Florida State Loses Two Linebackers For Spring

Chris Casher returns a fumble for a touchdown against Syracuse in 2013 (Joe Robbins/Getty Images North America)
Chris Casher returns a fumble for a touchdown against Syracuse in 2013 (Joe Robbins/Getty Images North America)

Florida State Loses Two Linebackers For Spring

Linebackers Chris Casher and Matthew Thomas will miss the rest of spring practice due to shoulder injuries. Head coach Jimbo Fisher confirmed the news on Friday.

Casher has already had surgery performed on his shoulder while Thomas will undergo surgery in the future.

“Matthew’s got a separated shoulder, probably gonna have to have surgery,” Fisher said. “It’s too loose. We’re gonna have to end up fixing it.”

“Chris had the shoulder. Chris had shoulder surgery, he won’t be out here all spring. He had off-season shoulder (surgery) right after the season, so he won’t be ready until after.”

Casher played in 13 games last season finishing with 28 tackles, 3.5 tackles-for-loss, and a sack. In 2013, Casher played in 12 games, recorded 25 tackles, 5 tackles-for-loss, and 2 sacks. In 2012, Casher recorded one tackle, but he was injured and then redshirted the season. He will be a redshirt junior in 2015.

Thomas, who has a history of shoulder issues, will be a redshirt sophomore in 2015. He appeared in 8 games in 2014 with 26 tackles and 2.5 tackles-for-loss. He missed the first five games in 2014 due to a violation of team rules. In 2013, Thomas played in the first five games with 4 tackles, 2 tackles-for-loss, and 1 sack. He missed the last 9 games due a shoulder injury, which also required surgery.

The Seminoles wrap up spring practice on Saturday, April 11.

Isaiah Jones To Transfer From Seminoles

Wide receiver Isaiah Jones will transfer from the Seminoles (USA Today Sports Images)
Wide receiver Isaiah Jones will transfer from the Seminoles (USA Today Sports Images)

Isaiah Jones To Transfer From Seminoles

Wide receiver Isaiah Jones will not be a member of the Florida State Seminoles in 2015. Instead, he will transfer to East Mississippi Community College according to head coach Jimbo Fisher.

Jones missed the entire 2014 season after being declared academically ineligible, but he still practiced with the team throughout the season.

As a freshman in 2013, Jones played in 5 games tallying 2 catches for 31 yards and his season ended early with a foot injury. Jones would have been a redshirt sophomore in 2015.

Despite the transfer of Jones at 6 foot and 5 inches plus the loss of Rashad Greene, there is still a deep receiving corps for the Seminoles. Ermon Lane, Travis Rudolph, and Jesus “Bobo” Wilson are expected to start at receiver, but Florida State also has George Campbell, Da’Vante Phillips, and Auden Tate arriving on campus in the fall.

Lane had 13 catches for 267 yards and a touchdown as a freshman last season. Rudolph was fourth on the team in receiving with 38 catches for 555 yards and 4 touchdowns. Wilson was the third best receiving option on the squad with 42 catches for 527 yard and 4 touchdowns.

Materiality Holds Off Upstart In The Florida Derby

Materiality holds off Upstart to win the Grade 1 Florida Derby (Photo: Kenny Martin, Coglianese)
Materiality holds off Upstart to win the Grade 1 Florida Derby (Photo: Kenny Martin, Coglianese)

Materiality Holds Off Upstart In The Florida Derby

In what ended up being a two horse race, it was Materiality that won the Grade 1 Florida Derby over Upstart by a length and a half.

Jack Tripp took the lead out of the gate with a good break, but was soon taken on by Materiality with Upstart a length back in third. Itsaknockout settled in fourth, Quimet was in fifth, My Point Exactly was in sixth, and Ami’s Flatter was seventh. Indianaughty was eighth and the trailer was Dekabrist by more than 11 lengths.

On the backstretch Jack Tripp was still prompted by Materiality and Upstart was three wide. Quimet was fourth, My Point Exactly was fifth, Ami’s Flatter was sixth, and Itsaknockout was back to seventh. The trailing duo remained Indianuaghty and Dekabrist.

On the far turn the race turned into a match race between Materiality and Upstart as the other horses failed to make up any ground.

Throughout the stretch it was Materiality on the inside who repelled every attack from Upstart. He eventually pulled away to win by a length and a half. It was over 12 lengths back to Ami’s Flatter in third and Itsaknockout finished fourth.

The rest of the field, in order of finish, was Dekabrist, Indianaughty, My Point Exactly, Quimet, and Jack Tripp. The results chart can be found here via Equibase.

Materiality is by Afleet Alex out of the Langfuhr mare Wildwood Flower. He was ridden by John Velazquez and is trained by Todd Pletcher. He ran the one mile and one eighth in 1:52.30 while paying $5.60 to win, $3.00 to place, and $2.40 to show.

Materiality went off as the second choice at 9-5 behind Upstart who was even money.

For the win, Materiality earned his first 100 points towards the Kentucky Derby Points Leaderboard. Upstart earned 40 points to bring his total to 76, Ami’s Flatter earned 20 points for a total of 40, and Itsaknockout earned 10 points for a total of 60.

The Florida Derby was the third Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race on Saturday. The first was the Group 2 UAE Derby and the other was the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby.

The Road to the Kentucky Derby continues next week with the Grade 1 Wood Memorial from Aqueduct, the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby from Santa Anita, and the Grade 1 Blue Grass from Keeneland.

International Star Beats Game Stanford In Louisiana Derby

International Star gets up over Stanford to win the 2015 Louisiana Derby (Alexander Barkoff / Hodges Photography)
International Star gets up over Stanford to win the 2015 Louisiana Derby (Alexander Barkoff / Hodges Photography)

International Star Beats Game Stanford In Louisiana Derby

It was not easy, but International Star swept the Fair Grounds Kentucky Derby Prep Races with a narrow win over a very game Stanford on Saturday in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby.

The race started with Stanford going straight to the lead from the rail with some pressure from Fusaichi Flame and Mr. Z. St. Joe Bay was in fourth on the outside, A Day in Paradise was fifth, and War Story was sixth. International Star enjoyed a ground saving trip in seventh early with Keen Ice eighth and Defondo ninth.

Stanford continued to lead on the backstretch with very little pressure. He went the opening quarter in 24.03, the opening half-mile in 48.59, and six furlongs in 1:37.94. Meanwhile, International Star began his move on the backstretch to get into better position on the far turn. On the turn, Fusaichi Flame and Mr. Z started to back out of the race with War Story making a wide move on the turn.

As they turned for home International Star got away from the rail and out in the open to make his drive towards the finish line. It took most of the stretch, but International Star got up to win by a neck over an excellent Stanford. It was 4 1/4 lengths back to War Story in third while Keen Ice finished fourth.

The remaining order of finish was Fusaichi Flame, St. Joe Bay, Defondo, A Day in Paradise, and Mr. Z. The results chart from Equibase can be found here.

International Star is by Fusaichi Pegasus out of the French Deputy mare Parlez. He was ridden by Miguel Mena and trained by Mike Maker. International Star paid $6.60 to win as the 2-1 favorite, $3.60 to place, and $2.60 to show. He completed the one mile and one eighth in 1:50.67.

For his win, International Star earned 100 points towards the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard, which gives him a total of 171. Stanford earned his first 40 points, War Story earned 20 points for a total of 44, and Keen Ice earned 10 points for a total of 22.

The Grade 2 Louisiana Derby was the second of three Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races on Saturday. The first was the Group 2 UAE Derby from Meydan and the other was the Grade 1 Florida Derby from Gulfstream Park.

There will be three more Kentucky Derby Prep races next weekend across the country. The Grade 1 Wood Memorial from Aqueduct, the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby from Santa Anita, and the Grade 1 Blue Grass from Keeneland will all be run on Saturday.

Two Ole Miss Players Injured During Practice

Jordan Wilkins rushes against TCU in the Peach Bowl (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images North America)
Jordan Wilkins rushes against TCU in the Peach Bowl (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images North America)

Two Ole Miss Players Injured During Practice

Defensive back Mike Hilton and running back Jordan Wilkins were both injured during Mississippi spring practice this week.

Hilton suffered a broken thumb, which will keep him out of the remaining spring practices. Wilkins sprained his MCL and he is considered “day-to-day.” Another running back, Eugene Brazley, suffered a concussion.

Hilton should be ready to go by summer and that is good news for the Ole Miss defense. Hilton started all 13 games for Ole Miss in 2014 and was the team’s leading tackler at 71. He also had 4 tackles-for-loss and 3 interceptions. For his career Hilton has 156 tackles, 2 sacks, 13 tackles-for-loss, 3 forced fumbles, and 4 interceptions in 36 career games. He will be a senior in 2015.

Wilkins redshirted in 2013 before seeing plenty of action in 2014. He played in all 13 games while recording 361 yards and a touchdown on 52 carries as the team’s second leading rusher behind Jaylen Walton. He also had 1 catch for 6 yards.

Brazley saw limited action in 5 games, but had 128 yards on 26 carries. He also caught 2 passes for 14 yards out of the backfield.

Ole Miss wraps up spring practice on Saturday, April 11.

Joseph Yearby Suspended For Spring Game

Joseph Yearby catching a pass against Duke in 2014 (Joel Auerbach/Getty Images North America)
Joseph Yearby catching a pass against Duke in 2014 (Joel Auerbach/Getty Images North America)

 Joseph Yearby Suspended For Spring Game

Miami Hurricanes running back Joseph Yearby was suspended for Saturday’s spring game for allegedly breaking curfew on Friday night. The Miami Herald’s Susan Miller Degnan reported the news on Saturday.

According to Degnan, “I was told by my source, but not by UM, that Yearby was suspended for breaking curfew last night.

I was told he was there for the birth of his baby, but I did not have that confirmed and I don’t know when the baby was born.”

That is a good reason to break curfew, but a stringent reaction by the Hurricanes if true. There is no doubt that head coach Al Golden will be fielding questions on this matter following the conclusion of the spring game.

Yearby is set to be one of the running backs to replace the electric Duke Johnson in the backfield. As a true freshman in 2014, Yearby played in 12 games with 509 yards and a touchdown on 86 carries. His 509 yards was second best on the team and 160 yards more than Gus Edwards (61 carries for 349 yards and 6 touchdowns). Yearby also had 8 catches for 118 yards and a touchdown.

Alabama DB Geno Smith Arrested

Geno Smith making a tackle against Auburn in 2014 (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America)
Geno Smith making a tackle against Auburn in 2014 (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America)

Alabama DB Geno Smith Arrested

Alabama defensive back Geno Smith was arrested and charged with a DUI on Saturday morning. Smith’s bond was set at $1,000.

Smith was also arrested and charged with a DUI in August 2013. In that instance, Alabama head coach Nick Saban suspended him one game (the season opener against Virginia Tech) in 2013.

Smith will be a senior in 2015 and was expected to be a starter at free safety.

Smith played in 13 games as a freshman in 2012 finishing with 9 tackles and half a tackle-for-loss. In 2013, he had 13 tackles and half a tackle-for-loss in 12 games. Smith started 6 games in 2014 while playing in all 14 games. He was fifth on the team in tackles with 56, had 3.5 tackles-for-loss, and a forced fumble.

There has been no word from the University of Alabama regarding the arrest of Smith. Below is what Saban had to say in 2013 about Smith’s first arrest.

“We’ve never had an issue with Geno. He’s an excellent person,” coach Nick Saban said in 2013. “He’s never been in trouble here before, never been in my office for anything. But I think this is something that everybody should learn from, that when you make a bad choice sometimes the consequences of that choice can really have a negative effect.

“Some of these guys don’t have enough foresight to understand cause and effect, but Geno has been a really good person in the program and just made a choice, bad decision. Made several of them, so now he’s got consequences for it.”

Sophomore Hootie Jones could see more reps at free safety as a result of Smith’s arrest. As a true freshman, Jones played in 7 games and had 2 tackles.

Mubtaahij Cruises To UAE Derby Win

Mubtaahij had little trouble in the Group 2 UAE Derby (Photo: Dubai Racing Club/Mathea Kelley)
Mubtaahij had little trouble in the Group 2 UAE Derby (Photo: Dubai Racing Club/Mathea Kelley)

 Mubtaahij Cruises To UAE Derby Win

The Kentucky Derby will have an international flavor after Mubtaahij crushed his Group 2 UAE Derby foes in Dubai.

Tap That, Golden Barows, and Dear Domus all broke well with the first two battling for the lead into the first turn. Mubtaahij got a perfect spot behind the leaders while Sir Fever ended up in tight quarters and had to check out of the trouble. Alnajem Alfaiz and Faithful Creek were in the middle of the pack while the trailing trio were My Johnny Be Good, Maftool, and Motaa.

The three Japanese horses, Tap That, Golden Barows, and Dear Domus, kept pushing the pace and were soon prompted by Sir Fever on the backstretch while Mubtaahij continued to sit in the perfect position.

Leaving the far turn and entering the stretch it was all but over. Tap That and Golden Barows continued on for the finish line, but Mubtaahij switched out and took over handily. It was effortless in the final 300 meters for Mubtaahij as he strided away for the comfortable win.

Maftool rallied to be second over Golden Barows, who was pressed throughout the race on the lead. Motaa finished fourth.

The rest of the field in order of finish was Tap That, Sir Fever, Faithful Creek, Dear Domus, My Johnny Be Good, and Alnajem Alfaiz.

The UAE Derby is a Road to the Kentucky Derby race. Mubtaahij received 100 points, Maftool received 40 points, Golden Barows received 20 points, and Motaa received 10 points. The top two are both Triple Crown nominated.

Mubtaahij ran the one mile and three sixteenths in 1:58.35. He is by Dubawi out of the Pennekamp mare Pennegale. He was bred in Ireland, was ridden by jockey Christophe Soumillon, and trained by Michael de Kock. Mubtaahij is owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, nephew of Godolphin owner Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

There are still two more Kentucky Derby prep races on Saturday. The first is the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby from the Fair Grounds while the other is the Grade 1 Florida Derby from Gulfstream Park.