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NCAA Football News and Notes: December 18, 2018

5-Star Georgia Recruit Set To Transfer

With Georgia sophomore quarterback Jake Fromm fully entrenched in the position and set to return for his junior year, freshmen 5-star recruit Justin Fields may be looking for a new home. Fields was the second-ranked recruit in the nation last year and would likely have a number of colleges lining up for his services if he does transfer. On the season, Fields was 27 of 39 for 328 yards and 4 touchdowns. He also rushed for 266 yards and another 4 touchdowns on the ground. Still, this was nowhere near the production or playing time of Fromm. Fromm went for 2,537 yards, 27 touchdowns versus just 5 interceptions, making it pretty clear that Fields would not displace him as quarterback this year and would likely have to wait all the way until 2020 to get his shot starting.

If Fields were to transfer, NCAA rules indicate he would likely have to sit out a year before he could play. Reports indicate that he would likely try to appeal this for immediate availability, but even if he had to sit out a year, it ultimately might give him his best chance to start fresh with full playing eligibility left.

Fields Not The Only 5-Star Prospect Transferring

In addition to Justin Fields, it appears that Michigan’s defensive lineman Aubrey Solomon will be seeking a new home next year. As with all recruits (including Fields), Solomon will have his name put into a transfer database, allowing other schools to recruit him since he has given his notice of intent to transfer. As a freshman, Solomon played in 8 games, amassing 16 tackles. This season was a little more injury-riddled as he played in just 2 games, totaling 3 tackles. Still, with much of the defensive line, including Rashan Gary and Chase Winovich likely heading to the NFL, it appeared that Solomon would be in line for playing time next year. It appears that whatever next year brings, it might bring it in colors other than the blue and yellow.

Another Player Sitting Out Of Their Bowl Game

It seems like every other day we are hearing of a college player who plans to sit out of their team’s bowl game in order to prepare for the NFL draft and today it is Stanford’s running back Bryce Love. The 2017 Heisman Trophy runner-up announced that he has no intentions of playing in the Sun Bowl on New Year’s Eve against Pittsburgh. Rather, he intends to ensure that he is healthy and prepared for the NFL draft. After a fantastic season as a junior, Love’s stock was hurt this year as injuries plagued his production. He played in 10 games and had 739 yards and 6 touchdowns. Given his history with injuries, it may not be the worst move for Love as he hopes to make a career out of playing football, but it certainly won’t help Stanford, who finished the season 8-4, as they head to the Sun Bowl.

Tua Tagovailoa Ahead of Schedule?

According to Alabama head coach Nick Saban, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa may be ahead of schedule in regards to his ankle injury. Alabama will be taking on Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, the semifinals leading to the National Championship game. On Monday, Tagovailoa was back at practice and taking reps. While he is not 100%, Tagovailoa has been absolutely dynamic this season for Alabama, and they would love to have him ready to go. This season he has thrown for 3,353 yards, 37 touchdowns versus just 4 interceptions. He also rushed for another 190 yards and 5 touchdowns. Still, if he is unable to go, the Crimson Tide have a nice little backup plan in Jalen Hurts, who led Alabama to their victory over Georgia.

Wednesday Early Signing Period Begins

The crazy thing about college football is before one season even begins, teams already start to focus on the following season. You see this as they prepare for athletes that may turn pro, as coaches leave to take other coaching opportunities, and also in the recruitment of high school athletes. On Wednesday, the latter gets going in full swing as the early signing period for the class of 2019 begins. While there are several storylines that will come out of this, ultimately look for the schools that you expect, Alabama, Georgia, and others to come out pretty successful. While the main players will often be in on the big names, the decisions that these young men make can have a lasting effect not only on a program but within a conference as well.

Bowl Season Upon Us

It is officially getting into bowl season, and the next couple days will see players representing their school one last time this season. On Tuesday, the Boca Raton Bowl will be played between UAB and Northern Illinois. Despite mixed results in their seasons, both went onto win their conferences. For UAB, they are hoping to win their first bowl game and set a record with an 11-win season (their 10 wins already set a record). Northern Illinois is looking to break a five-bowl losing streak.

On Wednesday, another bowl kicks off as Ohio and San Diego State will meet in the Frisco Bowl. Ohio (8-4) is going for their second bowl win in a row. For San Diego State (7-5), they are looking for their third bowl win in the last four seasons.

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