College Football
NCAAF News Wire
  • Friday, August 28, 2015
    LSU coordinator Cameron has cancer but remains on job
    By The Sports Xchange

    LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron is battling prostate cancer but said Friday that he will continue to coach this season.

    • The 54-year-old Cameron has undergone treatment and has experienced only minor limitations so far, saying he has been given a clean bill of health going into the 2015 season.

      LSU experienced a similar medical situation with an assistant before the 2011 season when Steve Kragthorpe was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and stepped aside as offensive coordinator. He remains with the program in an administrative position.

      Cameron is beginning his third season as LSU's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He previously worked in the NFL as an offensive coordinator with the Baltimore Ravens and the San Diego Chargers. He also is a former head coach for the Miami Dolphins and in college at Indiana, his alma mater.

      The 14th-ranked Tigers open the season at home against McNeese State on Sept. 5.

  • Friday, August 28, 2015
    Oregon transfer Adams running No. 1 at QB
    By The Sports Xchange

    Marcus Mariota's successor at Oregon appears to be senior transfer Vernon Adams.

    • Adams, who joined the seventh-ranked Ducks earlier this month after graduating from Eastern Washington, was listed at No. 1 on the team's depth chart at quarterback with the season opener a week away.

      Adams, an FCS All-American and two-time Big Sky offensive player of the year, had to pass a math class at Eastern Washington two weeks ago to become eligible to play for Oregon this year.

      Jeff Lockie, who backed up the Heisman Trophy-winning Mariota last year, is behind Adams after a scrimmage concluded fall camp on Thursday. Mariota is now in the NFL with the Tennessee Titans.

      Adams passed for 3,483 yards and 35 touchdowns last year at Eastern Washington and finished with 10,438 yards and 110 touchdowns in three seasons at the school.

      Oregon opens its season on Sept. 5 at home against Eastern Washington, Adams' former team.

  • Friday, August 28, 2015
    Georgia Tech no longer under the radar
    By The Sports Xchange

    ATLANTA -- Coach Paul Johnson won't be able to play the "us vs. them" card this year. After being overlooked a year ago by the pundits, the Yellow Jackets went 11-3 and finished No. 7 in the nation.

    • At the annual ACC's preseason football gathering, the Yellow Jackets were picked to win the Coastal Division. Ahead of Virginia Tech. Ahead of Duke. Ahead of Miami. Ahead of everyone.

      "There's a lot of teams that are competitive (in the Coastal Division)," Johnson said. "For once I hope they got it right. They haven't got it right too many times. This time I hope they picked in right."

      There are many good reasons why the Yellow Jackets are the overwhelming pick to win their division. There are 16 returning starters -- six on offense, eight on defense and both specialists. Johnson has 48 returning lettermen.

      Now it makes sense why there's so much high regard for the program this year. The Yellow Jackets enter the season ranked No. 17 in the coaches poll, the first time they've been in the preseason polls since 2010.

      "I think you've got to play the games on the field," Johnson said. "We've been in the ACC Championship game three of the seven years we've been there. That's certainly our goal and what we're shooting for again this year."

      The source for much of the excitement stems from the presence of junior quarterback Justin Thomas, who last year proved to be the ideal man to run Johnson's spread option attack. Thomas ran for 1,086 yards and threw for 1,719 yards and accounted for 26 touchdowns, with a 153.9 pass efficiency rating.

      With Thomas at the controls the Yellow Jackets led the nation in rushing and set an ACC record, averaging .342.1 yards per game.

      "Justin is a tremendous athlete," Johnson said. "We're very fortunate to have him as part of our program. I think he'd be a really good quarterback in any system, but his skill set really fits what we like to do."

      The offensive line has four starters back -- tackles Trey Braun and Bryan Chamberlain, guard Errin Joe and center Freddie Burden. Chamberlain and Burden were both honorable mention All-ACC.

      The defense, now in its third season under coordinator Ted Roof, may be in the best place it has ever been since Johnson arrived. Eight starters return from a group that seemed to bend, but resisted the urge to break. Other than a meltdown at Chapel Hill, the defense was effective.

      Returning starters are led by nose tackle Adam Gotsis, a 6-5, 282-pound senior who could play at the next level. Other returners on the defense are end KeShun Freeman, a freshman All-America last year, linebackers P.J. Davis and Tyler Macordes, cornerbacks D.J. White and Demond Smith and safeties Jamal Golden and Chris Milton.

      Both specialists are back. Ryan Rodwell averaged 41.2 yards last year. Kicker Harrison Butker wasn't as good as he was as a freshman, but still made 11 of 18 field goals, including the 53-yarder against Georgia that sent the game to overtime.

      NOTES, QUOTES

      SPOTLIGHT ON SEPTEMBER: The schedule starts slower this year, with home games against Alcorn State and Tulane. But there are two road games at the end of the month (Notre Dame, Duke) that could determine whether the Yellow Jackets can live up to their hype.

      KEYS TO SUCCESS: Most of the team's experienced running backs graduated. The Yellow Jackets are banking on the return of A-back Broderick Snoddy, who ran for 283 yards and three touchdowns before breaking his leg against Clemson. The leader at the B-back slot is Stanford graduate transfer Patrick Skov, who brings a physical style of running to the position. True freshman Marcus Marshall will also play there.

      AREAS OF CONCERN: The two top receivers, DeAndre Smelter and Darren Waller, both graduated and were in an NFL camp this fall. Thomas will need Micheal Summers and Ricky Jeune to prove they can catch during a game; Summers had seven catches a year ago, while Jeune did not have a reception. Both have been outstanding in preseason camp.

      QUOTE TO NOTE: "Justin (Thomas, QB) is a tremendous athlete. We're very fortunate to have him as part of our program. I think he'd be a really good quarterback in any system, but his skill set really fits what we like to do." -- Coach Paul Johnson.

  • Friday, August 28, 2015
    Illinois fires head coach Beckman
    By The Sports Xchange

    Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas fired head coach Tim Beckman on Friday, just one week before the start of the 2015 football season.

    • Thomas cited preliminary results of an external review into allegations involving the mistreatment of players and the mishandling of their injuries.

      "The preliminary information external reviewers shared with me does not reflect our values or our commitment to the welfare of our student-athletes, and I've chosen to act accordingly," Thomas said in a statement. "During the review, we have asked people not to rush to judgment, but I now have enough information to make this decision in assessing the status and direction of the football program."

      Thomas said he met with players and staff to inform them of the school's decision.

      A Chicago-based law firm has been looking into charges made by some former players that they were mistreated and were forced to play while injured.

      Beckman issued a statement Friday night calling the accusations "utterly false" and saying he plans to fight back.

      "I am shocked and disappointed by the decision Mike Thomas and the University of Illinois made today," Beckman said. "I firmly deny the implications in Mike's statements that I took any action that was not in the best interests of the health, safety and well-being of my players. The health and well-being of our SAs is of paramount importance. The university's actions are in violation of the procedures mandated under my employment agreement. I will vigorously defend both my reputation and my legal rights." "

      During a preliminary briefing from the external reviewers, Thomas said he learned of efforts to deter injury reporting and influence medical decisions that pressured players to avoid or postpone medical treatment and continue playing despite injuries. He also said in some instances student-athletes were treated inappropriately with respect to whether they could remain on scholarship during the spring semester of their senior year if they weren't on the team.

      "Both of those findings are unsettling violations of University policy and practice and do not reflect the culture that we wish to create in athletic programs for our young people," Thomas said. "I expect my coaches to protect players and foster their success on and off the field."

      Former offensive lineman Simon Cvijanovic raised allegations on Twitter in May that Beckman forced him to play through injuries, leading to the university's launch of the review.

      Cvijanovic, a three-year starter at tackle, lashed out against his former program and coach, alleging mistreatment after he sustained football-related injuries in 2013 and 2014. He accused the team's medical staff of removing the meniscus in his left knee without his consent.

      Beckman at the time dismissed Cvijanovic's claims at the time as "a personal attack."

      Cvijanovic said Friday that Beckman's firing was a "step in the right direction."

      "I felt like it was definitely right," he told the Chicago Tribune. "But I feel like it's more than just Beckman. I feel like it's a systemic issue."

      The university said Beckman will not receive the $3.1 million remaining on the last two years of his original five-year contract or the $743,000 called for if his contract had been bought out.

      Beckman's record in three years as head coach was 12-25 overall, 4-20 in Big Ten Conference games. He led Illinois to the Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl in December 2014.

      Bill Cubit, who was hired as offensive coordinator in 2013, will take over as the team's interim coach for the 2015 season, pending approval by the board of trustees. Cubit was the head coach at Western Michigan from 2005 to 2012.

      Illinois opens the season next Friday against Kent State.

  • Friday, August 28, 2015
    Draft prospects to watch: Georgia Tech
    By The Sports Xchange

    GEORGIA TECH YELLOW JACKETS

    • NFL Draft picks the last five years: 8

      2015 NFL Draft picks: 3 -- G/C Shaq Mason (4th round, 131st overall, New England Patriots); WR DeAndre Smelter (4th round, 132nd overall, San Francisco 49ers); WR Darren Waller (6th round, 204th overall, Baltimore Ravens)

      In the seven years since Paul Johnson took over as head coach, Georgia Tech has produced at least three draft picks in four of those years, including the past two seasons. Despite the triple option being the focus of the Yellow Jackets' offense under Johnson, Georgia Tech has had twice as many wide receivers than running backs drafted since 2010. However, looking ahead to the program's potential 2016 prospects, the focus is on defense led by the defensive tackle Adam Gotsis.

      Georgia Tech's top NFL Draft-eligible prospects to watch in 2015:

      Adam Gotsis, DT, senior (6-5, 285, 4.88)

      A native of Melbourne, Australia, Gotsis hoped to play college football at a high level in the United States, but he didn't receive much attention until Georgia Tech became involved in the process. He moved halfway around the globe and joined the Yellow Jackets in 2012, seeing immediate action as a true freshman reserve. Gotsis enters his third year as a starter in 2015, lining up all over the defensive line for Paul Johnson's team, using his quickness and motor to work off blocks and penetrate the backfield. He finished last season with 36 tackles, 6½ tackles for loss and three sacks, adding two blocked kicks on special teams. Gotsis will struggle with leverage at times and doesn't have the ammo in his hands to bully blockers, but his hustle and smarts allow him to be active and a headache for offenses.

      Jamal Golden, FS, redshirt senior (5-11, 193, 4.56)

      After redshirting in 2013 due to injury, Golden returned healthy last season and tied for the team-lead with four interceptions, adding 61 tackles, four tackles for loss and seven passes defended. He is an adequate size/speed specimen for the position, but he will have trouble when asked to man up with tight ends and bigger targets, struggling to gain body position and find the ball. However, Golden has terrific play recognition off the ball with the read/react skills to diagnose, bait and close with burst to make a play at the catch point. He was also the primary return man on kicks and punts for the Yellow Jackets, averaging 23.7 yards on kick returns and 21.8 yards on interceptions returns.

      Jabari Hunt-Days, DL, redshirt senior (6-2, 295, 4.89)

      Starting in seven games in 2013, Hunt-Days finished among the team leaders in tackles for loss (seven) and was poised for a breakout junior year, but missed the entire 2014 season due to academic issues. He is currently enrolled in summer school and is on pace to be eligible for the upcoming season, his final year of eligibility. Starting his career as a pass rush linebacker, Hunt-Days added 35 pounds over the last year and is making the transition to defensive tackle. The Georgia Tech coaches have been impressed with his move inside, a position that better fits his skill set, according to defensive coordinator Ted Roof. Hunt-Days has the physical makeup to be a disruptive force, but also the instincts and quick-thinking approach to the game that will serve him well moving forward.

      Other Georgia Tech draft-eligible prospects to watch in 2015:

      Justin Thomas, QB/WR, redshirt junior (5-11, 190, 4.53)

      Tim Byerly, QB/RB, redshirt senior (6-0, 212, 4.63)

      Broderick Snoddy, RB, redshirt senior (5-9, 190, 4.46)

      P.J. Davis, WLB, junior (5-11, 218, 4.68)

      D.J. White, CB, senior (5-11, 188, 4.49)

      Chris Milton, CB, redshirt senior (5-11, 190, 4.54)

      Demond Smith, NB/SS, redshirt senior (5-11, 192, 4.57)

      --Dane Brugler is senior analyst for NFLDraftScout.com, owned and produced by The Sports Xchange and distributed in cooperation with CBSSports.com

  • Friday, August 28, 2015
    Draft prospects to watch: Georgia
    By The Sports Xchange

    Losing a running back with Todd Gurley's talent would be a huge, perhaps even insurmountable, loss for most programs.

    • At Georgia, that's not the case.

      The presence of true sophomore Nick Chubb -- he of nine straight 100-yard games -- and a stout offensive line have Mark Richt and the Bulldogs wondering if they can't match last year's success running the football. That would be a major accomplishment, considering that Georgia led the SEC in 2014, averaging an eye-popping 257.8 yards per game on the ground.

      With Chubb not eligible for the NFL Draft until 2017, Richt and the Bulldogs can rest easy on that side of the ball. Star edge rushers Leonard Floyd and Jordan Jenkins, however, are certain to attract plenty of NFL scouts to Athens this fall.

      NFL Draft picks the last five years: 28

      2015 NFL Draft picks: Five (RB Todd Gurley, selected No. 10 overall by St. Louis; WR Chris Conley, selected No. 76 overall by Kansas City; ILB Ramik Wilson, selected No. 118 overall by Kansas City; DB Damian Swann, selected No. 167 overall by New Orleans; ILB Amarlo Herrera, selected No. 207 overall by Indianapolis)

      Georgia's top NFL Draft-Eligible prospects to watch in 2015:

      Leonard Floyd, OLB, Redshirt Junior, 6-3, 232, 4.73

      With 12.5 sacks recorded in his two seasons of action for the Bulldogs, Floyd enters his redshirt junior campaign as one of the more scrutinized and exciting prospects in the entire SEC.

      The Bulldogs' 3-4 scheme has helped pad the statistics of several edge rushers at Georgia in recent years but few boast Floyd's raw tools. Floyd burst onto the scene as a true freshman, leading all first-year SEC defenders with 6.5 sacks (among his 55 tackles) in 2013. Floyd struggled with a shoulder injury (that eventually required surgery and kept him out of the Belk Bowl) in 2014 but posted similar numbers as a sophomore, leading the Bulldogs with six sacks. While sporting a relatively lanky frame, Floyd shows surprising power in his hands and complements it with burst off the edge, agility to avoid blockers and a relentless motor.

      While Floyd checks in 20 pounds lighter than most teams would prefer in an edge rusher, the redshirt junior has the requisite burst to surge past tackles as a speed rusher as well as underrated strength. He is surprisingly powerful at the point of attack, flashing dynamite in his hands with an effective hand slap to knock away the efforts of tackles to latch and control him. His first step burst and acceleration make Floyd a frequent visitor in the backfield, either off the edge or knifing inside. Floyd possesses excellent movement skills for his tall, lengthy frame, displaying the relentless nature and speed to collapse the pocket or chase down plays from behind. Because of his agility and closing speed, Floyd appears capable of handling a more traditional linebacker role than simply rushing upfield. He is expected to log some time this year at inside linebacker, a testament to his versatility and ability to locate the football.

      The knocks on Floyd are durability and weight. Pass rushers are king when it comes defensive prospects for the NFL and Floyd certainly has shown the ability to harass quarterbacks. With an injury-free 2015 season and the expected growth after another offseason in the weight room, Floyd could emerge as a legitimate first round contender.

      Greg Pyke, OG, Redshirt Junior, 6-5, 315, 5.24

      Certainly a great deal of the reason for Georgia's success running the football in recent years has been the talent lining up in the backfield. A talented offensive line, however, has also played an important role with Pyke - a former highly regarded lacrosse recruit - emerging as a verifiable star at right guard in 2014.

      Pyke entered last season with zero career starts and only two game appearances after redshirting in 2012. He won the starting right guard role after an impressive spring, which concluded with him being recognized by the team as the "Most Improved Offensive Player" by the coaching staff. Pyke started all 13 games for the Bulldogs in 2014, earning Second Team All-SEC honors and once again being highlighted by Richt and his staff as the team's Most Improved player.

      Pyke possesses great core strength and leg drive which allows him to push defensive tackles off the ball on his way towards the second level. Pyke does not possess ideal agility to track down linebackers once there but understands angles, consistently placing himself between the defender and his running back. Pyke is creative when blocking on the move, striking defenders with force when he resorting to cut blocks when necessary. Pyke doesn't waste time worrying about defenders who may have slipped past, instead re-focusing on other targets, often blocking multiple opponents on the same play.

      In pass protection, Pyke shows good initial quickness, as well as lateral agility to mirror defenders. He attacks defenders with a strong initial punch and anchors well due to proper knee bend and his core strength. Despite his limited experience, Pyke is alert to stunts and surprise blitzes.

      Jordan Jenkins, OLB/DE, Senior, 6-2, 253, 4.64

      While Floyd is the most talented of Georgia's pass rushers, Jenkins has been the most reliable to this point, steadily improving his tackle production the past three seasons - each of which he's started. Jenkins isn't as lanky as Floyd but his compact frame and good strength at the point of the attack make him more stout against the run, as his career-high 70 tackles, including 9.5 for loss a season ago can attest. Jenkins has been a productive pass rusher over his career (posting five sacks each year) but this may be a testament to his effort and power as the senior doesn't possess ideal length or athleticism.

      Whether from the two or three-point stance Jenkins shows good burst off the snap, as well as the lateral agility and flexibility to scrape the corner. He does, however, lack the preferred closing speed for edge rushers. Though not as explosive as scouts would prefer, what is most impressive about Jenkins' game given his 'tweener frame is his strength at the point of attack. For a player with his size, Jenkins shows good power to lock-out and create a pile, as well as the balance to string plays out wide.

      Malcolm Mitchell, WR, Redshirt Senior, 6-0, 195, 4.52

      It wasn't long ago that Mitchell looked destined for superstardom. Recurring knee injuries, however, very much have Mitchell's stock in flux entering his redshirt senior campaign. The unfortunate reality is that regardless of how well Mitchell performs in 2015, his ultimate draft status will hinge on the reports teams receive from doctors who are sure to check Mitchell closely during medical evaluations at the Scouting Combine. Last year, there were flashes of the ability he'd shown previously - as he hauled in 31 passes including three touchdowns but Mitchell averaged just eight yards per catch and his season-high was a 23-yard reception in a blowout victory over Kentucky.

      When healthy, Mitchell has hinted at stardom. Over his first two years in the program, he spent time at wide receiver, cornerback, kick returner and punt returner, being described as Georgia's most dynamic and versatile weapon since Champ Bailey.

      Splitting time between so many positions early in his career stunted his growth at receiver and most of his production came off of relatively simple routes. His production to this point (116 catches for 1,485 yards and 11 touchdowns) speaks to his upside. Mitchell possesses the combination of size, agility, straight-line speed and ball-skills to re-emerge as Georgia's top pass-catcher but he is a work in progress as a route-runner. He's explosive out of his breaks and is tough to tackle, showing not only elusiveness and vision but strength to fight through arm tackles and break away for the long score.

      Other Georgia draft-eligible prospects to watch in 2015:

      John Theus, OT, Senior, 6-6, 305, 5.21

      Quincy Mauger, S, Junior, 6-0, 200, 4.54

      Marshall Morgan, K, Senior, 6-2, 194, 4.87

  • Friday, August 28, 2015
    Playoff potential realistic for UGA, but who's the QB?
    By The Sports Xchange

    ATHENS, Ga. -- With only one week left before the the table is set for ninth-ranked Georgia's season-opening pregame meal, head coach Mark Richt still wasn't positive which quarterback would take the first snap for the Bulldogs on Sept. 5.

    • Richt said this week he just isn't ready to name a No. 1 quarterback.

      He has some pros on his side in delaying the decision.

      Georgia has next-level talent on both sides of the ball and a sweet September schedule. The Bulldogs should be 4-0 when Alabama comes to Athens the first weekend of October. A win over the Crimson Tide then would put Richt back in the national title hunt, something desperately craved by Bulldog Nation.

      For the first time in a long time, it starts with the defense in Athens. Second-year defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt has a good-looking squad, featuring a pair of superstar linebackers in Leonard Floyd and Jordan Jenkins. Both are projected first-day NFL draft picks.

      The offense is built around a running attack that very may well be the best in the nation. Sophomore Nick Chubb was a breakout superstar as a freshman and is a top-tier Heisman candidate this year. Chubb has a pair of road-graters to run behind in junior guard Greg Pyke and senior tackle John Theus, a first-team All-SEC selection. Backup running backs Sony Michel and Keith Marshall are starters at most schools.

      That's where the accolades end, though, because what Georgia doesn't have is a proven quarterback, which has tempered expectations slightly.

      Sophomore Brice Ramsey is considered the frontrunner in a three-man race. Richt wasn't tipping his hand early in August camp and even said he'd consider playing two quarterbacks in the opener against Louisiana-Monroe. Sophomore Faton Bauta and Virginia-transfer Greyson Lambert are the other candidates.

      Whoever wins the job will need only to be able keep defenses somewhat honest. It seems unlikely new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer would keep the ball the ball away from Chubb or any of the stable of backs he inherited when Mike Bobo took the head coaching job at Colorado State.

      Plus, a soft September slate will only benefit the new QB. A Week 3 home game against South Carolina will be the toughest early test, but the Dogs better be ready come October. Back-to-back-to-back SEC battles against Alabama, at Tennessee and home against Missouri will reveal exactly who the Bulldogs are.

      Ranked No. 9 in the Coaches Poll, Georgia is the favorite in the SEC East, which also puts the Dogs squarely in the playoff hunt.

      NOTES, QUOTES

      SPOTLIGHT ON SEPTEMBER: A pair of cupcakes sandwiched around two winnable SEC games set up Georgia to 4-0 heading into October. The Bulldogs open at home against a Louisiana-Monroe team picked to finish seventh in the Sun Belt. Georgia then travels to Vanderbilt, before returning home to take on South Carolina. The Bulldogs close out the month against Southern of the FCS, before facing Alabama, Tennessee and Missouri to consecutive weeks in October. Ouch.

      KEYS TO SUCCESS: Georgia's best players are evenly distributed on both sides of the ball, giving coach Mark Richt a talented, balanced roster to make a run at the SEC East title -- if the quarterback play is serviceable enough to keep defenses honest. The quarterback position, by far, is Dogs' biggest key to success.

      AREAS OF CONCERN: In addition to the quarterback, Georgia must break in a new center and some young receivers into new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer's scheme. Schottenheimer is not expected to make dramatic changes to the Bulldogs' pro-style offense, but he'll need to find ways to make his quarterback comfortable, while force-feeding his stable of backs.

      QUOTE TO NOTE: "When you start preparing for Louisiana-Monroe you'd like to have a pecking order [of quarterbacks]. But I'm not even set on that yet. I'm not set on saying that I'm gonna have a first-teamer by the time we do that. There's a chance we have a couple guys taking reps in game one, I'm not sure." -- Coach Mark Richt to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in early August.

  • Thursday, August 27, 2015
    Notre Dame DL loses eligibility appeal
    By The Sports Xchange

    The NCAA denied an appeal by Notre Dame defensive lineman Ishaq Williams, who was suspended last season as part of an academic fraud case but was seeking permission to play this season.

    • Fighting Irish coach Brian Kelly confirmed the ruling Thursday. He hoped that Williams would be eligible.

      Williams and cornerback KeiVarae Russell were two of five players originally suspended last year by the university. Safety Eilar Hardy was the only one of the five to play last year for Notre Dame, but he since transferred to Bowling Green.

      Williams and Russell were formally readmitted by Notre Dame for the spring semester, but Williams did not enroll in school, leading to the NCAA rejecting his appeal for eligibility this year.

      Meanwhile, Russell did return to Notre Dame and attended classes in the spring before re-enrolling in late May. That led to Russell regaining his eligibility from the NCAA.

      Before being forced to sit out last year, Williams played in 24 games for the Irish the two previous seasons. He was expected to be a starter last year and likely would have been part of the defensive line rotation this year.

      Williams has returned to school and is on track for his degree, but he isn't allowed to practice with the team this fall.

  • Thursday, August 27, 2015
    College football notebook: Ohio lands former Iowa RB Hilliard
    By The Sports Xchange

    Ohio coach Frank Solich announced running back C.J. Hilliard has joined the program after transferring from Iowa.

    • Hilliard, a three-star recruit out of Cincinnati, will sit out the 2015 season per NCAA transfer rules and will have three years of eligibility remaining.

      Hilliard redshirted as a freshman in 2014 and said he left Iowa to play closer to home.

      The 5-foot-10, 195-pound Hilliard rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of his final two seasons at St. Xavier in Cincinnati, but was buried on the Hawkeyes' depth chart. He will be classified as a walk-on this fall.

      ---Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh will name his starting quarterback by Monday, when the Wolverines expect to receive the official depth chart of their opening opponent, Utah.

      In the interest of fair and honest competition, Harbaugh said, he'll declare a starter on the same day he knows which players are starting for the Utes. The Michigan QB battle is between fifth-year senior Jake Rudock and junior Shane Morris.

      Michigan opens the season next Thursday at Utah.

      ---Ohio State sophomore wide receiver Noah Brown, bidding for a starting job this season, suffered a broken left leg during Wednesday's practice and will undergo season-ending surgery.

      The surgery was scheduled for Thursday at Ohio State University Medical Center. Brown, who is from Flanders, N.J., is expected to make a full recovery.

      Brown was taken off the field on a cart and transported to the hospital. His teammates were somber coming off the practice field. Ohio State canceled a scheduled interview session with players and coaches.

      ---Grant-in-aid payments to college athletes could be used as a tool in curbing off-field issues, Cincinnati football coach Tommy Tuberville said.

      One day after Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster made a similar suggestion, Tuberville said he has the support of the Bearcats' athletic department to use a fine system as a "tool, not a punishment" to correct off-field behavior and other problems within the program, even including individual effort.

      Cincinnati senior associate athletic director Maggie McKinley said clear and complete policies are being drafted before the system is enacted.

  • Thursday, August 27, 2015
    Ohio lands former Iowa RB Hilliard
    By The Sports Xchange

    Ohio head coach Frank Solich announced running back C.J. Hilliard has joined the program after transfering from Iowa. Hilliard, a three-star recruit out of Cincinnati, will sit out the 2015 season per NCAA transfer rules and will have three years of eligibility remaining.

    • Hilliard redshirted as a true freshman in 2014, and said he left Iowa to play closer to home.

      "He's with us now, and will be on our football team," Solich said this week. "It's good to have him aboard."

      The 5-foot-10, 195-pound Hilliard rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of his final two seasons at St. Xavier in Cincinnati, but was buried on the Hawkeyes' depth chart. He will be classified as a walk-on this fall.

      "The good thing about him is he's athletic, and could play on both sides (of the ball)," Solich said, per the Athens Messenger. "But we have not talked to him specifically about that yet. We want him to really have a say on where he lines up."

  • Thursday, August 27, 2015
    Michigan QB to be named Monday
    By The Sports Xchange

    Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh will name his starting quarterback by Monday, when the Wolverines expect to receive the official depth chart of their opening opponent, Utah.

    • Harbaugh said in the interest of fair and honest competition, he'll declare a starter on the same day he knows which players are starting for the Utes.

      Michigan opens the season Sept. 3 in a Thursday night game at Utah.

      Fifth-year senior Jake Rudock said Harbaugh is pushing both players to seek perfection.

      "He really wants you to be great. They're striving to make us better players and better men. You have to understand that it's with the best intention," Rudock said.

      Junior Shane Morris said the increased expectations are good for Michigan. But he also said outsiders crowning Harbaugh as a savior puts plenty of pressure on his first team in Ann Arbor since the coach, back in the college game after leaving the San Francisco 49ers, played for the Wolverines.

      "It's coach Harbaugh's first year, a lot of people look at him as the savior of the school. That's a lot on his shoulders, it's a lot on our shoulders as well," Morris said.

  • Thursday, August 27, 2015
    Coaches plan to dock aid for player violations
    By The Sports Xchange

    Grant-in-aid payments to college athletes could be used as a tool in curbing off-field issues, Cincinnati football coach Tommy Tuberville said Thursday.

    • One day after Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster made a similar suggestion, Tuberville said he has the support of the Bearcats' athletic department to use a fine system as a "tool, not a punishment" to correct off-field behavior and other problems within the program, even including individual effort.

      Cincinnati senior associate athletic director Maggie McKinley said clear and complete policies are being drafted before the system is enacted.

      McKinley said Cincinnati players receive $5,504 to $7,018 per year in cost of attendance dollars, one of the highest in the country.

      Cincinnati athletic director Mike Bohn told ESPN he supported the move.

      "It's not a fine. It's not a threat. It's a tool. We want to help our student-athletes and are committed to helping them," Bohn said.

      Foster said after practice Wednesday that Virginia Tech already uses game-ticket allotment and bowl game stipends as behavioral tools.

      "In the real world, you adhere to rules and regulations or you get fired," Foster said. "We're not in position to fire anyone right now. We can fine them a little bit."

  • Wednesday, August 26, 2015
    Ohio State WR Brown breaks leg in practice
    By The Sports Xchange

    Ohio State sophomore wide receiver Noah Brown, bidding for a starting job this season, suffered a broken left leg during Wednesday's practice and will undergo season-ending surgery.

    • The surgery is scheduled for Thursday at Ohio State University Medical Center. Brown, who is from Flanders, N.J., is expected to make a full recovery.

      Brown was taken off the field on a cart and transported to the hospital. His teammates were somber coming off the practice field. Ohio State canceled a scheduled interview session with players and coaches.

      Fellow wide receiver Michael Thomas, a returning starter, tweeted, "I'm not going to give up my faith. I know the Lord has something greater for you. Just a bump in the road we have to overcome together ... NB."

      The 6-foot-2, 222-pound Brown was recognized by teammates and coaches as one of the most improved players in preseason camp and was a contender for a starting wideout spot.

      The top-ranked Buckeyes enter their Sept. 7 opener against Virginia Tech without Jalin Marshall, Dontre Wilson and now Brown. Marshall, Wilson and Brown are receivers or H-backs facing suspensions for the first game for a violation of team rules.

      Ohio State moved former All-Big Ten quarterback on Braxton Miller and freshman Torrance Gibson, one of the nation's top quarterback recruits in 2015, to receiver at the start of fall camp.

  • Wednesday, August 26, 2015
    UCLA goes with freshman as starting QB
    By The Sports Xchange

    A true freshman will start at quarterback for UCLA this fall.

    • Bruins coach Jim Mora named Josh Rosen the starter on Wednesday. Rosen had been competing with redshirt junior Jerry Neuheisel during the spring and preseason practice for the job.

      Rosen was rated the top pro-style quarterback prospect in 2015 while at St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower, Calif. He replaces departed starter Brett Hundley, who was drafted by the Green Bay Packers.

      Rosen enrolled at UCLA early and participated in spring practice, completing 74 percent of his passes in the spring game with two touchdowns and one interception.

      Mora said a day earlier that no decisions had been made regarding a starting quarterback. UCLA opens the season against Virginia on Sept. 5.

  • Wednesday, August 26, 2015
    South Carolina names QB Mitch as starter
    By The Sports Xchange

    South Carolina sophomore Connor Mitch has won a four-man quarterback competition and will start the season opener next week.

    • Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier said Mitch will start Sept. 3 against North Carolina in Bank of America Stadium at Charlotte, N.C.

      "Connor will have every opportunity to take the reins and run with it," Spurrier said Tuesday. "The competition was extremely close but we had to make a decision. We will give him all the support we can. As long as he takes care of the ball, keeps his head calm, he very easily could be the quarterback the entire year."

      Mitch, who redshirted in 2013, beat out Perry Orth, redshirt freshman Michael Scarnecchia and freshman Lorenzo Nunez for the starting job.

      "I felt like he was slightly ahead of the other guys," Spurrer said. "The other guys were pretty close. What the competition has done is get two other guys ready to play. If (Connor) sprains his ankle or can't play we will be in good hands with Perry (Orth) or Michael (Scarnecchia), and also Lorenzo (Nunez), he is capable of playing a bit."

      The 6-foot-3, 211-pound Mitch was 2-of-6 passing for 19 yards last season serving as Dylan Thompson's backup.

  • Tuesday, August 25, 2015
    Notre Dame plans video board for stadium
    By The Sports Xchange

    Historic Notre Dame Stadium is adding a video board as part of a $400 million project to add buildings around the outside of the iconic football venue.

    • The video board will go up in the south end zone of the stadium and will be in place for the 2017 season, the university announced Tuesday.

      Ribbon boards also will be installed along the east and west sides of the stadium, but there will be no advertising or commercials.

      Some alumni and supporters opposed the video board because they feared it would detract from the game-day experience and traditions.

      "We are confident the introduction of video will significantly improve enjoyment of every aspect of a game at Notre Dame Stadium -- including the ability to support game day introductions and presentations with video elements, additional opportunities to promote the university, plus replays," Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said.

      Notre Dame is in the midst of its Campus Crossroads construction project that not only will add buildings on three sides of the stadium but install premium seating inside the facility built in 1930.

      The scoreboard in the north end zone will be removed to provide a better view of the "Touchdown Jesus" mural on the Hesburgh Library. Other enhancements include replacing wooden seating with vinyl benches, improving the sound and WiFi systems, adding women's restrooms and enhancing concession stands.

      "Notre Dame Stadium is one of the most tradition-rich facilities in all of college football," Swarbrick said. "The Campus Crossroads Project is indicative of our commitment to making even greater use of it in the decades to come."

  • Tuesday, August 25, 2015
    College cootball notebook: Rutgers' Flood faces investigation
    By The Sports Xchange

    While football coach Kyle Flood is facing an investigation at Rutgers, five players on his team received suspensions for the season opener next week.

    • Starting quarterback Chris Laviano, senior wide receiver Leonte Carroo, linebacker Kevin Marquez, punter Tim Gleeson and cornerback Ruhann Peele were suspended for one half of the opener against Norfolk State on Sept. 5 reportedly because of a curfew violation. Carroo is a team captain.

      Flood could face public reprimand, suspension or be fired if the university investigation into potential impermissible benefits finds he failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance within the program.

      The Newark Star-Ledger reported that Flood is being investigated for impermissible contact with a university faculty member regarding the status of one of his players. The serious charge could be a major NCAA rules infraction or a secondary violation.

      --Southern Cal head coach Steve Sarkisian has entered a treatment program because he was mixing medication with alcohol.

      USC's second-year coach said he doesn't have a drinking problem but agreed to treatment as "part of the process." The Trojans locker room will also be alcohol-free in 2015. Sarkisian said that was always the case, but the change is that no booze is permitted in the coaches' locker room.

      At a news conference before Tuesday morning's practice, Sarkisian issued an apology for his behavior at the Salute to Troy. At the annual for the football team, alumni and athletic program donors, the coach appeared to be drunk while using profanities and ripping Pac-12 opponents.

      --Clemson will be without starting defensive tackle D.J. Reader for an indefinite period after he decided to leave the team for personal reasons.

      The school announced that Reader, a senior, takes leave from the program with the blessing of the coaching staff and teammates.

      --Perceived as an outsider in the quarterback competition at Alabama, Alec Morris might be the Tide's starting quarterback in the 2015 season opener against Wisconsin.

      With Jake Coker idle for three practices last week, Morris, who was a stand-in punter during spring practice, took advantage of his increased reps.

      Freshmen Blake Barnett and David Cornwell appear to be distant afterthoughts in the competition.

      --Big 12 athletic directors support a prohibition of transfers from other schools who have a history of disciplinary issues related to violent acts.

      Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby told CBSSports.com that such a policy received unanimous backing from each member school's athletic director in the 10-team conference and a draft of the proposal would need to be submitted to the Big 12 joint council of faculty athletic representatives and the athletic directors for approval.

  • Tuesday, August 25, 2015
    Big 12 backs plan to ban transfers with violent history
    By The Sports Xchange

    Big 12 athletic directors support a prohibition of transfers from other schools who have a history of disciplinary issues related to violent acts.

    • Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby told CBSSports.com that such a policy received unanimous backing from each member school's AD in the 10-team conference and a draft of the proposal would need to be submitted to the Big 12 joint council of faculty athletic representatives and the athletic directors for approval.

      The Southeastern Conference is the first league to have a policy in place to not accept transfers with a history of serious misconduct that includes sexual assault, domestic assault or other types of sexual violence. The SEC instituted the ban in May.

      Baylor, a member of the Big 12, has received intense criticism in the past week when former defensive end Sam Ukwuachu, a transfer to the school in 2013, was convicted of sexually assaulting a female Baylor student after being dismissed at Boise State for disciplinary reasons.

      Baylor coach Art Briles said he was unaware of Ukwuachu's violent past, but Chris Peterson, Boise State's coach at the time of the transfer, said he informed Briles about the player's history. A former girlfriend testified at Ukwuachu's trial that he choked and punched her while at Boise State.

  • Tuesday, August 25, 2015
    Clemson DT Reader takes personal leave
    By The Sports Xchange

    Clemson will be without starting defensive tackle D.J. Reader for an indefinite period after he decided to leave the team for personal reasons.

    • The school announced Tuesday that Reader, a senior, takes leave from the program with the blessing of the coaching staff and teammates.

      "D.J. Reader has decided to step away from football for a while," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said in an announcement. "He has some personal issues he has to deal with at this time. We are not sure when he will return. We will support him any way we can. This is no different than a player being lost for a period of time due to injury."

      The 6-foot-3, 325-pound Reader was listed on the preseason depth chart as a starter after serving as a backup last season. He's rated by NFLDraftScout.com as the 16th-best defensive tackle prospect in the 2016 class and projected as a fifth- to sixth-round selection.

      Last season as primarily a backup and in one game as a starter for the Tigers, Reader totaled 27 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks. He has played in 38 games the past three seasons, including some time earlier in his career at fullback.

      Swinney expects sophomore Scott Pagano and freshman Christian Wilkins to fill the vacancy left by Reader until he returns.

  • Tuesday, August 25, 2015
    Flood faces investigation; Rutgers suspends five playerrs
    By The Sports Xchange

    While football coach Kyle Flood is facing an investigation at Rutgers, five players on his team received suspensions for the season opener next week.

    • Starting quarterback Chris Laviano, senior wide receiver Leonte Carroo, linebacker Kevin Marquez, punter Tim Gleeson and cornerback Ruhann Peele were suspended for one half of the opener against Norfolk State on Sept. 5 reportedly because of a curfew violation. Carroo is a team captain.

      Flood could face public reprimand, suspension or be fired if the university investigation into potential impermissible benefits finds he failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance within the program.

      The Newark Star-Ledger reported Tuesday that Flood is being investigated for impermissible contact with a university faculty member regarding the status of one of his players. The serious charge could be a major NCAA rules infraction or a secondary violation.

      Rutgers assigned its office of general counsel to dive into the violation and determine the severity of the allegation which is likely to immediately impact the eligibility of junior cornerback Nadir Barnwell.

      Flood's status could be determined by the end of the week. Critical to the case is the wording and context of Flood's alleged email to Barnwell's instructor. If he openly requests special or preferential treatment, as opposed to asking about his standing in a class or details of an assignment, could be the difference in a foolish mistake and a major violation of university and NCAA policy.

      "Let me start by saying I'm disappointed at the tone of the article," Flood said after Tuesday's practice. "I've been the head coach now this is going into my fourth season and I've had a lot of interaction with the teachers on our campus.

      "I think that that article not only insults my integrity but it insults the integrity of our faculty. I've come to realize that our faculty here at Rutgers is beyond reproach and I have a tremendous amount of respect for them. Our faculty are a part of our program. Just as recently as the other day, we had two faculty members at our practice.

      "Any correspondence that I had with a professor in regards to a student athlete would really be of this nature. One, to be in support of whatever decision that faculty member made. And two, to inquire as to whether or not there would be an opportunity to earn a better grade. This practice is not unusual at Rutgers. Many students all over campus receiver what are called "t grades" -- doing work outside of when the class ends that semester to earn a better grade."

      Athletic director Julie Hermann refused comment but directed queries to the university president Robert Barchi and his office, which did not comment.

      All contact with professors of a student athlete are to be made through academic advisors or support members.

      Georgia suspended its swimming and diving coach for the first half of the season for a similar infraction.

      As far as the player suspensions, Laviano's first-half absence in the opener means that LSU transfer Hayden Rettig likely will be the starting quarterback against Norfolk State. Rettig sat out last year as a transfer and Laviano backed up departed starter Gary Nova. The two have competed throughout the spring and fall for the job.

      Carroo is projected to be one of the top receivers in the Big Ten this year after finishing the 2014 season with 55 receptions for 1,086 yards and 10 touchdowns.

  • Tuesday, August 25, 2015
    USC's Sarkisian in treatment for drinking with meds
    By The Sports Xchange

    Southern Cal head coach Steve Sarkisian has entered a treatment program because he was mixing medication with alcohol.

    • USC's second-year coach said he doesn't have a drinking problem but agreed to treatment as "part of the process." The Trojans locker room will also be alcohol-free in 2015. Sarkisian said that was always the case, but the change is that no booze is permitted in the coaches' locker room.

      At a news conference before Tuesday morning's practice, Sarkisian issued an apology for his behavior at the Salute to Troy. At the annual for the football team, alumni and athletic program donors, the coach appeared to be drunk while using profanities and ripping Pac-12 opponents.

      "When you mix meds with alcohol sometimes you say things or do things you regret," Sarkisian said. "I'd like to apologize for my behavior Saturday night. It was inappropriate. I feel bad for the University of Southern California. "The way I acted was irresponsible and something that I, obviously, don't condone. There are things we're going to work on for me, moving forward."

      Sarkisian asked that the type of medication he was taking remain private.

      He told reporters there would be no challenge reprimanding players with the same issue.

      Sarkisian went 9-4 last season and USC was ranked eighth in the preseason AP poll released Sunday.

      Athletic director Pat Haden, who hired Sarkisian in December 2013, issued a statement after Sarkisian released his written apology.

      "While the details of our conversation will remain between us, I am confident he heard my message loud and clear," Haden said.

  • Tuesday, August 25, 2015
    Overlooked Morris could be Alabama starter
    By The Sports Xchange

    Perceived as an outsider in the quarterback competition at Alabama, the starting job might just be Alec Morris' to lose ahead of the 2015 season opener against Wisconsin.

    • With Jake Coker idle for three practice s last week, Morris, who was a stand-in punter during spring practice, took advantage of his increased reps.

      "Alec has done a nice job all (preseason)," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "I think he does a really good job of understanding the offense. He helps the other players play better. And I think that he has probably shown command at the position, which I think is important. We've just got to continue to work on touch, accuracy, efficiency. But I've been really pleased with what Alec has done in this camp."

      Freshmen Blake Barnett and David Cornwell appear to be distant afterthoughts in the competition to start Sept. 5 in Arlington, Texas, against No. 20 Wisconsin.

      Last July, Coker was viewed as the favorite to start in 2014. He lost a competition to fifth-year senior Blake Sims and Alabama played in the first College Football Playoff, which ended in a loss to Ohio State in the semifinals.

  • Monday, August 24, 2015
    FSU RB Cook not guilty of misdemeanor battery
    By The Sports Xchange

    Florida State running back Dalvin Cook was found not guilty of misdemeanor battery on Monday in Tallahasse, Fla.

    • Cook, 19, had been accused of punching a 21-year-old woman in the face during an argument outside a Tallahassee bar on June 23.

      After a 10-hour trial at Leon Count Courthouse, the jury took less than 30 minutes to reach the verdict.

      "I'm just blessed the truth came out," Cook said. "I'm trying to go work back on the field. I've been working, but it's time to get at it now."

      Cook was suspended after he was charged in July, and coach Jimbo Fisher said he would not be allowed to practice with the team until the legal case was resolved.

      Cook led the Seminoles with 1,008 rushing yards as a freshman in 2014.

  • Monday, August 24, 2015
    Mayfield will start at QB for Oklahoma
    By The Sports Xchange

    Baker Mayfield, who transferred from Texas Tech after the 2013 season, was named Oklahoma's starting quarterback for the Sept. 5 opener against Akron, Oklahoma announced Monday.

    • Mayfield beat out last season's starting quarterback, Trevor Knight, for the starting job.

      "It's been a very tight battle among those three guys," coach Bob Stoops said in a statement. "Baker, Trevor and Cody (Thomas) have all made substantial progress, and I feel we can win with any of them."

      Mayfield was a walk-on at Texas Tech in 2013 but earned the starting job with the Red Raiders as a freshman and was named Big 12 freshman of the year. Mayfield left the Texas Tech program after the 2013 season and enrolled at Oklahoma in the spring.

      At Oklahoma, Mayfield will run the offense installed by new offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley. The fast-paced attack will resemble the spread offense used at Texas Tech.

      Oklahoma is ranked No. 19 in the Associated Press preseason poll.

  • Sunday, August 23, 2015
    Ohio State first unanimous No. 1 in preseason AP poll
    By The Sports Xchange

    The defending national champion Ohio State Buckeyes made history in becoming the first unanimous preseason No. 1 in the Associated Press college football poll.

    • Ohio State received all 61 first-place votes from the media panel in the rankings released Sunday. The Buckeyes were No. 5 in the preseason poll last year.

      TCU is No. 2, followed by Alabama, Baylor and Michigan State. The rest of the top 10 is Auburn, Oregon, USC, Georgia and Florida State.

      Notre Dame is No. 11, followed by Clemson, UCLA, LSU, Arizona State, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Stanford, Arizona, Boise State, Missouri and Tennessee.

      The Buckeyes won the first College Football Playoff championship last season, beating Oregon 42-20.

      Ohio State, which opens the 2015 season at Virginia Tech on Sept. 7, will try to become the 12th team to win consecutive AP titles since the poll began in 1936.

      In 2013, Alabama, which had won two straight championships, received 58 of 60 first-place votes, and defending champion Florida did the same in 2009. Neither finished the season No. 1.