TCU is preparing to enter the 2015 season with high expectations, starting the season ranked No. 2 in the coaches preseason poll. The Horned Frogs will proceed without its top punt returner. Cameron Echols-Luper is reportedly leaving TCU for Arkansas State. The transfer also comes with a change of positions with Echols-Luper reportedly switching to quarterback with the Red Wolves.
Echols-Luper struggled to climb the depth chart at wide receiver and had been working on a switch to the defensive side of the football in the offseason. TCU was working on moving him from wide receiver to cornerback, a position he played in high school. It was thought at the time the position switch could help TCU soften the blow of losing Kevin White to graduation, but Echols-Luper was nowhere to be found on TCU’s post-spring depth chart in the secondary. He was, however, listed as the top punt returner and among the three kick returners for the Horned Frogs.
Echols-Luper returned 33 of 35 punts for the co-Big 12 champions last season, going a total of 349 yards and returning one for a touchdown in the process.
A three-star recruit in TCU’s Class of 2013, Echols-Luper will now move a little closer to home as he makes yet another position change. The Auburn, Alabama native will have to sit out the 2015 season due to NCAA transfer rules however, he will have two years of eligibility remaining. He did play quarterback in high school, passing for 1,036 yards and 11 touchdowns as a senior.
Quite a number of individuals were surprised by the news that broke Tuesday that New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith had his jaw fractured by the fist of a now-former teammate. Don’t count the Iowa State coaching staff among that group as there’s apparently no loved lost there.
Back in November of 2012, Smith was the quarterback at West Virginia when his Mountaineers traveled to Ames to take on the Cyclones. At halftime, there were apparently some “issues” between Smith and some members of the ISU coaching staff, including defensive coordinator Wally Burnham.
Burnham, still ISU’s coordinator, was asked Wednesday if he was surprised by the locker-room incident involving Smith. “Didn’t surprise me,” the 74-year-old coach succinctly stated. “I was just walking. He [Smith] pushed me.”
Burnham’s son, ISU assistant Shane Burnham, expounded on the history between Smith and the football program. From the Des Moines Register:
“We were holding for the West Virginia team to clear the field,” Shane recalled Wednesday. “There was some extra-curricular activity after the last play of the half — Geno didn’t appreciate something by somebody, and he took out his frustration on dad.”
That didn’t sit well with Shane, who did what every son would do.
“I reacted,” Shane said. “Part of it is that it’s your dad, and part of it is it’s your Iowa State brother. It was family and football family for me. It was a double-whammy.
“He had some choice words for dad, and I might have had a few choice words in return.”
According to Shane Burnham, his “conversation” with Smith continued on the field before the start of the second half. Smith responded with his play as he tossed a 75-yard touchdown “pass” with just over six minutes remaining to give WVU a 31-24 road win and bowl eligibility.
The biggest news of the sports world today has easily been the jaw of former West Virginia and current New York Jets starting quarterback Geno Smith being broken courtesy of the fist of teammate IK Enemkpali. Or, actually, former teammate as Enemkpali was summarily cut by the NFL organization shortly after the locker-room incident.
As it turns out, the incident is not exactly out of character for Enemkpali.
In April of 2011 as a redshirt freshman at Louisiana Tech, was arrested and charged with disturbing the peace and battery of a police officer following an off-campus incident. Enemkpali was involved in a physical altercation at a Ruston steak house/bar and ultimately punched an off-duty, undercover police officer who was working security that morning at the drinking establishment. Police officers called to the scene first used pepper spray in an attempt to control an enraged Enemkpali and, after that failed, ultimately used a taser on the player.
Then-head coach Sonny Dykes, now the head coach at Cal, indefinitely suspended Enemkpali at the time of the incident, although he was reinstated and ended up playing in 12 games during the 2011 season. He went on to be an all-conference selection each of the next two seasons — one in the WAC, one in Conference USA — before being selected by the Jets in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL draft.
If you ever want to see your name attached to the stadium of a college football program you can do one of a few different things. First, you can be a standout player or coach and have a tremendous impact on the history of the program. But assuming you lack the athletic skill to reach such levels of skill and lack the ability to coach a team up for decades and win a couple of national titles, you may be better off just handing over a bunch of money to the school instead. You know, if you have the funds to do so.
Duke alums Steve Brooks and Eileen Brooks donated $13 million to the Duke Athletics Department. To recognize the generosity and support of the program, Duke has announced it will rename Wallace Wade Stadium. The new official name of the stadium will now be Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium.
“Lifting Duke football to the level of the rest of the university has been one of the pleasures of recent years, and Steve and Eileen Brooks have been steadfast friends throughout that process,” DukePresident Richard H. Brodhead said in a released statement Friday. “We are grateful for their generosity, which will provide a strong foundation for the student-athlete experience at Duke.”
The $13 million donation will go to Duke’s university-wide campaign to raise $3.25 billion by June 30, 2017. That overall goal includes a goal of $250 million for Duke’s athletics program, with $50 million being used for endowment income and $100 million to be used for facility enhancements. The remaining $100 million is to be used for operating funds. To date, with this latest $13 million donation, the Brooks family has donated more than $20 million to Duke.
“Steve and Eileen Brooks have been tremendously generous, as well as incredibly faithful, relative to supporting Duke University for many years and, specifically in the case of Duke Football, no one has been more committed to helping us build a championship program,” said Kevin White, vice president and director of Duke Athletics.
The chances of seeing quarterback Ford Childress back at West Virginia looked grim back in January 2014 when word broke he was not enrolled at West Virginia for the spring semester. Childress had been suspended from the program for a violation of team rules, and now he is looking to renew his football playing career at Fresno State.
As first reported by BarkBoard.com, Childress will attempt to walk on to the Fresno State program. Childress is believed to have received interest from Texas and Texas A&M, which would make this a nice pickup for head coach Tim DeRuyter and the Bulldogs. He could also be stepping right into a chance to win a starting job once he becomes eligible to play again. Childress would be available to play this season after sitting out of action for the entire 2014 season. That bodes well for his chances of winning a job as a starter as well, as he will be the oldest quarterback at Fresno State and brings some previous starting experience to the table.
Fresno State is entering another year looking for a way to replace Derek Carr at quarterback. Last season Brian Burrell led the team with 2,690 yards and 22 touchdowns, but he was intercepted 18 times and completed 58.3 percent of his pass attempts. Burrell decided not to return to the football field this fall, leaving Fresno State with redshirt sophomore Zack Greenlee, redshirt freshman Kilton Anderson and true freshman Chason Virgil. Greenlee appeared in three games for Fresno State last season, in which he completed 18 of his 41 attempts for 213 yards and a touchdown.