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J.T. Barrett sees bright future for Joe Burrow at LSU

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Joe Burrow never stood much of a chance to start a football game for Ohio State while J.T. Barrett was still around in Columbus. But even after Barrett has (finally) moved on to the next stage of his football career, Burrow still felt it was in his best interest to start anew with a transfer to LSU. As Burrow gets started with the hope of sparking the LSU offense this fall, his former teammate sees big things on the horizon.

“I think the biggest attribute for him is he’s smart and knows where to go with the ball,” Barrett said to media in New Orleans at an event for New Orleans Saints rookies (Barrett signed with the Saints as an undrafted free agent following the NFL Draft), per The Times-Picayune.

Barrett recalled Burrow in practices making some plays that impressed him and others, even though Burrow was buried on the depth chart behind Barrett.

“He was making throws where I turned and looked at the coach like, ‘Ooh wee!’,” Barrett said.

Burrow has officially been added to the LSU football program, and he has two years of eligibility remaining to use in Baton Rouge. Burrow is expected to compete for the starting job with Myles Brennan, Justin McMillan, and Lowell Narcisse, but he does appear to be a trendy favorite to win the job before the start of the season. LSU opens the 2018 season in Arlington, Texas against the Miami Hurricanes in Week 1.

College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history, including Texas A&M’s president stating that Texas is ‘not relevant to us anymore’

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The sports world, including college football, has essentially screeched to a halt as countries around the world battle the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there’s a dearth of college football news as spring practices have all but been canceled at every level of the sport. And there’s even some concern that the health issue could have an impact on the 2020 college football campaign.

In that vein, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives that stretch back to 2009 and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on May 31, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this college football hiatus, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: Poppin’ bottles: SEC opens the taps by approving revised alcohol policy for conference stadiums
THE SYNOPSIS: More than half of the 14 conference schools have embraced the concept of alcohol and football on fall afternoons.

2018

THE HEADLINE: Jimbo Fisher still hasn’t signed his 10-year, $75 million contract with Texas A&M
THE SYNOPSIS: This was one of the more odd storylines of the 2018 offseason.  Or any offseason, really.  Three months later pen was put to the contract.  The 10-year, $75 million contract.

2017

THE HEADLINE: Lee Corso inks extension to remain part of ESPN’s College GameDay show
THE SYNOPSIS: A college football institution.  Still.

2014

THE HEADLINE: 2014 Oklahoma State signee now facing five felonies
THE SYNOPSIS: Devon Thomas was, not surprisingly, removed from the roster.

2013

THE HEADLINE: A&M president: Texas is ‘not relevant to us anymore’
THE SYNOPSIS: What I hear when both sides talk about renewing the rivalry? “Blah. Blah. Blah-freaking-blah.

Georgia Southern announces one-year extension for head coach Chad Lunsford

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As Chad Lunsford continues to build the Georgia Southern football team, he’s been afforded some additional security.

Friday, Georgia Southern announced a one-year contract extension for its head football coach.  Lunsford is now signed through 2024.

“My family and I would like to thank Dr. Marrero, Jared Benko and the Athletic Foundation for this contract extension,” Lunsford said in a statement. “Georgia Southern is a special place and we are very proud to be a small part of such an awesome program. We will continue to work hard to help our student-athletes to grow as GS Men. Our program is on the rise and we are excited about the commitment shown to us as well as our commitment to give back to the University and the Athletic Department.”

In October of 2017, Tyson Summers was fired as the Georgia Southern football coach.  Lunsford replaced him on an interim basis.  A month later, Lunsford was named the permanent replacement.

GSU went 2-10 that 2017 season.  In the two years since, the Eagles have gone 17-9.  Included in that was a 10-win 2018 season.  During that campaign, the program claimed its first-ever bowl win as an FBS program.

“Chad Lunsford’s management of our football program, from developing young men of character to coaching them on the field, has been exceptional,” said athletic director Jared Benko. “He is a leader that is committed to doing things the right way. Chad represents our institution and state with great pride – both on and off the field. We look forward to his continued leadership of our football program.”

Former Alabama five-star signee Antonio Alfano has left Colorado, too

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A high-profile addition to the Colorado football roster is apparently no more.

Antonio Alfano was suspended by the Colorado football team in early March for unspecified violations of team rules.  Two months later, it’s been confirmed by a Colorado football official that Alfano is no longer a member of the Buffaloes.  In fact, the defensive lineman is no longer even enrolled at the Pac-12 school.

No reason for the divorce was given.

On his personal Twitter account in early November, Alfano announced that he officially decided to move on from Alabama to Colorado.  Alfano’s decision came shortly after taking a visit to the CU campus, and nearly a month after officially entering the NCAA transfer database.

This week’s development was the latest in what’s been a series of headlines for one of the top recruits in the Class of 2019.  And not necessarily positive headlines.  To say the least.

Alfano was suspended for unspecified reasons and didn’t dress for Alabama’s Week 2 home opener against New Mexico State.  Not long after, Nick Saban added a bit of mystery to Alfano’s status when he stated that the highly-touted defensive lineman has “kind of disappeared a little bit” before launching into an oral dissertation about failing to confront and learn from one’s mistakes.

On Twitter in mid-September of 2019, Alfano’s parents stated that, in large part because of an ailing grandmother, their son “has not attended classes or practices” for an unspecified period of time.  Against their wishes, the parents also confirmed that Alfano was entering the transfer database, although at the time it wasn’t yet official.

Saban offered up an update a couple of days after the family’s social-media statement in which the head coach, very bluntly, stated that the defensive lineman had basically quit the team as he hadn’t shown up for football-related activities, classes or counseling for unspecified issues.  The player wasn’t responding to attempts by the team to contact him, either, Saban added.

During summer camp last year, Alfano missed a couple of practices for what were described as personal reasons but ultimately returned to the team.  Even before the suspension, the lineman didn’t play in the season opener against Duke.

A five-star 2019 signee, Alfano was rated as the No. 1 strongside defensive end in the country; the No. 1 player at any position in the state of New Jersey; and the No. 5 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board.  He was the highest-rated Crimson Tide signee during this most recent cycle.

One final note: Alfano went to three different high schools in four years.  Which means, in less than six years, he’s been part of five different football programs.

The next buyer, beware.

Pitt will allow football players to return June 8 for voluntary on-campus workouts

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Count Pitt as the latest football domino to fall.  And a positive one at that.

Last week, the NCAA announced that it would allow schools to bring its student-athletes back to campus for voluntary workouts starting June 1.  The SEC subsequently confirmed its players would be returning June 8.  Both Ohio State and Illinois from the Big Ten will be doing the same on the same date.  And, as far as that goes, so are Clemson and Louisville.  Nebraska, meanwhile, has targeted June 1.

Friday, Pitt confirmed that it will be joining its ACC counterparts by welcoming student-athletes, including football players, back to campus June 8.  The athletes will be permitted to participate in voluntary workouts upon their return.  Upon that return, the athletes will undergo an unspecified period of quarantine.

The university will also enforce strict protocols.  From the school’s release:

  • Substantial education for all coaches and student-athletes on Pitt’s safety protocols and their responsibility for maintaining them
  • A testing protocol developed with input from infectious disease experts and other medical professionals
  • Significantly enhanced cleaning protocols for all athletic facilities
  • Mandatory daily screening questionnaire and temperature check for student-athletes and staff
  • Utilization of personal protective equipment (PPE) to minimize exposure and potential virus spread
  • Social distancing guidelines for meetings and workouts, as well as strategic use of smaller groups for strength and conditioning sessions
  • Contact tracing course completion by all athletics training staff members

“Preparation for the safe return of our student-athletes, beginning with football on June 8, has been a comprehensive team effort,” athletic director Heather Lyke said in a statement. “Our athletic department has worked diligently with University leadership and medical experts using one guiding principle: the health and well-being of our student-athletes and staff. Our current climate dictates that we stay vigilant and flexible in response to fluid circumstances. However, thanks to the efforts of many outstanding medical professionals, we are confident in our campus return plan.”