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Clemson claims recruiting national title, with familiar contenders shaping the top 10

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The way Clemson football has been trending, it was bound to happen. On Wednesday, Clemson claimed a recruiting national championship with the nation’s top-ranked recruiting class in the Class of 2020 as the early signing period opened with a flurry. Dabo Swinney and the Tigers gobbled up plenty of top-tier talent across the board and put together the nation’s highest-rated class according to the composite rankings updated by 247 Sports.

Scanning down the top classes, there is no surprise to some of the other names pulling in top classes this year. Perennial recruiting national title contender Alabama came within two points of Clemson for the top spot in the Class of 2020 rankings, which is another way to say that the next few years look to be pretty promising for both Clemson and Alabama. How shocked are you by that?

It’s also not shocking to see the other names following the Tigers and Crimson Tide. Ohio State continues to dominate recruiting in the Big Ten with the No. 3 recruiting class. Georgia remains a strong recruiter as well at No. 4, followed by four more SEC programs; No. 5 LSU, No. 6 Texas A&M, No. 7 Auburn, and No. 8 Florida. Lincoln Riley and the Oklahoma Sooners remain the team everyone in the Big 12 is chasing, even after losing a late commitment to Alabama. The Sooners are ranked No. 9 in the class rankings. Notre Dame rounds out the top 10, edging out Texas for the 10th spot in the class rankings.

Here are the top 25 recruiting classes for the Class of 2020, as of the end of the early signing day according to 247 Sports:

  1. Clemson
  2. Alabama
  3. Ohio State
  4. Georgia
  5. LSU
  6. Texas A&M
  7. Auburn
  8. Florida
  9. Oklahoma
  10. Notre Dame
  11. Texas
  12. Michigan
  13. Penn State
  14. Washington
  15. Tennessee
  16. Oregon
  17. South Carolina
  18. Miami
  19. North Carolina
  20. Nebraska
  21. Florida State
  22. Stanford
  23. Kentucky
  24. Georgia Tech
  25. Mississippi State

It should be noted the class rankings will officially be etched in stone in February following the later signing period.

Ole Miss corner Deantre Prince enters transfer portal

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If you had Ole Miss football as next up for an early-morning portal post, collect your winnings at the door.

Wednesday, it was reported by multiple media outlets that Deantre Prince has decided to enter his name into the NCAA transfer database.  By entering the portal, Prince can be contacted by any other school without receiving permission from Ole Miss football.  He can also pull his name from the database and remain with the Rebels.

Conversely, the defensive back could have his scholarship pulled at the end of the semester in which he entered the portal.

Prince’s decision, incidentally, comes two months after Lane Kiffin took over as the head coach of Ole Miss football.

A three-star 2019 signee, Prince was rated as the No. 18 player regardless of position in the state of Mississippi.  As a true freshman, Prince played in all 12 games for the Rebels.

With two interceptions, Prince tied for the team lead in 2019.  He as also credited with 25 tackles and two pass breakups.

Barring something unexpected, Prince would have to sit out the 2020 season in order to satisfy NCAA transfer bylaws.  Unless those NCAA bylaws are changed and he’s grandfathered in, of course.

Todd Graham announces titles, responsibilities for first Hawaii coaching staff

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A little over four weeks after he was hired as the next Hawaii football head coach, Todd Graham‘s first staff is complete.

Wednesday night, Hawaii football announced both the titles and positional dutied for Graham’s 10-man on-field coaching staff.  As previously confirmed, G.J. Kinne will serve as the Rainbow Warriors’ offensive coordinator.  Kinne, who was Graham’s former quarterback at Tulsa, will also serve as quarterbacks coach.

Victor Santa Cruz will be the defensive coordinator for Hawaii football.  On top of that, he will coach outside linebackers for the Mountain West Conference program.  On top of that, Santa Cruz will carry the title of associate head coach.

Below are the titles for the other eight position coaches:

  • Dan Phillips — Defensive Line
  • Tony Hull — Inside Receivers
  • Jacob Yoro — Linebackers
  • Brandon Graham — Running Backs
  • Sam Bennett — Offensive Line
  • Abe Elimimian — Cornerbacks
  • Brennan Marion — Wide Receivers
  • Laiu Moeakiola — Safeties

Six of those eight position coaches will also hold additional responsibilities:

  • Hull — Co-Offensive Coordinator
  • Yoro — Co-Defensive Coordinator
  • Phillips — Special Teams Coordinator
  • Graham — Passing-Game Coordinator
  • Bennett — Running-Game Coordinator
  • Elimimian — Recruiting Coordinator

Graham was introduced as the Hawaii football program’s 24th head coach last month.  The 55-year-old Graham has been a head coach at four different FBS schools:

  • Arizona State (2012-17)
  • Pitt (2011)
  • Tulsa (2007-10)
  • Rice (2006)

Graham has posted a 95-61 record at those stops.  His teams have played in 10 bowl games in 12 seasons, winning five of those postseason appearances.  He’s also won three divisional titles.

After being fired by Arizona State in November of 2017, Graham has been out of coaching ever since.  He was mentioned as a candidate for the Kansas job that ultimately went to Les Miles.

Starting East Carolina DE Chance Purvis arrested on felony kidnapping charge, suspended

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For the second time this month, this time by way of a member of the East Carolina football program, a college football player is facing some serious off-field allegations.

According to 247Sports.com, Chance Purvis was arrested Tuesday and charged with one count each of second-degree kidnapping and breaking/entering with intent to terrorize or injure.  Both of those charges are felonies.

No details of what led to the arrest and charges have been released thus far.

As a result of the arrest, though, the redshirt junior defensive end has been suspended by East Carolina football head coach Mike Houston.

“We are aware of the situation concerning Chance Purvis and consider these charges as very serious and completely unacceptable,” a statement from the coach began. “Chance has been suspended from all football-related activities until further notice. We will continue to monitor the situation, but since this is a legal matter, any additional comment on our part would be inappropriate at this time.”

Purvis didn’t play at all his first two seasons with East Carolina football.  In 2018, the lineman played in 10 games, starting one of those contests.  This past season, Purvis started all 12 games for the Pirates.  He was second on the team in tackles for loss (12) and sacks (four).

Depending on how the off-field situation plays out, Purvis would be the only returning starting lineman on the defensive side of the ball for East Carolina football in 2020.

Purvis is actually the second East Carolina football player arrested this year.  Last month, Cortez Herrin was arrested on one felony count of possession with the intent to sell or distribute.  He’s also facing a misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana paraphernalia.

When healthy, Herrin has been a part-time or full-time starter at left guard for ECU the past three seasons.

In 2018, Houston started all 12 games for the Pirates.  He made five starts in 2017 as well.  A knee injury in 2019 helped limit him to five starts.

Michigan State investigating allegations of NCAA violations committed under Mark Dantonio

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Mark Dantonio may have retired as the Michigan State football head coach, but his impact on the program will continue. On and off the field.

In May of 2017, Michigan State confirmed that the university had “parted ways” with Curtis Blackwell after opting not to renew the football staffer’s contract.  Blackwell, whose official title with the program was director of college advancement and performance, was suspended with pay February 9 of that year, the same day three unidentified Spartan football players were suspended in connection to sexual assault allegations.  While Blackwell was a part of the police investigations into the allegations, he was not accused of participating in the alleged sexual assault but rather failing to disclose information he knew about the incident.

In a lawsuit filed in November of 2018, which named Dantonio, among others, as a defendant, Blackwell alleged that his employment contract was violated when it wasn’t renewed by the university. According to recent court filings connected to that ongoing suit, Blackwell and his attornies are also alleging that NCAA violations were committed by Dantonio.

From ESPN.com:

The mother of current Notre Dame defensive end Daelin Hayes said in an affidavit that Blackwell attended an in-home visit at their house in Michigan along with former head coach Dantonio and assistant coaches Harlon Barnett and Mike Tressel. LaKeshia Neal, Hayes’ mother, also provided a photo of the coaches and Blackwell on that visit.

The NCAA has reached out to Hayes to ask about the incident, a source said. Per NCAA rules, Blackwell was not allowed to be part of off-campus recruiting during that time at Michigan State because he was not one of the program’s on-field coaches.

In documents filed two weeks ago, Blackwell alleged that Dantonio helped arrange jobs for the parents of an unnamed, high-profile recruit as well. The day after those documents were submitted, Dantonio abruptly announced his resignation.

Dantonio has claimed that the allegations had nothing to do with his decision to step down. One of Dantonio’s lawyers labeled the claims as “false, scandalous, and wholly unsupported accusations.”

As a result of the allegations made by Blackwell, the university — and the NCAA — is in the process of investigating the claims.

“We are aware of the allegations made by Curtis Blackwell as part of his litigation,” an MSU spokesperson stated. “As with any allegation concerning NCAA compliance, MSU is investigating and working with the NCAA and Big Ten. We have fully complied with our self-reporting obligations to the NCAA throughout this case.”

Feb. 12, Colorado’s Mel Tucker was hired by Michigan State football to replace Dantonio. As part of Tucker’s six-year contract, there is a clause that protects the new coach should Michigan State football be sanctioned by the NCAA for the actions of the previous coaching staff. The language of the deal calls for an additional year to be added to the length of the contract “as of the date the sanction takes effect or, if such sanction lasts more than one year, the six-year term will be extended to match the length of the sanction period.”