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Report: Alabama QB Jalen Hurts now in NCAA transfer portal

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The player who would be the “biggest free agent in college football history” is one step closer to coming onto the market.

According to 247Sports.com‘s Barton Simmons, Jalen Hurts‘ name is now listed in the NCAA transfer portal system.  The move allows other football programs to contact the quarterback without receiving permission from Alabama first.

While the move doesn’t necessarily mean Hurts will definitely transfer — he could always remove his name and return to the Crimson Tide — it has in the past usually ended with the player moving on to another school.

Hurts graduated from Alabama in December, meaning he could move on to another FBS program and be immediately eligible to play in 2019.  The upcoming season will be the true junior’s final year of eligibility.

Given his experience and success at this level, Hurts is expected to be one of the most sought-after commodities on the free-agent market.

Hurts started every game but one in 2016 and 2017, guiding the Crimson Tide to a 26-2 record in that span.  He was under center for the national championship game loss to Clemson after the 2016 season, and was in the same spot for last year’s title game against Georgia until a 13-0 halftime deficit compelled Nick Saban to pull the trigger on a change.

And the rest, as they say, is history, as Tua Tagovailoa played a significant role in a second-half comeback that was capped by the then-true freshman’s game-winning touchdown pass in the first overtime.  Amidst criticism from Hurts himself, Tagovailoa won the job ahead of the 2018 season kicking off and, after finishing runner-up in the Heisman Trophy voting, led the Tide into another title game loss to the Tigers earlier this month.

As Tagovailoa will be a true junior in 2019 and is firmly entrenched as the starter, that combination of factors triggered Hurts’ decision to at least explore a transfer.

As for potential landing spots?  There are a handful of places that make sense, but there’s been a significant amount of speculation over the past few weeks that rival Auburn, which is losing its starting quarterback to the NFL and has no clear-cut replacement in-house, is very much a viable option.

Wisconsin renews contract of Paul Chryst into 2024

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In what has seemingly been an annual tradition in Madison, Wisconsin has renewed the contract of head football coach Paul Chryst by tacking on another year. Chryst is now under contract through Jan. 31, 2024 with his latest renewal following approval from the University of Wisconsin Athletic Board.

Wisconsin renewed Chryst’s contract a year ago, extending his contract through the end of Jan. 2023. Wisconsin and Chryst originally agreed on a contract that was set to expire on Jan. 31, 2020 with a written agreement that the contract may be extended with a positive annual review beginning after the 2015 football season.

The Badgers may be coming off a relatively disappointing season with a record of 8-5, but Chryst has gone 42-12 in his first four seasons as head coach of the Badgers and it is expected Wisconsin will remain a consistent contender in the Big Ten West Division with a shot to play for and win the Big Ten championship in the years to come.

According to the USA Today coaching salary database for the 2018 season, Chryst was paid $3.75 million last season. Specific details of how much Chryst will be paid now were not announced by Wisconsin.

Wisconsin also renewed the contracts of volleyball coach Kelly Sheffield, women’s soccer coach Paula Wilkins, and men’s soccer coach John Trask.

Toledo losing RB Nevone McCrimmon to transfer

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One MAC school will head into the spring with a little less depth in its offensive backfield than they had at the end of the 2018 regular season.

On Twitter this week, Nevone McCrimmon announced that he has decided to transfer from Toledo and continue his collegiate playing career elsewhere. In his social-media missive, the running back described leaving UT as “being the hardest decision of my life,” albeit one that he “and my family feels like… is the best decision to make.”

After redshirting as a true freshman, McCrimmon carried the ball nine times for 80 yards in 2017. He totaled 116 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 14 carries this past season.

Kent State adds a pair of Power Five transfers

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Thursday was potentially a good day on the personnel front for the Kent State football program.

The school confirmed in a release that it has added a pair of Power Five conference transfers — offensive lineman Bill Kuduk and defensive back Qwuantrezz Knight (pictured). Kuduk, a redshirt freshman, began his collegiate playing career at Kansas State, Knight, a redshirt sophomore, at Maryland.

Neither player is expected to be eligible to play in 2019 as they will be forced to sit out a transfer year as mandated by the NCAA.

“We are excited to add an exceptional person in Bill to our FlashFAST Family,” second-year head coach Sean Lewis said in a statement. “He comes from a great high school on the south side of Chicago and knows what it takes to win. His athletic ability and size will be a great addition to our O-line room. …

“Q is another high character individual who is going to be a great member of our family. He brings collegiate game experience with him and will add a lot of position versatility to our back-end.”

Knight played in 10 games as a true freshman in 2016 and a dozen the following season. He saw action in just four games this past season before deciding to transfer in November of last year.

Kuduk didn’t see the field during his brief time with the Wildcats.

Nick Saban poaches Florida, NFL to fill holes on Alabama staff

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After spending the last month as the poachee, Nick Saban has turned into the poacher as he looks to retool an Alabama coaching staff ravaged by attrition.

While it’s not yet been confirmed by the football program, multiple media outlets, including al.com, are reporting that Saban will hire Kyle Flood and Sal Sunseri as Crimson Tide assistants.  Flood would take over as offensive line coach for Brent Key, who left for the same job at Georgia Tech, while Sunseri will be taking an unspecified position on the defensive side of the ball.

Flood, the former head coach at Rutgers whose show-cause from the NCAA expired last September, would come to Tuscaloosa from the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, where he spent the past two seasons.  The offensive coordinator of the Falcons during that time, Steve Sarkisian, is expected to return in the same role with the Tide.

Speaking of returns, Sunseri spent the 2009-11 seasons as Saban’s linebacker’s coach and assistant head coach before leaving to take over as the defensive coordinator at Tennessee.  Sunseri just completed his first season as the defensive line coach at Florida.