College Football
NCAAF News Wire
  • East Carolina removes DT Commissiong from team after arrest
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, August 26, 2016

    East Carolina dismissed projected starting defensive lineman Darius Commissiong from the team after his arrest Friday on charges of felony animal cruelty,

    • Head coach Scottie Montgomery announced the decision to dismiss Commissiong.

      "While we always want to be in a position to guide young people, unacceptable behavior such as this clearly crosses the line of humanity and simply will not be tolerated," Montgomery said in a statement. "There's a level of accountability which defines our program, athletics department and East Carolina University, and any conduct which isn't congruent with those values is unwelcome here."

      Commissiong, who transferred to East Carolina from Iowa Western Community College in the summer of 2015, played in 10 games as a reserve last season and made 10 tackles. He was projected as a starter this season.

      According to an Associated Press report, police said a 1-year-old Shih Tzu that belonged to an unidentified woman was found dead. The dog had three cracked ribs, a torn liver, broken teeth, a collapsed lung and a broken leg among his injuries.

      Commissiong was booked at the Pitt County Detention Center on $25,000 secured bond.

  • College football notebook: Wisconsin QB Houston to start versus LSU
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, August 26, 2016

    Bart Houston will start the opening game of the season for the Wisconsin Badgers next week at Lambeau Field in Green Bay against fifth-ranked LSU.

    • The fifth-year senior was named Wisconsin's starter over redshirt freshman Alex Hornibrook.

      Badgers coach Paul Chryst implied the move is not necessarily long-term.

      "Bart gives us our best chance against LSU," he said. "He earned the right to be the starter. ... We're naming the starter for LSU and not trying to get ahead of ourselves."

      --Dakota Prukop, a graduate transfer from Montana State, was named the Oregon Ducks' starting quarterback.

      Prukop will get the start in No. 24 Oregon's season opener on Sept. 3 against UC Davis. Prukop arrived to the Eugene campus in January and went through all of the spring work with the Ducks.

      True freshman Justin Herbert, who joined the team this summer, was named the backup quarterback for Week 1. The 6-foot-5 freshman is from Sheldon High School in Eugene.

      Prukop amassed 7,347 total yards of offense during his two years as starter at Montana State, with 5,584 career passing yards and 46 touchdowns.

      --Junior college transfer Richard Lagow has been named the starting quarterback for Indiana, coach Kevin Wilson announced.

      The 6-foot-6, 240-pound junior beat out Zander Diamont and Danny Cameron for Thursday night's season opener at Florida International.

      Lagow threw for 2,285 yards and 21 touchdowns at Cisco Community College in Texas in 2015. He enrolled at Indiana in January and participated in spring practice.

      Diamont was a better runner than passer in his first two seasons with the Hoosiers and will be the backup. Cameron, the son of former Indiana coach Cam Cameron, will open the season No. 3 on the depth chart.

      --Auburn coach Gus Malzahn named redshirt sophomore Sean White as the starting quarterback for the Tigers.

      White beat out Jeremy Johnson, last year's opening day starter, and John Franklin III for the starting job.

      White became the starter last season after a Week 3 loss to LSU and started five straight games before an injury forced him to miss the majority of Auburn's final four games. White completed 58 percent of his passes and threw for 1,166 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions last season.

      --Former Illinois head coach Tim Beckman has stepped down as a volunteer assistant at North Carolina to avoid being a "further distraction" to the program.

      The announcement on Thursday by the university and Beckman came one day after North Carolina officials confirmed that Beckman was volunteering with Tar Heels head coach Larry Fedora and the defensive coaching staff.

      Beckman was fired by the Fighting Illini last Aug. 28 before the 2015 season following a school investigation that found he mistreated players. A school investigation concluded he influenced medical decisions and pressured players to play hurt.

      In April, Beckman reached a $250,000 settlement with the Illinois after he filed a wrongful termination lawsuit. After his firing, Beckman called the accusations "utterly false."

  • Prukop named Oregon starting QB
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, August 26, 2016

    Quarterback Dakota Prukop, a graduate transfer from Montana State, was named the Oregon Ducks' starting quarterback on Friday

    • Prukop will get the start in No. 24 Oregon's season opener on Sept. 3 against UC Davis.

      Prukop arrived to the Eugene campus in January and went through all of the spring work with the Ducks.

      True freshman Justin Herbert, who joined the team this summer, was named the backup quarterback for Week 1. The 6-foot-5 freshman is from Sheldon High School in Eugene.

      Prukop will be the second consecutive graduate transfer to start a season opener for the Ducks, following Eastern Washington graduate transfer Vernon Adams Jr.

      Prukop amassed 7,347 total yards of offense during his two years as starter at Montana State, with 5,584 career passing yards and 46 touchdowns. In 2014, Prukop led Montana State to a 77-37 win over UC Davis, throwing for 361 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for 148 yards and two scores.

      "Dakota has been the most consistent so far and everybody else had kind of had their moments," Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said last week. "We'll let it play out. The best guy is going to play. Those guys have to step up and present their best deal. We can work around the most consistent guy and tailor our offense to that guy. Dakota has been the most consistent so far. No doubt about that."

  • Indiana appoints Lagow as starting QB
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, August 26, 2016

    Junior college transfer Richard Lagow has been named the starting quarterback for Indiana, coach Kevin Wilson announced Friday.

    • The 6-foot-6, 240-pound junior beat out Zander Diamont and Danny Cameron for Thursday night's season opener at Florida International.

      "He's really playing the best," Wilson said of Lagow. "The other guys are playing better, and Zander gives you kind of a change-up out there. But the guy we're going with is playing really, really good.

      "I'm curious to see how he reacts in a game, because he's been great in practice."

      Lagow threw for 2,285 yards and 21 touchdowns at Cisco Community College in Texas in 2015. He enrolled at Indiana in January and participated in spring practice.

      Lagow started both years at Cisco, throwing for 4,506 yards and 38 touchdowns and emerging as one of the nation's top junior college players.

      In 2013, Lagow was going to play for Connecticut but before the season opener, he transferred to Oklahoma State where he walked on and redshirted. The next season, Lagow landed at Cisco.

      Diamont was a better runner than passer in his first two seasons with the Hoosiers and will be the backup. Cameron, the son of former Indiana coach Cam Cameron, will open the season No. 3 on the depth chart.

      Wilson said he will look for ways to get Diamont on the field.

      "We can put two quarterbacks on the field at the same time," Wilson said. "He's not a receiver, but he can play on the perimeter. Zander gives you some running skills the other guys don't have, so you may see them both lined up in the backfield at times."

  • Auburn names QB White as starter
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, August 26, 2016

    Auburn coach Gus Malzahn named redshirt sophomore Sean White as the starting quarterback for the Tigers.

    • White beat out Jeremy Johnson, last year's opening day starter, and John Franklin III for the starting job.

      Malzahn said it was time to name his starter for the season opener against No. 2 Clemson on Sept. 3.

      "We're excited for Sean," Malzahn said Thursday. "He's earned it. He's a guy that has experience in our offense (from) last year. He's a tough guy. He's in a good spot. He's in a good spot to lead this team. The team is going to rally around him. So I'm excited for him.

      "I think it will be important that he'll have a good full week to work specifically just with the ones. We've really tried to do a good job of all three guys getting equal opportunities."

      White became the starter last season after a Week 3 loss to LSU and started five straight games before an injury forced him to miss the majority of Auburn's final four games.

      White completed 58 percent of his passes and threw for 1,166 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions last season.

      "It feels really good," White said after being informed of the decision before Thursday's practice. "I feel blessed to be in this position, and I feel responsible to lead the team against Clemson. I'm happy that coach put that responsibility on me. My teammates believe in me, and I feel like they have a reason to believe in me. I think we'll be ready to go come Saturday."

  • Ex-Illinois coach Beckman steps down as UNC volunteer assistant
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, August 26, 2016

    Former Illinois head coach Tim Beckman has stepped down as a volunteer assistant at North Carolina to avoid being a "further distraction" to the program.

    • The announcement on Thursday by the university and Beckman came one day after North Carolina officials confirmed that Beckman was volunteering with Tar Heels head coach Larry Fedora and the defensive coaching staff.

      "I appreciate the opportunity Coach Fedora gave me to stay connected to the sport and be around one of the best staffs in the country," Beckman said in a statement. "His willingness to help a friend was a benefit both personally and professionally. I do not wish to be a further distraction to the team or University and I will no longer serve as a volunteer at UNC. I wish Larry and the program nothing but success going forward."

      Beckman was fired by the Fighting Illini last Aug. 28 before the 2015 season following a school investigation that found he mistreated players. A school investigation concluded he influenced medical decisions and pressured players to play hurt.

      In April, Beckman reached a $250,000 settlement with the Illinois after he filed a wrongful termination lawsuit. After his firing, Beckman called the accusations "utterly false."

      Fedora previously worked with Beckman in 2007 when they were both assistant coaches at Oklahoma State.

      "I know Tim. I know his side of the story, also. So I was comfortable with it,"Fedora said Wednesday. "If I wouldn't have been, obviously I wouldn't have brought him. I wouldn't have allowed him to be in our program. But I was very comfortable with it. I don't have any issues with it at all."

      A day later, Fedora said he and Beckman "agreed his presence had become too much of a distraction."

      North Carolina chancellor Carol Folt said she was "surprised and disappointed" when she first learned of Beckman's role with the team on Wednesday.

      "The decision for Mr. Beckman to withdraw from his volunteer position was the right thing to do, and moving forward, I don't expect this situation to recur," Folt said Thursday in a statement. "I continue to put a great deal of trust in Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham and Coach Fedora to educate and develop our student-athletes and to ensure we meet the high standards we all expect at Carolina."

      Beckman's record in three years as head coach at Illinois was 12-25 overall and 4-20 in Big Ten Conference games.

  • College football notebook: Notre Dame's Kelly expresses 'disappointment'
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, August 25, 2016

    Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly delayed making a call on his starting quarterback for the season opener at Texas, and university administration will have to make another significant decision -- whether to punish the four players arrested last week.

    • Kelly said he would keep his comments to the team following last weekend's arrest "amongst the team," but he summarized his thoughts on the arrests of cornerback Ashton White, wide receiver Kevin Stepherson, running back Dexter Williams and linebacker Te'von Coney. All four practiced Wednesday.

      "Like any other father, I think my first one was disappointment, and that disappointment kind of moved on to embarrassment to the university, and then I was mad as hell," Kelly said.

      They were arrested on misdemeanor marijuana charges. Stepherson and Williams were charged with possession of a handgun without a license, another misdemeanor.

      "You have to be prepared as a college coach, unfortunately, to deal with some poor decisions," Kelly said.

      Kelly dismissed the fifth player involved in the incident, fifth-year senior safety Max Redfield, from the team.

      Senior cornerback Devon Butler was arrested Saturday in a separate incident and was not involved in practice. Kelly said he was not part of any football activities, because he faces a felony charge that would result in dismissal from Notre Dame. Butler pleaded not guilty Wednesday felony counts of resisting law enforcement and battery against a public safety official.

      As for the competition between senior Malik Zaire and junior DeShone Kizer at quarterback could go right up until game day in Austin. Kelly said he will make the call as soon as he knows it's the right answer.

      --Penn State is going with Trace McSorley at quarterback.

      Head coach James Franklin informed the team one day after a sitdown with McSorley in his office along with offensive coordinator John Moorhead.

      The competition at quarterback began in January, only days after all-time passing leader Christian Hackenberg announced he would enter the 2016 NFL Draft. Hackenberg was drafted by the New York Jets.

      McSorley played the second half of Hackenberg's final college game because of a shoulder injury, and completed 14 of 27 passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns against Georgia.

      McSorley won the job over redshirt sophomore Tommy Stevens, in part because of his offseason leadership.

      "I think the biggest thing, and Tommy asked the same question, is that (Trace) has been the backup for two years," said Franklin. "He has game experience. There's value in that. There really is. You've been able to see it already. You're not projecting as much."

      McSorley gathered teammates and worked with the team's strength staff during the NCAA coach-free window in the late spring and summer.

      Franklin said he wants a one-quarterback system that doesn't force the starter to look over his shoulder, but could still find a role for Stevens.

      "It's an honor to be named a starting quarterback at Penn State," McSorley said. "Since the day I committed here, I've always kind of dreamed about it and thought about it. I mean, all of the great quarterbacks that have come out of Penn State, it's an honor to be included in that group."

      --No pressure, Ryan Burns, all Stanford is asking of you is to replace the winningest quarterback in program history.

      With Kevin Hogan firing passes in the NFL, Burns, a junior, won the No. 1 job for the Cardinal over sophomore Keller Chryst.

      Chryst will also see time in the Sept. 2 opener against Kansas State, coach David Shaw said.

      "There hasn't been a huge separation between the two," Shaw said. "Both guys have played extremely well. But Ryan's been just barely enough ahead to get the nod."

      Not entirely unexpected, the decision was a bit of a surprise in that Chryst had been the No. 2 quarterback last season.

      Shaw said the 6-5, 232-pound Burns, who grew up in Virginia about 25 miles from Hogan's hometown, is more comfortable with some aspects of the offense and Chryst has mastered others. He announced the pecking order now to let both players accommodate to their Game 1 role.

      "So much of playing quarterback in our offense is pre-snap understanding of what we're trying to do vs. the structure that presents itself defensively," Shaw said. "(He) has to recognize it, make a quick decision and put action behind that decision."

      Burns played in four games last season and two games in 2014. Shaw said Burns will be asked to do everything in the vast offense, with no limitations or abbreviated versions of the system being used to cater to his experience.

      "We need him to play quarterback," Shaw said. "It's big-time college football. We're not spoon-feeding anybody."

      --Florida standout cornerback Jalen Tabor and tight end C'yontai Lewis have been reinstated after a one-week suspension.

      The two players were disciplined for fighting in practice on Aug. 16. Coach Jim McElwain said neither player will suit up when the Gators open the season against Massachusetts on Sept. 3.

      "We talked about it as a family and our expectations," McElwain said during a press conference. "Off we go."

      Both Tabor and Lewis returned to practice on Thursday.

      The status of star receiver Antonio Callaway remains uncertain. Callaway was suspended in January for violating the university's code of conduct policy in regards to an alleged sexual assault.

      He was recently cleared in a university Title IX hearing with the decision being made by an officer who is a Florida booster.

      "We're still working through some things," McElwain said.

  • Florida reinstates CB Tabor, TE Lewis
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, August 25, 2016

    Florida standout cornerback Jalen Tabor and tight end C'yontai Lewis have been reinstated after a one-week suspension.

    • The two players were disciplined for fighting in practice on Aug. 16. Coach Jim McElwain said neither player will suit up when the Gators open the season against Massachusetts on Sept. 3.

      "We talked about it as a family and our expectations," McElwain said during a press conference. "Off we go."

      Both Tabor and Lewis returned to practice on Thursday.

      The status of star receiver Antonio Callaway remains uncertain. Callaway was suspended in January for violating the university's code of conduct policy in regards to an alleged sexual assault.

      He was recently cleared in a university Title IX hearing with the decision being made by an officer who is a Florida booster.

      "We're still working through some things," McElwain said.

  • University to determine fate of Notre Dame players
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, August 25, 2016

    Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly delayed making a call on his starting quarterback for the season opener at Texas, and university administration will have to make another significant decision – whether to punish the four players arrested last week.

    • Kelly said he would keep his comments to the team following last weekend's arrest "amongst the team," but he summarized his thoughts on the arrests of cornerback Ashton White, wide receiver Kevin Stepherson, running back Dexter Williams and linebacker Te'von Coney. All four practiced Wednesday.

      "Like any other father, I think my first one was disappointment, and that disappointment kind of moved on to embarrassment to the university, and then I was mad as hell," Kelly said.

      They were arrested on misdemeanor marijuana charges. Stepherson and Williams were charged with possession of a handgun without a license, another misdemeanor.

      "You have to be prepared as a college coach, unfortunately, to deal with some poor decisions," Kelly said.

      Kelly dismissed the fifth player involved in the incident, fifth-year senior safety Max Redfield, from the team.

      Senior cornerback Devon Butler was arrested Saturday in a separate incident and was not involved in practice. Kelly said he was not part of any football activities, because he faces a felony charge that would result in dismissal from Notre Dame. Butler pleaded not guilty Wednesday felony counts of resisting law enforcement and battery against a public safety official.

      As for the competition between senior Malik Zaire and junior DeShone Kizer at quarterback could go right up until game day in Austin. Kelly said he will make the call as soon as he knows it's the right answer.

  • McSorley to start for Penn State
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, August 25, 2016

    Penn State is going with Trace McSorley at quarterback.

    • Head coach James Franklin informed the team one day after a sitdown with McSorley in his office along with offensive coordinator John Moorhead.

      The competition at quarterback began in January, only days after all-time passing leader Christian Hackenberg announced he would enter the 2016 NFL Draft. Hackenberg was drafted by the New York Jets.

      McSorley played the second half of Hackenberg's final college game because of a shoulder injury, and completed 14 of 27 passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns against Georgia.

      McSorley won the job over redshirt sophomore Tommy Stevens, in part because of his offseason leadership.

      "I think the biggest thing, and Tommy asked the same question, is that (Trace) has been the backup for two years," said Franklin. "He has game experience. There's value in that. There really is. You've been able to see it already. You're not projecting as much."

      McSorley gathered teammates and worked with the team's strength staff during the NCAA coach-free window in the late spring and summer.

      Franklin said he wants a one-quarterback system that doesn't force the starter to look over his shoulder, but could still find a role for Stevens.

      "It's an honor to be named a starting quarterback at Penn State," McSorley said. "Since the day I committed here, I've always kind of dreamed about it and thought about it. I mean, all of the great quarterbacks that have come out of Penn State, it's an honor to be included in that group."

  • College football notebook: Maryland names Hills top QB
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, August 24, 2016

    Senior Perry Hills was named Maryland's starting quarterback for the season opener on Sept. 3.

    • Hills started eight games for the Terrapins in 2015 and had 1,001 passing yards with eight touchdowns. He rushed for 535 yards, the fourth-most by a Maryland quarterback in a single season. Hills set the Maryland single-game quarterback record by rushing for 170 yards at Ohio State last season.

      Hills has played in 18 career games with 15 starts at quarterback for the Terps, passing for 2,423 yards with 17 touchdowns with six rushing touchdowns.

      -- East Carolina transfer Kurt Benkert was named starting quarterback at Virginia over incumbent starter and fifth-year senior Matt Johns, as well as Connor Brewer.

      Benkert followed former ECU coach Ruffin McNeill, who was fired after last season, to Virginia at the end of last season.

      Virginia has not qualified for a bowl game in five years and went 5-7 last season with Johns starting 12 games and passing for 20 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Johns and Brewer, also a fifth-year senior, will share the backup role for now.

      -- Arkansas quarterback Rafe Peavey confirmed he is leaving the Razorbacks to join the SMU Mustangs.

      Peavey, a redshirt sophomore, will have to sit out the 2016 season with the Mustangs. He then will have two years of eligibility remaining.

      Peavey was hampered by a back injury that required minor surgery last month. He was competing for Arkansas' backup quarterback job.

  • Cal, Hawaii primed for CFB grand opening in Australia
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, August 24, 2016

    Players posed at the Opera House in Sydney and snapped pics of former Cal running back Marshawn Lynch. It's anything but the typical build up to college football game day for Cal and Hawaii this week.

    • Still, Davis Webb, always willing to talk lofty expectations, knows this is no time to be shy. Not with the Bears' 2016 grand opening on the world's stage.

      Webb, a senior quarterback and transfer from Texas Tech, takes over the Golden Bears' "Bear Raid" offense from Jared Goff: the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NFL draft. Cal and its new quarterback are literally kicking off the college football season against Hawaii at 7 p.m. PDT Friday in Sydney, Australia.

      Cal is playing 7,500 miles from home, and is eligible to play despite the season officially beginning Sept. 1, as both programs signed a waiver from the NCAA to make the international stage a reality. It's the first college football game in Australia since BYU played Colorado State in 1987 in Melbourne.

      And Webb is ready to dazzle the world.

      "We've got to put on a show," said Davis. "It's on global TV."

      Webb is no stranger to the ups and downs of a college football career. At Texas Tech, he split time as a starter as a freshman (with future Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield), was the starter in 2014 before suffering a season-ending ankle injury and was a reserve in 2015 before transferring. He amassed 5,577 passing yards, 46 touchdowns and 22 interceptions while in Lubbock, Texas.

      Cal's offense has indeed stolen the show in recent seasons with Goff at the controls. In 2015, Goff passed for 4,714 yards, 43 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, completing 65 percent of his passes as the Golden Bears delivered their first winning season in five years.

      Webb, who battled injuries and was an off-and-on starter over three years at Texas Tech, inherits an offense with three returning running backs to help him in Khalfani Muhammad, Vice Enwere and Tre Watson.

      Not to mention, Cal stole headlines with a late acquisition of a five-star recruit in wide receiver Demetris Robertson.

      Hawaii has also offered a prolific offense in years past, and senior running back Paul Harris returns after posting 1,166 rushing yards as a junior.

      Under coach Nick Rolovich, Hawaii wants to take home more than the Malibu surfboards they were presented upon arrival Tuesday. Rolovich, a former Hawaii quarterback, is eager to get his first season as head coach under way. He played for June Jones in the accelerator-only style passing offense that helped Hawaii to the Sugar Bowl eight years ago. But they're 11-39 since, and a turnaround will be tricky for a first-year coach.

      There are more major tests coming on the mainland, including the Sept. 3 visit to Michigan. The Rainbow Warriors will log 40,000 air miles this season, or about double the most road-weary NFL team in 2016. Rolovich, whose atypical coaching approach has been lauded by the team, wants his players to breathe in the moment.

      "This is a dream come true," Rolovich said.

      Sonny Dykes, in his fourth year coaching Cal (13-23 record overall, 7-5 in 2015) was initially concerned about the travel to Australia and the ensuing jet lag and recovery time. But Cal has a bye directly afterward, which is helping him rest easy.

      "I had a lot of concerns. The big thing for us was just how it was going to fall in our schedule," Dykes said. "It was really important for our players to come back and have an open week after the trip … That was a big part of it, was getting the waiver by the NCAA."

  • Virginia's Benkert claims starting QB job
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, August 24, 2016

    East Carolina transfer Kurt Benkert was named starting quarterback at Virginia over incumbent starter and fifth-year senior Matt Johns, as well as Connor Brewer.

    • Benkert followed former ECU coach Ruffin McNeill, who was fired after last season, to Virginia at the end of last season.

      "He came here with a sense of purpose, not only to further his education -- but to start his family and play great football," coach Bronco Mendenhall said of Benkert, who got married recently.

      Virginia has not qualified for a bowl game in five years and went 5-7 last season with Johns starting 12 games and passing for 20 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Johns and Brewer, also a fifth-year senior, will share the backup role for now, Mendenhall said.

      Benkert has consistently moved the offense in fall camp.

      "When I look at a quarterback, what I look first and foremost for is do they move the team into the end zone?" Mendenhall said. "He's a good decision maker, very strong arm, and he has natural leadership skills."

  • Maryland names Hills QB
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, August 24, 2016

    Senior Perry Hills was named Maryland's starting quarterback for the season opener on Sept. 3.

    • "After an open competition through the spring and the first two-plus weeks of training camp, we're excited to move forward with Perry as our starting quarterback," said first-year coach DJ Durkin. "Perry has embraced this challenge from day one and has put in the work and shown improvement every day. He's grasped our offense and the way we want to do things, and has shown tremendous leadership."

      Hills started eight games for the Terrapins in 2015 and had 1,001 passing yards with eight touchdowns. He rushed for 535 yards, the fourth-most by a Maryland quarterback in a single season. Hills set the Maryland single-game quarterback record by rushing for 170 yards at Ohio State last season.

      Hills has played in 18 career games with 15 starts at quarterback for the Terps, passing for 2,423 yards with 17 touchdowns with six rushing touchdowns.

      Durkin announced Wednesday that sophomore quarterback Caleb Henderson transferred to Maryland from the University of North Carolina. He will sit out the 2016 season and have two years of eligibility remaining.

  • Ex-Illinois coach Beckman now volunteer assistant at UNC
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, August 24, 2016

    Former Illinois head coach Tim Beckman has become a volunteer assistant coach on defense at North Carolina.

    • North Carolina officials confirmed Wednesday that Beckman is volunteering with the Tar Heels' defensive coaching staff. There is no hiring process for a volunteer coach.

      Beckman was fired by the Fighting Illini last Aug. 28 before the 2015 season following a school investigation that found he mistreated players. A school investigation concluded he influenced medical decisions and pressured players to play hurt.

      In April, Beckman reached a $250,000 settlement with the university after he filed a wrongful termination lawsuit. After his firing, Beckman called the accusations "utterly false."

      Tar Heels head coach Larry Fedora previously worked with Beckman in 2007 when they were both assistant coaches at Oklahoma State.

      Beckman's record in three years as head coach at Illinois was 12-25 overall and 4-20 in Big Ten Conference games.

  • Arkansas QB Peavey transferring to SMU
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, August 24, 2016

    Arkansas quarterback Rafe Peavey confirmed Wednesday he is leaving the Razorbacks to join the SMU Mustangs.

    • Peavey, a redshirt sophomore, will have to sit out the 2016 season with the Mustangs. He then will have two years of eligibility remaining.

      Peavey was hampered by a back injury that required minor surgery last month. He was competing for Arkansas' backup quarterback job.

      "Thank you to the state of Arkansas!! After much prayer and consideration, it is with a heavy heart that I'm informing y'all that I have decided to further my career at SMU," Peavey wrote in part on Twitter. "It was a tough decision to leave the school that I committed to as a sophomore in high school, but I look forward to what God has in store for me in this new chapter of my life."

      Peavey, a four-star recruit, was redshirted as a freshman in 2014 and did not get on the field in 2015.

  • Notre Dame CB Butler charged; accused of tackling officer
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, August 23, 2016

    Notre Dame senior cornerback Devin Butler was charged with two felonies on Tuesday stemming from the incident in which he was arrested early Saturday morning.

    • Butler was charged with resisting law enforcement and battery against a public safety official, according to the St. Joseph County (Ind.) prosecutor's office.

      Butler is scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday.

      Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly indefinitely suspended Butler on Sunday.

      School policy calls for the dismissal of any student who is charged with a felony.

      Notre Dame previously dismissed safety Max Redfield as a result of a slew of player arrests over the weekend. Six Notre Dame players were arrested in two separate incidents Friday and Saturday.

      Redfield, running back Dexter Williams, linebacker Te'von Coney, cornerback Ashton White and receiver Kevin Stepherson were arrested for possession of marijuana, which is a misdemeanor.

      The players were stopped by a trooper in Fulton County -- which is about 50 miles outside of South Bend -- for driving 73 mph in a 60-mph zone, according to police.

      Butler was arrested following allegations that he pushed a woman outside a South Bend, Ind., lounge and an altercation with a police officer. A South Bend police officer said Butler punched and slammed him to the ground outside the bar. Officers had to use a stun gun to subdue Butler, police said.

      Redfield and Butler, both seniors, received the most severe punishment because they are upperclassman. The university could further discipline all six players, according to Kelly.

      "At Notre Dame, we place so much importance on the integration of students who are athletes into the broader university, the primary responsibility for discipline lies, as it should, with the University's Office of Community Standards," Kelly said in a statement. "But even within that system, there are times when a player's conduct so clearly fails to meet the standards I have set for our football team that it is appropriate to take action independent of any decision that might be made by the Office of Community Standards. This is such an instance.

      "The expectations we set for the members of our team are high, but they are especially so for the upperclassmen who are expected to provide leadership and a positive example to the other members of the team. Max and, at least at this stage in the review of his case, Devin, have failed in that regard and so have lost the privilege of continuing to be part of our team."

      Butler was slated to be a backup at cornerback but broke his left foot in the summer. He was expected to miss at least the first month of the season.

      Notre Dame will open the season at Texas on Sept. 4.

  • College football notebook: Four-star recruit spurns Michigan
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, August 23, 2016

    Four-star recruit Aubrey Solomon decommitted from Michigan after the Wolverines sent a thank you note addressed to another player in regard to attending an event Solomon knew nothing about.

    • "A day or two ago, they sent my mom a card thanking us for going to the Michigan BBQ, but we never went," Solomon told Dawgs247, a Georgia recruiting site. "I do not know which recruit they were talking to, but it was not me. It was just a little heartbreaking, for me to supposedly be so high on their list, for them to confuse me with someone else. Plus they spelled both of my names wrong after I told them, but that was not the main issue. I guess they do not have tabs on me."

      Solomon committed to Michigan in June, giving the Wolverines eight players with four-star ratings in the Class of 2017. Solomon said he will still attend his official visit, but Alabama, Auburn, Clemson and Georgia are back in the mix for the Leesburg, Ga., native.

      -- Offensive lineman George Brown Jr. is transferring from LSU, a school spokesman confirmed to The Advocate.

      Brown Jr. redshirted last season after choosing the Tigers over Miami, Michigan State, Penn State and UCLA.

      Brown Jr., a 6-foot-7, 290-pound native of Cincinnati, will have to sit out the 2016 season per NCAA transfer rules if he enrolls at another FBS program, and will be a third-year sophomore next season. His father said Brown Jr. will choose a new school this week.

      -- Sophomore quarterback David Blough, who started eight games for Purdue last season, will be the Boilermakers' starter this year.

      Coach Darrell Hazell made the announcement Monday.

      Last season, Blough completed 169 of 293 passes (57.7 percent) for 1,574 yards and 10 touchdowns with eight interceptions.

      -- Redshirt junior Chris Laviano was named Rutgers' starting quarterback for the Scarlet Knights' season opener against No. 14 Washington on Sept. 3.

      First-year head coach Chris Ash announced the choice on Monday.

      Laviano started 11 games last season in Kyle Flood's final year as Rutgers coach. This year, he beat out TCU graduate transfer Zach Allen, redshirt junior Hayden Rettig and redshirt sophomore Giovanni Rescigno for the starting job.

      -- Brigham Young senior Taysom Hill turned 26 years old and he received the present he most coveted.

      Hill was named BYU's starting quarterback by first-year coach Kalani Sitake.

      The senior beat out sophomore Tanner Mangum, who passed for 3,377 yards and 23 touchdowns after Hill was lost in the 2015 season opener with a foot injury.

      -- Utah wide receiver Corey Butler-Byrd was partially reinstated from his suspension, a day after pleading guilty as part of a plea deal in Salt Lake City stemming from a misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief last month.

      Butler-Byrd will be able to participate in practices and team activities, but will not be able to compete in games.

      Butler-Byrd was suspended indefinitely on the first day of fall camp for what coach Kyle Whittingham called "personal issues" in a school release. Authorities say he damaged a university police patrol car and building in July.

      -- Wisconsin offensive lineman Dan Voltz has retired from football after he experienced struggles in his attempts to return from major knee surgery.

      Voltz, a fifth-year senior, tore the ACL and also suffered meniscus damage when he injured his right knee against Illinois last season. He was listed as the No. 1-ranked center and 52nd-best overall prospect in the 2017 NFL Draft by NFLDraftScout.com.

      Voltz said he was quitting football due to "physical reasons."

  • Fifth-year senior QB Hill named starter for BYU
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, August 23, 2016

    Brigham Young senior Taysom Hill turned 26 years old on Tuesday and he received the present he most coveted.

    • Hill was named BYU's starting quarterback by first-year coach Kalani Sitake.

      The senior beat out sophomore Tanner Mangum, who passed for 3,377 yards and 23 touchdowns after Hill was lost in the 2015 season opener with a foot injury.

      "We talked as a staff this weekend, and Taysom's going to be our starter," offensive coordinator Ty Detmer told reporters after Tuesday's practice. "He's 100 percent healthy, and he's a fifth-year senior. He turned 26 today. He's got the experience and the leadership."

      Hill also sustained season-ending injuries in 2012 and 2014 so health is always an issue with the dual-threat signal caller. He ranks 13th in BYU history with 4,606 passing yards to go with 31 touchdowns, while also rushing for 2,212 yards and 24 scores.

      His lone healthy season at BYU came in 2013 as a sophomore when he passed for 2,938 yards and 19 touchdowns and rushed for 1,344 yards and 10 scores.

      Mangum created a name for himself immediately upon replacing Hill in the season opener against Nebraska by throwing a "Hail Mary" touchdown pass on the final play of the game.

      Mangum made his first career start the next week against Boise State and furthered his reputation by throwing a game-winning touchdown pass in the final minute. He became the first BYU freshman to ever throw for more than 3,000 yards.

      The Cougars open the season against Arizona on Sept. 3.

  • Save the dates: Top tests for Top 25 teams
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, August 23, 2016

    The college football season begins Friday with an appetizer -- Cal and Hawaii play in Australia -- before one of the tastiest opening weekends in memory.

    • Get a good look at the Associated Press Top 25 now because many of the season's great games take place in the first weekend of September and will quickly shuffle the polls. There are four matchups of ranked teams in the opening week, plus other goodies such as LSU-Wisconsin at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Notre Dame at Texas and North Carolina vs. Georgia.

      But in the chase to earn one of four spots in the College Football Playoff, an "elimination" game can come early in non-conference play or late in a league game. We take a look at when Top 25 teams will face their top test:

      1. Alabama, Nov. 5

      Playing at LSU is scary, but the Tide has won five in a row in the series, not allowing the Tigers to score more than 17 points in any of those games.

      2. Clemson, Oct. 29

      To win the ACC Atlantic, the Tigers likely will have to win at Florida State for the first time since 2006.

      3. Oklahoma, Sept. 17

      The Sooners play host to Ohio State in only the third-ever meeting of college football bluebloods.

      4. Florida State, Sept. 5

      The home game vs. Clemson is noted above; how about a Week 1 tilt vs. Ole Miss -- and best-in-the-SEC QB Chad Kelly -- in Orlando?

      5. LSU, Nov. 5

      It's all about this home game vs. Alabama, but the Tigers also can't afford a hangover, considering a physical tussle at Arkansas a week later.

      6. Ohio State, Nov. 26

      The Buckeyes crushed Michigan 42-13 in Ann Arbor last year. It won't be as easy this year in Columbus in Round 2 of Urban Meyer vs. Jim Harbaugh.

      7. Michigan, Nov. 26

      Harbaugh's task is to reclaim The Game. The Wolverines have lost 11 of the past 12 against Ohio State.

      8. Stanford, Oct. 15

      After playing USC, at UCLA, at Washington and vs. Washington State in consecutive games, the nation's toughest first-half schedule ends with a trip to Notre Dame.

      9. Tennessee, Oct. 1

      The surging Vols play host to Alabama on Oct. 15, but this earlier game at Georgia is more important in terms of getting a leg up in the SEC East.

      10. Notre Dame, Nov. 26

      Assuming games vs. Texas, Michigan State, Stanford, Miami and Virginia Tech have gone well, a big, big bowl could be on the line when the Irish close at USC.

      11. Ole Miss, Sept. 17

      The Rebels play host to Alabama, having won two in a row over the Tide (and they put up 43 points last season).

      12. Michigan State, Oct. 29

      The Spartans are looking to make it eight of nine vs. Michigan when they meet in East Lansing.

      13. TCU, Oct. 1

      Last year, with a gutted defense, the Horned Frogs lost by just a point to Oklahoma. Rematch is in Fort Worth.

      14. Washington, Oct. 8

      Two-week stretch will define season: home vs. Stanford (Sept. 30) and at Oregon a week later. Huskies have lost nine of past 11 to the Cardinal, 12 in a row to the Ducks.

      15. Houston, Sept. 3

      Cougars take on Oklahoma at NRG Stadium, home of the NFL's Texans. With a win, rev the playoff talk.

      16. UCLA, Nov. 19

      As it was last year, the Pac-12 South title could be on the line when Bruins face cross-town rival USC, this time in the Rose Bowl.

      17. Iowa, Nov. 12

      The Hawkeyes miss Ohio State and Michigan State in cross-division games, and get Michigan -- which wasn't on the schedule last season -- at home.

      18. Georgia, Oct. 29

      With a new coach (Kirby Smart) and maybe a new QB (freshman Jacob Eason), it's always about this rivalry against Florida in Jacksonville.

      19. Louisville, Oct. 1

      With QB Lamar Jackson at the helm, the Cardinals should be scary, first at home vs. Florida State (Sept. 17) and then at Clemson to start October.

      20. USC, Sept. 3

      Interim no more, coach Clay Helton matches wits with Alabama's Nick Saban as the season opens in Jerry's World in Arlington, Texas.

      21. Oklahoma State, Dec. 3

      The Cowboys got rolled 58-23 in Bedlam last season, looking for revenge vs. Oklahoma in Norman.

      22. North Carolina, Sept. 3

      Heels are favored in ACC Coastal, but an opener against Georgia (in Atlanta) will indicate whether they will be a national topic.

      23. Baylor, Nov. 12

      With the off-field issues, what shape will the Bears be in when they play host to TCU (Nov. 5) and go to Oklahoma a week later?

      24. Oregon, Nov. 12

      The Ducks get Pac-12 favorite Stanford in Autzen; Oregon has won the past two meetings.

      25. Florida, Nov. 26

      Will the Gators have enough offense in their season-ender at Florida State? Florida hasn't scored more than seven points in four of past six meetings vs. Seminoles.

  • Wisconsin's Voltz retiring from football due to injury
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, August 23, 2016

    Wisconsin offensive lineman Dan Voltz has retired from football after he experienced struggles in his attempts to return from major knee surgery.

    • Voltz, a fifth-year senior, tore the ACL and also suffered meniscus damage when he injured his right knee against Illinois last season. He was listed as the No. 1-ranked center and 52nd-best overall prospect in the 2017 NFL Draft by NFLDraftScout.com.

      Voltz said he was quitting football due to "physical reasons."

      "It's a hard decision to make," Voltz told reporters. "It's been three or four days of a lot of thinking, a lot of talking to people within the program and family members about it."

      Voltz was making the move to left guard this season after starting 27 college games as a center. But he wasn't having an easy fall camp and had to miss several practices due to knee soreness and other injuries.

      Badgers coach Geep Chryst understood the reasoning for Voltz's decision and said it is possible the lineman could still play a role in the program as a strength coach.

      "What's exciting for us is what Dan wants to do with his future plans have to do with athletics," Chryst told reporters. "He can turn the page and go forward. We had a good discussion about that. Didn't want him hanging on to something, and yet he's interested in a strength training component and also the coaching component maybe. I feel like it's a way that he can transition."

      Voltz said it was difficult to break the news to his teammates.

      "It's hard. This program has really been a big part of my life for five years now," Voltz said. "It's something I deeply care about. You earn the respect of your teammates by how hard you work and the time you put in here. So telling them you won't be part of this anymore wasn't easy for me."

      The loss of Voltz also hurts the Badgers in another area - experience.

      The new projected starting offensive line has combined for just 34 college starts. Sophomore center Michael Deiter (13) has the most experience.

      Sophomore Micah Kapoi will likely replace Voltz as the starting left guard.

  • Utah partially reinstates WR Butler-Byrd
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, August 23, 2016

    Utah wide receiver Corey Butler-Byrd was partially reinstated from his suspension Tuesday, a day after pleading guilty as part of a plea deal in Salt Lake City stemming from a misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief last month.

    • Butler-Byrd will be able to participate in practices and team activities, but will not be able to compete in games.

      Butler-Byrd was suspended indefinitely on the first day of fall camp for what coach Kyle Whittingham called "personal issues" in a school release. Authorities say he damaged a university police patrol car and building in July.

      Butler-Byrd signed with the Utes as a cornerback coming out of junior college in 2015. He started last season on defense before making the switch to wide receiver, with his lone reception a 54-yard touchdown catch. Butler-Boyd also had a kick return for a touchdown.

  • OL Brown latest LSU player to transfer
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, August 23, 2016

    Offensive lineman George Brown Jr. is transferring from LSU, a school spokesman confirmed to The Advocate.

    • Brown Jr. redshirted last season after choosing the Tigers over Miami, Michigan State, Penn State and UCLA.

      "He felt better to go with another staff and go play somewhere else. He's not mad at LSU," George Brown Sr. told The Advocate. "LSU is a great school, great place to be. We love LSU. I'm not the one playing. My son decided he wanted to be somewhere else. He didn't feel that was the place for him. We don't have an issue. We love coach (Les) Miles and all of the staff there. He just decided that he would take his talents other places."

      Brown Jr., a 6-foot-7, 290-pound native of Cincinnati, will have to sit out the 2016 season per NCAA transfer rules if he enrolls at another FBS program, and will be a third-year sophomore next season. His father said Brown Jr. will choose a new school this week.

      "He wants to be at a different place," George Brown Sr. said. "That's it."

      Brown is at least the eighth player to transfer from LSU since the end of last season, according to The Advocate.

      Meanwhile, former LSU commit Da'Monte Coxie is set to enroll at Memphis. The 6-3, 185-pound wide receiver was a late-qualifier academically, eliminating the Tigers as an option this late in the process. He will enroll at Memphis and redshirt this season.

      "I am feeling a sense of relief," Coxie told NOLA.com. "I'm ready to ball and that is about it."

      Coxie ran into eligibility issues after transferring high schools for his senior year, and when his classes carried into the summer his options began to dwindle. He had been considering the junior college route until finally passing all of his summer classes and qualifying to enroll at Memphis.

  • No thanks: Michigan loses four-star recruit in card error
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, August 23, 2016

    Four-star recruit Aubrey Solomon decommited from Michigan after the Wolverines sent a thank you note addressed to another player in regards to attending an event Solomon knew nothing about.

    • "A day or two ago, they sent my mom a card thanking us for going to the Michigan BBQ, but we never went," Solomon told Dawgs247, a Georgia recruiting site. "I do not know which recruit they were talking to, but it was not me. It was just a little heartbreaking, for me to supposedly be so high on their list, for them to confuse me with someone else. Plus they spelled both of my names wrong after I told them, but that was not the main issue. I guess they do not have tabs on me."

      Solomon committed to Michigan in June, giving the Wolverines eight players with four-star ratings in the Class of 2017. Solomon said he will still attend his official visit, but Alabama, Auburn, Clemson and Georgia are back in the mix for the Leesburg, Ga., native.

      "Recruitment is a funny thing," Solomon wrote in a text screen capture posted on social media. "You can easily get caught up in the moment and feel that everyone knows who you are. With that being said, I am going to be re-opening my recruitment, to give the opportunity for those recruiters to not only get it right but to get to know me. Academically, you cannot go wrong with Michigan, but this go around I will make my decision with my mother in the driver's seat."

  • Blough named Purdue's starting QB
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, August 23, 2016

    Sophomore quarterback David Blough, who started eight games for Purdue last season, will be the Boilermakers' starter this year.

    • Coach Darrell Hazell made the announcement Monday.

      "He's done a great job getting himself ready to have a great season," Hazell said. "He's made outstanding decisions with the ball in his hands and protected the football. I think this team is ready to go very far with him as our quarterback.

      "I told David earlier, 'There's no reason to look over your shoulder. This is your job. This team will go as you go. If you throw a pick, I don't care -- let it go and keep doing the things that you're capable of doing,'"

      Last season, Blough completed 169 of 293 passes (57.7 percent) for 1,574 yards and 10 touchdowns with eight interceptions.

      "Having the trust from Coach Hazell and the entire coaching staff is most important to me," Blough said. "I'm just ready to lead the team. It's been a great experience so far. I'm looking to take the next couple steps and be ready to go Sept. 3 (in the opener against Eastern Kentucky)."

      The Boilermakers lost seven of the eight games Blough started last year and finished 2-10 overall, 1-7 in the Big Ten. Blough took over the starting job from Austin Appleby in the season's fourth game.

      Blough was considered the front-runner to retain his job this season, though redshirt freshman Elijah Sindelar also got a look.

      "The biggest thing is I want him to feel extremely comfortable when he takes the field and not worry about anything but moving the offense," Hazell said of Blough. "He's got a ton of weapons on the outside. He's got a great guy to hand the ball off to. He's got two tight ends who are starting to play well. He's got a lot of weapons, and he knows that."