SMU great Eric Dickerson grabs flamethrower, torches Mustangs

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It’s been a rough last couple of days on the Hilltop.

Monday, June Jones abruptly and unexpected stepped down as SMU’s head coach. A day later, the Mustangs lost starting quarterback Neal Burcham to a season-ending right (throwing) elbow injury. That same day, one of the greatest players in the program’s history broke out a flamethrower to torch what’s left of the 0-2 team.

During an interview with KRLD Tuesday, Eric Dickerson, the Hall of Fame former SMU running back, was asked about the recruitment of Ricky Seal-Jones. The current Texas A&M wide receiver is a cousin of Dickerson and picked the relative’s brain when SMU showed interest a couple of years ago.

Dickerson’s response is not exactly something you’ll see in a recruiting brochure for the program at any point in the future.

“When he was getting recruited, he told me SMU had sent him a letter and asked me ‘do you want me to take a visit?'” Dickerson said. “I said no, do not take a visit. Don’t even waste your time going there. I didn’t want him going there. For what? It’s just a waste of time. I wanted him to have an experience in college with football that he really enjoyed like I had like when I went to SMU. He wouldn’t have that there. He’s at the right school at Texas A&M.”

That one will leave a mark. Dickerson, though, didn’t stop there. Here are some of his other choice comments on his alma mater, courtesy of a pair of Dallas Morning News blog posts that can be viewed in their entirety HERE and HERE:

On the state of SMU
“It’s a shame that my university has gone 10 steps backwards. It’s hard for me and all the players that went to SMU. A lot of guys that played in my era still feel like they are not welcomed there because of what happened. I could care less if I go to another football game, but when I do, I want my university to be competitive.”

On the talent level at SMU
“It’s nothing against those kids because those kids are give their all, but I guarantee you there are some high schools around the country that could beat them. There is no doubt. They don’t have the talent to compete with Baylor or Texas A&M. They would get killed.”

On if it’s too late for SMU to compete with Power Five conferences
“I think we had a shot, but it’s gone. I really do believe it’s gone. It’s like Texas and Alabama, those are big schools you can’t compete with. At one point, they were going to join the Big East. If I’m the Big East, if I’m the Big 12 or the Pac-10, I would look at SMU and ask ‘what do you have to offer us?’ You have 3,000 people that come to your football games. You’re winning maybe five games a year. What’s the appeal for us to want to split $12 million? There is no attraction. Yes, you are in Dallas, Texas, but that’s all you have. You can’t even compete.”

Dickerson also defended Jones… by bringing race into the equation.

“In some instances there, I didn’t think they did enough to help the students get in,” Dickerson said in response to the question of what the university was doing to hold Jones back. “Recruiting is right there in Dallas. I mean, you have to make the students and their parents feel like they’re welcome. I’m talking about black athletes to come play at the university.”

Regardless of what exactly Dickerson meant by that, it’s not a good situation for a football program when an icon like him comes out and tears the team to shreds so publicly. It’ll be interesting to see who takes over for Jones, although one of his first tasks to accomplish is already known: mend the fences with former players in general and Dickerson specifically.

Oh, and getting a new coach with Texas ties wouldn’t hurt. Chad Morris, anyone?

(Photo credit: SMU athletics)

Lack of class credits behind eligibility issue as Quintez Cephus returns to football practice at Wisconsin

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Now we officially know the rest of the story. How it will ultimately all play out, though, is decidedly uncertain.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison announced Monday that Quintez Cephus had been reinstated and is again a student in good standing at the school, two weeks after being found not guilty on a pair of sexual assault charges and almost immediately seeking reinstatement.  Initially, there was some uncertainty when it came to the wide receiver’s status with the football team; in a statement released a few hours after the reinstatement affirmation, UW confirmed that Cephus had indeed rejoined the Badgers team.

The school did note in that release, though, that they “are working through eligibility issues before he can participate in a game.” Wednesday, the same day Cephus returned to practice with the rest of his Badger teammates, Paul Chryst expounded on the eligibility issue, telling reporters that it revolves around the lack of class credits, which stemmed from his expulsion from the school before the spring semester this year ended.

At this point, whether the credit issue can be successfully navigated before the Badgers’ open the 2019 season the weekend after next remains to be seen.

Two days after very loudly proclaiming his innocence and announcing he was taking a leave of absence from the Wisconsin football team, Cephus was charged in late August of last year with felony sexual assault of an intoxicated victim and felony sexual assault.  The criminal complaint filed against him stated that he allegedly “sexually assaulted two drunken women at once in the bedroom of his apartment in April” of 2018.

It took a jury of his peers less than 45 minutes to acquit him on both of those counts earlier this month.

Cephus was initially suspended by the Badgers football program before being expelled by the university last semester.  In October of last year, Cephus sued the University of Wisconsin-Madison in U.S. District Court, claiming that the school violated his constitutional rights.  That suit was dropped in March of this year.

In 2017, and despite missing the last five games because of a broken leg, Cephus led the run-centric Badgers in receiving touchdowns with six and yards per catch at 16.7.  His 501 receiving yards were good for second, while his 30 receptions were third on the team.  Because of the off-field situation that led to the suspension, Cephus didn’t play at all in 2018.

Including this season, Cephus has two years of eligibility he can use.

RB who transferred from UTEP to Georgia Southern this offseason reverses course, returns to Miners

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Who says you can’t go home again, even in the same offseason?

Joshua Fields left UTEP earlier this offseason and, in June of this year, enrolled in classes at Georgia Southern as he was set to continue his collegiate playing career with the Eagles. It was also reported that the running back would seek a waiver from the NCAA that would grant him immediate eligibility at the Sun Belt Conference school.

Fast-forward two months, though, and it’s now being reported that Fields has decided to reverse course and return to the Miners. That development came a couple of days after the Eagles confirmed in a statement that Fields was no longer a part of the program.

Joshua left the team early in camp. We wish him the best of luck moving forward.

According to the El Paso Times, Fields initially left the Miners because of a family member’s health issue, “but those circumstances changed and now he is back with his family in El Paso.” The Times also reports that Fields should be eligible to play for UTEP this season, presumably because he never attended classes at GSU despite enrolling at the university.

Clarification on his status could come as early as Thursday.

In 2017, Fields’ 362 yards rushing (on 89 carries) were tops on the Miners. According to the school at the time, 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.

Braden White named prestigious 12th Man at Texas A&M

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The 12th Man is a big, big deal at Texas A&M. In fact, it’s pretty much the brand of not just the football program, but the entire athletics department. Case in point, A&M’s athletics department website is 12thman.com.

For the uninitiated, in 1922 the Aggies found themselves short of players in a football game against Center College, the No. 1 team in the country at the time, after multiple players sustained injuries over the course of the game. Down to just 11 players, A&M student E. King Gill volunteered to suit up and stand on the sidelines in case the team needed him. Gill now has a statue outside of Kyle Field, and A&M’s student section is collectively referred to as the 12th Man.

As such, it’s a tremendous honor for an active Aggie player to be awarded the No. 12 and, after fullback Cullen Gillaspia donned the jersey for a record-tying 39 games, it’s time to hand it off to a new player.

On Tuesday, Jimbo Fisher awarded the No. 12 jersey to Braden White, a walk-on linebacker from Florence, Ala.

“I’m honored just to be able to represent this great university and everything about it,” White said. “It’s a true blessing.”

White is a redshirt junior who has checked all the boxes of a player who checks all the 12th Man boxes. He was named Defensive Scout Team MVP during his redshirt year of 2016 and was honored as the Top Conditioned Athlete at the Aggies’ 2018 team banquet. He has appeared in 18 career games, recording 16 career tackles playing primarily as a special teams contributor.

White will wear No. 12 for the first time next when Texas A&M — ranked, ironically, No. 12 in the preseason AP poll — hosts Texas State next Thursday night (8:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network).

UConn begins building out independent schedules with BC home-and-home

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Until they tell us otherwise, Connecticut is going to try to make it as an FBS independent. This upcoming season will be the Huskies’ final one as a member of the American Athletic Conference, as the Huskies’ Olympic sports will return to the Big East and the football team will go it alone.

This will require lots (and lots and lots) of scheduling work, and quickly. As of now, the Huskies have four games on the schedule for a season that begins 12 months from now.

While it does nothing to help the 2020 slate, UConn began chipping away at the mountain in front of it on Wednesday by announcing a home-and-home with Boston College. The first game will be Oct. 29, 2022 in Storrs, with the return game going down Oct. 28, 2023 in Chestnut Hill.

The two programs have met 14 times previously; BC leads the series 12-0-2. The Eagles took the most recent meeting 39-16 in 2017.

Additionally, BC announced a 2023-28 home-and-home with Army and a Sept. 9, 2023 home game with Holy Cross.