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NCAAF News Wire
  • Webber accepts Harbaugh invite to be honorary captain
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, June 23, 2018

    Former Fab Five member and retired NBA star Chris Webber accepted an invite from coach Jim Harbaugh on Friday to be an honorary captain for a Michigan Wolverines football game.

    • Webber was making a local radio guest appearance when Harbaugh called in and asked if he'd be interested.

      "Coach, you know, that's no problem. I'm definitely honored, and as you know, getting to speak to you over the years, I love what you've done with the program and good luck," Webber said, per ESPN. "Yeah, I'll definitely be a part of it."

      Webber was a member of the university's early 1990s basketball team that also featured Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Ray Jackson and Jimmy King and created a national buzz with its combination of style and substance.

      But Michigan in 2002 vacated two trips to the Final Four and 113 victories over an eight-year period after investigators discovered payments from a booster to ex-players.

      Webber was barred from having any contact with the program for 10 years as part of the punishment, but has kept his distance from the program and his former teammates even after the ban was lifted.

      --Field Level Media

  • Kent State WR Dixon back on field following life-saving marrow transplant
    By Field Level Media / Friday, June 22, 2018

    After more than two years away from football, Antwan Dixon will have to battle to get up to speed and earn playing time at Kent State. Considering the battle he just won, that should be a breeze.

    • Dixon was medically cleared to rejoin the Golden Flashes on June 10 -- 14 months after receiving a life-saving bone marrow transplant from his father. After passing what the Record-Courier's Allen Moff termed "a rigorous series of tests conducted by both personal and team doctors," Dixon is ready for anything football throws at him.

      "I'm Antwan Dixon again," Moff quoted a smiling Dixon as saying between workouts on June 14 in Kent, Ohio. "I'm normal again. It's go time."

      Dixon was afflicted with aplastic anemia, a potentially fatal condition which, per the Mayo Clinic, "occurs when your body stops producing enough new blood cells. Aplastic anemia leaves you feeling fatigued and with a higher risk of infections and uncontrolled bleeding."

      He was originally diagnosed as a high school junior at South Fort Myers High in Florida and the disease returned following his freshman season at Kent State in 2015.

      By fall 2016, the disease rendered Dixon unable to play football or even take classes, and he returned home to Florida for treatment.

      According to Moff, Dixon received his transplant from his father, Anthony Dixon, in April 2017. He left the hospital a month ahead of schedule thanks to his recovery, foreshadowing the progress that would lead to his return to the football field.

      In fact, Moff reported, it was when Dixon left the hospital that he began plotting his football return.

      "People always talk about the risk and all that other stuff. But if you live your life with caution, you're not living your life how you want to," Dixon told Moff. "Everything happens for a reason. You get through it. You've just got to keep pushing."

      Now, he's pushing his way through summer workouts. And he's just fine with that.

      "Everything was hard. I was struggling every day. But it's not hard anymore," said Dixon. "Now everything's back to normal. I feel like myself again. I just hope people see that there's always a chance if you have faith in everything you do."

      Dixon showed his potential as a freshman back in 2015, gaining 162 yards on just 11 carries and catching 26 balls for 355 yards. In his final game, against Central Michigan on Nov. 18, 2015, Dixon had 50 yards -- on three touches.

      Paul Haynes, the Kent State head coach when Dixon's disease re-emerged, kept Dixon on scholarship throughout his entire ordeal, Hoff reported.

      Sean Lewis is now in charge of the program, and is happy to have Dixon back with the team.

      "We're really excited first and foremost that he's got a clean bill of health," the first-year coach said. "The kid's got such good energy. All through the spring he was around the team non-stop. It's great to have him back out on the field. We're slowly getting him back into the swing of things. We're excited to see when he's back to full speed and full health what he's capable of doing."

      Now Dixon is worrying about things more common to football players ... including a hamstring injury suffered during a December workout that continues to bother him.

      "My hamstring is probably about 60 percent right now, but in the weight room I'm about 85 percent. I think I can get to 100 percent with everything way before the preseason," Dixon told Hoff. "They told me to ease back into the workouts, but I've been finishing the whole workout. I'm a little sore, it hasn't been easy, but I'm finishing so I can get back in shape and mentally get my body together to do everything. I feel great."

      And come Sept. 1 and the season opener against Illinois, Dixon will be ready. For anything.

      "I look back [on the 2015 season] and it motivates me, because I know I can be two or three times better than that," said Dixon. "But right now I just want to get healthy, stay a certain weight and be a great teammate. All of that leads up to being a great football player."

      --Field Level Media

  • WR Robertson announces he's leaving Cal
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, June 21, 2018

    California wide receiver Demetris Robertson has decided to leave the Golden Bears because of personal matters, he announced Thursday on Twitter.

    • "I've decided not to continue my education and football career at UC Berkeley," Robertson tweeted, going on to thank his coaches, teammates and fellow students for their "ongoing support and consideration of my personal matters." He did not indicate whether he will seek a transfer to another program or enroll in a different school. Should he play elsewhere, he'd have two seasons of eligibility remaining.

      Robertson, from Savannah, Ga., was the No. 1 wide receiver in the Class of 2016 and a five-star prospect, according to the 247Sports composite. He played two seasons for the Bears, catching seven passes for 70 yards in two games last year before undergoing surgery for a lower-body injury. He also carried the ball twice for 40 yards and a touchdown.

      In 2016, Robertson caught 50 passes, including seven for touchdowns, for 767 yards.

      His departure could leave Cal shorthanded this season. The Bears signed just one receiver in the 2018 recruiting class, four-star prospect Nikko Remigio from Santa Ana, Calif.

      --Field Level Media

  • Iconic Vols announcer Ward dead at 88
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, June 20, 2018

    Iconic Tennessee broadcaster John Ward died in Knoxville on Wednesday as the result of a lengthy illness. He was 88.

    • Ward earned the moniker the "Voice of the Vols" during his three decades of broadcasting for the school's basketball and football teams.

      "It is with a heavy heart that we announce a great voice has gone silent," the Vol Network said in a statement regarding Ward's death.

      "... While it is a sad day for all Vol fans, we take great pride in the fact that John belonged to us. Only the Tennessee Volunteers could call John their own, and he was proud to be the 'Voice of the Vols.' He loved his alma mater, the fans, and the state of Tennessee. He remains the very heartbeat of the Vol Network."

      Ward announced Volunteers basketball for 34 seasons and spent 31 seasons in the booth for the school's football team. His last game behind the microphone for the football team was its 1998 national championship win over Florida State in the Fiesta Bowl, and he retired altogether at the conclusion of the ensuing basketball season.

      Ward earned a law degree from Tennessee in 1954. His first broadcast of a Tennessee basketball game was in 1958 before he earned the play-by-play job in 1965.

      --Field Level Media

  • Review of Maryland OL's death to begin this week
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, June 20, 2018

    An outside consultant will begin his review of the death of Maryland offensive lineman Jordan McNair by the end of this week, a university spokesman said Tuesday.

    • Dr. Rod Walters, a sports medicine consultant and longtime athletic trainer with stints at Appalachian State and South Carolina, will conduct the review. Maryland announced that a probe of McNair's death would take place at a press conference last week.

      McNair, who was 19, died last Wednesday after being hospitalized May 29 following an organized team workout. An exact cause of death was not disclosed, but a GoFundMe page set up last week to support McNair's family says he received a liver transplant after being airlifted to the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore and had been "fighting for his life for the past week."

      "The prudent thing to do and the right thing to do when a situation like this arises is to do a review to make sure that the proper protocols were followed," athletic director Damon Evans said last Thursday. "We believe it's important to bring in an external group to conduct the review. We started that process of discussing from the moment Jordan was hospitalized, and we will have a team that will provide us the necessary feedback so we can move forward."

      During the press conference, Evans detailed much of what took place at the May 29 workout, which he said began around 4:15 p.m. with the temperature near 80 degrees at the Terrapins' practice fields, with the strength and conditioning staff and trainers on hand.

      According to Evans, the workout had all players run 10 110-yard sprints and McNair -- listed at 6-foot-4, 325 pounds -- completed all of them before struggling to recover afterward, leading trainers to come to his attention.

      "Right now I don't have the specific details as to what time that took place but what I do know is that they were immediately over to him," Evans said.

      Evans added that a cart took McNair to the training room for further care and 911 was called, before McNair was taken to the hospital around 6 p.m. All players were given a gallon of water in the morning, with snacks, Gatorade and lunch during the day, Evans said.

      No further details were provided about McNair's health after the workout, including his condition or cause of death, due to the McNair family's requests for privacy.

      McNair's funeral will be held Wednesday in Baltimore.

      --Field Level Media

  • Wake Forest adds two kickers, including Army veteran
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, June 19, 2018

    In need of a reliable kicker next season, Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson went searching for a few good men.

    • He found a top candidate in Eric Osteen, a 28-year-old West Point alum who served as a platoon leader, company executive officer and company logistics officer with the Army before completing his military service. Osteen served as Army's kicker through his senior season in 2012 and is eligible to play for the Demon Deacons as a graduate transfer.

      Before trading his cleats for Army boots, he notched 29 touchbacks on 53 kickoffs during his senior season.

      Wake Forest added another graduate transfer kicker in Darren Ford, who kicked and punted at Division III Hope College. Last season, Ford connected on 25 of 38 field goals and made 99 extra points for the small school in Holland, Mich.

      The Demon Deacons are looking to replace Mike Weaver, who tallied 102 points last season to set the program's single-season record. Weaver made 19 of 22 field-goal attempts and 45 of 49 extra-point attempts as a senior.

      --Field Level Media

  • College football notebook: Riley nets five-year, $25M extension
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, June 19, 2018

    Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley is the owner of a rich contract extension before his second season even commences.

    • The Oklahoma Board of Regents approved a five-year, $25 million deal for Riley on Tuesday after he went 12-2 in his first season as coach.

      Riley will make $4.8 million this season and his base salary will increase by $100,000 in each of the remaining four seasons.

      He made $3.1 million last season as the Sooners reached the College Football Playoff behind Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Baker Mayfield before losing to Georgia 54-48 in double-overtime in the national semifinals at the Rose Bowl.

      --Virginia Tech quarterback Josh Jackson's academic issues were cleared up and he will remain with the program, according to multiple reports.

      Reports from earlier this month stated that Jackson had been suspended indefinitely due to the situation.

      It appears the Hokies should have their sophomore quarterback on the field when they open up at Florida State on Sept. 4. Jackson passed for 2,991 yards and 20 touchdowns last season. He was intercepted nine times while helping the Hokies to a 9-4 record.

      --Notre Dame senior linebacker Te'von Coney was given a year of probation after pleading guilty to marijuana possession, stemming from an arrest in August of 2016.

      Coney's plea deal, accepted by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Wayne Steele, suspends a 180-day jail sentence with one day of time served while putting him on 363 days of probation.

      Coney and four teammates were arrested on Aug. 19, 2016, after an Indiana state trooper found marijuana and an unregistered handgun in a car that White was driving when it was pulled over for speeding. Head coach Brian Kelly told the South Bend Tribune earlier this month that Coney, who is in summer classes at Notre Dame and has been working out with the team, would be back with the Fighting Irish "if he takes care of [the court case] in the manner I expect him to."

      --Tennessee announced the additions of former Alabama offensive lineman Brandon Kennedy and former Michigan State running back Madre London as graduate transfers.

      Both will be eligible to play this season. Kennedy has two years of eligibility remaining, while London has one.

      Kennedy chose Tennessee over Auburn. He graduated from Alabama in December, though his transfer was delayed when the Tide put restrictions on his release that blocked him from having contact with other SEC programs. However, the rule allowing such was changed at the SEC spring meetings last month, which paved the way for Kennedy to proceed with his transfer.

      --Field Level Media

  • Notre Dame LB Coney pleads guilty to marijuana possession
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, June 19, 2018

    Notre Dame senior linebacker Te'von Coney was given a year of probation after pleading guilty to marijuana possession on Tuesday, stemming from an arrest in August of 2016.

    • Coney's plea deal, accepted by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Wayne Steele, suspends a 180-day jail sentence with one day of time served while putting him on 363 days of probation.

      Coney and four teammates -- safety Max Redfield, wide receiver Kevin Stepherson, cornerback Ashton White and running back Dexter Williams -- were arrested on Aug. 19, 2016, after an Indiana state trooper found marijuana and an unregistered handgun in a car that White was driving when it was pulled over for speeding.

      Head coach Brian Kelly told the South Bend Tribune that Coney, who is in summer classes at Notre Dame and has been working out with the team, would be back with the Fighting Irish "if he takes care of [the court case] in the manner I expect him to." Kelly indicated he expected the case to be wrapped up before Aug. 1, the scheduled trial date before Tuesday's plea deal was accepted.

      Coney is expected to start at middle linebacker for the second straight year after leading Notre Dame in tackles (116) and tackles for loss (11.5) last season. He also started nine games as a sophomore in 2016, totaling 61 tackles (1.5 for loss).

      With that production at 6-foot-1 and 238 pounds, Coney is expected to garner significant NFL interest after his senior season. Some outlets currently have him rated among the top-five off-the-ball linebackers who could be eligible for the 2019 draft.

      Williams, a senior running back, is the only one of the other four players who remains on the team. Redfield and Stepherson were each dismissed, while White transferred as a graduate to Buffalo this offseason after playing in just two career games with the Fighting Irish, both in 2016.

      --FIeld Level Media

  • Tennessee adds transfer OL Kennedy, RB London
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, June 19, 2018

    Tennessee announced the additions of former Alabama offensive lineman Brandon Kennedy and former Michigan State running back Madre London as graduate transfers on Tuesday.

    • Both will be eligible to play this season. Kennedy has two years of eligibility remaining, while London has one.

      Kennedy chose Tennessee over Auburn. He graduated from Alabama in December, though his transfer was delayed when the Tide put restrictions on his release that blocked him from having contact with other SEC programs. However, the rule allowing such was changed at the SEC spring meetings last month, which paved the way for Kennedy to proceed with his transfer.

      Kennedy adds depth to a Tennessee offensive line that sorely needs it. Trey Smith missed spring practice due to a medical issue, and Chance Hall is coming back from a knee injury.

      London, meanwhile, announced his intent to transfer to Tennessee in March.

      London was stuck behind LJ Scott on the Spartans' depth chart. Last season, Scott, then a junior, ran for 898 yards and eight touchdowns on 201 carries. London produced 304 yards and three TDs on 83 carries.

      London's best season in East Lansing came as a freshman in 2015, when he amassed 500 yards and three touchdowns on 119 carries.

      The Volunteers' leading returning rusher, sophomore-to-be Ty Chandler, gained 305 yards last season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Sooners' Riley receives five-year, $25 million deal
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, June 19, 2018

    Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley is the owner of a rich contract extension before his second season even commences.

    • The Oklahoma Board of Regents approved a five-year, $25 million deal for Riley on Tuesday after he went 12-2 in his first season as coach.

      Riley will make $4.8 million this season and his base salary will increase by $100,000 in each of the remaining four seasons.

      He made $3.1 million last season as the Sooners reached the College Football Playoff behind Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Baker Mayfield before losing to Georgia 54-48 in double-overtime in the national semifinals at the Rose Bowl.

      Riley, 34, became Oklahoma's coach after the sudden retirement of Bob Stoops 12 months ago.

      Riley was an assistant on the Sooners' staff for two seasons before replacing Stoops.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Virginia Tech QB Jackson's academic issue resolved
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, June 19, 2018

    Virginia Tech quarterback Josh Jackson's academic issues were cleared up and he will remain with the program, according to multiple reports on Tuesday.

    • Reports from earlier this month stated that Jackson had been suspended indefinitely due to the situation.

      It appears the Hokies should have their sophomore quarterback on the field when they open up at Florida State on Sept. 4.

      Jackson passed for 2,991 yards and 20 touchdowns last season. He was intercepted nine times while helping the Hokies to a 9-4 record.

      Jackson also rushed for 324 yards and six scores.

      Jackson wasn't named the starter after the team's conclusion of spring drills, although the academic situation was not yet public.

      Coach Justin Fuente was happy with Jackson's performance.

      "I think he's taken another step in terms of understanding what we're trying to accomplish," Fuente said after the spring game. "He's as bright a guy as I've coached. I mean, he really has a high aptitude. So I think he's taken a step forward. I think there's still room for him to be pushed.

      "He still needs to fall more in love with the process. I think he needs to fall more in love with preparing. I think he does a good job of that. I think there's another level of detail he can reach with his preparation. But I've been really pleased with him."

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Former Oregon LB Leiato found dead after crash
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, June 16, 2018

    Former Oregon linebacker Fotu Leiato was found dead early Saturday after a single-car crash near Autzen Stadium, according to police in Eugene, Ore.

    • The rollover crash had occurred the day before, but the alleged driver of the car, Pedro Chavarin Jr., told police he was alone at the time, according to local ABC affiliate KEZI.

      Chavarin, 22, was cited for driving under the influence after being taken to the hospital.

      Police say a pedestrian "spotted a hand and brush over a person down a gravel path" several hours after the crash and notified authorities. Police responded to the report and found Leiato's body.

      Leiato had been dismissed from Oregon's football team in May after a pair of arrests earlier this year.

      The 21-year-old was arrested in late April on charges of theft, criminal trespassing and criminal mischief. He also was booked on a misdemeanor trespassing charge in January.

      Leiato recorded 14 tackles last season as a junior and was expected to be a starter in 2018 before his dismissal.

      --Field Level Media

  • Meyer: QB Haskins to open camp as starter
    By Field Level Media / Friday, June 15, 2018

    Redshirt sophomore Dwayne Haskins will open preseason camp as the Ohio Buckeyes' starting quarterback, but he will continue to compete with redshirt freshman Tate Martell, head coach Urban Meyer said Friday.

    • "Dwayne is the starter," Meyer told reporters before the Ohio State Football Job Fair in Columbus. "Then Tate is in full competition mode."

      Haskins has been the favorite to claim the starting role after he filled in for J.T. Barrett last season, finishing with a 70.2 percent completion rate (40 of 57) for 565 yards, four touchdowns and an interception.

      His ascension up the depth chart bumped down previous backup Joe Burrow, who transferred to LSU last month in search of an opportunity to start despite having a strong spring in Columbus.

      Haskins went 9-of-19 for 120 yards and two scores in the Buckeyes' spring game.

      Martell, a four-star dual-threat quarterback recruit, struggled as a passer (5-of-16, 28 yards, one interception) but got loose for 69 rushing yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.

      Matthew Baldwin, a freshman who most graded as a four-star pro-style quarterback coming out of high school, is expected to serve as Ohio State's third signal-caller. Meyer said Baldwin is "doing well" in his recovery from surgery he had on his knee late in his senior year at Lake Travis (Texas) High.

      --Field Level Media

  • Syracuse QB Culpepper resumes workouts after beating cancer
    By Field Level Media / Friday, June 15, 2018

    Syracuse quarterback Rex Culpepper is completely cancer free and had his first full workout with the team on Friday.

    • Culpepper, a redshirt sophomore, said he broke down in tears when doctors at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla. informed him that he had overcome his testicular cancer.

      "When they took my IV out, it was magical," Culpepper told reporters. "To finally walk out of there, I couldn't put it into words. I can't even describe the euphoria."

      Culpepper did think of one way to convey his joy.

      "The closest thing I can say is it felt like beating Clemson," he said. "You just feel so incredibly ecstatic that nothing in your life could ever go wrong."

      Culpepper played in four games as a redshirt freshman in 2017, passing for 518 yards (45 of 75) with two touchdowns and three interceptions. Now, he is focused on getting ready for training camp.

      "I want to get in the best shape I possibly can so come Aug. 1, I'm ready to compete," he said.

      --Field Level Media

  • Texas Tech dismisses WR Shorts after his arrest
    By Field Level Media / Friday, June 15, 2018

    Wide receiver Quan Shorts, arrested Thursday on a marijuana possession charge, was dismissed from the Texas Tech football program.

    • Coach Kliff Kingsbury made the announcement in a statement from the athletic department, providing no further details.

      Shorts was arrested on Thursday afternoon while Lubbock (Texas) Police were conducting an ongoing investigation at an apartment complex, the police department said in a statement.

      In March, Shorts, Red Raiders quarterback Jett Duffey, cornerback Des Smith and safety Christian Taylor were all arrested after an alleged late-night clash with police at a Lubbock nightclub. The four players briefly were suspended from the Texas Tech team, but Kingsbury reinstated them a short time later.

      Shorts, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound rising junior, caught eight passes for 103 yards and two touchdowns last season. He also had two carries for 19 yards. As a freshman, he finished with five receptions for 124 yards.

      He came to Texas Tech from Atascocita High School in Humble, Texas.

      --Field Level Media

  • College football notebook: Maryland opens review into death
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, June 14, 2018

    Maryland's athletic department is conducting an external review of the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair, athletic director Damon Evans said at a press conference Thursday.

    • McNair, who was 19, died Wednesday after being hospitalized since May 29 following an organized team workout. An exact cause of death was not disclosed, but a GoFundMe page set up last week to support McNair's family says he received a liver transplant after being airlifted to the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore and had been "fighting for his life for the past week."

      During the press conference, Evans detailed much of what took place at the May 29 workout, which he said began with the temperature near 80 degrees at the Terrapins' practice fields, with the strength and conditioning staff and trainers on hand.

      According to Evans, the workout had all players run 10 110-yard sprints and McNair -- listed at 6-foot-4, 325 pounds -- completed all of them before struggling to recover afterward, leading trainers to come to his aid. No further details were provided about McNair's health after the workout, including his condition or cause of death, due to the McNair family's requests for privacy.

      --Wake Forest suspended quarterback Kendall Hinton and tight end Thomas Cole for the first three games of the season for a violation of team rules.

      Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson released a statement in which he said the players "made poor decisions and they take responsibility for their actions." Hinton and Cole will sit out for the Aug. 30 season opener on the road at Tulane, as well as home games against Towson and Boston College.

      Hinton, a rising junior, was projected to be the Demon Deacons' starting quarterback after an impressive showing in spring practices. He served in a backup role last season, completing 57.4 percent of his passes for 399 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions.

      --Tennessee is bringing in former Alabama offensive lineman Brandon Kennedy as a graduate transfer, according to multiple reports.

      Kennedy chose Tennessee over Auburn. He has two years of eligibility remaining and will enroll in the Volunteers' second summer session, according to 247Sports.

      Kennedy graduated from Alabama in December, though his transfer was delayed when the Tide put restrictions on his release that blocked him from having contact with other Southeastern Conference programs. However, the rule allowing such moves was changed at the SEC spring meetings last month, paving the way for Kennedy to proceed with his transfer.

      --Field Level Media

  • Wake Forest suspends QB Hinton, TE Cole
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, June 14, 2018

    Wake Forest has suspended quarterback Kendall Hinton and tight end Thomas Cole for the first three games of the season for an undisclosed violation of team rules, the school announced Thursday.

    • Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson released a statement in which he said the players "made poor decisions and they take responsibility for their actions." Hinton and Cole will sit out for the Aug. 30 season opener on the road at Tulane, as well as home games against Towson and Boston College.

      Hinton, a rising junior, was projected to be the Demon Deacons' starting quarterback after an impressive showing in spring practices. He served in a backup role last season, completing 57.4 percent of his passes for 399 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions.

      Wake Forest is looking to replace quarterback John Wolford, a four-year starter who threw for 2,792 yards and 25 touchdowns as a senior. The suspension of Hinton could create an opportunity for rising sophomore Jamie Newman, who completed 2 of 4 passes for 8 yards and one interception in 2017.

      Cole, a rising sophomore, appeared in three games last season but did not catch a pass.

      --Field Level Media

  • Maryland conducting review of OL McNair's death
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, June 14, 2018

    Maryland's athletic department is conducting an external review of the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair, athletic director Damon Evans said at a press conference Thursday.

    • McNair, who was 19, died Wednesday after being hospitalized May 29 following an organized team workout. An exact cause of death was not disclosed, but a GoFundMe page set up last week to support McNair's family says he received a liver transplant after being airlifted to the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore and had been "fighting for his life for the past week."

      "The prudent thing to do and the right thing to do when a situation like this arises is to do a review to make sure that the proper protocols were followed," Evans said. "We believe it's important to bring in an external group to conduct the review. We started that process of discussing from the moment Jordan was hospitalized, and we will have a team that will provide us the necessary feedback so we can move forward."

      During the press conference, Evans detailed much of what took place at the May 29 workout, which he said began around 4:15 p.m. with the temperature near 80 degrees at the Terrapins' practice fields, with the strength and conditioning staff and trainers on hand.

      According to Evans, the workout had all players run 10 110-yard sprints and McNair -- listed at 6-foot-4, 325 pounds -- completed all of them before struggling to recover afterward, leading trainers to come to his attention.

      "Right now I don't have the specific details as to what time that took place but what I do know is that they were immediately over to him," Evans said.

      Evans added that a cart took McNair to the training room for further care and 911 was called, before McNair was taken to the hospital around 6 p.m. All players were given a gallon of water in the morning, with snacks, Gatorade and lunch during the day, Evans said.

      No further details were provided about McNair's health after the workout, including his condition or cause of death, due to the McNair family's requests for privacy.

      Head football coach DJ Durkin was also at the press conference, fighting back tears and emotions when he spoke.

      "My heart is broken," he said, pausing to collect himself, "for the reason we're all even sitting here having this press conference. You look for reasons. It's not reasonable that a 19-year-old should pass away. It's not reasonable that a family, his parents Marty and Tonya, should ever have to go through this.

      "Jordan was such a tremendous person. As big as he was stature-wise, his heart was much bigger. He had a great way about him. A quiet smile. It was hard to get a word out of him. It was also hard to have a conversation with him without him bringing a smile to your own face. There's a whole team of players, coaches, staff that love him very much, and for that reason, everyone is grieving right now."

      McNair, a native of Randallstown, Md., played in one game as a true freshman in 2017.

      --Field Level Media

  • Saban not stressed about Tide QB competition
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, June 14, 2018

    As Alabama coach Nick Saban sees it, Tua Tagovailoa versus Jalen Hurts puts the Crimson Tide in a no-lose situation.

    • Tagovailoa, who rescued Alabama with a stirring performance in relief of two-year starting quarterback Hurts in the national championship game, was ready to transfer had that game worked out differently.

      What looks like a difficult decision from the outside is a simple matter of competition, and Saban is ready to let the best man win.

      "It won't be difficult at all," Saban said prior to his charity golf tournament. "What we're trying to do is give the guys an opportunity and that's the fair thing for both of them, and that's really what our goal is."

      Saban said his experience has been that the locker room, not the coaches or quarterbacks, winds up deciding most QB competitions. He also inferred the player that ends up starting Alabama's opener Sept. 1 against Louisville might not be the starter in perpetuity.

      "I think both players need to know that they need to win the team -- that's what they need to do -- and the best way for them to do that is to stay focused on what they need to do," Saban added. "And anything that they do that brings attention to themselves probably erodes the opportunity for that to happen."

      Down 13-0 to Georgia, Tagovailoa sparked Alabama with 166 yards and three touchdowns. He threw a 41-yard touchdown pass in overtime.

      Hurts started as a freshman and sophomore but delivered consecutive uneven performances to open the door in the title game.

      "I'd appreciate your help in just allowing it to happen," Saban said. "Because it's not going to happen any faster, you're not going to make it happen faster. It's going to be a process that we go through, and that's the way it's going to be."

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: Tennessee adds Alabama OL transfer Kennedy
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, June 14, 2018

    Tennessee is bringing in former Alabama offensive lineman Brandon Kennedy as a graduate transfer, according to multiple reports Thursday.

    • Kennedy chose Tennessee over Auburn. He has two years of eligibility remaining and will enroll in the Vols' second summer session, according to 247Sports.

      Kennedy graduated from Alabama in December, though his transfer was delayed when the Tide put restrictions on his release that blocked him from having contact with other SEC programs. However, the rule allowing such was changed at the SEC spring meetings last month, which paved the way for Kennedy to proceed with his transfer.

      Kennedy adds depth to a Tennessee offensive line that sorely needs it. Trey Smith missed spring practice due to a medical issue, and Chance Hall is coming back from a knee injury.

      --Field Level Media

  • Cal football recruit sustains spinal injury
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, June 14, 2018

    Chris Fatilua, a football recruit headed for Cal in the fall, sustained a serious spinal cord injury Monday afternoon in an accident at San Diego.

    • No other details were immediately known.

      Fatilua's family issued a statement through the school that read, in part, "(Chris) is receiving treatment for his injury and his long-term prognosis is unknown at this time. Our family is tremendously appreciative of the support we have received from everyone at this difficult time. It is reassuring and inspirational to know that we will have that support as we begin the recovery process and tackle the challenges ahead."

      Cal head coach Justin Wilcox wrote in a message posted on the football team's Twitter account, "Our hearts and minds are with incoming freshman Chris Fatilua and his family at this difficult time. The most important thing to focus on right now and in the immediate future is Chris' recovery. Our Cal family will be there to support them in every way possible now and when Chris is ready to join us in Berkeley."

      Fatilua, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound linebacker, was a senior at Madison High School in San Diego this year. 247Sports listed him as a three-star recruit, and Rivals had him as a two-star prospect.

      He signed with Cal in January after also receiving offers from Oregon State, Vanderbilt, Hawaii, Navy and Bowling Green, according to Rivals.

      --Field Level Media

  • College football notebook: Maryland OL McNair dead at 19
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, June 13, 2018

    Maryland offensive lineman Jordan McNair died Wednesday, school executive athletic director Damon Evans announced. McNair was 19.

    • An exact cause of death was not disclosed, though a GoFundMe page set up last week to support McNair's family says he received a liver transplant after being airlifted to the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore and had been "fighting for his life for the past week."

      McNair was hospitalized following an organized team workout on May 29.

      McNair, a native of Randallstown, Md., played in one game as a true freshman in 2017. Several of his teammates took to Twitter to share their condolences, including former Terrapin D.J. Moore, who was a first-round pick by the Carolina Panthers in this year's NFL draft.

      --The NCAA will reportedly announce that it will add three bowl games for the 2020 season after the NCAA Football Oversight Committee signed off on the additions.

      Chicago and Myrtle Beach, S.C., are expected to be named as two of the locations, with the Chicago game being played at Wrigley Field, according to former ESPN college football insider Brett McMurphy.

      The move would bring the total number of bowl games to 43, which would mean 65 percent of FBS schools would play in bowl games.

      --Jim Harbaugh says some scholarship players at Michigan will have to earn their roster spots back from walk-ons and other non-scholarship players before fall camp opens.

      In a recent podcast, the Wolverines coach said he had posted a list of the top 110 players in the program as of June 1 and that some scholarship players didn't make the cut.

      Harbaugh says he'll post an updated list about a week before camp opens, based on feedback from the strength and conditioning staff, since coaches can't work with players during the summer. As a Power 5 school, Michigan must honor the scholarships even if a player does not make the final roster.

      --Field Level Media

  • Maryland OL McNair dead at 19
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, June 13, 2018

    Maryland offensive lineman Jordan McNair died Wednesday, school executive athletic director Damon Evans announced. McNair was 19.

    • An exact cause of death was not disclosed, though a GoFundMe page set up last week to support McNair's family says he received a liver transplant after being airlifted to the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore and had been "fighting for his life for the past week."

      McNair was hospitalized following an organized team workout on May 29.

      "Our team is heartbroken with the loss of Jordan McNair," coach DJ Durkin said in a statement. "... Jordan was a fighter. Over the past few weeks, Jordan never gave up with his family, friends and team by his side. Our team will continue to be inspired by the spirit of this brave fighter. Please continue to pray for Jordan's family during this difficult time."

      McNair, a native of Randallstown, Md., played in one game as a true freshman in 2017.

      "Lord, words cannot explain anything right now," Maryland quarterback Kasim Hill tweeted. "Thank you for allowing me to know a great friend, teammate and a man who was truly a brother. Watch over us all Jordan and rest in peace, Love you forever."

      --Field Level Media

  • Harbaugh puts some scholarship players on notice
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, June 13, 2018

    Jim Harbaugh says some scholarship players at Michigan will have to earn their roster spots back from walk-ons and other non-scholarship players before fall camp opens.

    • In a recent podcast, the Wolverines coach said he had posted a list of the top 110 players in the program as of June 1 and that some scholarship players didn't make the cut.

      "We posted it for the squad, so they know who was in the 110 as of June 1 and who is not in the 110 as of June 1. We do expect there will be movement, we hope it ignites competition in the summer," Harbaugh said, per the Detroit Free-Press. "Our guys know that 110 number is strictly based on merit. The team's needs, talent, who is going to help at certain positions. Who the best players are.

      "There already are scholarship players who aren't in the 110 and there are walk-ons, preferred walk-ons and tryout guys who are in the 110."

      Harbaugh says he'll post an updated list about a week before camp opens, based on feedback from the strength and conditioning staff, since coaches can't work with players during the summer.

      As a Power 5 school, Michigan must honor the scholarships even if a player does not make the final roster.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: NCAA to add three more bowls for 2020
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, June 13, 2018

    The NCAA will reportedly announce that it will add three bowl games for the 2020 season after the NCAA Football Oversight Committee signed off on the additions.

    • Chicago and Myrtle Beach, S.C. are expected to be named as two of the locations, with the Chicago game being played at Wrigley Field, according to former ESPN college football insider Brett McMurphy.

      The game at Wrigley Field would pit a Big Ten team against an ACC team, per the report.

      A third location was not as clear, with several sites vying for a potential game.

      The move would bring the total number of bowl games to 43, which would mean 65 percent of FBS schools would play in bowl games.

      The NCAA is also expected to give an updated outline on the maximum number of teams each conference can send to bowl games, based on the average number of teams each conference has sent in the past four years.

      --Field Level Media