Wisconsin adds Haynes, Hitschler, Scruggs to defensive staff

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin added Paul Haynes, Colin Hitschler, and Greg Scruggs to new coach Luke Fickell‘s defensive staff.

Haynes will coach cornerbacks and Scruggs will coach defensive linemen. Hitschler will coach safeties and lead the special-teams unit.

“I’m really excited about being able to add Paul, Colin and Greg,” Fickell said in a statement. “I have experience working with all three of them and they are tremendous coaches and people. They truly value the relationships with their players and will work diligently to help them develop both on and off the field.”

Fickell already had named Mike Tressel his defensive coordinator.

Haynes coached Minnesota’s cornerbacks the last three seasons and was the Gophers’ co-defensive coordinator in 2022. He was the head coach at Kent State from 2013-17 and posted a 14-45 record.

Haynes previously coached Ohio State’s secondary from 2005-11 and was co-defensive coordinator in 2011 when Fickell was the Buckeyes’ interim head coach. He also was Michigan State’s defensive backs coach in 2018-19, when Tressel was the Spartans’ defensive coordinator.

Hitschler joined Fickell’s Cincinnati staff as a quality control coach in 2018 and was the Bearcats’ safeties coach from 2020-22. He also has coached safeties at South Alabama.

Scruggs was the New York Jets’ assistant defensive line coach this season. He was Cincinnati’s director of player development from 2018-19 and defensive line coach from 2020-21.

Vick, Fitzgerald and Suggs among stars on College Football Hall of Fame ballot for 1st time

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Michael Vick, Larry Fitzgerald and Terrell Suggs are among the college football stars who will be considered for induction to the Hall of Fame for the first time this year.

The National Football Foundation released Monday a list of 78 players and nine coaches from major college football who are on the Hall of Fame ballot. There also are 101 players and 32 coaches from lower divisions of college football up for consideration.

Vick, who led Virginia Tech to the BCS championship game against Florida State as a redshirt freshman in 1999, is among the most notable players appearing on the ballot in his first year of eligibility.

Vick finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1999. He played one season of college football before being drafted No. 1 overall by the Atlanta Falcons in 2001. Vick’s professional career was interrupted when he served 21 months in prison for his involvement in dog fighting.

Fitzgerald was the Heisman runner-up in 2003 to Oklahoma quarterback Jason White. He scored 34 touchdowns in just two seasons at Pitt.

Suggs led the nation in sacks with 24 in 2002 for Arizona State.

The 2024 Hall of Fame class will be chosen by the National Football Foundation’s Honors Court and announced in January. Induction into the Atlanta-based hall is the following December.

Alabama freshman DB Mitchell says he wasn’t sure he’d get to play again after arrest

Mickey Welsh / Advertiser / USA TODAY NETWORK
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama defensive back Tony Mitchell said he feared his football career was over after his arrest on a drug charge.

The Crimson Tide freshman said in a video posted Sunday on social media that he knew “something much bigger could have happened.”

A judge in Holmes County, Florida, sentenced Mitchell to three years of probation with a fine and community service on May 24 after Mitchell pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of more than 20 grams of cannabis.

“I didn’t know if I’d be able to play football again, but I continued to work out and stay close with the Lord and those who love me unconditionally,” Mitchell said. “During those times, it helped me to keep my mind off it. But when I was by myself looking at social media, what everybody had to say about it, it just felt like it happened again.

“I didn’t sleep at night.”

He was suspended from the Alabama team following the arrest, but Mitchell’s father, Tony Sr., posted on Facebook last week that the defensive back had been reinstated. An Alabama spokesman declined to comment on Mitchell’s status.

Tony Mitchell Sr. shared his son’s video on Facebook, saying it was filmed during a talk to youth.

“I was doing things I knew I shouldn’t to try to fit in,” the younger Mitchell said, “but not everybody’s your friend.”

Mitchell, who is from Alabaster, Alabama, was a four-star prospect and the 15th-rated safety in the 247Composite rankings.

He had been charged in March with possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell after a traffic stop when authorities said he drove over 141 mph (227 kph) while trying to evade deputies in the Florida Panhandle. A deputy had spotted Mitchell’s black Dodge Challenger traveling 78 mph (125 kph) in a 55 mph (88 kph) zone on a rural highway north of Bonifay.

He also received 100 hours of community service and paid a fine of $1,560.

Mitchell and a passenger were both charged with possession of marijuana with the intent to sell or deliver, according to a Holmes County Sheriff’s Office arrest report. The other man also was charged with carrying a concealed gun without a permit.