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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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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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Trio of underclassman wide receivers declare for NFL Draft

A trio of top underclassman receivers announced Thursday that they would enter the NFL Draft.

Texas A&M redshirt sophomore wide receiver Mike Evans will forego his remaining collegiate eligibility and enter the 2014 NFL Draft. (Photo: David J. Phillip, AP)Texas A&M sophomore Mike Evans, along with juniors Brandin Cooks of Oregon State and Allen Robinson of Penn State announced their intention to forego their remaining college eligibility.

Evans’ decision is hardly a surprise. Reports surfaced late last week that he and A&M quarterback Johnny Maniel would be turning pro.

In two seasons with the Aggies, the 6-foot-5, 218-pound Evans caught 151 passes for 2,499 yards and 17 touchdowns. He averaged more than 20 yards per reception this season.

Cooks (5-10, 186) the 2013 Biletnikoff Award winner, led the nation with 1,730 receiving yards. He is second in receptions (128) and receiving touchdowns (16).

Robinson (6-3, 210), the Big Ten receiver of the year each of the past two seasons, caught 97 passes 1,432 and six touchdowns in 2013. He ranks second in receptions (177) and third in receiving yardage (2,474) on Penn State’s all-time lists.

“It was a great honor to play at Penn State,” Robinson said in a release. “I am blessed to have played with, and for, the people in the Penn State football program.

“This is a decision that I believe is best for my family and I, and I wish all the best to the University and all my teammates.”

Robinson is projected as a first-round selection.

Photo: David J. Phillip, AP

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

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Report: Teddy Bridgewater will enter NFL Draft

Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will not return for his senior season and enter the NFL Draft, according to media reports.

Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will forego his senior season and enter the 2014 NFL Draft. (Photo: Garry Jones, AP)The junior from Miami is considered the No. 1 quarterback in the draft by most experts.

Bridgewater completed 71 percent of his passes this season, while throwing for 3,970 yards, 31 touchdown passes and four interceptions.

He threw for a career-high 447 yards, scored four touchdowns and was named MVP as the Cardinals beat Miami, 36-9, in the Russell Athletic Bowl.

Photo: Garry Jones, AP

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

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Report: Auburn's Malzahn, Vanderbilt's Franklin top candidates for Cleveland job

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn and Vanderbilt’s James Franklin are prime targets for the Cleveland Browns head coaching vacancy, according to a report from CBSSports.com’s Jason La Canfora.

Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn could be a prime candidate for the Cleveland Browns head coaching vacancy. (Photo: Dale Zanine, USA Today Sports)The Browns shocked the NFL on Monday by firing Rob Chudzinski after just one season.

According to La Canfora, team officials are “very interested” in meeting with Malzahn and Franklin as Chudzinski’s potential replacement.

The Browns are owned by Jimmy Haslam, a Knoxville, Tenn. native, University of Tennessee graduate and prominent Vols booster.

Haslam has watched the SEC success of Malzahn and Franklin very closely. Malzahn’s win over Alabama and Nick Saban – a coach Haslam and the Browns front office holds in very high regard – reportedly made a particularly strong impression.

La Canfora says the Browns are likely to hire former Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz as defensive coordinator. Schwartz was defensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans prior to becoming the Lions coach.

The Browns have reportedly requested permission to interview Patriots offensive coordinator and Ohio native Josh McDaniels.

A pair of then-college coaches – Chip Kelly and Bill O’Brien – were top candidates in Cleveland a year ago before Chudzinski was hired. Kelly’s success in Philadelphia this season likely adds to Malzahn’s allure.

McDaniels, Malzahn, Franklin and Schwartz are all represented by Memphis agent Jimmy Sexton.

(Photo: Dale Zanine, USA Today Sports)

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