Georgia QB JT Daniels coming back

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ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia quarterback JT Daniels will be returning for another season between the hedges.

Daniels announced Tuesday on Twitter that he’s coming back to the Bulldogs after starting the final four games of the 2020 season. Georgia won them all to finish 8-2, including a victory over Cincinnati in the Peach Bowl.

“Found my new home, now we got unfinished business,” said Daniels, a third-year sophomore. “Go Dawgs 2021.”

The quarterback revealed his plans as two teammates said they’re heading to the NFL.

Defensive end Malik Herring and center Trey Hill announced on Twitter that they will give up their remaining eligibility to enter the draft.

Two others, running back James Cook and defensive lineman Devonte Wyatt, joined Daniels in confirming they’ll be back in 2021.

After spending two seasons at Southern Cal, Daniels transferred to Georgia and was granted permission to play right away by the NCAA.

But he was still recovering from a season-ending knee injury sustained in the 2019 opener with the Trojans, prompting Georgia to go with two other quarterbacks before they finally turned to Daniels for a Nov. 21 game against Mississippi State.

He provided a huge spark to the passing game, completing 67 percent of his passes for 1,231 yards, and 10 touchdowns with just two interceptions the rest of the way.

While Daniels considered his NFL options, the consensus was he needed another year of college ball to further his development. He has played only five college games in the last two seasons.

Daniels will go into next season as Georgia’s undisputed starter, meaning the Bulldogs won’t have to rush the development of top recruit Brock Vandagriff, who would presumably be set to take over in 2022.

Herring is a senior who totaled 20 tackles in 10 games this season, including two sacks and 4.5 tackles for losses. He had a sack in Georgia’s victory over Cincinnati in the Peach Bowl.

“I have many great memories here at Georgia and Athens will always be home,” Herring wrote on his Twitter account.

Hill became the third Georgia underclassmen to enter the draft. The 6-foot-4, 330-pound junior followed junior cornerback Eric Stokes and sophomore outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari.

Hill missed the final two games of the 2020 season with an injury.

“Playing in the NFL has been a lifelong goal and I am excited and grateful for the opportunity to follow my dreams,” Hill said on Twitter.

Cook was Georgia’s second-leading rusher as a junior, rushing for 303 yards and three touchdowns He also caught 16 passes for 225 yards and two scores.

The younger brother of Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook missed the Peach Bowl after the death of their father.

Wyatt, who started all 10 games, is taking advantage of the NCAA’s decision to grant an extra year of eligibility because of the pandemic. He had 25 tackles, two of them for losses.

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.”