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Houston adds fifth Power Five grad transfer this offseason, this one from Notre Dame

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Six weeks after leaving Notre Dame, Nick Watkins has a new home.  Reportedly.

First reported by 247Sports.com and subsequently confirmed by the Houston Chronicle, Watkins has decided to continue his collegiate playing career at Houston.  As a graduate transfer from Notre Dame, the defensive back will be eligible immediately to play for the Cougars in what will be his final season.

In addition to UH, TCU, West Virginia and SMU had been in play for Watkins.

Watkins played in 35 games the past four years for the Fighting Irish, including a dozen this past season.  In 2017, Watkins set career-highs with 29 tackles and eight passes defensed.

Watkins’ entire 2016 season was wiped out by a broken arm sustained in spring practice, leading to a medical hardship waiver that gave him another year of eligibility.

With this move, Watkins becomes the sixth transfer from a Power Five program to join Houston this offseason, the others being Ole Miss safety Deontay Anderson (HERE), Tennessee quarterback Quinten Dormady (HERE), Miami linebacker Darrion Owens (HERE), Utah wide receiver Raelon Singleton (HERE) and Baylor running back Terence Williams (HERE).  Additionally, defensive end Isaiah Chambers transferred in from TCU last August and, after sitting out the 2017 season, will be eligible to play this season as well.

Like Watkins, Dormady, Owens, Singleton and Williams are all graduate transfer and eligible to play in 2018.  Anderson is also immediately eligible because of the waiver granted to him by the NCAA as a result of Ole Miss’ issues.

Notre Dame WR C.J. Sanders transferring to SMU

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SMU will head into summer camp looking to replace a pair of wide receivers who combined to catch nearly 170 passes last season.  Tuesday, they landed a player who could potentially help replace that lost production.

C.J. Sanders confirmed to 247Sports.com today that he has decided to transfer to SMU and continue his collegiate playing career with the Mustangs.  As the receiver left Notre Dame as a graduate transfer, he’ll be eligible to play for the AAC school immediately in  2018.

The upcoming season will be Sanders’ final year of eligibility.

In three seasons with the Fighting Irish, Sanders has totaled 26 receptions for 293 yards and two touchdowns.  Of those numbers, 24 of the catches and all 293 of the receiving yards — and the two scores — came during the 2016 season.

Sanders could also be a weapon on special teams as he returned three kickoffs for touchdowns while averaging 23.5 yards per return.  He also returned one punt for a score during his time in South Bend.

Trey Quinn (106) and Courtland Sutton (62) led the Mustangs in receiving last year, but both were selected in the 2018 NFL draft.  SMU’s leading returning receiver is redshirt junior James Proche, who caught 40 passes for 816 yards and six touchdowns a season ago.

Ex-Michigan WR Freddy Canteen announces transfer from Notre Dame

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So much for getting a chance to play against his former team. Notre Dame wide receiver Freddy Canteen says he is going to look for a new program to play football. Canteen previously transferred to Notre Dame from Michigan (Notre Dame hosts Michigan in Week 1 of the 2018 season).

“I will be transferring to another university to obtain a graduate degree that unfortunately Notre Dame does not offer,” Canteen said in a statement on Twitter. “I will also utilize my remaining two years of eligibility to play football.”

Canteen played in just three games for Notre Dame in 2017, with one reception for seven yards. A torn labrum brought his 2017 season to an abrupt end. The former Michigan player transferred to Notre Dame after the 2016 season, which was also wiped out by injury after his 2015 season was ruined by an injury.

As a graduate transfer, Canteen will be eligible to play right away this fall for whatever program he transfers to. And, as confirmed by Canteen, he will have two more years of eligibility to continue playing football for the 2018 and 2019 seasons.

Alabama (still) a massive favorite over Louisville, other Week 1 lines

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It’s been about four months since we checked in on the Week 1 betting lines in college football, highlighted by Alabama’s installation as a massive favorite for its date with Louisville in Orlando.

And in the four months since, the public has clearly lost faith in the Nick Saban Football Machine.

After starting as a 29.5-point favorite, Alabama has been downgraded… to a 28.5-point favorite, according to lines released by Bet Online.

Other lines of note:

  • UCF (-20.5) at Connecticut
  • Northwestern (+4.5) at Purdue
  • Colorado (-6) vs. Colorado State (at Denver)
  • San Diego State (+14.5) at Stanford
  • Florida Atlantic (+23) at Oklahoma
  • Oregon State (+38) at Ohio State
  • Texas (-10.5) at Maryland
  • Boise State (-10.5) at Troy
  • Arizona (-14) vs. BYU (at Phoenix)
  • Auburn (-3.5) vs. Washington (at Atlanta)
  • Ole Miss (-1.5) vs. Texas Tech (at Houston)
  • West Virginia (-7) vs. Tennessee (at Charlotte)
  • North Carolina (+6) at California
  • Michigan (+2) at Notre Dame
  • Alabama (-28.5) vs. Louisville (at Orlando)
  • Miami (-3) vs. LSU (at Dallas)
  • Virginia Tech (+6.5) at Florida State

Check out the entire list of lines here.

Notre Dame new home for Auburn transfer Keenan Sweeney

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Keenan Sweeney‘s father and grandfather played their college football at Notre Dame.  Now, their son/grandson is set to do the same.

According to his various social media platforms, the younger Sweeney announced that he has decided to transfer from Auburn to Notre Dame for his final season of collegiate eligibility. “No better way to finish my football career at the university I grew up loving,” the fullback/H-back wrote, adding the obligatory “Go Irish!”

Sweeney came to The Plains as a walk-on in 2014, ultimately earning a scholarship during summer camp ahead of the start of the 2016 regular season.  The 6-0, 237-pound native of Snellville, Ga., played in nine games during his time with the Tigers, including six this past season.

Jim Sweeney, the transfer’s grandfather, played fullback for the Irish in the late 1940s, as did John Sweeney, the father, three decades later.  The latter Sweeney was a starting fullback as a freshman on the 1979 Fighting Irish team, and went on to play another three seasons in South Bend.

On a somewhat related note, there’s also a really cool John Sweeney/Herschel Walker story that you should read by clicking HERE.