Kevin McGuire

Contributor to NBCSports.com and Athlon Sports. Host of Locked on Nittany Lions Podcast, Twitch streamer, trombone player and amateur runner. FWAA member and Philadelphia area native and resident.
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Lawsuit by former player accuses James Franklin of ignoring hazing at Penn State

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A former Penn State football player Isaiah Humphries has filed a federal lawsuit that accuses Penn State and head coach James Franklin ignoring hazing taking place within the program. Defensive tackle Damion Barber is also a defendant in the lawsuit.

According to claims made in the lawsuit, Humphries was the target of hazing conducted by Barber and a handful of other Penn State players. Among the players mentioned by name include linebacker defensive lineman Yetur Gross-Matos and linebackers Micah Parsons and Jesse Luketa. Concerns about hazing were allegedly relayed to members of the coaching staff, including directly to Franklin, but no actions were taken to combat any hazing incidents.

Among the alleged acts of hazing included references to former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky with threats of “I am going to Sandusky you” being said to underclassmen within the program. Sandusky was found guilty on 45 counts of child sex abuse in 2012. His sentence of 30 to 60 years is, effectively, a life sentence in prison. Sandusky’s actions and the way it was handled by officials at Penn State led to NCAA sanctions including a four-year postseason bowl ban, the loss of scholarships, and a $60 million fine. The NCAA withdrew the sanctions two years later amid legal pressure.

Humphries transferred to California in 2019 after coming to Penn State in the Class of 2018. Humphries claims he transferred to Cal because of the alleged behavior within the Penn State program and lack of response by Franklin and his staff. The former Penn State player also accuses the coaching staff of pacing him in specific drills the coaches knew Humphries would fail and providing negative reviews to coaches at other schools as Humphries explored his transfer options.

Penn State has responded to the news of the lawsuit with a statement (shared below) claiming police investigated the allegations and the district attorney’s office decided no charges were warranted.

The University has established processes in place for responding to claims of potential misconduct. In accordance with our processes, the Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response and the Office of Student Conduct carried out investigations of the plaintiff’s claims independent from Intercollegiate Athletics. In addition, Penn State police investigated related allegations and forwarded the results of that investigation to the Office of the Centre County District Attorney (DA). The DA reviewed the case and decided that no charges would be pursued

And, for what it is worth, a number of Penn State players, both past and present, have responded to the news via Twitter.

Fresh off national title, LSU assistant Joe Brady eyeing return to NFL

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The day after winning a national title, LSU is about to lose one of its top assistant coaches. Joe Brady, who was LSU’s passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach, has made it known he is ready to return to the NFL. And according to Adam Schefter of ESPN, he will do so with the Carolina Panthers.

Schefter reported, via Twitter, Brady will be heading to the Carolina Panthers, where he will likely be the new offensive coordinator.

Brady would join a coaching staff led by former Baylor head coach Matt Rhule, who also cashed in on a shot to coach in the NFL following a wildly successful season in Waco. Rhule left Baylor to become the new head coach of the Panthers earlier this month after Baylor played in the Sugar Bowl. Rhule was previously reported to have an interest in bringing Brady with him to the NFL, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why.

Brady previously spent time in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints, where he spent the 2018 and 2018 seasons as an offensive assistant. Brady previously was a linebackers coach at William & Mary and a graduate assistant at Penn State before leaving to join the Saints. Brady was added to the LSU coaching staff last season and his influence on the passing game led to Joe Burrow shattering LSU and SEC passing records and setting a new NCAA record for the most touchdowns thrown in a single season while also collecting the Heisman Trophy and a handful of other awards. Wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase also won the Biletnikoff Award under Brady’s leadership. Brady was named the recipient of the 2019 Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant coach.

This news also comes just days after it was reported LSU had agreed on a three-year contract to retain Brady in Baton Rouge.

Michigan kicker Quinn Nordin punts on early entry to NFL, per report

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The early indication seems to suggest Michigan kicker Quinn Nordin will be staying in Ann Arbor to kick more field goals in 2020. The NFL, at least for now, is on hold for Nordin according to a report on Tuesday.

According to Brandon Justice of The Wolverine Lounge, Nordin has decided to return to Michigan for his senior season. NFL scouts drooling over Nordin’s powerful kicking abilities will have to wait another year to potentially add Nordin to their rosters. Nordin’s 57-yard field goal to close out the first half of the Citrus Bowl against Alabama was all that was needed to fuel the possibility of Nordin leaving Michigan for the NFL with a year of eligibility on the table.

No official word has come from Nordin or Michigan at this time, but the return of Nordin should be terrific news for the Wolverines. Although Nordin has had his struggles at times during his career in maize and blue, especially with accuracy on relatively shorter kicks, the ability to kick a field goal from 40, 45, or 50 or more yards is a luxury every college football program would covet.

Nordin converted 10 of 13 field-goal attempts during the 2019 season. Nordin has converted 40 of 53 field goal attempts in his college career.

Boston College officially welcomes Ex-Notre Dame QB Phil Jurkovec to the Eagles’ nest

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What was previously reported within the last few days is now official. Boston College has welcomed Notre Dame transfer quarterback Phil Jurkovec to the program.

Boston College officially announced the addition of Jurkovec to the program on Tuesday afternoon. Boston College was previously reported to be the most likely landing spot for the Fighting Irish transfer with rumors about his pending transfer to Boston College coming up just days after Jurkovec added his name to the NCAA transfer portal.

Jurkovec played two seasons at Notre Dame. Under standard NCAA transfer rules, Jurkovec would be required to sit out the 2020 season, He played in two games in 2018 but was able to preserve a year of eligibility due to the revised NCAA redshirt rule that went into effect in 2018. As it stands now, that would leave Jurkovec with just one year of eligibility to play at Boston College, in 2021.

However, according to the official release from Boston College, Jurkovec will apply for a waiver for immediate eligibility. The NCAA was pretty forgiving with waiver requests last season but it remains to be seen just how many players will get the cooperation of the NCAA this year when it comes to waiver requests.

Jurkovec played in six games for Notre Dame in 2019, including a brief appearance against Boston College in late November. Jurkovec attempted one pass and completed it for a 10-yard gain in the Irish victory in South Bend.

Notre Dame promotes Tommy Rees to offensive coordinator

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Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly has promoted two assistants on the coaching staff to new positions for the 2020 season. Tommy Rees will be the new offensive coordinator of the Fighting Irish and Lance Taylor has been promoted to run game coordinator.

“After an extensive national search, I’m proud to name Tommy Rees our next offensive coordinator,” Kelly said in a released statement. “Tom’s ability to connect with our players and staff and accepting and embracing the incredible opportunity in being the offensive coordinator at Notre Dame made him the right choice. While Tom’s leadership ability and knowledge of the game was evident, it was his humble approach to his own development and desire to continue to grow and learn that were also key factors that set him apart in a talented pool of candidates.”

Rees, a former Notre Dame quarterback, had been serving on the staff as a quarterbacks coach for the past three seasons. Rees started his coaching career at Northwestern as an offensive graduate assistant under Pat Fitzgerald in 2015. Rees then got some coaching experience in the NFL with the Sam Diego Chargers in 2016. He returned to his alma mater in 2017 to fill the role of quarterbacks coach and has overseen the position for the past three seasons.

Rees was a regular starter for the Irish under Kelly. During his time in South Bend as a player, Rees passed for 7,670 yards and 61 touchdowns from 2010- 13. Notre Dame was 23-8 with Rees at quarterback.

Taylor joined the Notre Dame coaching staff last season as a running backs coach. The former Alabama special teams captain has held a number of coaching positions since starting his coaching career in 2007 at his alma mater in Tuscaloosa. Taylor was a graduate assistant for the Crimson Tide in 2007 and 2008 before taking on a role as wide receivers coach at Appalachian State in 2009. Taylor spent three seasons in different roles with the New York Jets from 2010 through 2012 and as an assistant receivers coach with the Carolina Panthers in 2013. Taylor joined the Stanford coaching staff in 2014 and worked with Christian McCaffrey. He returned to the NFL with the Panthers in 2017 and spent two seasons with the franchise before coming to Notre Dame last season.