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

Florida’s Cece Jefferson expected back for start of camp

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There’s a sizable sliver of a silver lining involving the health of Florida’s most productive defensive lineman.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Cece Jefferson would be sidelined for four months after undergoing surgery on his right shoulder earlier this week; such a timeline would’ve had the lineman out until the middle of August, after summer camp had started. Thursday, however, brought word that Jefferson is instead expected to be recovered in time for the start of camp in early August.

It should be noted that, as of yet, the football program has not publicly addressed Jefferson’s status moving forward.

Jefferson was a consensus five-star prospect, rated as the No. 2 strongside defensive end in the Class of 2015; the No. 4 player at any position in the state of Florida; and the No. 7 player overall on 247Sports.com’s composite board.

This past season, Jefferson led the Gators with 13.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. After considering early entry into the 2018 NFL draft, the 6-1, 242-pound lineman opted to return to Gainesville for one more season.

Urban Meyer, Jim Harbaugh, others pay tribute to Earle Bruce

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Not surprisingly, the memorials are pouring in for the passing of a College Football Hall of Famer.

Friday morning, the four daughters released a statement through Ohio State announcing that their father, former Buckeyes head coach Earle Bruce, had passed away at the age of 87.  Shortly thereafter, OSU released a statement from its current head football coach on the man who had battled Alzheimer’s for years.

“I’ve made it clear many times that, other than my father, Coach Bruce was the most influential man in my life,” Urban Meyer said. “Every significant decision I’ve made growing up in this profession was with him involved in it. His wife [Jean] and he were the role models for Shelley and me. They did everything with class. He was not afraid to show how much he loved his family and cared for his family.”

Others expressing their condolences included Jim Harbaugh of rival Michigan as well as Iowa State, where Bruce was the head coach from 1973-78 before taking over in Columbus in 1979, and the Cyclones’ current coach for good measure.

A&M’s Koda Martin transferring, joins dad, father-in-law at Syracuse

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Koda Martin‘s collegiate playing career has taken a familial turn.

On his personal Twitter account Thursday night, the offensive lineman announced that he would be transferring from Texas A&M.  Not only that, but Martin confirmed that he already has a new college football home — Syracuse.

Martin’s dad, Kirk Martin, was named as the quarterbacks coach at Syracuse earlier this year.  Last summer, Koda Martin married Jazzmin Babers, who happens to be the daughter of Orange head coach Dino Babers.

Whether it’s coincidence or not, Martin’s move from College Station comes two weeks after a heat stroke he suffered during an Aggies spring practice session left him near death according to a social media post from his father.

As Martin will graduate from A&M in May, he’ll be eligible to play for the Orange in 2017.  The upcoming season will be the lineman’s final year of eligibility.

Martin had started 14 games for the Aggies the past two seasons, including 10 last season as a redshirt junior.

Colorado State lands $37.7 million stadium naming rights deal

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Colorado State’s athletic department coffers will be a little more full thanks to one development this week.

CSU announced Thursday a 15-year agreement with Public Service Credit Union for the naming rights to the university’s year-old football stadium. The long-term agreement will result in the school being paid $37.7 million over the life of the deal. Per the school, “annual escalator clauses for inflation, as well as a signing bonus,” are also included in the agreement.

The on-campus stadium opened in July of last year at a cost of $225 million, with the first game played in August of 2017.

“This is a partnership that makes so much sense for our university community and for Public Service Credit Union, and we’re thrilled to announce this new agreement,” said CSU president Tony Frank in a statement. “Our stadium will carry the name of a Colorado-based business that shares our commitment to creating opportunity and opening doors for people at all income levels. Our mission and our values as a university align so well with those of PCSU, and the investment by the credit union and its members in our campus and programs will bring great visibility to how much they accomplish as a visionary community partner.”

According to the school’s release, the new naming rights deal, when combined with the field naming rights deal previously announced, actually compares reasonably well with some of the agreements reached by Power Five programs.

The agreement, which when added to the $20 million given in 2016 to name Sonny Lubick Field, brings the total naming rights revenues at Colorado State to $57 million for the stadium. This is comparable to the recently announced $69 million United Airlines Memorial Coliseum at University of Southern California and the $41 million Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium at the University of Washington.

Interestingly, Lubick, the legendary former Rams head football coach, currently serves as the vice president of community outreach for the credit union.