College Football
NCAAF News Wire
  • Ex-Michigan LB apologizes for alarming tweets aimed at Harbaugh
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, April 22, 2018

    Former Michigan football player Elysee Mbem-Bosse apologized for messages he made on social media that appeared to threaten Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh.

    • In a message posted Sunday on his Twitter account, the sophomore linebacker from Georgia said he was taking "full responsibility" for postings from his account beginning last weekend and added that the past several months have been "very hard on me mentally, physically and emotionally."

      Mbem-Bosse said he felt that he was kicked off the team without reason last November and that his rights were violated by university police investigating last week's postings, which referenced the state's open-carry law for firearms, made other vague references to violence and tagged Harbaugh's Twitter handle.

      Mbem-Bosse said he was "harassed" by the university police and was told he was mentally ill without a proper evaluation, which he maintains is a violation of his civil rights. Police declined to say whether they had spoken to Mbem-Bosse.

      A spokeswoman for the university's police department said Sunday that officers "actively continue to assess and evaluate the situation," but they did not a believe a crime had been committed, the Detroit Free Press reported.

      Mbem-Bosse appeared in seven games as a true freshman in 2016 before playing in four games as a sophomore last fall. Michigan confirmed he has not been a part of the football program since mid-November.

      Mbem-Bosse added in his Sunday statement, "at the end of the day, I want to play football."

      --Field Level Media

  • QB Tagovailoa's brother commits to Alabama
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, April 21, 2018

    Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, the brother of Alabama signal caller Tua Tagovailoa, committed to the Crimson Tide on Saturday.

    • Taulia Tagovailoa, a 5-foot-11, pro-style passer who will be a senior at Thompson High School in Alabaster, Ala., next fall, had multiple offers including from Florida, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska and Tennessee.

      "Alabama is where I feel most at home," Taulia Tagovailoa told ESPN in a text message. "It's close to home and my family. Family is the biggest thing to me."

      The Tagovailoa family moved to Alabama last spring after his brother had begun practicing with the Crimson Tide.

      "He and Tua are so very similar in the many ways you can see just watching them play," Thompson coach Mark Freeman told AL.com. "You see a lot of Tua in Taulia because of how they both play, the throws and decisions they make."

      Tua Tagovailoa, the hero of Alabama's overtime victory over Georgia in the College Football Playoff title game in January after entering the contest at halftime, is competing with Jalen Hurts to be Alabama's starting quarterback this season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Former Buckeyes coach Bruce passes away at 87
    By Field Level Media / Friday, April 20, 2018

    Earle Bruce, who followed the legendary Woody Hayes as coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes, died early Friday at the age of 87.

    • His daughters released a statement through the University announcing the news.

      "He was a great man, a wonderful husband, father and grandfather, and a respected coach to many," their statement read, in part.

      Bruce revealed he was suffering from Alzheimer's last August.

      Taking over the Buckeyes program after Hayes was fired for punching an opposing player in the 1978 Gator Bowl, Bruce coached the team to an 81-26-1 record over the next nine seasons.

      Current Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer was a graduate assistant on Bruce's staff in his final two years on the sideline.

      Meyer reflected on Bruce's impact on him in a statement from the school.

      "I've made it clear many times that, other than my father, Coach Bruce was the most influential man in my life," Meyer said. "Every significant decision I've made growing up in this profession was with him involved in it. His wife [Jean] and he were the role models for Shelley and me. They did everything with class. He was not afraid to show how much he loved his family and cared for his family."

      Bruce was an acclaimed high school coach until Hayes brought him on as an assistant at Ohio State in 1966. He left the program to coach the University of Tampa in 1972, then moved on to Iowa State after one season.

      He spent the next six years at Iowa State before returning to the Buckeyes in the wake of Hayes' Gator Bowl incident. After leaving Ohio State in 1987, he went on to coach at Northern Iowa and Colorado State.

      --Field Level Media

  • NCAA does away with letting alums join Division I practices
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, April 19, 2018

    The NCAA has approved legislation ending the practice of using former players in Division I football workouts.

    • The rule, which was sponsored by the Atlantic Coast Conference, is "intended to negate competitive and recruiting advantages schools potentially could gain by allowing former student-athletes to practice with the current team," the NCAA said in its announcement Wednesday.

      "For one," American Football Coaches Association executive director Todd Berry told AL.com, "it's taking opportunities away for current teams to practice and get better."

      Alabama and Clemson are among the schools that have used former players, including those on NFL rosters, in practices to help prepare teams for upcoming games.

      In one instance, former quarterback Blake Sims returned to Alabama practices playing the role of Clemson's Deshaun Watson entering the 2017 national championship game. At the same time, former Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd took on the role of the Crimson Tide's Jalen Hurts in Tigers practices.

      --Field Level Media

  • Tennessee AD Fulmer receives four-year contract
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, April 19, 2018

    Tennessee athletic director Phillip Fulmer received a new four-year contract, the university announced Thursday.

    • The school said the deal is worth at least $900,000 annually -- $300,000 in base salary plus $600,000 in supplemental pay for personal appearances and media services. There is also a $100,000 annual retention bonus.

      Fulmer had been working under a two-year deal worth $575,000 annually since being named athletic director in December.

      "Phillip has been a great partner over the last four months and I commend him for the work he has done with our student-athletes, coaches and staff," university chancellor Beverly Davenport said in a statement. "Phillip has been connected to the University of Tennessee and its athletics program for more than 40 years and he understands the expectations we have for our athletics department.

      "He is surrounded by a very knowledgeable staff that is deeply committed to the success of our student-athletes. I look forward to our continued partnership."

      Fulmer, 67, replaced John Currie at athletic director when Currie came under fire for some missteps during the search for a new football coach.

      Fulmer settled on Alabama assistant Jeremy Pruitt to be the new coach.

      Fulmer has been a popular figure in the state due to his stint as Tennessee's football coach from 1992-2008. He compiled a 151-52-1 record and guided the Volunteers to the 1998 national championship.

      Now he is pleased with the gig he recently landed.

      "I am very grateful to Chancellor Davenport for the opportunity to continue to serve our outstanding university and its proud legacy," Fulmer said in a statement. "The positive momentum established by our talented student-athletes, dedicated coaches, excellent staff, our great alumni and fans has united us all. I am excited to work alongside them as we push forward in pursuit of excellence in all sports."

      --Field Level Media

  • Alabama QB Hurts' dad implies son will transfer if he loses starting job
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, April 19, 2018

    Coach Nick Saban is downplaying talk that Jalen Hurts might transfer if he does not begin the upcoming season as Alabama's starter, saying that he has a good relationship with the quarterback and his family and that it's too soon to assess the closely watched position battle.

    • Averion Hurts, the player's father, implied that his son would seek a transfer if he loses the Crimson Tide's quarterback battle to National Championship Game hero Tua Tagovailoa.

      "Well, he'd be the biggest free agent in college football history," the elder Hurts said when asked by Bleacher Report what would happen if his son doesn't win the job.

      Hurts expects the battle to play out with the best man winning, but he made it clear his son won't be satisfied as a backup quarterback or consider making a position change.

      "Coach Saban's job is to do what's best for his team," he said. "I have no problem with that. My job is to do what's best for Jalen -- and make no mistake, Jalen is a quarterback, and he wants to play quarterback. He loves Alabama, loves Coach Saban and everything about that place. But he wants to play, and he will play."

      Jalen Hurts, who has held the starting job since his second game as a true freshman at Alabama in 2016, still has two years of eligibility remaining if he were to choose to transfer.

      "At the end of the day, everybody has career decisions that they have to make," Saban said. "Nobody knows what the outcome of this situation will bring for us. We don't want any players not to be able to fill their goals and aspirations in our program here."

      The battle between the two signal-callers was supposed to get underway this spring, but the left-handed Tagovailoa suffered an injury to his throwing hand on the first day of practice and later suffered "a setback" that will keep him out until at least summer workouts. That presumably leaves Hurts as the de facto starter for the foreseeable future.

      Saban said he met with Hurts' father following Saturday's scrimmage and it was a good conversation.

      "I think we all want the same thing for all players that compete on our team, regardless of the position," Saban said. "And even though there's going to be a significant effort on a lot of folks' part ... to make this a very public thing, it's going to be handled in a very private manner.

      "In our conversation, I was very positive and upbeat. Jalen has done a great job. He's made a significant amount of improvement. His dad was very positive."

      Hurts has thrown for 4,861 yards, 40 touchdowns and 10 interceptions and rushed for 1,809 yards (5.2 average) and 21 scores across 28 starts through two seasons with the Tide, leading them to the national title game in both years. He earned SEC Offensive Player of the Year honors as a freshman in 2016.

      Saban replaced Hurts with Tagovailoa at halftime of the 2018 title game against Georgia in January, saying afterward he opted for the team's best passing quarterback while trying to rally from a 13-0 deficit. Tagovailoa responded by throwing for 166 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winning score in overtime.

      --Field Level Media

  • Alabama-Notre Dame home-and-home set for 2028-29
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, April 19, 2018

    Alabama and Notre Dame will visit each other in nonconference games scheduled in 2028 and 2029, the schools announced Thursday.

    • Notre Dame will host Alabama on Sept. 2, 2028, while the Crimson Tide will welcome the Fighting Irish on Sept. 1, 2029.

      "We are excited to be able to add a home-and-home series with a team like Notre Dame," Alabama coach Nick Saban said in a news release. "Alabama and Notre Dame represent two of the most storied programs in college football history. What a great opportunity for our team and our fans to be able to witness these teams play in two of the sport's most iconic venues in Tuscaloosa and South Bend."

      The 2028 matchup will mark the eighth meeting between the two storied programs. The last time they faced off was in the BCS National Championship Game at the conclusion of the 2012 season -- a 42-14 Alabama win.

      Notre Dame holds a 5-2 edge in the all-time series, with three meetings coming in bowl games. Their first meeting was in the 1973 Sugar Bowl. Ara Parseghian's Fighting Irish edged Bear Bryant's Crimson Tide 24-23.

      --Field Level Media

  • NDSU extends coach Klieman through 2023
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, April 19, 2018

    North Dakota State has extended the contract of head football coach Chris Klieman an extra two years through the 2023 season, athletic director Matt Larsen announced Thursday.

    • Klieman, 50, is entering his fifth season as head coach at NDSU. He has led the Bisons to a 54-6 record, four straight Missouri Valley Conference titles and three FCS national championships, including last season.

      "Chris has done an exceptional job in leading our football program on a national level," Larsen said in a statement. "Not only have we won three national championships during his tenure, but our student-athletes are achieving high marks in the classroom and are actively engaged on campus and in the Fargo-Moorhead community. I look forward to working with him and his staff for years to come."

      Before becoming head coach, Klieman served as defensive coordinator in 2012 and 2013. He joined NDSU as the defensive backs coach in 2011 and has been a part of all six of the school's FCS national championships.

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: Gators DE/LB Jefferson has shoulder surgery
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, April 19, 2018

    Florida defensive end/outside linebacker Cece Jefferson is expected to miss several months after undergoing surgery on his right shoulder earlier this week, according to multiple reports.

    • Jefferson injured his shoulder during Florida's spring game on Saturday. He's expected to recover in time for preseason practice in early August.

      The Gainesville Sun, which first reported the news, was told by a source the surgery was "significant" and Jefferson could miss at least four months.

      In three seasons at Florida, Jefferson has totaled 28.5 tackles, 9.5 sacks and one forced fumble. He set career highs with 13.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks as a junior last season, leading the Gators in each category.

      Florida will utilize a 3-4 defensive alignment under new coordinator Todd Grantham this season. Jefferson had been lining up as an edge rusher in the scheme this spring.

      If Jefferson misses the start of the season, Jabari Zuniga, Jachai Polite and Antonneous Clayton are among the names that could step in.

      --Field Level Media

  • Swinney: QB competition could continue into season
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, April 18, 2018

    Not only is incumbent signal-caller Kelly Bryant battling to keep his job, but the Clemson Tigers' quarterback competition could continue into the regular season, according to head coach Dabo Swinney.

    • Bryant, a senior who led the Tigers to the College Football Playoff last season, has been challenged this spring by sophomore Hunter Johnson, freshman Trevor Lawrence and redshirt freshman Chase Brice. And whoever ultimately secures the starting spot in Week 1 might have to keep looking over his shoulder.

      "Regardless of where we are today, we've got a long way to go before we play in September, and no matter what happens in September I don't think the competition's just going to end," Swinney said at a team event on Tuesday, according to The State of Columbia, S.C. "I think we've got guys on the roster that are going to be driven each and every day to either be the guy or beat the guy out or make the guy better or whatever it may be."

      Bryant had perhaps the worst performance in the team's spring game on Saturday, completing just 8 of 15 passes for 35 yards. Meanwhile, Lawrence impressed with his efficiency (11-of-16, 122 yards, TD), and Johnson (8-of-14, 85 yards, TD, INT) and Brice (12-of-19, 231 yards, three INTs) each had some highlights and lowlights.

      Swinney doesn't appear to mind if the topic remains a prominent one for the Tigers, even once the season is underway.

      "I like having the attention on any position that has a lot of talent," he said when asked about having a spotlight on the QB competition. "That's a good thing when you've got people that see multiple guys that are very talented at a certain spot: Quarterback or running back or receiver, D-line, whatever it may be. I think that's always a positive when you've got great competition."

      It's unclear which signal-caller has the edge at the moment, but Swinney is pleased with the group overall, joking that he'd like to get more than one of them on the field at the same time.

      "It depends on how many balls they'll let me have," he said. "Maybe they'll let us have two huddles and two balls. That'd be a lot easier to figure out.

      "But it's exciting. We've got good players. We've got great young men. That's a position where we've got a high level of character, high level of intelligence. And they all want to be 'The Guy.' They've got good relationships with each other, so it's a real positive for our program."

      --Field Level Media

  • Alabama star: Tide would have crushed UCF
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, April 18, 2018

    Former Alabama Crimson Tide safety Minkah Fitzpatrick has no doubt who the true national champion last season was and he'd have happily played one more game to prove it.

    • The University of Central Florida declared itself national champion after finishing undefeated in 2017-18, despite not being invited to the College Football Playoff.

      Fitzpatrick told SEC Country he'd have played UCF to prove different.

      "I wanted to play them so bad," Fitzpatrick said. "I was all busted up after this season. But I said, 'I'll play another game if UCF wants to play another game.' I would have definitely done it for sure. I'm competitive. I don't want anybody else claiming that they're the champions when we're the real champions. So I would have went out there all busted up, beat up, strapped up, whatever I had to do, to go out there and show them who the real champions are.

      "Man, we would have whooped up on them boys. It wouldn't have been close."

      Fitzpatrick had 60 tackles, 1.5 sacks and an interception last season. He declared for the NFL draft in early January, shortly after winning his second title in three years with the Tide.

      The Knights finished the regular season 12-0 but were left out of the College Football Playoff after finishing 12th in the final rankings. They beat Auburn -- the only team to defeat both CFP title game participants, Alabama and Georgia -- in the Peach Bowl to cap an undefeated season. Afterward, the team and Florida governor Rick Scott declared UCF national champions, raising a banner and holding a parade at Disney World.

      Alabama beat Georgia 26-23 in overtime of the national championship game.

      The Crimson Tide and the Knights have met just once before, in a 40-38 UCF victory in Tuscaloosa in October of 2000.

      Alabama finished No. 1 in the AP Poll, while UCF finished sixth.

      --Field Level Media

  • Florida State QB Francois reportedly target of drug probe
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, April 17, 2018

    Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois agreed to take part in a diversion program after police made him the target of a two-month investigation into possible marijuana possession with intent to sell, according to a report from the Orlando Sentinel.

    • An anonymous tipster set off the investigation in February when he told police he saw Francois with a large paper bag filled with marijuana. The Tallahassee Police Department collected and analyzed Francois' garbage four times after that tip. Police determined the discarded garbage showed evidence of ongoing criminal activity at the player's apartment, the Sentinel said.

      The inspections revealed plastic bags with marijuana residue, emptied contents of blunt-type cigars and documents with Francois' name on them, police said. Police searched the apartment last week and found 17 grams of marijuana and other drug paraphernalia near Francois' bed, but he said it belonged to his girlfriend who was present.

      The diversion program will require Francois to take part in community service. He also might have to participate in a substance abuse program.

      Florida State first-year coach Willie Taggart said he discussed the investigation with Francois and will handle it internally.

      "He's still with our football team," Taggart said Saturday after the Seminoles' spring game. "We talked about his responsibility as a student-athlete here, and he understands my expectations and what I'm looking for, especially when it comes to our quarterback. He's got to be smart about who he's around and what he's around, and make good decisions."

      Francois got hurt in the 2017 opener and underwent season-ending knee surgery. He is expected to compete with James Blackman for the starting job at quarterback this season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Police investigate tweeted threats against Harbaugh
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, April 17, 2018

    University of Michigan police are investigating threatening messages from the Twitter account of former linebacker Elysee Mbem-Bosse that tagged football coach Jim Harbaugh.

    • A police spokesman said the department became aware of the messages on Monday, which included references to the state's open carry law for firearms and "calling the morgue." The tweets have since been deleted.

      Melissa Overton, deputy chief and department spokeswoman, said there had been no arrests or charges brought as of Tuesday afternoon.

      University police were at the football training facility on campus, and ESPN reported the Ann Arbor Police Department has also been notified about the potential threat.

      Mbem-Bosse, who signed with Michigan in 2016, contributed as a backup and on special teams during his first two seasons. He reportedly was suspended from the team in mid-November last season, and a statement from the athletic department said Mbem-Bosse is no longer with the team.

      Mbem-Bosse's Twitter account is now locked from public access.

      -- Field Level Media

  • McElwain happy to be at Michigan
    By Field Level Media / Monday, April 16, 2018

    Jim McElwain took a humble approach Monday in his first public comments since joining Michigan as wide receivers coach.

    • Ousted as Florida's head coach last October, McElwain connected with Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh in February.

      "(Harbaugh) maybe got the wrong number and I answered," McElwain joked. "I don't know how it came about, but we got a phone call and was very excited to come and, if nothing else, get an opportunity to stand in the background and see how something is operated. That's what's been really good. He extended the offer, and I was really excited about that. My wife and I are really excited about being in Ann Arbor."

      McElwain, 56, parted ways with the Gators after their third consecutive loss, 42-7 to rival Georgia on Oct. 28, left Florida 3-4 on the season. The school reportedly already was considering firing McElwain for cause prior to that game after he discussed receiving death threats, an allegation the school did not confirm.

      In 2 1/2 seasons at Gainesville, McElwain compiled a 22-12 record. He also was the head coach at Colorado State from 2012-14, producing a 22-16 mark.

      A number of his early college coaching jobs including overseeing wide receivers.

      McElwain said Monday that Michigan passing-game coordinator Pep Hamilton will be running the Wolverines' offense this year, a change from last year when Harbaugh, Hamilton and then-offensive coordinator/line coach Tim Drevno split those duties.

      "I came in to learn and learn what Pep's teaching and help in any way I can," McElwain said. "More than anything I'm just trying to understand what and how, and maybe over the years of doing this there's maybe a thing or two (I know that) can help our guys play fast. I'm not re-inventing it. It's an offense that's here and I'm just trying to learn it."

      As for working with Harbaugh, McElwain said, "This has been just a great opportunity. Coach Harbaugh has been a guy that I've followed for a long time, and the opportunity to come learn from him and see how someone else kind of puts it together has been a lot of fun."

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Spurrier would welcome Tebow to new pro football league roster
    By Field Level Media / Monday, April 16, 2018

    Tim Tebow is nearly a decade removed from his collegiate glory days at Florida, and is making a name for himself slugging home runs as a minor league baseball player.

    • But the rumors that he wants back into football never cease, and now he may have a familiar face offering him the best shot at that return in years. And in a very familiar place.

      Former Florida coach and SEC fixture Steve Spurrier was reportedly asked last week about his latest job, head coach of the inaugural franchise of the new Alliance of American Football, located in Orlando, Fla.

      When the topic of potential players came up during his interview on the Open Mike radio show, talk soon turned to the potential of Tebow joining the Ol' Ball Coach's squad:

      "That would be wonderful," Spurrier said, according the Orlando Sentinel. "I think Tim knows about our league. He knows he's welcome to come down [to Orlando] and play. Obviously, if his baseball career is going well, he may decide to stick with it, which I would certainly understand. But if it doesn't go too well and he has the urge to play football, we would certainly welcome him in Orlando."

      The AAF is scheduled to kick off its inaugural season in 2019. The league is expected to name its eight host cities this summer and play a 10-week season beginning a week after the Super Bowl in February 2019.

      Tebow, the 2007 Heisman winner, is 30 years old and currently playing for the Birmingham Rumble Ponies, the New York Mets' Double-A affiliate. He is currently batting .200 through seven games and 25 at-bats. He hit a home run on his first swing with the Rumble Ponies earlier this month.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: SEC blocked Saban from Freeze hire
    By Field Level Media / Monday, April 16, 2018

    SEC commissioner Greg Sankey reportedly discouraged Alabama coach Nick Saban from adding Hugh Freeze to the Crimson Tide coaching staff.

    • Saban, who hired former Tennessee head coach Butch Jones as a consultant, wanted to bring on Freeze as co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach.

      But Sankey, according to Al.com, did not want Freeze to work a prominent job in the conference this season. He informed multiple schools, including Alabama, LSU and Missouri, of the conference's position that Freeze should not prosper while his former employer, Ole Miss, was dealing with probation and NCAA penalties incurred under Freeze's watch.

      The SEC established grounds for the commissioner to intervene in such cases. The conference bylaws state Sankey must be contacted for approval of the hire of any coach who "engaged in unethical conduct as defined under NCAA Bylaws or who has participated in activity that resulted, or may result, in a Level I, Level II or major infraction."

      Saban has praised Freeze heavily in the past -- while at Ole Miss, Freeze scored two wins over Saban's Crimson Tide -- and said in January that Alabama was working to find a way to bring him on board.

      Instead, Saban wound up promoting Mike Locksley to co-offensive coordinator and hired Penn State assistant coach Josh Gattis.

      --Field Level Media

  • Oklahoma president Boren recovering after minor stroke
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, April 15, 2018

    Oklahoma president David Boren is recovering Sunday, one day after suffering a minor stroke during a statue unveiling ceremony to honor former football coach Bob Stoops.

    • Boren was experiencing dizziness and discomfort after giving a speech to honor Stoops during the festivities outside the school football stadium in Norman, Okla. He slurred words and struggled to speak during the speech and required help to get to his seat afterward and paramedics soon approached.

      After a few minutes of conversation, paramedics took the 76-year-old Boren away on a stretcher and transported him to OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City. His condition was revealed Saturday night by the university, which said Boren enjoyed dinner with his family at the hospital.

      "He is alert and is communicating with family and his excellent team of medical professionals at OU Medical Center," the news release said. "President and Mrs. Boren deeply appreciate the outpouring of love and support they have received."

      While Boren was being attended to, fans in attendance for the ceremony and ensuing spring football game were growing concerned.

      Boren was transported away while athletic director Joe Castiglione was the speaker.

      "Well, they don't give you a script for this," Castiglione told the audience. "But I think that knowing that how much President Boren and (wife) Molly were involved in this day, I think that we will respectfully maybe just drop the covering of the statue of Bob Stoops, and we will thank each and every one of you again for what you have done to make this program so special."

      Current football coach Lincoln Riley wasn't at the ceremony as he was preparing for the spring game. But he was highly concerned about the incident after the contest concluded.

      "It's tough to describe," Riley said in his press conference following the spring game. "He's a guy that I'm very close to, means a lot to me, and (it was) so tough for it to be such a great event and great thing and to see him not feeling well. It hurts me."

      Boren previously announced he is retiring after 24 years as president on June 30.

      Stoops retired as Oklahoma's all-time winningest coach prior to the 2017 season. He compiled a 190-48 record in 18 seasons and guided the Sooners to the 2000 national championship.

      Stoops is the fourth Oklahoma coach to be honored with a statue. He joins Bennie Owen, Bud Wilkinson and Barry Switzer.

      --Field Level Media

  • Sooners get five commitments over spring game weekend
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, April 15, 2018

    The Oklahoma Sooners' outlook became a lot brighter over the weekend, with the program announcing commitments from four players from the Class of 2019 and one for the following year.

    • Five-star wide receivers Arjei Henderson and Theo Wease, who decommitted from Oklahoma last April, renewed their commitments on Friday, per The Oklahoman. The Texas-based wideouts had re-opened their recruiting after four-star quarterback Cameron Rising had switched his commitment to the Texas Longhorns.

      Joining the duo on Friday was four-star safety Jamal Morris and four-star running Jaylon Knighton, who is committed for the Class of 2020.

      Then on Saturday, after the Sooners' spring game, three-star defensive tackle renewed his commitment to the Sooners. He had also re-opened his recruiting before electing to stay.

      "I just wanted to say thanks for the thoughts and prayers to everyone that's supporting me but I know what's best for me and I can feel it...so I'm going back home. see you in a few Norman cuz I'm coming," Green wrote in his announcement.

      The news wasn't all positive for the Sooners, however.

      Sophomore running back Trey Sermon suffered a right knee injury during the game on Saturday.

      Sermon was injured when tackled by freshman safety Patrick Fields after an 11-yard gain. He was helped off by the school's training staff and taken to the locker room.

      "We'll look at Trey Sermon. I don't think it's serious," Sooners coach Lincoln Riley said in a press conference following the spring game. They'll evaluate him further but I think early indications look positive."

      Sermon rushed for 744 yards and five touchdowns in 2017 as a freshman. He also caught 16 passes for 139 yards and another two scores.

      --Field Level Media

  • Alabama QB Tagovailoa suffers 'setback,' Saban says
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, April 14, 2018

    Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has suffered what coach Nick Saban characterized as "a little setback," adding uncertainty to the Crimson Tide's spring game next weekend.

    • Tagovailoa broke the index finger on his throwing hand during Alabama's first practice March 20 and apparently aggravated the injury Friday, keeping him out of a scrimmage Saturday. It was not immediately clear whether the sophomore will be available to practice next week.

      "Doctors are trying to evaluate the best course of action and what we do with him the remainder of the spring," Saban said. "With that said, I can't really tell you any more. ... We're going to try to protect this and make sure that this thing is not going to be an issue for him in the fall."

      Tagovailoa and junior Jalen Hurts were projected to compete this spring for the advantage when fall workouts begin.

      Hurts lost just two games in two seasons as the starting quarterback but was pulled at halftime against Georgia in the national title game in January.

      Tagovailoa came in to throw three touchdowns as the Tide rallied for a 26-23 overtime win.

      --Field Level Media

  • Oklahoma RB Sermon injures knee in spring game
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, April 14, 2018

    Oklahoma sophomore running back Trey Sermon suffered a right knee injury during the school's spring football game on Saturday.

    • Sermon was injured when tackled by freshman safety Patrick Fields after an 11-yard gain. He was helped off by the school's training staff and taken to the locker room.

      "We'll look at Trey Sermon. I don't think it's serious," Sooners coach Lincoln Riley said in a press conference following the spring game. They'll evaluate him further but I think early indications look positive."

      Sermon rushed for 744 yards and five touchdowns in 2017 as a freshman. He also caught 16 passes for 139 yards and another two scores.

      Sermon is Oklahoma's second-best running back behind standout junior Rodney Anderson (1,161 yards, 13 touchdowns).

      --Field Level Media

  • Oklahoma president Boren taken to hospital during Stoops statue unveiling
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, April 14, 2018

    Oklahoma president David Boren experienced a medical episode at a statue unveiling for former Sooners football coach Bob Stoops on Saturday and was taken away by stretcher and transported to a nearby hospital.

    • Boren slurred words and struggled to speak during his nine-minute speech honoring Stoops. Boren required help to get his seat afterward and paramedics soon approached.

      After a few minutes of conversation, paramedics decided to take the 76-year-old Boren to the hospital.

      What Boren is suffering from and his condition haven't been released.

      Athletic director Joe Castiglione was the speaker when Boren was transported away.

      "Well, they don't give you a script for this," Castiglione told the audience. "But I think that knowing that how much President Boren and (wife) Molly were involved in this day, I think that we will respectfully maybe just drop the covering of the statue of Bob Stoops, and we will thank each and every one of you again for what you have done to make this program so special."

      Boren previously announced he is retiring after 24 years as president on June 30.

      Stoops retired as Oklahoma's all-time winningest coach prior to the 2017 season. He compiled a 190-48 record in 18 seasons and guided the Sooners to the 2000 national championship.

      Stoops is the fourth Oklahoma coach to be honored with a statue. He joins Bennie Owen, Bud Wilkinson and Barry Switzer.

      --Field Level Media

  • Syracuse QB Culpepper throws TD amid cancer fight
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, April 14, 2018

    Syracuse quarterback Rex Culpepper turned Friday's meaningless spring scrimmage for the Orange into one him and his teammates will never forget.

    • The redshirt sophomore, who is battling a treatable form of testicular cancer, came on as a sub for the scrimmage's final drive, leading the offense down the field and throwing a 17-yard touchdown pass to tight end Ravian Pierce. Culpepper entered to a standing ovation and was mobbed by the entire team upon completing the touchdown pass.

      "It just felt surreal," Culpepper said, via Syracuse.com. "It was spectacular. I'll never forget that."

      Culpepper was originally told by coach Dino Babers earlier in the week that he wouldn't be able to play. As he entered the game for Tommy DeVito, he hugged the coach, and Babers told him, "If you go three-and-out, that's it. If you go all the way down the field, good job."

      "The other 21 guys were under strict orders not to get close, or else," Babers said.

      Culpepper, who appeared in four games last season, said he is scheduled to begin his second round of chemotherapy on Monday. He expects to finish chemotherapy on June 1 and be cleared for fall practice.

      "I just feel like I'm really going into it like it's a prize fight and this is round two," Culpepper said. "I worked out, I practiced and this time I'm more ready for it."

      --Field Level Media

  • NCAA changes kickoff return rule
    By Field Level Media / Friday, April 13, 2018

    Fair catching a kickoff inside your own 25-yard line this season will provide a benefit -- taking possession at the 25.

    • The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved a new rule on Friday that allows kickoff receiving teams to make a fair catch inside the 25 and have it result in a touchback.

      Player safety was a factor in the decision.

      "The Football Rules Committee made the proposal to continue efforts to increase the number of touchbacks during kickoffs since fewer injuries occur during kickoffs that result in touchbacks than on kickoffs that are returned," the NCAA said in a press release. "All other aspects of the kickoff play will remain the same."

      The panel also approved a rule in which offensive players will not be allowed to block below the waist more than five yards beyond the line of scrimmage.

      Also approved were two minor resolutions involving pace of play. The play clock will be set to 40 seconds after a touchdown to quicken the extra point attempt. Similarly, the play clock will be set to 40 seconds following a kickoff.

      The panel also approved the continuation of an experimental model in which instant replay isn't limited to the press box. Officials from the conference office can be involved.

      --Field Level Media

  • Weather once again taking toll on sporting events
    By Field Level Media / Friday, April 13, 2018

    Once again, the snowstorm expected to blanket the Midwest appears set to wreak havoc on sporting events, so far Friday claiming one MLB game and forcing the rescheduling of one of college football's most high-profile spring games.

    • The Minnesota Twins announced their home game against the Chicago White Sox, scheduled for a 7:10 p.m. start local time, has been postponed. The make-up date will be announced at a later time.

      Meanwhile, back in Chicago, the Cubs hosted Atlanta for an afternoon game with a first-pitch wind chill factor of 30 degrees at Wrigley Field. That game, however, did begin on time.

      Earlier Friday, Ohio State announced it is moving the kickoff time for its spring football game from 1:45 p.m. ET to 11:45 a.m. ET on Saturday.

      The news is significant in that the Buckeyes are even holding the game Saturday. Several other Midwest schools had earlier announced moving their spring game to a different day or venue, or the cancellation of the event altogether in anticipation of the storm.

      Among the casualties and changes:

      ** Michigan, Wisconsin, Northwestern and Iowa State canceled their spring games.

      ** Minnesota moved its game up from Saturday to Thursday; Louisville and Toledo moved their games up to Friday.

      ** Bowling Green kept its Saturday schedule, but moved the game indoors.

      According to accuweather.com:

      "A major storm will bring heavy late-season snow and blizzard conditions from portions of the northern and central Plains to the Upper Midwest from Friday to Sunday night. ... The storm has the potential to bring 1 to 2 feet of snow to part of the same area that is likely to experience blizzard conditions."

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: FSU QB Francois cited for pot, placed in diversion program
    By Field Level Media / Friday, April 13, 2018

    Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois was placed in a diversion program on Thursday after being charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.

    • The redshirt junior was not arrested and did not have to appear in court, a police spokesperson told the paper.

      Francois has been rehabbing a season-ending knee injury he suffered in the 2017 opener against Alabama. He was the Atlantic Coast Conference freshman of the year in 2016, passing for 3,350 yards with 20 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 13 games.

      Francois is expected to compete for the starting job under new head coach Willie Taggart.

      Taggart issued a statement on Thursday, saying "We are aware of the situation and it is being handled internally."

      The Seminoles hold their spring game on Saturday, but Francois was not expected to participate.

      --Field Level Media