Former Wisconsin QB Graham Mertz to play for Florida in 2023

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Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Former Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz is transferring to Florida, giving the Gators an experienced starter at a depleted position.

Mertz announced his commitment on social media Wednesday. He is expected to enroll at the Southeastern Conference school in January.

A three-year starter at Wisconsin, Mertz left the program after the Badgers hired former Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell to head its program.

He joins a Florida team that lost Anthony Richardson to the NFL draft and dismissed backup Jalen Kitna following his arrest on child pornography charges. Third-stringer Jack Miller started the Las Vegas Bowl against Oregon State and threw for 180 yards and was sacked four times in a 30-3 loss.

The Gators signed four-star quarterback prospect Jaden Rashada on Wednesday as a potential starter in 2023 and could mine the transfer portal for more help at the all-important position, where Florida lost Richardson, Kitna, Emory Jones and Carlos Del Rio-Wilson in a nine-month span.

Mertz threw five touchdown passes to help Wisconsin beat Illinois 45-7 in his first career start, setting a school single-game record for completion percentage and tying the school single-game record for TD tosses.

But he struggled with consistency the rest of his time with the Badgers. Wisconsin had a different offensive coordinator each of his three seasons as a starter.

Mertz has completed 59.5% of his career passes for 5,405 yards, with 38 touchdowns and 26 interceptions. He completed 57.3% of his attempts for 2,136 yards, with 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions this season.

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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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.