Michigan lineman Mazi Smith takes plea deal in gun case

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Michigan defensive lineman Mazi Smith pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor Thursday, a week after he was charged with a felony for possessing a gun in his pickup truck without a concealed-weapon permit.

Smith’s record will be scrubbed clean if stays out of trouble for a certain period of time, which is a common offer for young people with no past criminal activity.

Smith, 21, was stopped for speeding on Oct. 7 and found to have a handgun and ammunition but not a concealed-pistol permit, Ann Arbor police said. He was taken to the police station and released a day before Michigan faced Indiana.

Smith pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor gun charge involving a vehicle. He’s scheduled to return to court on Dec. 29, two days before No. 2 Michigan plays No. 3 TCU in the Fiesta Bowl, part of the College Football Playoff.

Washtenaw County prosecutor Eli Savit, a Wolverine fan, was criticized for waiting nearly two months to file a charge. He said there was nothing remarkable about the timeline, especially when Smith was not in custody, which would have forced a quicker decision.

Defense attorney John Shea said Smith was applying for a concealed-weapon permit at the time of the traffic stop and has one now.

The case has not harmed Smith’s status with the football team. He played in the Big Ten Championship last weekend.

“Mazi was honest, forthcoming and cooperative from the very beginning and is a tremendous young man. He is not and never has been considered a threat to the university or community,” Michigan director of athletics Warde Manuel said last week.

The same prosecutor’s office struck a deal with Eastern Michigan basketball star Emoni Bates, who was arrested and similarly charged in September with carrying a concealed weapon in a car. Bates settled the matter with a misdemeanor. He said it was not his car or gun.

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.