Regardless of how it may be parsed, this isn’t a good look. At all.
We have already known about four different instances of some type of violence against women allegedly perpetrated by members of the Florida football program since Dan Mullen took over as head coach. As noted by the Tampa Bay Times, that number is now up to five as defensive back John Huggins was accused late last year by a female tutor of choking her.
From the Times:
In October, a 19-year-old student accused Huggins of choking her during a tutoring session, according to a police report obtained this week by the Tampa Bay Times and other news outlets. Huggins was upset, the report alleges, because the tutor took his phone to make sure he would stay for the entire session (which she said Huggins often failed to do).
The woman had previously been made uncomfortable because Huggins pulled her hair in an earlier tutoring session, according to the report.
For whatever reason, the alleged victim declined to pursue charges against Huggins. The defensive back didn’t play in the last five games of last season after the incident, seemingly serving a previously unreported suspension.
The ugly accusations serve as yet another off-field black eye for Mullen’s squad.
- Four-star 2018 signee Justin Watkins was arrested twice in a two-month span last year. The first was on a misdemeanor charge of trespassing on school grounds after a verbal argument with an unidentified female turned violent as Watkins shattered the woman’s cellphone, kicked her vehicle and attempted to let the air out of her tires. The second was even more serious as Watkins was arrested and booked on four charges, including a pair of third-degree felonies (false imprisonment/kidnapping and domestic battery by strangulation) as well as two misdemeanors (first-degree battery), after allegedly pinning his girlfriend to a bed, punching her with a closed fist and choking her on three separate occasions. He announced in late July of last year that he was leaving UF “to better my opportunities.”
- In early May of this year, it was reported that four-star 2019 signee Jalon Jones had been accused by an unnamed female of sexually assaulting her in the early morning hours of April 6. It was subsequently unearthed that another unnamed female had accused the UF quarterback of sexually assaulting her that same day as well at the same on-campus residence as the first alleged victim. As was the case with Watkins, Jones left UF and ultimately landed at an FCS school.
- Otis Yelverton was arrested in April on one count of aggravated cyberstalking, which also led to his dismissal as UF’s assistant director of player personnel. It was alleged at the time that, among the 40-plus calls, Facebook messages and texts the 51-year-old Yelverton sent/made to his former girlfriend, one included a threat to blow up her car. Late last week, and citing “insufficient evidence to sustain a conviction,” the State’s Attorney’s Office formally dismissed the case against Yelverton.
- In May, defensive back Brian Edwards was arrested on one count of misdemeanor battery after allegedly abusing his girlfriend, although charges were never formally filed due to insufficient evidence. Edwards entered the NCAA transfer portal in early July and transferred to Central Michigan a month later.
“We do a lot. How many of them were actually charged?” Mullen said, by way of 247Sports.com, when asked about the Huggins situation Tuesday. “Part of it is also, there’s a lot out there with women. Now we do a lot of education with our team on that stuff. Obviously, I’m a big anti-violence-against-women person. I’m also a person that I really want to have all the information as I make decisions on what happens in different situations.
“That’s one of the toughest deals, because it’s a jump to conclusion on every detail that happens sometimes.”
Huggins remains away from the team as he continues to deal with what’s only being described as a “family situation” that Mullen says is unrelated to the accusations a year ago.
While definitely subject to change, the initial wagering odds for the degenerates in the reading audience are out.
Earlier Sunday, and in a surprise to absolutely no one, the four semifinalists for the 2019 College Football Playoff were released. LSU was given the No. 1 seed by the selection committee and will face No. 4 Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl. No. 2 Ohio State, which came into Championship Saturday ranked first in the country, will square off with No. 3 Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl.
According to the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook, LSU is a 7/5 favorite to win the 2019 national championship. Clemson is next at 2/1, while Ohio State sits at 3/1. Oklahoma, which won its way into the playoffs at the expense of Georgia, is a decided underdog at 16/1.
Speaking of underdogs, the SEC Tigers are currently listed as a 12½-point favorite in their matchup with the Sooners. Despite being the higher seed, the Buckeyes have opened as a two-point underdog to the ACC Tigers.
The over/under for Ohio State-Clemson opened at 63; for LSU-Oklahoma, it’s at 75.
LSU and Oklahoma have squared off just twice previously, with the most recent matchup coming in 2004. Clemson and Ohio State have met three times in their collective histories, the most recent meeting coming in the 2016 College Football Playoff — a 31-0 win for the Tigers.
When it came to replacing the fired Chad Morris, Arkansas, as it turned out, didn’t have to look outside of the SEC.
Sunday, with one of its top targets, Lane Kiffin, already having been locked up by SEC West rival Ole Miss, Arkansas reportedly pivoted its attention to Georgia’s Sam Pittman. A few hours later, the Razorbacks confirmed that Pittman has been hired as the school’s next head football coach.
“Sam Pittman has been an integral part of successful teams that have competed at the highest levels, including for SEC and NCAA Championships,” UA athletic director Hunter Yurachek said in a statement. “As one of the nation’s premier offensive line coaches, he has built a remarkable body of work thanks to his tremendous passion for his student-athletes, including teaching the fundamentals and developing his players on and off the field. Sam instills in his players the motivation, grit and determination required to compete and win. Throughout this process, I heard from many of his former players about the tremendous influence he had on them as a player and as a man.
“Sam knows the Southeastern Conference inside and out and is one of the nation’s best recruiters. His connections throughout football will enable him to build a quality coaching staff. In his previous tenure, Sam and his wife Jamie fell in love with the state of Arkansas and with Razorback fans. They know what a special place this is and are excited for the opportunity to come back to the Home of the Razorbacks.”
The hiring marks a return to Fayetteville for Pittman as he was a member of Bret Bielema‘s first coaching staff in 2013. In 2016, he left for Georgia, where he spent the past four seasons as the Bulldogs’ offensive line coach. He also served as Kirby Smart‘s associate head coach.
The 58-year-old Pittman will be officially introduced as the Razorbacks’ 34th head coach Monday afternoon.
Once again, it appears a Power Five program will pilfer a Group of Five school for its next head football coach.
Sunday afternoon, Bruce Feldman of The Athletic reported that Applachian State’s Eli Drinkwitz “has emerged as a strong candidate” for the vacancy at Missouri. Subsequent to that, ESPN.com reported that “Drinkwitz has reached an agreement to become Missouri’s next head football coach and a deal is being finalized.”
An official announcement of Drinkwitz becoming the permanent replacement for Barry Odom, who was fired late last month after four seasons at his alma mater, is expected no later than Monday.
The 36-year-old Drinkwitz is in his first season as the head coach of the Mountaineers, his first head-coaching job at any level of football. App State stands at 12-1 on the season after claiming its second-straight Sun Belt Conference championship Saturday with a win over Louisiana.
Dec. 21, App State will face UAB in the New Orleans Bowl.
A rough weekend for Georgia was underscored on Sunday as reports surfaced saying one of their key young players is done for the rest of this year and likely part of the next one.
As per Rivals’ Radi Nabulsi and a host of other beat writers in Athens, Bulldogs receiver Dominick Blaylock suffered a torn ACL in the loss against LSU in the SEC Championship Game on Saturday.
The freshman from Marietta, Ga. had to be carted off the field in the first quarter after making a short catch and planting his knee awkwardly. The team’s top receiver, Lawrence Cager, was already out after undergoing knee surgery on Nov. 29.
Blaylock had made 18 catches for 310 yards and five touchdowns at UGA this season.