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2018 FCS All-American RB commits to Virginia

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Virginia joined South Carolina over the weekend as Power Five football schools realizing a personnel benefit from a lower-level program’s loss.

Two weeks ago, the Colonial Athletic Association announced that it was canceling its 2020 college football season because of the coronavirus pandemic.  One member of that FCS conference is Towson.  Coincidentally or not, one standout member of the Tigers, Shane Simpson, took to Twitter last week to announce that he has entered his name into the NCAA transfer database.

On that same social media service Sunday, the running back confirmed that he has committed to the Virginia football team.  Simpson had his transfer to-do list down to Virginia and Texas.

As Simpson was a fifth-year senior in 2019, it appears he has been granted a sixth season of eligibility.  Or, is fairly confident he will receive one.

Simpson would likely be eligible for that sixth season as he missed all but four games of his true freshman season in 2015 because of injury, then missed all but the first three games last season because of a serious knee injury.

In 2018, Simpson earned first-team All-American honors.  He finished second in all of FCS with 171.5 all-purpose yards per game, totaling 2,058 yards on the season.  That same season, the Pennsylvania product was the CAA’s Special Teams Player of the Year and earned three different all-conference honors: first-team at running back, second-team as a kick returner and third-team as a punt returner.

Simpson would be eligible to play immediately in 2020 at the FBS level.

Harvard RB Devin Darrington cites Ivy League canceling season in entering transfer portal

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Yet another FBS program could potentially benefit from the scheduling tumult at the FCS level.

The Ivy League announced earlier this month that it was postponing its 2020 college football season due to the coronavirus pandemic.  They became the first Div. I conference, FCS or otherwise, to cancel football for this coming fall.

Nearly three weeks later, at least eight players from the Ivy League have entered the NCAA transfer database.  One of those is Harvard’s Devin Darrington.  And, in an interview with ESPN.com, the running back confirmed that the conference’s decision to postpone the fall campaign was a “big part” of the decision-making process.

“With the season canceling due to COVID, I wanted to enter the portal because I don’t know if we’re going to have a spring season or not,” Darrington said. “To possibly have two years of eligibility at a Power 5 school while working on my master’s degree is a great opportunity.”

At this point in the program, we normally note…

Now, for what’s seemingly becoming a daily disclaimer when it comes to transfers.

As we’ve stated myriad times in the past, a player can remove his name from the portal and remain at the same school. At this point, though, other programs are permitted to contact a player without receiving permission from his current football program.

NCAA bylaws also permit schools to pull a portal entrant’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered it.

… and the reason for that is because of the following:

Darrington cautioned that all options are on the table, however, including returning to Harvard or even taking the semester off in order to preserve the year of eligibility.

If Darrington were to leave the FCS program, he’d be eligible to play immediately.  He also has two years of eligibility, which would make him even more attractive to FBS programs.  At this point, unspecified ACC and SEC schools have already reached out to the back.

This past season, Darrington earned second-team All-Ivy League honors after rushing for 734 yards and seven touchdowns.

College Football amidst Coronavirus Pandemic: On this day in CFT history, including Urban Meyer being placed on paid administrative leave as Ohio State launches investigation

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The sports world, including college football, had essentially screeched to a halt in the spring as countries around the world battled the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there was a dearth of college football news as the sport went into a COVID-induced hibernation.  Slowly, though, the game is coming back to life.  Hopefully.

That being said, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives that stretch back to 2009 and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on August 1, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this college football down-time, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: Tate Martell (barely) favored to win Miami job (and other QB competition odds)
THE SYNOPSIS: Yeah, that’s not how that turned out.  At all.  A refresher from last year:

Instead of bringing it on and competing with Georgia transfer Justin Fields for the starting quarterback job, Martell hightailed it out of Ohio State this past offseason and ultimately landed at Miami shortly thereafter.  Granted immediate eligibility with the Hurricanes, and seen as a slight favorite to win the starting job, Martell instead saw Williams stake his claim as QB1 as head coach Manny Diaz named the redshirt freshman the Hurricanes’ starter to start the season.

Losing out on the starting job led to Martell bailing on practice for the initial personal leave, even as he ultimately returned.  Not long after, it was reported that Martell had begun working with Miami’s wide receivers; last month, Martell shifted his on-field focus back to the quarterback position.

2018

THE HEADLINE: Urban Meyer placed on paid administrative leave as Ohio State launches investigation
THE SYNOPSIS: The probe stemmed from allegations that Meyer had direct knowledge of domestic abuse allegations involving a now-former assistant coach, knowledge Meyer had vehemently denied at the Big Ten Media Days the month before. Meyer was ultimately suspended for the first three games of the 2018 season.  In December of that same year, Meyer announced he was retiring at season’s end.

2017

THE HEADLINE: Body of Nevada’s Marc Ma found, a year after he was presumed drowned
THE SYNOPSIS: Another one of those headlines you never, ever want to write.  Although, this did offer the family some semblance of closure.

2016

THE HEADLINE: Texas A&M prez ‘dismayed, disappointed, angry’ over sexist presentation
THE SYNOPSIS: It’s still unbelievable how this ever saw the light of day.

2015

THE HEADLINE: Penn State, Pitt ADs will discuss potential future of in-state series
THE SYNOPSIS: Much like the Texas-Texas A&M talk, all I hear is blah blah blah blah blah.

2014

THE HEADLINE: Report: Miami QB Kevin Olsen suspended for at least a game
THE SYNOPSIS: You talk about a Greek football tragedy.  After multiple suspensions, Olsen was dismissed by The U in September of 2014.  After transferring to Towson in December of that same year, Olsen was dismissed by that FCS school before he ever played a down.  He then spent the 2015 season at a California junior college.  Olsen then transferred to Charlotte for the 2016 season.  In February of 2017, the brother of former Hurricanes standout Greg Olsen was arrested on felony rape charges.  A year and a half later, he was found not guilty on all counts.

2012

THE HEADLINE: War vet, Purple Heart recipient officially a Clemson Tiger
THE SYNOPSIS: These are the stories I live for.  Literally.  And, if you’ve never heard Daniel Rodriguez‘s story, make it a point to rectify that.  True.  Hero.

North Carolina confirms five-star 2021 recruit will reclassify to 2020, join Tar Heels for the fall

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North Carolina football will indeed get immediate benefit from a high school commitment.  Provided there is a season, of course.

In late May, Virginia high schooler Tony Grimes used a video posted on Twitter to reveal his Final Four potential destinations.  And those four potential landing spots?  Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio State and Texas A&M.  At the time, Grimes stated he wouldn’t make a decision until Dec. 1.  Earlier in June, however, the touted 2021 football recruit announced an expedited timeline for a revelation.  Late last month, Grimes committed to North Carolina football.

Earlier this month, Grimes’ father revealed that his son would reclassify from the Class of 2021 to the Class of 2020.  Provided he passes one more high school class — specifically, a government class — Grimes will enroll in classes at UNC in early August.

Thursday, North Carolina confirmed that Grimes will indeed join the football team for the fall.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Tony Grimes to our program,” said North Carolina head football coach Mack Brown said in a statement. “While we would have loved for Tony to have been able to play his senior season, he made the decision to reclassify because he thought it was best for him and his family. As a player, Tony is one of the best defensive backs we’ve ever recruited and one of the nation’s top players regardless of class. He’ll have to come in and compete with a group of talented players, but we feel like he’ll have a positive impact on our program. Tony is also a great young man. He’s had the spotlight on him for a long time and he carries himself with class. He’s also an outstanding student, which shows when you consider he was able to graduate from high school a year early. We’re excited to officially welcome Tony and his family to Chapel Hill.”

Grimes was a five-star recruit in the 2021 class according to the 247Sports.com composite.  He was the top-rated cornerback in the country.  And in his home state of Virginia, regardless of position.  On that same composite, he was the No. 7 prospect in the country overall.  However, that was on the next cycle.

As part of the Class of 2020, Grimes is a four-star signee who is the No. 5 cornerback and the No. 40 recruit overall.  He is, though, still the top player in Virginia.

Manning Award releases its 30-player preseason watch list, including North Dakota State’s Trey Lance

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Count the Manning Award among the latest to release its preseason grouping of players to watch this season.  Provided there is a season, of course.

Thursday, the Manning Award, named in honor of the quarterbacking Mannings — ArchiePeyton and Eli — and sponsored by the Allstate Sugar Bowl, announced its 30-player preseason watch list.  The Manning, incidentally, goes to the nation’s top quarterback and is the only major trophy to take into account postseason performance.

Five of last year’s Manning Award finalists are included on this year’s watch list: Justin Fields (Ohio State), Trevor Lawrence (Clemson), Tanner Morgan (Minnesota), Kyle Trask (Florida) and Brady White (Memphis).

From the award’s release:

This year’s Watch List includes players from all 10 Football Bowl Subdivision conferences. The AAC, Big 12 and Big Ten lead the way with four selections, while the ACC, C-USA, the Pac-12 and the SEC each have three selections. There are 13 seniors on the list while the junior class is represented by 11 quarterbacks and the sophomore class has six.

Also included in the list is Trey Lance of FCS North Dakota State.

“It sure has been a unique offseason, but we’re still looking forward to the prospect of seeing a great group of quarterbacks compete this year,” Archie Manning said in a statement. “Our Watch List is once again an exceptional group of candidates, but every year is a new year and we’ll be watching closely to add the best newcomers to the list after we get things rolling. I’d also like to thank the Allstate Sugar Bowl for sponsoring this award; it means a lot to the entire Manning family that they include our name in recognizing the best quarterbacks in the country.”

Last year’s winner of the award was LSU’s Joe Burrow.

Below is the complete preseason watch list for this year’s Manning Award.