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Tag:Tom Fornelli
Posted on: January 12, 2012 2:23 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2012 2:28 pm
 

Alabama losing talented duo to the NFL

Posted by Tom Fornelli

if Alabama plans on defending its national championship, it'll have to do so without two of its most talented players from the 2011 team. It was announced at a press conference on Thursday afternoon that running back Trent Richardson and defensive back Dre Kirkpatrick were all leaving school to enter the NFL Draft.

While both players are great, Trent Richardson is the biggest household name, as he went to New York this season as a Heisman finalist. Richardson rushed for 1,679 yards and 21 touchdowns for the Tide in 2011 and finishes his Alabama career with 3,860 total yards and 42 total touchdowns. Richardson is ranked as the top running back in the 2012 draft class by CBSSports.com, and is projected to go in the first five picks of the draft.

As for cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, he's not exactly a slouch. Kirkpatrick had 29 tackles and broke up 9 passes this season while also forcing 2 fumbles. He did not have an interception in 2011, but that's because opposing quarterbacks tested him as little as possible. CBSSports.com has Kirkpatrick ranked as the second best cornerback prospect in the 2012 draft, behind only LSU's Morris Claiborne. He's expected to go within the first ten picks of our mock draft.

So if it wasn't already clear, this is a lot of talent leaving Tuscaloosa early, and it doesn't even include the seniors like Courtney Upshaw and Mark Barron that are graduating. Of course, this is where we point out that Alabama had four players drafted in the first round of last year's NFL Draft, and that loss of talent didn't stop the Crimson Tide from winning a national title this season.

Get caught up on the early-entry announcements HERE, and all the latest rankings, mock drafts, and breaking news check out the NFL Draft Home 

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Posted on: January 12, 2012 1:33 pm
 

Mike Stoops in at OU, Venables out?

Posted by Tom Fornelli

While it was first reported that former Arizona head coach Mike Stoops would be returning to Oklahoma to coach on his brother Bob Stoops' staff after Oklahoma's win over Iowa in the Insight Bowl, nothing had been announced officially on the subject. That is, until now.

“I'm on my way to Oklahoma this afternoon,” Mike Stoops told The Oklahoman. “It's just going through some formalities at this point.” 

It's what those formalities are that cause a bit of confusion. When it was first reported that Mike Stoops was returning to Oklahoma, it was said that he'd coach the defensive backs and be a co-defensive coordinator alongside Brent Venables. Whether that will end up being the case or not has now been brought into question.

The Tulsa World reported on Thursday that Venables has talked with West Virginia about its vacant defensive coordinator position. Jeff Casteel left Dana Holgorsen's staff on Wednesday to reunite with Rich Rodriguez on his new Arizona coaching staff. If Venables did leave Oklahoma for West Virginia, he'd likely be co-defensive coordinator as well, but unlike at Oklahoma where he'd have to defer to Mike Stoops -- blood is thicker than water after all -- he'd be the lead defensive coach on Holgorsen's staff.

So it's clear right now that there will be some shakeups on Oklahoma's coaching staff this season, though we don't know how big they'll be just yet. Though, in my opinion, it's hard to see Venables staying at Oklahoma at this point where he'd suffer a sort of demotion rather than taking the West Virginia job.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page. 
Posted on: January 12, 2012 12:30 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2012 3:19 pm
 

Report: Jerry Sandusky saw win 409 for Paterno

Posted by Tom Fornelli

According to a Patriot-News report, a week before former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky's arrest following a grand jury investigation into his alleged sexual assault of young boys, he watched Penn State beat Illinois for Joe Paterno's 409th career victory from the president's box at Beaver Stadium. A source told the Patriot-News said that Sandusky was seen in the box during the game and then he was later seen in the Nittany Lion Club.

Former Penn State linebacker Brandon Short also said on Wednesday that he was told by two independent sources that Sandusky had been in the president's box for the game that day as well.

Penn State president Rodney Erickson told national radio host Michael Smerconish that the report was "absolutely false," according to Smerconish, but one Penn State alum reported being in the Nittanly Lion Club with Sandusky for the Purdue game two weeks prior, and said he was under the impression that Sandusky "was always there."

Penn State spokesman Bill Mahon told the paper that a search through the guest list of every game of the last three seasons shows that Sandusky had never been invited to the box. However the report goes on to say that then athletic director Tim Curley -- who resigned following the grand jury indictment -- didn't want to give Sandusky tickets to the game but changed his mind at the insistence of Sandusky's wife, Dottie.

Penn State officials were aware of the investigation into Sandusky long before Penn State's game against Illinois that day.

Photo courtesy of the Patriot-News

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Posted on: January 12, 2012 12:01 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2012 12:02 pm
 

LSU's Russell Shepard entering NFL Draft

Posted by Tom Fornelli

In a rather surprising decision, LSU wide receiver Russell Shepard announced that he was leaving school to enter the NFL Draft on his Twitter account Wednesday. Shepard said that it was "a hard decision to make" but that he had "to do what's best for me and my family." Whether leaving school to go pro is doing what's best for Shepard and his family remains to be seen.

He wasn't expected to leave school, and as a result, he's not even listed on CBSSports.com's top draft prospects at wide receiver. Even if he had been listed, there's no guarantee that Shepard would be drafted.

After coming to LSU as a quarterback, Shepard was moved to wide receiver, and while he had a fair share of rushing attempts in his three years with the Tigers, Shepard only caught 52 passes for 478 yards and 5 touchdowns. Only 14 of those receptions, and 4 touchdowns, came this season. This is due to the suspensions that Shepard had to deal with in 2011.

There was a housing issue that he was cleared of, but he was suspended for three games due to an NCAA violation after talking to the NCAA about his relationship with Willie Lyles. It was because of this suspension that he was passed on the depth chart by freshman Odell Beckham Jr. who joined Reuben Randle as LSU's starting receivers.

And that's likely the reason why Shepard has decided to leave the school. For further evidence, you don't have to look past his Twitter account once again. Shortly after LSU's 21-0 loss to Alabama on Monday night, this tweet appeared in Shepard's timeline.



The next tweets on his timeline were the ones that explained he was leaving school, so I hardly think it's a coincidence.

Shepard has until January 18th to withdraw his name from the NFL Draft should he choose to do so. 

Get caught up on the early-entry announcements HERE, and all the latest rankings, mock drafts, and breaking news check out the NFL Draft Home 

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Posted on: January 11, 2012 7:28 pm
 

Casteel officially joins Arizona's staff

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It's one of the college football world's worst-kept secrets of the last few weeks, as it was hinted at yesterday -- and Arizona actually had Jeff Casteel's bio on its website on Tuesday -- but the news became official on Wednesday evening. West Virginia's defensive coordinator, Jeff Casteel, has left the program to reunite with Rich Rodriguez in Arizona.

“I have enjoyed my time at West Virginia University, and it’s been 11 great years," said Casteel in a release. "I have coached some outstanding young men, and I would like to thank them for their hard work and dedication. I want to thank the coaches and staff members I have been associated with during my time at WVU for their work and support. The fans also have been great, and I want to thank them as well."

Casteel was on Rodriguez's West Virginia staff from 2001 to 2007, taking over as defensive coordinator in 2002. 

Casteel is not alone either, as West Virginia's also losing two other coaches from its defensive staff to Arizona in cornerbacks coach Dave Lockwood and defensive line coach Bill Kirelawich. Which means that Rodriguez's defensive staff at Arizona is complete and that while Dana Holgorsen's offense seemed to finally figure things out in the Orange Bowl, he'll now have to start over on the defensive side of the ball. 

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page. 
Posted on: January 11, 2012 4:07 pm
 

RG3 to enter the NFL Draft

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Reports were circulating on Tuesday that Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin had begun informing people at Baylor that he'd be leaving school to enter the NFL Draft, but the news wasn't official until Griffin made the announcement himself during a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.

The announcement doesn't come as much of a surprise, as there really isn't anything left for Griffin to accomplish on the college level. He's already graduate from school, has a Heisman Trophy and has helped lead the Baylor football program to a place very few ever thought capable. Taking the next step in his football career and becoming a professional is the only logical move for Griffin to make.

Griffin is ranked as the the second-best quarterback, and fifth player overall, on Rob Rang's Big Board, and he's projected to be an early first-round pick in both CBSSports.com's mock drafts. Both Rang and Dane Brugler see Griffin and his Superman socks going fourth overall to the Cleveland Browns in this spring's draft.

Griffin finishes his college career having thrown for 10,366 yards and 78 touchdowns. He also rushed for 2,257 yards and another 33 touchdowns, routinely being one of the most exciting players to watch in the entire country.

Now he'll try and bring the same amount of excitement to the next level.

Get caught up on the early-entry announcements HERE, and all the latest rankings, mock drafts, and breaking news check out the NFL Draft Home 

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page.

Posted on: January 11, 2012 2:05 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2012 4:10 pm
 

Georgia's Orson Charles entering NFL Draft

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Aaron Murray will be short one big target next season. Georgia tight end Orson Charles announced on Wednesday afternoon that he would forego his senior season in Athens and enter the NFL Draft.

“I want to thank God, the University of Georgia, our coaches and the fans for building me up spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally over the last three years,” said Charles in a release.  “The fans stuck with us through a rough season last year and through our struggles this season and our coaching staff provided me with the tools necessary to make it in football and in life.  Either decision I made, I want to be able to look back at it and be happy with the choice I made and I think I will withthis decision.  It was difficult but not stressful to be in a situation where you can’t go wrong either way.”

Charles finished third on the Bulldogs in 2011 with 45 receptions for 574 yards and 5 touchdowns. He had 94 catches for 1,370 yards and 10 touchdowns in his career at the school.

The 6-foot-3, 241-pound tight end looks to become one of the latest athletic tight ends that have become a huge force in the NFL the last few seasons, like Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Jermichael Finley, and Jimmy Graham before him.

In CBSSports.com's NFL position rankings for draft eligible players, Charles is ranked third behind Clemson's Dwayne Allen and Stanford's Coby Fleener. While he's not projected to be a first round pick, he should go no later than the third round.

Get caught up on the early-entry announcements HERE, and all the latest rankings, mock drafts, and breaking news check out the NFL Draft Home 

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page.
Posted on: January 10, 2012 6:47 pm
 

Brian Kelly gets a two-year extension

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Notre Dame announced on Tuesday that it had exercised the option on Brian Kelly's contract that extended his deal through the 2016 season.

"While Coach Kelly and I are focused on the additional work that must be done to reach our goals, I am very pleased with the progress we have made during the past twoyears.” said athletic director Jack Swarbrick in a statement.

"Our football team’s performance on the field, in the classroom, and in the community reflect Coach Kelly’s commitment to building a program that will be able to sustain success in the long run, and to doing so in a manner consistent with Notre Dame’s values and tradition." 

Kelly's first two seasons in South Bend haven't brought the return to national prominence that the school and fans had been hoping for, as the Irish have gone 16-10. Along with consecutive 8-5 seasons, the Irish also find themselves in the same boat as they did last offseason, getting ready to head into spring practice without a starter at quarterback as Tommy Rees is expected to compete with Andrew Hendrix and Everett Golson in the offseason following the transfer of Dayne Crist to Kansas.

Kelly has also seen three of his assistants leave to take jobs elsewhere, though the school also announced two-year deals for all the assistants that remain on his staff.

On the positive side of things, Notre Dame has seen a lot of improvement on the defensive side of ball thanks to the recruits that Kelly and his staff have brought in. The real question, however, is if Kelly will be around through the end of his contract and if Notre Dame will finally start living up to the lofty expectations routinely placed on the team.

Eight-win seasons will only keep the peace for so long. 

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com