Both literally and figuratively, Texas A&M has suffered a significant loss heading into its first full offseason as a member of the SEC.
Following up on speculation that’s been running rampant in recent weeks and increased in intensity the past couple of days, offensive tackle Luke Joeckel officially confirmed that he’s foregoing his senior season for the NFL. While he had been leaning toward an early NFL leap, a final decision by the talented lineman wasn’t made until today.
“This was a very difficult decision for me,” Joeckel said in a statement. “I have thought long and hard and visited with my family and coaches. I feel it is in my best interest to come out. I appreciate all that Texas A&M has done for me and my family. It is tough to leave a great group of coaches and players, including my twin brother Matt. I know they will have a great season in 2013 and I will remain their biggest fan. … One thing that is certain, I am an Aggie and will always be an Aggie.”
Joeckel was a first-team All-American and All-SEC selection in 2012, named the winner of the Outland Trophy as well as the prestigious Jacobs Blocking Trophy given annually to the top lineman in the conference. From the first game of his true freshman season through the Aggies’ bowl win earlier this year, he started every game, 39 in all, at left tackle.
He’s considered one of a handful of players who could potentially be selected as the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming draft.
“Luke is projected to be one of the top players selected in the overall draft,” Aggie head football coach Kevin Sumlin said. “We appreciate everything he has done for Aggie football and Texas A&M and wish him well in the NFL.”
Just 27 hours shy of receiving his degree, Joeckel said in the release that he has “every intention of finishing as soon as possible.”
The Aggies are still awaiting an official decision from Jake Matthews, the other half of the best tackle combination in college football
That was significantly quicker than anyone really expected.
Very late last month, Wisconsin confirmed that starting linebacker Vince Biegel would be sidelined “for several weeks” because of an injured foot that required surgery to insert a screw. It was thought at the time that, at minimum, Biegel would miss games against Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa and Nebraska.
After missing the first two and with a bye week thrown in as well, the senior is set to return for the Badgers this weekend against the Hawkeyes on the road.
Prior to the foot injury, Biegel had started 29 games in a row for the Badgers.
When Miami takes the field Thursday night against Virginia Tech, the Hurricanes will do so with a significantly depleted defense.
On The U’s official injury report, starting defensive end Chad Thomas is listed as questionable with an upper extremity injury. However, both Susan Miller Degnan of the Miami Herald and Matt Porter of the Palm Beach Post are reporting that Thomas did not travel to Blacksburg with the team and will not play in the prime-time game against the Hokies.
Thomas suffered the injury in last Saturday’s loss to North Carolina.
Additionally, fellow starting end Demetrius Jackson and starting cornerback Sheldrick Redwine have been ruled out as well. Jackson is nursing an injured knee, while Redwine was not listed on The U’s injury report and the reason for his absence — he didn’t make the trip, either — is unknown.
Thomas, who has started all six games this season, currently leads the ‘Canes in tackles for loss with eight, while Jackson is tied for second with 5.5. Jackson has started five of the six games.
Redwine has started the last five games for the Hurricanes, the first starts of his collegiate career.
Two UConn football players were arrested Wednesday evening following a traffic stop, multiple media outlets are reporting.
According to the Daily Campus, the school’s student newspaper, linebacker Nazir Williams and defensive lineman Felton Blackwell were both charged with one count each of weapons in a motor vehicle. The weapon, it turned out, was an unmarked, loaded BB gun “that initially appeared to be a real gun,” the paper wrote.
Williams, the driver of the vehicle, was also charged with possession of less than half an ounce of marijuana and possession of alcohol by a minor.
The traffic stop that led to the arrests was triggered by Williams’ vehicle having a headlight out. The incident report detailed that, in a search of the vehicle, four grams of marijuana, an open container of vodka and the BB gun were found.
Neither Williams nor Blackwell are listed on the two-deep depth chart released ahead of Saturday’s game against UCF. Both players took redshirts as true freshmen last season.
Tennessee’s not the only SEC East team dealing with an inordinate number of injuries.
As Florida continues prepping for its annual cocktail party with Georgia in Week 9, the Gainesville Sun notes that the Gators’ “defensive front seven could be missing as many as four starters.” Even as the rivalry game is still a little over a week away — UF’s on a bye this weekend — it appears somewhat unlikely that Jarrad Davis will be available.
The starting middle linebacker sustained a severely sprained ankle in the Week 7 win over Missouri, and is thought to be a longshot to play. Jim McElwain, however, hasn’t shut the door.
“Jarrad Davis obviously hurt that ankle real good,” the head coach said. “But, if there is a guy I would bet, or know, that he’s going to do everything he can to get back. Obviously, he’s not practicing this week, but he’s been doing a great job rehab-wise. We’ll see where that is.
“I don’t know (if there’s a chance he could play next week). That’s him. That’s the medical staff. It’s making sure it’s right. If they’re mentally right to go, he’ll go.”
Three other front seven starters’ statuses are up in the air thanks to injuries. From the Sun:
The status of three other starters on the defensive front — ends Bryan Cox Jr. (thumb) and Jordan Sherit (knee) and tackle Joey Ivie (thumb) — also is uncertain for Georgia.
Sherit had his knee scoped two weeks ago. Ivie’s thumb remains in a cast after undergoing surgery three weeks ago. Cox injured his thumb during warmups for the Missouri game when his hand got caught in the jersey of a teammate during a drill.
Cox, per McElwain, could be lost for the season. The paper did note that “[t]news appears a little more positive on Sherit and Ivie.” Those two have practiced on a limited basis and their statuses will be reevaluated next week.
Davis currently leads the Gators in tackles with 48 and is tied for second on the team with 3.5 tackles for loss. Sherit is one of the players with which Davis is tied in tackles for loss.