Jerry Jones, wife donate $10.65 million to Arkansas athletics

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A rather famous former Arkansas Razorback student-athlete is giving back to the athletic department in general and the football program in particular.

Wednesday morning, UA announced that Jerry Jones and his wife, Gene, have donated $10.65 million to Razorback Athletics.  Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, was an offensive lineman on UA’s national championship team in 1964, the first and only in the program’s history.

“The University of Arkansas is a special place and has meant so much to me and our entire family,” Jones said in a statement. “We are honored to have the opportunity to give back to an institution, an athletics program and a state that has been such an instrumental part of our lives. My experiences at the University of Arkansas as a student-athlete under the legendary Coach Frank Broyles helped shape me as a man and guide me on my future career path. I would not be where I am today without those life lessons learned as a student-athlete at the University of Arkansas.

“Today under the leadership of Jeff Long, the Razorback program continues to provide those opportunities to young men and women competing for the University of Arkansas. I hope that in some way our gift can help provide the same transformational experience to all those student-athletes who choose to become Arkansas Razorbacks.”

Wild Band of Razorbacks monumentA portion of Jones’ eight-figure gift will be utilized for what’s described as “a Wild Band of Razorbacks monument to establish a permanent tribute” to that title-winning team. The monument “will consist of six Razorbacks, accented by custom lighting and water features… will be approximately 20 feet high and 30 feet wide, with bronze Razorback hogs six feet tall and 12 to 14 feet long.”

The six Razorbacks will symbolize “individual characteristics indicative of the University of Arkansas and the Razorback Nation – Passion, Courage, Victory, Integrity, Unity and a Relentless Nature.”

In addition to the monument, the gift will support football team locker room at the Fred W. Smith Football Center; the soon-to-be-completed Student-Athlete Success Center; and the entrance lobby of the Student-Athlete Success Center.

“We are grateful to the Jones family for their extraordinary gift which will directly benefit the development of Razorback student-athletes for many years to come,” athletic director Jeff Long said. “It is only fitting that the Jones family, which is committed to the ideals of higher education and has been so deeply intertwined with the University of Arkansas for decades, is an integral part of the most impactful intercollegiate athletics’ facility we will have on campus. The Jerry and Gene Jones Family Student-Athlete Success Center will serve as inspiration to all current and future Razorback student-athletes, reminding them of the limitless opportunities available when they combine a degree from a nationally respected institution with the invaluable experiences gained through competing in intercollegiate athletics at the University of Arkansas.”

(Photo credit: Arkansas athletics)

Miami’s Evidence Njoku tweets decision to enter transfer portal

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Following a standout career at Miami, David Njoku was a first-round pick of the Cleveland Browns in the 2018 NFL Draft.  Njoku’s younger brother had hoped to follow in his footsteps at The U, but, as it turns out, that won’t be the case.

On his personal Twitter account Monday afternoon, Evidence Njoku announced that, “after Deep Thought And Discussion I Have Decided To Enter The Transfer Portal To Furthermore Continue My Athletic And Academic Career.” The tight end gave no specific reason for his decision.

“He’s a good young man,” Miami head coach Manny Diaz said. “We wish him well wherever he ends up.”

Njoku was a three-star member of the Hurricanes’ 2017 recruiting class who came to The U as a wide receiver before converting to tight end.  After playing in eight games as a redshirt freshman last season, he had played in just one game thus far in 2019.

The 6-6, 226-pound New Jersey native finishes the Hurricanes portion of his collegiate p[laying career with just one catch for 11 yards, with that coming in the last year’s regular-season finale against Pitt.

Florida announces future home-and-home with Arizona State

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With the 2019 regular season rapidly drawing to a close, Florida has dropped some future scheduling news on the masses.

Early Tuesday afternoon, Florida confirmed that it has agreed to a future home-and-home series with Arizona State.  The Gators will travel to Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe in 2028, with the Sun Devils making the trek to The Swamp in Gainesville in 2031.

The 2028 game will be played on Sept. 16, while the backend of the series will be played either Sept. 6 or 13 of 2031.

That first matchup in 2028 will mark the first-ever meeting between the football programs.

Arizona State last played at the home of an SEC school in 2009, a 20-17 loss to Georgia in Athens.  Florida’s last trip to a Pac-12 school was a 1983 tie with USC.  The Gators last played host to a school from that conference the year before, with the Trojans serving as the opponent once again.

Wake Forest loses ACC’s leader in receiving yards, touchdowns to season-ending injury

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Wake Forest lost much more than a football game this past Saturday.

In the fourth quarter of the Week 11 loss to Virginia Tech that, along with Clemson’s win later that night, cost Wake any shot at the ACC Atlantic championship, Sage Surratt went down with some type of upper-body injury and didn’t return.  Tuesday, during his weekly press conference, head coach Dave Clawson confirmed that the redshirt sophomore wide receiver will miss the remainder of the 2019 season because of the injury, which he again declined to specify.

Clawson added that Surratt will undergo surgery to repair the unspecified damage.

Surratt’s 1,001 receiving yards and 11 receiving touchdowns are the most of any player in the ACC, and are good for fifth and tied for fifth, respectively, at the FBS level.  His 66 receptions are second only to Pitt’s Maurice Ffrench‘s 75 in the conference.

In addition to this Saturday’s game against No. 5 Clemson, Surratt will miss regular-season games against Duke and Syracuse as well as whichever bowl at which Wake lands.

Chase Young to continue practicing with team as Ohio State awaits resolution on NCAA issue

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When it comes to the Chase Young situation at Ohio State, the football program is still in wait-and-see mode.

Top-ranked Ohio State confirmed last Friday morning that star defensive end Chase Young would not be playing in this Saturday’s game against Maryland.  Per the school, Young will be sidelined for the foreseeable future “due to a possible NCAA issue from 2018 that the Department of Athletics is looking into.”  On his personal Twitter account, Young acknowledged he had “made a mistake last year by accepting a loan from a family friend” that he “repaid… in full last summer.” It was subsequently reported that the loan was used to pay for airfare for Young’s family — or, more specifically, his girlfriend — so they could see him play in January’s Rose Bowl against Washington.

On ESPN‘s College GameDay a day later, Kirk Herbstreit, a former Buckeyes quarterback, stated that, because of the amount of money involved, Young will be slotted for a four-game suspension.  The university will appeal that initial number and it’s expected that the suspension will be knocked down to “two games, maybe three games,” Herbstreit stated, adding, “it won’t stay at four.”

In the three days since, there’s been no update on Young’s status as OSU prepares for this weekend’s in-season conference scrimmage against Rutgers.  During his press conference Tuesday, Ryan Day indicated that there is no new information on Young’s availability moving forward.  Per the head coach, the lineman will continue to practice with his Buckeyes teammates as if he will play against the Scarlet Knights in Piscataway Saturday, even as there is no guarantee he will.

Aside from individual statistics, Young’s availability for Rutgers is inconsequential.  With back-to-back games against No. 4 (for now) Penn State and No. 14 Michigan after RU, though, Young being on the field will be of the utmost importance for playing-minded Ohio State.

As part of Herbstreit’s Saturday report, the college football analyst stated that “OSU expects to hear an answer from the NCAA on the appeal next week.” It should be noted that OSU has pushed back against the accuracy of Herbstreit’s report, specifically that the four-game suspension angle.

Despite missing this past weekend’s game, a blowout win over the Terps, Young still leads the nation in sacks (13½) and sacks per game (1.69).  The junior, widely expected be one of the first players selected in the 2020 NFL Draft if he does the expected and foregoes his remaining eligibility, is also third nationally in tackles per loss per game (1.9).