College football notebook: Meyer plans to return to Ohio State

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Urban Meyer plans to be back as head coach of Ohio State next season, he said Monday during a news conference.

Nov 24, 2018; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer tries to get the attention of the referee against the Michigan Wolverines at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

“I plan to coach,” Meyer said, swiftly shifting the conversation to the Buckeyes’ Big Ten Championship Game on Saturday against Northwestern.

Ohio State Wexner Medical Center’s chief clinical officer Dr. Andrew Thomas said last month the 54-year-old Meyer has experienced symptoms related to an enlarged congenital arachnoid cyst over the last four years. Those symptoms have included “aggressive headaches” that have particularly flared up over the last two years.

In the spring of 2014, Meyer had brain surgery to relieve intracranial pressure caused by the cyst, according to Thomas, after Meyer had battled consistent headaches for nearly a month. However, Meyer said last month that he has felt better for the past few years.

—Some 21 years after he left Chapel Hill, Mack Brown is returning to North Carolina to replace fired Larry Fedora as head coach, according to multiple reports. The Tar Heels, who were a combined 5-18 over the past two seasons, fired Fedora on Sunday.

Brown won 69 games in his previous stint with the Tar Heels from 1988 to 1997 before he was hired as head coach at Texas, winning a national title during nine seasons with 10 or more wins.

Brown, 67, reportedly is considering hiring former Auburn coach Gene Chizik as defensive coordinator and coach-in-waiting. That possibility first came to light in a report by the Austin American-Statesman.

—Tennessee offensive coordinator Tyson Helton agreed to a deal to become Western Kentucky’s head coach, ESPN reported.

Helton, 41, called offensive plays and coached quarterbacks for Tennessee under Jeremy Pruitt in 2018. The younger brother of Southern Cal coach Clay Helton, he previously worked on the USC staff and was offensive coordinator at Western Kentucky in 2014 and 2015.

Mike Sanford was fired as Western Kentucky’s head coach after two seasons and a 9-16 record.

—Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger is nursing a sprained shoulder, but Longhorns coach Tom Herman won’t rule out his starter being available for the Saturday rematch with Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship Game.

Ehlinger first injured his right (throwing) shoulder against Baylor last month and has been less than 100 percent since that game. It didn’t stop Ehlinger from barreling for a shoulder-first touchdown against Kansas. That’s why Herman is banking on Ehlinger’s toughness and competitiveness kicking in on Saturday against the Sooners.

Ehlinger and Texas took down Oklahoma in the first meeting between the rivals, a 48-45 shootout on Oct. 6 at the Cotton Bowl. The sophomore completed 10 of his first 12 passes and wound up with 314 passing yards, including two touchdowns, while adding three rushing scores.

—Oklahoma star quarterback Kyler Murray, who has emerged as a Heisman Trophy candidate, said he still intends to quit football and begin his professional baseball career with the Oakland Athletics after this season.

“I feel like I could play in the NFL, but as far as giving it up, as of now, yeah, that’s the plan,” Murray said, declining to answer a follow-up question.

The A’s took Murray ninth overall in this summer’s draft, and he agreed to a contract with a $4.66 million signing bonus. His outstanding season with the Sooners has fueled speculation that he could consider continuing his football career and play in the NFL. The junior still has one year of eligibility remaining, and several outlets have pegged him as a second-round pick or better if he were to declare for the 2019 NFL Draft.

—Michigan defensive end Rashan Gary announced via YouTube that he will bypass his senior season and enter the 2019 NFL Draft. Gary is viewed as a consensus Top 10 pick with potential to move up to as high as No. 3.

“I would like to thank my higher power, my family, the University of Michigan and the students and the fans,” Gary said in the video. “But I will be forgoing my senior season to make a dream come true and declare for the draft. Thank you and go blue.”

The 6-foot-5, 288-pound Gary had 44 tackles and 3.5 sacks this season. He missed three games because of a shoulder injury. His best season was as a sophomore in 2017 when he totaled 66 stops and 12 tackles for loss, including six sacks.

—Arizona State receiver N’Keal Harry announced that will be will forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft.

Slideshow (5 Images)

Harry ranks third in school history in both career receptions (213) and receiving yardage (2,889). He is expected to be one of the top receivers in the draft and is projected to be a first-round pick.

“These past 3 years have been filled with unforgettable memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life,” Harry wrote. “It has truly been an honor to represent Arizona State University. With that being said, I would like to announce that I am declaring for the 2019 NFL Draft. That is something that I’ve dreamed about as long as I can remember and I’m extremely excited to see what the future holds.”

—Field Level Media

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