Tar Heels WR Downs opts out of Holiday Bowl for NFL leap

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – North Carolina receiver Josh Downs is opting out of the Holiday Bowl against No. 15 Oregon to prepare for a jump to the NFL draft.

Downs announced his decision in a social media post Friday, less than a week after he had 11 catches for 100 yards in the Tar Heels’ loss to No. 10 Clemson in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game. He led the team with 94 catches for 1,029 yards and 11 touchdowns despite missing two games.

Downs ranks third in the Bowl Subdivision ranks with 8.5 catches per game, while his 11 TD catches is tied for seventh.

His top stretch came when he had a run of four straight 100-yard games with at least nine catches each time. That included 15 catches for 166 yards and a touchdown at Virginia and 11 catches for 154 yards and three scores in a win at Wake Forest that clinched the ACC’s Coastal Division title.

Downs had ranked 10th in FBS in 2021 with 1,335 yards receiving to go with eight scores.

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.