Former Florida quarterback Will Grier has chosen West Virginia as his transfer destination, an interesting decision for a variety of reasons.
1. Under NCAA transfer guidelines, Grier will miss all of 2016. He’s already had a redshirt season, so his transfer year would be year three under the NCAA’s five years to play four rules. Based on the rules in place, Grier will have – at most – two years of remaining eligibility.
2. To have two full years of eligibility, however, Grier will have to get some sort of waiver from the NCAA. He was suspended at Florida for using a performance enhancing drug (PED) so the suspension follows him wherever he goes. This is not a school disciplinary suspension, which would be negated by the transfer. This is an NCAA suspension and it follows Grier wherever he goes. Even if he had chosen to play juco football this year, the suspension would be waiting in 2017. If we go by the strict interpretation of NCAA rules, Grier will still have to serve the other six games of his suspension for illegal use of PEDs whenever he plays again at any level of NCAA football even if it isn’t Division I. That means he won’t be eligible until MIDSEASON in 2017.
3. Reports are that West Virginia bought Grier’s explanation about what happened at Florida, which is also interesting since the NCAA didn’t blink when Grier and his father hired an attorney and tried to get a reduced sentence to time served (the second half of the 2015 season). The hearing was over pronto and the suspension remained in place, complete with rumors that the NCAA didn’t believe for one second this was a brain fart moment of indiscretion by a 19-year-old (further translation: he was lying).
4. There are no guarantees that Dana Holgorsen will be the West Virginia coach when Grier finally becomes eligible. The only reason Holgorsen is still the coach of the Mountaineers is because the former AD, Oliver Luck, signed him to this ridiculous long term contract with a huge buyout. The buyout is down to a mere $5.8 million now and will be down to $2.9 million when the 2016 season ends. That buyout is manageable so if Holgorsen and the Mounties don’t win eight or more games this year, there could be a new coach in place next year and maybe a system that doesn’t work well for Grier.
5. Had Grier not insisted on guarantees that his starting job would be handed to him game 7 of 2016, life wouldn’t be nearly as complicated as it is going to be at WVU.
KIPER HAS HARGREAVES FALLING TO #14
In his latest mock draft, ESPN’s Mel Kiper has Florida corner Vernon Hargreaves III sliding all the way down to #14 to the Oakland Raiders. Hargreaves’ slide isn’t necessarily because of a lack of talent or that some other pure corner (Jalen Ramsey of FSU is predicted to go #3 but he’s more of a hybrid S/CB/nickel than a pure corner) has moved ahead. Rather Kiper has three QBs going in the first 15 picks and that has scrambled everything. Kiper has Carson Wentz of North Dakota State going #2 to Cleveland, which is interesting since the Browns have also signed former Heisman Trophy QB Robert Griffin III. Additionally, Kiper has California QB Jared Goff going #7 to San Francisco and Paxton Lynch of Memphis going #15 to the Los Angeles Rams.
Kiper has Ole Miss LT Laremy Tunsil as the first overall pick to the Tennessee Titans. Other first rounders from the SEC or the state of Florida include: (11) OLB Leonard Floyd, Georgia to the Chicago Bears; (16) WR Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss to the Detroit Lions; (17) LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama to the Atlanta Falcons; (20) OT German Ifedi, Texas A&M to the New York Jets; (21) DL Jarran Reed, Alabama to the Washington Redskins; (29) C Ryan Kelly, Alabama to the Arizona Cardinals and (31) DT A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama to the Denver Broncos.
Kiper has former UF defensive tackle Jon Bullard and S Keanu Neal listed among his likely second rounders.
UF SPRING SPORTS
Softball: The 2nd-ranked Gators (35-3) bounced back from losing two straight to Alabama with a 3-1 non-conference win over UCF Wednesday night in Orlando. Freshman Kelly Barnhill went the first five innings, gave up three hits and struck out seven to improve her record to 13-0. She got help from Delanie Gourley, who pitched two scoreless innings in relief for her third save of the season.
The Gators are still not hitting the ball. They managed only five hits and only one was for extra bases against UCF. The Gators travel to Ole Miss for a 3-game SEC weekend series starting Friday.
Men’s Tennis: The 14th-ranked Gators (12-5, 7-1 SEC) lost a non-conference match to 13th-ranked Virginia, 5-2, Wednesday evening. The Gators travel to Athens to face #7 Georgia in an SEC showdown of #1 vs. #2 in the SEC on Friday.
SPRING FOOTBALL IN THE SEC: QB UPDATES
Alabama: It is still Cooper Bateman and David Cornwell running 1-2. Nick Saban says redshirt freshman Blake Barnett and true freshman Jalen Hurts aren’t nearly consistent enough.
Arkansas: The #1 job is Austin Allen’s to lose. Currently, third year sophomore Rafe Peavy is the backup, ahead of Ty Storey and Ricky Town.
Auburn: Officially, there is still competition for the #1 QB job. Unofficially, the job belongs to juco transfer John Franklin III, called by Auburn DT Montravius Adams “the fastest” QB he’s ever seen. “When he gets to the edge … there ain’t nothing else,” Adams said. The battle for the backup job rages between Jeremy Johnson and Sean White.
FLORIDA: Luke Del Rio continues to hold onto the #1 job but he ran this offense at Alabama and Oregon State before he came to UF. So keep an eye on Austin Appleby, who has a great arm and upside but is still learning the offense. Reports that Kyle Trask is outperforming Feleipe Franks have been confirmed by multiple sources.
Georgia: Incumbent Greyson Lambert and punter/backup Brice Ramsey shared the #1 snaps at Georgia’s first scrimmage. That’s nice. They’ll be on the sideline in the fall because early enrollee freshman Jacob Eason didn’t come to Athens to sit.
Kentucky: Drew Barker is the #1 and juco transfer Stephen Johnson is the #2. There is depth in the form of freshman early enrollee Gunnar Hoak and Cincinnati transfer Luke Wright.
LSU: Brandon Harris is having the most consistent spring he’s had at LSU but he’s being seriously pushed by workaholic Purdue transfer Danny Etling, who has emerged as a top notch leader.
Mississippi State: The surprise of the spring is Elijah Staley, who went 14-23 for 167 yards and a TD in last Saturday’s scrimmage. Nick Fitzgerald was 8-20 for 118 yards and a TD. Damian Williams, who was thought to be the man to beat, threw three interceptions and was only 2-11 throwing the ball.
Missouri: Watch this battle. Rising sophomore Drew Lock might be listed #1 but redshirt sophomore Marvin Zanders is finally being given a chance to play and he’s turning heads, especially since he’s taking contact instead of wearing the green no-contact jersey.
Ole Miss: Chad Kelly – out for the rest of the spring with a sports hernia that required surgery – will be the QB in the fall. No question about that. Nor is there a question about the backup. That’s stud freshman Shea Patterson.
Tennessee: Joshua Dobbs is the starter but the QB with the best arm is backup Quinten Dormady, who Butch Jones says “can make all the throws.”
Texas A&M: Oklahoma transfer Trevor Knight is the #1 and the backup is Jake Hubenak. They are the only two scholarship QBs on the roster now and unless someone transfers in they’ll be the only scholarship QBs in the fall.
Vanderbilt: Spring practice ended nearly 10 days ago. To no one’s surprise, Kyle Shurmur is the starting QB.
LOUISVILLE SELF-IMPOSES MORE BASKETBALL SANCTIONS
If this were Polynesia 200 years ago, Louisville basketball would have thrown a virgin into the volcano. In this were the old west of 150 years ago, we would call what Louisville did Wednesday as “heading them off at the pass.” Louisville adding more self-imposed sanctions to its basketball program is the latest collective “my bad” attempt to appease the folks at the NCAA who dole out probations. Louisville has eliminated one scholarship in 2017-18 and another in 2018-19, cutting official visits by one in each of the next two years, and reducing the number of days the staff can be on the road recruiting.
Since Louisville’s problems involve strippers, let’s put it the self-imposed sanctions in strippers’ terms – they’ve announced the strippers have to wear pasties and expect the NCAA to approve.
Syracuse just came off probation, Louisville is trying to appease the NCAA for lighter sanctions, and UNC might get its entire athletic program put in a spinning toe hold followed by a figure-4 leg lock. Seems like the ACC is having some serious issues with its high profile basketball programs.
My heart continues to tell me Phil Mickelson will become the oldest winner of The Masters this week. My head keeps telling me Bubba Watson or Jason Day will catch fire and win the tournament by turning the par 5s into easy birdie holes with their length off the tee.
I am not sold on Jordan Spieth’s game right now but if he can keep the ball in the fairways and make some putts, he could be a factor. Rory McIlroy is another one who has the length but can he keep the ball in the fairway? If he can hit it straight, he should be in the hunt.
Okay, back to Phil. Phil has to avoid the necessity to be Phil, which says that at some point in the tournament he will envision a shot that nobody else would even attempt much less make. It is high risk, high reward when Phil pulls it off, but sometimes he OutPhils Phil.
At the annual Par 3 Tournament Wednesday, 80-year old Gary Player aced the seventh. Playing with Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus, Player scored the 31st hole-in-one of his golfing career. There were five other aces Wednesday. Believe it or not, there hasn’t been a hole-in-one in the regular tournament since 2013.
Former Gator All-American Reggie Nelson signed a two-year deal to play for the Oakland Raiders. Terms weren’t released. Nelson has 30 interceptions since 2007, fifth most in the NFL during that time. He picked off eight passes playing for the Cincinnati Bengals last year.
Mississippi State hopes to break ground for a brand new baseball stadium in June 2017, estimated cost $55 million.
As expected, Kentucky point guard and SEC Player of the Year Tyler Ulis has declared for the NBA Draft. He’s only 5-9, but is still expected to go in the first round. Ulis is the third UK player to leave early for the draft. Still no word on Marcus Lee or Isaiah Briscoe.
Florida State RB Dalvin Cook had shoulder surgery Wednesday. He’s expected to make a full recovery prior to the start of August camp.
Jake Bentley will skip his senior year in high school and enroll at South Carolina, where his dad Bobby is the running backs coach. Bentley is a 6-4, 220-pounder with a serious arm.
Grayson Allen will remain at Duke at least one more year. The former Jacksonville Providence star averaged 21.6 points per game, made All-AC and second team All-America in 2015-16.
QUESTION OF THE DAY
Do you think Will Grier will get a waiver to play from game one in 2017 or will the NCAA stick to its guns and make him sit until midseason?
MUSIC FOR TODAY
Merle Haggard died on his birthday Wednesday. He was 79 and a true country music legend. He perfected his music while in San Quentin. Ronald Reagan gave him a full pardon in 1972. He had 38 of his singles reach #1 on the country charts and nine of his albums made it to #1.