2012 class for Kentucky announced

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(Kentucky’s press release on the Wildcats’ 2012 recruiting class.)

Daron Blaylock, DB, 6-1, 215, Fr-HS, Marietta, Ga. (Walton) – Played both safety and linebacker in high school … Second-team all-state in Class AAAAA by the Georgia Sports Writers Association … Played at Walton HS in Marietta, Ga. … Helped Walton to a 14-1 record and state runnerup finish in Class AAAAA … Ranked as the No. 31 inside linebacker in the nation by 24/7 Sports … One of the nation’s top-100 linebackers by Scout.com … Posted 75 tackles and an interception during his junior season … Has been timed in the 4.5-second range in the 40-yard dash, an excellent time for a linebacker … Coached by Rocky Hidalgo … Son of Mookie Blaylock, who played 13 years in the NBA with New Jersey, Atlanta and Golden State … Twin brother of fellow UK signee Zack Blaylock … Name pronounced same as “Darren.”

Shawn Blaylock, DB, 5-10, 166, Fr-HS, Lithonia, Ga. (Stephenson) – Two-way player in high school, seeing action as a wide receiver and cornerback at Stephenson HS in Stone Mountain, Ga. … Projects as a defensive back as a collegian … Broke the school record with three interceptions in a game … Team posted a 9-2 record and advanced to the state playoffs both his seasons at Stephenson … Also played corner his sophomore season at Shiloh HS in Snellville, Ga. … The nation’s No. 77 corner by Scout.com … Has been timed under 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash … Coached at Stephenson by Ron Gartrell … Teammate of current UK signee DeMarcus Sweat … Will join former Stephenson products Jabari Johnson, Raymond Sanders and Ronnie Shields at UK.

Zack Blaylock, DB, 6-0, 188, Fr-HS, Marietta, Ga. (Walton) – Big-play performer from his safety position … Intercepted 11 passes as a senior, returning five for touchdowns … First-team all-state in Class AAAAA by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Georgia Sports Writers Association … Played at Walton HS in Marietta, Ga. … Helped Walton to a 14-1 record and state runnerup finish in Class AAAAA … Cobb County Defensive Player of the Year … Rated the No. 34 safety in the nation by Rivals.com … Rated No. 52 nationally by Scout.com … One of the top-40 prospects in Georgia by SuperPrep … Coached by Rocky Hidalgo … Son of Mookie Blaylock, who played 13 years in the NBA with New Jersey, Atlanta and Golden State … Twin brother of fellow UK signee Daron Blaylock.

Kory Brown, DB, 6-0, 208, So-JC, Moncks Corner, S.C. (Berkeley/East Central Community College) – Enrolled at UK in January … Has three years of eligibility at UK after redshirting 2011 while recovering from a knee injury … Spent the last two years at East Central Community College in Decatur, Miss. … Played four games at safety as a freshman until sustaining the injury … During those four games he made 26 tackles, caused two fumbles and intercepted a pass … The nation’s No. 69 junior-college player as ranked by 247 Sports, also the No. 11 juco player in Mississippi and the nation’s No. 3 juco safety … Coached by Brian Anderson … “Kory’s physical nature stands out,” Anderson said. “He gets off blocks well and is a big hitter. He’s also a quality young man of the finest character.” … Played high school football at Berkeley HS in Moncks Corner, S.C. … Three-year starter who played cornerback and safety … An all-region pick as a senior … Helped Berkeley to three strong runs in the state playoffs, including a state semifinal appearance his junior year and quarterfinal berths as a sophomore and senior … Played for the winning South team in the South Carolina North-South All-Star Game following his senior season … Coached at Berkeley by Jerry Brown … Berkeley’s defensive coordinator, Ed Moore, said, “Kory was the most instinctive player I’ve ever coached, always at the right place at the right time. He’s a very physical player, very good in run support as well as pass coverage. He’s also a great young man.” … In addition to football, participated in basketball, baseball, wrestling and track and field in high school … Advanced to the state meet in the high jump his senior year and had a best leap of six feet, four inches … Comes from an athletic family … An older brother, Omar, played football at Marshall and was a senior in 2011 … Another brother, Evan McKelvey, currently plays at Marshall … A cousin J.J. McKelvey, played at Clemson and is now playing arena football … Kory enjoys community service and has helped coach children in youth league sports.

Thomas Chapman, DL, 6-4, 285, Fr-HS, Louisville, Ky. (duPont Manual) – Highly regarded defensive tackle prospect … The nation’s No. 30 DT and the No. 2 prospect in Kentucky by Rivals.com … The No. 31 tackle and No. 4 Kentucky prospect by 24/7 Sports … The No. 32 tackle nationally by Scout.com … No. 4 in Kentucky by ESPN and SuperPrep … Selected for the Offense-Defense All-America Game at Cowboys Stadium … Played at duPont Manual HS in Louisville … Bounced back to play his senior year after missing most of his junior season because of injury … Team went 9-3 his senior season and was in the second round of the Class AAAAAA playoffs … Coached by Dr. Oliver Lucas.

Landon Foster, K/P, 6-1, 198, Fr-HS, Thompson Station, Tenn. (Independence) – Has the ability and versatility to be a punter and kicker on the collegiate level … Named first-team all-state in Class AAAAAA as a kicker by the Tennessee Sports Writers’ Association … Picked as the punter for the all-state “Dream Team,” covering all classifications, by the Nashville Tennesseean … Made 11 of 16 field goals as a senior with a long of 49 … Averaged 41.3 yards per punt… 50 of his 56 kickoffs went for touchbacks and four of the others were on-side kicks … Named his team’s Most Valuable Player, a rare honor for a kicking specialist … Independence HS went 8-3 his senior year and reached the state playoffs in Class AAAAAA … Rated the No. 8 kicker in the nation by Scout.com and the No. 12 kicker by 24/7 Sports … The No. 10 prospect in the state of Tennessee by SuperPrep, which wrote, “Technically strong with good hang times and directional ability. Also performs well under pressure.” … Played for the winning West team in the Tennessee East-West All-Star Game … Coached by Kevin Dyson … Has worked with former Tennessee Titans punter Craig Hentrich … Also played soccer in high school.

Patrick Graffree, DL, 6-4, 270, Fr-HS, Elizabethtown, Ky. (Central Hardin) – Second-team all-state as a senior by The Associated Press and the Louisville Courier-Journal … Played at Central Hardin HS in Cecilia, Ky. … Team’s best finish was 9-3 as a junior, advancing to the second round of the state playoffs … Totaled 91 tackles as a junior, featuring 10 tackles for loss, six quarterback sacks and a pass interception … Participated in a pair of postseason all-star games after his senior year … Played for the winning Greater Louisville team in the Best of the Bluegrass All-Star Game, defeating a team from the remainder of the state … Also played in the Kentucky vs. Tennessee Border Bowl … One of the top-10 prospects in Kentucky by Rivals.com, 24/7 Sports and SuperPrep … The nation’s No. 72 defensive tackle by 24/7 … Head coaches at Central Hardin were former UK quarterback Mark Perry and Mike Lawson.

Josh Harris, DB, 6-0, 191, Fr-HS, Maysville, Ky. (Mason County) – Versatile athlete … His multiple skills were displayed at Mason County (Ky.) High School, where he played running back, receiver, linebacker and defensive back … Rushed for 2,848 yards and 42 touchdowns in his career, despite missing most of his senior season because of injury … Totaled 582 receiving yards and eight TDs … Also threw a couple of touchdown passes … Totaled 287 tackles and six fumble recoveries on defense … Team went 9-2 his junior season and 10-1 as a sophomore … One of the nation’s top-60 running backs as chosen by Scout.com … The No. 2 prospect in Kentucky by SuperPrep … Coached by David Buchanan … Also played basketball in high school.

Khalid Henderson, LB, 6-0, 213, Fr-HS, Mableton, Ga. (Pebblebrook) – Linebacker combines good size with outstanding athleticism … Has been timed as fast as 4.57 seconds in the 40-yard dash … Made 74 tackles with two interceptions as a senior at Pebblebrook HS in Mableton, Ga. … The No. 19 outside linebacker in the nation by ESPN and the No. 17 prospect in Georgia … Rated as the No. 51 outside linebacker in the nation by Scout.com … One of the top-60 prospects in Georgia by 24/7 Sports … Coached by Randall Smith … Named is pronounced “kah-LEED.”

T.J. Jones, OL, 6-6, 290, Fr-HS, Myrtle Beach, S.C. (Myrtle Beach) – Offensive line prospect who projects as a tackle on the collegiate level … Played tackle at Myrtle Beach (S.C.) HS … Helped his team win at least 11 games every season … Myrtle Beach won the Class AAA state championship his junior year with a 14-1 record … State quarterfinalist as a senior with an 11-2 mark … 13-2 record and state runner-up his soph season … Rated the No. 23 prospect in South Carolina by 24/7 Sports and No. 28 in the state by Rivals.com … No. 34 in South Carolina by SuperPrep … One of the nation’s top-100 offensive tackles by 24/7 and Scout.com … Coached by Mickey Wilson.

A.J. Legree, WR, 6-1, 178, Fr-HS, Fort White, Fla. (Fort White) – Gifted wide receiver combines pass-catching skills with the athletic ability of a state-champion high jumper … Played wide receiver and cornerback at Fort White (Fla.) HS … As a senior, caught 47 passes for 698 yards and 10 touchdowns … Made six interceptions on defense, returning two for touchdowns … First-team all-state in Class AAA by The Associated Press … Named the Area Player of the Year by the Gainesville Sun … Helped Fort White to an 8-4 record and second round of the state playoffs … Turned in a breakout performance in the Florida Athletic Coaches Association North-South All-Star Game … Was named the No. 2 prospect in the game by Rivals.com and the “Sleeper of the Night” by Scout.com … Coached by Demetric Jackson … Won the state high-jump championship as a junior with a leap of six feet, 10 inches.

Dyshawn Mobley, RB, 5-11, 205, Fr-HS, Powell, Tenn. (Powell) – Set Tennessee single-season rushing records with 3,068 yards and 44 touchdowns as a senior … Averaged 12.2 yards per carry … Led Powell (Tenn.) to a 14-1 record, reaching the state championship game in Class AAAAA … Named to the all-state “Dream Team,” covering all classifications, selected by the Nashville Tennesseean … First-team all-state by The Associated Press … Career totals feature 5,849 rushing yards, averaging more than 10 yards per carry, and 76 touchdowns … Three-year all-district choice … Helped Powell to an 11-1 mark and second round of the state playoffs as a junior … Also excelled as a linebacker on defense … Rushed for a record 118 yards in the Tennessee East West All-Star Game and was named the East Offensive Most Valuable Player … Coached by Matt Lowe … Name is pronounced “DAY-shawn MOBE-lee.”

Zach Myers, OL, 6-3, 285, Fr-HS, Miamisburg, Ohio (Miamisburg) – Combines good athletic ability with offensive line skills … Played offensive guard at Miamisburg (Ohio) HS … Could become a center as a collegian … Rated as the No. 52 offensive guard in the nation by Rivals.com … Also the No. 79 guard by 24/7 Sports and the No. 85 guard by Scout.com … One of the top 60 prospects in the talent-rich state of Ohio by Rivals … Named second-team All-Southwest Ohio … Coached by Tim Lewis … Son of Brad Myers, an offensive lineman at UK from 1984-87 … Brad played one year with Joker Phillips (1984) and blocked for three of the top rushers in Kentucky history – George Adams, Mark Higgs and Marc Logan.

Langston Newton, DL, 6-4, 254, Fr-HS, Carmel, Ind. (Carmel) –First-team all-state as a senior at Carmel (Ind.) HS … Helped lead Carmel to a 14-1 record and state championship in Class AAAAA … A disruptive presence in the defensive line, combining good size, strength and athletic ability … Projected as an end in the collegiate ranks … The No. 6 prospect in Indiana and the No. 28 strongside defensive end in the nation by 24/7 Sports … No. 8 in Indiana and the No. 40 strongside end nationally by Rivals.com … Rated as the No. 69 overall prospect in the six-state Midwest area by SuperPrep … Helped Carmel to the state finals his soph season … Coached by Kevin Wright … Also outstanding in track and field, as he had full scholarship offers in that sport from nationally prominent schools … Competes in the shot put and discus throw, events that put a premium on quickness and explosion as well as strength … Brother of current Kentucky quarterback Morgan Newton.

Cody Quinn, DB, 5-10, 163, Fr-HS, Middletown, Ohio (Middletown) – Brings outstanding speed to the cornerback position, having run the 40-yard dash under 4.5 seconds … Helped Middletown (Ohio) HS to three-consecutive 10-win seasons and berths in the state playoffs … Third-team All-Ohio by The Associated Press as a senior … Intercepted two passes, returning one for a touchdown, and had 10 pass breakups … His speed also indicated by the fact that he returned two kickoffs for touchdowns as a junior … The No. 63 prospect in Ohio by ESPN and also the nation’s No. 68 cornerback … The No. 102 prospect in the six-state Midwest area by SuperPrep … Coached by Troy Everhart.

Jonathan Reed, DB, 5-9, 185, Fr-HS, Indianapolis, Ind. (Pike) – Swift cornerback has been timed as low as 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash … Played at Pike HS in Indianapolis, Ind. … Helped Pike to a state playoff berth each season … Runner-up in the state sectional as a junior with a 9-3 record … One of the top-10 prospects in Indiana by ESPN … Also the nation’s No. 44 cornerback prospect by ESPN … Named to the juniors-only all-state team in 2010 by the Indiana Football Coaches Association … Coached by Derek Moyers.

DeMarcus Sweat, WR, 6-1, 192, Fr-HS, Lithonia, Ga. (Stephenson) – Combines good size with explosive ability … Has good height for a receiver … Big-play potential shown by his three punt return touchdowns and three kickoff return touchdowns during his senior season at Stephenson HS in Stone Mountain, Ga. … Has been timed as fast as 4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash … One of the nation’s top-100 wide receivers by ESPN … One of top-80 prospects in Georgia by ESPN and 24/7 Sports … Team posted a 9-2 record each of his last two seasons at Stephenson … Coached at Stephenson by Ron Gartrell … Teammate of current UK signee Shawn Blaylock … Will join former Stephenson products Jabari Johnson, Raymond Sanders and Ronnie Shields at UK.

Jordan Swindle, OL, 6-7, 310, Fr-HS, St. Johns, Fla. (Creekside) – Second-team all-state as a senior in Florida Class AAAAA by The Associated Press … Big offensive line prospect … His height and long reach are ideal for pass protection … Played at Creekside HS in St. Johns, Fla. … Helped lead Creekside to an 8-4 record as a senior and the first state playoff win in school history … Named All-First Coast (all-area) by the Florida Times-Union … Also named to the Florida Times-Union “Super 24” list of top area prospects … One of the nation’s top-100 offensive tackles as evaluated by ESPN … Coached by Greg Stanton.

Justin Taylor, RB, 5-10, 200, Fr-HS, Atlanta, Ga. (North Atlanta) – Projected as one of the South’s top running backs heading into his senior season … Committed to Alabama prior to his senior year at North Atlanta HS but incurred a knee injury in September … Decided to re-open his recruitment after Alabama asked him to grayshirt … Knee rehabilitation is going well and is expected to be ready to compete when practice begins in August … Rushed for approximately 1,500 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior at Washington HS in Atlanta … Named All-Atlanta as a junior … One of the nation’s top-40 running backs by ESPN and 24/7 Sports … Coached by Stanley Pritchett.

Kadeem “Pancho” Thomas, LB, 6-0, 225, Fr-HS, Tallahassee, Fla. (Godby) – A tackling machine at Godby HS in Tallahassee, Fla. … Racked up 142 tackles as a senior … Helped team to a 9-3 record and a spot in the second round of the state playoffs … Totaled 143 stops as a junior, ranking sixth in the state in tackles, and was named the Area Defensive Player of the Year by the Tallahassee Quarterback Club … One of the nation’s top 40 inside linebackers by Rivals.com, 24/ 7 Sports and ESPN … Played for the winning North team in the Florida North-South All-Star Game sponsored by the Florida Athletic Coaches Association … Coached by Ronnie Cottrell … Name is pronounced “kah-DEEM.”

Fred Tiller, DB, 6-0, 180, Fr-HS, Homerville, Ga. (Clinch County) – Outstanding athlete could play either side of the ball in college … Standout wide receiver and cornerback at Clinch County (Ga.) HS … First-team all-state by the Atlanta Journal Constitution and Georgia Sports Writers Association as a senior … Helped Clinch to a perfect 15-0 record and Class A state championship as a junior … Caught 31 passes for 736 yards and nine touchdowns during that junior year, along with 65 tackles and five interceptions on defense … Rated the No. 45 athlete in the nation by Rivals.com … Coached by Jim Dickerson.

Jon Toth, OL, 6-5, 290, Fr-HS, Indianapolis, Ind. (Brebeuf Jesuit) – Big offensive lineman who also is noted for his athleticism … Could be slotted as a guard or tackle on the collegiate level … Played at Brebeuf Jesuit in Indianapolis, Ind. … Helped Brebeuf advance to the state playoffs each year he was on the varsity … Ranked as the No. 11 player in Indiana and the No. 33 offensive guard in the nation by 24/7 Sports … Rated the nation’s No. 60 offensive tackle by Scout.com … Coached by Ryan Gallogly … Name is pronounced “TOETH” with a long “o” sound.

Patrick Towles, QB, 6-5, 242, Fr-HS, Ft. Thomas, Ky. (Highlands) – Named to the Parade magazine All- America team … “Mr. Football” for the Commonwealth of Kentucky … Gatorade Player of the Year in Kentucky … Won the Paul Hornung Award as the Kentucky Player of the Year … Big, strong-armed quarterback who also has notable running ability … Led Highlands HS to three consecutive state championships as the starting quarterback, Class AAAA as a senior and Class AAAAA as a sophomore and junior … Team compiled a three-year record of 44-1, including 38-1 with Towles as the starter … As a senior completed 171 of 279 passes (61.3 percent) for 3,820 yards with 42 touchdowns and only one interception … Also rushed for 589 yards and 15 TDs … Career totals feature 7,429 passing yards and 73 touchdown passes while rushing for 1,718 yards and 38 TDs … The No. 1 prospect in Kentucky and one of the top-10 pro-style quarterbacks in the country by Rivals.com and 24/7 Sports … Athleticism is such that ESPN rates his college position as “athlete” instead of quarterback … Coached by Dale Mueller … Highlands’ quarterbacks coach was former UK QB Jared Lorenzen … Strong arms are in Towles’ heritage as he is the grandson of Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning … Last name is pronounced “TOLES.”

Jordan Watson, OL, 6-4, 315, Fr-HS, Fayetteville, Ga. (Whitewater) – Well-regarded offensive lineman … The No. 39 offensive guard in the nation by Scout.com … No. 37 nationally by 24/7 Sports … Rated as the No. 31 prospect in Georgia by SuperPrep … Earned first-team all-state honors by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution … Played at Whitewater HS in Fayetteville, Ga., and blocked for current Wildcat Josh Clemons … Earned a spot in the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association North-South All- Star Classic … Coached by Amos McCreary.

Jalen Whitlow, QB/ATH, 6-2, 210, Fr-HS, Prattville, Ala. (Prattville) – Exciting athlete with multiple skills … Helped Prattville (Ala.) HS to the Class AAAAAA state championship and a top-25 national ranking … Split time at quarterback and wide receiver … Earned honorable-mention all-state honors even though he wasn’t the team’s full-time quarterback … Listed as the nation’s No. 12 dual- threat QB and the No. 20 prospect in Alabama by 24/7 Sports … The No. 32 prospect in Alabama by Rivals.com … Coached by Jamey Dubose.

Sterling Wright, DB, 5-11, 201, Fr-HS, Miami, Fla. (Coral Reef/North Carolina Tech) – Played prep school football at North Carolina Tech in Charlotte, the same school that produced current Wildcat Farrington Huguenin … Known as a hard hitter with good range … Coached at N.C. Tech by Tim Newman … Played his high school football at Coral Reef HS in Miami, Fla. … Helped team to a 6-4 record senior year … Totaled 55 tackles and caused eight fumbles … Coached at Coral Reef by Chevas Clements.

Iowa LB Aaron Mends to miss extended time with injury

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Talk about a hard-luck story.

After never starting a game at Iowa, Aaron Mends (pictured, blocking punt) had earned a starting job at outside linebacker during practice this spring.  With football being the cruel mistress that it can be at times, the Hawkeyes announced Friday night that Mends “will miss an extended period of time due to injury.” The program offered no details as to the specific nature of the injury, although it’s believed to involve the knee.

According to the school’s release, the fifth-year senior suffered the injury during the final week of Iowa’s spring drills.

Mends was a three-star member of the Hawkeyes’ 2014 recruiting class.  He was the highest-rated linebacker in Iowa’s class that year.

After taking a redshirt as a true freshman, Mends has played in 38 games the past three seasons.  A baker’s dozen of those appearances came during the 2017 season.

Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, James Franklin and Clay Helton among 15 CFB coaches attending NFL Draft

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We’re less than a week away from former college players officially finding out their new homes with the start of the 2018 NFL Draft and the excitement is palpable no matter if you’re a Cleveland Browns fan or somebody who dons the cardinal and gold of USC.

Naturally this is a big deal for the players’ former programs as well and their recent head coaches will be taking full advantage of the marketing opportunity to future recruits by stopping by the draft itself at AT&T Stadium for the festivities. The NFL released a list of 14 college football coaches and one recent one on Friday as being confirmed to attend the event and there are a few notable names beyond the big ones we’re used to seeing every year:

In addition, Stanford head coach David Shaw will serve as a draft analyst on NFL Network for a seventh year in a row and even ESPN’s College GameDay is getting involved with a pregame show outside the stadium they are quite familiar with from big games over the years.

Georgia DB Mark Webb tears meniscus in practice but expected back before fall camp

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Georgia’s injury luck this spring isn’t getting much better as the defending SEC champions move toward their annual G-Day spring game over the weekend.

Head coach Kirby Smart confirmed with reporters after Thursday’s practice that sophomore defensive back Mark Webb suffered a knee injury earlier in the week and tore his meniscus. He already had the knee scoped and is expected back before fall camp after the rather minor procedure.

Webb originally landed in Athens as a wideout but made the move to the secondary just as the season was getting going. He appeared in 13 games in 2017, mostly on special teams, but was expected to challenge for one of the starting spots at cornerback heading into the upcoming campaign.

The absence of Webb in the lineup for the final week of spring adds to a growing list of injuries for the team during practice as they do a little bit of roster building toward the future. Receiver Michael Chigbu’s career may be over due to lingering injuries and defensive back Divaad Wilson tore his ACL not long after enrolling this semester.

Safe to say that G-Day on Saturday might not be as physical as Smart and the coaching staff would otherwise like as a result of trying to keep the team healthy as they prepare to head into a big offseason.

Old Dominion announces remodel, expansion plans for S.B. Ballard Stadium

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Old Dominion is making sure the first word in the school’s name is not the first thing you think of when you are playing against the Monarchs, joining a long list of their FBS peers with some significant upgrades for their home venue over the coming years. In plans approved this week by the university, ODU released renderings and an updated timeline on a $65 million remodel of S.B. Ballard Stadium that is set to begin as soon as this summer.

“We are excited to begin Phase 1 reconstruction,” said Greg DuBois, the school’s vice president for administration and finance. “Fan comfort and high-quality amenities are the primary focus of this phase. The project will help us create the type of game-day experience fans want and will set us up for future expansions.”

The stadium, some 81-years-old, will undergo a nearly complete teardown over the next two years in order to transform the place most know as Foreman Field. Both the east and west stands will be demolished and rebuilt, complete with new seating and a new press box. There will naturally be more restrooms and concession stands as part of the plan that includes plenty more bells and whistles for the Conference USA program. Seating is expected to grow beyond 21,000 or so capacity the current venue seats.

While construction will get started in the coming months, the bulk of activity will take place after the 2018 campaign is wrapped up at home and before kickoff of the opener in 2019. The Virginian-Pilot reports that funding will not utilize state funds but that the school is requesting that the legislature approve an added $10 million to the cost structure as a result of rising prices beyond the original $55 million forecasted.

2018 will be just the 10th season for the Monarchs (and fifth in FBS) since the football program was reinstated and it goes without saying that the new digs will be some of the nicest in CUSA when all is said and done. Few programs have been able to successfully navigate the transition as well as ODU has and it seems an updated stadium in the near future is the reward for head coach Bobby Wilder and others in Norfolk.