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2013 LSU football signing class

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(Below are the bios released by LSU on the 27 new members of its 2013 recruiting class.)

Maquedius Bain
6-5 * 286 * Defensive Tackle
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
University School of Nova South

HIGH SCHOOL
A tough defender that possess great overall size and projects to play on the inside of the defensive line… A participant in the 2013 Under Armour All-American Game with the Black Team …A four-star rated prospect by ESPN.com and 247sports.com… Led University School of Nova South to a 3A State Championship in his senior season…Played on both offensive line and defensive line throughout high school…Rated the No. 13 defensive tackle in the nation by ESPN.com…Rated the No. 26 prospect out of the state of Florida by ESPN.com … Also played basketball in high school … Coached by Roger Harriott.

PERSONAL
Son of Monasha White … Born Feb. 1, 1994.

Kendell Beckwith
6-3 * 235 * Linebacker
Jackson, La.
East Feliciana High School

HIGH SCHOOL
One of the nation’s premier outside linebacker prospects for the Class of 2013 … Possesses great strength and athleticism that could also earn him snaps as a pass rushing defensive end at the collegiate level … Arguably the top prospect in the state of Louisiana for the Class of 2013 … A consensus four-star recruit by all of the national recruiting services … An Under Armour All-American who competed for Team Nitro at the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game held on Jan. 4 in Tampa, Fla. … Committed to LSU live on national television during ESPN’s broadcast of the Under Armour All-America Game … Was also named a 2012 MaxPreps Small Schools First-Team All-American as a high school senior … Named to the PrepStar Top 150 Dream team as the number 86 overall player in the nation … Tabbed as the No. 2-ranked recruit in Louisiana by ESPN, Rivals.com, Scout.com and 247Sports … Ranked as high as the No. 41 recruit nationally regardless of position and the fourth-ranked athlete in the ESPN 150 for 2013 … Also ranked No. 68 nationally in the Top247 by 247Sports, No. 84 in the Rivals100 and No. 138 in the Scout 300 … The nation’s fifth-ranked athlete by Rivals.com … Ranked as the No. 7 outside linebacker nationally by 247Sports … Also the nation’s 15th-ranked defensive end by Scout.com for 2013 … A member of the Advocate Super Dozen … Named the Class 3A Defensive Most Valuable Player and a first-team Class 3A all-state selection by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association while leading East Feliciana High School to a berth in the state semifinals with a 9-4 record in 2012 … One of the state’s top defenders while finishing his senior season with 91 total tackles, including 17 sacks and 23 tackles for loss … Also forced two fumbles and recovered two fumbles on the year … Honored as the inaugural winner of the 104.5 ESPN Capital City Prep Player of the Year award with his effort in 2012 … Named the 2012 Warrick Dunn Award winner and the WAFB Sportsline Player of the Year … Earned the No. 1 ranking in sportsNOLA’s Nifty Fifty for 2012 in a ranking of the state’s top seniors … Kicked off the recruiting process with an invitational to attend “The Opening” on July 5, which is an all-star prospect camp held each summer on the Nike Campus in Beaverton, Ore. … Coached at East Feliciana High School by Cedric Anderson.

PERSONAL
Born on Dec. 2, 1994 … Parents are Wendell and Urhonda Beckwith … Brother, Wendell Beckwith, Jr., plays defensive end for Tulane University … Cousin, Darry Beckwith, was a two-time second-team All-SEC linebacker at LSU during his collegiate career from 2005-08 before signing a free agent contract with the San Diego Chargers in 2009.

Josh Boutte
6-4 * 324 * Offensive Line
New Iberia, La.
Westgate High School

HIGH SCHOOL
An impact player on offense who gives up no ground and is quick off the ball … Participated in the 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl West Team … Named to the 2011 5A All-State Team as a junior and honorable mention all-state as a senior … Earned a four star rating from 247sports.com, Rivals.com, PrepStar and Scout.com … Listed in the PrepStar Top 150 Dream Team as the 114th player overall … Given a three star rating by ESPN.com … 247sports.com ranked him as the nation’s No. 8 offensive guard and the 4th-best overall prospect in Louisiana … Rivals.com ranked him as the No. 7 offensive guard in the nation … Ranked as the No. 8 best offensive guard prospect in the nation by Scout.com … … A member of the Advocate Super Dozen … Coached by Ryan Antoine.

PERSONAL
Mother is Marla Boutte … Born May 20, 1994.

Tashawn Bower
6-5 * 241 * Defensive Line
Somerville, N.J.
Immaculata High School

High School
A player with the size, length and strength to be a standout pass rusher at the college level … Rated as a four star recruit by ESPN.com, Rivals.com, Scout.com and 247sports.com … Ranked as the No. 11 best defensive end in the nation by ESPN.com, the No. 14 defensive end by Rivals.com, No. 17 by 247sports.com and No. 22 by Scout.com … Ranked as the No. 4 prospect in the state of New Jersey by ESPN.com, No. 9 by Rivals.com and No. 14 by 247sports.com … Rated in ESPN.com’s top 150 as the No. 132 prospect in the nation … Participated in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl for the East squad … Clocked at a 4.80 40-yard dash time … Coached by Pierce Frauenheim.

Personal
Mother is Corri Bower … Born February 18, 1995.

Jeryl Brazil
5-9 * 181 * Athlete
Loranger, La.
Loranger High School

HIGH SCHOOL
An impact player on either side of the ball and anywhere on the field, he was LSU’s first commitment for the class of 2013 … Played quarterback, running back, and cornerback for Loranger High School … Participant of the Under Armour All-American Bowl Game (Black Team) … Named to the Class 3A All-State Team as an athlete … Accounted for 300 all-purpose yards in 26-21 win over University Lab Cubs on Sept. 7, 2012 … Rated No. 60 in the 2013 ESPNU 150 … A four star prospect according to ESPN.com, Rivals.com, Scout.com, and 247sports.com … Rated as Louisiana’s No. 3 best overall prospect by ESPN.com, No. 8 by Rivals.com, and No. 6 by 247sports.com … Nationally, rated as the No. 8 best cornerback by ESPN.com, No. 12 by 247sports.com, No. 17 by Rivals.com, and No. 22 by Scout.com … Named a PrepStar Top 300 All-American … … A member of the Advocate Super Dozen … A profound track athlete, in 2011 he was the Class 3A state championship in the 100m and 200m races … As a junior he broke the Louisiana state record in 55 meters in 6.25 seconds, the same record that once belonged to former LSU speedster Trindon Holliday … Coached by Sammy Messina

PERSONAL
Parents are Pamela and Jeryl Brazil Sr. … Born March 28, 1994.

John Diarse
6-1 * 205 * Wide Receiver
Monroe, La.
Neville High School

HIGH SCHOOL
A versatile playmaker in all three phases of the game in high school … Projects as a wide receiver … Graduated from high school in December and enrolled at LSU in January … Will take part in spring practice with the Tigers … A participant in the 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl … Recorded a reception in the 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl… Led Neville to the 4A Finals as a senior and accounted for 148 yards rushing, 151 yards passing and two touchdowns in the team’s 29-22 loss to Karr…Named the 4A Offensive MVP by Louisiana Sports Writers Association… Name to the 2012 Class 4A All-State football team… Received the Louisiana Farm Bureau Insurance Mr. Football Award as voted on by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association… Ranked as the No. 10 prospect in Louisiana by Rivals.com… … Named a PrepStar Top 300 All-American … Rated the No. 23 athlete in the nation by ESPN.com… A member of the Advocate Super Dozen … Threw for 1,685 yards and 18 touchdowns while collecting 1,327 yards on the ground and 21 rushing touchdowns his senior season… Recorded three interceptions at defensive back as a junior… Coached by Mickey McCarty.

PERSONAL
Parents are Shelia & John Diarse Sr. … Born Dec. 10, 1994.

Andy Dodd
6-3 * 330 * Offensive Line
Lindale, Ga.
Pepperell High School

HIGH SCHOOL
A devastating run blocker who can play either guard or tackle … One of the top guard prospects in the country following a stellar prep career at Pepperell High School … Played offensive tackle during his senior season in 2012 … Wrapped up his high school career as a first-team Class 2A all-state selection by the Georgia Sportswriters Association in his final prep season … Helped pave the way to a berth in the Class 2A state playoffs for Pepperell High School in 2012 … A four-star prospect by such national recruiting outlets as ESPN, 247Sports and Rivals.com … Ranked No. 180 among all recruits nationally and No. 9 among offensive guards in the ESPN 300 for the Class of 2013 … Earned a No. 241 national ranking and No. 11 ranking among offensive guards in the final Top247 released by 247Sports … Tabbed the nation’s 12th-ranked guard by Rivals.com … The 20th-ranked prospect in the state of Georgia by 247Sports and the 21st-ranked recruit in the Peach State by ESPN and Rivals.com … A three-star prospect and the 34th-ranked offensive guard for the 2013 signing class by Scout.com … Played tight end as a junior in 2011 … Coached in high school by Jeff Shiflett.

PERSONAL
Born on Nov. 27, 1994 … Parents are Larry and Rebecca Hunter.

Fehoko Fanaika
6-6 * 340 * Offensive Line
Sacramento, Calif.
College of San Mateo

PRIOR TO LSU
Graduated from the College of San Mateo and enrolled at LSU in January 2013 to take part in spring practice … A powerful run blocker who started at offensive guard for two seasons at San Mateo … Earned California Community College Football Coaches Association First-Team All-America honors at offensive guard in 2011 … Helped guide his team to an 8-3 record and 62-24 victory against Diablo Valley in the Bothman Bulldog Bowl in 2011 … Paved the way for a rushing offense that averaged more than 300 yards a game on the ground in 2011 … Rated as a three-star offensive guard by Rivals.com … Played high school football at Florin High School in Sacramento … Coached in high school by by Mike Morales.

PERSONAL
Born Aug. 15, 1992 … Represents the first football player in LSU history with Tongan heritage.

Greg Gilmore
6-4 * 275 * Defensive Tackle
Hope Mills, N.C.
South View High School

High School
A disruptive tackle who uses his aggressiveness to blow up plays in the back field … Participated in the 2013 Under Armour All-American Game for the Black Team … Rated as a five star prospect by Scout.com and a four star prospect by ESPN.com, 247Sports and Rivals.com … Named the No. 1 player in the state of North Carolina by ESPN.com … Graded as the nation’s No. 5 defensive tackle, the No. 2 player in North Carolina and the 59th best overall player in the country by 247Sports … Listed as a member of the ESPN 150 as the 83rd ranked player overall and No. 8 rated defensive tackle … A member of the Rivals 250 as the No. 5 rated defensive tackle … … Named a PrepStar Top 300 All-American … Assessed as the number five defensive tackle by Scout.com … Played in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas … Named to the Associated Press North Carolina All-State Team … Posted 90 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and two sacks his senior season … Registered 79 tackles, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and two sacks his junior campaign … Earned first-team All-Mid-South 4A Conference honors his junior and senior year … Named to the All Cape Fear Regional Team … Coached by Randy Ledford

Personal
Parents are Tina Ward and Glen Gilmore … Born Nov. 28, 1994.

Frank Herron
6-5 * 245 * Defensive End
Memphis, Tenn.
Memphis Central High School

High School
A strong defensive end with solid stature, he will be able to cause issues for opposing offensive lineman … Rated as a five star recruit by Rivals.com and PrepStar and as a four star by ESPN.com, 247sports.com, and Scout.com … Named to the PrepStar Top 150 Dream Team … Recorded 57 tackles, seven tackles for loss, and seven sacks in his junior season at Memphis Central High School … Tallied 26 tackles, six for tackles for loss, two and a half sacks, and forced one fumble in his senior campaign … Rated as the No. 2 player in Tennessee by Rivals.com and 247sports.com and No. 6 by ESPN.com … Rated as the No. 5 defensive end by Rivals.com and Scout.com, while being rated as the No. 7 defensive end by 247sports.com … Participated on the East Team in the US Army All-American Game where he recorded one sack for a 10 yard loss … Coached by Lynord Crutchfield

Personal
Mother is Wahlisha Hawkins … Born September 9, 1994.

Rickey Jefferson
5-10 * 187 * Defensive Back
Destrehan, La.
Destrehan High School

HIGH SCHOOL
A versatile skill-position prospect who projects to play in the secondary at LSU … Standout wide receiver during his prep career at Destrehan High School … Caught 36 passes for 562 yards and five touchdowns to lead the Wildcat offense during the 2012 season … Honored for his performance as an honorable mention Class 5A all-state performer by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association following his senior season … A consensus four-star recruit by all of the major national recruiting services … Earned a No. 176 national ranking among all prep recruits in the Rivals250 and a No. 14 ranking among cornerback prospects rated by Rivals.com in the Class of 2013 … Ranked No. 185 overall and No. 23 among wide receivers in the ESPN 300 … The nation’s 24th-ranked wide receiver by Scout.com and 39th-ranked prospect at the position by 247Sports … One of the top prep prospects in the state of Louisiana for the Class of 2013, earning a No. 6 ranking by Rivals.com, a No. 9 ranking by ESPN and a No. 11 ranking by 247Sports among in-state recruits … Ranked No. 4 among high school seniors in the state of Louisiana in sportsNOLA’s Nifty Fifty for 2012 … Named a PrepStar Top 300 All-American … An all-district performer as both a wide receiver and return specialist in his sophomore season at Destrehan High School in 2010 … A member of the Advocate Super Dozen … Emerged as one of Louisiana’s top young prospects as a dynamic sophomore with 35 carries for 300 yards and three touchdowns, 18 catches for 327 yards and four touchdowns and 275 return yards and two touchdowns on special teams … Coached in high school by head coach Stephen Robichaux.

PERSONAL
Born on Dec. 28, 1994 … Parents are John and Elaine Jefferson … Younger brother of former LSU starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson.

Anthony Jennings
6-2 * 205 * QB
Marietta, Ga.
Marietta High School

HIGH SCHOOL
A dynamic dual-threat quarterback who graduated from high school in December … Enrolled at LSU in January and will take part in spring practice … A consensus four star prospect by all of the major recruiting publications … Made the finals of ESPN Rise’s Elite 11 passing competition … Named the MVP of the Elite 11 Atlanta Region over 86 quarterbacks from 19 states, including 21 with Division I offers … Of the 86 competitors, the only quarterback from his region to make the Elite 11 finals … Earned Georgia Sportswriters Association first-team all-state honors as an athlete his junior season and Atlanta Journal Constitution honorable-mention all-state honors as a quarterback his senior season … Played in the Georgia Junior Bowl … Rated as the fifth-best dual-threat quarterback by Rivals.com and the eighth best by ESPN.com … Regarded as the number 16 pro-style quarterback back by 247sports … A member of the ESPN 300 as the 221st best prospect in the nation and a member of the Rivals 250 as the 127th best prospect in the nation … Named to the PrepStar Top 150 Dream Team as the number 10 quarterback in the nation … Considered the 11th ranked prospect in the state of Georgia by Rivals.com … Racked up 2,187 yards and 19 touchdowns through the air and 500 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground his junior campaign … Averaged over five yards a carry on the ground and passed for over 800 yards his senior season … Led his team to an 8-4 record his senior campaign and a 5-1 district record his junior season after missing half of the season due to injury … Coached in high school by Scott Burton.

PERSONAL
Parents are Taneisha Raine and Will Jennings … Father played on the defensive line at the University of Georgia from 1990-1993 … Born Oct. 31, 1994.

Avery Johnson
6-1 * 180 * WR
Pompano Beach, Fla.
Ely High School

PRIOR TO LSU:
Attended Hargrave Millitary Academy in Chatham, Va., following his senior year of high school.

HIGH SCHOOL:
A physically gifted wide receiver with good route running skills and the speed to stretch the field … Enrolled at LSU in January and will take part in spring drills … Consensus four-star prospect by every major recruiting publication … Amassed 113 catches for 1,752 yards and 20 touchdowns over his three-year stay at Ely High School in South Florida … Ranked the No. 23 wide receiver prospect in the nation by ESPN … Listed as the No. 36 overall player from the state of Florida and No. 101 prospect in the Southeast according to Scout.com … Placed No. 7 on the Miami Herald Florida Top 101 list … The No. 3 recruit on the Miami Herald Broward County Top-25 recruit list … Earned All-County honors in 2009 … Played for the white team in the 2012 Under Armour All-American game under former NFL head coach Steve Mariucci … Played his freshman season of high school at Redemptorist in Baton Rouge and was teammates with current LSU junior OL La’El Collins and sophomore RB Jeremy Hill … Coached in high school by Rodney Gray.

PERSONAL
Younger brother of former LSU All-American cornerback and current Arizona Cardinals all-pro Patrick Peterson … Is currently going through the process to legally change his last name from Johnson to Peterson in Jan. of 2013 … Parents are Shandra and Patrick Peterson … Born Oct. 7, 1992.

Melvin Jones
6-3 * 245 * Linebacker
Lake Charles, La.
Washington-Marion High School

HIGH SCHOOL
Tremendous athlete that will bring size and speed to the linebacker position … Named by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association to the 4A All-State Team as a junior and senior … Earned a four star rating from 247sports.com and Scout.com … Earned a three star rating from Rivals.com and ESPN.com … Listed as a Top 300 All-American and the number 10 inside linebacker by PrepStar … 247sports.com ranked him as the No. 171 recruit in the nation … Rivals.com ranked him as the No. 22 recruit in the state of Louisiana and No. 29 best recruit at his position … Scout.com ranked him as the No. 176 recruit in the nation and No. 8 best recruit at his position … Recorded 78 tackles and an interception as a junior and followed that with 125 tackles as a senior … Also played quarterback in high school … A member of the Advocate Super Dozen … Coached by Freddie Harrison.

PERSONAL
Parents are Vicki and Troy Jones … Born Sept. 28, 1994 … Dad signed as a running back with Texas A&M out of high school … Spent two years with the Aggies before finishing his career at McNeese State.

Christian LaCouture
6-5 * 290 * Defensive Tackle
Lincoln, Neb.
Lincoln Southwest High School

HIGH SCHOOL
A talented prospect who projects to play defensive tackle at LSU … Graduated in December and enrolled at LSU in January … Will take part in spring practice … Honored as a Semper Fidelis All-American following the 2012 season … Played all four positions on the defensive line as a senior in 2012 … Also started at both fullback and tight end on the offensive side of the ball … Registered 98 tackles with 14 tackles for loss on defense as one of the nation’s elite defensive line prospects … Guided Lincoln Southwest to a berth in the first round of Nebraska’s Class A state playoffs in 2012 … Honored as a Class A first-team all-state pick and Nebraska super-state selection by the Lincoln Journal Star after the 2012 season … Followed his senior season with an appearance on the West squad at the 2013 Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in Carson, Calif. … A four-star prospect and the No. 14-ranked strongside defensive end recruit in the country for the Class of 2013 by both 247Sports and Scout.com … Ranked No. 128 among the nation’s top recruits in the Scout 300 for the 2013 recruiting season … Named the No. 2-ranked prospect in the state of Nebraska for his signing class by 247Sports … Rated a three-star recruit by ESPN and Rivals.com … Rated the nation’s No. 17-ranked strongside defensive end and No. 2-ranked recruit in Nebraska by Rivals.com … ESPN’s No. 45-ranked defensive tackle nationally for 2013 … Started high school football career at Odessa Permian (Texas) before eventually moving to Lincoln, Neb. … Coached at Lincoln Southwest by Mark King.

PERSONAL
Born on Sept. 4, 1994 … Parents are David and Amy LaCouture … His dad was a four-year ice hockey letterwinner at the University of Maine where he was a key member of the Black Bears’ 1993 NCAA National Championship squad.

Quantavius Leslie
6-4 * 190 * Wide Receiver
Hogansville, Ga.
Hinds (Miss.) Community College

PRIOR TO LSU
A fast and physical deep-threat wide receiver who played for Hinds (Miss.) Community College for two seasons after high school … A four-star prospect according to ESPN.com, Rivals.com and 247sports.com… Listed as the No. 5 wide receiver in the nation by 247sports.com … In 2012 recorded 517 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in six games… Averaged 21.5 yards per catch in 2012… Named to the 2011 National Junior College Athletic Association All-State First Team … Coached by Gene Murphy

HIGH SCHOOL
Led his team to an 8-4 record in his senior season…Coached how Pete Wiggins

PERSONAL
Parents are Barbara Addie and Harold Leslie … Born Feb. 1, 1992.

K.J. Malone
6-3 * 307 * Offensive Line
Ruston, La.
Cedar Creek School

HIGH SCHOOL
A physical run blocker that who can play any position on the offensive line, including center … Had success at left tackle throughout high school … Named to the 2012 1A All-State team by Louisiana Sports Writers Association … A four-star recruit according to ESPN.com … Listed as the No. 23 prospect in Louisiana by 247sports.com … Rated the No. 18 prospect in Louisiana by ESPN.com… …Rated as the No. 23 guard in the nation by ESPN.com… Named to the PrepStar All-Southeast Region team … Led Cedar Creek to a 9-3 record in his senior season…Coached by Ben Haddox

PERSONAL
Parents are Kay and Karl Malone Sr. … Dad played in NBA for 18 seasons and is considered one of the best players to ever play the game … He’s a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame…Born May 8, 1995.

Lewis Neal
6-1 * 234 * Defensive End
Wilson, N.C.
James B. Hunt High School

High School
A very quick and explosive player off the line … Averaged nearly 10 tackles and a one sack per game … Recorded 68 tackles, eight sacks and one safety in his senior campaign … Rated a four star recruit by ESPN.com and a three star by Rivals.com, 247sports.com and Scout.com … Rivals.com ranks him the No. 18 player in North Carolina, while ESPN.com ranks him the No. 19 player in the state and No. 25 by 247sports.com … Ranked as the No. 27 defensive end in the nation by Rivals.com, No. 29 by 247sports.com, No. 33 by Scout.com and No. 39 by ESPN.com … Named MVP among defensive lineman at the Top Gun Camp in Williamsburg, Virginia … Participated in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl where he walked away with Defensive Player of the Year honors … Coach by Randy Raper.

Personal
Mother is Cynthia Neal … Born May 17, 1995.

Michael (M.J.) Patterson
6-2 * 218 * Defensive End
Winnfield, La.
Winnfield Senior High School

HIGH SCHOOL
A skilled pass rushing defensive end who was one of LSU’s first commitments in the Class of 2013 … Committed to LSU on March 28, 2012 … A consensus three-star prospect by all of the major recruiting services … Honored by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association as a two-time all-state and all-district performer during his prep career at Winnfield Senior High School … Earned first-team Class 2A all-state honors as a senior in 2012 while making 69 tackles and nine sacks along with two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries on the year … Guided Winnfield Senior High School to a 10-2 mark and a berth in the second round of the Class 2A state playoffs in 2012 … Recorded 75 tackles with 10 sacks and two interceptions returned for touchdowns en route to an honorable mention all-state selection during his junior season in 2011 … Led Winnfield to the 2011 Louisiana High School Athletics Association Class 2A State Championship Game with a 14-1 mark … Winnfield suffered its only defeat of the 2011 season to John Curtis in the 2011 2A state title game held in the Superdome in New Orleans … Earned back-to-back first-team All-District 3-2A honors in 2011 and 2012 … Also a two-time All-CENLA selection by The Alexandria Town Talk … The 19th-ranked weakside defensive end recruit nationally and 15th-ranked prospect in the state of Louisiana for the 2013 recruiting season by Rivals.com … Tabbed the No. 20-ranked weakside defensive end in the country and No. 18-ranked player in Louisiana for 2013 by 247Sports … Rated No. 46 among defensive ends nationally by Scout.com and No. 52 by ESPN … Coached at Winnfield High School by Andy Pyles.

PERSONAL
Born on Nov. 2, 1994 … Parents are Michael Patterson, Sr., and Kim Vincent.

Ethan Pocic
6-7 * 285 * Offensive Line
Lemont, Ill.
Lemont High School

HIGH SCHOOL
A strong and physical offensive lineman known for his run-blocking abilities… First team Parade All-American as a senior … Graduated from high school in December and enrolled at LSU in January … Will take part in spring practice … Named a 2013 Under Armour All-American and first-team USA Today All-American… Given five stars by PrepStar and named to the Top 150 Prep Star Dream Team … A four-star prospect according to Rivals.com and ESPN.com … Rated as the No. 3 offensive lineman in the nation by Rivals.com … Ranked as the No. 35 player overall and No. 2 offensive tackle in the nation by Prep Star … Named to the IFCA 6A All-State team… Rated the No.3 prospect in Illinois by ESPN.com … Led Lemont to a state semifinal appearance as a senior… Coached by Eric Michaelsen

PERSONAL
Parents are Kim and Gary Pocic… Born Aug. 5, 1995… Brother Graham played at the University of Illinois where he started 36 games on the offensive line in his four years with the Illini … Earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors twice.

Hayden Rettig
6-2 * 201 * Quarterback
Los Angeles, Calif.
Cathedral High School

HIGH SCHOOL
One of the elite signal callers in the country for the Class of 2013 … Committed to LSU on May 22, 2012 … A consensus four-star prospect by all of the major recruiting outlets nationwide … Honored as a 2013 U.S. Army All-American … Earned honorable mention All-America honors from Parade Magazine as a senior … One of three quarterbacks invited to play for the West squad at the 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas … Recognized among his peers for his size and arm strength in practice leading up to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl … The No. 85-ranked recruit nationally in the Rivals100 and the nation’s No. 5-ranked pro-style quarterback by Rivals.com for 2013 … Also the ninth-ranked prep recruit in the state of California by Rivals.com … Given a rating of 93 by 247Sports with a No. 170 national ranking in the organization’s final Top247 … Tabbed the No. 12 pro-style quarterback recruit in the country and No. 20 player in California by 247Sports … Ranked No. 217 in the ESPN 300 for 2013 with a scout rating of 83 … ESPN’s No. 17-ranked pocket-passing quarterback nationally and No. 20-ranked recruit in California for 2012 … The 19th-ranked quarterback recruit in the Class of 2013 by Scout.com … Wrapped up a stellar senior season at Cathedral High School in 2012 by passing for 3,424 yards while completing 261 of 485 attempts on the season … Threw for 40 touchdowns with just 18 interceptions on the year … Guided the Cathedral Phantoms to a 10-3 mark en route to a berth in the semifinal round of the California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section Playoffs during his senior season in 2012 … Threw for a season-high of 443 yards on 30 completions in a 37-27 victory over Harvard-Westlake on Oct. 27 … Burst onto the national scene as one of the top prospects at his position as a junior by throwing for a career-best of 508 yards and six touchdowns in the 2011 season opener.

PERSONAL
Born on Dec. 23, 1993 … Parents are Mark and Carol Rettig … Brother, Chase, is the starting quarterback at Boston College … Graduated from Cathedral High School in December and enrolled at LSU in January for the start of the 2013 spring semester … Will take part in spring drills at LSU beginning in March.

Duke Riley
6-1 * 205* Linebacker
River Ridge, La.
John Curtis High School

HIGH SCHOOL
A speedy linebacker that has the ability to put pressure on the quarterback and cover receivers down field … Honored as the Most Outstanding Defensive Player of the 2A All-State Team by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association … Named to the 2012 Class 2A All-State Team by LSWA … Led John Curtis to a Class 2A State Championship in his junior and senior seasons … Racked up 10 total tackles and scored a touchdown on a 80-yard fumble recovery in the 2012 Class-2A State Championship Game … Earned MVP honors in the 2010 Class-2A Title Game where he recorded 21 tackles … A four-star recruit according to ESPN.com … Given three stars by Rivals.com, 247Sports and Scout.com … Listed as the No. 17 prospect in Louisiana by ESPN.com … Ranked as the No. 23 prospect in Louisiana by 247sports.com … Rated as the No. 26 linebacker in the nation by ESPN.com … Recorded 124 tackles in his senior season … Coached by J.T. Curtis.

PERSONAL
Born Aug. 9, 1994 … Parents are Kesha Riley and Duke Bergham.

Rashard Robinson
6-1 * 163 * Defensive Back
Pompano Beach, Fla.
Blanche Ely High School

HIGH SCHOOL
Participated in the Offense-Defense Bowl as a member of the defense … Earned a four star rating by 247sports.com and Rivals.com … Earned a three star rating by Scout.com and ESPN.com … 247sports.com ranked him No. 10 best recruit at his position, No. 17 best recruit in the state of Florida and No. 118 nationally … Rivals.com ranked him No. 26 at his position and No. 44 in the state of Florida … Scout.com ranked him number 32 at his position … Named a PrepStar Top 300 All-American …
Coached by Charles Hafley

PERSONAL
Parents are Carol Scriven and Reginald Robinson … Born July 23, 1995.

DeSean Smith
6-4 * 226 * Tight End
Lake Charles, La.
Barbe High School

HIGH SCHOOL
One of the top pass catching tight ends in the nation who has the ability to split outside and make plays down the field … Selected to the 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl and played for the West squad … Invited to attend the prestigious U.S. Army Coaches Academy … Rated as a consensus four star prospect by every major recruiting service … Named to the PrepStar Top 150 Dream Team as the number 92 overall player in the nation … A member of both the ESPN 150 and the Rivals 250 … Regarded as the 68th best player in the nation by Rivals.com … Listed as the number two, four and five tight end in the nation by Rivals.com, 247Sports and ESPN.com, respectively … Ranked as the fourth best prospect in the state of Louisiana by Rivals.com and the fifth best prospect in the State of Louisiana by ESPN.com and 247Sports … A member of the Advocate Super Dozen … Hauled in his second touchdown with two minutes left in the fourth quarter in Barbe High School’s 27-point comeback against West Monroe in the 5A State semifinal game … Caught two touchdowns in Barbe High School’s state championship game loss to Archbishop Rummel High School … Named to the Louisiana Sports Writers Association Class 5A All-State squad his junior and senior season … Notched 815 yards and 11 touchdowns his senior season … Hauled in 43 passes for 764 yards and seven touchdowns his junior campaign. … Coached by Mike Cutrera.

PERSONAL
Born on Nov. 2, 1994 … Parents are Colleen and Gary Smith

Kevin Spears
6-3 * 190 * Wide Receiver
New Orleans, La.
Holy Cross High School

High School
A tall and very athletic player has the potential to step in a contribute immediately … Caught 60 passes for 1,060 yards and 11 touchdowns in helping Holy Cross reach the 4A state semifinals in 2012 … Did not play football as a junior … Rated as a four star recruit by ESPN.com and Rivals.com and a three star by 247sports.com … ESPN.com ranks him as the No. 46 wide receiver in the nation while 247sports.com ranks him as the No. 81 wide receiver … Ranked as the No. 15 prospect in Louisiana by ESPN.com and the No. 26 best player in the state by 247sports.com … Coached by Barry Wilson.

Personal
Parents are Stacey Garner and Kevin Spears, Sr. … Born January 29, 1995.

Logan Stokes
6-4 * 240 * Tight End
Muscle Shoals, Ala.
Northeast Mississippi Community College

PRIOR TO LSU
Athletic tight end that has played as both a pass-catcher and a run-blocker … Transfers to LSU after spending two seasons at Northeast Mississippi Community College … Hauled in 10 passes for 80 yards as a sophomore in 2012 … Named to the 2012 National Junior College Athletic Association All Region XXIII Second Team and a Mississippi Association of Community/Junior College All-State honoree … Rated No. 85 by Scout.com… Named to the PrepStar All-Southeast Region team … Coached in junior college by by Ricky Smither … Prepped at Muscle Shoals (Ala.) High School where he was coached by Scott Basden.

PERSONAL
Parents are Sheila Wimberly and Patrick Stokes … Born Dec. 4, 1992.

Tre’Davious White
5-10 * 170 * Defensive Back
Shreveport, La.
Green Oaks High School

HIGH SCHOOL
Considered one of the nation’s top cornerback prospects for the Class of 2013 … A five-star recruit as the nation’s No. 2-ranked cornerback and No. 9-ranked prospect nationally regardless of position by 247Sports … Given five stars by PrepStar and named to the PrepStar Top 150 Dream Team … Reached four-star status in recruiting rankings released by ESPN, Rivals.com and Scout.com … Ranked as the No. 35 prospect nationally and No. 6 cornerback by Rivals.com … Ranked No. 58 in the Scout 300 as the nation’s No. 6-ranked cornerback prospect by Scout.com … The top-ranked recruit in Louisiana by both Rivals.com and Scout.com for the Class of 2013 … Named a U.S. Army All-American during his senior season at Glen Oaks in 2012 … Started in the defensive backfield for the West squad at the 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio … Wowed scouts with his athleticism and coverage skills in practice in preparation for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl … Displayed tremendous return skills in the game after returning the opening kickoff 33 yards and adding a 19-yard return in the first quarter … Had one carry for eight yards for a first down on a fake punt by the West squad in the fourth quarter … Added two tackles on defense as he finished the game with 60 all-purpose yards … A member of the Advocate Super Dozen … Played primarily as a quarterback during his prep career at Shreveport’s Glen Oaks High School … Passed for 593 yards and rushed for 306 yards while accounting for 11 touchdowns during a stellar senior season in 2012 … Honored as a first-team Class 3A all-state selection by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association following the 2012 campaign … Emerged as an elite prospect during his junior season in 2011 while passing for 1,710 yards and 20 touchdowns and rushing for 804 yards and eight touchdowns from the quarterback position … Added 45 tackles and four interceptions on the defensive side of the ball as a junior at Glen Oaks … Also a standout basketball player during his prep career at Glen Oaks while earning second-team Class 3A all-state honors from the LSWA as one of the state’s top guards in the spring of 2012 … Coached by Spencer Heard.

PERSONAL
Born on Jan. 16, 1995 … Parents are David White and Lashawnita Ruffins … Related to former LSU All-America cornerback Morris Claiborne.

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Vandy QB Patton Robinette cleared to play, won’t start against Missouri

Patton Robinette

Four quarterbacks have played for the Vanderbilt Commodores this season. Sophomore Patton Robinette has proven to be the most effective during the limited time he’s been at the helm of the offense.

However, Robinette is recovering from a concussion and won’t start Saturday against the Missouri Tigers despite being cleared to play.

Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason already made 10 changes at the quarterback position through seven games. Freshman Wade Freebeck started last weekend against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers. Freedbeck was 5-of-7 passing for 20 yards before suffering a finger injury during the Commodores’ narrow 21-20 over the FCS program.

Freshman Johnny McCrary took over for Freebeck and played relatively well. The two then competed during practice this week to be the team’s starter. McCrary eventually won the opportunity to start this Saturday.

“When I step on the field, I can only do my best,” McCrary told The Tennessean‘s Adam Sparks Wednesday. “If my best isn’t good enough, I’ll take myself out of the game. You can tell if you’re not moving this team, but I want to stay tough and maybe something special will happen.”

If McCary doesn’t play at his best, he won’t have to pull himself. Mason has proven he’s more than willing to make changes at the position. Now that Robinette is healthy, McCrary could very well be on a short leash.

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UPDATE: Syracuse football is under NCAA investigation

Scott Shafer

Syracuse is the latest football program to find itself in the clutches of the NCAA.

While the Orange’s basketball team was believed to be the focus of an ongoing investigation, there are concerns regarding the football program, too.

Syracuse.com’s Nate Mink reported the investigation could affect multiple areas within the school’s athletic department.

“The Syracuse football program is part of the wide-ranging NCAA investigation into the school’s athletic department,” sources told Mink.

“The information shows that the NCAA inquiry that has swirled around the basketball team for two years is more involved, and that the football team is part of the investigation and potentially exposed to penalties. It’s unclear if other teams are involved.”

If the Orange football team was to receive any type of sanctions, possible infractions apparently didn’t occur during Doug Marrone‘s tenure. Marrone served as the Orange’s head coach from 2009-12. The current head coach of the Buffalo Bills spoke with Fink about possible reasons behind the investigation.

“There’s nothing that I know about that we did that wasn’t either punished or put forth,” Marrone said.

“One thing I did, if we made a mistake, an incidental contact or something, I just always reported it. It’s not worth it. This way I can sleep at night.”

Syracuse officials are expected to meet with the NCAA in Indianapolis at some point before the end of the month.

UPDATE (8:45 ET): ESPN.com’s Brett Murphy reported Syracuse officials will go to Indianapolis on Oct. 30-31 to face the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions.

While the basketball program is the primary target of the investigation, the football program might not escape unscathed.

“The football team is also facing allegations involving extra benefits, but only for a two-or-three-year stretch around 2004 or 2005,” a source told McMurphy.

The time period falls between Syracuse’s transition from Paul Pasqualoni to Greg Robinson as the team’s head coach. The Orange were 7-16 during those two campaigns.

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Maryland approves policy to link coaches’ bonuses to academic success

Randy Edsall

Some institutions are serious about keeping the student in student-athlete.

The Maryland Board of Regents unanimously voted in favor of a policy “denying bonuses to coaches and athletic directors whose players don’t measure up academically”, according to the Baltimore Sun.

“I think this is another step for Maryland to be in the vanguard on issues of intercollegiate athletics,” former U.S. Rep. Tom McMillen, who is a member of the Board of Regents, told the Sun. “They were a leader on guaranteed scholarships and now they are a leader in academic accountability.”

Maryland approved a “lifetime guarantee degree” in August. At that time, athletic director Kevin Anderson said, “Our vision is to be the best intercollegiate athletic program while producing graduates who are prepared to serve as leaders in the local, state and global communities. We are confident ‘The Maryland Way Guarantee’ will further demonstrate our commitment to our student-athletes’ pursuit of a college degree.”

The school’s commitment — which extends to Towson, Coppin State and UMBC — took a logical step by making its coaches more accountable for the academic performance of their athletes.

The coaches’ bonuses will ultimately be tied to the school’s yearly Academic Progress Rate. To determine a school’s APR, as defined by the NCAA, “a score of a thousand means every student-athlete on that team stayed eligible and returned to school. You begin losing points for students who are not eligible and/or are not retained.”

During the 2012-13 seasons, the Maryland Terrapins received a score of 950, which would have been worst among Big Ten schools. Clearly, there is room for improvement from Maryland head coach Randy Edsall.

This decision also becomes a recruiting advantage for the Terrapins. With the school’s added emphasis on education and new demands on its coaches, parents can see how dedicated the university is to each student-athlete. Education is at the forefront for Maryland, and it will only help the school’s athletics.

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Two Georgia Tech starters ruled out for Pitt contest

Zach Laskey, Akeem Langham

Saturday’s meeting between the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Pitt Panthers is a crucial match up in the ACC Coastal division. Both teams are trying to stay within striking distance of the Duke Blue Devils.

The Yellow Jackets will have to do so without their starting right tackle. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Chris Griffin has been ruled out for Saturday’s contest.

The redshirt freshman started all seven games on the strong side this season, but he’s currently dealing with a shoulder injury.

With Griffin out of the lineup, another redshirt freshman, Eason Fromayan, is expected to slide into the starting lineup. Fromayan already started one game this season at left tackle when Bryan Chamberlain was unable to play in the Duke contest due to an ankle injury.

Griffin isn’t the only starter that’s been ruled out for the upcoming game. Starting B-back (fullback) Zach Laskey is also dealing with a shoulder injury and won’t be able to play against Pitt.

Laskey is a key component in Georgia Tech’s triple-option attack, which is currently ranked fourth overall in rushing yards per game. The fullback is the team’s second-leading rusher with 595 yards on the ground.

Seniors Synjyn Days and Matt Connors should be able to fill in for Laskey and provide the presence needed to keep the Yellow Jackets’ inside running attack viable. Without the mid-line option, the Panthers will have a much easier time defending the outside runs or pitches by quarterback Justin Thomas.

These injuries will only help a Pitt defense that ranks 18th in the nation against the run.

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Indiana prepares for life without RB Tevin Coleman, who is considering NFL draft

Tevin Coleman

Running backs such as Georgia’s Todd Gurley, Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon and even South Carolina’s Mike Davis are all expected to bypass their senior seasons and enter April’s NFL draft. A surprise name could enter the equation.

None of those talented backs lead the FBS in rushing, though. Indiana’s Tevin Coleman does.

Coleman’s 1,192 rushing yards and 8.8 yards per carry makes the running back one of the most explosive players in all of college football. Due to this season’s success, Coleman, a junior, now appears to be leaning toward entering the NFL draft.

“There’s been scant news directly from the source but people close to the Indiana Hoosier program are planning for the departure of Tevin Coleman at seasons end,” DraftInsider.net’s Tony Pauline reported.

From a football perspective there is very little reason why  Coleman should return this season. He’s already one of the top running backs in the country, and his body hasn’t taken much of a beating after sharing the backfield most of his career. It’s an opportunity to strike while the iron is hot instead of adding more wear and tear to his body.

While the Hoosiers couldn’t replace what Coleman brought to the team the past two seasons (including 23 rushing touchdowns and counting), they can continue to sprinkle freshman running back Devine Redding into the rotation to make sure he’s ready to take over a much bigger role once Coleman and senior D’Angelo Roberts are no longer with the program next season.

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Ex-UM WR Csont’e York will serve seven days in jail

Csont'e York

Before Csont’e York can go on to the next chapter of his football-playing career, he’ll have to atone for some of his past transgressions.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the former Michigan wide receiver was sentenced to, among other things, 365 days in jail — he’ll have to serve seven — in connection to the incident that he led him to becoming the former Michigan wide receiver. In late September, York pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated assault and one charge of assault and battery. In exchange for that plea deal, another assault and battery charge was dropped.

In mid-July, York became involved in a verbal disagreement outside of a drinking establishment in Ann Arbor. Security video that was released Aug. 12 showed York sucker-punching 22-year-old male, who suffered a broken jaw as a result.

York was initially suspended by the football program in early August.  Six days after the video was released, York was dismissed by the Wolverines.

The victim in the case requested that York not be sentenced to jail. The judge had other ideas.

“I feel very strongly that some jail term is appropriate to hold you accountable so you can reflect on your actions and see that your behavior will not be tolerated,” Judge Elizabeth Pollard Hines said in sentencing York according to the Free Press. “In balancing all those factors — accountability, rehabilitation, considering protecting the community and the wishes of victim in this case — I’m going to sentence you to 365 days in jail. I’m suspending the rest, and you will serve seven of those days.”

The paper writes that “[t]he seven-day sentence will be split, with four days occurring immediately, then York being released and returning to jail Oct. 31 for the final three days.”

In addition to the jail time, York was sentenced to 24 months probation; $540 in court fines and costs; and payment of victim medical expenses that currently total $2,134.70. Even more damaging financially for York is that he will also be held responsible for any future unpaid medical expenses connected to the assault, which the judge said could exceed $70,000.

York has transferred to Toledo although he’s not yet a part of the Rockets football team. That’s expected to occur as early as spring practice next year.

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Bear Bryant Award releases 20-coach watch list

AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION GUS MALZAHN

In this latest watch list, it’s all about the Big 12 and SEC, with a healthy sprinkling of the Pac-12 for good measure.

The Bear Bryant Award announced Friday a watch list for its annual Coach of the Year that consists of 20 coaches from seven of the 10 FBS conferences.  It’s mainly, though, a list consisting of coaches from the leagues mentioned in the lede.

The Big 12 and SEC lead all conferences with five coaches apiece, while the Pac-12 is right behind with four.  The Big Ten, with two, is the only other conference with more than one, with the AAC, ACC and Conference USA hitting that singular number.

Six of the coaches on this year’s initial watch list were on last year’s as well: Baylor’s Art Briles, Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher, Oregon’s Mark Helfrich, Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, Alabama’s Nick Saban and Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops.  Malzahn, incidentally, won last year’s award.

As for this year’s contenders?  If it were up to me, and at the moment, I’d split the award right down the middle and hand one piece to East Carolina’s Ruffin McNeill and Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen.

That said, below are the 20 members of the Bear Bryant Award watch list.  Bitch, whine and/or moan about who’s on it/not on it below that:

  • Art Briles, Baylor
  • Mark Dantonio, Michigan State
  • Jimbo Fisher, Florida State
  • Huge Freeze, Ole Miss
  • Todd Graham, Arizona State
  • Mark Helfrich, Oregon
  • Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia
  • Doc Holliday, Marshall
  • Brian Kelly, Notre Dame
  • Gus Malzahn, Auburn
  • Ruffin McNeill, East Carolina
  • Dan Mullen, Mississippi State
  • Gary Patterson, TCU
  • Bo Pelini, Nebraska
  • Mark Richt, Georgia
  • Rich Rodriguez, Arizona
  • Nick Saban, Alabama
  • Bill Snyder, Kansas State
  • Bob Stoops, Oklahoma
  • Kyle Whittingham, Utah

 

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SMU AD: ‘no discussion of compensation with potential candidates’

Kliff Kingsbury, Mack Brown

You have to love the twists and turns of a coaching search with a high-profile name connected to it.

In a report taking a look at potential candidates to become the permanent successor to June Jones as head coach that we mentioned Thursday, Dallas Morning News writer Bill Nichols set the Twitterverse ablaze with the following: “SMU officials have already had preliminary discussions with former Texas coach Mack Brown, floating $4 million annually over eight years.”

That came a short time after the former UT head coach’s attorney confirmed that SMU had approached his client about a return to the sidelines.  Brown himself, currently serving as a college football analyst on ESPN, said a week earlier that he will decide in December if his coaching career is done.

The hubbub over the $4 million-per-year- report, however, prompted SMU athletic director Rick Hart to take to his Twitter account to shoot it down.

“While it is not our policy to comment during a search process, the attention a recent report has attracted dictates it be addressed. While we have a great deal of respect for Mack Brown, no one associated with our search has contacted him or his representatives. To that end, there has been no offer or discussion of compensation with any potential candidates.”

So, in summation…

He was approached [by SMU], I was approached, but he’s not interested in coaching anywhere right now.” — Mack Brown attorney Joe Jamail, Oct. 5.

[N]o one associated with our search has contacted him or his representatives.” — SMU athletic director Rick Hart, Oct. 24.

Yep, love the contradictory statements as part of these searches too.  Then again, maybe the well-heeled boosters and political figures connected to the university’s athletic department are merely circumventing official channels, and those in charge of the search are simply unaware of what’s going on behind doors that are closed to even them.  In Texas, anything and everything is possible.

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Wyoming has fingers crossed for injured second-leading rusher

D.J. May

Last week it was a suspension.  This week, it’s an on-field matter that leaves one of Wyoming’s top running back’s future uncertain.

Earlier this week rumors begin to circulate that D.J. May suffered some type of injury during practice. The school sent out a press release Thursday stating that “May did suffer an injury to a knee in Wednesday’s practice,” but that “[d]octors have not yet evaluated tests on the severity of May’s injury.”

As of early Friday afternoon, there was still no definitive word on May’s status moving forward.

May’s 260 yards and two rushing touchdowns remain second on the Cowboys this season. His two receiving touchdowns are tied for second on the team as well.

Mays was suspended for last Saturday’s overtime loss to San Jose State for violating unspecified team rules.

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Season, college career of starting UConn corner over

Connecticut v Central Florida Getty Images

UConn’s loss to East Carolina Thursday night came at a much steeper cost than just in the won-loss column.

By way of John Silver of snyuconn.com, head coach Bob Diaco confirmed Friday that Byron Jones will miss the remainder of the 2014 season because of injury.  The cornerback aggravated a lingering shoulder injury in the loss, and will undergo season-ending surgery in short order.

“Byron was playing through a small issue there,” Diaco said. “That, then exacerbated himself last night to the point that it needs to be addressed. If it doesn’t get addressed it will be something else. Right now, [it's] an isolated thing that needs to be fixed.”

Because Jones is a senior who has already used his redshirt, and will not be eligible for a medical waiver, his collegiate career has come to a close.

Jones started all seven games this season, and started 39 in his career. This season, his two interceptions are the only two picks for the Huskies defense.

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UNC’s Elijah Hood again listed as doubtful

Liberty v North Carolina Getty Images

For the second consecutive game, it appears North Carolina will be sans one of the most productive members of its backfield.

On its weekly injury report, UNC lists running back Elijah Hood as doubtful for Saturday’s game against Virginia.  Thus far, the nature of Hood’s injury hasn’t been disclosed.

Hood was also listed as doubtful heading into last Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech, and ended up not playing against the Yellow Jackets.

Prior to the GT game, Hood had been tops among Tar Heel backs with 199 yards rushing.  His four rushing touchdowns are currently tied for the team lead.

The true freshman was a five-star member of UNC’s most recent recruiting class and was rated as the No. 4 back in the country.

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Judge who will conduct Winston hearing identified

Florida Supreme Court

The “when” of Jameis Winston‘s student conduct hearing is still to be determined.

One “who,” however, has been determined.

According to WCTV in Tallahassee, retired Florida Supreme Court chief justice Major Harding has been selected to preside over the hearing as what’s described as an “independent observer.”  Two other former state court justices, Joseph Hatchett and Charles T. Wells, were in the group of three candidates considered by the Florida State quarterback and his accuser.

Each side was able to strike one of the three from consideration.  If both struck the same judge, FSU would pick from the remaining two.  It’s unknown exactly how Harding came to oversee the hearing.

Harding did confirm to the television station that he has “been chosen to oversee a student conduct hearing, but says no student’s name has been provided to him.”

ESPN.com‘s Mark Schlabach provided a brief description of each judge in his confirmation of the earlier report on Harding.

Harding, 79, was a state Supreme Court justice from 1991 to 2000. A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, he is a graduate of Wake Forest and Virginia’s law school. Harding, who is currently a practicing attorney with the law firm Ausley McMullen in Tallahassee, began his career as a jurist in Florida with a 1968 appointment as a Duval County Juvenile Court judge. When he was appointed to the state’s Supreme Court, he was the dean of the Florida Judicial College and chair-elect of the Florida Conference of Circuit Judges, according to his bio on the law firm’s website.

Hatchett, 82, was the first black man appointed to a federal appeals court in the Deep South, by President Jimmy Carter in 1979. Wells, 75, a graduate of the University of Florida and UF law school, was the Florida Supreme Court’s chief justice from 2000 to 2002. He presided over the 2000 U.S. presidential election recount cases involving the hanging chads on Florida’s ballots.

At the hearing, whenever that may be if it even happens at all, Winston could be charged with up to four student code of conduct violations in connection to the alleged sexual assault of an FSU student in December of 2012.

Winston, as long as he is still a student at the university, will be compelled to attend the hearing. He will not be required, however, to answer questions even as he is permitted to give an opening statement and cross-examine witnesses. Unless given explicit permission by whomever is overseeing the hearing, his attorney, David Cornwell, will not be allowed to speak or argue on his client’s behalf.

Provided it doesn’t interrupt the hearing process, Winston can consult with Cornwell, who will presumably be the one “advisor” permitted at the hearing.

Cornwell has publicly expressed concern over the process, saying earlier this month, “I’m not walking this kid into a firing line without the necessary weapons.”  That tack’s being viewed by some, including the accuser’s attorney, as taking on the feel of “a stall.”

(Photo credit: Florida Supreme Court)

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A&M drops Ducks, adds future Clemson series

12th Man AP

The scheduling gods taketh… and then they giveth right back.

Thursday, Twitter was all, well, atwitter when it was reported that Texas A&M had backed out of its home-and-home series with Oregon that had been scheduled for 2018 and 2019. “Typical SEC school, ducking tough non-conference games,” some derisively said, never mind the fact that A&M already has Notre Dame, Clemson, UCLA and Arizona State on its future slates.

A short time later, however, both A&M and Clemson announced that they had agreed to a future series, with the Tigers replacing the Ducks in 2018 and 2019. Clemson will travel to Kyle Field on September 8, 2018, while TAMU will head to Memorial Stadium on September 7, 2019.

“We are excited to play the Clemson Tigers, who have been on Texas A&M’s non-conference schedule previously, A&M athletic director Eric Hyman said in a statement. “As a fellow land-grant institution, Clemson is very similar to Texas A&M with a great football tradition and passionate fans. This will be a great non-conference series for both schools.”

According to FOXSports.com, Hyman “exercised a clause from the contract A&M and the Ducks… that said they could get out deal if A&M changed conferences.” The original series between A&M and UO was agreed to in 2009, prior to the Aggies’ departure from the Big 12 for the SEC.

Hyman further explained that the reason for dumping Oregon came down to simple math as it relates to home dates in 2018 and 2019.

“Our goal is to play seven home games at Kyle Field each season,” the release quoted Hyman as saying. “Playing at Oregon in 2018, combined with the Arkansas game in Arlington, would leave us with only six home games that season. In even-numbered years such as 2018, we only have three SEC home dates as long as we continue to play Arkansas in Arlington.”

And, for those who are wondering, this is not a case of UO being hard to deal with either.  Also from the release:

Texas A&M offered to switch the home-and-home dates with Oregon on the original contract, but Oregon faces the same situation with only four Pac-12 home games in even years with five on the road.

Clemson and A&M have met four times previously, with the last coming in 2005. The Aggies own a 3-1 edge in the series.

“We are looking forward to playing Texas A&M as the two schools share a rich military heritage and of course passionate fan bases,” Hyman’s Clemson counterpart, Dan Radakovich, said. “We know our fans make Clemson a great game day experience and the Aggie fans make Kyle field also one of the great venues in all of college football.”

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Ground and pound: Hurricanes establish identity during 30-6 victory over Hokies

Al Golden, Duke Johnson

The Miami Hurricanes made a statement Thursday against the Virginia Tech Hokies.

While the program may never return to the winning ways it once experienced while Al Golden is at the helm, the program finally gravitated toward an identity that’s long been forgotten. The vaunted Miami teams from the 1980’s and the early 2000’s used to physically dominate opponents. They did that Thursday night in Blacksburg.

Miami (5-2) captured a dominant 30-6 victory over Virginia Tech (4-4).

When Golden was the head coach of Temple from 2006-10, the Owls climbed their way out of football purgatory by running the football effectively week in and week out. The talent level at Miami supersedes anything Golden had at Temple, but the team’s approach against the Hokies was reminiscent of those Owls.

There was nothing fancy about what Miami did to Virginia Tech. The Hurricanes lined up and jammed the ball down the Hokies’ collective throat. Two running backs combined to run for an impressive 364 yards.

Junior running back Duke Johnson ran like a man possessed. Johnson set a career high with 249 rushing yards on 29 carries.

Sophomore Gus Edwards took over in the second half and managed 115 yards.

The Hurricanes were so dominant in the trenches, freshman quarterback Brad Kaaya was only asked to throw the ball 16 teams. He completed seven of those passes for 92 yards and a touchdown.

Plus, Miami played well on the defensive side of the football.

The Hurricanes shut out the Hokies through the first half of play, before Virginia Tech decided to ride freshman running back Marshawn Williams. Willams carried the ball 21 times for 100 yards. The young back also fumbled twice.

With the ACC Coastal division being wide open, the Hurricanes may have found its identity at the right time. At 2-2 in the division, Miami is now a half game behind the Duke Blue Devils going into this weekend’s games. But Miami holds the head-to-head edge.

If Miami plans to make a run in their division, its ball-control offense will be needed over the next two weeks against the North Carolina Tar Heels and No. 2 Florida State Seminoles.

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No. 18 ECU Pirates may stumble in polls despite 31-21 victory over UConn

Ruffin Mc Neill

The No. 18 East Carolina Pirates secured a 31-21 victory over the Connecticut Huskies Thursday. But was it enough for the Pirates to remain the top non-Power Five program and the favorite to claim an appearance in a contract bowl?

Sometimes a win can be viewed as a loss.

The Pirates struggled against a Huskies squad that entered the game 1-5 and didn’t have a victory against a single FBS opponent this season. It wasn’t until six minutes left in the game that East Carolina finally pulled away from UConn.

When a non-power conference team trying to impress the College Football Playoff gets an opportunity to add style points to their resume on national television, it has to do so. East Carolina didn’t.

The Pirates moved the ball and racked up 580 total yards, but they weren’t able to complete drives most of the evening. UConn employed a bend-but-don’t-break, and the scheme worked.

If East Carolina isn’t putting up big scoring and yardage numbers, the team is nowhere near as impressive.

East Carolina’s primary competition as the top non-Power Five program is the Marshall Thundering Herd. Marshall is currently ranked 23rd overall in the AP Top 25. The Thundering Herd’s underwhelming schedule has prevented them from legitimately entering the national conversation. Yet, Marshall’s schedule doesn’t feature a team ranked lower than Connecticut.

Despite the lackluster effort, East Carolina did win the game. Ruffin McNeill‘s squad overcame adversity and was able to win a close contest even though everything didn’t go in their favor. The program still holds victories over the Virginia Tech Hokies and the No. 25 North Carolina Tar Heels.

Plus, very few teams feature a dynamic duo like quarterback Shane Carden and Justin Hardy. Carden was 38-of-64 passing Thursday for 445 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Hardy, meanwhile, grabbed 14 passes for 186 yards. The impressive effort moved Hardy into second place among the FBS’ all-time receptions list.

The Huskies deserve some credit for knocking down the Pirates a notch. First-year head coach Bob Diaco has his team playing hard, and they seem to be figuring some things out. The defense plays sound football, while the offense was finally able to move the ball in stretches against East Carolina.

In the end, East Carolina is still the top non-Power Five program in college football, but the margin between the top team and the second team is much closer after Thursday night’s effort.

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