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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Tuesday, Jan. 14

It looks like Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason has emerged as the favorite to replace James Franklin at Vanderbilt.

Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason (Photo: Nick Ut, AP)

Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason (Photo: Nick Ut, AP)

Multiple sources tell us that Mason is the leading candidate for the job, and CBSSports.com’s Jeremy Fowler reports an interview is scheduled.

Alabama has hired Texas assistant (and former Crimson Tide assistant) Bo Davis to coach defensive line.

Sources tell us to expect even more movement on Nick Saban’s staff. Multiple sources indicate secondary coach Greg Brown is likely to move on. We’re also told there could be one to two other changes.

SI.com’s Pete Thamel reports longtime Penn State assistant Larry Johnson could join Urban Meyer’s staff at Ohio State.

The 61-year-old Johnson, a PSU assistant since 1996, told PennLive on Monday night he met with Franklin twice and was offered the opportunity to continue as defensive line coach at Penn State.

But, after considering the offer, LJ decided to move on. He said he has not retired and plans to continue coaching.

OSU defensive line coach Mike Vrabel joined Bill O’Brien’s Texans staff.

Speaking of the Buckeyes, Adam Caplan reports should Jim Caldwell wind up getting the Lions head coaching job, he could add former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel to his offensive staff.

The Seattle Times reports Washington’s eight new assistant coaches are guaranteed a combined salary north of $3 million in their first year on Chris Petersen’s staff, making them among the highest-paid staffs in the Pac-12 Conference.

Hot names for the UAB head coaching job include Jacksonville State head coach Bill Clark, Cincinnati offensive coordinator Eddie Gran, Hoover High School head coach Josh Niblett and former Arkansas and Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt.

Texas‘ new football coach, Charlie Strong, will be paid $5 million for the 2014 season and the school will pay Strong’s $4.375 million buyout to Louisville, according to financial terms approved Monday by the university system’s board of regents.

Sources indicate offensive line coach Joe Wickline and quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson are likely to run the Longhorns’ offense together.

Horns247 reports Les Koenning Jr., Joker Phillips and Mike Groh are the three leading contenders for the wide receivers position. The receivers job is the last vacant spot on the Longhorns’ staff.

Dawgs247 reports Florida State’s Jeremy Pruitt has emerged as the leader to replace Todd Grantham as Georgia’s defensive coordinator.

DuckTerritory reports that Oregon will hire longtime assistant Don Pellum as its new defensive coordinator and that the Ducks will look to hire Philadelphia Eagles assistant Erik Chinander to fill out the staff.

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Washington's Sankey, Seferian-Jenkins declare for NFL Draft

Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins will forego his final season of eligibility and enter May’s NFL Draft.

Washington running back Bishop Sankey will also enter the 2014 NFL Draft. (Photo: Ted S. Warren, AP)

Washington running back Bishop Sankey will also enter the 2014 NFL Draft. (Photo: Ted S. Warren, AP)

“I’ve done everything I can at the University of Washington,” he said follow the Huskies’ 31-16 victory over BYU in the Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco. “I know I’m ready for the NFL.”

Seferian-Jenkins, who won the 2013 Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end, caught 36 passes for 450 yards and eight touchdowns this season. In his three seasons with the Huskies, he caught 146 passes for 1,840 yards and 21 scores.

The 6-foot-6, 270-pound junior is expected to be one of the top tight ends chosen in the draft and reportedly received a second-round grade from NFL evaluators.

He is the fourth underclassmen tight end to declare for the draft, joining Cal’s Richard Rodgers, North Carolina’s Eric Ebron and Oregon’s Colt Lyerla.

UPDATE: Another Washington junior – running back Bishop Sankey – announced that he will also enter the 2014 Draft.

“The time is right,” Sankey said. “I’ve proven what I needed to prove. I have to look at the position I play and the number of carries.”

Sankey finished the season third in the nation in rushing with 1,870 yards and 20 touchdowns, including 95 yards and two TDs against BYU in the Kraft Hunger Bowl.

The 5-foot-10, 203-pound Sankey was one of only four backs to average over 25 carries per game in 2013.

Last week Sankey received a third-round grade from the NFL draft advisory committee.

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

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USC, Washington investigating ace recruiter Tosh Lupoi

USC and Washington are investing whether Huskies assistant and ace recruiter Tosh Lupoi violated NCAA rules by paying for private tutoring and online classes for a recruit.

Washington defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi (left) and former Huskies head coach Steve Sarkisian. (Photo: Scott Eklund, Red Box Pictures)

Washington defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi (left) and former Huskies head coach Steve Sarkisian. (Photo: Scott Eklund, Red Box Pictures)

According to an LA Times report, the allegations surround the recruitment of Andrew Basham, a former defensive lineman at Lynnwood (Wa.) High.

Basham signed a letter of intent with Washington last February but failed to qualify academically.

Mike Davis, a throwing coach who helped Basham win a state shotput title, told The Times that Lupoi, “gave him $3,000 to cover private tutoring for Basham through a test preparation company. Davis said he also received $1,500 from Lupoi to reimburse Basham’s father for online classes Andrew could use to raise his grade-point average.”

Lupoi, who played at Cal from 2000-05, joined new USC coach Steve Sarkisian’s staff at Washington in 2012 after serving as Cal’s defensive line coach for four seasons. He is widely regarded as one of the nation’s top recruiters.

The Times said Lupoi did not return phone calls for interview requests, but did respond to the allegations in a text message that read, “Well that’s certainly false. I deny such allegations of violating NCAA rules w/ the recruitment of Andrew Basham.”

USC officials confirmed that Lupoi is among the coaches that Sarkisian listed as potential candidates to become Trojans assistants, and the school said that all possible names were vetted. Last week, both USC’s compliance office and the Times received a tip from someone who said Davis had been the middleman in a transaction between Lupoi and a recruit.

After speaking with both Davis and also with Sarkisian, USC’s vice president for athletic compliance David Roberts told The Times that he does not believe Sarkisian knew about the alleged activity.

“We don’t have concerns about Steve’s involvement,” Roberts said.

Sarkisian has hired three former Washington assistants — Johnny Nansen, Keith Heyward and Peter Sirmon — but is still in the process of assembling his USC staff.

A source at USC with knowledge of the hiring process told the Times that Lupoi’s chance of being hired by USC was now “less than zero.”

Lupoi is currently part of Washington’s interim staff that is preparing for Dec. 27 Fight Hunger Bowl game against BYU. New Washington coach Chris Petersen has yet to finalize his staff.

Shondell Reed, Washington’s senior associate athletic director for compliance, said Lupoi informed him last Friday that The Times was about to publish an article about allegations regarding Basham’s recruitment. Reed then alerted the Pac-12 Conference office and was told that USC had received a tip and was investigating.

Reed told the Times that that he did not know the specifics of the allegations but that Lupoi “denies any wrongdoing or violations of NCAA rules. He said he doesn’t know why he would be accused of this and vehemently denies doing anything wrong.”

Davis is scheduled to meet with officials from Washington and USC in Seattle on Friday.

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Report: Chris Petersen to be named Washington coach

Washington is expected to name Chris Petersen head coach on Friday, according to sources.

Boise State coach Chris Petersen is expected to be named head coach at Washington on Friday. (Photo: Joe Jaszweski, AP)

Boise State coach Chris Petersen is expected to be named head coach at Washington on Friday. (Photo: Joe Jaszweski, AP)

Petersen reportedly met with Huskies officials Thursday night in Boise and reportedly inked a deal to become one of the highest-paid coaches in the Pac-12.

Though his name has been linked to several head-coaching jobs in recent years, Petersen turned them all down. But he had finally decided it was time for a new challenge and was actively pursuing new jobs.

Petersen met with athletic director Pat Haden in Boise on Sunday morning. Haden decided on Washington’s Steve Sarkisian, setting in motion Petersen’s move to Seattle.

According to an ESPN report, Petersen’s Thursday night meeting with Washington AD Scott Woodward and senior associate athletic director Jennifer Cohen was “not an interview.

“Representatives from both sides spent all day Thursday working out the agreement,” the source said.

Petersen was 92-12 with five conference titles and two BCS games during eight seasons at Boise State. The Broncos slipped to an 8-4 mark this season, including a loss to Washington.

Washington was previously to interview Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier on Thursday.

Photo: Joe Jaszweski, AP

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Report: Petersen, Nussmeier leading candidates at Washington

Boise State coach Chris Petersen and Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier look like the top candidates to become Washington’s next head coach, according to a Seattle Times report.

Boise State coach Chris Petersen is a leading candidate to become Washington's next head coach. (Photo: Otto Kitsinger, AP)Petersen is 92-12 record in eight seasons at Boise State. Though his name has been linked to several head-coaching jobs in recent years, Petersen has elected to remain at Boise. There has been speculation that this might finally be the year Petersen makes a move, and Washington appears to be a good fit.

He made $2.2 million this season and has a $750,000 buyout in his contract, according to the Idaho Statesman.

Nussmeier spent three seasons as Steve Sarkisian’s offensive coordinator from 2009-11. He has expressed interest in the UW job, according to sources.

Nussmeier was scheduled to make $680,000 at Alabama this season.

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel, a longtime Huskies assistant under Don James, has been mentioned in connection with the job, but says that he is staying put.

“I’m a Missouri Tiger, I’m gonna stay a Missouri Tiger,” Pinkel said Thursday on ESPN’s Mike & Mike radio show.

On Tuesday, Jim Mora turned down a chance to return to UW, his alma mater, agreeing instead to a six-year extension at UCLA.

Photo: Otto Kitsinger, AP

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Jim Mora will remain at UCLA

Scratch Jim Mora’s name off the list of potential candidates for the Washington job.

UCLA football coach Jim Mora Jr. will remain with the Bruins. (Photo: AP)Mora will remain at UCLA, and the school announcing Tuesday that he had signed a six-year contract extension.

“Jim Mora has established himself as one of the preeminent coaches in all of college football,” UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero said in a statement. “Under his guidance, UCLA football has garnered national recognition for its success on the field, in the classroom and in the community.

“We are excited about the commitment Jim has made to our student-athletes and this University and feel this extension further demonstrates UCLA’s commitment to building a championship-caliber football program.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, Mora has also been promised a raise for his assistants and improvements in UCLA’s infrastructure.

“I want to thank Dan Guerrero and Chancellor Gene Block for their tremendous support,” Mora said. “This further commitment the University has made is crucial as we continue in our pursuit of excellence. From day one our goal has been to win championships, and with our tremendous staff, our incredible student-athletes and our dedicated administration, UCLA will win championships.

“We’ve only just scratched the surface of our potential, and as a Bruin fan, I’d be chomping at the bit just to see what UCLA football is going to do next.”

Photo: AP

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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Tuesday, Dec. 3

West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck issued a statement reaffirming his support of head coach Dana Holgorsen.

West Virginia AD Oliver Luck (AP Photo)

West Virginia A,D. Oliver Luck says he believes in Dana Holgorsen. (Photo: AP)

In the statement, Luck said, “I strongly believe in our coaching staff, including the work that our strength and conditioning staff is doing. In my opinion, continuity is the key ingredient that will bring our football program back to the high level that Mountaineer fans expect.”

In reality, there are 11.3 million reasons that Holgorsen’s job is safe — as in the amount it would cost the school to buy out his contract. Holgorsen should get his agent a nice Christmas present this year.

Miami (Ohio) has hired Notre Dame offensive coordinator Chuck Martin as head coach.

Penn State coach Bill O’Brien has fired longtime linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden and second-year quarterbacks coach Charlie Fisher, multiple sources confirmed to Lions247.

GatorBait.net reports that while former USC coach Lane Kiffin had a strong interest in the Florida offensive coordinator job at, but says that the Gators are unlikely to hire him. Mike Mularkey, Clay Helton and Blake Anderson are among the names we continue to hear. Arizona State’s Mike Norvell and UCLA’s Noel Mazzone are other names being mentioned.

According to AP writer Mark Long, Muschamp plans to scrap the pro-style system and switch to up-tempo an offense in 2014.

Wake Forest’s Jim Grobe has resigned.

Sources tell us Ball State’s Pete Lembo, Rice’s David Bailiff, Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason and Tulane’s Curtis Johnson could be candidates for the job.

Multiple sources feel it’s likely June Jones will either leave SMU on his own accord or be fired. The national media is starting to report some chatter as well.

Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris and Sam Houston State head coach Willie Fritz are expected to be among the candidates to fill the job should it open.

Sources tell us that Hawaii head coach Norm Chow is weary of the job already and that the school might be happy for him to move along. There are strong rumors June Jones could return.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that Tulane athletic director Rick Dickson “has worked with the Tulane Board to reconfigure football coach Curtis Johnson’s contract, as well as those of his assistants.”

Auburn’s Jay Jacobs plans a raise for Gus Malzahn.

Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon says that Brady Hoke will lead the program “well into the future.” We assume that means he’s in no danger of losing his job (not that we ever thought he was).

Hoke says he has no plans to make any staff changes, even though many think he should.

According to the Tampa Tribune’s Joey Johnston, “USF coach Willie Taggart says he doesn’t anticipate any changes to his coaching staff.”

RealDawg reports that Washington athletic director Scott Woodward was “blindsided” by Steve Sarkisian’s move to USC and that defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, once thought to be next in line, is now unlikely to land the job.

Jim Mora would have been a candidate if he had wanted to be, but he reports indicate that he has agreed to a six year extension to stay at UCLA. Mizzou’s Gary Pinkel and Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier are also rumored to be strong candidates, along with Boise State’s Chris Petersen and Vandy’s James Franklin.

The Seattle Times reports that Sarkisian’s buyout of $1.5 million is due within 30 days. the Times also reports that Wilcox would owe “$1 million, according to his contract. That penalty is triggered only if Wilcox leaves early ‘to take a position at another Pac 12 school, with the exception of Head Coach.’”

Huskies defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi would owe $410,000 if he were to leave.

Sports Radio KJR reports that Wilcox is headed to USC with Sarkisian.

Sources tell us that a loss to South Florida this weekend could mean the end of Kyle Flood’s tenure at Rutgers.

Western Kentucky’s Bobby Petrino says he won’t “deal with speculation” when asked if he was a candidate for other jobs.

Air Force’s Troy Calhoun is keeping quiet on possible staff changes.

We continue to hear that Florida International’s Ron Turner could go back to the NFL.

UNLV has given Bobby Hauck an extension.

At USC, Ed Orgeron has resigned and offensive coordinator Clay Helton will coach the Trojans bowl game.

Virginia athletic director Craig Littlepage has again voiced his support for his embattled head football coach.

“I firmly believe that Mike London is going to be successful here at the University of Virginia,” Littlepage said.

In other words, London and his big buyout are safe for another year.

Sources tell us that Nebraska’s Bo Pelini still might not be 100% safe.

An ugly bowl performance could make things dicey. In other words, nothing is certain. He probably makes it, but this is still one to watch.

ESPN reports that Pelini will have to pay for his latest rant:

“The Big Ten Conference on Monday issued a public reprimand of the Cornhuskers’ head coach and fined the university $10,000 for Pelini’s comments about the officiating in a loss to Iowa last week. University spokeswoman Chris Anderson said the money will come out of Pelini’s compensation.”

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