Finalists announced for the 2012 Walter Camp Award

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Two weeks ago, the Walter Camp Foundation announced its 15 semifinalists for the prestigious National Player of the Year.

That list has now been whittled down to five.

Heisman Trophy front-runner and Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel headline the list of finalists, as well as one-time presumptive Heisman favorite Collin Klein of Kansas State.  Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o was the only defensive player named, while Oregon running back Kenjon Barner and USC wide receiver Marqise Lee round out the list.

Stanford’s Andrew Luck won the Camp Player of the Year award in 2011.  This year’s award winner will be announced Dec. 6.

Below are the biographical quickies sent out by the Camp folks in their release of the finalists:

KENJON BARNER – OREGON – Senior – Running Back
Kenjon Barner ranks fourth in the nation in rushing yards per game (135.33) for the 11-1 Ducks… He has totaled 1,624 rushing yards (on 248 attempts) and 21 touchdowns on the season… Barner’s 22 total touchdowns rank sixth in the nation… Barner has seven 100-yard rushing efforts on the season, including a career-high 321-yard effort – with five touchdowns – in a win over USC on November 3.

COLLIN KLEIN – KANSAS STATE – Senior – Quarterback
Collin Klein has led the Wildcats to a 10-1 record entering Saturday’s regular-season finale versus Texas… Klein has passed for 2,306 yards and 14 touchdowns, completing 172-of-258 passes… He has thrown for 200 or more yards in a game six times… A dual threat, Klein has rushed for 787 more yards and 20 touchdowns…. He has rushed for two or more touchdowns in a game six times this season.

MARQISE LEE – USC – Sophomore – Wide Receiver
Second in the nation in receiving yards per game (140.0), Marqise Lee has totaled 112 catches for 1,680 yards and 14 touchdowns for the 7-5 Trojans… Lee has also returned 28 kickoffs for 802 yards (28.6 yards per return) and one touchdown… His best game came against Arizona on October 27 when he had 16 catches for 345 yards and two touchdowns.

JOHNNY MANZIEL – TEXAS A&M  Redshirt Freshman – Quarterback
Johnny Manziel ranks second in the nation in total offense (383.3 yards per game) for the 10-2 Aggies… He has passed for 3,419 yards and 24 touchdowns, completing 273-of-400 throws… Manziel has thrown for 200 or more yards nine times this season… He has rushed for 1,181 yards and 19 touchdowns, including six 100-yard efforts… His best game came in a win over Louisiana Tech on October 13 when he accounted for six touchdowns (3 rushing; 3 passing) and 576 yards (395 passing, 181 rushing), which earned him Walter Camp Offensive Player of the Week honors.

MANTI TE’O – NOTRE DAME – Senior – Linebacker
Te’o is the leader of the top-ranked Fighting Irish (12-0) defensive unit that ranks second in the nation in scoring defense (10.3 points allowed per game) and sixth in total defense (287.3 yards allowed per game)… Te’o has totaled 103 tackles (8.6 tackles per game) and ranks third in the nation with seven interceptions…Has played a role in 11 of Notre Dame’s 23 turnovers this year (7 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries and 2 pass hurries that directly led to interceptions).

Illinois boots three players charged with home invasion and robbery

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Illinois head coach Lovie Smith has dismissed three players charged with home invasion and robbery. Offensive linemen Darta Lee and Howard Watkins and tight end Zarrian Holcombe have all been dismissed from the program, according to a statement.

Lee and Holcombe were previously suspended by Smith for violations of team rules. Watkins had also been indefinitely suspended following the initial allegations. All three players claimed the incident that led to the charges was nothing more than an innocent prank, but the authorities and Smith didn’t seem willing to buy that claim.

Each player faces a mandatory prison sentence of 4-15 years on each count against them if found guilty.

Report: Conference USA to air at least 15 football games on Twitter in 2017

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Conference USA is in a position where it needs to think outside the box and look to stay ahead of the curve in a changing TV landscape. It appears to be ready to air games on Twitter in 2017.

A report from The Virginian-Pilot says broadcast company STADIUM will air at least 15 football games involving Conference USA teams this fall. STADIUM is the result of a recent merger between the American Sports Network, 120 Sports and Silver Chalice (which also owns Campus Insiders and the online ACC Digital Network). The ASN had owned the broadcast rights to Conference USA games through the end of the 2017-2018 sports season that will carry over to the STADIUM deal (allowing for Conference USA basketball games to be aired on Twitter as well). It was announced earlier this month STADIUM intended to broadcast Conference USA games on Twitter, but it was unknown how many games might make it to the networking service. STADIUM reportedly has an interest in continuing to air Conference USA contests beyond the next athletic season.

Conference USA still has broadcast deals with ESPN and CBS Sports in effect as well, so don’t expect the premiere matchups in the conference to be aired on Twitter. However, by sharing the games online, Conference USA is hoping to reach a wide-spread audience and have the opportunity to be a trending topic. It could work, as Twitter would make sure the game is given a steady feed to allow for a pleasant viewing experience and fan interaction in real time.

Conference USA saw TV revenue take a big hit over the last year. Last summer, Conference USA’s television revenue reportedly dropped to just $2.8 million for the entire conference following realignment changes. Finding a home on a streaming platform now would be key for the conference’s future stability.

Alabama DC Jeremy Pruitt named son after former Tide linebackers Reuben Foster and Ryan Anderson

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It is not at all uncommon for children born in the state of Alabama to be named after Alabama football legends, but it is not every day you see a child of an Alabama coach receives a name inspired by former Alabama football players.

Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt announced the birth of his new son, Flynt Anderson-Foster Pruitt, on Twitter. Alabama fans will likely already know the connection to the new child’s name, as used the last names of two former Alabama football players to create the middle name of Anderson-Foster; Ryan Anderson and Reuben Foster.

Maybe this is more common than I’m aware of, but regardless of how often a coach names a child after former players, this is a testament to the relationship the Pruitt family established with both former Alabama linebackers. And now there will be a bond for years to come between the coach and his family and Anderson and Foster.

Helmet sticker to Al.com.

Wisconsin’s season tickets for 100th anniversary of Camp Randall are a thing of beauty

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The Wisconsin Badgers are gearing up for their 100th season playing home football game sin Camp Randall Stadium. As part of the season-long celebration, Wisconsin put some brilliant artistic detail into their season tickets for the 2017 season.

Each ticket to a home Wisconsin game is designed like a retro-style program. These are beautifully done and mimic the style of a program cover from decades past. I’m particularly fond of the program cover for the Purdue game, which features Wisconsin’s Bucky floating in space with a ship with the Purdue logo nearby. Is that a space train? The Band Day program for the game against Florida Atlantic also looks fantastic.

These tickets will surely be must-have collectibles for Wisconsin fans. If Wisconsin wants to make a few extra bucks, then blowing up these images and selling them as posters may be a good decision as well. And I wouldn’t put it past Wisconsin to suit up in a retro-style uniform for at least home game this season in Madison.