Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Texas A&M officially welcomes Jimbo Fisher as head coach

12 Comments

After skipping out on his final game at Florida State to be welcomed the following day by a welcoming committee on the airport runway that included the marching band, Jimbo Fisher is now officially the head coach at Texas A&M. The Aggies made the announcement official with a statement Monday morning, confirming a 10-year contract valued at $75 million.

“There are very few places in America that I would have left Florida State for, and Texas A&M is at the top,” Fisher said in a released statement. “I want to thank the great people at Florida State for an incredible opportunity. [Texas A&M] President Michael Young and Scott Woodward have been tremendous in our discussions and I know that we will do great things together. We have everything in place to reach our goal, which is to bring a national title to College Station, and I can’t wait to get started.”

Fisher brings to Texas A&M with him a career coaching record of 83-23 which is highlighted by multiple ACC championships, a BCS national championship, one Heisman Trophy winner (Jameis Winston), and an appearance in the College Football Playoff. Fisher is arguably the biggest hire in school history considering how much success he already had prior to his hiring. But with all of the money being invested in the Texas A&M program from stadium upgrades, facility upgrades, and now the head coach and coaching staff to be assembled, the expectations are as high as they can be in College Station.

Texas A&M has won no more than eight games in each of the past four seasons (the Aggies will need a bowl victory to get an eighth win for a fourth-straight season). For a program that has one season with double-digit victories since 1999, Texas A&M is sending a loud and expensive message they are ready to finally take that next step toward being a national contender. Bringing in Fisher is expected to get Texas A&M past that hurdle, according to Texas A&M Athletics Director Scott Woodward.

“When we set out to find a new leader of our proud football program, we set our sights high,” Woodward said in a released statement. “Jimbo is among the best football coaches in America and a perfect fit for A&M. His experience in the Southeastern Conference; his knowledge of the game; his recruiting acumen, and his management skills will allow him to achieve the highest levels of success when matched with what A&M offers.”

Fisher is not expected to coach the Aggies in the Belk Bowl as the Aggies take on Wake Forest. However, Fisher can bring his insight to the table after playing Wake Forest in ACC Atlantic Division play during his time at Florida State.

Nation’s leading kick returner sidelined by torn ACL

Getty Images
Leave a comment

One of the most electrifying special teams players in the country won’t see the field again until 2019.

South Florida’s Terrence Horne has been diagnosed with a torn ACL and will miss the remainder of the 2018 season, the football program has confirmed.  The freshman wide receiver suffered the injury during practice in the week leading up to this past Saturday’s win over East Carolina.

“You hate to lose a player, because he had worked so hard. Not only is he a good football player, he’s an unbelievable young man. Always has a smile on his face, would do anything you ask him to do,” head coach Charlie Strong said by way of the Tampa Bay Times. “That one kind of hurt us.”

Horne currently leads the FBS level in kick return average at an even 47 yards per.  In Week 1, he tied an NCAA single-game record by returning a pair of kicks for touchdowns.

Syracuse’s starting TE out definitely due to injury

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Ahead of a matchup of undefeated ACC teams, one of them has taken a hit to its passing attack.

After Syracuse pushed its record to a perfect 4-0 with a Week 4 win over UConn, head coach Dino Babers revealed that Ravian Pierce will be sidelined indefinitely because of an unspecified lower-body injury.  The starting tight end missed the non-conference win over the Huskies because of the issue.

At this point, it’s unclear when the injury took place.

“It’s really kind of disappointing, it kind of snuck up on us,” the head coach said by way of the Syracuse Post-Standard. “He’s such a tough guy. We don’t know exactly when it happened.”

In three games this season, all starts, the senior had caught six passes for 56 yards and a pair of touchdowns.  In starting nine games last season, the 6-3, 237-pound Pierce’s four receiving touchdowns were tied for second on the team.

Syracuse will travel to unbeaten and second-ranked Clemson this weekend.

Spinal condition forces Northwestern’s leading rusher to retire

Duke at Northwestern
Getty Images
1 Comment

Harsh and decidedly unexpected news coming out of Evanston Monday afternoon will have a significant impact on Northwestern’s football team moving forward.

The football program confirmed earlier today that Jeremy Larkin will be forced to retire from the game of football as a result of a recent diagnosis of cervical stenosis.  The good news is that the condition is not considered life-threatening even as it precludes any future participation in the sport.

Obviously, the sophomore running back’s decision to retire, which came as the football program was coming off its one bye weekend of the season, is effective immediately.

“Football has been a lifelong passion and it has been a process to reconcile the fact I won’t be on that field again, given I’ve played this game since I was five years old,” said Larkin in a statement. “I’m extremely appreciative of the Northwestern sports medicine and athletic training staffs for uncovering this condition, and for my coaches and the medical staff for always putting my health first. I came to this University to engage at the absolute highest level on the field and in the classroom, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue one of those while supporting my teammates from the sideline.”

“This is heartbreaking because I see every day how much Jeremy loves the game, loves his teammates, and loves to compete,” head football coach Pat Fitzgerald. “But this is the absolute best possible outcome for him. The discovery of this condition allowed Jeremy and his family to make an informed decision for his long-term health and well-being. For those of us who have known Jeremy Larkin since his high school days, his future is exceptionally bright. I can’t wait to see the impact he makes in our world.”

Through three games, Larkin’s 346 yards rushing were easily tops on the Wildcats.  In fact, Larkin currently accounts for an astounding 98.6 percent of the Wildcats’ 351 rushing yards as a team.  Additionally, he has five of their seven rushing touchdowns on the season.

Northwestern will open up Big Ten play this weekend as they host No. 14 Michigan.

Virginia Tech QB Josh Jackson set for surgery, out indefinitely

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Virginia Tech’s embarrassing weekend came with a rather substantial personnel loss.

This past Saturday, starting quarterback Josh Jackson went down with a lower-leg injury in then-No. 13 Tech’s historic loss to Old Dominion; it was the Conference USA program’s first-ever win over a Power Five school after nine straight such losses over the last decade.

Monday, the Hokies’ worst fears were realized as Justin Fuente confirmed that Jackson suffered a fractured left fibula during the game and will be sidelined indefinitely.  The signal-caller is set to undergo surgery on Tuesday to repair the damage.

This season prior to the injury, Jackson completed a little over 62 percent of his 58 passes for 575 yards, five touchdowns and an interception.  His 170.3 pass efficiency rating is currently 18th nationally and second among ACC quarterbacks (Boston College’s Anthony Brown, 175.5).

With Jackson sidelined for the foreseeable future, the keys to Tech’s offense will be handed off to Ryan Willis.  The Kansas transfer had to sit out the 2017 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules, and has attempted 25 passes for the Hokies this season.  In that limited action thus far, he has thrown for 195 yards and a touchdown.

The good news is that Willis isn’t exactly new to the starting game at the collegiate level.

Willis started two games during the 2016 season; after throwing three interceptions in each of those mid-October starts, Willis was benched and never played another down for the Jayhawks. In his first season in Lawrence in 2015, Willis set a KU freshman record by throwing for 1,719 yards and nine touchdowns as part of his eight starts.

“I feel badly for Josh,” Fuente said in comments distributed by the school earlier today. “He’s a competitive, tough young man. He just kind of got landed on wrong on the play, but know he’ll come back better than ever.

“We turn to Ryan Willis and he performed pretty well last week when he went in there. He’s competitive and he’s been training and working for this opportunity and it’s up to everyone else to step up their game as well and help him out and support him.”