Wisconsin hires ex-Badgers center Al Johnson as RBs coach

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MADISON, Wis. — Former Wisconsin center Al Johnson has left a Division II head coaching position to return to his alma mater as the Badgers’ running backs coach.

Johnson filled a vacancy that was created after Gary Brown stepped away from coaching to take an off-field role with Wisconsin’s program. Brown coached Wisconsin’s running backs last season but didn’t accompany the team to the Las Vegas Bowl for medical reasons.

For the past four seasons, Johnson was head coach at East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma. East Central posted a 15-20 record in his tenure, including a 9-4 mark over the past two seasons.

“His experience as a head coach and in all facets of the offense will help us immensely,” Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said Thursday in a statement.

Johnson played center for Wisconsin from 2000-02. He played on two Rose Bowl teams and was a 2002 finalist for the Rimington Trophy, given annually to college football’s top center.

He played seven seasons in the NFL and worked as a Wisconsin graduate assistant from 2016-17.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today or have accomplished the things I have in my career without the people at Wisconsin who set me up for success,” Johnson said in a statement. “My goal is do the same thing for our players. When you add to that the opportunity to help our guys uphold the tradition we have at running back, this is a fantastic opportunity. I’m truly grateful.”

Clemson gives raises, contract extensions to staff

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CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson’s board of trustees approved raises for special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach Mike Reed and defensive tackles coach Nick Eason.

Reed and Eason also received one-year extensions keeping them tied to the Tigers through Jan. 31, 2026.

Reed, who’s been with the Tigers since 2013, had his yearly salary increased $50,000 to $800,000. Eason, the former Clemson standout defensive lineman, joined the staff this past season. He also had his compensation upped by $50,000 to $800,000.

Seven other assistants were given one-year extensions by the trustees’ compensation committee, but without a raise in salary.

Co-defensive coordinators Wes Goodwin and Mickey Conn had their contracts extended through Jan. 31, 2026.

Defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall, tight ends coach Kyle Richardson, offensive line coach Thomas Austin, running backs coach C.J. Spiller and wide receivers coach Tyler Grisham all got one-year extensions through Jan. 31, 2025.

New offensive coordinator Garrett Riley last month received a three-year contract at $1.75 million per season.

Clemson will pay its 10 on-field assistants $7.475 million this season, an increase of $925,000 from the total for 2022.

The Tigers went 11-3 last season, winning the Atlantic Coast Conference title for the seventh time in the past eight seasons.

South Carolina’s Beamer suspends three freshmen from program

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina coach Shane Beamer said freshmen Monteque Rhames II, Anthony Rose and Cameron Upshaw were suspended from the football program.

There was no reason given for the suspensions in the school’s statement Friday. Online records showed Rhames, 18, was booked last night and was being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on charges of carrying weapons on school property and obstructing justice.

“Our student-athletes know what is expected of them,” Beamer said. “They know that both the university and the football program will hold them accountable for their actions and decisions.”

None of the three have played for the Gamecocks.

Rose is a 6-foot-1, 190-pound defensive back from Miami who enrolled in January 2022 and redshirted this season. Rhames and Upshaw were part of South Carolina’s latest recruiting class and enrolled last month.

Rhames is a 6-5, 235-pound defensive lineman from Sumter and Upshaw is a 6-2, 193-pound safety from Perry, Florida.