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Five Ole Miss transfers granted NCAA waivers to play in 2018

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The Shea Patterson ruling cracked the door.  Thursday, Thomas Mars‘ righteous tenacity kicked the door wide open for his remaining clients.

Throughout the evening, it was confirmed that five players who had transferred from Ole Miss in the midst of sanctions levied on the football program had been granted a waiver by the NCAA that allows them to compete immediately at their new schools.  The quintet impacted by today’s confirmations include defensive back Deontay Anderson (Houston), offensive tackle Jack DeFoor (Georgia Tech), Breon Dixon (Nebraska), wide receiver Tre Nixon (UCF) and linebacker Jarrion Street (UAB).

All of those players were 2016 signees who will have three years of eligibility remaining, and all five will likely contribute to their new teams immediately in 2018.

The Patterson decision, announced late last month and which granted him immediate eligibility at Michigan, came after the quarterback’s new school and his old school, Ole Miss, “worked together over the last several days in conjunction with the NCAA national office staff, and with a focus on the best interest of the student-athlete, to put forward a new waiver application.” That resolution certainly paved the way for these collective decisions less than two weeks later, and decisions that were the absolute correct ones for the student-athletes involved.

Utah transfer WR Raelon Singleton reportedly moves on to Houston

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In mid-January, “family reasons” led Raelon Singleton to transfer from Houston.  Nearly four months later, the Texas native has a new team decidedly closer to home.

According to the Houston Chronicle, Singleton has decided to transfer to Houston to finish out his collegiate playing career.  A graduate transfer — the third the program has added this offseason, incidentally — the wide receiver will be eligible to play for the Cougars this coming season.

Singleton hails from Crosby, Tex., which is less than an hour drive to the UH campus.  In addition to Singleton, Tennessee quarterback Quinten Dormady (HERE) and Miami linebacker Darrion Owens (HERE) have been added by Major Applewhite as grad transfers since the 2017 season ended.

The past two seasons, Singleton was the Utes’ second-leading receiver yards-wise.  He had 36 receptions for 531 yards and four touchdowns this past season, and went 27-464-4 in 2016.

The Cougars are looking to replace Linell Dunbar (73-850-4) and Steven Dunbar (66-873-3), their two leading receivers from a year ago.  Their leading returning receiver?  Quarterback D’Eriq King, who had 29 catches for 264 yards and a pair of receiving touchdowns.

NFL scouts will be drooling over defensive line talent for 2019 NFL draft

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Did your favorite NFL team pass on a defensive lineman this year? Don’t worry. Next year could be much different.

With the 2018 NFL draft in the books, the scouting eyes have already begun turning to the prospects filling out the 2019 big board. This time next year could be a big year for defensive linemen, meaning that will be a key position to watch this college football season.

The depth on the defensive line this fall should be loaded with players that could be called in the top 10 picks next spring when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announces the latest draft picks. Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver, Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa, Michigan defensive end Rashaan Gary, Alabama defensive end Raekwon Davis, and the Clemson trio of defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence, and defensive end Clelin Ferrell all could go in the top 10.

Odds are all of those players will not be chosen in the top 10 as it depends on the positions of need for the teams landing a top 10 pick, but the point is the defensive line could be a strong position for NFL franchises scouting players over the next year. There is plenty of talent to be acquired.

The 2018 NFL draft saw five defensive linemen chosen in the first round; Bradley Chubb of NC State (Denver), Vita Vea of Washington (Tampa Bay), Da’Ron Payne of Alabama (Washington), Marcus Davenport of UTSA (New Orleans), and Taven Bryan of Florida (Jacksonville). In 2017, a total of six defensive linemen were drafted in the first round.

The most defensive linemen taken in any NFL draft since 2000 is 11 in 2011 and 2003. Could 2019 continue this eight-year cycle of defensive linemen filling the first round of the NFL draft? Given the talent likely to be available next year, it could easily be on pace to do just that.

Shea Patterson ruling gives hope to other Ole Miss transfers

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There were more interested parties than just Michigan when it came to an official ruling that went down Friday.

As had previously been reported, Shea Patterson received approval on a waiver from the NCAA that will allow him to play for the Wolverines this coming season. The decision came after the quarterback’s new school and his old school, Ole Miss, “worked together over the last several days in conjunction with the NCAA national office staff, and with a focus on the best interest of the student-athlete, to put forward a new waiver application.”

While it’s certainly good news for Patterson and U-M, it also bodes well for others.

In addition to Patterson, six other Ole Miss players transferred from the Rebels after sanctions on the football program were announced — defensive back Deontay Anderson (Houston) (pictured), offensive tackle Jack DeFoor (Georgia Tech), Breon Dixon (Nebraska), wide receiver Van Jefferson (Florida), wide receiver Tre Nixon (UCF) and linebacker Jarrion Street (UAB). Five of those six, the lone exception being Dixon, are represented by the same attorney who advised Patterson throughout his appeal process — Arkansas-based lawyer Tom Mars.

Based on the Patterson decision, it would seem to be a slam dunk for at least five of the six to receive their own waivers that would grant them eligibility in 2018. The lone outlier in this case could be Jefferson, who was a 2015 signee; all the others, Patterson included, were members of the Rebels’ 2016 recruiting class.

“We find the Shea Patterson ruling to be very encouraging,” a Nebraska official told the Lincoln Journal-Star. “We hope that (Dixon’s) application is judged based on the merits of his situation and we hope for a similar outcome.”

Dixon and NU have not yet filed their appeal, although that’s expected to happen in short order.

Wisconsin new home for Houston transfer Collin Wilder

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Nearly three weeks to the day he left a Group of Five program, Collin Wilder has landed at a school from a Power Five conference.

On his personal Twitter account, Wilder indicated in a tweet that he has decided to transfer to Wisconsin.  The announcement, replete with the defensive back pictured in a UW uniform, comes after he announced on the same social media site that he had decided to leave Houston.

A three-star member of the Cougars’ 2016 recruiting class, Wilder was rated as the No. 94 player at any position in the state of Texas.  Just one defensive player in UH’s class that year, five-star defensive lineman Ed Oliver, was rated higher than Wilder.

After playing in all 13 games as a true freshman, the native of Katy, Tex., played in the first two games of 2017 before he suffered what turned out to be a season-ending knee injury.

Wilder will be forced to sit out the 2018 season to satisfy NCAA transfer bylaws.  He will then have two years of eligibility at his disposal beginning with the 2019 season.