The College Football season is quickly approaching. Take a look at some of the off the field news going on as April starts to wrap up.
You can’t tell by the weather in some parts of the country, but the spring football is all but over for college football programs. We’ll soon have no actual college football to watch until August. However, the offseason never rests and there are always interesting stories to follow. Here are some of the top news stories you may have missed in the college football world over the past week.
As usual, there are a few tweaks to the rule book being made over the offseason, most notably on kickoffs. Players will now be allowed to call a fair catch anywhere inside the 25-year line, at which point the drive will start at the 25. The rule is designed to further reduce the number of kickoffs that get run back. Also notable is a rule that forbids blocking below the waist five yards beyond the line of scrimmage. Finally, the play clock will start right away following kickoffs and extra points to help move things along.
You’d think being the starting quarterback on a team in the College Football Playoff would guarantee you a starting job for next year, but perhaps not at Clemson. Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney has mentioned that there are three other quarterbacks on the roster who are pushing starter Kelly Bryant for his job. Both Hunter Johnson and Trevor Lawrence were five-star recruits coming out of high school, so there is plenty of talent behind Bryant on the depth chart, so he’ll need to perform during camp in August to secure the starting job. He also can’t’ let up, even if he begins the season as the starter.
On the transfer front, former Tennessee quarterback Quinten Dormady is on his way to Houston for his final year of eligibility. Dormady started the first four games of last season for the Vols but completed just 55% of his passes before being replaced. He then underwent shoulder surgery, so he’ll have much to prove when he gets to Houston. Currently, D’Eriq King is the favorite to be Houston’s quarterback in 2018.
King started down the stretch for the Cougars last season, ending the year with seven touchdown passes and two interceptions. He also ran for eight touchdowns, including the game-winning scramble against previously undefeated South Florida. Dormady could face an uphill battle to remove him from the starting spot.
Earlier this week, police at the University of Michigan began a series of tweets that referenced Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh in a threatening manner. The account claimed to be from one of Harbaugh’s former players and has since been deleted. The Michigan football program has confirmed that the player in question left the team in November. After speaking at a coaching clinic in Detroit on Thursday, Harbaugh commented that the matter was “serious” and expressed confidence that university was taking all the right steps in their investigation.
Speaking of Michigan, former Wolverines quarterback Wilton Speight has announced that he will spend the 2018 season as a graduate transfer at UCLA. There was some speculation that he would stay in Ann Arbor for his final year of eligibility. However, Speight decided to head west and join the Bruins for Chip Kelly’s first season at UCLA.
Speight was Michigan’s starter in 2016, throwing for over 2,500 yards with 18 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Despite an uneven start in 2017, he led the Wolverines to a 3-0 start before getting hurt the fourth game of the season. He now has a chance to fill Josh Rosen’s shoes at UCLA. Speight will have to beat out Devon Modster, who was Rosen’s backup last year. However, Speight definitely has experience on his side in that battle.
Speaking of transfers, there’s suddenly a lot of speculation surrounding Alabama’s Jalen Hurts. Many believe Tua Tagovailoa will beat out Hurts for the starting job after his heroics in the national championship game against Georgia after Hurts was benched in the second half. Hurts’ father has said his son will transfer if he’s not the starter. Complicating matters if a hand injury to Tagovailoa that will keep him out of Saturday’s spring game. Nick Saban said he spoke to Hurts’ father earlier this spring, indicating all parties are on the same page. Nevertheless, Hurts hitting the transfer market would no doubt be an interesting development.