Feed aggregator

What State Court Questioning NCAA Penalties in Sandusky Case Means for PSU

With the Commonwealth Court, led by Judge Anne E. Covey, beginning to question the validity of the NCAA's consent decree, Penn State can sit in the background and watch the fight. A battle that Penn State's board of trustees considered waging in 2012 appears ready to take place without the university placed squarely in the cross hairs of controversy.

In August 2012, the board of trustees appeared poised to fire back at the NCAA, an action that would have made Penn State the football-hungry villain. Instead, the board elected to simply take the hand the NCAA dealt and move on with the sanctions.

Now, as The Morning Call reports, the Commonwealth Court might take the steps the board would not. The court voted 6-1 to uphold a law passed by the Pennsylvania Legislature in 2013 that would require the NCAA to spend the money from the fines levied against the Nittany Lions in Pennsylvania, not distribute it to other states.

During that process, Covey looked into the language regarding the consent decree and pointed out that ordinarily the NCAA would not take action in this instance and that "the NCAA involved itself." Her ruling opened the doors for state Sen. Jake Corman to continue pushing against college athletics' governing body. As Corman told the Centre Daily Times:

"I’ve always been uncomfortable with the way the NCAA handed this consent decree on Penn State and the process they went through to do it," Corman said. "Now that (the court) brought Penn State into the case and that they’re not sure that the whole consent decree is valid or constitutional, that’s an area that wasn’t part of our original lawsuit but clearly an area we want to explore now that the court has opened the possibility to do so."

Obviously, the NCAA is on the opposite side, pushing against the ruling that is not only forcing them to keep the fines obtained from Penn State in Pennsylvania. Now, with Covey's decision, the NCAA finds itself facing another legal battle that arose out of nowhere. It is fighting to prove that the organization was within its power to levy sanctions upon the Nittany Lions program.

Meanwhile, Penn State—and all those associated with the university and the program—sits on the sidelines and watches Corman ready himself for battle against the NCAA. The Nittany Lions can hunker down, working to demonstrate compliance to the NCAA to regain lost benefits. All while hoping Corman's lawsuit strikes down the sanctions.

The most recent questioning of the consent decree does not change Penn State's footing; it simply means someone may be fighting for the university without those closer to the program being involved.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Ex-Georgia DB Josh Harvey-Clemons Will Reportedly Transfer to Louisville

Louisville rehired a coach, Bobby Petrino, with character concerns this offseason, and that coach appears to have landed a talented safety with similar misgivings.

According to Mike Hughes of InsideTheVille.com (subscription required), the grandfather of former Georgia safety Josh Harvey-Clemons said his grandson plans on transferring to play for the Cardinals after being dismissed from UGA this offseason.

Harvey-Clemons was a 5-star recruit and the No. 20 overall prospect in the 247Sports composite rankings in 2012, and he showed flashes of reaching that potential during his time in Athens. Recruited as an outside linebacker, he stands 6'5" (which is huge for a safety) and plays a Kam Chancellor-type role inside the box.

His occasional struggles in coverage, however, are well-documented and reared their ugly head on the Hail Mary against Auburn in 2013:

Harvey-Clemons got into all sorts of off-field trouble at Georgia, mostly for drug-related incidents. He was suspended for the 2014 Gator Bowl and first three games of next season (before being dismissed) by head coach Mark Richt for a "violation of team regulations," per Chip Towers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

If the reports are true, Harvey-Clemons will now reunite with former defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, who left Georgia to join Petrino at Louisville this offseason. The Cardinals had two of the best safeties in the country—Calvin Pryor and Hakeem Smith—a season ago but are stripped of similar talent on the current roster.

If he's (finally) able to figure out the best way to use Harvey-Clemons, Grantham will get a major and much-needed upgrade on the back end of his defense.

Due to NCAA transfer rules, however, Harvey-Clemons will have to sit out this season before gaining eligibility in 2015.

 

Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter: @BLeighDAT

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

2017 ATH Recruit Darnay Holmes Has NFL Genes, Talks Ohio State Visit

Ohio State welcomed intriguing Class of 2017 prospect Darnay Holmes to campus Wednesday. The Newbury Park High School (Calif.) freshman toured facilities with 7-on-7 teammate Keyshawn Johnson Jr. and former NFL star Keyshawn Johnson Sr., forming a high-profile trio of visitors.

Holmes, a 5'11", 180-pound speedster, also comes from a family filled with football pedigree. His father, Darick Holmes, spent five seasons in the NFL as a running back with Buffalo, Green Bay and Indianapolis.

Older brother Darick Holmes Jr., a 2015 running back recruit, committed to Arizona last month. His cousin Desean Holmes is a 4-star 2015 wide receiver with offers from USC, Cal, Oklahoma and UCLA.

The trip to Columbus was the latest development in Holmes' burgeoning collegiate recruitment, as he continues to carve out a name for himself. He doesn't yet hold an offer from Ohio State but admits the program ranks highly in his eyes for several reasons.

"It has a great tradition, good academics and will always be in the national championship hunt," Holmes said.

Though an offer from head coach Urban Meyer didn't come during his visit, Holmes managed to add another collegiate option Wednesday night.

He and Johnson Jr. each received offers from Louisville. His scholarship list also includes Arizona, UCLA, Tennessee and Utah.

Holmes visits Clemson on Thursday with the Johnsons, presenting another opportunity to expand his horizons as a young prospect.

He departed Columbus with a strong indication of how Meyer conducts things at Ohio State.

"He's a great coach," Holmes said. "He tells players how he feels, doesn't sugar coat it. Very hyped practice."

Expect his recruitment to expand moving forward, with physical maturity and family genes playing pivotal factors in heavy college interest. His athleticism sets the stage for progression at a variety of positions, particularly defensive back and receiver.

 

All quotes obtained firsthand by Bleacher Report unless otherwise noted.

Thanks to B/R's Adam Donaldson for his contributions to this story.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Keyshawn Johnson Jr. Opens Up on Ohio State Visit: 'It's a Good Fit for Me'

Keyshawn Johnson Jr. is just a freshman, but a flurry of early scholarship offers have quickly accelerated his recruiting process. The Southern California wide receiver spent Wednesday at Ohio State with his father, former NFL Pro Bowler Keyshawn Johnson Sr.

They watched Buckeyes coaches and players go about their business on the practice field and in meetings. It gave Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer an opportunity to showcase his program for the suddenly coveted Mission Viejo High School standout.

"I loved the atmosphere," Johnson Jr. told Bleacher Report. "It's a good fit for me."

His father also approved.

"Urban Meyer is a guy you can trust with your kid," he said.

Johnson Sr., who finished his professional career with 814 receptions for 10,571 yards and 64 touchdowns, played for Super Bowl champions Bill Parcells and Jon Gruden during an 11-year stay in the NFL. His admiration for Meyer was apparent after the visit to Columbus.

"Urban Meyer is a kind of guy I could play for," he said. "If you can't play for Urban Meyer, Ohio State isn't for you."

Johnson Jr. didn't play varsity football last season for the Diablos, though he turned heads at the freshman level and also participates in the 7-on-7 circuit. He was accompanied Wednesday by Darnay Holmes, a fellow California prospect on Team 19, which features Johnson Sr. as a coach.

Offers have poured in for Johnson Jr. in recent weeks. Ohio State, Florida State, SMU, Utah, Arizona State, Tennessee, Miami, West Virginia and UCLA each extended scholarships since March 20, making him one of the hottest Class of 2017 targets.

The 6'1", 180-pound playmaker added Louisville to that list Wednesday night, when both he and Holmes received offers from the Cardinals. As his collegiate opportunities continue to mount, Johnson Jr. views Ohio State as a strong option.

He was particularly impressed by the way Meyer orchestrates practice.

"He's very straightforward. Tells you if you're good, tells you if you're bad," he said. "What impressed me the most was how hard they worked, how hyped they were. Not a lot of other schools like that, that I have visited."

Johnson Jr., who recently spent time at Arizona and Arizona State, is slated to visit Clemson Thursday. An offer from the Tigers could be in the cards.

There's a long road ahead for the receiver in his recruitment. Multiple seasons with Mission Viejo's varsity football squad separate Johnson Jr. from signing day 2017 and a college career.

His father starred during two seasons at USC before becoming the No. 1 pick in the 1996 NFL draft. Johnson Sr. is now an established television analyst on ESPN.

The father-son duo are sure to spend substantial time on campuses across the country in coming years. Their Ohio State visit provided an early highlight.

"I was impressed with Ohio State's coaching staff, Urban Meyer, and Buckeye Nation," Johnson Sr. said.

 

All quotes obtained firsthand by Bleacher Report unless otherwise noted.

Thanks to B/R's Adam Donaldson for his contributions to story.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Complete Previews for Week Two of College Football Spring Games

Welcome to the heart of the spring football season.

This weekend features by far the most spring games of any on the calendar with 54, including 30 of the 64 teams from power conferences (31 of 65 if you count Notre Dame) and 20 of the 39 teams that finished last season with nine or more wins.

To further illustrate the point, take a look at this: Last weekend, we previewed the 12 best games on the schedule and ended up including SMU and Bowling Green. This weekend, we're previewing the 20 best games but ended up omitting West Virginia, Maryland, Minnesota, N.C. State and Central Florida, among many, many other quality programs.

The weekend is really that stacked.

Among those playing are the last two national title game participants from outside the state of Alabama, the reigning Sugar Bowl champion, the prohibitive Big Ten favorite and perhaps the best head coach who switched programs this offseason.

It's weird to say this in April, and it's admittedly wishful thinking, but we might be in store for an awesome weekend of football.

Begin Slideshow

Tennessee Head Coach Butch Jones Wise to Narrow QB Race in Spring

Tennessee will hold its spring game on Saturday, and apparently the quarterback race is narrowing leading into the event.

Head coach Butch Jonestold B/R last week that he hoped to narrow the quarterback competition among senior Justin Worley, sophomore Joshua Dobbs, sophomore Nathan Peterman and redshirt freshman Riley Ferguson to two before the end of spring practice.

Now, apparently, we know those two.

Butch Jones told reporters (via: Tennessee's Twitter account) on Thursday that Worley and Ferguson have been receiving more reps than Dobbs and Peterman, and that the reps will continue to be divided that way.

JONES (on QBs):We are balancing repetitions. Justin & Riley have taken more reps and they will continue to. Nate & Josh continue to progress

— Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) April 10, 2014

It's a great move for Tennessee, because Jones couldn't afford to follow the same path as he did last season when the four-man battle lasted all the way to the final week of fall camp. Worley received more first-team snaps than the others as fall camp went on, but it was still a four-man battle that lasted far too long. That battle took snaps away from Worley, and he clearly was unsure of himself when the season started.

By narrowing it down now, it makes it more likely that both Worley and Ferguson will be as prepared as possible for that opener on Sunday, Aug. 31 versus Utah State.

Who's got the edge?

Jones was very complimentary of both in our conversation last week.

"Justin Worley has really improved greatly, from leadership to his ability to make all of the throws, particularly the deep balls," he said. "It's been great to get Riley Ferguson getting a volume of repetition. You know, Riley has an innate ability to create plays. I've been very encouraged."

Worley completed 55.6 percent of his passes last season (109-for-196), for 1,239 yards, 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions; but he was lost for the season in late October when he suffered a thumb injury versus Alabama.

Jones' comments last week suggest that he's comfortable with what Worley brings to the table, but thinks that Ferguson has more upside. 

For Ferguson, a former 3-star prospect from Matthews, N.C., getting a higher proportion of reps is huge for his development. If he can develop the consistency that Jones is looking for, he'll likely win the job. 

Can he do it?

That remains to be seen.

But now he has the chance, and it's more than the "one-in-a-million" chance Lloyd Christmas had in Dumb and Dumber.

 

* Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless other wise noted, and all stats are courtesy of CFBStats.com and all recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports.com.

 


Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Will the Ohio State Buckeyes Land 5-Stars Christian Kirk and Torrance Gibson?

Ohio State landed one of the top 2014 recruiting classes and are already rolling on the 2015 class. Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes are heavily recruiting the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback Torrance Gibson and the No. 3 wide receiver Christian Krik

Both Gibson and Kirk have amazing playmaking abilities and are just the kind of athletes that Meyer favors. Gibson has the potential to take over the starting QB role for Braxton Miller in 2015, while Kirk would have an immediate impact on any offense. 

Check out Bill Kurelic from Bucknuts.com break down the latest on Urban Meyer's recruitment of 5-stars Torrance Gibson and Christian Kirk. 

 

Highlights courtesy of XOs Digital.

Player rankings from 247 Sports Composite

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Ole Miss Insider: OT Laremy Tunsil Most Physically Gifted in Rebel History

The Ole Miss Rebels are gearing up for what should be a very productive fall. Laden with talent all over the field, head coach Hugh Freeze is building a powerhouse down in Oxford, Miss.

Bleacher Report spoke with Ole Miss Spirit's Ben Garrett, who broke down which Rebel early enrollee has been must impressive this spring, the running back situation heading into the fall, and just how good sophomore OT Laremy Tunsil truly is.

What did he have to say about QB Bo Wallace?

Watch the video, and get all your Ole Miss insight heading into next season.

Highlights courtesy of xosdigital.com

 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Missouri's Recruiting Roll Proves It Can Stay in the SEC East Discussion

If Missouri's magical run to the SEC East title wasn't enough, it's now recruiting like an SEC big boy too.

The Tigers have been on a recruiting roll in April, securing commitments of three 4-star prospects in the class of 2015.

The most recent prospect to commit to the Tigers is Drew Lock, a 6'5", 195-pound pro-style quarterback from Lee's Summit, Mo. Rated as the fifth-best prospect in the class, Lock has a big arm, is accurate downfield and can make throws on the run. He completed 199 of 331 passes for 3,062 yards, 35 touchdowns and seven interceptions as a junior for Lee's Summit Senior High School, and chose the Tigers over Tennessee and Ole Miss.

Staying close to home was important for Lock.

"My parents and grandparents would obviously cheer for me, but I do not think they would cheer for the school as well," he told 247Sports.com's Kipp Adams. "Going to Missouri, they would be cheering for me, but at the same time they would already want Missouri to win so bad.”

He's the icing on the April recruiting cake so far for Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel.

On Tuesday, Missouri got the commitment of a weapon for Lock to use in the future—4-star running back Natereace Strong. At 6'1", 210 pounds, Strong has the size to take the pounding between the tackles but is dangerous enough to be a weapon in space in that Missouri offense. The East St. Louis, Ill., native is rated as the nation's No. 14 running back and chose the Tigers over Florida State, Michigan State, Ohio State and others.

Earlier this month, Pinkel got the commitment of 6'4", 297-pound guard AJ Harris of Stilwell, Kan. Harris, the nation's 19th-ranked guard, had offers from Arkansas, Ohio State, Nebraska and others. 

This recent roll is a great sign for Missouri. Three likely contributors have committed to the program from three separate states, all in Missouri's region.

What does it mean? It means Missouri's success is resonating a bit.

The Tigers' run to the SEC Championship Game seemingly came out of nowhere, and they didn't have time to feel the recruiting effect from that in the recently completed cycle. The class of 2015, however, is a different story.

Those kids now know Missouri not as the "other expansion team" in the SEC; they know it as a champion. That's a big draw and could push Missouri over the top for kids within the region, especially if they want to move on to the NFL.

The SEC more than doubled its closest competitor in players drafted in the 2013 NFL draft, according to CBSSports.com's Chip Patterson. In that draft, either division would have led FBS conferences in players drafted. 

Is Missouri where it needs to be from a recruiting standpoint?

No. 

They're currently ninth in the SEC and 23rd in the country in the updated 247Sports team recruiting rankings. But it has a division title in its trophy case, a new identity in the nation's toughest football conference and momentum in the living room. 

That will go a long way towards keeping the program competitive in the SEC East.

 

* Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report. All recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports.com.

 


Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Steve Spurrier Ready for Run at SEC Title, but Not Before Golf Season

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina finishes up spring practice with its annual spring game on Saturday, and then the Gamecocks will enter the voluntary offseason workouts phase of their preparation for the 2014 season.

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier will enter a different phase as well.

He calls it “golf season.”

“I don’t play at all during the football season,” Spurrier said. “So it’s my time to get out and enjoy golf, although I don’t play nearly as much as people seem to think I do.”

While other coaches brag about their around-the-clock work habits, Spurrier realizes the importance of down time.

It seems to work for him.

Spurrier will begin his 25th season as a college head coach with a record of 219-79-2, including a 77-39-0 record in nine seasons at South Carolina.

He’s only had one losing season, and that was his first one at Duke in 1987.

Apparently, he doesn’t lose much at golf, either.

Golf season for Spurrier begins just after the end of spring practice and carries on through most of the summer until the team reports in the fall.

Although he is not a member of Augusta National, he plays the course once a year as a guest of a member. This year, he’s bringing along Gamecock defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward.

And then there is the ongoing “Spurrier challenge.” Any current player who wants to take Spurrier on in a round of golf is free to do so. The player gets one chance only.

He has never lost to a current player.

“My latest victim was [former Gamecock placekicker] Ryan Succop,” Spurrier said. “Of course he played on the golf team in high school, hits it about 300 yards. So we went out, I shot 77 that day and he shot 79. He triple bogeyed one of the par-three holes.

“Those guys get a little nervous when they’re playing the head coach.”

If Spurrier is nervous about the Gamecocks continuing their recent success, he doesn’t show it.

South Carolina has finished 11-2, including a bowl victory, and ranked in the top 10 each of the last three seasons.

It’s an unprecedented run of success for the Gamecocks, who prior to Spurrier’s arrival had one 10-victory season and three bowl victories to their credit in more than 100 years of football.

Has the wave crested? Can the Gamecocks keep it up, or even improve on what they’ve done? Can they win a conference championship? Compete for a national championship?

“That’s the next thing we haven’t done,” Spurrier said. “Winning the bowl games and finishing in the top 10 three years in a row, we’re proud of what we’ve done here. But we still want to win the SEC. If you win the SEC, you’ll be in the final four of the national championship playoff.”

Are the Gamecocks good enough?

“You never know until you start playing the games,” Spurrier said. “We lost a lot of key players in [quarterback] Connor Shaw and [wide receiver] Bruce Ellington and [defensive end] Jadeveon Clowney. But we’ve got some players coming back, so who knows how it’s going to be?”

The players are taking their cue from Spurrier.

“Of course the talent is here,” said junior tailback Mike Davis, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards last season. “We have a great quarterback in Dylan Thompson, talent at wide receiver, a lot of guys who stand out. We’ve got to see how it all looks in a game. You can never rule us out.”

Thompson, a fifth-year senior, gives the Gamecocks an experienced hand at quarterback.

“We’ve got a chance to be good, but a lot of teams right now have a chance to be good,” Thompson said. “At the same time, I think it’s really important what we do from right now until August 28th. We want to put in the work until then and focus on that.”

Neither Davis nor Thompson is likely to get much work in Saturday’s spring game, which will follow a casual format.

The game will be played in 12-minute quarters.

“The year before I got to Florida, they divided up into teams and had a steak and beans game,” Spurrier said. “Emmitt Smith carried 31 times in the spring game trying to win it for his team. We don’t do that.

“We’ll let the younger guys do most of the playing. It’s a chance for most of the young guys to show the coaches they can play. The defense will only rush four guys so hopefully we’ll get off some passes.”

The game will also feature what has become a spring game staple for Spurrier—a receiver stepping off the sideline to illegally catch a long pass.

“It’s going to be a little different this year,” Spurrier said. “It’s going to be a surprise. We have a surprise, celebrity catcher on the off-the-bench play.”

There’s one other note on the spring game. It begins at noon, and the clock will run continuously in the second half.

Chances are, the head ball coach has a tee time.

Unless otherwise indicated all quotes obtained first hand.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Pages