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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

College Football

Florida DE Jachai Polite unable to prove doubters wrong with 40-yard dash

Florida defensive end Jachai Polite had a disastrous NFL Scouting Combine last month, and he was aiming to prove his critics wrong with a strong performance at the Gators’ Pro Day on Wednesday. Unfortunately, it sounds like he was unable to do that.

One of the reasons scouts were unimpressed with Polite in Indianapolis was that he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.84 seconds, which is extremely sluggish for a pass-rusher. When he tried to improve upon that time Tuesday, he apparently sustained an injury.

Polite was once considered a first-round prospect, but his stock has rapidly tumbled over the past month. In addition to performing poorly in drills at the Combine, he was said to be a disaster during interviews with teams. Polite complained to reporters and said he felt like teams did nothing but bash him, so that wasn’t a good sign.

If he can get healthy and prove he has some intangibles, Polite should have a chance to contribute in the NFL. That said, his hopes of making first-round money have all but disappeared.

Tate Martell eligible to play immediately at Miami after receiving waiver

Tate Martell

Tate Martell transferred to Miami earlier this year after being buried on the Ohio State depth chart, and the dual-threat quarterback will not be losing a year of eligibility by switching schools.

On Tuesday, Martell received a hardship waiver from the NCAA that makes him eligible to play at Miami in 2019.

Martell redshirted his freshman year at Ohio State and then served as Dwayne Haskins’ backup this past season, so he has two years of eligibility remaining. The former five-star recruit had hired a lawyer and was reportedly planning to argue that Urban Meyer’s sudden retirement was a reason he should be ruled eligible to play in 2019, and he was obviously successful.

Just when it looked like Martell might finally get a shot to play at Ohio State, Justin Fields transferred to Columbus from Georgia. Fields also received a waiver that granted him immediate eligibility, so Martell made the right choice by bolting for Miami.

Report: Top NFL Draft prospect Montez Sweat has heart condition

Mississippi State defensive end Montez Sweat is one of the most exciting and physically gifted players entering next month’s NFL Draft, but it will be interesting to see if teams have concerns about his health.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reported on Sunday that doctors at the NFL Scouting Combine last month took a thorough look at Sweat because of a pre-existing heart condition. While players in the past have been sent home and not allowed to take part in drills because of health concerns, no restrictions were placed on Sweat.

Sweat’s agents told Rapoport they cannot comment on the specific medical condition, but they insist it is not a concern.

“Montez is the same person that was medically cleared to play and dominate the SEC, the Senior Bowl, and the NFL combine,” the agency said. “No change in health and no change in domination!”

Sweat, who is 6-foot-6 and 260 pounds, set the internet on fire with his incredible 40-yard dash time at the Combine. While teams will almost certainly look into his heart condition, it doesn’t sound like it is anything that will send him tumbling down the draft board.

LSU flexes on Twitter after Browns acquire Odell Beckham in trade

LSU Field logo

The LSU Tigers flexed on Twitter after the Cleveland Browns acquired Odell Beckham Jr in a trade with the New York Giants on Tuesday.

Back in August, when there were trade rumors surround Beckham prior to him signing a contract extension with the Giants, LSU told the Browns to “get the duo back together.” That was a reference to Beckham and Jarvis Landry, who were receivers together at LSU.

When the trade went down, LSU said “thanks for listening.”

Beckham was at LSU from 2011-2013 and caught 143 passes for 2,340 yards and 12 touchdowns. Landry was there the same three years and had 187 catches, 1,809 yards and 15 touchdowns. And now they’re together with the Browns, giving Baker Mayfield some excellent options.

Urban Meyer reportedly hired by FOX for big pregame show

Urban Meyer

Urban Meyer said he believes he is done with coaching for good after he stepped down at Ohio State, but that does not mean he will be disappearing from the college football landscape going forward.

Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reports that Meyer has been hired by FOX to serve as an analyst for its new college football pregame show, which does not yet have a name but will air on network TV next season. FOX has also hired former NFL and USC running back Reggie Bush, and he and Meyer will join Matt Leinart and Brady Quinn for the new production.

According to Marchand, FOX is hoping to create serious competition for ESPN’s popular “College GameDay” program by creating the same type of star-studded panel it has with its NFL and MLB pregame shows.

Meyer was part of a major scandal in his last season at Ohio State, but FOX executives apparently do not feel that has negatively impacted his popularity.

Vince Young reportedly fired from part-time job at Texas

Vince Young

Things are quite rough for Texas icon Vince Young these days, as he has reportedly lost his part-time job at Texas after months of poor performance.

According to Jim Vertuno of the Associated Press, Young lost his job as a part-time development officer after skipping various meetings, performing poorly, and not communicating with his superiors. A Feb. 4 drunken driving arrest was the last straw for the university.

As early as September 2017, Young was being reprimanded for not showing up to work during appointed hours, skipping meetings with superiors without notice, and missing months of timesheets. While Young seemed to be successful in his public-facing ambassador role, his behind the scenes performance was unacceptable.

The breaking point came when Young was arrested for DWI, which he says he is not guilty of. He did not notify the school of the arrest until he did so by text the next day, when the information was already in the media. On Feb. 15, he was notified that he would be fired unless he could demonstrate a reason to keep him on.

Young had worked at Texas in some form since 2014. It appears the school was left with no choice but to make the decision they did.

Texas QB Sam Ehlinger supports NCAA amateurism reform bill

Sam Ehlinger

Texas Longhorns quarterback Sam Ehlinger expressed support for a congressional bill that would modify the NCAA’s current definition and allowances for amateur athletes.

Here are the tweets Ehlinger sent in support of the bill:

Rep. Mark Walker of North Carolina plans to introduce legislation next week called the Student-Athlete Equity Act. The bill would call for the NCAA to allow student-athletes to profit off of their image and likeness while they are in school. Current NCAA rules do not allow that.

There are arguments for and against such a bill. In support, there are some student-athletes who achieve star status in college and under current rules have no ability to capitalize on that, which seems unfair. Against it, allowing student-athletes to profit off their name and likeness could open matters up to corruption where money to pay the players is organized through these deals. The idea of amateurism could also be affected; student-athletes are supposed to mostly worry about school and sports, but this might also necessitate student-athletes to make business choices and decisions, like hiring agents, financial managers, and lawyers to handle these deals. That’s a lot for a young student-athlete to have to consider, and the NCAA wants to protect its student-athletes from such matters.