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Ex-Iowa DE Romeo McKnight transfers to Illinois State

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Another former Power Five player has decided to ply his football wares at a lower level of football.

The latest to do so is Romeo McKnight, with Illinois State announcing via Twitter that defensive end will be continuing his collegiate playing career for the Redbirds. Because ISU plays at the FCS level, McKnight will be eligible to play in 2018.

Including this upcoming season, the lineman will have three years of eligibility remaining.

The announcement from ISU comes a little over a week after McKnight decided to transfer from Iowa.

McKnight was a three-star member of Iowa’s 2016 recruiting class. In large part because of a knee injury that cost him the entire 2017 season, the defensive lineman never played a down for the Hawkeyes.

DE Romeo McKnight announces transfer from Iowa

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Wherefore art thou, Romeo McKnight? No longer in Iowa City, as it turns out.

The defensive end used his personal Twitter account over the weekend to announce that he has decided to transfer from Iowa and continue his collegiate football career at an undetermined elsewhere. McKnight added that his decision came “[a]fter a long journey of injuries and recovery.”

McKnight missed the entire 2017 season because of a knee injury. That procedure and subsequent rehab, along with the returning talent along the Hawkeyes’ line, led McKnight to pull the trigger on a transfer.

McKnight was a three-star member of the Hawkeyes’ 2016 recruiting class. In large part because of the injury issues, the defensive lineman never played a down for the Hawkeyes.

If he ends up at another FBS school, McKnight will be forced to sit out the 2018 season. He would then have two seasons of eligibility that he can begin using in 2019.

Nebraska, Iowa moving closer to renewing Black Friday matchup after 2021

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While the term Black Friday may evoke rising pre-dawn to grab some of the best post-Thanksgiving deals for some, for many in the Midwest it’s a day better known for the annual Nebraska-Iowa tilt on the gridiron. The two regional rivals have played plenty over the years but certainly have developed a nice little tradition since the Cornhuskers joined the Big Ten and met annually on the faux holiday in what is typically a key West division clash.

However, the two programs will not play each other on the day nor to end the season as they usually in 2020 and 2021 based on future conference schedules. That sent many in the fan base up in arms but it seems both sides are closer to an agreement to make the annual Black Friday game a permanent fixture.

“Not quite there but close,” NU athletic director Bill Moos told the Lincoln Journal Star this week. “A priority for me.”

“It sounds like we’re going to rekindle it, right, whatever year that is,” Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz told Land of 10 on Saturday. “I think after that, I think we’re back together and I think it’s maybe a long-term thing.”

Nebraska is set to play Minnesota on that final weekend in November (slated to be a Saturday game for now) in both 2020 and 2021, while Iowa will take on Wisconsin. Based on comments out of both Iowa City and Lincoln, it appears that a two-year break between the Hawkeyes and Cornhuskers is all that there’s going to be before the series resumes as normal for both sides.

Central Michigan becomes sixth FBS program with No. 1 overall picks in both NFL, CFL drafts

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If you haven’t already heard, one MAC school joined some rather select draft company this past week.

For the fourth straight year Thursday, a player from an FBS program went No. 1 overall in the Canadian Football League draft; that’s the first time FBS players have gone first in back-to-back-to-back-to-back years in the Great White North’s version of the Player Selection Meeting. This time around the honor went to Mark Chapman, the Central Michigan wide receiver who led the Chippewas in receptions (59) and receiving yards (875) this past season.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats were the team drafting Chapman with that top pick, trading up from No. 2 overall with the Montreal Alouettes to select the receiver.

“I’m just excited,” Chapman, who holds dual-citizenship as his mother was born in Canada and his father in the United States, said according to his former college team’s official website. “To go No. 1 overall, it’s surreal. I never envisioned myself in this position.

When you add Chapman to Eric Fisher, the former Chips offensive tackle who was the first player taken in the 2013 NFL draft, CMU becomes just the sixth FBS program — the first from a Group of Five conference, incidentally — to have players selected No. 1 overall in both the NFL and CFL drafts.

The other five?

SYRACUSE
RB Ernie Davis, 1962 (NFL)
OT Steve Scully, 1975 (CFL)

UTAH
QB Alex Smith, 2005 (NFL)
OL Chad Folk, 1997 (CFL)

WASHINGTON STATE
QB Drew Bledsoe, 1993 (NFL)
DE Rob Meier, 1999 (CFL)
DE Adam Braidwood, 2006 (CFL)

IOWA
QB Randy Duncan, 1959 (NFL)
DL Faith Ekakitie, 2017 (CFL)

OKLAHOMA
DE Lee Roy Selmon, 1976 (NFL)
RB Billy Sims, 1980 (NFL)
QB Sam Bradford, 2010 (NFL)
QB Baker Mayfield, 2018 (NFL)
OL Josiah St. John, 2016 (CFL)

Kentucky lands graduate transfer from Iowa basketball player

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Kentucky received a major commitment Tuesday from a player who has never played college football.

Iowa basketball player Ahmad Wagner announced in March he would leave Iowa City to embark on a college football career, and on Tuesday tweeted his commitment to Big Blue Nation.

Wagner is eligible to play immediately and has two seasons of eligibility remaining, a fact that caused Michigan, Michigan State and “some other top Big Ten programs” to start poking around late in the process, according to Cats Illustrated

Wagner played football at Wayne High School in Yellow Springs, Ohio, before initially choosing basketball in college. He averaged 3.1 points and 2.6 rebounds in 11.9 minutes per game over a 96-game Hawkeye career. Checking in at 6-foot-7 and 235 pounds, Wagner will start as a wide receiver but seems a natural candidate to play tight end.