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Former UNC head coach Larry Fedora expected to take Baylor OC job

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New Baylor football head coach Dave Aranda has been busy assembling his new coaching staff and filling it with familiar faces from his days at LSU.

One looming question that was still in the wind however was just what direction the defensive-minded coach would be taking on the other side of the ball. Now it appears we know.

As first reported by Yahoo! Sports and confirmed by a number of other outlets, the Bears are set to bring in former North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora as the program’s new offensive coordinator.

Fedora is no stranger to the Lone Star State, having grown up in College Station and spent the 2019 season as an offensive analyst at Texas. He also coached at Baylor from 1991-1996 as a position coach responsible for, at times, the wide receivers, tight ends and running backs.

The 57 year old previously served as OC at Middle Tennessee, Florida and Oklahoma State and is well versed in running a high-flying spread offense. He took over as head coach of Southern Miss and quickly got the program back on track before heading to Chapel Hill. While in charge of the Tar Heels, he guided UNC to a 79-62 record that included a division title in 2015.

While it’s assumed that Fedora will be calling plays while in Waco, he does join a previously announced hire in Jorge Munoz on the Bears staff. The latter was a coordinator himself at UL-Lafayette and recently served as an analyst at LSU helping develop Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow.

Jerry Jeudy, AJ Dillon, Eno Benjamin and more set for State Farm All-Star Football Challenge

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It may fly under the radar for most, but the 22nd annual State Farm All-Star Football Challenge is set to take place on Jan. 31 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The skills competition will pit 24 college football stars in a team event. Among those participating in this year’s challenge will be Boston College running back AJ Dillon, Penn State defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos, Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray, and Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy.

Five teams representing each of the power five conferences will consist of players from those respective conferences: ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, and SEC. A sixth team of “wild card” players will be comprised of players from the Group of Five or below. This year’s wild card players will come from the Mountain West Conference (Utah State QB Jordan Love, Boise State DE Curtis Weaver), Conference USA (FAU TE Harrison Bryant) and the South Atlantic Conference of Division 2 (Lenoir-Rhyne S Kyle Dugger).

The individual events included in the competition are a quarterback accuracy contest, obstacle course, strength challenge, and a hands competition. A team event will complete the overall event.

TEAM ACC
Cam Akers, RB, Florida State
AJ Dillon, RB, Boston College
Bryce Perkins, QB, Virginia
Jason Strowbridge, DL, North Carolina

TEAM BIG TEN
Zack Baun, LB, Wisconsin
Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State
KJ Hamler, WR, Penn State
Nate Stanley, QB, Iowa

TEAM BIG 12
Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU
Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
Carter Stanley, QB, Kansas

TEAM PAC-12
Salvon Ahmed, RB, Washington
Bradlee Anae, DE, Utah
Eno Benjamin, RB, Arizona State
Anthony Gordon, QB, Washington State

TEAM SEC
Nick Coe, DE, Auburn
Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Terrell Lewis, LB, Alabama
Riley Neal, QB, Vanderbilt

TEAM WILD CARD
Harrison Bryant, TE, Florida Atlantic
Kyle Dugger, S, Lenoir-Rhyne
Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
Curtis Weaver, DE, Boise State

ACC announces full 2020 football schedule

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College hoops might be the focus for many along the eastern seaboard but planning can soon commence for the fall after the ACC released their full 2020 football schedule on Wednesday.

You can find the full composite ACC football schedule here or the team-by-team breakdown here.

“The accomplishments by our collective football programs over recent years has been remarkable and a compliment to our players, coaches and the leadership at our schools,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “As we look ahead, there’s no shortage of excitement and anticipation for what the 2020 season will bring. Once again, our fans will have an opportunity to watch all of our games across a variety of platforms, including ACC Network which continues to be successful in showcasing our schools and programs.”

On top of the usual ACC slate of divisional and crossover games, Notre Dame will once again be featured heavily on the schedules of league opponents as a result of the school’s annual agreement with the conference. All told there will be six matchups involving the Irish, including a neutral site game against Wake Forest at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte (Sept. 26).  Notre Dame travels to both Pitt (Oct. 17) and Georgia Tech (Nov. 14) while Duke (Oct. 31), Clemson (Nov. 7) and Louisville (Nov. 21) will play in South Bend.

That game against the defending conference champ Tigers is particularly notable given the College Football Playoff implications it carries with Dabo Swinney’s group having a great shot at starting as the preseason No. 1 in 2020 and Brian Kelly likely fielding a top 15 (or higher) team.

Also interesting is the number of trips the ACC will make down to Atlanta for some big non-conference outings (which were obviously previously announced). Florida State will open the Mike Norvell era against West Virginia on Sept. 5 while Virginia plays SEC East champ Georgia on Labor Day. A week later, North Carolina plays Auburn as part of a very tough start to the season for Mack Brown and company with UCF and FCS powerhouse James Madison also on the docket.

We’ll see how it all sorts itself out come September but something says that for all the change that has gone on in the league, the end result of Clemson holding up the trophy probably isn’t going to change anytime soon.

North Carolina new home for All-American FCS kicker

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The North Carolina football program is the latest to dip into the FCS ranks for some talent. Placekicker talent, but still.

Sunday afternoon, the North Carolina football program announced that Grayson Atkins is transferring to the Tar Heels. Atkins spent the past three seasons at Furman.

According to UNC, Atkins will graduate from the FCS school in the spring.  He’ll then join the North Carolina football program in the summer.

As a graduate transfer, Atkins will have one season of eligibility remaining.

Below are Atkins’ particulars, as relayed by UNC’s release:

An Inman, S.C. native, Atkins converted on 33-of-41 field goal attempts and 132-of-138 PAT attempts during his three seasons at Furman. He earned first-team All-America honors as a junior and second-team honors as a sophomore. Atkins was also named All-Southern Conference twice. His 231 career points rank 10th on Furman’s career scoring list and fifth on the kick scoring list. Combining the end of his junior season and the beginning of his senior season, Atkins made 18 consecutive field goals, which is a Furman and Southern Conference record.

As a junior in 2019, Atkins earned first-team AFCA FCS Coaches’ All-America honors to go along with All-America honors form the Associated Press and STATS FCS. He converted on 13-of-15 field goal attempts and 48-of-50 PATs. Atkins made all six field-goal attempts under 40 yards and went 7-of-9 on attempts from 40 or more yards including a 55-yarder. In addition to his first-team All-SoCon honors as a placekicker, Atkins earned second-team accolades as a punter after averaging 43.5 yards per punt.

This past season, sophomore Noah Ruggles made all 45 of his extra-point attempts for the Tar Heels.  He also hit on just 19 of his 27 field-goal attempts.

Gene Chizik reportedly interviewed for Mississippi State job, removed himself as candidate

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Gene Chizik back in the SEC West?  It was certainly a possibility at one point.  Reportedly.

Friday, Mississippi State followed up on rumors by confirming that Joe Moorhead was out as head coach.  The name of Gene Chizik almost immediately came up as a potential replacement.

According to Bruce Feldman of The Athletic, Chizik did indeed draw the interest of MSU.  In fact, he interviewed for the opening Saturday.  A day later, though, Feldman reports, Chizik removed his name from consideration.

No reason for the withdrawal was given.

Chizik was the head coach at Auburn from 2009-2012, leading the Tigers to the 2010 national championship.  Two years later, he was fired by the university following a 3-9 season.

Prior to taking over at Auburn, he was the head coach at Iowa State for two seasons.  During that time, he posted a 5-19 record.  Overall, he’s 38-38 as a head coach.

After his Auburn dismissal, and following two seasons on the sidelines, Chizik was the defensive coordinator at North Carolina for two years.  In February of 2017, Chizik announced that, “[a]fter a lot of prayer and discussions with my wife and children, I have made the difficult decision to step away from coaching to be with my family.”

Since stepping down at USC, Chizik has served as a college football analyst for ESPN and the SEC Network.

With Chizik apparently no longer a consideration, a handful of candidates remain a part of the search in Starkville:

  • Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun
  • UAB head coach Bill Clark
  • Florida defensive coordinator Todd Grantham
  • Louisiana Tech head coach Skip Holtz
  • New England Patriots special teams coordinator/ex-MSU football player Joe Judge
  • Army head coach Jeff Monken
  • Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian

Louisiana’s Billy Napier, prominently mentioned early on, stated over the weekend that he’s not a candidate.