We’ve seen players jump out to a hot start during the season and mockingly get dubbed the September Heisman winner but we’re not sure if anybody’s really gone for the award quite so hard in July. Such might be the case with West Virginia and quarterback Will Grier though, who unveiled their next step in a Heisman marketing campaign on Saturday with the debut of a new website.
For Mountaineers fans and others who can’t get enough of No. 7’s story, that address would be: www.Grier7Heisman.com.
It’s a pretty slick design featuring all the usual bits of stats, family stories, preseason honors and the like. It comes hot on the heels of the school releasing a highlight video for Grier earlier in the week as a precursor for the full-on campaign.
The signal-caller, who transferred to the school from Florida, is the second-leading returning passer in FBS but still faces a bit of an uphill battle to actually win the award in 2018 (fancy marketing aside). In some of the latest preseason odds from Las Vegas for the Heisman, Grier was installed at 20-1 in a grouping with fellow QB’s like Penn State’s Trace McSorley and Washington’s Jake Browning among others — well behind those such as Stanford’s Bryce Love or even Alabama’s quasi-starter Tua Tagovailoa.
If West Virginia can get out to a hot start and remain in the running for the Big 12 title though, Grier certainly has a shot at winning the award. His play on the field, much more so than these types of campaigns, will do the most talking when it comes time to vote in November and December.
Attention in Tennessee is largely focused on the Vols basketball team this month but somehow the Power T’s football squad managed to find a way to steal more than a few headlines on Thursday.
And not in a good way for those back in Knoxville.
Redshirt junior defensive back Kenneth George Jr. was arrested in Miami Beach early on Thursday morning according to local station WPLG 10. However he wasn’t just picked up by police for anything you would normally associate with spring break in South Florida…no, he was arrested and charged with battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting an officer with violence, resisting an officer without violence and disorderly conduct.
“Police said George was cursing at one of the officers and ignoring his commands. As the officer tried to get him out of the street, George punched him and knocked the police radio out of his hands, the report said.
George then ran away before other officers caught up with him near Espanola Way and Washington Avenue, the report said.
According to the report, once in custody, George said, “He hit me first. Why can’t I hit him back?”
So far the school has not made any concrete statement beyond saying they are gathering facts on the story but we’re guessing that George’s days with the Vols are limited as a result of his actions. The Louisiana native is a junior college transfer into the program but missed most of last season with an injury.
Florida Atlantic will go through spring practice without their starting quarterback this year.
Head coach Lane Kiffin told reporters after practice on Wednesday that former Oklahoma transfer Chris Robison was suspended all of spring for an “internal matter” and would not be with the team as a result.
“We don’t really discuss details on them, but it is what it is,” Kiffin said, according to the Palm Beach Post. “We’re always trying to help kids grow and mature and hold kids to a high standard.”
This isn’t the first issue for the former four-star recruit. He was dismissed by the Sooners after a violation of team rules — four months after he was arrested for public intoxication. Then Kiffin slapped Robison with a day-to-day suspension last spring after the quarterback violated team rules with the Owls following his transfer in.
The loss of the team’s starting quarterback is quite notable given that Robison threw for 2,540 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2018 on his way to being named co-CUSA freshman of the year. His absence leaves FAU with just one scholarship quarterback available this spring as Indiana transfer Nick Tronti and redshirt freshman Cordel Littlejohn battle for reps.
Sorting out the depth chart for spring football is suddenly on the back-burner in Berkeley this month.
On Wednesday, a former sports medicine intern at California published a Facebook post that detailed several allegations of sexual harassment against the football program, including current and former players and coaches.
“We are aware of the very disturbing public allegations made on social media,” a statement from the school to ESPN read. “Allegations of sexual violence and sexual harassment by campus employees are confidential unless officials determine policy is violated, and disciplinary action has been decided.”
The woman, Paige Cornelius, said that she had withdrawn from Cal in order to seek counseling therapy as a result of the alleged incidents. One such allegation leveled against the program was against a coach she said is still employed by the university, saying he invited her to a nearby pool and commenting on how she would look in a bikini. Another involved an unsolicited kiss from another staffer and comments from football players as well.
Speaking to ESPN, Cornelius said that she had tried to detail her allegations with athletic director Jim Knowlton and football coach Justin Wilcox but “didn’t receive a response,” prompting her to go public on social media and to other outlets.
Needless to say this isn’t the kind of headline that you want to have during a fairly big offseason for the program as the #MeToo movement hits the Pac-12 program.
adidas wants more MACtion.
In a spring letter to supporters this week, Northern Illinois athletic director Sean Frazier confirmed a little bit of news that the program had extended their apparel deal with the German sportswear company for seven more years.
“Speaking of gear, I am excited to announce that we have extended our existing relationship with adidas for the next seven years,” Frazier wrote. “Look for more details on this soon!”
It’s a busy spring for the Huskies, who are coming off a MAC title in 2018 but will be seeing plenty of changes outside of their apparel deals with a new head coach in alum Thomas Hammock.
While the school re-upping with the three stripes is unlikely to be the sort of lucrative deal worth nine figures that some of their Power Five brethren have gotten, every little bit of extra money at a program like NIU counts and they will likely be able to plow that right back into the football program among other things.
We’ll have to see just how lucrative the deal is in the end but more money and more stability is a nice bit of business to take care of as spring football winds down in DeKalb.