Below is a look at some of the biggest news stories surrounding college football leading up to the National Championship Game.
University of California Cornerback Dies
California cornerback Bryce Turner died on Saturday night at the age of 19. Turner was a redshirt sophomore at California, after transferring from Long Beach City College. Turner was hospitalized on December 30 after suffering a medical emergency that occurred during a football workout. He grew up in Southern California and went to high school at John Bosco High in Bellflower. The school did not immediately release a cause of death. This is the second tragedy for the Cal football program in the last five years. In 2014 defensive lineman Ted Agu died after a team workout due to him carrying the sickle cell trait.
Oklahoma Lands Top-Ranked WR
The University of Oklahoma received a verbal commitment from wide receiver Jadon Haselwood on Saturday night during the All-American Bowl. Haselwood is the top-ranked wide receiver recruit in the country and had previously committed to Georgia before de-committing in October. Haselwood played high school football in Ellenwood, Georgia, and is now the top-rated player in the Oklahoma recruiting class. Oklahoma now has the number-eight recruiting class in college football for the 2019 class. Haselwood chose the Sooners over the likes of Miami, Florida State, and Tennessee.
North Dakota State Bison Are FCS Champs…Again
The North Dakota State Bison capped off a perfect 15-0 season with an FCS Championship again on Saturday. The victory gave the Bison their seventh FCS title in the last eight seasons and broke a tie with Georgia Southern for most championships in FCS history. North Dakota State held off Eastern Washington by a score of 38-24 to earn the historic win. Quarterback Easton Stick racked up 319 total yards and five touchdowns and improved his career record as starting quarterback to 49-3. The 49 wins pushed him ahead of Brock Jensen for most FCS victories by a starting quarterback. NDSU head coach Chris Klieman tied Jim Tressel for the most titles in FCS history with four. Klieman was recently named the head coach at Kansas State for next season.
Fields Transferring to Ohio State
The Ohio State Buckeyes are landing a star quarterback in Georgia transfer Justin Fields. Fields was the number-one ranked quarterback in the 2018 recruiting class but is leaving the school after backing up sophomore Jake Fromm this season. Georgia was able to land Fields after a fierce recruiting battle but used the freshman quarterback sporadically this season. Fields will reportedly apply for a hardship waiver with the NCAA in hopes of being eligible to play in 2019 at Ohio State. The Buckeyes are expected to lose quarterback Dwayne Haskins to the NFL, leaving an immediate opening at the quarterback position.
Tagovailoa Continues to Improve
Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is expected to start in the National Championship Game against the Clemson Tigers. Tagovailoa continues to receive treatment on his injured ankle but was not wearing his protective boot at media day leading up to the game. The star quarterback admitted that his ankle was around 80-85 percent leading up the Orange Bowl, but Tagovailoa was able to lead his team to victory. The training staff of Alabama continues to give Tagovailoa stem-cell treatment, but it appears that he will be close to 100 percent for the final game of the season.
USC Denying Interview Requests For Kingsbury
NFL teams are trying to get permission to speak with Kliff Kingsbury, but USC is not willing to grant teams access. Both the New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals have requested to interview Kingsbury, but at this time it doesn’t appear that they will get their wish. USC hired Kingsbury in December after he was fired as head coach at Texas Tech after a 5-7 season. Kingsbury was replacing Tee Martin as the Trojans OC after Martin was let go by head coach Clay Helton in November. NFL teams are being forced to get permission from college athletic directors before moving on with the interview process. If NFL teams ignore the decision and go ahead with the interview, they could be faced with the loss of draft picks in the upcoming NFL Draft. Both the Jets and Cardinals have moved on with their coaching search while waiting for the next move from USC and Kingsbury.