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Florida Atlantic hosts youth football camp to benefit Parkland shooting victims

As the South Florida community continues to recover from last month’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Florida Atlantic University football coach Lane Kiffin is lending his hand to help.

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Kiffin, the second-year Owls coach who led FAU to an 11-3 record last season, announced Friday night that the team’s April 7 practice at Fort Lauderdale’s Carter Park will also serve as a benefit for Stoneman Douglas. FAU will also hold a youth camp from 1:15 to 2:15 p.m for students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

All proceeds from the practice, which will also feature a $5 raffle for a three-night stay at the Boca Resort and $20 for the youth camp, will go to the Stoneman Douglas victims and their families.

Gunman Nikolas Cruz killed 17 students and faculty in a Feb. 14 mass shooting before being arrested later that day. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Cruz, 21, who is being held at the Broward County Jail. Cruz’s younger brother, Zachary, was arrested last week for trespassing at Stoneman Douglas.

Students returned to class on Feb. 28 and are currently on spring break. Several Stoneman Douglas football players attended Thursday’s practice at FAU on unofficial visits, but did not speak to media because of NCAA regulations.

Stoneman Douglas currently has several former student-athletes on FAU teams, with senior baseball pitcher Jake Miednik graduating from the school in 2014. Miednik’s younger sister was in class during the shooting but escaped unharmed. Former Eagles offensive lineman Nick Weber was added to the football team as a walk-on last August.

Miednik threw six shutout innings against George Washington in a 3-0 win on Feb. 16, just two days after the shooting and hours after attending the funeral of a family friend who was killed in the massacre.

“I’d like to say that everyone during that incident, everyone’s in my heart and prayers,” Miednik said that night. “It’s unfortunate what happened and I’m praying for everybody, praying for all the victims, and I just want to say ‘God bless to everyone.’ ”

Alabama QB Jalen Hurts pays off bet, wears Auburn jersey

It’s easier to pay off a bet when you have a national championship in your pocket.

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On Thursday, Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts wore the jersey of the Crimson Tide’s bitter rival, Auburn, on campus, ESPN reported.

Hurts had made a bet on Nov. 14 with Auburn alumnus Charles Barkley before the Iron Bowl game between the two Alabama universities. 

"Jalen Hurts challenged me to a bet, and I ain't forgot it, Jalen," Barkley said that day. "I'm either going to wear an Alabama jersey on TV, or he's going to have to wear (an Auburn jersey) on campus. ... I've got the jersey coming.

"My Tigers need to win because I don't want to wear that crap on TNT."

Auburn stunned No. 1 Alabama 26-14, handing the Crimson Tide its only loss of the season.

Hurts paid off the bet Thursday, as the school posted a video on its Twitter feed.

"What's up, Charles," Hurts said. "Obviously, I'm a man of my word. And first off, I'd just like to congratulate Auburn and the Auburn family on their successful season this year. But I think it's time I get to class. I'm running kind of late for English."

Hurts added a “Roll Tide” before walking away.

While Alabama lost to Auburn, the Crimson Tide qualified for the College Football Playoff games and won the national title with a 26-23 overtime victory against Georgia.

Kid from ‘The Blind Side’ now works for Arkansas football team

Sean “SJ” Tuohy Jr. has not been blindsided by fame. In fact, he has embraced it.

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Tuohy works for University of Arkansas coach Chad Morris, but many remember him because of the character portrayed by Jae Head in the 2009 movie “The Blind Side.”

"Everyone wants me to stay as this 11-year-old kid," Tuohy, an assistant director of football operations, told KATV. "Some people think I 'Benjamin Button'-ed it, never aged or went backwards. I think it's disappointing to someone when I say ‘That's me.’ ‘Oh man, I thought you were much smaller and cuter!’”

“The Blind Side” is the story of Michael Oher, an impoverished youth adopted by the well-to-do Tuohy family. Oher went on to a successful career as an offensive lineman at the University of Mississippi and the NFL, most notably with the Baltimore Ravens.

Tuohy continues to have a good relationship with his adopted brother.

"You look back at it and think, I wasn't really like that, that's not how it was. (But) that's what it was like," Tuohy told KATV. “(Michael) excelled in football, he excelled in basketball, everyone socially loved him. He was someone you look at like, 'Man, I hope I can be like that one day.'"

Tuohy shed some light on the film, which starred Sandra Bullock in the role of his mother and Tim McGraw as his father. Quinton Aaron played Oher in the film.

He said Bullock’s characterization of his mother, Leigh Anne Tuohy, was accurate, but was only a capsule version.

"She's much worse in real life than Sandra Bullock was in the movie,” Tuohy told KATV. “That was two hours of my mom. Think about that as a 24-hour day, all the time."

Bullock won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Leigh Anne Touhy.

Tuohy said the movie sometimes was a curse, adding that he’d often be taunted while playing high school sports.

"'Good job, Sandra,' chants and I remember we were warming up one time playing a school in football and they played the whole 'Blind Side' soundtrack before the game,” Tuohy told KATV. “I can't control any of that stuff and just laugh it off."

Wrong guy: Ohio man tabbed as Tennessee coach on Twitter enjoying the notoriety

An Ohio man has gained notoriety in recent weeks, thanks to a college football coach with the same name.

Jeremy Pruitt of Dayton was mistaken on Twitter by football fans as being the new coach of the University of Tennessee football team, The Knoxville News Sentinel reported. Another Jeremy Pruitt was named Tennessee’s football coach on Dec. 7.

The mix-up began in November, when rumors emerged that Pruitt the football coach was rumored to be a candidate for the Mississippi State University football job before he took the Tennessee position.

A mistaken Mississippi State fan reportedly sent the Pruitt from Dayton a message on Twitter, prompting him to then tweet about the mix-up.

“No way I’m getting tweeted about accepting the Miss State coaching job lol,” Dayton’s Pruitt wrote.

A columnist at the Tuscaloosa News then retweeted the tweet to his thousands of followers, causing Dayton’s Pruitt to receive dozens of tweets from Mississippi State fans, most of whom realized the mix-up.

Since then, Pruitt has gained thousands of followers on Twitter and he has jokingly changed his profile and cover photos to include Mississippi State logos and images. Pruitt has told news outlets that he is originally from Columbus and is actually an avid fan of Ohio State University.

Along with his explosion of online followers, Dayton’s Pruitt has also received mentions on TV from ESPN and on the sports website SB Nation.

And the “other” Jeremy Pruitt? Here is his introductory news conference when he was named the Vols’ head coach:

Legendary sportscaster Keith Jackson dead at 89

Keith Jackson, whose Southern drawl and homespun, folksy phrases endeared him to college football fans for more than half a century, died Friday night, ESPN reported. He was 89.

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Jackson died surrounded by his family, according to NBC Sports' Todd Harris.

Born in Roopville, Georgia, on Oct. 18, 1928, Jackson was also the first play-by-play broadcaster for “Monday Night Football” when it debuted in 1970 and covered a wide range of sports. He was known for his signature phrase “Whoa, Nellie!” after a big play. Jackson said the origin of the phrase came from his great-grandfather. He also coined the phrase “Big Uglies,” and christened Michigan’s football stadium “The Big House,” ESPN reported.

Jackson called 15 Rose Bowl games and was credited with calling the New Year’s Day game “The granddaddy of them all,” The New York Daily News reported. The final game he broadcast from Pasadena was the 2006 game in which Texas rallied to defeat USC for the national title.

Jackson was named national sportscaster of the year five times, the Daily News reported.

Jackson spent four years in the Marines and later graduated with a journalism degree from Washington State University, where he broadcast the team’s games.

He joined ABC’s college football announcing team in 1966, but also called NBA games, auto racing and was a staple on ABC’s “Wide World of Sports.” He also announced World Series games, 10 Olympics and traveled to 31 countries, ESPN reported.

Jackson also had fun playing off his signature phrase, as this commercial for Miller Lite demonstrates:

Tributes to Jackson rolled in on Twitter:

Alabama center proposes to girlfriend after winning national title

It was a great day for Bradley Bozeman — winning a national championship, followed by getting engaged.

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The Alabama center proposed to his girlfriend on the field at Mercedes-Benz Stadium after the Crimson Tide beat Georgia 26-23 in overtime to win the College Football Playoff National Championship Game on Monday night.

Bozeman’s girlfriend answered his proposal with a yes, putting a cap on the senior’s great day.

Watch Bozeman’s proposal, courtesy of Sports Illustrated:

Bozeman just completed his second season as Alabama’s starting center. Last year, he was part of the Crimson Tide team that lost to Clemson in the National Championship Game. Let’s just say the game this year ended much better — in more ways than one.

Alabama's Bo Scarbrough denies yelling expletive directed at Trump in pregame video

Bo Scarbrough says there’s been a big misunderstanding, and it involves what he supposedly said about the president.

>> Alabama beats Georgia to win College Football Playoff National Championship

>> Photos: Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Georgia Bulldogs

Shortly after the College Football Playoff national championship game started on Monday evening, Sporting News posted a video that appeared to include Alabama RB Bo Scarbrough shouting "[Expletive] Trump!" as he walked with his teammates through the tunnel.

>> Click here to watch (WARNING: Profanity)

The video, which was not even clear enough to definitely say the words came from Scarbrough, was just nine seconds long, but it made its way across the internet as the nation was captivated by President Donald Trump’s trip to watch the Crimson Tide take on Georgia at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

>> Visit SECCountry.com for more coverage

>> Visit AJC.com for complete coverage of the national championship game

>> Visit WSBTV.com for more Georgia Bulldogs news

>> More coverage from DawgNation.com

Following the game, Scarbrough admitted to being the voice dropping the expletive on the video. However, he tweeted that the recipient of the curse was actually not Trump.

>> Read more trending news 

“If y’all really listen I said Georgia,” Scarbrough wrote on Twitter after winning the national title. “smh [Shaking my head] about y’all people in this world.”

Read more here.

Alabama, Georgia teams stay in locker rooms for anthem, but it had nothing to do with Trump

Before Alabama and Georgia played the NCAA Football National Championship game, the Zac Brown Band took the field to sing the national anthem. They were joined on the field by President Donald Trump, who attended the game.

>> Alabama beats Georgia to win College Football Playoff National Championship

>> PHOTOS: Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Georgia Bulldogs

However, some were quick to point out some notable absences on the sidelines: both teams.

Players for Alabama and Georgia were nowhere to be seen as the anthem was played, prompting some to wonder if they’d been kept in the locker rooms to avoid an unsightly protest in front of Trump.

>> Visit AJC.com for complete coverage of the national championship game

The Trump administration has made national anthem protests in the NFL an intense focus point in the first year in office, with Vice President Mike Pence attending a Colts game in October only to leave as players protested during the national anthem. At the time, Pence said, “I left today’s Colts game because President Trump and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our flag, or our national anthem.”

>> Visit WSBTV.com for more Georgia Bulldogs news

The walkout — which the administration denies was planned — reportedly cost taxpayers $242,000.

But there was to be no walking out for any players at the NCAA National Championship game. Unlike the NFL, almost no college football teams take the field until after the national anthem, according to The Associated Press.

>> More coverage from DawgNation.com

In all, eight of the 14 schools in the Big Ten are on the field for the national anthem. In the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), just two teams take the field. And no teams in the Big 12, PAC-12, or Southeastern Conference (SEC) are on field for the national anthem.

>> Read more trending news 

“Most schools are wise enough not to play the national anthem while players are on the field,” Kansas State coach Bill Snyder told the AP at the time, adding, “I concur with that.”

What Alabama freshman QB Tua Tagovailoa said after winning national title

Tua Tagovailoa may not have started the national championship for Alabama, but he sure did finish it.

>> Alabama beats Georgia to win College Football Playoff National Championship

The talented freshman came off the bench with the Crimson Tide trailing 13-0 at the half and he led Alabama to a 26-23 overtime victory.

>> PHOTOS: Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Georgia Bulldogs

Tagovailoa was a popular man in the post-game interview scrum, and for good reason. Here’s a look at what he had to say:

Tagovailoa later gave a one-on-one interview to ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt on SportsCenter.

>> Who is Tua Tagovailoa? 5 things to know about Alabama’s freshman QB

Van Pelt: “Tua, do you have a sense of what it is that you and your guys have just accomplished?”

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Tagovailoa: “I mean, it just felt like another game out there. I just thank God I was put in a place and the position that I’m in now. I just want to enjoy this win with my team and my family. That’s really it.”

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Van Pelt: “I get it. And with respect – it’s not just another game. It’s the biggest stage your sport has got and at this moment we’re showing that you shared with your family. What is it like when you get to share that particular moment with the people you love the most?”

>> Visit WSBTV.com for more Georgia Bulldogs news

Tagovailoa: “I think that’s the most special thing. Especially for my dad. My dad is my heart. My family is my heart. And just being able to have them here, as well, to be able to witness it was an amazing opportunity for me.”

The moment Van Pelt was referring to was captured on the ESPN broadcast:

Nick Saban explained his decision to bench starter Jalen Hurts in favor of Tagovailoa.

>> More coverage from DawgNation.com

“We’ve had this in our mind that if we were struggling offensively, that we would give Tua an opportunity, even in the last game,” Saban said after the victory on Monday night. “No disrespect to Jalen (Hurts), but the real thought was, you know, they came into the game thinking we were going to run the ball and be able to run quarterback runs, which we made a couple of explosive plays on. But with the absence of a passing game and being able to make explosive plays and being able to convert on third down, I didn’t feel we could run the ball well enough, and I thought Tua would give us a better chance and a spark, which he certainly did.”

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