Late commitment to UCLA will add pass rush

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The UCLA Bruins are off to a shaky 2-0 start to the season. Jim Mora‘s squad hasn’t performed to expectations. However, the the Bruins will receive extra help on the defensive side of the football next week.

According to FOX Sports‘ Greg Biggins, Takkarist McKinley, a four-star defensive end recruit from Contra Costa Junior College, committed to the Bruins Thursday. McKinley is eligible to play this season and expected to join the team next week.

“I just signed the scholarship papers and I’m ready to go,” McKinley told Biggins. “I’m very excited to be a Bruin, I’ve liked them for a long time, going back to high school. When I visited over the summer, I just fell in love with the place. I got to tour the campus, see the facilities and the dorms and met some really great people.

“It just felt like home to me and I have a strong comfort level with the players and coaches as well. With UCLA, it’s not just about football, it’s the total package of academics, alumni support and connections after football. I love the area and the program is going in the right direction so it’s a lot of pluses when you pick a school like UCLA.”

The 6-3, 235-pound defensive end was considered a top-notch edge rusher at the JUCO level. McKinley’s presence on the roster should help a stagnant pass rush for the Bruins. UCLA was spoiled by the play of Anthony Barr and Cassius Marsh the past two seasons. They were two of the most dynamic pass-rushers in college football. They’re both playing in the NFL this season, and the Bruins are tied among the worst teams in the NCAA with only one sack through two games.

“UCLA has a need a for a pass rusher and I definitely think he’s talented enough to play at that level right now” Contra Costa coach Alonzo Carter told Biggins. “He’s a special talent and does things you just don’t see. You can’t find players with his size and speed coming off the edge. He’s still injured right now and hasn’t practiced in a few weeks but later in the year, I could see him contributing for them and making an impact.”

McKinley originally committed to the Cal Golden Bears as the part of the 2013 recruiting class, but he didn’t qualify when the NCAA didn’t count two classes he took over the summer. The NCAA corrected the oversight which allowed McKinley to play this fall.

(Picture courtesy of Rivals.com)

Two-game suspensions for Louisiana Tech’s starting QB, star WR

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Suffice to say, Louisiana Tech’s offense will be at less than full strength when it takes the field in Week 12 later on today.

Thursday night, the Tech football program announced that three players, junior wide receiver Adrian Hardy, senior outside linebacker James Jackson and quarterback J’Mar Smith, have been suspended for Friday night’s game against Marshall.  Hardy and Smith will also be suspended for next Saturday’s road game against UAB.

Per the school, all three players were slapped with their respective suspensions because of violations of unspecified athletic department policies.

“This matter is being handled internally,” the program said in a statement. “Neither [head football coach Skip] Holtz nor athletic department officials will address this further.”

Smith is in his third season as Tech’s starting quarterback and has thrown for 2,483 yards, 14 touchdowns and four interceptions in 2019.  Smith will be replaced in the starting lineup by Aaron Allen, who has thrown nine passes this year and will be making the first start of his collegiate career.

Hardy leads the Bulldogs in receiving yards with 482 and is second in receptions with 39.

Tech is in the midst of an eight-game winning streak that has them sitting atop the West Division of Conference USA at a perfect 5-0.  Their only loss came in the season opener against No. 19 Texas.

Report: Florida State no longer considers Bob Stoops a candidate

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It appears you can put this particular piece of drama to bed.

In the days after Willie Taggart was fired as Florida State’s head coach, Bob Stoops‘ name was connected to the opening through various levels of speculation.  At one point, FSU’s athletic director, David Coburn, publicly stated that the current head coach and general manager of the XFL’s Dallas franchise is a candidate for the job; Stoops subsequently stated that “the rumors/reports of him being a candidate for the Florida State job opening are not accurate.”

Nearly two weeks later, and citing two sources familiar with the search, the Tallahassee Democrat is reporting that “Florida State has been in contact with representatives of former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and does not consider him a candidate for its vacant football coach position.”

With the former Oklahoma coach out of the running — if he was even in the running in the first place — FSU could turn its attention to current FBS head coaches such as Memphis’ Mike Norvell, Penn State’s James Franklin and Iowa State’s Matt Campbell.  Interim head coach Odell Haggins is also drawing support from current Seminole football players to take over the job permanently.

Coburn has long maintained that the university is on track to have a replacement in place before the end of November.

Nick Saban says he suspended unnamed Alabama player for Miss. St. game for not going to class

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Let the sleuthing and/or Internet message-board speculating commence in earnest.

Thursday night on his weekly radio show, Nick Saban revealed that he had suspended one of his Alabama football players for this Saturday’s game against Mississippi State in Starkville.  The head coach even gave a specific reason for the suspension — the player didn’t go to class.

What Saban didn’t do?  Divulge the name of the player who has been suspended.

Alabama will be looking to bounce back from its first loss of the season last weekend against a Mississippi State squad that the Crimson Tide has beaten the last 11 times they have played, with the Bulldogs’ last win coming in 2007.  That, of course, was Saban’s first season in Tuscaloosa.

Robert Mathis, Erik Williams part of the Black College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2020

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A handful of the greatest Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) players — and an administrator and coach as well — are set to be honored for their collegiate gridiron exploits.

The Black College Football Hall of Fame on Thursday revealed six individuals who will be a part of its Class of 2020. Four of the inductees are former players — Earl “Air” Harvey (North Carolina Central), James Hunter (Grambling State), Robert Mathis (Alabama A&M) and Erik Williams (Central State).

Joe Taylor, a former coach at FAMU, Hampton, Howard and Virginia Union,  ex-MEAC commissioner Dennis Thomas will be officially inducted next February.

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we congratulate the Class of 2020,” said BCFHOF Co-Founder and 2011 Inductee Doug Williams. “Everyone that has vote to determine the next class understands how difficult it is to only choose six. The Class of 2020 is a great representation of the talent that has come from Historically Black Colleges & Universities.”

Williams, a third-round pick in the 1991 NFL Draft, spent most of his professional career with the Dallas Cowboys, earning first-team All-Pro honors three times as an offensive tackle as well as being a part of three Super Bowl-winning teams.

The year after setting an FCS record with 20 sacks, Mathis was selected in the fifth round of the 2003 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. In his 14 seasons with the Colts, Mathis was named to the Pro Bowl five teams and owns a Super Bowl ring as well.