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Griffin opts for the NFL

Baylor QB will skip senior year

Associated Press / January 11, 2012
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Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III has decided to enter the NFL draft, according to a person familiar with the decision.

ESPN, citing an anonymous family source, first reported that Griffin is going pro and is in the final stages of picking an agent.

Griffin is bypassing his senior season at Baylor, according to the person who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity last night because the quarterback had not yet made an official announcement.

Griffin is projected to be one of the top picks in April. Griffin and Stanford’s Andrew Luck, the Heisman runner-up, are likely to be the first two quarterbacks selected.

Iowa loses Coker

Marcus Coker is leaving Iowa, the fifth talented running back lost by the Hawkeyes since 2010. The school said Coker has asked for and been granted a release from his scholarship. Coker rushed for 1,384 yards and 15 touchdowns as a sophomore last season. He was suspended last month for the Insight Bowl after violating the student-athlete code of conduct . . . Wisconsin center Peter Konz is planning to skip his senior season and enter the NFL draft. Konz, a first-team All-Big Ten player who started 31 games over the last three years, stepped in at the position as a redshirt freshman in the second game of 2009 . . . Arkansas running back Knile Davis announced that he will return to school next season, deciding against entering the NFL draft after missing every game last season as he recovered from a fractured left ankle. The junior led all Southeastern Conference running backs with 1,322 yards rushing as a sophomore the previous season, but he went down Aug. 11 when a defensive lineman fell on his ankle during a scrimmage.

Jay Paterno out

Jay Paterno is leaving Penn State’s coaching staff after spending 17 years as an assistant under his father, Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno. The younger Paterno worked the last 12 seasons as the quarterbacks coach. His departure was expected after the school last week named Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien to succeed Joe Paterno as head coach. Paterno was fired Nov. 9 in the wake of a child sexual abuse scandal involving his former assistant, Jerry Sandusky. “I wish the program the best of luck in carrying on the academic and athletic excellence that have been a hallmark for decades,’’ Jay Paterno said in a statement. Jay Paterno said he and O’Brien spoke this week and the two “reached the conclusion’’ he would not be part of the new staff.

Extension for Kelly

Notre Dame has given coach Brian Kelly a two-year contract extension that will keep him with the Irish through the 2016 season. Athletic director Jack Swarbrick said he is pleased with the progress of the program during Kelly’s first two seasons. The Irish have finished 8-5 in each of the last two seasons. Notre Dame lost to Florida State in the Champs Sports Bowl last month . . . A person familiar with the search says Florida has hired Boise State’s Brent Pease as its offensive coordinator. The person says Pease has agreed to a five-year deal worth a little more than $500,000, on par with what other play-callers are making in the Southeastern Conference. Pease replaces Charlie Weis, who left last month to take the head job at Kansas . . . The American Football Coaches Association named Harvard’s Tim Murphy president . . . Former Tulane coach Vince Gibson died in Kenner, La. He was 78. Gibson, who also coached at Kansas State and Louisville, had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

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