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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.

USC confirms JT Daniels is still Trojans’ starting QB

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The drama in the Land of Troy, such as it was, is officially over.

For most, there was a three-man battle for USC’s starting quarterback job throughout this offseason — incumbent JT Daniels, Matt Fink and Jack Sears.  Tuesday, the Trojans ended the competition charade by confirming that Daniels will indeed be the team’s starter when they open the 2019 season later this month.

Most intriguing, though, is the fact that true freshman Kedon Slovis, who has been mostly an afterthought in the competition, has been chosen as the true sophomore Daniels’ backup over Fink, a redshirt junior, and Sears, a redshirt sophomore.

Daniels started 11 games as a true freshman for the Trojans this past season, with Sears starting the other.  Fink seriously contemplated a transfer this offseason before opting to remain at USC.  Slovis, meanwhile, was a three-star 2019 signee who was rated as the No. 26 pro-style quarterback in the country.

In his first season as a starter, Daniels completed almost 60 percent of his 363 passes for 2,672 yards, 14 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Michigan transfer Brandon Peters wins starting QB job at Illinois

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Michigan transfer Brandon Peters has won the quarterback derby at Illinois, Lovie Smith announced Tuesday.

“We loved Brandon when we got a chance to know him during the recruiting process,” Smith said. “Now that we’ve seen him on the field, he has been everything we though he would be. He has really thrown the ball well and is a better runner than he’s given credit for. Most importantly, he has moved into a leadership role for us. We’re pumped up about Brandon leading us heading into the season.”

A former 4-star recruit, the Avon, Ind., native is a graduate transfer who still has two years of eligibility remaining.

At Michigan he appeared in 10 games with four starts, completing 53 percent of his 110 throws for 680 yards and four touchdowns.

Illinois opens its season Aug. 31 at home versus Akron.

Trevor Lawrence headlines Preseason AP All-American team

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Everyone and their blog now has an All-American team; so many are out there, in fact, that if we wrote about all of them we’d never write about anything else.

But there’s something different about being a Preseason AP All-American, and as such we’d be remiss if we didn’t add to our historical record here at CFT.

Most notably, Trevor Lawrence nudged out Tua Tagovailoa for the First Team quarterback job, where he’s joined by running back Travis Etienne and linebacker Isaiah Simmons on the First Team. Alabama also had three First Teamers — wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, defensive tackle Raekwon Davis and linebacker Dylan Moses.

The SEC led all conferences with eight First Team selections, followed by the Big Ten’s seven.

Without further ado, behold the 2019 Preseason AP All-America First Team:

OFFENSE
QB: Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
RB: Travis Etienne, Clemson; Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
WR: Jerry Jeudy, Alabama; Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State
TE: Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri
C: Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin
OG: Ben Bredeson, Michigan; Shane Lemieux, Oregon
OT: Walker Little, Stanford; Andrew Thomas, Georgia
AP: Rondale Moore, Purdue
K: Andre Szmyt, Syracuse

DEFENSE
LB: Joe Bachie, Michigan State; Dylan Moses, Alabama; Isaiah Simmons, Clemson
S: Andre Cisco, Syracuse; Grant Delpit, LSU
CB: Paulson Abedo, Stanford; Bryce Hall, Virginia
DE: AJ Epenesa, Iowa; Chase Young, Ohio State
DT: Derrick Brown, Auburn; Raekwon Davis, Alabama
P: Braden Mann, Texas A&M

It’s grrrrreat! Tony the Tiger claims title sponsorship of Sun Bowl

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The Sun Bowl has a new title sponsor and it’s, well, it’s great. The El Paso-based postseason college football game will now be sponsored by Tony the Tiger. Don’t be mistaken, it’s not sponsored by Kellogg’s brand or even Frosted Flakes cereal, but Tony the Tiger himself.

“For the last few months we’ve worked closely and collectively with the Sun Bowl association and it’s become clear how well the association understands the strength and resilience of this community and we are honored to be part of it,” Kellogg’s marketing director Bryant Wheaton told the El Paso Times.

The change has already been reflected on the Sun Bowl’s Twitter account — sort of. The name and avatar have been changed, but the handle, as of press time, still reflected the bowl’s previous sponsor, Hyundai.

The Sun Bowl, first played on Jan. 1, 1935 between the El Paso All-Stars and Ranger (Texas) High School, has now welcomed nine title sponsors. The game takes credit for bringing title sponsorship to the college football postseason.

“We were the very first bowl ever to have a title sponsor, back in 1986 when John Hancock saved the Sun Bowl from going extinct,” executive director Bernie Olivas told the El Paso Times. “We have had some great sponsors since then. Our past sponsor, who had been with us nine years, is the longest sponsor we’ve ever had.

“When we got the title sponsor in 1986, there were only 16 bowls. We were the first ones to have a title sponsor. The rest of the bowls shunned us, they said, ‘You sold out.’ Well how do you like us now?”

The 85th annual Sun Bowl will once again pit the ACC against the Pac-12 on Tuesday, Dec. 31 (2 p.m. ET, CBS). Stanford won the 2018 edition, topping Pitt, 14-13.