink potentially out of the picture, the Trojans would enter the summer with three scholarship quarterbacks — the incumbent Daniels, redshirt sophomore Jack Sears and true freshman Kedon Slovis, an early enrollee.  While the true sophomore Daniels is the favorite to maintain the job, Sears opened some eyes this spring and could make some noise once summer camp kicks off.

A&M AD Scott Woodward officially named to same post at LSU

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The beloved Ed Orgeron notwithstanding, you can officially fire up the Jimbo-back-to-the-bayou rumor mill.

Wednesday evening, LSU confirmed that Joe Alleva would be “transitioning” from his role as athletic director to that of special assistant to the president for donor relations.  Almost immediately, speculation centered on Texas A&M’s Scott Woodward as a potential, or even likely, replacement; Thursday morning, the university announced that Woodward would indeed succeed Alleva as athletic director.

“We are happy to welcome a fellow Tiger back home,” said LSU president F. King Alexander in a statement. “Scott brings a strong track record of winning championships, graduating student-athletes and building an infrastructure for future achievement. His leadership will take us into a new era for Tiger Athletics.”

Woodward graduated from LSU and served as director of external affairs at his alma mater from 2000-04, a tenure that in part coincided with Jimbo Fisher‘s seven-year run as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the football Tigers.  In December of 2017, Woodward hired Fisher as the Aggies’ head football coach.

The most interesting aspect fo the Woodward-Fisher dynamic? Fisher’s contract with A&M contains no buyout, which means he could leave College Station for another job and not owe a single copper Lincoln to the university.

Woodward, who spent the past four years at A&M, will be formally introduced at a press conference next Tuesday.

“Returning home to the LSU family to lead the department of athletics is incredibly humbling and exciting,” Woodward said. “The state university has been a part of my life for more than five decades, and I know – and I embrace – the high expectations of Tiger Nation. We will win championships and we will do it the right way, representing LSU with pride and dignity every step of the way. I want to thank President Alexander for the opportunity of a lifetime and I cannot wait to get started. Geaux Tigers!”

 

Texas Tech adds two more grad transfers

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It’s been a busy last few days, both incoming and outgoing, for Texas Tech and new head football coach Matt Wells on the transfer front.

Tuesday, quarterback McLane Carter announced that he has decided to take his leave of Lubbock and continue his collegiate playing career elsewhere.  The same day, however, Tech confirmed the addition of Penn State graduate transfer defensive back Zech McPhearson.

A day later, the roster Christmas continued for Wells as Tech announced that they have added two more graduate transfers — linebacker Evan Rambo of Cal and running back Armand Shyne of Utah.  As is the case with McPhearson, Rambo and Shyne will be eligible to play immediately in 2019.

McPhearson will have two years of eligibility remaining counting this season, Shyne one.  If Rambo’s appeal to the NCAA for a sixth season is successful — he missed all but four games in 2016 because of a season-ending injury before missing all of 2017 with an injury sustained in the spring — he’ll have two as well.

This past season, Shyne’s 513 yards rushing and five touchdowns on the ground were both second on the Utes.  Shyne will finish his time in Salt Lake City with 885 yards and nine touchdowns on 198 carries.

Rambo played in 22 games during his stint with the Golden Bears, starting five of those contests.

WR Brandon Benson tweets decision to transfer from SMU

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Back in January, it was reported that Brandon Benson had become one of the myriad players to place their names into the NCAA transfer database this offseason, signaling a potential move on from SMU. A couple of months later, the wide receiver has made the divorce official.

Utilizing his personal Twitter account, Benson announced in a tweet that, “after praying and talking to my family, I have decided to transfer from SMU to continue my football and academic careers.”

A three-star 2016 signee, only two members of the Mustangs’ class that year were rated higher than Benson. Despite that pedigree, Benson played in just 10 games (one start) in his three seasons with the AAC school, catching one pass for 72 yards and a touchdown. That scoring play came as a redshirt freshman in 2017 against FCS Stephen F. Austin.