Brevyn Jones

Lovie Smith beard
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Lovie Smith’s glorious beard is no more as Illinois head coach shaves facial greatness

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Long live the Lovie Smith beard.

Up until last season, arguably one of the best things about the Illinois football program was Lovie Smith in general and his beard specifically.  For the better part of three years, it was the envy of all face-follicly-challenged head coaches.  Its genesis?  As greatness ofttimes is, a man’s better half.

“I never shaved much during the summer, before seasons started,” Smith told the Washington Post in October of last year. “Two summers ago, I let it grow out for a while, and my wife said to me: ‘I love it. Don’t ever shave it.’ So I guess I won’t.”

And, if you need another visual refresher as to the bearded splendor…

Sadly, that era of facial greatness has come to an end.  On Twitter Wednesday, Illinois revealed that the flush-with-white mane of glory that was Smith’s beard is no more.

(I’ll give you a moment to compose yourself.)

(You good?  Good.)

In the first three seasons under Lovie Smith, the beard was about the only thing to celebrate.  From 2016-18, the Fighting Illini went 9-27.  In 2019, however, they won six games and appeared in a bowl for the first time since 2014.

Smith and the Illini have also been killing it on the transfer portal front.

In mid-March, ex-Alabama linebacker Christian Bell tweeted that he was moving on to the Illini. Shortly thereafter, we noted that an FCS All-American offensive lineman had opted to transfer into the Illinois football program. New Mexico State wide receiver Desmond Dan did the same.  As did Miami wide receiver Brian Hightower.  And Mississippi State offensive lineman Brevyn Jones in early May  And Louisville defensive back TreSean Smith (HERE) and Cal defensive tackle Chinedu Udeogu (HERE) in mid-May as well.

Mississippi State OL Stewart Reese is in the portal, may end up at Florida

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For the fourth time since Mike Leach‘s infamous tweet, a Mississippi State football player has placed himself into the portal.

Speculation has been bubbling of late that Stewart Reese might not be long for the Mississippi State football program.  Thursday, 247Sports.com confirmed that the offensive lineman is officially listed in the NCAA transfer database.

The website also reports that Florida could very well be Reese’s landing spot.  From the report:

For one, Reese was recruited to Mississippi State by Florida offensive line coach John Hevesy and coach Dan Mullen. Two, his brother David Reese is currently a redshirt sophomore rush end for the Gators.

The addition of Reese would help soften the loss of Issiah Walker.  Earlier this month, the four-star 2020 offensive lineman entered the transfer portal.

Now, for what’s seemingly becoming a daily disclaimer when it comes to transfers.

As we’ve stated myriad times in the past, a player can remove his name from the portal and remain at the same school. At this point, though, other programs are permitted to contact a player without receiving permission from his current football program.

NCAA bylaws also permit schools to pull a portal entrant’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered it.

Reese was a three-star member of the Mississippi State football Class of 2016.  The Florida native would be leaving Starkville as a graduate transfer.  This coming campaign will be his final year of eligibility.

The 6-5, 345-pound lineman took a redshirt as a true freshman. In 2017 and 2018, he started all 26 games at right tackle.  Last season, last season, he started eight games at right guard for the Bulldogs.

The three other Mississippi State football players who have entered the portal in a little over a month?