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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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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Wednesday, Dec. 18

Orangebloods.com reports that former Super Bowl champion head coach and current ESPN analyst Jon Gruden is open to hearing from the Texas athletic department about its football head coaching vacancy.

Could Jon Gruden have an interest in the Texas job? (Photo: Brian Blanco, AP)

Could Jon Gruden have an interest in the Texas job? (Photo: Brian Blanco, AP)

Our sources confirm that report is true. Texas’ interest in Gruden is unknown.

The Gainesville Sun’s Pat Dooley reports that Charlie Strong would not be interested in the Texas job, but our sources indicate that’s not necessarily so.

On the record, Strong gave the typical “coach speak” response.

“I don’t even think about it,” he told the Louisville Courier-Journal. “I don’t even worry about it. I have a good job here. … The only thing I can control is what’s happening right here.”

There are lots of rumors that Arizona State head coach Todd Graham could be a backup candidate at Texas — despite a legal agreement AD Steve Patterson signed when he left Arizona State for Texas that he wouldn’t hire any ASU coaches.

The guess is the two sides could come up with some sort of compensation for Graham should the ‘Horns get that far. We doubt they do.

Ex-Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe told CBS Charlotte that he’d be interested in Army job.

“Absolutely, mainly because I love the academies,” Grobe said. “I spent eleven years at the Air Force Academy with Fisher DeBerry and those kids are in my heart. I have not talked to them, so whether that’s something they would want, it’s certainly something I’m interested in.”

Sources indicate former USC offensive coordinator Clay Helton has emerged as a very strong candidate to replace the fired Brent Pease at Florida. We’re told head coach Will Muschamp is getting a lot of “not interested” as he calls around.

The Newark Star-Ledger reports that Rutgers coach Kyle Flood filled one of the three vacancies on his staff today, naming 34-year coaching veteran Mitch Browning as the team’s new offensive line coach.

Arizona State announced Wednesday morning it has promoted offensive coordinator Mike Norvell to role of Deputy Head Coach.

Sources indicate Norvell had been a top target to be the new offensive coordinator at Florida.

Arkansas State is interviewing a whole slew of candidates, so nobody seems to know where the search will end. Sources indicate they feel really good about Arizona State’s Norvell and UNC’s Blake Anderson.

CBSSports.com’s Bruce Feldman reports that Red Wolves officials spoke to Butch Davis but that he was not interested.

New UConn head coach Bob Diaco confirmed to the Hartford Courant that only offensive line coach Mike Foley had been retained.

Mike Szvetitz of the Opelika-Auburn News reports that other than the initial terms of Auburn coach Gus Malzhan’s new contract extension, no other details have been finalized – including the buyout.

Arkansas coach Brett Bielema isn’t in any hurry to hire a defensive line coach to replace Charlie Partridge, who left to be the head coach at FAU.

“I have half a dozen names that have come across my desk in the last 48 hours that are very intriguing that I’m definitely researching,” he told ArkansasNews.com. “I probably won’t bring anybody in until after the first of the year.

“I might talk to about half a dozen guys by phone, kind of off the record, and see where it’s at.”

Former Wake Forest defensive coordinator Brian Knorr joined the Air Force coaching staff on a retreat Tuesday and the is in talks to join the Falcons as a defensive assistant.

New Miami (Ohio) coach Chuck Martin has announced three additions to his coaching staff: Co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach George Barnett, co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Eric Koehler and tight ends coach Pat Welsh.

Barnett and Koehler were at Illinois State last season while Welsh was a GA at Notre Dame.

Illinois coach Tim Beckman announced that offensive coordinator Bill Cubit has agreed to a one-year contract extension that includes an increase in annual salary to $500,000 per year and keeps him on the Fighting Illini sideline through the 2015 season.

GigEm247 reports that Texas A&M co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach Marcel Yates will be defensive coordinator on Bryan Harsin’s Boise State staff.

Yates has been part of Kevin Sumlin’s staff for two seasons. He played his college ball at Boise and was defensive backs at his alma mater for nine seasons from 2003-11.

New Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson announced on Monday that Kevin Higgins, the head coach at The Citadel, will be joining the Demon Deacon coaching staff.

Higgins will serve as the assistant head coach and will coach a yet to be determined position on offense.

“I am extremely excited that Kevin Higgins has accepted our offer to join our football staff at Wake Forest,” said Clawson. “Kevin has wealth of football knowledge gained as a head coach and also through his experience in the NFL as a quarterbacks and wide receivers coach. He will be a great addition to our staff.”

Higgins was a 99-83-1 record in 16 years as a head coach. He was the head coach for seven seasons at Lehigh from 1994-2000, leading the Mountain Hawks to 56-25-1 record and three appearances in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.

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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Wednesday, Dec. 11

With Bryan Harsin named head coach at his alma mater Boise State, Arkansas State defensive coordinator John Thompson has been named the Red Wolves’ interim head coach.

Ed OrgeronThompson, who was head coach at East Carolina in 2003-04, will lead ASU in the GoDaddy Bowl vs. Ball State.

ASU’s last three head coaches — Ole Miss’ Hugh Freeze, Auburn’s Gus Malzhan to Auburn, and Harsin — each stayed with the school just one season before moving on to bigger and better things, which should help the school attract some interesting candidates this time around.

A couple of interesting names to keep an eye on include Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee, an Arkansas native who was with Malzahn with the Red Wolves, former USC assistant Ed Orgeron and Cincinnati offensive coordinator Eddie Gran.

Ravens assistant offensive line coach Todd Washington has been offered the USC o-line job by new Trojans coach Steve Sarkisian.

As first reported by CBS’ Bruce Feldman, Hawaii has fired defensive coordinator Thom Kaumeyer and linebackers coach Tony Tuioti.

Maryland defensive line coach Greg Gattuso has hired as head coach at Albany, according to multiple media reports.

Kate Hairopoulos of the Dallas Morning News reports that Texas A&M’s Board of Regents will hold a special conference call at 2:30 p.m. Thursday. The school’s president is seeking permission to execute a new contract with the head coach Kevin Sumlin.

Sumlin and athletic director Eric Hyman have an agreement in place for $5 million annually, up from $3.1 million per season.

Details of the contract should become available by open record request soon after details are finalized.

Iowa State offensive line coach Chris Klenakis will interview for the vacant offensive coordinator position.

Ole Miss has announced a one-year extension for Hugh Freeze. His base salary to will increase to $3 million per year. The salary pool for Freeze’s assistants will also increase by $400,000.

The offensive coordinator job at Florida remains in flux. We’re told the leading three candidates are UNC’s Blake Anderson, Arizona State’s Mike Norvell and Nebraska’s Tim Beck.

Sources indicate UCLA’s Noel Mazzone had an early interest, but decided to stay in Westwood.

Ball State offensive coordinator Rich Skrosky will be named head coach at FCS Elon.

Skrosky was an assistant at Elon from 2006-10 under former head coach Pete Lembo.

Photo: Don Ryan, AP

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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Monday, Dec. 2

Boise State coach Chris Petersen was in play at USC, but has reportedly withdrawn his name from the search.

Boise State coach Chris Petersen has withdrawn his name from the USC job. (Photo: AP)ESPN’s Joe Schad reports that Petersen withdrew his name “after mutual interest.”

FightOn247 reported on Sunday that Ed Orgeron or Vanderbilt’s James Franklin would likely next in line should Petersen decline, while ESPN reported that the Trojans were down to Petersen and Franklin.

According to ESPN L.A.’s Arash Markazi, Franklin and Petersen have been on Pat Haden’s short list for awhile with Franklin in the lead. Markazi also reports that USC is prepared to make Orgeron the highest paid assistant and an associate head coach.

ESPN L.A. also reported that Washington coach Steve Sarkisian interviewed with Haden over the weekend, but Sarkisian says that no interview took place.

Wyoming has fired head coach Dave Christensen. Sources tell us that Sam Houston State coach Willie Fritz is considered a serious candidate to replace him.

Oakland Raiders assistant and Wyoming alum Ted Gilmore is also rumored to be a candidate.

Should Fritz head to Wyoming, look for Texas co-OC Darrell Wyatt to get serious consideration to replace Fritz.

Texas A&M and head coach Kevin Sumlin have agreed to a six year deal worth $5 million per year. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reports that Sumlin has agreed to not pursue any NFL jobs as part of his new contract.

We continue to hear Kyle Flood is in serious jeopardy at Rutgers. Flood says he’s not at all concerned with his future.

If Flood is fired between now and Feb. 1, he is owed an $850,000 buyout.

Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads announced that offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Courtney Messingham and running backs coach Kenith Pope have been let go.

We continue to hear that the situation at Texas remains very fluid. A win at Baylor and the Longhorns gain at least a share of the Big 12.

Would Texas force Mack Brown out after a 9-3 campaign and a Big 12 Championship? Most of our sources don’t think so. However, a bad loss to Baylor and it could be time to turn the page.

At TCU, multiple sources tell us to expect major changes on the offensive side of the ball.

Florida Head coach Will Muschamp fired offensive coordinator Brent Pease and offensive line coach Tim Davis.

We’ve heard all sorts of names over the past few days. Possibilities at offensive coordinator include Mike Mularkey, Lane Kiffin, Clay Helton and James Coley, among others.

Offensive line candidates are rumored to range from Neil Callaway to Stacy Searles to Joe Wickline.

New Mexico State fired defensive coordinator David Elson.

Another Ohio State assistant is rumored to be a candidate for the FAU job.

It was reported a couple of weeks ago that Buckeyes defensive coordinator Luke Fickell had interviewed for the job. At the time, Urban Meyer said he didn’t, but Fickell’s name has been hot ever since.

Now, sources indicate Buckeyes assistant head coach and running backs coach Stan Drayton could be a candidate.

FAU athletic director Pat Chun has told associates he wants to hire someone who can recruit Florida (a smart move), and Drayton has had recruiting success wherever he’s been.

Chun spent almost his entire career at Ohio State and apparently that’s all he knows. He has even enlisted  Meyer and A.D. Gene Smith to assist in his search.

So, Drayton fills two requirements: He works at Ohio State and he was a Florida with Meyer. Two boxes checked. Could he be the guy?

Luke Stampini of 247Sports reported Monday morning that Western Kentucky offensive coordinator Jeff Brohm could interview for the the FAU position.

Georgia’s Mark Richt has confirmed that defensive coordinator Todd Grantham will be back next season.

Charlie Weis‘ job at Kansas is safe. Athletic director Sheahon Zenger is confident that Weis has the program moving in the right direction.

Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas tells WCIA Channel 3 TV that Tim Beckman will return next season.

UCLA has fired running backs coach Steve Broussard. Sources indicate that USC running backs coach Tommie Robinson could be on UCLA’s radar.

Photo: Otto Kitsinger, AP

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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Wednesday, Nov. 27

Ball State’s Pete Lembo is a hot name. His Cardinals are 9-2 and won nine games last year.

Ball State coach Pete Lembo is likely to be mentioned for several openings. (Photo: Richard Shiro, AP)

Ball State coach Pete Lembo is likely to be mentioned for several openings. (Photo: Richard Shiro, AP)

We’re told Lembo could be a serious candidate at both UConn and Wake Forest.

Sources indicate that Virginia coach Mike London is likely to return in 2014.

His saving grace? An $8.06 million buyout.

It would also cost the Cavs an additional $3.12 million to dump his staff. That’d over $11 million paid to coaches not to coach. That’s unlikely to happen at a place like Virginia.

There’s a ton of chatter about Wake Forest’s Jim Grobe. Multiple sources tell us that Grobe could retire or be pushed out. The Deacons are currently 4-7.

Michigan native Jerry Glanville says he’s the man for the Eastern Michigan job. Glanville lives in Atlanta, but he’d love the opportunity to return his home state and believes the Eagles can win.

According to the Detroit Free Press, other candidates for the EMU job include former Eagles quarterback Ron Adams, ex-Michigan running back Tyrone Wheatley, now an assistant with the Buffalo Bills, former Miami (Ohio) coach Mike Haywood, and Notre Dame offensive coordinator Chuck Martin, previously with Grand Valley State.

At Georgia, there are lots of rumors flying around Athens that the Bulldogs could make some defensive staff changes.

We continue to hear that Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin is going to get looks from the NFL. It’s expected to be a big year for coaching changes in the Not-For-Long league, and the timing might be right for Sumlin to exit College Station.

We’ve been told privately some sources have told us there could be a few staff changes at Northwestern. The Chicago Sun-Times makes that sound very possible.

Akron has extended Terry Bowden’s contract. The Zips are 4-7, but that’s still the school’s most wins in five seasons.

We’re hearing varying opinions on how much trouble Nebraska’s Bo Pelini is in. After sampling several coaches this week, the consensus seems tobe that Pelini keeps his job at 9-3. If the Huskers have a meltdown against Iowa then things get a little more dicey, but for his part, Pelini says he’s not coaching for his job.

At Indiana, we continue to hear that Kevin Wilson is likely to return, but to expect major staff changes on defense. Wilson says his program is making progress.

We’re hearing that Iowa State’s Paul Rhoads will return, but again, expect a major staff shakeup. Rhoads said this week he feels his job “absolutely not” in danger.

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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Thursday, Nov. 21

Now that Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops has tied Barry Switzer for the school wins record, many insiders think he might be ready for a change.

It looks like Oklahoma coach  Bob Stoops will be back with the Sooners next season. (Photo: Alonzo Adams, AP)

It looks like Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops will be back with the Sooners next season. (Photo: Alonzo Adams, AP)

There was some Florida chatter a couple of weeks ago and some USC chatter before that. Will Muschamp is likely to stay in place in Gainesville and you hear a lot of other names associated with USC.

Stoops won’t leave unless it’s a place where he can win as big as he has at Oklahoma, and there aren’t many of those places. That means the odds are good he’s still coaching the Sooners in 2014.

Multiple sources believe that Vanderbilt’s James Franklin could be on the move after the season.

Franklin has been rumored to be a second tier candidate at USC. With the job he’s done with the Commodores, he’s sure to have other opportunities.

Charlie Weis’ seat at Kansas is a little cooler after beating West Virginia to end a 27-game conference losing streak. Weis probably makes it to 2014. It’s hard to see the Jayhawks dumping two consecutive coaches after only two seasons.

The heat on Hawaii coach Norm Chow continues to rise. The Warriors are now 0-9 and a winless campaign is certainly possible. It’s wait and see, but this one could pop open.

Speaking of the Mountaineers, there’s a growing chorus of calls for Dana Holgorsen’s head on a platter.

His buyout that is reportedly $11.3 million, and that’s going to be hard for West Virginia to swallow. Fact is, that buyout probably saves him, but what if he loses to 1-9 Iowa State to close the season?

As for Holgorsen, he’s clearly frustrated with the program’s facilities.

There are lots of rumors flying about Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads. However, most believe Rhoads makes it, but makes significant staff changes. Still, a loss to Kansas Saturday could damage his chances of survival.

Indiana is 4-6 with games against Ohio State and Purdue remaining. Most insiders believe Kevin Wilson will return in 2014 – if he beats the Boilermakers in the season finale. With a loss in that one, things get very interesting.

There have been rumors and reports for weeks that Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin is a serious candidate for the USC job.

We’ve heard from a couple of sources that he could be in play with the Houston Texans, should they decide to dump Gary Kubiak at season’s end. The Houston Chronicle now reports that Sumlin would be a “prime candidate.”

With Washington State on the verge of its first bowl berth since 2003, head coach Mike Leach was awarded a new contract extension that keeps his salary at $2.25 million per year and keeps him in Pullman until at least 2018.

The Cougars went 3-9 last season and are 5-5 in Leach’s second year.

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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Wednesday, Nov. 13

Sources tell us that, while there’s still a chance that Minnesota’s Jerry Kill could opt not to return in 2014, it’s much more likely he will come back and give it another go if he can get his health issues under control.

Minnesota coach Jerry Kill could be in line for a raise. (Photo: AP)

Minnesota coach Jerry Kill could be in line for a raise. (Photo: AP)

According to the Pioneer Press, Kill is likely to receive a raise. Yes, Kill has health issues, but it’s hard to argue with the job he’s done. The Gophers have won eight games in ten tries in 2013.

Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin has refused to address rumors linking him to the USC job.

There are rampant rumors of a rift with his A&M A.D. Eric Hyman, and Johnny Football and Mike Evans will be off the the NFL soon.

Sumlin’s career has taken him all over the country, including a stop at Washington State. He fits any everywhere.

We still think it’s more likely the Trojans end up with a coach with an NFL pedigree, but anything is possible.

Norm Chow isn’t not sure he likes being a head coach. He told CBS announcers, “I’m not sure if I am cut out for this head coaching thing.”

At 0-9, it’s certainly possible that Hawaii is looking for a new coach come December.

All signs point to Indiana’s Kevin Wilson being safe. The Hoosiers score points in bunches, but they’re 114th in points allowed. Wilson will likely get 2014 to get the defense fixed and get to a bowl.

IllinoisTim Beckman inherited a team that had won back to back bowls for the first time in program history, but he has yet to win a Big Ten game in nearly two full seasons.

A.D. Mike Thomas recently told the Chicago Sun-Times that the program is getting better (apparently 2-10 and 3-6 are better than 7-6), but refused to address Beckman’s future.

“I’m not going to get into hypotheticals,” Thomas said. “You ask the question, ‘Is the program developing and getting better?’ I think it is. I’m looking forward to continuing progress in the program.”

We doubt Beckman gets fired in his second season, but if the Illini end the season with losses to Ohio State, Purdue and Northwestern, that might be enough to cut the cord.

Mississippi State is 4-5 with Alabama, Arkansas and Ole Miss remaining. If the Bulldogs get to 6-6, Dan Mullen is more than likely clear to return next season. Anything worse and things get dicey.

If the Bullies were to drop all three remaining games, it’s very possible Mullen could be shown the door.

We continue to hear Boise State’s Chris Petersen is open to a move.

Sources indicate that West Virginia’s Dana Holgorsen will likely return in 2014. The Mountaineers are playing better and athletic director Oliver Luck didn’t get the Texas. With Luck still in Morgantown, Holgorsen is highly likely to get another year.

There’s a lot of chatter about Charlie Weis’ status at Kansas.

The Jayhawks fired Mark Mangino two seasons after we won 12 games and the Orange Bowl. He was 8-5 and 5-7 the following two seasons. Then, Turner Gill went 5-19 in his two seasons in Lawrence before being dismissed. Weis is 3-18 after 21 games.

It’s hard to see how Kansas makes another change after only two seasons. We think there’s a chance this job opens – but it’s more likely it doesn’t.

What about Mangino? He’s back at his alma mater loving life…

We’re hearing that UConn is in the market for an up-and-coming coordinator; head coaching experience is not a requirement. We also hear that they have money to spend to get the right guy.

At Florida, sources indicate that Will Muschamp is likely to survive, but look for major staff changes on the offensive side of the ball.

If the Gators finish 5-7, which is likely, it will be the first time Florida has had a losing record since 1979. Even with the mounting injuries, that’s hard to swallow.

Can A.D. Jeremy Foley handle the heat and keep Muschamp in place for 2014?

We’ll find out soon.

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