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Hugh Freeze officially named Liberty head coach

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UPDATED 2:19 p.m. ET: Following up on the original reports, Liberty confirmed that former Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze has been named as its next head football coach.

Freeze, who has been out of football the past two seasons after his unceremonious departure from the rebels, replaces Turner Gill, who announced his retirement over the weekend after his wife was diagnosed with a heart condition.

(The original post appears below.)

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In his first public speaking appearance since resigning as Ole Miss’ head coach in the summer of last year, Hugh Freeze told a crowd of students at Liberty University this past January that he has found “a total new appreciation for integrity” during his time away from the coaching profession.  Nearly a year later, it appears that institution is giving the coach his first second chance at the collegiate level.

Citing sources with direct knowledge of the situation, the fine folks over at FootballScoop.com are reporting that Freeze will be the next head football coach at Liberty. A university spokesperson declined to comment on the report, but did state that an update on the football program’s coaching vacancy could come as early as later on today.

Freeze would replace Turner Gill, who announced his retirement from coaching earlier this week after his wife was diagnosed with a heart condition.

Freeze resigned from Ole Miss in July of 2017 after it was discovered he was using a school-issued cell phone to hook up with escort services on multiple occasions. Additionally, there were the Rebels’ NCAA issues while Freeze was in charge that left the coach with a two-game suspension to serve as well as a one-year show-cause.  That suspension would’ve only been served had he been named as a head coach for the 2018 season and won’t impact him at Liberty.

It was reported in January of this year that Nick Saban had been “really pushing” to add Freeze to his Alabama coaching staff, but that the SEC was highly reluctant to sign off on it.  In mid-April, a report surfaced that the conference had essentially blocked member schools, including Crimson Tide, from adding Freeze.  At the time, Saban spoke of the respect he has for both Freeze and the SEC while seemingly confirming that the league did indeed coach-block a hire due “to circumstances that people created for themselves.”

Taking over a program in 2012 that had won a combined six games the previous two seasons, Freeze went 39-25 during his five years with the Rebels.  The 10-win season in 2015 was the program’s first since 2003 and just the seventh in the school’s history.

In October of this year, Freeze was named as the offensive coordinator of the Arizona Hotshots, one of the teams in the new Alliance of American Football, a pro league that will begin play in February of next year.  His name has also been mentioned in connection to the open offensive coordinator job at Tennessee.

LB Jaden Hunter was second Georgia player arrested in March

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A member of the Georgia football program was arrested Wednesday night. Linebacker Jaden Hunter was arrested and charged with driving with a suspended or revoked license. He was also charged with stopping, standing, or parking in a prohibited area.

Hunter spent just two hours in jail after being released on bond late Wednesday night.

The charges are misdemeanors and his status with the Bulldogs has not been confirmed with regard to any possible suspensions or other forms of discipline by head coach Kirby Smart. Given the nature of the charges, it would seem this would be far from calling for removal from the program or any significant form of discipline unless there is more to the story behind the scenes.

Hunter did become the second Georgia football player to be arrested in the month of March. Earlier in the month, redshirt freshman Latavious Brini was arrested on one count of simple battery.

William & Mary football player killed in shooting incident

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The William & Mary football family is mourning the death of Nate Evans. Evans, 19, was the victim of a shooting Thursday night, according to a report from The Virginian-Pilot on Friday.

“Nate’s is a loss we are feeling deeply within our program,” William & Mary head coach Mike London said in a released statement. “Faith and family are the foundations of our program. We value relationships first.

“Our team has gathered together to support each other as we deal with the grief that comes from this tragedy. Additionally, we will do all we can to support and comfort Nate’s family and loved ones through this difficult time.”

Police in Norfolk responded to a call about gunshots late Thursday night. The running back was declared dead at the scene of the call. What led to the shooting remains unknown. No arrests have been made at this time as an investigation continues.

Ohio State receiver to transfer from Buckeyes, per reports

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Ohio State seems to be losing a wide receiver from the program. Multiple reports from around the Ohio State football program have suggested wide receiver L'Christian Smith will leave the program as a transfer at the end of the spring semester.

Smith was a four-star recruit in Ohio State’s Class of 2018. Smith redshirted the 2018 season and still has four years of eligibility remaining. Smith played in three games, allowing him to preserve a year of eligibility under the NCAA’s modified redshirt rules last season.

Of course, barring any potential waiver request, Smith will have to sit out the 2019 season due to NCAA transfer rules (that continue to be more flexible than ever before) if he transfers to another FBS program.

Ohio State should still be in pretty good shape as far as the wide receivers are concerned after the potential loss of Smith. And with Justin Fields eligible to play right away at the quarterback position, the Buckeyes should still have good firepower in the passing game working for them next fall.

Former USC kicker Matt Boermeester sues school over controversial expulsion

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USC is dealing with many negative stories on a number of fronts and now you can add one more to the Trojans’ docket.

As detailed by ESPN, former cardinal and gold kicker Matt Boermeester has filed a lawsuit against the university in district court over his controversial expulsion in 2017:

The lawsuit includes seven causes of action, including selective Title IX enforcement, breach of contract, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and represents the latest step in Boermeester’s ongoing legal battle with the school. In 2017, Boermeester, who remains two classes shy of graduation, sued for his expulsion to be overturned in superior court, but the attempt was unsuccessful.

“What happened to Matt Boermeester at USC should terrify anyone who believes in the right to due process and innocent-until-proven-guilty,” attorney Andrew T. Miltenberg said in a statement to the site. “Based on nothing more than a third-party report by a nonwitness — essentially a rumor that was easily and repeatedly disputed — a star athlete lost his education and his future career in the NFL.

Boermeester was kicked out of the school not long after he delivered one of the highlights of the Clay Helton era at USC with a game-winning kick to secure the Rose Bowl back in January of 2017. The issue started back when a member of the school’s tennis team reported an incident allegedly involving the kicker putting his hands on his girlfriend, which prompted a school investigation into the matter. That eventually led to Boermeester’s expulsion despite the woman in question (who is still with Boermeester, according to ESPN) denying what happened and blasting the school for their handling of the matter.

USC’s Title IX coordinator was also named to the suit, which comes after legal wrangling between the parties last year in Los Angeles Superior Court.