• Happy trails, part one. Auburn quarterback Barrett Trotter confirmed Monday he won't be back for a fifth season, ensuring the Tigers will start 2012 with their sixth different opening-day starter in as many years. (The candidates: Junior Clint Moseley, sophomore Kiehl Frazier and incoming freshman Zeke Pike, the winner likely determined by the direction coach Gene Chizik decides to go for his new offensive coordinator.) Trotter was tabbed last August as the heir apparent to Cam Newton, but lost his job at midseason to Moseley and spent the rest of the year on the sideline before coming off the bench to lead a Chick-Fil-A Bowl win over Virginia.
• Happy trails, part two. To no one's surprise, backup quarterback Nick Montana — son of Joe — will transfer from Washington in search of more playing time. Montana started one game in 2011 in place of starter Keith Price, a 38-21 loss at Oregon State, and risked falling further down the depth chart with the pending arrival of a pair of four-star QB recruits, Jeff Lindquist and Cyler Miles. Next up: A season at junior college, followed by a transfer back into the D-I ranks in 2013.
"I've got three years [of college eligibility] left and I want to spend those on the field,'' Montana told the Seattle Times. "I don't want to wait another year. You only get one shot at playing college football so I just kind of made the best decision for me and I'm going with it.'' [Seattle Times]
• Tosh.Whoa. For recruitniks, the much bigger news out of Washington Monday was the abrupt addition of ace recruiter Tosh Lupoi to the Husky coaching staff, sending instant tremors throughout the West Coast. At Cal, Lupoi was widely considered the best recruiter in the Pac-12, and had a major hand in assembling a 2012 crop that Rivals ranks as the best in the conference — just ahead of Oregon, USC and Stanford, outfits that have consistently outperformed Cal on the field — with two weeks to go till signing day. By Monday afternoon, most of the top commitments in that class were sounding rather noncommittal.
That number included the headliner, five-star safety Shaq Thompson, who immediately posted a pair of cryptic messages to his Twitter page…
… and later tweeted former Washington safety/NFL all-pro Lawyer Milloy to solicit his opinion of his alma mater. Another five-star Cal target, uncommitted defensive lineman Aziz Shittu, posted to his Twitter page, and I quote, "WOWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!! The Game Just Changed" and "I want to cryyyyyy."
The one above-the-fold Cal pledge who isn't going anywhere: Top-100 wide receiver Bryce Treggs, who quickly tweeted that Lupoi's exit 'has no affect" (sic) on his commitment: After all, he's in it for the academics. [GoHuskies.com, Rivals, @ItsShaqThompson, @AzizShittu, @BryceTreggs]• A Bruin, for now. Continuing the Lupoi fallout: Five-star Monrovia, Calif., defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy has already switched his verbal commitment from Cal to UCLA. (His main recruiter at UCLA: New defensive backs coach DeMetrice Martin, who just joined Jim Mora's staff from…Washington, of course.) McCarthy already looms at 6-foot-5 and 311 pounds out of high school, helping make him Rivals' No. 2 defensive tackle in the entire 2012 class and No. 2 overall prospect in the state of California. [BruinBlitz.com, L.A. Daily News]
• Das Boot. On the same day that the Associated Press sent around a story about "second chances" at Kansas under new coach Charlie Weis, Weis commenced the house-cleaning: Ten Jayhawk players who were expected to return this fall are no longer with the team, including starting quarterback Jordan Webb, who read the writing on the wall with the arrival of transfers Dayne Crist (the 2012 starter) from Notre Dame and Jake Heaps (the 2013 starter) from BYU and decided he'd better start hitting the books.
Six other players — defensive end JaQwaylin Arps, quarterback Brock Berglund, cornerback Dexter McDonald, running back Darrian Miller, cornerback Adonis Saunders and safety Keeston Terry — were given the boot for assorted "academic and behavioral issues," along with three other exiles (Webb, defensive end Tyrone Sellers and offensive lineman Tom Mabry) who will remain enrolled at KU to finish their degrees and another (offensive lineman Travis Bodenstein) who plans to transfer.
"I don't care who they are, I don't care if they were all-stars," Weis said. "There's a right and wrong way of doing things. In every one of the [dismissed] players' cases … these were clear-cut. They were gone, and I was fighting to give them opportunities to be able to stay. Then they decided not to take advantage of the opportunities." [Associated Press, Lawrence Journal World, Kansas City Star]
Quickly… Bill O'Brien gets his first verbal commitment to Penn State. … Iowa loses a home-grown "athlete" who wants to play quarterback. … The NCAA rejects a sixth year for Ifeanyi Momah, and Boston College fans are not happy about it. … Jackson Jeffcoat undergoes surgery for a ruptured pectoral muscle. …
- Sports & Recreation/American Football
- Sports & Recreation