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NCAA Football News and Notes: January 11, 2019

National Championship Game An Unexpected Blowout

Many predicted that Alabama would win, others predicted it would be a tight game, but not too many thought that Clemson would put a whooping on the Alabama Crimson Tide in the National Championship game— but that is exactly what they did. The final score in this one was 44-16, but honestly, it never even felt that close. Clemson dominated on almost all sides of the ball from the get go, and if they didn’t know before, they certainly know now that they have a star in quarterback Trevor Lawrence. The true freshman, who took over in week 4 of the season, threw for 347 yards and 3 touchdowns in the win. He also rushed for another 27 yards. Speaking of rushing, Clemson running back Travis Etienne also had a solid game, going for 86 yards and 2 touchdowns. Lastly, Justyn Ross was almost unstoppable at the wide receiver position. He and Lawrence hooked up for 6 receptions for 153 yards and a touchdown.

For Alabama, Tua Tagovailoa threw for a disappointing 295 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. His leading receiver was Jerry Jeudy, who went for 139 yards and a touchdown on 5 receptions.

Major Quarterbacks On The Move?

It appears that there may be a few high-caliber quarterbacks on the move this offseason. It appears that Justin Fields, Jalen Hurts, and Tate Martell may have new homes.

For Justin Fields, that decision has already been made. The Georgia freshman has already made up his mind that he is joining Ryan Day and the Ohio State Buckeyes. As a 5-star recruit and the number 2 overall player in the 2018 recruiting class, Fields is looking to follow in Dwayne Haskins’ footsteps to lead the Buckeyes. This season, Fields was unable to beat out Jake Fromm for the starting position at Georgia. While he did see the field at times (328 yards passing, 4 touchdowns, and 266 yards rushing with another 4 touchdowns), he was likely to be behind Fromm again next year on the depth chart. It is likely that Fields will have to appeal in order to play next season, but that remains to be seen whether he wins or not. Regardless, he has found a new home in Ohio.

With Fields coming in, another Ohio State quarterback is leaving. Tate Martell has put his name in the transfer portal as the redshirt freshman doubted his playing time after Fields announced his transfer. With Dwayne Haskins having already entered into the draft, it is somewhat surprising that Martell was anxious to leave, especially knowing that Fields may not be eligible to play this season. Regardless, he will be looking for a new home, which means Ohio State may end up scrambling to find a quarterback, particularly if Fields is a no-go.

Finally, Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts has also entered his name into the transfer portal. After losing his job to Tua Tagovailoa in the 2018 National Championship game, Hurts largely sat the bench this season as coach Nick Saban continued to favor Tagovailoa. Hurts has been impressive throughout his career at Alabama. Despite not being the starter this season, he has still thrown for 5,626 yards, rushed for 1,976 yards and has 71 touchdowns. Right now it is not known where he will transfer to, but one thing is for sure, wherever it is will be getting a fantastic QB.

Could Kyler Murray Play Football After All?

By this point, it is widely known that Kyler Murray was drafted to play baseball for the Oakland Athletics, including a signing bonus north of $4 million. It is also known that they were gracious enough to finish out his football career with one more season at Oklahoma. It appears now that decision might have been a mistake. After leading the Sooners to a phenomenal season, one that included a trip to the College Football Playoffs, as well as being a Heisman Trophy winner, Kyler Murray seems to be garnering a lot of interest from NFL teams, particularly in what is seen as a weak quarterback draft. While he said he was committed to playing baseball, it now appears that he may be having second thoughts, particularly if he thinks that he can be drafted in the first round. While baseball would be a career with potentially more longevity, economically it makes a lot of sense for him to choose the NFL. Still, both NFL teams and the Oakland Athletics will be anxiously awaiting his decision.

Kliff Kingsbury Ends Up In The NFL

It has been a whirlwind of a couple of months for Kliff Kingsbury. After being fired by his alma mater, Texas Tech, he had decided to join Clay Helton at USC to serve as the offensive coordinator. Fast forward a couple of months, and he now sits as the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals. Hoping to utilize his up-tempo offense to boost a team that struggled offensively the whole season, the Cardinals are certainly taking a risk with Kingsbury. Still, in the new mold of taking young, offensive-minded coaches (think Sean Mcvay or Matt Nagy), the Cardinals will hope they struck gold. One interesting thing to watch is what the Cardinals decide to do with their number one overall pick in the NFL draft. It was Kingsbury, after all, who said last year that he’d take Kyler Murray with the first pick of the draft. We will see if he holds true to that.

Dexter Lawrence To Test The NFL

After testing positive for PED’s and not being allowed to play in the College Football Playoffs, including the national championship game, Dexter Lawrence has decided that it is time to move on from Clemson. On Wednesday, Lawrence announced his decision to declare for the NFL draft. A likely first-rounder, Lawrence is a beast up front that makes life tough on any opposing offensive line. Still, NFL teams will have to weigh the suspension as to whether he can be trusted or not and it will be interesting to see if it affects where he is drafted.

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