Jameis Winston makes NFL move officially official

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While his dad spilled the goods earlier today, Jameis Winston has made it official.

In a press release sent out by Florida State, both the player and his head coach confirmed that the 2013 Heisman winner is leaving his remaining two years of collegiate eligibility on the table and making himself available for the 2015 NFL draft. While labeling it “a blessing” to coach him, head coach Jimbo Fisher also described the quarterback as “one of the unique players that I’ve ever had the privilege to coach.”

For the Winston detractors in the audience, and there are quite a few, the remainder of Fisher’s statement will induce some level of angst given the off-field controversies that have swirled around the player during his three years in Tallahassee.

“He embodies what you as a coach want as a person, a student and a player. He’s a genuine and honest guy,” Fisher’s statement continued. “He’s one of the greatest players in Florida State history. I want to thank him for the way he represented himself and the organization in so many tough situations and the professionalism in which he handled the ability to be such a great teammate to his teammates and always put them and the program above himself. That’s a very unique ability to be able to do especially at his age.

“I’d like to thank his family. They’re great people and it was a blessing that they came into our lives. I have nothing but respect for everything Jameis stands for, what he is and what he will do in the future. He’s truly one of the most special guys that I’ve had the privilege to be able to coach and I can’t thank him enough for the contributions to our family at Florida State.”

Winston leaves the Seminoles with a Heisman among the handful of awards he earned for his sensational 2013 season, as well as a BCS title ring from the same season. He also left a legacy that’s among the most convoluted thanks to, right or wrong, issues outside of his performance on the playing field.

Below is Winston’s statement, in its entirety:

“Dear Seminole Nation,

“After weighing this decision with my family and friends, I have decided to declare for the 2015 NFL Draft and forgo my remaining eligibility at Florida State. I reached this very difficult decision after careful consideration and long thought, realizing how difficult it would be to say goodbye to my family at Florida State. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to wear the garnet and gold and have greatly enjoyed my time as a Seminole, both as an athlete and a student in the classroom.

“I will always take pride in leading our team back to national prominence and am confident that my returning teammates will continue the success for many years to come. To the fans, I can’t thank you enough for the support you showed me and the team over the last three seasons; it was a humbling experience to bring the Championship back to Tallahassee for you all to enjoy. To my teammates, it’s been an incredible opportunity to play with the most impressive collection of talent and people the game has seen; you all have been there for me through the highs and lows and the relationships we have formed extend well beyond the field. For this, I thank you. To the coaching staff and especially Coach Fisher, I am forever grateful for the ways you developed me as a player and a person as I have grown over the years. I knew I made the right decision to come to Florida State four years ago and couldn’t be happier with this choice as I write this today.

“As I embark on the next challenge of playing in the NFL, I look forward to contributing to a long line of successful alumni at the next level. I want you all to know that I will make Seminole Nation proud and continue to bring the passion and love for the game you all have seen in Doak Campbell since my first day as a ‘Nole. Thank you for making my time in Tallahassee some of the best years of my life.”

Oregon State adds second Power Five transfer WR, this one from Florida State

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A personnel loss for Florida State will apparently be a gain for the Oregon State football program.

Last month, Tre'Shaun Harrison placed his name into the NCAA transfer database. This past week, it was reported that Harrison has been added to the OSU student directory.

According to Oregon Live, “Harrison and his mom took a visit to Corvallis from January 3-5 and the trip left him encouraged about a future with the Beavers.”

As of yet, the Oregon State football program has not addressed any roster development involving Harrison. Barring the unexpected, the receiver will have to sit out the 2020 season. That would then leave him with two years of eligibility starting in 2021.

A four-star 2018 signee, Harrison was rated as the No. 2 player at any position in the state of Washington. Harrison was originally committed to Oregon before flipping and following Willie Taggart to FSU.

In 2019, Harrison caught 27 passes for 289 yards and two touchdowns.  He was third on the Seminoles in both catches and yards.

Harrison is the second Power Five wide receiver transfer added by the Oregon State football program this month. After opting to leave Washington, Trey Lowe ultimately moved on and transferred to OSU. Like Harrison, Lowe will have to sit out the upcoming season.

After announcing move to Baylor, Temple transfer TE Kenny Yeboah flips to Ole Miss

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A couple of weeks ahead of National Signing Day for high schoolers, the Ole Miss football program is the beneficiary of a different type of flip.

In late December, Kenny Yeboah announced on Twitter that he would be transferring from Temple to Baylor. Three weeks after that, however, Matt Rhule took the head job with the Carolina Panthers, and was quickly replaced by LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda late last week.

Coincidentally or not, Yeboah utilized the same social media website a day after Aranda was confirmed as Rhule’s replacement to announce that he has decommitted from Baylor and instead plans to sign with the Ole Miss football team. The tight end would be coming to the Rebels as a graduate transfer.

“With ALOT… of thought and prayer.  And talking it over with my parents, thinking deeply about my decision,” Yeboah wrote in his post. “We have concluded that I should decommit from Baylor [U]niversity. …

“After much thought and prayer. I have decided to earn my [master’s] in Health Promotions at Ole Miss University to play for Coach Lane Kiffin and his great staff.  I know this is a great opportunity for me. …

“I can’t wait to begin my new journey and grind with my teammates.”

For what it’s worth, Ole Miss hasn’t yet officially announced Yeboah’s addition to the roster.

A two-star 2016 signee, the 6-5, 240-pound Yeboah took a redshirt as a true freshman with the Owls. His head coach that season? Matt Rhule.

The past three years, Yeboah caught 47 passes for 538 yards and six touchdowns. In 2019, he set career-highs in receptions (19), receiving yards (233) and receiving touchdowns (five).

With two in a mid-November win over Tulane, the Allentown, Penn., product became the first tight end in school history with a multi-touchdown game.

Alabama transfer Scott Lashley headed to Mississippi State

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If you had the Alabama Crimson Tide football team in the “Next FBS School Featured in a Portal Post” lottery, collect your winnings. And if you had him staying in the SEC West as well?  Play the lottery.

An Alabama Crimson Tide football official confirmed this weekend that Scott Lashley was officially listed in the NCAA transfer database. Subsequent to that, it was reported that Lashley had already decided to transfer to Mississippi State.

According to 247Sports.com, Lashley is expected to begin classes at MSU this coming week.

Lashley graduated from Alabama last month. That will give the 6-7, 307-pound offensive tackle immediate eligibility at Mississippi State.  The upcoming season will be his final year of eligibility.

A four-star 2016 signee, Lashley was rated as the No. 20 offensive tackle in the country and the No. 8 player regardless of position in the state of Mississippi. The past three seasons, Lashley appeared in a total of 19 games.

Eight of those appearances for Lashley came at right tackle in 2019. Earlier this month, the Tide’s starting right tackle, Jedrick Wills Jr., announced he was leaving early for the NFL.  It had been expected that Lashley would compete for the starting job vacated by Wills.

Lashley is the second Tide player this month to enter the portal and then quickly move on to another school. Two weeks ago, Jerome Ford signaled his intention to leave Tuscaloosa by entering the database. Last week, the running back moved on to the Cincinnati Bearcats.

Virginia Tech joins Ball State in losing WR Damon Hazelton to transfer

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When it comes to Damon Hazelton, the Virginia Tech football team has some transfer company.

Back in May of 2017, the Virginia Tech football team announced that Ball State transfer wide receiver Damon Hazelton had been officially added to the roster. Three years and two on-field seasons later, however, Hazelton took to Twitter to announce that he will be transferring from the Hokies as well.

“Want to say thank you to Virginia Tech, coaches and community for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this University athletically and earn my degree,” the receiver wrote. “It has been an unbelievable time here. To all my brothers and teammates, I love each and every one of you and know this year will be nothing short of amazing.”

As he indicated in his post, Hazelton will be leaving as a graduate transfer.

After sitting out the 2017 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules, Hazelton led the Hokies in catches (51), yards (802) and touchdowns (eight) in 2018. This past season, he again led the Hokies in receiving touchdowns (eight), while he was second in yards (527) and tied for second in receptions (31).

Including his time at Ball State, Hazelton has totaled 1,834 yards and 20 touchdowns on 133 catches. The 2020 season will be his final year of eligibility.