Getty Images

Four-star OL, ex-Arkansas commit signs NLI with Charlotte

Leave a comment

A global pandemic didn’t seem to stop Charlotte from landing the biggest recruit in school history.

As reported by 247Sports late Wednesday night, the 49ers have landed the signature of four-star Carthage (Tex.) offensive lineman Ty'Kieast Crawford. Yes, a top 20 prospect at the position has indeed submitted a National Letter of Intent with the Conference USA program.

Crawford, a former Arkansas and Baylor commitment, was previously expected to go the junior college route whenever college football returned in 2020. Instead, it appears a heck of a sell job by head coach Will Healy and company landed the No. 35 overall player in the state of Texas.

There are some academic concerns with getting Crawford eligible according to 247Sports but Charlotte seems hopeful they can get the player into school for the fall semester.

Needless to say, this is certainly a marquee recruit for the Conference USA program still in its infancy. Just by joining the class of 2020, Crawford bumped up the 49ers from seventh to second in the 247 team rankings for the league and appears to be the only four-star committed to a CUSA squad.

Just as impressive for Healy’s staff is that they still landed Crawford’s signature despite an NCAA dead period that prevented any sort of campus visits or face-to-face recruiting. There was likely plenty of Zooms and FaceTimes but still, a potential game-changer for a team that just made it to their first postseason last December.

Toledo reportedly hires ex-Michigan State assistant Mark Staten

Toledo football
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Toledo is the new home for a former Michigan State football assistant.  Reportedly.

When Mel Tucker took over for Mark Dantonio earlier this month, the former Colorado head coach retained just two of his predecessor’s assistants, Mike Tressel and Ron Burton.  Two other former Dantonio assistants, Terrence Samuel and Paul Haynes, took jobs at UNLV and Minnesota, respectively.

This week, it’s being reported that a third former Dantonio assistant has landed on his coaching feet as Mark Staten is now a member of the Toledo football staff.  Staten is expected to coach tight ends and offensive tackles for the Rockets.

Interestingly, Michigan State is set to host Toledo on Sept. 19 of the college football season.

If the hiring comes to fruition, it will mark the first time since 2003 that Staten is not part of a Dantonio-led coaching staff.  From 2004-06, Staten was at Cincinnati.  He spent the past 13 seasons at MSU.  From 2007-10, Staten coached tight ends and offensive tackles for the Spartans.  Staten moved to offensive line coach in 2011, a position he held until 2018.  Amidst a reshuffling of Dantonio’s offensive staff, Staten became tight ends coach for the 2019 season.

Prior to Michigan State and Cincinnati, Staten had served as a graduate assistant at Ohio State (2002-03) and Miami of Ohio (2001).

Kansas is the latest to hit the coronavirus-related pause button on workouts as a dozen Jayhawks test positive for COVID-19

Kansas football
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Go ahead and add Kansas to the growing list of football programs hitting the workout pause button.

The Big 12 announced back in May that student-athletes could begin returning to campus June 15 for voluntary workouts.  Kansas was one of those football programs in the conference to take advantage of the edict.  Nearly three weeks later, however, KU has announced that it’s suspending those workouts.  The reason?  A dozen Jayhawk football players tested positive for COVID-19.  Less than a week ago, just three were positives.

“Due to the positives within our own program and the increased cases in our region including our student-athletes’ home communities, we believe all football student-athletes and staff should self-quarantine for 14-days,” the school stated in a release.  After the 14 days, all players and staff will be tested again.

Below are statements from the Kansas athletic director and its head football coach.

Jeff Long
After the increase in positive COVID-19 tests within our football program, our medical team at Kansas Team Health has recommended discontinuing voluntary workouts immediately. Our priority remains to keep our student-athletes safe and healthy, especially during this pandemic, and will follow the recommendations of our medical professionals.

“We will only resume our preparations after the 14-day quarantine is complete and our student-athletes and staff have been tested for the virus prior to participating in football activities. In the meantime, we continue to educate our student-athletes, as well as coaches and staff, on the importance of following the policies and procedures and recommendations from our Kansas Team Health physicians and the CDC.

Les Miles
When we welcomed our young men back to campus a couple of weeks ago for voluntary workouts, even with the policies and procedures in place to try and protect them from becoming infected with the virus, events outside of our control has made the decision to pause these workouts necessary. Our trainers and doctors will remain in daily contact with each of the student-athletes that tested positive to support them and what we hope will involve only minor symptoms if any. We will follow medical recommendations on returning to activities.

Kansas football is the latest but certainly not the first impacted by the pandemic.  Or the last, more than likely

Early this past week, Arizona announced that it was pausing its phased return of student-athletes to campus.  Prior to that, eight individuals connected to the Boise State football program tested positive, forcing the school to temporarily scuttle workouts.  June 20, K-State announced that it is pausing all voluntary workouts as well.  The reason?  “[A] total of 14 student-athletes have tested positive for active COVID-19 following PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing of more than 130 student-athletes.” The weekend before that, Houston decided to put a halt to voluntary on-campus workouts after six symptomatic UH student-athletes tested positive for COVID-19.

Other programs have seen a high number of players test positive but continue workouts.  Among those are Clemson (37 players tested positive), LSU (30 players quarantined), Texas (13 confirmed positives for football players) and Texas Tech (23 positives for players/staffers).

Penn State corner Marquis Wilson facing pair of pot-related charges

Penn State football
Getty Images
1 Comment

Thanks to a Penn State football player, we have a post that would’ve triggered a resetting of Ye Olde Arrest Ticker.  If that were still a thing, of course.

According to the Centre Daily Times, Marquis Wilson was is facing a pair of weed-related charges stemming from an incident this past February.  Those charges are one count each of possession of a small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.  Both of those charges are misdemeanors.

During a February traffic stop, the sophomore cornerback was accused by campus police of stashing marijuana into a pill bottle.  From the Daily Times‘ report:

… Wilson was stopped in February by an officer who smelled “a strong odor of marijuana” coming from Wilson’s vehicle, police wrote.

[The defensive back], who spoke with the officer in front of Brill Hall, denied smoking marijuana. He said someone else smoked weed in his vehicle earlier, police wrote.

Wilson had red, glassy eyes and “a strong odor of marijuana on his breath,” police wrote. The officer found the bottle inside the vehicle’s center console.

Thus far, the Penn State football program has not addressed the off-field development.

Wilson was a three-star member of the Penn State football Class of 2019.  The cornerback was rated as the No. 4 player regardless of position in the state of Connecticut.

As a true freshman, Wilson appeared in 10 games for the Nittany Lions.  He was credited with 18 tackles, three forced fumbles, two passes defensed, two interceptions and one fumble recovery.  The three forced fumbles were tied for second on the team last season.  The interception came in the bowl win over Memphis.

Mike Gundy takes $1 million pay cut, has contract shortened

Oklahoma State football
Getty Images
7 Comments

The saga within the Oklahoma State football program has taken yet another twist.

Mike Gundy’s wearing of a t-shirt with the logo of a far-right news organization received a swift and very public Twitter rebuke last month from star running back Chuba Hubbard.  The two subsequently put out a video in which Gundy promised unspecified change while Hubbard stated he was wrong for taking the issue public.  The running back added another layer to the issue, stating the next day he wasn’t wrong for what he said but reiterated he was wrong for how he went about it.  That same day, the Oklahoma State head football coach issued a video apology in which he expressed disgust after learning of OAN’s stance on Black Lives Matter.  Additionally, old allegations of Gundy directing the N-word at Colorado players during his time as an Oklahoma State football player also resurfaced.

Following a review that lasted nearly two weeks, Oklahoma State Thursday night announced that it had “uncovered no signs or indication of racism.” Additionally, the university determined that “the underlying issue was a lack of a personal relationship between the head coach and players rather than anything racial.”

Despite being absolved, it’s now being reported that Gundy will take a $1 million cut in pay.  Not only that, but it was the coach who offered to give up the seven-digit sum.  Additionally, Gundy’s contract has reportedly gone from a five-year rollover to a four-year rollover.

According to the USA Today coaches salary database, Gundy was paid $5.125 million in 2019.  That number was good for third in the Big 12 and 13th nationally.

Gundy, who played quarterback for the Cowboys in the mid- to late-nineties, is entering his 16th season as the Oklahoma State head football coach.  In the first 15, he’s gone 129-64 overall and 77-52 in Big 12 play.  After a run of six double-digit win campaigns in eight years, the Cowboys have gone a combined 15-11 the past two seasons.