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#pounditSaturday, January 28, 2023

College Football

Report: Jim Harbaugh has ‘strong mutual interest’ with 1 NFL team

Nov 16, 2019; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh reacts during the second half against the Michigan State Spartans at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

One team may be emerging as the most serious suitor for Jim Harbaugh, at least in terms of the two sides having mutual interest.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Saturday that the Denver Broncos coaching search is centered around Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, former Saints coach Sean Payton, and Harbaugh. Harbaugh and the Broncos have talked, and the two sides apparently have mutual interest.

“There is some strong mutual interest. I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but at least both sides like each other,” Rapoport said.

The sides have some familiarity considering some of the Broncos’ leadership group have ties to Stanford, where Harbaugh coached from 2007-2010.

While Harbaugh may not be the Broncos’ first choice, he is certainly near the top of the list. The Michigan coach is listening to NFL offers. While Michigan wants to keep him, there is some uncertainty there. Denver could come in and take advantage of that.

Even if Harbaugh does not go to Denver, that will not necessarily be the end of his NFL interest. There is some suggestion he would be interested in other jobs as well.

Report shares how Ole Miss landed Alabama DC Pete Golding

Oct 15, 2022; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi Rebels head coach Lane Kiffin walks off the field during a timeout during the first quarter of the game against the Auburn Tigers at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

After working alongside Nick Saban for five years at Alabama, including the last four as defensive coordinator, Pete Golding is leaving for another program.

It was revealed on Friday that Golding would replace Chris Partridge as defensive coordinator at Ole Miss. Those close to Golding say his decision to leave Alabama was his own and in the best interest of his family, and that he was not forced out.

But how did Lane Kiffin steal one of the country’s better defensive coordinators from Alabama, who had offered him a raise? By simply offering him a little more, reports Football Scoop.

After a week of pursuing Golding, Kiffin and Ole Miss stepped up to the plate and offered a three-year deal worth more than $2 million per season. That was slightly above the $2 million that Saban is rumored to have offered him to stay.

Although Saban and Kiffin clearly view Golding as a top-end coordinator, Crimson Tide fans seem to be thrilled by his departure. Much of their criticism seems centered around the team’s tackling issues, penalties, and inconsistent run defense. But it also ignores the reality that Alabama finished the 2022 season with the fifth-best defensive efficiency in the NCAA, which is made more impressive given their lacking personnel.

Meanwhile, at Ole Miss, Golding will be Kiffin’s third different defensive coordinator in three years.

Fans wondering if 1 notable prospect will declare for NFL Draft

Apr 17, 2021; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback CJ Stroud (7) drops to throw during the first quarter of the annual spring game at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

The Ohio State Buckeyes have seen most of their eligible players declare for the 2023 NFL Draft, but there is one notable exception: quarterback CJ Stroud.

It’s long been expected that Stroud would move on to the NFL after three seasons at OSU, but suddenly there seems to be some question. With just days remaining until the deadline, the two-time Heisman Trophy finalist has yet to make a call.

Stroud is widely considered one of the top-three draft-eligible quarterbacks, joining Kentucky’s Will Levis and Alabama’s Bryce Young. Many mock drafts have him going No. 1 overall or, at worst, No. 2 overall. Those projections often include trade-up scenarios, which demonstrates how valuable Stroud is viewed among analysts and scouts alike.

But Stroud’s extended deliberation is not unprecedented. Throughout the years, there have been several top quarterbacks that waited until the last moment or opted to return to school. Peyton Manning did it at Tennessee in 1997 and Andrew Luck did it at Stanford in 2011. More recently, Justin Herbert returned to Oregon in 2019.

The difference in Stroud’s scenario is that he wouldn’t necessarily lose a year of income. Thanks to NIL deals, players can return to college and still make money via endorsements. It’s not NFL-level money, but it’s more than enough to potentially give them pause if they don’t like how the draft order has shaped up.

That’s not to say this is the case with Stroud, who could still decide to declare. But it’s certainly something worth watching over the next 48 hours.

Report: Florida pulled $13 million NIL deal from Jaden Rashada in December

The situation between Florida and quarterback recruit Jaden Rashada has received national attention this week after a report said Rashada was asking for the Gators to release him from his letter of intent to the school. Now we have more information on the matter.

On Thursday, we learned that Rashada had a $13 million name, image and likeness deal (NIL) with Florida fall apart.

On Friday, The Athletic’s G. Allan Taylor published a breakdown on the situation. He says that the Gator Collective, which is an NIL fund for Florida athletes, agreed to a $13 million deal with Florida. The amount of the deal likely exceeded what the Gator Collective could afford, so they reportedly may have had an agreement with big-time Florida donors (who operate another collective fund) to foot the bill.

In December, the Gator Collective sent Rashada a termination letter regarding the $13 million deal.

Rashada is reportedly threatening legal action against Florida over the contract. The collectives reportedly are now offering Rashada a lesser deal, but with the condition that he drop all legal threats.

Rashada, a highly-rated recruit, has returned to his home in Northern California. It’s unclear where this situation is headed, but we do know things are not off to a great start between Rashada and Florida.

Photo of Arch Manning’s student ID at Texas goes viral

Oct 30, 2021; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Recruit Arch Manning, right, and his father Cooper Manning before the game between Clemson and Florida State at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

A photo of Arch Manning’s student identification card from the University of Texas went viral on Friday.

Someone shared a photo on Snapchat that shows a person holding Manning’s student ID. The name on the ID is “Archibald C Manning.”

The caption for the photo said “Bro already lost his ID first week of school … Don’t worry qb1 I took it to SEZ.”

Manning signed his letter of intent with Texas last month. He graduated early from his high school in New Orleans so he could get extra time with the football program ahead of his freshman season.

The Longhorns are entering their third season under head coach Steve Sarkisian. They have gone 13-12 under Sark and need to turn things around.

One interesting matter to follow will be how the quarterback competition unfolds between this season’s starter, Quinn Ewers, and Arch. Hudson Card has already left the program as a transfer to Purdue.

Hopefully Arch will keep a better grip on the QB job than his ID card.

Alabama reportedly eyeing big names for DC position

Alabama coach Nick Saban looks on. Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Alabama Crimson Tide are suddenly in need of a defensive coordinator, and they are already being linked to some big names who might fill the position.

Reports Friday indicated that Pete Golding, who has spent the last four years as the Crimson Tide defensive coordinator, was leaving to take the same position at Ole Miss. That leaves Alabama with a significant staff opening that Nick Saban will need to fill.

Pat Smith of WJOX reported Friday that Georgia co-defensive coordinator Glenn Schumann, former Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt, and Wisconsin defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard are all on Alabama’s radar as potential defensive coordinators.

Both Schumann and Pruitt come from Saban’s coaching tree, and Pruitt spent two years as Alabama defensive coordinator previously. However, the widespread recruiting violations he was accused of at Tennessee might be good reason to look elsewhere.

Leonhard is a particularly intriguing name. He has been regarded as one of the top up-and-coming assistants in the sport, and went 5-3 as interim coach at Wisconsin last season. New coach Luke Fickell had been interested in keeping Leonhard on his staff, but that ultimately did not happen. Though he lacks previous ties to Saban and Alabama, he certainly has the pedigree to handle the position.

Alabama still had a top-10 defense in terms of points allowed in 2022, but they were a top-five unit every season from 2009 through 2018. The new defensive coordinator will likely be tasked with getting the Crimson Tide defense back into that position.

Ohio State announces big news about Brian Hartline

Sep 17, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes passing game coordinator Brian Hartline walks across the field prior to the NCAA Division I football game against the Toledo Rockets at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-The Columbus Dispatch

The Ohio State Buckeyes are giving Brian Hartline a big promotion.

The Buckeyes announced Friday that Hartline has been promoted to offensive coordinator. Hartline previously was the team’s passing game coordinator.

He will also continue in his role as the team’s wide receivers coach, a position he has held since 2018.

Hartline replaces Kevin Wilson, who left to become head coach at Tulsa.

Hartline’s promotion is hardly a surprise and continues the upward trajectory of his career. He has become a highly-regarded recruiter and his wide receiver groups are consistently among the best in the nation. Last season, Ohio State receivers went at 10 and 11 in the NFL Draft. The team replaced them with another first-round talent in Jaxon Smith-Njigba. After an injury derailed his season, the Buckeyes produced another standout in Marvin Harrison Jr.

Hartline is almost certainly a future head coach, and was seriously linked to a fairly notable job this offseason before deciding to stay in Columbus.

Report: Kevin Warren had low approval within Big Ten

Dec 4, 2021; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Big 10 commissioner Kevin Warren during the Michigan Wolverines game against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big Ten Conference championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Warren left the Big Ten this week to take a job with the Chicago Bears, and it does not sound like many within the conference were sad to see the former commissioner go.

Warren has been named the president and CEO of the Bears. According to ESPN’s Pete Thamel, the Big Ten “made no tangible push to keep him” after word surfaced that he was interested in the NFL front office job. That is because Warren’s approval rating with conference athletic directors was low at the time of his exit.

After Warren took the Bears job, the Big Ten issued a statement thanking him for his service and the “pivotal” role he played in expanding the conference from 14 to 16 teams. One of the issues school and conference officials had with Warren is that he did not want to stop there. Thamel says Warren’s attempts to continue expanding the conference “went against the wishes of the league’s most powerful universities and stakeholders.”

The Big Ten was in favor of adding USC and UCLA, but further expansion would mean more mouths to feed. Adding more teams would only dilute the money schools had to share.

All of that was likely a factor in why Warren wanted to return to the NFL. The 59-year-old was an NFL executive before he became commissioner of the Big Ten in 2020. His most recent job in the league was as CEO of the Minnesota Vikings from 2015-2019.

Report: QB Jaden Rashada had $13 million NIL deal from Florida fall apart

If the Jaden Rashada situation isn’t proof of how much college football has become like the pros, then nothing is.

Rashada, a 5-star quarterback prospect according to 247 Sports, made headlines on Wednesday when it was reported that he wanted Florida to release him from his National Letter of Intent. Rashada committed to Miami over the summer and then flipped to Florida in November, though he didn’t sign his Letter of Intent until the end of the day.

Keep in mind that Rashada reportedly had turned down millions when he committed to Miami.

Even though it was reported Wednesday that Rashada requested his release from his NLI, the quarterback’s father said that wasn’t true. That seemed to be an indication that maybe the Rashada family was posturing in order to make Florida follow through on some sort of financial commitment the school made in order for him to commit to sign with them. That seems to be exactly what is going on.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that Rashada has not enrolled at Florida because an “NIL agreement for around $13 million was not honored.”

Rashada could be working to sever ties with the Gators. He reportedly has returned home to Northern California.

Rashada and his family need to be careful about losing focus of the most important factors in his football career. Or maybe if you’re able to land multimillions in NIL deals, who needs an NFL career? The Rashada family could be considering that.

This also goes to show how unstable some of these deals can be. $13 million is a very big number. It’s really a crazy number for someone who hasn’t played a down of college football or even showed up on campus.

It’s not too surprising that some of these promises may not be fully realized, which could help explain recruits switching back-and-forth from schools.

Clemson set to hire major offensive coordinator

Dabo Swinney speaks with the media at a CFP press conference. Photo Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Clemson Tigers on Thursday fired one offensive coordinator, and that’s probably because they have a top-notch replacement ready.

Tiger Illustrated’s Larry Williams reported Thursday afternoon that Clemson had fired Brandon Streeter after just one year on the job.

Not long after reporting about Streeter’s firing, multiple reporters said the Tigers were set to hire Garrett Riley as their new offensive coordinator.

Riley, 33, is the younger brother of USC head coach Lincoln Riley. Garrett played quarterback at Texas Tech (2008-2009) and Stephen F. Austin (2010) before beginning his coaching career.

Riley coached for two seasons at East Carolina, where Lincoln was also an offensive coach. Garrett then spent three seasons at Kansas (2016-2018) and one at Appalachian State (2019). In 2020, he landed his first offensive coordinator job, as Sonny Dykes hired him to be his OC and quarterbacks coach at SMU. Riley coached under Dykes at SMU for two seasons and then followed him to TCU for the same position.

Under Riley and Dykes, TCU averaged 38.8 points per game, which was 9th in the country. In 2021, SMU’s offense under Riley and Dykes averaged 38.4 points per game, which was 10th in the country.

TCU’s offense sputtered in the CFP chamionship game against Georgia, but they were pretty dynamite the rest of the season.