Thanks to Odell Beckham‘s cash stunt Monday night, the Texas Longhorns football program is now in the financial spotlight.
Beckham was shown on video after LSU’s win in the national championship game handing out what appeared to be wads of cash to at least two Tigers football players. While the school initially denied it was real cash being handed out — Joe Burrow said it was — they ultimately acknowledged in a statement that “apparent cash may have also been given to LSU student-athletes.”
On ESPN Thursday morning, former Texas linebacker Emmanuel Acho dredged up some old dirt on his former team by claiming that Longhorns defensive backs were promised $1,000 for every interception they made in the national championship football game against Alabama in January of 2010.
“We went to the national championship game in 2009 and … it was public to the team, for every interception the defensive back got, they were going to get $1,000,” Acho said by way of 247Sports.com. “‘For every pick y’all got against Alabama in the national championship game, you’re going to get $1,000.’ Now, the difference is we just didn’t do it publicly on the field.”
Alabama beat Texas that night 37-21 to earn Nick Saban his first title at the school. The only interception in that game was by Blake Gideon, who is now the special teams coordinator at Ole Miss.
It’s unknown if Gideon was on the receiving end of the $1,000 promise laid out by Acho.
After kicking up a bit of a kerfuffle, Acho took to Twitter to clarify his on-air comments.
The dramatic reshaping of the Texas Longhorns football coaching staff continued Tuesday, with Tom Herman adding yet another new assistant.
Herman has already swapped out coordinators, with Mike Yurcich replacing Tim Beck on the offensive side of the ball — Beck has since landed at NC State — and Chris Ash replacing Todd Orlando on the defensive side. Monday, Herman added assistants on each side of the ball, with the Texas Longhorns football program confirming the hiring of Jay Valai and Andre Coleman.
A day later, the Texas Longhorns football program announced Coleman Hutzler has been hired by Herman as co-defensive coordinator. Hutzler will also coach linebackers for the Longhorns.
Orlando, the deposed defensive coordinator, was also linebackers coach.
“Coleman is a coach who came highly recommended by several people I have a great deal of respect for in our business,” the Texas Longhorns head football coach said in a statement. “When we had a chance to sit down and talk with him, he certainly lived up to everything we had heard. He has a wealth of knowledge and experience, is high energy and has accomplished a great deal while spending much of his career coaching in big-time environments in the SEC. He’ll do a terrific job developing our linebackers and helping us grow on defense. We’re excited to get him on board and to get him around our team and out on the road recruiting for us.”
Hutzler had spent the past four seasons as the linebackers coach and special teams coordinator for Will Muschamp at South Carolina. He was also on Muschamp’s Florida staff in 2014.
Muschamp, of course, was part of the Texas Longhorns football program as defensive coordinator from 2008-10.
In addition to USC and UF, the 35-year-old Hutzler has also been on staffs at Boston College (2015) and New Mexico (2012-13).
Even as Trevor Lawrence attempts to get the taste of his first-ever college loss out of his month, there’s no time like the present for a little Heisman talk.
On the biggest stage Monday night, Lawrence came up short as Clemson took it on the chin in a 17-point loss to LSU in the College Football Playoff championship game. While the quarterback didn’t throw an interception, he did complete a career-worst 48.6 percent of his pass attempts. The true sophomore was also held without a touchdown pass for the first time since a four-point win over Syracuse in September of 2018.
Despite the struggles, Trevor Lawrence hasn’t lost all of the Heisman shine as one offshore sportsbook has him listed as a 7/2 favorite to claim the 2020 stiff-armed trophy. That’s actually down a bit from the 3/1 Lawrence was at following Joe Burrow winning the 2019 Heisman Trophy in record-smashing fashion.
The quarterback of the team Lawrence and Clemson took down in the semifinals, Ohio State’s Justin Fields, is right behind his under-center counterpart at 4/1. Another quarterback, true freshman Kedon Slovis of USC, is at 9/1.
Five other returning players will start the offseason at 10/1, including Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard, who surprised many (most?) observers by announcing Monday he’s coming back for his senior season. The others at that 10/1 number are all quarterbacks — Texas’ Sam Ehlinger, Alabama’s Mac Jones, Minnesota’s Tanner Morgan, Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler.
The only non-offensive player on the early Heisman wagering agenda? Standout LSU true freshman cornerback Derek Stingley Jr., who is listed at 16/1.
Some perspective, though, on these way-too-early odds: Last year at this time, Lawrence (3/1) and Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa (4/1) were the heavy favorites to win the 2019 Heisman Trophy. Lawrence finished seventh in the voting this past December, Tagovailoa 10th.
Jim Brown, greatest college football player ever?
College football is rapidly nearing the end of celebrating the 150th anniversary of the sport, with the 2020 College Football Playoff championship game serving as the capper of its sesquicentennial season. So, why not kick off the next 150 years of the sport by doing what we as fans do best — argue about lists.
During halftime of the Clemson-LSU title game — the SEC Tigers came storming back in the second quarter, by the way — ESPN unveiled their Top 150 college football players of all-time in celebration. The entire list can be viewed HERE.
Also during halftime, the Top 11 players on the Worldwide Leader’s list were feted on the Mercedes-Benz Stadium field. Coming in at No. 1? Jim Brown, according to ESPN, is the greatest college football player in the first 150 years of the sport.
The Top 11 are as follows:
- Jim Brown (RB, Syracuse, 1954-56)
- Herschel Walker (RB, Georgia, 1980-82)
- Bo Jackson (RB, Auburn, 1982-85)
- Archie Griffin (RB, Ohio State, 1972-75)
- Jim Thorpe (RB, Carlisle, 1907-12)
- Red Grange (RB, Illinois, 1923-25)
- Earl Campbell (RB, Texas, 1974-77)
- Dick Butkus (LB, Illinois, 1962-64)
- Barry Sanders (RB, Oklahoma State, 1986-88)
- Gale Sayers (RB, Kansas, 1962-64)
- Roger Staubach (QB, Navy, 1962-64)
I have but two comments on that top-tier group. One, Barry Sanders is laughably, criminally low. Two, Herschel Walker was the only college football player in my lifetime who was better than Sanders.
Seriously, Sanders being ninth offends me.
Other than that, fire away…
The revamping of the Texas Longhorns football coaching staff continued Monday, with Tom Herman adding a pair of assistants.
Herman has already swapped out coordinators, with Mike Yurcich replacing Tim Beck on the offensive side of the ball — Beck has since landed at NC State — Chris Ash replacing Todd Orlando on the defensive side. Now, Herman has added assistants on each side of the ball, with the Texas Longhorns football program confirming the hiring of Jay Valai and Andre Coleman.
Coleman (pictured) will replace the combo of Corby Meekins/Drew Mehringer as wide receivers coach. Valai will take over as cornerbacks coach from Jason Washington.
Coleman spent the 2019 season as an analyst at UT. Prior to coming to Austin, he was at Kansas State for six seasons. The first five, he was wide receivers coach at his alma mater. In 2018, he added offensive coordinating duties.
Valai was the cornerbacks coach at Rutgers this past season, hired by Ash in March of last year. Before his time in Piscataway, he was a defensive quality control and assistant defensive backs coach for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2018 and a defensive quality control coach at Georgia in 2016-17.
Valai was a four-year letterwinner at Wisconsin.