Florida took a pounding in the press this past week with an accumulation of reports pointing out the fact that five members of the football program, including four players, had been accused of violence against women.
The most recent revelation involved John Huggins, who was accused late last year by a female tutor of choking her after the 19-year-old student confiscated the player’s cellphone. For whatever reason, though, the alleged victim declined to pursue charges against Huggins; conversely, the defensive back didn’t play in the last five games of last season after the incident, seemingly serving a previously unreported suspension.
Fast-forward to 2019 and Huggins had remained away from the team since the start of summer camp this month as he continued to deal with what was only being described as a “family situation” that head coach Dan Mullen said was unrelated to the accusations a year ago; that sabbatical will apparently become permanent, however, as it’s now being reported that Huggins has been dismissed from the Gators.
Huggins was a three-star member of the Gators’ 2018 recruiting class, rated as the No. 28 safety in the country. He played in the first eight games of his true freshman season before his non-suspension suspension went into effect.
Prior to the off-field issues coming to light, Huggins had been expected to play an expanded role in Florida’s ever-thinning secondary this coming season.
As for the other incidents involving members of the UF program since Mullen took over?
- 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.
The 12th Man is a big, big deal at Texas A&M. In fact, it’s pretty much the brand of not just the football program, but the entire athletics department. Case in point, A&M’s athletics department website is 12thman.com.
For the uninitiated, in 1922 the Aggies found themselves short of players in a football game against Center College, the No. 1 team in the country at the time, after multiple players sustained injuries over the course of the game. Down to just 11 players, A&M student E. King Gill volunteered to suit up and stand on the sidelines in case the team needed him. Gill now has a statue outside of Kyle Field, and A&M’s student section is collectively referred to as the 12th Man.
As such, it’s a tremendous honor for an active Aggie player to be awarded the No. 12 and, after fullback Cullen Gillaspia donned the jersey for a record-tying 39 games, it’s time to hand it off to a new player.
On Tuesday, Jimbo Fisher awarded the No. 12 jersey to Braden White, a walk-on linebacker from Florence, Ala.
“I’m honored just to be able to represent this great university and everything about it,” White said. “It’s a true blessing.”
White is a redshirt junior who has checked all the boxes of a player who checks all the 12th Man boxes. He was named Defensive Scout Team MVP during his redshirt year of 2016 and was honored as the Top Conditioned Athlete at the Aggies’ 2018 team banquet. He has appeared in 18 career games, recording 16 career tackles playing primarily as a special teams contributor.
White will wear No. 12 for the first time next when Texas A&M — ranked, ironically, No. 12 in the preseason AP poll — hosts Texas State next Thursday night (8:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network).
Until they tell us otherwise, Connecticut is going to try to make it as an FBS independent. This upcoming season will be the Huskies’ final one as a member of the American Athletic Conference, as the Huskies’ Olympic sports will return to the Big East and the football team will go it alone.
This will require lots (and lots and lots) of scheduling work, and quickly. As of now, the Huskies have four games on the schedule for a season that begins 12 months from now.
While it does nothing to help the 2020 slate, UConn began chipping away at the mountain in front of it on Wednesday by announcing a home-and-home with Boston College. The first game will be Oct. 29, 2022 in Storrs, with the return game going down Oct. 28, 2023 in Chestnut Hill.
The two programs have met 14 times previously; BC leads the series 12-0-2. The Eagles took the most recent meeting 39-16 in 2017.
Additionally, BC announced a 2023-28 home-and-home with Army and a Sept. 9, 2023 home game with Holy Cross.
Penn State safety Johnny Petrishen has left State College for Pittsburgh, where he is now a Panther.
Petrishen announced the transfer on Tuesday evening, and Pitt confirmed his addition on Wednesday morning.
Petrishen has two years of eligibility remaining thanks — if you want to use that term — to two medical redshirts.
A Lower Burrell, Pa., native, Petrishen appeared in 17 career games as a Nittany Lion, including all 13 last season. Primarily a special teams player, he posted eight career tackles and one TFL in State College.
Hugh Freeze may be dealing with what was a significant health issue, but he’s still working his first-year roster at Liberty.
On his personal Twitter account Tuesday evening, Tim Kidd-Glass announced that he “would like to thank God for allowing me to have another opportunity to further my football career… at Liberty University.” The announcement comes a couple of weeks after the safety triggered a move from North Carolina State by entering his name into the NCAA transfer database.
As a graduate transfer, Kidd-Glass will be eligible to play for the Flames in 2019.
The past three seasons, the Virginia native played in 33 games for the Wolfpack. He started nine of those contests, all of which came during the 2017 season.