2013 May

Monthly Archives: May 2013

Report: Two Auburn linebackers will transfer

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]uburn reserve linebackers Chris Landrum and Harris Gaston will transfer.


Chris Landrum played fullback last season but moved back to linebacker this spring.

Both Landrum, a redshirt sophomore from Sweet Water, Ala., and Gaston, a senior from Birmingham, are headed to Jacksonville State, according to AuburnSports.com.

Landrum (6-3, 242) signed with Auburn in 2011 and began his career as an outside linebacker. He moved to fullback last season and saw action in just one game.

He practiced at middle linebacker this spring, but was not on the two-deep following spring ball.

Gaston (6-1, 235), a 2009 signee, totaled 12 tackles in seven games during the 2009 and 2010 seasons, but did not play football in 2011 or 2012. He returned to the team this spring, but failed to make the two-deep.

A 3-star recruit in the 2011 class, Landrum originally chose the Tigers over offers from Duke, Memphis, Southern Miss, UAB and South Alabama.

Gaston, also a 3-star recruit, played for Bessemer Academy and had offers from Mississippi State and Kentucky.

Photo credit: Hal Yeager/The Birmingham News

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Phillips Sims out at Virginia; Where to the Cavs' QBs stand?

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]here have been whispers the past couple of weeks around Phillip Sims’ future at Virginia, but it’s now official. Sims is no longer on the team.

With Michael Rocco (16) now at Richmond and Phillip Sims off the team, David Watford (5) looks like the front-runner at QB for Virginia.

With Michael Rocco (16) now at Richmond and Phillip Sims off the team, David Watford (5) looks like the front-runner at QB for Virginia.

Cavaliers coach Mike London confirmed the news Friday.

According to London, Sims is academically ineligible and will no longer be enrolled in school after he completes the current summer school session.

A former 4-star recruit from Chesapeake, Va., Sims played his sophomore season with the Cavaliers after transferring from Alabama last summer. Last season, he saw action in all 12 of Virginia’s games and started four, splitting time with Michael Rocco.

Sims completed 132 of 231 passes for 1,426 yards and nine touchdowns on the year.

Rocco transferred to Richmond during the off-season, presumably opening the door for Sims to take over the starting role full time. But sophomore David Watford and freshmen Greyson Lambert — both of whom redshirted last year — were listed 1-2 on the spring depth chart.

Watford, 6-1, 200, is a former 3-star recruit from Hampton (Va.) High School. He played in 10 games as a true freshman in 2011, and completed 30 of 74 passes with three touchdowns and four interceptions.

Many around the program expected Watford to win the starting job for the season opener against BYU — even with Sims on the roster. Now that he’s gone, that battle will come down to Watford and Lambert (6-5, 215), a former 3-star recruit from Wayne County High School in Jesup, Ga.

Redshirt freshman Matt Johns (6-5, 200) is also on the roster but considered behind Watford and Lambert.

The Cavaliers signed a pair of 3-star quarterbacks Brendan Marshall (6-5, 210) and Corwin Cutler (6-4, 180) in 2013, but Cutler will likely spend a semester (perhaps more) at prep school Fork Union Military Academy. He suffered a torn ACL that ended his senior season prematurely.

London issued the following statement on Sims’ departure:

“The thing we tell the young men who come to the University of Virginia to receive a world-class education and play for our football program is pretty simple: Go to class. Show class and treat people with dignity and respect. Those directions are pretty easy to follow and they will lead you on a path of success.

“When an individual strays from those directions, it is very disappointing to me. Phillip Sims did not make the commitment he needed to succeed here. I appreciate his efforts last season. He is a very talented young man who is blessed with some extraordinary athletic abilities. I still believe Phillip Sims can and will be a successful person. We will do what we can to assist Phillip in continuing his academic and athletic opportunities elsewhere.

“The young men who remain with this football program are committed and have done a great job in the classroom, in the weight room and on the practice fields. Our team spring semester grade point average is the highest it has been in the past 10 years and we understand that for us to be successful on Saturdays in the fall, it will require that everyone involved in the program do what is necessary each and every day to prepare to win.”

Photo credit: Steve Helber / AP

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Three Navy football players under investigation for sexual assault

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]hree Navy football players are under investigation for allegedly sexually assaulting a female midshipman.

Navy players celebrate after a touchdown in the Midshipmen's 11th straight victory over Army last December.

Navy players celebrate after a touchdown in the Midshipmen’s 11th straight victory over Army last December.

According to a Military.com report, Academy officials confirmed the investigation Thursday.

The names of the players under investigation were not released, and Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo could not comment on the investigation because it is ongoing.

“Naval Academy leadership is monitoring the progress of this investigation and evaluating the appropriate options for adjudication,” said Cmdr. John Schofield, the Naval Academy spokesman told Military.com. “It is completely inappropriate to make any other public comment on this investigation or any ongoing investigation as we risk compromising the military justice process.”

Almost no details of the investigation are known, and Naval officials could say when they expected it to be completed.

Ironically, the news comes just a week after President Barack Obama spoke at the Naval Academy graduation where he challenged the newly commissioned officers to combat the growing problem of sexual assault in the service academies and the military at large.

Military.com cites a recent Defense Department survey that said sexual assault incidents in the ranks increased by nearly 37 percent over the past three years. According to the survey, there were 26,000 reported incidents in 2012, up from 19,000 in 2010. Reports of incidents increased at all three all three academies.

In 2006, former Navy quarterback Lamar Owens was acquitted of raping a fellow former midshipman, but was convicted by a court martial panel of conduct unbecoming of an officer and violating a direct order.

Initially given no punishment, Owens was later expelled from the Academy in the wake of the controversy.

Photo credit: Matt Slocum / AP

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Washington receiver medically retires; Four others will transfer

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]ashington’s wide receiver depth has taken a hit — at least in terms of experience. The school announced on Thursday that senior wide receiver James Johnson is retiring from football because of injury.

After a promising start, James Johnson's (3) career never never took off.

After a promising start, James Johnson’s (3) career never never took off.

Johnson injured his wrist during fall camp last season and redshirted after he underwent surgery. He was back at full speed this spring before re-injuring his wrist.

The would-be fifth year senior missed the spring game, and now his career is done.

Johnson’s career got off to a promising start, but as it would turn out, it would be his best season with the Huskies.

In 2009, the Valley Center, Calif. native became the first true freshman receiver in UW history to score touchdowns in the first two games of his career. He finished the season with 39 receptions for 422 yards and three touchdowns.

Johnson caught just one pass the following year, but rebounded as a junior in 2011. He appeared in 11 games, starting four and finished the sea on with 28 catches for 366 yards and four TDs.

The Huskies signed a talented group of three wide receivers in the 2013 class that should help ease the loss. That group of newcomers is highlighted by consensus 4-star recruits Darrell Daniels (6-4, 205) and Damore’ea Stringfellow (6-2, 205).

In addition to Johnson, the school announced the departures of four other players. Redshirt freshman defensive back Darien Washington, and a trio of sophomores including receiver Jamaal Jones, running back Erich Wilson II and linebacker Evan Zeger have been granted their release.

It has been reported that Wilson will transfer to San Jose State and play for former Washington wide receivers coach Jimmie Dougherty, now the Spartans’ offensive coordinator.

Washington (5-10, 162) was a 3-star cornerback from Norwalk (Calif.) Orange Lutheran.

Jones (6-1, 188) redshirted in 2011 and played in two games in 2012 but did not register a statistic. He was a 3-star recruit out of Spanaway (Wash.) Graham-Kapowsin in the 2011 class.

After a redshirt season in 2011, Zeger (6-2, 223) saw action in three games last year. He was a 3-star recruit out of Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas.

Photo credit: John Froschauer / AP

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Four-star Californian becomes Bama's first '14 OL commit

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]labama landed its first 2014 offensive line commitment on Thursday when Corona (Calif.) Centennial’s Viane Talamaivao announced his decision to play for the Tide.

vianeThe 6-foot-2, 315-pound Talamaivao is rated a 4-star prospect by all of the major recruiting services, and chose Bama over Florida State, Ole Miss and Washington. He had seven other Pac-12 offers including Cal and UCLA in-state.

Talamaivao plays tackle and guard in high school, but projects as a guard or center on the next level. He was recruited by Bama assistants Greg Brown and offensive line coach Mario Cristobal.

Brown attended Centennial’s College Coaches Showcase earlier this month to watch Talamaivao work in person. What he saw was a big, strong lineman plays with toughness and can deliver a blow to defenders. He’s athletic, quick out of his stance, able to maintain good balance and has flexible hips.

Like most prep linemen, Talamaivao is more advanced as run blocker than he is in pass pro. He needs to work on refining his footwork and hand use, but the tools are there. He shows good foot speed getting downfield on blocks and should be able to pull effectively.

Talamaivao plays with a high motor and does a nice job finishing his blocks. He flashes a nasty streak, and if Cristobal can get that out of him consistently, the potential is certainlt there.

Talamaivao’s cousin and teammate Austin Maloatan, a 6-3, 250-pound 3-star defensive end, is committed to USC. The Trojans reportedly offered Talamaivao early on, but appeared to have backed off of late.

He is Alabama’s eighth verbal commit for the 2014 class and the sixth 4-star recruit.

Viane Talamaivao: College Coach Says…

“On film, he’s a mauler, but he’s only 6-2 with short arms so he’s probably limited to playing center on the next level. He’s a good player, but honestly, I’m surprised that Alabama came all the way to California to get a kid with his measurables.”

Ratings Verdict: Slightly overrated (as a 4-star)

–Pac-12 Offensive Line Coach

Photo credit: PEHS GameTime

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Maryland wide receiver withdraws from school

[dropcap]M[/dropcap]aryland wide receiver Marcus Leak has withdrawn from school and will not play during the 2013 season.

leakIn a statement, Leak, who is from Monroe, N.C., will return home and deal with “some personal issues.” He plans to return to school in January.

According to ESPN, the withdrawal is not related to academics.

A rising junior who has not redshirted, Leak started the first seven games of last season, but missed the final five after suffering a toe injury. That injury kept him out of spring practice, but he was expected to be healthy this fall.

Leak (6-1, 205) finished 2012 second on the team with 23 receptions and 393 yards and added two touchdown receptions.

Even without Leak, the Terps are expected to have one of the ACC’s deepest and most talented receiving corps. After missing spring ball, Leak was listed behind junior college transfer Deon Long on the depth chart.

Long, who was the nation’s No. 1 overall JUCO recruit in the 2013 class, is joined by sophomore Stefon Diggs and junior Nigel King in the starting rotation.

Diggs caught 54 passes for 848 yards and six touchdowns as a true freshman last season, and will be a pre-season all-conference pick.

King (6-3, 205) started in Leak’s absence last season and played well. He caught four passes for 72 yards in the season finale against North Carolina, and was a bright spot this spring.

Sophomores Levern Jacobs, Amba Etta-Tawo and Malcolm Culmer and junior Tyrek Cheeseboro provide solid depth.

Below is Leak’s full statement:

“I have withdrawn from the University of Maryland and will return home to North Carolina to be with my family while I deal with some personal issues. I would like to thank Coach (Randy) Edsall, my teammates and the rest of the Maryland football program for their continued support as I work through these personal matters. It is my intention to return to College Park in January. I look forward to rejoining my teammates and continuing my education at the University of Maryland.”

Photo credit: Nick Wass / AP

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Iowa State wins national title… for best turf

[dropcap]P[/dropcap]aul Rhoads’ team may not have won the national championship last season, but Iowa State is taking home a title.

Tim Van Loo (center) lays the foundation for a championship.

Tim Van Loo (center) lays the foundation for a championship.

The turf at Jack Trice Stadium has been named as the 2012 College Football Field of the Year by The Sports Turf Managers Association.

Tim Van Loo, Iowa State’s athletics turf grounds manager, is the man behind it all.

Much like Nick Saban, winner of three of the last four BCS championships, Van Loo has the program rolling and is focused is on making sure things stay at a championship level.

“It’s all about maintaining what’s already been established,” Van Loo told the Des Moines Register.

“I just try to keep the grass consistent from week to week.”

Like any good coach, Van Loo gives the credit to those around him.

His student staff of Blake Nelson, Colton Metzger, Josh Lenz, Adam Gregersen and Kevin Hansen will appear by his side on the cover for an upcoming issue of SportsTurf Magazine.

“It’s always good to be recognized by your peers,” Van Loo said. “It’s also quite humbling.”

Photo credit: ISU Alumni Magazine

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