Report: LSU backup QB Stephen Rivers will transfer

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The father of LSU backup quarterback Stephen Rivers told the Baton Rouge Advocate on Wednesday that his son has decided to transfer from the Tigers’ program.

The rising junior was slated to compete for the starting quarterback spot this spring, but he appears to be the odd man out of a five-man competition that will reportedly place a heavy focus on mobility and the read option. The 6-foot-7, 225-pound Rivers is a traditional drop-back passer.

LSU has given Rivers the clearance to transfer anywhere he likes. He’ll be eligible to compete right away since he’ll graduate in May.

As of right now, sophomore Anthony Jennings and freshman Brandon Harris are the favorites to replace the graduated Zach Mettenberger as the starter for the Tigers. They’ll be challenged by redshirt freshman Hayden Rettig and Penn State senior transfer Rob Bolden.

The most interesting news to glean from this report, besides the transfer, is that LSU is apparently moving away from its traditional pro-style scheme in favor of an offense that allows its quarterback to attack defenses with his feet as well as with his arm. That could merely be due to the personnel available on the roster, or it could be a sign that Tigers OC Cam Cameron is getting back to the offense he ran as head coach at Indiana back in the late 1990s, featuring the exciting Antwaan Randle El.

If LSU starts running a dynamic spread option offense to go with its usual stout defense, look out.

 

Four-star 2017 signee Damion Barber set to leave Penn State via the transfer portal

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For the first time since early April, Penn State has taken a hit from the football portal.

At that time, wide receiver Mac Hippenhammer entered the NCAA transfer database.  Nearly two months later, defensive tackle Damion Barbor signaled his intention to leave the Penn State football team by popping a squat in the portal.

The lineman made the announcement on Twitter.  In a statement addressed to “Nittany nation.”

“Growing up as a kid from Harrisburg it was always a dream to play here at Penn State,” Barbor wrote. “I succeeded that dream and have loved my time here at the university. I want to thank everyone who has supported me through my time here. I made so many friends and countless memories. I also want to give a special thanks to Coach Franklin & the rest of the staff for taking a chance on me and letting me fulfill my dream out of high school.

“That being said, right now I feel as though the best chance for me and my career is to enter the transfer portal and continue my journey. Thank you Nittany Nation and WE ARE!

Now, for what’s seemingly becoming a daily disclaimer when it comes to transfers.

As we’ve stated myriad times in the past, a player can remove his name from the portal and remain at the same school. At this point, though, other programs are permitted to contact a player without receiving permission from his current football program.

NCAA bylaws also permit schools to pull a portal entrant’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered it.

Barber was a four-star member of the Penn State football Class of 2017.  The Harrisburg native was rated as the No. 9 player regardless of position in the state of Pennsylvania.  He was also the No. 13 strongside defensive end in the country.

As a true freshman, Barber took a redshirt.  He then played in 11 games the past two seasons.  Eight of those appearances came a year ago.

Auburn WR Jashawn Sheffield arrested twice in one-week span last month in Georgia

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Thanks to an Auburn football player, it’s a two-for-Tuesday on the arrest front.  And, to clarify, that’s player in the singular.

According to the Montgomery Advertiser, Jashawn Sheffield was arrested May 9 in Georgia on one count of disorderly conduct.  But wait, there’s more.  Exactly one week later, the Tigers wide receiver was arrested in the Peach State yet again, this time “DUI Less Safe.”

Both of those charges, incidentally, are misdemeanors.

No details of what led to either arrest have been released.  As for the DUI charge?  The Advertiser writes that “[i]n the state of Georgia, a ‘DUI Less Safe’ can be charged if a law enforcement officer believes a driver is less safe behind the wheel because of alcohol consumption, even if that person is under a specific blood-alcohol content.”

As a result of the two off-field incidents, though, Sheffield has been indefinitely suspended by the Auburn football program.  AU football players are set to return to campus next week to commence voluntary workouts.  Because of the suspension, the receiver won’t be one of the ones returning.

Sheffield was a four-star member of the Auburn football Class of 2019.  The Georgia native was the No. 28 player in his home state regardless of position.  The 6-1, 183-pound receiver also played in the Under Armour All-America game.

As a true freshman, Sheffield appeared in one game.  He didn’t catch any passes in that lone appearance.  He did, though, rush for 30 yards on a pair of carries.

Because he played in four or fewer games, however, Sheffield was able to take a redshirt for the 2019 campaign.

(Tip O’ the Cap: The Fulmer Cup)

LSU adds first-ever games vs. Grambling, Southern to future schedules

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Amidst these trying times across the country, LSU has made a couple of historic additions to its future football schedules.

Monday, LSU announced that it has added a pair of one-off football games with Grambling and Southern.  LSU will face Southern on Sept. 10, 2022.  Grambling and LSU will then tangle Sept. 9 the following season.  Obviously, both of those will be played at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge.

Both Grambling and Southern are Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the state of Louisiana.  It will mark the first time LSU has ever played either in football.

“This is an incredible opportunity to join our fan bases of these historic Louisiana institutions and championship programs,” athletic director Scott Woodward said in a statement. “These dates will be days to celebrate not only football, but the state of Louisiana and all of our people. It’s time and we are all proud to be a part of it.”

“We are excited to announce our games against Southern and Grambling in the future,” LSU head football coach Ed Orgeron said in his statement. “We have a great relationship with all universities in our state. It is important to LSU to have a great relationship with all of the universities in our state.”

The two games also complete LSU’s nonconference schedules for both seasons.  In addition to Southern, LSU will face Florida State (Sept. 4, New Orleans), New Mexico (Sept. 24) and UAB (Sept. 28) in 2022.  The following year, its Florida State (Sept. 3, Orlando), Army (Oct. 21) and Georgia State (Nov. 18) joining Grambling.

Report: Two Marshall football players test positive for COVID-19, are in isolation

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It appears Marshall will serve as a guinea pig for the rest of the college football world.

Monday, Marshall announced that three individuals — two student-athletes and one university employee — tested positive for coronavirus.  It was subsequently reported that the two student-athletes are Marshall football players.  According to the school, none of the three cases are related.

All three, incidentally, are asymptomatic.  None of the names are being released by the university.

Ahead of the return to campus, the individuals were tested for the virus.  All three are, per university protocol, now in isolation.  Their close contacts are being identified and instructed to follow appropriate protocols, including quarantine or self-isolation, the university stated.

Below are some of the guidelines being followed by the university:

  • All student-athletes arriving on campus are in mandatory self-isolation for one week;
  • Following the completion of the self-isolation period, all student-athletes are tested for COVID-19 and must return a confirmed negative result before being allowed out of self-isolation;
  • All Athletic Department employees who come in close contact with student-athletes are being tested; and
  • Any student-athlete returning a positive test is required to quarantine and follow positive test guidelines. A student-athlete who tests positive will be required to secure a negative test before completing the quarantine period.

“It shows that what you are doing is working,” said Marshall athletic director Mike Hamrick. “If a positive comes up, we’ve caught it and we can quarantine them. Everyone else was negative and what we set out to do with our testing is working. I think that’s the positive thing about it. You want to know. That’s why you test.”