Dec 26, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers punter Bradley Pinion (8) punts against the Carolina Panthers during the first quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Falcons sign P Bradley Pinion

The Atlanta Falcons signed Bradley Pinion to a contract on Thursday, just over one week after the punter was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed by the Falcons.

Pinion, 28, is expected to battle Dom Maggio and Seth Vernon for the job in Atlanta.

Pinion averaged a career-low 42.5 yards per kick last season with the Buccaneers.

Pinion spent his first four seasons with the San Francisco 49ers after the team selected him with a fifth-round pick during the 2015 NFL Draft.

He signed with the Buccaneers as an unrestricted free agent in 2019 before being released on June 22, nearly two months after Tampa Bay selected Georgia punter Jake Camarda in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

–Field Level Media

Nov 20, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA;  UCLA Bruins running back Kazmeir Allen (19) catches a touchdown pass against Southern California Trojans cornerback Isaac Taylor-Stuart (6) in the first half at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: USC, UCLA planning jump to Big Ten in 2024

Southern Cal and UCLA are planning to leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten as early as 2024, the Bay Area News Group and The Athletic reported Thursday.

The move has not been finalized “at the highest levels of power,” per the bombshell report, and The Athletic noted legally guided steps that must be followed for either university to change conferences.

USC joined the conference in 1922 while UCLA joined in 1928.

The Big Ten last expanded in 2014 with the additions of Rutgers and Maryland.

–Field Level Media

Dec 26, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders (26) reacts as he takes the field before a game against the New York Giants at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Miles Sanders: Eagles ‘feel like we’re on an All-Star team’

Running back Miles Sanders has high hopes for the Philadelphia Eagles this season.

How high? Well, the 25-year-old set the bar when discussing his team’s offense which includes quarterback Jalen Hurts, offseason acquisition A.J. Brown and fellow wideout DeVonta Smith, tight end Dallas Goedert and others.

“Oh man, we all feel like we’re on an All-Star team, so we feel great,” Sanders told CBS Sports when asked about the addition of Brown to the offense.

“We feel unstoppable, I’m not gonna lie. The vibes are great, always have been. (Head coach) Nick Sirianni is doing a great job just keeping the vibes right, the chemistry good.”

It should be noted that the Eagles finished 9-8 last season and were eliminated by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC wild-card round.

Sanders averaged a career-high 5.5 yards per carry but was limited to a career-low 754 rushing yards and zero rushing touchdowns in 12 games last season.

Now, if Sanders’ over-the-top statement prior to the season sounds vaguely familiar, well that refrain has been heard before in Philadelphia.

Backup quarterback Vince Young labeled the Eagles as a “Dream Team” prior to the 2011 season. That team finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs.

–Field Level Media

Oct 5, 2019; Morgantown, WV, USA; Texas Longhorns helmets sit in the tunnel at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

5-star WR Johntay Cook II commits to Texas

Five-star wide receiver Johntay Cook II committed to Texas on Wednesday, giving coach Steve Sarkisian his quarterback-wideout combination of the future.

Cook, ranked as the No. 6 receiver in the nation by the 247Sports composite, joins quarterback Arch Manning as the Longhorns’ top commits in the Class of 2023.

Manning, the No. 1 player in the class, committed last week.

Cook, from DeSoto, Texas, chose his home-state school over Oregon and Michigan.

“Honestly, I’m ready to come home,” Cook told 247Sports. “It’s just the right fit for me. I couldn’t go wrong. Coach Sark is an offensive genius. Texas has been loving me since Day 1. … With Arch Manning, nobody is going to be able to fool with me and him. Freshman year I’ll have Quinn Ewers, so I’m arguably going to have the best two quarterbacks in college football.”

The Longhorns now have the No. 2 recruiting class in 2023, following only Ohio State, per the 247Sports ranking.

The Buckeyes’ class is highlighted by Brandon Inniss and Carnell Tate, both from Florida high schools, who are two of the top three wide receivers in 2023.

–Field Level Media

Oct 16, 2021; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Mississippi Rebels helmet on the field before a game between the Tennessee Volunteers and Mississippi Rebels at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports

Ole Miss WR Drew Burnett recovering from gunshot wound

Ole Miss wide receiver Drew Burnett is recovering from a gunshot wound sustained after celebrating the school’s win in the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., a student-run site at Ole Miss, reported Burnett was shot in the leg. Omaha police said they responded to 12th and Cass streets in the city at 1:14 a.m. Monday and found Burnett, 19, with the bullet wound.

A news release said witnesses reported the shot came from a dark-colored, extended-cab pickup truck.

Cassidy Burnett, the player’s sister-in-law, told the publication that Drew was walking back to his hotel when he was shot in what she said apparently was a “random drive-by shooting.”

“He’s doing well,” Cassidy Burnett said. “He’s in high spirits and is expected to make a full recovery.”

Burnett was treated and released at Nebraska Medical Center and has returned home to Memphis. His brother, James Burnett, said Drew should be able to play for the Rebels by “mid-fall,” per

Drew Burnett is a walk-on freshman.

The police department is asking anyone with information to contact Omaha Crime Stoppers. A tipster with information that leads to an arrest is eligible for a $10,000 reward.

Ole Miss defeated Oklahoma on Sunday to win its first College World Series.

–Field Level Media

Arch Manning

Arch Manning already favored to be No. 1 overall draft pick

Arch Manning won’t step on the field for the University of Texas until 2023 but he’s already the favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft four years from now. has opened a trio of prop bets around Manning since the consensus No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2023 committed to the Longhorns last week.

The potential action begins with the five-star prospect being offered at +450 to forgo a redshirt season and -190 to start immediately as a true freshman.

Manning chose Texas over a host of powerhouse programs including Alabama, Georgia, LSU and Clemson. The expectation is that the 6-foot-4 New Orleans native will be given an immediate opportunity to take the reins of the Longhorns’ offense.

Manning is the nephew of former NFL greats Peyton and Eli Manning and the grandson of Archie Manning. He is the son of Cooper Manning.

Arch Manning threw for 26 touchdowns and ran for seven more as a junior at Isidore Newman High School. He could be the starting quarterback for Texas in 2025, which would be his junior season and the year the Longhorns enter the SEC.

Manning’s commitment led to a recruiting surge for Longhorns coach Steve Sarkisian.

Seven players have committed to the program since Manning’s announcement, including five on Sunday alone. Five-star defensive back Derek Williams added his commitment on Monday.

“That kind of shocked me,” Williams told ESPN of Manning’s decision. “I knew (Manning) was (likely) going there, but I was just making sure. That impacted my decision going (to Texas).”

Texas has vaulted from the mid-30s to the No. 3-ranked recruiting class for 2023 by 247Sports in the past week.

“This has been a great run,” Sarkisian said Monday, per ESPN. “Hopefully it’s not over. I don’t think it is.

“We may have a few more to go here this week. Hopefully we can continue to capture some of the momentum that has been created.”

–Field Level Media

Mississippi State Bulldogs Head Coach Mike Leach talks to the referee after a turnover by his team to the Texas Tech Red Raiders during the AutoZone Liberty Bowl at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium on Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021.


Reports: Mississippi State’s Mike Leach signs extension

Mississippi State and football coach Mike Leach agreed to a two-year extension through the 2025 season, multiple outlets reported.

Leach, 61, completed the first two years of a four-year deal he signed with the Bulldogs in January of 2020. The new agreement boosts his annual compensation from $5 million to $5.5 million, according to reports from the Clarion Ledger and ESPN.

Leach led Mississippi State to a 4-7 record in 2020 and a 7-6 mark in 2021. The Bulldogs beat Tulsa in the Armed Forces Bowl after his first season and lost to his former employer Texas Tech in the Liberty Bowl last season.

Overall, he owns a 150-103 record in 20 seasons as a head coach at Texas Tech (2000-09), Washington State (2012-19) and Mississippi State.

–Field Level Media

Mar 13, 2019; Kansas City, MO, USA; Big 12 logo at center court prior to the TCU Horned Frogs and the Oklahoma State Cowboys game of the first round of the Big 12 conference tournament at Sprint Center. Mandatory Credit: William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

Big 12 name Brett Yormark as new commissioner

The Big 12 Conference officially introduced Brett Yormark as its new commissioner on Wednesday.

Yormark, 55, joins the Big 12 after serving as the chief operating officer at Roc Nation.

He succeeds Bob Bowlsby, who stepped down in April after leading the league for a decade.

“I’m here to listen, learn, find ways to add value, add resources and try to help shine a light on the importance of college athletics,” Yormark said. “I look forward to leveraging my experience and network alongside our presidents, chancellors and athletic directors to shape the future of the Big 12 brand and emphasize our collective strengths.”

A graduate of Indiana University, Yormark began his sports career working in the New Jersey Nets’ ticket office. He climbed the ladder to the top, serving as CEO of the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center from 2005-19.

“Brett is one of the most skilled and knowledgeable executives in sports and entertainment,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said. “His decades of operational experience, relentless work ethic and strong industry relationships will be of enormous value to the Big 12, its schools and fans.”

Yormark was promoted to COO of Jay Z’s Roc Nation agency in January after previously working as co-CEO of Roc Nation Unified.

The Big 12 is a league in transition, with Texas and Oklahoma announcing last year that they are moving to the Southeastern Conference when their Big 12 rights expire in 2025. Bowlsby helped to usher in the additions of BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF, who will join in the summer of 2023.

Yormark agreed to an initial contract term of five years and his official start date is expected to be Aug. 1.

“In Brett Yormark, we have chosen a highly adaptable leader who thrives in dynamic times. The landscape of college athletics is evolving to look more like the world Brett has been leading,” said Lawrence Schovanec, president of Texas Tech University and Chair of the Big 12 board of directors. “He’s authentic and genuine in the way he builds relationships and partnerships, and he works relentlessly to deliver impact.”

–Field Level Media

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, center, along with General Manager Andrew Berry, left, and head coach Kevin Stefanski, right, field questions from reporters during Watson's introductory press conference at the Cleveland Browns Training Facility in Berea.

Watsonpress File 3

Reports: Deshaun Watson’s hearing will continue Wednesday

The disciplinary hearing for Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson began Tuesday and is expected to resume Wednesday, multiple media outlets reported.

It is unclear how long the proceeding will last or when a ruling will be rendered by Sue L. Robinson, a former U.S. District Court judge who was jointly selected to oversee the case by the NFL and the NFL Players Association.

Watson, 26, has been accused of sexual misconduct during massage sessions that occurred during his time with his former team, the Houston Texans. Twenty-five women have accused him of actions ranging from sexual assault to inappropriate behavior.

Watson, who has denied wrongdoing, has settled 20 of 24 civil lawsuits related to the massage sessions. The Texans organization is also being sued for “enabling” his actions, in part by allegedly providing him with non-disclosure agreements to give to massage therapists.

Per numerous media reports, the NFL is pushing to have him suspended indefinitely, with the minimum length of the punishment one year before he would be eligible to apply for reinstatement.

The Texans held Watson out of action for the entire 2021 season as he was under investigation for criminal wrongdoing. However, he was never indicted, and the Browns acquired him in a March trade, giving up three first-round draft picks.

Cleveland also signed Watson to a five-year contract that will pay him a guaranteed $230 million. However, his salary for 2022 reportedly is just $1 million to protect against the possibility that he could be facing a lengthy suspension.

–Field Level Media

Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Mike Leach looks on during the final minute of the game as Auburn Tigers take on Mississippi State Bulldogs at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala., on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021. Mississippi State Bulldogs defeated Auburn Tigers 43-34.

Reports: Mississippi State extends Mike Leach through 2025

Mississippi State and its head football coach, Mike Leach, agreed to a two-year contract extension on Tuesday according to multiple reports.

The extension reportedly will keep Leach in Starkville, Miss. through the 2025 season and raise his annual salary to $5.5 million.

Leach, 61, is entering his third season at the helm of the Bulldogs. They went 4-7 in his first season — the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign — and 7-6 last season. In both seasons, Mississippi State went to bowl games, winning the Armed Forces Bowl in 2020 and losing the Liberty Bowl in 2021.

Mississippi State is the third stop for Leach as a head coach. He won 84 games — and never had a losing season — in 10 years at Texas Tech. After a few years away from coaching, he was hired at Washington State in 2012 and went 55-47 in eight seasons, guiding the Cougars to a 2-4 record in bowl games.

Leach was an understudy of Hal Mumme and helped popularize his pass-heavy “Air Raid” offensive attack.

Will Rogers returns as the Bulldogs quarterback this season after finishing second in the SEC in passing yards (4,739) and passing touchdowns (36) last year.

Mississippi State opens its 2022 season at home against Memphis on Sept. 3.

–Field Level Media