LSU avoids its annually massive early-entry defection

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Based on the past couple of years, LSU has to be feeling pretty good when it comes to players leaving early for the NFL this time around.

In 2013, it was 10 (11 if you count Tyrann Mathieu), and in 2014 it was seven; both of those were tops amongst all FBS programs.  In 2015?  That number is officially three.

At a press conference Friday afternoon, three draft-eligible Tigers — offensive linemen Jerald Hawkins and Vadal Alexander and defensive back Jalen Mills (pictured) — announced that they would be returning to the Tigers for another season. The news is not surprising as all three were expected back, but it’s nonetheless official.

Additionally, tight end Dillon Gordon and linebacker Lamar Louis were a part of a press release from the school that announced the players who were staying.

“These guys handled the decision with maturity,” head coach Les Miles said in a statement. “There are a variety of draft positions represented in this group. What they did was postpone wealth and said that there is more to accomplish. They want to get a degree, play for a championship and raise their draft status. In other words, rather than give the NFL a bargain we are going to go to the senior bowl, get our degree, play for championships for one more year. We are going to command top dollar when we go to the NFL. They are going to make their draft entry the most profitable position that they can be in.

“The decision is certainly not ours. It is theirs. What we do is give them as much information as we can. We have ties to the NFL and we have ties to player personnel people who very comfortably give advice. We turned in our inquiry to the NFL and they returned it with draft positions. We shared those with these guys. This is a personal decision and it’s what is best for them. I’m excited. This group that we return will provide leadership and will be dead in the middle of our success. As we go forward, this is a great reason to believe that we will have a very talented team.”

The three players the Tigers lost to early-entry are linebacker Kwon Alexander, defensive back Jalen Collins and defensive end Danielle Hunter.  One player who flirted with leaving eligibility on the table this year was redshirt sophomore wide receiver Travin Dural, who confirmed in mid-December that he would be returning.

This year’s tally marks the lowest number for the Tigers since 2011.

Miami transfer RB Lorenzo Lingard granted immediate eligibility at Florida

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Florida has officially added immediate help to its football roster.  From an in-state rival, no less.

In December, it was confirmed that Lorenzo Lingard had entered the NCAA transfer database. In early January, Lingard announced on Twitter that he is transferring to Florida and will continue his collegiate playing career with the Gators.  A couple of days later, Florida confirmed the running back’s addition to the football roster.

It was thought that Lingard will have to sit out the 2020 season.  However, Lingard confirmed late this past week that he has been granted a waiver from the NCAA.  That will allow the back to play immediately for the Gators in 2020.  He’ll also have two additional years of eligibility that he can use starting in 2021 as well.

Lingard made the announcement on his personal Twitter account.

“Approved to play this year,” the back wrote. “Best birthday gift ever.”

A five-star member of The U’s 2018 recruiting class, Lorenzo Lingard was rated as the No. 2 running back in the country. He was also the No. 6 player at any position in the state of Florida and the No. 25 recruit overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board. The back was the highest-rated signee in the class that year for the Hurricanes.

A knee injury essentially cost Lingard the last half of his true freshman season. This past year, he appeared in just two games.

During his brief time at Miami, Lingard ran for 136 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries. All of that production came in 2018.

Florida and Miami are not scheduled to play at any point the next three seasons.  They will, though, renew the in-state rivalry in 2024.

College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history, including Texas A&M’s president stating that Texas is ‘not relevant to us anymore’

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The sports world, including college football, has essentially screeched to a halt as countries around the world battle the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there’s a dearth of college football news as spring practices have all but been canceled at every level of the sport. And there’s even some concern that the health issue could have an impact on the 2020 college football campaign.

In that vein, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives that stretch back to 2009 and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on May 31, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this college football hiatus, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: Poppin’ bottles: SEC opens the taps by approving revised alcohol policy for conference stadiums
THE SYNOPSIS: More than half of the 14 conference schools have embraced the concept of alcohol and football on fall afternoons.

2018

THE HEADLINE: Jimbo Fisher still hasn’t signed his 10-year, $75 million contract with Texas A&M
THE SYNOPSIS: This was one of the more odd storylines of the 2018 offseason.  Or any offseason, really.  Three months later pen was put to the contract.  The 10-year, $75 million contract.

2017

THE HEADLINE: Lee Corso inks extension to remain part of ESPN’s College GameDay show
THE SYNOPSIS: A college football institution.  Still.

2014

THE HEADLINE: 2014 Oklahoma State signee now facing five felonies
THE SYNOPSIS: Devon Thomas was, not surprisingly, removed from the roster.

2013

THE HEADLINE: A&M president: Texas is ‘not relevant to us anymore’
THE SYNOPSIS: What I hear when both sides talk about renewing the rivalry? “Blah. Blah. Blah-freaking-blah.

Georgia Southern announces one-year extension for head coach Chad Lunsford

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As Chad Lunsford continues to build the Georgia Southern football team, he’s been afforded some additional security.

Friday, Georgia Southern announced a one-year contract extension for its head football coach.  Lunsford is now signed through 2024.

“My family and I would like to thank Dr. Marrero, Jared Benko and the Athletic Foundation for this contract extension,” Lunsford said in a statement. “Georgia Southern is a special place and we are very proud to be a small part of such an awesome program. We will continue to work hard to help our student-athletes to grow as GS Men. Our program is on the rise and we are excited about the commitment shown to us as well as our commitment to give back to the University and the Athletic Department.”

In October of 2017, Tyson Summers was fired as the Georgia Southern football coach.  Lunsford replaced him on an interim basis.  A month later, Lunsford was named the permanent replacement.

GSU went 2-10 that 2017 season.  In the two years since, the Eagles have gone 17-9.  Included in that was a 10-win 2018 season.  During that campaign, the program claimed its first-ever bowl win as an FBS program.

“Chad Lunsford’s management of our football program, from developing young men of character to coaching them on the field, has been exceptional,” said athletic director Jared Benko. “He is a leader that is committed to doing things the right way. Chad represents our institution and state with great pride – both on and off the field. We look forward to his continued leadership of our football program.”

Former Alabama five-star signee Antonio Alfano has left Colorado, too

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A high-profile addition to the Colorado football roster is apparently no more.

Antonio Alfano was suspended by the Colorado football team in early March for unspecified violations of team rules.  Two months later, it’s been confirmed by a Colorado football official that Alfano is no longer a member of the Buffaloes.  In fact, the defensive lineman is no longer even enrolled at the Pac-12 school.

No reason for the divorce was given.

On his personal Twitter account in early November, Alfano announced that he officially decided to move on from Alabama to Colorado.  Alfano’s decision came shortly after taking a visit to the CU campus, and nearly a month after officially entering the NCAA transfer database.

This week’s development was the latest in what’s been a series of headlines for one of the top recruits in the Class of 2019.  And not necessarily positive headlines.  To say the least.

Alfano was suspended for unspecified reasons and didn’t dress for Alabama’s Week 2 home opener against New Mexico State.  Not long after, Nick Saban added a bit of mystery to Alfano’s status when he stated that the highly-touted defensive lineman has “kind of disappeared a little bit” before launching into an oral dissertation about failing to confront and learn from one’s mistakes.

On Twitter in mid-September of 2019, Alfano’s parents stated that, in large part because of an ailing grandmother, their son “has not attended classes or practices” for an unspecified period of time.  Against their wishes, the parents also confirmed that Alfano was entering the transfer database, although at the time it wasn’t yet official.

Saban offered up an update a couple of days after the family’s social-media statement in which the head coach, very bluntly, stated that the defensive lineman had basically quit the team as he hadn’t shown up for football-related activities, classes or counseling for unspecified issues.  The player wasn’t responding to attempts by the team to contact him, either, Saban added.

During summer camp last year, Alfano missed a couple of practices for what were described as personal reasons but ultimately returned to the team.  Even before the suspension, the lineman didn’t play in the season opener against Duke.

A five-star 2019 signee, Alfano was rated as the No. 1 strongside defensive end in the country; the No. 1 player at any position in the state of New Jersey; and the No. 5 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board.  He was the highest-rated Crimson Tide signee during this most recent cycle.

One final note: Alfano went to three different high schools in four years.  Which means, in less than six years, he’s been part of five different football programs.

The next buyer, beware.