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Via Twitter, ex-UCLA DB Priest Willis announces move to A&M

Nearly two months to the day he was moving on from the program with which he signed coming out of high school,Priest Willis has apparently found a new landing spot in which to continue his collegiate playing career.

In a tweet posted to his personal Twitter account early Thursday evening, Willis announced that he will be continuing his education at Texas A&M and play football for the Aggies.  The playing part won’t happen in 2015 as the defensive back will have to sit out the upcoming season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules.

Then, beginning in 2016, Willis will have two years of eligibility remaining.

 

It’s at this point in the program where we note A&M has yet to officially announce Willis’ addition to the roster.

A four-star member of UCLA’s 2013 recruiting class, Willis rated as the No. 6 safety in the country; the No. 1 player at any position in the state of Arizona; and the No. 56 player overall according to Rivals.com. Along with fellow defensive back Tahaan Goodman, Willis was the highest-rated recruit in the Bruins’ class that year.

After sitting out his true freshman season as a redshirt, Willis played in nine games last season for the Bruins.

Rangers land ace left-hander Cole Hamels from Phillies

MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan had the majority of the major scoops on this one. It’s a massive two-team, eight-player blockbuster deal that will net the Phillies a frontline starter for this year and years to come while injecting more young talent into the Phillies’ under-construction minor league system.

Rangers get …

SP Cole Hamels
RP Jake Diekman

Phillies get …

C Jorge Alfaro
OF Nick Williams
SP Alec Asher
SP Jerad Eickhoff
SP Jake Thompson
SP Matt Harrison

Rangers “now clear-cut favorites” for Cole Hamels

The very latest on the Cole Hamels trade front …

Bob Nightengale of USA Today hears the Rangers are “now clear-cut favorites” to land the Phillies ace because the Dodgers prefer David Price and the Tigers have now made it known that they’re going to sell off some major parts. There’s been talk of the Astros making a big push for Hamels, but Hamels can block a trade there and Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle was told that the Astros are expecting him to land elsewhere. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported Wednesday afternoon that the Giants are “fading” from the Hamels chase.

So it sounds like it’s all coming together for the Rangers, who currently stand 4 1/2 games back of the second American League Wild Card spot. Hamels is under contract through 2019 — at a pretty reasonable rate — so this trade wouldn’t just be about 2015.

Hamels, 31, owns a 3.64 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 137/39 K/BB ratio in 128 2/3 innings this season for Philadelphia. He threw a no-hitter in his last turn through the rotation Saturday against the Cubs.

Shoulder issue ends playing career of TCU DB George Baltimore

Heading into the final stretch prior to the start of summer camp, TCU has lost a promising member of its defensive secondary.

In a missive posted to his Instagram account this past week,George Baltimore revealed that his playing career is over.  According to the safety, it’s “extensive shoulder surgeries” that’s forced him to the sidelines permanently.

“Two weeks till fall camp and we want to show support to Joe Turner and north side high school football players,” Baltimore’s social media post began. “Excited for them but also my teammates as they get ready to go get that natty this year. Done playing for TCU due to extensive shoulder surgeries but always family and still going to enjoy the ride.”

After redshirting as a true freshman in 2013, Baltimore played in 13 games in 2014.  He tied for the team lead in special teams tackles with eight.

Because of both his talent level and attrition in the unit, Baltimore was expected to compete for significant playing time this upcoming season.

Rangers, Dodgers lead field in race for Cole Hamels, sources say

The Texas Rangers  and Los Angeles Dodgers have emerged over the weekend as the likely favorites to trade for Philadelphia Phillies ace Cole Hamels, multiple sources said.

The Phillies also continue to discuss Hamels with at least four other teams — the Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants and Boston Red Sox, a source said. However, those teams are said to have had more trouble matching up on a potential deal than the Dodgers or Rangers.

Sources say they would be surprised if a trade was completed before Tuesday, even in the wake of Hamels’ no-hitter Saturday against the Cubs.

“I doubt it happens quick,” said an official of one team that has spoken with the Phillies.

The Rangers and Dodgers both had scouts in attendance at Hamels’ no-hitter, as did the Yankees, Giants, Houston Astros, Toronto Blue Jays and several other clubs. But other than Texas and Los Angeles, those teams were described as doing their “due diligence” in monitoring the market for the 31-year-old left-hander.

Both the Rangers and Dodgers view Hamels as an attractive alternative to this winter’s deep class of free-agent aces, because he is under contract for three more years after this season and has a team or vesting option for a fourth season. The guaranteed portion of his contract runs through only his age-34 season — whereas a group of free agents in or approaching their 30s, such as David Price, Johnny Cueto and Zack Greinke (assuming he opts out), will be looking for deals that take them into their late 30s.

The Phillies have been positioning themselves for months to take the Hamels talk to the brink of Friday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline, in the hope that some team would be more willing to overpay as the deadline pressure mounts. So clubs speaking with Philadelphia continue to report they wouldn’t be surprised if a Hamels deal goes right down to the deadline.

Hamels is 6-7 with a 3.64 ERA in 20 starts this season. But his win-loss record is skewed by lack of run support — which ranks 85th among 94 qualifying MLB starters — and by the two starts immediately preceding his no-hitter, in which he allowed 14 earned runs in 6⅓ innings. His ERA in his 18 other starts this season is 2.80.

One scout who watched Hamels’ no-hitter Saturday told ESPN.com: “After watching that, there’s no doubt in my mind he’s still one of the best pitchers in baseball. He’s a difference-maker for somebody.”

 

If It’s Important, You’ll Find A Way. If It Isn’t, You’ll Find An Excuse

Some people dream of success, others make it happen. Of course, you can dream as much as you like but waiting for things to happen gets you nowhere. Get active and start making things happen.

Whatever journey your path takes you on, the most important thing is to have passion in what you do.

How many of you went to college, got your degree, and ended up doing something totally unrelated to your major? Studying it did not make you passionate about it. It wasn’t your path.

Education or even talent aren’t worth much without passion. So do the stuff that you love and you’ve always wanted to do because without it, you’ll feel stuck and unfulfilled. If you work in a bank but your dream is to be a naturopath, then make those changes now. Make this year the turning point in your life. When you do what you love you will be rewarded — it will just flow naturally.

Look at those around you who just make things happen. They have a clear goal in mind and they know where they want to go. They don’t always have a plan but they have the passion and the tenacity to make it work, and they achieve their goals as the end result.

Trust us when we tell you this. If something important to you, you WILL find a way. If it isn’t, you’ll find an excuse. It’s that simple. Find your way. Make it work, whatever it takes. Are you 10 pounds heavier than you should be? It is simple: Commit, go to that gym every day, no excuses, and train until you lose those 10  pounds. When you accomplish this, you’ll have the confidence to do more. Set a goal and make it happen.

Want to stop smoking? Stop making excuses, take control of your circumstances before they take control of you.

Success isn’t just about what you accomplish in your life, it’s about what you inspire others to do and when you do accomplish something as simple as quitting smoking or losing weight, you’ll inspire others to do the same. Anyone can change the world, and everybody should try. And it all starts with your own life.

Stop waiting for the perfect time to do what you want to do. Do it now.

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone, so get used to being uncomfortable. It won’t kill you. Do you need a sign? Here it is:

Artistic Japanese High School Player goes above and beyond baseball tradition at the plate

This Japanese high school player takes flamboyance to an entirely different level, as he prepares for every pitch like he’s warming up for the school production of West Side Story. Even Darth Maul is saying “That’s a little much.”

Is it his samurai ancestors who are guiding him, or is there just way too much caffeine in Japanese soft drinks? So far the answer is unclear, but we’ll keep you updated.

Romo takes on the Rob Lowe role for Sunday Ticket

It’s been a while since DirecTV aired the Rob Lowe commercials, some of which .

The cable-alter-ego shtick is back for football season, with Cowboys quarterback Tony Romoplaying the dual role of himself, who has DirecTV, and bald-headed and bearded “Arts and Craftsy” Tony Romo, who has cable.

While memorable, the entire campaign attempts to craft bizarre stereotype that anyone who has DirecTV is super cool — and anyone who has cable is some sort of a goofball. The perception quickly falls apart with this reality: I have DirecTV, and I don’t need to post a poll at PFT to know that I’m some sort of a goofball.

As to Romo, the far better campaign (setting aside the bizarre nature of the satellite-cable distinction) would have gone something like this: “‘Hi, I’m Tony Romo of 2015, and I have DirecTV.’ . . . ‘Hi, I’m Tony Romo of 2006 through 2014, the one that consistently screwed up when a big game was on the line, and I have cable.”

Here’s what happens when you forget how to slide

Spieth catches fire after putting adjustment

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Jordan Spieth said it best, “I don’t normally putt the way I did.”

That’s the truth. The man who flat out finds a way to get the ball in the hole had five three-putts and 37 putts during the second round of the Open Championship, both career highs as a professional.

You knew that wasn’t going to continue.

Spieth spent some extra time on the practice green Saturday and was a new man on Sunday shooting 67 with only 27 putts. He’s only one shot off the lead heading into the final round at the Old Course.

“I just had been aligned a little left,” Spieth said. “Every putt was missing just a little off the left side of the hole, so I just tried to adjust.”

Spieth was miffed after making bogey on the par-4 ninth hole because he had a pitching wedge into the green. He then cruised to three consecutive birdies on the next three holes and made key par saves on both the 13th and 17th holes down the stretch.

“I kind of just wanted to stay patient today, let them come to me, and once I figured out my putting, it did,” Spieth said. “Yeah, I believe when I was standing with you yesterday that a day like today could happen, but in order to win you’ve got to duplicate it.”

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