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Monday, June 18, 2018

College Football

Dabo Swinney defends player who posed in front of $200K car

Dabo Swinney

Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins found himself in some hot water earlier this week when a car salesman shared a photo of him on social media posing in front of an exotic car, but head coach Dabo Swinney defended his player over the situation.

The photo in question showed Higgins standing with a car salesman in front of a $200,000 McLaren. The caption accompanying the photo thanked the sophomore for “coming to True Auto Mart today to purchase a vehicle.” Naturally, that raised concerns about whether Higgins was being used in an advertisement and/or how he could afford such an expensive car.

After the photo went viral, Higgins’ mother took to social media to insist her son could never afford a $200,000 car and doesn’t even have a job. Higgins said he had no knowledge that his image would be used in a promotion, and the NCAA sent the dealership a cease-and-desist and chose not to sanction the receiver.

On Wednesday, Swinney defended Higgins and said someone was taking advantage of the youngster for publicity.

“That’s the world we live in. It is what it is. I think everything’s an opportunity to learn,” Swinney said, via Grace Raynor of The Post and Courier. “He’s one of the best kids that you’ll ever have and be around and it just kind of comes with the territory,” Swinney said. “You learn from it, but obviously there’s a lot of what do you call it — fish bait? Or click bait? Isn’t that what they call it, click bait? Trying to get some story.

“That’s just the world that we live in. So you’ve got to be smart and hope that you can just avoid those types of situations that create false perceptions. But as long as you do what’s right, you ain’t gotta worry about it.”

Higgins had 17 receptions for 345 yards and two touchdowns. He could be in for a bigger role in 2018.

Incoming Cal freshman LB suffers spinal cord injury

Cal Golden Bears logo

Cal’s football program announced on Wednesday night that an incoming freshman linebacker has suffered a spinal cord injury.

Chris Fatilua, a three-star linebacker from San Diego, suffered the injury in an accident on Monday, according to a statement released by his family that was shared by Cal.

Cal head coach Justin Wilcox said that the Golden Bears’ hearts and minds are with Fatilua.

Fatilua was set to join the program this summer ahead of the fall season. According to his MaxPreps page, Fatilua had 66 tackles, two interceptions and three sacks in eight games last season. He had scholarship offers from multiple Pac-12 schools.

This is no doubt devastating news for Fatilua and his family. The support from Cal will hopefully help him during the tough recovery.

Nebraska assistant says Scott Frost turned down Florida job over loyalty to staff

Scott Frost

Scott Frost did an impressive job in his two seasons at UCF, and his success with the Knights led to job offers from some of the nation’s most storied programs. Many felt the Florida head coaching job was the best of the bunch, and we may now have a better idea of why Frost turned it down.

Sean Beckton, a tight ends coach and one of the many assistants Frost brought with him to Nebraska from UCF, told fans this week that one of the reasons Frost turned down the Gators is that they were not willing to let him bring his entire staff to Gainesville.

As Heady noted, the coaching staff issue probably wasn’t the only factor. Scott played college ball at Nebraska and won a national championship as the team’s quarterback, so there is obviously plenty of history there. However, the fact that Florida was unwilling to let him bring his entire staff along probably made his decision easier.

After he took the Nebraska job, Frost spoke about the importance of not leaving people behind.

“I’ve watched a lot of coaches take the next step in the big job and either they take a few coaches along with them, but they don’t take everybody, or they leave people behind and they get fired,” he said in December, via Scott Christopherson of 247Sports.com. “That’s not the right thing to do in my eyes. The right thing to do is to give every one of my coaches an opportunity to come. And if they’re good enough to take an 0-12 program to 12-0 in two years, they are good enough to coach anywhere.”

Frost is a very loyal guy, and we have seen that with the way he continues to defend his former team against some of the most powerful voices in college football. The fact that Beckton shared that anecdote about the coach shows how much Frost’s staff appreciates it.

Jeff George Jr announces he is transferring to Michigan

Michigan logo

Jim Harbaugh is holding an open quarterback competition at Michigan this summer, and another name is suddenly joining the mix.

On Tuesday, Jeff George Jr. — the son of former NFL quarterback Jeff George — announced that he is joining the Wolverines as a transfer from Illinois.

George likely won’t be given a scholarship right away, as he is competing for reps with Shea Patterson, Brandon Peters, Dylan McCaffrey and Joe Milton. Patterson, who transferred from Ole Miss amid a rash of NCAA sanctions and has been ruled eligible to play immediately, is the favorite to land the starting job.

Michigan has not gotten great QB play since Harbaugh — a former NFL QB himself — took over the program. It makes sense that the coach is adding as many players as possible at the position, though one already seems confident he can lead the Wolverines to the top of the college football mountain.

Watch: James Franklin surprises long-snapper with scholarship news

Penn State logo

These videos never get old.

On Tuesday, Penn State shared a video on Twitter that shows long-Penn State logosnapper Kyle Vasey being surprised with the news that he had been put on full scholarship.

In the video, Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin speaks with his team and asks who is working a job this summer. Vasey says he is working several hours a week as a bar back, which prompts Franklin to tell him to “quit” because he’s on scholarship now.

Vasey, who is a starter, was previously a walk-on. This is awesome for him and his family.

Two Hawaii football players arrested over alleged nightclub assault

Two University of Hawaii football players were arrested over the weekend for their alleged role in an assault at a Honolulu nightclub.

According to David McCracken of Hawaii News Now, starting linebacker Jahlani Tavai and running back Kaiwi Chung were arrested and charged with third degree assault after they were involved in an altercation with a man who is said to have pushed a woman to the ground. Police said the men were believed to have been in the vicinity of the initial incident and attacked the man who allegedly pushed a woman.

No disciplinary action had been announced for either player as of Monday afternoon, and the team will likely wait until all of the details are known. If the two players were, indeed, reacting to a man assaulting a woman, you would think there might be some leniency on the part of both law enforcement and the Hawaii football team.

Tavai is a major contributor for the Rainbow Warriors, as he earned All-Mountain West Conference honors last season and recorded 124 tackles. Chung plays predominantly on special teams.

Report: Ken Griffey Jr.’s son gets football scholarship offer from Michigan

Michigan logo

Another Griffey son looks set for a high-profile college football career.

Tevin Griffey, the son of Ken Griffey Jr., has a scholarship offer from in hand from Michigan, according to Brandon Brown of Wolverine.com.

And don’t worry, Tevin’s dad has already spoken to the head football coach.

Tevin Griffey is a cornerback who has drawn interest from the likes of Arizona, Colorado, and UCF. He wouldn’t be the only Griffey son to look for a football career, as his older brother Trey has most recently played for the Pittsburgh Steelers organization as a wide receiver.

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