North Carolina losing offensive assistants Longo, Bicknell to Wisconsin

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — North Carolina is losing two assistants to Wisconsin, including the one who has orchestrated the Tar Heels’ prolific attack the past four seasons.

Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Phil Longo said he and offensive line coach Jack Bicknell Jr. leave Chapel Hill for the same roles under new Badgers coach Luke Fickell.

Neither will coach when UNC (9-4) faces No. 15 Oregon in the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 28. Longo said his opportunity to work with Fickell – a friend for several years – was enticing.

“My wife and I love (UNC), the kids love it. It’s good coaching for (Mack) Brown. We’ve got a good staff and I absolutely love the locker room,” Longo said in an interview with The Associated Press. “So there’s no issues. It’s very, very difficult leaving here.

“We just felt like this was the right time,” he continued. “That’s what we decided to do, was take our shot in the Big Ten.”

Wisconsin team spokesman Brian Lucas declined to comment in an email, saying the program has yet to officially announce any staff hirings.

Longo said he first met with Fickell about joining his new staff at Cincinnati for the 2017 season before ultimately going to Mississippi. Longo spent two years there before joining Brown when the College Football Hall of Famer returned for a second stint at UNC before the 2019 season.

“I often felt I wouldn’t leave North Carolina for anything other than a head job unless it was for Luke, so that kind of presented itself when we spoke,” he said.

Longo’s first three offenses averaged 492 yards and 36.5 points behind quarterback Sam Howell, the program’s all-time leader with 10,283 yards passing and 92 touchdowns.

This year’s Tar Heels average 473.6 yards and 35 points with Drake Maye as Howell’s successor. He ranked among the Bowl Subdivision leaders in total offense (366.8, second), passing yardage (316.5, fifth) and passing touchdowns (35, tied for fifth).

Maye – named the AP’s Atlantic Coast Conference offensive player of the year – tweeted that he’d return to UNC as expected.

Clemson gives raises, contract extensions to staff

Ken Ruinard/USA TODAY NETWORK
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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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Corey Perrine/USA TODAY NETWORK
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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.