Freshman quarterback Ricky Town is transferring from USC, an abrupt yet not necessarily surprising decision.
Heisman contending redshirt senior Cody Kessler is obviously entrenched as the starter, with redshirt sophomore Max Browne positioning himself to take over in 2016. Though Ricky Town had the advantage of joining the Trojans in the spring, fellow 2015 signee Sam Darnold made quick strides toward establishing himself third on the depth chart.
Darnold brings a unique, dual-threat playmaking ability not typically seen in the USC offense. He performed well in practices Saturday, rushing confidently and exhibiting a strong arm.
Ricky Town’s departure and Jalen Greene’s switch to wide receiver assures Darnold the third quarterback spot.
“[Town]’s worked extremely hard, he’s been a great member of our program and I’m sure wherever he decides to go, he’ll be a good member of that program as well,” Trojans head coach Steve Sarkisian said after Sunday’s practice, per Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times.
It didn’t take long for the rumor mill to start turning. Town, a one-time verbal commit to Alabama, is already linked to another SEC program.
— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) August 17, 2015
Ricky Town’s decommitment from Alabama came after Nussmeier left Nick Saban’s staff for Michigan to be replaced with former USC head coach Lane Kiffin.
Wherever Town lands, expect him to do so soon. He’ll be able to join his new team before fall semester and spend the 2015 season as a redshirt learning the ropes.
Arkansas enters 2015 with lofty expectations hinging largely on a stout run game. Losing running back Jonathan Williams, as Razorbacks head coach Bret Bielema announced Sunday, puts a decided damper on the promising outlook.
Bielema issued a statement on Williams having foot surgery, which will keep the back out for an indefinite length of time:
“I have no doubt that Jonathan will come back stronger than ever. Anyone that knows Jonathan Williams knows this is just another opportunity for him to prove the man of character and substance that he really is,” said Bielema. “It’s an unfortunate injury to a great young man, but we are in the process of gathering as much information as possible. There are short and long term impacts of how he proceeds and we want to make sure he does what’s best for him and his family, and his career beyond Arkansas.”
The tenor of Bielema’s statement certainly suggests Williams will be out for more than just the few weeks leading up to the season opener. That’s a huge loss for the Razorback offense, considering Williams rushed for nearly 1,200 yards a season ago.
But then, few teams return a No. 2 back who went for 1,100 yards and 12 touchdowns, as the Razorbacks do in Alex Collins.
Collins arrived to Arkansas fall camp down nine pounds, per the Democrat-Gazette. Quarterback Brandon Allen praised Collins’ improved endurance, and having to shoulder a larger portion of the rushing workload will put that to the test.
Replicating all Jay Ajayi brought to the Boise State offense a season ago may be more than one man’s job. To that end, the competition to replace him as the Broncos’ feature back resulting in a few backs getting opportunities Week 1 isn’t a shocker.
Boise State running backs coach Lee Marks told reporters Sunday that “[a]fter the first game, I think we’ll know [who the No. 1 back is.”
Jeremy McNichols and Stanford transfer Kelsey Young are the two leading contenders.
McNichols was explosive in limited opportunities last season, averaging more than nine yards per carry — though he had just 17. However, he added 15 receptions for 155 yards with a touchdown.
At last month’s Mountain West media days, Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin praised Young’s quick understanding of the playbook.
“It will be good to see them all get an opportunity. When the real bullets are flying, that’s when we’re really going to see who that guy is for us.”