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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

College Football

Clay Helton still leaving door open for JT Daniels to return to USC

JT Daniels USC

When a student-athlete enters the transfer portal, that player is likely gone. But in Clay Helton’s case, he still leaves the door open for his players.

Helton said during an appearance on “The Rich Eisen Show” Friday that he is still open to having quarterback JT Daniels return to the team even though Daniels put his name in the portal.

“JT and I talk every week and [I’m] working with his family as he works through the process,” Helton told Eisen, via USCFootball.com. “JT is such a great kid, and a great player, and came to us in the spring and said, ‘Coach, I’d like to evaluate all my options for 2020. USC is one of those options.’ That door is being left open for him.”

Helton took the same approach with Trojans backup quarterbacks Matt Fink and Jack Sears. Fink entered the transfer portal last year but ended up returning to the team and serving as Kedon Slovis’ backup after Daniels suffered a torn ACL in the team’s opener. Sears put his name in the portal and was given the option to return to the team, though he ended up transferring to Boise State.

Helton is operating in a player-friendly fashion, and his strategy of handling his players who have interest in transferring in such a favorable manner will likely work to his benefit. In this case, it’s not hard to see why he would want Daniels to return. Daniels was a five-star recruit and started as a true freshman in 2018. He would be great insurance in case Slovis gets hurt, especially since USC lost Bryce Young to Alabama.

Jim Harbaugh does a cartwheel in Michigan recruit Jaydon Hood’s commitment video

Jim Harbaugh

Michigan landed four-star linebacker recruit Jaydon Hood on Monday, and the announcement came with some serious flair.

Hood announced his commitment via video on his Twitter. It starts off as a rather standard video with highlights from Hood’s high school career, then a few Michigan highlights. Then it abruptly ends with Wolverine linebackers coach Brian Luc Jean-Mary, defensive coordinator Don Brown, and coach Jim Harbaugh doing cartwheels in their respective yards.

Harbaugh’s form isn’t perfect, but the effort is appreciated. And it makes for a memorable recruiting video, if nothing else.

We’ve seen that the Michigan coach is willing to go to great lengths to land recruits. Doing a cartwheel for a commitment video was probably an easy request for him to accept.

Reggie Bush rips ESPN for ‘bogus’ headline about paying college athletes

Reggie Bush is rather bizarrely ripping ESPN for how its website presented a story about him.

Bush spoke to Playboy and shared his concerns that paying college athletes could have negative ramifications if those athletes do not have proper financial guidance. It was picked up by numerous sites, including ESPN.

Bush, however, was not happy with ESPN’s presentation of the story, and demanded that they take it down.

The former running back doesn’t quite seem to understand how this works. ESPN does not need Bush’s approval to write the story. Bush gave an interview to another outlet, and ESPN published his comments while crediting that outlet. Bush may have a point about the context, but his quote is presented in full within the story.

Bush’s full comments are well worth a read. They’re interesting and nuanced, which is why they became a story on ESPN and elsewhere. It seems that the former USC star simply doesn’t get how aggregating works.

Reggie Bush has interesting take on paying college athletes

The college football landscape may change in the near future with players allowed to profit off their likeness. As the idea continues to gain support, there are still warnings from some high-profile figures about how it could go wrong.

Take Reggie Bush, who starred for USC before moving onto the NFL. Bush fears that being paid early in a college career could “destroy” some athletes.

“Guidance is the one thing that young athletes coming through the college system miss on so much,” Bush told Ryan Gajewski of Playboy. “I missed on it. They’re about to start paying college athletes. This is something that has never been experienced before, and it’s going to destroy some people if their foundation is not in the right place.

“The one thing I wish I had early in my career is proper financial knowledge. I hired good agents, and I hired a good team. But I allowed that good team to make decisions for me. I’m not saying I’m going bankrupt, but if I had the proper knowledge back then, some things would be different. People just assume, ‘Well, you got all this money, so you’re good.’ It’s actually the opposite. The more money you have, the more danger you’re in. Because now you’re a freaking open target for a lot of people. It’s a nasty world out there, and it’s about to get nastier. You’re going to really start to see the true colors of a lot of people, and a lot of businesses too. You’re going to see people doing some crazy stuff to make money, because our market is crashing.”

Bush would have been a very wealthy man had he been allowed to profit off himself at the height of his USC stardom. Some would probably say that he did that anyway, but it would have been very lucrative had he been able to do it legally. But Bush makes a worthwhile point about it not immediately fixing problems. It’s easy to make mistakes with money, as Bush points out here. It will be something worth remembering the more the rules are expanded.

Todd Graham considered working with Patriots before returning to college football

Todd Graham

Todd Graham is back in college football for the first time since the 2017 season, and he says he considered a stop in the NFL in between.

Graham was fired by Arizona State after going 7-6 in 2017. He missed the last two seasons and has been hired to lead Hawaii’s program.

A feature by The Athletic’s Doug Haller says Graham spent some time with Bill Belichick in New England after being fired by Arizona State. Haller says Graham considered working with the Patriots and Belichick in the NFL. Graham also turned down interest about coordinator jobs.

Graham is now 55, and the Hawaii job is his fifth college head coaching job. He says he learned a lot during his years off and believes both he and Hawaii will benefit from it.

Graham actually did well his first three seasons at Arizona State before the program slipped over his final three seasons. Hawaii went 10-5 last season and is replacing Nick Rolovich, who left for Washington State.

Joel Klatt: There will 100 percent be a college football season

Joel Klatt

FOX college football analyst Joel Klatt is bullish on a 2020 season.

Klatt, who doesn’t tweet very often, shared a few thoughts on Twitter Saturday about the upcoming season. He says it is happening and that there will be fans at many locations.

This is great news for college football fans, and much different than the sentiment shared by an analyst at a rival network.

While the coronavirus still poses a significant threat to many people in the country — namely, the elderly and those with underlying health conditions — stats have shown it is not especially hazardous to college-aged people.

A lot can and will change from now until September, but the thought of a season taking place is comforting for many of the sport’s fans.

Cam Newton’s brother Caylin announces he will transfer to Auburn

Auburn Tigers logo

The Auburn Tigers football team may be looking to recapture a little Newton transfer magic.

Caylin Newton, the younger brother of Cam Newton, announced on Twitter Friday that he is transferring to Auburn.

Caylin plays quarterback like Cam, but he is much different.

For starters, Caylin is much smaller than Cam at six feet tall and 190 pounds. He also is much more of a running-focused QB. Caylin spent the last three years at Howard. He passed for 35 touchdowns and 29 interceptions in 2017 and 2018, while rushing for 1,257 yards and 16 touchdowns. He played in fewer than four games last season, which leaves him with two extra years of eligibility.

Auburn seems to have a good, young QB in Bo Nix, who will be a sophomore, but Caylin could provide an alternative. As for Cam, he began his college career at Florida before transferring to a junior college, and then to Auburn, where he led the Tigers to a national championship. Expecting Caylin to deliver the same would be unfair, but Auburn fans can dream.