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Posted on: August 20, 2011 1:11 pm
Edited on: August 20, 2011 8:25 pm

Lache Seastrunk leaving Oregon

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Lache Seastrunk
was one of the most highly-touted recruits every signed by the Oregon Ducks. Of course, it was the recruitment of Seastrunk that has helped Oregon land in a bit of hot water, as he was one of the players whom some believe was steered to Oregon by Will Lyles. The school paid Lyles $25,000 for recruiting services last year, though the NCAA is looking into what exactly those services were.

Now it seems that the money may have been spent for nothing, as rumors out of Eugene are swirling that Seastrunk will be leaving the program.

According to, Seastrunk has requested his release from the school.
Sources confirm the 5-foot-9, 190 pound former five-star recruit has been granted his release paperwork from the University of Oregon. No official statement has been released by the University at this time.

He was noticeably absent from this morning's practice at Oregon.
Now it's important to point out that the report says that Seastrunk hasn't signed his release papers as of yet, so no final decision has been made. Still, the prevailing feeling in Oregon seems to be that he's leaving because he's below LaMichael James, Kenjon Barner and freshman DeAnthony Thomas on the depth chart. Odds are the Lyles situation and the attention that has brought are playing a role in this decision as well.

Baylor is mentioned in the report as a possible landing spot for Seastrunk.

UPDATE: It's official, Seastrunk has been granted his unconditional release by the school.

"We wish Lache all the best in his future pursuits and will offer our complete assistance to him in his search to continue his football and educational career," said Oregon head coach Chip Kelly in a statement.

Posted on: August 11, 2011 8:27 pm
Edited on: August 11, 2011 10:01 pm

Report: Texas A&M to join the SEC - UPDATE

Posted by Tom Fornelli

UPDATE: The Sporting News is reporting that a "high-ranking SEC" source says the report of Texas A&M accepting an invitation to the SEC is "just not true." So there goes that. For now. Prepare yourselves for a new report on Friday saying that A&M is going to the SEC.

There has been a lot of talk about the possibility of Texas A&M leaving the Big 12 to join the SEC in recent days. However, that's all it has been: talk. Rumors spreading throughout the internet like wild fire with some saying that it's going to happen and other saying they believe Texas A&M is bluffing.

Well, now there's at least one site reporting that it's a done deal and Texas A&M will be leaving the Big 12 for what it sees as the greener pastures of the SEC.

According to -- a subscription site -- Texas A&M has already decided that it will join the SEC, but it can't officially announce the move until August 22nd. As you'd expect, this report has generated a lot of response online with some people buying it completely, and others expressing serious doubts.

Personally, I fall on the side of the line filled with doubt. As Aubrey Bloom of Gigem247 tweeted, this is the same website that reported A&M to the SEC was a done deal last year, and said as recently as a month ago that there was no chance that the Aggies would leave the Big 12. I'm also bothered by the fact that this story is behind a subscription wall and has only one source.

If you were that confident in the information, wouldn't you want to put the story somewhere the entire world could see it, and not just on a message board for subscribers?

Now this does not mean that I don't think Texas A&M is going to leave for the SEC at some point, nor does this mean I'm saying the report is false. All I'm saying is that I'd approach this story with caution. Until Texas A&M comes out and makes an official statement about its intentions, then everything else is just hearsay.
Posted on: August 10, 2011 1:27 pm

A&M official: Big 12 members 'tired of Texas'

Posted by Tom Fornelli

There has been a lot of attention paid to Texas A&M over the last few months. Some of that attention has to do with the way the Aggies finished the 2010 season and whether or not Mike Sherman's program is ready to take that next jump to becoming one of the elite programs in the country. Still, even the preseason hype about A&M in 2011 pales in comparison to all the rumors and speculation about the school in 2012 and beyond.

Specifically, where will the Aggies be playing football? Will they still be a member of the Big 12, or will they be joining the SEC? The rumors ran rampant on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon that Texas A&M is considering a move, but according to Brent Zwerneman of the Houston Chronicle, that's not exactly the case.

Of course, just because the move isn't imminent, that doesn't mean Texas A&M is ruling it out either, and one school official said that Texas A&M isn't the only member of the Big 12 conference that is annoyed with that big burnt orange program in Austin.
But a high-ranking A&M official said Tuesday there were no "precipitating events that led to (Tuesday's) rumors and speculations," adding that there would be "no imminent announcement or anything of that matter" concerning the SEC.

The official, however, did cite A&M's general unhappiness with the Big 12 - thanks primarily to the ESPN-backed Longhorn Network of rival Texas - but stayed mum on whether a shift to the SEC might occur at some point. Another A&M official recently described the Aggies and other Big 12 members as simply being "tired of Texas" - primarily the Longhorn Network's pushing to air key high school games.
The Big 12 recently made the decision to table the decision of whether or not the Longhorn Network can broadcast high school games for a year. A decision that won't do anything to help put out the fires that many people seem to believe are burning within the Big 12 conference. Simply choosing to not talk about a problem for a year doesn't mean it isn't there, and if you ignore the elephant in the room long enough, eventually he's going to defecate all over the place.

Will the Big 12 survive all of this? I honestly couldn't tell you. The conference seemed to be at death's door last year before recovering and getting a new television deal. Still, that hasn't seemed to do anything to change how the nine remaining schools in the conference feel about the preferential treatment Texas seems to get.
Posted on: August 4, 2011 3:25 pm

Penn State losing another quarterback?

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The drama that has surrounded the quarterback depth chart at Penn State since January will just not go away. On Thursday the school's student newspaper reported that quarterback Kevin Newsome may be on the verge of seeking a transfer from Penn State.
Newsome's father, Kevin Newsome Sr., said it's possible his son is transferring.

"We don't really have any set details of anything right now," Newsome Sr. said in a phone call. "It's possible. Right now, of course as you can imagine, we're just trying to work through some things, and sort a lot of things out."

Newsome came to Penn State as a four-star recruit out of the Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia, and was ranked the No. 4 high school quarterback in the class of 2009.
If you weren't already aware, following January's bowl loss against Florida, quarterback Robert Bolden announced that he wanted to transfer. Joe Paterno denied Bolden's request then, and now it's expected that Bolden will begin the season as the starter. Then last week Penn State found out that quarterback Paul Jones will have to sit out the entire 2011 season due to academic problems.

If Newsome decides to transfer, that will leave Penn State with Bolden and Matt McGloin and some huge question marks behind them. Though it is possible that Paterno can talk Newsome into staying if playing time is his main motivation for wanting to leave. While Bolden and McGloin have the experience, it's not as if either of them played spectacularly in 2010, and Newsome could still compete for the starting job this season.
Posted on: July 1, 2011 1:19 pm
Edited on: July 1, 2011 1:25 pm

Heath Shuler won't address Tennessee AD job

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Former Tennessee quarterback Heath Shuler is currently a North Carolina congressman, but earlier this week a radio host in Knoxville, Tony Basilio, reported that Shuler was interested in the open athletic director's spot at his alma mater.

Shuler addressed the report Thursday during a visit to a local Boys and Girls Club for breakfast in Union City, Tenn.

“Right now I’m focused on the job at hand and the issues that our nation is facing,” Shuler told The (Union City) Messenger. “It’s very flattering that my name has been mentioned, but today I’m focused on talking to these kids.

“My blood runs orange. There is a family atmosphere at the university that is special. It’s something that you don’t see at a lot of other places. I’ll always be a part of the UT family, and that’s something the good Lord has blessed me with.”

This is the part where Tennessee fans and alumni in favor of Shuler taking the job will point out that "he didn't say he doesn't want the job!" Still, what will matter more than whether Shuler has legitimate interest in the gig is whether Tennessee is interested in Shuler.

While Shuler may have attended Tennessee and played football there, that doesn't change the fact he has no experience as an athletic director. Given the current situation in Knoxville with the NCAA snooping around both the football and basketball programs, the school will likely be more inclined to hire somebody who has a lot of experience running an athletic department.

Something that Shuler's former coach Phil Fulmer seemed to understand when he expressed his interest in the job but also acknowledged that he wasn't likely to get it

Posted on: April 11, 2011 2:16 pm

Don't put much faith in Pryor/NFL Draft rumors

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It's a tough time to be an Ohio State Buckeyes fan right now. Not only do you have to deal with the latest fiasco involving head coach Jim Tressel and the Buckeye Five, but there's also the fact that once the season starts, neither Tressel or the Buckeye Five will be available for the first five games of the season. That means no Terrelle Pryor, no Dan Herron, no DeVier Posey and no head coach. Of course, while all this is going on, there's also the age-old tradition of kicking someone while they're down, and that seems to be the case with Ohio State these days.

The latest incident comes from the National Football Post's Dave Miller, who is reporting that, according to a source, Terrelle Pryor is considering leaving Ohio State to enter the NFL's supplemental draft rather than serve his suspension.

The dual-threat signal caller has not dismissed the idea of going the NFL Supplemental Draft route. According to a source, the odds of Pryor staying for his senior season are about 60-40, but Notre Dame receiver Michael Floyd coming out and declaring for the supplemental draft would have a direct effect on his decision. Of course, Floyd dodged suspension by the school’s Residence Life committee after being arrested for DUI. However, head coach Brian Kelly suspended his star receiver for the foreseeable future.

Ah, yes, "a source" who says there's a "60-40" chance he could leave. Which leads to a whole lot of room for error should Pryor not leave Ohio State. After all, there's a 40% chance he won't! So if I were an Ohio State fan, I wouldn't get too worried about this story, especially in light of this tweet from Adam Jardy of the Buckeye Sports Bulletin.

Also, if that's not enough to squash any fears you may be having about Pryor's Ohio State career, there's more. While the National Football Post is an NFL website that has a good handle on NFL matters, it's track record with college stories isn't as strong. As Matt Hinton of Dr. Saturday points out, the last time the site ran a story about a college player entering the draft, it was this story about Oklahoma's Sam Bradford.

According to that report, Bradford was going to declare himself eligible for the NFL Draft following Oklahoma's bout with Florida in the 2009 BCS Championship. A week later Bradford announced he was returning to Oklahoma.

So don't lose any sleep, Buckeye fans.

Posted on: January 26, 2011 2:14 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2011 4:02 pm

Is USF trying to keep UCF out of the Big East?

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Earlier today I posted about Big East commissioner John Marinatto saying that the conference was not going to sit around and wait for a decision from Villanova before making a possible move on conference expansion. Were the Big East decide to not make Villanova its tenth football member, the odds on favorite to receive a Big East bid would be UCF. Though there may be a problem with adding UCF, as there are some rumors that USF isn't all that enthused about sharing a piece of the pie with another school inside the state of Florida.

The Orlando Sentinel's Mike Bianchi wrote a column on Wednesday discussing the rumors.
Hopefully, all of the whispers you hear about the University of South Florida trying to block UCF from gaining an invitation to the Big East are emanating from message boards and not meeting rooms.
But I'm starting to wonder.
Really wonder.
"We have been hearing this, too," UCF spokesperson Grant Heston said in an e-mailed response to the Sentinel about USF obstructing UCF's potential path into the Big East. "We hope it's not true, because our joining the Big East would clearly be a win-win for both universities."
Here's all you need to know about Heston's response: If he is issuing a public statement of any kind on the issue, then UCF President John Hitt is clearly concerned that the Bulls may be lobbying against UCF joining them in the prestigious and profitable Big East. Heston would not issue a statement of any kind unless Hitt put his stamp of approval on it.
Then there is USF's suspicious silence on this issue. When I tried to contact USF President Judy Genshaft last week and early this week to ask her feelings about the Big East potentially inviting UCF, the university's publicity department said she would have no comment on the issue. "All Big East expansion inquiries need to be directed to Big East Commissioner John Marinatto," a school publicist said in an e-mail. "He is the sole spokesperson on this issue."
Bianchi goes on to say that the silence from USF on the matter is somewhat damning, especially in light of the fact that other Big East coaches like Louisville's Rick Pitino and South Florida's own Skip Holtz have commented publicly on the idea of UCF joining the Big East.

Now, again, nobody knows for sure that South Florida is looking to keep Central Florida out of the Big East, but given the history and silence, it doesn't seem like it's that crazy of a theory. South Florida has enjoyed the money that comes with playing in a Big East conference, and if it's going to have to start sharing that money with two new schools, I can see why it wouldn't want to share the dough with an in-state rival. Recruiting in the state of Florida is hard enough as it is, given the other programs in the state and the fact that schools all across the country come to raid the plethora of football talent the state produces.

Giving another school in the state BCS resources would only make things tougher on USF.
Posted on: January 6, 2011 1:38 am

Taylor Martinez plans to return to Lincoln

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It feels as though Taylor Martinez has already gone through two seasons at Nebraska.  There was the first half of his freshman year in which he lit up opposing defenses and had Nebraska fans producing songs for him.  Then there was the second half of the season.  The one that saw Martinez battle through a myriad of leg injuries, get chewed out by Bo Pelini, and ultimately ended with a loss to Washington at the Holiday Bowl.

Following that nationally televised dressing down, rumors began to pop up that Martinez was looking to transfer from Nebraska.  Rumors that have persisted to this day, two months later.  So much so, in fact, that Martinez felt the need to release a statement on Wednesday night to let everyone know he has no plans to leave Nebraska.

“To dismiss any rumors on my thoughts of transferring I’d like to state that I am anxious to get back to Nebraska Sunday evening and look forward to getting healthy and getting my strength and speed back,” said Martinez. “I also look forward to using these past year’s experiences and challenges to help me become a better all around person, football player and leader.

“I feel that with the players that we have coming back, along with the new talent that is coming into the Husker program that we will have great success for many years under coach [Bo] Pelini.”

Let's just hope he doesn't make any more phone calls to his father from the locker room.

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