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Florida, Michigan, Ole Miss among 20-plus schools to contact Mississippi State transfer who didn’t take kindly to Mike Leach tweet

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Suffice to say, there’s a significant market for one soon-to-be-former Mississippi State football player.

In the wake of first-year head coach Mike Leach‘s much-discussed tweet, Fabien Lovett announced that he would be transferring out of the Mississippi State football program.  The defensive lineman’s father subsequently confirmed that the tweet played a role in his son’s decision.

Speaking to 247Sports.com, Lovett stated that he has been in contact with more than 20 schools since he tweeted he was entering the portal.  Among the Power Five programs who have reached out include Florida, Florida State, Michigan, Oregon, Ole Miss and Tennessee.  Houston is also a school with which Lovett confirmed contact.

Schools are now permitted to contact prospective transfers without receiving permission from the player’s current school.

At this point, it’s unclear when Lovett will make a decision.  Or to where he will transfer.  It should be noted that, during his first recruitment, he took official visits to Florida and Ole Miss.

Lovett did allow that he would prefer to make visits before he decides on a new college football home.  Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the NCAA has banned all in-person recruiting until at least May 31.  That would preclude Lovett from making a visit, official or otherwise, until June 1 at the earliest.

It’s thought that Lovett would have to sit out the 2020 season if he moves to another FBS program.  However, he is expected to file an appeal for an immediate eligibility waiver.  It’s believed that he will use the Leach tweet as the basis for his appeal.

Lovett was a three-star 2018 signee.  He was rated as the No. 7 player regardless of position in the state of Mississippi.

The past two seasons, Lovett appeared in 15 games.  13 of those appearances came in 2019.  A year ago, the defensive end was credited with 19 tackles, 2½ tackles for loss and a sack.

Because he appeared in four or fewer games in 2018, Lovett was able to take a redshirt for that season.  Depending on how the waiver appeal turns out, Lovett would have either three years of eligibility starting in 2020 or two starting in 2021.

Second Mississippi State player enters transfer portal since Mike Leach’s Twitter imbroglio

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When he’s not lighting up Twitter, Mike Leach has been busy adding transfers to his Mississippi State football roster.  Over the last week, Leach has lost two to Ye Olde Portal.  Possibly because of that same Twitter machine.

Last Thursday, the Mississippi State football head coach sent out a tweet in which he apologized for anyone he offended in a previous tweet.  In the tweet in question, the caption read “After 2 weeks of quarantine with her husband, Gertrude decided to knit him a scarf..”  The picture attached to it?  An elderly woman knitting a noose.

A handful of Leach’s followers were offended by the tweet.  In response to Leach’s original tweet, Mississippi State football player Fabien Lovett wrote simply, “Wtf.”

Coincidentally or not, Lovett used his personal Twitter account a day later to announce that he has entered the NCAA transfer database.  The defensive lineman didn’t specifically cite Leach’s tweet as the trigger for his decision to leave the Mississippi State football team.  His father, though, confirmed later that the tweet played a role.

Monday, on Twitter, one of Lovett’s teammates, Brevyn Jones, confirmed that he too has entered the portal.  The offensive lineman gave no indication that his potential departure was or wasn’t related to the Leach tweet.

Jones subsequently confirmed to 247Sports.com that he has already been contacted by Florida State.  And Maryland and Houston as well.

“My plan is to just take it slow right now and find the best fit. I really wanna wait till I can visit other schools,” the lineman stated. Earlier this month, the NCAA extended its ban on in-person recruiting through May 31 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Jones was a three-star signee as part of the Mississippi State football Class of 2019. The Alabama native played in one game as a true freshman.  Because of that, he has been able to take a redshirt.  After sitting out the 2020 season (presumably), Jones will be left with three seasons of eligibility he can use starting in 2021.

Jan. 9, Leach was named the new head coach of the Mississippi State football team.  Since then, the Pirate has added at least four transfers.  All of which, incidentally, will come in from Power Five programs:

College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history

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The sports world, including college football, has essentially screeched to a halt as countries around the world battle the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there’s a dearth of college football news as spring practices have all but been canceled at every level of the sport. And there’s even some concern that the health issue could have an impact on the 2020 college football campaign.

In that vein, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives 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 April 3, 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 hiatus, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: Two more Georgia football players arrested; Kirby Smart ‘extremely disappointed,’ says he’s ‘done a poor job with this group’
THE SYNOPSIS: With the arrests of sophomore linebackers Robert Beal and Brenton Cox, it brought to six the number of football Bulldogs arrested in less than a month.

2017

THE HEADLINE: Justin Fuente inks 2-year extension at Virginia Tech
THE SYNOPSIS: The new deal came after Fuente went 10-4 his first season in Blacksburg.  In the three years since, the Hokies have gone a combined 23-16.

2016

THE HEADLINE: Texas supplants ‘Bama as five-star 2017 LB Dylan Moses’ new No. 1
THE SYNOPSIS: Less than a year later, Moses signed with the Crimson Tide.  Coming off a torn ACL, and following a bizarre social media episode, the linebacker confirmed in January that he would be returning for his senior season.

2015

THE HEADLINE: Report: Sarah Thomas, NCAA’s first female official, set to be NFL’s first female official
THE SYNOPSIS: Thomas spent eight years working college football games.  In 2013, Thomas was part of the first bowl officiating crew to feature two women.

2014

THE HEADLINE: Jameis Winston hoping mechanics tweak helps him improve off Heisman season
THE SYNOPSIS: So, how’d that work out?

2013 season, pre-mechanics tweaking: 257-384 (66.9%), 4,057 yards (10.6 YPA), 40 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 184.8 passer efficiency
2014 season, post-mechanics tweaking: 305-467 (65.3%), 3,907 yards(8.4 YPA), 25 touchdowns, 18 interceptions, 145.5 passer efficiency

2013

THE HEADLINE: Old Big East’s new name? ‘American Athletic Conference’
THE SYNOPSIS: Yes, on this date, the AAC officially became a thing.  Unfortunately, that meant they didn’t take my suggestion: the Big Metro American Conference — the Big MAC for short.

2012

THE HEADLINE: Update: a neck-braced Petrino meets with media
THE SYNOPSIS: Bobby Petrino made his public comments after the Arkansas head coach was injured in a motorcycle crash.  That wreck ultimately led to Petrino’s dismissal.

2010

THE HEADLINE: Report: Matt James drunk before fatal fall
THE SYNOPSIS: The Notre Dame signee died after falling from a hotel balcony while on spring break.  The report stated he was “drunk and belligerent” prior to the fall.

Ex-Houston safety Earl Foster killed in shooting

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Houston is the latest college football program to be hit with a tragedy involving a current or former player.

Citing a source with knowledge of the situation, Joseph Duarte of the Houston Chronicle has reported that Earl Foster (pictured, right) was killed in an East Houston shooting Tuesday night. According to the report, Foster was found dead outside of a gas station.

Duarte also wrote that “[a] female companion was transported to a local hospital in critical condition.”

The shooting reportedly happened somewhere other than the gas station. “The vehicle arrived at the gas station and asked for help,” the report stated.

As of this posting, no arrests have been made. The shooting remains under investigation by the Houston Police Department.

Foster, a three-star prospect coming out of Lamar High School in Houston, was a safety for the Houston football team from 2012-15. He appeared in 49 games for the Cougars. All of his action came in a reserve role or on special teams.

The Houston football program expressed sadness over Foster’s death.

Craig Naivar, who was Foster’s position coach in 2015, posted on Twitter his sadness over the development.

“The relationships & bonds built thru competition, the grind & fellowship last forever,” the new USC safeties coach wrote. Very saddened today to hear of the loss of one of our brothers. Please keep Earl & his family close you your hearts, in your thoughts & prayers, Love you buddy.”

Anonymous FBS athletic director: ‘If there’s no season, we will be f*****’

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If you didn’t realize how important college football is to an athletic department’s bottom line, this should highlight it.

In the midst of the spreading coronavirus pandemic, some connected to the game of college football are decidedly pessimistic that the upcoming season will be played. Others are expressing cautious optimism. For now, at least.

Brett McMurphy of The Stadium conducted a survey of 130 athletic directors with FBS programs, with 112 of them participating. According to McMurphy, the ADs “were asked to rank their optimism on the upcoming season being played from ‘1’ (will not be played) to ’10’ (definitely will be played).”

Not a single AD gave less than a “5” in response, meaning everyone who responded, at least at this time, feels there’s at least a 50-50 chance the season will go off as planned. A slight majority of respondents (51%) assigned either the numbers seven or eight in McMurphy’s survey. One-quarter of them were decidedly optimistic with either a nine or 10 as a response. Most of that optimism was on the part of Group of Five programs that, already financially reeling from the distilled NCAA’s revenue distribution last month, desperately need a college football season to be played.

If the college football season is to start on time — the first games are scheduled for Aug. 29 — what would be the absolute latest teams could start reconvening and prepping for the 2020 campaign? The answer you get depends on the individual you ask. Some would say early June at the absolute latest. Others have said the middle of July.

So, what if the season is canceled? Completely?

“If there’s no season, we will be f*****,” an anonymous AD told McMurphy.

A tweet from Ross Dellenger of SI.com very plainly illustrates how reliant athletic departments are on revenue from college football.

Suffice to say, if the 2020 college football season is completely wiped out, non-revenue sports will be cut. Lots of them will be shuttered, more than likely.

The good news, such as it is, is that the powers-that-be in the sport will go to great lengths to save the 2020 college football season. In fact, one report earlier today suggested that the season could start as late as January of next year. How that would work with players who are eligible for the 2021 NFL Draft would have to be worked out, as would myriad other issues.

While it’s way too early to form a concrete opinion, there’s little doubt that all connected to the sport will exhaust every option to save the 2020 college football season. And, if the season is canceled? It’ll mean we all have a helluva lot more to worry about than sports.