LINCOLN, Neb. — With millions of dollars potentially at stake, Bubba Starling is putting football at Nebraska on hold until he decides whether to sign with the Kansas City Royals.
Starling was a no-show for the Cornhuskers' first practice Saturday, and coach Bo Pelini said afterward that the 6-foot-5, 200-pound freshman quarterback won't participate in team activities until at least Aug. 15, if ever. That's the baseball signing deadline for Starling, a power-hitting outfielder who was drafted No. 5 overall in June.
"Obviously, he has got a lot at risk," Pelini said. "We communicated with the family about the best way to go about it. We're all on the same page."
Starling's father, Jimbo, confirmed that Bubba was still a member of the program.
Pelini said he's leaving a spot open for Starling on the 105-player preseason roster and that it wouldn't make sense for Starling to practice as long as there is uncertainty about his future.
Starling is taking summer school and working out on his own, "just like anyone else who's not on the 105."
Starling was a multisport star for Gardner-Edgerton High, southwest of Kansas City, Mo. According to his growing legend, he hits 500-foot home runs, throws a football 55 yards from his knees and dunks over basketball players half a foot taller.
His absence leaves the Huskers with three full-time quarterbacks — returning starter Taylor Martinez, redshirt freshman Brion Carnes and sophomore Ron Kellogg III. Freshman Jamal Turner is splitting time between quarterback and receiver.
FORMER RECRUIT KILLED: D.J. Jones, a former Texas A&M signee, was shot and killed Friday in Cartwright, Okla. He was 19. The Herald Democrat of Sherman, Texas, reported that Oklahoma authorities were searching for three suspects. Jones, who had been pursued by Florida among others, signed with Texas A&M as part of the 2010 recruiting class but returned to his hometown of Denison, Texas, without playing for the Aggies.
BYU: Defensive lineman Matt Putnam, expected to be a full-time starter, was ruled academically ineligible for the season.
TENNESSEE: Charges of public intoxication and disorderly conduct against senior linebacker Austin Johnson were dropped. On July 24 he was arrested after trying to start a fight and hitting cars in a parking lot behind a bar in Knoxville.