Bama’s Mccarron to return; Arkansas’ Davis to try NFL
Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, who has led the Crimson Tide to their second straight national title game, said he will return for his senior season instead of entering the NFL draft.
McCarron made the announcement in a statement released by the school on Wednesday.
“I had many goals for myself when I came to the University of Alabama,” the junior said. “I have been lucky enough to achieve some of those goals, but some are still ahead of me. There were many factors in my decision to return to Alabama for my senior year but, after talking with my family and coaches, I knew it was the right choice for me.
“I love the University of Alabama, my coaches, my teammates and our fans. I am excited to have the opportunity to play with my brother (sophomore tight end Corey McCarron), continue to grow as a leader, continue to help our team win football games and develop even further as a quarterback. The NFL has long been a dream, but I think another year at Alabama can only help my chances of being successful at the next level.”
McCarron leads the nation in passing efficiency headed into the BCS championship game against Notre Dame on Jan. 7 in Miami, and he was MVP of the BCS championship game against LSU last season. He is 24-2 as a starter.
McCarron has thrown for 2,669 yards and a school-record 26 touchdown passes against just three interceptions this season. His 45 career TD passes is second in Alabama history.
Arkansas: Running back Knile Davis will enter the NFL draft and skip his senior year.
He led all Southeastern Conference running backs in rushing in 2010 with 1,322 yards. He averaged 147 yards rushing over his final seven games that season, capping off the breakout performance with a 139-yard rushing effort in the Sugar Bowl against Ohio State.
However, he missed the 2011 season while recovering from a broken left ankle. Davis returned this past season and said he was 100 percent healthy, though he gained only 377 yards rushing — averaging 3.7 yards per carry.
“Over the last few weeks, I’ve been very reflective in weighing my options,” Davis said in a statement. “However, after careful counsel with my family and support system, I’ve made the decision to forego my final year of eligibility and enter the 2013 NFL draft.“
Mississippi State: Running back Nick Griffin will miss the Gator Bowl after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
Notre Dame: The final visit to Michigan for the foreseeable future will be another prime-time affair for the Fighting Irish.
The second night game in Michigan Stadium history will feature the same combatants as the first with the announcement Wednesday that the Irish and Wolverines will play under the lights Sept. 7.
The game time and broadcast platform on ABC/ESPN will be set later, Michigan and ESPN said.
South Carolina: Injured running back Marcus Lattimore is finished with college football. How long it takes the Gamecocks junior to make his NFL debut is anyone’s guess.
Lattimore announced he was giving up his final season to enter the NFL draft. He was considered a can’t-miss, first-round talent after his first two seasons. However, a horrifying right knee injury in October has dropped his draft stock and it is unclear when Lattimore might return to action.
Doctors say surgery on his knee was successful and Lattimore easily walked into his first gathering with the media since the injury.
Washington State: An internal investigation into allegations by a former player of abuse by coaches did not turn up any evidence of such abuse in the program headed by coach Mike Leach. Star receiver Marquess Wilson quit the team late in the season and contended that players were suffering physical and mental abuse. Five potential candidates to fill MajorApplewhite’s running backs coach slot: ■ He’s coaching receivers at Mississippi State, but the former Longhorns tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator knows the program and is a good recruiter — he led the recruitment ofVince Young.And he’s worked for Mack Brown twice (Texas, North Carolina). ■ Texas may be a lateral move forAlabama’s RB coach, but he’ll likely be considered.Applewhite is said to hold Burns in high regard — they coached together there — and Burns, who coached Mark Ingram,Trent Richardson and C.J. Spiller, is a top position coach and recruiter. ■ Hammock, considered one of the country’s best RB coaches, is available — when Brett Bielema left Wisconsin forArkansas, he retained Razorbacks RB coach Tim Horton. Hammock,who coached Michael Turner and Montee Ball, is considered a strong recruiter. ■ The former Southwest Texas State All-American running back has been successful on the high school front — his DeSoto Eagles play Allen in a Class 5A Div. I state semifinal this weekend — and came close to being an assistant coach at Houston last year before deciding to go back to DeSoto. ■ Nix has been Ole Miss’RB coach for four years, and is considered one of the Rebels’top recruiters. He also spent one year in the NFL ranks, working as Bobby Petrino’s quality control assistant with the Atlanta Falcons. now the head coach at Mississippi.
In his final season at Texas, Harsin directed an offense that ranked sixth in the Big 12 in three major categories — rushing (176.0 yards per game), passing (265.0) and total offense (441.0). The Longhorns averaged 36.1 points per game, seventh in the league.
“Brian has done a tremendous job for us, and we appreciate all the energy he’s poured into our program the past two seasons,” Longhorns head coach Mack Brown said in a statement. “We’re happy any time our coaches have the opportunity to be a head coach. I think that is a great reflection of the types of coaches we are fortunate enough to have in our program.”
Harsin might not be the only Texas assistant to wind up moving on to a head-coaching job. Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, under fire after his unit went from first place in the Big 12 in total yards allowed in 2011 to fifth place this season, reportedly is a candidate for the opening at Florida International University, in his hometown of Miami.
Wednesday’s developments represent the next step up the ladder for Applewhite, who played quarterback for the Longhorns from 1998-2001 and has served as a full-time assistant on Brown’s staff since 2008.
Applewhite, 34, who was not available for comment Wednesday because he was out of town, held the offensive coordinator’s title at Rice in 2006 and Alabama 2007 before returning to Texas.
Applewhite inherits a job that has questions in need of answers on several fronts, including