Written By T.J. Inman (@TJHoosierHuddle)
B1G News Roundup
-Ohio State Buckeyes-
Urban Meyer needed an emergency appendectomy. The Buckeyes head coach was released from the hospital after an uneventful and successful procedure.
Despite continued speculation about OSU QB Braxton Miller transferring, Urban Meyer is confident that the veteran will return for his Senior season. Meyer told Dan Patrick that he asked Braxton Miller about transferring and Miller told him, “absolutely not”. Meyer continued, “I would say Braxton is staying, all indications I’m getting…he seems to be extremely happy and excited for 2015 as a Buckeye.”
Ohio State’s Joey Bosa might be the top defensive player in the B1G (maybe even the country). He’s incredibly effective in both a 3-4 and a 4-3 defense and Mel Kiper thinks Bosa will be one of the top picks in next Spring’s NFL Draft. Keep an eye on Bosa this Fall as he terrorizes opposing offenses and puts himself on multiple award watch lists.
The Wolverines have been busy. The university announced four self-reported secondary violations (the report was from Maize ‘n’ Brew’s Nick Baumgardner). The most prominent violation came from secondary coach Mike Zordich, who publicly talked about an incoming graduate transfer (Wayne Lyons, we’ll get to that later). The transfer hadn’t been officially announced from the program and coaches are not allowed to speak on transfers or recruits until they have officially signed with the school. The other violations involved Jim Harbaugh sending signed memorabilia to a charity auction, a student-athlete being allowed to sit in premium seats at a Michigan hockey game and the electronic transmission of recruiting content that was sent to an unnamed recruit. For a more detailed account of each violation, head over to the excellent Michigan blog, maizenbrew.com. Each of these incidents are very minor and not surprising for a new coaching staff.
As mentioned previously, Michigan has added a player to their secondary. Wayne Lyons, a graduate transfer who played for Stanford, has transferred to the Wolverines and will be eligible immediately. Lyons is the son of Gwendolyn Bush and Bush was hired by Harbaugh as the new director of player development. The 6’1” DB appeared in 43 games for the Cardinal and he will definitely factor in to the DB rotation this coming Fall.
Michigan’s Director of Football Operations, Jim Minick, has been suspended indefinitely following his arrest over this past weekend. Minick was arrested in Michigan on suspicion of DUI. He was involved in a single-car accident and refused to take a breathalyzer test, was given a blood test and was subsequently arrested. Minick told a Detroit TV station, “I’ll face the consequences of my actions. I regret the difficult position in which this has put my family and my employer.”
Senior WR Dennis Norfleet may have been dismissed from the football program. I say “may” because there is another report that he has been suspended and Michigan isn’t confirming anything either way. According to Norfleet’s high school coach, Norfleet is off the team. “Evidently he was dismissed from the team, Dennis informed us he was no longer on the team,” Dale Harvel said. “Something about a disciplinary thing between him and coach Harbaugh. Whether it was academics or something internal, I’m not sure.” Wolverine247 confirmed the move and reported that Norfleet skipped “more than one” exam in late April. However, the Michigan Insider’s Same Webb tweeted that Norfleet has not been dismissed, merely suspended. For his part, Norfleet posted an apology to fans on Instagram. “I’ve been crying so much I have no tears to give. I just want to give an apology to all the Michigan fans and the Michigan alumni last but not least my team…Trust me I will be okay things happen for a reason,” Norfleet wrote. Norfleet is the school record holder for most KO returns and KO return yards in a career so he was likely to factor in on special teams this Fall. We’ll keep an eye on this situation and await confirmation on Norfleet’s status from Michigan.
While Michigan added a player to their secondary, they also lost a member of their secondary. Blake Countess graduated and decided to transfer for his final year of eligibility. Countess was expected to compete for a starting DB position and his transfer leaves the Wolverines a bit thin at the position.
-Michigan State Spartans-
Andre Sims Jr., a wide receiver with one year of eligibility remaining, has decided to transfer from Michigan State after graduating with a degree in journalism. Sims went to East Lansing with a lot of fanfare (ranked in the Top 75 by most recruiting services) but was never able to find a consistent role with the Spartans. Last season, he played in only seven games and caught 3 passes for 26 yards.
A pair of prospects committed to Mark Dantonio and the Michigan State Spartans late last week bringing MSU’s 2016 class to 11 commitments. It’s a strong start for the Green and White as they look to keep pace with the Buckeyes in the ultra-competitive B1G East.
A report from Darren Rovell showed Maryland among the Top 15 schools in terms of attendance increases in home football games. The Terps had the 8th highest increase from 2013 to 2014 with an average of 5,703 more fans seeing each home game in 2014. Rutgers was 15th on the list so it will be interesting to see if this increase sticks around or disappears as the B1G opponents get more familiar to the fans in College Park.
A couple of kick-off times were announced recently. Maryland will play host to Wisconsin at 3:30 on November 7 and will travel to Ohio State to take on the defending champions at noon on October 10.
Dwayne Haskins is a highly-coveted 4-star QB prospect from Baltimore. Last Friday, he pleased the hometown fans by committing to play for Randy Edsall and the Terrapins. Haskins was viewed as a critical recruit for Edsall and he is seen as the first piece of what many are hoping is a great 2016 class for Maryland. The class is already being called “The Movement”…as an IU fan who’s been through a recruiting class of the same name, Terps fans should be very careful about getting too excited.
-Penn State Nittany Lions-
Penn State held a fan vote to determine which of their home games would be a White Out game. The people of State College have spoken and they chose the November 21 contest against Michigan. So, if you are interested in seeing more than 100,000 people wearing white (or just going shirtless and painting their skin a pastier shade of white) and waving white pom-poms), the Michigan at Penn State game is for you!
In additional game news, our Indiana Hoosiers travel to State College to take on the Nittany Lions on Saturday, October 10. It will be Homecoming for Penn State and the kick-off time has been announced as Noon.
-Rutgers Scarlet Knights-
Very little (or no) news concerning the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. However, Rutgers did release the attendance for their “Friday Knight Lights” Spring Game. 15,782 people reportedly attended the event as Rutgers prepares for their second season in the B1G.
I’m not including very many NFL Draft related things here but Melvin Gordon set a lot of records so I feel it is pertinent to note that he is garnering excitement at Rookie Camp in San Diego. The Chargers selected Gordon with the 15th pick in the NFL Draft.
Preseason rankings are starting to trickle in and the Wisconsin Badgers should be one of the more interesting teams to try and figure out. For their part, Athlon Sports has Bucky Badger at #19.
For the first time since 2012, Wisconsin will be playing under the lights at Camp Randall Stadium. The Badgers will take on Hawaii on September 26th and the Big Ten Network announced that kick-off will be at 8 pm (Eastern).
One-time Indiana target (before Peyton Ramsey became the only current member of the 2016 class) Terry Wilson, a QB prospect from Oklahoma, committed to Mike Riley and the Cornhuskers.
Two Cornhuskers have gotten into trouble with the law over the past couple of weeks. Cornerback Boaz Joseph cited for possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. This is the second incident for Joseph who was arrested last June for stealing a Lincoln Police Department bicycle. Wideout Jariah Tolbert was also cited for possession of drug and paraphernalia. He too has had previous trouble with the law. Tolbert was arrested last June after a foot chase for evading an officer and possession of marijuana. The athletic department hasn’t commented on either player’s future with the program.
On Saturday, November 7, Nebraska will play host to Michigan State. The Cornhuskers announced that the game will be in primetime (either at 7 EST or 8 EST depending on which channel picks up the game) and played under the lights at Memorial Stadium.
Nebraska announced two additional game times…they will take on Southern Miss at noon on September 26 (Nebraska’s Homecoming game) and travel to Miami to play in the Florida sun at 3:30 on September 19.
-Illinois Fighting Illini-
Let’s start from the beginning. Former starting left tackle Simon Cvijanovic claimed he was mistreated by current Illinois head coach Tim Beckman. Cvijanovic, who left the Illinois program in the middle of his Senior season because of pain and poor physical health, claims he was given poor medical care and that his knee injuries were improperly handled by both Beckman and the team’s former athletic trainer (who was allegedly unlicensed in the state of Illinois). Cvijanovic also claims that Beckman was verbally abusive and that medical information was withheld from him so that players would be “forced to play through injury”. Other players from Illinois and Toledo (Beckman’s previous position) have corroborated Cvijanovic’s claims and made some others (threats about scholarships, repeated attempts to catch players breaking rules so that they could be released, more abuse of power, more injury mistreatment). On the other hand, many current and former players have publicly backed Beckman and believe the coach is being unfairly criticized.
After initially backing Beckman and declining to carry out an independent investigation of any kind, the University of Illinois has hired a private firm to handle an investigation into the allegations. It is too early to establish a timeline or expectation for completion of the investigation but the university says they will release their findings at the conclusion of the process.
-Minnesota Golden Gophers-
Considerably less drama in Minneapolis…the only news coming from the Gophers would be the announcement that the September 26th Homecoming game against Ohio University will be at 3:30 EST.
The Wildcats announced four kickoff times for the 2015 season. The September 19 game at Duke kicks off at 12:30 (EST), the September 26 against Ball State will be under the lights at 8 (EST), the October 10th game at Michigan will kick off at 3:30 (EST) in Ann Arbor and the Cats homecoming contest against Iowa will begin at noon (EST) on October 26.
Iowa’s offense is rarely a thing of beauty but one of their main weapons is the talented tight end Jake Duzey is pretty fun to watch. Unfortunately, Duzey was injured during Spring practice and had surgery on April to repair a torn patellar tendon. He will have a 3-4 month rehab period and the Hawkeyes are hopeful that he will be available for the beginning of the season.
Defensive back Malik Rucker will transfer from Iowa. Rucker played in six games a season ago for the Hawkeyes and wasn’t expected to be a major factor in the two-deep in the secondary.
Iowa’s top-ranked recruit from the 2013 class, John Kenny, also decided that he will transfer from Kirk Ferentz’ program. He is already the 7th member of the 2013 class to transfer from Iowa. Kenny was being used at fullback and back-up linebacker and was obviously not pleased with the playing time he was projected to end up with.
The excellent Iowa SB Nation blog, Black Heart Gold Pants, compiled a list of transfers between the 2011-2014 season in an attempt to contextualize the perceived exodus of Iowa players. Turns out that perception is reality and the Hawkeyes do in fact lead the B1G in transfers. The Hawkeyes have had a whopping 25 players transfer (without a coaching change, mind you) in the 2011-2014 timeframe. That’s six more than the next highest total (Rutgers at 19). For comparisons sake, IU is 12th with 11 transfers and Northwestern is at the bottom with only 4.
Last (and least) in the round-up, the Boilermakers did the opposite of what I mentioned Maryland did (attendance increase)…that’s right, the Boilermakers led the nation in attendance decrease! Purdue averaged a drop of 13,684 people per game. That’s a 28% decrease from the 2013 season. Coach Hazell is going to have to start turning the program around or the huge decrease in revenue will start to be too loud for AD Morgan Burke to ignore.