Husky Nation rejoice: Locker returning

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Even the fact that he was being touted as a potential Top Ten pick — hell, No. 1 overall pick according to ESPN’s Todd McShay — in the upcoming April draft wasn’t enough to keep Jake Locker from returning for one more season at Washington, the quarterback announced this afternoon.

Locker released a statement this afternoon stating his intentions, coming to his decision after receiving input from multiple parties over the past few months.

“After a great deal of careful thought and deliberation, I have decided to return to Washington and play my senior year,” Locker said in a statement released by the school. “I am very excited about this team’s opportunities and potential for the upcoming season and I am looking forward to being a part of it.”

While the move in and of itself isn’t surprising — both head coach Steve Sarkisian and athletic director Scott Woodward were confident he would return — the fact that it came so soon ahead of the deadline for underclassmen to declare was somewhat unexpected. Players eligible for the draft have until Jan. 15 to make themselves officially available.

Given how Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford‘s season ended after coming back for another year — and after being projected as possibly the first pick in the draft — it would seem like the more judicious approach would be to eschew another collegiate season, thus avoiding both the potential of a serious injury hurting his stock and a rookie salary cap being implemented by the time the 2010 draft rolls around, and grabbing the money while he could.

Provided he avoids injury, though, another season in Sarkisian’s pro-style offense will do nothing to hurt Locker’s ’11 draft prospects.  In fact, it could only help solidify his spot atop that draft class.

Again, provided he doesn’t pull a Bradford.

Report: Duke Williams injured Auburn teammate with punch in ‘bar rampage’

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 29:  D'haquille Williams #1 of the Auburn Tigers misses a touchdown catch in the first quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the Iron Bowl at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 29, 2014 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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D’haquille Williams may have some additional explaining to do to NFL personnel if another report is accurate.

Monday night, Auburn announced that the star wide receiver had been dismissed from Gus Malzahn‘s football program.  A day later, reports surfaced that Williams’ dismissal came after he went on a weekend “bar rampage” following one of his friends getting the heave-ho from a local drinking establishment over a dress-code issue. It was alleged that Williams had punched a pair of security guards, a bartender’s assistant and an unnamed patron of the bar.

The unnamed, however, now has a name.

According to the ABC affiliate in Montgomery, Ala., and a citing a source close to the AU program, Tigers center Xavier Dampeer‘s jaw was on the receiving end of one of Williams’ alleged punches. The website wrote that “Dampeer has been treated and released from East Alabama Medical Center, according to a worker at the hospital.”

Malzahn was asked Tuesday if any other Tiger players were involved in the incident. “I’m not going to get into any details,” the coach said according to

No charges have been filed in connection to the incident.

“We cannot file charges until the injured person(s) comes forward,” Auburn police chief Paul Register told the television station. “Unless an officer personally sees a fight, no arrests can be made.”

Illini’s leading rusher, Josh Ferguson, officially ruled out vs. Iowa

Josh Ferguson, Jordan Italiano
Associated Press
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If Illinois is going to improve upon its solid 4-1 start to the 2015 season, it’ll have to do so without a significant cog in its offensive machinery.

On the official injury report release Thursday night, the Illini confirmed that Josh Ferguson has been ruled out of Saturday’s game against No. 22 Iowa.  The decision is not exactly a surprise as Ferguson has been doubtful in the run-up to the road game against the Hawkeyes.

Ferguson sustained an injury to his right shoulder in the first quarter of last Saturday’s last-second win over Nebraska, and has been unable to practice at all this week.

Ferguson’s 381 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns and 5.4 yards per carry are all tops on the team.  He’s added 12 receptions for 28 yards and another touchdown coming out of the backfield.

With Ferguson sidelined, the bulk of the running-game load is expected to shift to Ke’Shawn Vaughn.  Through five games, Vaughn is second on the Illini with 325 yards and a pair of touchdowns.