Biggest College Football News and Stories from June 2022
Editor's note: This was published before the report of USC and UCLA moving to the Big Ten.
Although the college football offseason is always full of stories, your attention may have been directed elsewhere in June.
Perhaps more than anything, school is out. Vacations are happening. Elsewhere in the sports world, the NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Final take center stage. We also had the PGA Tour clashing with LIV Golf and any number of major sporting events you enjoy.
But college football never stops.
Led by football royalty Arch Manning, a handful of marquee 2023 recruits announced a verbal commitment. Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher halted a buzzworthy feud, the ACC unveiled plans to abandon its divisions, and there is plenty more to cover.
Nick Saban, Jimbo Fisher Feud Fizzles
In mid-May, Alabama coach Nick Saban claimed Texas A&M "bought every player" in its historic 2022 recruiting class. Jimbo Fisher soon held a press conference, issuing a fiery response and saying he's done talking to his former boss.
And within two weeks, the pair headed to SEC media days. Did the drama continue in South Florida?
Short answer: No.
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey didn't want the theatrics to continue, and both Saban and Fisher obliged. Not even Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin, by far the most outspoken voice in the league, added to the very real, humorous controversy.
Perhaps as tempers cool, someone will comment again. Maybe not. But we know one thing for sure: Alabama hosts Texas A&M on Oct. 8, and there will be plenty of motivational fuel on both sidelines.
Louisville Lands 5-Star Back
Louisville has signed a few dozen blue-chip prospects over the years. It's not shocking when the ACC school is vying for big-name players.
But a 5-star? That's only happened once for the football program.
Fittingly, though, running back Rueben Owens is set to join Michael Bush as members of this exclusive group. Bush signed in the class of 2004 and totaled more than 4,000 yards in the NFL. Pretty decent company for Owens, the 16th-ranked player in the 2023 cycle.
The two-part disclaimer: Owens must retain this billing through his senior year, and Louisville will need to fend off pushes from any number of programs. His ranking and commitment, as with any prospect mentioned here, are nonbinding and subject to change.
Owens, nevertheless, is an enormous win for Scott Satterfield and the Louisville staff.
Ohio State Loads Up on Receivers
Brian Hartline is an incredible recruiter.
That's the easy version of this story, which brings well-deserved praise for the Ohio State passing-game coordinator and wide receivers coach. He's been a top-15 recruiter nationally in each of the last four cycles—including No. 1 in 2020—and is off to a ridiculous start for 2023.
As long as Hartline is on staff, it's fair to expect the Buckeyes will continue to overflow with elite receiving talent for many years.
Arch Manning Picks Texas
Since 2000, only five prospects have landed a perfect rating on the 247Sports composite rankings.
Arch Manning could be the sixth.
The nephew of NFL legends Peyton and Eli Manning, Arch Manning has understandably enjoyed the highest of high-profile recruitments. However, the No. 1 prospect of the 2023 cycle very quietly went through the recruiting process, visiting Clemson, LSU, Alabama, Georgia, Ole Miss and Texas along the way.
In late June—after official trips to UGA, Alabama and Texas on consecutive weekends—Manning broke his silence with a commitment to Texas.
As with any prospect, the road is just beginning. Provided he sticks with the Longhorns, Manning will arrive on campus as a backup to Quinn Ewers or Hudson Card. Dreams of college or NFL greatness are simply that right now.
But the Longhorns have secured a verbal pledge from a potential star.
Miami Commit's Alleged NIL Deal
Remember when folks freaked out about Miami basketball luring Kansas State transfer Nijel Pack with $800,000 and a car?
Well, friends, try this number out for size.
According to On3's Jeremy Crabtree, 4-star quarterback Jaden Rashada agreed to a $9.5 million deal. Based on previous reports, it would be the biggest name, image and likeness package signed.
Now, the conversation comes with an asterisk. Crabtree's report connected booster John Ruiz—a billionaire with 115 Miami athletes on NIL deals worth a combined $7 million, as of mid-June—to Rashada. However, both Ruiz and Rashada have denied the rumor.
The truth, whatever it actually is, may or may not be confirmed. But the aftermath hasn't received as much attention as the initial bombshell.
So, you're all caught up. For now!
ACC to Scrap Divisions in 2023
The idea of a two-division format is entirely logical. Use geography to split the conference into two parts, and the winners of the divisions meet for a championship. Simple stuff.
In reality, however, there can be an imbalance. Every year, multiple Football Bowl Subdivision leagues face a dilemma: The two teams with the best records—and likely the highest rankings—reside in the same division, and only one heads to the conference title game.
But this obstacle is steadily disappearing.
Back in May, the NCAA relaxed rules on requiring the division winners to play for a league championship. Almost immediately, the Pac-12 announced the two teams with the highest winning percentages would qualify for the final game in 2022 and beyond. Then, the Mountain West said it will do the same in 2023.
And now, the ACC is joining the party. Starting in 2023, the ACC will use a 3-5-5 structure of three annual matchups with two alternating groups of five conference opponents for each member school.
UAB's Bill Clark Retires
Hired in January 2014, Bill Clark oversaw a 6-6 season in his debut at UAB. But that December, the school made the shocking announcement it planned to shutter the program. After much pushback, UAB reversed course and reinstated the team.
Although the Blazers wouldn't begin play until 2017, Clark embraced the unceremonious task of reviving the program.
Fast forward to 2022, and Clark is a school legend.
UAB notched an 8-5 record in 2017 and finished 11-3 with the Conference USA title in 2018. Then, the Blazers went 9-5 and shared a division crown in 2019, following that up with a 6-3 year and C-USA championship in 2020. Last season, UAB posted a 9-4 mark.
Most impressively, the Blazers won 21 straight home games after returning to play. Clark achieved an unexpected level of success, considering UAB had never topped seven wins in an FBS season prior to 2017.
Clark's tenure is over, though. Citing back problems, the 54-year-old retired in late June.
Time to build him a statue.