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Notebook: KU Football Makes Strides in Offseason

You got the water balloons? Two hundred rounds, sir. Is it okay if they say “Happy Birthday” on the side? Well, I’d rather they say “ Death From Above,” but I guess we’re stuck.

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NCAA Football: Guaranteed Rate Bowl-Kansas at UNLV Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Rock Chalkboard

Devin Neal passes up 2024 NFL Draft, announces return to Kansas for a senior season
Devin Neal will pass up the 2024 NFL Draft and return to Kansas for a senior season in 2024, he announced on Thursday. Neal announced the news on his social media channels.

Bill Self feels ‘must win’ games are coming for KU, other Big 12 teams early in conference play
The Big 12 has lived up to expectations during its first week and it's been extremely competitive. Through just two games for every team, only three teams remain undefeated. Texas Tech has a pair of wins over Texas and Oklahoma State. Kansas State has wins over UCF and West Virginia. Baylor has wins over Oklahoma State and BYU. Teams like Kansas and Houston — who were picked to finish No. 1 and No. 2 in the conference — both stumbled in their first road games of conference play.

Kansas lands North Dakota State transfer Javier Derritt
KU football’s roll in the transfer portal has continued, as the Jayhawks landed a commitment from North Dakota State defensive lineman Javier Derritt on Thursday. He marks a big addition for KU at a position of need, as Lance Leipold and the KU staff look to bolster the defensive tackle position following offseason losses. Derritt will have one season of eligibility remaining, which he will use during the 2024 campaign. He is the fifth transfer to commit to KU this offseason and the second to commit to KU this week, joining center Shane Bumgardner.

Eraser Dust

Natalie Portman talks meeting Star Wars legend Mark Hamill for the first time.... after 'confirming' split from husband following cheating rumors | Daily Mail Online
'It was the coolest thing,' Portman said of their meeting as Kimmel showed a photo of them that was shared by Hamill, 72, on social media.

A new student loan forgiveness policy is starting sooner than expected : NPR
In a surprise move, the Biden administration says it will fast-track a big change, previously scheduled for July, that will soon erase the debts of thousands of federal student loan borrowers – undergraduate as well as graduate students who initially borrowed less than $21,000.

US-led strikes killed 5 people and wounded 6, Houthi rebels say | AP News
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Yemen’s Houthi rebels vowed fierce retaliation Friday for American and British strikes against them, further raising the prospect of a wider conflict in a region already beset by Israel’s war in Gaza.

Trump endorses idea he should be able to assassinate opponents without being prosecuted | The Independent
James Pearce, the Assistant Special Counsel who argued the case for the US government, said Mr Sauer’s comments suggested “an extraordinarily frightening future” because his view would place presidents largely outside and above the law.

We Asked 3 Chefs to Name the Best Frozen Chicken Nuggets and They All Said the Same Thing
Overwhelmingly, the chefs I chatted with all chose the same chicken nuggets as their top pick, one you’d likely never guess. “So I don’t buy a ton of store-bought nuggets, but when I do it’s purely for the nostalgia factor,” says Matt Wilson of OyBar in Los Angeles. “And then of course, I choose Yummy Dino Buddies (but I deep fry them).”

Why did Nick Saban retire? ‘Age started to become an issue’: Inside his final hours at Alabama - The Athletic
“In hiring coaches and recruiting players, my age started to become an issue,” Saban said. “People wanted assurances I’d be here, three years, five years, and it became harder to be honest about it. And to be honest, this last season was grueling. It was a real grind for us to come from where we started to where we got to. It took a little more out of me than usual. When people mentioned the health issue, it was really just the grind.”

Ascent's Uphill Climb - Flathead Beacon
The Ascent program transformed the lives of at-risk Glacier High School students before shutting down due to budget cuts last fall. Now, its supporters are hoping to bring it back for the next generation of Kalispell teenagers.

He's back! Aaron Rodgers returns to 'Pat McAfee Show' day after host said NFL star 'is done' with show
“Joining us now to chitchat about massive names being amicably departed from two teams and at a very, very high level is a four-time NFL MVP and a man who is a Super Bowl champion," McAfee said. "Ladies and gentlemen, the last human Bill Belichick talked to on the field as the New England Patriots head coach: Aaron Rodgers."

A New Vaccination Crisis Has Emerged - The Atlantic
For years now, health experts have been warning that COVID-era politics and the spread of anti-vaxxer lies have brought us to the brink of public-health catastrophe—that a Great Collapse of Vaccination Rates is nigh. This hasn’t come to pass. In spite of deep concerns about a generation of young parents who might soon give up on immunizations altogether—not simply for COVID, but perhaps for all disease—many of the stats we have are looking good. Standard vaccination coverage among babies and toddlers, including the pandemic babies born in 2020, is “high and stable,” the CDC reports. And kindergarteners’ immunization rates, which dipped after the pandemic started, are no longer losing ground.