Florida State is a mere 30 minutes away from officially avoiding its worst season in over four decades.
In an uneven (to say the least) first half of the Walk-On’s Independence Bowl, a trio of James Blackman touchdown passes proved to be the difference as FSU has taken a 23-6 lead on Southern Miss (8-4) into the halftime locker room. The freshman hit Auden Tate for a 20-yard touchdown pass late in the first quarter to give the Seminoles their first lead of the game, then connected with Cam Akers eight minutes later on a 14-yard catch and run that pushed the lead to seven.
A 29-yard Ricky Aguayo field goal midway through the second pushed the lead to double digits for the first time, while Blackman’s third scoring toss, this one to Tate from 10 yards out just with 1:33 left, accounted for the rest of the scoring in the half
Blackman finished the half completing 10-of-16 passes for 137 yards to go along with the touchdown passes. He also added 27 yards rushing on five carries. Akers, who is seven yards shy of breaking Dalvin Cook‘s school record for single-season rushing yards by a freshman (1,007), led all ball carriers with 71 yards on the ground on nine carries.
The FSU defense held the Southern Miss defense to just 138 yards, with quarterback Kwadra Griggs‘ five-yard run accounting for the Golden Eagles’ only first-half points.
Especially early on, the game had the look of one in which neither team had played in a few weeks.
In the first quarter, Southern Miss was flagged four times for offsides while FSU was hit with a pair of 15-yard penalties, including roughing the punter, that greatly aided the Eagles on an opening drive that ended with a touchdown. Additionally, both teams missed a point after attempt each.
Should the 6-6 Seminoles fail to hold their lead and lose, it would mark the first time since 1976 that FSU finished a season with a sub-.500 record. That year’s ‘Noles team finished 5-6 in Bobby Bowden‘s first season in Tallahassee.
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.