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Thursday, February 21, 2019

College Football

Twitter reacts to Miami signing intimidating Australian punter Louis Hedley

Louis Hedley

National Signing Day is on Wednesday, and the Miami Hurricanes got a jump in the process on everyone else with a signing that has the internet buzzing.

The Hurricanes signed Australian punter Louis Hedley, a transfer from City College of San Francisco. Hedley was able to sign before everyone else because it’s already Wednesday in his native Australia. And the photo of him signing had everyone talking. Why? Take a look.

Hedley is 6-foot-4, 215 pounds and fully tatted. The dude screams intimidation. He is also said to be in his mid-20s, unlike most players signing, who are usually in their late teens.

Take a look at the Twitter reactions.

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Mark Richt to work in studio for ESPN during Signing Day

Mark Richt Miami

Rather than locking down commitments on Wednesday, Mark Richt will be discussing them on TV.

Richt will be serving on ESPN’s broadcasting crew during its coverage of National Signing Day Wednesday, the network announced on Monday.

Richt abruptly stepped down as Miami’s head coach on Dec. 30, just days after an ugly loss to Wisconsin in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. He went 9-4 in his first season on the job and then took a major step forward going 10-3 in his second season, producing the school’s first double-digit win season since 2003. The program appeared to be on the right track, but the Canes slipped to 7-6 this season and looked terrible offensively.

Just after Richt stepped down, Manny Diaz was hired as head coach. He has brought in Tate Martell as a transfer QB and is working hard on recruiting.

Now 58, you have to wonder whether Richt will go into broadcasting permanently or attempt a return to coaching.

Ex-Florida State QB Deondre Francois enters transfer portal

As expected, quarterback Deondre Francois is on his way out of Florida State.

According to SEC Network analyst Cole Cubelic, Francois has entered the NCAA’s transfer portal a day after he was dismissed from the team.

Francois was kicked off the team Sunday after a video posted on his girlfriend’s Instagram account featured audio of a man threatening to assault a woman, with the caption indicating that Francois was the man in question.

Even before the video surfaced, Francois appeared to be on his way out of Florida State. It’s unclear where he will land, but it’s almost certain that he’ll take a step down if he lands at a different program.

Report: Southern Miss interviewing Art Briles for OC role

Art Briles

Art Briles may be about to get his ticket back into college football.

According to Patrick Magee of the SunHerald, Briles was in Hattiesburg on Monday to interview for Southern Mississippi’s vacant offensive coordinator position.

It is not clear just how serious a contender for the job Briles is, but if he was brought in for an in-person interview, he’s likely a legitimate candidate. He hasn’t coached at the college level since he was let go in 2016 by Baylor after it was found that he actively tried to prevent sexual assault allegations from reaching authorities.

Briles is known as an excellent offensive mind, but any team that even considers hiring him will face significant backlash stemming from his role in the Baylor scandal. That public outcry prevented him from landing a CFL job, and meant that the only work he’s been able to get since leaving Baylor was in Italy.

Prospects Jeffery Simmons, Preston Williams not invited to combine due to violence

Two NFL prospects have been barred from taking part in the NFL Scouting Combine later this month due to legal trouble that involves allegations of getting into a physical altercation with a woman.

Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reports that Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffrey Simmons and Colorado State wide receiver Preston Williams have been informed they will not be invited to the Combine due to issues involving violence. Both players were arrested in the past following allegations that they assaulted women.

Williams’ arrest came in 2017, and he ended up receiving a deferred sentence for pleading guilty to a harassment charge. Simmons, who is considered a potential top-10 pick, was arrested in 2016 after a video surfaced that showed him and a woman punching and kicking another woman on the ground. He pleaded no contest to simple assault and disturbing the peace.

Players have been banned from the Combine in the past for drugs, arrests and other issues, so it’s possible Williams and Simmons won’t be the only two.

Tom Brady’s agent makes pitch to Trevor Lawrence for new football league

Trevor Lawrence

New football leagues are popping up all over the place, including one founded by Don Yee, the agent for Tom Brady.

Yee’s league is called the Pacific Pro Football League, and it has its eyes on playing its first season in July. Yee thinks a player like Trevor Lawrence would be ideal for the league, which is for players who are not eligible for the NFL Draft.

In an interview with 104.5 The Zone in Nashville, Yee talked about his league and made an offer to the Clemson Tigers quarterback.

“Our player population, for example, will be players such as Trevor Lawrence at Clemson,” Yee said, via 247 Sports. “We would like to make him an employment offer, professionalize right away. Be our Joe Namath. Adidas is one of our founding sponsors, and I think they might want to make him an endorsement proposal. And he would be professional, and he would learn an NFL style of game with us before he declares for the draft.”

Players would be offered salary, benefits, and paid tuition and books at a community college.

This league sounds very similar to what LaVar Ball is trying to do in basketball. The issue is the university/college athletics system is so entrenched in our society, it would be hard to compete for athletes and draw fans — if that’s how they’re planning to finance the league. The existing system offers student-athletes college educations, stipends, coaching, tutoring, exposure, and football programs that will give them a taste of what to expect in the pros. They also attract the best players and therefore offer the best competition. It’s hard to beat all of that, which Yee and company will be trying to do.

Kelly Bryant will reportedly stay at Missouri despite postseason ban

Kelly Bryant

Kelly Bryant will not be able to play in a bowl game in his lone season with Missouri next year, but the quarterback is reportedly not planning to leave the school because of that.

On Thursday, the NCAA announced one-year postseason bans and other sanctions for Missouri’s football, baseball and softball programs after an academic misconduct investigation revealed a tutor “violated NCAA ethical conduct, academic misconduct and academic extra benefits rules” by completing school work for student-athletes.

The NCAA committee on infractions has recommended waiving the restrictions on senior transfers in the wake of the one-year postseason ban, meaning senior athletes who wish to leave Missouri would be immediately eligible to play elsewhere. However, Jason Boatright of The State reports that Bryant has no intention of leaving the Tigers.

Bryant was 4-0 as Clemson’s starter this past season before being replaced by freshman phenom Trevor Lawrence. He threw for 2,802 yards, 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions, while rushing for 11 scores as the starter in 2017. Bryant considered other top programs before landing at Missouri, so he would likely have opportunities to transfer again if he changes his mind.