For those wondering who will be under center for USC when it opens up the 2016 season, your wait is likely almost over.
In the competition to replace Cody Kessler as the Trojans’ starting quarterback, it’s essentially been a two-man race: Max Browne, the presumptive front-runner, and redshirt freshman Sam Darnold. While many an observer had all but given the starting job to the former five-star Browne, Darnold has, by all accounts, closed the gap considerably since the start of spring practice last month.
With the Trojans set to put the finishing touches on practice with the spring game Saturday evening, first-year head coach Clay Helton is set to put the finishing touches on this phase of the quarterback competition shortly thereafter.
“I’m going to let it go through the spring game and then make a decision,” Helton said in comments distributed by the school. “Just being honest, I don’t think there’s a huge gap between the quarterbacks. I want to take it to the spring game, that atmosphere, and see how the guys react.”
Nearly a week ago, Helton acknowledged that “[t]here is a gap and I think obviously Max is in the lead right now.” The fact that Helton now describes the competition as lacking “a huge gap” has led some to rethink the front-runner, although it would still be considered a little more than mildly surprising if the starter exiting the spring is anyone other than Browne.
The last two seasons as Kessler’s primary backup, the redshirt junior Browne completed 11-of-19 passes for 143 yards. Darnold, meanwhile, was a four-star dual-threat quarterback in the Class of 2015 who took a redshirt as a true freshman last season.
This season, USC will open against defending national champion Alabama in Arlington, Tex.
It appears the Oklahoma Sooners football team will have some depth in its linebacking corps pared.
Thursday, it was reported that Levi Draper is entering his name into the NCAA transfer database, the first step in leaving OU. An Oklahoma Sooners football official subsequently confirmed that Draper will be entering the portal.
The linebacker’s time in Norman hasn’t officially come to an end, however, as he could always pull his name from the portal and return.
A four-star member of Oklahoma’s 2017 recruiting class, Draper was rated as the No. 5 inside linebacker in the country and the No. 2 player at any position in the state of Oklahoma. On the 247Sports.com composite, he was the No. 118 prospect overall. Only three signees in the Sooners’ class that year were rated higher than Draper.
Injuries helped lead to Draper take a redshirt as a true freshman. The past two seasons, Draper played in 28 games. Most of that action came on special teams.
When Draper does find a new school, it should be as a graduate transfer. That would then leave him with two years of eligibility to use.
Draper is one of a handful of Sooners who have entered the portal of late. From the school’s student newspaper:
This is the second Sooner linebacker to enter the portal in the last two days, as Ryan Jones reportedly entered it on Wednesday. Along with the two linebackers, wide receiver Mykel Jones, safety Ty DeArman, defensive linemen Coby Tillman and Troy James will all be transferring.
It’s not all attrition at OU, however. Earlier this week, the program confirmed the addition of UCLA transfer wide receiver Theo Howard. The receiver was honorable mention All-Pac-12 in 2018.
Howard graduated from UCLA in December, giving him immediate eligibility at OU this coming season.
The Arizona State football roster is the latest to benefit from a player coming in from a Power Five program.
In early December, Kellen Diesch entered the NCAA transfer database, the first step in a move away from Texas A&M. A month later, Diesch has taken the next step as 247Sports.com has reported that the offensive lineman will transfer to the Arizona State football team.
In fact, the website notes that Diesch is in Tempe and already enrolled in school at ASU.
As a graduate transfer, Diesch will be eligible to play for the Sun Devils immediately in 2020. The upcoming season will serve as his final year of eligibility.
A four-star member of A&M’s 2016 recruiting class, Diesch was rated as the No. 11 offensive tackle in the country and the No. 17 player regardless of position in the state of Texas. The only signee in the Aggies’ class that year rated higher was strongside defensive end Justin Madubuike.
After redshirting as a true freshman, Diesch has played in 21 games the past three years. A dozen of those appearances came this past season.
Despite the recruiting pedigree, the 6-6, 298-pound lineman didn’t start a game for the Aggies.
The NC State football program is the latest to find out first-hand that Jeffrey Gunter may have an issue with commitment.
In January of 2019, Gunter opted to transfer from Coastal Carolina. Three weeks later, he tweeted he was transferring to Syracuse… before deleting the tweet. Two days later, however, Syracuse confirmed the defensive end’s addition to the roster. Feb. 26, though, Gunter reneged on that commitment, tweeting he would no longer be transferring to Syracuse and would instead move on to NC State.
That commitment stuck… for all of 11 months, as it turned out, as 247Sports.com is now reporting that Gunter is listed in the NCAA transfer database
During his one season with the NC State football program, Gunter was the Co-Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year. He had to sit out the 2019 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules.
After totaling 14 tackles for loss and five sacks in 2018, Gunter, a two-star 2017 signee, was named first-team All-Sun Belt Conference.
It’s worth to note that, in Gunter’s winter of decommitment last year, he had also considered moving to either North Carolina or Oregon. Whether those two schools will be in play this time around is unclear.
A former member of the Maryland Terrapins football team is now a former player on yet another team. At least, he’s nearly former.
According to 247Sports.com, Qwuantrezz Knight is now listed in the NCAA transfer database. The defensive back just completed his first season at Kent State.
This past season, Knight led the Golden Flashes in tackles for loss with 10.5. In Kent’s first-ever bowl win this past season, Knight was named as the game’s defensive MVP.
The move is odd, if for nothing more than the struggle Knight went through just to see the field in 2019.
Leaving the Maryland Terrapins football program shortly after head coach DJ Durkin was fired amidst scandal in the midst of the 2018 season, Knight ultimately transferred to Kent State in January of last year. Four months later, Knight filed an appeal with the NCAA for a waiver that would’ve granted him immediate eligibility, a waiver that cited “depression symptoms”; in early June, that initial waiver was denied.
Armed with the ability to appeal the original decision, Knight did as much and it proved successful as the MAC program confirmed in June of last year that the appeal was successful and the waiver granted.
Presumably, Knight will be leaving Kent as a graduate transfer. That would allow him to play immediately at a third FBS school.