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West Virginia continues Heisman push for Will Grier with new website

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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.

Report: Butch Jones leaving Alabama for job at Maryland

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College Park is taking on a decidedly Tuscaloosa feel to it.

Earlier this month, Maryland confirmed that it had hired Alabama offensive coordinator Mike Locksley as its next head football coach.  Citing multiple sources with knowledge of the situation, 247Sports.com is now reporting that Butch Jones is leaving Nick Saban‘s program for a spot on Locksley’s Terrapins coaching staff.

Jones, who met with Locksley earlier this month before agreeing to take the job, is expected to serve as the Terps’ tight ends coach.  He’ll also carry the title of associate head coach for the Big Ten program.

In March of this year, Saban added Jones to his Alabama football staff as an offensive analyst.  Jones, of course, was the head coach at rival Tennessee for nearly five seasons before he was summarily dismissed in mid-November of last year.

Jones last served as a tight ends coach in 1998 at Central Michigan; he was last a position coach at West Virginia (2005-06).

Per the terms of his UT contract, Jones will be paid just north of $8 million in the form of a buyout, minus whatever he was to make at future jobs through February of 2021.  He made $35,000 as an analyst at Alabama this year.

Ex-Texas Tech lineman Justin Murphy gets sixth season at UCLA

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After originally ending his collegiate career prematurely, Justin Murphy has now seen it extended.

Murphy took to Twitter on Monday to announce that he has been granted a sixth season of eligibility by the NCAA. “None of this could’ve been possible if it weren’t for the amazing job done by [UCLA’s compliance department],” the offensive lineman wrote.

In the middle of the 2016 season, Murphy, then at Texas Tech, announced that he was taking a medical retirement because of knee injuries.  In April of 2018, however, Murphy revealed that he would be moving on from Tech to UCLA as a graduate transfer.

Murphy played in the first four games of his first season with the Bruins this year before going down with a knee injury.  That issue kept the lineman sidelined for all but the final two games of the year.

Ex-Florida State, ‘Last Chance U’ QB transferring from FAU

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Maybe the fourth chance will be the charm for De’Andre Johnson?

After a highly-publicized incident that was caught on videotape, Johnson was dismissed by Florida State in July of 2015.  Following a stint as one of the stars of “Last Chance U,” Johnson landed at Florida Atlantic.

Two years later, the quarterback took to Twitter to announce that he has decided to transfer from Lane Kiffin‘s FAU program.  Johnson gave no indication as to the specifics behind his decision to leave the Owls.

As noted by the player himself, Johnson will be leaving as a graduate transfer — he’s scheduled to earn his degree in the spring — and will have two seasons of eligibility he can use at another FBS program.  One of the seasons of eligibility is the result of blood clots in his arm that sidelined him for all but one game in 2017.

This season, Johnson completed 13-of-23 passes for 161 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.  He also ran for another 178 and a score on 35 carries.

As for a potential transfer destination, the Palm Beach Post notes the West Coast or a Big Ten school could be possibilities:

A source with knowledge of the situation said Johnson hopes to move up to the Power Five level and hasn’t ruled out moving to the West Coast. Johnson’s younger brother, Tyreke, is a cornerback for Ohio State and Buckeyes quarterback Dwayne Haskins is a redshirt sophomore who could jump to the NFL.

In June of 2015, Johnson was indefinitely suspended by FSU after being accused of punching a woman at a bar.  He was subsequently charged with misdemeanor battery as video of the incident emerged.

One day after the video surfaced, Johnson was dismissed.

Kyle Whittingham adds former Ute to Utah coaching staff

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In filling a hole in his Utah coaching staff, Kyle Whittingham reached back to the Utes’ football past to do so.

Monday evening, Utah announced that Whittingham has hired Sione Po’uha as his new defensive tackles coach.  Po’uha spent the 2018 season coaching the same position at Navy.

“It’s great to have Sione back in our program,” said Whittingham. “In his playing days he was an outstanding defensive tackle here at Utah and had a lengthy and successful NFL career as well. We are also excited about the impact he will have in our recruiting.”

From 2001-04, Po’uha was a defensive lineman for the Utes, earning first-team All-Mountain West honors as a senior.  He was a third-round pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, and spent his entire eight-year career with the New York Jets.

After beginning his post-playing career as a student assistant at his alma mater from 2015-16, Po’uha became the Utes’ director of football player development in 2017 before leaving for Navy.  The job at the service academy was the first on-field role of Po’uha’s coaching career.

“I am so appreciative of Coach Whittingham for giving me the opportunity to come back and coach at my alma mater,” said Po’uha. “It was a dream of mine and I am excited about working with the players and coaches here.”