Biggest College Football Stories You Likely Missed During March Madness

Brad Shepard@@Brad_ShepardFeatured ColumnistApril 3, 2019

Biggest College Football Stories You Likely Missed During March Madness

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    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Let's face it: Even though spring practice is in full force and recruiting never stops, you've been glued to your television sets watching the NCAA basketball tournaments' March Madness the past couple of weeks, right?

    You aren't alone.

    Maybe you hit up your B/R app a couple of times a week trying to keep up with the college football headlines, but you've undoubtedly missed some news.

    From NCAA transfer decisions to new faces in new places standing in front of the microphones for the first time, to a huge home-and-home series way, way in the future, there have been plenty of headlines since mid-March.

    Let's take a look at what you may have missed while you've been immersed in the four television channels full of hoops the past two weeks. We'll even have you in and out of this article in time for this week's men's and women's Final Fours in Minneapolis and Tampa Bay, Florida.

    So, while you're gearing up to scream for your favorite hoops teams, you can get a quick college football fix by catching up before the weekend.

NCAA Rules Tate Martell Immediately Eligible at Miami

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    Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

    The NCAA continued its unprecedented granting of immediate eligibility to transfers, moving college football into a virtual state of free agency.

    After the governing body ruled Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields was immediately eligible in Columbus, it did the same with Tate Martell, who left the Buckeyes for the Miami Hurricanes rather than battle for the starting gig with Fields.

    The Las Vegas native is going to be a big part of the Hurricanes' quarterback race now that he's been granted the waiver. With three years remaining to play, it's no guarantee he'll be on the field right away, but he has huge potential.

    That quarterback room just got a major upgrade.

    New offensive coordinator Dan Enos will have the opportunity to mold Martell into the leader of the Miami offense, and he'll battle Jarren Williams and N'Kosi Perry for the starting gig. He will have to knock off some rust, but Martell has tons of dual-threat ability.

    The "little general" is already impressing his teammates. Tight end Brevin Jordan told the Sun-Sentinel the newest 'Cane just fits The U.

    "He's a 5'11" little white dude with tattoos, running around with high energy, cocky. Just loves the swag. His swag is so Miami," Jordan said. "Tate, he's going to fit in and he's elite. Elite. Just simple as that. Elite."

    There are plenty of hoops in the competition left for him to jump through before winning the job, but Martell's ruling sets a precedent. Others awaiting the NCAA like Texas' Bru McCoy must feel better about their chances.

Washington State Transfer Quarterback Gage Gubrud's Injury and Status

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    William Mancebo/Getty Images

    After the massive success Washington State coach Mike Leach had with graduate transfer quarterback Gardner Minshew, who led the Cougars to 11 wins and one of the biggest shocks of the college football world, he decided to go that route again.

    The Gage Gubrud era in Pullman may have to wait a few months, though.

    The Spokesman-Review's Theo Lawson confirmed a report on March 13 that Gubrud suffered a lower-body injury that likely is going to keep him from spring practice. He hasn't played yet this spring, but Cougfan.com's Braden Johnson reported last week Gubrud is healing quickly.

    Will it be in time to get some spring reps?

    Gubrud was a two-time finalist for the Walter Payton Award, the Football Championship Subdivision's version of the Heisman Trophy, at Eastern Washington. But an injured toe kept him out 10 games a season ago.

    Now that he's a graduate transfer, the 6'2", 205-pound signal-caller is a favorite to win the job. But he's going to be behind the curve in the race if he winds up missing the entire spring.

    With Gubrud out, a pair of redshirt seniors, Trey Tinsley and Anthony Gordon, and freshman Gunner Cruz are battling for a leg up in the arms race for Leach.

    The quarterback guru Pirate whose Air Raid offenses have transformed Wazzu into a perennial threat in the Pac-12 will mold somebody into a distributor to all the weapons.

    Gubrud is trying to prove he can play with the big boys in the Power Five conferences before heading off to the NFL, but health has been a concern and continues to be.

Clemson and Oklahoma to Meet...in 2035 and 2036!

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    Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images

    All right! Two major college football powerhouses who were College Football Playoff participants a season ago are going to duel it out on the gridiron in the future.

    Clemson and Oklahoma announced this past week that they have agreed to a home-and-home series in the future.

    Unfortunately for some of us, we may have walking canes and false teeth by then. The home-and-home isn't until 16 years down the road, in 2035 and '36 with the Sooners heading to Death Valley in '35 and the Tigers returning the favor the next season.

    Yes, by then, Tigers super sophomore Trevor Lawrence will be a 14- or 15-year NFL veteran or retired and enjoying the good life; that's how far away this is. So pardon us if we're not going to get super-excited just yet.

    There's a much better chance of coach Dabo Swinney's Tigers and Lincoln Riley's Sooners meeting in the College Football Playoff or a bowl game long before this series ever comes to fruition. But it's still neat the two programs are making a commitment to playing.

    "Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich said the series is part of the school's commitment to play non-Atlantic Coast Conference Power Five opponents other than its long-standing state rivalry against South Carolina," according to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com).

    Cool. So, this is awesome news, if it all happens and nobody buys out of the series.

Kansas RB Pooka Williams Agrees to Diversion in Battery Case (Still Suspended)

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    Ed Zurga/Getty Images

    The biggest offensive playmaker on new Kansas coach Les Miles' roster hasn't even stepped onto the practice field yet for the Jayhawks.

    And it's unclear if Pooka Williams will again after begin charged with domestic battery. But the criminal case took a step toward a conclusion this past week.

    According to KUSports.com's Dylan Lysen, "Pooka Williams and Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson signed a diversion agreement regarding a misdemeanor domestic battery charge stemming from a December 2018 incident, according to court documents filed Thursday."

    According to Lysen, Williams "was accused of punching a woman in the stomach and grabbing her throat."

    The 1,000-yard rusher as a freshman a year ago has been suspended from the team since the allegations surfaced, and he remains so. But this is a step toward ending the charge against him, per Lysen.

    What Miles decides to do, of course, is a separate decision altogether.

    If Williams winds up playing for the Jayhawks, it's a major on-field boost because of his dynamic ability on a team without many difference-makers. But there's also a microscope on Miles and how he decides to handle disciplinary issues.

    Miles said in December the KU staff takes these allegations "very seriously," and associate athletic director Jim Marchiony echoed that again on Friday.

    "Pooka remains suspended from all team-related activities at this time while the university continues to evaluate the Dec. 5 incident," Marchiony wrote in a statement, according to the Wellington Daily News' Matt Galloway. "We continue to take this matter very seriously."

Jalen Hurts Speaks

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Everybody is excited to see Alabama transfer quarterback Jalen Hurts on the football field in Lincoln Riley's offense following his transfer to Oklahoma.

    Other than some practice-field throws, it's going to take a while before we can all witness him with that OU on his helmet. It's a lock Hurts is going to start for the Sooners if he's healthy, and he seems to be the perfect player to follow in the footsteps of a pair of Heisman Trophy winners in Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray.

    Most expect him to impress.

    Much like he did in Tuscaloosa, the rising senior graduate transfer already is impressing everybody. He talked to the Oklahoma media for the first time recently, and he was terrific in front of the microphone.

    He was so good, in fact, The Oklahoman's Berry Tramel used his entire opening statement in a story and noted how rare it was for an athlete to provide a statement at all before taking questions. Rather than setting up his quotes, Tramel let Hurts' words speak for themselves before going over them. Sooners fans hope his play does the talking this fall.

    Talking about his new program, Hurts said:

    "It's definitely a work in progress, but I know also that for this team, we're talking about this team this year, there was a national championship in 2000, however many Heismans there's been over the years, my past success, the things I've done and achieved, those things don't help us win any games in the fall. I think the biggest thing for us is creating an identity for ourselves, finding out who we are as a team, knowing what we want to do first, putting the work in and then ultimately playing ball and getting things done in all phases of the organization this year."

    That sounds like a man who didn't quit on his team, hung around to be a hero for the Alabama Crimson Tide and is now off to prove he can be a dynamic force for a top-shelf program again.

Another Clowney in the SEC

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    Demon Clowney is headed to LSU.
    Demon Clowney is headed to LSU.Credit: 247Sports

    There was a time, not so long ago, when Jadeveon Clowney roamed the field, wreaking havoc on SEC quarterbacks every Saturday before going off to be the No. 1 overall player in the NFL draft.

    Can another Clowney follow in his footsteps?

    The Houston Texans defensive end's cousin, Demon Clowney, will be in the SEC if he follows through with his verbal commitment, but it won't be with Jadeveon's South Carolina Gamecocks. Instead, the younger Clowney is going from St. Frances Academy in Baltimore to the Bayou to play for the LSU Tigers.

    The 6'4", 225-pound 4-star defensive end is the nation's No. 124-ranked overall player and the fifth-rated weak-side defensive end. He chose LSU over Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, Clemson and others.

    He is just the latest in coach Ed Orgeron's loaded 2020 class that only trails Alabama and the surprising Miami Hurricanes in the 247Sports composite rankings.

    The Tigers' class includes 5-star cornerback Elias Ricks, 4-star quarterback Max Johnson and 4-star receiver Kayshon Boutte, among others.

    With his name and ability, Demon Clowney will have a huge spotlight on him, and there's nothing wrong with that. He's good enough to live up to the potential.

    "If you hear his last name and you see him, that's all you need to know," Demon's position coach at St. Frances, Sam Poggi, told B/R's Adam Kramer in January. "They look alike, and athletically they're very similar."

    Now, it's going to be interesting to see if Orgeron hangs on to another star prospect, or if Clowney keeps his options open.

         

    All recruiting information is from 247Sports, and rankings are from the 247Sports composite.

    Brad Shepard covers college football for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter, @Brad_Shepard.