AP Photo/Ben Margot

USC two-sport star Adoree’ Jackson will miss spring practices to focus on Olympics

Leave a comment

USC wide receiver Adoree’ Jackson will not be participating in spring football practices in Los Angeles next year. The two-star athlete instead will be focusing his energy on training for a shot at Olympic glory. USC head coach Clay Helton said his star wide receiver will be given permission to miss spring football so he can train for qualifying in the 2016 Rio Olympics in track and field.

“I’ve always believed that if you’re going to be a master of something, you’ve got to work at it,” Helton told reporters, per ESPN.com. “Don’t be a jack-of-all-trades, be a master of something. He’s been a master at football this season. We said, ‘If you have the opportunity to go to the Olympics, you need to go for that.'”

Jackson finished in fifth place in the NCAA championships in the long jump event and he won the Pac-12 championship long jump event with a jump of 25 feet, three inches. He tacked on eight inches in the NCAA championships. In order to qualify for the Olympics, Jackson will need to extend his distance to the U.S. national team’s minimum qualifying distance of 26 feet, five inches.

Helton is holding true to his word to Jackson during the recruitment process by allowing the multi-talented athlete to compete in track and field in addition to football. It helps that Jackson has little to really prove on the football field. Jackson was a finalist for the Paul Hornung Award as a standout defensive back and wide receiver. The sophomore was second on the team with 382 receiving yards and he added 250 punt return yards and 664 kickoff return yards. He also picked off one pass and returned it 46 yards this season and he had 31 tackles in 13 games for the Trojans.

Ex-Auburn, Miami RB Asa Martin lands at Memphis

Getty Images
Leave a comment

After going from AU to the ACC, tailback Asa Martin is now ticketed for the AAC.

Got that?

Per 247Sports, Martin has apparently enrolled at Memphis for the 2019 season. Per transfer rules he’s sitting out the year either way unless there’s some sort of NCAA waiver involved but it’s still the sophomore’s third school in nine months.

Martin was originally a four-star recruit in the class of 2018 and saw action in five games for the SEC Tigers as a true freshman, rushing for 57 yards all told while catching two passes for 36 yards. He entered the transfer portal in late December though, just after Auburn’s season had concluded.

Eventually Martin found a home at Miami and enrolled in time for spring practice. Perhaps he was not thrilled at the situation because come mid-June the tailback was back in the transfer portal looking for a new program to play with.

We’ll see if this latest move to Memphis sticks because we’ve certainly seen that Martin is no stranger to moving around.

Penn State transfer Tommy Stevens gets the nod as Mississippi State’s starting QB

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Tommy Stevens’ reunion with Joe Moorhead has proven to be a fruitful one.

The Penn State transfer was named the starting quarterback on Thursday by the Mississippi State head coach, ending a camp battle with Keytaon Thompson and others in the bid to replace Nick Fitzgerald under center for the Bulldogs.

Stevens made his way to Starkville rather surprisingly this offseason after spring practice for the Nittany Lions wrapped up. While he was expected to be the heir apparent to Trace McSorley in State College for the 2019 campaign, it seems that a competitive battle with fellow Penn State QB Sean Clifford pushed him to enter the NCAA transfer portal instead.

While some may have questioned the move initially given that Thompson has starting experience at MSU and in Moorhead’s system, things apparently worked out in the end as Stevens takes over for Fitzgerald instead.

A noted dual-threat with the ball in his hands at PSU, Stevens rushed for 118 yards and two touchdowns last year while also passing for 110 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Mississippi State opens the season against Louisiana-Lafayette in New Orleans on Aug. 31 before their home opener against Southern Miss on Sept. 7.

Arkansas inks 2-for-1 series with old rival Tulsa, Golden Hurricane also add LaTech to non-conference slate

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The non-conference scheduling wheel in college continues to roll.

It has been a particularly busy month for Arkansas in terms of lining up future opponents. Hot on the heels of confirming another home-and-home series with Oklahoma State deep into the future, the Razorbacks announced on Thursday that they have agreed to a 2-for-1 series with old, old rival Tulsa over the next decade.

The Razorbacks will host the Golden Hurricane in Fayetteville on Nov. 21, 2026 and Sept. 1, 2029. The return trip to Tulsa is set for Sept. 4, 2027.

The regional rivals were old foes back in the day and have met 73 times over the years. Arkansas won 23-0 last season in their most recent meeting and will make their first trip to Northwest Oklahoma since 1952 when that 2027 date rolls around.

The Golden Hurricane also had some additional scheduling news from earlier in the week when they announced a home-and-home with ex-CUSA foe Louisiana Tech. The old conference rivals will meet in Ruston on Sept. 21, 2024 and then play a return game the following year on Sept. 27, 2025 at Tulsa’s H.A. Chapman Stadium.

Virginia Tech confirms Ryan Willis will start vs. Boston College

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Justin Fuente is sticking with what works.

On Thursday, the Virginia Tech head coach confirmed to reporters at a press conference that senior Ryan Willis has kept the starting job and will be QB1 for the team when they open against Boston College in Week 1.

Willis took over early last season when previous starter Josh Jackson suffered a broken leg against Old Dominion. The latter wound up transferring to Maryland while Willis, a transfer himself from Kansas, threw for 2,716 yards, 24 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 2018. Though he did keep the Hokies’ bowl streak alive — barely — thanks to a win over rival Virginia in the final week of the regular season, Willis was just 4-6 as a starter overall.

Fuente and company will certainly hope for better play out of the position with another year in the system and can get off to a good start in 2019 with three straight home games against ODU, Furman and Duke following their trip to Chestnut Hill on Aug. 31.