Tuesday morning, a rumor began making the rounds that South Carolina’s Ace Sanders had told at least one person close to him that he was leaving the Gamecocks early for the NFL draft. We put in a call to Joe Kinnan of Manatee High School — Sanders’ father is on Kinnan’s football coaching staff — who told CFT that, the last he had heard, his former player would be returning to Columbia for another season.
Based on the chatter coming from Sanders’ Twitter timeline, that’s not likely to be the case.
In a tweet directed at himself a short time ago, Sanders wrote “welcome to the real world… Time to make it happen!” followed by one in which he speaks in the past tense of his time at the school.
“Day full of emotion for. Thank you everyone apart of #GamecockNation. I appreciate everything you did for me. #TearsOfJoy I love you guys!!!” Sanders wrote, which was followed up by a congratulatory message from former teammate and current Buffalo Bill Stephon Gilmore — “S/o to my homie @AceSanders1 going pro” — that was retweeted by Sanders.
The move would be more than mildly surprising as it had long been thought that he would indeed return for his senior season.
Early-entry paperwork needed to be submitted to the NFL by 4 p.m. this afternoon. The school has not yet confirmed Sanders’ future football intentions, although that seems to be a mere formality at the moment.
Sanders led the Gamecocks in receptions (45) and receiving touchdowns (nine) in 2012, and was one of the most electrifying punt returners at the FBS level. His 14.8 yards-per-return average was good for fourth in the nation, returning two of 29 punts for touchdowns.
Sophomore wide receiver Isaiah Graham is leaving TCU behind in search of a new opportunity. Graham announced his intention to seek a new place to call home with a statement on his Twitter account. In it, Graham thanked TCU head coach Gary Patterson and the coaching staff for bringing him into the football program in Fort Worth.
As a freshman, Graham played in nine games, in which he caught six passes for 68 yards. This season, Graham appeared in 10 games and caught two passes for 16 yards. The sophomore was buried on the depth chart and his chances to get on the field had largely been in nothing more than a reserve role the past two seasons. With that outlook not looking to drastically change in 2018, Graham will look for a place where he might have the chance to play more of a contributing role in an offense.
Graham will have to sit out the 2018 season if the former three-star recruit (according to Rivals) lands at another FBS program. He will have two years of eligibility after sitting out the 2018 season. He has yet to use a redshirt season.The Louisiana native chose TCU over offers from a number of programs including Arkansas, Louisiana Tech, Miami, Mississippi State, Nebraska, SMU, Tennessee, and more. Whether any of those programs remain in play for Graham now remains unknown.
The future of Nebraska football is beginning to look a bit more optimistic with the recent hiring of Scott Frost. Time will tell just how many wins Nebraska will start racking up in Big Ten play under Frost, but Nebraska has made some moves to secure some likely wins in future seasons.
In a scheduling announcement on Wednesday, Nebraska has announced future games against two FCS opponents — South Dakota State and North Dakota — and Georgia Southern of the Sun Belt Conference. Nebraska will host South Dakota State in 2020, 2024, and 2028. North Dakota (NOT North Dakota State) will head to Lincoln in 2022 and 2026. Georgia Southern will occupy a spot on the non-conference schedule in 2022. Per Nebraska;
- South Dakota State—Sept 12, 2020; Aug. 31, 2024; Sept. 9, 2028
- North Dakota—Sept. 3, 2022; Sept. 19, 2026
- Georgia Southern—Sept. 10, 2022
It is important to note Nebraska’s addition of South Dakota State and North Dakota no longer violates the Big Ten’s scheduling initiative to ban FCS opponents. That policy was revised to allow for the addition of these teams in years Big Ten teams only have four conference games scheduled at home (and five road games in conference play). Big Ten teams are still required to schedule a game against another power conference opponent or an approved opponent to satisfy the requirement, however. Nebraska is currently scheduled to play old Big 12 (and Big 8) rivals Oklahoma in 2021 and 2022 and Colorado in 2023 and 2024.Nebraska has also met the power conference scheduling requirement for 2026 (Tennessee) and 2028 (Arizona). Both games are part of home-and-home arrangements.
The 2022 season is an exception for Nebraska. The Cornhuskers are scheduled to host South Dakota State, Central Michigan, and Cincinnati. The Big Ten has ruled Cincinnati to be an exception to the power conference scheduling for Nebraska. Nebraska originally scheduled a series with Cincinnati in 2013, prior to the Big Ten adopting its scheduling philosophy to increase the overall quality of strength of schedule across the conference.
In order to be considered a unanimous All-American by the NCAA, a college football player needs to earn first-team needs from all five of the following organizations: the Associated Press, the American Football Coaches Association, the Football Writers Association of America, the Sporting News, and the Walter Camp Football Foundation. With the release of the AFCA team Wednesday, a total of 14 players have been accorded unanimous All-American honors for the 2017 season.
Heading that pack, unsurprisingly, is Oklahoma quarterback and 2017 Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield. Since those five organizations were established as the criteria in 2002, Mayfield becomes the sixth quarterback to earn that honor, joining Louisville’s Lamar Jackson (2016), Oregon’s Marcus Mariota (2014), Texas’ Colt McCoy (2009), Ohio State’s Troy Smith (2006) and Oklahoma’s Jason White (2003). Prior to White, the last quarterback named a unanimous All-American was Charlie Ward of Florida State in 1993.
Of the 14 unanimous All-Americans this season — there were the same number in 2016 — exactly half came from Oklahoma (three), Iowa (two) and Texas (two).
Below are the remaining baker’s dozen (no pun intended) unanimous All-Americans:
- Oklahoma tight end Mark Andrews
- Oklahoma offensive lineman Orlando Brown Jr.
- North Carolina State defensive lineman Bradley Chubb
- Texas punter Michael Dickson
- Texas defensive back DeShon Elliott
- Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick
- Iowa defensive back Josh Jackson
- Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell
- Stanford running back Bryce Love
- Notre Dame offensive lineman Quenton Nelson
- Ohio State offensive lineman Billy Price
- Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith
- Oklahoma State wide receiver James Washington
UCF will have its head coach for one of the biggest games in the football program’s history, but they’ll be without their quarterback’s blindside protector.
According to Shannon Green of the Orlando Sentinel, Aaron Evans will not play in No. 12 UCF’s Peach Bowl matchup with No. 7 Auburn New Year’s Day. The specific nature of the injury that will sideline the offensive lineman wasn’t detailed.
The past three seasons, Evans started 36 of 37 games at left tackle. 12 of those starts came during the Knights run to a perfect regular season and American Athletic Conference championship that helped propel them to a New Year’s Six bowl.
With Evans out, Jake Brown will likely get the start against the Tigers. Brown started 11 games at left guard for the Knights this season.