Andrew Luck has a deal with the Colts ... finally

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Andrew Luck has a deal with the Colts ... finally

From Comcast SportsNet
Rest easy, Colts fans. The Andrew Luck era can now officially begin. The Colts signed the Stanford quarterback and No. 1 overall pick in the draft to a four-year, 22.1 million deal on Thursday, "12 is officially signed!!!!!!" Colts owner Jim Irsay tweeted, adding a photo of Luck signing his contract for good measure. Luck's agent and uncle, Will Wilson, confirmed the deal had been completed. The deal is similar to the one signed by Cam Newton a year ago and the one signed this week by Robert Griffin III. Newton, last year's top pick, has a four-year, 22 million deal with Carolina and Griffin, who went No. 2 behind Luck in April's draft, signed a four-year contract with the Washington Redskins worth 21.1 million guaranteed, with a club option for a fifth year. Whatever the terms, Colts fans can look forward to seeing Luck behind center this season, brought in to help the proud franchise rebound after last year's horrible skid. The injured Peyton Manning never played a down and now he's gone, off to Denver for a fresh start with the Broncos. Indy gets a rare opportunity to transition from one star quarterback to another. Luck threw for 35 touchdowns last season -- breaking his school record of 32 in 2010 -- and eclipsed John Elway's career record (77) at Stanford with 80 touchdown passes in only three seasons. He finished with 3,170 yards passing, a 70 percent completion percentage and only nine interceptions without the benefit of an elite wide receiver in 2011. He was the Heisman Trophy runner-up -- twice. Luck has a pretty good idea what to expect beyond wearing a No. 12 jersey for the Colts. He will be expected to help lead the team back from a 2-14 season that included an 0-13 start with Manning out recovering from neck surgery. Irsay cleaned out the front office and changed coaching staffs in January and February. Bruce Arians was Manning's first NFL quarterbacks coach and he's back as Indy's offensive coordinator, and former Indy offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen is now the Colts quarterback coach. There's a new general manager in Ryan Grigson and a new coach in Chuck Pagano. But Luck is the cornerstone in Indy's biggest overhaul since Manning was drafted in 1998. He is expected to start immediately after playing in a pro-style system at Stanford, where he was originally tutored by former Colts quarterback and 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh. After drafting Luck, the Colts picked tight end Coby Fleener, his Stanford teammate, in the second round. They got another tight end in Clemson's Dwayne Allen and speedy receiver T.Y. Hilton to go with Reggie Wayne. Still, there were a lot of player moves, too. The Colts released Manning on March 7 rather than paying him 28 million. Two days later, Indy cut defensive captains Gary Brackett and Melvin Bullitt and former Pro Bowlers Dallas Clark and Joseph Addai. They lost longtime center Jeff Saturday and emerging receiver Pierre Garcon in free agency and dipped into free-agency to improve a leaky defense and an unproven offensive line. The biggest challenge in 2012, like it was in 1998, will be breaking in a new quarterback.

Purdue reportedly interviewed Penn State's Joe Moorhead in case Jeff Brohm said no

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USA TODAY

Purdue reportedly interviewed Penn State's Joe Moorhead in case Jeff Brohm said no

You've got to have a contingency plan, right?

Well Purdue's contingency plan in case Jeff Brohm didn't accept the head-coaching job he officially received Monday will interest Big Ten fans.

According to Pete DiPrimio of the News-Sentinel in Fort Wayne, Purdue interviewed Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead while the Nittany Lions were in Indianapolis for their win in the Big Ten Championship Game.

Moorhead's work in State College this season has been outstanding, transforming an offense that was stuck in the mud with quarterback Christian Hackenberg into a high-powered point-producing machine that can do things like erase three-touchdown deficits and beat Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game by a 38-31 score. Quarterback Trace McSorley starred in that game with four touchdown passes. Running back Saquon Barkley has been starring all season and won Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year honors last week.

A bunch of guys get interviewed for openings, and it's no real surprise that Purdue would interview one of the top assistant coaches in the country for the gig. But it's of interest not only because Moorhead coaches in the conference but also because it shows the clear direction the Boilermakers wanted to go: offense and lots of it.

Brohm turned in some spectacular offensive success at Western Kentucky, and his Hilltoppers ranked in the top 10 in the country this season in numerous major offensive stat categories. His arrival in West Lafayette figures to be accompanied by a similar type of offensive firepower.

Moorhead has gained plenty of attention inside the league this season for what he's done with the Lions' offense, and he would've brought a similar reputation to Purdue had Brohm passed on the job.

But Brohm is the hire, one that earned rave reviews across social media Monday, and there are high hopes for what he can do at Purdue.

Malik McDowell announces he's leaving Spartans for NFL Draft

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USA TODAY

Malik McDowell announces he's leaving Spartans for NFL Draft

Back in August, Malik McDowell said he wouldn't depart Michigan State for the NFL Draft unless he was going to be a top-three pick.

Well, either the junior defensive lineman has some really good information or he's taking a less absolutist stance because he announced Tuesday on Twitter that he's leaving the Spartans for the pros.

"I'm excited to announce that after careful consideration and numerous discussions with my family and coaches, I have decided to forego my remaining college eligibility at Michigan State University and enter the 2017 NFL Draft," McDowell posted in a Twitter message. "This was a very difficult decision, and I will always cherish my time in East Lansing. I want to thank my family, coaches, teachers, administrators and teammates. I'm ready to fulfill my childhood dream of playing in the NFL. I promised my parents that I would come back to Michigan State University to finish my college education and get my degree."

McDowell played in only nine games during the Spartans' disastrous 3-9 campaign, recording 34 total tackles, leading the team with seven tackles for loss and posting 1.5 sacks.

McDowell was a high-profile recruit out of Detroit and played in all 13 games as a freshman for Michigan State during the 2013 season. As a sophomore, McDowell had 41 tackles, including 13 tackles for loss and four sacks, plus two forced fumbles and an interception. He earned All-Big Ten Second Team honors as the Spartans won a Big Ten championship.

A quick sampling of mock drafts across the Internet indicates McDowell is generally expected to be a first-round pick. Those NFL Draft sites vary, placing him anywhere from the top 10 to the end of the first round.

Remember what McDowell said in August:

"Top 10 ain't good enough for me," McDowell said, his comments published by the Detroit Free Press. "I ain't leaving if I'm (only) top 10. If I'm not top three, I don't leave. Really. I'm just trying to live day by day. It's one through three, that's the only way I'm going. I'm happy, I like it here, I ain't really in a rush to leave.

"The teammates I have the on-field stuff we do, the off-field stuff we do. Just good people around me. I can't complain."

Well, as we saw with the results for the Spartans this season — they started off 2-0 then lost eight straight games, plummeting from a College Football Playoff participant a year ago to failing to reach a bowl — things can change in a hurry.