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NCAA passes significant transfer reforms, redshirt rule

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When we look back down the road, June 13 could be one of the bigger dates in the history of college football when you get into the weeds of byzantine NCAA rules.

In a news release posted Wednesday afternoon, the NCAA confirmed a slate of hugely significant rules changes to how players transfers and the highly debated ‘redshirt rule’ that would allow players an easier path to maintaining an extra season of eligibility.

Perhaps the bigger overarching rule that was adopted by the NCAA Division I Council earlier in the week was a new “notification-of-transfer” model. This essentially takes the school’s power out of the decisions of where a player can and can’t go by allowing a player to simply inform the program of a desire to transfer. In turn, the player’s name will be added to a national “transfer database” which allows coaches from other programs to contact that player without restrictions.

“The membership showed today that it supports this significant change in transfer rules,” said Justin Sell in a release, the chair of the Division I Transfer Working Group and South Dakota State AD. “I’m proud of the effort the Transfer Working Group put forth to make this happen for student-athletes, coaches and schools.”

This proposal has been working its way through the process for nearly a year and goes into effect on Oct. 15. There’s still more work left to be done as there are a handful of other proposals on the table for Power Five conferences to vote on in the coming weeks that affect things like scholarships and financial aid.

Also big? A so-called ‘redshirt rule’ that would allow players to play in any four games during a season and still maintain a full season eligibility (they would still have five years to play four seasons).

“This change promotes not only fairness for college athletes, but also their health and well-being. Redshirt football student-athletes are more likely to remain engaged with the team, and starters will be less likely to feel pressure to play through injuries,” Miami AD Blake James said. “Coaches will appreciate the additional flexibility and ability to give younger players an opportunity to participate in limited competition.”

This will be effective for the upcoming 2018 season and allows players to play in, say, the first two games of the year and then the regular season finale and bowl game and yet still be counted as a redshirt for eligibility purposes. As you can guess, coaches have been pushing for this for a while now and this is a pretty big victory for them and for players, who will all be able to see action on the field as freshman and not have it take a year away from them.

Sadly, the rule is not retroactive to players who may have taken a few snaps here or there in the past few years.

It will be interesting to see how all these changes play out down the road but the bottom line is it was a big, big day for players across the country with these rules proposals getting passed.

Blood clot in C.J. Fuller’s lung caused ex-Clemson RB’s death

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C.J. Fuller died suddenly the afternoon of Oct. 3 after the former Clemson running back suffered chest pains as well as a suspected seizure.  Nearly 10 weeks later, a cause of the 22-year-old’s death has been released.

According to the Charleston Post & Courier, the Pickens County (SC) Coroner’s Office has determined that Fuller died as the result of a pulmonary thromboembolism and deep vein thrombosis stemming from a football injury.  A pulmonary thromboembolism is essentially a blood clot that breaks free and ultimately becomes lodged in the lungs.

Fuller had suffered a knee injury playing flag football in August of this year and underwent surgery the following month.  On the day of his death, he attended his first physical therapy session, one that reportedly went off without an issue.

“Our thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies are with C.J.’s family,” Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney said in a statement at the time of Fuller’s death. “I’ve known C.J. a long time and watched him grow up through the Easley rec leagues all the way through Easley High School. I’m proud of what he accomplished as a Clemson Tiger, most of all, his accomplishment of being a Clemson graduate. Our deepest condolences and the thoughts of our program are with his family this evening. May he rest in peace.”

Following the 2017 season, Fuller left the team as a would-be graduate transfer. In late March, Fuller, who was expected to continue his collegiate playing career at another program, was one of three individuals charged in connection to an alleged armed robbery in downtown Clemson.

In 2017, Fuller, who began that season as the starter, was fifth on the Tigers with a career-high 217 yards and three touchdowns. He finished the Tigers portion of his playing career with 599 yards and four touchdowns on 147 carries, as well as 18 receptions for 155 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

One of those touchdown catches came in the College Football Playoff semifinal win over Ohio State in 2016. The Tigers went on to win the national championship that season.

Fuller earned a degree in sociology from Clemson in August, the same month in which he sustained the injury that preceded his death.

Auburn transfer TE Jalen Harris lists Georgia, Colorado among five potential landing spots

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It’s unclear at this point to where Jalen Harris will ultimately transfer, but the list of potential landing spots has been significantly whittled down.

In mid-September, Harris announced that he would be transferring from Auburn.  On Twitter Tuesday, the tight end revealed his list of five finalists that will serve as possible transfer destinations, including a pair of SEC schools in Georgia and Vanderbilt.

The other three schools include a pair of Power Five programs (Colorado, Kansas State) as well as one from the Group of Five (Troy).

A decision from Harris is expected at some point next week.

Harris did not play in more than four games this season, meaning he preserved a year of eligibility under the new redshirt rule.  He will also head to his new college football home as a graduate transfer, meaning he’ll be eligible to play immediately in 2019.

As a fourth-year senior this past season, the 6-4, 257-pound Harris played in three games before opting to transfer.  The previous three seasons, the Montgomery, Ala., native played in 39 games, with most of that action coming on special teams and as a blocking tight end.

Harris did, though, catch a pair of touchdown passes among his four career receptions.  Both touchdowns came during the 2016 season.

Richmond confirms death of DB Augustus Lee

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Sadly, tragedy has yet again struck the college football community.

Tuesday, Richmond confirmed that Spiders football player Augustus “Gus” Lee had passed away earlier in the day.  According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Virginia Department of Health’s Central District Office of the Chief Medical Examiner declined to provide details on the cause of the redshirt freshman defensive back’s death.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Augustus Lee,” Richmond head football coach Russ Huesman said in a statement sent out by the FCS program. “Gus was a terrific young man and a great member of our Richmond family. His loss is a true tragedy to those who knew and loved him. Our thoughts and prayers are with Gus’ family. This is a very difficult time for everyone in the Richmond Spider family.”

“I have been in touch with Gus’s family to express our deepest condolences on behalf of the entire University,” a statement from president Ronald Crutcher began. “Gus was a sophomore from Fairfax, Virginia, who played on our football team. He was an undeclared pre-business major and a good friend, especially to his teammates and his fellow student-athletes. We extend our deepest sympathies to Gus’s family, his teammates, professors, and many friends on our campus.”

Lee played in 11 games this past season, with most of that action coming on special teams.  He was named Defensive MVP of the Spiders’ spring game earlier this year.

Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to all of those impacted by Lee’s passing.

Blake Cashman becomes second Minnesota player to skip bowl game

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A second Minnesota football player has decided to end the collegiate portion of his playing career prematurely.

On Instagram Tuesday, Blake Cashman announced that, “after a lot of thought and discussions with people close to me,” he has decided he will not play in Minnesota’s Quick Lane Bowl matchup with Georgia Tech Dec. 26. “This was a very a hard decision for me, but I feel in my heart that getting a jump start on training will give me the best opportunity at the next level,” the linebacker wrote.

This season serves as the senior’s final year of eligibility.

Cashman currently leads the Gophers in tackles with 104 and is tied for the team lead in tackles for loss with 15.  His 2½ sacks are second on the team, while his five pass breakups are good for third.

Earlier this month, teammate and starting offensive tackle Donnell Greene also used Instagram to announce that he has signed with an agent and will not play in the Gophers’ bowl game.  Greene and Cashman are two of at least a baker’s dozen players who have sidelined themselves for their respective team’s bowl game.

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  • Iowa tight end Noah Fant (HERE)
  • Michigan defensive lineman Rashan Gary
  • West Virginia quarterback Will Grier (HERE)
  • NC State wide receiver Kelvin Harmon (HERE)
  • Arizona State wide receiver N'Keal Harry (HERE)
  • Oklahoma State running back Justice Hill (HERE)
  • Houston defensive lineman Ed Oliver (HERE)
  • NC State linebacker Germaine Pratt (HERE)
  • South Carolina wide receiver Deebo Samuel (HERE)
  • LSU cornerback Greedy Williams (HERE)