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Pair of one-time starting offensive linemen leave Tennessee

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On National Signing Day Wednesday, Tennessee added a pair of five-star offensive linemen. A day later, that positional group officially saw some attrition.

Thursday night, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported, Jeremy Pruitt confirmed that a pair of linemen, Chance Hall and Drew Richmond, are no longer members of the UT football program.  Injury issues forced Hall to retire from the sport, while Richmond has placed his name into the NCAA transfer database as he looks to finish out his playing career at an undetermined elsewhere.

Hall started 13 games of the 16 games he played during the 2015-16 seasons, all at right tackle.  Knee surgery in August of 2016 sidelined Hall for the first half of the 2016 season, but he came back to start six games at the end of the year for the Vols.  As a true freshman the year before, Hall started the last seven games at right tackle for the Vols and was named Freshman All-American after the 2015 season.

A knee injury sidelined Hall for the entire 2017 season, although he did come back to play in eight games this past season as a redshirt junior.

Hall will remain on scholarship at UT, but won’t count against the program’s 85-man limit.

A four-star 2015 signee, Richmond, who was rumored to be leaving last month prior to Pruitt’s confirmation, started 25 games during his time on Rocky Top.  A dozen of those starts came at right tackle this past season.

As a graduate transfer, Richmond will be eligible to play immediately at another FBS school in 2019.

“These guys have done a good job. They’ve done a good job since I’ve been here,” the head coach said according to the News Sentinel. “I can’t do nothing but wish them the best.”

In addition to Richmond, rising fifth-year senior Austin Smith has decided to transfer as well.  The linebacker has appeared in 23 games for the Vols, although just 10 of those appearances have come since his true freshman season in 2015.

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.