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Former four-star Oklahoma LB Levi Draper enters transfer portal

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It appears the Oklahoma Sooners football team will have some depth in its linebacking corps pared.

Thursday, it was reported that Levi Draper is entering his name into the NCAA transfer database, the first step in leaving OU.  An Oklahoma Sooners football official subsequently confirmed that Draper will be entering the portal.

The linebacker’s time in Norman hasn’t officially come to an end, however, as he could always pull his name from the portal and return.

A four-star member of Oklahoma’s 2017 recruiting class, Draper was rated as the No. 5 inside linebacker in the country and the No. 2 player at any position in the state of Oklahoma.  On the 247Sports.com composite, he was the No. 118 prospect overall.  Only three signees in the Sooners’ class that year were rated higher than Draper.

Injuries helped lead to Draper take a redshirt as a true freshman.  The past two seasons, Draper played in 28 games.  Most of that action came on special teams.

When Draper does find a new school, it should be as a graduate transfer.  That would then leave him with two years of eligibility to use.

Draper is one of a handful of Sooners who have entered the portal of late. From the school’s student newspaper:

This is the second Sooner linebacker to enter the portal in the last two days, as Ryan Jones reportedly entered it on Wednesday. Along with the two linebackers, wide receiver Mykel Jones, safety Ty DeArman, defensive linemen Coby Tillman and Troy James will all be transferring.

It’s not all attrition at OU, however. Earlier this week, the program confirmed the addition of UCLA transfer wide receiver Theo Howard.  The receiver was honorable mention All-Pac-12 in 2018.

Howard graduated from UCLA in December, giving him immediate eligibility at OU this coming season.

LSU DC Dave Aranda emerging as favorite for Baylor job

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The LSU Tigers football program has already been hit with a wave of player attrition.  One key assistant coach is gone as well.  Now, a very key coordinator could be on his way out for good measure.

Ross Dellenger of SI.com was the first to report that Dave Aranda is emerging as the top candidate for the Baylor head-coaching job.  ESPN.com‘s Adam Rittenberg subsequently reported that the LSU Tigers football defensive coordinator is the leading candidate for the position.

This news comes on the heels of both Virginia Tech’s Justin Fuente (HERE) and Louisiana’s Billy Napier (HERE), originally focuses in the search to replace Matt Rhule, being ruled out for various reasons.

The 43-year-old Aranda just completed his fourth season as LSU’s defensive coordinator.  Prior to that, he was the coordinator at Hawaii (2010-11), Utah State (2012) and Wisconsin (2013-15).

Aranda has never been a head coach at any level of football.

Early on in the UNLV search for a new head coach last month, Aranda’s name was mentioned heavily.  Obviously, he ultimately turned down the opportunity.

At $2.5 million annually, Aranda was the highest-paid assistant in college football this past year.  Rhule, the man Aranda would be replacing, made $4.11 million in guaranteed compensation in 2019 at Baylor.

Ex-Texas player says DBs were promised $1,000 for every pick in 2010 title game

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Thanks to Odell Beckham‘s cash stunt Monday night, the Texas Longhorns football program is now in the financial spotlight.

Beckham was shown on video after LSU’s win in the national championship game handing out what appeared to be wads of cash to at least two Tigers football players.  While the school initially denied it was real cash being handed out — Joe Burrow said it was — they ultimately acknowledged in a statement that “apparent cash may have also been given to LSU student-athletes.”

On ESPN Thursday morning, former Texas linebacker Emmanuel Acho dredged up some old dirt on his former team by claiming that Longhorns defensive backs were promised $1,000 for every interception they made in the national championship football game against Alabama in January of 2010.

“We went to the national championship game in 2009 and … it was public to the team, for every interception the defensive back got, they were going to get $1,000,” Acho said by way of 247Sports.com. “‘For every pick y’all got against Alabama in the national championship game, you’re going to get $1,000.’ Now, the difference is we just didn’t do it publicly on the field.”

Alabama beat Texas that night 37-21 to earn Nick Saban his first title at the school.  The only interception in that game was by Blake Gideon, who is now the special teams coordinator at Ole Miss.

It’s unknown if Gideon was on the receiving end of the $1,000 promise laid out by Acho.

After kicking up a bit of a kerfuffle, Acho took to Twitter to clarify his on-air comments.

SEC finishes 2019-20 postseason with highest winning percentage; the Big 12, not so much

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After being knocked off its perch last season, the SEC is back atop the postseason heap.

LSU’s resounding win over Clemson in the College Football Playoff national championship game Monday night officially put the 2019-20 college football postseason to bed.  That was the eighth win for the SEC during this month-long postseason, easily the most of any other conference.  The .800 winning percentage for the SEC in the postseason was also far and away the highest.

Last season, the SEC went 6-6 during the 2018-19 postseason cycle, including Alabama’s beatdown at the hands of Clemson in the title game.  At .667 (4-2), Conference USA had the best winning percentage a year ago.

Getting back to 2019-20, the Pac-12 was the only other Power Five conference with a winning record this postseason at 4-3 (.571).  That’s an improvement from the 3-4 (.429) of a year ago and a far, far cry from the 1-8 (.125) egg the league laid two cycles ago.

Speaking of the postseason laying of eggs, the Big 12 went 1-5, posting a Pac-12-esque .168 winning percentage.  Three of those losses came by double digits, including Oklahoma’s 63-28 woodshedding by LSU in one of the College Football Playoff semifinals.

As for the other Power Fives, the Big Ten went 4-5 (.444) and the ACC 4-7 (.364).

Football independents, incidentally, posted a .667 winning percentage (2-1).

And how did the Group of Five fare?

  • Sun Belt 3-2 (.600)
  • AAC 4-3 (.571)
  • Mountain West (.571)
  • MAC 3-4 (.429)
  • Conference USA (.375)

Florida transfer QB Feleipe Franks visiting Arkansas

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Feleipe Franks may have left Florida, but he may not be leaving the SEC.  Possibly.

In early December, Franks had announced that he would be taking his leave of Gainesville. At the time, it was unclear if Franks, who signed a contract with the Boston Red Sox this past summer, was leaving to play a professional sport or transfer to another school, although this latest development seems to indicate the latter is likely.

According to WholeHogSports.com, Feleipe Franks is expected to visit Arkansas this coming weekend.  The website adds that Mississippi State, with new head coach Mike Leach in charge, is another school in which the quarterback is interested.

This report comes a month after Franks visited Kansas.

Franks was a four-star member of Florida’s 2016 recruiting class.  He was rated as the No. 5 pro-style quarterback in the country and the No. 9 player regardless of position in the state of Florida.

After starting eight games in 2017, Franks started all 13 for the Gators in 2018. He had started the first three games of 2019 before going down with a season-ending ankle injury.

During his time in Gainesville, Franks threw for 4,593 yards, 38 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in completing exactly 59 percent of his 622 passes.

Franks is a graduate transfer, so he’ll be eligible to play immediately at whichever Power Five school he ultimately chooses.