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Updated on 1:56p ET, Saturday, January 05, 2019

'Mirror image' Tide, Tigers tangle to take title

Love it or hate it, you can't knock it: No. 1 Alabama is playing No. 2 Clemson for college football's national championship.

The Monday night showdown at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., will mark the fourth consecutive season in which these powerhouses have met in the College Football Playoff -- the third time with the title on the line.

While some might be fatigued by the familiarity, fact is the Crimson Tide and Tigers have been this season's two best, most complete teams. Only one, though, will finish 15-0.

"This is the way it should be," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said.

Alabama junior left tackle Jonah Williams said: "I'm not really surprised. In football if you have better players who are better coached, you're going to win."

Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban certainly has done a lot of winning. He has six national titles -- five at Alabama in the past nine seasons -- to go with a 2003 ring from LSU. With one more championship, he would break a tie with Alabama legend Paul "Bear" Bryant for most by a coach in the poll era.

The current Crimson Tide offense is, by far, the best Saban has had in Tuscaloosa.

Alabama's average of 47.7 points per game has a lot to do with sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, this season's new starter after he achieved instant-legend status by coming off bench at halftime to rally Alabama past Georgia in overtime in last season's national championship game.

Tagovailoa, the Heisman Trophy runner-up, has thrown 41 touchdown passes with only four interceptions. After needing ankle surgery following the Southeastern Conference title game, he returned to complete 24 of 27 passes for 318 yards and four touchdowns in last week's College Football Playoff semifinal win over Oklahoma. Now, he will have to navigate the aggressive schemes of Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables.

Biletnikoff Award winner Jerry Jeudy leads the Tide's talented group of pass-catchers, while Josh Jacobs, of late, has led a time-share at tailback, showing power and elusiveness as a runner and after the catch.

"He's really played well for us all year long, especially in these last few games," Saban said of Jacobs. "Our offensive staff has done a really good job of utilizing his talents."

Tagovailoa's quarterback counterpart is the real X-factor in this matchup -- true freshman Trevor Lawrence. Swinney inserted the former five-star recruit into the starting lineup in the fifth game of the season in part because of matchups like this.

Lawrence's strong arm and ability to hit the deep ball potentially could loosen an Alabama defense in ways that former starter Kelly Bryant could not do last season against the Tide.

"He's got a rare confidence and focus," Swinney said of Lawrence. "Just has always been really locked in on himself and who he is and not worried about things he doesn't control."

Another Alabama all-star defensive front, led by Outland Trophy winner Quinnen Williams, will try to rattle Lawrence, who has looked unflappable. Part of that is because of his supporting cast, which includes all kinds of speed at receiver, including Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross, as well as running back Travis Etienne (1,572 yards, 8.27 per carry, 22 TDs). Clemson averages 44.3 points per game.

And Alabama can't forget about Tigers senior Hunter Renfrow, who caught a touchdown pass from Deshaun Watson with one second left to beat Alabama 35-31 for the national title in January 2017. The Tide won 45-40 a year earlier, and Alabama controlled last season's semifinal matchup, 24-6.

Clemson, as it was last week in a 30-3 win over Notre Dame, will be without junior defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence, a likely NFL first-round pick who is suspended after testing positive for a trace amount of a banned substance.

Alabama might be missing outside linebacker Christian Miller, who sustained a hamstring injury in the Dec. 29 Orange Bowl against the Sooners, a 45-34 Crimson Tide win.

As Round 4 of this heavyweight fight is set to begin, Swinney sees the difference potentially being "two or three plays."

"I think both teams are kind of mirror images of each other -- really good defenses, dynamic quarterbacks, very talented running backs and explosive skill, and just kind of built in the trenches," Swinney said. "We're so similar."

College football notebook: QB Fields to transfer to OSU

Georgia dual-threat quarterback Justin Fields announced Friday night he will transfer to Ohio State, and he reportedly will request an eligibility waiver to play right away.

Fields, a true freshman this season who was one of the top-ranked recruits in the nation, reportedly was unhappy playing behind Bulldogs quarterback Jake Fromm, who was a sophomore this season. Fields has worked with the same QB guru, Quincy Avery, who helped develop Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins into a Heisman Trophy finalist this season. Haskins is expected to declare for the NFL draft.

If Fields is granted immediate eligibility, he figures to challenge current backup Tate Martell for the starting job next season. Martell already has said he has no intention of transferring.

Also, freshman tight end Luke Ford announced he will transfer from Georgia to Illinois.

--West Virginia is set to hire Neal Brown away from Troy to be the Mountaineers next head coach, according to multiple reports.

Brown, 38, would replace Dana Holgorsen, who was officially announced as the new football coach at Houston on Wednesday. According to Yahoo Sports, Brown will receive a six-year deal that will be finalized soon.

Brown has gone 35-16 in four seasons at Troy, but his teams have won at least 10 games each of the past three seasons after a 4-8 debut. His teams have also gone 3-0 in bowl games.

--The Oklahoma Sooners are hiring Alex Grinch, the co-defensive coordinator at Ohio State last season, as their new defensive coordinator, multiple outlets reported. He will take over for interim defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeil, who stepped in after Mike Stoops was fired in October.

Grinch, 38, shared the Buckeyes' defensive coordinator job with Greg Schiano last season and also worked with the team's safeties. Before joining Ohio State, Grinch was defensive coordinator at Washington State for three seasons. The Cougars improved from the 97th-ranked overall defense before Grinch arrived to 16th in his final season.

Oklahoma finished ranked 92nd of 130 teams in defensive efficiency this season. The Sooners' 32.4 points per game allowed ranked 96th.

--Former Virginia and Navy coach George Welsh died on Wednesday, Virginia announced Friday. Welsh was 85. The College Hall of Famer died peacefully in his sleep, according to the school.

Welsh went 189-132-4 with 15 bowl appearances in 28 seasons as a coach. He went 55-46-1 in nine seasons at Navy (1973-81) and 134-86-3 in 19 seasons at Virginia (1982-2000).

Welsh was named ACC Coach of the Year four times during his stint at Virginia. He also won the prestigious Bobby Dodd Award in 1991 as the nation's top coach.

--Jaelan Phillips, a former five-star linebacker who dropped out of the UCLA football program in December, reportedly is considering a return to the game.

Phillips said he was withdrawing from UCLA because of "multiple injuries," according to 247Sports. However, he apparently now is seeking to transfer to Southern California or Stanford.

As a freshman, he had 21 tackles, including seven for loss, and 3 1/2 sacks in seven games. In his sophomore season, a wrist injury and a concussion limited him to four games, and he posted just 20 tackles and one sack.

--Former NFL and Oklahoma standout running back DeMarco Murray is the new running backs coach at the University of Arizona, head coach Kevin Sumlin announced.

The 30-year-old Murray, who retired from the NFL in July, spent this season as a college football analyst with FOX Sports. He has a history with Sumlin, who was an assistant coach and co-offensive coordinator during Murray's redshirt and freshman seasons at Oklahoma in 2006-07.

--Stanford receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside announced he is bypassing his senior season and declaring for the NFL draft after catching 63 passes for 1,059 yards and 14 touchdowns this season. He caught three scoring passes on two occasions and two touchdown passes in three other games.

The 14 touchdown receptions tied the single-season mark of school legend James Lofton (1977). Arcega-Whiteside's 28 career receiving scores rank second behind Ken Margerum (1977-80) in school history.

Other players to announce they are leaving school early for the NFL:

--Georgia's three most productive pass catchers and a top running back are all leaving after their junior seasons. Tight end Isaac Nauta, as well as receivers Riley Ridley and Mecole Hardman, made their draft proclamations on social media. Running back Elijah Holyfield also announced he will enter the draft.

--Notre Dame All-American cornerback Julian Love -- a Thorpe Award finalist -- and tight end Alize Mack are bypassing their senior seasons. Love recorded 63 tackles and one interception this season. Mack caught 36 passes for 360 yards and three touchdowns this season.

--Ohio State center Michael Jordan announced that he is bypassing his senior season after one season at center following two at guard.

Arizona hires former NFL star Murray to coach RBs

DeMarco Murray's absence from the football field turned out to be a short-lived one.

The three-time 1,000-yard rusher and former NFL rushing champion is the new running backs coach at the University of Arizona, head coach Kevin Sumlin announced Friday.

"DeMarco brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our running back room," Sumlin said in a statement. "That, with his attention to detail, passion for the game and passion for impacting others will make him a great addition. Our entire staff is excited for him to join our organization."

The 30-year-old Murray, who retired from the NFL in July, spent this season as a college football analyst with FOX Sports. He has a history with Sumlin, who was an assistant coach and co-offensive coordinator during Murray's redshirt and freshman seasons at Oklahoma in 2006-07.

Murray's dominance in college with the Sooners (two 1,000-yard seasons, three seasons with 13-plus rushing touchdowns) led him to a successful seven-year NFL career. Murray earned three Pro Bowl berths, his first two with the Dallas Cowboys, who drafted Murray in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft.

Murray's best season was 2014, his final year in Dallas, as he led the NFL with 1,845 rushing yards and 13 rushing scores while setting a Cowboys single-season record with 2,261 total yards from scrimmage. He also played for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2015, followed by two seasons with the Tennessee Titans in 2016 and '17.

For his pro career, Murray rushed for 7,174 yards with a 4.5-yard average and scored 55 touchdowns (49 rushing).

Report: Former top prospect Phillips seeks football return

Jaelan Phillips, a former five-star linebacker who dropped out of the UCLA football program in December, reportedly is considering a return to the game.

Phillips said he was withdrawing from UCLA because of "multiple injuries," according to 247Sports. However, he apparently now is seeking to transfer to USC or Stanford.

He attended high school in the Southern California community of Redlands, where he was ranked as the No. 1 overall prospect in the Class of 2017 by the 247Sports composite. He was No. 3 in the ESPN 300 ranking.

As a freshman, he had 21 tackles, including seven for loss, and 3 1/2 sacks in seven games. In his sophomore season, a wrist injury and a concussion limited him to four games, and he posted just 20 tackles and one sack.

Because he played in just four games, Phillips can take 2018 as a redshirt season and have three years of eligibility remaining at a new school.

Georgia loses 6 players on offense to draft, transfer

Georgia's three most productive pass catchers and a top running back announced Friday they will enter the 2019 NFL Draft, and two more players announced their transfers, as expected.

Tight end Isaac Nauta, as well as receivers Riley Ridley and Mecole Hardman, made their draft proclamations on social media. Running back Elijah Holyfield also announced he will enter the draft.

All four are juniors.

Joining them in departing will be freshman tight end Luke Ford, who announced he will transfer to Illinois, as well as freshman quarterback Justin Fields, who announced his transfer to Ohio State on Friday night.

For the Georgia offense, Friday was a dark day.

Nauta caught 30 passes for 430 yards and three touchdowns this season.

Ridley, younger brother of the Atlanta Falcons' Calvin Ridley, led the Bulldogs with 44 catches for 570 yards and nine touchdowns on the season. He had five catches for 61 yards Tuesday in Georgia's 28-21 loss to Texas in the Sugar Bowl.

Hardman added 34 catches for 532 yards and seven touchdowns. He also returned 14 kicks for 353 yards, an average of 25.2 yards.

Holyfield, the son of former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield, was a 1,000-yard rusher for the Bulldogs. He scored seven touchdowns on the season. In the Sugar Bowl, he led the team in rushing with 12 carries for 62 yards to finish with 1,018 yards.

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart made this statement after his players announced their decisions:

"We wish the best to Mecole Hardman, Elijah Holyfield, Isaac Nauta and Riley Ridley as they pursue their careers at the next level," he said. "All four of these juniors contributed significantly to our success during the last two seasons and we look forward to them making the best out of their shot at the NFL. As with all our players, we also will encourage them to complete their degrees to get prepared for the next chapter of their lives."

Ford was ranked on the 247Sports composite as the nation's No. 3 tight end in the 2018 recruiting class. He appeared in nine games during the 2018 season and caught one pass for 4 yards. From Carterville, Ill., Ford said he needed to return home.

"I love all my teammates and friends that I met in Athens," Ford posted on Twitter. I love all my teammates and friends that I met in Athens. Also, I'd like to thank all the UGA fans for being amazing throughout the year. However, due to my grandparents' deteriorating health and my family's inability to afford to see me play in person each week, I will be transferring to the University of Illinois."

As for Fields, he played a limited number of plays in 12 games and contributed, but he couldn't surpass rising junior Jake Fromm as the starting quarterback. On the season, Fields was 27-of-39 passing for 328 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions, and he was tied as the teams' fifth-leading rusher with 296 yards. He added four touchdowns on the ground.

Notre Dame CB Love, TE Mack declare for NFL draft

Notre Dame All-American cornerback Julian Love and tight end Alize Mack announced Friday that they are bypassing their senior seasons and declaring for the NFL draft.

Love, who was a finalist for the Thorpe Award, announced his decision on Instagram.

"While I'm confident that this is the best choice for my future, the decision to leave Notre Dame was not an easy one," Love wrote. "It was a childhood dream of mine to put on the gold helmet and play football for the Fighting Irish, and my experience at this university has been just that -- a dream."

Love recorded 63 tackles and one interception this season. He had five career interceptions in 38 games.

Love is expected to be among the first five cornerbacks selected in the draft.

Mack, who caught 36 passes for 360 yards and three touchdowns this season, made his announcement on Twitter.

"To my friends, family, teammates, coaches, classmates and fans of the Fighting Irish -- representing Notre Dame on the field and in the community has been one of the greatest privileges of my life which is what makes my decision to declare for the NFL Draft so difficult," Mack wrote.

Hall of Fame coach Welsh dies at 85

Former Virginia and Navy coach George Welsh died on Wednesday, Virginia announced Friday. Welsh was 85.

The College Hall of Fame member died peacefully in his sleep, according to the school.

Welsh went 189-132-4 with 15 bowl appearances in 28 seasons as a coach. He went 55-46-1 in nine seasons at Navy (1973-81) and 134-86-3 in 19 seasons at Virginia (1982-2000).

"I am saddened to hear that Coach Welsh passed away this week," current Virginia head coach Bronco Mendenhall said on Twitter on Friday. "My condolences go out to his family. He was a true pioneer for UVA football and provided the model of success we are working hard to replicate. We will miss his frequent visits to the football offices."

Welsh was named ACC Coach of the Year four times during his stint at Virginia. He also won the prestigious Bobby Dodd Award in 1991 as the nation's top coach.

Welsh's 1990 squad reached No. 1 in the nation for three weeks. One of the standouts of that Virginia team was receiver Herman Moore, who was later an NFL star for the Detroit Lions.

Prior to his coaching career, Welsh was an All-American quarterback at Navy and finished third in the 1955 Heisman Trophy balloting.

He later became Navy's coach, and his squads went 7-1-1 against fierce rival Army.

Welsh was inducted into the College Hall of Fame in 2004.

Stanford WR Arcega-Whiteside declares for NFL draft

Stanford receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside announced Friday that he is bypassing his senior season and declaring for the NFL draft.

Arcega-Whiteside revealed his decision on his Twitter account.

"It has been my dream to play in the NFL, and I have decided to officially declare for the 2019 NFL Draft," Arcega-Whiteside wrote. "Thank you to all who have been part of my journey."

Arcega-Whiteside caught 63 passes for 1,059 yards and 14 touchdowns this season. He caught three scoring passes on two occasions and two touchdown passes in three other games.

The 14 touchdown receptions tied the single-season mark of school legend James Lofton (1977). Arcega-Whiteside's 28 career receiving scores rank second behind Ken Margerum in school history (1977-80).

In three seasons at Stanford, Arcega-Whiteside had 135 receptions for 2,219 yards and 28 touchdown catches.

Report: Oklahoma hires Grinch away from Ohio State

The Oklahoma Sooners are hiring Alex Grinch, the co-defensive coordinator at Ohio State last season, as their new defensive coordinator, according to multiple reports.

Grinch, 38, shared the Buckeyes defensive coordinator job with Greg Schiano last season and also worked with the team's safeties.

Before joining Ohio State, Grinch was defensive coordinator at Washington State for three seasons. The Cougars improved from the 97th-ranked overall defense before Grinch arrived to 16th in his final season.

At Oklahoma, he'll take over for interim defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeil, who took over when Mike Stoops was fired in October.

The Sooners' season ended in the College Football Playoffs semifinals with a 45-34 loss to Alabama, the fifth time this season they had given up at least 45 points.

While the Sooners won three of those games, Oklahoma finished ranked 92nd of 130 teams in defensive efficiency. Oklahoma's 32.4 points per game allowed ranked 96th.

Ohio State C Jordan declares for NFL draft

Ohio State center Michael Jordan announced Friday that he is bypassing his senior season and declaring for the NFL draft.

Jordan made the announcement on his Twitter account.

"After lengthy discussions with my parents, loved ones, coaches I feel ready to take on the next great challenge ahead of me," Jordan wrote. "In my heart I know I'm ready for the NFL largely because I have been coached by the very best."

Jordan played guard his first two seasons at Ohio State before moving to center.

The highly regarded Jordan is slated to make it three drafted centers in three years for the Buckeyes. Pat Elflein was a third-round pick by the Minnesota Vikings in 2017 and Billy Price was selected in the first round (21st overall) in 2018.

Report: West Virginia hires Neal Brown as coach

West Virginia is set to hire Neal Brown away from Troy to be the Mountaineers next head coach, according to multiple reports Friday.

Brown, 38, replaces Dana Holgorsen, who was officially announced as the new football coach at Houston on Wednesday.

According to Yahoo Sports, Brown will receive a six-year deal that will be finalized soon.

Brown has gone 35-16 in four seasons at Troy, but his teams have won at least 10 games each of the last three seasons after a 4-8 debut. His teams have also gone 3-0 in bowl games.

His Troy teams have also pulled off major road upsets of then No. 25 LSU (24-21 in 2017) and Nebraska (24-19 in 2018).

Holgorsen left after going 61-41 in eight seasons at West Virginia, earning the second-most wins in school history. He guided the Mountaineers to seven bowl games in his eight seasons.

West Virginia went 8-4 this season but collapsed down the stretch with three straight losses. The Mountaineers fell 34-18 to Syracuse in the Camping World Bowl last Friday.

Georgia QB Fields transferring to Ohio State

Georgia dual-threat quarterback Justin Fields confirmed Friday night he will transfer to Ohio State, and he is expected to request an eligibility waiver to play right away.

Fields, a Georgia native, reportedly was unhappy playing behind Bulldogs quarterback Jake Fromm, who will be a junior.

Fields posted his announcement to Twitter, which read, in part:

"I've decided to transfer to Ohio State University where I will continue to pursue my undergraduate degree and play football for the Buckeyes.

"I'll miss my teammates more than they'll ever know, and I wish them all the best as they get ready for another great season. I hope the bonds we've developed this past year will never be broken by where we choose to play football or where we will end up after college."

Fields has worked with the same QB guru, Quincy Avery, who helped develop Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins into a Heisman finalist this past season.

Haskins has not declared for the NFL draft but is expected to, and Fields' transfer is a clear indication that Ohio State is planning for life with their quarterback. Haskins said in December that Fields has reached out to him about the Ohio State program and new coach Ryan Day.

If Fields is granted immediate eligibility, he figures to challenge backup Tate Martell for the starting job next season.

When rumors of Fields joining the Buckeyes surfaced before the Rose Bowl, Martell said he has no intention of transferring.

"Why would I leave for someone who hasn't put a single second into this program yet?" Martell asked rhetorically. "I've put two years of working my ass off for something that I've been waiting for and dreaming of having my whole life."

Martell was the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback in the Class of 2017, according to the 247Sports composite. He redshirted in 2017. The same service named Fields the No. 1 dual-threat QB in the Class of 2018.

Martell and Fields saw limited action in 2018.

Martell appeared in six games and completed 23 of 28 passes for 269 yards and a touchdown. On the ground, he carried the ball 22 times and gained 128 yards, scoring two TDs.

Georgia created plays for Fields, who appeared in 12 games. He was 27-of-39 passing for 328 yards and four touchdowns. He was Georgia's fifth-leading rusher, with 266 yards on 42 carries and four TDs.

OSU S Fuller returning for senior season

Ohio State safety Jordan Fuller will return for his senior season with the Buckeyes, he announced Thursday on Twitter.

Fuller, who was considered a possible second- or third-round pick if he declared for the NFL draft, tied for the team lead with 81 tackles as a junior. He also chipped in 2.5 tackles for loss, an interception, four passes defensed and two fumble recoveries in 13 games while earning second-team All-Big Ten honors.

He had 72 tackles (2.5 for loss), two picks and two passes defensed in 12 games as a sophomore.

Texas A&M RB Williams declares for draft

Texas A&M running back Trayveon Williams will skip his senior year and enter the 2019 NFL Draft, he announced in a video on social media Thursday night.

Williams led the SEC in rushing and ranked third in the nation this season, with a school-record 1,760 yards on the ground to go with 18 touchdowns. He added 27 catches for 278 yards and a score through the air.

In his final game at Texas A&M, Williams ran for 236 yards and three touchdowns, winning MVP honors at the Gator Bowl.

In three years with the Aggies, Williams amassed 3,615 rushing yards and 34 touchdowns.

Draft projections are all over the board on Williams, with some pegging him as a top-five running back in the class and others considering him a later-round selection.

Miami DE Jackson declares for NFL draft

Miami Hurricanes junior defensive end Joe Jackson announced Thursday he hired an agent and will enter the 2019 NFL Draft.

Jackson signed with Roc Nation Sports.

Jackson started 12 of 13 games this season and finished with a team-high nine sacks. He added 14 1/2 tackles for loss and 47 total tackles.

Jackson is the third Miami junior to declare for the draft, joining running back Travis Homer and offensive lineman Venzell Boulware.

College football notebook: Fitzgerald to stay at Northwestern

Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald will not pursue any NFL jobs despite overtures from multiple teams, his agent told multiple media outlets Thursday.

The Green Bay Packers reportedly wished to interview Fitzgerald for their head-coach opening, but the 44-year-old said Monday after his team's 31-20 win over Utah that he planned to stay in Evanston.

ESPN reported Tuesday that Fitzgerald was expected to accept an interview for the Packers' job, but it appears that won't happen. Packers CEO and president Mark Murphy was Northwestern's athletic director when Fitzgerald was hired in 2006.

The Wildcats gave Fitzgerald, the winningest coach in program history, a 10-year contract extension in April 2017. He has repeatedly affirmed his commitment to his alma mater despite interest from major college programs.

--California cornerback Bryce Turner has been hospitalized after a "medical emergency" near his home in Southern California, his family said in a statement.

"We are grateful to those who have cared for Bryce and the doctors who continue to closely monitor him in the hospital," the statement added. "Please keep Bryce in your thoughts and prayers. We will share updated information as it becomes available and we learn more about his condition, but at this time we ask that our family's privacy is respected so we can focus on Bryce's care."

The details of Turner's medical emergency were unclear, but ESPN reported it happened during a workout on Sunday, and Turner was hospitalized that day.

--Clemson star junior defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence and two of his teammates have officially been ruled out of the Monday night title game between the Tigers and No. 1 Alabama.

Clemson released a statement affirming that Lawrence, offensive lineman Zach Giella and tight end Braden Galloway would be suspended, as they were for the national semifinal game against Notre Dame. The trio tested positive for ostarine, a banned substance.

--Penn State junior running back Miles Sanders declared for the NFL Draft, becoming the fifth Nittany Lions player to leave early.

Sanders led Penn State in rushing with 1,274 yards in his first season as the starter, having replaced Saquon Barkley, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

--Texas wide receiver Collin Johnson will return for his senior season with the Longhorns in 2019.

The 6-foot-6 wideout caught 68 passes for 985 yards and seven touchdowns in 2018, all career highs. In 35 career games, Johnson has 150 catches for 2,065 yards and 12 scores.

--Miami Hurricanes junior defensive end Joe Jackson declared for the NFL Draft.

Jackson started 12 of 13 games this season and finished with a team-high nine sacks.

--Texas A&M running back Trayveon Williams will skip his senior year and turn pro, he announced on social media.

Williams led the SEC in rushing this season, with 1,760 yards on the ground to go with 18 touchdowns.

--Wisconsin center Tyler Biadasz is returning to school. The redshirt sophomore was viewed as one of the top center prospects if he had come out this year.

--Safety Jordan Fuller will return to Ohio State for his senior season.

--Arkansas defensive lineman McTelvin Agim will return to the Razorbacks for his senior season.

--Defensive end Khalid Kareem announced he will return to Notre Dame for his senior season.

Agent confirms Fitzgerald staying at Northwestern

Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald will not pursue any NFL jobs despite overtures from multiple teams, his agent told multiple outlets Thursday.

The Green Bay Packers reportedly wished to interview Fitzgerald for their head-coach opening, but the 44-year-old said Monday after his team's 31-20 win over Utah that he planned to stay in Evanston.

"I'm not going anywhere. This is home forever," Fitzgerald said. He later added, "I'm a Wildcat for life."

ESPN reported Tuesday that Fitzgerald was expected to accept an interview for the Packers' job, but it appears that won't happen. Packers CEO and president Mark Murphy was Northwestern's athletic director when Fitzgerald was hired in 2006.

The Wildcats gave Fitzgerald, the winningest coach in program history, a 10-year contract extension in April of 2017. He has repeatedly affirmed his commitment to his alma mater despite interest from major college programs.

Fitzgerald, who has never coached in the NFL, is 96-70 in 13 years leading Northwestern, including 9-5 this season. After a 63-year drought without a bowl victory, the Wildcats have won four in the last seven years, including each of the last three seasons. The team has also been ranked in five of the last seven seasons, climbing as high as No. 12 in 2015.

Cal CB Turner hospitalized after emergency

California cornerback Bryce Turner has been hospitalized after a "medical emergency" near his home in Southern California, his family said in a statement released Thursday.

"We are grateful to those who have cared for Bryce and the doctors who continue to closely monitor him in the hospital," the statement added. "Please keep Bryce in your thoughts and prayers. We will share updated information as it becomes available and we learn more about his condition, but at this time we ask that our family's privacy is respected so we can focus on Bryce's care."

The details of Turner's medical emergency are unclear, but ESPN reports it happened during a workout on Sunday, and Turner was hospitalized that day.

"Our positive thoughts, prayers and energy are with Bryce and his family," head coach Justin Wilcox said in a statement. "We are thankful to the medical professionals who have cared for Bryce and continue to monitor his condition. We will do everything we can to support Bryce and his family during this difficult time."

Cal players have been home on winter break since concluding their season Dec. 26 with a 10-7 loss to TCU in the Cheez-It Bowl.

A redshirt sophomore, Turner played in one game this season, recording a tackle against Idaho State. He joined the Golden Bears as a junior-college transfer after spending 2016 at Long Beach (Calif.) City College.

Dexter Lawrence among Tigers officially ruled out of title game

Clemson star junior Dexter Lawrence and two of his teammates have officially been ruled out of Monday night's title game between the Tigers and No. 1 Alabama.

Clemson released a statement Thursday affirming that Lawrence, Zach Giella and Braden Galloway would be suspended, as they were for the national semifinal game against Notre Dame. The trio tested positive for ostarine, a banned substance.

"Clemson will not have tight end Braden Galloway, offensive lineman Zach Giella and defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence available for Monday's College Football Playoff National Championship against Alabama," Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich said in a statement. "However, Clemson has been informed by the NCAA that the three student-athletes will be permitted to travel to Santa Clara, Calif., with the team later this week."

Barring successful appeals, the failed tests would lead to one-year suspensions for the three players. That likely would end Lawrence's college career, widely considered a first-round NFL draft pick.

"As requested by these student-athletes, Clemson filed notices of appeal with the NCAA. We will continue to work with the three impacted student-athletes and their legal representatives over the coming weeks to prepare the appeals. Neither Clemson, Galloway, Giella nor Lawrence anticipate having further comment on this matter until after the appeals have concluded."

The trio failed NCAA drug tests earlier this month. The confirmation last week that their B-samples contained trace amounts of the banned substance sealed their fate for the Cotton Bowl and Monday's title game.

Lawrence last week said he was shocked he tested positive, guessing it came from an energy drink or hair gel.

"I'm not the type of guy to do a selfish act like that," Lawrence said. "I have too much pride. I love this team and my family too much to put a substance like that in my body. I don't know where it came from. I don't know how it got there. I was raised different. If I did do it, I'd own up to it. All I can say is I honestly don't know what happened, where it came from."

Clemson and Alabama kick off the championship game Monday at 8 p.m. in Santa Clara, California.

Texas WR Johnson will return for senior season

Texas wide receiver Collin Johnson will return for his senior season with the Longhorns in 2019.

"The best is yet to come!" he posted via Twitter on Thursday afternoon.

The 6-foot-6 wideout caught 68 passes for 985 yards and seven touchdowns in 2018, all career highs. In 35 career games, Johnson has 150 catches for 2,065 yards and 12 scores.

Johnson cited three motivating influences for returning to Austin: finishing his degree, helping Texas win a championship, and playing one more year with his brother, running back Kirk Johnson.

Kirk Johnson has dealt with multiple injuries over the past few seasons. His last carry came against Texas Tech on Nov. 26, 2015.

Their father, Johnnie Johnson, was a Longhorns legend. The two-time All-American defensive back (1978-79) and 2007 College Football Hall of Fame inductee was the 17th overall pick in the 1980 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams.

Penn State RB Sanders declares for NFL Draft

Penn State junior running back Miles Sanders declared for the NFL Draft on Thursday, becoming the fifth Nittany Lions player to leave early.

Sanders led Penn State in rushing with 1,274 yards in his first season as the starter, having replaced Saquon Barkley, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Sanders made his announcement on social media.

"As I prepare for the road ahead, I truly believe this is the next best step for my future," Sanders wrote in a statement released on Twitter.

The 5-foot-11 Sanders averaged 5.8 yards per carry and scored nine touchdowns this past season.

Sanders was a five-star recruit out of high school and 247Sports' No. 1 composite running back. He is considered the ninth-best running back in the 2019 draft class, according to ESPN's Mel Kiper.

Sanders is the fifth Penn State player to leave early, joining offensive linemen Ryan Bates and Connor McGovern, and defensive linemen Shareef Miller and Kevin Givens.

Report: Ex-NFL star Murray to coach RBs at Arizona

Three-time 1,000-yard rusher and former NFL rushing champion DeMarco Murray plans to accept a position as the running backs coach at the University of Arizona, the Arizona Daily Star reported Wednesday.

Per the report, the official school announcement will occur in the coming days as Murray, who turns 31 next month, will join the staff of head coach Kevin Sumlin.

Murray, who retired from the NFL after the 2017 season, spent this season as a college football analyst with FOX Sports. He has a history with Sumlin, who was an assistant coach and co-offensive coordinator during Murray's redshirt and freshman seasons at Oklahoma in 2006-07.

Murray's dominance in college with the Sooners (two 1,000-yard seasons, three seasons with 13-plus rushing touchdowns) led him to a successful seven-year NFL career. Murray earned three Pro Bowl berths, his first two with the Dallas Cowboys, who drafted Murray in the third round in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Murray's best season was 2014, his final year in Dallas, as he led the NFL with 1,845 rushing yards and 13 rushing scores while setting a Cowboys single-season record with 2,261 total yards from scrimmage. He also played for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2015, followed by two seasons with the Tennessee Titans in 2016 and '17.

For his pro career, Murray rushed for 7,174 yards with a 4.5-yard average and scored 55 touchdowns (49 rushing).

Diaz vows Miami's offense will improve

Miami introduced Manny Diaz -- its former defensive coordinator who briefly left to become Temple's coach -- as its new head football coach on Wednesday, capping a whirlwind three-week period that has impacted the future of two college football programs.

Temple hired Diaz as its coach on Dec. 12. But when Miami head coach Mark Richt unexpectedly announced his retirement on Sunday, Miami paid a $4 million buyout to Temple and brought the Miami native back home.

On Wednesday, in his introductory news conference, he talked about the situation at Temple.

"We took the Temple job full speed ahead, to make Temple as great as Temple could be. For what happened on Sunday, there was a series of events - so many things that all had to happen in proper sequence. If any of those things would have been out of order, right now, I'd be the head coach at Temple," Diaz, 44, said. "There's simply no script for what took place on Sunday. That said, I do want to apologize, especially to the players at Temple. I apologize for not being able to be with you and be able to execute the vision that I laid out for our chance for success.

"However, in the short time I was there, and just being around the guys and understanding the culture in that locker room, and the talent in that locker room, I have every confidence that that team understands that they're built to win."

And he also discussed what it's going to take to return Miami to national prominence. The Hurricanes finished 7-6 this season.

He said improvement will require change on the offensive side of the ball and announced he had fired the offensive coaching staff and the strength and conditioning coach, Gus Felder.

"One of the hardest things I've ever had to do was I had to announce to the offensive staff they would not be retained for 2019, and I had to do the same thing with Coach Felder in the weight room," Diaz said. "Immediately, the vision goes to the future. My first task is to hire an outstanding staff that is ready to take Miami to another level, to the point where we're competing and in the mix for the College Football Playoff every year. That will start with the offensive coordinator. That's certainly the most important hire."

The Florida Sun Sentinel reported the coaches let go are offensive coordinator and running backs coach Thomas Brown, wide receivers coach Ron Dugans, quarterbacks coach Jon Richt, tight ends coach Todd Hartley and offensive line coach Stacy Searels. Jon Richt is the son of the former coach.

The Diaz-led defense surrendered an average of 18.2 points per game, good for 16th in the nation, while the offense averaged 30.9 points to put it at No. 50.

The Hurricanes scored 17 points or fewer in five games on the season, and the passing offense averaged 177.3 yards a game. Miami ranked No. 108 in the nation in that statistic.

Diaz said he has candidates in mind to become offensive coordinator and take the offense in a different direction.

"Right now, I'd say I've got three finalists for that position, and I will tell you this - the guy in fourth place would be amazing. That's how excited I am for that," he said. "The timing for when it will happen is when it's going to happen. I am not interested in it happening fast, I am interested in it happening ‘right.' It's going to be the person that's the right fit for the program. There are other outside factors at play in terms of when certain people will be available. But the hire will be announced when the hire is right. All that matters to me is that we get the right person in the right position."

Johns Hopkins' record-setting coach Margraff dies at 58

Jim Margraff, who became the all-time winningest football coach at John Hopkins, died Wednesday at the age of 58.

A cause of death was not released by university officials.

Coach John Harbaugh and the Baltimore Ravens sent a statement via Twitter that read in part: "Coach Margraff was a highly-respected member of the Baltimore community and an icon at Johns Hopkins University. With tremendous class, leadership and determination, he inspired countless student-athletes."

The head coach of the Division III school in Baltimore since 1990, Margraff compiled a 221-89-3 record there, setting the record for most victories at the institution. The victory total is also the most by any college football coach in state history and ranked third among active Division III coaches.

"It's just horrible. You just hate to hear about those kind of things," said Mike Dailey, the head coach of the McDaniel Green Terrors, a Centennial Conference rival. "He was the nicest guy. He was just a first-class gentleman top to bottom. With all the successes that they had, there was never a time where he didn't come across as the most humble man, and giving credit to everyone else."

Margraff, who played quarterback at Johns Hopkins before becoming a coach, was named the D3football.com National Coach of the Year in 2018 after leading the Blue Jays to a school-record 12 victories in 14 games. They also made their first appearance in the semifinals of the NCAA Division III tournament, losing 28-20 to 13-time national champion Mount Union on Dec. 8.

"Jim Margraff was a thoughtful, humble, passionate and exceptionally talented leader and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this difficult time," Johns Hopkins athletic director Alanna W. Shanahan said in a statement. "He left an indelible impact on all he touched and he made us all better. We will forever be thankful for the unparalleled experiences he provided for so many over the course of his highly successful career."

The school announced Wednesday that a memorial service will be held, with further details to come.

Margraff was 1982 Johns Hopkins graduate. He is survived by his wife Alice, and children Megan, James and Will.

Houston officially hires Holgorsen

Dana Holgorsen is officially the new football coach at Houston.

The school announced the hiring of Holgorsen on Wednesday and will hold an introductory news conference on Thursday.

Holgorsen reportedly received a five-year contract worth $20 million to become coach of the Cougars after going 61-41 in eight seasons at West Virginia. He formerly served as Houston's offensive coordinator for two seasons in 2008-09.

"I'm beyond excited for the opportunity to return to Houston and lead this program," Holgorsen said in a statement. "This city and the University of Houston has unlimited potential and I am honored to be a part of it. ...

"I look forward to meeting our student-athletes and establishing a culture that thrives on championship competition, on and off the field."

Holgorsen, 47, replaces Major Applewhite, who was fired with a 15-11 record over two-plus seasons.

Holgorsen leaves West Virginia with the second-most wins in school history. He guided the Mountaineers to seven bowl games in his eight seasons.

West Virginia went 8-4 this season but collapsed down the stretch with three straight losses. The Mountaineers fell 34-18 to Syracuse in the Camping World Bowl last Friday.

Holgorsen's stint as Houston offensive coordinator saw the squad average 42.2 points and 563 yards of total offense over two seasons. Quarterback Case Keenum led the nation in total offense in both seasons -- 403.2 yards per game in 2008 and 416.4 yards in 2009.

Holgorsen was featured on a five-second video on the school's Twitter account on Wednesday.

"Go Cougs," Holgorsen began. "Hey y'all want to go win some games? Let's go win some games?"

The school certainly is expecting victories to follow after bringing Holgorsen back to town.

"We are thrilled to welcome Dana back to Houston as the next leader of our Football program," vice president for athletics Chris Pezman said in the news release. "His offensive acumen with an emphasis on student-athlete development, on and off the field, is a perfect fit for our program, University and city.

"We are looking forward to Dana connecting with our student-athletes and taking over a program that is primed for continued success at the highest level."

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