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Saturday, January 20, 2018

College Football

Report: Deion Sanders will not join Florida State coaching staff

Deion Sanders

Deion Sanders got Florida State fans excited last month when he refused to rule out joining new head coach Willie Taggart’s staff, but the Hall of Famer has apparently decided against it.

College football reporter Brett McMurphy was told by a source that Sanders turned down a role with the Seminoles.

Sanders was interviewed during Florida State’s bowl game against Southern Mississippi on Dec. 27, and he was asked about the reports that he and Taggart have mutual interest in Sanders coaching defensive backs for the Seminoles. The reaction Sanders gave made it seem like it was something that could happen, but we all know how much “Primetime” loves the spotlight. It’s possible he had serious discussions with Taggart, but we also wouldn’t be surprised if Sanders was just trying to get fans buzzing.

Report: Jim McElwain a potential candidate for Alabama OC position

Jim McElwain

Jim McElwain has reportedly had preliminary discussions with Nick Saban regarding Alabama’s vacant offensive coordinator position.

With Brian Daboll leaving the Crimson Tide to become the new offensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills, Saban now has an opening that will need to be filled before next season. Former Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze reportedly interviewed for the job on Monday.

Another former SEC head coach could be considered as well. According to The Tuscaloosa News, Former Florida head coach Jim McElwain has also spoken with Saban, although the likelihood of him landing the position is not seen as high at this time.

McElwain served under Saban as offensive coordinator at Alabama from 2008 until 2011, when he left to become the head coach at Colorado State. McElwain went 22-16 in three seasons there before taking the Florida job, where he led the Gators to a 22-12 record. McElwain was fired after Florida’s 42-7 loss to Georgia this past season, which dropped their record to 3-4. He has not been tied to any other head coaching jobs, so if he wants to get back into coaching in the fall, rejoining Saban’s staff wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Report: Refs got threatening calls over controversial Music City Bowl ejection

Benny Snell

Northwestern’s win over Kentucky in the Music City Bowl last month was marred by a controversial ejection of top Wildcats playmaker Benny Snell in the early going, but some fans apparently took their outrage a bit too far.

According to a report by Kyle Bonagura of ESPN on Tuesday, Pac-12 referee Chris Coyte and his crew, who worked the bowl game on Dec. 29, have been the target of threats and harassment by fans because of the incident.

Per Bonagura:

In the days following the game, Coyte received a barrage of threatening calls to his cell and office phones, sources said, as did the commercial real estate association he belongs to.

The officiating crew received an escort leaving the stadium and getting to the airport from a security consultant, but further security protection wasn’t necessary upon leaving Nashville, according to the Pac-12.

Bonagura also adds that the threatening calls started up again last week when a letter by Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart to Pac-12 vice president of officials David Coleman was made public by the Lexington Herald-Leader. In the letter, Barnhart was openly critical of Coyte and his crew.

If you recall, Snell was tossed from the game in the second quarter for making contact with Coyte after being tackled for a loss in Northwestern territory (even though Coyte appeared to be the one who initiated the contact).

The Wildcats never quite recovered after losing their leading rusher, and a failed two-point conversion following a touchdown in the final minute of the game sealed their fate. The explanation Coyte gave for why he ejected Snell was pretty weak too, but it sounds like Kentucky, both the administration and especially their fans, crossed something of a line here nevertheless.

Washington State QB Tyler Hilinski dead after committing suicide

Tyler Hilinski

Washington State Cougars redshirt sophomore quarterback Tyler Hilinski was found dead on Tuesday after committing suicide, Pullman Police said in a statement.

Hilinksi did not show up at practice on Tuesday, which prompted a welfare check on the quarterback by police officers. When they arrived at his apartment, they found the quarterback dead of a gunshot wound to the head. Police recovered a shotgun and suicide note from the scene.

Hilinski was a record-breaking passer at Upland High School before attending Washington State. He saw action in 11 games during his career, going 154 of 209 for 1,421 yards, nine touchdowns and eight interceptions. The team’s starter in the Holiday Bowl last month, Hilinski was in line to be the Cougars’ starting quarterback in the fall.

Hilinski’s brother Kelly played quarterback at Columbia, while brother Ryan is a high school QB in Orange County, Calif.

Ryan sent the following tweet about the matter:

One of Hilinksi’s high school teammates, UCLA LB Josh Woods, sent the following tweet:

“We are deeply saddened to hear the news of Tyler’s passing. He was an incredible young man & everyone who had the privilege of knowing him was better for it. The entire WSU community mourns as thoughts & prayers go out to his family,” coach Mike Leach said in a statement.

Hilinski was 21.

Report: Memphis adds QB transfer Brady White from ASU

Memphis Tigers

The Memphis Tigers could be on their way to filling the shoes of quarterback Riley Ferguson.

Go Tigers 247’s Jonah Jordan reported on Tuesday that Memphis signed former Arizona State quarterback Brady White as a graduate transfer.

White later confirmed the transfer via Twitter:

White was a highly-regarded four-star recruit coming out of high school in Southern California. He redshirted his freshman season in 2015 and has only used two years of eligibility. He was the backup to Manny Wilkins in 2016 and went 25 of 49 for 259 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in limited action. He fell behind backup Blake Barnett on the depth chart last season, which likely is playing a role in his transfer.

Ferguson initially attended Tennessee before leaving for a junior college and then transferring to Memphis, where he found great success. Memphis is likely hoping White can do the same.

Ex-Washington QB KJ Carta-Samuels transferring to UCLA

UCLA Bruins logo

The UCLA Bruins will have another quarterback in the mix next season.

K.J. Carta-Samuels announced on Monday that he will join the Bruins’ football program in the spring as a graduate transfer. Carta-Samuels joined Washington in 2014 and spent the past three seasons as Jake Browning’s backup on the Huskies.

Carta-Samuels told CBS Sports that new UCLA coach Chip Kelly told him there would be an open competition for the starting job, which helped convince KJ to transfer there.

“It’s going to be an open competition,” Carta-Samuels told CBS Sports. “[Kelly] stressed the importance of the best guy on the field will play. That won’t be determined in one practice or two practices. All I can ask for is a fair shot. No expectations, leniencies or allegiances towards anyone. Just a fair shot to prove and battle with the other guys and see who moves the offense in the best direction.”

Carta-Samuels also said that he got the sense from Kelly that the program will run an offense similar to the one he ran with the Philadelphia Eagles when Nick Foles, who is not too mobile, played QB.

Carta-Samuels’ brother confirmed the transfer on Twitter with this tweet:

Carta-Samuels will likely be competing with returning sophomore Devon Modster, as well as incoming freshman Dorian Thompson-Robinson, for the starting job in Westwood.

Report: Hugh Freeze interviews with Nick Saban for Alabama OC job

Hugh Freeze

Nick Saban may lose his top assistants every season, but he goes right back to restocking with some of the best available coaches. And this year may not be an exception.

According to The Tuscaloosa News, former Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze was in Alabama on Monday and was in the Crimson Tide’s football building. Clay Travis took things a step further, saying Freeze interviewed with Nick Saban for the vacant offensive coordinator position.

In addition to losing defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt to Tennessee, Alabama just lost offensive coordinator Brian Daboll to the Buffalo Bills. They have a vacancy, and Freeze does not have a coaching job ever since leaving Ole Miss amid a scandal over escorts and NCAA violations.

As The Tuscaloosa News points out, the restrictions and suspensions Freeze received from the NCAA would only apply if he takes another head coaching job, not an assistant coach job like being an offensive coordinator.

The amount of success Freeze enjoyed as head coach at Ole Miss is undeniable. His Rebels also constantly gave Saban’s Tide problems, so you now Saban would love to hire him.

Saban has twice brought in reclamation projects as his offensive coordinator as he did with Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian. Adding Freeze would follow his pattern of hiring highly-regarded former head coaches who left their previous jobs under embarrassing circumstances.

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