West Virginia Reaffirms Pledge to Big East

Saturday was a day of backtracking for West Virginia football coach Bill Stewart.

Two days after he told a local television station that it was inevitable that West Virginia would leave the Big East Conference, Stewart did an about face.

“I’m a Big East coach at heart and want to make it clear that I believe the Big East is the best conference for our program,” Stewart said in a statement. “It is unwarranted for our fans or others to consider my comments an indication of anything more than a coach thinking out loud.

“WVU’s commitment to the Big East is as deep as can be.”

Read the full story here.

(Photo courtesy MSNBC.com)

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West Virginia Coach Says Big East May Disband

West Virginia football coach Bill Stewart became the first Big East coach to openly talk about the league disbanding when he gave this video interview to WTAP in Parkersburg, W.Va., on Thursday.

The quotes first appeared on Brian Bennett’s ESPN.com blog.

There has been much talk about the Big 10 expanding and possibly raiding the Big East for Rutgers or another school. Stewart seemed to indicate that was inevitable and said the SEC and ACC will “do the same.”

“It’s exciting,” he said. “It’s disheartening as well. … The Big Ten could … they’ll pick a couple of our teams. However, the SEC and the ACC will also do the same, so that’s exciting. I don’t know where we’re going to land. We could land, whatever, in one of maybe three conferences, the ACC, the SEC, maybe the Big Ten. To read more of this story, click here

Rutgers Ends Strong With Recruiting Class; Clemmings, Fonti, Willis Talk Recruiting

The 2010 Rutgers recruiting class is like a bottle of fine wine.

It gets better with time.

The Scarlet Knights over the last two days landed two four-star recruits and two three-star prospects to a class that currently stands at 24 players heading into Wednesday’s National Signing Day.

With the additions of 6-foot-6 four-star wide receiver Brandon Coleman of Forestville, Md., and 5-10 four-star safety Rashad Knight of Jacksonville, Fla., the Knights are headed strong to the finish line.

Read the full story here.

**Check out the Video Player at right later today for interviews with T.J. Clemmings of Paterson Catholic (Pittsburgh), Chris Fonti of Wayne Hills (Rutgers) and Mike Wills of Rutherford (Princeton). These guys combine to be 19 feet, 6 inches and 880 pounds of offensive and defensive linemen.

**Brooklyn Sal also has an interview with five-star DE Dominique Easley of Curtis High School on Staten Island, a top five national recruit.

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Signing Day Special: Rutgers, Pitt, Syracuse Recruits Talk; Rutgers Lands Two 4-Stars

On the eve of National Signing Day, Rutgers has landed two four-star players in 6-foot-6 Maryland WR Brandon Coleman (pictured at left) and 5-10 Florida CB Rashad Knight. Both commitments were first reported by SI.com.

Coleman, who mentioned his close relationship with Rutgers QB Tommy Savage, also held offers from Boston College, Maryland, Notre Dame, Syracuse, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest. He is ranked No. 29 nationally among wideouts, according to Rivals.com

“He’s a tall, red-zone receiver,” CBS College Sports recruiting expert Tom Lemming said by phone. “He doesn’t have blazing speed. But he’ll be a good alley-oop option for Savage in the red zone.”

Knight, out of of Trinity Christian (Fla.) High School, is the No. 19 safety nationally, according to Rivals, but he will play CB at Rutgers. He chose the Knights over Michigan, Auburn, Georgia Tech, Mississippi, Purdue and West Virginia.

Lemming said Knight had the ability to play both wide receiver and cornerback, but “I like him more on defense.”

Rutgers also got a commitment from three-star S Jeremy Deering of Tampa, Fla, who chose the Knights over Florida State.

**For more Signing Day coverage, click on the Video Player at right for interviews from Tuesday with Rutgers OL Betim Bujari, the first member of the Class of 2010 to commit. The 6-4, 290-pound Bujari, out of Secaucus High, enrolled early and now lives on campus with fellow OL Frank Quartucci of Hamilton and Hofstra transfer Matt McBride. Bujari talks about his decision to come to Rutgers, his roommates and what his role may be in helping to replace departed OL Anthony Davis, Kevin Haslam and Ryan Blaszczyk.

**We also have interviews with West Virginia-bound LB Doug Rigg of Bergen Catholic and Syracuse commit Mario Tull, a WR/LB out of Brooklyn Xaverian. Mounties and Orange fans will want to check those out. Chris Melvin of EliteRecruits.com joined us in the SNY studio to provide his expert analysis.

**Check out SNY.tv on Wednesday for more interviews with Rutgers commit Chris Fonti, a 6-7, 305-pound OL from Wayne Hills; Pitt-bound DE T.J. Clemmings of Paterson Catholic; and Princeton-bound OL Mike Willis of Rutherford High School.

**Also tune in to SNY on Wednesday at 4 p.m. for more Signing Day coverage with SNY’s Chris Carlin, Aditi Kinkhabwala and myself. What more could you ask for?

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Susan Leaving Rutgers for Bucknell

Joe Susan, the Rutgers recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach, will be named the new head coach at Bucknell University during a press conference at 6 p.m. Wednesday, according to multiple reports.

A South River, N.J., native, Susan was the offensive line coach at Bucknell from 1981-88. He then became associate head coach for two seasons with the Bison. During his tenure at Bucknell, Susan recruited Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano to play for the Bison. He also recruited offensive lineman Jay Butler, Rutgers’ assistant director for strength and conditioning.

Susan, 54, spent one year as head coach at Davidson in 2000, leading the team to a 10-0 record. He joined Rutgers as the offensive line coach in 2001, the same year Schiano came to Rutgers.

Read the full story here.

And read Aditi’s story about how Rutgers must now fill the void left by Susan’s exit a week before National Signing Day.

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Will Kelly Coach Cincinnati in Sugar Bowl?; Schiano 'Disappointed' with St. Pete's Bowl

Cincinnati will play defending national champion Florida in the Allstate Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1 in the Louisiana Superdome.
 
“We’ve fought all year to get where we are,” Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly said. “To have the chance to represent the University of Cincinnati in a game like the Sugar Bowl that has such great history against an outstanding opponent in Florida is a real honor for our football team. We look forward to a great game in New Orleans on Jan. 1.”
 
The question is: Who will coach the Bearcats in that game?
 
Kelly told ESPN.com that he would “entertain” meeting with Notre Dame officials this week to discuss that school’s coaching opening.
 
 
Check out the Big East Sports blog for Greg Schiano’s feelings about being sent to the St. Petersburg Bowl Dec. 19.
BIG EAST BOWL BIDS
St. Petersburg Bowl – Rutgers vs. Central Florida, Dec. 19
Meineke Car Car Bowl – Pittsburgh vs. North Carolina, Dec. 26
Gator Bowl – West Virginia vs. Florida State, Jan 1.

Sugar Bowl – Cincinnati vs. Florida, Jan. 1

International Bowl – South Florida vs. Northern Illinois, Jan. 2

PapaJohns.com Bowl – UConn vs. South Carolina, Jan. 2

 

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Bearcats Hoping to Crash BCS Title Game; UConn Trying to Move on From Tragedy

Brian Kelly is well versed in the debate about the college football national championship picture.
 
He knows that the Big East doesn’t get much respect on a national level.
 
And he understands that prognosticators are hoping for a BCS title game that matches an unbeaten Texas team with an undefeated Southeastern Conference champion, either Florida or Alabama.
And here’s my feature on Pitt RB Dion Lewis, who played at Blair Academy in Jersey.

 

 

 

 

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Schiano Hopeful Savage Will Play Saturday; Big East Weekly Honor Roll

***Undefeated Big East powers Cincinnati and South Florida are preparing for an Oct. 15 battle on ESPN. Read about it here.***

Greg Schiano says he’s “hoping” that true freshman QB Tom Savage will start Saturday against Texas Southern in the Homecoming game.

“I hope he does. He has been practicing for two days now. I guess the only way that would preclude him from playing is if something took a turn in the other direction. Right now, he is on the way up, Schiano said Monday.

Savage suffered a concussion in the fourth quarter of the win against Florida International Sept. 19. To read more of this story, click here

Schiano Proud of Big East, Rutgers

Rutgers coach Greg Schiano isn’t shocked that South Florida went into Tallahassee and beat No. 18 Florida State Saturday in the first meeting between the schools.

“It doesn’t surprise me at all,” Schiano said Sunday.

“I think the Big East Conference is beyond having to prove themselves, yet it continues to be in the public eye that the Big East has to prove themselves. Well, again two weeks in a row now the Big East Conference continues to show that we play very good, hard-nosed football in this league and I don’t suspect that’s going to change anytime soon.”

Cincinnati and South Florida are two of the nation’s 13 teams with 4-0 records.

Read the full story here.

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Knicks Sign Lee, Robinson to One-Year Deals; UConn's Dixon Overcomes Obstacles to Succeed

The Knicks will head into training camp next week with two fan favorites officially locked up for the year.

A day after Nate Robinson reportedly agreed to a one-year deal — which was above his qualifying offer — the Knicks and forward David Lee came to terms on a one-year deal for $7 million plus a $1 million bonus if the team makes the postseason.

The story was first reported by Newsday.

“Yes, it’s for about $8 million,” Mark Bartelstein, Lee’s agent, said by phone.

Read the full story here.

And check out this feature on UConn tailback and New Brunswick, N.J. native Andre Dixon, now succeeding after a series of injuries and off-the-field issues.

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