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Friday, January 20, 2017

College Football

Sonny Dykes to join TCU staff as offensive analyst

Sonny Dykes

Sonny Dykes has already found new employment a week after being let go by Cal.

The former Golden Bears head coach will join TCU as an offensive analyst, according to the Star-Telegram.

Dykes went 19-30 over four seasons at Cal. His highlight was an 8-5 season in 2015 with Jared Goff as his starting quarterback. The Golden Bears went 5-7 last season.

Cal was said to be upset with Dykes for interviewing for other head coaching jobs while still under their employment and decided to let him go.

Dykes’ specialty is offense, which should bode well for TCU. His hiring was first reported by 247 Sports’ Jeremy Clark.

Report: Western Michigan hiring Tim Lester as new head coach

Tim Lester

Western Michigan reportedly has found a new coach to replace P.J. Fleck.

Football Scoop reported on Friday that Western Michigan is hiring Tim Lester as its new head coach.

Lester was a record-setting quarterback at Western Michigan and is a member of the school’s hall of fame.

Lester was most recently the quarterbacks coach at Purdue. Before that he was an assistant at Syracuse from 2013-2015. He has limited head coaching experience, although he went 33-19 in five seasons at D-III Elmhurst.

Lester, 39, will have to fill out his staff as many of Fleck’s coaches left with the former Broncos coach for his new job at Minnesota.

LSU WR Malachi Dupre declares for NFL Draft

Malachi Dupre

LSU wide receiver Malachi Dupre announced on Friday that he is leaving school early and headed to the pros.

Dupre shared a video on Twitter to announce his decision. The video contained highlights from his LSU career as well as a thank you note that mentions his LSU coaches.

Dupre is a talented receiver but has not put up huge stats for the Tigers, which could have played a role in his decision to leave. He had 41 catches for 593 yards and three touchdowns last season — all of which were down from his stats as a sophomore.

Dupre may have have been encouraged to leave by his strong bowl performance, which included a 7-catch, 139 yard game in a win over Louisville in the Citrus Bowl.

Report: Three NFL execs think DeShaun Watson pushed himself into top 10 of draft

DeShaun Watson

Clemson quarterback DeShaun Watson declared for the NFL Draft after leading the Tigers to a thrilling comeback win over Alabama in the National Championship Game, and there is a wide range of opinions regarding where he will be selected. At least some NFL executives think it will be early in the first round.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter spoke with two personnel directors and one NFL general manager who believe Watson pushed himself into the top 10 of the first round with his performance against Alabama. One of the execs speculated that the Cleveland Browns could take Watson at No. 1. Another exec said Watson should be a top-five pick and the third was “supremely confident” Watson will go somewhere in the top 10.

“All I’m saying is this, if [Robert Griffin III] and Vince Young and Marcus Mariota can go in the top couple of picks, there’s no question Deshaun Watson can,” one of the personnel directors told Schefter. “He led his team against Alabama, one of the best defenses we’ve seen in a long time. He’s done a ton of winning since he’s been at Clemson. Absolutely do I think someone can take him in the top 10.”

Watson got off to a shaky start against Alabama, but he finished with 420 yards passing with three touchdowns through the air, one on the ground and no interceptions. The junior completed an impressive 36 of 56 passes and added 43 yards rushing.

“These last couple of weeks, he’s skyrocketing up to the top 10 picks, with the two playoff game wins,” one of the execs said. “Now people are going to say, ‘Wait a minute, he’s played Alabama the past couple of years really well, he won a national championship, he can be a Mariota, he can be a [Dak] Prescott, great character, great kid.’ People will not want to miss him. I think he’s definitely going in the top 10.”

It helps that this year’s draft class is considered weak at quarterback, which likely factored into Watson’s decision to leave Clemson early. Of course, not everyone shares the opinion of the executives Schefter spoke with.

Watson showed an incredible amount of heart in the title game, especially on that insane play where he spun through the air like a figure skater (video here). Even if he doesn’t look ready to lead an NFL offense, those are the types of intangibles that make scouts drool. His championship performance couldn’t have come at a better time.

Report: Les Miles out as candidate for Western Michigan job

Les Miles

Les Miles was among the candidates for the Western Michigan job, but he reportedly is out of consideration for the gig.

Miles, 63, spoke with WMU about their head coaching job earlier this week, according to Football Scoop. But WWMT’s Brian Kaufman says Miles is out as a candidate.

It’s unclear whether Miles is out because of his or the school’s decision.

Either way, WMU will proceed in their search. They reportedly plan to speak with Alabama assistant Mario Cristobal next.

Cristobal is a former head coach at Florida International and has been offered the Oregon offensive coordinator job. Football Scoop says the Broncos also interviewed Tim Lester and Matt MacPherson for the position.

Western Michigan is in need of a new head coach after PJ Fleck left last week to take the Minnesota head coaching job. Fleck led the Broncos to their most successful season in school history — a 13-1 record and Cotton Bowl appearance.

Reports: Cal negotiating with Justin Wilcox to be head coach

Justin Wilcox

Cal may have a replacement for Sonny Dykes in the works.

According to a few reports, the Golden Bears are in contract talks with Wisconsin defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox for the job.

FOX’s Bruce Feldman first reported the news, while Scout’s Ryan Gorcey reported the same.

Wilcox, 40, helped the Badgers to the fourth-best scoring mark in the country on defense. He played at Oregon and served as a defensive coordinator at Washington and USC prior to Wisconsin.

In addition to Wilcox, Gorcey reports that Cal offensive coordinator Jake Spavital, former Raiders offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, and Illinois defensive coordinator Hardy Nickerson interviewed for the head coaching job.

Cal is coming off a 5-7 season, but went 8-5 the year before with Jared Goff at quarterback.

Alabama fans get revenge on scalper who sold them fake tickets

Three Alabama fans who were looking to go to the National Championship Game Monday night were robbed of $2,000, and they weren’t about to let the thief get away with it.

On Sunday, Bryant Gentry and his two brothers purchased two tickets to the game for $1,000 each from a man they found on Craigslist. They had planned to find another ticket outside the stadium on Monday night. When the men returned to their hotel room and examined the tickets, they noticed some indications that the tickets were counterfeit.

“We came to the conclusion we had been burned, and we’re blessed enough with good jobs where we could replace that income, but we started thinking about all the other people he was probably taking advantage of and it made us mad,” Bryant Gentry told Anastasia Dawson of the Tampa Bay Times. “What if some little kid’s hopes of going to the game were dashed?”

The Gentry brothers did not let it go. Instead, they contacted the scalper, 20-year-old Joseph Steven Escalera, on Craigslist again using different information and arranged to meet up with him for another ticket transaction. One of the brothers had taken a selfie with Escalera the first time to be safe, and they recognized him right away. So the brothers physically subdued Escalera and waited 10 minutes for police to arrive.

But as scalper Joseph Steven Escalera began the transaction, his customer’s two brothers snuck up from behind. One pinned Escalera to his chair, pinching a nerve between his neck and shoulder while holding a long, cold object to the back of his head. The other two took his shoes and socks, as well as six tickets to that night’s game they found tucked in Escalera’s waistband.

When Tampa police arrived, they arrested Escalera.

Escalera was charged with fraudulent possession of admission tickets and grand theft. Unfortunately, the Gentry brothers did not get their $2,000 back and had to watch the game with other fans at their hotel lobby. But being that they are Alabama fans, they didn’t mind missing out on the heartbreaking loss.

We’ve seen some funny stuff happen with Craigslist ticket listings, but there’s nothing humorous about conning people out of money. Escalera ended up behind bars where he belongs.

H/T Dr. Saturday

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