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Report: Top quarterback recruit Caleb Williams gave Maryland last word before college decision

Report: Top quarterback recruit Caleb Williams gave Maryland last word before college decision

On Saturday night, the No. 1 quarterback prospect of the 2021 recruiting class will announce his decision on where he will spend his college career. And he may not even have to leave the DMV to do it.

Gonzaga’s junior signal caller Caleb Williams has narrowed his list of options down to three schools: Oklahoma, LSU and Maryland. Though the Sooners under quarterback guru Lincoln Riley are considered the favorites to land him, the hometown Terrapins have outlasted a plethora of other schools throughout Williams’ decision-making process. According to The Washington Post, he gave head coach Michael Locksley and the Terps final word, last speaking with Maryland coaches on June 27.

Ranked the fourth overall player in his class by 247sports, Williams is coming off back-to-back seasons in which he was named first-team All-Met. As a junior in 2019, he threw for 1,770 yards and 19 touchdowns while showcasing his dual-threat ability by rushing for 838 yards and another 18 scores.

Locksley and the Terps have already enjoyed a successful offseason of recruiting highlighted by landing 247sports’ fourth-ranked wide receiver in the 2020 class, Rakim Jarrett. A product of St. John’s in D.C., he flipped from LSU on signing day, surprising even Locksley.

RELATED: HOW STEFON DIGGS CONVINCED RAKIM JARRETT TO PICK MARYLAND OVER LSU

Though the Terps went just 3-9 (1-8 in Big Ten play) last season, the addition of Jarrett as a legitimate weapon in the passing game may be enough to convince Williams to forego Oklahoma and LSU. He plans to announce his decision Saturday at 9 p.m.

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Local businesses take another hit with canceled Maryland football season

Local businesses take another hit with canceled Maryland football season

The monumental decision made by the Big Ten -- later mirrored by the Pac-12 -- Tuesday afternoon to postpone its fall football season was a blow to the hopes of coaches, players and fans in College Park.

It's also a hit for local businesses who rely on the revenue local football games bring in each year.

"The pandemic was already making life difficult for small businesses, like the aptly named Hard Times Cafe here in College Park," reports News4's Cory Smith. "Now that the season has been canceled for the fall, businesses both large and small could see their revenues head towards rock bottom."

This is just one of many wide-ranging implications from the cancellation of the country's second-most popular sport. Smith's reporting estimates that tens of millions of dollars will be lost in College Park without fans in town to enjoy home games. Restaurants, bars and hotels look like the most likely businesses to suffer.

Richard Kelly, owner of the Hard Times cafe in College Park, estimates that revenue is down 30% so far in 2020, while profits from a standard football season might have brought back as much as 25%. All told, they're looking at nearly a 50% loss for the year compared to 2019.

Kelly isn't the only one struggling. Countless local businesses have been put in impossible situations, having to weather multiple storms at once. It's the harsh reality facing every Big Ten college town, and potentially every college town in the country.

For Maryland in particular, this may not be the end of it. NBC reports that for a school with Maryland's high standing among basketball programs, the potential loss of a college basketball season if the coronavirus isn't under more control by the winter, might be even more devastating to the community.

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How myocarditis factored into Big Ten and Pac-12 postponement of fall sports

How myocarditis factored into Big Ten and Pac-12 postponement of fall sports

When the Big Ten and Pac-12 announced on Tuesday they would cancel their fall 2020 college football season with hopes of playing in spring 2021, it was a decision that came after weeks of pressure, uncertainty and indecision.

While a number of factors played into the conference’s decisions to postpone their fall seasons, health concerns remained the primary issue. After the Big Ten became the first conference to succumb to the pressure from medical experts saying it was unsafe to play, commissioner Kevin Warren addressed these concerns in a statement the conference released on Tuesday.

"The mental and physical health and welfare of our student-athletes has been at the center of every decision we have made regarding the ability to proceed forward," Warren said. "As time progressed and after hours of discussion with our Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee, it became abundantly clear that there was too much uncertainty regarding potential medical risks to allow our student-athletes to compete this fall.”

His statement said the conference’s decision was based on “multiple factors” and that the Big Ten "relied on the medical advice and counsel of the Big Ten Task Force” to make the decision with safety at the forefront. However, as college athletics have seen in recent weeks, the virus itself was not the only health concern challenging the season with myocarditis emerging as a primary concern in the sport.

Myocarditis –– or the inflammation of the heart muscle, which can reduce the heart’s ability to pump and cause rapid or abnormal heartbeat –– has been elevated as a primary issue for Power 5 conferences after the condition was linked to the lasting effects of COVID-19. Its symptoms include chest pain, abnormal heartbeat, shortness of breath and even sudden death, in the most serious of cases, and the condition results in 2-5% of all sudden deaths in American sports.

At least 15 Big Ten players developed myocarditis after contracting COVID-19, a high-ranking source in the conference told CBS Sports. Warren and Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby both privately expressed serious concern over the condition. 

However, it was unclear whether the rare condition would play a major role in the decision until the Pac-12 and Big Ten reached an agreement. Ultimately, it did.

“Myocarditis is the ballgame right now,” the same source told CBS Sports. “Myocarditis is the major issue they're looking at…Between the Pac-12 and the Big Ten, that's what is really driving the push to push this off to spring."

While the Big Ten and Pac-12 were influenced by the data provided about the condition, other conferences have yet to respond. Bowlsby told the Associated Press on Sunday that there was “growing evidence” of concern for myocarditis within the Big 12 especially. Additionally, medical experts told West Virginia athletic director Shane Lyons that by moving the fall season the spring, it “will give us more time to be able to understand if the virus does necessarily impact the heart."

The visible impacts of myocarditis on players within their own conferences and in other sports were enough for the Big Ten and Pac-12 to pull the plug. Now, the Big 12, ACC and SEC are up next as players, coaches and fans anxiously await their decision in the coming days.

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