We're getting closer and closer to the NFL Draft, but there's plenty of college football news to report on, as well. If you're looking for good things to read, check out Eric Froton's look at the teams that aren't bringing back much in terms of production in 2020, and Mark Lindquist took a look at the Signing Day winners and losers.
Dantonio resigns from Michigan State
More like Mark Done-tonio.
Horrible pun aside, Michigan State HC Mark Dantonio announced on Tuesday that he was stepping down from his position.
To quote Michael Scott: "The timing here is nothing short of predominant." It's odd to see a coach stepping down from his position in February, anyway, but seeing a coach who just two weeks ago qualified for a $4.3 million retention bonus quit obviously stirred some responses.
While it doesn't end with a bang, it's certainly fair to call the Dantonio era a success. In his 13 years with the Spartans, he was able to win three Big Ten titles, six bowl games, and an appearance in the College Football Playoff in 2015. The offense was quite often a question mark, but Dantonio's defenses were routinely some of the best in the sport -- particularly against the run.
There's been plenty of talk already about who will succeed Dantonio in East Lansing, with names like Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell, Pitt's Pat Narduzzi and Clemson DC Brent Venables mentioned as replacements. For now, MSU defensive coordinator Mike Tressel is the interim, and he'll assuredly have a chance to win the job to keep stability.
Signing Day provides little surprises
Signing Day used to be one of the biggest days in college football, that's changed with the new December early signing period, and there weren't many surprises with most of the elite recruits having picked their destination.
One name that was still in limbo even after signing day was Jordan Burch, but after some confusion, the five-star defender has put pen to paper and will spend the next three-to-five years with South Carolina. He had originally pledged to the Gamecocks in December, but he didn't sign during that early period, and rumors were rampant that Burch could end up at LSU, instead. He also didn't sign on Wednesday, but the 6-foot-6, 255-pound defender signed on Thursday. He's rated one of the top defenders in the entire class, and it'd be an upset if he wasn't making an immediate impact in Will Muschamp's defense come fall.
Outside of the Burch drama, it was a pretty ho-hum day/week. Oregon was able to flip four-star defensive tackle Jayson Jones from Alabama; adding to their loaded class. Most predicted that four-star safety Avantae Williams would end up a Gator, but instead he signed with the Hurricanes of Miami. Texas was able to hang on to five-star EDGE Alfred Collins despite persistent rumors that he would end up at Oklahoma, and Georgia was able to hold off Auburn for five-star tackle Broderick Jones.
As for five-star tailback Zachary Evans -- a former commit to Georgia -- there are still no new answers, and it doesn't sound like there's anything coming soon.
Duffey denied admission due to Title IX complaint
Texas Tech quarterback Jett Duffey was denied admission to Central Michigan after a second Title IX complaint.
Duffey had previously announced a transfer to Tulane, but that transfer was nixed after academic issues surfaced. He committed to the Chippewas in the middle of January, but after a complaint of an alleged sexual assault during the spring of 2019 surfaced, he was denied entry by Central Michigan. His legal representation told Central Michigan Life's Evan Petzold that he was not found responsible and wasn't suspended for the incident.
Duffey has dealt with off-field issues throughout his collegiate career, and it's certainly possible -- and understandable -- that these issues will make things difficult for him to enroll at another FBS school.
K.J. Costello transfers to MSU as graduate
On paper, this seems like a great fit for Castillo. The Bulldogs are going to throw the football a ton in Leach's Air Raid offense, and assuming the 6-foot-5, 222-pound quarterback wins the starting job. Let's also remember that when Costello was healthy in 2018, he threw for 3,540 yards, 29 touchdowns and completed 65 percent of his passes.
That being said, it's also worth pointing out that Costello shouldn't be considered a "lock" to win the starting job; although heavy favorite would be an accurate description. Just remember that Garrett Shrader, Keytaon Thompson and early-enrollee Will Rogers are also here; among others. Also, remember that Gage Gubrud was the assumed starter after he transferred to Washington State from Eastern Washington under Leach, and he lost the starting gig to Gordon. It's unlikely that happens here, but, it's something to keep in mind.
Rico Bussey enters transfer portal
You may not know the name Rico Bussey, and you'd be forgiven if you didn't. It'd be weird to hold a grudge about a college football player, anyway. It's a name you might want to learn, however, as Bussey entered the transfer portal on Thursday.
It was a lost season for Bussey in 2019 -- almost literally, he missed almost all of the season after tearing his ACL in September. The previous season, however, Bussey caught 68 passes for 1,017 yards with 12 touchdowns in the Air Raid North Texas offense. Assuming he's healthy, there should be plenty of interest in Bussey as a wideout with that kind of production. He'll also be immediately eligible to play since he's leaving as a graduate. Could be interesting.
Huntley, Perkins not invited to NFL Scouting Combine
The NFL released the invites for the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine on Friday. There were 337 players invited; most of them not surprises. There were some snubs, however, as there are every year.
One of those snubs -- in terms of perception, anyway -- was Utah QB Tyler Huntley. By no means is Huntley considered a Day One prospect or anything close, but seeing him not listed certainly qualifies as a surprise. He's a dual-threat quarterback who helped Utah win a lot of games when he was healthy, and he made progress as a passer in his time with the Utes. At the very least, you'd think NFL scouts would want to see him run, but, that's not going to happen in Indianapolis. Bryce Perkins of Virginia was also not invited despite his quality play (for the most part) at the quarterback position; helping Virginia to one if its best seasons in years while showing the ability to run with the ball and make plays with his arm.
Former Clemson redshirt junior QB Chase Brice transferred as a graduate to Duke ... USC received a verbal commitment from four-star 2020 TE Jack Yary ... Auburn junior RB JaTarvious Whitlow has entered his name into the transfer portal. He ran for 783 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2019 ... Penn State junior RB Ricky Slade has entered his name into the transfer portal ... South Carolina redshirt senior QB Collin Hill (knee) has been ruled out for spring practice ... Clemson signed OC Tony Elliott to a new three-year contract ... Miami hired former Arizona State OC Rob Likens as WR coach ... Utah redshirt junior QB Jason Shelley entered the transfer portal ... Former Arizona State redshirt senior K Brandon Ruiz transferred to Louisiana.