Jordan Burch Jersey

Clemson got the love this spring for the special recruiting class Dabo Swinney and his staff are putting together as they have raced out to the No. 1 spot in the 247Sports Composite Team Recruiting Rankings. They remain the favorites to finish atop the standings come National Signing Day.

With that, Nick Saban and Alabama are starting to make it interesting and reel their playoff rival in.

When talking about the battle for No. 1 come February, we also can’t leave out Georgia. The Bulldogs currently sit at No. 4 with LSU wedged between the other two but there is no shortage of elite prospects considering a potential future for the rising SEC program. It’ll take some upsets the way things stand now for UGA to make that kind of move, but taking a look at the 247Sports Composite Player Rankings the Bulldogs are squarely in the mix for seven of the 11 uncommitted five-star recruits.

Starting with the No. 1 player overall, a couple sources believe South Carolina and Georgia are now in the best position for Columbia (SC) Hammond School five-star Jordan Burch despite Clemson holding the 247Sports Crystal Ball advantage based on the buzz from early in the spring. If you¡¯re tracking the visits of late, the Gamecocks appear to have the most momentum for the local prospect but Kirby Smart and his staff are looking for a recruiting win that resembles the one two cycles ago when they took another five-star in linebacker Channing Tindall out of the same area code. Burch has been to Georgia a few times since the calendar flipped to 2019 as well.

The nation¡¯s No. 3 recruit and top linebacker Justin Flowe put out a Top12 in the mid-April but UGA appears to be closer to the top of that distinguished list alongside the likes of Alabama, Clemson, Miami and USC.

The country¡¯s No. 1 running back Zachary Evans recently put out his top five but the major players appear to be the Bulldogs, Alabama and LSU.

The top-ranked cornerback in the land Kelee Ringo has taken multiple visits to Georgia and Texas and those two are certainly in good position for the Scottsdale (Ariz.) Saguaro standout.

The two tight end prospects in America in Darnell Washington from Nevada and Arik Gilbert from the Peach State have a keen eye on Athens with UGA leading on the 247Sports Crystal Ball for Gilbert.

Then there¡¯s five-star running back Kendall Milton who officials this weekend with a top four of Alabama, Georgia, LSU and Ohio State with some believing the Bulldogs are battling the Buckeyes for the Clovis (Calif.) Buchanan standout.

Smart and company are recruiting national, coast to coast in 2020 and it could pay off in a huge way in 2020 as the program seems destined for a fourth-straight top three recruiting class after going No. 3 in 2017, No. 1 in 2018 and No. 2 last cycle because we didn¡¯t even talk about ballyhooed recruits like offensive lineman Andrew Raym and receivers Marcus Rosemy and A.J. Henning who are also looking at UGA.

Myles Murphy Jersey

Clemson added its third five-star commitment to its No. 1-ranked recruiting class on Friday when defensive end Myles Murphy announced his commitment to the Tigers.

Murphy, the No. 2-ranked recruit overall in the 2020 class, chose Clemson over Auburn. He joins five-stars Bryan Bresee, the No. 1 defensive tackle in the class, and offensive lineman Mitchell Mayes as the top recruits who have committed to the Tigers.

“One thing I always looked for when we went to the school, I looked for consistency,” Murphy’s father, Willard, said. “Am I getting the same message, the same feeling, the same vibe every time I meet with these coaches? If you have consistency, that says a lot, because you have to trust the coaches you’re turning your son over to, and you want to feel comfortable with the people that will be extended parents, in a sense, for your son.”

Murphy, a 6-foot-5, 271-pound recruit from Hillgrove High School in Powder Springs, Georgia, gives Clemson five ESPN 300 defensive linemen, including the Nos. 1 and 12 defensive ends and the Nos. 1, 2 and 4 defensive tackles.

The recruiting process was fairly straightforward for Murphy, who sought help from his father and his mother, Breyone, along the way. He had a good idea of what he was looking for in a school very early on in the process, as schools started recruiting him after his freshman year.

Murphy and his parents attended camps at Auburn, Clemson and Georgia the summer after his freshman year, earning offers from Auburn and Georgia, but they were forced to wait with Clemson.

“Clemson didn’t make him an offer at the camp, but all the coaches were following him from station to station,” Breyone said. “We were wondering why they were following him like that, and they pulled him away from his age group and had him working with the high school seniors. We knew they had some interest in him, although they weren’t ready to extend an offer to him.”

As Murphy got further and further along in the process, and as more schools entered the picture, the family eventually narrowed his list and his focus. Going into his junior year, the family requested their visits no longer include photo shoots and trying on jerseys in the locker room, but rather time with deans and administrators in the engineering departments, because that is the field Myles plans to pursue in college.

“That’s when he was able to weed out the schools,” Breyone said. “Just sitting, talking and finding out the relationship they had with the engineering departments. At a certain point, you know at each school he would be successful anywhere he lands when it comes down to the football, but what is it you’re going to do for my son to make sure he’s successful after football?”

Murphy and his family felt that Auburn and Clemson offered him similar opportunities with engineering but different opportunities on the football field.

With Clemson losing most of its starting defensive line to the NFL draft, the team is reloading, but it has recruited the group well enough that Murphy isn’t needed to start right away. The family heard a different pitch from Auburn, which said the five-star was needed to help immediately.

It came down to being comfortable with competing for a spot and potentially waiting his turn at Clemson.

“If there’s an opportunity for the next level, which one will have you more prepared for that next level?” Willard said. “If you play your freshman year or sophomore year, going to these type of schools, and get in the rotation your second year is a good deal. If you can get in the rotation your freshman year, that’s even better, but which one will be able to develop you over three or four years?”

The family felt Clemson gave Murphy the best shot at success on the field and academically. His commitment helps keep the Tigers in the No. 1 spot for the current class rankings.

Clemson now has 14 ESPN 300 commitments, which is the most of any program and one more than Alabama. It also gives Clemson the most five-star commitments of any program. Of the seven prospects ranked as five-stars that have committed to a school, three are pledged to Clemson, with Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State and Stanford all holding one each.

Jeff Brohm NCAA Jersey

Purdue has finalized a new seven-year, $36.8 million contract for coach Jeff Brohm.

Purdue’s board of trustees on Friday approved the agreement, which includes a $1.7 million signing bonus spread over the next two years. Brohm, 47, is 13-13 with two bowl appearances at Purdue and opted to remain with the Boilermakers after Louisville pursued him for its head-coaching vacancy in November. Brohm played and coached at Louisville and grew up in the city.

This is the second new contract Brohm has received at the school, which gave him a seven-year, $29 million deal after the 2017 season. Brohm’s base salary will increase from $4.2 million in 2019 to $4.8 million at the end of the agreement in 2025. He also will receive annual retention bonuses increasing from $300,000-$600,000.

Purdue also increased the salary pool from Brohm’s assistants by $380,000 to $4.35 million.

“Purdue University is a special place, and the support we have received from Boilermaker fans everywhere has inspired us to work even harder to achieve our goals,” Brohm said in a prepared statement. “My family and I are extremely happy in West Lafayette, and our entire staff is excited about the great opportunities that lie ahead for Purdue football.

Auburn Tigers Jersey

Auburn placed assistant basketball coach Ira Bowman on administrative leave Wednesday as it investigates his alleged role in a $300,000 bribery scheme when he coached at Penn.

Auburn officials said Bowman wouldn’t coach in this week’s SEC tournament in Nashville.

The No. 22 Tigers, who finished the regular season 22-9 and 11-7 in SEC play, have a first-round bye in the tournament and will face the winner of Wednesday’s game between Missouri and Georgia during Thursday’s second round.

“As we continue to gather information regarding a situation that recently arose, it is important that we be thorough and proactive, yet prudent and cautious,” the athletics department said in a statement. “Therefore, Ira Bowman will not coach or participate in any responsibilities with the men’s basketball program until we fully assess all the issues.”

Former Quakers basketball coach Jerome Allen testified during a federal criminal trial on Friday that he accepted roughly $300,000 in bribes from a Florida businessman to help get the man’s son into the Ivy League school using a basketball priority slot.

Allen, now an assistant coach with the Boston Celtics, pleaded guilty in October to accepting an $18,000 bribe from the man in 2014.

The $300,000 total wasn’t disclosed until Allen testified during the $450 million Medicare and Medicaid fraud case involving Philip Esformes, a Miami nursing home mogul. According to Allen’s testimony, which was reported on by Law360.com, Allen also testified that Bowman had knowledge of the scheme and became involved after Allen was forced to resign as the Quakers’ coach in March 2015. Allen told the jury he set up a separate bank account for Esformes to wire him money and gave Bowman a debit card to access the funds.

Bowman, a former Providence and Penn player and the 1995-96 Ivy League Player of the Year, was hired as an Auburn assistant in July. He is the second Auburn assistant under head coach Bruce Pearl to have been linked to a federal bribery case. Pearl hired Bowman to replace former Tigers assistant Chuck Person, who was arrested in September 2017 in a federal bribery case involving college basketball corruption. Person is scheduled for trial in New York in June.

“We are aware of the reports that are out there,” Pearl told reporters on Tuesday. “Currently, we and our administration are gathering facts. Until we know more, it would be premature for me to comment on anything further. Therefore, I won’t be answering any questions regarding this other than to say we are aware of the reports. We are gathering information and facts.”

Clemson Tigers Jersey

Clemson football fans around the country will be celebrating the Tigers¡¯ perfect season every single month with the new #15andOrange campaign.

Clemson football fans should never forget what a success the 2018 season was, not just in the scope of locally, but in the history of College Football.

No team in the modern era of College Football has ever gone 15-0 in a season.

Well, no team had done it until Clemson football came along this year. The Tigers went unscathed, picking up their 15th win of the year against Alabama in the National Championship game by a score of 44-16.

That¡¯s something that should be celebrated and commemorated.

That¡¯s why the Clemson Marketing Department is encouraging every Tiger fan around the nation to remember this season from here on out by celebrating, not just the National Championship, but the entire season of perfection.

On the 15th of every month, Clemson football fans are encouraged to wear their orange and favor Tiger gear as a way to celebrate and commemorate the special season for the Tigers. It¡¯s similar to Solid Orange Friday, but will be a nice addition and chance for Tiger fans to show their spirit and support for Clemson Athletics, in general.

The campaign starts today- Friday, February 15.

So, don¡¯t forget to wear your solid orange, hoist your flags and yell out the cadence count when possible. This a great opportunity for Clemson football fans to join in on a fun celebration that can last year-round.

It also should serve as a reminder once a month of just how special that 2018 team was and how we saw history unfold right before our eyes this season.

When you¡¯re on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, make sure to use the #15andOrange hashtag. Also feel free to tag us- @RubbingtheRock- in your photos and posts.

Bryce Love Jersey

Stanford running back Bryce Love is recovering after undergoing surgery last month to repair a torn right ACL, he told Yahoo Sports on Friday.

Love said he suffered the injury during the fourth quarter of the Cardinal’s regular-season finale against Cal and had surgery Dec. 18.

“I’m very grateful to Dr. [James] Andrews and his team for making the surgery a seamless process,” Love said in a statement to Yahoo Sports. “Obviously, there’s no such thing as an ideal injury, but I’m on the path to recovery, and my goal remains the same — getting drafted by an NFL team and being the ultimate professional. I’ll be back better than I’ve ever been.”

The day before the surgery, Love had announced that he would not play in the Hyundai Sun Bowl, which Stanford won 14-13 over Pitt on Dec. 31, saying he wanted to “focus on being completely healthy and prepared for the 2019 NFL draft.” But the running back did not disclose the extent of his injury at that time.

Bryce Love says he hopes to be ready for the NFL scouting combine in some fashion following December ACL surgery.

Love intends to participate in the NFL scouting combine in some way and told Yahoo Sports he was opening up about his injury to be transparent to NFL teams that could be interested in drafting him.

After rushing for 2,118 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2017, Love was held to 739 yards on 97 fewer carries in 2018. He averaged at least 7 yards per carry in each of his first three seasons before dropping to 4.5 last season, the result of a nagging ankle injury and uncharacteristically poor line play from the Cardinal.

Love had previously been listed as the No. 2 draft-eligible running back by ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay.

Ryan Finley Jersey

Appalachian State has reached an agreement with NC State offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Eli Drinkwitz to be its new head coach, the school announced Thursday.

The five-year deal, which runs through the 2023 season, was approved by the school’s board of trustees on Thursday morning and is subject to approval by the North Carolina Board of Governors.

Drinkwitz, 35, replaces former Mountaineers coach Scott Satterfield, who left to become Louisville’s coach.

“I’m excited to welcome Eliah and his family to App Nation,” athletic director Doug Gillin said in a statement. “The App State football program is in great position to continue its championship ways. Eliah is committed to excellence academically, competitively, socially and to the well-being of our student-athletes.

“… Eliah has great character and a clear vision for the future of Mountaineer football. I’m excited about the future of our football program.”

Drinkwitz has guided NC State’s offense the past three seasons after spending the previous two seasons as an assistant coach at Boise State. He also worked at Auburn and Arkansas State.

“My family and I are excited to embrace and build upon the proud tradition of Appalachian State football,” Drinkwitz said in a statement. “… This is a special time for App Nation, and we will work tirelessly to uphold the championship tradition.”

This past season, the Wolfpack ranked No. 1 in the ACC in passing (327.7 yards per game) and tied for third in scoring average (35.6 points) and 12th in rushing (143.7 yards). NC State quarterback Ryan Finley led the league in passing, completing 67.9 percent of his attempts for 3,789 yards with 24 touchdowns and 9 interceptions.

Drinkwitz coached Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien when he was a freshman in 2015, and Drinkwitz was a quality control assistant when Auburn won a national title in 2010.

Satterfield went 51-24 in six seasons with the Mountaineers, guiding them to a share of three Sun Belt Conference titles and three straight bowl victories.

Appalachian State plays Middle Tennessee in the R+L Carriers Bowl in New Orleans on Saturday (9 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN App).

Zion Williamson Jersey

When Zion Williamson is catching a lob in transition or snaring a rebound in traffic, it’s easy to envision the Duke freshman sensation transitioning pretty well to the gridiron.

And that’s exactly what Eric Mateos thought when he saw Williamson’s viral hoops highlights a couple of years ago.

Mateos, now the offensive line coach at Texas State, was the tight ends coach at LSU in the fall of 2016 under then-interim head coach Ed Orgeron. It was right around the time Williamson was becoming more well-known, with his dunking exploits garnering millions of views on YouTube.

Once Mateos saw the highlights, he got Williamson’s phone number and reached out to offer him a scholarship to LSU.

“I thought, hell, why not, he’s probably the best damn tight end to ever live,” Mateos told ESPN.

Mateos, who said Orgeron likely didn’t even know about the offer, never heard back from Williamson.

“Honestly, I just thought it would be really fun and would be good exposure for LSU if we offered him for football. Unfortunately, he didn’t seem to be too [interested],” Mateos said. “Coach O said go recruit the best athletes in the country, and that’s what I tried to do.”

Zion Williamson told ESPN earlier this year that playing football at the next level was never considered. "I didn't get this size until my junior year of high school," he said. "And my school doesn't have a football team."

Mateos watched Duke’s first game of the season against Kentucky last week, when Williamson went for 28 points and seven rebounds in a blowout win for the Blue Devils.

He saw the same attributes on display that intrigued him two years ago.

“Any time you have an athlete that can generate that much explosive power in a controlled manner, that’s a level of elite that translates to a bunch of different football positions,” Mateos said.

There are only a few football players who can even begin to compare to someone at 6-foot-7 and 285 pounds with Williamson’s leaping ability.

“If he’s 285, you’re talking a rare specimen, Julius Peppers-type of freak,” Mateos said. “I used to think [Jadeveon] Clowney was the biggest freak I’d ever seen. Zion probably brings the same or better athleticism based off what I’ve seen.”

Williamson told ESPN’s Myron Medcalf earlier this year that playing football at the next level was never considered.

“I didn’t get this size until my junior year of high school,” said Williamson, whose father reportedly received a football scholarship from NC State. “And my school doesn’t have a football team.”

D.J. Knox Jersey

For weeks, Ohio State Buckeyes showed obvious flaws but found ways to escape and preserve a perfect record.

But when the Purdue Boilermakers dropped the hammer Saturday night, the second-ranked Buckeyes had no answers in a 49-20 loss, their second to an unranked Big Ten opponent in as many years, after they fell 55-24 at Iowa in November. Ohio State never led, committed 10 penalties, failed to score in the red zone on three of five opportunities and repeatedly caved on defense, allowing 539 yards, including 406 yards and five touchdowns to Purdue star freshman receiver Rondale Moore and senior running back D.J. Knox.

“The glaring shortcomings we have were exposed,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. “Number one, off the top, is our red zone offense. We go down there a few times, two field goals and one missed field goal. We’ve never had this issue. We’re going to get a real thorough evaluation of that. And then the big plays on defense.”

Meyer and players said that despite signs of trouble in previous games, they didn’t see Saturday’s struggles coming. Senior wide receiver Terry McLaurin said the team had its best week of practice entering the Purdue game.

“We didn’t come in with a mentality, feeling like we had all these mistakes,” McLaurin said. “We came in actually on a high note.”

But the problems began right away, with a false start on the first play from scrimmage. Ohio State piled up yards but was one-dimensional on offense, as sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins attempted 73 passes, completing 49 for 470 yards. But the Buckeyes averaged just 3 yards per carry, and the offensive line repeatedly drew penalties to prevent the unit from finding rhythm.

“We missed some opportunities, had some penalties,” Haskins said. “Our offense is all about timing and momentum, and we didn’t do a good job of that today.

“What happened last year versus Iowa … we can, we still make the Big Ten championship and do what we do to possibly make the playoff.”

Ohio State has drawn 10 or more penalties in half of its games. The flags hit the Buckeyes in all three phases Saturday, including a roughing the punter foul on Davon Hamilton early in the third quarter that extended a Purdue drive, leading to a Knox touchdown.

“It’s been an issue this year,” Meyer said. “Not very disciplined. I think they’re effort penalties, but just, I mean, ridiculous.”

The Buckeyes entered the game among the nation’s leaders in allowing plays of 20 yards or longer and 30 yards or longer. Knox had touchdown runs of 42 and 40 yards, while Moore had a 43-yard touchdown reception and repeatedly gashed the Buckeyes’ defense.

“Tackling was a big thing tonight,” safety Jordan Fuller said. “It’s never just one thing. There’s a bunch of things we have to get corrected.”

Meyer said he remains confident that his coaching staff can make corrections in an open week before Ohio State resumes play Nov. 3 against Nebraska in Columbus. He said the open week will help Ohio State get healthier, especially in its defensive secondary, where several key players are hobbled.

Senior offensive tackle Isaiah Prince, who struggled Saturday with several penalties, addressed the team after the game. Another offensive lineman, Billy Price, spoke to the team after the Iowa loss in 2017. Ohio State went on to win the Big Ten championship and the Cotton Bowl while finishing No. 5 in the final CFP selections.

“Our program is prided on our O-line and D-line,” McLaurin said, “so for somebody to step up like that and say something at a time like this, it’s necessary. There’s no pointing fingers. It’s all about looking in the mirror and see what we could have done better.

“We got hit in the mouth, but it’s about how you come back from it.”

Georgia Bulldogs Jersey

Hurricane Florence continues to affect college football games this week.

The kickoff for Middle Tennessee’s game at No. 3 Georgia on Saturday has been moved to noon due to concerns about the impact of the storm.

The game had been scheduled for a 7:15 p.m. kickoff.

Georgia said Thursday that the decision to move the kickoff time was made following “extensive evaluation involving the uncertainty of weather conditions on the East Coast, and consideration of all constituencies involved including fans, support staff, and law enforcement.”

There is no rain in the current forecast for Saturday. Athens, in northeast Georgia, could be affected by outer bands of the storm on Sunday.

The game will be televised on ESPN News instead of ESPN2.

Presbyterian has canceled its football game against Stetson on Saturday because of the approach of Hurricane Florence.

The FCS school was to play at home in Clinton, South Carolina. Presbyterian then shifted the game to the opponents’ home field in Florida. But Presbyterian athletic director Danny Sterling said it became clear that traveling out of state was not safe for the team or fans.

Florence has altered the schedules of many programs the past two days, canceling games involving No. 13 Virginia Tech, NC State, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Colgate’s scheduled game at Furman was canceled because of the approaching storm. Colgate released its hotel rooms and donated the scheduled team meals.

“At the end of the day, you have to look at the big picture, and that’s the safety of everyone involved,” Colgate coach Dan Hunt said. “And by that, I mean the teams and families but also the allotment of resources used for the game that could be better used somewhere else.

“We immediately gave up our hotel rooms so that more rooms are now available to those coming inland. But we still bought the meals we were going to have and requested that the hotel serve those meals to the people who have been relocated, on us.”

Tennessee is offering free tickets for the Vols’ noon game vs. UTEP in Knoxville to those displaced by the storm.

In Georgia, the Atlanta Braves and the Atlanta Falcons are also lending support to those affected by Hurricane Florence.

The Braves are offering free tickets for their three-game series starting Friday against the Nationals to any person from the Carolinas forced to evacuate because of the storm.

The Falcons, meanwhile, have donated $1 million toward hurricane relief efforts.

The Charlotte Hornets have announced that they will work with community organizations to provide relief to those affected by Hurricane Florence.

“It’s truly devastating for me to see the damage that Hurricane Florence is doing to my beloved home state of North Carolina and to the surrounding areas,” Hornets chairman Michael Jordan said in a statement. “The recovery effort will be massive, and it will take a long time to repair the damage and for families to get back on their feet. … To all those affected, stay safe and know that we’re here to help.”

Jordan, the Hornets and the NBA are taking donations. Those funds will go to the American Red Cross, Foundation for the Carolinas and the United Way, among other groups.