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Former USC safety Bubba Bolden reinstated by university

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A bizarre story involving a former member of the USC football program has taken yet another twist.

Monday afternoon, the Los Angeles Times reported, USC announced that Bubba Bolden has been reinstated to the university and is permitted to enroll in classes at the school for the spring semester that begins next Monday. Bolden revealed three months ago that he had been suspended from the university for a period of 28 months because of an off-field incident.

“Because of recent state court rulings changing the procedures required during an investigation, the office that oversees student discipline at USC is reopening an investigation involving Bubba Bolden, a former safety on the football team,” the university statement said. “As a result, he will be permitted to return to classes for the spring semester if he so chooses, pending the outcome of the reopened investigation. Because the case involves student disciplinary matters that are protected by privacy laws, USC is unable to provide additional details.”

In late August, shortly before the season opener, Clay Helton announced that Bolden, who was set to be the Trojans’ starting strong safety, would be sidelined indefinitely because of what was described only as a vague “personal matter.” In mid-October, his name was finally removed from the team’s roster.

While program officials have declined to discuss Bolden’s situation publicly, the player took to Instagram around the time his name was removed from the roster to explain that, one, he was slapped with a 28-month suspension by USC’s Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards (SJACS) over an off-campus incident earlier this year and, two, because “USC’s Title IX Office declined to even open an investigation,” all of the off-field tumult has led him to withdraw from the university.

From Bolden’s social media post:

The University’s office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards (SJACS) believes that I am responsible for violating the student code of conduct pertaining to underage drinking at an off-campus party back in February 2018 wherein I participated in mutual trash-talking with fellow party-goers. As the vibe at the party turned unfriendly, I left with several friends. Approximately nine days afterward, the party hosts reported feeling threatened by me that night, which sparked a USC SJACS investigation.

After USC’s chief threat assessment officer found me to not be a threat, USC’s Title IX Office declined to even open an investigation. I was not charged with any criminal activity and several party-goers refuted the allegations, SJACS sanctioned me with a 28-month suspension based on the projected graduation date of the party hosts.

While defending himself against the claims made against him, Bolden also apologized for his actions that February night.

“My behavior at the party was not reflective of my character which my family, friends, teammates and many more admire, and for this I am truly sorry,” the defensive back wrote at the time. “At this point, I’m 100% committed to ensuring that the lessons I’ve learned on and off the field will carry me to the next level.”

Bolden was a four-star member of the Trojans’ 2017 recruiting class, rated as the No. 7 safety in the country and the No. 3 player at any position in the state of Nevada on 247Sports.com‘s composite board.  As a true freshman last season, Bolden appeared in 13 of the Trojans’ 14 games.

While Bolden has been reinstated, it’s unclear if the player will take advantage of the opportunity as he has been contemplating a transfer from the Trojans.

Second App State assistant added to Eli Drinkwitz’s Mizzou staff

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For the second time Thursday, Eli Drinkwitz has added an assistant to his new Missouri coaching staff. And, for the second time, it’s a member of his old Appalachian State.

First, Charlie Harbison was announced as a defensive assistant whose specific duties will be spelled out later. Next, it’s Erik Link being the second confirmed addition as part of Drinkwitz’s 10-man on-field staff.

Unlike Harbison, though, Link’s role has already been defined — special teams coordinator. That’s the same job Link held with the Mountaineers in 2019, his first and only season with the Sun Belt Conference school.

“Erik is a man of high character with a background in teaching and coaching,” said Drinkwitz in a statement. “His special teams units are detailed and very sound, and his guys play hard. They focus on effort, execution and high energy.”

Link was the special teams coordinator at Louisiana Tech in 2018, his first season as an on-field assistant at the FBS level. In 2011-12, he was the special teams coordinator at FCS Montana State.

In two separate stints at Auburn, he served as a quality control assistant (2010) and special teams/offensive analyst (2013-15).

Lane Kiffin adds two to first Ole Miss staff, including OC Jeff Lebby

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The Lane Train is wasting little time rolling out members of his first coaching staff in Oxford.

Officially confirmed as Ole Miss’ head coach Saturday, Lane Kiffin on Thursday unveiled the first two members of his on-field staff — offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby and offensive assistant Kevin Smith.

While Smith wasn’t given an official title, he spent the past three seasons as Kiffin’s running backs coach at FAU. That was the 43-year-old Smith’s first on-field role at any level of football as he had spent the previous three seasons at his alma mater UCF as both a coaching intern and quality control coach.

Smith, a consensus All-American as a running back at UCF, played five years for the NFL’s Detroit Lions and one season in the Canadian Football League.

Lebby, coincidentally enough, spent the past two seasons at UCF, the first as quarterbacks coach before being promoted to coordinator following the 2018 season. Prior to that, he was an assistant at Baylor for five years, primarily as running backs coach.

Lebby’s father-in-law is disgraced former Baylor head coach Art Briles. His brother-in-law is Kendal Briles, who was Kiffin’s offensive coordinator at FAU for one season before leaving for the same job at Houston and then, ultimately, Florida State.

In addition to those on-field hires, Wilson Love was announced as the Rebels’ head strength & conditioning coach. Like Smith, Love was a part of Kiffin’s Owls program the past three years.

LSU, Ohio State headline 130th Walter Camp All-American team

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Both No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Ohio State showed out well during the Home Depot College Football Awards Show Thursday night. Not surprisingly, both football programs did the same on one of the most prestigious teams in the sport as well.

Earlier tonight, the Walter Camp Football Foundation released its 2019 All-American teams, the 130th such squad recognized by the organization. LSU and Wisconsin led all schools with three first-team selections, while Ohio State led the way overall with five first- and second-team honorees (two on the first team, three on the second). LSU ended up with four overall, while Clemson had three (two first team, one second).

LSU and OSU were also one-two at the quarterback position, with Joe Burrow, also named the Camp Player of the Year, earning first-team honors and Justin Fields being the second-team selection.

Conference-wise, the Big Ten’s 15 selections on both teams led the way, followed by the SEC’s 13 and Pac-12’s seven. All told, eight of the 10 FBS conferences are represented — the Sun Belt’s Arkansas State (wide receiver Omar Bayless) claimed its first-ever Camp All-American — while 32 different schools claimed spots on one of the two teams. Two of those schools, Florida Atlantic (tight end Harrison Bryant) and Boise State (defensive end Curtis Weaver), had their first-ever first-team Camp All-Americans.

The AAC and MAC were the only FBS conferences without a player selected.

Individually, two players repeated as first-team All-Americans — Wisconsin running back and Doak Walker Award winner Jonathan Taylor, LSU safety and Jim Thorpe Award winner Grant Delpit. Taylor is actually a three-time Camp All-American as he was named to the second team as a true freshman in 2017.

Delpit’s teammate, defensive back Derek Stingley Jr., is the only freshman among the 51 All-Americans.

Mike Norvell brings Memphis DC Adam Fuller to Florida State

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Wednesday, Mike Norvell confirmed the identity of his offensive coordinator at Florida State. A day later, it was the coordinator on the other side of the ball who was identified.

In what amounts to a reunion after a very brief time apart, Norvell announced Thursday that, as had been speculated, Adam Fuller has been hired as Florida State’s defensive coordinator. Fuller spent the 2019 season in the same position for Norvell at Memphis.

“We are so very excited about the addition of Adam Fuller to the Florida State football family,” Norvell said. “Adam is one of the top defensive minds in college football and has been a part of developing some of the most productive defensive units in the nation throughout his career. Coach Fuller will bring an aggressive and detailed approach to our Seminole defense. It will put our great student-athletes in a position to showcase all their skills and talents while being developed at the highest level.

“Adam has recruited the state of Florida, specifically the Tampa area, throughout his career, which will assist in fostering relationships throughout the state. I am excited to see him elevate our Florida State defense back to one of the nation’s elite.”

Memphis was Fuller’s second coordinating job at the FBS level. The first came at Marshall the year before.

“My family and I are very excited to join the Seminole program,” Fuller said. “The history and tradition of Florida State’s defense brings a major responsibility. I look forward to embracing the pride that comes along with that.”

Fuller and offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham are the second and third FSU staff additions for Norvell. The first was Odell Haggins, who served as the Seminoles’ interim head coach after Willie Taggart was fired and was quickly retained by the new head coach.