Oct 8, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels defensive back Tony Grimes (1) tackles Miami Hurricanes wide receiver Frank Ladson Jr. (8) during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

Transfer CB Tony Grimes chooses Texas A&M

Former North Carolina cornerback Tony Grimes, one of the top cornerbacks available in the NCAA transfer portal, announced his commitment to Texas A&M on Thursday.

“College Station, Lets do it,” Grimes wrote on social media above a video revealing his commitment to the Aggies.

Grimes, a 6-foot, 195-pound corner from Virginia Beach, was a five-star recruit and the No. 1 cornerback recruit in the Class of 2021, per the 247Sports composite rankings, before he reclassified to 2020.

He has two years of eligibility remaining.

He made four starts as a true freshman in 2020 before becoming a full-time starter in 2021. In 32 games over three seasons in Chapel Hill, Grimes has tallied 19 pass breakups and 97 tackles with one interception and one sack.

Texas A&M had four cornerbacks enter the portal, including a pair of highly-touted members of its 2022 freshman class, Denver Harris and Smoke Bouie. Harris and some teammates received a suspension for the Aggies’ last seven games over a locker room incident.

–Field Level Media

Nov 12, 2022; Auburn, Alabama, USA;  Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Haynes King (13) warms up before the game against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Texas A&M QB Haynes King, CB Denver Harris to transfer

Texas A&M quarterback Haynes King and cornerback Denver Harris entered the transfer portal Friday.

King is a graduate transfer, while Harris just completed his freshman season after arriving in College Station as a five-star prospect.

King was a part-time starter at quarterback for the Aggies in 2021 and 2022. His 2021 season was cut short after two starts due to a season-ending injury.

He appeared in six games this season and threw for 1,220 yards, seven touchdowns and six interceptions.

The Aggies also have former LSU transfer Max Johnson and freshman Conner Weigman at quarterback.

Harris, meanwhile, recorded 14 tackles and three pass breakups in his freshman season.

He was rated the No. 23 overall prospect and the fourth-best cornerback in the Class of 2022 according to 247Sports’ composite rankings. His signing contributed to the Aggies putting together the consensus No. 1 recruiting class in the cycle.

That didn’t help Texas A&M on the field this year. The Aggies (5-7, 2-6 SEC) missed out on bowl eligibility after a six-game losing streak marred their season.

–Field Level Media

Nov 19, 2022; Columbia, Missouri, USA; New Mexico State Aggies quarterback Diego Pavia (10) runs the ball against the Missouri Tigers during the first half at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

New Mexico St. granted waiver to play in bowl at 5-6

New Mexico State was approved to play in a bowl game despite playing only 10 games against FBS opponents and winning five of them.

The Aggies (5-6) had sought a waiver from the NCAA Division I football oversight committee for their extenuating circumstances. The school had an Oct. 22 game against San Jose State postponed and eventually canceled after San Jose State running back Camdan McWright was killed in a scooter accident that week.

New Mexico State, an FBS independent, was unable to schedule a replacement game against an 11th FBS opponent. Eleven is the normal scheduling requirement, with six wins being the usual mark for bowl eligibility.

The appeal was approved on Tuesday, which helps fill a spot among 82 overall bowl berths. According to the Action Network, 79 teams are bowl eligible after the inclusion of New Mexico State.

The 5-6 Aggies will be considered before any 5-7 teams. Auburn, which finished the year 5-7, is out of the running for a spot with the Aggies’ inclusion.

New Mexico State earned just its second bowl berth in 61 years.

Bowl game matchups will be finalized Sunday afternoon.

–Field Level Media

Sep 25, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies offensive lineman Bryce Foster (61) in action during the game between the Arkansas Razorbacks and the Texas A&M Aggies at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Texas A&M loses three offensive linemen for rest of season

Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said Monday that offensive linemen Bryce Foster, Jordan Spasojevic-Moko and Aki Ogunbiyi were all out for the remainder of the season.

The Aggies (3-4, 1-3 Southeastern Conference) lost their third straight game Saturday to South Carolina, 30-24. They host No. 15 Ole Miss this week.

Both Foster, the starting center, and Ogunbiyi started four games this year. Spasojevic-Moko started two.

“I’m not trying to make an excuse, but you’re talking about calls, you’re talking about chemistry, you’re talking about how sometimes when we double team that guy likes to come this way, sometimes you get a new guy and he likes to come down harder so I come a little shorter,” Fisher said. “All those nuances that create the inches are definitely an issue when you’re constantly changing that.”

Fisher also said quarterback Haynes King is expected to be ready to play against Ole Miss after leaving toward the end of the South Carolina loss.

–Field Level Media

Oct 8, 2022; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Shane Beamer looks on during the third quarter against the Kentucky Wildcats at Kroger Field. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

After bye, South Carolina aims for first win in series vs. Texas A&M

South Carolina is seeking its first four-game winning streak since 2013 while Texas A&M will try to halt a two-game losing skid when they meet Saturday night in a Southeastern Conference matchup in Columbia, S.C.

The Gamecocks (4-2, 1-2 SEC) beat Kentucky 24-14 on the road in their last outing while the Aggies (3-3, 1-2) lost 24-20 at Alabama when Haynes King’s pass into the end zone on their final play fell incomplete.

Both teams are coming off bye weeks, which might seem to favor the Gamecocks. They are 14-3 after open dates since 2009 while the Aggies are 9-9 after open dates in the same stretch.

But the Aggies lead the series 8-0, with one of the wins after a bye in 2019.

“They’ve been better and we need to play and coach a lot better than we have in the past,” South Carolina coach Shane Beamer said. “Certainly, any time when you have the opportunity to do something you haven’t done, that’s motivation.”

The time away from playing games could help the Gamecocks get some players back from nagging injuries, but Beamer said that receiver Corey Rucker (foot) remains out. The Arkansas State transfer has played in only one game and has just one catch, but it was for a 52-yard touchdown.

Beamer also confirmed that safety R.J. Roderick, who has been limited to three games (one start) because of an arm injury, is no longer with the team.

The Aggies began the year with high hopes after being ranked No. 6 in the AP preseason poll, but losses to Appalachian State and Mississippi State quickly knocked them out of the Top 25. Coach Jimbo Fisher doesn’t consider the close loss to then No. 1 Alabama as a “moral victory” but does see some good in it.

“I think it shows you what we’re capable of and how we can do things,” Fisher said. “But we have to find a way to make those plays to get over the hump in any of the three phases of what we do.”

South Carolina leads the nation in blocked punts with five.

–Field Level Media

Sep 24, 2022; Provo, Utah, USA; Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Jaren Hall (3) throws the ball against the Wyoming Cowboys in the second quarter at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

Jaren Hall leads No. 19 BYU against in-state rival Utah State

Jaren Hall is a rising pro prospect and the BYU quarterback will look to have another big game when he leads the No. 19 Cougars into Thursday night’s contest against visiting Utah State at Provo, Utah.

Hall has topped 300 yards in back-to-back games and has nine touchdown passes against one interception this season for the Cougars (3-1). He matched his career high of four touchdown passes and passed for a season-high 337 yards during Saturday’s 38-24 home win over Wyoming.

He enters the game against Utah State (1-3) with a streak of 115 consecutive passes without being intercepted. It is his third career streak of 100 or more throws without being picked off. He also has streaks of 163 and 119 in his career.

“Jaren’s smart, and he has a great football IQ,” Cougars coach Kalani Sitake said. “… Jaren always wants to get better, and we are lucky to have him as the leader on our team. I just like that he takes care of the football.”

Hall has passed for 1,164 yards this season and has completed 71.5 percent of his passes despite receiver Gunner Romney missing the first four games due to an undisclosed injury.

Hall is on pace to easily outdo last year’s success, when he completed 63.9 percent of his passes for 2,583 yards, 20 touchdowns and five interceptions.

The Cougars racked up 525 yards of total offense against Wyoming to mark the second time they topped 500 this season.

“I’m glad we were able to get the win, and these guys were resilient and played hard,” Sitake said. “We have a quick turnaround for the Utah State game so we need to get ready for that.”

Utah State has lost its last three games by an average of 31 points. The Aggies were shellacked by Alabama, whipped by FCS program Weber State and lost its Mountain West conference opener to visiting UNLV on Saturday.

Making the struggles more maddening is that Utah State matched the program record for victories last season, going 11-3.

“No one is more frustrated than we are,” Aggies coach Blake Anderson said. “We got used to a lot of success last year and right now, we haven’t seen it.”

Utah State committed six turnovers in the 34-24 loss to UNLV, and five were interceptions from quarterback Logan Bonner, a seventh-year senior who began his career at Arkansas State and followed Anderson to Logan after the 2020 campaign.

A year ago, Bonner set program records of 3,628 yards and 36 touchdowns while being picked off 12 times. This season, he has thrown for 753 yards, six touchdowns and eight interceptions.

The Aggies are averaging just 15.5 points per game while allowing an average of 36.

Anderson admitted there isn’t much time to resolve all his club’s issues prior to facing the Cougars.

“Short week against BYU. It’s going to be a huge challenge,” Anderson said. “We have to build on the few things that we did well, try to get better this week and find a way to put it all together in one game. See if we can get that done.”

BYU recorded a 34-20 victory at Utah State last season for its fourth win in the past six meetings.

The series will go on hiatus after the contest because the Cougars canceled the next four season’s worth of games due to its upcoming entrance to the Big 12. BYU will lose scheduling flexibility by leaving the ranks of independent programs.

–Field Level Media

Sep 17, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA;  Wisconsin Badgers wide receiver Chimere Dike (13) reacts after catching a pass during the third quarter against the New Mexico State Aggies at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin bounces back from disappointing loss, blows out New Mexico State

Braelon Allen ran for three touchdowns and Graham Mertz passed for three more as Wisconsin bounced back from an upset loss with a 66-7 rout of New Mexico State in a nonconference game on Saturday in Madison, Wis.

Allen scored on first-half runs of 39, 1 and 2 yards as Wisconsin rolled to a 35-0 halftime lead. Allen finished with 86 yards on 15 carries.

Isaac Guerendo added 74 yards on 12 carries, including second-half touchdown runs of 3 and 30 yards as the Badgers (2-1) pushed the lead to 63-0.

Graham Mertz completed 12 of 15 passes for 251 yards, including touchdowns of 18, 49 and 18 yards, with one interception.

New Mexico State (0-4) got its only touchdown on a 1-yard run by Ahmonte Watkins with 8:10 remaining.

Wisconsin, which dropped out of the Top 25 this week after losing 17-14 at home to Washington State, opens Big Ten play next Saturday at No. 3 Ohio State.

Guerendo returned the opening kickoff 50 yards to set up Wisconsin’s first score. Allen carried three consecutive times, culminating with a 39-yard touchdown run.

After punting on their next two possessions, the Badgers put together a seven-play, 63-yard scoring drive. Chez Mellusi scored from 2 yards out on the first play of the second quarter to put Wisconsin up 14-0.

The Badgers made it 21-0 on their next series when Mertz hit Keontez Lewis with an 18-yard touchdown pass.

On the Aggies’ next possession, Maema Njongmeta picked off Gavin Frakes and returned it 6 yards to the New Mexico State 2. Allen’s 1-yard touchdown plunge extended the lead to 28-0.

New Mexico State moved from its own 6 to the Wisconsin 12, but Ethan Albertson’s 29-yard field goal attempt was wide right with four seconds left in the half.

Mertz had touchdown passes of 49 yards and 18 yards on Wisconsin’s first two series of the second half to push the lead to 49-0.

–Field Level Media

Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban has words for Mercer linebacker Jordan Williams (40) as he leaves the field Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in Bryant-Denny Stadium. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

Alabama Vs Mercer

No. 1 Alabama wants to show Utah State its trophy mentality

Alabama was runner-up to national title winner Georgia last season, but there’s a three-peat on the line for the Crimson Tide in 2022.

Linebacker Will Anderson is a leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy, which resided in Tuscaloosa at the end of each of the past two seasons thanks to wide receiver DeVonta Smith (2020) and quarterback Bryce Young (2021).

Anderson and Young will make their opening statements of the 2022 season when No. 1 Alabama hosts Utah State (1-0) in the season opener for the Crimson Tide on Saturday night.

Utah State beat UConn 31-20 last week to open the season.

“This is really kind of about us and how we prepare to play and what we need to do against a really good opponent,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “So that’s going to be the emphasis all week long for us.”

Saban is stressing competition and not promising anything with a depth chart listing starters or equating to playing time. He reminded the Crimson Tide any trophies they’ve earned in the past as an individual or team have no trade-in value toward the 2022 goals of winning the SEC and a national title.

“No one’s entitled to anything on our team,” Saban said. “So the message to every player every day, regardless of what the competitive circumstances of his position is, you’re trying to create value for yourself, you’re trying to be the best player that you can be.

“There shouldn’t be any external factors that determine how you go about that. And if you’re really a true competitor, you don’t need somebody to be competing for your job because you’re competing with yourselves to be the best version of yourself that you can be relative to whatever you choose to do in your life.”

Utah State is getting a massive check for the trip to Alabama on Saturday — $1.9 million — and coach Blake Anderson didn’t try to spin the scenario they will encounter.

“I spent most of my career (playing) in these kinds of games,” Anderson said Monday. “It’s a necessary evil. We’ve got an athletic department that we’ve got to fund, and this is something that we have got to do.”

That doesn’t mean the Aggies won’t show up. Utah State has a seven-game road winning streak. Anderson has won three consecutive games against Power 5 opponents, including Utah State’s 26-23 win at Washington State last season and a 24-13 win against Oregon State in the 2021 Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl.

And Utah State has been on the SEC stage in the state before. On Sept. 3, 2011, the Aggies visited No. 19 Auburn, the defending national champions, and led 38-28 with 3:38 remaining before losing 42-38.

But alas, the saying about the value of yesteryear’s trophies might apply.

Last week, Utah State fell behind by 14 points in the opener but rallied to beat UConn. The Aggies gave up 14 points and 180 total yards in the first quarter before shutting UConn down.

Senior running back Calvin Tyler had 161 yards on 33 carries against the Huskies, and quarterback Logan Bonner completed 20 of 29 passes for 281 yards and three scores. Utah State totaled 542 yards in the win.

–Field Level Media

Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher, left, and Alabama head coach Nick Saban meet at midfield after their game in College Station, Texas, in 2019.

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Jimbo Fisher: Just 1 early signee at Texas A&M has NIL deal

Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher continued to deny that his program’s incoming players were “bought” via name, image and likeness deals.

Fisher said in an interview with a San Antonio TV station that most of the Aggies’ 11 early enrollees do not have an NIL deal in place, pushing back on the notion initially espoused by Alabama coach Nick Saban that Fisher “bought every player” on his team.

“I just researched this,” Fisher said in the KSAT interview, which was recorded last Friday and aired Sunday night. “Of the 11 guys we have in place that came early? One guy has an NIL deal. So all these stories you’re hearing are complete lies.”

Saban set off a firestorm when he told business leaders at an event in Birmingham, Ala., that without regulations for NIL, coaches at competing programs would be able to “buy” any player, likening it to free agency without a salary cap.

“A&M bought every player on their team — made a deal for name, image, likeness. We didn’t buy one player, all right?” Saban said. He later apologized for singling out Texas A&M and other programs.

Fisher responded last Thursday, defending his program and calling Saban a “narcissist.”

“Some people think they’re God,” Fisher said. “Go dig into how God did his deal, you may find out about a lot of things that you don’t want to know. We build (Saban) up to be the czar of college football. Go dig into his past.

“I just know that what we did was nothing wrong. Not done the wrong way. Nothing was promised. Nothing was a deal. And we didn’t buy any players,” Fisher added. “You can call me anything you want to call me, you don’t call me a cheat. I don’t cheat. I don’t lie.”

Fisher also told KSAT that he did not plan to talk with Saban about his remarks, which he initially made clear at his press conference Thursday.

–Field Level Media

Oct 16, 2021; Columbia, Missouri, USA; A detailed view of Texas A&M Aggies helmets during the second half against the Missouri Tigers at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Texas A&M signs 5-star Shemar Stewart, seals historic class

Five-star defensive lineman Shemar Stewart signed with Texas A&M Wednesday on National Signing Day, giving the Aggies the highest-ranked recruiting class ever, per the 247Sports composite.

He is the seventh five-star signee for Texas A&M in this recruiting cycle for coach Jimbo Fisher. Four of them are from Texas.

Stewart, from Monsignor Edward Pace High School in Miami, was ranked as the No. 10 overall prospect in the country and the No. 3 defensive lineman in the Class of 2022, per the composite.

The 6-foot-6, 272-pound Stewart chose Texas A&M over Georgia and Miami.

“The bond that we built over the recruiting process,” Stewart told ESPN about why he picked the Aggies. “The foundation we built and the relationships that I’ve made with the coaches is what put them over the top.”

The ranking of recruiting classes is based on points, and Stewart’s inclusion gives the Aggies’ class the most points ever, besting Alabama’s 2021 class. The Crimson Tide overtook Florida’s 2010 class a year ago.

In all, Texas A&M has 28 signees, including 18 ranked as four-star recruits by the 247Sports composite.

The other five-stars in the group are wide receivers Evan Stewart (Frisco, Texas) and Chris Marshall (Missouri City, Texas); defensive linemen Gabriel Brownlow-Dindy (Lakeland, Fla.) and Walter Nolen (Powell, Tenn.); quarterback Conner Weigman (Cypress, Texas); and cornerback Denver Harris (Houston).

–Field Level Media