Miracle return in the offing for Cincy WR Hazelton?

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It’s not often that a football player at any level can return to the playing field from a torn ACL in less than a few months, although it’s not completely unheard of these days given the tremendous medical advances made in this area.  Returning less than three months after undergoing surgery to repair those ligaments?  Now that is nearly unheard of.

And, yet, Cincinnati wide receiver Vidal Hazelton is working his way toward the precipice of doing just that.

Hazelton, who sat out last season after transferring from USC, suffered a torn ACL in his first game as a Bearcat Sept. 4.  Obviously, at the time, it was declared a season-ending injury.

Less than seven weeks after undergoing a surgical procedure that involved the grafting of part of an Achilles tendon from a cadaver?  “He’s made tremendous progress,” UC trainer Bob Mangine told the Cincinnati Enquirer.

So tremendous, in fact, that Hazelton is pointing toward a return against Pittsburgh Dec. 4, exactly three months after incurring the injury.

“I don’t want to jinx it,” Hazelton said, “but it’s healing rally fast. We’ll see what happens.”

It goes without saying that Hazelton has been working overtime with his eyes fixed squarely on a return this year, but there’s another factor that he needs to take into consideration.  The senior will be eligible for the NFL draft this April as it’s unlikely — but not impossible — he would get a hardship waiver from the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility.

Should he return for the Pittsburgh game, it would, one, guarantee that he won’t get a sixth year of eligibility and, two, if he reinjures the knee, it could send his draft stock plummeting even further.

Hazelton seems to understand the risks involved, and appears willing to trust the judgment of both himself and the medical personnel overseeing his rehab..

“I look at like you’ve only got one life to live,” Hazelton said. “I’m not going to put myself in that situation. Neither is the doctor. I’m going to get it looked at by a whole bunch of doctors and make sure everything is good. If I feel good, I’m going to play. I’m not going to hold back from nothing.”

Just the fact that a return is even within the realm of possibility is stunning, especially given the position he plays.  If he does actually pull off the comeback?  That’s downright miraculous and a tremendous testament to the work ethic he possesses.

If I’m an NFL team, I’d take a chance on him just for that.

Reports: Miami hiring Lance Guidry from Tulane as DC

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
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Miami is hiring Lance Guidry, who was defensive coordinator at Marshall last season and recently accepted the same position at Tulane, to lead its defense, two people with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press.

The people spoke on condition of anonymity because a deal was still being finalized between Guidry and Miami.

The 51-year-old Louisiana native was hired way from Marshall by Tulane just last month. Now he’ll replace Kevin Steele on Mario Cristobal‘s staff at Miami. Steele is reportedly on his way to Alabama to become Nick Saban‘s defensive coordinator after holding that position for one season with the Hurricanes.

Alabama has yet to make the hiring of Steele and offensive coordinator Tommy Rees official. Rees had been assistant at Notre Dame.

Tulane announced the hiring of Guidry on Jan. 23 to replace Chris Hampton, who left the New Orleans-based school to join Oregon’s staff as an assistant coach.

Guidry’s defenses at Marshall ranked third in the nation in yards per play this season (4.56) and 26th nationally in 2021 (5.14 ypp).

Iowa-Northwestern set for Wrigley Field in November

Nikos Frazier/Journal & Courier/USA TODAY NETWORK
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CHICAGO — Wrigley Field will host a college football game for the third time since 2010 when Iowa plays Northwestern next season.

Northwestern and the Chicago Cubs announced that the Wildcats’ home game will be played Nov. 4.

Northwestern played Illinois at Wrigley in 2010 in the MLB ballpark’s first college football game since 1938, and the Wildcats hosted Purdue there in 2021.

Wrigley Field has a long history of hosting football games. The Chicago Bears played there from 1921 to 1970 before moving to Soldier Field. The old Chicago Cardinals also played at Wrigley, as well as DePaul until its program folded in 1939.

Northwestern had been scheduled to play Wisconsin at Wrigley in 2020, but the game was moved to Ryan Field in Evanston because of the COVID-19 pandemic.