January 7, 2010

Clemson's Jay gives up football

CLEMSON- The football career for one of Clemson's top signees last year is over.

CLEMSON- The football career for one of Clemson's top signees last year is over.

Offensive tackle J.K. Jay has chosen to give up football upon the advice of his doctors, the school announced Wednesday.

Jay underwent two surgeries last year on a herniated disk in his back, an injury believed to be caused by a weightlifting incident in July. He redshirted after having the first surgery in August, then underwent surgery again in December.

The back injuries, combined with cases of mononucleosis and H1N1 flu, led Jay to withdraw from school during the fall semester. But Jay has re-enrolled for the spring and attended the team's meeting Tuesday, after which he declined comment.

"It is most important to me that I have a normal life when I am older," Jay said in the school release. "After talking to the doctors, it was obvious that by returning to the football field I would be at a high risk for serious injury. I want to be able to play with my kids when I start a family years from now."

Jay plans to remain with the team as a student coach and be placed on medical hardship, thereby not counting toward Clemson's 85 scholarships.

In other team news, one recruit is officially on board, while a second early enrollee is expected to follow.

Josh Watson, a 6-3, 285-pound defensive tackle out of Hargrave Military Academy, attended class Wednesday.

The other enrollee is expected to be Chester offensive guard Kalon Davis, who is expected to enroll by the end of the week.

- Paul Strelow

Fisher formally introduced as Florida State coach. Jimbo Fisher holds the key to a Florida State program facing NCAA probation and fewer scholarships as a result of an academic cheating scandal.

The 44-year-old West Virginia native was introduced as the university's ninth coach since football began in 1947. The program is starting a four-year NCAA probation with some scholarship reductions.

Fisher has hired five new assistants and is close to choosing a new strength coach.

Phillips introduced as UK football coach. Joker Phillips took the reins as Kentucky's new coach and choked up when he spoke about his mentor, Rich Brooks.

Phillips held his first news conference as coach at a conference room in Commonwealth Stadium two days after Brooks used the same venue to announce he was stepping down after seven years on the job. Brooks attended his successor's news conference.

Phillips is a graduate of Kentucky and has held various roles under Brooks, most recently offensive head coach. He also worked as an assistant at Cincinnati, Minnesota, Notre Dame and South Carolina.

Arkansas adds 2 to staff. Steve Caldwell and Kris Cinkovich are joining the Arkansas football staff as assistant coaches.

Caldwell will coach the Razorbacks defensive ends and Cinkovich will work with wide receivers.

Three more players announce for NFL draft. Florida All-American tight end Aaron Hernandez, injury-plagued Penn State defensive end Jerome Hayes and UCLA defensive tackle Brian Price are leaving school early and entering the NFL draft.

Hernandez is the second Florida underclassman to make the jump to the NFL, joining cornerback Joe Haden.

Hayes had season-ending injuries to each knee after being one of the nation's most highly recruited linebackers out of high school.

Price, the Pac-10's defensive player of the year, was a disruptive force on UCLA opponents' offensees, making 23 1/2 tackles for loss and seven sacks.

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