2012 Clemson football signees

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(Clemson’s press release on its 2012 recruiting class.)

Martin Aiken
DE • 6-3 • 245 • Fr. • HS
Bamberg, SC
Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School
Ranked as the #24 defensive end in the nation by Scout.com, where he is a four-star player…#25 defensive end in the nation and #2 overall player in South Carolina by Rivals.com, also a four-star player by that service…#43 defensive end in the nation by ESPN.com, which lists him as a three-star player…#10 player in South Carolina and #23 defensive end in the nation by 247Sports.com…#11 player in South Carolina by SuperPrep…played in the Offense-Defense All-American game…recorded 73 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and 11 sacks as a senior…recorded 106 tackles, 36 tackles for loss and 16 sacks as a junior…comes to Clemson from same school that sent Da’Quan Bowers and Rick Sapp to Clemson, they are both current in the NFL…Coached by Kevin Crosby at Bamberg-Ehrhardt…recruited to Clemson by Marion Hobby…born Oct. 17, 1993.

Isaiah Battle
OT • 6-7 • 285 • Fr. • HS
Brooklyn, NY
Blue Ridge (VA) School
Rated as the #5 prep school prospect in the nation by Rivals.com out of Fork Union Military Academy…#36 offensive lineman in the nation and #11 player in Virginia by Rivals.com at Blue Ridge School…#59 offensive tackle in the nation by ESPN.com…two-time, first-team all-state selection…had 67 tackles and seven sacks as a senior…had 12 tackles for loss and eight sacks as a junior…first-team All-Virginia Independent Conference as a senior…all-conference as an offensive and defensive lineman…attended Blue Ridge School to play basketball…coached by John Shuman at Fork Union Military Academy and Del Smith at Blue Ridge School…enrolled at Clemson in January 2012 and will go through spring practice…recruited by Danny Pearman…born Feb. 10, 1993.

Travis Blanks
DB • 6-1 • 195 • Fr. • HS
Tallahassee, FL
North Florida Christian School
Rated as the #15 overall player and the #2 safety in the nation by ESPN.com…Clemson’s top incoming player according to ESPN.com…#25 overall player and #2 defensive back in the nation by Tom Lemming…#60 player and #4 defensive back in the nation by Rivals.com…#13 safety in the nation by Scout.com…#12 safety in the nation by 247Sports.com…#1 player in the Orlando area by Orlando Sentinel…played in the U.S. Army All-American game…his North Florida Christian School team won the state title his freshman and senior year…third-team All-American by ESPN.com…honorable mention All-American by Sports Illustrated as a senior despite missing five games due to injury…earned all-state honors as a junior and senior…named FACA 1A Player of the Year as a junior…named First Team All-Big Bend as a junior and senior…had 104 tackles, four interceptions, 35 receptions, and eight touchdowns as a junior…comes to Clemson from the same area as recent Clemson All-American DeAndre McDaniel (2007-10)…coached by Robert Craft at North Florida Christian School…enrolled at Clemson in January of 2012, he will go through spring practice…recruited by Jeff Scott…born Dec. 3, 1993.

Zac Brooks
RB • 6-2 • 180 • Fr. • HS
Jonesboro, AR
Jonesboro Senior High School
Rated as the #129 player in the nation by Tom Lemming…#15 athlete in the nation by Rivals.com…#35 wide receiver in the nation and #3 player in Arkansas by ESPN.com…#15 running back in the nation and top player in state of Arkansas by Rivals.com…#3 player in Arkansas and #22 athlete in the nation by 247Sports.com…#42 wide receiver in nation by Scout.com…ranked as #1 overall player in Arkansas by SuperPrep…played at Jonesboro Senior High School, where he was a running back and wide receiver…had an injury-plagued senior season, but still had 650 rushing yards and nine touchdowns along with five receiving touchdowns…had 28 receptions as a senior…had 1,358 yards on 180 carries and 15 touchdowns along with 33 receptions for 211 yards as a junior…had 38 receptions for 769 yards and five touchdowns as a sophomore…first Tiger signee from the state of Arkansas since 1976 (Steve Carr); Carr did not play in a game, therefore if Brooks plays in a game, he would become the first Tiger from Arkansas on record to play in a game for the Tigers…coached by Jim DeVazier at Jonesboro Senior High School…enrolled at Clemson in January of 2012, he will go through spring practice…recruited by Chad Morris…born Feb. 1, 1993.

Josh Brown
DT • 6-5 • 288 • Fr. • HS
Aiken, SC
South Aiken High School
Ranked as the #76 defensive tackle in the nation by Scout.com… #19 player in South Carolina by Rivals.com…#38 player in South Carolina by ESPN.com…#26 player in South Carolina according to 247Sports.com…rated as a three-star prospect by all four services…ranked as the #28 player in South Carolina by SuperPrep…named SCFCA 4A Lower State Lineman of the Year, and Region 5 4A Defensive MVP…named to the ESPN RISE Channel 6 All-Area team…a member of the Aiken Standard All-Area team and the Augusta Chronicle All-Area team…played in the North-South High School All-Star Game in Myrtle Beach…recorded 90 tackles, 22 tackles for loss and eight sacks as a senior…coached by Jeremy West at South Aiken High School…recruited by Charlie Harbison…born May 26, 1993.

T.J. Burrell
LB • 5-11 • 205 • Fr. • HS
Goose Creek, SC
Goose Creek High School
Ranked as the #57 outside linebacker in the nation and #20 overall player in South Carolina by ESPN.com…#58 outside linebacker in the country by Scout.com…#26 player in South Carolina by Rivals.com #21 in South Carolina by 247Sports.com…listed as a three-star prospect by all three services…#18 player in South Carolina by SuperPrep…played in the Shrine Bowl for the South Carolina team and the Offense-Defense All-American game…recorded 105 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and three sacks as a senior…Coached by former Clemson assistant coach Chuck Reedy at Goose Creek High School…recruited by Tony Elliott…born Jan. 26, 1994.

Patrick DeStefano
OL • 6-4 • 275 • Fr. • HS
Spartanburg, SC
Dorman High School
Rated as the #115 overall player in the nation by ESPN.com…ranked as #13 offensive tackle in the nation by ESPN.com as well…#19 offensive guard in the nation by Scout.com…played in the Shrine Bowl…played in the Under Armour All-America game along with classmate Jay Guillermo…#18 overall player in South Carolina according to 247Sports.com…South Carolina Coaches Association Lineman-of-the-Year at Dorman High School…Big 16 Upper State Lineman-of-the-Year…first-team all-area each of the last two years from an academic standpoint…graded 82 percent as a senior by his coaches…his father played at Duke and lettered in 1976 and 1977… high school teammate of current Clemson wide receivers Adam Humphries and Charone Peake…coached by Dave Gutshall at Dorman High School…enrolled at Clemson in January of 2012…recruited by Jeff Scott….born Nov. 26, 1993.

Kevin Dodd
DL • 6-5 • 280 • Fr. • HS
Taylors, SC
Riverside High School
Spent the 2011 season at Hargrave Military Academy…had an outstanding career in two sports at Riverside High School…#14 player in South Carolina by Rivals.com…#27 player in South Carolina by SuperPrep…played in the North-South High School All-Star game in Myrtle Beach; he had five tackles, two sacks, a caused fumble, and recovered fumble in that game…all-region and all-county selection…had 78 tackles, 22 tackles for loss, nine sacks, three caused fumbles, one recovered fumble, and four pass breakups as a senior…outstanding track athlete; he joined that team in the spring of 2010…county champion in the shot put, runner-up in the discus, and named Greenville County Field Athlete-of-the-Year…region champion in the shot and discus and was a state qualifier in the shot put…Riverside High School Field Athlete-of-the-Year and was voted as a team captain as a senior…set school records in the shot (49’ 1”) and discus (128’ 6.5”)…coached by Steve Eoute in football and Eric Cummings in track at Riverside High School…recruited by Jeff Scott and Dan Brooks…enrolled at Clemson in January of 2012….born July 14, 1992.

Ronald Geohaghan
DB • 6-0 • 185 • Fr. • HS
Fairfax, SC
Allendale-Fairfax High School
Ranked as the #10 safety in the nation and the #3 overall player in South Carolina by Rivals.com, which lists him as a four-star prospect…#23 safety in the country by Scout.com, which also rates him as a four-star prospect…#21 safety in the country and #10 player in South Carolina by ESPN.com, which list him as a three-star prospect…ranked as 13th best player in South Carolina and #30 safety in the nation by 247Sports.com…played in the Shrine Bowl and the Offense- Defense All-American game…coached by Eddie Ford at Allendale-Fairfax High School…comes to Clemson from the same school that sent Clemson all-time leading rusher Raymond Priester…recruited by Marion Hobby…born Aug. 9, 1994.

Jay Guillermo
C • 6-2 • 287 • Fr. • HS
Maryville, TN
Maryville High School
Rated as the #89 player in the nation, #1 center in the nation, and #1 player in Tennessee by ESPN.com…first-team All-American by ESPN.com, MaxPreps.com, and Sports Illustrated…#13 center in the nation by Rivals.com…#15 player in state of Tennessee and #9 center in the nation by 247Sports.com…helped Maryville High School to the state title each of the last two seasons…Mr. Football Lineman-of-the-Year in Tennessee…played in the Under Armour All- America game with Clemson classmates Patrick DeStefano and Chad Kelly…County player-of- the-year…led his team to a 15-0 record as a senior, as his team was ranked #11 in the nation by MaxPreps.com….played in East/West Tennessee All-Star Game…first commitment to Clemson’s 2012 class…coached by George Quarles at Maryville High School…enrolled at Clemson in January of 2012…recruited by Dan Brooks…born Aug. 26, 1994.

Germone Hopper
WR • 6-0 • 170 • Fr. • HS
Charlotte, NC
Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology
As a consensus four-star prospect, he is ranked as #11 wide receiver in the country and #75 overall player in the nation by Rivals.com…#13 wide receiver in the nation and #81 overall player in the country by ESPN.com…#20 wide receiver prospect in the nation by Scout.com…#4 prospect in North Carolina by both Rivals.com and ESPN.com…#6 player in North Carolina by SuperPrep…ranked as #113 overall player, #6 player in North Carolina and #15 wide receiver by 247Sports.com…played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and the Shrine Bowl…rushed for over 4,000 yards and 50 touchdowns in his four years in high school…returned five kickoffs and one punt for touchdowns as a senior…finished his high school career as school’s career leader in rushing yards, punt and kickoff return yardage…coached by Andrew Howard at Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology…recruited by Danny Pearman…born Oct. 22, 1993.

Oliver Jones
OL • 6-6 • 320 • Fr. • HS
Ninety Six, SC
Ninety Six High School
Rated as the #14 offensive guard/center in the nation by MaxPreps.com…#58 offensive tackle in the nation by Scout.com…#65 offensive tackle in the nation by ESPN.com…#66 offensive tackle in the nation by Rivals.com…top-15 player in South Carolina by Rivals.com…top-20 player in South Carolina by ESPN.com…ranked #21 player in South Carolina by SuperPrep…ranked as #22 player in South Carolina by 247Sports.com…named SCFCA 1A Upper State Lineman of the Year…an SCFCA First-Team All-State player…played in the Shrine Bowl…from the same school that produced former Clemson All-ACC running back Ronald Williams (1990-92)…he will now be a teammate with Williams’ son, who is now a sophomore defensive lineman on the Clemson team…coached by Chris Liner at Ninety Six High School…enrolled at Clemson in January 2012…recruited by Charlie Harbison…born Sept. 26, 1993.

Chad Kelly
QB • 6-3 • 209 • Fr. • HS
Buffalo, NY
Saint Joseph’s Collegiate Institute
Ranked as #1 overall player in the state of New York and #4 quarterback in the country by ESPN.com, where he is listed as a four-star prospect…that site also lists him as the 84th best overall player in the nation…#4 dual-threat quarterback in the country and #2 player in New York by Rivals.com, which also rated him as a four-star player…247Sports.com ranks him as fourth best dual quarterback and 101st best overall player in the nation…named SuperPrep All-American…played in the Under Armour All-American Game…threw for 3,050 yards and 27 touchdowns while rushing for 991 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior…threw for 2159 yards and 24 touchdowns and rushed for 1059 yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior…led his team to the state championship game as a junior and senior, winning the state title as a junior…a four- time National Punt, Pass & Kick winner, and the current record holder…played at Saint Joseph’s Collegiate Institute…recruited by Chad Morris…born March 26, 1994.

Shaq Lawson
DE • 6-3 • 240 • Fr. • HS
Central, SC
D.W. Daniel High School
Ranked as #18 defensive end in the nation and #3 player in South Carolina by ESPN.com, listed by that service as a four-star recruit…#19 defensive end in nation and #5 player in South Carolina by Rivals.com, which also him as a four-star prospect…ranked as fifth best overall player in South Carolina and 24th best defensive end in the nation by 247Sports.com…rated as a three-star prospect by Scout.com…played in the North-South High School All-Star game and the Offense-Defense All-American game…recorded 99 tackles, 23 tackles for loss, nine sacks and forced five fumbles as a senior…recorded 100 tackles and 13 sacks as a junior…coached by Randy Robinson at D.W. Daniel High School…recruited by Chad Morris and Marion Hobby…born June 17, 1994.

Jay Jay McCullough
TE • 6-5 • 232 • Fr. • HS
Fort Mill, SC
Nation Ford High School
Ranked as #45 athlete in the country by ESPN.com…a consensus three-star prospect, he is a top-20 player in South Carolina by ESPN.com and Rivals.com…ranked as 16th best player in South Carolina and 59th best athlete by 247Sports.com…#26 tight end in the nation by Scout.com…played in the Shrine Bowl and the Offense-Defense All-American game…recorded 37 receptions for 493 yards and five touchdowns while rushing for 112 yards as a senior…coached by Michael Allen at Nation Ford High School…recruited by Jeff Scott…born Jan. 18, 1994.

Bradley Pinion
P • 6-5 • 220 • Fr. • HS
Concord, NC
Northwest Cabarrus High School
Ranked as the top punter in the nation by 247Sports.com…rated as the #3 kicker in the nation by ESPN.com…#4 kicker in the nation by Rivals.com…#6 kicker in the nation by Scout.com…averaged 46.1 yards per punt as a senior at Northwest Cabarrus High School…first- team All-American by ESPN.com…played in the U.S. Army All-American game and the Shrine Bowl…second-team All-American by USA Today, the first Clemson kicker signee to earn USA Today All-America honors since Chris Gardocki in 1988…averaged 40 yards per punt and had 17 punts inside the 20 as a junior…had 37 touchbacks in 50 kickoffs as a junior…helped his high school team to the state playoffs…also played soccer (goal tender) and basketball in high school…coached by Rich Williams at Northwest Cabarrus High School…enrolled at Clemson in January 2012…recruited by Danny Pearman….born June 1, 1994.

D.J. Reader
OG • 6-3 • 306 • Fr. • HS
Greensboro, NC
Grimsley High School
Ranked as the #19 offensive guard in nation and #20 player in North Carolina…#20 offensive guard in the nation by Scout.com…#58 offensive guard in nation and #27 player in North Carolina by ESPN.com…#41 defensive lineman in the country and #8 player in North Carolina by SuperPrep…named SuperPrep All-American…recorded 50 tackles, seven tackles for loss and five sacks from the defensive tackle position as a senior…plans to play both football and baseball at the collegiate level…batted .435 as junior on the diamond…coached by Damon Coiro at Grimsley High School…recruited by Robbie Caldwell…born July 1, 1994.

Cordrea Tankersley
DB • 6-1 • 190 • Fr. • HS
Aiken, SC
Silver Bluff High School
Ranked as the #37 wide receiver in the country by Scout.com, a four-star player by that service…#39 safety in the country by Rivals.com, lists him as a three-star player…#6 player in South Carolina and 25th best athlete by 247Sports.com…#41 athlete in the nation by ESPN.com, lists him as a three-star player…top-10 player in South Carolina by ESPN.com…#3 player in South Carolina by SuperPrep…named to ESPN RISE Channel 6 All-Area team…a member of the Augusta Chronicle All-Area team…played in the Shrine Bowl…selected for the Offense/ Defense All-American game in Dallas, TX…on the defensive side of the ball, he recorded 40 tackles as a senior…on offense, rushed for 650 yards and five touchdowns and threw for 708 yards and six touchdowns…coached by Al Lown at Silver Bluff High School…recruited by Charlie Harbison…born July 1, 1994.

Carlos Watkins
DT • 6-4 • 275 • Fr. • HS
Forest City, NC
Chase High School
Clemson’s top signee in this class according to 247Sports.com, he is ranked as 55th best overall player in the nation…also ranked as fourth best player in North Carolina and seventh best defensive lineman…ranked as #8 defensive tackle in the nation by Rivals.com and Scout.com, list him as a four-star player…#12 defensive tackle in the nation by ESPN.com, a four-star player by that service…#5 player in North Carolina by both ESPN.com and Rivals.com…#104 overall player in the nation by Rivals.com and #134 overall player in the country by ESPN.com…#13 player in North Carolina by SuperPrep…recorded 15 sacks, an interception and forced five fumbles as a senior…recorded 50 tackles, 29 tackles for loss and 14 sacks as a junior…played in the U.S. Army All-American game and the Shrine Bowl…coached by Daniel Bailey at Chase High School…attends same high school that sent the McSwain brothers (Rod and Chuck) to Clemson in the early 1980s, they were both on Clemson’s National Championship team of 1981…Chuck is current track coach at Chase High School…recruited by Dan Brooks….born Dec. 5, 1993.

Marty Williams
DB • 6-1 • 200 • Fr. • HS
North Augusta, SC
Fox Creek High School
Ranked as ninth best player in South Carolina and a 24th best safety in the nation by 247Sports.com… #31 safety in the country by Scout.com…#42 athlete in the nation by ESPN.com…#47 athlete in the country by Rivals.com…top-10 player in South Carolina by Rivals.com…a three-star prospect by all three services…#13 player in South Carolina by SuperPrep…named All-Region High School Sports Report Offensive Player of the Year for Class A as a sophomore, junior and senior…named WJBF/ESPN RISE Athlete of the Year as a junior and senior…a first-team all-area selection by the Augusta Chronicle as a junior and senior…named Aiken Standard Offensive Player of the Year as a junior and senior…selected to play in the Shrine Bowl but was not able to play due to injury…accounted for 3,000 yards of total offense and 36 touchdowns as a senior…coached by Russ Schneider at Fox Creek High School…recruited by Charlie Harbison…born Aug. 21, 1993.

Report: there will be a Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl this year

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I think we can all agree with this: it’s about damn time.

Since the St. Petersburg Bowl was launched in 2008, it’s undergone several name changes, from the magicJack St. Petersburg Bowl (2008) to the St. Petersburg Bowl presented by Beef O’Brady’s (2009) to the Beef O’Grady’s Bowl (2010-13) to the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl (2014).  Now, the game that’s been known as the St. Petersburg Bowl the past two seasons is set to undergo its most glorious name change yet as Brett McMurphy is reporting that it will now be known as the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl.

See, absolutely and utterly glorious.  In a similar vein, move over Poulan Weed-Eater Bowl as we have a new king wearing the “Greatest Bowl Game Name Ever” crown.

Bad Boy Mowers bills itself as “delivering the finest cut lawn care professionals and serious landowners demand;” the fact that the home of the bowl game, Tropicana Field, utilizes Shaw Sports Turf as its playing surface merely serves to add to the greatness of the name. And from where does Gasparilla come? McMurphy describes it as “an attempt to make the bowl seem more regional for the Tampa Bay area since the annual Gasparilla Parade is held each year in Tampa.”

The name change for the game, which pits teams from the AAC and Conference USA against each other, is expected to officially be announced Monday.

Will Arden Key play in LSU’s opener vs. BYU? ‘I don’t think so’ says Ed Orgeron

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In late July, Ed Orgeron was non-committal when it came to the availability of one of the most talented pass rushers in the nation for the opener. Thursday, the head coach was a little more committed, but not in a positive way for Arden Key‘s availability for LSU’s lid-lifter against BYU.

“I don’t think so,” Orgeron said according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune when asked if Key will play vs. the Cougars. “I’m not sure but I don’t think so. I’m not expecting it. But nothing that dude does surprises me. He’s going to go to his doctor next week and we should know pretty soon when he’s going to play.”

In mid-February, LSU announced that Key had “decided to take some time away from football… for personal reasons.” Four months later, the football program announced the defensive end had rejoined the team; at the same time, it was announced that Key had recently undergone shoulder surgery.

It’s the shoulder issue that will very likely sideline Key for the Sept. 2 opener in Houston.  Especially if the issue extends beyond that opener, this would be a huge loss for the Tigers.

A four-star 2015 signee, Key was a consensus Freshman All-American his first season with the Tigers after starting nine games. Last season as a true sophomore, he led the team with 14.5 tackles for loss and 12 sacks. The latter total set a school record.

Following that breakout campaign, he was named second-team All-SEC.

CFT 2017 Season Previews: Heisman Watch List

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While every college football player dreams of being on the last team standing at the end of a season and winning a national title, just about all of them have struck the stiff arm pose and imagined holding up the Heisman Trophy as well. It may be a team sport when all is said and done, but the most prestigious individual award around is the entry ticket to one of the most exclusive clubs on the planet.

Adding to the normal intrigue surrounding the race to be the most outstanding college football player, the 2017 campaign for the Heisman is shaping up to be the most exciting — and wide open — in a long time. To start with, there’s a dynamic quarterback in Lamar Jackson who won the award last December and could be even better after an offseason developing as a passer. Add in veterans with plenty of name recognition like Baker Mayfield and J.T. Barrett, to go along with an eye-popping group of tailbacks, and the amount of players who have the potential to be holding up the bronze statue is both lengthy and impressive.

Who are the favorites? Here’s CFTalk’s look at all things Heisman and which players will be in the running for the most famous award in all of college football.

SAM DARNOLD, QB, USC
2016 Stats: 3,086 yards passing, 31 TD, 9 INT, 250 yards rushing, 2 TD
The golden boy of Troy is the prohibitive favorite to take home the Heisman Trophy this year and it’s hard not to figure out why. Playing the marquee position on the field for a powerhouse like USC helps but make no mistake, Darnold showed everybody what he could do in reeling off nine straight wins with the Trojans and capping it off with a thrilling five-score performance in the Rose Bowl. He’ll put up plenty of numbers through the air and on the ground and should be in thick of the race even if the Trojans take a loss.

BAKER MAYFIELD, QB, OKLAHOMA
2016 Stats: 3,965 yards, 40 TD, 8 INT, 177 yards rushing, 6 TD
Mayfield has finished in the top five of voting for the Heisman… twice. Could the third time be the charm in 2017? Based only on the numbers, you would think so as the Sooners signal-caller is as efficient as he is insanely productive. The return of the Big 12 title game presents one additional opportunity for Oklahoma’s quarterback to leave a lasting impression on voters and that might just be enough for one of the best in the game to finally be recognized as such.

LAMAR JACKSON, QB, LOUISVILLE
2016 Stats: 3,543 yards passing, 30 TD, 9 INT, 1,571 yards rushing, 21 TD
Could Archie Griffin have company? Jackson has a shot to repeat and win the Heisman again but the road will not be easy if history is any indication. That said, few possess  the kind of talent that the Cardinals’ QB does as a true dual threat who can find the end zone on any play. He’s expected to be even sharper throwing the ball going into his junior year and if he can stave off the losing streak like the one at the end of last year, he’ll be right back in New York again.

J.T. BARRETT, QB, OHIO STATE
2016 Stats: 2,555 yards passing, 24 TD, 7 INT, 845 yards rushing, 9 TD
Barrett became a household name when he helped lead the Buckeyes to a national title but the old man of this year’s Heisman frontrunners is hoping to go out with a bang by returning to that form he showed early on. While the OSU passing game hasn’t quite been explosive the past two years, the addition of offensive innovator Kevin Wilson as the new coordinator should provide a huge boost in terms of playcalling and developing Barrett as a passer. Playing for a marquee team that will once again be in playoff contention is a plus already and all the QB needs to do is follow through and deliver.

SAQUON BARKLEY, RB, PENN STATE
2016 Stats: 1,496 yards rushing, 18 TD, 402 yards receiving, 4 TD
Quarterbacks always have a leg up when it comes to the Heisman but it was just two years ago that running backs were the talk of the town when it came time to vote. That could be the case once again with freaky athletes like Barkley around. He was terrific in helping the Nittany Lions to a Big Ten title and has a chance to rack up even more numbers in the team’s explosive offense.

Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
2016 Stats: 1,387 yards rushing, 15 TD, 106 yards receiving, 1 TD
Leonard Fournette received all the Heisman hype for the Tigers but his former backup may prove to be the one who can actually bring home the award to the bayou. Even splitting carries last year he managed to rack up over 1,300 yards and average nearly seven yards a touch. If LSU can threaten to win the SEC West behind Guice, he certainly could run all the way to the Big Apple to capture the trophy.

Chasing the Pack:

Jalen Hurts, QB, Alabama — Heisman buzz started late in the year after he led the Tide to the national title so it stands to reason the dual-threat QB on one of the top teams in the country will be in the mix as a sophomore.

Bo Scarbrough, RB, Alabama — Tide tailbacks have fared well when it comes to the Heisman the past few years and Scarbrough looks to be next in line based on the way he finished 2016 up.

Deondre Francois, QB, Florida State — He’ll have a big time opportunity to state his case by knocking off Alabama in the opener and put up numbers the rest of the way in ACC play.

Derwin James, DB, Florida State — Defenders are almost an afterthought for the trophy but Jabrill Peppers was a finalist last year and James is just as versatile — and perhaps more dangerous.

Jarrett Stidham, QB, Auburn — Gus Malzahn has already turned one transfer QB into a Heisman winner and one-year wonder, what’s another?

Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State — The Cowboys signal-caller has the best receiving corps in the country and will be able to pile up numbers every week against Big 12 defenses.

Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA — He drew plenty of attention this offseason for his mouth, now he’ll try to wow voters with his arm by sparking a turnaround in Los Angeles.

Quinton Flowers, QB, USF — Group of Five candidates have a steep hill to climb but if anybody can emulate Lamar Jackson and overwhelm through the air and on the ground, it’s a dynamic player like Flowers.

Twice-arrested Nate Howard dismissed by Mizzou

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Not surprisingly, Nate Howard‘s time at Missouri has come to an unceremonious end.

Thursday evening, Howard (pictured, No. 88) tweeted a missive that, along with some emojis, read “Once a Tiger Always a Tiger! farewell Mizzou Nation!” Not long after, the football program confirmed that Howard has been dismissed from Barry Odom‘s team.

Per the school, Odom will actively help the former Tiger find a new college football home.

In June, the defensive lineman was charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana and no vehicle registration. The controlled substance charge is a felony. For that, he was indefinitely suspended.

While still on suspension, Howard was arrested on an out-of-county warrant related to his failure to appear on a speeding ticket this week. That proved to be the final straw for Odom.

A three-star member of the Tigers’ 2015 recruiting class, Howard was rated as the No. 7 player at any position in the state of Missouri. He played in 11 games as a true freshman, recording 12 tackles and two tackles for loss.

While his playing time dipped to four games last year, he exited spring practice this year in line to claim a starting job this season.