That whole thing where Illinois picked up a Power Five transfer earlier this offseason? Never mind, apparently.
In late March, Jalen Greene took to Twitter to announce that he had committed to Illinois after deciding to transfer from USC. Showing that commitment is sometimes fleeting anymore, 247Sports.com is now reporting that Greene is instead headed to Utah State.
No reason for the abrupt flip was given.
As Greene comes to the Mountain West Conference school as a graduate transfer, he’ll be eligible to play for the Aggies in 2018. The upcoming season will serve as the wide receiver’s final year of collegiate eligibility.
Greene was a three-star 2014 recruit who was rated as the No. 13 dual-threat quarterback in the country. He moved to receiver after the 2014 season and ended up catching 26 passes for 318 yards.
The less-heralded of BYU’s in-state football rivalries will continue on for the foreseeable future.
Both BYU and Utah State have announced that the two football programs have reached an agreement on an extension of their long-running series. The new home-and-home will be played in Logan on Oct. 1, 2021, and in Provo on Sept. 30, 2022. Both of those matchups will be Friday night affairs.
It had previously been announced that the Cougars would host the rivalry in 2018 and 2020, with the Aggies doing the same in 2019.
“There’s a lot of history and tradition in our longstanding football series with Utah State,” said BYU director of athletics Tom Holmoe. “I appreciated working with [USU athletic director] John Hartwell to further extend the series into the future. I have loved the in-state rivalry with USU as a player, coach and now as an administrator. I look forward to these future games.”
The two schools have met in football 87 times, the last coming in 2017 at the Aggies’ home in Logan. The Cougars lead the all-time series 48-36-3.
Only Utah has played BYU (92 games) and Utah State (112) more than the Cougars and Aggies have played each other in football.
If you’re a modestly successful SEC program, chances are life is good. The stands are filled, the money from TV deals is rolling in and you’re a mainstay on the college football landscape. If there’s one big challenge though, it might be on the future schedules front where teams are running into a case of high demand and low supply driving up the price of doing business.
Case in point? According to former ESPN reporter/future Stadium insider Brett McMurphy, Alabama is backing up the Brinks truck to pay Utah State some $1.91 million to bring the Aggies to Tuscaloosa. That is, as you see below, quite a bit of dough.
The Crimson Tide have a pretty tried-and-true scheduling philosophy of one neutral site game (or the occasional home-and-home) with a major program, an FCS foe later in the year before the Iron Bowl and a pair of home games against Group of Five opponents. It’s that latter aspect that is getting more and more difficult to fill and like many of their SEC and Power Five brethren, prices are shooting up correspondingly. The Mountain West school seems like the latest to take advantage as part of this type of guarantee game.
Alabama and Utah State did have a two-game series in 2004 and 2005 that were both convincing Tide wins but it seems like the third time around will come with a much higher price tag for what will likely be the same result. Perhaps the bigger question is if Nick Saban will still be leading the team when 2022 rolls around.
Memphis has added an experienced voice to its defensive room. The Tigers have announced the hiring of former Oregon State, Utah State and Hawaii defensive coordinator Kevin Clune as a senior defensive assistant.
Clune spent the past two seasons coordinating defenses in Corvallis for head coach Gary Andersen, but was not retained by new head coach Jonathan Smith. After inheriting a unit that ranked 116th nationally in yards per play allowed in 2015, Clune bumped the Beavers to 79th in 2016, but they subsequently fell to 121st last fall. Clune spent 2015 as the defensive coordinator at Utah State, where the Aggies placed 17th nationally in yards per play allowed. Clune also spent one season — 2014 — as the defensive coordinator at Hawaii, helping the Warriors improve from 117th to 84th nationally.
Clune also has defensive coordinator experience at Southern Utah and Weber State.
Memphis went 10-3 in 2017 despite a defense that finished 75th in yards per play and 102nd in scoring. The Tigers won the American Athletic Conference’s West Division, but fell to UCF 62-55 in double overtime in the AAC Championship.
Nearly three weeks after losing an assistant to a Big Ten school, Matt Wells has filled that particular hole on his Utah State coaching staff.
USU confirmed in a press release Wednesday that DeAndre Smith has been hired as the Aggies’ running backs coach. Smith replaces Mark Tommerdahl, who left last month to take over as special teams coordinator and tight ends coach at Purdue.
Last season, Smith was the running backs coach at North Carolina.
“I am extremely honored and fortunate to have this opportunity to work with Coach Wells and the rest of his staff,” a statement from Smith began. “I’m really excited about the opportunity of doing my part to help this program win a Mountain West Championship.”
Prior to his time at UNC, Smith was on the coaching staff at… Purdue, as running backs coach, of course. Smith has also served in that positional coaching role at Syracuse (2013-15), New Mexico (2012, 2008), Illinois (2010-11), UNLV (2009) and Miami of Ohio (2005-07).
One of the assistants on the Lobos’ staff during Smith’s first stint with the program? Smith’s new boss, Matt Wells, who served as wide receivers coach for the Mountain West program.
“DeAndre is an excellent addition to our football staff here at Utah State and fits well in a lot of areas with our staff,” the head coach said in his statement. “He is a tremendous football coach and does a great job coaching running backs. DeAndre is an excellent recruiter and someone that will coach our kids hard with a lot of love. We welcome DeAndre, Lori, Ryan and Donovan to our Aggie football family.”