Keith Corbin

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Houston offensive lineman Justin Murphy blasts Dana Holgorsen in Twitter thread

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Justin Murphy is a Belton, Texas, native who signed with Texas Tech out of high school, graduate transferred to UCLA in 2018 and then graduate transferred a second time to Houston ahead of this season.

Murphy joined the Houston roster on the assumption that an addition of a veteran like him was another tool in the belt of new head coach Dana Holgorsen, whose hiring showed Houston planned to compete and win big immediately.

Five games in, that hasn’t happened.

Houston is 2-3 (0-1 AAC) and the most interesting thing to happen came when quarterback D’Eriq King and wide receiver Keith Corbin elected to redshirt the remainder of the season, making the 2019 Houston Cougars the closest thing college football has ever had to tanking. It was a controversial decision, one made with Holgorsen’s blessing and encouragement, and one that could not come without consequences.

One of those consequences was it royally angered Houston’s existing seniors, players like Murphy.

It was announced earlier this week that Murphy was no longer a member of the team, and on Thursday night Murphy said his piece as to why. In a lengthy Twitter thread, this largely anonymous cog in the machine taught the rest of the country how that machine turns — by chewing up and spitting out lots of players just like him.

Murphy explained that, following Houston’s fourth game in 19 days to open the season, he was diagnosed with a torn meniscus and was advised to medically retire — and learned that on a day that happened to coincide with the day the King news hit. Despite that, Murphy said he planned to play through the injury when he was told effectively that his services would not be needed on Sept. 28 against North Texas or at all for the remainder of the season, his last as a college football player.

Murphy explained his side of the story here:

 

Following the fourth game on 9/19/19 I would be advised to receive an MRI in order to proceed with further injections into my right knee, an injury ridden joint starting back to my first year starting at Texas Tech.

The MRI would reveal yet another torn medial meniscus and a torn and presumed “dead” ACL. An injury that if self-preservation is in mind, I would be advised by a doctor to medically retire.

That Monday I learned that the Head Coach of the Houston Cougars football team had personally contacted several seniors and asked them if they would redshirt for the 2019 football season, in order to “develop” and come back in 2020.

All seniors which greatly contributed to the little success we had done up to that point. Two of the seniors would go on to accept this invitation, including the preseason Heisman dark horse QB.

I would continue to go to work that week, participating in the full speed contact practices in preparation of the game. However, that Friday I was told to remain off the plane and stay in Houston in order to “heal up mentally and physically.”

Forcibly taking away one of the reasons why I came to this University in the first place. A suspension that came based on the logic that I was a distraction and not committed to the team.

Coach left practice that day stating, “If you’re not 100% committed to the team then don’t get on the bus.” Ironic in light of recent events.

Safe to say there was no love lost between myself and the ole’ head coach. Only reason I say this is because when I went to say my piece on the matter and to swallow my pride and thank him for this opportunity, I was met with a reaction I did not expect.

Holgorsen sat at a desk, eyes glued to a monitor and replied with 13 words. “I don’t have time to talk, I only have time to coach.” and “O.K.” As if I didn’t deserve an eye to eye farewell or a proper handshake.

As a person that is guaranteed a non-salary compensation of S3.4 million to go along with a $300,000 base salary for the 2019 year, one might think you’d have a better outlook on the players that contribute to your compensation. I mean this is a team sport, right?

Murphy ended the thread by tagging Holgorsen’s account, though it’s safe to say he was
already well aware of his (former) player’s screed by that point.

WVU starting S to reportedly sit vs. No. 11 Texas, considering pulling a D’Eriq King

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Following in the fresh footsteps of Houston quarterback D’Eriq King and wide receiver Keith Corbin, West Virginia safety JoVanni Stewart is considering pulling himself from the remainder of the season, using his redshirt and pursuing a graduate transfer elsewhere in 2020, according to multiple reports out of West Virginia.

Stewart will sit out WVU’s game Saturday versus No. 11 Texas (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC) for “personal reasons” as he contemplates a transfer.

A 5-foot-8, 196-pound starter at West Virginia’s “spear” linebacker position, Stewart has started all four games to date for the Mountaineers this fall, collecting 17 tackles with one tackle for loss and two pass breakups. The Katy, Texas, native played in 37 games over his first three seasons, cracking the starting lineup as a Sam linebacker last season, a year in which he tied for fourth on the team with 54 tackles, four sacks, 10.5 TFLs and a fumble recovery.

Stewart has not used his redshirt year which means, per the NCAA’s new redshirt rule that passed last year, he can sit the rest of the season, count his four games in 2019 as a redshirt and transfer elsewhere to play in 2020.

Stewart is the third player to pursue such a move, following King and Corbin at Houston. All three players are fourth-year seniors, and all three are playing under new head coaches. Ironically, the situation all three find themselves in was triggered when Dana Holgorsen left West Virginia for Houston in January. Clemson-turned-Mizzou quarterback Kelly Bryant and Oklahoma State-turned-Tulane wide receiver Jalen McCleskey executed similar moves in 2018, though both players left due to a lack of playing time and King vacated a starting position in order to upgrade his personal situation.

Playing in another game would void those plans, which is why the underdog Mountaineers will be without one of their best, most experienced defenders as the Longhorns come to town on Saturday and, perhaps, in perpetuity.

Report: Nevada RB Jaxson Kincaide to sit remainder of season, enter transfer portal

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Nevada running back Jaxson Kincaide is joining the in-season redshirt parade and will enter the transfer portal, according to a report from Nevada Sports Net.

Because Kincaide has appeared in four games this season, he is eligible to save the 2019 season and use it as his redshirt season. The NCAA modified the redshirt rule last season to allow players to appear in up to four games before counting a season against their eligibility. If Kincaide does transfer, he will do so as a graduate transfer, allowing him to be eligible to play immediately in 2020 as opposed to the typical transfer rule of waiting a season before returning to the field.

Kincaide’s decision to enter the transfer portal after four games have been played is the latest in a new and growing trend under the new redshirt rule. While designed to be beneficial to players missing playing time due to injuries, the rule has quickly become beneficial for players looking to potentially move on after the season got started. Houston quarterback D’Eriq King and wide receiver Keith Corbin each have decided to sit and redshirt for the remainder of the 2019 season, although both have suggested thay intend to remain at Houston. Last year’s most notable in-season redshirt decision came from Kelly Bryant of Clemson. He left the Tigers to join Missouri (and some freshman led Clemson to the national championship).

Kincaide is Nevada’s second-leading rusher with 146 yards and one touchdown (last season’s leading rusher, sophomore Toa Taua leads the Wolfpack with 197 yards and two touchdowns on 12 more carries).

As for the redshirt rule, unless the NCAA takes a hard look at the rule again in the offseason, expect more of these in-season redshirt decisions from players looking to transfer. This is the new norm.

Houston QB D’Eriq King: ‘I’m staying here’

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A landmark story hit the wire Monday when it was reported, per the player’s father, that Houston quarterback D’Eriq King would leave the team he starts for, four games into the season, count the 2019 campaign as a redshirt and graduate transfer elsewhere in 2020 — or so we thought. Instead, the story got even stranger from there.

It was later announced that King and Cougars wideout Keith Corbin will indeed leave the active roster and redshirt, but they will remain at Houston.

On Tuesday, King said that is indeed the plan. He fully intends on being a Cougar in 2020.

“I’m staying here,” King said. “I’m here. Even if I wanted to leave Houston and go somewhere else, I couldn’t. I think this is the best opportunity for me. I don’t think anybody will reach out to me; even if they do, they should know I’m staying here.”

Now, you can say this is simply the public thing King has to say before getting the heck out of dodge as soon as he receives his degree. Plenty of people will continue thinking that no matter what King says. That’s largely because it’s the only thing about this story that makes rational sense. If King thinks he a year in Dana Holgorsen‘s program won’t adequately prepare him to become an NFL quarterback, why does he think a second year under Holgorsen and company would prepare him better than anyplace elsewhere? What if Clayton TuneLogan Holgorsen or another Cougar quarterback grabs the job by the horns and suddenly King returns to the active roster a backup?

There’s no question King would have value as a graduate transfer. He holds the FBS record for consecutive games (15) with at least one passing and rushing touchdown. But King is not in the transfer portal, and until that happens he can’t (legally) be contacted by any other program.

And, according to King, that’s all part of the plan.

Statements from Houston QB D’Eriq King, WR Keith Corbin confirm both players will redshirt remainder of 2019

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The season of in-season decisions about redshirting is in full swing. After some earlier headlines generated some buzz about his potential future, Houston quarterback D’Eriq King has released a statement through Houston’s football program that confirms he will indeed be redshirting for the remainder of the 2019 season. He won’t be alone. Wide receiver Keith Corbin released a similar statement to say he will be redshirting for the remainder of the 2019 season as well.

What King did not say in his official statement is he is intending to leave the program behind. In fact, King said in his statement he plans on remaining a part of the Houston program moving forward.

“I came here to play football for the University of Houston and that is not changing,” King said in a statement. “After carefully thinking through this process with my family and Coach Holgorsen, I have decided the opportunity to redshirt this season gives me the best chance to develop as a player, earn my degree and set me up for the best success in the future. I’m looking forward to being a part of the success of this program going forward.”

Now, “being a part of the success of this program going forward” is an interesting line to put in there, especially when earlier in the day King’s father was quoted as saying his son was leaving Houston (it’s worth mentioning King said his decision was not final). Bottom line, this is a pretty vague line that doesn’t really close the door on anything.

“Having the opportunity to take time and focus on the completion of my degree, plus having the chance to develop as a student-athlete is why I have decided to redshirt for the remainder of the 2019 season,” Corbin said in a released statement. “Coach Holgorsen, myself and my family both took time to make this decision. Being a Cougar has been one of the best decisions I have made, and I’m ready to take this time to help our program develop for the future.”

Houston is 1-3 to start the season with losses to Oklahoma, Washington State and Tulane (the lone win came against Prairie View), and this is not exactly the kind of start Houston was envisioning for head coach Dana Holgorsen. Still with a lot of football to be played, the season is hardly a lost cause for the Cougars unless their sights were set on playing in a New Years Sic bowl game (which of course, they should have been), but even that is not entirely out of the equation just yet, even if it feels a bit distant. More importantly, Houston’s offense now has some tremendous shoes to fill. Logan Holgorsen (son of the head coach) is the only other quarterback to have thrown a pass this season, which was completed for five yards by the freshman. Corbin was also Houston’s second-leading receiver with 192 yards on 11 catches with a pair of touchdowns.