With just a couple days remaining before the opening of the 2019 NCAA football season, teams are actively putting the final touches on their rosters and game plans as they hope to get their seasons started on the right foot. The season will open with Miami taking on No. 8 Florida Saturday at 7 pm ET. While they are focused on the games coming up this weekend, let’s take a look at some of the other news around the country.
Tennessee State Quarterback Arrested
Sadly, it was reported on Tuesday that Tennessee State quarterback Demry Croft has been arrested on multiple charges of rape and sexual assault. At this point, he has not been released by the football team, but both the team and the university are aware of the charges. Apparently, the incident took place at the school. After being arrested, Croft was able to make bail but is due back in court at the beginning of September.
Coming out of high school, Croft started at Minnesota but transferred to Tennessee State a couple of years ago. Last season, Croft went 61 for 101 for 888 yards, eight touchdowns, and two interceptions. He also rushed 38 times for 146 yards.
While people are presumed innocent until proven guilty, Croft’s future as a football player is certainly in doubt. If the accusations are true, though, hopefully, his future as a free person will be in doubt.
ESPN In Cahoots With Michigan?
In an interesting admission, former Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon admitted that the lighting at the football stadium did not come from the school; rather, it came from ESPN. In an effort to be able to televise evening games for Michigan, Brandon reported that it was ESPN that footed the bill. So what was ESPN’s bill? Reportedly, the bill for ESPN came just under $2 million.
In exchange, the Wolverines just had to agree to play one nationally televised game in the evening per year. While the $2 million may seem steep, it is probably chump change in the long run compared to the revenue that ESPN could generate.
Interesting QB Battle At Northwestern
While quarterback competitions are taking shape around the nation, one competition remains particularly interesting. At Northwestern, Pat Fitzgerald and the Wildcats are debating between two intriguing names. On the one hand, they have Hunter Johnson, a former high recruit who played at Clemson. With Trevor Lawrence in front of him, though, Johnson read the writing on the wall and decided to transfer to Northwestern.
Not only was Johnson highly touted coming out of high school, he was actually ranked higher than even the likes of Tua Tagovailoa and Jake Fromm. The question now is, will he be able to live up to the potential at Northwestern?
Part of that answer may be based on who Fitzgerald goes with at quarterback. While Johnson seems like the obvious answer, there are definitely debates going on. His main competition has NFL bloodlines.
TJ Green, the son of former NFL quarterback Trent Green, not only has the pedigree but has been in Northwestern’s system for years. Once again, it would be a shocker if Johnson wasn’t under center in week one, but one thing is for sure, nothing is being handed to him.
Auburn Decides On Quarterback
Speaking of quarterback competitions, Auburn has decided its own and has decided to go with true freshman Bo Nix. A five-star prospect, Nix is 6-2, 207 pounds, and is a true dual-threat quarterback. His skill set ultimately won him the job over redshirt freshman Joey Gatewood.
Unfortunately for Nix, he won’t get to ease into his job as No. 16 Auburn will be matching up with No. 11 Oregon to start the season. Still, Nix has shown early on that he is capable of winning the job; now the question is whether he can keep it.
Cephus Reinstated At Wisconsin
Quintez Cephus has returned for the Badgers. Well, at least he has returned to practice. The standout wide receiver, who had been expelled after being hit with sexual assault charges, was reinstated to the university after he was acquitted of those charges. Still, Cephus has some academic issues to alleviate and currently remains ineligible to play.
There is no clear end in sight to when he may be eligible, but for now, the Badgers are happy to just have him back out on the field. His last productive season was in 2017, where he had 30 receptions, 501 yards, and six touchdowns despite playing in limited games due to a leg injury.
Benson Gone Too Soon
In a bit of sobering NCAA and NFL news, former Texas running back Cedric Benson passed away over the weekend after a motorcycle accident. From 2001 to 2004, Benson played four seasons for the Texas Longhorns and dominated in each. In all four seasons, he rushed for over 1,000 yards, with his most successful seasons being in 2003 (1,360 yards rushing, 21 touchdowns) and 2004 (1,834 rushing yards, 19 touchdowns).
After such a successful college career, Benson was drafted fourth overall by the Chicago Bears in 2005. While he struggled to find consistent success in Chicago, he went onto have success in Cincinnati. Still, he will be best known in the state of Texas, where he dominated both at the high school and collegiate levels. RIP Cedric Benson.