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Current Oregon player is second to sue Willie Taggart, university

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Not surprisingly, Willie Taggart and his former employer have yet another legal obstacle to navigate.

In January of 2017, three Oregon football players were hospitalized following a workout in the weeks after Taggart, now the head coach at Florida State, was hired as the Ducks’ head coach. It was reported earlier this week that one of those players, former Ducks offensive lineman Doug Brenner, is suing Taggart, the University of Oregon, UO’s former strength & conditioning as well as the NCAA for $11.5 million in connection to the situation.

According to the Daily Emerald, a second player, current Ducks offensive lineman Sam Poutasi, has sued the same defendants as named in the first suit for $5 million.

Poutasi and Brenner, along with tight end Cam McCormick, were ultimately diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis, a condition in which muscle cells break down and its byproducts are released into the bloodstream. According to Brenner’s lawsuit, his life span has been shortened by upwards of 10 years as a result of “severe injuries, some of which are permanent, permanent renal injury… increased susceptibility of kidney failure, kidney disease, and death, severe physical and emotional pain.”

Poutasi’s lawsuit cites “physical and emotional pain, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life, and diminishment of avocational abilities.” That suit also mentions kidney damage as an aftereffect of the workout.

The strength & conditioning coach in charge of the workout that preceded the players’ hospitalization, Irele Oderinde, was suspended by the University of Oregon but reinstated a month later. Oderinde is now a member of Taggart’s support staff at Florida State and is currently listed as the football program’s head strength & conditioning coach.

Both Poutasi and McCormick are still listed on UO’s online roster.  The former played in five games this past season, the latter in one.

Utah losing two Utes to transfer

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No, not two Yutes.  Two Utes.

Tuesday brought a bit of departure upheaval to Utah’s roster, with first wide receiver Siaosi Mariner (not pictured) taking to Twitter to announce his decision to transfer from Kyle Whittingham’s football program and then, a dozen hours later on the same social media website, linebacker Chris Hart (not pictured either) doing the same.  Neither player gave a specific reason for their respective decisions, although Mariner had complained publicly about his role in the offense during this past season.

In 12 games this season, Mariner caught 17 passes for 209 yards and a touchdown, with the former two totals good for sixth on the team.  At least as it comes to the Utes portion of his playing career, the redshirt junior will finish with 785 yards and four touchdowns on his 52 receptions.

Hart was the highest-rated defensive signee in the Utes’ 2015 recruiting class.  Despite the recruiting hype, Hart played in just 15 games the past three seasons after taking a redshirt as a true freshman.  Four of those appearances came this past season, with all of his action coming on special teams.

Stanford’s leading receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside declares for NFL

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Stanford is losing one more key offensive player early to the NFL this offseason. Joining running back Bryce Love as an early entrant to the 2019 NFL Draft will be wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside, who officially made himself eligible for the draft process Friday. Arcega-Whiteside announced his decision as so many college football players do these days with a statement shared on his Twitter account.

“It has been a dream to play in the NFL, and I have decided to officially declare for the 2019 NFL Draft,” Arcega-Whiteside said in a post share don his Twitter account Friday afternoon. “Thank you to all who have been part of my journey.”

Arcega-Whiteside led the Cardinal with 1,059 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns this season. Arcega-Whiteside was a senior for Stanford this past season but he had another year of eligibility at his disposal after not appearing in a game during his freshman season in 2015. The Biletnikoff Award semifinalist was named All-Pac-12 Second Team and was a team captain for the Cardinal in 2018.

Justin Herbert’s top option in passing game leaving Oregon for NFL

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Oregon got a huge boost heading into the offseason when Justin Herbert announced he would be returning to the Ducks for another season.  The quarterback, though, won’t have the most productive piece of UO’s passing attack at his disposal in 2019.

To the surprise of some, Dillon Mitchell announced Wednesday that he will be bypassing his remaining eligibility in order to enter his name into the 2019 NFL Draft pool.

“It has been great living a childhood dream these last 3 years,” the talented wide receiver wrote. “Ever since 7th grade, I wanted to be an Oregon Duck. I fell in love with the uniforms, the players, the fast spread offense, and the Nike brand.”

This past season, Mitchell led all Pac-12 receivers and set a school record with 1,184 yards.  His 69 receptions were more than double the number of the Ducks’ No. 2 pass-catcher (Jaylon Redd‘s 31), and his nine touchdown receptions were also tops on the team.

Mitchell, who was named second-team All-Pac-12 this season, finishes his time in Eugene with 1,710 yards and 14 touchdowns on 119 catches.

Stanford’s Kaden Smith opts to leave early for NFL

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For the second time this year, one of the most talented tight ends in the country has decided to ply his football wares at the next level.

Early Tuesday afternoon, Jace Sternberger used Twitter to announce that he’s leaving Texas A&M early.  On the same social media website a short time later, Stanford’s Kaden Smith confirmed a similar decision as he wrote that, “after much thought and discussion, I have decided to forego my senior year and declare for the 2019 NFL Draft.”

Despite missing the last three games because of an injury, Smith caught 47 passes for 635 yards and a pair of touchdowns this season.    He was third on the Cardinal in both receptions and receiving yards.

The 6-5, 252-pound Smith will finish his time down on The Farm with 70 receptions for 1,049 yards and seven touchdowns.

Nearly a year ago to the day, fellow tight end and former Smith teammate Dalton Schultz announced that he was declaring early for the draft.