We already knew that wide receiver Calvin Ridley, running back Bo Scarbrough and defensive lineman Da’Ron Payne would be leaving Alabama early, while running back Damien Harris had opted to stay. Thursday, we learned the fate of other draft-eligible Crimson Tide football players.
At what’s become an annual press conference, head coach Nick Saban confirmed that defensive backs Minkah Fitzpatrick and Ronnie Harrison will be leaving the Crimson Tide as well and declaring for the NFL draft. Fitzpatrick is a first-round lock and could be one of the first five taken in the April draft, while Harrison was given a second-round grade.
Fitzpatrick was one of 14 unanimous All-Americans for the 2017 season, and won both the Jim Thorpe and Chuck Bednarik Awards. The multi-talented junior became the third player to claim both awards in the same season, joining Michigan’s Charles Woodson and LSU’s Patrick Peterson.
He also missed the game-winning play in the national championship game because he was using the bathroom.
Harrison was a second-team All-SEC selection in his second season as a starter for the Crimson Tide.
Isaiah Buggs was not at the postseason press conference and Saban did not mention that the defensive lineman was part of the group exiting early. That seemingly means that Buggs will join Harris as draft-eligible players who will return to Tuscaloosa.
It’s not expected that the Tide will lose any additional players, although the official deadline for declaring their intentions to the NFL is Jan. 15.
With the start of the 2019 regular season a little over a week away, Texas Tech has bolstered its defensive secondary with an experienced addition to its roster.
Tuesday evening, Tech confirmed that Ja’Marcus Ingram has joined Matt Wells‘ football program and practiced with the team for the first time earlier in the day. The cornerback began his collegiate career as a walk-on at Utah State before opting to leave the MWC school earlier this offseason.
As Ingram has already graduated from USU, he will be eligible to play immediately for Tech in 2019. Including this coming season, the defensive back will have two years of eligibility remaining.
Ingram started the 10 games as a redshirt freshman in 2017 and then five of the first six games for the Aggies this past season before going down with what turned out to be a season-ending injury.
As noted by the school in its release, Ingram is far from the first grad transfer added by Tech this offseason.
Ingram becomes the sixth graduate transfer to arrive in Lubbock this summer, joining a group that already includes Zech McPhearson (Penn State), Evan Rambo (Cal), Armand Shyne (Utah), RJ Turner (Louisiana-Monroe) and Jackson Tyner (Rice). Of that group, the trio of McPhearson, Rambo and Ingram will all have two years of eligibility remaining.
It doesn’t happen very often, but it does, every once in a great while, play out this way.
Earlier this offseason, redshirt freshman defensive lineman Kurott Garland signaled his intention to leave Tennessee by placing his name into the NCAA transfer database. As we often note, players are not bound to transfer by entering the portal and can instead return to the team.
Tuesday, that rare phenomenon played out as Jeremy Pruitt confirmed that Garland has decided to remain with the Volunteers.
“He was thinking about possibly transferring. We supported him all the way through, and in the end, he decided to come back here,” the head coach said by way of the Knoxville News-Sentinel. “He’s here. We’re excited that he’s here. I think the guy has lots of ability.”
Garland was a three-star member of the Volunteers’ 2018 recruiting class. He played in four games as a true freshman, which allowed him to take a redshirt for the past season.
Prior to his decision to enter the portal, Garland had been in line to see increased playing time as part of the Vols’ defensive line rotation. How that plays out moving forward this season remains to be seen.
It hasn’t been a good month waiver-wise for the Georgia Tech football program.
As we noted Tuesday, the NCAA has already denied immediate-eligibility waivers being sought for Antonneous Clayton and Myles Sims, who transferred to Tech from Florida and Michigan, respectively, this offseason. That same day, Marquez Ezzard took to Twitter to reveal that “[t]he NCAA has decided to not grant my waiver to play at Georgia Tech this season, and I will have to sit out.”
The wide receiver opted to transfer from Miami in January of this year, ultimately landing at Tech the following month.
With the decision, Ezzard will still have three years of eligibility he can use beginning with the 2020 season.
Ezzard was a four-star 2018 signee who played in three games as a true freshman, catching two passes for 24 yards during his brief stint with the Hurricanes.
A rather disturbing story involving a former Power Five quarterback is currently playing out in the state of Tennessee.
According to The Tennessean, Tennessee State quarterback Demry Croft was arrested Monday and charged with six felony counts of rape and two counts of sexual battery. The charges stem from an alleged incident that occurred Dec. 1 of last year and came about after the allegations were presented to a grand jury by the university police department.
Other than the alleged rape wasn’t reported until April 4 of this year, no details surrounding the case have been revealed.
Croft remains a part of the FCS school, with the newspaper writing that “TSU officials would not confirm if Croft has been suspended from the football team.”
Croft began his collegiate playing career at Minnesota, but opted to transfer from the Gophers and ultimately landed at Tennessee State in December of 2017.
During his last season with the Gophers, Croft, who started the last six games of 2017, completed 42 percent of his 122 passes for 674 yards, four touchdowns and seven interceptions. His 87.6 pass efficiency rating is not amongst the top 126 quarterbacks in the country. Perhaps the most noteworthy moment of his Gophers career was posting a negative quarterback rating in a mid-November loss to Northwestern two weeks before he decided to transfer.
Conversely, though, he was good with his feet as his 309 yards rushing and four rushing touchdowns were fourth and third on the team, respectively.
At TSU, Croft started four games before missing the last half of the 2018 season with a shoulder injury. Prior to the off-field issue, Croft had been penciled in as the Tigers’ starting quarterback.