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AJ Bush sets Illini QB rushing record in return to Nebraska

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Individually, it was quite the homecoming for AJ Bush. Team-wise, though, it was less than memorable.

In Illinois’ game against Nebraska in Lincoln Saturday afternoon, Bush ran 187 yards and three touchdowns on his 25 carries.  The yardage broke the Fighting Illini’s single-game rushing record for a quarterback, eclipsing the 174 put up by Juice Williams back in 2008.

Unfortunately for Bush, it didn’t help his team on the scoreboard as the Cornhuskers came away with a 54-35 win, NU’s third win in four games after starting the 2018 season 0-6.

Despite the loss, it was quite the statistical homecoming for Bush.

Bush was a three-star member of Nebraska’s 2014 recruiting class, rated as the No. 44 dual-threat quarterback in the country coming out of high school in Georgia.  He also held offers from, among others, Boston College, Cincinnati and Kansas State.

After taking a redshirt his true freshman season, Bush didn’t see the field in 2015 for the Cornhuskers.  In August of 2016, Bush decided to transfer from NU, ultimately winding up at Iowa Western Community College not long after.  After one season at that JUCO, he transferred to Virginia Tech.

In five games last season, Bush completed seven of his 11 passes for 99 yards and a touchdown for the Hokies.  He also ran the ball for 129 yards on 19 carries.

In March of this year, Bush confirmed that he would be transferring from Tech to Illinois.  In late August, he was named the Illini’s starting quarterback.

“Whenever you come back to a place you called home, it’s special, that was the case for AJ,” head coach Lovie Smith said. “AJ’s a good football player. You have an athletic quarterback like that, that can run the football, it’s tough on any defense. … AJ did an awful lot to put that many points on the board. We just came up a little short.”

Multiple Minnesota players facing bowl suspensions

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Minnesota will already be down a pair of starters for the postseason because players have decided to get a head start on their draft preparations.  Now, it appears decisions of another kind will lead to even more postseason personnel attrition for the Golden Gophers.

According to both the Minneapolis Star Tribune and St. Paul Pioneer Press, multiple Gopher football players will be suspended for the Dec. 26 Quick Lane Bowl matchup with Georgia Tech.  The Star Tribune reports that the number of suspended players is at least six, with as many as eight possibly sidelined as a result of the disciplinary actions.

The names of the players facing suspension have not been divulged.

Head coach P.J. Fleck has not yet addressed the postseason status of any member of his football team.  A school spokesperson declined to comment on the reports.

In December of 2016, the year before Fleck’s arrival, Minnesota suspended 10 players ahead of the Holiday Bowl as a result of sexual assault allegations.  A subsequent boycott by players threatened the school’s participation in the bowl before the group ultimately acquiesced and played in the postseason game.

Reports: a candidate for Temple job, Mike Elko to remain at Texas A&M

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It appears as though Jimbo Fisher won’t have a vacancy on his Texas A&M coaching staff to fill this postseason.

In the days after Geoff Collins left Temple to take the head job at Georgia Tech, Mike Elko has been mentioned prominently as a potential replacement.  Wednesday, however, multiple reports have surfaced that Elko has decided to remain in College Station as the Aggies’ defensive coordinator.

Elko just completed his first season as Fisher’s coordinator after spending the 2017 season in the same job at Notre Dame.

In 2018, Elko was paid $1.8 million, making him the fourth-highest-paid assistant coach in the country.  While it’s not listed in the USA Today coaching salary database, it’s believed that Collins was working under a five-year, $10 million contract while the head coach of the Owls.

With Elko now out of the mix, a new report has surfaced that puts Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown squarely in the mix.  Another defensive coordinator, Miami’s Manny Diaz, has also been mentioned as a possibility at the AAC school and has already interviewed for the job.

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.