Luke Kuechly

Every lineman, LB in college football on Lombardi Award watch list

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Okay, not really, but you get the point.

In addition to the Butckus Award watch list, the Rotary Lombardi Trophy watch list was released today sporting an obvious lack of modesty with the number of players on it. Eligibility for the Rotary Lombardi Award is limited to offensive (including tight ends) or defensive linemen and  linebackers.

Last year’s winner was Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly.

You can view all of the individual preseason watch lists in one handy repository HERE, and the entire Lombardi Award watch list below:

OT Oday Aboushi, Virginia
LB Denicos Allen, Michigan State
OT Jacolby Ashworth, Houston
LB Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech
C Alvin Bailey, Arkansas
LB Dion Bailey, USC
OT David Bakhtiari, Colorado
G Chris Barker, Nevada
C Mario Benavides, Louisville
LB Chris Borland, Wisconsin
LB Jonathan Bostic, Florida
LB Arthur Brown, Kansas State
LB Jonathan Brown, Illinois
LB Travis Brown, Fresno State
DE Michael Buchanan, Illinois
LB Max Bullough, Michigan State
C Nick Carlson, Wyoming
C Braxston Cave, Notre Dame
LB Michael Clay, Oregon
DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
DE/LB Jamie Collins, Southern Miss
G Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina
DE Scott Crichton, Oregon State
LB Kenny Demens, Michigan
DE Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh
TE Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame
TE Gavin Escobar, San Diego State
OT Chris Faulk, LSU
TE Joseph Fauria, UCLA
DE Sharrif Floyd, Florida
OT DJ Fluker, Alabama
G Blaize Foltz, TCU
LB Winston Fraser, FIU
C/G Travis Frederick, Wisconsin
C Dalton Freeman, Clemson
DE Ben Gardner, Stanford
DE James Gayle, Virginia Tech
DE William Gholston, Michigan State
DE Ryne Giddins, USF
LB Khaseem Greene, Rutgers
LB Steve Greer, Virginia
TE Ryan Griffin, Connecticut
LB Jeremy Grove, East Carolina
C Ben Habern, Oklahoma
DT Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State
G Braden Hansen, BYU
G Eric Herman, Ohio
LB Jordan Hicks, Texas
DT Jordan Hill, Penn State
LB Gerald Hodges, Penn State
C Khaled Holmes, USC
DE Wes Horton, USC
DE Margus Hunt, SMU
OT Alex Hurst, LSU
OT James Hurst, North Carolina
G Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma
G Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State
LB Andrew Jackson, Western Kentucky
DE Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas
DE Brandon Jenkins, Florida State
LB Jelani Jenkins, Florida
NT John Jenkins, Georgia
OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
LB Nico Johnson, Alabama
DE Travis Johnson, San Jose State
C/G/T Barrett Jones, Alabama
DL Chris Jones, Bowling Green
OLB Jarvis Jones, Georgia
DE Dion Jordan, Oregon
G Joe Kellogg, Boise State
C Zac Kerin, Toledo
LB A.J. Klein, Iowa State
LB Jake Knott, Iowa State
C Tyler Larsen, Utah State
LB DeDe Lattimore, USF
DE Corey Lemonier, Auburn
OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan
LB Shaun Lewis, Oklahoma State
DE/DT Rob Lohr, Vanderbilt
G Spencer Long, Nebraska
DE/OLB Travis Long, Washington State
DT Star Lotulelei, Utah
TE Philip Lutzenkirchen, Auburn
LB Khalil Mack, Buffalo
LB Trent Mackey, Tulane
C Joe Madsen, West Virginia
DE Stansly Maponga, TCU
OT Zack Martin, Notre Dame
OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
G Chris McDonald, Michigan State
DE Barkevious Mingo, LSU
DE Sam Montgomery, LSU
LB Sio Moore, Connecticut
LB James Morris, Iowa
OT Morgan Moses, Virginia
LB C.J. Mosley, Alabama
OT Jeff Nady, Nevada
LB Corey Nelson, Oklahoma
DE Roosevelt Nix, Kent State
DE Alex Okafor, Texas
LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, Boston College
LB Sean Porter, Texas A&M
DE Sean Progar, Northern Illinois
OT Justin Pugh, Syracuse
LB Hayes Pullard, USC
OT David Quessenberry, San Jose State
LB Kevin Reddick, North Carolina
LB Taylor Reed, SMU
G Cyril Richardson, Baylor
C Weston Richburg, Colorado State
DE Marcus Rush, Michigan State
DT Kawann Short, Purdue
DE John Simon, Ohio State
LB Shayne Skov, Stanford
G Adam Smith, Western Kentucky
LB Keith Smith, San Jose State
DT Akeem Spence, Illinois
DT Baker Steinkuhler, Nebraska
TE Jake Stoneburner, Ohio State
LB Bruce Taylor, Virginia Tech
DE Devin Taylor, South Carolina
G Lane Taylor, Oklahoma State
LB Mike Taylor, Wisconsin
LB Manti Te’o, Notre Dame
LB Chase Thomas, Stanford
TE Levine Toilolo, Stanford
G Omoregie Uzzi, Georgia Tech
LB Kyle Van Noy, BYU
DT Joe Vellano, Maryland
OT LaAdrian Waddle, Texas Tech
OT Ricky Wagner, Wisconsin
LB Brian Wagner, Arizona
G Mason Walters, Texas
G Larry Warford, Kentucky
G Chance Warmack, Alabama
C Stephen Warner, Louisiana Tech
DE Bjoern Werner, Florida State
DT Nikita Whitlock, Wake Forest
DE Jesse Williams, Alabama
DT Sylvester Williams, North Carolina
DE Trevardo Williams, Connecticut
TE Luke Willson, Rice
OT Brian Winters, Kent State
LB Dwayne Woods, Bowling Green
G Carson York, Oregon

Alabama to hires Arizona AD Greg Byrne for same position

TUCSON, AZ - SEPTEMBER 19: Athletic Director Greg Byrne of the Arizona Wildcats looks on during the second half of the college football game against the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks at Arizona Stadium on September 19, 2015 in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)
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Alabama head coach Nick Saban may be the most powerful person within the Alabama sports department, but even he has a boss.  Now, he will have a new boss.

Alabama Director of Athletics Bill Battle is stepping down into retirement from his current position, although he will remain active in the university as a special assistant to university president Stuart Bell. Battle has been fighting through health issues and completed treatment for cancer last summer. His vacant spot in the athletics department will be filled by Arizona Athletics Director Greg Byrne. A formal announcement has not been made as of yet, but multiple reports have confirmed the pending Byrne hiring. (UPDATE: Alabama has since formally announced the hiring of Byrne)

”Bill has done a tremendous job as director of athletics, and has accomplished so much during his career,” Bell said, according to the Associated Press. ”His business expertise, coupled with his coaching experience and his strong understanding of the role an athletic department has in the daily fabric of a university, has allowed us to achieve the great successes we have enjoyed during his tenure. We are blessed to have the continued benefit of his counsel.”

The hiring of Byrne takes Alabama outside its own foundation to bring in an outsider to lead the sports department. Byrne is an Idaho native who has worked in an administrative role in two SEC schools, so he will be familiar with the landscape the conference has to offer. Byrne was the athletics director of Mississippi State from 2008 through 2010 before moving to Arizona for the past six years. At Mississippi State, Byrne hired football coach Dan Mullen. Byrne also held an associate AD role at Kentucky, where he directed development and fundraising efforts for the Wildcats.

Notre Dame OL Quenton Nelson announces return to school

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It’s not yet Signing Day, but Notre Dame has already secured a major commitment for what Brian Kelly hopes is a major bounce-back 2017 season.

Offensive lineman Quenton Nelson announced Sunday he is returning for his senior season. “Excited for this team to grow every day this offseason by putting in nothing but hard work and grinding together. When we reach our full potential, look out,” Nelson wrote in an Instagram post. “I’m right behind you Coach.”

Nelson, who hails from “Westeros, GOT,” according to his Twitter bio, is a two-year starter at guard for the Irish. Notre Dame finished tied for 62nd nationally in yards per carry this season, but ranked eighth in that same metric a year ago en route to earning a finalist not for the inaugural Joe Moore Award — given to the nation’s best offensive line unit — and a Fiesta Bowl appearance.

Sonny Dykes reportedly joins TCU staff

TEMPE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 24:  Head coach Sonny Dykes of the California Golden Bears looks on during warm ups prior to the game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium on September 24, 2016 in Tempe, Arizona.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
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Former California head coach Sonny Dykes is set to join TCU’s staff in a to-be-determined role, multiple outlets reported Sunday evening. Jeremy Clark of TCU’s 247 site broke the news.

Dykes, of course, was the head coach of the Golden Bears through last Sunday, when the school abruptly fired him. He was 19-30 in four seasons with Cal.

With Doug Meacham off to Kansas and Sonny Cumbie running the show for the Horned Frogs’ offense, Dykes is a natural fit to slide in and assist Cumbie. Dykes was an offensive assistant of Mike Leach at Texas Tech from 2000-06, and Cumbie played for the Red Raiders as a quarterback from 2000-04. Sharing the same first name can’t hurt, either.

 

Memphis promotes Darrell Dickey to offensive coordinator

OXFORD, MS - OCTOBER 01: Riley Ferguson #4 of the Memphis Tigers throws the ball during the first half of a game against the Mississippi Rebels at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on October 1, 2016 in Oxford, Mississippi.  (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
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Chip Long is off to call plays at Notre Dame, and now Tigers head coach Mike Norvell has moved his remaining staff up a line.

The Tigers announced Sunday associate head coach/running backs coach Darrell Dickey has been bumped to offensive coordinator, Kenny Dillingham, who spent last season as a graduate assistant working with the quarterbacks, is now the full-time quarterbacks coach, and offensive line coach Ryan Silverfield has added a run game coordinator title.

“The interest generated by our opening was remarkable,” Norvell saida. “But after the process of visiting with a number of coaches and coordinators from a variety of schools and just about every conference across college football, I feel the best option to continue our high standard of offensive success is to promote from within our staff. Our players have done a great job in adjusting to the offensive system we brought here this past season, and I believe next season, we have a chance to build off what we did as a unit.  With these changes, as well as Coach (wide receivers coach David) Johnson and myself, I feel like we will continue to have one of the top offensive staffs in the country.”

Dickey has spent the last five seasons on staff at Memphis, serving as offensive coordinator and running backs coach for Justin Fuente before he left for Virginia Tech. Dickey is best known for his run of four consecutive Sun Belt championships from 2001-04 as the head coach at North Texas.

“Coach Dickey brings a wealth of experience coordinating explosive offensive units and I believe that with the offensive staff we have in place, the brightest days ahead for this Memphis Tigers’ offense. Darrell does a tremendous job of leading men and developing relationships not only with players, but also with everyone associated with our program. He has done an outstanding job over the last five years here in Memphis developing a running backs group that I believe is one of the most dynamic in the country.”

Memphis finished the 2016 season ranked 33rd nationally in yards per play and tied for 15th in scoring despite losing first-round pick Paxton Lynch at quarterback.