Kaelin Clay takes responsibility for premature TD celebration

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Utah wide receiver Kaelin Clay had 152 receiving yards on five catches against Oregon. He had zero touchdowns in the game.

Clay had a costly DeSean Jackson moment against Oregon last night. After appearing to haul in a 78-yard touchdown pass, Clay instead dropped the football just before crossing the goal line. As he proceeded to celebrate the touchdown, which looked to give Utah a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter, Oregon’s Erick Dargen walked up to the football, sitting at the goal line with the play still live. Dargen picked it up but quickly lost control as a Utah player, seeing what was unfolding, attempted to gain control of the ball. Dargen’s fumble was recovered by Oregon teammate Joe Walker, who then made his way down the left sideline with a handful of blockers. Walker returned the fumble 100 yards and it was Oregon that would celebrate a touchdown on the bizarre sequence.

Clay, who earlier this season struck a Desmond Howard Heisman Trophy pose in Michigan Stadium, took to Twitter to take full responsibility for the play.

That’s good, because there really was nobody else to blame for this one particular bonehead play. Did it ultimately cost Utah a chance to upset Oregon? This is hard to say as the play happened early in the game and Oregon still went on to score enough points to win the game even without the quick 14-point swing.

Just a recommendation to any football player out there. If you want to avoid allowing something like this to happen, it might be a good idea to just hand the football to the official after you think you scored a touchdown. Odds will be much better you just scored a touchdown.

Ohio State adds to top-ranked 2021 recruiting class with five-star RB commit

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In the midst of the growing coronavirus pandemic, Ohio State football announced that it would be shutting down recruiting through April.  Recruits, though, aren’t shutting out Ohio State football.

Still.

March 16, four-star 2021 running back Evan Pryor announced he had committed to playing for Ohio State football.  Less than two weeks later, fellow 2021 running back TreVeyon Henderson announced that he too has committed to the Ohio State football team.

Henderson made his commitment with a video posted to his Twitter account.  And made his commitment without taking a trip to the OSU campus, it should be noted.

In a subsequent conversation with 247Sports.com, Henderson explained his decision for his commitment to Ryan Day‘s football team.

“The people there,” Henderson told the website. “They really care about their players and their futures. They set their players up for good opportunities for life after football and things like that. …

“Everything about them has them as No. 1.  Football program is great, school is great, the coaches are great. Especially (running backs) Coach (Tony) Alford. We got a great relationship, he keeps it real about everything! He’s a really great guy.”

Henderson is a five-star 2021 prospect.  He’s the top-rated player at his position (running back) and his state (Virginia) regardless of position.  On the 247Sports.com composite, he’s the No. 11 player in the country.

Henderson is the second-highest-rated commitment to the Ohio State football Class of 2021.  The only commit rated higher is defensive end Jack Sawyer, who is the No. 3 recruit overall.

That OSU class, incidentally, further solidified its status as tops in the country.  Of the Buckeyes’ 15 commits, three are five-stars and 10 are four-stars.  The next 12 schools have three five-star commits.  Combined.

This Ohio State football class has 280.61 points on the composite.  Clemson is next at 220.98.  Clemson’s average, though, is at 95.59 (10 commits). Ohio State’s, meanwhile, is at 95.34 (15 commits).  Only Texas (94.15) is above 94.

For perspective, just five schools the past 10 years have finished with recruiting classes above 94.  Two of those belong to Ohio State football, including the Class of 2017 that, at 94.59, is the highest-rated in history.

On top of Henderson’s and Pryor’s commitments, Ohio State also got a verbal from Trey Sermon this month.  Unlike the other two, Sermon will be able to help OSU in 2020 as he’s coming in as a graduate transfer from Oklahoma.

SEC to begin allowing virtual instruction next week

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The SEC is about to allow coaches to use remote tools to instruct their players, according to a report from Auburn Undercover on Friday.

Citing a memo sent to SEC athletic departments, Auburn Undercover says the new policy will go into effect beginning on Monday, March 30. According to the memo, coaching staff members will be allowed to provide “technical or tactical instruction” to players. Strength and conditioning coaches may still provide players with specific workouts to do on heir own, but no coaches may observe the players while working out.

In these times, having any kind of chance to interact with players is important, even if it must be done through a computer. It’s better than nothing, after all. And while it may not be a perfect substitute for spring football practices, it at least keeps the lines of communication within the program more open.

As previously reported, Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley was quoted in a radio interview as having a concern about the Big 12 not allowing coaches to make use of their virtual options the way coaches in the ACC have. Riley noted players in the ACC are able to receive video instruction and training gear through the mail. The Big 12 may change their policies in the next week to be more accommodating for coaches and players in a similar fashion to what the SEC is doing.

Texas QB Sam Ehlinger starts online fundraiser for COVID-19 relief

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If there is one good thing to come out of the ongoing health scare in this country, it is the good show of humanity form some of college football’s brightest stars. Inspired by the effort of Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger has decided to launch his own online fundraiser to help those in need.

Lawrence re-launched a GoFundMe campaign with his girlfriend, Marissa Mowry, four days ago after the NCAA decided it would not be cracking down on such efforts during the pandemic. A previous campaign had been shut down quickly out of caution from the Clemson compliance office. Once the NCAA made the decision not to crack down on such efforts, the campaign was reorganized and now serves as inspiration for others like Ehlinger to join the cause. Lawrence thanked the NCAA for not interfering with a frivolous investigation process over the campaign.

“I am dedicated to helping families who have been impacted by the current global crisis, and have created a GoFundMe to raise money to assist organizations that are doing incredible work in my community and nationally including the Boys & Girls Club of America, the Central Texas Food Bank, Austin Pets Alive and more,” Ehlinger said on his GoFundMe campaign’s page.

Ehlinger has a lofty goal for the campaign with a target of $1 million. As of the time of this posting, the campaign has raised over $16,000 since being launched two days ago.

Ehlinger says the campaign has been approved by the Texas Athletics Compliance staff.

Big Ten extends suspension of all team activities through May 4

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Don’t expect any of your favorite Big Ten sports teams to be back in any sort of action in the month of April. On Friday afternoon, the Big Ten announced it will continue suspending all organized team activities through May 4 before re-evaluating the state of affairs in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is an additional measure to the previously announced cancellation of all conference and non-conference competitions through the end of the academic year, including spring sports that compete beyond the academic year,” a statement from the Big Ten said on Friday. “The Conference also has previously announced a moratorium on all on- and off-campus recruiting activities for the foreseeable future.”

As far as football is concerned, that effectively keeps spring football from becoming a possibility around the conference until May, which makes it seem very unlikely any Big Ten school will get any more spring practices in this year. The Big Ten previously suspended all activities until April 6.

It has seemed unlikely spring football will be able to continue in the Big Ten and every other conference for weeks now as the sports world and beyond continues to adhere to updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control have stressed the urgent need to practice social distancing. And with the United States continuing to see more and more cases and deaths from the coronavirus outbreak, college football is far down on the list of priorities right now.

With the loss of so many spring football practices, coaches are working hard to figure out how to best prepare their respective programs for the upcoming 2020 season, assuming there even is one (one notable college football analyst would be shocked if we do see a football season). One idea that has been mentioned as a possibility would be the addition of more practices or activities during the summer, similar to NFL OTAs and minicamps.

But first, let’s just get this virus under control. If that means locking the country down, as Penn State head coach James Franklin would consider, so be it.