Ohio State heading for Rose Bowl

Tide’s Duron Carter makes preseason Biletnikoff watch list


While the official list won’t be released until 8 ET Wednesday night, the names of a couple of players who have made the Biletnikoff Award’s preseason watch list have been confirmed, including a player who hasn’t played at the Div. 1-A level since 2009.

The blog Gold and Blue Zone reported earlier today that West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin has been named to the initial Biletnikoff watch list.

Additionally, the Birmingham News has confirmed with the Tallahassee Quarterback Club that Alabama receivers Darius Hanks and Duron Carter are on the list as well.  Carter’s inclusion is mildly surprising — or severely head-scratching depending on your view.

Carter left Ohio State in June of 2010 due to academic issues, and spent the 2010 season at the JUCO level.  The son of former OSU and NFL great Cris Carter transferred to the Tide in early April but did not participate in spring practice.

(Incidentally, the News also reports that Carter was hoping to enroll at the school for the second summer semester but that process recently hit “a snag”.)

Making the decision to include Carter all the more odd is the fact that Alabama’s leading returning receiver, Marquis Maze, didn’t make the initial cut.

Obviously, these preseason watch lists are almost meaningless as the real cuts to the semifinalists and finalists occur after X amount of games have been played, but it’s interesting that Carter — and to some degree Hanks as well — received the nod over Maze.

UPDATED 8:04 p.m. ET: As it turns out, the report from the Birmingham News was incorrect as Maze is indeed on the preseason watch list.  We apologize for any inconvenience and/orconsternation this may have caused members of Tide Nation.

Starting LB C.J. Johnson reveals surgery on social media, Ole Miss confirms

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Ole Miss will be without a starting piece of its defensive puzzle for an extended period of time, both the player and the school revealed Tuesday.

With rumors swirling about his condition, C.J. Johnson confirmed on his personal Twitter account late this morning that he will be undergoing surgery at some point in the not-too-distant future.  The linebacker sustained an injury to his left knee in last Saturday’s loss to Florida and did not return to the contest.

Subsequent to that posting, Ole Miss confirmed that Johnson underwent surgery earlier in the day to repair a torn meniscus in his knee.  The procedure and rehab will sideline Johnson for a period of 4-6 weeks.

At the low-end of the prognosis, Johnson would miss the next four games — New Mexico State, Memphis, Texas A&M, Auburn — and return for the Nov. 7 game against Arkansas.  The high-end would have him sidelined until the regular-season finale against Mississippi State.

Johnson had started all five games at middle linebacker for the Rebels.  He started 26 games at defensive end the past three years before moving to linebacker.

Butch Jones labels rumor of ‘physical altercation’ with Vols player ‘absolutely ridiculous’

ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Head coach Butch Jones of the Tennessee Volunteers yells at Marquez North #8 during the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on September 27, 2014 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Already in the crosshairs for his 2-3 team’s late-game failures, Butch Jones now finds himself under increasing scrutiny for something that allegedly happened a couple of months ago.

The website Gridiron.com, which features such respected journalists Tony Barnhart and Mike Huguenin among others, reported earlier today that the Tennessee head coach was involved in what was described as a “physical altercation” with senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder during summer camp this past August.  The source close to the program added that practice film that day captured the alleged incident, although it’s unclear if that tapes still exists.

From the site’s report:

The incident occurred during fall camp, about the time that news started to come out about a few offensive linemen who were considering stepping away from the program. Crowder walked off the practice field one day and missed a day or two of practice, and Brett Kendrick and Dylan Wiesman were said to be contemplating their futures. Sources say the players’ actions stemmed from an incident between Jones and Crowder.

The website also made a Freedom of Information request seeking any correspondence between the university and the Crowder family be turned over, but writes that UT “administrators said any sort of letter or correspondence that may or may not have happened was covered under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.”

Monday, Jones labeled what began as message-board speculation that he had struck one of his Vols players as “absolutely ridiculous.” The Knoxville News Sentinel contacted Crowder’s father, with the paper writing that “he had no comment and did not want to give validation to message boards.”

At least publicly, the university has yet to address the allegations.  Jones will get yet another chance to address the speculation with the media in the very near future.