Manti Te’o headlines 2012 Lott Trophy watch list

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You know what this means, right?  Yep, the 2012 season is slowly creeping up on us.

In the first of many, many of these to be released, the Lott Impact Trophy Award announced its watch list for the upcoming season.  A total of 42 players from 37 schools and six conferences were represented on the initial watch list.

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o is the only finalist for the 2011 award, won by Boston College LB Luke Kuechly, on the 2012 watch list.  There are two 2011 semifinalists on the list — Ohio State defensive lineman John Simon and Oklahoma State cornerback Brodrick Brown.

The Big Ten paced all conferences with nine players on the list, followed by the Pac-12 with eight, the ACC and Big 12 with seven, the SEC with five and the Mountain West with two.  Four players from independent programs are also among the first round of honorees.

A total of five schools were represented by two players each on the list — Florida State, Iowa State, LSU, Texas and Wisconsin.

Of the 42 players, 28 are seniors and 12 are juniors.  There are just two sophomores on the initial watch list — Georgia LB Jarvis Jones and Purdue defensive tackle Kawaan Short.

Named after Pro Football Hall of Fame member, Ronnie Lott, The Lott Trophy is awarded to college football’s Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year. Founded in 2004, the Lott Trophy is the first and only college football award to equally recognize athletic performance and the personal character attributes of the player. The Lott Trophy is given to the player who exhibits the same characteristics Lott embodied during his distinguished career: Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity. Voters for the award include selected members of the national media, previous finalists, the Board of Directors of the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation and the Legends Coaches, which is a distinguished group of former college football head coaches.

Below and after the jump is the complete 2012 Lott Trophy watch list:

David Amerson, CB, North Carolina State
Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
Chris Borland, LB,. Wisconsin
John Boyett, FS. Oregon
Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
Brodrick Brown, CB, Oklahoma State
Jonathan Brown, LB, Illinois
Max Bullough, LB, Michigan State
Tra’ves Bush, S, Navy
Kyle Fuller, DB, Virginia Tech
Steve Greer, LB, Virginia
Gerald Hodges, LB, Penn State
Demontre Hurst, DB, Oklahoma
Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas
Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State
Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia
A.J. Klein, LB, Iowa State
Jake Knott, LB, Iowa State
Jordan Kovacs, S, Michigan
Patrick Larimore, LB, UCLA
Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Brandon Magee, LB, Arizona State
T.J. McDonald, S, USC
Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
Brandon Ogletree, LB, BYU
Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
J.C. Percy, LB, Boise State
Ray Polk, S, Colorado
Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State
Kevin Reddick, LB, North Carolina
Eric Reid, S, LSU
Luke Ruff, S, Wyoming
Kawaan Short, DT, Purdue
John Simon, DT, Ohio State
Baker Steinkuhler, DT, Nebraska
Mike Taylor, LB, Wisconsin
Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame
Chase Thomas, LB, Stanford
Joe Vellano, DT, Maryland
Bjoern Warner, DE, Florida State
Zach Watts, LB, Army
Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama

After stops at TCU, Arkansas State, Cameron Echols-Luper to give WKU a try

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Maybe the third time will be a charm for Cameron Echols-Luper?

On his personal Instagram account Wednesday, Echols-Luper revealed that he has decided to continue his collegiate playing career at Western Kentucky.  According to the Bowling Green Daily News, the decision was made following a visit to the school earlier this week.

As a graduate transfer, the wide receiver will be eligible to play immediately in 2017 for the Hilltoppers. However, he has to finish up some schoolwork at his former school, Arkansas State, before officially moving on to WKU.

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Echols-Luper began his collegiate career at TCU in 2013, transferring to ASU in 2015. After sitting out that season, he was third on the Red Wolves in receptions (26) and receiving yards (407). His 15.7 yards per reception was second on the team.

Ex-USC DL Noah Jefferson won’t be transferring to Arizona after all

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In early March, Noah Jefferson announced on Twitter that he would be transferring from USC to Arizona.  Nearly five months later?

Never mind.

Wednesday, UA head coach Rich Rodriguez announced that Jefferson will not, as previously expected, be playing for the Wildcats this season.  No reason for the abrupt and unexpected about-face was given.

The coach did, though, intimate that a future pairing between the player and the program isn’t out of the question.

Jefferson wouldn’t have been eligible to play in 2017 for the Wildcats even if his move to the desert had come to fruition. He would’ve, though, had two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2018 at his disposal.

A four-star member of USC’s 2015 recruiting class, Jefferson played in 14 games, starting one of those, as a true freshman. After starting the season-opening loss to Alabama last season, Jefferson never played another down for USC.

Hugh Freeze makes first public comments since exiting Ole Miss in disgrace

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For the first time since his unceremonious exit from Ole Miss, Hugh Freeze has spoken publicly.  Somewhat.

In what was described as a brief interview with USA Today Sports Wednesday, the former Ole Miss head coach said his family and church have helped him get through the storm of the last few days. When asked if his family was standing by him, Freeze responded, “Oh, gosh, yeah.”

“God is good, even in difficult times,’’ Freeze told the website. “Wonderful wife and family, and that’s my priority.”

“I got some good friends,” the former head coach added.

The stunning news dropped last Thursday night that Freeze’s tenure as the head coach at Ole Miss had come to an end because of at least one call from his university-issued cell phone to a known escort service.  While Freeze blamed the call on a misdial, the administration found a “pattern of misconduct” during a deep dive into his phone records, leading the school to confront the coach about the situation.

After meetings with Freeze Wednesday night and then again Thursday morning, it became apparent that, if he didn’t resign, the school was going to fire him.

Because of a moral turpitude clause in his contract, there was neither a buyout nor a settlement.

Five-star 2017 Auburn signee undergoes ‘minor procedure,’ should be a go for start of summer camp

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It appears Auburn has dodged what could’ve been a significant injury bullet.

Citing a person familiar with the situation, Brandon Marcello of the Auburn arm of 247Sports.com is reporting that Calvin Ashley underwent a procedure on one of his eyes recently.  SECCountry.com described it as “a minor procedure”; both websites stated that the touted offensive tackle will be ready for the start of summer camp on July 31, this coming Monday.

The reports come a few days after Ashley posted a picture on social media of what appeared to be him in a hospital room.

The football program has not yet, at least publicly, addressed what if any type of health issue with which Ashley is dealing.

A five-star member of the Tigers’ 2017 recruiting class, Ashley was rated as the No. 6 tackle in the country; the No. 1 player at any position in Washington D.C.; and the No. 27 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board.  Ashley was the highest-rated player in AU’s class this year, the only five-star recruit pulled in by Gus Malzahn and company this cycle.

The 6-6, 310-pound Ashley is expected to compete immediately for the starting job at left tackle.