Maryland ‘accepts legal and moral responsibility for mistakes’ that led to Jordan McNair’s death

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At an ofttimes emotional press conference Tuesday afternoon, officials from the University of Maryland, including president Wallace Loh and athletic director Damon Evans, addressed the ongoing investigation into the death of a Maryland football player this summer. At the press conference, which came after both Loh and Evans met with the player’s family Tuesday morning, the president stated that he told the family that the university “accepts legal and moral responsibility for the mistakes that our training staff made on that fateful workout day.”

“They basically misdiagnosed the situation,” Loh said of the training staff. “No vital signs were not taken.  Other safeguarding actions were not taken. For me, that’s enough for me to say I need to personally apologize to Jordan’s family.”

Most heartbreakingly, Loh acknowledged that McNair’s death could’ve been prevented.

The press conference came three days after head coach D.J. Durkin was placed on administrative leave and not long after the attorney representing the family of deceased Terrapins football player Jordan McNair called for Durkin’s dismissal.

Durkin’s leave stemmed from a damning report late last week in which it was alleged McNair was showing signs of distress before he collapsed during a workout in late May, dying a little over two weeks later of what his family described as heatstroke.  That same report, which led to the suspensions of the training staff and strength & conditioning coach as well, also detailed a “toxic” culture within the football program under Durkin, one based on fear, intimidation, belittling, humiliation and embarrassment.  Players were, allegedly, routinely subjected to what was described as extreme verbal abuse.

Perhaps the most noteworthy comments to come out of the presser, at least when it comes to Durkin’s future as head coach, is the fact that Loh made sure to place the onus for what was described as a misdiagnosed situation on the athletic training staff, not the coaching staff.  It had previously been confirmed that Durkin was in attendance at the workout in which McNair collapsed.

At the press conference, it was also confirmed that head strength & conditioning Rick Court is no longer with the team.   It was subsequently learned that Court resigned after reaching a financial settlement with the university.

Additionally, a four-person committee has been formed by Loh to address the reports of a toxic culture within the football program.  That committee’s findings will likely determine whether or not Durkin returns as the head coach.

Offensive coordinator Matt Canada was named interim head coach when Durkin was placed on leave; Canada will continue on in that role as long as Durkin remains away from his team.  Canada spent one rocky season as the coordinator at LSU before the pair’s divorce was made final in early January.

Durkin, who came to Maryland in December of 2015 after one season as the defensive coordinator at Michigan, spent the past two seasons with the Terrapins.  In that span, the Terps went 10-15 overall and 5-13 in Big Ten play, with finishes of fifth (2016) and sixth (2017) in the conference’s East division.  This past season, UM went 4-8 and carried a 2-7 record in league play into the offseason.

Billy Murphy, the McNair family’s attorney, stated earlier this month that his law firm is “leaning” toward filing a civil lawsuit in federal court, but will wait until the university wraps up its investigation before choosing a course of action.  That investigation is expected to be completed by the middle of September.

On social media, QB Jarren Williams confirms intent to transfer from Miami

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For Jarren Williams, his move on from Miami is unofficially official.

Late Thursday afternoon, it was reported that Jarren Williams had signaled his intention to leave Miami by putting his name into the NCAA transfer database.  The news surfaced three days after Houston transfer D’Eriq King, now the overwhelming favorite to win The U’s starting job heading into the offseason, transferred to Miami.

Thursday evening on his Instagram account, Jarren Williams confirmed in a statement that his intent is indeed to transfer from Miami.

First, I want to start by saying that these decisions are never easy. But, after prayer and counsel, I have decided to enter my name into the transfer portal.

“I want to thank all of my teammates for that everlasting brotherhood, the coaching staff for giving me an opportunity and the diehard fans for their support for UM. I cam here with dreams of winning National Championships and my only regret is that I will not be able to achieve that goal.

“Life is a journey and in this world you will be confronted with a fork in the road. I am at that fork and sometimes you can’t look back. I am looking forward to what God has in store for me next. With that being said, I wish UM all the best and a Championship year! #GoCanes

History would suggest there’s the slightest of possibilities that Jarren Williams could return to Miami. In December of 2018, the true freshman quarterback was set to transfer before being talked out of it by then-head coach Mark Richt.

It was the first of many ups and downs for Williams at the school.

Following a much-discussed quarterback competition, Williams began the 2019 season as Miami’s starting quarterback.  After starting the first five games, a shoulder injury knocked the redshirt freshman out for the next two; a non-football issue sidelined him for another.

Williams regained the job in the week leading into the Florida State game, helping the Hurricanes to its most lopsided win over its rival since 2001 and triggering the firing of FSU’s head football coach.  A week later, Williams led Miami, 2-3 at one point in the season, to its third straight win and fourth in five games as The U overwhelmed Louisville 52-27.

It was a historic performance for Williams personally in the win over the UofL as he threw six touchdown passes in just 21 attempts.  The half-dozen scoring tosses set the football program’s single-game record.

For the season, Williams threw for 2,187 yards, 19 touchdowns and seven interceptions.  The Hurricanes went 4-6 in games he started.

With Williams’ departure, Miami could head into spring practice with five quarterbacks on the roster: King, rising redshirt junior N’Kosi Perry, rising redshirt junior Tate Martell, rising redshirt freshman Peyton Matocha and true freshman Tyler Van DykeEspecially when it comes to Martell, that sinal-calling roster is most certainly subject to change.

Michigan, USC added to Fresno State’s future schedules

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A common opponent has been added to the schedules of both the Michigan and USC football teams.

Thursday, Fresno State announced that it has reached an agreement with the Michigan and USC football programs for future games.  The Wolverines game will be played in 2024 while the Bulldogs will face the Trojans.

Obviously, both of those contests will be road games for Fresno State.

The game against Michigan will mark the first-ever meeting between the schools.  Fresno State and USC have met five times previously, the first coming the first in 1992 and the most recent in 2019.  The Trojans own a 4-1 record in the mini-series, with that lone loss coming in the first-ever meeting.

This past season, the Trojans got past the Bulldogs but lost starting quarterback JT Daniels to torn ACL.

Fresno State and USC had also been scheduled to meet again in 2022 and 2025.  According to USC, that 2025 game has been moved to 2026.

Texas A&M pulls LBs coach from Wake Forest

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For its newest assistant, Texas A&M football turned to an ACC school.  And, a familiar face for that matter.

Thursday, A&M announced that Tyler Santucci has been hired by Fisher as linebackers coach.  Santucci will replace Bradley Dale Peveto, who was still under contract but won’t return for the 2020 season.

Santucci’s hiring marks a homecoming of sorts as the assistant spent the 2018 season as a defensive analyst for the Texas A&M football program.

Last season, Santucci was the linebackers coach at Wake Forest.  That was his first on-field job at the Power Five level.  His first on-field job at the FBS level came as linebackers coach at Texas State in 2016.

In 2017, Santucci was a defensive analyst at Notre Dame.  During that brief stint in South bend, Mike Elko was the Fighting Irish’s defensive coordinator, the same position he’s held with the Aggies since he was hired in January of 2018.

The first coaching job for Santucci, who played his college football at Stony Brook, was at his alma mater as safeties coach.

In Jimbo Fisher‘s second season in College Station, the Aggies posted an 8-5 record.  A&M has won both bowl games since Fisher took over the program.  After finishing tied for second in the SEC West his Fisher’s inaugural season, the Aggies dipped to fourth in 2019.

Ex-Michigan RB Jordan Castleberry transfers to Maryland

Jordan Castleberry is transferring from Michigan to Maryland.
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After one semester at Michigan, freshman running back Jordan Castleberry has transferred to Maryland. Castleberry announced his transfer decision on his Twitter account on Thursday.

Castleberry originally committed to West Virginia during his recruiting process out of high school. Shortly after his commitment to West Virginia, Michigan became a more likely recruiting victor. Castleberry enrolled at Michigan in July 2019.

Castleberry did not play for Michigan in 2019, so he can use the 2019 season as a redshirt year to preserve a year of eligibility. However, NCAA transfer rules will force Castleberry to sit out the 2020 season. This will not make Castleberry eligible for Maryland until the 2021 season, at which point he will have three seasons of eligibility remaining.