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NCAA Football

A Brief Separation From Football Made Deiontae Watts Better

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Deiontae Watts had to step away from the game of football at Plano East High School in Plano, Texas. This was for good reason. Off the field, academically, his grades weren’t where they needed to be and his mother decided it was time for him to step away from the team to get them in order.

“The toughest thing I’ve ever overcome would be me having to quit football to bring my grades up and I had to leave the team. That really put a hurt on me because I didn’t really feel like doing that and it was the best thing for me,” Watts said.

Plano East High’s defensive line coach Nathan Collins made it his mission to get Deiontae Watts back on the team.

“He had a good freshman year on JV and that spring in between freshman and sophomore year, he was a varsity starter. …He struggled with grades there early on as an underclassman and his mom pulled him out of football his sophomore year. The rest of the season, the winter, spring, the summer and maybe a third of the way into this past season, his junior year, it was all about getting him back,” Collins said. “Home visits, calls, text messages, I mean just a ton of work and his mom finally let him come back. They struggled financially a little bit so I think for the family it was logical. Coach is saying you have an opportunity, let’s let you go play.”

Deiontae Watts had a relationship with coach Collins thanks to his brother Corey Watts who also played high school football at Plano East. Unfortunately, a series of non-football related medical issues prevented him from continuing a football career in college and beyond.

Collins describes Deionte Watts as rapper Eminem’s character, Jimmy “B-Rabbit,” Smith in “8 Mile,” where like Smith, people would tell Deiontae Watts he’s great at this or that and he’s going to do great things in his future. Both guys always remained humble despite the accolades and praise. Collins said it didn’t really click for Watts until he was an upperclassman. He got more and more attention and also was sitting in front of Oklahoma Sooner’s football coach Bob Stoops and other coaches of big name programs.

From Watts’ perspective, he knew he could make something happen with football when he made a big play in his first varsity football game.

“It was probably my first varsity game. When coach Collins put me in he was like ‘let’s see what you got,’ and I was able to handle it. I went into the game and dominated the offensive line and in that first varsity game, I made a tackle while getting double teamed and coach was like ‘do you realize I have never seen anyone do that before?’ That’s when I realized I could play this game,” Watts said.

The biggest thing for Watts now is academics. For the future, grades cannot be an issue if he wants to see playing time and stay on the field for whichever football program he decides to play for.

The six-foot-three, 302 pound, Plano, Texas native, has 17 total offers from Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor, UCLA, USC, Ole Miss and more. According to the 247Sports Composite, he is a top-50 player in Texas and top-25 defensive tackle in the 2017 recruiting class. For the 2015 season, in five games, he recorded 17 tackles, five sacks, and 11 quarterback pressures. See his highlight film here.

“Texas A&M, Oklahoma, USC, Nebraska and there are some other ones I’m going to start throwing in there but those are the main ones that I have figured out,” Watts said about the schools he has high interest in right now.

He said that the recruiting process has been good for him so far and he’s been talking with Alabama to see if he can pick up a scholarship offer from them.

He plans to make his commitment decision sometime before National Signing Day (February 1, 2017). He still has official visits to take.

“Against the running game and pressuring quarterbacks. I feel like I’m pretty good at stopping the run because I feel like if I get a hold of you, you’re kind of done,” Watts said about what he’s best at doing on the field.

“I truly believe his upside, he hasn’t even hit that yet. The video you see out there right now, you have to keep in mind that that’s fresh off the couch. No summer workouts, no spring ball, no winter offseason,” Collins said. “He hadn’t touched a weight since he left as a sophomore so he’s just raw, playing really tall at times but this is his first offseason since [the time] in between his freshman and sophomore year. His tape of his senior year is going to be ridiculous. He’s got like 18 offers now, he’ll be a 40 offer kid by the time he’s done here.”

NCAA Football

Ex-Oregon Duck Doug Brenner Sues Willie Taggart, NCAA, University for $11.5 Million

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Former Oregon Ducks offensive lineman Doug Brenner has filed a lawsuit against the NCAA, University of Oregon, former Ducks’ head coach Willie Taggart, and former Ducks’ strength coach Irele Oderinde, for $11.5 million in alleged damages, according to The Oregonian’s James Crepea.

Per the report:

“Brenner’s attorneys allege the University of Oregon was negligent for failing to prohibit, regulate or supervise the workouts, which they describe as ‘physical punishment regimens.’ The lawsuit also alleges that Taggart and Oderinde, both now at Florida State, were negligent in imposing and carrying out the workouts, and that the NCAA has failed to regulate such practices by coaches of its member institutions.”

Brenner was hospitalized last year, January 2017, with “rhabdomyolysis and subsequent injuries” after a series of intense offseason workouts, and is seeking damages for the medical bills he accrued due to the workouts, along with the “severe injuries, some of which are permanent, permanent renal injury, a shortening of his life span by upwards of 10 years, increased susceptibility of kidney failure, kidney disease, and death, severe physical and emotional pain, [and premature death] and an impaired opportunity to play football in college and thereafter.”

The report goes on to say that offensive lineman Sam Poutasi and tight end Cam McCormick were also hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis, but neither player has been named as being a part of the lawsuit.

Taggart is now the head coach, and Oderinde is currently the strength and conditioning coach for the Florida State Seminoles.

One of the lawyers representing Brenner, Mark McDougal, said the following about the workouts referred to in the lawsuit:

“The drills were done in unison, and whenever a player faltered, vomited, or fainted, his teammates were immediately punished with additional repetitions. A key goal of this lawsuit is to force the NCAA to ban these kinds of punishing, abusive workouts. These workouts are contrary to NCAA guidelines for protecting players from injury and death. The NCAA needs to enact and enforce regulations that outlaw these practices.”

 

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MLB

Hurricane Florence Could Impact A Number of Games

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Hurricane Florence could threaten a number of games scheduled this week as the major storm system continues to threaten the United States Eastern Coast.

According to USA Today Sports, here are the games that could be impacted by the pending storm:

NFL

Sunday, Sept. 16

Carolina at Atlanta, 1 p.m.
Philadelphia at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.
Indianapolis at Washington, 1 p.m.
New England at Jacksonville, 4:25 p.m.

College football

Wednesday, Sept. 12

Campbell at Coastal Carolina, 2:00 (rescheduled from Saturday)

Thursday, Sept. 13

Boston College at Wake Forest, 7:30

Saturday, Sept. 15 

Georgia Southern at No. 2 Clemson, 3:30
Middle Tennessee at No. 3 Georgia, 7:15
No. 13 LSU at No. 7 Auburn, 3:30
East Carolina at No. 11 Virginia Tech, 12:20
No. 15 West Virginia at North Carolina State, 3:30
No. 18 Central Florida at North Carolina, 12:00
Ohio at Virginia, 3:00
Southern Miss at Appalachian State, 3:30
Colorado State at Florida, 4:00
Old Dominion at Charlotte, 6:00
Norfolk State at Liberty, 6:00
Marshall at South Carolina, 7:30

MLB

Wednesday, Sept. 12

Miami at N.Y. Mets, 4:10, Game 2 TBA
Oakland at Baltimore*, 7:05
Washington at Philadelphia*, 7:05
Toronto at Boston, 7:10

Thursday, Sept. 13

Chicago Cubs at Washington*, 4:05
Oakland at Baltimore*, 7:05
Miami at N.Y. Mets, 7:10
Toronto at Boston, 7:10

Friday, Sept. 14

Chic. White Sox at Baltimore, 7:05
Miami at Philadelphia*, 7:05
Toronto at N.Y. Yankees*, 7:05
N.Y. Mets at Boston, 7:10
Washington at Atlanta*, 7:35

Saturday, Sept. 15

Washington at Atlanta*, 1:05
N.Y. Mets at Boston, 4:05
Toronto at N.Y. Yankees*, 4:05
Chicago White Sox at Baltimore, 7:05
Miami at Philadelphia*, 7:05

Sunday, Sept. 16

Chicago White Sox at Baltimore, 1:05
N.Y. Mets at Boston, 1:05
Toronto at N.Y. Yankees*, 1:05
Miami at Philadelphia*, 1:35
Washington at Atlanta*, 1:35

*- games with playoff implications

Minor League Baseball

Wednesday, Sept. 12
Carolina League: Potomac (Va.) at Buies Creek (N.C.), 1:05

Thursday, Sept. 13
Carolina League: Buies Creek (N.C.) at Potomac (Va.). 7:05
International League: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Pa.) at Durham (N.C.), 7:05

Friday, Sept. 14
Carolina League: Buies Creek (N.C.) at Potomac (Va.), 7:05
International League: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Pa.) at Durham (N.C.) 7:05

Saturday, Sept. 15
Carolina League: Buies Creek (N.C.) at Potomac (Va.), 6:35
International League: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Pa.) at Durham (N.C.), 7:05

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NCAA Football

Braylon Edwards Apologizes for University of Miami Tweets, Stand by his Stance

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Former NFL wide receiver Braylon Edwards, who currently works for the Big Ten Network, has been suspended by the Big Ten Network for tweets he made on Saturday night after the Wolverines lost 24-17 to Notre Dame.3

Edwards, a former All-America wide receiver at the University of Michigan, heavily criticized Wolverines’ offensive lineman Cesar Ruiz, calling him “weak,” and called Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson “scared.”

Edwards played wide receiver for Michigan from 2001 to 2004, and then was drafted to the NFL.

Edwards then went on to target the Michigan team as a whole, tweeting  “f—ing Michigan offense so predictable … Michigan football is sadly one thing … Trash.”

Edwards was criticized by Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh on Monday for his tweets and then was officially suspended indefinitely by the Big Ten Network.

“Effective as of Sunday, Sept. 2, Braylon Edwards has been suspended indefinitely from his role at the Big Ten Network due to a violation of the network’s social media guidelines”, the Big Ten Network wrote in a since deleted tweet, according to Chris Vannini of The Athletic.

“No. 1, first of all, it’s not true. It’s not factual,” Harbaugh said of the comments. “There’s nobody in our program who thinks those things about any player on our team, let alone the two players he describes. On the other level, I was disappointed a member of the Big Ten Network would choose to attack the character of two of our players. That’s disappointing.

“We’ll handle things within the program,” Harbaugh said. “That’s all we control.”

“And, I would say, if somebody wants to attack the character of anybody on the ballclub, then come after me. I don’t think it’s right. It’s not true. And nobody in the program thinks that about any player on our team. Just so you know that’s not coming from anybody inside the program.”

While Edwards admits that his tweets were “excessive”, he stands by his criticism of the Wolverines, and says that he plans to reach out to Ruiz and Patterson through his brother, Berkley Edwards, who is a running back for Michigan.

Edwards added that former Wolverines coach Lloyd Carr “called me out in the media” and he realizes now he shouldn’t have done the same to Ruiz and Patterson.

“I admit I was excessive and emotional and inebriated. Mix those together. But the focus of my tweets remains intact. I stand by that. I was over-excessive Saturday night at 10:29, but I don’t back down on my overall stance as an alum and a fan. I’ve always defended Michigan. Even this year, I was high on Michigan,” Edwards said according to the Detroit News.

“I’m a man. We make mistakes. I’m sorry. I should not have gone that way. I still agree with the overall message — what do we do now (as a program)? But I apologize — shouldn’t name individual players. They’re still kids. That’s what I apologize for,” Edwards told the media outlet.

Now that there is Legal sports betting in the USA it will be interesting to see what happens when Edwards returns. Some sportsbooks have started taking wagers on whether or not he will keep his job in the end and for how long.

For now, Edwards has a lot of time to sit at home and reflect before his return to the Big Ten Network.

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