UPDATE: Irish suspend four, including KeiVarae Russell, DaVaris Daniels

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In the words of noted Irish fan Homer Simpson, “Notre D’oh!”

With speculation bubbling just below the surface for weeks, Bruce Feldman of FOXSports.com reported Friday that four players — wide receiver DaVaris Daniels, linebacker Kendall Moore, cornerback KeiVarae Russell and defensive end Ishaq Williams — have been dismissed from the football program.  According to Feldman as well as Yahoo SportsPat Forde, all four were dismissed amidst academic fraud allegations.

That’s not exactly right.

The school released a statement Friday. It clarified that the students in question have been suspended pending the outcome of an internal investigation. Notre Dame also notified the NCAA of any potential violations.

“Integrity is at the heart of our mission and academic misconduct will not be tolerated at Notre Dame,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., the University’s president. “If the suspected improprieties are proven, we will use the experience to reinforce among our students the importance of honesty in all that they do. We are also examining ways of better conveying to students that they can avail themselves of legitimate academic assistance without resorting to cheating.

“The University is committed to thorough resolution of this matter, consistent with its commitment to academic integrity and adherence to NCAA rules.”

All three of the defensive players are starters or significant contributors, while Daniels is a starter on the other side of the ball, so the suspensions will have a significant and potentially devastating impact on the Irish moving forward.

Russell, a true junior, has started all 26 games during his two years in South Bend. A freshman All-American in 2012, Russell finished fifth in tackles last season, tops among all defensive backs. His work in pass coverage is superb, as evidenced by the fact that he led all Irish players in passes broken up (eight) and passes defensed (nine).

Russell is the only non-senior in the group.

Daniels’ 49 catches for 795 yards and seven touchdowns were all second on the team last season.  He had been ND’s leading returning receiver.

This is not the first bit of academic trouble Daniels has run into recently.  In January of this year, Daniels didn’t enroll in classes for the spring semester due to academic concerns.  He was readmitted in May.

Williams has played in 24 games the past two seasons and is a starter this season, while Russell has played in all 39 games the past three seasons after redshirting as a true freshman.

Everett Golson, who started at quarterback during the Irish’s run to the BCS title game, suspended from the university for cheating on a final exam.  He was reinstated in December of last year after missing the entire 2103 season, and was named the starting quarterback Thursday.

Days after effusively praising UCLA for getting him a sixth season, Justin Murphy announces transfer from Bruins

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Well, this is a tad bit awkward.

In announcing Monday that he had been granted a sixth season of eligibility, Justin Murphy was effusive in his praise of the work put in by the UCLA compliance department. “None of this could’ve been possible if it weren’t for the amazing job done at @UCLACompliance,” the offensive lineman wrote on Twitter. “Thank you for everything y’all do over there, it doesn’t go unnoticed!”

Two days later, however, Murphy took to Twitter again, only this time to announce that he “will be transferring to another university to finish out the last year of my college football career.”

This latest development continues an “interesting” path Murphy’s collegiate career has taken.

In the middle of the 2016 season, Murphy, then at Texas Tech, announced that he was taking a medical retirement because of knee injuries.  In April of 2018, however, Murphy revealed that he would be moving on from Tech to UCLA as a graduate transfer.

Murphy played in the first four games of his first season with the Bruins this year before going down with a knee injury.  That issue kept the lineman sidelined for all but the final two games of the year.

At Tech, Murphy started a total of 12 games — eight at right guard, four at tackle — in a little over two seasons before leaving the Red Raiders midway through the 2016 season.

Mizzou’s Tre Williams still facing felony domestic violence charge

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Over the weekend, Missouri’s Tre Williams was arrested at his off-campus apartment for suspicion of second-degree domestic assault following an incident involving a woman with whom he was having “an intimate relationship.”  Tuesday, the assistant prosecuting attorney of Boone County (MO), Susan Boresi, told multiple media outlets that the charge, a Class D felony, would not be filed against the defensive lineman.

“Additional information came forward that made it impossible to prosecute the case,” Boresi was quoted as saying.

Wednesday night, however, Boresi’s boss, Boone County prosecuting attorney Dan Knight, confirmed in a statement that Williams is still facing a felony domestic violence charge.

“The case involving Tre Williams has not been dismissed,” Knight said. “Because this is a pending case, no further comment will be made by this office at this time. Please refer to (Case.Net) for any updates. A criminal charge is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.”

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch offered up the details of the events leading up to Williams’ arrest:

Williams, 21, was arrested after a verbal argument turned physical early Sunday morning, Columbia Police Department spokesman Jeff Pitts said. Around 1:45 a.m., officers responded to a report of a physical altercation along South Providence Road. The alleged victim, described as an ex-girlfriend by Williams’ mother, Teresa Crews, told police there was a verbal argument with Williams while the victim was driving. Williams became physically aggressive with her in the vehicle, Pitts said. Officers observed physical evidence that supported the claim that the victim gave.

According to the police’s probable cause statement… Williams grabbed the woman’s steering wheel while she was driving to get her to pull over. He also hit her with his forearm and elbow and slapped her on the chest, according to the statement. The woman threw Williams’ phone out the window and when Williams later exited the car, he reached into the driver’s open window and choked the woman with both hands. She then rolled up the window and drove off.

Because Williams was arrested on a felony charge, he was automatically suspended by the football program.

A redshirt sophomore, Williams began the 2018 season as a starting defensive end for the Tigers before losing the job over the last half of the year. Williams’ 2½ sacks are still good for third on the team.

Four-star 2015 lineman Richie Petitbon to transfer from Alabama

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Regardless of the number of stars attached to a name or the recruiting pedigree, sometimes it just doesn’t work out the way you wanted it to.

Case in point: Richie Petitbon.  The touted offensive lineman came to Alabama as a four-star member of the Crimson Tide’s 2015 recruiting class.  Three years later, al.com is reporting, and 247Sports.com is confirming, that the offensive lineman has decided to transfer from Nick Saban‘s football program.

Petitbon is on schedule to graduate from UA this coming May.  If that projected course holds, Petitbon would be able to use his final season of eligibility at another FBS school in 2019.

Coming out of high school in Washington D.C., Petitbon was rated as the No. 5 guard in the country and the No. 62 player overall on 247Sports.com’s composite board.  Only one offensive lineman, fellow guard Lester Cotton, was rated higher than Petitbon in a Tide recruiting class that was the top-ranked class in that cycle.

Injuries cost Petitbon early as, after redshirting his true freshman season, he suffered a torn ACL that kept him out of all but one game in 2016.  He played in three games the following season and then six this year.  His appearances in 2017 came at guard, the ones in 2018 at offensive tackle.

Marquise Brown’s status for Oklahoma-Alabama? ‘Not a definite no, not a definite yes’

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If Oklahoma is to knock off top-ranked and heavily favored Alabama, they’ll need all healthy hands on deck.  Whether that will be the case on the offensive side of the ball remains to be seen.

Marquise Brown went down with an unspecified injury to his lower left leg in the Big 12 championship game win over Texas that pushed OU into the College Football Playoff semifinals. The fourth-quarter injury sidelined Brown for the remainder of the game and saw him leaving the stadium wearing a walking boot.

With a date against the Crimson Tide in the Orange Bowl looming in just over two weeks, the wide receiver’s availability for the Sooners is officially up in the air.

“Still too early,” head coach Lincoln Riley said Wednesday when asked about Brown’s status for the game. “Working through it. It’s not a definite no, not a definite yes. We’re hopeful, but he hasn’t done much to this point.”

Brown currently leads the Sooners in receptions (75) and receiving yards (1,318).  His 10 receiving touchdowns are tied for the team lead.

It’s widely assumed by most that Brown will leave his remaining eligibility on the table and make himself available for the 2019 NFL Draft whenever the Sooners’ season ends.