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UAB hires Jacksonville State’s Bill Clark as head coach

Jacksonville State head coach Bill Clark is leaving to become the new head coach at UAB.

UAB will announce Clark as its new head coach during a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

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Record-setting number of players leaving early for 2014 NFL Draft

A record-setting number of college players will leave school early to enter the 2014 NFL Draft.

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Report: Stanford DC Derek Mason to be named Vanderbilt coach

Vanderbilt is expected to name Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason as its head coach, according to media reports.

Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason will be named head coach at Vanderbilt. (Photo: AP)Mason, who was believed to be the favorite all along, will replace James Franklin, who earlier this month left for the Penn State job.

A finalist for the 2012 Broyles Award, Mason directed the Pac-12’s top-ranked scoring defense (19 points per game) and rushing defense (89.4 yards) in 2013. The Cardinal also led the Pac-12 in those categories in 2012, allowing 17.2 points and 97 rushing yards on average.

Stanford appeared in to consecutive Rose Bowls in 2012 and 2013, and compiled a 46-8 record during Mason’s four seasons at the school.

Mason had coaching stints with the Minnesota Vikings (defensive backs, 2007-09); Ohio University (wide receivers, 2005-06); New Mexico State (wide receivers, 2004); St. Mary’s (co-defensive coordinator and associate head coach, 2003); Utah (wide receivers and special teams assistant, 2002); Bucknell (defensive backs, 1999-2001); Idaho State (running backs, 1997-98); Weber State (wide receivers, 1995-96); and San Diego Mesa College (wide receivers, 1994).

Franklin, who was 24-15 in three seasons at Vanderbilt, was introduced as replacement for Bill O’Brien at Penn State last Saturday.

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Ex- Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe to interview at UAB

Former Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe will reportedly interview for the UAB head coaching vacancy.

Former Wake Forest head football coach Jim Grobe is expected to interview for the UAB head coach vacancy. (Photo: AP)The interview is expected to take place Friday in Atlanta, according to an al.com report.

In November, Grobe stepped down as Demon Deacons coach following 13 seasons.

Wake finished the year 4-8, its fifth consecutive losing season, but Grobe was chief architect of the most successful run by Wake Forest football in the ACC era.

The Demon Deacons won the ACC title in 2006, their first since 1970, and his 77 wins at Wake is tied with Peahead Walker for the most victories at the school.

The Blazers are replacing Garrick McGee, who resigned as head coach earlier this month to take the offensive coordinator job at Louisville.

Other candidates for the job include Jacksonville State head coach Bill Clark, Cincinnati offensive coordinator Eddie Gran, Bethune-Cookman head coach Brian Jenkins and Atlanta Falcons tight ends coach Chris Scelfo.

Clark is expected to interview on Friday as well.

Photo: AP

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Alabama's DB coach resigns; Saban shuffles defensive staff

In yesterday’s Rumor Mill, we reported that Alabama defensive backs coach Greg Brown was likely to step down, and that there could be additional movement on Nick Saban’s staff.

Kevin Steele, one-time defensive coordinator at Clemson and Alabama, will coach Bama's linebackers next fall. (Photo: AP)

Kevin Steele, one-time defensive coordinator at Clemson and Alabama, will coach Bama’s linebackers next fall. (Photo: AP)

It looks like those moves are all but official now.

ESPN reports that Brown has indeed stepped down and that defensive coordinator Kirby Smart will move from linebackers coach over to the secondary.

Kevin Steele, who spent last season as director of player personnel, will take over linebacker coaching duties from Smart, rounding out the Tide’s on-field staff.

Though he was hired prior to the 2013 season to spearhead Alabama’s off-field recruiting efforts, it was only a matter of time before he returned to an on-field role.

Prior to hiring Georgia’s Todd Grantham, Bobby Petrino offered Steele the defensive coordinator job at Louisville. But with the opportunity to move back on the field, Steele decided to remain in Tuscaloosa.

Steele was previously defensive coordinator at Clemson and Alabama, and was head coach at Baylor from 1999-2002.

The 2013 season was Brown’s only one at Alabama. He was defensive coordinator at Colorado the two prior seasons and has 15 years experience coaching in the NFL.

Returning to the secondary should be easy transition Smart, who coached there previously and played safety in college.

Smart made it clear that he wasn’t happy with Alabama’s inconsistency at cornerback in 2013.

“We are not used to that,” he told the media prior to the Sugar Bowl. “We’ve kind of always had one key guy with all the first -round, second-round corners we’ve had, we’ve always had a staple guy there, then kind of an understudy that was the other one who was an up-and-coming corner.

“Hasn’t been that way this year. It’s been frustrating.”

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Florida State DC Jeremy Pruitt leaves for Georgia

Florida State defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt has accepted the same position at Georgia, according to multiple media reports.

Florida State defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt is leaving the Seminoles for the same position on Mark Richt's staff at Georgia. (Photo: Don Juan Moore, AP)Pruitt was reportedly in Athens on Tuesday meeting with Mark Richt and the UGA coaching staff.

Todd Grantham resigned Sunday as the Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator to join Bobby Petrino’s Louisville staff.

In December 2012, Pruitt left Alabama to join Jimbo Fisher’s FSU staff. Thirteen months later, the Pruitt-led Seminoles defense played a critical role in Florida State’s 34-31 win over Auburn in the BCS National Championship.

Georgia has yet to officially announce the hire and details of the contract are not yet available, but Pruitt is expected to sign a contract worth $850,000 annually.

Prior to his only season at FSU, Pruitt spent six seasons under Nick Saban at Alabama, including the final three as defensive backs coach.

Photo: Don Juan Moore, AP

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Alabama junior safety Vinnie Sunseri declares for NFL Draft

Alabama junior safety Vinnie Sunseri has decided to skip his final collegiate season and enter May’s NFL Draft.

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