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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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16,200 athletes filed claim to receive NCAA video game payout

USC Trojans v Arizona State Sun Devils Getty Images

A little more than a year ago the various legal battles involving former college football and basketball players against the NCAA, EA Sports and Collegiate Licensing Company resulted in a pair of settlements valued at approximately $60 million. Two-thirds of that was to be paid by EA Sports and the CLC, and the NCAA was on the hook for the remaining $20 million. Earlier this week final proposals for splitting the money among those college athletes making a claim was submitted for approval by U.S. District Judge. Those expecting some sort of payment could be looking at receiving a check anywhere between $1,000 and at least $6,700.

Athletes had until Thursday to make their claim, but it will still take some time before those checks start being mailed. First it must be known how many claims were filed, which will affect the payouts. According to a report from USA Today, nearly 16,200 athletes ended up submitting a claim, but each claim must be reviewed and approved by the firm tasked with confirming  and approving the claims.

The NCAA has already made it known that no punishments will be handed down to any current student-athletes filing a claim if they end up receiving a check through this legal process.

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Texas A&M seat reassignment lawsuit tossed in Florida court

Missouri v Texas A&M

A class action lawsuit between Texas A&M and long-time season ticket holders has been thrown out by a district court in Florida. The case had previously been dismissed by a federal judge in Texas, so it looks like these fans are running out of options.

The family of Texas A&M fan and booster Warren Moore sued Texas A&M for an alleged breach of contract and misrepresentation regarding season tickets. The family claims the season tickets were part of a lifetime guarantee from the university following a $60,000 donation to fund a scholarship. Eight others joined the class-action lawsuit before U.S. District Judge William Dimitrouleas dismissed it.

In 1985 the Moore family donated $60,000 to Texas A&M to fund a scholarship. In exchange, the family was promised some of the best seats in Kyle Field for life. The family was also promised parking in addition to the tickets to the prime seats in Kyle Field. Since that 1985 donation, Texas A&M has undergone a massive stadium renovation, prompting Texas A&M to issue a letter to the Moore family and other season-ticket holders explaining they would have to become members of the Primary West Legacy Club at an additional cost of $15,000 per seat for the campaign gift as part of a seat reassignment process. On top of that, an annual $2,000 price for each seat over the next 15 years would be required. The Moores and at least eight other season ticket holders believe they should not have to pay such a price to keep their seats.

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UCLA coach Jim Mora goes to bat to help child with cancer

Jim Mora

Cancer sucks, and UCLA head coach Jim Mora is doing what he can to help raise money and awareness for one young child battling cancer.

Avery Huffman, the daughter of Scout.com‘s National Director of Recruiting Brandon Huffman, was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in her brain, and the location of the tumor made surgery impossible. No six-year old should have to go through that, and college football world has come together to support the Huffman family. A GoFundMe campaign has been started in support of Avery and her battle, and UCLA’s football offices took notice and responded.

Mora and UCLA are offered three fundraising options that will raise a good chunk of money while also giving the fan responsible for the donation a chance to get a look behind the curtain of UCLA football. For $10,000, UCLA will bring two adults on a road trip to the road game of their choice, complete with first class seats on the team plane and a room in the team hotel. Everywhere the team goes, so will the two fans and donors. A similar home package was also be available for a $5,000 donation. Both packages have already been claimed, raising $15,000 in quick order.

Five passes for a fall camp practice were available for $1,500 and 50 full game-day packages (tailgating, parking and game tickets) are available for a $1,200 donation. This is all money that will go toward a very worthy and noble cause, and it is good to see coaches like Mora stepping up in a time of need.

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Alabama self-reports multiple secondary violations

Nick Saban

Secondary violations rarely amount to much in the eyes of the NCAA, so do not expect Alabama to be handed a stiff punishment from the folks in Indianapolis after the university self-reported 13 secondary violations of NCAA rules. The violations occurred between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015, according to a report from AL.com.

Names of players connected to various minor offenses have not been revealed, and the violations took place within multiple athletics programs at Alabama. Five of the violations stem from the football program under head coach Nick Saban.

One violation is for a player connected to a commercial endorsement through social media. The unnamed player was ruled ineligible before being reinstated by the NCAA and the football staff underwent rules education as a result. Another violation occurred when a player was accidentally awarded more scholarship money due to a computer entry error. This was discovered at the end of the semester during a routine audit, and the player was required to repay the excess payment.

The third reported violation was a player’s friend selling complimentary tickets to a football game. The friend was added to the player’s pass list and that player was ruled ineligible before being reinstated by the NCAA. No more free passes will be given to the player’s friend.

The fourth violation was for a player receiving aid and practicing with the team after being deemed a non-qualifier for such aid. The player’s scholarship has since been revoked and he must receive and reinstatement. It is unconfirmed but believed running back DeSherrius Flowers is the player connected to this violation. Flowers, a Class of 2015 early enrollee was ruled ineligible by Alabama in mid-June due to a “recently discovered initial eligibility issue.”

Last but not least, an assistant coach was found guilty of responding to a text message from a recruit. The coach was prohibited from contacting recruits for 30 days as a result.

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Report: Notre Dame, Navy to play in Jacksonville in 2016

Obi Uzoma, Tarean Folston

Navy and Notre Dame do not typically make too many trips to the state of Florida during the course of a football season, but each will be playing in the state in 2016. In fact, they’ll even be playing each other in the state in November 2016.

According to a report Friday by ND Insider, Notre Dame and Navy will play their 2016 game in Jacksonville, Florida on November 5, 2016. The game will be played in EverBank Field, home of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars and recently undergoing upgrades to the stadium in hopes of keeping the Jaguars in town. Attracting some noteworthy college football game son the side is a nice perk too, and it seems to have worked.

Navy typically serves as host to Notre Dame in even-numbered years in the series, but tends to hold the game in a larger venue instead of its home stadium. The deal has not been officially announced, but ND Insider says the Jacksonville Sports Council has a press conference scheduled for this coming Wednesday, at which time it is expected to become official.

In the history of the Notre Dame-Navy rivalry, the game has been played in the state of Florida just once before. The 200 meeting was played in Orlando, with the Irish winning 45-14.

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NCAA now getting involved with Ole Miss and Laremy Tunsil

Memphis v Mississippi

What sounds like a messy situation at home is now getting the NCAA to come knocking in Oxford, Mississippi. The Clarion-Ledger reports the NCAA has sent officials to Ole Miss on Friday to interview the stepfather of Rebels offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil and his alleged connection to agents, which would be violations of the NCAA rules.

Last week Tunsil turned himself into authorities after being charged for domestic violence following an incident in which Tunsil allegedly punched his stepfather in defense of his mother in a domestic dispute of some nature. Tunsil and his mother had filed a lawsuit against his stepfather, and his stepfather turned around and claimed Tunsil had been riding with football agents. It is the stepfather’s (Lindsey Miller) claim Tunsil riding with agents was the root of the argument.

“We are aware that Laremy and his family have met with potential agents, which is within his NCAA rights as a student-athlete,” Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze said in a statement to The Clarion-Ledger. “Regarding the altercation, we will continue to gather facts and cooperate with the proper authorities.”

What this means for Tunsil and Ole Miss are two different scenarios in play right now. The NCAA is not always the speediest when it comes to investigations, and projecting how long one investigation will take is difficult to estimate. If the NCAA does find Tunsil guilty of accepting any benefits from agents (and yes, a car ride would probably fall within that category), then he will face a light suspension at the most. If there is more to the claims of associations with agents, that could be a much different story that is best to refrain from speculating until more information is known. The severity of the punishment for Ole Miss is also impossible to speculate on at this point in time until more is known about the situation, and whether or not there is anything to even bother focusing on.

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PETA investigated two (Michigan) Wolverines and a wallaby

Bennetts Wallaby and Joey.

Some people have dogs as pets. Others have cats. Others have fish, and perhaps some have other animals like lizards or frogs or turtles or snakes. How many have a wallaby?

Recently, Michigan football players were seen around the Ann Arbor campus posing for photos with a young wallaby, which was allegedly trying to be sold by the Michigan student-athletes. The wallaby, originally purchased in Michigan, was discovered on the Instagram page of Michigan wide receiver Jack Wangler, which was shared by quarterback Shane Morris. Per MLive.com, Wangler said the animal was not living in the apartment shared by he and Morris, but the animal was merely visiting. However, it was Wangler who reportedly answered the phone when a call to the phone number attached to the listing for the wallaby was called.

The People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, PETA, organized a deal with the Detroit Zoo to provide a safe home for the wallaby. Instead, the wallaby was returned to the breeder that originally sold the animal. The wallaby was reportedly returned in excellent condition, according to a PETA representative, and doing well. Still, it was PETA’s preference the wallaby be given a chance to live out its life in the zoo alongside its own kind.

Ultimately a wallaby doesn’t belong in a private home any more than a wolverine does,” PETA Foundation deputy director of captive animal law enforcement Brittany Peet said, per MLive.com. “These students and the University of Michigan had an opportunity to step up and set a great example by allowing the wallaby to spend the rest of its life with other wallabies in a natural habitat in an accredited facility. Unfortunately, they dropped the ball.”

Nice football puns there, Peet.

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Report: Baylor and Cal will (thankfully) not be playing in Australia in 2016

TCU vs. Baylor football

The dream of opening the college football season in Australia will just have to wait. Any plans to send Baylor and Cal abroad to play a 2016 season opener down under have been nixed. Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com reported such news Friday afternoon (via Twitter).

Last month it was reported Baylor was openly discussing the possibility to open the 2016 season in Australia against a Pac-12 opponent. That opponent turned out to be Cal, although both schools would have had to opt out of season openers at home against FCS opponents. Doing so comes at a price, not to mention the lost revenue in hosting a football game for either. Throw in the expensive travel costs to ship a football program across the Pacific Ocean, and it is not difficult to see why these talks may have dissolved. Whether or not Baylor will continue to seek an opponent for a season-opening game abroad remains to be seen.

As things stand right now, Baylor is scheduled to open the 2016 season at home against Northwestern State on September 3, 2016. Baylor’s two other non-conference games that season are scheduled against SMU and Rice. Baylor’s strength of schedule became a hot topic during last season’s College Football Playoff hunt, and is perceived to be one of the reasons Baylor fell behind the top four playoff contenders in the end, most notably Ohio State. There is no non-conference scheduling requirement in the Big 12 to schedule games against other power conference opponents like there is in the ACC or SEC, but the Big 12 would benefit from seeing more of its top programs schedule tougher games. Scheduling Cal may not sound like a huge upgrade, but it is still a power conference opponent with potential to do some things offensively.

With or without Baylor on the schedule, Cal will still be getting its dose of Big 12 opposition in 2016. The Bears are scheduled to host Texas on September 17, 2016 in the back-end of a home-and-home series that begins this fall in Austin (September 19, 2015). Cal is scheduled to open the season at home against South Dakota State and has a road game at San Diego State scheduled to fill out its 2016 schedule.

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Kirby Smart: Alabama didn’t value OSU QB Cardale Jones enough

Cardale Jones,Landon Collins

In defense of Wisconsin, not many expected Cardale Jones to be capable of stepping right in to lead Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game as effectively as he did. But Wisconsin’s misfortune should have been enough of a wake-up call for Alabama with a month to prepare for the College Football Playoff semifinal in the Sugar Bowl. According to Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, he and the Alabama staff may not have done enough to keep the defense grounded and aware of what Jones could do.

“All three of them (referring to Landon Collins, Nick Perry and Jarrick Williams)  said they did not respect the quarterback, and our job as the coaches was to make them respect the quarterback,” Smart said in an interview on 680 The Fan in Atlanta. “Well, they heard from the media, they heard from ESPN, they heard from everybody that he was a third-string quarterback. How can a third-string quarterback beat Alabama? We didn’t promote him enough and they didn’t value his talents enough, and he came in — we thought he was a really good passer. Well, he ran the ball well, too. Well, we had not seen him run the ball . . . and not a runner like (Bama QB) Blake (Sims) and not a runner like their other guy, just big.”

In the Sugar Bowl College Football Playoff semifinal game against the Crimson Tide, Jones completed 18 of 35 passes for 243 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 43 yards in the Ohio State victory.

Smart went on to praise Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott, who had a monster performance as well. Smart said he saw his defense was going to be in for a long night against Ohio State’s offense even though the Crimson Tide held an early lead.

“We had not slowed them down. We had two red area stops, which were six points (two field goals), could have been 14,” Smart said. “We had a turnover, we stripped a ball. We had not slowed them down, and I’m thinking this could be 21 but it’s six, 21-6, could be 21-21. And then they scored right before the half, which we thought was deadly. They had a good two-minute drive and scored, and I knew that we were in trouble.”

Smart also said Alabama reached out to Houston head coach Tom Herman, who was Ohio State’s quarterbacks coach last season. He and Nick Saban asked Herman to offer his take on what he saw in Alabama’s defense that Ohio State was able to crack.

Helmet sticker to The Sporting News.

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WVU announces fireworks and stripe-the-stadium plans for 2015

Getting fans to dress all in one color for a football game is so old-fashioned now. Today it is all about striping your stadium in school colors. That is West Virginia will be doing with the Big 12 opener against Oklahoma State.

Fans attending the October 10 home game in Milan Puskar Stadium will be asked to wear blue or gold depending on their section. Fans sitting in even-numbered sections will be encouraged to wear gold. All other fans are being asked to wear blue. Oklahoma State fans making the trip to Morgantown are more than welcome to join in the fun, I’m sure, but odds are pretty good they will try adding as much orange as possible to the scene.

In addition to the stripe out game against the Sooners, West Virginia will also have two games with some color-coordination among the fans. Fans are being asked to wear gold to the September 26 game against Big Ten foe Maryland. West Virginia is calling it a “Gold Rush.” The Mountaineers won a thriller against the Terrapins last season, leaving College Park with a 40-37 victory over the newest Big Ten member. West Virginia will later ask fans to all come wearing blue for the November 14 game against Texas. It will be just the second time Texas has played in Morgantown.

Need another reason to head to a West Virginia game this season? The season opener against Georgia Southern will have a fireworks show after the game.

Tennessee still set the bar about as high as you can go last season with its checker-out in Neyland Stadium. Kansas State will also be striping out its stadium this fall.

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Ranking the 10 most patriotic college conferences

The July 4th weekend is for all intents and purposes here, which means things tend to be a little slow on the college football news front. Instead of taking the day off though, I decided to rank the top 10 most patriotic conferences. Here is my list. Feel free to disagree with it as you see fit. Sorry, the independents do not qualify, as they are not an official conference.

1. American Athletic Conference

When the Big East crumbled, up rose the American Athletic Conference. Giving itself such a name made it one of the most patriotic conferences be default, but just this week it cemented its place ahead of Conference USA when Navy officially became a football-playing member. The conference also includes Temple, from Philadelphia. In case you forgot, the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philly, so that should count for something.

2. Conference USA

The OG of patriotic conferences, Conference USA was once the home to Army football (before the Black Knights struggled and decided to go back to being independent). Now it is a conference rooted in the future growth and development of some young or upcoming programs. Consider them college football’s equivalent to colonies at this stage.

3. Mid-American Conference

Another conference with a direct reference to America right in its name, the Mid-American Conference serves us all some #MACTION, because this is America.

4. Patriot League

Bet you didn’t see this one coming. The Patriot League would have been higher had it been in the FBS but it receives special recognition in this list because it is the home to Army and Navy in non-football sports. We’ll give it half-credit for that. It is also the home to American University, which does not play football.

5. Big Ten

Is there anything more American than greed and the idea that bigger is better? Doesn’t that sum up the Big Ten quite well? The conference that added Rutgers and Maryland for no other reason to add more viewers to its innovative Big Ten Network, the Big Ten also hands out plenty of cash to its members, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

6. Mountain West Conference

America was once an underdog looking to prove capable of holding its own against the dominant powers. Then one day, America became that dominant power. That reminds me of the Mountain West Conference, home to more BCS-busters and BCS bowl victories than any other non-power conference. Don’t tell the Mountain West Conference they don’t belong, because they dream big and have even seen some of their own go on to be members of power conferences along the way (Utah, TCU). Dream big MWC, it’s the American way. Also, the home to Air Force football.

7. Colonial Athletic Association

Before we were a nation, we were just 13 simple colonies. The Colonial Athletic Association has members in nine of them spanning from Maine all the way down to North Carolina. That includes Delaware (the first state), Villanova (close enough to Philadelphia and Valley Forge to count), and William & Mary (in Williamsburg).

8. Great American Standings

Sure, we may think we are all great Americans, but the 11 members that make up the Great American Conference in Division 2 have a conference labeling them as such.

9. Liberty League

If you have never heard of the Liberty League, do not be alarmed for you are likely not alone. This Division 3 conference is home to eight football schools, including the Union Dutchmen and the Merchant Marine Mariners.

10. Presidents’ Athletic Conference

Last, but certainly not least, is another one from the world of Division 3 football. The Presidents’ Athletics Conference, or the PAC, is home to Washington & Jefferson (appropriately nicknamed the Presidents). Perhaps this one should have been ranked a little higher.

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Report: RB Delton Williams could return to Spartans this month

Delton Williams, Ryan Russell

After being left off the spring roster, running back Delton Williams may be preparing to return to the Spartans football program in time for the 2015 season.

Per a story from MLive.com this morning, it is expected Williams will return to the Spartans as early as this month, although the school and head coach Mark Dantonio have not commented on the running back’s status since his initial suspension. Williams was not enrolled in classes as of the middle of June after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor firearms charge as a result of a road rage incident in March.  If Williams does rejoin the program within the month, he will be back in Eats Lansing in enough time to participate in fall camp, which could help him be ready for the start of the season.

Williams appeared in 13 games for Michigan State last season, in which he rushed for 316 yards and five touchdowns. Both of those numbers were good for third on the team behind Jeremy Langford and Nick Hill. With both having moved on, Williams is Michigan State’s leading rusher returning in 2015.

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USF adds North Carolina St. transfer Marquez Valdes-Scantling, too

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Steve Osondu

Late last month, UCLA quarterback Asiantii Woulard confirmed that he would be transferring to USF to continue his collegiate playing career.  As it turns out, he’s not the only new Power Five addition to the Bulls.

In confirming Woulard’s addition, USF also announced that they have added transfer Marquez Valdes-Scantling to Willie Taggart‘s football program. The wide receiver comes to USF by way of North Carolina State.

In two seasons at NCSU, Valdes-Scantling caught 44 passes for 538 yards, with 22 catches each year. As a true sophomore, he started the first eight games of the 2014 season. He also started three games as a true freshman in 2013.

Both Valdes-Scantling and Woulard will have to sit out the 2015 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules.  Each will have two seasons of eligibility remaining beginning in 2016.

Neither will have a redshirt season at their disposal, with Valdes-Scantling using his for the 2015 season and Woulard his in 2013.

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USF stays in-house to fill coaching vacancy

David Gilbertson

That certainly didn’t take long.  Or very far to look, for that matter.

Wednesday, we noted reports surfaced that Willie Taggart had lost one of his USF assistants to a Sun Belt Conference school.  A day later, Taggart announced that David Gilbertson has been promoted to the position of tight ends coach.

“David is a really smart, cerebral coach who brings a lot of energy, is great with our kids and has their respect,” Taggart said in a statement. “He is the son of a coach and has been with our program for a year now and really knows our system and what we want to do. He’ll be a great fit for the Bulls moving forward.”

Gilbertson joined the Bulls last summer and had been working as an offensive grad assistant. He played quarterback for Washington State, from where he received his degree in 2013 after his playing career ended in 2012.

His father, Keith Gilbertson, served as the head coach at Idaho (1986–1988), Cal (1992–1995) and Washington (2003–2004). He currently is the director of pro personnel for the NFL’s Cleveland Browns.

Gilbertson will replace Stu Holt, who will reportedly take over as the running backs coach at Appalachian State.  Holt also served as special teams coordinator; Taggart has not yet indicated who will assume those duties.

The Bulls did confirm that Holt “departed the staff in order to move his family back to their home area” of North Carolina.

(Photo credit: USF athletics)

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Mo’ money, no problems: Diddy won’t face felony charges

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 19:  Sean Diddy Combs attends CIROC "Step Into The Circle" Launch hosted by Sean Diddy Combs in Times Square on November 19, 2014 in New York City.  (Photo by Michael N. Todaro/Getty Images for CIROC) Getty Images

In the end, it’s the ol’ Lt. Drebin.  Move on, there’s nothing to see here.

Facing five felony charges, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office has decided against pursuing a felony case against Sean “Puffy” “Diddy” “P. Diddy” “et al” Combs for whatever role he played in an incident at the UCLA football complex last month.  According to Variety.com, Combs still has a minor legal hurdle to traverse, writing that “[h]is case has been referred to the City Attorney’s Office to decide on charging the rap mogul with a misdemeanor.”

Combs was involved in an altercation with a UCLA assistant, strength coach Sal Alosi, in the Bruins football offices June 22 and was ultimately arrested on multiple felony charges.  The confrontation occurred after Combs’ son, UCLA defensive back Justin Combs, was kicked out of a workout session by Alosi earlier that day, then scurried home to complain to his famous father.

Combs, through a spokesperson, claimed “any actions taken by Mr. Combs were solely defensive in nature to protect himself and his son.” UCLA had preferred charges not being pursued from the beginning.

It was subsequently reported that Alosi had “shamed” the younger Combs for missing a February workout session by posting a photo of him sitting courtside at the NBA All-Star game while his teammates were working out.

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