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Injuries force vet Badger C to retire … Wisconsin C Dan Voltz, one of the top prospects at the position for the 2017 draft, has opted to retire from football because of injuries. Voltz started 27 games with the Badgers, but also missed a number of games with injuries including a torn ACL suffered in October last fall.
Irish S gets the boot; CB suspended … Updating yesterday’s report from Notre Dame in which 6 players were arrested in two separate incidents over the weekend, starting SS Max Redfield, one of 5 players arrested and charged with possession of marijuana, while also facing a more serious charge of possession of an unlicensed handgun, has been dismissed from the team. Meanwhile, CB Devin Butler, who is recovering from a broken foot and likely will not be available to play until October, has been suspended indefinitely after he was charged with battery on a police officer and resisting arrest following a scuffle at a local bar during which he reportedly was tasered by the police.
Canes WR under investigation for rental car usage … Sources at Miami are indicating that WR Stacy Coley is one of several Hurricanes being investigated for using cars from a luxury car rental agency in exchange for future promises. Coley is considered to be a potential second day pick at the 2017 draft. Fellow senior Jermaine Grace, a LB who led the team in tackles last fall, and junior DE Al-Quadin Muhammad, the Hurricanes’ leading sacker in 2015, are also being investigated by Miami for using cars from the same rental agency. Another LB, Juwon Young was suspended indefinitely earlier this summer after not being forthcoming with school officials about the matter and was eventually removed from the roster and will not return. No word yet on what kind of disciplinary action Coley and the other could be facing. The Hurricanes open the season against Florida A&M on September 3rd.
Irish rocked as 6 players arrested … The Notre Dame football program suffered a major blow last night when 6 players were arrested in two separate incidents. The players included a pair of seniors with 2017 draft hopes in safety Max Redfield and CB Devin Butler. Redfield was one of 5 players was one of 5 players arrested and charged with possession of marijuana, while Redfield also faces a more serious charge of possession of an unlicensed handgun. Meanwhile, Butler, who is recovering from a broken foot and likely will not be available to play until October, was charged with battery on a police officer and resisting arrest following a scuffle at a local bar.
Rooks who ‘caught the eye’ of Pigskin in week one of pre-season ... Never one to rest on his laurels, GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette has reviewed the tapes from each of last weekend’s pres-season games with an eye on how some of this year’s rookie crop fared in their taste of live NFL action. Here’s Pigskin’s report on which first-year players caught his eye last weekend.
Rising Gator CB to miss opener following scuffle … Emerging Florida junior CB Jalen Tabor has been suspended from all team activities and will have to sit out the Gators’ season opener against UMass on September 3rd after he was involved in what has been described as a ‘pretty serious’ scuffle with sophomore TE C’yontai Lewis. There are reports that the fight extended past practice and eventually resulted in a team meeting. This is the second time that Tabor, an All-SEC selection last year after he picked off 4 passes and broke up a total of 18, has been suspended for a game after he was forced to sit out the Tennessee game last season for an unspecified violation of team rules.
Top RB prospect dinged … Star LSU junior RB Leonard Fournette, a top 5-10 prospect for the 2017 draft, is in a walking boot at this time after suffering a sprained ankle at practice earlier today. Sources at LSU are indicating that the injury is minor, but it is still disconcerting with the start of the season less than three weeks away. LSU opens its schedule on September 3rd with a game against Wisconsin in Green Bay.
Baylor fears status of vet DT … There are concerns that senior DT Byron Bonds, who has not practiced so far this month because of a knee injury, could ultimately miss the entire season. The 6-2, 290-pound Bonds is a quick interior defender who had been considered to be a late round or free agent prospect for the 2017 draft.
Saints #1 breaks leg; to miss first part of season … New Orleans rookie DT Sheldon Rankins, the 12th player selected at the 2016 draft, will miss as many as 6 weeks after breaking his leg during a practice session. The good news for Rankins and the Saints is that the injury happened early enough in the pre-season that Rankins he actually won’t miss more than the first 2-3 weeks of the regular.
Top SEC RB headed to DII … Former Auburn RB Jovon Robinson has announced that he will play his final year of eligibility at DII Valdosta State. Robinson was rated as the top junior college recruit in the country two years ago, but after an up-and-down campaign with the Tigers last fall was kicked off the team for several off-field issues.
ESPN rates rook training camps … For those that haven’t seen it, ESPN has a neat rundown how every 2016 draft pick has performed thru the first couple of weeks of training camp.
Vandy OT to miss second straight year … Vanderbilt LT Andrew Jelks will miss a second straight season due a knee injury. Jelks did not play at all in 2015 after tearing an ACL in preseason camp and will now also miss this season due to a knee injury. Its not clear whether this is a new injury or the lingering effects of last year’s issue. Jelks is a fifth-year senior who could petition the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility at the end of the season, although a decision on how the player and school will proceed has not yet been decided. The 6-5, 305-pound Jelks had been considered to be a bit of a sleeper rising star along the offensive line after he was named to the SEC All-Frosh team in 2013 and then started all 12 games in 2014 at LT.
Utah WR suspended … Utah WR Corey Butler-Byrd, a former CB who had been considered to be a late-round/free agent type prospect for the 2017 draft, has been suspended indefinitely after being charged with criminal mischief charge for damaging a police vehicle and a patrol building.
Initial GBN power rankings completed … With the first week of pre-season games now underway, GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette has posted the final part of his initial NFL team power rankings.
Dawgs lose vet LB to transfer … Georgia MLB Tim Kimbrough, the team’s leading returning tackler, has announced that he is leaving the program and will be transferring to a lower level program so he won’t have to sit out this coming season. The 6-0, 230-pound Kimbrough, a late-round or free agent prospect for the 2017 draft, had 67 tackles last fall, but was suspended from the team’s bowl game for an unspecified violation of program rules.
Veteran Arizona OL passes away in sleep … Very sad news out of the Pac-12 as Arizona C Zach Hemmila passed away in his sleep over the weekend. He was 22; Hemmila was considered to be a late round or free agent prospect for the 2017 draft. Our condolences to his family, friends and teammates.
LSU loses DT, gains one … LSU DT Christian LaCouture suffered what is being described as a significant knee injury at practice earlier today. If a torn ACL is ultimately confirmed – and that appears to be what is expected – then LaCouture will likely miss the upcoming season. The 6-4, 310-pound LaCouture had been projected to be a mid-round prospect for the 2017 draft. Meanwhile, LSU may get some help on the defensive front as 340-pound junior NT Travonte Valentine reports that he has been cleared to join the team. Valentine, a top recruit coming out of high school who never qualified, was considered to be the #1 junior college recruit at the position this year, but had to take summer courses to regain his academic eligibility. Valentine has three years of eligibility remaining, but given his past academic difficulties, it won’t be a surprise if he ends up entering the 2017 draft however he plays this fall.
Browns name RGIII starting QB … Cleveland has named former Washington QB Robert Griffin as the team’s starting QB entering the season. Griffin beat out veteran Josh McCown for the job. However, the Browns remain one of, if not the, presumptive favorite to end up with the #1 pick at the 2017 draft where Cleveland could be in the market for a legitimate QB of the future. Or not after the Browns passed on the chance to take one of this year’s top QB prospects when they traded out of both the 2nd and 8th overall picks.
Bills lose #2 pick for extended period … Buffalo could be without rookie MLB Reggie Ragland, a projected starter this fall, for an extended period this season, after an MRI revealed that he had in fact suffered a partial ACL tear in his left knee in practice late last week. The Bills are is expected to get a second opinion of Ragland’s MRI later today before making any roster decisions. Ragland was the Bills’ second round pick at this year’s draft. Buffalo is already without its top-pick, DE Shaq Lawson, who will miss the first few weeks of the season with a shoulder issue.
Okay, so we weren’t quite ready for some football … The NFL has some egg on its collective face this morning after the annual Hall of Fame game in Canton had t be cancelled yesterday because of unplayable field conditions. If there is a silver lining to the whole business is that neither Green Bay nor Indianapolis, this year’s HOF game reps, suffered any injuries! For the record, the full, NFL pre-season schedule gets underway on Thursday.