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Why is this news?: Rutgers' LeGrand and the commencement speaker saga

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Patrick McDermott

"I'm very upset about it. I was all excited all weekend thinking about what I was going to say. It's rough."

Eric LeGrand, former Rutgers football player

Rutgers, Rutgers, Rutgers. Where do we even begin. I've been disappointed with Rutgers ever since Tom Savage transferred to Arizona Pitt – and not because Savage (or Rutgers) was particularly good at football, but because his last name lends itself to catchy headlines.

Second, I'm not convinced that Rutgers' addition to the B1G makes as strategic sense as Delany thinks it will – but maybe that's an arguement for another day.

But the most recent lame thing to come out of Piscataway, NJ is the apparent withdrawal of the offer to make Eric LeGrand the school's graduation commencement speaker. LeGrand, the defensive end who was paralyzed as a result of a 2010 hit against Army, has remained close to the atheltic department and been a consistent supporter of the university.

According to USA TODAY, LeGrand tweeted the news:  "Rutgers offered me the commencement speech this weekend and I was going to accept but they decided to go other ways for political reasons."

Those political reasons? Tom Kean sounded good, for some reason? In case you need a primer on past PR missteps for the Rutgers athletic department, your wish is my command.

And then, of course, the saga continued - the university announced today that LeGrand would in fact  *a* speaker after all - just not the commencement speaker (that'll still be Kean). Via NJ.com:

"Eric LeGrand will speak at our commencement and personally receive his degree from me as a representative of the Class of 2014," Barchi said in a statement. "It was never our intention that Eric would be the only speaker. We have resolved that miscommunication and are delighted to have him participate."

"I do not wake up in the morning and say I wish I was coaching"

-Jim Tressel

Say it ain't so, Senator. For awhile it seemed like Tress was in competition with Jon Gruden for being linked to the most head coaching vacancies in football, but now it sounds like he's committed to going the university administration route long term:

"Sometimes I read the paper and say I am glad I am not coaching. But on Saturdays or Sunday afternoons during playoff games it is exciting and I may yell ‘Call a time out!' But I do not foresee any interest in coaching. I have got more important things to do. Not that it (coaching) is unimportant."

You're right it's not unimportant, coach! I get that, as a finalist for two university president positions, you have to sound committed to that career path long term, but I hope it's not true.

"Do we have as many quality student athletes as some of the people we're going to play? Probably not, if you take a look at the rankings. But I know this: Our players are excited about what we have, and we're going to prepare well."

-Randy Edsall, Maryland coach

I don't think anyone in the B1G is more than lukewarm about Maryland and Rutgers this year, but the Terps are absolutely the more interesting team football-wise right now.

The scary thing is that I could see either Stefon Diggs and Deon Long carving up the 2013 Buckeye secondary.

"Anything short of an undefeated regular season and a berth in the College Football Playoff could make it difficult for Winston to repeat."

-Zac Ellis, Sports Illustrated

Zac Ellis at Sports Illustrated has a post-spring Heisman update, because why not - it's the offseason, right? Braxton gets his mention among the "front runners" along with Melvin Gordon (I mean, I guess?), T.J. Yeldon, Todd Gurley, and Winston, but it's obviously a crapshoot at this point. There's no way I would have picked Winston as a front runner at this point last season, for instance.

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