College football notebook: Florida, Miami suspend players before season opener
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Suspensions for violating team rules involving four Florida Gators and one member of the Miami Hurricanes were announced Saturday before the night's highly anticipated season opener between the two state rivals.
No. 8 Florida suspended safety Brad Stewart Jr. and defensive tackle T.J. Slaton, a couple of defensive reserves expected to make an impact this season, along with seldom-used wide receiver Rick Wells and walk-on defensive back Pat Moorer.
"These individuals did not live up to the Gator Standard," UF coach Dan Mullen said in a news release that announced the suspensions.
Stewart, a junior who started seven games in 11 appearances last season, was considered a co-starter on the depth chart with senior Jeawon Taylor. Stewart totaled 41 tackles, which was third best in the Gators secondary, and two interceptions in 2018. His pick-six clinched a 27-19 win over No. 5 LSU.
--Sophomore backup quarterback Jake Haener decided to leave the Washington program, the school announced, one day after transfer Jacob Eason was named the starting quarterback.
Haener went 9-for-13 passing for 107 yards and one touchdown while playing in only four games last year as a backup to Jake Browning. Coach Chris Petersen, who on Friday announced his decision to make Eason the starter, said that Haener was likely to get playing time when the Huskies face Eastern Washington in the Aug. 31 season opener.
"It was awesome," Petersen said of the battle between the quarterbacks. "Jake Haener and Jacob Eason, obviously two really good quarterbacks. Tight competition, and you take it as long as you can and you've got to make a decision and roll with it. Jake Haener will play in that first game. He should, he deserves it and he will."
--UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton said that his recovery from a traumatic right leg injury is ahead of what anyone could have envisioned.
"I'm a lot further along than any doctor would anticipate or predict, and that's by the grace of God and a lot of prayers and a lot of support by close friends and people I don't even know," Milton said in an interview with ESPN. "With my nerve damage, I'm basically back to 100 percent."
Milton was injured Nov. 23 during the regular-season finale at South Florida. The nerves in his right leg were so damaged and the blood flow so restricted that amputation was a possibility. His goal is to return to the field for the Knights in 2020.
--Washington State coach Mike Leach announced that senior Anthony Gordon will be the starting quarterback when the Cougars kick off their season against New Mexico State on Aug. 31.
"He had a really good spring and then he really didn't break stride from spring till camp," Leach said of Gordon. "So he was very steady in camp. Steady, but also explosive."
Gordon, who has spent the last three years behind former starters Luke Falk and Gardner Minshew II, will get his first chance leading the team. He has completed 3 of 5 pass attempts for 17 yards with an interception during his college career, all coming in 2018.
--Senior Jake Luton will be the quarterback when Oregon State opens the season on Friday against Oklahoma State.
Head coach Jonathan Smith announced his choice of Luton, a sixth-year player who has missed time with injuries during his college career.
Luton was selected over redshirt sophomore Tristan Gebbia, a transfer from Nebraska.
--Duke senior linebacker Koby Quansah is out indefinitely after undergoing surgery to repair a fractured right thumb, the school announced.
Quansah, a team captain, injured the thumb in practice on Thursday and underwent surgery on Friday.
The 6-foot-1, 230-pound Quansah has 102 tackles -- including nine for loss -- two forced fumbles and one sack in 35 career games.
--Junior quarterback Keytaon Thompson has entered his name in the NCAA transfer portal after losing the starting quarterback battle at Mississippi State.
A school spokesperson confirmed Thompson's departure with the Jackson Clarion-Ledger.
Earlier this week, coach Joe Moorhead named graduate transfer Tommy Stevens as the starter to open the season.