Former NFL and Virginia Tech place-kicker Shayne Graham from Pulaski County has joined the coaching staff at Michigan State as a special-teams intern.
Graham, who retired in March 2017 after a 15-year NFL career, worked last season as a special teams quality control coach at Central Michigan. He had spent time with 11 NFL franchises and actually kicked in a game for eight of them.
Graham holds Cincinnati Bengals records for most field goals in a season (31) and most field goals in a game (seven). His first Michigan State kicking camp starts Thursday.
“Been swamped,” he said, responding to an interview request Wednesday.
Graham said he’s involved with all phases of special teams, including returns and coverage, and is “working with the specialist by default.”
Although he last kicked in an NFL game for Atlanta in 2015, Graham signed a ceremonial contract in 2017 that allowed him to retire as a Bengal. He ranks 11th all-time in NFL field-goal accuracy at 85.5 percent.
Graham, who will not count toward the 10-coach, full-time limit, will serve under Spartans special teams coach Don Treadwell, previously the head coach at Miami of Ohio.
The latest Rivals.com ranking of the 2019 college football recruiting classes has Clemson at No. 4 and Notre Dame at No. 6.
Virginia Tech is fifth among ACC programs at No. 28 and UVa is 45th, ahead of Georgia Tech, Louisville and Syracuse.
One sign of the times is that 12 ACC teams, including Tech and UVa, have double-digit recruits with approximately six months remaining till the December signing date. Notre Dame leads the way in four-star recruits (on a five-star scale) with nine.
Tech has three four-star recruits, trailing ACC rivals Clemson, Miami and Florida State with seven apiece.
Talk of the tourney
Seven-foot Virginia basketball signee Francisco Caffaro was named to the all-tournament team in the FIBA U18 Americas Championships in Ontario and put up two double-doubles while helping Argentina to a third-place finish averaging 16.7 points and 8.8 rebounds.
Caffaro, who went to high school in Australia, had 22 points against the United States in a 104-92 loss. He subsequently was bumped up to four-star status by online sites that previously had not listed him.
That hasn’t elevated Virginia’s class past No. 56 in the Rivals.com basketball recruiting class rankings. That’s ninth among ACC teams. Virginia Tech’s class, at No. 42, is fifth behind No. 1 Duke, No. 8 North Carolina, No. 15 Notre Dame and No. 23 Wake Forest.
Khwan Fore, whose first plan was to transfer to Tennessee after averaging 11 points last year for Richmond, has changed his mind and is heading to Louisville. Fore, who started 26 of 29 games this past season, can play immediately as a graduate transfer.
- Richmond has added 6-foot Blake Francis, originally from Westfield High School in Chantilly, who was the leading scorer last year for a Wagner team that was 23-10. Francis will have two years of eligibility after sitting out the 2018-19 season.
Returning to Old Dominion
A four-game Salem Red Sox series starting June 26 will find two members of UVa’s 2015 College World Series team on the pitching staff of the visiting Carolina Mudcats.
The Mudcats are affiliated with the Milwaukee Brewers, who took Nathan Kirby with the 40th pick in the 2015 MLB Draft. Kirby, credited with the save in the Cavaliers’ series-clinching victory over Vanderbilt, subsequently missed two seasons following Tommy John elbow surgery.
Kirby, who is 1-4 with a 5.57 ERA after four starts, has been joined on the Mudcats’ staff by former CWS teammate Alec Bettinger.
Roanoke College men’s lacrosse coach Bill Pilat — whose 2018 roster included players from Falmouth, Maine, to Scottsdale, Arizona — has three players from California in his latest recruiting class. That group also includes Chapin Engel from Hidden Valley.
Pitcher Mack Meyer, a graduate transfer from the University of San Francisco, has become the fifth player off Virginia’s 2018 team to sign a professional contract. He signed with the San Francisco Giants as an undrafted free agent.
Two of this year’s six UVa draftees remain unsigned. All-ACC second baseman Andy Weber and fellow rising senior Cam Simmons have not reached a decision. Simmons, who missed the entire 2018 season following shoulder surgery, batted .352 for UVa in 2017.