Bo Nix settles into his new team, new QB competition

Ben Lonergan/The Register-Guard/USA TODAY NETWORK

EUGENE, Ore. — Bo Nix has seen this all before.

A three-year starter at Auburn, Nix transferred to Oregon in the offseason and now finds himself in a competition at quarterback with young prospects Ty Thompson and Jay Butterfield.

Nix competed with LSU transfer T.J. Finley at Auburn during fall camp last year. He won the job, but was replaced by Finley in mid-November when be broke his ankle.

Nix said it’s been the same every fall camp since he was a freshman: He pours himself into securing the job.

“I wanted that really bad obviously,” he said. “It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do and so I put my life to it, and that’s just what I’ve been doing for the past couple of years, all this these competitions. I mean, you really do have to put your life to it and everything’s got to be about it.”

The former five-star recruit started the first 34 games of his career at Auburn before the season-ending ankle injury. Last season threw for 2,294 yards with 11 touchdowns and three interceptions. Known for his mobility, he also ran for four touchdowns. But the Tigers, under first-year head coach Bryan Harsin, struggled somewhat and finished 6-7 for their first season below .500 since 2012.

Nix joins a team that is going through its own transition: The Ducks are embarking on their first season under Dan Lanning, former defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Georgia.

Nix said that even in SEC country Oregon is a well-known and respected team, which is why he settled on the Ducks.

“The brand of Oregon, the `O’ itself signifies so much in college football, year in and year out, they have a chance to be in the top four in the country,” he said. “That’s what I wanted to be a part of. I wanted to be able to play and have a chance to play in the playoff. And I know that with my skills I could contribute.”

The move also reunites him with new Oregon offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham, who was Auburn’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach when Nix was a freshman. That year Nix won SEC Freshman of the Year honors.

Nix, the son of former Auburn quarterback Patrick Nix, is more comfortable in Eugene since getting married in the offseason. At 22, he’s among the oldest players on the team.

“Especially now being here, I feel like the oldest guy. Even though it’s not necessarily my age. People kind of look at me because I’m already married, I’ve been through a lot, they kind of assume that I’m just a lot older,” Nix said. “Which is a good thing, because we have a lot of younger guys that haven’t had same experience.”

Thompson, his main competition, played in three games last season as a true freshman while redshirting. He passed for 87 total yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

But players say Butterfield, who appeared in one game last season, is in the mix, too.

“We’re going to compete at quarterback like we do at every position,” Lanning said. “I’m really excited that we have quarterbacks that can play winning football at the University of Oregon,” Lanning said. “If I felt like it gave us a competitive advantage to tell you, I would. I don’t.”

While Nix is the presumed front-runner in the competition because of his experience, he also serves as a mentor to Thompson and Butterfield.

“Bo is a natural born leader. He’s like a coach on the field sometimes. He’s obviously older, he’s going into his fourth year in college and he’s been-there, done-that in the SEC,” Thompson said. “So he knows his way around the field and he just does a really good job vocalizing stuff like that. And he’s a really good athlete, we all know that.”

South Carolina gives AD Tanner raise, two-year extension

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COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner received a two-year contract extension that ties him to the school through June 2026.

Tanner, 64, is a two-time College World Series champion as the Gamecocks’ baseball coach who moved to leading the athletic department in July 2012.

The new deal was approved by the school’s board of trustees Friday and replaces Tanner’s old agreement that was set to expire in June 2024. Tanner will receive a raise of more than $153,000 per season, increasing his total compensation to $1.175 million.

Tanner has had his ups and downs leading the department. He took over when football coach Steve Spurrier was in the middle of three straight 11-2 seasons with players like defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney and receiver Alshon Jeffrey.

Tanner’s hire to replace Spurrier, Will Muschamp, lasted less than five seasons before he was let go in the middle of 2020. Muschamp’s replacement, current coach Shane Beamer, has had back-to-back winning seasons and been to a bowl game his first two yeas.

Tanner has also overseen the rise of women’s basketball under coach Dawn Staley, who signed a seven-year contract before the 2021-22 season worth $22.4 million. Staley and the Gamecocks won the national title last April and are favorites to repeat this season.

Michigan RB Blake Corum says he’ll be back by fall camp

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan All-America running back Blake Corum said his surgically repaired left knee has gotten strong enough that he’s been cleared to run on an anti-gravity treadmill next week.

Corum said that he is “100%” sure he will play in the season-opening game on Sept. 2 against East Carolina

Corum tore a meniscus and sprained a ligament in his left knee against Illinois on Nov. 19. After playing sparingly against Ohio State, he sat out when the Wolverines won the Big Ten title and advanced to the College Football Playoff semifinals.

Instead of entering the NFL draft, Corum decided to stay in school for his senior year.

“Feeling great all-around mentally, physically spiritually,” Corum told The Associated Press.

The 5-foot-8, 210-pound Corum ran for 1,463 yards and 18 touchdowns last season and had 952 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2021.

“I’ll be back definitely by fall camp,” he said. “I plan on doing everything in the summer workouts, depending on on what doctor says. He told me I shouldn’t be cutting until maybe June. I’m taking my time, but I will be ready by the season.”

Corum will be watching when his teammates face each each other in the Maize and Blue spring game on April 1 at Michigan Stadium.