College Football
NCAAF News Wire
  • Thursday, February 11, 2016
    Rules committee offers proposal to fix incorrect targeting calls
    By The Sports Xchange

    Replay officials could have more say next season in determining penalties for targeting in college football.

    • The NCAA rules committee offered a proposal to give replay officials increased power to call targeting penalties missed on the field and to fix incorrect rulings made during games.

      The targeting adjustment was one of several proposals that came out of four days of meetings in Orlando, Fla., that will go to a rules oversight panel on March 8 for consideration.

      The targeting rule was put in place starting with the 2013 season to reduce the number of helmet-to-helmet collisions and to help avoid head and neck injuries. A player called for targeting is automatically ejected and his team receives a 15-yard penalty.

      "In a small number of cases, the committee believed players were incorrectly disqualified from games," the NCAA said in a statement.

      Targeting calls were up 60 percent in 2015 when 158 calls were made in FBS games and 43 were overturned. Most of the criticism regarding the targeting rule has been about consistency.

      "The targeting rule is serving the game well and has enhanced player safety," Bob Nielson, chair of the committee and head coach at the University of South Dakota, said in a statement. "Because this is such a severe penalty, we are instructing replay officials to review plays to ensure that the required elements of targeting exist. We are also adding the ability for the replay official to stop the game when a potential targeting foul is not detected on the field."

      College football also is considering a command center similar to those used by professional sports leagues. Each conference would decide whether to put replay officials in a central hub to assist with calls made on the field at the stadiums. The idea is to have the most qualified replay officials in one location to avoid mistakes made by more inexperienced officials.

      Southeastern Conference coaches favor the collaborative approach for replay and the SEC is expected to utilize that option if approved next fall.

      "This is the necessary first step and we will now further engage our membership to determine if and how we will implement this experimental opportunity," SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement. "We look forward to communicating with other conference offices to discuss the most appropriate and effective implementation of collaborative replay. Our office has been considering various logistical approaches which will be finalized prior to the 2016 season if we decide to use this new experimental rule."

      The proposed changes come in response to mistakes made at stadiums last season, including the ending of the University of Miami-Duke game when the replay officials erred on a play at the end of the game.

      "The idea is the replay official at the stadium will make the decision but in collaboration and with input from offsite people," national officiating coordinator Rogers Redding said. "It doesn't change who makes the decision. It just changes the capability of further consultation."

      The committee also voted to permit coaches to use electronic devices in the press box and locker room during the game but not on the field or sideline. That means coaches who are not on the field will be able to use tablets to view plays during games.

      Other rules that passed include:

      --Designating a ball carrier, primarily a quarterback, who is sliding to the turf as a defenseless player.

      --Deliberately tripping a ball carrier with the leg is a penalty.

      --Prohibiting a player who leaves the tackle box from blocking below the waist toward where the ball was spotted initially.

  • Thursday, February 11, 2016
    RB Sanders headed to Oklahoma State as transfer
    By The Sports Xchange

    Stanford running back Barry J. Sanders is in the process of transferring to Oklahoma State, the school where his famous father won the 1988 Heisman Trophy.

    • The younger Sanders is on track to graduate from Stanford this summer and he would be immediately eligible to play for the Cowboys.

      "They've got my full commitment and I'm looking forward to being there come late June," Sanders told The Oklahoman.

      The elder Barry Sanders is perhaps the most famous player in Oklahoma State history. He had 2,850 rushing yards and 44 touchdowns during his Heisman-winning campaign.

      The younger Sanders has been a backup at Stanford the past three seasons. He had 664 rushing yards and five touchdowns in 36 games.

      Christian McCaffrey emerged as Stanford's star runner and finished second in last season's Heisman balloting.

      Barry J. Sanders is looking for an opportunity to play more as well as savoring the chance to play at his father's school.

      The football legend didn't immediately sign off on his son's decision. The younger Sanders said his dad wanted to make sure he pursued all his options.

      "His message to me was to keep an open mind," Sanders said. "I think that he would have wanted me to look at more schools. He definitely didn't want me to make a decision without considering other options. What I told him was that this was something I've been thinking about for some time. I just knew this was the right decision and the right fit for a variety of different reasons.

      "So when I kind of explained my reasons behind it, he was pretty comfortable with it and he's just as excited as I am."

      Cowboys coach Mike Gundy was the quarterback of the team when Barry Sanders won the Heisman Trophy.

  • Thursday, February 11, 2016
    Haden appears to be OK after health scare
    By The Sports Xchange

    USC athletic director Pat Haden underwent medical tests at a local hospital on Wednesday and was in stable condition after collapsing on campus in Los Angeles.

    • The university said in a release issued Wednesday night that Haden was resting comfortably and planned "to be back soon watching his Trojans in action." He also expressed "thanks to all for their concerns."

      The 63-year-old Haden was walking to his office after a meeting when he felt lightheaded and sat down outside the athletic department building. Staff medical personnel came to his aid and he then was transported from campus to a hospital to be examined by his doctor.

      Haden, who is stepping down June 30 as AD, has a history of heart problems and wears a pacemaker. He had a bout of lightheadedness on the field at Notre Dame in October before the Trojans played the Fighting Irish and was examined in the locker room at the stadium.

      Haden, a former USC quarterback, served on the inaugural College Football Playoff selection committee but stepped down in October after his doctor advised him to restrict travel. He will continue at USC through 2017 in an advisory capacity to oversee renovation of Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

  • Wednesday, February 10, 2016
    USC AD Haden falls ill on campus
    By The Sports Xchange

    USC athletic director Pat Haden was taken by paramedics to a hospital near campus in Los Angeles on Wednesday after collapsing.

    • The university said in a release that Haden was walking to his office after a meeting when he felt lightheaded and sat down outside the athletic department building. Staff medical personnel came to his aid and he then was transported from campus to be seen by his doctor.

      A school spokesman said Haden was alert and talking.

      Haden, who is stepping down June 30 as AD, has a history of heart problems and wears a pacemaker. He had a bout of lightheadedness on the field at Notre Dame in October before the Trojans played the Fighting Irish and was examined in the locker room at the stadium.

      Haden, a former USC quarterback, served on the inaugural College Football Playoff selection committee but stepped down in October after his doctor advised him to restrict travel. He will continue at USC through 2017 in an advisory capacity to oversee renovation of Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

  • Tuesday, February 9, 2016
    College football notebook: SEC challenges Michigan's spring break trip
    By The Sports Xchange

    Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh opened a can of recruiting worms and the SEC is hoping to hammer the lid back on that can.

    • Harbaugh said on National Signing Day that the Wolverines would begin spring practice at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., during spring break. On Tuesday, the SEC asked the NCAA to prohibit teams from holding spring practice during spring break, CBS Sports reported.

      Currently, the NCAA does not prohibit Harbaugh and Michigan from heading to Florida as planned. A decision would end the practice of taking such a trip, but not before the Wolverines follow through with this season's trip.

      Harbaugh's motive is to bring additional exposure to Michigan in the south, similar to the Wolverines' satellite camps -- also an issue for the SEC.

      ---Former University of Michigan football player Logan Tuley-Tillman pleaded guilty to illegal videotaping a woman having sex without her approval.

      The 20-year-old pleaded guilty to capturing or distributing an image of an unclothed person and using a computer to commit a crime during a pretrial hearing on Monday in a Michigan court.

      Coach Jim Harbaugh dismissed Tuley-Tillman from the Michigan football program on Sept. 10 after speaking with police and within a week of the videotaping incident, according to police reports. Tuley-Tillman saw action in the Wolverines' 2015 season opener against Utah on Sept. 3. The incident occurred the next day.

      ---Duke starting quarterback Thomas Sirk is sidelined indefinitely after suffering an Achilles tear during offseason conditioning, the school announced.

      Sirk faces surgery on Wednesday morning to repair the damage, Duke coach David Cutcliffe said. It's the second Achilles injury for Sirk during his career. In 2013, he ruptured the Achilles in his right leg and missed the season while recovering.

      The redshirt senior was named the co-MVP of the Pinstripe Bowl in December when he accounted for three touchdowns and 318 yards of total offense in a 44-41 win over Indiana in Yankee Stadium, the Blue Devils' first bowl victory since 1961. Sirk passed for 16 touchdowns and 2,625 yards last season. He also rushed for 803 yards and eight touchdowns.

  • Tuesday, February 9, 2016
    Duke QB Sirk sustains Achilles injury
    By The Sports Xchange

    Duke starting quarterback Thomas Sirk is sidelined indefinitely after suffering an Achilles tear during offseason conditioning, the school announced Tuesday.

    • Sirk faces surgery on Wednesday morning to repair the damage, Duke coach David Cutcliffe said.

      "#Duke QB @tsirk_1 suffered ruptured left Achilles tendon this am; he will be out indefinitely following tomorrow's surgery. #GoDuke," the school tweeted.

      It's the second Achilles injury for Sirk during his career at Duke. In 2013, he ruptured the Achilles in his right leg and missed the season while recovering.

      The redshirt senior was named the co-MVP of the Pinstripe Bowl in December when he accounted for three touchdowns and 318 yards of total offense in a 44-41 win over Indiana in Yankee Stadium, the Blue Devils' first bowl victory since 1961.

      Sirk passed for 16 touchdowns and 2,625 yards last season. He also rushed for 803 yards and eight touchdowns.

      Duke's backup quarterbacks are Parker Boehme and Nicodem Pierre. Boehme is expected to get first-team reps during spring practices, which begin March 5 and conclude April 9. Pierre was a freshman last fall.

  • Tuesday, February 9, 2016
    Ex-Wolverine pleads guilty to filming sex
    By The Sports Xchange

    Former University of Michigan football player Logan Tuley-Tillman plead guilty to illegal videotaping a woman having sex without her approval.

    • The 20-year-old pleaded guilty to capturing or distributing an image of an unclothed person and using a computer to commit a crime during a pretrial hearing on Monday in a Michigan court.

      Coach Jim Harbaugh dismissed Tuley-Tillman from the Michigan football program on Sept. 10 after speaking with police and within a week of the videotaping incident, according to police reports.

      Tuley-Tillman saw action in the Wolverines' 2015 season opener against Utah on Sept. 3. The incident occurred the next day.

      An additional count of the first charge was dismissed.

      Tuley-Tillman said in court he used the woman's cellphone to record the two having sex, which was consensual. The filming was not.

      According to police reports, Tuley-Tillman said he was too drunk to remember taking the video.

      He will be sentenced March 28.

      Tuley-Tillman is transferring to Washington State.

  • Friday, February 5, 2016
    Haden to retire as USC AD on June 30
    By The Sports Xchange

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      N.J.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Other key commitments:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      It remains unclear who filmed the video.

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

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

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

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

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

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