TTU gets verbal from an almost 7-foot tall OT

TTU gets verbal from an almost 7-foot tall OT

They say everything is bigger in Texas and Trevor Roberson might be living proof of that.

Roberson is a 6-foot-11, 355-pound offensive lineman who attends Wellington high school in Wellington, Texas, and just committed to Texas Tech on Saturday.

He’s a member of the 2019 recruiting class, which makes the towering tackle only a senior-to-be in high school with a chance to grow even more before he gets to college.

Roberson chose Texas Tech over offers from Arkansas, Baylor, Texas A&M, Houston and Minnesota, among others.

Had Minnesota landed the almost 7-footer, it would have been back-to-back recruiting classes with an offensive lineman 6-foot-8 or taller. The Gophers landed Daniel Faalele in the 2018 class, who is 6-foot-8, 395 pounds.

The Red Raiders are the beneficiary, however, and Roberson gives Texas Tech six total commitments for the 2019 class. He’s a three-star prospect and joins defensive end Steven Parker and wide receivers La’Vonte Shenault and Cameron Cantrell as the three-star commitments in the class.

Former Oregon player Leiato killed in car crash

Former Oregon player Leiato killed in car crash

Former Oregon linebacker Fotu Leiato, who was dismissed from the team this past spring, was killed in a single-car accident near Autzen Stadium early Friday morning, according to the Eugene (Oregon) Police Department.

According to a statement from Eugene Police, a 22-year-old male driver wrecked his Kia sedan around 5:31 a.m. ET Friday. Police said the driver told officers on the scene that he was alone and wasn’t carrying any passengers. The driver, who was identified as Pedro Chavarin Jr., was transported to a local hospital and then cited for DUI.

About four hours after the accident, according to police, a woman walking near the area of the crash “spotted a hand and brush over a person down a gravel path.” Police officers responded to the report and found a deceased person, who was identified at Leiato.

Eugene Police Department spokesperson Melinda McLaughlin told ESPN that the department is still investigating the incident.

Leiato, 21, from Steilacoom, Washington, played in 38 games for the Ducks the past three seasons, including one start in 2017. He had three sacks in the spring game and was expected to contend for a starting outside linebacker job this coming season.

Leiato was dismissed from the team in late May after his second arrest in four months. He was arrested in late April on charges of theft, criminal trespassing and criminal mischief after trying to remove a parking boot and failing to appear in court. He also was charged in January for misdemeanor trespassing.

OU QB Murray on A's drafting him: 'It's surreal'

OU QB Murray on A's drafting him: 'It's surreal'

OAKLAND, Calif — The Oakland Athletics welcomed first-round pick Kyler Murray into their organization Friday, agreeing to terms that will allow him to play quarterback for the University of Oklahoma for only one season.

Murray, taken with the ninth overall pick in the MLB’s amateur draft last week, came to town for an introductory press conference with A’s executive vice president Billy Beane and his agent Scott Boras. The details of the deal weren’t immediately released but the slot value for the ninth pick in the draft is $4.7 million.

“This is one of the most dynamic athletes we’ve signed since we’ve got here,” Beane said.

Murray’s highly-anticipated arrival signaled the start of his gradual — but ultimately, final — transition from the gridiron to the diamond. A picture of Murray in the green A’s home uniform beamed from the two large outfield scoreboards at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, bearing the message “Welcome to Oakland.”

“It’s surreal,” Murray said. “Obviously, today has been a great day.”

He went through a largely ceremonial round of batting practice about two hours before first pitch against the Anaheim Angels. Boras, observing from near the home dugout, smiled wide after Murray sent one of the balls over the centerfield fence.

“Now that’s my kind of quarterback,” Boras said.

At Oklahoma, Murray backed up Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield last season. In limited action, he completed 18 of 21 passes for 359 yards and three touchdowns and ran 14 times for 142 yards. In the spring, Murray competed with redshirt freshman Austin Kendall to replace Mayfield but Sooners coach Lincoln Riley said it was “neck-and-neck” between them and hasn’t yet decided on a starter.

Murray’s undeniable talent in baseball complicated things. He hit .296 with 10 home runs, 47 RBIs and stole 10 bases while manning center field for the first time in his baseball career.

That, plus conversations with his family and Boras, convinced Beane and the A’s to draft Murray so highly despite the highly unusual arrangement of allowing him to play another year of football.

“I think it really energized the room,” Beane said, recalling the reaction from members of the front office when he ultimately made the call to draft Murray. “In January, we’re going to be so excited this kid is playing for the Oakland A’s.”

Murray said it’s been no trouble going back and forth between the sports, saying “I’ve been doing it my whole life.” In fact, he’s done it better than few others who preceded him: he was the first athlete to play in both the Under Armour All-America football and baseball national high school all-star games.

But he fared less well when confronted with the press conference equivalent of a softball: if the A’s hadn’t allowed him to play football, would he have turned down a chance to go pro in baseball?

He searched for an answer.”I think they understand,” he said and then mumbled until Beane cut in.

“I’ll make it easy,” Beane said. “It was a dealbreaker if he didn’t go back.”

Murray’s family, sitting in the back of the room where the press conference was being held, applauded.

NCAA, wife of ex-Horns DT settle CTE lawsuit

NCAA, wife of ex-Horns DT settle CTE lawsuit

The NCAA and the widow of a former Texas Longhorns football player reached an undisclosed settlement Friday on the third day of a civil trial in Dallas, in which the widow’s attorneys argued the NCAA was responsible for his brain injuries and death more than four decades after he played for the Longhorns.

Debra Hardin-Ploetz sued the NCAA for negligence and wrongful death in in January 2017, more than a year after her husband, Greg Ploetz, died from brain injuries in May 2015.

Greg Ploetz, who played on the Longhorns’ 1969 national championship, was 66.

Her lawsuit was seeking more than $1 million in damages, according to court records.

The lawsuit was considered a potential landmark case because it was the first civil case in which an individual plaintiff argued that an organization didn’t do enough to prevent football players from developing brain injuries to make it to a jury trial.

Hardin-Ploetz’s attorney, Eugene Egdorf of Houston, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from ESPN.

After his death, Ploetz’s brain was donated to the Concussion Legacy Foundation at Boston University, where doctors concluded that he had Stage 4 chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the most severe level of the degenerative neurological disease caused by multiple blows to the head.

In her complaint against the NCAA, Hardin-Ploetz’s attorneys wrote that her late husband “suffered numerous concussions and sub-concussive blows to the head” while playing at Texas, and that the NCAA’s “failure to take effective action to protect [Ploetz] from the long-term effects of concussions and sub-concussive blows to the head while he played NCAA football” contributed to his death.

Ploetz, from Colorado Springs, Colorado, played defensive tackle and linebacker at Texas in 1968, ’69 and ’71. He was named Southwest Conference Defensive Player of the Year in his final season.

“During all times relevant to this complaint, the NCAA knew, or should have known, of the long-term dangers of concussions and sub-concussive blows to the head regularly suffered by intercollegiate football players,” the complaint said. “The NCAA failed to initiate policies or rules necessary to protect Gregory Ploetz in the face of long-standing and overwhelming evidence regarding the need to do so.

“The NCAA failed to educate its football-playing athletes, like Gregory Ploetz, on the long-term, life-altering risks and consequences of head trauma in football. The NCAA failed to establish known protocols system-wide to prevent, mitigate, monitor, diagnose, and treat neurological disorders.”

The lawsuit said Ploetz suffered depression, memory loss, confusion, erratic behavior, and increasing difficulty communicating with others before his death. He stopped teaching art classes after his symptoms worsened in 2009, according to the complaint.

In July 2014, the NCAA agreed to settle a class-action head-injury lawsuit by creating a $70 million fund to diagnose thousands of current and former college athletes to determine if they suffered brain trauma playing football, hockey, soccer and other contact sports. Unlike a proposed settlement in a similar lawsuit against the NFL, the NCAA’s settlement stopped short of setting aside money to pay players who suffered brain trauma. Instead, athletes can sue individually for damages, and the NCAA-funded tests to gauge the extent of neurological injuries could establish grounds for doing that.

The NCAA also announced in May 2014 a three-year, $30 million concussion study co-funded by the U.S. Defense Department. Plans called for initial data collection on about 7,200 athletes from 12 colleges, increasing to 37,000 athletes at 30 sites, with the aim of better understanding concussions and developing better prevention methods.

Haskins named Ohio St. starter for preseason

Haskins named Ohio St. starter for preseason

Ohio State sophomore Dwayne Haskins will enter preseason camp as the team’s starting quarterback, Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer said Friday.

Speaking with reporters before the Ohio State Football Job Fair in Columbus, Meyer named Haskins the starter but said sophomore Tate Martell will compete for the top job when practices resume later this summer. Haskins, Martell and Joe Burrow competed during spring practice but Burrow last month left the team to join LSU as a graduate transfer.

The 6-foot-3, 218-pound Haskins appeared in eight games last season, completing 40 of 57 pass attempts for 565 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. He relieved injured starter J.T. Barrett in Ohio State’s win at Michigan, completing 6 of 7 pass attempts for 94 yards.

ESPN rated Haskins as the No. 4 pocket passer and No. 63 overall player in the 2016 recruiting class. Martell rated as the No. 6 dual-threat quarterback and No. 127 overall player in the 2017 class.