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Ed Oliver confirms he won’t play in Houston’s bowl game

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Ed Oliver had already confirmed that he will not be playing his final season of college football.  Not so unexpectedly, Oliver has now confirmed that he won’t be playing in his final college football game either.

Over the weekend, Oliver responded “as far as I know right now” when asked if he would be playing in Houston’ bowl game, adding, “I want to play in every game.” Friday, that want officially crashed head-on into reality as Oliver, thought of as one of the top prospects in the 2019 NFL Draft, announced that he will not be playing for the Cougars in their bowl game.

The defensive lineman said he came to the decision “after serious consideration” and will now “immediately begin training for the upcoming draft.”

A knee injury suffered last month had sidelined Oliver for four straight games, leading some to speculate that the All-American defensive tackle was sidelining himself in order to protect his draft stock.  A heated sideline dustup with his head coach earlier this month, for which Oliver later apologized, led some to opine that Oliver would indeed shut it down for good at the collegiate level.

Oliver, though, played in last Saturday’s game, a loss to Memphis that knocked Houston out of the AAC championship game this weekend, although he aggravated the injury and was sidelined for the remainder of the matchup.

Double-teamed most times — and even triple-teamed on occasion — Oliver was held sack-less through the first five games of this season.  The last two in which he played before he injured the knee, however, he was credited with three — two against East Carolina, one against Navy.  It was in that latter game in which he was injured.

In March of this year, Oliver announced that the 2018 season would be his last at the collegiate level as he will leave the Cougars early and make himself available for the 2019 NFL draft, where he is widely projected to be a Top Five selection at worst.

After a consensus Freshman All-American season that saw him land on numerous first-team All-American squads, Oliver was a consensus All-American in a 2017 season that saw him become the first underclassman to win the Outland Trophy in the 70-year history of the award.

In his first two seasons with the Cougars, the 6-3, 290-pound Oliver had totaled 39.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks.  In addition to the three sacks, Oliver has 13.5 tackles for loss this season; his 1.9 tackles for loss were tied for third nationally prior to his injury.

Four Nebraska players cited for pot-related offenses this offseason won’t face charges

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There was good news off the field this past week for a Nebraska football team expecting bigger things on it.

According to the Lincoln Journal-Star, freshman wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson, who was cited for marijuana possession in June, will not face any charges related to the citation because the chief deputy attorney of Lancaster County “felt there was insufficient evidence.” Robinson was one of four people in a dorm room university police were called to investigate two months ago, and the receiver was the only one to receive a citation from the responding officers after marijuana was discovered in his car during a search.

The chief deputy attorney, Bruce Prenda, also confirmed that the other three Cornhusker football players cited for marijuana-related offenses this offseason — freshman defensive back Myles Farmer (HERE), senior defensive back Jeremiah Stovall (HERE) and sophomore running back Maurice Washington (HERE) — will not face charges “at this time” as well.

From the Journal-Star:

But, this week, Prenda said he wasn’t charging any of them “at this time as a result of our office’s continued evaluation of the effect of enactment of LB657 on our ability to prosecute marijuana and paraphernalia cases.”

The law legalized industrial hemp but created problems for prosecutors who say they would have to have the drug tested to show its THC level was above 0.3%.

Washington, provided he can navigate a much more serious legal hurdle out on the West Coast, is penciled in as the bellcow of the Cornhusker’s rushing attack this coming season, while Robinson, a highly-touted four-star 2019 signee, is expected to contribute immediately as a true freshman. The two defensive backs likely won’t appear on NU’s two-deep depth chart when the season kicks off.

Wendy Anderson, wife of Arkansas State head coach Blake Anderson, loses two-year battle with breast cancer

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The heartbreak that is cancer has, once again, impacted the world of college football.

Arkansas State announced Monday that Blake Anderson would be taking a leave of absence from his job as head football coach to be with his wife Wendy, who was battling an aggressive form of breast cancer for the second time in three years.  Tuesday morning, Anderson posted that his wife had lost her brave battle with the insidious disease shortly before midnight last night “with me laying right beside her.”

Wendy Anderson was 49.

Wendy Anderson was initially diagnosed with cancer in the spring of 2017.  In August of that year, Anderson had tweeted that his wife was cancer-free.  Sadly, cancer returned a few months later.

Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to Coach Anderson for his loss.

Defensive coordinator David Duggan will serve as interim head coach during Anderson’s indefinite leave of absence.  Arkansas State will open the 2019 season against SMU Aug. 31.

Arkansas loses starting WR to torn ACL

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Entering summer camp, Deon Stewart was the most senior member of a very young receiving corps. Unfortunately for all involved, Stewart will exit camp on the sidelines and will remain there for the foreseeable future.

Multiple media outlets in the area initially reported that Stewart suffered a torn ACL during Arkansas’ scrimmage this past Saturday; Monday, head coach Chad Morris confirmed the initial reports, saying that an MRI showed a tear in the ligament.

Suffice to say, the fifth-year senior, who posted an ominous one-word tweet over the weekend portending the development, will miss the entire 2019 season.

Morris also confirmed that Stewart will pursue a sixth season of eligibility.

Stewart played in 36 games the past three seasons, starting 14 of those contests in 2017 (six) and 2018 (eight). This past season, Stewart was fourth on the Razorbacks in receptions (22) and sixth in yards (178).

Of the 17 receivers listed on the Razorbacks’ preseason roster, 13 of them are either freshmen or sophomores. Stewart is one of two seniors at the position, the other being Jimmie Stoudemire, who didn’t catch a pass during his first season in Fayetteville after transferring in from a California junior college.

Iowa confirmed Jayden McDonald cannonballed into transfer portal

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Pardon me while I clean up a bit of personnel news from late last week during these early-morning hours.

Early last week, speculation was making the rounds that Jayden McDonald was considering a transfer away from Iowa. Friday evening, the speculation became a reality as the football program confirmed in a press release that the redshirt freshman linebacker has entered his name into the NCAA transfer database.

It’s at this point in the program where we remind our readers that entering a name into the portal doesn’t guarantee a departure, even as it allows other programs to contact the player without receiving permission from his current school. McDonald could also reverse course, pull his name from the database and return to the Hawkeyes.

Conversely, the university can take away McDonald’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered the portal.

After originally committing to Rutgers, McDonald signed with Iowa as a three-star recruit in 2018. The Georgia high schooler opted for Iowa over Kansas State, Ole Miss and Purdue.

McDonald didn’t see the field as a true freshman and, with the Hawkeyes moving to a 4-2-5 base defense this season, he saw his opportunities for playing time in Iowa City narrowed even further.