February 2014 Through March 2014

March 31: Those who are trying to cement last week’s historic move by a Labor Board Relations Committee to allow Northwestern players to unionize are heading to Washington to protect the move. There is still a ways to go, though those in favor of college athletes unionizing are pleased with the initial progress. Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Jarrett Grace had a rod placed in his leg to stabilize the leg and expedite the healing process. Despite the severe nature of the injury, he is hopeful he will be ready to play in the fall. Grace, who fills the same position once occupied by Heisman runner-up Manti Te’o, suffered the injury in an October game against Arizona State.

March 30: Former Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, looking ahead to the NFL Draft in May, is now engaged to beauty queen Katherine Webb. McCarron is projected by most draft experts as the 5th or 6th best quarterback in this year’s draft. In some off-the-field Texas A&M quarterback news that finally doesn’t involve Johnny Manziel, Kenny Hill has been suspended indefinitely from the team after being arrested on a public intoxication charge. After missing most of last season after an injury, Clemson wide receiver Charone Peake was granted a medical redshirt to restore his eligibility. He was considered the Tigers second-best receiver behind draft-bound Sammy Watkins and will now have two more years of eligibility.

March 29: Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire has said he believes he will be the starting quarterback for the Fighting Irish next season. He will have to beat out the man that helped the Fighting Irish get the BCS Championship game in 2012 in Everett Golson, who returned to the team after a suspension kept him off the field in 2013. Head coach Brian Kelly has made no indication as to who will start, saying the QB battle is an open competition. Massachusetts will continue to play in the MAC through the 2015 season, but has decided to exercise a clause where they can leave after two years. The U-Mass brass now has to find a conference to join in the next two seasons.

March 28: In a decision that could potentially have long-reaching affects, the Northwestern football team has been allowed to unionize. The Chicago district of the National Labor Relations Board ruled in Northwestern’s favor, saying the conditions of college football players constitute being called employees. Among the reasons are that whether athletes get scholarships is based on performance. The regional director of the NLRB said the Northwestern players can now vote on whether they want to be represented by the College Athletes Players Association. Former runner-up for the Heisman Trophy award, Hank Lauricella, has passed away at the age of 83. In 1961, the tailback led Tennessee to a national championship, later serving as a Louisiana state legislator for over 30 years.

March 27: In a story that just kept getting worse and worse, Navy’s Will McKamey has passed away while in a coma. He suffered a brain injury during a spring practice and was taken to a hospital, where treatments were unsuccessful. The 2012 Mr. Football of Tennessee was only 19 years old. On the heels of 4 players being arrested for theft, coach Mark Richt is still considering how he will discipline the offending student-athletes. The incident stems from 4 players receiving and cashing double payments they get as part of their stipends, with the amount in question being under $100.

March 26: Fans continue to show support for the former Mr. Football of Tennessee Will McKamey after he collapsed with a brain injury during spring practice. The Navy running back’s football career is certainly over, but the more serious issue is the recovery that lies ahead, with McKamey’s family saying he “faces a long road.” Defending Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston, now playing for the Seminoles baseball team, has already recorded 4 saves. Winston missed one spring practice, but his double-duty will not interfere with any more of his football obligations.

March 25: Wisconsin approved a raise for head coach Gary Andersen that will pay him an additional 300K a year starting in 2014. He went from 1.9 to 2.2 million and will receive a 100K raise in each of the remaining 5 years on his deal. In heartbreaking news, Will McKamey, the Navy running back who collapsed in spring practice last week, faces a long road after suffering a brain injury. He apparently did absorb a hit and while not a major impact, he absorbed a significant brain injury. McKamey was cleared after collapsing in a game in 2012 with a brain injury by a slew of neurosurgeons. Georgia wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell was hoping to bounce back after a right knee injury made him miss the rest of the 2013 season, but will now miss spring practice after hurting his left leg.

March 24: In great news, Indiana wide receiver AJ Griffith has been discharged from the hospital after nearly drowning and being placed in a medically-induced coma. His friends helped save him and he has quickly improved and should return to school shortly. Navy running back Will McKamey is still in a hospital after collapsing on a practice field last week. McKamey is still unresponsive, but not much else is known about his condition. He had a similar incident a few years ago after collapsing on a football field and being taken to the hospital.

March 23: In an autograph signing session involving draft-eligible ex-Missouri players, Michael Sam reportedly received a lion’s share of the patrons. Sam is likely to become the NFL’s first active openly-gay player. The draft is in May. In a scary incident, Navy’s Will McKamey was airlifted from the field after collapsing on the field during spring practice. Named Tennessee’s Mr. Football in 2012, McKamey also passed out in 2012, where he was also airlifted to a hospital, spending several days in an ICU unit. Former Ohio State Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel is reportedly among a group of candidates to become the president of the University of Akron. Tressel has worked with Akron as an administrator since leaving Ohio State amidst controversy that eventually led to sanctions.

March 22: Doctors are crediting friends for saving the life of AJ Griffith. The Indiana wide receiver was pulled out by a rip current and nearly drowned, if not for the timely aid from his friends. Griffith was placed in a medically-induced coma to relive pressure on his lungs, but is now breathing on his own and conscious. Though not out of the woods, signs in the last few days were largely positive. Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly has announced that two players will miss spring practice after surgery, with Christian Lombard and Will Mahone on the mend, but expected to be ready for preseason preparations.

March 21: In news he doesn’t need with the NFL draft coming up, Michigan Taylor Lewan, a top pro prospect at tackle, will be charged for a fight in December. The charges include aggravated assault, which carries with it possible jail time. In more bad news for Wolverines offensive linemen, Michigan has suspended starting center/guard Graham Glasgow for part of spring practice and the season opener against Appalachian State for undisclosed reasons. Coming off an 11-win season, North Texas head coach Dan McCarney has been signed to a new 5-year deal worth $3.6 million with incentives. Josh Rosen, a highly-coveted quarterback prospect, has verbally committed to UCLA. While Brett Hundley will start in 2014, Rosen should be a top candidate for the top spot in 2015.

March 20: As draft day in May comes into clearer focus, the perception of a lot of players has either gone up or down. One that has gone up is USC center Marcus Martin, who many feel is the best interior offensive lineman in the draft. A player that hasn’t been so lucky is Boston College defensive lineman Kaleb Ramsey, whose durability issues may have teams leery of drafting him. NFL head coaches Chip Kelly and Jim Harbaugh were at Virginia Pro Day, presumably to scout former Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas, who would be an interesting longterm project for the right team with his enormous potential. Indiana wide receiver Isaac Griffith, who was in critical condition following a near-drowning and put in a medically-induced coma, has been brought out of his coma and is thankfully breathing on his own as he continues to show good signs on the road to recovery.

March 19: In a sad story from Florida, Indiana wide receiver Isaac Griffith is still listed in critical condition after nearly drowning at a beach. He was saved by a friend after he and others were taken out by a rip current. Reports are that Griffith is stable and making small improvements. Four Georgia players are being charged with theft following the cashing of double checks released as stipends from the athletic department. The amount in question is just over $70. Of the 4 players, only one has ever started for the Bulldogs. Following a marijuana arrest, Auburn recruit Kalvaraz Bessent will enroll at the school and be placed on probationary status. The charges were eventually dropped, though head coach Gus Malzahn has yet to make an official decision on his status with the football team.

March 18: Teddy Bridgewater, the former standout quarterback at Louisville, reportedly was disappointing at pro day, throwing some inaccurate and fluttering balls. Several months ago, Bridgewater was projected as a top-tier pick, but has seen his status plummet in the offseason. Brent Musburger will now do games for the SEC Network, with Chris Fowler stepping in to do ESPN primetime Saturday telecasts. Attorney Jeffrey Kessler has filed an antitrust claim on behalf of a group of college athletes, which challenges the NCAA’s amateur model. Kessler said the root of his claim is to end restrictions that prevent Division I football and basketball players from making money off the billions of dollars they generate.

March 17: Draft expert Mel Kiper has Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack going first to the Houston Texans in his latest mock draft. He also said that the Jacksonville Jaguars will not pass on Jadeveon Clowney if he is still available with the third pick. Despite some recent bad reports concerning Alabama tackle Cyrus Kouandijo, Kiper still has the college standout going in the first round. Despite great potential, past knee issues and a sluggish combine soured some teams on him, but Kiper reminds us that Kouandijo is only 20 and was “battering SEC defensive linemen at age 19.” Good point.

March 16: The Alabama Crimson Tide opened spring practice this weekend and immediately turn their attention to the immense task of replacing quarterback AJ McCarron. Florida transfer Jake Coker, an apparent frontrunner, will not join the team until summer, after graduating from Florida in May. Last year’s backup, Blake Sims, is also a contender for the role. Arizona State wide receiver Richard Smith is reportedly transferring from the program and word has it he will be joining Boise State. He would not be eligible to play until 2015. Smith was 4th in receptions with 32 on Arizona State last season. The Sun Devils’ deep pass-catching corps should be strong enough to absorb this loss.

March 15: In an interesting matchup to look forward to down the line, Texas A&M and UCLA have agreed to a home-and-home series in the 2016 and 2017 seasons. These two teams have only played once since 1960. John Junker, a former executive of the Fiesta Bowl, is going to prison stemming from an illegal political contribution scheme where bowl employees made donations and were then repaid by the non-profit bowl. The scandal also showed how lavishly the bowl committee spends for lawmakers to attend the game. After starting the last 4 games of the season for the Cyclones, Iowa State has kicked defensive tackle Rodney Coe off the team for an undisclosed team rules violation.

March 14: Florida kick returner and receiver Andre Debose has been granted a 6th year of eligibility by the NCAA after applying for a medical hardship waiver, after missing all of 2013. Debose holds the school record with 4 returned kickoffs for touchdowns. He also missed his freshman season after a knee injury. After running a 4.52 forty at the combine last month, USC receiver Marqise Lee participated at USC pro day, but didn’t run another 40, instead choosing to rest on other assets of his game. Boston College running back and Heisman finalist Andre Williams tried to atone for a less-than-stellar forty at the combine, but only said scouts told him his number had improved, with no official times being given.

March 13: Maine running back Zedric Joseph has been arrested in connection to a deadly stabbing in his native South Florida. Details are still forthcoming, but Joseph has naturally been suspended. AJ McCarron, long undersold and overlooked, was asked who he feels is the best quarterback in the draft and identified himself as the response. Most top scouts, however, rank him as the 4th or 5th best quarterback in the class. Another Alabama NFL prospect has impressed at Pro Day after a difficult combine performance, with T Cyrus Kouandijo participating in some drills and coming in a dozen pounds under his combine weight. Rumors were that Kounadijo was suffering from a bad knee and failing physicals, neither of which turned out to be true. He is still in a small handful of the top tackles available in the upcoming draft in May.

March 12: NFL Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton said NFL-bound Johnny Manziel is the closest thing he’s seen to himself. He said he’s seen quarterbacks who have come close, but none have epitomized his spirit and full scope of skills as much as the former A&M QB. Vanderbilt hired Frank Maile as their new defensive line coach, following the firing of Vavae Tata who was let go after a drunken driving arrest. Maile served in the same capacity the last three seasons with Utah State. As Florida enters spring practice, they will do so with a lot of players still nursing injuries sustained last season. In total, nine players will still be sidelined when spring practice begins on March 19.

March 11: In good news, Miami offensive lineman Hunter Knighton is out of the hospital. Last month, Knighton fell ill during workouts and was taken to the hospital. Former Iowa Hawkeyes William Lowe has filed a lawsuit against his former school. stemming from a highly-public workout three years ago where over a dozen Iowa players fell ill. Lowe says the workouts were excessively dangerous and that follow-up medical assistance was lacking and that players were forced to work out shortly after, as well. A pair of starters from Oklahoma State’s successful 2013 season have left the team. Safety Lyndell Johnson and center Jake Jenkins will both not be back in 2014. Johnson has left due to personal reasons, while Jenkins will be graduating this spring.

March 10: Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher just wrapped up winter conditioning drills with the team and is stressing that the team do the same things they did last year and not hang their hats on winning the championship last season. Fisher said “we’re not defending anything.” The mandated 15-yard penalty that accompanies targeting calls on replays where ejections are overturned will no longer necessarily be in play. Referees can now overturn the ejection and also determine that there was no foul, sparing the offending player and team a 15-yard penalty. Stanford has filled out their coaching staff with the hiring of new secondary coach Duane Akina, who held the same position for the Texas Longhorns for over a decade.

March 9: The NCAA is considering making a change to the signing period timeframe for high school recruits, extending the period to make it longer. There is a lot of opposition, particularly from the schools that are thriving under the current system. In recruiting, there are those who have been doing certain things the same way for a long time. Stanford’s head coach David Shaw said it is a “terrible idea” and that it is motivated by coaches who don’t want kids to switch after making a commitment. Two Florida State players had an argument that led to someone getting shot in the head. Details are still forthcoming, but reportedly the half-brother of RB Mario Pender was shot when Pender had an altercation with Ira Denson, who apparently fired the gun in a disagreement about shoes. Neither played last season for the Seminoles.

March 8: The Nebraska Cornhuskers and head coach Bo Pelini have agreed to a one-year contract extension that runs through the 2018 season. Pelini is 58-24 at Nebraska. Longtime head coach Johnny Majors, 78, is listed in stable condition following a heart valve replacement procedure. Majors coached from 1968-1992, leading teams Iowa State, Pittsburgh, and Tennessee, winning the national championship with the Panthers in 1976. After earning the Ohio State starting job at safety, Vonn Bell has undergone surgery to repair a tear in his MCL and will miss all of spring practice.

March 7: Missouri coach Gary Pinkel has been rewarded for a fantastic 2013 season, getting a raise and contract extension. He will now make over $3 million a year, with the deal running an additional 3 years. The 61-year old led the Tigers to a 12-2 record, including an unlikely spot in the SEC Championship game. New Washington Huskies coach Chris Petersen held his first practice as the team’s new coach. With some key players suspended, Petesren is making it clear he means business when it comes to off-the-field affairs. After having a medical procedure to reduce headaches, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer has decided to not yell as much at practice.

March 6: Alex Muema, a decent NFL running back prospect out of San Diego State, raised some eyebrows a few weeks ago by skipping the combine because “God told him he would play for the Seahawks if he did.” Since then, those close to Muema have had trouble reaching him. Muema was apparently found at a Fort Lauderdale airport, where he had been for three days and was still wearing his combine clothing. Muema is reportedly a follower of a man called Lord RayEl, who says he is the second coming of Jesus Christ. Clemson Dabo Swinney has suspended four Tigers players for the season opener against Georgia, including starters Corey Crawford and David Beasley. Promising Tennessee receiver Alton “Pig” Howard is taking a leave of absence from the Volunteers to deal with some personal circumstances.

March 5: NC State senior offensive lineman Rob Crisp, who missed most of last season after a concussion was granted a medical red shirt. Coach Dave Doeren also seeks similar accommodations for defensive back Jarvis Byrd, who went down last season with a knee injury. Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer had a procedure to remove fluid from a cyst, after complaining about headaches. Meyer took a year off from coaching due to health concerns following a successful run at Florida. He is not expected to miss any time. Stemming from a fight after the Seahawks won the Super Bowl, Washington’s apparent replacement to QB Keith Price is still not with the team. Cyler Miles, thought to be the leading candidate is still not part of team activities and new head coach Chris Petersen doesn’t seem to worried about it, saying “we’ve moved on.” Miles’ future with the Huskies is unclear.

March 4: Defensive end Houston Bates, a starter on the Illinois defense, will graduate in May and wants to transfer. He wants to be closer to home in Louisiana and if he finds a school, will be able to play right away, being that he is graduating in May. Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson, who led the Irish to the national championship game following the 2012 season, returned to practice, the first time he’s been an official part of the team in almost a year. Golson said the experience was “surreal.” Following the NFL combine, word is the Oakland Raiders are more interested in QB Derek Carr than they are Johnny Manziel. The Raiders have the 5th pick in May’s draft.

March 3: In an effort to replace QB Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech now has a nice option at quarterback in Michael Brewer–the Texas Tech QB who will be transferring to the Hokies following springtime graduation. He won’t have to skip a season, being that he will graduate. A back injury prevented Brewer from taking the starting job last season, as Davis Webb and Baker Mayfield assumed the top two slots. Brewer will be a favorite to assume the Hokies starting gig. Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly is excited to have QB Everett Golson back in the fold, saying Golson is “stronger, sturdier, and with a much better concept of offensive concepts than when he led the Irish to the national championship game over a year ago.” Golson missed last season due to a suspension for academic impropriety.

March 2: Texas A&M started spring practice with two of their starters suspended indefinitely. Linebacker Darian Claiborne and defensive tackle Isaiah Golden, both sophomores, were arrested on separate charges–with Golden facing a marijuana possession charge and Claiborne charged with a noise violation. This offseason seems to have produced an alarming of off-the-field issues, with almost no program free from the drama. Commenting on the sanctions USC incurred based on events during his tenure, current Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said “It was dealt with poorly and very irrationally and done with way too much emotion instead of facts.” Pittsburgh has cancelled a spring game, with coach Paul Chryst citing a young team that needs more time to come together. They will announce fan outreach events to make up for the cancellation of the game.

March 1: After leaving LSU’s coaching staff to pursue greener pastures, Bradley Dale Peveto has returned to the Tigers’ staff. Head coach Les Miles will benefit from Peveto’s special teams and recruiting expertise. Talented East Carolina receiver Danny Webster has been dismissed from the team after a DWI charge earlier in February. Webster had a trail of incidents that cost him the final 8 games last season. Another receiver in trouble is Georgia Tech’s Darren Waller, who has been suspended for the Yellow Jackets’ first two games in 2014 for an unspecified team rules violation. Despite limited play in 2013, Waller was the team’s third-leading receiver.

February 28: The longtime rivalry between the Florida Gators and defending National champion Florida State Seminoles will go through at least 2018, after the two sides agrees to extend the contract that sees these two teams typically meet in the final regular season game of the year. There was never any doubt that the rivalry would continue unabated. With rule changes in the air to slow down the game, a poll of FBS coaches revealed that only 25 of 128 coaches favor the campaign to slow down play. In more bad news out of the Miami program, former player JoJo Nicolas, who played with the Hurricanes from 2007-2011, died as a result of a car wreck on Tuesday. Also this week, Miami offensive lineman Hunter Knighton fell into unconsciousness after passing out during a workout session. The last reports indicate Knighton was unconscious in the hospital.

Changing of the Guard: The 2014 NCAA football season will see some new skippers at the helm, including a few big names. 2014 College Football Coaching Changes. – 2/24

February 27: Kendal Thompson, the Oklahoma backup quarterback who graduates in May, will transfer to Utah where he will immediately be eligible to play. With Trevor Knight seemingly locked into the starting spot for the Sooners, the son of former Oklahoma star Charles Thompson decided to try his luck with the Utes. Coming off another highly-successful season, Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio has gotten a raise to $3.6 million and had another year added to his contract, which is now good for 6 more years. In terrible news, Miami offensive lineman Hunter Knighton was hospitalized after passing out during workouts. Knighton is reportedly still unconscious. Hopefully, he is able to recover. In a spring training game against the New York Yankees, Jameis Winston went 0 for 2, as he prepares to play for the Seminoles baseball team this season.

February 26: Former San Diego Aztecs star running back Alex Muema raised some eyebrows at the NFL Combine when he abruptly left, saying God told him to do so. A projected mid-rounds pick, Muema said that God told him he will play for the Seattle Seahawks if he skipped all the drills. Coming across as a head case is no way for a middling draft prospect to enhance his case. News-making DE Michael Sam failed to impress at the combine, running a sluggish 4.91 forty and not shining in other drills. Utah quarterback Travis Wilson will return to the team next season, after a concussion brought an early end to his 2013 season. Wilson is expected to be the starter, though some tests to verify that he is not a health risk are still needed. In more news out of the Utah program, Moana Ofahengaue is gravely injured following a motorbike accident has left him in critical condition.

February 25: In more news from the Combine, the 40-times are starting to roll in, with some surprises along the way. Former South Carolina standout Jadeveon Clowney ran an impressive 4.53–better than some backs and receivers. At the same time, Clowney raised some eyebrows by not participating in other drills. Other big names include Tre Mason, who ran a 4.44, Lache Seastrunk with a 4.51, and Charles Sims with a 4.47. The fastest 40 was put up by Kent State’s Dri Archer with a 4.26, close to Chris Johnson’s all-time Combine mark of 4.24. Former Longhorns kicker, All-American Russell Erxleben, 57, was sentenced to 7 years in prison for an investment scam that brought in $2 million. It is Erxleben’s second similar offense and prison stint. Promising Texas A&M defensive lineman Isaiah Golden was arrested on possession of marijuana over the weekend.

February 24: With the NFL Combines beginning to get into full-swing, top receiving prospect Sammy Watkins ran 40-yard dash times of 4.34 and 4.37. Watkins is projected to be a top-five pick and the former Clemson star is considered the best receiver in the draft. Alabama tackle Cyrus Kouandijo continues to have an alarmingly-bad combine, running a poor 40 and not doing well on strength tests. He is also failing the medical aspect of it, with a diagnosed arthritic knee stemming from a failed college surgery. More 40 times from Sunday include Johnny Manziel with a good time of 4.56 and his teammate big receiver Mike Evans with a surprising 4.47. Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill was signed to an extension and a raise. He is now signed through the 2018 season. Clemson running back Tyshon Dye, thought to be in the running to replace Rod McDowell, tore his Achilles tendon during a workout last week and will miss spring practices.

February 23: In some news out of the combine, Cyrus Kouandijo, the tackle out of Alabama had a bad workout, generally sluggish and running a 40-yard dash of 5.59 seconds. Combine that with his erratic performance late last season, some scouts say the formerly-projected first-rounder is now unlikely to go that early. Despite some unideal measurements, namely his shortish arms, Michigan tackle Taylor Lewan ran a pair of 40’s, with his best time being a very respectable 4.85. Also checking with a great time and good splits was Auburn tackle Greg Robinson, who impressed scouts with a 4.84 time in the 40. Many expect Robinson to be the first offensive lineman drafted.

February 22: At a labor relations board meeting in Chicago, the case is being heard to unionize the Northwestern football team. The lawyers in opposition called Northwestern Coach Pat Fitzgerald to testify. On behalf of the union was ex-Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter. After two seasons with little playing time, Stephen Rivers, brother of Philip, has decided to transfer from LSU. Scheduled to graduate in May, Rivers will be able to play this season with his new team. Despite injuries that slowed his 2013 campaign, Kent State burner Dri Archer is looking to perhaps break the 40-yard dash record at the NFL combine. The record is currently held by NFL running back Chris Johnson with a 4.24. With the combines getting under way, Johnny Manziel checked in, with his height reported as being a touch under 6 feet. Manziel is hoping recent developments, such as Russell Wilson winning the Super Bowl, can open the door for shorter quarterbacks.

February 21: Lately, we are reminded how good football is for some of these guys, as idle time is the devil’s playground. Not to cast LaDarius Brown as a villain for getting popped with a bag of marijuana, but the consequences run deep. The promising receiver has been booted from the TCU program. After graduating from Florida, DB Cody Riggs will transfer to Notre Dame in time for the 2014 season. Riggs started 26 games for Florida at safety and corner and is expected to play a key role in the Fighting Irish secondary in 2014. Former Alabama receivers coach Mike Groh is being sued by former employer Alabama to pay back 57K of a contract buyout that Nick Saban refused to waive. Groh now holds the same position with the Chicago Bears.

February 20: More bad news out of Ole Miss. Last week, linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche was arrested for disorderly conduct. In a separate incident a few days later, Denzel and brother Robert Nkemdiche were accused of assault. A suit is being filed and according to the complaint, the brothers Nkemdiche assaulted a few different men who sustained moderate injuries. Five other unidentified Ole Miss players were also part of the melee. Time will sort it all out, but it’s not a good sign for Ole Miss. With two incidents in a week, Denzel better be careful or he will could be flirting with dismissal. In more disciplinary issues, Georgia safety Josh Harvey-Clemons has been dismissed from the team. Harvey-Clemons led the Bulldogs last year with three recovered fumbles.

February 19: Oregon State hired John Garrett as their new offensive coordinator. Garrett spent last year as a receivers coach with the Buccaneers and before that, spent 6 years coaching with the Dallas Cowboys, where his brother Jason is the head coach. Garrett takes over for Danny Langsdorf, who left the Beavers to become quarterbacks coach for the New York Giants. Former Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter spoke in front of the National Labor Relations Board, as he tries to create the first-ever union for college players. He maintained that with the time commitment, playing college football is a job and should be treated as such. A key point is that the NLRB has to decide is college athletes can be considered employees.

February 18: A pair of linebackers who are key to the Ole Miss defense, Denzel Nkemdiche and Serderius Bryant were arrested over the weekend. Nkemdiche was arrested for disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace, while Bryant was charged with public drunkenness and disturbing the peace. Coach Hugh Freeze made the customary “We are aware of the situation and gathering facts” remark. East Carolina DE Terrell Stanley has been upgraded to good condition after a car accident last week. At one point, Stanley was listed in critical condition. A passenger, offensive lineman Isaac Harris, was treated and released the same day. Stanley started 12 games this past season. Jameis Winston collected another award, the Davey O’Brien Award in Texas and then visited nearby AT&T Stadium. He revealed a new slogan “From Dallas to Dallas,” referring to next season, where the Seminoles open the season there against Oklahoma State, with the championship game also being played there in January.

February 17: Michael Sam, the draft-bound former Missouri Tiger star who announced he was a homosexual, turned up at a basketball game involving his former alma mater, receiving a rousing ovation when his face was put on the arena screen. Johnny Manziel, a shorter quarterback hoping to be drafted high in May, said that Russell Wilson has opened the door for quarterbacks of lesser stature. Wilson, who stands a listed 5’11,” led the Seahawks to the Super Bowl and may have opened minds along the way as to what an ideal quarterback truly is. Penn State has named a new president and it is former Penn State professor and Dean Eric Barron, who spent the last 4 years in the same role for Florida State University.

February 16: John Settle, a former NFL running back, has joined Paul Chryst at Pittsburgh where he will become the Panthers new running backs coach. Settle worked alongside Chryst when both were assistant coaches at Wisconsin. For the last 3 seasons, Settle has served in the same capacity for the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons. A 7-man committee with the NCAA Board of Directors voted to grant wealthier conferences more autonomy in being able to provide student-athletes their full cost of scholarships. The bottom-line is that the better-off schools would be able to use more of their revenue directly on student-athletes, though the parameters have yet to be defined.

February 15: After leading Rice to its first conference title in over a half-century, head coach David Bailiff was rewarded with a 5-year deal. In 2013 Rice won 10 games, the second time Bailiff accomplished that feat in his tenure, where he has grown Rice from the pits of college football to semi-respectability. SEC coaches Nick Saban and Bret Bielema spoke on the bad affects of up-tempo play on player health. A proposal was passed that now forces offenses to wait until 29 seconds are on the play clock, which will allow defenses to make substitutions before snaps. Reports are that USC transfer Max Wittek is visiting Texas, possibly paving the way for him becoming a member of the Longhorns. Scheduled to graduate in May, Wittek won’t have to wait a year before playing.

February 14: Michigan is already absorbing bad news this offseason, when sophomore tight end Jake Butt suffered a torn ACL during offseason conditioning workouts. Butt is still behind Devin Funchess on the depth chart, but established himself as a key part of the Wolverines passing game in 2013. Jadeveon Clowney, who has been speaking to the press mostly trying to give explanations for a letdown 2013 campaign, has come out in favor of paying college athletes, saying he would have remained at South Carolina if college players got paid. This is a topic that is picking up a lot of steam in the press lately. In more sad news involving a young player, East Carolina defensive end Terrell Stanley was listed in critical condition following a car accident in Greenville. Stanley had a good year in 2013 and everyone hopes for a full recovery.

February 13: Rutgers, which is leaving the American Athletic Conference to join the Big Ten, will pay an exit fee of $11 million. The former Big East conference is facing a major shake-up, with Louisville also on their way out. In July, the AAC will add East Carolina, Tulsa, and Tulane, while adding Navy to the league in 2015. Mack Brown, the longtime Texas coach who left after this past season, will be paid $2.75 million, the amount that would be owed him if he had been fired. In addition, he will receive 500K for a job as a special assistant to the president of athletics–a position that was promised as part of his contract if he “voluntarily” opted out as coach. It is commonly believed that Brown resigned only after being pushed out. The NCAA has given Cincinnati quarterback Munchie Legaux another year of eligibility after he missed most of last season after a September 7 knee injury that cost him the season.

February 12: Jayru Campbell, a Detroit high school junior quarterback who was recruited by Michigan State and has verbally committed to them has been charged with assault. A widely-circulated video shows Campbell picking up and slamming a security guard in the hallways of Detroit Cass Tech. The 4-star recruit is running out of chances quickly for a 17 year-old kid. Former South Carolina standout at current top draft prospect Jadeveon Clowney said “I just think I should be the number-one pick” on the Dan Patrick Show. Clowney, while still a candidate for the top slot, is not the consensus top dog he was following the 2012 season.

February 11: Coming off the best season in the school’s history, Duke promoted receivers coach Scottie Montgomery to offensive coordinator. He replaces Kurt Roper who left to take the same position with Florida. More coaching news from the state of North Carolina, an UNC filled out its coaching staff by naming Kevin Heckendorf quarterbacks coach, with Larry Porter now coaching running backs. Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema finally got his man at defensive coordinator, with Robb Smith joining the Razorbacks staff. Smith had worked with Bielema before and the timing worked out after Greg Schiano and his staff, which included Smith, were let go following the season. Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen confirmed that he did in fact interview for the Cleveland Browns’ head coaching vacancy, though he says he didn’t pursue the job and remains committed to his role at Wisconsin, where he will enter his second year in 2014.

February 10: Following a solid recruiting season where Tennessee was ranked fifth in the nation, they got some unpleasant news over the weekend with the alcohol-related arrests of star linebacker AJ Johnson and reserve DT Danny O’Brien. Johnson is 22 and is charged with buying alcohol for a minor, with O’Brien being only 20. Johnson led the team in tackles last season. Odds have been released by Bovada for who will win the 2014 Heisman Trophy. Jameis Winston is a 12/5 favorite to repeat. Next on the list of favorites are Oregon and Ohio State quarterbacks Marcus Mariota and Braxton Miller, who are 5/1 and 11/2, respectively. Baylor QB Bryce Petty is 9/1 and Georgia running back Todd Gurley is 12/1 to round off the top five. Also getting consideration is Crimson Tide running back TJ Yeldon and UCLA QB Brett Hundley–both at 14/1.

February 9: It appears that the tragic death of Cal defensive lineman Ted Agu occurred during a supervised training run. Agu was having difficulty and was pulled out of the exercise on cart that took him to the medical area, where he grew unresponsive and had CPR performed. The backup DE was only 21. Oklahoma return man Trey Franks has graduated and despite having another year of eligibility, ill not return to the school. It is unclear if Franks will transfer. In more Sooners news, QB Blake Bell will now be moved to the tight end position. He was supposed to be the starter, but lost the starting gig to Trevor Knight. Bell has the size and speed and has already shown an aptitude of getting in the end zone with 24 rushing touchdowns.

February 8: Arizona State has signed Keith Patterson as their new defensive coordinator. Patterson had spent two seasons as West Virginia’s defensive coordinator and now reunites with ASU head coach Todd Graham, where he served in the same capacity when both coaches were with Pittsburgh. In horrible news, Cal defensive lineman Ted Agu passed away at the tender age of 21. Details are murky, but it appears Agu’s untimely passing came as he was taking part in an offseason conditioning session. North Carolina State quarterback Pete Thomas has decided to transfer following his scheduled May graduation. Thomas started 6 games for the school last season, but coach Dave Doeren had stated that Florida transfer Jacoby Brissett would be the starter. Heisman winner Jameis Winston seconded coach Jimbo Fisher’s sentiment that Winston will play two more years for Florida State, saying Fisher’s remarks were in fact correct.

February 7: For the 4th consecutive season, the Alabama Crimson Tide have secured the highest-ranked recruiting class in the nation. The strength of this year’s Tide class can be seen in all facets of the game, but mostly on the line-of-scrimmage, where both of their lines should be super for the next several years. Rounding out the top recruiting classes of 2014 is LSU in second place, followed by Florida State, Texas A&M, and a surprising entry at 5th with Tennessee. The first west coast team to appear on the list is USC all the way down at number 14. Five-star defensive end Malik McDowell was supposed to be the shining star of Michigan State’s recruiting class, but as of press time, his parents have yet to sign off on the 17-year old’s wishes. Two Washington Huskies players who were expected to be used a lot this season, QB Cyler Miles and WR Damore’ea Stringfellow were suspended indefinitely for an incident that followed the Super Bowl, where the men allegedly assaulted a man with repeated punches to the face. Miles, who started a pair of games when Keith Price was injured, was expected to be a top candidate for the starting quarterback gig this season.

February 6: National signing day is here. Alabama leads the nation in signing 5-star recruits with 6, while conference rival LSU is second with 4. Texas A&M has 3. Other schools have landed some prized recruits, with USC getting 5-star corner Adoree Jackson, Florida State landing 5-star receiver Ermon Lane, Michigan State getting 5-star defensive end Malik McDowell, and Stanford getting defensive end Solomon Thomas. One of the bigger surprises was how 5-star stud linebacker Rashaan Evans picked Alabama over Auburn. Evans attends Auburn high school and many expected him to attend his hometown university.

February 5: Michigan coach Brady Hoke has announced that the quarterback job is up-for-grabs. Returning starter Devin Gardner will now have to fend off a rising commodity in Shane Morris. Also complicating Gardner’s chances is that he may still be recovering from a foot injury by the time the decision-making process begins. Tight end Ty Flournoy-Smith is headed to Alabama after a year in junior college, which followed him getting booted from the Georgia program for disciplinary reasons. The Washington Huskies and former assistant coach Tosh Lupoi will not receive NCAA sanction after an investigation concluded that Lupoi did not give money to a player. Lupoi left Washington with the departure of head coach Steve Sarkisian.

February 4: Looking ahead to the 2015 NCAA National Championship, the odds are already out, with defending champion Florida State a +325 shot to repeat. Other top choices include Alabama at +600, and Oregon at +800. Both Ohio State and Oklahoma are +1200, while UCLA and LSU round out the top 7 choices at +2000 each. In the recruiting battles that are being waged across the nation, the SEC once again stands alone with 6 of the top 10 rated recruiting classes so far. Ex-Texas head coach Mack Brown reportedly told recruits to “look elsewhere” on the heels of his forced resignation following the 2013 season. Most of Texas’ new recruits this year were products of relationships Brown had fostered. Heisman winner and quarterback of the reigning champion Florida State Seminoles Jameis Winston has been named to the preseason All-American team in baseball. Winston will be entering his second season and established himself as a promising prospect, though nothing compared to the status he now enjoys as as football player.

February 3: Oregon cornerback Troy Hill has been sentenced to three years probation for menacing. Hill had been suspended by the team for different reasons and was then arrested a few weeks later on this charge and missed the rest of the season. His status with the team is unclear heading into the future. With James Franklin having left Vanderbilt to become the new Notre Dame head coach, the Commodores are having trouble retaining recruits, with 13 of their top 20 commits having now abandoned ship. Five-star recruit Marlon Humphrey, one of the top young corners in the nation, said he plans on attending Alabama, the alma mater of his father, running back Bobby Humphrey. Stemming from an incident last month, it now appears that Missouri wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham was not selling marijuana stemming from an arrest last month, with a pound of the substance being found in the trunk of a car that reportedly belonged to another man. It was Green-Becham’s second arrest in a little over a year on marijuana-related charges.

February 2: Florida State celebrated its third national championship on campus on Saturday, as 30000 fans and students joined in on the festivities. Among the speakers were coach Jimbo Fisher, Heisman winner Jameis Winston, and receiver Rashad Greene. Also joining in on the celebration were players who declared they will be entering the NFL draft early, like Devonta Freeman, James Wilder, Jr., Kelvin Benjamin, and Timmy Jernigan. Georgetown head coach Kevin Kelly has left the school to become the new defensive coordinator for Ball State. Kelly was the Patriot League Coach of the Year in 2011, but the Hoyas had fallen to 2-9 in 2013. Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer will be debuting a new fishing show on the Outdoor Channel. The first episode is set to air on January 31.

February 1: Notre Dame has promoted Mike Denbrock to offensive coordinator. The previous offensive coordinator was Chuck Martin, who accepted the head coaching job at Miami-Ohio in December. Denbrock had spent the past few seasons as the Notre Dame passing game coordinator. Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack has apparently become a darkhorse for one of the top picks in May’s NFL draft. The linebacker is one of the brightest prospects in the draft. Mack holds the all-time NCAA record for forced fumbles and managed to zoom to the top of many charts, despite playing in the often-overlooked MAC. The city of Austin honored Mack Brown and his wife in a Thursday ceremony where they named the day “Mack and Sally Brown Day” in the state capital. Brown resigned after a 16-year stay at Texas, where he became the legendary program’s 2nd-winningest coach.

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