Four-star Roquan Smith spurns UCLA, stays home in Georgia


In the end, the alleged dishonesty seemingly cost UCLA a highly-touted and highly-talented recruit.

After more than a week’s worth of drama on multiple fronts, Roquan Smith announced via social media Friday morning that he will be playing his collegiate football at the University of Georgia.  The decision to stay in his home state comes nine days after the star linebacker announced in a public ceremony that he was committing to play his college football at UCLA.  A short time later, however, it was reported that Smith was wavering on his decision; not so coincidentally, around that time reports began to surface that UCLA’s defensive coordinator, Jeff Ulbrich, was ticketed for a job with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons.

Smith’s Macon County high school coach, Larry Harold, confirmed his former player’s decision in a text message to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The prodigal son stays home!” Harold wrote. “Roquan Smith signs grant-in-aid papers to attend UGA!”

That text also confirms that Smith declined to sign a National Letter of Intent with UGA, which some believe could be the start of a nationwide trend moving forward, especially for elite recruits.

The drama notwithstanding, the Bulldogs will be getting themselves a player armed with an impressive recruiting résumé.  A four-star recruit according to, Smith was rated as the No. 6 outside linebacker in the country; the No. 9 player at any position in the state of Georgia; and the No. 77 player overall.

In addition to UGA and UCLA, Smith’s other finalists were Michigan and Texas A&M.

Another Holy War defection: Devin Kaufusi transfers from BYU to Utah

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Back in February, Devonta'e Henry-Cole moved from the Utah side of the Holy War rivalry to the BYU side. Two months later, we’ve had another Holy War flip, although this time it’s to Utah from BYU.

Last month, Devin Kaufusi decided to transfer from the Cougars. Wednesday, the defensive lineman utilized Twitter to announce that he will be transferring to the rival Utes.

“Pleased to announce that I have officially committed to the University of Utah,” Kaufusi wrote. “There I will further my football career and education.”

Kaufusi ended the tweet with a “UTAH MAN AM I.”

The Kaufusi surname is certainly a familiar surname around the BYU football program. Kaufusi’s older brothers, Bronson and Corbin, played for the Cougars. Their father, Steve Kaufusi, both played and coached at the football independent.

The younger Kaufusi was a three-star member of BYU’s 2015 recruiting class. He was the No. 17 player regardless of position in the state of Utah. Shortly after signing with BYU, however, Kaufusi embarked on a two-year mission in Europe for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The past two seasons, Kaufusi played in 25 games for the Cougars. The 6-7, 257-pound lineman started three of those. Two of the starts came in 2018, one this past season.

Commissioner Bob Bowlsby, Big 12 staff taking 10-percent pay cut

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The Big 12 isn’t immune to the financial difficulties created by the coronavirus pandemic.

On the first day of this month, Iowa State announced a one-year reduction in pay and bonuses for all of its coaches.  Athletic directors at Oregon (HERE) and Wyoming (HERE) are taking cuts in pay.  Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott, who reportedly made north of $5 million a year ago, is taking a 20-percent pay cut.

Thursday, Scott’s Big 12 counterpart, Bob Bowlsby, confirmed that he will be taking a 10-percent cut in pay through the end of this year.  That pay cut will also apply to the other staff in the conference’s office.  The commissioner also highlighted other cost-saving initiatives the league will undertake.

“We’ve eliminated all year-end bonuses and are formulating a reduced scope of operation plan that saves quite a bit of money, but we’re a relatively small operation,” Bowlsby stated. “Most of our resources are passed through to our members.”

Related to the financial ramifications of the pandemic, Bowlsby also expressed concern about “whether or not we can have a full and robust season.”

“Virtually every program is highly reliant on football revenue,” the commissioner told “We’re making lots of contingency plans, but if you don’t get the anticipated number of games in, you lose the donations, you lose the sponsorships, you lose the gate receipts and you lose the TV. It’s potentially very impactful.”

At this point, it’s decidedly uncertain — unless you’re Dabo Swinney or Mike Gundy — when the 2020 college football season will start.  Or if it will even start.  There’s chatter that it could start in October, although one Bay Area health official doesn’t expect sports to return until at least Thanksgiving.  January has been floated as a possibility as well.  So has the spring of next year.

The only certainty in all of this is that everyone involved in the sport will go to extreme lengths to ensure that a season is played in some form or fashion.

Florida, Michigan, Ole Miss among 20-plus schools to contact Mississippi State transfer who didn’t take kindly to Mike Leach tweet

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Suffice to say, there’s a significant market for one soon-to-be-former Mississippi State football player.

In the wake of first-year head coach Mike Leach‘s much-discussed tweet, Fabien Lovett announced that he would be transferring out of the Mississippi State football program.  The defensive lineman’s father subsequently confirmed that the tweet played a role in his son’s decision.

Speaking to, Lovett stated that he has been in contact with more than 20 schools since he tweeted he was entering the portal.  Among the Power Five programs who have reached out include Florida, Florida State, Michigan, Oregon, Ole Miss and Tennessee.  Houston is also a school with which Lovett confirmed contact.

Schools are now permitted to contact prospective transfers without receiving permission from the player’s current school.

At this point, it’s unclear when Lovett will make a decision.  Or to where he will transfer.  It should be noted that, during his first recruitment, he took official visits to Florida and Ole Miss.

Lovett did allow that he would prefer to make visits before he decides on a new college football home.  Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the NCAA has banned all in-person recruiting until at least May 31.  That would preclude Lovett from making a visit, official or otherwise, until June 1 at the earliest.

It’s thought that Lovett would have to sit out the 2020 season if he moves to another FBS program.  However, he is expected to file an appeal for an immediate eligibility waiver.  It’s believed that he will use the Leach tweet as the basis for his appeal.

Lovett was a three-star 2018 signee.  He was rated as the No. 7 player regardless of position in the state of Mississippi.

The past two seasons, Lovett appeared in 15 games.  13 of those appearances came in 2019.  A year ago, the defensive end was credited with 19 tackles, 2½ tackles for loss and a sack.

Because he appeared in four or fewer games in 2018, Lovett was able to take a redshirt for that season.  Depending on how the waiver appeal turns out, Lovett would have either three years of eligibility starting in 2020 or two starting in 2021.

Baylor DE transfer Deonte Williams commits to Florida State

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A loss for Baylor will turn into a gain for the Florida State football program.

Earlier this offseason, Deonte Williams signaled his intention to leave Waco by entering the NCAA transfer database. Monday, Williams indicated on Twitter that he received a scholarship offer from FSU. Two days later, on the same social media service, the defensive end announced that he has committed to the Florida State football team.

Williams has a familial connection to Florida State as his father, Alphonso, played his college football for the Seminoles. His father played with Odell Haggins, the longtime FSU assistant who was retained by new head coach Mike Norvell.

During the 2018 season, Williams suffered a significant fracture in his arm. Williams sat out the 2019 season after “[m]e and my dad decided to take the medical DQ to have time to think about my future moving forward,” he told A few months later, he entered the portal.

A three-star 2016 signee, Williams was rated as the No. 37 outside linebacker in the country. The Plano, Tex., product took a redshirt as a true freshman. He started four of the nine games in which he played in 2017, then played in the first seven games the following season before the arm injury in a game against Texas.

Nov. 3, Florida State announced that Willie Taggart was out as the program’s head football coach. A month later, Norvell was hired away from Memphis as Taggart’s replacement.

Including Williams, Norvell has added five Power Five transfers since he arrived at FSU, which is coming off back-to-back sub-.500 seasons for the first time since 1975-76.