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Shane Buechele leaving Texas for SMU

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It seemed like fait accompli that Shane Buechele would leave Texas for SMU, and that fate is now complete.

After putting his name in the transfer portal in mid-January, everyone who was anyone was pointing to SMU as his likely destination, and they did so for two reasons. First, it was close to home for the Arlington, Texas, native. Second and most importantly, the Mustangs were in the market for a graduate transfer quarterback after watching their own multi-year starter, Ben Hicks, graduate transfer to Arkansas.

Thanks to the new redshirt rule, Buechele will have two years to play for SMU, where he figures to compete with rising sophomore William Brown for the starting job. Brown played quite well as a freshman, hitting 53-of-85 passes for 625 yards with seven touchdowns against just one pick.

Still, Buechele will be seen as the favorite to start for SMU next season thanks to his experience playing and learning as a Longhorn. He started his first game as a collegiate player, throwing for 280 yards and two touchdowns in that memorable-for-how-un-memorable-it-wound-up-being win over Notre Dame to kick off the 2016 season. He started that entire season, hitting 60 percent of his passes for 21 touchdowns against 11 interceptions.

Sam Ehlinger arrived in 2017 and Buechele beat him out for Snap 1 in Game 1, but injuries and inconsistent play saw him yo-yo from the field to the bench throughout the year. He saw serious action in five games, and for the year completed 137 of his 213 tosses for 1,405 yards with seven scores against four picks. Buechele was Ehlinger’s full-time backup this past season, but those involved still pointed to him as an integral part of the team. Tom Herman referred to Buechele as the most engaged backup he’d ever coached, and when called upon Buechele nursed home wins over Baylor and Iowa State for a temporarily injured Ehlinger, in the process connecting on 30-of-44 passes for 273 yards with two scores and one interception.

Those were the only two games in which Buechele played, meaning he will get to repeat his junior season for SMU in 2019.

Buechele is the third Texas quarterback to consider leaving and the second to follow through with it. Freshman Cameron Rising left already for Utah, and fellow freshman Casey Thompson opted to return as Ehlinger’s backup rather than leave. Texas signed 4-star Roschon Johnson in December and convinced 3-star Sam Saxton to spurn an offer from Rutgers (among others) to walk-on for his hometown team.

Toledo announces future three-game series with Kentucky

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How about a little Power Five-Group of Five scheduling news to start off your Wednesday morning?

This week, Toledo announced that it has reached an agreement on a future three-game series with Kentucky, which is essentially a home-and-home plus a one-off.  The two schools will play in Lexington during the 2025 and 2028 seasons, with the Wildcats traveling to the Glass Bowl in 2027.

Specific dates for those matchups, which will be the first-ever between the school, weren’t divulged.

“We are very pleased to enter in this three-game series with the University of Kentucky,” said UT athletic director Mike O’Brien in a statement. “Bringing an SEC opponent into the Glass Bowl is huge for our football program and for our fans. We look forward to an exciting series with the Wildcats, beginning with the game in Lexington this fall.”

That 2027 game will mark just the second time an SEC school has ever traveled to Toledo for a football game, with the first being Missouri in 2014.  All told, the Rockets have played four games against members of that conference and have gone 1-3 in those contests, with the lone win coming against Arkansas in 2015.

Love lost as Memphis LB enters transfer portal

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For the third time this offseason, Memphis has seen a member of its football program sucked into the infamous portal.

Citing a source familiar with the decision, the Memphis Commercial Appeal is reporting that Nyle Love has entered his name into the transfer database.  No specific reason was given for the departure, although positioning on the depth chart would be a likely place to start.

Other FBS schools will be able to contact Love without receiving U-M’s permission, with the linebacker also retaining the ability to return to the Tigers if he so desires.  As we have noted multiple times in the past, the school now also has the option to strip Love of his scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered the portal.

If Love moves on to another FBS school, it’s very likely he’ll have to sit out the 2019 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules.

Love didn’t play a down for Tigers after coming to the AAC school as a three-star 2018 signee.

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.