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UCF WR Dredrick Snelson declares for 2019 NFL Draft

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One of UCF’s top wide receivers is moving on. Dredrick Snelson has officially declared for the 2019 NFL Draft with a statement shared via social media on Sunday afternoon.

“It’s now time for me to take the next step in being the man that I was raised to be,” Snelson said in a statement shared on his Twitter account on Sunday. “Therefore, I have decided to forgo my senior season and enter the 2019 NFL Draft.”

Snelson was UCF’s second-leading receiver this season with 688 yards and five touchdowns. He was also UCF’s second-leading receiver during their undefeated 2017 season with 695 yards and eight touchdowns. Now appears to be a good time to take his game to the next level with some slight uncertainty about the passing game coming into 2019 at the moment, and there may not be much more he can do to improve his draft stock if he did come back for another season with the Knights.

Former Notre Dame DB Josh Atkinson dies at 25

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Sadly, the Notre Dame football family is dealing with the loss of one its own.

On social media earlier this week, the twin brother of Josh Atkinson, George Atkinson III, revealed that Josh had passed away at the age of 25. “I can’t put into words the pain that comes with losing my twin brother (Joshua Alexander Atkinson) thank you for the love and support please keep Josh in your prayers 🙏🏾and respect the space I need to mourn this tragic loss,” George Atkinson III wrote.

No cause of death is known, with the San Jose Mercury News writing that Josh Atkinson died unexpectedly.

Atkinson, the son of former Oakland Raiders great George Atkinson, was a Fighting Irish defensive back from 2011-13, appearing in 26 games during that span.  He also ran track for the school.

George Atkinson III was a running back at Notre Dame at the same time his brother played in South Bend.

Virginia Tech and Cincy tied in Military Bowl, Bearcats lose QB Ridder to injury

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Virginia Tech scratched their way into a bowl game by scheduling an emergency 12th game at the end of the regular season, and the Hokies made sure to take advantage of their bowl eligibility right at the start of the Military Bowl in Annapolis this afternoon. Virginia Tech marched right down the field on the game’s opening possession against Cincinnati, and the Hokies and Bearcats are knotted at 14-14 at halftime in Annapolis, Maryland.

Ryan Willis completed a 21-yard pass to Eric Kumah on Virginia Tech’s opening possession for a touchdown at the end of a 10-play drive. The instant replay booth had to take a look at the catch to verify the result on the field before the Hokies could officially enjoy their early lead. The lead did not last for long, however, as Cincinnati responded with a touchdown drive of their own on their first offensive series. On 3rd & 8 from the Virginia Tech 38-yard line, Desmond Ridder dumped off a screen pass to Charles McClelland who followed some key blocks down the field as he found an open path for a long touchdown to even the score at 7-7.

Cincinnati lost Ridder at quarterback to a right leg injury late in the first quarter, with Hayden Moore stepping in to guide the offense. Ridder returned to the Cincinnati sideline later in the second quarter but was seen with a boot on his leg, thus ruling his return out of the question for the Bearcats.

Despite playing with Moore at QB and after some initial rhythm issues as he first entered the game, Cincinnati would take the lead early in the second quarter in somewhat bizarre fashion. Virginia Tech forced a fumble by Cincinnati running back Michael Warren II. The loose ball was recovered in the end zone by Kahlil Lewis of Cincinnati for a Bearcats touchdown.

Virginia Tech tied the game with a goal-line push of their own, without the aide of a fumble recovery, when Steven Peoples pushed across the goal line on a second down play. The Hokies had a chance to take a lead just before halftime, but a long field goal try by Brian Johnson slipped just wide of the goal post despite having the distance.

New York Jets deny report of planned pursuit of Jim Harbaugh

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So, a little bit of a brouhaha has broken out involving our parent site.

Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk reported Sunday that the New York Jets plan to pursue Jim Harbaugh at season’s end. Among the items Florio reported are:

The thinking is that the Jets plan to make Harbaugh a financial offer he can’t refuse, well in excess of the $7 million he earns at Ann Arbor.

The Jets started digging on Harbaugh roughly four weeks ago, and the plan remains to attempt to interview him, which presumes that coach Todd Bowles will be fired after the season.

The Jets denied the report on Monday, as team chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson said in a statement, “Todd Bowles is our Head Coach. There is no truth to the report of our interest in Jim Harbaugh.”

To that, PFT tweeted this.

At the center of all of this, of course, is whether or not Harbaugh is actually interested in leaving his alma mater for New York. Rumors have swirled for the past few weeks that Harbaugh could draw NFL interest — the Miami Dolphins, owned by Michigan booster Stephen Ross, have been another rumored suitor — but all the rumors have pointed one way: from the NFL to Ann Arbor, and not the other way around.

“This is a choreographed message that comes up at this time every year before signing day,” Harbaugh said earlier this month. “It’s people spreading messages to further their own personal agenda. But I’m on record right here, right now: I’m not going anywhere. I’m staying at Michigan. We have big plans here, and there’s a lot we want to accomplish.”

The Jets have yet to make the playoffs in four seasons under Bowles. The club missed a Wild Card birth at 10-6 in his 2015 debut and has not sniffed a winning record since; a win in their season finale on Sunday would give Gang Green three straight 5-11 seasons. In the NFL, that’s usually plenty of ammunition for a club to give its coach his walking papers, but it remains to be seen if Harbaugh is interested in leaving Michigan, particularly now that Urban Meyer is leaving the rivalry.

Report: Charlie Strong expected to dismiss 11 suspended players, part ways with four assistant coaches

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Not that it ever really was in doubt, but the strict rules that Charlie Strong carried with him at Louisville and then Texas has followed him to USF.

Following Thursday’s Gasparilla Bowl loss to Marshall, Strong was quoted as stating that “we’re going to clean up this whole program. A lot of guys will be leaving. We need a good washing.” That cleansing has apparently commenced in earnest as the Tampa Bay Times is reporting that a whopping 11 Bulls football players are expected to be dismissed from the football program.

Three wide receivers — Darnell Salomon, DeVontres Dukes, Deangelo Antoine — three defensive linemen — Brandon Boyce, Armon Williams, Marquies Price — two running backs — Elijah Mack, Duran Bell Jr. — two defensive backs — Donelle ThomasNaytron Culpepper — as well as offensive lineman Jeremiah Stafford are expected to be on the receiving end of Strong’s boot at some point. At the moment, all 11 have been indefinitely suspended by the football program.

Other than unspecified violations of team rules, no reasons for the punitive measures have been divulged.

For those unfamiliar, Strong’s has a list if “Five Core Values” he utilizes in his approach to building a football program and, most importantly, turning players into men.

  1. Honesty
  2. Treat Women With Respect
  3. No Drugs
  4. No Stealing
  5. No Guns

Strong came under fire from some around the Texas program in 2014 for dismissing nine players over an eight-month period as he attempted to change the culture in Austin. His emphasis on drug testing played a role in at least one, if not more, of those dismissals.

Bell, a redshirt freshman, finished fourth on the Bulls with 148 yards on the ground this season, while the sophomore Mack totaled 49.  The junior Salomon led the team in receiving touchdowns with four, while his 25 receptions and 440 yards were good for fourth.  A sophomore, Dukes had one catch for 12 yards this season.

Boyce, a redshirt junior, played in five games this season and a total of 26 in his career thus far — he had three tackles for loss in those limited appearances — while Price, a senior, played in two games in 2018 and 23 total.  Williams was a true freshman in 2018 who didn’t record any stats.

The sophomore Thomas appeared in eight games in 2017 but none this season.  Culpepper started two of the 10 games in which he played as a freshman in 2017, but made just three appearances in 2018.

The redshirt freshman Stafford did not appear in any games this season.

In addition to the players, the Times writes, “Additionally, as many as four Bulls assistant coaches are expected to be dismissed, a source indicated Saturday.” The names of those coaches were not revealed in the report.

After starting the 2018 season 7-0, USF lost its last six games of the year.  The Bulls became the first-ever program to pull off that ignominious feat.