Alabama TE Cameron Latu sidelined for start of fall camp
Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban declined to shed light on Latu's situation.
"Cam is going to miss some time in camp," Saban told reporters. "I don't know exactly how long."
Latu, a fifth-year senior, caught 26 passes for 410 yards and eight touchdowns in 15 games (14 starts) last season. The eight TD receptions set a school record for an Alabama tight end.
Latu also is the Crimson Tide's leading returning receiver.
Latu was a defensive end when he began his Alabama career but was shifted to tight end following the 2018 season.
Pac-12, Twitter form NIL partnership for players tweeting highlights
The Pac-12 announced a name, image and likeness (NIL) rights partnership with Twitter and other companies that will allow athletes in those sports to monetize videos of their highlights on social media.
Sports tech startup Tempus Ex Machina will give participating athletes access to a customized video after each game, showing their highlights from different camera angles. When players tweet their personal clips, Twitter will add pre-roll advertising and the athlete will receive some of the ad money.
Twitter did not disclose how the revenue would be split between the athletes and the companies.
The Pac-12 claims it's the first NIL deal of its kind. It will begin with the 2022-23 academic year.
"The Pac-12 is committed to providing our student-athletes with best-in-class technology, tools and promotional platforms that support their individual brands," commissioner George Kliavkoff said in a statement. "Our partnership with Tempus Ex is focused on enhancing our student-athlete and fan experiences, and today's announcement is another important step in positioning the Pac-12 as a leader when it comes to student-athlete promotion and brand building."
Auburn QB T.J. Finley facing misdemeanor charge
The charge stems from a citation he received earlier for not wearing a helmet while operating a moped. When he learned a warrant had been issued for his arrest on the outstanding violation, he turned himself in, local media reported.
Thursday was the first day of fall football camp at Auburn. Finley was released on his own recognizance and was at the athletics complex early in the afternoon.
"The charges pending against my client, T.J. Finley, are the result of traffic violations and a misunderstanding," Finley's attorney, Davis Whittelsey, said in a statement provided to AL.com. "The charges are in the process of being handled in municipal court within the City of Auburn as all traffic citations are. As soon as T.J. learned of the charges, he turned himself in and has been released on a bond he signed for himself. His first day of football camp with Auburn University has been a success."
Finley, a junior, is entering his second season with the Tigers after transferring from LSU. He's vying for the starting job with Oregon transfer Robby Ashford, Texas A&M transfer Zach Calzada and freshman Holden Geriner, a four-star recruit from Savannah, Ga.
Finley appeared in nine games at Auburn last season and started the final three after starter Bo Nix sustained a season-ending ankle injury. On the season, the 6-foot-7 Finley completed 70 of his 128 pass attempts (54.7 percent) for 827 yards with six touchdowns and an interception.
Nix transferred to Oregon in the offseason.
Recently, Finley became the first college football player to sign an NIL deal with Amazon.
Tennessee lands former Clemson RB Lyn-J Dixon
Dixon rushed for 1,420 yards in four seasons with the Tigers and transferred to West Virginia earlier this year. In June, he said he was re-entering the transfer portal.
Tennessee starting running back Jabari Small is back in 2022 after logging 140 carries for 792 yards in 2021.
But Tennessee adding depth at running back is not a surprise. The Vols lost sophomore Len'Neth Whitehead to a season-ending injury that required surgery, coach Josh Heupel said Sunday night.
The Volunteers open the 2022 season on Sept. 1 at home against Ball State.
Four-star TE Ty Lockwood decommits from Ohio State, picks Alabama
Lockwood, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound junior at Independence High School in Thompson's Station, Tenn., is the ninth-rated tight end in the nation, according to the 247Sports composite rankings. He committed to Ohio State last summer and received Alabama's offer on Friday.
Ohio State now has the No. 3-ranked class in the nation, with Notre Dame No. 1 and Alabama No. 2, per 247Sports.
Alabama and coach Nick Saban have received commitments recently from five-star safety Caleb Downs and four-star offensive tackle Olaus Alinen, both of whom had Ohio State as finalists.
Lockwood had 43 receptions for 606 yards and three touchdowns last season.
"I'm grateful for Ohio State, the coaching staff, and the Buckeye players and fans," Lockwood tweeted on Tuesday. "I have a lot of respect for the program and the team. ... (But) I have decided that it would be best to de-commit from Ohio State University."
Lockwood said the decision to commit to Alabama is "the right choice I needed to make for my future and my family."
5-star LB Anthony Hill commits to Texas A&M
Hill is the No. 1 linebacker and the No. 15 overall player in the Class of 2023, as ranked by the 247Sports composite. He announced his commitment with a video posted to Twitter.
The 6-foot-2, 225-pound prospect is from Denton, Texas. He chose the Aggies over finalist Texas, and he was pursued by major programs that included Oklahoma, Alabama, Miami and Southern California.
"Just being able to play SEC football in Texas and of course that D-line and defense," Hill told 247Sports about why he chose the Aggies. "I always liked A&M. They were one of the first schools to offer me and looking at them it got better throughout time."
In his junior season in 2021, Hill had 131 tackles, eight sacks, two interceptions, three fumble recoveries and two touchdowns scored on turnovers, per 247Sports.
Texas A&M finished the 2022 recruiting cycle with the No. 1 class in the nation in the 247Sports rankings. The class includes eight five-star prospects.
Five-star RB Richard Young commits to Alabama
Young, listed at 5-foot-11 and 200 pounds, is the No. 2 running back and No. 24 overall recruit in the 247Sports composite rankings. Georgia and Oregon were Young's other finalists.
"For the next 3 to 4 years I will be taking my talents and academics to the University of Alabama," Young wrote in a social media post. "Roll Tide!!!"
Young is the fourth five-star to commit to Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide this cycle, following cornerback Jahlil Hurley and safeties Caleb Downs and Tony Mitchell. Alabama's class rose to No. 4 in the country per 247Sports' rankings.
Pac-12 commissioner cautions of 'harm' from USC, UCLA departures
While USC and UCLA will continue to participate in Pac-12 athletics for the next two academic years, their conference opponents starting in 2024 all will reside in the Midwest or in the East.
"Increased revenue can help us support our student-athletes but a singular focus on money will certainly cause more harm than good," Kliavkoff said.
Some of that harm for student-athletes, according to Kliavkoff, could come in the form of longer travel for the departing programs, which now ill be subject to more difficult travel requirements.
"Our long-term measure for the success of college athletics cannot be how much money we consolidate into 10 or five or two conferences, but rather should be our ability to support the largest number of student-athletes while still facilitating competition between schools and conferences," Kliavkoff said in prepared remarks. "We should be measuring how many lives we can change."
But he stopped short of burning a bridge in the relationship with both Los Angeles-based schools, particularly with UCLA.
"There are a lot of constituents related to UCLA who are very, very, very unhappy with the decision," he said. "Student-athletes, the families of student-athletes. The faculty, the staff. The politicians, the fans, the alumni. There's a lot of really, really upset people with that decision ...
"I think it is unlikely. But if they come back, we welcome them back."
While the Pac-12 is actively exploring the addition of new member schools, it also is not done with the Los Angeles area despite the upcoming departure of the only two Division I football programs in the region.
"Southern California is really important to us," Kliavkoff said. "I think there are different ways of approaching staying part of Southern California. We may end up playing a lot of football games in L.A."
Report: UCLA to receive $67.5M to settle Under Armour suit
The dispute has been ongoing for more than two years since Under Armour sought to cancel the record-setting 15-year, $280 million apparel deal they entered into in 2016.
Under Armour sought to exit the deal two years ago, contending, in part, UCLA didn't provide any marketing benefits to the company during the pandemic in 2020 and because former men's soccer coach Jorge Salcedo diminished the company and the school's brand for his part in the college sports admissions scandal.
UCLA filed suit, and Under Armour countersued when the company logo on some of the school's team uniforms was covered by a social justice patch.
The Times reported that the two sides reached the settlement earlier this month, and both sides asked the Los Angeles Superior Court to dismiss the lawsuits on Thursday and allow the settlement to go forward.
UCLA replaced the Under Armour deal with a six-year, $46.45 million pact signed with Nike and Jordan Brand in December 2020.
"UCLA is one of the most recognized and respected collegiate names around the globe," Mary Osako, UCLA vice chancellor for strategic communications, said in a statement released to the Times after the settlement. "We are gratified to have resolved this matter in a way that benefits our student-athletes and the entire Bruin community."
South Carolina DL Rick Sandidge takes medical retirement
A coveted four-star recruit in the Class of 2018, Sandidge played 34 games for the Gamecocks from 2018-20. The North Carolina native missed the 2021 season after having injuring his ankle on the opening day of summer camp.
"It is with great sadness that I must announce my retirement from the game of football due to injury," Sandidge tweeted Thursday. "From Little League to the SEC, football has held a very special place in my heart and always will. ... I plan to continue my football career by beginning to work as (a) recruiter with the University of South Carolina."
Sandidge would have been entering his redshirt senior season. Coach Shane Beamer confirmed Wednesday that Sandidge would remain part of the team in a non-playing role.
His career ends with 30 tackles, including four for loss, and 1.5 sacks.
Coastal Carolina QB Grayson McCall lands NIL deal with Darlington Raceway
McCall, a junior, is the first college athlete to partner with a NASCAR track.
"Grayson McCall is one of the finest quarterbacks in college football, so we are proud to partner with him as the first NASCAR owned track NIL athlete," Darlington Raceway president Kerry Tharp said in a news release. "Grayson has had a dynamic collegiate career setting NCAA and school records and has lived his entire life in the Carolinas.
"His playing style exemplifies toughness and competitiveness, and he is the ideal athlete to help promote Darlington's Too Tough To Tame brand."
McCall is 20-2 as a starting quarterback. The two-time Sun Belt Player of the Year set an NCAA record for passing efficiency (207.6) last season and has 54 touchdowns against just six interceptions for the Chanticleers.
McCall, a native of Indian Trail, N.C., will participate on the track's digital platforms as well as some marketing campaigns. He also will be promoting NASCAR and Darlington on his personal social-media accounts.
Coastal Carolina is located in Conway, S.C., approximately 65 miles away from Darlington.
"I love this town and this area. Coastal Carolina kind of made me into who I am," McCall said. "I love this school and I love the people here in the region and with Darlington being right down the road and a huge part of the sports culture, partnering with them just makes sense.
"It just helps fulfill a legacy I want to leave here. Plus, going a couple hundred miles an hour is kind of my thing too."
Ryan Day: Winning Rose Bowl not a great season at Ohio State
Day made the comments during Big Ten Media Days in Indianapolis.
Anything short of a Big Ten title and another national championship is disappointment at Ohio State. Losing to Michigan for the first time since 2011 is another dagger.
"That's part of the deal here. A lot of times you go 11-2 and win the Rose Bowl, you say that's one heck of a season. Well, not around here," Day said. "Our goal every year is to beat the Team Up North and win the Big Ten championship and win the national championship, and we didn't get those things last year."
Day guided the Buckeyes to the CFP national championship game following the 2020 season but got devoured by Alabama, 52-24.
Ohio State last won the national title in 2014, under Urban Meyer.
The Buckeyes' main problem last season: youth and defense.
OSU finished 2021 ranked No. 59 nationally in total defense. That led to the hire of defensive coordinator Jim Knowles from Oklahoma State in the offseason. The calendar -- players becoming older and wiser -- took care of itself.
"Last year, we were so young that we didn't know what we didn't know," Day said. "This year, we know what it's like to lose a game. We know what it's like to lose that rivalry game. And that was not good. And so there are some scars there, which is a good thing."
Further, the Buckeyes don't open their season with a cupcake - they play Notre Dame on Sept. 3.
"It amplifies the preseason, for sure," Day said. "You know you have to play your best football right then and there. You can't take a game or two to find your footing, so that game is going to be amped up. It's going to be kind of a frenzy, and we know that, so preseason is going to be very important."
5-star S Caleb Downs commits to Alabama
Downs, who is listed as the No. 1 safety and No. 12 overall player in the class by the 247Sports composite, chose Alabama over a group that included home-state Georgia, Notre Dame, Clemson and Ohio State, among others.
He plays at Mill Creek High School in Hoschton, Ga.
Steve Wiltfong, the national director of recruiting for 247Sports, called Downs "as can't miss a prospect as there in the 2023 class."
He attributed that to Downs' "high football IQ, his intangibles, he's a great leader, he's dedicated to working out, watching film, and then on the field he's a physical missile that can turn the football over and make game-changing plays. Downs has made close to 200 career tackles over three seasons playing in one of the toughest high school football classifications in America."
With Downs' commitment, Alabama moved to No. 5 in 247Sports' class rankings for 2023.
The Crimson Tide have loaded up in the defensive backfield, adding the 6-foot, 185-pound Downs, cornerback Jahlil Hurley and safety Tony Mitchell. Both are five-star prospects from the state of Alabama.
Jim Harbaugh, Michigan thinking big with âbest playerâ under center
Harbaugh, speaking at Big Ten Media Days in Indianapolis, made clear it's an open competition between the quarterbacks, both of whom had "phenomenal seasons" in 2021. McNamara was the starter last season, passing for 2,576 yards and 15 touchdowns.
"The best player is going to play," Harbaugh said.
"Cade McNamara is going to be really tough to beat out for the starting quarterback job," Harbaugh added. "J.J. McCarthy is going to be really tough to beat out for the starting quarterback job."
McCarthy threw for 516 yards and five TDs while rushing for 124 yards and two scores.
"A really cool stat on Cade McNamara is over 50 percent of his drives end in points," Harbaugh said. "I don't know exactly what the number is for JJ, but it seems like every time he got in there and led a drive it ended in points as well."
While that competition begins Aug. 3 when preseason camp kicks off, Harbaugh pinpointed the four goals for the Wolverines in 2022, two of which the team checked off last season.
"Our goals would be to beat Ohio State and Michigan State in the same year, win the Big Ten championship and win the national championship," Harbaugh said. "Those are our four goals."
The Wolverines beat Ohio State last season for the first time since 2011 but suffered their only regular-season loss to Michigan State.
Harbaugh guided the Wolverines to the Big Ten championship and College Football Playoff in 2021. They lost to eventual champion Georgia in the semifinals. Harbaugh was named the 2021 Associated Press Coach of the Year.
The Big Ten title was the school's first since 2004.
Harbaugh is also coaching under a new contract he inked in February. Harbaugh will make $7.05 million this season, the first year of his reworked five-year contract. The new deal makes Harbaugh the second-highest paid coach in the Big Ten behind Michigan State's Mel Tucker.
He owns a 61-24 record during his seven seasons at Michigan, his alma mater.
Big Ten adding UCLA, USC in 2024 as full members; chasing others?
The move runs counter to the six-year vesting period the Big Ten established when Rutgers, Maryland and Nebraska were added.
Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said Tuesday at media days in Indianapolis that the decision reflects the importance of adding the Pac-12 powerhouses from Los Angeles to the vast league, which will have teams in three time zones.
"USC and UCLA will come in as members," Warren said. "We think that's important for various reasons. They bring a lot of value to our relationship. They bring a lot of panache to our relationship, and we look forward to welcoming them into the Big Ten family here in 2024."
The share of league revenue for each institution will be determined when the conference begins a new media rights deal in 2023. Los Angeles is the No. 2 media market, and the expectation is the league's take could grow beyond $1 billion annually.
"I don't want to guess what that would be. I know we'll reach that decision here pretty quickly," Warren said Tuesday.
Warren said the Big Ten would not apologize for the "strength, power, boldness" of expansion, nor would the commissioner rule out adding other schools.
"We will not expand just to expand. It will be strategic. It will add additional value to our conference," he said.
"We are currently in a landscape in college athletics that is changing on a daily basis. ... The Big Ten conference will not languish in bureaucracy."
Jim McElwain suffers seizure, but âdoing fineâ
"I'm doing fine and all the tests have come back good," McElwain wrote on Twitter Monday afternoon. "The doctors have asked that I stay in the hospital for a few days, so I won't be at MAC Media Day.
"I know Coach (Robb) Akey, Lew and Jamezz will do a great job. I can't wait to get camp started."
McElwain, 60, led the Chippewas to a 9-4 season in 2021, which was capped with a 24-21 bowl win over Washington State in the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl, Central Michigan's first bowl win since 2012.
A former offensive coordinator under Nick Saban at Alabama (2008-11) and head coach at Colorado State (2012-14) and the University of Florida (2015-17), McElwain has coached the Chippewas since 2019, compiling a record of 20-13.
Arch Manning falls from No. 1 in ESPN rankings
Instead, ESPN pushed Southern California QB commit Malachi Nelson into the top spot.
ESPN explained the decision this way:
"With Nelson, we have seen a larger sample size, and the 6-foot-3, 185-pound quarterback has faced a higher level of competition for Los Alamitos High School (California)," ESPN's analysts wrote. "He has also developed physically, which has led to more arm velocity. In our multiple in-person evaluations this spring and summer, our biggest observation from Nelson has been the growth beyond physical maturity as we see a more seasoned leader. His abilities in game, as well as his performances at camps and combines, make us confident he is now the No. 1 quarterback in the class."
Manning remains No. 1 in the rankings of 247Sports, Rivals and On3. He fell to No. 2 on ESPN's list.
Nelson committed to Oklahoma last July but backed out of the pledge when head coach Lincoln Riley departed for USC in November. Two days later, Nelson committed to USC, which is about 25 miles from Los Alamitos.
Manning, the nephew of Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning, committed to Texas and coach Steve Sarkisian in June after being courted by the nation's top programs. He is entering his senior season at Isidore Newman in New Orleans, where his uncles played.
Sun Belt extends contract of commissioner Keith Gill
The school didn't announce financial terms for the deal with Gill, who was named commissioner on March 19, 2019.
Gill has seen the conference grow into a 14-member Football Bowl Subdivision conference and spearheaded the return of men's soccer to the league in 2022. He's also navigated realignment, with James Madison, Marshall, Old Dominion and Southern Miss becoming full members on July 1.
In the College Football Playoff era (since 2014), the Sun Belt has a .649 bowl winning percentage. Six basketball programs played in the postseason in 2022, and the conference had four postseason bids in baseball in 2022 and softball in 2021.
"Commissioner Gill has been a tremendous leader for the Sun Belt Conference, just as we expected he would be when we hired him. What we did not anticipate at the time was the impact of a global pandemic on athletics or how soon we would be dealing with realignment. In both cases, Keith provided excellent leadership," said Dr. Kelly Damphousse, president of conference member Texas State. "During realignment, Keith kept campus leaders informed about the rapid changes taking place and ensured that the Sun Belt Conference was able to accomplish its goals of adding outstanding new partner universities that fit our strategic and geographic goals." "
Gill, who played football at Duke, is the first Black commissioner in FBS history. Before leading the Sun Belt, he was the executive associate commissioner of the Atlantic 10.
2023 S Joenel Aguero commits to Georgia
The Massachusetts native is the No. 3-ranked safety and No. 34 overall player in the class, per the 247Sports composite.
The 6-foot Aguero made official visits last month to Georgia, Miami and Florida, but he still has a big official visit on his calendar: late November at Ohio State for the Michigan game.
Aguero played his junior season at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., but he is returning to St. John's Prep in Danvers, Mass. -- where he started his career -- for his final season.
The defending national champion Bulldogs showed him how much he was wanted, Aguero told On3.
"I've been a priority. To be honest, I already knew that," he said. "From the head coach all the way down to the equipment manager, it's everybody just showing me love. It just felt right to be honest.
"The players even told me like, ‘Listen, you're a priority to these coaches. They wanted to get you. ... They want you.' And then, I've just seen the way they treat. When I come down there, they show all love. It's all love from everybody."
With his commitment, Georgia moved to No. 3 in the 247Sports ranking for best 2023 class, trailing Ohio State and Notre Dame.
NCAA: Former Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt gave cash to recruits
The 51-page document was obtained by Sports Illustrated, which shared the allegations on Friday. The NCAA alleges the Pruitts and staff members gave money and gifts to players after he was named Volunteers coach in December 2017, replacing Butch Jones. Pruitt was fired in January 2021 for cause.
According to Sports Illustrated, Pruitt and his staff allegedly hosted at least six prospects and their families on nine weekend unofficial periods during the lengthy recruiting dead period caused by the pandemic. During that time, they reportedly provided the recruits with lodging, food, transportation and assorted household items worth $12,000.
The report said Pruitt also made separate payments of $3,000 and $6,000 to mothers of recruits to pay for medical bills and a down payment on a car, respectively
In addition, Casey Pruitt, the coach's wife, allegedly gave $13,000 in cash to unspecified recruits and their families, Sports Illustrated reported.
In all, there are 18 infractions -- all Level I, the most serious -- listed in the report. The reported violations allegedly were committed by the Pruitts; assistant coaches Derrick Ansley, Shelton Felton and Brian Niedermeyer; recruiting staff members Drew Hughes, Bethany Gunn and Chantryce Boone; and an unnamed student assistant.
None of them currently are employed by Tennessee.
Knox News said the NCAA gave Tennessee credit for self-reporting the violations and for "exemplary cooperation" as the NCAA investigated. The NCAA did not cite the university for a lack of institutional control, meaning it likely will face lesser punishment, per the Knox News report.
Tennessee already stripped itself of 12 scholarships last season.
"Receipt of our Notice of Allegations was an expected, requisite step in this process -- a process our university initiated proactively through decisive and transparent actions," Tennessee athletic director Danny White said in a statement Friday, per Sports illustrated. "This moves us one step closer to a final resolution. ... As a university, we understand the need to take responsibility for what occurred, but we remain committed to protecting our current and future student-athletes."
The Volunteers were 16-19 in Pruitt's tenure. He was replaced by Josh Heupel, who led Tennessee to a 7-6 record in his first season.