College Football
NCAAF News Wire
  • Friday, February 5, 2016
    Haden to retire as USC AD on June 30
    By The Sports Xchange

    USC athletic director Pat Haden will retire on June 30, the school announced Friday.

    • University president Max Nikias said Haden will start a one-year job guiding the renovation of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum from July 1, 2016, to June, 30, 2017.

      The retirement comes after a tumultuous stretch for the 63-year-old Haden, who has run USC's athletic department for 5 1/2 years.

      USC hired Haden in 2010 and he led the Trojans through a stretch of NCAA sanctions against the football program following the Reggie Bush booster scandal.

      "He took on this role at a time when the department faced unprecedented pressure, externally and internally, requiring nothing less than a Herculean effort to rebuild its foundation for the long term," Nikias said in a statement Friday. "... Pat has accomplished USC's objectives here through his distinct blend of integrity, energy, wisdom, and character."

      Nikias credits the athletic department with raising over $400 million during Haden's tenure.

      Haden, a former USC quarterback, fired head coach Steve Sarkisian on Oct. 12 in the aftermath of concerns about the coach's behavior. Sarkisian was placed on indefinite leave the day before the firing after reportedly showing up for duty under the influence of alcohol. Sarkisian has sued the school over his termination.

      Later in October, Haden resigned from the College Football Playoff selection committee to focus on his health. Haden said he was advised by his doctors to reduce his workload.

      On Nov. 30, Haden named Clay Helton as permanent head coach after he guided the Trojans to a 5-2 record and a berth into the Pac-12 championship game as the interim coach.

      "It has been a tremendous honor serving my alma mater, a school I love so much, as well as serving Max Nikias, our coaches and staff and, most importantly, our student-athletes," Haden said. "I am proud of what has been accomplished here the past six years and knowing that USC Athletics is on an upward trajectory. I look forward to finishing out this academic year as athletic director and then spending time on the Coliseum project."

  • Thursday, February 4, 2016
    Jailed recruit will not sign with Missouri
    By The Sports Xchange

    A high school prospect who did not sign with Missouri on Wednesday apparently will never join the Tigers.

    • Defensive end Marvin Terry was in a county jail in Texas during national signing day on suspicion of assault. The St. Louis Dispatch reported Thursday that the Tigers dropped their recruitment of Terry.

      The 6-foot-2, 230-pound Terry faces felony charges for family violence assault with intent to impede breathing or circulation and also family violence assault for at least the second time during the past year as well as a misdemeanor charge of family violence assault that causes bodily injury and insufficient bond for family violence assault, according to The Columbia Daily Tribune.

      The 18-year-old from South Oak Cliff High School was arrested Jan. 25 and remained in Dallas County Jail on $34,500 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 11.

      In July, Terry was accused of pushing his girlfriend in the face and arrested in August. Again in January, he was accused of pushing her and hitting her numerous times and also threatening to kill her.

      Terry was recruited by Oklahoma, Arkansas, Miami, Texas Tech and UCLA before choosing Missouri. He was rated as a four-star recruit by ESPN and the nation's No. 22 outside linebacker, the position he was expected to play in college.

      Missouri coaches are not permitted to comment on high school athletes who haven't signed a letter of intent with the school.

  • Wednesday, February 3, 2016
    Late recruiting haul pushes FSU, Alabama to head of class
    By The Sports Xchange

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Alabama and Florida State finished national signing day with a flourish and landed two of the top classes in the nation on Wednesday.

    • A consensus of recruiting service rankings put the Crimson Tide on top. ESPN.com ranked the Seminoles at No. 1 overall.

      Alabama began signing day at No. 7 in the 274Sports composite team rankings but soared to the front after signing five-star linebackers Ben Davis and Mack Wilson from in state, offensive linemen Charles Baldwin from New York and Jonah Williams from California, and four-star cornerback Shyheim Carter from Louisiana.

      Florida State entered the day with the No. 3 projected signing class but finished ahead of Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss and Ohio State in ESPN's top five.

      It marked the fourth straight season that Florida State hauled in a top-five class, and it's the second time the Seminoles have ranked No. 1 under coach Jimbo Fisher, who was asked about his secret to success while meeting with reporters late Wednesday.

      "It's called personal relationships," said Fisher, adding that his assistant coaches and recruiting coordinators did a remarkable job of building loyalty among their targets with relationships that span "two, three and even four years. They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, it takes a staff to recruit a player."

      Florida State, which signed 17 four-star recruits and one five-star, added six of the four-star recruits to its class on signing day, including an unexpected commitment from Bradenton (Fla.) defensive tackle Shavar Manuel, who announced on Twitter early Wednesday morning that he was ending his longtime commitment to rival Florida and would make his decision later in the day.

      When the announcement finally came live from Manuel's home while surrounded by family and friends, the 6-foot-4, 290-pounder donned a garnet and gold cap and broke out the Seminoles' famed "Chop."

      Manuel's decision to come to Florida State means he'll join two other former IMG Academy stars who signed with the Seminoles: four-star quarterback Malik Henry and three-star kicking recruit Ricky Aguayo, the younger brother of All-American Florida State kicker Roberto Aguayo.

      Fisher said Henry has a "tremendous chance" to compete for the Seminoles' starting quarterback job next year after the position was an ongoing issue during the 2015 season.

      If Henry wins the battle, he will be throwing to Florida State's top wideout recruit, 6-foot-3, 211-pound Keith Gavin of Crawfordville, Fla., who was said to be a lock for Alabama but instead chose to stay close to home. Gavin's school, Wakulla High, is just 20 minutes south of Florida State's campus.

      The Seminoles' 2016 class, however, was highlighted by its lone five-star recruit, defensive back Levonta Taylor of Ocean Lakes, Va. The 5-11, 182-pound Taylor was rated as the top defensive backs in the country and a five-star recruit by all major services.

      Taylor committed in April 2015, and despite efforts from programs like Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Notre Dame to flip him, Taylor stayed firm throughout.

      "His skill set is very unique," Fisher said when asked about Taylor, who was the first recruit to send in his letter of intent Wednesday morning to the Seminoles' athletic office.

      Taylor was beyond excited to be the crown jewel of Florida State's class.

      "I'm drippin' on 'em, baby, how you love that?" Taylor wrote on his Twitter account as the caption to a picture of himself wearing Seminole colors. "OFFICIALLY A SEMINOLE."

      Florida State also reeled in the top offensive line class in the nation by signing the five top-rated prospects, including the surprise pickup of Landon Dickerson from Hudson, N.C.

      Dickerson (6-5, 300) narrowed his choices to Alabama, Tennessee and Florida State but chose the Seminoles live on national television to solidify another standout class of linemen for Fisher. The Seminoles were also excited to land the nation's top-rated center Baveon Johnson of Lakeland, Fla., and tackle Jauan Williams (6-7, 303) of Washington D.C. Both committed Wednesday to the Seminoles.

      Two other players that Florida State hoped to land -- defensive end Brian Burns of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and defensive back Carlos Becker of Kissimmee, Fla. -- also made the Seminoles' day when Burns spurned Georgia and Florida for Tallahassee. Becker did the same by picking the Seminoles over Ohio State and Ole Miss.

      The only player the Seminoles would consider a loss was Miami safety Jamel Cook, who picked USC over Florida State.

  • Wednesday, February 3, 2016
    Miami reels in home-state products
    By The Sports Xchange

    First-year Miami coach Mark Richt reaped a class of 18 signees Wednesday, all but one of them from Florida.

    • The class leans slightly to defense, with 10 players on that side of the ball, and includes 11 consensus four-star prospects. The rest are consensus three stars.

      "We've got guys who can help us win," Richt said. "That's what it's all about."

      Five players already are on campus and will take part in spring drills. One is Jack Allison, an Under Armour All-American Bowl selection out of Palmetto High in Manatee County, near St. Petersburg.

      Allison committed to Miami before his junior season but reaffirmed his decision after Richt was hired to take over for Al Golden.

      "There was a time of uncertainty, not with the university but with not knowing what coach was going to come in," said Allison, a 6-foot-5 drop-back passer. "I didn't know if a coach was going to come in who wanted me to run the ball. That was a different type of offense I wouldn't fit."

      When Miami hired Richt, Allison said, "it was a huge relief."

      Miami's class includes three newcomers with familial ties to the program -- tight end Michael Irvin Jr., son of the NFL Hall of Famer; tight end Patrick Bethel, son of former Miami tight end Randy Bethel; and running back Jeff James, nephew of Miami great Edgerrin James.

      "It never hurts to have the children of tremendous championship athletes," Richt said. "That's what we have a lot of here."

      The only signee not from the state is Jovani Hopkins, a tight end from Bergenfield,

      N.J.

  • Wednesday, February 3, 2016
    Big finish boosts Texas in recruiting rankings
    By The Sports Xchange

    AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas coach Charlie Strong is a bit of a riverboat gambler when it comes to recruiting, an approach that seems to play into the "this-is-my-time" mentality of potential signees.

    • The proof of Strong's prowess in the living room was in the pudding of the Longhorns' final haul on national signing day on Wednesday when 10 high school players revealed at the 11th hour that they would play for Texas.

      The avalanche of last-minute signings gave Texas a 24-player class and propelled the Longhorns from a mid-30s ranking to as high as No. 10 in the ESPN list of classes.

      Strong said he "kind of had a feeling that we were going to have a big day today."

      "Some of the recruits told us to 'relax, we just want to have our day,'" Strong said. "We told them 'that's fine, as long as you pick Texas on your day.'"

      Texas produced far and away the top showing in the 10-member Big 12 Conference, hauling in as many as 13 four-star players and five-star linebacker Erick Fowler from Manor, Texas.

      Included on that list were two players that decommitted from other programs in the past few weeks -- defensive tackles Jordan Elliott from Houston (who originally chose Michigan) and Chris Daniels from the Dallas suburb of Euless (Oklahoma) -- and another in Fowler, who had been committed to LSU since June.

      The Longhorns' six highest-rated recruits all committed to Texas since the start to the new year. The Longhorns had 32 players come to Austin on official visits and they signed 24 of them.

      Daniels told the Dallas Morning News that Strong sold him on being a Longhorn.

      "If you don't want to go to Texas, don't let (Strong) get on your couch because that man is very persuasive," Daniels said. "He's like an uncle to me; Uncle Charlie -- for real."

      The biggest catches of the day came with the signings of Brandon Jones of Nacogdoches, Texas, and Jeffrey McCulloch of Houston. Jones, the nation's No. 2 safety, chose the Longhorns over Texas A&M and Baylor. McCulloch, an outside linebacker, is considered the No. 3 recruit in Texas.

      "It was a great day and a great finish -- our staff did an unbelievable job," Strong said. "The players we signed from Texas came as a result of the relationship we built with the high school coaches in the state."

      Texas' signees on Wednesday gave the Longhorns the top-rated recruiting class in the Big 12 for the second consecutive year.

      In the Longhorns' 5-7 campaign in 2015, Texas had 17 signees contribute, including eight true freshmen who combined for 55 starts. Strong believed that set the table for a big haul on Wednesday.

      "A lot of players want to be able to play right away, and we continue to tell these guys that they will have a chance to contribute immediately if they're good enough," Strong said. "The best salesmen are our players. They formed a group (text) message to keep up with the recruits and to make sure they knew what was going on and that we wanted them."

  • Wednesday, February 3, 2016
    Air Force extends Calhoun's contract
    By The Sports Xchange

    On national signing day for high school recruits, Air Force reached an agreement with coach Troy Calhoun on a one-year contract extension through 2020.

    • The school made the announcement on Wednesday but did not provide financial terms. In 2015, Calhoun made $919,000, which ranked fourth among Mountain West Conference coaches.

      "Troy Calhoun has been a tremendous leader for our program since coming to his alma mater in 2007, leading the program to eight bowl games in nine years," Air Force athletic director Jim Knowlton said in a statement. "He has also led the team to exceptional accomplishments off the field and in the classroom. He is a great ambassador for Air Force athletics and we are very excited about Troy's continued passion to lead our program in the future!"

      Calhoun has led the Falcons to a 67-50 record and eight bowl games in nine seasons. Air Force is 18-9 the past two years after the team slumped to 2-10 in 2013. In 2015, the Falcons finished 8-6 and played in the Mountain West championship game.

      "Our coaching staff is grateful each morning we drive through the north gate of the grounds of the Air Force Academy to work hip to hip alongside such an incredible faculty, administration and leadership team," Calhoun said. "The mission is lucidly clear -- to help foster and mentor our young men and women into leaders of character. We are thankful for our service members of yesterday, today and tomorrow, and we have the utmost respect for their dedication to preserve the freedoms of our great country."

  • Wednesday, February 3, 2016
    Michigan rolls out signing day extravaganza
    By The Sports Xchange

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Denard Robinson was there as an NFL player and as a Michigan graduate. So was New York Yankees great Derek Jeter. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, too.

    • Former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz, singer Mayer Hawthorne and WWE superstar Ric Flair were also in attendance -- to welcome the Michigan football program's incoming freshman class for 2016.

      Michigan introduced its freshman class of 2016 in a unique, star-studded and unprecedented fashion: the "Signing of the Stars," Wednesday at Michigan's Hill Auditorium, produced in conjunction with The Players' Tribune, a new media outlet founded by Jeter.

      "A day of excitement, a day of joy," Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh said. "That's what we want this to be."

      Or, as master of ceremonies and comedian Randy Sklar called it, "one big welcoming party." And Sklar made a joke about one of Harbaugh's more noted recruiting visits, a sleepover at a recruit's house.

      "I was supposed to be at USC," Sklar said. "Harbaugh found out, slept over at my house. Climbed a tree, took his shirt off ... and he flipped me."

      Michigan expects to have an incoming class of up to 29 scholarship signees, and two committed Wednesday morning, when Lavert Hill, a cornerback from Detroit's King High School, and Quinn Nordin, a kicker from Rockford, Mich., announced they would go to Michigan.

      The big fish came towards the end of the signing day celebration, when Rashan Gary, the nation's top-rated recruit, announced on ESPN that he would attend Michigan.

      "We got some really good news backstage," Harbaugh told the capacity crowd at Hill Auditorium.

      Coaches are not allowed to comment on recruits until after receipt of their national letters of intent, per NCAA rules. However, Harbaugh could not comment when asked if he had received Gary's national letter of intent after the signing show.

      "We are so excited about all of our signees," Harbaugh said. "We are tremendously happy. From top to bottom, this recruiting class, the youngsters have a real heart for competing, a heart for football, they have football faces, they're competitive in the classroom and as we said before, they have worked so hard to put themselves in a position to be here."

      None of the recruits in attendance expected that level of hype surrounding Wednesday's signing day extravaganza.

      "I was not expecting this," said Brandon Peters, a quarterback from Avon, Ind. "When I stepped into the auditorium and kind of looked around at all the people, it was just kind of breathtaking. It's just an awesome experience."

      Harbaugh also said when the Wolverines begin spring practices, they will spend a week at IMG Academy in Florida.

  • Wednesday, February 3, 2016
    National Signing Day: Michigan lands top prospect DT Gary
    By The Sports Xchange

    Top recruit defensive tackle Rashan Gary selected coach Jim Harbaugh's Michigan Wolverines on Wednesday as high school football players made their commitments on 2016 National Signing Day.

    • Gary, the No. 1 overall player rated by ESPN and many other recruiting services, is a 6-foot-4, 287-pound prospect who runs a 4.74 time in the 40-yard. His choice was down to two schools -- Michigan and Clemson -- after he had offers from nearly every major program in the country. The five-star New Jersey native was the Most Valuable Player at the Under Armour All-American game.

      "It was very close," Gary said on ESPN. "Those are schools that I love, and it was very hard to pick between them, but I felt like I did what was best for me."

      Harbaugh also got a commitment from tight end Devin Asiasi, who picked Michigan over Alabama, UCLA, USC and Washington.

      National champion Alabama landed cornerbacks Shyheim Carter, Jared Mayden and Aaron Robinson and top-ranked inside linebacker Ben Davis.

      Alabama later got another five-star linebacker in Lyndell "Mack" Wilson. The Crimson Tide also landed pledges Tuesday from cornerback Nigel Knott and offensive tackle Scott Lashley.

      Clemson won the first big battle of national signing day when cornerback Trayvon Mullen, the No. 18 player according to ESPN and second-ranked at his position, committed to the Tigers. He was projected to either pick LSU or Louisville.

      "I just went with my heart," Mullen said on ESPNU. "I have a real opportunity to come in and play at Clemson, and that was important. But the different feel that I got while walking around campus at Clemson told me it was the right place for me."

      Texas and UCLA also landed top commits for the 2016 class.

      Safety Brandon Burton got signing day started when he announced for UCLA live on ESPN's "SportsCenter" at midnight ET Wednesday. Burton, who is ESPN's No. 255 overall player and the 13th-ranked safety in the nation, selected the Bruins over Oklahoma, Florida State, Notre Dame and Ohio State.

      "I have a really good relationship with all of their coaches," Burton said on ESPN. "With all of the experiences with them, I know they're not lying to me and they're being upfront and honest about everything. I just felt really comfortable with them. I think we have a chance to do something special on signing day. Just you watch."

      Texas landed safety Brandon Jones and outside linebacker Erick Fowler flipped to the Longhorns from LSU. Texas also added defensive tackles Marcel Southall and Chris Daniels, giving them three four-star defensive tackle commits in the last 24 hours. On Tuesday, four-star defensive tackle D'Andre Christmas-Giles selected the Longhorns.

      Other key commitments:

      --Tight end Jake Hausmann, a four-star prospect, was the first player to send in his national letter of intent to Ohio State. The Buckeyes' 18 players signed Wednesday joined the seven players who early enrolled last month.

      --Auburn received a commitment from defensive tackle Derrick Brown, the fifth-ranked defensive tackle and the ninth-ranked player overall by ESPN. The five-star prospect chose Auburn over Mississippi State, Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama.

      --Four-star defensive end Connor Murphy selected USC over Michigan. USC added a commitment from offensive tackle E.J. Price.

      --New Georgia coach Kirby Smart kept a key pledge home from four-star athlete Mecole Hardman, the No. 48 player by ESPN. Hardman committed to the Bulldogs over Tennessee and Alabama.

      --Defensive end Brian Burns picked Florida State over Florida.

      --Blue-chip safety Nigel Warrior, the son of former Tennessee star Dale Carter, chose the Volunteers.

  • Tuesday, February 2, 2016
    College football notebook: Top recruit yet to make up mind
    By The Sports Xchange

    With National Signing Day less than 24 hours away, the No. 1 recruit said he still has not decided on where he will play next year.

    • Defensive tackle Rashan Gary did say Tuesday that his choice is down to two schools -- Michigan and Clemson. He eliminated Auburn and Alabama from consideration.

      Gary spent this past weekend at Clemson on an official visit and the week before he was in Ann Arbor on an unofficial visit. He has visited Michigan more than any other school.

      Gary is 6 feet 5, 293 pounds and runs a 4.74 40-yard dash. He was the Most Valuable Player at the Under Armour All-American game.

      According to reports, Michigan is expected to land the five-star New Jersey native, although the late push by Clemson has some thinking that coach Dabo Swinney has a fighter's chance to secure Gary's services.

      ---Former Alabama wide receiver Chris Black will leave the Crimson Tide and transfer to Missouri.

      He has one year of eligibility remaining and is eligible to play immediately as a graduate transfer.

      According to AL.com, Black also considered Arizona State and Maryland.

      Numerous injuries limited his playing time at Alabama. The former four-star recruit had 25 catches for 290 yards in three seasons with the Crimson Tide.

      ---Texas-San Antonio quarterback Blake Bogenschutz decided not to play football again after suffering from lingering concussion-like symptoms.

      Bogenschutz suffered a concussion during a game against Texas-El Paso last year and missed the remainder of the season. UTSA team doctors advised him to discontinue his football career, the school said in an announcement on Tuesday.

      The sophomore started six games during his career and passed for 1,179 yards and four touchdowns. Bogenschutz will retain his scholarship and serve as a student assistant coach until he completes his degree.

  • Tuesday, February 2, 2016
    Concussion symptoms end Texas-San Antonio QB's career
    By The Sports Xchange

    Texas-San Antonio quarterback Blake Bogenschutz decided not to play football again after suffering from lingering concussion-like symptoms.

    • Bogenschutz suffered a concussion during a game against Texas-El Paso last year and missed the remainder of the season. UTSA team doctors advised him to discontinue his football career, the school said in an announcement on Tuesday.

      The sophomore started six games during his career and passed for 1,179 yards and four touchdowns. Bogenschutz will retain his scholarship and serve as a student assistant coach until he completes his degree.

  • Tuesday, February 2, 2016
    Top recruit Gary narrows field to Michigan, Clemson
    By The Sports Xchange

    With National Signing Day less than 24 hours away, the No. 1 recruit said he still has not decided on where he will play next year.

    • Defensive tackle Rashan Gary did say on Tuesday his choice is now down to two schools -- Michigan and Clemson. Gary eliminated Auburn and Alabama from consideration.

      Gary spent this past weekend at Clemson on an official visit and the week before was at Ann Arbor on an unofficial visit. He has visited Michigan more than any other school.

      Gary is 6-foot-5, 293 pounds and runs a 4.74 time in the 40-yard. He was the Most Valuable Player at the Under Armour All-American game.

      According to reports, Michigan is expected to land the five-star New Jersey native, although the late push by Clemson has some thinking that coach Dabo Swinney has a fighter's chance of securing Gary's services.

  • Tuesday, February 2, 2016
    Former Alabama WR transferring to Missouri
    By The Sports Xchange

    Former Alabama wide receiver Chris Black will leave the Crimson Tide and transfer to Missouri.

    • He has one year of eligibility remaining and is eligible to play immediately as a graduate transfer.

      According to AL.com, Black had considered Arizona State and Maryland prior to deciding on Missouri.

      Numerous injuries limited his playing time at Alabama. The former four-star recruit recorded 25 catches for 290 yards in three seasons with the Crimson Tide.

  • Sunday, January 31, 2016
    Spence among Senior Bowl standouts
    By The Sports Xchange

    For scouts and evaluators, the Senior Bowl is more about the practices during the week, but the actual game does have value as players perform in live action. And just like all week in practice, the story of the 2016 Senior Bowl game was the dominant defensive lines as the South defeated the North 27-10 at Ladd Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala., on Saturday.

    • Eastern Kentucky defensive end Noah Spence entered the week as the top prospect in Mobile, and he'll leave with that same distinction. Standing up off the edge, he showed a variety of rush moves due to his natural athleticism, beating the North offensive tackles with speed around the corner and quickness inside.

      Spence used his natural acceleration and contact balance against Indiana left tackle Jason Spriggs, shaving the corner with momentum and finishing at the quarterback. Right tackles Kyle Murphy (Stanford) and Cole Toner (Harvard) were no match for Spence's agility and burst off the snap as the Eastern Kentucky rush end used space to easily cut inside and infiltrate the pocket.

      Spence is inconsistent against the run and needs hand refinement, but rushing the passer is his bread and butter, and what makes him one of the top defensive prospects in the 2016 draft class. Obviously his off-field situation will be the determining factor to where he is ultimately drafted, but Spence solidified himself as a top-10 talent.

      While Spence was the clear-cut best edge rusher during Senior Bowl practices and the game, the top interior defensive lineman is a race too close to call. The defensive tackle position is the deepest on the Senior Bowl roster and the draft overall, and several stood out during the game.

      Louisiana Tech defensive tackle Vernon Butler made his presence known during practices but saved his best for the game. He showed off his fluid lower body and powerful upper half in unison, peppering blockers with his 34 1/8-inch arms. Butler has a draft arrow pointing north.

      Notre Dame defensive tackle Sheldon Day is a tad undersized and can struggle in congestion, but give him any type of space and blockers don't have an answer for his athleticism and active hands. And that's why Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett and his staff often kicked him outside to defensive end where he could work one-on-one vs. tackles. Day has the first step explosion, low pad level and body control to create havoc.

      Similar to his game film, Alabama defensive tackle Jarran Reed wasn't flashy during the game, but he was stout and bullied blockers most of the game. He used his powerful hands to stack-and-shed at the point of attack and keep the middle of the field clogged up. Whichever team drafts Reed won't sell a lot of jerseys with his name on the back, but all 32 clubs wish they had a player like him in the rotation.

      Here are nine more takeaways from the 2016 Senior Bowl game:

      2. Black and blue Cardinal: The most impressive defensive tackle in Mobile this week was Louisville's Sheldon Rankins but he was unable to play on Saturday due to injury. Originally called a "knee sprain" by the training staff, Rankins told sideline reporter Alex Flanagan that he aggravated a previous injury to his upper calf.

      3. Belle of the Ball: North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz is clearly the top quarterback prospect in Mobile, and although he didn't dominate the box score, he showed the traits that will land him in the top half of the first round. Wentz finished 6-for-10 for 50 yards in his one quarter of action, but several of his throws were dropped, including one by Cincinnati wide receiver Chris Moore. On that throw, Wentz surveyed the field and fired a rope with perfect placement to the opposite sideline, which should have been a first down and extended the drive. He escaped the pocket prematurely on a few snaps and looked to run too quickly, but Wentz handled himself well.

      4. Dak attack in Mobile: Wentz was the top quarterback prospect on display, but it was Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott who took home the game's Most Outstanding Player Award. He finished 7-for-10 passing and orchestrated a 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive, ending in a five-yard touchdown pass to Southeast Missouri wide receiver Paul McRoberts. Prescott grew into a much more consistent passer during his senior season and has a chance to develop into a consistent backup in the NFL.

      5. Measuring tape or game tape?: Only one quarterback on the South squad threw for 100-plus yards on Saturday and that was Arkansas' Brandon Allen, who completed seven of his 10 passes. He is underwhelming from a physical standpoint but showed off his vision and quick decision-making to scan and deliver down the field. For Allen, it was a great way to end his week after a not-so-great start, measuring in with 8 1/2-inch hands on Tuesday. That number alone will eliminate him from several draft boards as many have a 9-inch (or larger) threshold for quarterbacks.

      6. Quiet day for Braxton: After an impressive week of practice, Ohio State wide receiver Braxton Miller was quiet in the game with only two catches for eight yards. He was targeted often, but dropped a screen pass and had his signals crossed on several other plays. Miller did draw a defensive pass interference penalty in the end zone and showed well as a return man, including a 31-yard kickoff return. He is clearly still very raw as a route-runner, but his special athleticism and upside will likely land him somewhere in the top 40 picks.

      7. Rising draft stock: A prospect who made money this week was Boise State safety Darian Thompson, who stretched his positive week to game action on Saturday, standing out on defense and special teams. He was very inconsistent on tape this season and showed some of that on Saturday, misjudging angles and leaving production on the field. But there was more good than bad with his plant-and-drive quickness, trusting his eyes and reacting decisively to make plays.

      8. If you can cover, you can play in the NFL: LSU is a football factory for the NFL, and a pair of former Tigers impressed on defense, specifically in coverage. A cornerback, safety and nickelback in college, Jalen Mills lined up exclusively as a corner during practice and stayed outside for the game, impressing with his quickness and ability to disrupt up the catch point. He anticipates well and runs the route before the wide receiver at times, breaking up a throw in the end zone during the game. Linebacker Deion Jones lacks an ideal frame for the position in the NFL, but his instincts and athleticism on special teams and in coverage will get him on an NFL field. He impressed in both areas on Saturday.

      9. A player who won't give NFL coaches white hair: Kansas State offensive guard Cody Whitehair drew barely any praise during the telecast, but it was business as usual for the former college left tackle, winning almost every snap he took on Saturday. Whitehair was quick to set up off the snap, with the balance to stay square to defenders and control the point of attack. Not many guards wind up in the first round, but Whitehair is NFL-ready right now, and his performance this week only cemented my belief that he's one of the top 25 players in this draft.

      10. And the game's top receiver was...: Although it's a very underwhelming tight end class this year, Ohio State's Nick Vannett impressed during practice and had a game-best 58 yards receiving on three catches. While not quite as athletically gifted as former Buckeye Jeff Heuerman, who was a third-round pick of the Denver Broncos last year, Vannett was the top tight end in Mobile with his toughness as a blocker and ability to finish as a receiver. Baylor's Jay Lee was the most productive wideout on Saturday, finishing with four catches for 49 yards, capping off a very strong week for the former Bear.

  • Saturday, January 30, 2016
    Prescott leads South to Senior Bowl victory
    By The Sports Xchange

    Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott led one second-quarter scoring drive and was named the game's Most Outstanding Player in the South's 27-16 victory over the North on Saturday in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.

    • Prescott mixed passes and runs on the march that culminated with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Southeast Missouri's Paul McRoberts for a 17-3 halftime lead.

      Prescott finished 7-of-10 passing for 61 yards and ran three times for 13 yards. McRoberts had four catches for 46 yards.

      Two other Southeastern Conference quarterbacks -- Arkansas' Brandon Allen and Alabama's Jake Coker -- led scoring drives for the South. Allen completed 7 of 10 passes for 106 yards and Coker was 3 of 8 for 23 yards.

      North Carolina State quarterback Jacoby Brissett also led a touchdown drive for the South in the fourth quarter.

      The South's Most Valuable Player was Baylor defensive end Shawn Oakman, who had two first-half sacks and a forced fumble.

      Boise State safety Darian Thompson was the North's MVP with five tackles and two pass breakups.

      Louisiana Tech quarterback Jeff Driskel, a transfer from Florida, connected on 8 of 9 passes for 108 yards and a 29-yard touchdown throw to Michigan State wide receiver Aaron Burbridge on the final play of the game for the North.

      USC quarterback Cody Kessler scored in a 1-yard run in the third quarter that pulled the North to 20-10. Alabama running back Kenyan Drake added the South's final points in the fourth quarter with a 1-yard run.

      TCU running back Aaron Green opened the scoring with a 25-yard run and Duke's Ross Martin kicked two field goals for the South.

  • Saturday, January 30, 2016
    Report: Ole Miss charged with rules violations
    By The Sports Xchange

    The University of Mississippi received a Notice of Violations from the NCAA outlining approximately 30 rules infractions in three sports, Yahoo Sports reported Friday.

    • The violations occurred in football, women's basketball and track and field, according to the report. The NCAA does not comment on active investigations.

      The university is pushing for a resolution to the investigation, which has gone on for three or more years. Most of the allegations involve women's basketball and track and field. The school will have 90 days to respond to the allegations.

      At least a portion of the allegations go back to 2012 when women's basketball coach Adrian Wiggins and two assistants were fired for academic and recruiting misconduct. In response, Ole Miss self-imposed a one-year postseason ban and two players were ruled ineligible.

      "As has been the case for the past three years, we are bound by confidentiality and cannot comment publicly on the matter," Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork said. "However, I can say that I'm confident in how our coaches and staff operate our program, and we take compliance, NCAA and SEC rules very seriously. We are working hard to seek a resolution to this matter."

      Football coach Hugh Freeze's recruiting success since he took the job in 2011 has raised suspicions, but the investigation of the program apparently began before his arrival and mostly occurred from 2008 to 2011 when Houston Nutt was the head coach.

      Last season, highly recruited offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil sat out seven games for accepting impermissible benefits when it was determined that he used "three loaner vehicles over a sixth-month period without payment, a four-month interest-free promissory note on a $3,000 down payment for purchasing a used vehicle, two nights of lodging at a local home, an airline ticket purchased by a friend of a teammate, and one day use of a rental vehicle.

      "In addition, it was determined that Tunsil was not completely forthcoming when initially questioned by NCAA investigators regarding the loaner vehicles."

      After the season, Tunsil decided to enter the 2016 NFL draft as an early entry. He is projected as one of the top picks in the first round.

  • Friday, January 29, 2016
    Utah gives Whittingham two-year contract extension
    By The Sports Xchange

    Utah coach Kyle Whittingham was given a two-year contract extension through 2020 ahead of Wednesday's national signing day for high school recruits, the school announced Friday.

    • Whittingham, whose base salary will increase $700,000 to $3.3 million per year, has a 95-46 record since he took over in 2005. The Utes finished with a 10-3 record in 2015 after reaching No. 3 in the national rankings with a 6-0 start and contending for a Pac-12 title.

      "I am grateful for the support and commitment shown by Chris Hill and President (David) Pershing with this contract extension," Whittingham said. "It gives further stability to our football program and what we are trying to accomplish. We are excited about the future here at Utah and the recruiting class we will sign next Wednesday."

      Whittingham's victory total at Utah is second in school history, trailing only Ike Armstrong's 141 wins from 1925 to 1949. The Utes have an 8-1 bowl record under Whittingham and four Top 25 finishes in 11 seasons.

      "We are excited about the contract extension for Coach Whittingham and look forward to continued success in the Pac-12 Conference under his leadership," Utah athletic director Chris Hill said.

  • Friday, January 29, 2016
    Notre Dame coach Kelly lands deal through 2021
    By The Sports Xchange

    Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly agreed to terms on a six-year contract through the 2021 season, the school announced Friday.

    • Kelly was previously under contract through 2017. The new renegotiated pact basically replaces that agreement.

      Kelly, 54, has compiled a 55-23 record in six seasons with the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame went 10-3 in 2015 and lost to Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl.

      "I coach football because I believe there are few better avenues for impacting the lives of young men, and I am certain that there is no better place to do that than the University of Notre Dame," Kelly said in a statement.

      Kelly is the first Notre Dame coach to take the school to at least six straight bowl games since Lou Holtz (1987-95). His 2012 squad went 12-1, reaching the BCS national title game before losing to Alabama.

      Kelly's career record is 226-80-2 over 25 seasons. He coached at Central Michigan and Cincinnati before being hired by Notre Dame after the 2009 season. He went 34-6 in three seasons at Cincinnati from 2007-09.

      "In the classroom, in the community and on the playing field, Brian has built the foundation of a great Notre Dame football program -- one that reflects this University's values and its unique relationship to the game of football," athletic director Jack Swarbrick said in a statement. "I could not be more excited about the future of our football program under Brian's leadership, and I am especially thankful that our student-athletes will continue to have the benefit of that leadership in the years to come."

  • Thursday, January 28, 2016
    Missouri dismisses QB Mauk
    By The Sports Xchange

    Junior quarterback Maty Mauk was dismissed from the Missouri football program due to a violation of team rules, according to coach Barry Odom.

    • Mauk was suspended indefinitely early this week after a video appeared on social media allegedly showing him snorting a white, powdery substance.

      Missouri didn't publicly cite that Mauk was dismissed due to the video. Odom stated there were a variety of reasons related to the decision.

      "I met with Maty Mauk this morning and informed him of my decision to permanently dismiss him from the football program," Odom said in a statement. "When I met with Maty back in December, I wanted to give him an opportunity for a fresh start, but I also made it very clear what our expectations would be moving forward.

      "After gathering information and speaking with a number of individuals this week, it is clear Maty has failed to live up to those expectations by violating team rules in recent weeks."

      It remains unclear who filmed the video.

      "As for the video appearing on social media this week, it is concerning," Odom said, "but we believe it is from a long time ago."

      Mauk was suspended three times since September prior to Thursday's decision. On Nov. 1, former Missouri coach Gary Pinkel suspended him for the rest of the regular season due to a violation of team policies.

      That suspension occurred after Mauk was involved in an incident outside a nearby bar.

      Pinkel retired due to health issues and was replaced by Odom. Mauk was reinstated after Odom's hiring and was expected to compete for the starting quarterback job during spring drills.

      "We believe it is in his best interest to focus on his personal life and his academic career at this time," Odom said. "We remain committed to helping him work through the challenges and earn his degree. Our hope is that he will grow from this and we wish him the very best in his future endeavors."

      Mauk went 17-5 as a starting quarterback for the Tigers.

  • Wednesday, January 27, 2016
    Michigan expected to hire UConn's Manuel as AD
    By The Sports Xchange

    Connecticut athletic director Warde Manuel is expected to be named to the same position at his alma mater, the University of Michigan, according to multiple reports Wednesday.

    • Michigan intends to name Manuel as its next permanent athletic director to replace interim AD Jim Hackett, according to the Detroit Free Press. Another source told ESPN's Andy Katz's that an official announcement is expected Thursday.

      "He loves his alma mater, as most of us do, so it's really a great honor and it is one of the best jobs in college athletics, without question," UConn president Susan Herbst told the Associated Press following a university board of trustees meeting Wednesday.

      Manuel also attended the UConn board meeting Wednesday morning.

      "I'm not commenting on any reports," Manuel told the Hartford Courant.

      Manuel has been the athletic director at UConn since 2012 and previously held the same title at Buffalo for seven years.

      UConn won six national championships in Manuel's four years as AD -- three in women's basketball, two in field hockey and one in men's basketball.

      Manuel is a 1990 Michigan graduate who played football under legendary coach Bo Schembechler and later worked as an associate athletic director at the university.

      Manuel has been at the top of a list of candidates to take over the Wolverines' athletic department since November when Hackett announced he had no intention of taking the job on a permanent basis.

      Hackett took the Michigan AD job on an interim basis 15 months ago and brought Jim Harbaugh to Ann Arbor after firing head football coach Brady Hoke. Harbaugh and Manuel were teammates on Michigan's 1986 team.

      Michigan spokesman Rick Fitzgerald would neither confirm nor deny the report of Manuel becoming the 13th athletic director in school history.

      "We have no information to share with you about this report," Fitzgerald wrote to the Detroit Free Press in an email.

  • Wednesday, January 27, 2016
    Young to keep Texas job despite DWI arrest
    By The Sports Xchange

    Former University of Texas and NFL quarterback Vince Young, who was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of driving while intoxicated, will keep his job at the school in Austin.

    • The university said Tuesday that Young will remain a UT employee working as a diversity and community engagement officer in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. He establishes and leads fundraising efforts that support the educational programs.

      Young is also employed by the Longhorn Network, which has not said whether he will remain as an analyst.

      Young was arrested late Sunday after a traffic stop two miles from the Texas campus. Records show he was booked into Travis County Jail at 12:46 a.m. Monday. Police said his speech was mumbled and slurred.

      Young, 32, later issued an apology on Monday night:

      "Regardless of the outcome of the pending investigation, I would like my friends, family and fans to know that I do not condone drinking and driving in any way whatsoever. I am very disappointed in myself and am sorry for any conduct that has made this legal process necessary. I specifically want to apologize to the young men and women who look up to me as a role model and my employers at the University of Texas and the Longhorn Network.

      "Please let this be a lesson to you all and a moment for you to learn from me. As a public figure, I take very seriously my obligation to set an example for others to learn from."

      Young was an All-American quarterback at Texas and led the Longhorns to a national championship victory over USC in the 2006 Rose Bowl. He played in the NFL for six seasons following his selection in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans. He retired from the NFL in 2014.

      "We are working directly with Mr. Young to address the issues related to this situation, as we would with any employee," UT spokesman Gary Susswein said Tuesday.

  • Tuesday, January 26, 2016
    Missouri QB Mauk suspended; teammates claim video is old
    By The Sports Xchange

    Trouble found Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk again, and he could be out of chances with the Tigers.

    • Mauk was suspended indefinitely, his third ban in four months, after a video emerged purporting to show him snorting a line of cocaine. The video released Monday night shows a man resembling Mauk snorting a powdery substance.

      Missouri officials released a statement and said they are still attempting to confirm elements of the video.

      "We are currently gathering information regarding the video in question," the statement read. "This is an issue we take very seriously and one that will not be tolerated within our program. We will take the appropriate actions once we have all the facts. In the interim, Maty Mauk has been indefinitely suspended for the Mizzou football program."

      A Missouri player who asked not to be identified by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch claimed the video might be as much as two years old.

      Wide receiver Keyon Dilosa defended Mauk via Twitter while decrying drug use.

      "Maty learned his lesson and has been clean for awhile now," Dilosa said. "... People want you to be the bad guy. It just so happened that someone had that video from years ago and could release it at any moment."

      The Post-Dispatch reported that it confirmed Mauk's 2015 suspension was for a failed drug test. He was Missouri's starting quarterback in 2014.

  • Monday, January 25, 2016
    FSU boosters chip in to pay legal fees in Winston case
    By The Sports Xchange

    Florida State boosters will pay a signifcant portion of the legal fees incurred by the school in its settlement with the former student who said he was raped by former Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston.

    • A day later, the Associated Press reported that the boosters organization will pay $1.3 million of the school's $1.7 million in attorney fees from the Title IX lawsuit.

      Boosters chairman David Rancourt told the AP that the money to cover the university's attorney fees originates from business operations and not from private donations that fund scholarships for athletes.

      On Monday, FSU agreed to pay $950,000 from the state's Risk Management fund to settle a lawsuit with Erica Kinsman. She will receive $250,000 and her attorneys $700,000, FSU president John Thrasher said.

      The settlement was reached more than a year after Kinsman initially filed the complaint in federal court, claiming the university failed to respond to allegations that Winston sexually assaulted her.

      Kinsman, who left FSU in November 2013 when the case became publicly known, has a separate civil suit pending against Winston, who filed a countersuit. She has told her story in a documentary.

      FSU agreed make a five-year commitment to awareness, prevention and training programs. The lump sum is the largest settlement for Title IX claims regarding a student's reported sexual assault.

      The former student said she was drunk at a Tallahassee, Fla., bar in December 2012 when Winston and others took her to an apartment, where she says the quarterback raped her.

      Winston, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft and the starting quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, denied Kinsman's allegation and was cleared of wrongdoing by Florida State after a student hearing. He said the two had consensual sex.

      A Florida prosecutor chose not to press criminal charges in late 2013.

  • Monday, January 25, 2016
    Vince Young arrested for DWI
    By The Sports Xchange

    Former University of Texas football quarterback Vince Young was arrested in Austin on a misdemeanor charge of driving while intoxicated.

    • The Austin American-Statesman reported the arrest and records show Young was booked into Travis County Jail at 12:46 a.m. Monday.

      A Travis County judge set bail at $2,000, the Statesman reported Monday.

      Young is a UT employee working as a diversity and community engagement officer in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. He establishes and leads fundraising efforts that support the educational programs.

      Young was All-American at Texas as a quarterback and played in the NFL for six seasons following his selection in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans.

  • Sunday, January 24, 2016
    Ex-NFL WR Moss' son commits to N.C. State
    By The Sports Xchange

    Thaddeus Moss, the son of seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Randy Moss, has committed to North Carolina State.

    • The younger Moss, a four-star prospect for the 2016 class at Charlotte (N.C.) Mallard Creek High, is a 6-foot-4, 240-pound tight end. He chose the Wolfpack over UCLA, Texas A&M, Georgia, USC, Nebraska and Arizona State. He had narrowed his list to N.C. State, Texas A&M and UCLA.

      "It just felt right," Thaddeus Moss told ESPN.com on Saturday. "It's close to home, it felt right, and they kept it real with me from day one. N.C. State was the first team to offer, and loyalty was rewarded."

      Randy Moss originally committed to Notre Dame. After legal troubles there and during a redshirt season at Florida State, he ultimately starred as a wide receiver at Marshall.

      "For the most part, he really let me go about the process on my own," Thaddeus Moss said of his father. "I asked for his opinion and for him to sit down with the coaches and talk, but I asked for that these last few weeks. He voiced his opinion, and we had in-depth conversations about what was best for me and what was best for the family."

  • Thursday, January 21, 2016
    Missouri suspends DT Beckner after arrest
    By The Sports Xchange

    Missouri defensive tackle Terry Beckner Jr. was suspended indefinitely on Thursday after being arrested on suspicion of marijuana possession on Wednesday night.

    • Tigers coach Barry Odom said he was disappointed with the actions of Beckner, who experienced a solid freshman season in 2015 before a major knee injury ended his season.

      "We take this very seriously and in line with our department policies, Terry has been indefinitely suspended and will face team disciplinary measures," Odom said in a statement. "I don't want this incident to be viewed as a representation of our athletic department or football program, but we certainly understand the impact one poor decision can have.

      "While this behavior is not acceptable, this is a very challenging societal issue that is dealt with everywhere on a daily basis, and we will use this as a learning opportunity for Terry and our program."

      According to published accounts, Beckner was stopped by university police for driving without headlights. As officers approached the car they noticed a strong odor of marijuana and a search uncovered a Ziploc-styled bag with marijuana inside it.

      Beckner tore the ACL and MCL and suffered cartilage damage in his right knee in a game against Brigham Young on Nov. 14. He underwent surgery and is expected to be ready for the start of fall camp in August.