With multiple teams at the one-third pole of the 2012 season — where the hell has the year gone already? — it’s that time of a campaign where various awards watch lists tweak its preseason groupings to reflect “unexpected” standout performances in the early going.
The latest to do this is the prestigious Maxwell Award, which on Thursday announced the addition of 14 players to what had been a 64-player preseason watch list. Nine of those additions play the quarterback position, while the other five were running backs.
Class-wise, the Maxwell 14 is made up of five seniors, four juniors, three sophomores and two freshmen — Oregon QB Marcus Mariota and UCLA QB Brett Hundley.
The Big 12 had three players added to the list, while the Pac-12 and SEC each had two apiece. Those latter two conferences also pace the total number of players named with 16 and 15, respectively. The Big 12 is next with 14.
For the complete preseason watch list, click HERE. For the complete list of new additions, look below:
David Ash Texas QB Soph
Kolton Browning Louisiana-Monroe QB JR
Colby Cameron Louisiana Tech QB SR
Seth Doege Texas Tech QB SR
Brett Hundley UCLA QB FR
Nick Florence Baylor QB SR
Mike Gillislee Florida RB SR
Kenny Hilliard LSU RB Soph
Jawan Jamison Rutgers RB Soph
Stefphon Jefferson Nevada RB JR
Jordan Lynch Northern Illinois QB JR
Marcus Mariota Oregon QB FR
Taylor Martinez Nebraska QB JR
Chris Thompson Florida State RB SR
In the midst of reports that he had a physical altercation with one of his Tennessee players during summer camp this year, Butch Jones labeled the speculation “absolutely ridiculous.”
Apparently, his bosses agree with the head coach.
At a board meeting Thursday, UT-Knoxville chancellor Jimmy Cheek stated that he and athletic director Dave Hart had done their “due diligence” in investigating the accusations that Jones and senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder were involved in some type of physical skirmish during practice this past August. The end result of interviews with Jones, coaches and players was the conclusion that there was nothing to the reports and message-board rumors.
“There’s been a lot of rumor and misinformation on social media and message boards about an alleged incident during football practice,” Cheek said according to GoVols247.com‘s Wes Rucker. “It’s not our practice to respond to rumors, but I thought it was important to let you know that we’ve done our due diligence and Dave Hart and I are very confident there was no inappropriate conduct with any players or coaches.”
Shortly after Cheek spoke at the board meeting, Crowder took to Twitter with a series of missives that speaks around the issue.
Michigan played without its leading rusher in Week 5. The Wolverines are hoping there won’t be a repeat in Week 6.
De'Veon Smith sustained a lower-leg injury in the Week 4 win over BYU and didn’t travel with the team for last Saturday’s win over Maryland. Smith has been practicing with his teammates throughout the first few days of this week, and head coach Jim Harbaugh is guardedly optimistic that the running back will be available for what’s turned into a huge Big Ten matchup with Northwestern Saturday in the Big House.
“He’s practicing and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’s going to stay good and be ready to play,” Harbaugh said during a radio appearance Thursday morning. “But we’ll (keep) looking at that every day.”
Despite essentially missing a game and a half, Smith currently leads the Wolverines with 331 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. He’s added four receptions for 35 yards and a touchdown coming out of the backfield the first four games.
Should Smith be unable to go again, the Wolverines have three other backs with at least 100 yards on the ground: Ty Isaac (187, 7.2 yards per carry), Drake Johnson (125, 4.2 ypc) and Derrick Green (100, 3.3 ypc).
In addition to Smith, Harbaugh is hopeful Channing Stribling will be available this weekend as well. The starting cornerback didn’t play against the Cougars because of injury