Cam Newton Davey O'Brien Award

’10 finalists Luck, Moore headline preseason O’Brien watch list

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The just-released 2011 Davey O’ Brien preseason watch list is littered with familiar names as a total of nine finalists or semifinalists from last year’s process comprise this year’s group, the Davey O’Brien Foundation announced Friday.

Stanford’s Andrew Luck and Boise State’s Kellen Moore were finalists in 2010, and, obviously, make the preseason cut this year for the award that goes to the nation’s top quarterback.  A total of seven 2010 semifinalists also made the list — Matt Barkley (USC), Kirk Cousins (Michigan State), Robert Griffin III (Baylor), Landry Jones (Oklahoma), Taylor Martinez (Nebraska) (no relation), Denard Robinson (Michigan), and Darron Thomas (Oregon).

Additionally, Case Keenum, a 2009 finalist, is a preseason selection after missing most of the 2010 season with a knee injury.

Perhaps the most glaring “omission” from the 38-player list is South Carolina’s Stephen Garcia, who just yesterday was named to the coaches’ preseason All-SEC second team.

Conference-wise, the Big Ten and Conference USA lead the way with six apiece, followed by the Pac-12 with five; the Big 12 with four; and the ACC and Big East with three each.

The O’Brien is named for former SMU great Davey O’Brien and has been awarded annually since 1981.  The preseason field will be narrowed to 16 semifinalists on Monday, Oct. 24, with the three finalists announced on Monday, Nov. 21. The 2011 Davey O’Brien winner will be announced on The Home Depot College Football Awards on Thursday, Dec. 8.

Last year’s winner was Auburn’s Cam Newton.

Below is the complete list of the 2011 preseason O’Brien watch listers:

Matt Barkley, USC
Tyler Bray, Tennessee
Alex Carder, Western Michigan
Zach Collaros, Cincinnati
Kirk Cousins, Michigan State
Dayne Crist, Notre Dame
Austin Davis, Southern Miss.
Dominique Davis, East Carolina
Nick Foles, Arizona
Jeff Godfrey, UCF
Robert Griffin III, Baylor
Chandler Harnish, Northern Illinois
Jake Heaps, BYU
Landry Jones, Oklahoma
Case Keenum, Houston
G.J. Kinne, Tulsa
Ryan Lindley, San Diego State
Andrew Luck, Stanford
EJ Manuel, Florida State
Taylor Martinez, Nebraska
Bryant Moniz, Hawaii
Kellen Moore, Boise State
Aaron Murray, Georgia
Danny O’Brien, Maryland
Kyle Padron, SMU
Dan Persa, Northwestern
Chris Relf, Mississippi State
Sean Renfree, Duke
Corey Robinson, Troy
Denard Robinson, Michigan
Nathan Scheelhaase, Illinois
Geno Smith, West Virginia
Tino Sunseri, Pittsburgh
Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M
Darron Thomas, Oregon
Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State
Russell Wilson, Wisconsin
Jordan Wynn, Utah

Report: NCAA finds 13 violations against Ole Miss football, nine under Hugh Freeze

BATON ROUGE, LA - OCTOBER 25:  Head coach Hugh Freeze of the Mississippi Rebels reacts to a call during the game against the LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium on October 25, 2014 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
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When word first broke of NCAA violations against Ole Miss, word from the Rebels’ football program was one of caution, for it was uncertain how many were targeted against football versus women’s basketball and track and field.

It appears we now know.

On Tuesday evening, the Associated Press reported the NCAA levied 13 allegations out of a possible 28 against the Ole Miss football team, nine of which occurred under the watch of head coach Hugh Freeze. However, it appears the most serious violations were either already know or took place during the Houston Nutt regime.

Included in the allegations are Laremy Tunsil‘s improper benefits, for which the left tackle already sat seven games. Also included are accusations former Nutt assistant David Saunders participated in a scheme to produce fraudulent test scores for recruits — the same allegations currently levied against Louisiana-Lafayette.

The remaining allegations, as detailed by the AP, include run-of-the-mill violations such as having the wrong people provide transportation on recruiting visits or assistant coaches making improper contact with recruits, many of which Ole Miss has already self-reported.

Half of all FBS signees lived between Texas and North Carolina

ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 29: Johnny Jefferson #5 of the Baylor Bears carries while defended by Dominquie Green #26 and Des Lawrence #2 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during the first half of the Russell Athletic Bowl game at Orlando Citrus Bowl on December 29, 2015 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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ESPN recruiting analyst Gerry Hamilton provided a massive public service through his Twitter account on Tuesday, releasing a data dump of fascinating information about the signing class of 2016.

In short, Texas was the most popular breeding ground for FBS prospects, but half of all signees came from a clean sweep from Texas, across the Gulf of Mexico to Florida and up to North Carolina.

The Lone Star State produced 359 players, with nearly half of those heading to Power 5 institutions. In fact, Hamilton reports, 72 of 128 FBS programs and 38 of 64 Power 5’s signed at least one player from Texas.

Florida trailed with 327 players, followed by California with 248 players and Georgia with 225. For what it’s worth, Ohio was not included in the study.

Data dump, begin!

AAC releases 2016 conference schedule

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The American Athletic Conference released its 2016 conference schedule highlighted by, oddly enough, non-conference games that pit league gem Houston against Oklahoma (on opening day at Houston’s NRG Stadium) and Louisville (in Houston on Nov. 19).

Those two games, more than any others, will sink or swim the conference’s chances of not only grabbing the Group of Five spot in the New Year’s Six, but a spot in the College Football Playoff itself.

The 2016 conference slate kicks off with Navy meeting Connecticut on Sept. 10 and concludes with the second annual AAC title game on Dec. 3 at a to-be-determined campus site.

The AAC led the way in scheduling Power 5 opponents — highlighted by a Week 3 schedule that will see the entire East Division punching up a weight class — and includes the likes of Florida State, Maryland, N.C. State, Virginia, Syracuse, Kansas, TCU and Oklahoma (for all intents and purposes) visiting AAC campuses.

View the full AAC slate here:

 

Former Notre Dame QB Tommy Rees hired as Chargers offensive assistant

SOUTH BEND, IN - NOVEMBER 02: Tommy Rees #11 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish passes against the Navy Midshipmen at Notre Dame Stadium on November 2, 2013 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Just like we all thought when watching him play at Notre Dame, Tommy Rees will be in the NFL in 2016. Just not as a quarterback.

The San Diego Chargers announced his hiring as an obnoxiously vague offensive assistant, assisting with the club’s offense in some form that they aren’t inclined to elaborate on.

After completing a career in which he threw for 7,670 yards with 61 touchdowns against 37 interceptions from 2010-13, Rees was cut by the Washington Redskins in 2014, then spent the 2014-15 seasons as a graduate assistant at Northwestern.