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Missouri corner Christian Holmes dives into transfer portal

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Thanks to a potential departure from the Missouri Tigers football roster, we have our first, but certainly not last, portal post of the day.

Matt Zenitz of al.com was the first to report that cornerback Christian Holmes is heading toward the NCAA transfer database. A Missouri Tigers football official subsequently confirmed that Holmes has entered his name into the portal.

Normally standard operating procedures for football players in such situations, Holmes hasn’t yet addressed his impending departure on his personal Twitter account.

Holmes was a three-star member of Mizzou’s 2016 recruiting class. He was the highest-rated corner in the Tigers’ class that year.

During his time in Columbia, the Georgia product played in 35 games. He started a dozen of those appearances, including eight this past season.

The past two years, Holmes totaled 19 passes defensed, four tackles for loss and two interceptions. He returned one of those passes for a touchdown in 2018.

An injury sidelined Holmes for the entire 2017 season.

Missouri Tigers football is coming off a 6-6 season that led to the firing of head coach Barry Odom. Less than two weeks later, Appalachian State’s Eli Drinkwitz was hired as Odom’s replacement.

Odom, incidentally, landed on his feet as Arkansas’ defensive coordinator.

New TV deal that replaces CBS with ESPN could mean $23 million-plus annually for each SEC school

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There may be a million problems in college football — like joining the 21st century when it comes to the NIL issue — but, for the SEC, money in a new TV deal won’t one of them.

First reported by the Sports Business Daily, CBS has pulled out of negotiations with the SEC on a new television deal.  According to the SBD, CBS, whose current contract with the conference runs through the 2023 season, had bid in the neighborhood of $300 million annually for the package. While nothing is finalized, it appears ESPN/Disney and its $330 million bid has won out.

According to al.com, “it could actually easily end up being $400 million or more when all is said and done.” That same website wrote that “FOX had also expressed serious interest in the rights if the SEC wanted a different two company arrangement.” The SBD reported that execs from FOX are expected to make an official bid presentation to the conference next month.

If the figure reported by the SBD is accurate, it would mean each member school in the SEC would receive in excess of $23 million annually.  From this package alone. The number from al.com would be $28.5 million a year.  Again, from this package alone.

For the fiscal year 2018, the average per-school payout for the SEC was $43.1 million.  Just $4 million of that figure came from the current CBS deal.

CBS has broadcast SEC football since 1996.  The network currently pays the conference $55 million annually, a pittance compared to the future numbers being tossed around.

“We made a strong and responsible bid,” CBS Sports said in a statement. “While we’ve had success with the SEC on CBS, we are instead choosing to aggressively focus on other important strategic priorities moving forward.”

The move away from CBS comes on new commissioner Greg Sankey‘s watch, a stark contrast to the strategy of his predecessor.

Letting CBS walk away from negotiations marks a significant departure in strategy from the SEC. The league willingly accepted less than it could have gotten the last time these rights were up in order to stay with CBS because then-commissioner Mike Slive liked the national platform the network gave the SEC. The $55 million per year was a steal for CBS but the partnership was certainly mutually beneficial as it helped the league build its brand and led to massive television ratings.

TCU co-OC Curtis Luper officially hired by Missouri

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After a handful of days of speculation surrounding the TCU assistant, Curtis Luper has officially landed at Missouri.

As expected, Mizzou announced in a press release Saturday afternoon that Eli Drinkwitz has brought Luper on to his first coaching staff. Luper’s specific coaching duties will be released “pending completion of the human resources process.”

Luper has spent the past seven seasons at TCU. He was the wide receivers coach in 2013 and the running backs coach in 2014-16. The past three seasons, he added co-coordinating of the offense to his duties.

In all seven of those seasons, he served as the Horned Frogs’ recruiting director as well.

“Curtis brings a championship pedigree to our staff,” said Drinkwitz in a statement. “Luper has coached offense at the highest level and he’s been part of some of the best offenses in college football. He’s a man of integrity. He’s one of the best recruiters in the country. We’re excited to welcome him and his family to the Mizzou football family.”

Prior to TCU, Luper was the running backs coach at Auburn (2009-12) and Oklahoma State (2005-06).

“I’m definitely excited to come to Missouri and join Coach Drink,” said Luper. “He and I really connected in our time together at Auburn. We have the same thoughts philosophically when it comes to offense. It’s really exciting for me to be at a flagship institution. That’s something I’ve never had the opportunity to do in my coaching career. I’m looking forward to that and to being part of the Mizzou community.”

Luper becomes the seventh assistant hired by Drinkwitz since taking over. The first six have either come from Appalachian State or were retained off the old staff.

Missouri confirms David Gibbs has been retained as part of Eliah Drinkwitz’s first staff

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After a run on Appalachian State assistants, Missouri continued the recent spate of retention with David Gibbs officially climbing onboard.

Over the weekend, it was confirmed that Brick Haley would continue on as Mizzou’s defensive line coach. Wednesday, Ryan Walters was retained as defensive coordinator.  A day after that, the Tigers confirmed that David Gibbs will be a part of Eliah Drinkwitz‘s first coaching staff as well.

Gibbs spent the 2019 season, his first in Columbia, as the Tigers’ cornerbacks coach. Per the school, position-specific duties for Gibbs will be detailed once the staff has been finalized.

“Coach Gibbs is a great fit for our defensive staff,” said Drinkwitz in a statement. “He’s well-respected within the profession as a developer of talent, and he’s got invaluable experience at both the collegiate and NFL levels. I’m excited about his expertise and how he can help shape the philosophy within our defensive staff. I’m pleased to have he and Debbie and their family be part of our program.”

The 51-year-old Gibbs — he’ll turn 52 in January — has spent the past 29 seasons in the coaching profession.

Gibbs, who played his college football at Colorado, has been a defensive coordinator at four of his eight collegiate stops.  The first came at Minnesota from 1997-2000, followed by Auburn in 2005.  After a few years in the NFL as defensive backs coach, he was back as a coordinator at the collegiate level in Houston (2013-14) and Texas Tech (2015-18).

“I’m excited to be part of Coach Drink’s staff at Mizzou, it’s a great opportunity for me and my family,” Gibbs said. “I’m looking forward to continuing to work with Coach Walters, we did some good things here defensively last season, and we’ve got a great group of kids coming back who are excited to work hard to improve this program.”

Mixup involving his brother led to Missouri commit being connected to felony

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UPDATED 12:18 p.m. ET: An original report that had Missouri commit Kevon Billingsley arrested on a felony shoplifting charge proved to be unintentionally erroneous.

According to Gabe DeArmond of PowerMizzou.com, someone involved in the incident at an outlet store in Missouri had given police officers Kevon’s name.  Dave Matter of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch subsequently reported that it was Billingsley’s older brother, Keith, who was arrested.

Matter added that Billingsley not signing Wednesday was potentially linked to the recruit possibly having to go the junior-college route initially.

(Our original post, in its entirety and unedited, appears below.)


I guess a felony would be one explanation as to why a Missouri commit didn’t put pen to paper during the opening round of the Early Signing Period.

According to Gabe DeArmond of PowerMizzou.com, Kevon Billingsley was arrested a week ago today on a felony charge of “Larceny Over $750, Shoplifting.” The alleged theft took place at among others, a Tommy Hilfiger store, with the police report stating that Billingsley, along with “21 and 25 yo females… concealed clothing from multiple stores and left without paying.”

In June of this year, Billingsley committed to play for Missouri.  While considered a lock to sign with the Tigers — 247Sports.com lists him as a “Hard Commit” — that hasn’t taken place as of Thursday morning.

As Billingsley is not yet signed, the Tigers football program is not permitted to discuss the recruit, including any off-field issues with which he may be dealing.

A three-star 2020 prospect, Billingsley is rated as the No. 90 defensive tackle in the country. In addition to Missouri and prior to the felony beef, the lineman also held offers from, among others, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.

Without Billingsley locked into a signed National Letter of Intent, Missouri has no defensive linemen as part of this class.  That class, which currently consists of just 11 signees, is currently 80th in the 247Sports.com composite rankings, a positioning that even USC scoffs in the general direction of.