A little late to this one but, for the third time this year, Florida State has lost a starter to early entry into the professional ranks.
Both Warchant.com and the Palm Beach Post, among others, are reporting that offensive lineman Menelik Watson has decided to take his leave of the Seminoles in order to declare for this April’s NFL draft. The school generally does not confirm underclassmen departures — unanimous All-American Bjoern Werner being an exception for obvious reasons — but we have been assured Watson is indeed leaving.
After transferring from the JUCO ranks last year, Menelik started 12 games at tackle for the Seminoles, earning honorable mention All-ACC honors following the season. The Post writes that Menelik “has played just 20 games since come to this country from Manchester, England, 12 at FSU, eight at Saddleback [Junior College].”
Menelik joins Werner and defensive back Xavier Rhodes as Seminoles who have left early for the NFL this year. Safety Lamarcus Joyner announced he was returning for his senior season, while Rivals is reporting that linebacker Christian Jones is leaning toward doing the same.
Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.
Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.
And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.
“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”
Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.
You know how I know we’re gradually creeping up on the end of another regular season? Watch lists are being whittled.
The first major honor to do so is the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given out annually to the best quarterback who is a college senior or fourth-year junior. The preseason watch list was 30 quarterbacks strong; the newest list has been cut in half to 15.
The most recent list includes one of the top Heisman contenders (TCU’s Trevone Boykin) and the top two nationally in passing yards (Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty), as well as a quarterback who’s closing in on the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns (Navy’s Keenan Reynolds).
The Pac-12 leads all conferences with three watch listers, followed by two each from the AAC, ACC and Big Ten. The SEC has as many players (one, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott) as the FCS (North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz).
Last year’s winner was Marcus Mariota of Oregon.
Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Everett Golson, Florida State
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Cody Kessler, USC
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah