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Wake Forest signs 19 football recruits

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(Below is Wake Forest’s press release on the players added via its 2012 recruiting class.)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Wake Forest head football coach Jim Grobe today announced the signing of 19 prospective student-athletes to National Letters of Intent to attend Wake Forest.

The signing class consists of players from nine states including eight from Florida, three from North Carolina, and two from Georgia as well as players from Alabama, Colorado, Louisiana, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

The class includes 10 offensive players and nine on defense.  On offense, Wake Forest is bringing in two wide receivers, two tight ends, three offensive linemen, a quarterback, a running back and one player designated as an athlete.  Defensively, the Demon Deacons are adding four defensive backs including two cornerbacks and a pair of safeties, three defensive linemen, a linebacker and an athlete.

Wake Forest is losing a total of 12 starters off last year’s Music City Bowl team.  The Deacons must replace eight offensive starters and four on defense.

The Deacons are losing four starters on the offensive line and will add three freshmen in the fall of 2012.  The group includes Joel Suggs (6-6, 285) of Randleman, NC, Tyler Hayworth (6-4, 306) from Dobyns-Bennett in Kingsport, Tenn., and Will Smith (6-5, 285) from Charlotte, NC who has played at Christchurch School in Saluda, Va.

Wake Forest lost a pair of key wide receivers in Danny Dembry and Chris Givens.  A pair of freshmen will look to help replenish the receiving corps.  The Deacons signed a pair of big receivers in 6-3, 190-pound Jared Crump of St. Johns, Fla (Bartram Trail) and 6-4, 170-pound Jonathan Williams of Atlanta (Mays).

With lefthander Tanner Price returning at quarterback, the Deacons added another southpaw in 6-3, 210-pound Tyler Cameron of Jupiter, Fla. (Jupiter).  Cameron is the lone member of the recruiting class to have enrolled early.  He started classes at Wake Forest on Jan. 18.

Wake Forest lost its top two tight ends to graduation following the 2011 season in Andrew Parker and Cameron Ford.  The Deacons signed a pair of tight ends in 6-5, 235-pound Zach Gordon of Carrollton, Ga. and 6-4, 235-pound Anthony Rook of Greenville, NC (Rose).

Running back Joshua Wilhite (5-10, 187)  of Fresno, Texas (Fort Bend Hightower) will join the Deacons after rushing for over 2,000 yards as a senior and helping Hightower to the Texas 5A State Championship game.

Steve Donatell (6-5, 195) from Lone Tree, Colo. (Highland Ranch) will enroll at Wake Forest without a specified position.  A versatile athlete who plays four sports in high school, Donatell excelled as a lefthanded quarterback and first team all-state punter.  As a basketball player, Donatell is an outstanding scorer and rebounder who has his high school ranked No. 1 in Colorado with a 17-0 record.

On defense, the Deacons lose just four starters but two of those are in the secondary and include starting safeties Cyhl Quarles and Josh Bush.  Wake Forest is bringing in a pair of safety candidates in 5-10, 195-pound Dominique Gibson from Belle Glade, Fla. and 5-11, 180-pound Ryan Janvion from Pembroke Pines, Fla. (Dade Christian).  Janvion hails from the same high school as current Deacon safety Daniel Mack.

At corner, the Deacons will welcome a pair of freshmen in 5-10, 170-pound James Ward from DeLand, Fla. and 5-11, 180-pound LaRonji Vason of Prattville, Ala.  Vason helped his team to the 6A state championship in 2011.

Wake Forest landed three players that the coaches expect to compete on the defensive line.  The trio includes 6-2, 240-pound nose guard Shelldon Lewinson from 6A state champion Seffner, Fla. (Armwood) and a pair of defensive ends in 6-4, 245-pound Tylor Harris of Baton Rouge, La. (Episcopal) and 6-4, 250-pound Josh Banks of Apex, NC (Middle Creek).

Teddy Matthews is a 6-3, 225-pound linebacker from West Palm Beach, Fla. (Royal Palm Beach), the same high school that produced former Deacon running back Brandon Pendergrass.  Kevis Jones, a 6-2, 220-pound athlete from Oakland Park, Fla. (Northeast) is a high school linebacker who could play a variety of positions for the Deacons.


Wake Forest did well in recruiting Palm Beach County in South Florida in 2011.  QB Tyler Cameron (Jupiter), LB Teddy Matthews (West Palm Beach) and S Dominique Gibson (Belle Glade) are all from Palm Beach County.

Two future Deacons played against each other the Florida 6A state semifinals.  Shelldon Lewinson’s Seffner (Armwood) squad topped Jared Crump’s Bartram Trail club 46-38 to advance to the state championship game.

Three future Deacons played on state championship squads in 2011.  Shelldon Lewinson’s Seffner/Armwood team won the Florida 6A title while Will Smith’s Christchurch team won the Virginia Independent Division II title.  LaRonji Vason’s Prattville club won the Alabame 6A championship.  Joshua Wilhite’s Fort Bend Hightower club reached the Texas 5A state championship game.

Jared Crump and Steve Donatell were leaders of teams that reached state semifinals in 2011.  Zach Gordon of Carrollton, Ga. and Dominique Gibson of Belle Glade, Fla. played on squads that reached the state title game in 2010.

Tyler Hayworth, Shelldon Lewinson and Will Smith helped their teams to undefeated regular season records in 2011.  Lewinson’s Seffner (Armwood) team and Smith’s Christchurch club were the only squads among this year’s signees that went undefeated throughout the season.

Wake Forest’s 19 signees helped their respective teams to a combined record of 184-49 in 2011.

Jared Crump hails from Bartram Trail High in the Jacksonville area, the same high school that send OG Jeff Griffin (2006-09) and TE Andrew Parker (2008-11) to Wake Forest.

Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett signee Tyler Hayworth comes from the same high school that sent QB Wally Bridwell (1961-62), RB Mike Kelly (1963-65), and S Patrick Ghee (2003-06) to Wake Forest

LB Teddy Matthews will graduate from Royal Palm Beach High in Florida, the same school that produced Wake Forest RB Brandon Pendergrass (2008-11).

With the addition of S Ryan Janvion, Wake Forest will have a pair of Miami Dade Christian graduates including current safety Daniel Mack.

TE Anthony Rook is the second Greenville, NC Rose graduate to play football for the Demon Deacons.  DB Donald Johnson (1981-84) was a three-year letterman for the Deacons.

Bovada still puts Ohio State second behind Alabama in title odds

STATE COLLEGE, PA - OCTOBER 22:  Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes walk to the field from the locker room before the game against the Penn State Nittany Lions on October 22, 2016 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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I tried (in vain) to explain to my Ohio State-leaning family and friends that Saturday’s loss to Penn State wasn’t the end of the world.  Sunday, Kevin explained as much.

Tuesday, one wagering website revealed it doesn’t see the postseason sky falling on the Buckeyes, either.

In its latest set of odds, has placed the Buckeyes at 9/2 to win the 2016 College Football Playoff.  While that’s longer odds than the 11-4 OSU was getting a week ago, just one team sits ahead of them: Alabama at 8/5, slightly shorter odds than the 9/4 the Tide got last week.

Michigan (6/1), Clemson (7/1), Louisville (9/1) and Washington (9/1) are the only other teams to receive single-digit odds.  The Wolverines, at 7-1 Oct. 18, are the only one of that quartet of teams to see their odds shorten.

Below is the complete set of 2016 College Football Playoff championship odds, again courtesy of Bovada.lv:


Brian Kelly ‘disappointed’ AD had to offer public vote of confidence

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 26: Head coach Brian Kelly of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish yells at a referee during a game against the Massachusetts Minutemen at Notre Dame Stadium on September 26, 2015 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Umass 62-27. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Dreaded or not, most people would appreciate  public display of support from their bosses.  Brian Kelly, though, is not most people.

With Notre Dame off to its worst start since 2007, many an observer opined that Kelly could be on the hot seat this year, and most certainly will sit on it heading into next season.  With speculation swirling, Jack Swarbrick looked to put the kibosh on such talk.

Brian will lead this team out of the tunnel opening day next year,” the Irish athletic director said last week. “I can tell you I continue to have complete confidence in Brian. … I get to see the program day in and day out and I continue to have great confidence in Brian and confidence in our future as a program.”

Kelly had, to say the least, an interesting response to Swarbrick’s public backing.

“Well I was disappointed actually,” the coach told Matt Fortuna of ESPN.com “But anytime that your athletic director has to come out and say that, as a head coach you’re disappointed that any kind of comments like that have to be made. So I didn’t ask him, that was his decision, but I clearly understand what he was doing. He was probably sick and tired of being sick and tired, too.

“But for me it’s disappointing, certainly, that you have to make those comments.”

After a 10-1 start to the 2015 season, the Irish have lost seven of their last nine games.  Included in that is a 2-5 start to a 2016 season that’s seen Kelly fire his defensive coordinator and throw his players under the bus for good measure.  Former Irish football players have sounded off and taken aim as well.

Emails indicate LSU thought Florida was using hurricane to duck playing Oct. 8 game

BATON ROUGE, LA - OCTOBER 17:  Leonard Fournette #7 of the LSU Tigers prepares to run the ball against the Florida Gators at Tiger Stadium on October 17, 2015 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
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Well, this has the potential to get mildly interesting.

With Hurricane Matthew bearing down on the area, the LSU-Florida game originally scheduled for Oct. 8 in Gainesville was initially postponed.  A week later, the SEC announced that the game had been rescheduled for Nov. 19 in Baton Rouge after South Alabama (LSU) and Presbyterian (UF) agreed to be bought out of their respective game contracts for that date.

Some, though, initially thought that UF was looking to duck playing LSU after the latter offered to host the Gators that October weekend; play in Gainesville either Sunday or Monday; or even having the game played at a neutral site.  In that vein, through a public records request, WRBZ-TV in Baton Rouge obtained interoffice emails from LSU which showed the athletic department staff, as well as regent R. Blake Chatelain, was “frustrated with the handling of the postponed football contest against Florida earlier this month.”

In particular, athletic director Joe Alleva intimated that Florida didn’t want to play, period, because it would potentially help the Gators in their divisional race.

From the television station’s report:

Although, in an exchange with Chatelain, Alleva suspected Florida knew avoiding a game with LSU secured their spot in a playoff.

“… If they lose they would lose the east. Their schedule is easier than Tennessee (sic) if they wanted to play we would be playing here or there,” Alleva wrote after Chatelain questioned why Florida would want to avoid a game with the Tigers.

Chatelain wrote, “Florida would want to play as much as us… Would they not?”

Alleva initiated the conversation with Chatelain by writing, “This is a joke” when he forwarded news of the SEC announcing the Georgia-South Carolina contest had been delayed a day for the storm.

“What a joke,” Michael Bonnette, the communications director for LSU Athletics, chimed in.

Around that time, it was thought that Florida could gain an advantage over SEC East rival Tennessee by playing one fewer conference game and potentially claiming the division and a spot in the conference championship game by virtue of a better winning percentage than UT despite losing in the head-to-head matchup.  However, in announcing the rescheduled game, the SEC revealed that both LSU and Florida would have been ineligible to compete for the SEC title this season had the game not been played.

Arizona RB Nick Wilson ‘out for an extended period of time’

TUCSON, AZ - OCTOBER 15: Running back Nick Wilson #28 of the Arizona Wildcats stiff arms defensive back Marvell Tell III #7 of the USC Trojans during the second quarter of the college football game at Arizona Stadium on October 15, 2016 in Tucson, Arizona. USC won 48-14. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)
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With four losses in a row, Arizona’s season is quickly taking on water, and this development certainly won’t help.

It’s believed that Nick Wilson sustained some sort of injury to his right knee in the Week 8 loss to USC.  The specific nature of the injury hasn’t been detailed; however, head coach Rich Rodriguez indicated that it’s an injury that will sideline the running back for a significant number of games.

Wilson’s 320 yards rushing and three rushing touchdowns are tops among Wildcat backs this season. However, he’s rushed for just 66 yards the last five games — he had been dealing with an ankle issue — and doesn’t have a touchdown in that span.

Wilson’s latest injury continues the depth issues the Wildcats have experienced in the backfield. Late last month, J.J. Taylor, still third on the team in rushing with 261 yards, suffered a broken left ankle and is out for the year.

Given the injuries, Rodriguez is down to using converted wide receivers and walk-ons at the position. From 247Sports.com:

With recently converted running back Tyrell Johnson also less than 100%, wide out Samajie Grant is listed as a co-starter at running back with Zach Green. Grant had been splitting reps between wide receiver and running back the past few weeks, but all indications are that he has been getting all his reps in the back field.

Walk-on Brandon Leon is listed as the third string running back. He had his first collegiate carries late against USC, carrying 4 times for 18 yards.

Grant is currently tied for second on the team… in receptions with 19.  Green’s 164 yards rushing are fifth on the team.