Report says redshirting Houston QB D’Eriq King has little chance of returning to Cougs in 2020

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There are a number of easy candidates to point to as far as the most underperforming or disappointing teams in 2019 but in terms of the top spot — or lowest one, depending on how you want to order things — it might be hard to top Houston in their first season under Dana Holgorsen.

The Cougars were expected to challenge for the AAC crown and be among the top Group of Five teams after luring their head coach over from West Virginia with a hefty Power Five-caliber contract this offseason. Though they went just 8-5 a year ago, there was plenty of talent returning on the roster and there was even a budding dark horse Heisman campaign for starting quarterback D'Eriq King.

Things have not turned out that way however as UH has sunk to 3-6 on the season after getting trounced by UCF on Saturday and it will be an uphill battle to even make it to a bowl game. King sat out the game, as he has for the last several at Houston given that he curiously decided earlier this year to announce he was redshirting with the intention of returning to the team in 2020.

Only you’re not going to believe this, but it appears the signal-caller might not be back with the Cougs current dumpster fire after all.

Per a report from Yahoo! Sports on Saturday night:

There’s little chance that King will return to Houston, as he’s expected to enter the transfer portal in the postseason and garner interest from top programs like LSU, Georgia and Florida State. (Former Houston OC Kendal Briles is the offensive coordinator at FSU, and wherever Briles is coaching next year would loom as a potential landing spot for King.) Don’t discount LSU, which will need to replace Heisman favorite Joe Burrow.

Such a move is hardly unexpected, as it was widely speculated on as soon as it was announced that King was going through such a move. He should have one season remaining as a grad transfer in 2020 and is coming off his last full season under center having thrown for 36 touchdowns and rushed for 14 more. While he’s not quite Jalen Hurtscaliber coming to the grad transfer market, he’s certainly up there and a good reason why programs like the Tigers and Seminoles seem likely to gauge his interest in joining them next year.

Air Force football sanctioned for recruiting violations

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AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — The Air Force football program received two years of probation from the NCAA and had its squad size reduced by 10 for four years as part of its sanctions for recruiting violations.

The penalties were announced Thursday after Air Force and four individuals reached an agreement with NCAA enforcement staff on recruiting violations. A fifth individual in the case has contested their role and will be heard by the committee on infractions.

The sanctions also include a fine and a reduction of 46 total official visits for the football program in the 2022-23 and `23-24 academic years. In addition, there’s a prohibition on unofficial visits in football from Sept. 1 through Oct. 12, 2022, and a reduced number of evaluation days this fall.

Air Force has around 115 players on its varsity roster, plus a JV team that all count as NCAA athletes and its roster size.

“The (committee) appreciates the parties’ efforts in working collaboratively together to reach agreement on the violations, levels, classifications, and significant and meaningful penalties,” Gary Miller, the chief hearing officer for the panel and president at Akron, said in a statement. “The panel also recognizes that Air Force has gone above and beyond in its overall approach to this case.”

In a joint statement, Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Richard Clark and director of athletics Nathan Pine said: “The U.S. Air Force Academy is pleased that our case has progressed to the point of the NCAA accepting our negotiated resolution. We will continue working with the NCAA on this ongoing self-reported case from the COVID dead period, as it’s our responsibility to ensure integrity of the institution, athletics department, cadet-athletes and staff.”

The Falcons are off to a 3-1 start and host Navy on Saturday to begin the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy competition. The trophy is presented to the service academy with the best record in the round-robin format.

Florida shakes up secondary after dismal game at Tennessee

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida coach Billy Napier is shaking up his secondary after the Gators allowed 349 yards passing – including 247 of those on eight plays – in a loss at Tennessee.

Safety Trey Dean, a fifth-year senior who has started 32 games and played in 54, is out with what Florida is calling a “lower leg injury.” But no one would be surprised if Napier was quietly benching Dean after he made two mental errors against the Volunteers that resulted in 70- and 45-yard gains and set up touchdowns.

Freshman Kamari Wilson will replace Dean and make his first college start Sunday against Eastern Washington.

Cornerback Jaydon Hill will join Wilson in the starting lineup. Hill, a third-year sophomore, will make his first start since 2020. He missed the 2021 season with a torn knee ligament. He impressed Napier and his new staff in the spring but sat out preseason camp with another knee injury.

Hill will replace sophomore Avery Helm, who also struggled against the Vols.

“You talk about what he’s been through from an injury perspective,” Napier said following practice Wednesday. “Jaydon was one of the better players that we had on our team in spring practice. I was very impressed . It’s no surprise to me. He showed pretty quickly here that he’s very capable. I’m excited to watch him play.”

Georgia transfer Jalen Kimber, a former five-star recruit, is now listed as a third-team cornerback. Kimber played just 11 snaps in Knoxville a week after he returned an interception for a touchdown in a 31-28 win against South Florida.

“I like to say we try to eliminate the bad football,” Napier said. “Talking about mental errors, misalignments, poor communication, bad fundamentals and techniques, bad decision-making within the play. … We have a laundry list of things that we need to eliminate each week.

“Last week’s game, I thought we were really close, but there’s 12 or 15 plays in the game where Florida is beating Florida. We’ve got a smart group here. I think they’re very aware of what the issues are, and I think they’re working hard to address those issues.”