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Petrino to be named Louisville coach Thursday

The stage is set for Bobby Petrino’s return to Louisville.

Western Kentucky coach Bobby Petrino will be named the new Louisville head football coach on Thursday. (Photo: Hans Pennink, AP)The former Cardinals coach is expected to officially be named as Charlie Strong’s successor at a Thursday press conference.

The school told media Wednesday that the athletic department’s Personnel Committee would a hold a special meeting in the athletic director’s suite of the football stadium. A press conference is scheduled roughly a half hour later.

Petrino landed at Western Kentucky after scandal cost him his job at Arkansas in 2012. Following a motorcycle accident that spring, it was discovered that Petrino was riding with his mistress, Jessica Dorrell, who he had hired for a position within the football program.

When Petrino’s personal and professional relationships with Dorrell became public, Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long abruptly fired Petrino, despite a 34-17 record.

Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich interviewed seven candidates for the job, including Colorado State coach Jim McElwain, Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris, Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason, and Strong’s two coordinators – Vance Bedford and Shawn Watson.

Petrino was coach of the Cardinals from 2003-06, and compiled a 41-9 record.

Photo: Hans Pennink, AP

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Johnny Football makes NFL Draft entry official

Johnny Football has made it official.

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel announced Wednesday that he would enter the NFL Draft.

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Penn State coaching search update

Vanderbilt’s James Franklin may be the frontrunner to be the next Penn State coach, but with his NFL options still on the table, the Nittany Lions don’t appear to be done vetting candidates.

Greg Roman (left) has spent the past five seasons working for Jim Harbaugh. (Photo: AP)

Greg Roman (left) has spent the past five seasons working for Jim Harbaugh. (Photo: AP)

CBSSports.com‘s Jason La Canfora reported Wednesday that Penn State officials will interview San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman about the job.

No timeline or other details on the interview were given.

Roman has been Jim Harbaugh’s offensive coordinator the past five seasons — three with the 49ers and two at Stanford. The two seasons at Stanford are Roman’s only college coaching experience.

San Francisco faces Carolina in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs Sunday.

On Tuesday, CBSSports’ Bruce Feldman said that Vanderbilt’s Franklin had emerged as the “clear frontrunner” for the Penn State job.

Fuel was poured on the fire when word got out that Vanderbilt defensive coordinator Bob Shoop and offensive coordinator John Donovan began following Penn State commitments on Twitter.

David Williams, the man who oversees Vanderbilt athletics and Franklin’s boss, told to The Tennessean that he met with his head football coach Tuesday night, but didn’t say much else.

“I can’t shed any light on that,” Williams said. “I can only tell you that I met with James last night. I’m not going to get into details of the discussion.

“James came in yesterday from working with ESPN on the BCS Championship game and I met with him last night. I met with my football coach. I’m not going to get into details of the substance. I’ve probably already said more than I should”

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported Wednesday morning that the Washington Redskins still intend to interview Franklin on Thursday, and that the Cleveland Browns would likely interview Franklin as well.

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Clemson receivers Watkins, Bryant to enter the Draft

Clemson junior wide receivers Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant will forego their final season of eligibility and enter the NFL Draft.

Clemson junior wide receiver Sammy Watkins will give up his final season of eligibility and enter the 2014 NFL Draft. (Photo: Photo: Steve Helber, AP)The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Watkins is considered by many to be the No. 1 receiver in the draft and a potential top five pick overall. He totaled 101 receptions for 1,464 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2013.

Bryant, 6-5, 200, caught 42 passes for 827 yards and seven scores.

He confirmed his intentions in a text message to the Charleston Post & Courier.

“I have decided to enter the draft, it’s best for me and my family,” the message read.

Photo: Photo: Steve Helber, AP

For a complete list of college underclassmen that have declared for the NFL Draft, click HERE.

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Charlie Strong to be named Texas coach

Texas is expected to name Louisville’s Charlie Strong as its next head football coach.

Sources indicate that even if the NFL comes calling, expect Charlie Strong to stay put in college.

According to a report from CBSSports.com’s Bruce Feldman, Strong will be announced as Texas’ new head coach on Sunday.

Strong met with Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich late Friday night. He reportedly told his coaching staff Saturday morning that he had not made a decision as to whether or not he would accept the job.

The Texas deal is expected to be for five years and will pay Strong around $5 million per season, according to media reports.

The 53-year-old Strong will replace Mack Brown, the school’s second-winningest head coach, who stepped down after 16 seasons on Dec. 14.

Strong’s deal with Louisville pays him a base salary of $3.7 million per year, with a buyout of $4.375 million if he were to leave for another job prior to the summer of 2014.

He compiled a 37-15 record in five seasons at Louisville.

Photo: AP

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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Friday, Jan. 3

The names on the Texas coaching search board appear to be dropping quickly.

Where will Steve Patterson turn to find Texas' next head coach? (Photo: Deborah Cannon, AP)

Where will Steve Patterson turn to find Texas’ next head coach? (Photo: Deborah Cannon, Austin American-Statesman/AP)

If recent reports are to be believed, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher is off the table. Now Baylor’s Art Briles and UCLA’s Jim Mora have both stated publicly that they are not interested in the job and are not candidates.

Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio signed an extension. The news was announced Wednesday night just before Sparty’s Rose Bowl win over Stanford.

The school reportedly plans to make Dantonio one of the three highest-paid coaches in the Big Ten, and his assistants will become one of three highest-paid staffs in the conference.

If those names are gone, where does Texas athletic director Steve Patterson turn?

Louisville’s Charlie Strong and Vanderbilt’s James Franklin are the other names most prominently linked to the job.

According to an Orangebloods.com report, Patterson has already interviewed both Strong and Franklin.

Despite the recent announcement of Fisher’s contract extension, sources continue to tell us that Fisher is not out of the mix at Texas. In fact HookEm247 believes that Fisher is likely the favorite to land the job.

Speaking of Fisher’s new deal, the Tallahassee Democrat reports that FSU built in an overall salary increase of 17 percent for the Seminoles’ nine assistant coaches. It’s up to Fisher to decide which assistants receive raises and how much.

The Gazette reports  former Cleveland Browns quarterbacks coach Mark Whipple will interview for the UMass job next week, perhaps as early as Tuesday. UMass fired Charley Molnar on Dec. 26.

Penn State AD Dave Joyner says the school could have a new head coach “in a matter of days rather than weeks.”

Longtime Nittany Lions defensive line coach Larry Johnson has been named the interim head coach. PennLive reports wide receivers coach Stan Hixon set to join Bill O’Brien’s staff with the Houston Texans.

Lions247 reports five names have risen to the top of the early list of potential interviewees: Miami head coach Al Golden, Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin, Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Rutgers coach Greg Schiano and Johnson.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Caldwell interviewed for the Redskins head coaching vacancy Wednesday, and is also expected to interview for the Lions head job.

Jim Wyatt of The Tennesseean reports that Titans coach Mike Munchak is still in limbo. No decision has been made on his future as coach. Munchak is thought to be a candidate for the Penn State job.

The Cleveland Browns are focusing largely – but not entirely – on college coaches. Jason La Canfora reports they are very interested in interviewing Auburn coach Gus Malzahn and Vanderbilt’s Franklin for their head coaching vacancy.

Sources close to Malzahn indicate that, while he might have an interested in moving to the NFL at some point in the future, he’d be likley pass on Cleveland now.

Tony Softli reports that Oklahoma head coach and Ohio native Bob Stoops may have the inside track on the Cleveland Browns opening.

ESPN reports that an NFL source insists Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin is open to coaching a select professional team or two.

A source close to Sumlin tells us otherwise.

“That’s 100 percent not true, and it has no chance of happening. Zero.”

Sumlin has passed on several inquiries and job opportunities from NFL and high-profile collegiate jobs, including USC, sources said.

Sumlin is committed to coaching Texas A&M until the school finishes its $450 million renovation of Kyle Field. The renovation, which also has been labeled a redevelopment, is being done in three phases, with the grand opening set for August 2015.

Former Cal head coach Jeff Tedford will be offensive coordinator at Tampa Bay.

Sources indicate that FSU quarterbacks coach Randy Sanders could be a candidate to replace Kurt Roper as offensive coordinator at Duke. Sanders and Blue Devils head coach David Cutcliffe have a long history dating back to Tennessee.

Sources also indicate Blue Devils offensive line coach John Latina could be in play to be the offensive line coach at Florida.

DuckTerritory reports that Randy Shannon and Clancy Pendergast are among the possibilities for the defensive coordinator job at Oregon.

Secondary coach John Neal was believed to be a serious candidate, but it now appears head coach Mark Helfrich is intent on bringing someone in from the outside.

Cincinnati’s Tommy Tuberville has fired defensive coordinator Art Kaufman and defensive tackles coach Fred Tate, according to reports.

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Troy defensive end found dead near a Mississippi highway

Troy defensive end Jadarius Garner was found dead near his hometown of Clarksdale, Miss. on Thursday.

Troy defensive end Jadarius Garner died in a car accident Thursday near his hometown of Clarksdale, Miss. (Photo: Troy Football)

Officers were called Thursday morning to what was reported as a two-car accident near Clarksdale, but that was not the case.

According to the Dothan Eagle:

A report from the Mississippi Highway Patrol said Mississippi State Troopers, county deputies and rescue officials responded to what they thought was a two-vehicle accident on U.S. Highway 61.

When they arrived around 2:30 a.m., they found the body of a pedestrian in the southbound lane. At least two vehicles had “traveled” over the body.

A cause of death has not been determined and Garner’s body was sent to Jackson, Miss., for further evaluation.

“This is a terrible tragedy and our thoughts and prayers go out to Jadarius’ family in this time of grief,” Troy head coach Larry Blakeney said in a statement.

“Jadarius was a well-respected member of our football team and his loss will be felt by all of us.”

He was 20 years old.

A transfer from Jones (Miss.) Community College prior to the 2012 season, he appeared in all 12 games this season.

Garner was named Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in the Trojans’ Sept. 7 win over Savannah State. He led the with six tackles, five color tackles, two sacks and two forced fumbles.

He finished the season with seven tackles for loss and three sacks.

On Wednesday, Taylor Driggers, a Troy signee from February of 2013, was charged with manslaughter in connection with a shooting death of a Troy student.

Driggers was charged in Crensaw County, Ala. following the death of 18-year-old Kristin Fuller. Per the Eagle, Troy said that Driggers was expected to join the football team this semester or in the summer.

In December, Trojans walk-on Dimitri Miles was charged with murder in the death of Troy resident Marquise McClendon.

Photo: Troy Football

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