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Florida QB Kyle Trask to make first start since his freshman season in high school

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Given the portal fever that has seemingly enveloped the sport over the past year or so, this post is a stark reminder of how, at least in this instance, perseverance and staying put can actually end up working out in a player’s favor.

In ending its one-game losing streak to Kentucky in Week 3, Florida’s starting quarterback, Feleipe Franks, went down with a dislocated ankle and will miss the remainder of the 2019 season.  In steps redshirt junior Kyle Trask, who will get the start this Saturday as No. 9 Florida plays host to rival Tennessee in The Swamp.

What makes Trask’s start unique is that, as relayed by ESPN.com in an exceptional piece by Sam Kahn Jr., this will mark Trask’s first start since he was a freshman in high school.  Yes, a Power Five quarterback at a Top 25 school who hasn’t started a game since the ninth grade will get the nod this weekend.

So, how exactly did his career play out in such an odd way?

Trask went to high school in Manvel, Tex., which annually produces loads of Div. 1 football talent.  In the same class as Trask was D’Eriq King, who set the Class 6A record for career touchdown passes with 140 and is now a record-breaking quarterback at Houston.

“When I got there, I was the eighth quarterback on the depth chart,” King, recalling his freshman season, told Khan. “[Trask] was No. 3. Out of those eight quarterbacks, six of them transferred and he’s the [other] one that stayed.”

When he was confronted by his high school head coach about rumors that he was considering transferring to get playing time elsewhere, Trask took exception to the talk.

But he grew up in Manvel. Went to elementary school and junior high there. It’s where he wanted to be. Once, when Kirk Martin heard a rumor that Trask might consider transferring, he brought him into his office.

Trask politely replied, “I was born and raised in Manvel, Texas. As long as you’re going to let me compete for the starting job, I’m not going anywhere. If D’Eriq King is better than me, he’s gonna have to prove it.

Fast-forward to 2016, and Trask was a three-star signee for the Gators… while Franks was a four-star signee in that same class.  After taking a redshirt his true freshman season — Austin Appleby and Luke Del Rio were the main Gators under center that season — a foot injury sidelined him for the entire 2017 campaign.  In November of last year, it appeared Trask would get the opportunity to replace a struggling Franks… until he broke his foot in practice and was sidelined for the remainder of that season as well.

As was the case in high school, Trask stayed true to his commitment to the Gators in a season-ending meeting with head coach Dan Mullen.

The most important question Mullen had, with graduation on the horizon for Trask and Franks having a strong end to the season, was, “Where’s your head at?”

“You know you’re going to get reps and get a chance to compete,” Mullen said. “If it doesn’t work out, is this where you want to be?”

In the era of the transfer portal, it’s vital information, particularly for those who are eligible for a graduate transfer. Trask never wavered.

“I’m 100% a Florida Gator,” he said.

Now, seven years and two schools later, Trask is being rewarded for his patience and commitment to the ones that got him here.

Third NC State football player this month hits the portal

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Who does this NC State football team think it is, Clemson?

Citing an unnamed source, 247Sports.com has reported that defensive lineman Joseph Boletepeli (pictured, No. 99) has entered the NCAA transfer database.  The website did note that “Boletepeli is still on the active roster for the Wolfpack and can still return to the program despite entering the portal.”

No specific reason for the decision was given, although playing time certainly played a role.

A three-star member of the Class of 2018 for NC State football, Boletepeli was rated as the No. 27 player regardless of position in the state of North Carolina.  During his two seasons with the Wolfpack, Boletepeli played in seven games.  Four of those appearances came this past season.

Boletepeli started the first two games of his true freshman campaign.  This season, Boletepeli was a No. 2 defensive end who ultimately dropped further down on the depth chart.

Barring something unexpected, Boletepeli will have to sit out the 2020 season if he moves on to another FBS school.  That would then leave him with two years of eligibility he could begin using in 2021.

Boletepeli is the third NC State football player to enter the portal this month.  Jan. 7, linebacker Brock Miller announced on Twitter that he was leaving as a graduate transfer.  A week later, defensive end Jeffrey Gunter was reported to be making the same move.

Over the weekend, Miller announced that he would be transferring to Boise State.

Southern Miss co-DC Derek Nicholson moves on to Louisville

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A familiar face has returned to the Louisville football coaching family.

In a release, Louisville announced that ACC Coach of the Year Scott Satterfield has hired Derek Nicholson to his staff as inside linebackers coach.  Nicholson will take over the void left by Dale Jones‘ departure for the defensive coordinator job at Appalachian State.

“Derek has an infectious personality that will blend well within our staff,” the Louisville football head coach said in a statement. “He will bring great energy to our program and is an excellent recruiter. He has shown that he’s a great teacher of defensive football and will be a great addition to our defensive staff.”

This will be Nicholson’s second stint with the Louisville football team.  In 2014, Nicholson coached the Cardinals’ outside linebackers and defensive ends.

In between his time at the UofL, Nicholson spent four years at Southern Miss.  The first two he coached the defensive line.  He was the co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach the past two seasons.

Nicholson played his college football at Florida State.

“I’d like to thank Scott Satterfield, Bryan Brown, Cort Dennison and the rest of the Louisville football program for this amazing opportunity,” Nicholson said. “My family and I are extremely excited to be back at Louisville and in the Atlantic Coast Conference. I look forward to working with the coaching staff and coaching the inside linebackers. There is something special is brewing in Louisville and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.”

Marshall WR Obi Obialo makes way into the portal

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One of the best names in the sport, and a Marshall Thundering Herd football player to boot, is the latest to hit the portal.

Over the weekend, Obi Obialo announced on his personal Twitter account that he has decided to place his name into the NCAA transfer database.  The move is normally the first step in a departure, although the wide receiver could always return to the Marshall Thundering Herd football team.

“I want to thank all of the coaches and staff at Marshall for the opportunity to grow into the person and player I am today,” Obialo wrote.

Obialo also confirmed in the same post that he will be leaving the Herd as a graduate transfer.  The 2020 season will serve as his final season of collegiate eligibility.

Obialo actually began his playing career at Oklahoma State as a three-star 2016 signee who was originally a walk-on.  In May of 2017, Obialo opted to transfer from OSU.  A month later, he moved on to Marshall.

In 2017 and 2018, Obialo started 16 games for the Thundering Herd, including all 13 in the latter season.  In that 2018 season, Obialo was second on the team in receptions (42), receiving yards (505) and receiving touchdowns (four).

A foot injury sidelined Obialo for all but one game this past season.  In that limited action, he caught 18 passes for 244 yards.

Because he played in just the four games, that will allow Obialo to take a redshirt for the 2019 season.  The move also preserved a year of eligibility that he will presumably use elsewhere.

Maryland hires George Helow to Mike Locksley’s staff

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The lone hole on Mike Locksley‘s Maryland Terrapins football staff has been filled.

In late December, John Papuchis left the Maryland Terrapins football program to take a job with Mike Norvell at Florida State.  Exactly four weeks later, Locksley has landed Papuchis’ replacement, with the addition of George Helow officially announced by the school.

Helow will serve as Maryland’s special teams coordinator.  He’ll also coach the Terps’ inside linebackers.

Helow spent the past four seasons at Colorado State.  The first two were as a defensive quality control coach and graduate assistant.  The last two were spent as safeties coach.

The 2018-19 seasons were Helow’s first as an on-field assistant at the collegiate level.

In addition to the Mountain West Conference school, he has also been a football staffer at:

  • Georgia, defensive quality control assistant (2014-15)
  • Florida State, defensive graduate assistant (2013)
  • Alabama, defensive intern (2012)

Helow played his college football at Ole Miss from 2006-10.  Most of his action during his 38 games played came on special teams.