SEC will try using eight officials on the field

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Perhaps eight is the magic number for the SEC. Earlier this week the conference announced it will stick with an eight-game conference schedule format. Now it appears the conference will experiment with using eight referees on a football field this fall.

According to Jon Solomon of CBSSports.com, the SEC will follow the lead established by the Big 12 last season and test using an eighth official. The new official will be referred to as the center judge and will be located in the offensive backfield, opposite of the referee.

The Big 12 added an eighth official to the crew last season, primarily to help keep the pace of the game moving by spotting the football quicker during a drive. The Big 12 will again use an eighth official in 2014, and other conferences may decide to follow the trend. The NCAA is allowing conferences to make those decisions on a conference-by-conference basis. The SEC will not be using the additional referee with the goal of speeding up the game, but that is not the reason for the additional ref shared by the SEC for now.

“People think we’re putting the eighth official in so we can go even faster (given the ongoing debate about up-tempo offenses),” SEC officiating coordinator Steve Shaw said to CBSSports.com. “That absolutely is not the case. The expectation is the pace of the game, whether it’s seven or eight, will be very consistent across the board.”

The extra official will allow for better officiating around the line of scrimmage in a game that is evolving more toward passing the football down field. Having an extra set of eyes back where the ball is snapped will potentially allow for better enforcement of various rules and perhaps cut down on penalties that really are not penalties, where flags sometimes get thrown as a reaction to the end result of a play that is nowhere near as flagrant as it could have been.

Lawyer up! Tate Martell to seek waiver for immediate eligibility

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If Tate Martell is sidelined for the upcoming season, it won’t be because he didn’t try to force his way onto the field.

Very early Wednesday morning, Martell took to Twitter to announce that he had decided to transfer from Ohio State to Miami.  It was thought that, because of NCAA transfer rules, Martell would have to sit out the 2019 season.

While that may ultimately end up being the case, 247Sports.com is reporting that the quarterback has “lawyered up” and will seek a waiver from the NCAA that would give him immediate eligibility.  And what case will Martell and his lawyer make? “Early indications are that Martell will try to use Ohio State’s sudden coaching change, from Urban Meyer to Ryan Day, as grounds to be immediately eligible,” the website wrote.

Meyer announced his retirement, effective after the Rose Bowl game, on Dec. 4, with the reins handed over to Day, who served as Martell’s position coach for both of his seasons in Columbus and was the Buckeyes’ offensive coordinator/co-offensive coordinator in that span as well.  Why such a situation, when OSU stayed in-house for its new head football coach, would lead the NCAA to grant a waiver is unclear, although 247Sports.com‘s sources stated that Martell has “a better shot than you think” for a successful appeal.

It’s not clear who will be representing Martell as he makes his case in front of the NCAA.  What is clear is that it won’t be Tom Mars, the go-to attorney for such appeals who is representing Justin Fields, the quarterback who transferred from Georgia to Ohio State and triggered Martell’s departure from the Buckeyes.

From a week ago:

If the redshirt freshman Martell wins a waiver, he would eligible to play in 2019 and would compete with N’Kosi Perry, the returning favorite, and Jarren Williams, among others, for the starting job.  If he loses the appeal, he would have two years of eligibility beginning in 2020 that he can use.

FCS school new home for 2017 four-star Texas RB Toneil Carter

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Nearly a month to the day that he announced he was leaving at an FBS program, Toneil Carter announced he’d landed at one at the FCS level.

On Twitter Tuesday, Carter confirmed that he will be continuing his collegiate playing career at Sam Houston State.  On Dec. 14, the running back confirmed on the same social media service that he had decided to transfer from Texas.

Carter was a four-star member of the Longhorns’ 2017 recruiting class, rated as the No. 10 back in the country and the No. 26 player at any position in the state of Texas.  After rushing for 252 yards and three touchdowns on 53 carries as a true freshman, Carter didn’t record a stat in 2018.

As the Bearkats play at the FCS level, Carter will be eligible to play in 2019.  Including this coming season, he’ll have three years of eligibility at his disposal.

K-State transfer QB who committed to UTEP now headed to TCU

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In the end, never mind.  Nothing to see here, at least when it comes to El Paso.

In late December, departing Kansas State quarterback Alex Delton announced via Twitter that he would be transferring to UTEP, whose head coach, Dana Dimel, is a former K-State offensive coordinator.  Tuesday night, however, Delton announced a “change of plans,” confirming via Twitter once again that he has instead decided to continue his collegiate playing career at TCU.

It’s unclear what led to Delton’s about-face on the Miners and decision to move on to the Horned Frogs, who have been considered a potential landing spot for Alabama transfer quarterback Jalen Hurts.

As Delton will join Gary Patterson’s program as a graduate transfer, he’ll be eligible to play immediately for the Horned Frogs in 2019.  The upcoming season will be the dual-threat quarterback’s final year of eligibility.

In four years at K-State, Delton, the MVP of the 2017 Cactus Bowl, started six of the 20 games in which he played.  The Kansas native passed for 1,202 yards and ran for another 734 during his time in Little Manhattan.  He’s also accounted for 16 touchdowns — five passing, 11 rushing.

Transferring Ohio State QB Tate Martell tweets move to Miami

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With the going about to get tough in Columbus, Tate Martell is getting going to South Beach.

Very early Wednesday morning, Martell took to Twitter to announce that he has decided to transfer to Miami.  The move comes roughly six days after reports first surfaced that the quarterback’s name had been entered into the NCAA transfer database.

Martell’s move also comes not long after a high-profile transfer joined the Buckeyes’ quarterback room, a development that, at least publicly, didn’t concern Martell.

In the midst of all of the Justin Fields-to-Ohio State speculation, Martell, the presumptive heir to Dwayne Haskins‘ quarterback throne in Columbus, scoffed at speculation that he would transfer if Fields joined the Buckeyes.

Why would I leave for someone who hasn’t put a single second into this program? I have put two years of literally working my ass into something that I’ve been waiting for and a dream I’ve had my whole life. To just run away from somebody who hasn’t put in a single second in at winter workouts and doesn’t know what the program is all about? There’s not a chance.

Jan. 5, it was confirmed that Fields had transferred from Georgia to OSU.  Five days later, Martell has kicked off the process of high-tailing it out of Columbus to avoid what would’ve been a high-profile competition for the starting job, provided Fields is granted immediate eligibility as expected.

Martell was a four-star member of OSU’s 2017 recruiting class, rated as the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback in the country.  After redshirting as a true freshman, Martell threw for 269 yards and a touchdown on 23-of-28 passing this past season while also running for another 128 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries.

Because of NCAA transfer rules, it’s expected that Martell will have to sit out the 2019 season.  He would then have two years of eligibility remaining beginning with the 2020 season.