As a personal rule, I never criticize college football players for transferring. These guys have one shot at a college career, and who can fault them for betting on themselves — especially when it’s a quarterback.
That said, Zach Kline‘s path through college football is…. odd.
A four-star prospect out of Danville, Calif., Kline was Rivals’ second-rated pocket passer when he originally committed to Cal way back on Sept. 12, 2010. He signed with the Bears in 2012, took a redshirt and then tossed 82 passes and three touchdowns as a freshman in 2013.
Passed over by true freshman Jared Goff, Kline announced a transfer to Oregon State in December of ’13, then changed his mind in April. He spent the 2014 season at Butte College in California, then the 2015 campaign at Indiana State. Three schools later, Kline’s experience in Terre Haute was similar to Berkeley — three games, 13 total passes.
So now, with one season left to play, Kline is back where he started.
“Zach’s a great kid, popular kid,” Bears head coach Sonny Dykes told the San Francisco Chronicle. “I said, ‘Yeah, we’d love to have you back.'”
Kline re-joined Cal’s roster as a walk-on and must graduate from Cal in May to remain on the roster this fall.
Nearly six years after he originally committed to the program, Kline’s college career may not have turned out the way he envisioned, but a Cal degree is a heck of a parting gift.
Northwestern’s state-of-the-art football facility, literally on the shore of Lake Michigan, is now fully operational, at a low, low cost of $260 million.
The facility has everything — including an actual wild cat.
According to a story by Yahoo‘s Eric Edholm, a stuffed cat was donated to the program by Walter Siemian, the father of former Wildcat quarterback Trevor Siemian. The plan was to originally sell it and use the proceeds to benefit the program, but apparently Pat Fitzgerald saw the cat and fell in love.
Walter Siemian took down the predator — legally, of course — last November, sent the cat of prey in question to a taxidermist and then donated it to the program.
The initial understanding was that it would be sold, with the proceeds benefitting the program. After all, these things draw some serious coin. (One current listing here for a mountain lion, which this mammal appears to be, is going for more than $12,000.) But once Fitzgerald saw it, the story goes, there was no way he was letting it leave.
The cat was staying put. That’s also easy to see why. And it’s now the first thing you see when you enter the coaches’ meeting rooms.
The hope with facilities like these is that the enhanced investment into football will lead to the Northwestern coaching staff singing a different class of recruit, which will in turn allow the program to pair their stuffed mascot with some Big Ten championship trophies.
That’s the hope, at least.
The Los Angeles-to-Champaign pipeline is alive and well.
After landing wide receiver Trevon Sidney and defensive end Oluwole Betiku, Jr., the Fighting Illini have added wide receiver Josh Imatorbhebhe, he announced Monday.
“Transitions are never easy, but the support has definitely helped lighten the load,” Imatorbhebhe, No. 17 above, wrote in an iPhone note posted to his Twitter account. “Without further ado I’m pleased to announce my commitment to…
THE University of Illinois; with a plan to get my Masters (sic) in Strategic Brand Communications.”
A former 4-star recruit in the class of 2016 out of Suwanee, Ga., Imatorbehbhe redshirted in his first year on campus, then caught just two passes in his two seasons on the active roster, with his 2018 season slowed by an ankle injury.
Imatorbehbhe will have two seasons to play immediately for the Illini.
The trend of college football players with the NFL coming into view has become a growing one the last few seasons, but Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence says you won’t have to worry about missing him in a postseason bowl game.
“Sitting out bowl games and stuff, that’ll never be me,” Lawrence said in an interview with ESPN. “You won’t have to worry about writing those stories.”
This quote is nothing new from Lawrence. In March, Lawrence stressed a similar stance with regard to sitting out of college football bowl games to protect NFL draft stock.
From The Athletic‘s Grace Raynor in March:
Asked specifically if he would consider sitting out in an effort to protect his health for an NFL future, the Georgia native answered with two resounding “No’s.” That’s not in the cards, he says.
“Everyone’s talking about that, but I don’t really care about that,” Lawrence said Monday evening in his first public interview since the College Football Playoff.
“It’s definitely not coming from me, all that stuff, so (I’ll) just kind of ignore it. Just keep working.
Of course, there is something that needs to be pointed out here. A large majority of the players choosing to skip bowl games aren’t playing in the College Football Playoff and a national championship. While New Years Six bowl games are high in prestige even if not in the playoff rotation, they simply are not the same as playing in the playoff with a national title in sight.
Lawrence has played for and won the national championship in his freshman season and probably has two more seasons that could see Clemson continue to compete for a playoff spot. If Clemson is in the playoff the next two (or three years), the chances Lawrence skips a bowl game are reduced significantly.
Maybe Lawrence is just confident in Clemson’s ability to make the playoff the next couple of seasons. He’s not wrong though, right?
Dino Babers had Syracuse enjoying a 10-win season for the first time since 2001 last season. Fans of the Orange have had their enthusiasm for the football program rejuvenated and it shows in the season ticket sales this offseason.
According to a report from Syracuse.com, Syracuse has recorded 4,500 more season ticket sales this year than the school saw all of last year. To date, as of Friday, Syracuse has sold 6,800 season tickets for the 2019 season as the total inches closer and closet to a possible school record (8,000).
On top of the increased season ticket sales, Syracuse is also seeing a great retention rate through season ticket renewals. Syracuse has seen over 90 percent of season ticket holders renew their ticket packages for the 2019 season.
Syracuse ended the 2018 season ranked No. 15 in the final AP poll. IT is the highest Syracuse has ended a season in the AP Top 25 since the 2001 season (No. 14). Babers also ended Syracuse’s bowl drought in style by coaching Syracuse to a Camping World Victory in Syracuse’s first bowl game since 2013.
Syracuse opens the 2019 season on the road at Liberty on Aug. 31.