Four-down territory: Judgment day for USC
…According to an ESPN.com report, USC will learn on Friday what the NCAA infractions committee discovered in its investigation of the school’s football and basketball programs. The committee’s response follows its February hearing in which the ‘SC administration responded to allegations of NCAA violations. Whatever the verdict, USC would have the chance to appeal. The Trojans already admitted infractions within the basketball program and sanctioned the squad, including a postseason ban. However, all eyes are now on the football program, as there is a growing public sentiment that former head coach Pete Carroll lost control of the program before his departure. If the NCAA found a lack of institutional control within the program, significant sanctions could be applied, including scholarship reductions, postseason bans, recruiting restrictions and probation. The Trojans won a national championship and lost in a BCS title game during the time these violations were believe to have occurred. In addition, former running back Reggie Bush won a Heisman Trophy. Those awards could be in jeopardy, depending on what is announced on Friday when the findings are revealed.
…Illinois head coach Ron Zook named redshirt freshman Nathan Scheelhaase the team’s starting quarterback on Wednesday. Scheelhaase, who will take over for four-year starter Juice Williams under center, beat out sophomore Jacob Charest and true freshman Chandler Whitmer with his solid play during spring practice. The 6-3, 195-pounder’s first career start will come Sept. 4 against Missouri in St. Louis. Zook and new Illini offensive coordinator Paul Petrino have been impressed with his leadership ability throughout the offseason, as well as his improved understanding of the passing game and his ability to make plays with his feet. Scheelhaase threw for 1,726 yards and 17 touchdowns while rushing for 864 yards and 18 scores as a senior in high school.
…Following up on an earlier post, former Iowa running back Jeff Brinson is now officially on the Central Florida roster. The Orlando Sentinel reports that the NCAA approved Brinson’s hardship waiver, which allows him to be eligible to play for the Knights this season. After redshirting his first season at Iowa and being limited by a foot injury last year, the 5-11, 215-pounder will provide a much-needed boost for the Knights’ backfield after starter Brynn Harvey suffered an undisclosed knee injury during spring ball. He is expected to miss at least the nonconference season. Brinson racked up 4,925 rushing yards and 67 touchdowns on 567 carries during his high school career.
…Speaking of running backs, is Dontae Aycock on the move? The former Auburn Tiger and Tampa native reportedly is interested in transferring to South Florida, but he has not yet had any conversations with new Bulls head coach Skip Holtz. Aycock spent one season at Auburn after being rated as a four-star prospect by Rivals.com. He just felt like he never fit in with the Tigers. “I just didn't like the atmosphere [at Auburn],” he said. “I don't know if it was just me being homesick, but it didn't seem like I fit well there.”
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