The backfield cavalry expected to head to Lincoln has one obstacle to navigate before he officially joins Scott Frost’s squad.
Nebraska confirmed in mid-January that Dedrick Mills had signed with the Big Ten school and would play for the Cornhuskers in 2019. The junior college All-American committed to the Cornhuskers in the summer of last year but didn’t put pen to paper during the early signing period in December.
While Mills has already graduated from Garden City Community College, he did not participate in spring practice with the rest of his future Cornhusker teammates. Monday, Mills’ junior college head coach explained to the Lincoln Journal Star that the standout running back needs to bump-up his grade point average in order to enroll at his new university.
“[H]e’s there [at GCCC] trying to get his GPA up,” Jeff Sims told the Journal Star. “The issue isn’t needing credits. The issue is GPA. You have to have a 2.5 to transfer to Division I. It’s not like back in the day when you needed to just graduate.
“He’s working to raise that GPA. The problem is, the more classes you take, the better grades you have to get.”
The classroom issue continues a trend of off-field hiccups experienced by Mills the past couple of years.
In August of 2017, Georgia Tech announced that Mills had been dismissed from the program for an unspecified violation of athletic department rules. It was subsequently learned that the dismissal stemmed from failed drug tests — three to be specific.
During the Early Signing Period late last year, Mills was in court addressing a failure to appear citation he received after being charged in July with driving on a suspended driver’s license. He received probation over that incident.
In 2016, Mills’ 771 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns led all Tech ball carriers., with 169 of those yards coming in the bowl win over Kentucky. Mills put up all of those numbers as a true freshman despite being suspended on two different occasions for a total of three games.
The heartbreak that is cancer has, once again, impacted the world of college football.
Arkansas State announced Monday that Blake Anderson would be taking a leave of absence from his job as head football coach to be with his wife Wendy, who was battling an aggressive form of breast cancer for the second time in three years. Tuesday morning, Anderson posted that his wife had lost her brave battle with the insidious disease shortly before midnight last night “with me laying right beside her.”
Wendy Anderson was 49.
Wendy Anderson was initially diagnosed with cancer in the spring of 2017. In August of that year, Anderson had tweeted that his wife was cancer-free. Sadly, cancer returned a few months later.
Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to Coach Anderson for his loss.
Defensive coordinator David Duggan will serve as interim head coach during Anderson’s indefinite leave of absence. Arkansas State will open the 2019 season against SMU Aug. 31.
Entering summer camp, Deon Stewart was the most senior member of a very young receiving corps. Unfortunately for all involved, Stewart will exit camp on the sidelines and will remain there for the foreseeable future.
Multiple media outlets in the area initially reported that Stewart suffered a torn ACL during Arkansas’ scrimmage this past Saturday; Monday, head coach Chad Morris confirmed the initial reports, saying that an MRI showed a tear in the ligament.
Suffice to say, the fifth-year senior, who posted an ominous one-word tweet over the weekend portending the development, will miss the entire 2019 season.
Morris also confirmed that Stewart will pursue a sixth season of eligibility.
Stewart played in 36 games the past three seasons, starting 14 of those contests in 2017 (six) and 2018 (eight). This past season, Stewart was fourth on the Razorbacks in receptions (22) and sixth in yards (178).
Of the 17 receivers listed on the Razorbacks’ preseason roster, 13 of them are either freshmen or sophomores. Stewart is one of two seniors at the position, the other being Jimmie Stoudemire, who didn’t catch a pass during his first season in Fayetteville after transferring in from a California junior college.
Pardon me while I clean up a bit of personnel news from late last week during these early-morning hours.
Early last week, speculation was making the rounds that Jayden McDonald was considering a transfer away from Iowa. Friday evening, the speculation became a reality as the football program confirmed in a press release that the redshirt freshman linebacker has entered his name into the NCAA transfer database.
It’s at this point in the program where we remind our readers that entering a name into the portal doesn’t guarantee a departure, even as it allows other programs to contact the player without receiving permission from his current school. McDonald could also reverse course, pull his name from the database and return to the Hawkeyes.
Conversely, the university can take away McDonald’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered the portal.
After originally committing to Rutgers, McDonald signed with Iowa as a three-star recruit in 2018. The Georgia high schooler opted for Iowa over Kansas State, Ole Miss and Purdue.
McDonald didn’t see the field as a true freshman and, with the Hawkeyes moving to a 4-2-5 base defense this season, he saw his opportunities for playing time in Iowa City narrowed even further.
With his wife fighting cancer, Arkansas State head coach Blake Anderson is stepping away from the football part of his life temporarily to be with his family. Arkansas State announced the news Monday evening. Defensive coordinator David Duggan will take over as the interim head coach until Anderson is ready to return to the team.
“Coach Anderson has decided to take a leave of absence during this difficult time to be with his wife, Wendy, and his family,” a statement from Arkansas State Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics Terry Mohajir said in a released statement. “We will continue to pray for peace for his family and provide assistance any way we can.”
Anderson has been dividing his time between football and being with his wife, but there comes a time when you have to realize there is much more to focus on than football. This is certainly one of those times, and good for Arkansas State to allow their head coach to do what he needs to do during this troubling time for his family.
Cancer sucks, plain and simple.