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Dabo Swinney names a favorite to replace QB Deshaun Watson out of spring game

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One of the bigger storylines in college football heading into the 2017 season is who will replace superstar quarterback Deshaun Watson for defending national champion Clemson. The Tigers wrapped up spring football on Saturday afternoon and head coach Dabo Swinney was not shy in naming a favorite to take over under center but noted that the quarterback competition on the team is far from over.

“If we played a game today, Kelly (Bryant) would be the guy,” Swinney told ESPN after the game. “But we don’t play today. We play in September, and everything counts. I’m pleased with the spring all of them have had.”

A junior next season, Bryant has only seen limited action as one of Watson’s primary backups the past two years but is the favorite to take over in 2017. At 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, he brings plenty of size to the position and is as good, if not better, a runner than his predecessor was. One problem going forward however? Tigernet.com reports that Bryant tore a tendon in his finger during the first series of the spring game and will need to rest it up for the next six weeks or so.

As a result, Bryant’s numbers during Saturday’s outing weren’t exactly what Clemson fans were hoping as he completed just 4 of 13 attempts for 43 yards and an interception.

Despite that type of performance, fellow signal-callers Tucker Israel, redshirt freshman Zerrick Cooper and highly touted early enrollee Hunter Johnson apparently weren’t able to close the gap between themselves and Bryant in Swinney’s eyes. The race to become the starter figures to go through several weeks of fall camp later this year but for right now at least, there’s a leader in the clubhouse among the Tigers’ four options at quarterback.

Cincinnati WR Javan Hawes commits to Arkansas State

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After losing a couple of players to it last month, Arkansas State has gained one from the football portal.

On Twitter last month, Javan Hawes announced that he has committed to the Arkansas State football team.  While he’s committed, he’s not officially been added to the Red Wolves roster.

At this point, it’s unclear if Hawes is leaving as a graduate transfer.  If he is, the wide receiver will have two seasons of eligibility he can start using in 2020.  If he isn’t, he would sit out the upcoming season.  That would leave the Georgia native with one season of eligibility to use in 2021.

Hawes was a three-star member of the Class of 2017 for the Bearcats.  During his three years at UC, Hawes appeared in a total of 22 games.  Just two of those appearances, though, came during the 2019 campaign.

In those appearances, Hawes totaled 102 yards and a touchdown on a dozen receptions.  As the two appearances might suggest, Hawes didn’t record a catch this past season.

In May, a pair of Arkansas State football players, tight end Eugene Minter and defensive back Nathan Page, entered the portal.  The month before that, they also lost William Bradley-King to Ye Olde Portal.  Shortly thereafter, the first-team All-Sun Belt defensive lineman moved to Baylor.

Arkansas State is coming off its sixth-straight postseason game in six years under Blake Anderson.  One of the eight wins ASU had in 2019 was a Camellia Bowl triumph over Florida International.

All told, the Red Wolves haven’t finished with fewer than seven wins since 2010.

Louisiana-Monroe RB Kayin White enters transfer portal

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For the first time in 2020, at CFT at least, we have a portal post related to the Louisiana-Monroe football program.

According to 247Sports.com, Kayin White is set to transfer from the Warhawks.  A Louisiana-Monroe football official subsequently confirmed that the running back is in the NCAA transfer database.

Now, for what’s seemingly becoming a daily disclaimer when it comes to transfers.

As we’ve stated myriad times in the past, a player can remove his name from the portal and remain at the same school. At this point, though, other programs are permitted to contact a player without receiving permission from his current football program.

NCAA bylaws also permit schools to pull a portal entrant’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered it.

White was a two-star member of the ULM Class of 2016.  The Baton Rouge native will be leaving the Sun Belt Conference school as a graduate transfer.  The upcoming season will serve as his final year of eligibility.

White has played in 24 games the past three seasons.  He’s rushed for 320 yards and five touchdowns on 70 carries.  Just six of those attempts and 11 of the yards, though, came in 2019.

The playing time issue likely triggered the portal decision.

Louisiana-Monroe is coming off a 5-7 season in the fourth year under head football coach Matt Viator.   The Warhawks have finished .500 or worse seven straight seasons.  They have played in just one postseason game (2012 Independence Bowl) during their time as an FBS program.

Arizona State punter who declared for draft, signed with agent, went undrafted… granted waiver by NCAA to return to Sun Devils

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Thanks to Arizona State football, we have something never seen before.  Ever (we think).

Back in January, Michael Turk gave up two years of eligibility with Arizona State football to enter the 2020 NFL Draft early.  The punter signed with an agent.  Then promptly went undrafted.

After Turk went undrafted, though, ASU went to the NCAA to seek a waiver that would allow Turk to return to the Sun Devils.  The school’s reasoning?  The coronavirus pandemic cost Turk the opportunity to work out for NFL teams, thus causing his draft stock to plummet.  Not only couldn’t Turk work out privately for NFL teams, but ASU’s Pro Day was canceled because of the pandemic as well.

That tack worked for Turk as it’s now being reported that a special waiver has been granted by the NCAA.  One that should be granted to every player who leaves early and goes undrafted, incidentally.  But that’s another story for another day.

Turk came to Arizona State as a transfer from the junior college ranks as part of its 2018 recruiting class. Turk’s uncle is Matt Turk, the former NFL punter who spent one year of his professional career with a New York Jets team coached by current ASU head coach Herm Edwards.

As a redshirt sophomore this season, Turk was tied for 11th nationally and led the Pac-12 in averaging 46 yards per punt.  For that, he earned first-team all-conference honors.  He was also named as a handful of semifinalists for the 2019 Ray Guy Award.

Turk, though, won’t be handed his old job back without some competition. Last month, Florida State punter Logan Tyler transferred into the Arizona State football program.

As had been the case the previous three years, Tyler served as FSU’s starting punter in the 2019 opener against Boise State.  However, Tyler was involved in an automobile accident back in August and was under investigation by the Tallahassee Police Department for driving under the influence.  Tyler served a two-game suspension in Weeks 2 and 3 in connection to that off-field situation.

While Tyler dressed out for the two games after his suspension ended, walk-on Tommy Martin continued serving as the Seminoles’ primary punter.

Including the one game this season, Tyler has averaged 42.5 yards on his 209 punts during his career, with the average currently fourth in school history. His 82 punts and 3,545 yards in 2018 set a school record.  The Tallahassee Democrat noted that “Tyler currently holds FSU records for the most punt yards in a single game (499 vs. Clemson, 2018)… and punt yards in a single season (3,545).” His 8,879 career punt yards are also second all-time in school history.

Louisiana QB Brayden Hawkins in transfer portal, will be looking for FIFTH college football home in less than three years

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Louisiana is the latest football program to learn that the transfer portal giveth.  But, it taketh as well.

As we noted Tuesday, Arizona State offensive tackle Zach Robertson transferred into the Louisiana football program.  Now, it’s time to note that 247Sports.com is reporting that Brayden Hawkins has entered his name into the NCAA transfer database.

Now, for what’s seemingly becoming a daily disclaimer when it comes to transfers.

As we’ve stated myriad times in the past, a player can remove his name from the portal and remain at the same school. At this point, though, other programs are permitted to contact a player without receiving permission from his current football program.

NCAA bylaws also permit schools to pull a portal entrant’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered it.

Hawkins signed with UTEP in February of 2018.  In late July of that same year, the North Carolina native joined the Maryland football program as a walk-on.  Hawkins then moved on to Northwest Mississippi Community College following the 2018 season.  In May of last year, he joined the Louisiana football program.

Add it all up, and Hawkins’ next stop will be his fifth collegiate home.  In less than three years.  Suffice to say, he’s never thrown a pass at this level of football.

Louisiana football is coming off a school-record 11 wins.  In fact, it’s the first time as an FBS program the Ragin’ Cajuns hit double-digit wins.  Part of that school-record victory total was a win in the Lendingtree Bowl.  Head coach Billy Napier was a candidate for the Baylor opening, but opted to remain with the Sun Belt Conference school.