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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 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 April 7, 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: WATCH: South Carolina walk-on nails kick during spring game, then gets awarded scholarship
THE SYNOPSIS: These types of videos will never, ever get old.  The recipient in this video, Parker White, went on to be the Gamecocks’ primary placekicker in 2019.  He made all 25 point-afters and 18-of-22 on field goals.

2018

THE HEADLINE: Steve Spurrier is returning to coach football… but will remain a Florida athletics ambassador all the same
THE SYNOPSIS: The Alliance of American Football was officially announced on this day, with Spurrier piloting the Orlando franchise.  The Ol’ Ball Coach’s return to the sidelines lasted eight games as the new pro league shuttered eight weeks into a 10-game season last April.

2018

THE HEADLINE: Nick Saban, on making QB decision: ‘You have a time frame. I don’t’
THE SYNOPSIS: The Nicktator gives zero you-know-whats about you peasants and your timelines.  Tua Tagovailoa, the freshman sensation who was the hero of the 2017 national championship game, was the favorite.  Jalen Hurts, the two-year starter, was the subject of myriad transfer rumors.  Tagovailoa ultimately won the starting job. Hurts ultimately transferred to Oklahoma.

2017

THE HEADLINE: Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield enters not guilty plea in Arkansas arrest
THE SYNOPSIS: Run, Baker, run!

2017

THE HEADLINE: Shaq Wiggins barred by Louisville from transferring to five schools
THE SYNOPSIS: The Bobby Petrino-led Cardinals petulantly barred the cornerback from transferring to Kentucky, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Purdue and Western Kentucky. On appeal, MSU was removed from the banned list. Wiggins ultimately transferred to Tennessee.

2016

THE HEADLINE: Waco police investigating “prominent Baylor football player” for alleged sexual assault
THE SYNOPSIS: This was one in a series of events that marked the beginning of the end for Art Briles with the Bears.

2015

THE HEADLINE: Report: Big 12 may get title game in ’16; ACC to three divisions?
THE SYNOPSIS: Half of the report was accurate.  Kind of.  After a seven-year absence, the Big 12 did reinstate its football championship game.  In 2017.  Obviously, three divisions in the ACC never happened.

2014

THE HEADLINE: Ohio State will pay $2 million to non-conference opponents
THE SYNOPSIS: Six years later, UConn confirmed that Ohio State will pay them $1.95 million.  For just one game.

2012

THE HEADLINE: More details from Petrino’s Sunday motorcycle accident
THE SYNOPSIS: The soap opera that was Bobby Petrino had entered its fifth day.  Three days later, the daytime drama was canceled.

2011

THE HEADLINE: Writer: ‘Bama supporter paid for five-star recruit
THE SYNOPSIS: Alabama went on to find no violations in their investigation of the recruitment of Brent Calloway.

2009

THE HEADLINE: BAD NEWS FOR THE SEC: A.J. GREEN IS 100% HEALTHY*
THE SYNOPSIS: Dealing with a groin injury throughout his true freshman season, Green caught 56 passes for 963 yards and eight touchdowns in 2008. In 2009, his statline read 53-808-6. In 2010, it was 57-848-9. The wide receiver was the fourth-overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft.

(*Yes, back in the day, we used to scream out our headlines at our readers in all-caps. The move to NBC a couple of months later mercifully ended that practice.)

North Carolina now has the No. 3 2021 recruiting class in the country; UNC, Ohio State tied with most four-star commits at 10

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Yes, we are living in a world where North Carolina is further solidifying a Top-Five recruiting class in football.  Not hoops.  IN FOOTBALL.

As a backdrop, from our March 19 post:

[F]our-star 2021 prospect Drake Maye, the No. 6 pro-style quarterback in the country, committed to North Carolina football. Maye had been committed to Alabama since July of last year. Over the next two days, the Tar Heels received a pair of verbals from two other 2021 four-stars — wide receiver Kobe Paysour and offensive tackle Eli Sutton.

While North Carolina football was quiet on the recruiting front for the next week and a half or so — and Ohio State wasn’t — the Tar Heels made some noise again as Deandre Boykins verballed to the ACC school Wednesday night.

In confirming his commitment, the defensive back praised the 68-year-old North Carolina football head coach.

“He’s just a great coach first of all and he’s a great person,” Boykins said of Brown. “He cares about you and your family. And you can see it, it shows. I felt at home when I was there. I felt that all the coaches wanted me.

Fast-forward to April 3. On that day, Kamarro Edmonds gave a verbal commitment to North Carolina football. Edmonds committed to UNC over offers from, among others, Louisville, LSU, Missouri, NC State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.

The four-star running back announced his decision via Twitter.

With Bryant’s verbal, North Carolina football now has commitments from 12 2021 recruits. Of those, 10 are four-star prospects. That’s tied with Ohio State for the most in this cycle.

Of those 12 Tar Heels commitments, 11 of them played their high school football in the state of North Carolina.

For the 2020 cycle, head coach Mack Brown landed nine four-star recruits. That gives him 19 (and counting) in less than two full cycles as the North Carolina football head coach. In the five cycles prior to Brown’s return to Chapel Hill, the program had signed 21 four-star recruits. Combined.

Currently, the Tar Heels can claim the third-ranked class in the country. Ohio State (No. 1) and Clemson (No. 2) are the only schools ahead of UNC at the moment.

This century, North Carolina has never had a Top-Five recruiting class. Their highest-ranked class in that span was 10th in 2007, the first year under Butch Davis. The Tar Heels have had five other classes that were Top 20 — 2020 (19th), 2018 (20th), 2011 (18th), 2009 (12th) and 2003 (18th).

Brown, of course, is no stranger to highly-rated recruiting classes. His last 14 years as the head coach at Texas, the Longhorns finished in the Top 10 on 10 different occasions. Included among that was the top-ranked class in 2002. Brown also pulled in the No. 2 classes in 2010 and 2012.

All told, Brown had five Top-Five classes during his time in Austin.

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.

Kirk Herbstreit would be ‘shocked’ if college football is played this fall

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No college football this fall?  The drumbeat for such a possibility grows louder by the day.

In the midst of the growing coronavirus pandemic, Mack Brown earlier this week expressed concern about whether or not the college football season would be played as scheduled.  Whether it would be a partial season.  Or no season at all.

“There is a fear of ‘would we have a season?’ ‘Would we have a partial season?’ ‘What does a partial season mean,’” North Carolina head coach said. “There is a great concern because of the remedy that comes in with football.

“The biggest problem is you’re not sure when it ends, and we can’t get those answers at this point.”

Compared to one prominent college football personality, Brown is downright optimistic.

During a radio interview Thursday night, Kirk Herbstreit was asked about the prospects of teams taking the fall this season.  According to the ESPN television personality, he would be “shocked” if it happened.

“I’ll be shocked if we have NFL football this fall, if we have college football. I’ll be so surprised if that happens,” Herbstreit stated, by way of TMZ.com.

“Just because from what I understand, people that I listen to, you’re 12 to 18 months from a [coronavirus] vaccine. I don’t know how you let these guys go into locker rooms and let stadiums be filled up and how you can play ball. I just don’t know how you can do it with the optics of it.”

Because of the cancellation of March Madness, schools saw their revenue distribution from the NCAA drastically diminished.  That is expected to take a heavy toll on non-FBS schools.  If the college football season were to be canceled?  That would severely impact FBS schools, especially those in the Group of Five.

Longtime NFL offensive lineman named to North Carolina’s extended football staff

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Already killing it on the recruiting trail, North Carolina football is adding to Mack Brown‘s extended football staff as well.

Monday, North Carolina announced the hiring of former UNC football player Kevin Donnalley by Brown. Donnalley will serve as the Tar Heels’ director of high school relations.

And Donnalley’s duties? The school described them thusly:

In this role, Donnalley will provide outreach to all high school coaches by establishing, maintaining and improving relationships between them and the football staff. He will foster strong relationships with those coaches to enhance the recruiting efforts of the program. In addition, Donnalley will oversee all high school communications, serve as the practice guest liaison, and assist with recruiting events and visits.

“We’re excited that Kevin is joining our staff in this critical position,” the North Carolina football head coach said in a statement. “He has a true passion for Carolina and a wealth of experience across all levels of football. He was an All-American for us here during our first stint in Chapel Hill and went on to have an excellent career in the NFL. Then, he was able to add to his experience by spending time at the collegiate level in player development at Charlotte. He’ll be a valuable resource for both our parents and the high school coaches. We’re looking forward to seeing him continue to grow and build strong relationships with those groups, and we can’t wait to welcome Kevin, his wife Erica, and their three children, Kayla, Thomas and Matthew back to the family.”

The past four years, Donnalley served as the director of student-athlete development at Charlotte.

Donnalley played his college football at UNC in the late eighties, graduating from the university in 1991. A third-round pick of the Houston Oilers in the 1991 NFL Draft, the offensive lineman went on to play 13 seasons in the league.

“First off, I want to thank Coach Brown and the football staff for providing my family with this opportunity,” Donnalley stated. “I have a passion for Carolina and a passion for the game at all levels, so this is the perfect role for me to have an impact on this program’s success. I’m really looking forward to connecting with all of the high school coaches and serving as a resource for them. The role of a high school coach as a mentor and developer is critical in the growth of our young men and I have a ton of admiration for what they do, so I can’t wait to rekindle old relationships, create new ones, and have the chance to interact with such a special group of people. I believe we are in a position to do great things at Carolina and I’m thrilled to be a part of it. I can’t wait to get back to Chapel Hill and get started.”