Former Tennessee junior RB Jalen Hurd has now turned his attention to the NFL rather than transferring to another program, according to Tennessee radio host Brent Dougherty.
If true, the change in plans is not surprising. Hurd left Tennessee after stating the offense did not fit him, and reports stated he might pursue tight end or receiver at his next school. Hurd's trainer hinted the ball carrier could jump to the NFL, which makes sense than switching positions. Hurd flashed promise at times, but he's a slower bigger back who does not create on his own often enough. He is a very comfortable receiver.
Alabama redshirt freshman QB Blake Barnett announced his transfer to Arizona State.
Barnett left the school in late September and has taken classes at the JUCO level since. He played in the season opener but decided to leave once Jalen Hurts took over as the starter. Alabama beat writer Matt Zenitz notes Barnett will be eligible to play following the fourth game of next season. Barnett has three years of eligibility remaining.
Central Michigan QB Cooper Rush will attend the East-West Shrine Game.
Some have suggested Rush could be an under the radar quarterback who could stick on a roster as a backup. We will find out during the week of practice in Florida. He threw 23 touchdowns and 13 interceptions this season.
Nebraska redshirt senior WR Jordan Westerkamp accepted an invitation to the East-West Shrine Game.
Westerkamp missed a pair of contests this season due to a back injury. In 10 relatively healthy contests, the 6-foot-1, 195-pounder caught 38 passes for 526 yards and five touchdowns. Unfortunate on the injuries, as Westerkamp entered the 2016 season as a potential 1,000-yard receiver, having finished up 2015 with a 65-918-7 line over 13 games. The East-West Shrine Game will be played on January 21 in St. Petersburg, Florida.
ESPN's Adam Rittenberg relays that Arizona State OC Chip Lindsey has been in contact with Georgia State regarding their vacant head-coaching position.
Lindsey was a hotly-rumored candidate to take over as head coach at Southern Miss last winter. Jay Hopson ultimately landed that gig. Looks like Lindsey is trying once more to hop onto the coaching carousel. Georgia State fired HC Trent Miles in mid-November. The Panthers finished the campaign holding a dismal 3-9 record.
The Heisman Trophy has named five finalists for the award -- Louisville QB Lamar Jackson, Clemson QB Deshaun Watson, Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield, Michigan LB Jabrill Peppers and Oklahoma WR Dede Westbrook.
A nice variety for this year's ceremonies in New York, set for Saturday night. A quick statistical rundown on all parties: Jackson stands as the front-runner after wrapping his season having accounted for 51 total touchdowns (30 passing, 21 rushing) while passing for 3,390 yards and rushing for 1,538 over 12 games. Mayfield has thrown for 3,369 yards with a 38/3 TD/INT ratio, hooking up repeatedly with Heisman friend Westbrook (74-1465-16). The last offensive finalist for the award would be Watson, who has accounted for 43 total touchdowns (37 passing, six rushing). And then there is Peppers, who did almost everything for Michigan this season, finishing out with 72 tackles (16.0 for loss), four sacks, an interception, a forced fumble, 167 rushing yards (plus three rushing scores) and 310 punt-return yards (including a touchdown). All five gentleman have posted immaculate seasons, but the award should be considered Jackson's to lose at this juncture.
Mississippi State redshirt freshman QB Nick Tiano will transfer to Chattanooga.
Tiano was thought to have an opportunity to take over for Dak Prescott this offseason. That did not come to pass, though, as Nick Fitzgerald won the job and subsequently posted a mostly-brilliant 2016 campaign. By Rivals' grades, Tiano ranked as the No. 20 recruit in the state of Tennessee for the 2015 cycle. The 6-foot-4, 231-pound redshirt freshman attempted just one pass in 2016.
NFL Media draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah compared Clemson senior WR Mike Williams to Andre Johnson.
Jeremiah was particularly taken by the physical similarities between Williams (6-foot-3, 225 pounds) and Johnson (6-foot-3, 229 pounds). "[Williams is] huge. He has a thick, muscled-up frame and very long arms," Jeremiah wrote. In 13 games to date, Williams has caught 84 passes for 1,171 yards and 10 touchdowns. Jeremiah colleague Lance Zierlein has previously comped Williams to former Giants wideout Plaxico Burress, while Clemson HC Dabo Swinney has forwarded the belief that his current receiving stalwart is a more well-rounded wideout than either DeAndre Hopkins or Sammy Watkins.