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Art Briles named head football coach at Texas high school

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Still a pariah at the collegiate level — and the professional level in North America, for that matter — Art Briles has returned to his coaching roots in dipping his scandal-stained toes back into the profession’s pool.

Mount Vernon High School in Texas announced Friday evening that its Board of Trustees has approved a two-year contract for Briles to serve as the program’s head football coach.  Briles spent nearly three decades as a head coach in the state of Texas before, after a three-year stint as an assistant at Texas Tech, landing head jobs at Houston (2003-07) and, most infamously, Baylor (2008-15).

“High school football is a Texas institution.  As a coach, it’s my first love,” Briles said in a statement provided by his new employer. “You’ll make no bigger impact in this world than when you shape the lives of young people — one practice, one game, and one life at a time.

“I am excited to be coaching at Mount Vernon this fall.”

In its release, the school system noted “that Briles never incurred a single recruiting infraction during his time at the collegiate level, and previous supervisors and other references also provided strong recommendations.” It was further stated that the hiring was made because, “[a]fter a thorough due diligence process and several earnest conversations, we believe our students will benefit greatly from his skills and experience.”

Given Briles’ past, the school’s wordsmithing in announcing the decision is understandable considering the amount of heat and outside public pressure the system is set to endure.

Briles was fired by Baylor in May of 2016 amidst a sexual assault scandal involving his Bears football program.  In August of 2017, the disgraced coach was hired by a CFL team; a couple of hours later, after the hiring was denounced by fans and sponsors, the organization announced that Briles would no longer be joining the team.

In late January of 2017, damning details in one of the handfuls of lawsuits facing Baylor University emerged, with that suit alleging that 31 Bears football players had committed 52 acts of rape over a period of four years beginning in 2011.

Not long after, a legal filing connected to the libel lawsuit filed by a former BU football staffer produced emails and text messages that painted a picture of the former Bears head coach and/or his assistants as unrestrained rogue elements concerned with nothing more than the image of the football program off the field and its performance on it. The details in a damning document dump included allegations that Briles attempted to circumvent BU’s “judicial affairs folks” when it came to one player’s arrest… and on Briles asking, in response to one of his players brandishing a gun on a female, “she reporting [it] to authorities?”… and asking “she a stripper?” when told one of his players expected a little something extra from a female masseuse… and stating in a text “we need to know who [the] supervisor is and get him to alert us first” in response to a player who was arrested on a drug charge because the apartment superintendent called the police.

In reference to a woman who alleged she was gang-raped by several Bears football players, Briles allegedly responded, “those are some bad dudes. Why was she around those guys?

“Hindsight is a blessing and a curse. I’ve always been about trying to be fair and honest with everyone I came into contact with,” Briles said in July of last year on his unceremonious and controversial ouster from the Bears. “The thing that hurts me as much as anything [was] the culture at Baylor at the time; I don’t think victims, I know they didn’t feel comfortable going to report assaults that took place. I don’t think they were represented and taken care of with the level that needed to be handled with. That’s something that through all of this and as time goes will become more clear.

“Not only me but many of us felt betrayed because we were not privy to the information that was available in a way we wanted to respond. … With the way things are going, with some of the transparency starting to take place, I am confident the truth will come out. It’s not just important for me.”

In August of last year, Briles was named as the head coach of the Guelfi Firenze American Football team in Florence, Italy.  That was his first coaching job at any level since his ouster in Waco.

Brenda Tracy, a gang-rape survivor and victim’s advocate, is the most high-profile of many already publicly questioning the high school’s hiring of Briles.

Lingering foot Injury forces San Diego State’s leading returning receiver to retire

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Rocky Long already knew that he’d be forced to replace his top two receivers, yardage-wise, entering the 2019 offseason.  Now, the San Diego State head coach has seen that number bumped up to three.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Tim Wilson Jr. has been forced to retire because of a lingering and persistent foot injury.  The redshirt junior wide receiver underwent surgery earlier this offseason — it forced him to the sidelines for the whole of spring practice — but it wasn’t enough to keep him from having to take a medical retirement.

“He won’t be on the team anymore because his injuries will prevent him from continuing with us,” Long said according to the Union-Tribune. “He stays on scholarship for, I think he has two more years to graduate, as long as he keeps his grades up and all those sorts of things.

“But he can’t play because he never got over his injury.”

This past season, Wilson’s 362 yards receiving were third on the Aztecs, while his 19.1 yards per catch were good for second on the team.  His three receiving touchdowns were tied for tops on the squad.

Michigan’s Ron Johnson latest to leap into the portal

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For the fifth time this offseason, Michigan has seen one of its football players dip his toes into the portal.

The latest to do so is Ron Johnson, with Cole Cubelic of the SEC Network the first to report on the defensive lineman’s inclusion in the NCAA transfer database.  As a reminder, Johnson, or any other player for that matter, can pull his name from the portal and remain at the school.

Conversely, the university can also strip the player of his scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered the database.

Johnson was a four-star 2016 signee, rated as the No. 8 player at any position in the state of New Jersey.  Only one defensive lineman in U-M’s class that year, five-star tackle Rashan Gary, was rated higher than Johnson.

Despite that recruiting pedigree, Johnson played in just one game during his time with the Wolverines.

As Johnson received his degree from U-M this month, he would be eligible to play immediately at another FBS school this fall.  He also heads to the transfer market armed with two seasons worth of eligibility.

In addition to Johnson, defensive lineman Reuben Jones (HERE), cornerback Myles Sims (HERE), cornerback Benjamin St-Juste (HERE) and offensive lineman Nolan Ulizio (HERE) have all left Ann Arbor this offseason.  Sims, St-Juste and Ulizio have since found new homes at Georgia Tech, Minnesota and Pitt, respectively.

Arizona State has seen 15 players enter transfer portal

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And you thought your team had it bad when it comes to offseason personnel movement.

Dominique Harrison became the latest Arizona State Sun Devils to signal a move from the Pac-12 program, with the cornerback announcing on Twitter that he has decided to enter the NCAA transfer database. “I am thankful for everything Arizona State has provided for me and the memories I made along the way,” Harrison wrote.

As a graduate transfer, the defensive back would be eligible to play immediately at another FBS school.

Harrison, who came to the desert from the junior college ranks, appeared in five games during his time with the Sun Devils.

The departure of Harrison continues a significant reshaping of Herm Edwards‘ ASU roster.  From the Arizona Republic:

While ASU’s 15 names to hit the transfer portal may seem like a lot, it isn’t an extraordinarily high number. UCLA had 16 depart while Oregon State has 14, Arizona 13 and USC 11.

Boston College new home for ex-Clemson DE Richard Yeargin

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Richard Yeargin will be back on an ACC football field this fall, albeit at a different school.

In late April of this year, it was confirmed that Yeargin had signaled his intent to transfer from Clemson by entering his name into the NCAA transfer database.  Less than a month later, it’s now being reported that the defensive end will finish his collegiate playing career at Boston College.

Thus far, BC has declined to confirm Yeargin’s addition to the roster.

As a graduate transfer, Yeargin will be eligible to play immediately for the Eagles in 2018.

Yeargin injured his neck in a serious car accident in the summer leading up to the 2017 season and didn’t play that year or the next.  Instead, he transitioned into a role as a student assistant coach with the Tigers football program.  Last year, he was granted a sixth season of eligibility by the NCAA.

A four-star 2014 signee, Yeargin took a redshirt as a true freshman.  He played in 22 games prior to the car accident, including a dozen in the Tigers’ run to the 2016 national championship.

(Tip O’ the Cap: bcinterruption.com)