Monday, April 23, 2018
Colleges

Outback Bowl journal: Michigan’s 2018 QB race starts with Brandon Peters

TAMPA — He needn’t wait around for the intense quarterback derby looming in Ann Arbor this coming spring. Michigan redshirt freshman Brandon Peters’ quest for the No. 1 job in 2018 starts Monday.

Peters, who started two games and appeared in three others in the regular season, has been named the Wolverines’ starter for the Outback Bowl. A solid effort against South Carolina — third in the SEC with 12 interceptions —could conceivably earn him the first snap of spring drills.

Also expected to take snaps at that point: Mississippi transfer Shea Patterson and promising 6-foot-5 sophomore-to-be Dylan McCaffrey, among others.

"From the first time that he went in, he’s just grown up so much," said senior and fellow QB John O’Korn, who started the Wolverines’ regular-season finale, a 31-20 loss to Ohio State, when Peters was sidelined with a concussion. "He’s really taking control of the offense, taking control of the locker room, and it’s been really cool to see."

Ranked the nation’s No. 5 QB for the Class of 2016 by ESPN, Peters has completed nearly 68 percent of his passes (36-of-53) for 482 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. He won both his starts, against Minnesota and Maryland, before sustaining a concussion in a Nov. 18 loss at Wisconsin.

"He was pretty quiet, really soft-spoken, when he got here," O’Korn said. "And those issues are gone. He’s done a great job."

Reaching for Skai

The South Carolina defense is expecting Michigan to stick to what it knows best: a power-run offense that has proven to be tough to stop all season long.

Just in case, LB T.J. Brunson said, the Gamecocks will be ready to put their hands up, because all it might take is a little tip to help LB Skai Moore make history.

Moore, a senior from Cooper City, has 14 career interceptions, tying a program record set by DB Bo Davies in 1971. Monday’s game will be the last time Moore, who leads the team in tackles (88), suits up for the Gamecocks. Helping him go out on top, Brunson said, is the least they can do to send him off.

"I hope he gets that last pick. I want him to get that pick. Everyone does. That’s a big deal for a linebacker to have that many interceptions," he said. "Just in case, everyone’s trying to get to the ball, tip it up or something."

At 6 feet 2, 218 pounds and a three-star recruit, Moore didn’t get much attention from the traditional SEC powerhouses. He originally committed to Rutgers, before changing his mind after a weekend on the New Jersey campus: "I took a visit up there, and it was snowing. It was too cold for me. I couldn’t do it."

Since then, things haven’t always been smooth for Moore. He missed the 2016 season because of an injury that required surgery on a herniated disc in his neck.

This season, however, the 2015 second-team All-SEC selection has picked up right where he left off. "(I want to be known as) a player who showed up on Saturdays, did what he had to do to help his team win," Moore said. "A good leader, a good person. And, you know, a guy who just always made plays."

Trouble in the alley

Michigan and South Carolina players nearly came to blows Wednesday night during an outing at Splitsville bowling center in the Channelside district. Video shows the players separated before a punch or shove could be exchanged. At least one law-enforcement officer can be seen in the middle of the fray.

Odds and ends

Florida Atlantic coach Lane Kiffin and dad Monte, who had a nifty run as Bucs defensive coordinator, were spotted at Michigan’s practice at Berkeley Prep. … The game will be Michigan’s sixth Outback Bowl appearance, which leads all Big Ten teams. … Both teams will visit Busch Gardens this afternoon.

Times correspondent Kelly Parsons contributed to this report.

Comments
Report: Florida Gators’ Cece Jefferson out four months after shoulder surgery

Report: Florida Gators’ Cece Jefferson out four months after shoulder surgery

Florida Gators defensive lineman Cece Jefferson will be out four months after having surgery on his right shoulder earlier this week, according to a report Wednesday evening from the Gainesville Sun.Jefferson, a 6-foot-1, 242-pound senior, injured th...
Published: 04/18/18
Florida has signed 15 quarterbacks since Tim Tebow. 10 have transferred

Florida has signed 15 quarterbacks since Tim Tebow. 10 have transferred

Tuesday evening's news that quarterback Jake Allen plans to transfer from the Florida Gators isn't a surprise.Allen, a former three-star recruit in 2017, was fourth on the depth chart. The St. Thomas Aquinas product didn't seem to fit new coach ...
Published: 04/18/18
Auden Tate will be the third FSU receiver drafted in 11 years. Why so few?

Auden Tate will be the third FSU receiver drafted in 11 years. Why so few?

When former Wharton High star Auden Tate hears his name called sometime next week, he'll join a surprisingly small group.Recent Florida State receivers drafted into the NFL.Over the past decade, only two Seminoles receivers have been drafted: Rashad ...
Published: 04/18/18
Police suspected FSU’s Deondre Francois intended to sell marijuana

Police suspected FSU’s Deondre Francois intended to sell marijuana

Tallahassee police suspected Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois possessed marijuana with the intent to sell it when they executed a search warrant on his home last week, according to an affidavit.The case — which culminated Thursda...
Published: 04/17/18
Florida State takes over No. 1 spot in 2019 recruiting rankings

Florida State takes over No. 1 spot in 2019 recruiting rankings

Even as Florida State was finishing its first recruiting class under Willie Taggart, the Seminoles were already talking about what they could do in the new staff's first full cycle, for 2019."I can only imagine having a year here to be able to recrui...
Published: 04/17/18
Former five-star back Khalan Laborn rejuvenated after FSU coaching change

Former five-star back Khalan Laborn rejuvenated after FSU coaching change

TALLAHASSEE – Florida State running back Khalan Laborn's breakout 140-yard output in Saturday night's spring game was a sign of what could be for the former blue-chip recruit.It was also a reminder of what almost wasn't for the Seminoles.With a...
Published: 04/16/18
New Orlando football team will welcome Steve Spurrier on Tuesday night

New Orlando football team will welcome Steve Spurrier on Tuesday night

Steve Spurrier will make one of his first appearances in his new role with the Alliance of American Football tomorrow in Orlando.The league will welcome Spurrier as the coach of its Orlando team at an event at Ember (42 W Central Blvd.) at an event f...
Published: 04/16/18
Five takeaways from Florida State’s spring football game

Five takeaways from Florida State’s spring football game

TALLAHASSEE – Judging by the crowd for Florida State's spring game on Saturday, Seminoles fans are excited about the dawn of the Willie Taggart era.The official attendance of 53,974 — a new record for a spring game — inclu...
Published: 04/14/18
Five takeaways from the Florida Gators’ spring game

Five takeaways from the Florida Gators’ spring game

GAINESVILLE —It took some time, but the offense scored points in bunches, much to the delight of the 53,015 in attendance at Florida's spring game.And the Gators had fun doing it, pulling out all the stops with gadgets and celebrations that bro...
Published: 04/14/18
FSU quarterback Deondre Francois faces marijuana complaint

FSU quarterback Deondre Francois faces marijuana complaint

Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois agreed to a pre-arrest diversion program after police found 17 grams of a cannabis/tobacco blend in his bedroom Thursday afternoon.The Tallahassee Police Department previously received a report of drug activ...
Published: 04/13/18