Kirk Ferentz names offensive line coach Brian Ferentz as new Iowa offensive coordinator


Kirk Ferentz names offensive line coach Brian Ferentz as new Iowa offensive coordinator

Kirk Ferentz didn't have to go too far to find his new offensive coordinator.

Just a few days after Greg Davis retired last week, Ferentz named his son, Brian, the new Iowa offensive coordinator.

Brian Ferentz spent the past six seasons as the Hawkeyes' offensive line coach and prior to that role worked for four seasons as an assistant coach with the New England Patriots. He played for his dad at Iowa from 2002 to 2005.

"It is an honor and privilege to be named offensive coordinator for the University of Iowa football program," Brian Ferentz said in the announcement. "As a member of the Hawkeye coaching staff, a former player and a kid who grew up around the black and gold, this is a special day for my family and me.

"I’ve had the good fortune to work with — and learn from — a number of great coaches, two who are coaching Saturday in the AFC Divisional Playoffs,  Bill O’Brien with the Houston Texans and Bill Belichick with the New England Patriots. It was an invaluable post-graduate coaching program for me. They taught me the value of coaching to your players’ strengths ... and instilled in me a relentless determination to win.

"As we look ahead to 2017, we will develop this Iowa team to be tough, smart, and physical — the foundation of Iowa football for the past 18 years. But to compete for a Big Ten championship, we must also be adaptable and flexible — to make the changes necessary that will give us the best opportunity to win."

Iowa didn't fare too well on offense this past season, ranking 10th in the Big Ten in scoring offense, averaging 24.9 points a game, and 12th in the conference in total offense, averaging 325 yards a game.

The Hawkeyes ended their season with a thud, falling to Florida in the Outback Bowl by a 30-3 score.

The Iowa offense will look different next season, with senior quarterback C.J. Beathard and senior running back LeShun Daniels Jr. moving on.

"Brian has been an integral member of our offensive coaching staff for five years, bringing national recognition to our offensive line and new levels of success in our running game," Kirk Ferentz said in the announcement. "Brian’s coaching experience here at Iowa, coupled with his time in the NFL, has prepared him well for his new responsibilities as the offensive coordinator for Iowa football."

Boston College transfer A.J. Turner coming to Northwestern

Boston College transfer A.J. Turner coming to Northwestern

A new face will be joining the Northwestern basketball program.

Boston College transfer forward A.J. Turner announced Wednesday on Twitter that he will be heading to join the Wildcats.

"I want to thank the coaches who expressed interest and took time to recruit me during this process," Turner wrote in a message posted on Twitter. "Boston College will always be a home to me. I wish my former teammates, coaching staff and entire athletic program the best of luck in the future. I also want to thank my family, friends and fans for their support during this time. After much reflection and prayer, I have decided to continue my education and collegiate career at Northwestern University with coach (Chris) Collins. I am extremely blessed to have this opportunity. I am very excited to begin my new journey in the Big Ten. Go Wildcats!"

Turner will have to sit out the upcoming 2017-18 season due to NCAA transfer rules. But he brings plenty of major-conference experience to Collins' program.

Turner started 28 of Boston College's 32 games last season, averaging 8.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game in 30.8 minutes a game.

Turner was ranked by Rivals as the No. 125 recruit in the Class of 2015.

Mark Smith picks Illini, giving Brad Underwood a huge recruiting win

Mark Smith picks Illini, giving Brad Underwood a huge recruiting win

Brad Underwood's tenure at Illinois hasn't gotten off to the smoothest start, but that will all be forgotten after a huge recruiting win Wednesday.

Mark Smith, the Land of Lincoln's Mr. Basketball out of Edwardsville High School, picked the Illini on Wednesday night, spurning a host of other suitors including Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State, Kentucky and Duke.

Smith is not just committed to Illinois but already signed to a National Letter of Intent, the school announced, making him an official member of the program's incoming freshman class.

For Underwood, landing Smith — ranked as the No. 52 prospect in the Class of 2017 — will not just cushion the blow of a pair of losses from earlier this spring, with Jeremiah Tilmon and Javon Pickett asking out of their National Letters of Intent. It will provide a spark of excitement across the fan base.

It's the kind of huge recruiting win that Underwood's predecessor John Groce could rarely claim. Only Tilmon and the rest of this year's recruiting class marked big-time success on the trail for Groce, and he was fired before he was able to coach any of those players.

Smith had a tremendous senior season, averaging 21.9 points, 8.2 rebounds, 8.4 assists and 2.1 steals during a 30-win campaign. He scored 30 or more points in eight games and scored in double figures in all but one of his team's 32 contests.

Smith's commitment to Illinois restores much of the prestige to a halved recruiting class that once again claims a trio of four-star recruits, Smith joining Trent Frazier and Da'Monte Williams after the departures of Tilmon, a four-star recruit, and Pickett, a three-star recruit.

Underwood now can claim some serious momentum after a rocky beginning to his Illinois tenure. In addition to the departures of Tilmon and Pickett, the Illini lost out to Kansas on former Morgan Park star Charlie Moore, who transferred after one season at Cal. Illinois is reportedly still in the mix for Kansas transfer Carlton Bragg Jr.

Underwood also adds Smith to what was a roster short on scholarship players, particularly after the decisions of Tilmon and Pickett. Smith, along with Frazier and Williams, join returning players D.J. Williams, Kipper Nichols, Te'Jon Lucas, Jalen Coleman-Lands, Leron Black, Aaron Jordan and Michael Finke for Underwood's first season in Champaign.