Walter Camp last of major awards to release watch list

1 Comment

Finally, and mercifully, our long national watch list nightmare has come to an end as the prestigious Walter Camp Award has become the final major award to announce its 2011 preseason group of players to watch.

A total of 40 players made the initial Camp watch list, including 2010 finalists LaMichael James of Oregon and Andrew Luck of Stanford.  Of the 40 players on the list, 30 were from the offensive side of the ball and 10 the defensive.

There are just four sophomores on the list — San Diego State running back Ronnie Hillman, South Carolina RB Marcus Lattimore, Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray and Wisconsin RB James White.

Quarterback was the most popular position with 15 players named, followed by running backs and wide receiver with seven apiece.  Linebackers and defensive ends accounted for three players each.

The award has been handed out annually since 1967 and is named in honor of Walter Camp, the former Stanford and Yale head coach in the latter part of the 19th century who has been dubbed “The Father of American Football”.

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

Below is the complete list of the 2011 preseason Camp watch listers:

Matt Barkley, QB, USC, Junior
Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State, Junior *
Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma, Senior *
Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State, Junior
Tank Carder, LB, TCU, Senior
Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina, Senior
Kirk Cousins, QB, Michigan State, Senior
Jared Crick, DT, Nebraska, Senior
Knile Davis, RB, Arkansas, Junior
Michael Egnew, TE, Missouri, Senior *
Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame, Senior
Jeff Fuller, WR, Texas A&M, Senior
Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor, Senior
Chandler Harnish, QB, Northern Illinois, Senior
Ronnie Hillman, RB, San Diego State, Sophomore
Jayron Hosley, DB, Virginia Tech, Junior *
LaMichael James, RB, Oregon, Junior *
Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina, Junior @
Brandon Jenkins, DT, Florida State, Junior
Damarais Johnson, WR, Tulsa, Senior
Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma, Junior
Case Keenum, QB, Houston, Senior %
Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College, Junior *
Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina, Sophomore @
Robert Lester, DB, Alabama, Junior @
Brandon Lindsey, DE, Pittsburgh, Junior
Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford, Senior @
Jonathan Massaquoi, DE, Troy, Junior
Bryant Moniz, QB, Hawaii, Senior
Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State, Senior
Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia, Sophomore
Eric Page, WR/KR, Toledo, Junior *
Dan Persa, QB, Northwestern, Senior
Chris Polk, RB, Washington, Junior
Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama, Junior
Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan, Junior
Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia, Junior
Darron Thomas, QB, Oregon, Junior
Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State, Senior
James White, RB, Wisconsin, Sophomore

*- 2010 Walter Camp First Team All-America selection
@ – 2010 Walter Camp Second Team All-America selection
% – 2009 Walter Camp Second Team All-America selection

Division II, Division III and NAIA title games set while FCS heads into semifinals

Getty Images
1 Comment

Outside of a thrilling Army-Navy game and the Heisman ceremony, it was an empty Saturday at the highest level of college football.

But no so at the lower levels.

The divisional playoffs are cranked into high gear. Let’s take a brief look at where everything stands in each division.

FCS

Top-seeded and defending champion James Madison needed a last-second field goal to survive visiting Weber State, 31-28, on Friday night, while No. 5 seed South Dakota State routed New Hampshire, 55-14.

On the other side of the bracket, No. 2 seed and winner of five of the last six national titles North Dakota State walloped Wofford, 42-10 in Fargo. No. 6 seed Sam Houston State outlasted upstart Kennesaw State, 34-27, to send the Bearkats into their fifth semifinal game in the last seven years.

Semifinals: No. 5 South Dakota State at No. 1 James Madison — 4:30 p.m. ET Saturday, ESPNU; No. 6 Sam Houston State at No. 2 North Dakota State — 8 p.m. ET Friday, ESPN2.

Division II

No. 4 seed West Florida traveled north and upset top-seeded Indiana (Pa.), 27-17 on Saturday, to send the Argonauts into their first championship game. No. 2 seed Texas A&M-Commerce fended off the option attack of No. 3 Harding (Ark.), 31-17, putting the Lions in their first title game as well.

National championship: No. 2 Texas A&M-Commerce vs. No. 4 West Florida — 6 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN2 at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kan.

Division III

In a similar dynamic to FCS, the defending champion is on a collision course with the traditional champion. In the first semifinal, defending champion Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas) blanked Brockport (N.Y.), 24-0. The Crusaders will make their third trip to the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl, looking to win their second title.

In the other semifinal, Mount Union (Ohio) overcame a 21-10 deficit to beat Wisconsin-Oshkosh, 43-40. The Purple Raiders will play in their 20th Stagg Bowl — all of them coming since 1993, and 19 of them since ’96 — with a shot at their 13th national championship. However, Mount Union has won just — “just” — two national championships since 2009.

National championship: Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas) vs. Mount Union (Ohio) — 7 p.m. ET Friday on ESPN at Salem Stadium in Salem Va.

NAIA

The NAIA was off this weekend, taking a break in between last week’s semifinals and Saturday’s national championship. Defending champion Saint Francis (Ind.) out-gunned previously-undefeated Morningside (Iowa) 43-36 in the first semifinal, while Reinhardt (Ga.) held off undefeated Southern Oregon, 37-34 in double overtime.

National championship: Saint Francis (Ind.) vs. Reinhardt (Ga.) — 6 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN3 at Municipal Stadium in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Minnesota lands commitment from 6-foot-8, 395-pound offensive tackle

Getty Images
3 Comments

P.J. Fleck is going to need a bigger boat.

Minnesota has landed a commitment from the largest recruit on record, as 6-foot-8, 395-pound offensive tackle Daniel Faalele has committed to the Gophers. Faalele made the announcement on his Twitter page on Saturday night.

A 3-star recruit, Faalele is rated as the No. 29 offensive tackle in the country, according to 247Sports. He listed 20 offers, including from the likes of Alabama, Georgia, Michigan and LSU.

As the story goes, Faalele did not find football; football found him. He was discovered by a recruiter from Hawaii working out at a gym in his native Melbourne, Australia. He attended a Michigan satellite camp in Australia and played this season — his first season in pads — at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

In making the trip from the Land Down Under to the Land of 10,000 Lakes, Faalele will be joined by a pair of IMG Academy teammates in offensive lineman Curtis Dunlap, Jr., and quarterback Zack Annexstad, who also committed to Minnesota on Saturday.

Those pledges now give Minnesota the 26th best recruiting class in the country and the sixth best in the Big Ten — but the No. 1 class in the Big Ten West — in the 247Sports Composite rankings.

Minnesota’s class may not be the best in the country, but it’s among the biggest — both in size (the Gophers have 25 pledges thus far) and stature.

Texas A&M suspends DT Zaycoven Henderson amid felony gun charges

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Texas A&M defensive tackle Zaycoven Henderson was suspended amid multiple felony charges on Saturday.

As detailed by Ben Baby of the Dallas Morning News, witnesses say Henderson pointed a rifle at one person outside College Station’s Campus Village Apartments and threatened to kill two others and allegedly threw the gun out of a fleeing car as police arrived on the scene. The car was later tracked down by College Station officers, who discovered marijuana in the car.

He was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, tampering with evidence and marijuana possession. The first charge is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in a prison. The second is a third-degree felony and the third is a misdemeanor.

He was booked into the Brazos County (Texas) jail at 9 a.m. on Sunday morning.

Texas A&M has suspended Henderson indefinitely, which really only lasts one game as the senior from Longview, Texas, was set to close his Aggies career in the Belk Bowl against Wake Forest on Dec. 29 (1 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Henderson made 35 tackles with five TFLs and 2.5 sacks in 12 starts this season. He was honored as a member of Texas A&M’s senior class at the annual team banquet earlier this weekend.

UCLA reportedly hires Paul Rhoads as defensive backs coach

Getty Images
1 Comment

Chip Kelly has reportedly hired one of the most respected men in the business to his staff. According to a report from Sports Illustrated‘s Bruce Feldman, Paul Rhoads is on his way to Westwood to coach UCLA’s defensive backs.

Rhoads spent the past two seasons at Arkansas, the first as defensive backs coach and the second as defensive coordinator in addition to his duties with the secondary. He’s best known, of course, for his 7-year run as the head coach at Iowa State, where he took the Cyclones to three bowl games and created this viral moment before any of us knew what “going viral” went.

In addition to Arkansas, Rhoads also owns defensive experience at Auburn, Pittsburgh, Iowa State, Pacific, Ohio State and Utah State.

UCLA finished last season ranked 74th in pass efficiency defense, yielding a 57.1 percent completion rate for 7.3 yards per attempt with seven interceptions against 18 touchdowns.