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Nyheim Hines leaving NC State early for draft

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For the first time this year, North Carolina State has lost a standout performer early to the NFL.

NC State announced Friday afternoon that running back Nyheim Hines has decided to forego his remaining eligibility and enter the April NFL draft.  Hines made the announcement in a press release issued by the school.

“We appreciate Nyheim’s contributions to the entire athletic program as a multisport athlete,” said head coach Dave Doeren in a statement. “He could’ve played college football anywhere in the country but he chose to stay home and come to NC State. He has made an impact on and off the football field.”

“I would like to thank the coaches for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to play at my dream school,” Hines began in his. “I appreciate everybody at NC State who has helped me along the way. Last, but not least, I want to thank Wolfpack Nation for always supporting me – even in high school – to help make my dream come true. NC State will always be a part of me wherever I am in life, and I will always be drawn back here.”

A first-team All-ACC performer in 2017, Hines was also a finalist for the Paul Hornung Award, given annually to the nation’s most versatile player.  Additionally, as a member of the NC State track team, he was an ACC champion and All-American as the leadoff leg for the 4×100-meter relay team.

Indiana adds Utah transfer QB Jack Tuttle

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Though he sounds like a William Faulkner character, Jack Tuttle is a former Utah Ute and now the newest Indiana Hoosier. Indiana head coach Tom Allen announced the transfer quarterback addition on Monday.

A San Marcos, Calif., native, Tuttle signed with Utah out of Mission Hills High School in 2018 but did not see action for the Utes this fall. The former 4-star recruit opted to transfer, and will sit out the 2019 season and compete for the IU quarterback job in 2020 as a redshirt sophomore.

“Jack Tuttle is a tremendous addition to our program and we are happy to welcome him to IU,” Allen said. “He is extremely talented and brings a huge skillset to our quarterback room. We look forward to his arrival on campus next semester and his development as a Hoosier.”

The Hoosiers were quarterbacked this fall by sophomore Peyton Ramsey. Assuming Ramsey remains healthy and a Hoosier, he would hold the job until his graduation after the 2020 season, meaning it could be 2021 before Tuttle sees the field in a major way for Indiana.

Report: Despite USC hiring, Kliff Kingsbury could be an NFL head coaching target

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One of the more surprising moves of the 2018-19 coaching market, at least to me, was Kliff Kingsbury agreeing to become USC’s offensive coordinator.

The former Texas Tech head coach agreed to the job a week and a half after his firing, knowing Clay Helton could be out of a job after 2019 and before the chance NFL teams could truly inquire about his interest. He’s now officially a USC employee, but that hasn’t stopped NFL teams from sniffing, according to FOX’s Jay Glazer.

In a Sunday morning report, Glazer said NFL teams, in their never-ending hunt to copy whoever won the previous Sunday, are looking for the next next Sean McVay now that the first next McVay, John DeFlilippo, has lost his lost his job as the Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator — and that choice could indeed be Kingsbury.

“Teams were actually looking at his USC contract to see if maybe (they) could lure him before he really starts,” Glazer said.

Kingsbury himself said he drew interest from McVay himself, telling Dan Patrick he was “close” to joining the Rams.

It would be wild for a coach fired for going 35-40 in six seasons at his alma mater to immediately ascend to an NFL head coaching post, but even more wild for a USC offensive coordinator job to be in between those two stops.

Still, it seems incredibly unlikely for that to happen — for obvious reasons.

And if Kingsbury’s USC buyout (which is unknown, due to USC’s status as a private school) keeps him from a possible NFL head coaching job, well, there are worse consolations than living in Los Angeles as Kliff Kingsbury.

NC State hires former Duke, Florida OC as QBs coach

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NC State has hired Kurt Roper as its quarterbacks coach, the program announced Monday. He will replace Eli Drinkwitz, who left to become the head coach at Appalachian State.

The program announced Friday that running backs coach Des Kitchings and wide receivers coach George McDonald will replace Drinkwitz as co-offensive coordinators.

“I’m excited that Des and George will have the opportunity to oversee and develop our offense,” NC State head coach Dave Doeren said Friday. “They have a great working relationship and respect for each other and their familiarity with our offense will provide us with great continuity for our players and recruits.”

Roper arrives in Raleigh after spending the 2018 season as the quarterbacks coach at Colorado, where he was not retained after Mike MacIntyre‘s firing.

David Cutcliffe disciple, this will mark Roper’s fifth job after leaving Cutcliffe’s Duke staff after the 2013 season — where he had held the same job as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the previous six seasons. Roper left Durham to become Florida’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2014, where Will Muschamp was ultimately fired that fall. He found refuge as an offensive analyst for the Cleveland Browns in 2015, then re-united with Muschamp as South Carolina’s co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2016. That lasted only two years, when Roper was told to leave and found employment at Colorado, where he again got in for the final year of an outgoing coaching staff.

“My family and I are thrilled about coming to NC State as a part of Coach Doeren’s staff,” said Roper. “Working for a great coach at a great university with an unbelievable fan base is a great opportunity and I can’t wait to get started.”

Here’s hoping Roper’s arrival does not portend a similar fate for Doeren and company.

Brian Kelly named AP Coach of the Year

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Two years after going 4-8, Brian Kelly is the best coach in college football.

The Notre Dame head coach was named the AP Coach of the Year on Monday, the second time he has won such an award. Kelly was named the AP Coach of the Year in 2012 after leading the Fighting Irish to a 12-0 regular season and an appearance in the BCS National Championship, and now has won the honor again after posting another undefeated regular season, putting the Irish into the College Football Playoff against Clemson in the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 29.

In between those undefeated regular seasons, Kelly went 9-4 in 2013, 8-5 in ’14, 10-3 in ’15, 4-8 in ’16 and 10-3 last season. Now in his ninth season at Notre Dame, Kelly has collected an 81-34 record with four AP top-25 finishes and a fifth on the way.

“I think I’m a better leader of our program,” Kelly told AP of his growth since the 2016 season. “The organization has gotten so much bigger. The ability to create the right energy and day-to-day culture is difficult. I think I’ve gotten a lot better a leading that large group on a day-to-day basis.”

The award is Kelly’s 10th different national coach of the year honor. He was named the Division II Coach of the Year in 2002 and ’03 at Grand Valley State, won the Home Depot Coach of the Year award at Cincinnati in 2009 and has now collected seven different national honors in his nine seasons in South Bend.

Like with the Heisman Trophy, AP Coach of the Year voters select three choices, ranked in descending order. Twelve different coaches garnered at least one first-place vote and 19 different coaches earned at least one total vote. Kelly received 81 total points and 16 first-place votes, tied with Alabama’s Nick Saban, who came in second with 66 total points. UCF’s Josh Heupel placed third with 33 total points and five first-place votes.