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Contract extension assures Kyle Whittingham will remain Mr. Utah


Utah and Kyle Whittingham seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly at this point, and the combo will continue to be tied at the hip for at least a few more years to come. On Friday, Utah announced the school had reached an agreement on a contract extension with the football coach through 2021.

And why wouldn’t Utah want to keep Whittingham happy in Salt Lake City? Whittingham has successfully guided Utah through a transition into a power conference from the Mountain West Conference to the Pac-12 and has come close to guiding the Utes to the Pac-12 championship game but have yet to reach that point. He has been the head coach of the program for 12 years, succeeding former Utah coach Urban Meyer when Meyer accepted a job offer from Florida (of course, Meyer is currently Ohio State’s head coach). Whittingham, a BYU alum, was offered the BYU job at the same time he was offered the job at Utah following Meyer’s departure.

Under Whittingham as head coach, Utah is an impressive 10-1 in postseason bowl games and 104-50 overall/ Whittingham has been a part of the Utah football program since 1994 as a defensive line coach and has established a solid track record of having Utah play some of the toughest defense in the Pac-12. Utah also won a Mountain West Conference championship in 2008 under Whittingham, when the Utes went 13-0 and won the Sugar Bowl and finished second in the nation in the final AP poll (fourth in the coaches poll).

Who knows how things may have changed over the years had Whittingham returned to Provo, Utah to coach the Cougars, who are now a football independent and on their second coach since Whittingham turned them down (Bronco Mendenhall took the BYU job after being an assistant coach with the program, and he now coaches at Virginia; BYU’s head coach is currently Kalani Sitake).

Florida State’s third-leading receiver enters transfer portal

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Just a couple of days after officially taking over at Florida State, Mike Norvell has suffered his first personnel loss.

First reported by SEC Network‘s Cole Cubelic and subsequently confirmed by 247Sports.com and others, Tre'Shaun Harrison has taken the first step in leaving the Seminoles by placing his name into the NCAA transfer database.  As one Alabama player did this week, Harrison could always opt to pull his name from the portal and remain at FSU.

Moving into the portal also gives other schools the opportunity to contact the wide receiver without receiving permission from FSU.

A four-star member of FSU’s 2018 recruiting class, Harrison was rated as the No. 2 player at any position in the state of Washington.

Harrison is currently third on the Seminoles with 289 yards on 27 receptions.  As a true freshman last season, he caught 10 passes for 66 yards and a touchdown, the first of his three scores with the ‘Noles.

Mississippi State RB Kylin Hill declares for draft, will play in Music City Bowl vs. Louisville

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There’s good news and bad news on the early-entry front for Mississippi State.

The bad? As expected, Kylin Hill announced via Twitter Thursday that, “after much prayer and discussion with my family… I will be forgoing my final season of eligibility and entering my name in the 2020 NFL Draft.”

The good? Hill confirmed that he will be playing in the Music City Bowl matchup versus Louisville Dec. 30.

Hill led the Bulldogs and the SEC this past season with 1,347 yards rushing and 10 rushing touchdowns on 235 carries.  He added 17 catches for 174 yards and another touchdown coming out of the backfield.

For his career, Hill totaled 2,474 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground, and another 473 and five through the air.

Joe Burrow wins Associated Press Player of the Year in a landslide

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Come Saturday evening, when the results coming out of New York City are made official, I suspect this won’t be the first time we string the words “Joe Burrow” and “wins in a landslide” in the same sentence.

The Associated Press Thursday announced its College Football Player of the Year and, to the surprise of no one, Burrow claimed yet another piece of postseason hardware.  There were 53 media members who voted for the AP award; 50 of them cast first-place votes for Burrow, helping give the LSU quarterback a total of 156 points.

The senior, who is now viewed by some as the likely No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, currently leads the nation in passing touchdowns with 48 and completion percentage at 77.9 percent; right now, the completion percentage would be an FBS record, surpassing the 76.7 percent put up by Texas’ Colt McCoy in 2008.  The Ohio State transfer is also second in the nation in passing yards (4,715) and passing efficiency (201.5).

Speaking of Ohio State, a pair of Buckeyes, defensive end Chase Young and quarterback Justin Fields, finished well behind Burrow in the voting.  Young, who was the only other player to receive first-place votes, totaled 29 points while Fields totaled 43.  Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts was fourth in the voting.

All four of those players mentioned, incidentally, were named as Heisman Trophy finalists earlier this week.

New USF HC Jeff Scott lands commitment from ex-South Carolina RB

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After a season away, Lavonte Valentine is back at the FBS level.

By way of his personal Twitter account Wednesday, Valentine announced that he has decided to transfer to South Florida and continue his collegiate playing career with the Bulls.  As Valentine, whose transfer from South Carolina was confirmed in August of this year, comes to USF from the NAIA level, he will be eligible to play immediately in 2020.

The move comes a couple of days after Clemson offensive coordinator Jeff Scott was named as the football program’s next head coach.

Coming out of high school in Melbourne, Fla., Valentine was a three-star member of South Carolina’s 2018 recruiting class, rated as the No. 18 all-purpose running back in the country.  In part because of a torn ACL suffered his senior season of high school that caused him to miss spring practice and fall behind on the depth chart, Valentine took a redshirt for his true freshman season.

Valentine did, though, run track for USC this past spring, and he told The State that he will run track and play football at USF.