Bryan Fischer

National college football columnist. FWAA Super 16 voter. Travel virtuoso.

North Carolina offensive lineman Avery Jones hits transfer portal

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North Carolina will hit the weekend down one player to the NCAA transfer portal.

As first noted by Inside Carolina, offensive lineman Avery Jones has submitted his name to the database.

The redshirt offensive lineman was considered a four-star as part of the Class of 2018. That pre-dates Mack Brown‘s (second) time in Chapel Hill but he was expected to provide some depth for North Carolina whenever the 2020 campaign rolled around.

Instead, Jones Will Likely be playing elsewhere for the eventual season’s kickoff. He wound up appearing in just one game for the Tar Heels during his time on campus, a single snap against FCS Mercer last year.

Interestingly, Inside Carolina notes that Jones is the ninth player to depart from the UNC program this offseason. Tight end Carl Tucker (to Alabama) is the most notable of those names.

It goes without saying that playing time could be a big factor for Jones’ departure. Not only did he not see much of the field, but he was recruited over in recent classes quite a bit. Add in an upcoming haul from Brown and snaps would be hard to come by.

No word on any potential destinations for Jones in the report. He was recruited out of high school by a number of ACC programs, however. In addition, East Carolina, Maryland and Vanderbilt also offered him.

Griffin twins to speak at UCF virtual commencement

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One of the best college football stories of the past few years is getting a very cool second act at UCF. Virtually, at least.

In an announcement by the school on Thursday, the Knights have confirmed that their commencement speakers this year will be none other than Shaquill and Shaquem Griffin. The two brothers were stars on the football field at Central Florida before becoming draft picks and starters for the Seattle Seahawks.

The twins will deliver their speeches online on May 2 as the university confers degrees on thousands of students over the internet. The event is a marquee one too in more ways than one. The school is celebrating their 50th anniversary commencement and will involve nearly 8,600 students.

Shaquill is a former Knights defensive back who turned into a third round NFL draft pick in 2017.  Brother Shaquem played a large role in leading the team to an undefeated season the following year, earning numerous accolades for his play on the field despite being a partial amputee. He was eventually drafted in the fifth round by the Seahawks.

The two earned their degrees from UCF together in 2016.

Now they’ll be trying to pass on some words of wisdom to the next generation of black and gold.

UNLV could be cutting air travel for away football games amid budget concerns

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UNLV could be trading plane rides for bus rides in 2020 and beyond.

Citing budget concerns surrounding the coronavirus, Rebels athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois noted that slashing the program’s travel expenses are among the items being looked at as the school deals with the financial fallout related to COVID-19.

“We’ve been in continuous conversation with the Mountain West Conference,” Reed-Francois told the Las Vegas Sun. “We’re going to look at travel expenses, we’re going to look at the number of away games. We may be looking at bussing to places we may have flown before.”

The Sun notes that UNLV spent some $2.7 million on travel across all sports. Football made up nearly a fifth of that amount to the dune of $587,000.

As currently constructed, the Rebels will have seven home games in 2020. While it would be a stretch to bus to an away game like the ones at Iowa State or certainly Hawaii, they do have somewhat manageable (if long) visits to MWC venues at San Diego State, San Jose State and Fresno State that they could travel to via the highway.

Needless to say, this would be quite the headache for a new coaching staff under Marcus ArroyoIn addition to the travel issues, there are also outstanding concerns over the opening of Allegiant Stadium and its usage for the school as well.

Cutting back on air travel is bound to be something other programs start exploring either way — especially at the Group of Five level.  It seems the Rebels will just be the first of many to drill down into some of the details on the balance sheet over the coming weeks and months.