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2013 Nebraska recruiting class

Bo Pelini AP

(Below is Nebraska’s press release on the players added as part of its 2013 recruiting class.)

The Class Breakdown:
Total: 26; Freshmen: 23; Junior College Transfers: 3
By State: Texas (4): Johnson (Pearland), Kondolo (Carrollton), Mixon (Mesquite), Taylor (Katy); California (3): Martinez (Laguna Beach), T. Newby (West Hills), Stanton (Rancho Santa Margarita); Florida (3): Joseph (Weston), Maurice (Orlando), Suttles (Tampa); Ohio (3): Gladney (Akron), Hart (Dayton), Love (Youngstown); Indiana (2): Gregory (Fishers), Miller (Mishawaka); Louisiana (2): Carter (Metairie), Dixon (Baldwin); Missouri (2): Collins (Kansas City), Hannon (Kansas City); Illinois (1): Finnin (Crete); Maryland (1): M. Newby (North Potomac); Nebraska (1): Banderas (Lincoln); New Jersey (1): Singleton (Jersey City); South Dakota (1): Gerry (Sioux Falls); Wisconsin (1): Natter (Milton); Canada: Ontario (1): Knevel (Brantford)

By Position (First Position Listed):
Offense (12): QB-Stanton; RB-T. Newby, Taylor; WR-Dixon, Gladney; TE-Carter, Hart; OL-Finnin, Hannon, Johnson, Kondolo, Knevel
Defense (13): DL-Collins, Gregroy, Maurice, Mixon, Natter, Suttles; LB-Banderas, Love, M. Newby; DB-Gerry, Joseph, Martinez, Singleton
Long Snapper (1): Miller

(Writer’s note: below the jump are the complete bios of all 26 members of Nebraska’s 2013 recruiting class.)

Josh Banderas
6-2, 220, LB, Lincoln, Neb. (Lincoln Southwest HS)
Josh Banderas is the lone in-state recruit in Nebraska’s 2013 signing class, coming to the Huskers after a decorated high school career at Lincoln Southwest. Banderas was a two-way standout for Coach Mark King’s Silverhawks, lining up at both linebacker and running back as a senior. Banderas was a workhorse at running back, carrying the ball 189 times for 1,237 yards and 18 touchdowns. On defense, he had 119 total tackles, including 44 unassisted tackles, 11 tackles for loss and two interceptions. Banderas rushed for better than 100 yards six times during his senior season and also made at least 10 tackles seven times last fall, including four games with 15 or more stops. Banderas’ play led Southwest to a 6-4 record and a trip to the Class A state playoffs. For his efforts, Banderas was named the honorary captain of both the Omaha World-Herald and Lincoln Journal Star all-state teams. Banderas focused on linebacker in the first two years of his prep career at Southwest. As a junior in 2011, Banderas racked up 127 tackles to help LSW to a 9-2 record and trip to the quarterfinals of the state playoffs. Banderas earned first-team Super State honors from the Lincoln Journal Star and first-team All-Nebraska honors from the World-Herald for his play as a junior. In 2010, an injury limited Banderas to just five games of action, but he made his mark, accumulating 30 tackles. Banderas is also a standout on the track for the Silverhawks. Banderas won the Class A 110- meter hurdles as junior while finishing second in the 300-meter hurdles. As a sophomore, Banderas finished third in the 110-meter hurdles. Banderas committed to the Huskers in April of 2012, choosing Nebraska over a number of scholarship offers, including Oregon, Kansas State, Iowa, Iowa State and Vanderbilt. Banderas is regarded as the top prospect in the state of Nebraska by all of the major recruiting services. He is ranked among the nation’s top 20 linebackers and top 300 overall players by 247 Sports, Rivals.com and Fox Sports. Banderas participated in the Army All-American game in San Antonio in January. Banderas was born on Feb. 22, 1995, and is the son of Tom and Amy Banderas. Tom Banderas played tight end at Nebraska, lettering three years from 1985 to 1987.

Cethan Carter
6-4, 230, TE, Metairie, La. (Archbishop Rummel HS)
Cethan Carter (pronounced SEE-thun) is one of two players in Nebraska’s 2013 recruiting class expected to begin their careers at tight end. The 6-4, 230-pound Carter will join the Husker program after a standout prep career at Rummel High School in Metairie, La. Carter had a breakout season in 2012 for Coach Jay Roth. Carter was a versatile performer, lining up as a tight end, H-Back and fullback in the Raiders’ run-based offense. Carter finished the season with 23 receptions for 418 yards and five touchdowns. His play helped Rummel to a perfect 14-0 record and Louisiana Class 5A state championship. Carter shined in the state title game at the Superdome, catching five passes for 74 yards and a touchdown in a 35-14 victory over Barbe High. For his efforts as a senior, Carter was an all-district choice and a honorable-mention all-state selection. Carter also started for Rummel as a junior, and was again used in a variety of roles on offense. Carter chose Nebraska over offers from LSU, Miami, Memphis, Southern Miss, Louisiana Tech, Tulane, Louisiana-Lafayette and Florida International. Carter was ranked as the No. 13 prospect in the state of Louisiana by the New Orleans Times-Picayune, and is ranked among the top 50 tight ends in the country by several recruiting services. Fox Sports lists Carter as the No. 7 fullback prospect in the country. Carter is also one of the top players for the Rummel basketball team. Carter is the son of Shelly Carter and he was born on Sept. 5, 1993.

Maliek Collins
6-2, 285, DT, Kansas City, Mo. (Center HS)
Maliek Collins is one of two Kansas City products in Nebraska’s 2013 recruiting class, and one of six players in the class who are expected to play defensive line for the Huskers. Collins played both ways for Kansas City Center High School and posted huge numbers on defense as a senior. Collins recorded 102 tackles in 2012, including 43 tackles for loss, 15 sacks, five forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. His play for Coach Bryan DeLong helped Center High to a 10-4 record and a trip to the quarterfinals of the Missouri Class 3A state playoffs, its deepest playoff run since 2004. For his play as a senior, Collins was a first-team Class 3A all-state pick by the Missouri High School Coaches Association. He was also a member of the Kansas City Star’s All-Metro first-team defensive unit. Collins was also a standout performer for Center High as a junior in 2011, earning first-team all-conference honors as both an offensive and defensive lineman. Collins was also a standout performer during his junior season. Beyond the football field, Collins is also a standout wrestler for Center High School. Collins reached the quarterfinals at the state meet in the heavyweight class as a junior and posted a 48-5 record. This season, he is the top-ranked heavyweight in his class, and owned a perfect record through the first half of the season. Collins is ranked among the top 20 prospects in the state of Missouri and is regarded as one of the top 25 defensive tackles in the country according to Fox Sports Next. Collins also visited Kansas and Missouri, and had offers from numerous other schools, including Arkansas, Iowa and Iowa State. Collins was born on April 8, 1995, and is the son of Janice Davis and the late C.W. Collins.

Tre’vell Dixon
6-1, 185, WR, Baldwin, La. (West Saint Mary HS)
Talented two-way standout Tre’vell Dixon committed to Nebraska in the final weeks before signing day. The 6-1, 185 pound Dixon played on both sides of the ball during his career at West Saint Mary High School in Baldwin, La., and he is expected to begin his NU career at receiver. Dixon produced big numbers as a quarterback each of the past two seasons. Dixon’s senior season was cut short by injury, but before being sidelined he rushed for 700 yards and passed for another 700, while accounting for better than 20 touchdowns. Dixon also saw time in the defensive backfield. As a junior, Dixon posted big numbers as a quarterback. He rushed for 780 yards and eight touchdowns, while averaging better than 10 yards per carry. Through the air, Dixon completed nearly 60 percent of his passes for 1,700 yards and 14 touchdowns. His play helped West Saint Mary High to a 6-5 record and a trip to the Class 2A state playoffs. Dixon is also a standout on the track at West Saint Mary High where he competes in the 100 and 200 meters. Dixon’s versatility on the football field shows in his recruiting rankings. He is listed among the top 25 athlete prospects in the country by both Rivals and 247 Sports, while Fox Sports lists him among the nation’s top safety prospects. The recruiting services also list him among the top 20 overall prospects in Louisiana. Dixon also visited Houston before picking Nebraska, and had scholarship offers from Texas A&M, Texas Tech, TCU, Arizona State, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado and Minnesota among others. Dixon was born on Feb. 22, 1995, and is the son of Paula Ann Callery.

Matt Finnin
6-7, 305, OL, Crete, Ill. (Crete Monee HS/Western Michigan/College of DuPage)

Matt Finnin is one of five offensive line prospects in Nebraska’s 2013 signing class and joins the Huskers after spending the 2012 season at the College of DuPage in Illinois. The 6-7, 305-pound Finnin will have two seasons of eligibility with Nebraska. Finnin was a physical presence on the offensive line for Coach Gary Thomas’ team in 2012, helping DuPage to a 9-2 record and a victory over Northeastern Oklahoma A&M in the Citizen’s Bank Bowl. The 2012 season was Finnin’s only season at College of DuPage. Finnin graduated from high school in 2010, and signed with Western Michigan out of high school. He redshirted for the Broncos in 2010, but then returned home the following spring for family reasons. He enrolled at Eastern Illinois in August of 2011, but again left school to return home. At Monee High School in Crete, Ill., Finnin was a member of back-to-back Southland Athletic Conference championship teams in 2008 and 2009. He was named to the Southtown Star’s All-Area team as a junior, and to the NWI Times All-Area squad as a senior. Finnin was a member of the Chicago Sun Times’ Top 100 and was named to the EdgyTim.com all-state team. Finnin is regarded among the top 40 overall junior-college prospects by Rivals.com and among the top 10 junior-college offensive tackles. Finnin had a number of offers including Ohio State, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Maryland and Kansas before choosing Nebraska. Finnin was born on Aug. 19, 1991, and he is the son of Gary Finnin and Cathy Norton.

Nathan Gerry
6-2, 210, DB, Sioux Falls, S.D. (Washington HS)
Versatile athlete Nathan Gerry (pronounced Gary) joins the Nebraska program from Washington High School in Sioux Falls, S.D. Gerry is Nebraska’s first scholarship signee from South Dakota since 2003 and just the Huskers’ third signee from the state since 1997. Gerry’s play over the past four seasons helped Washington High and Coach Brian Hermanson to a 48-3 record and three state championships. In 2012, Sioux Falls Washington posted a perfect 12-0 record and outscored its opponents by a combined score of 549-81. Gerry rarely came off the field as a senior. As a safety on defense, he made 64 tackles, including 13.5 tackles for loss and added eight pass breakups, five interceptions and also forced two fumbles. He played running back and receiver on offense and accounted for 1,216 all-purpose yards and 22 touchdowns. Gerry also handled the kicking and punting chores as a senior. Gerry was a first-team Class 11AA all-state selection as a receiver for his play in 2012. Gerry was also a two-way starter during his junior season when Washington posted a 10-3 record and was the state runner-up. Gerry made 73 tackles, with two sacks and three interceptions on defense, while adding 37 receptions for 647 yards and eight touchdowns as a receiver. Gerry was an All Greater Dakota Conference first-team choice in 2011, and was also selected by the high school coaches in South Dakota as one of the Elite 45 players in the state. In addition to his versatile football talents, Gerry is a top track athlete for Washington High. As a junior, Gerry won the 200-meter title at the state meet, while finishing second in the 100 meters. Gerry is widely regarded as the top prospect in South Dakota and one of the top 50 athlete prospects in the country. He did not take any other visits after committing to Nebraska last summer, but he also had offers from Iowa, Iowa State, Michigan State, Minnesota and Arizona State. Gerry was born on Feb. 23, 1995, and is the son of Brian and Kelli Gerry.

Kevin Gladney
6-1, 185, WR, Akron, Ohio (Firestone Senior HS)
Wide receiver Kevin Gladney is part of an impressive group of offensive skill position players in Nebraska’s 2013 class. The 6-1, 185-pound Gladney is also part of a strong group of signees from the state of Ohio, joining two other Ohio natives in the class. The three signees from Ohio gives Nebraska seven scholarship signees from the state in the past three years. Gladney has posted big receiving numbers each of the past two seasons for Firestone High in Akron, Ohio. As a senior for Coach Tim Flossie, Gladney had 32 receptions for 536 yards and seven touchdowns. He also accounted for 110 yards on three kickoff returns. Gladney’s play helped Firestone to a 5-5 record in the Ohio Division II ranks. For his play, Gladney was a second-team Division II All-Ohio choice. Gladney posted even bigger numbers as a junior for Firestone, when he grabbed 48 receptions for 768 yards and 12 touchdowns and earned all-city honors in Akron. Gladney first made a strong impression as a sophomore when he saw extensive action for Firestone. Gladney is also a standout on the basketball court. As a junior, he averaged 19 points per game to help his team to a 15-7 record, to earn all-city honors in basketball. Gladney committed to Nebraska last June, and did not take any other visits, but did have offers from Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, Vanderbilt and Cincinnati to name a few. Gladney is generally regarded as one of the top 50 players in the state of Ohio and as one of the top 60 receiver prospects in the nation. Gladney is the son of Dorryea Gladney and Kevin Barnett, and he was born on Feb. 13, 1995.

Randy Gregory
6-6, 230, DE, Fishers, Ind. (Hamilton Southeastern HS/Arizona Western CC)
Defensive end Randy Gregory is part of an impressive influx of talent on the Nebraska defensive line in the 2013 class. A product of Arizona Western Community College in Yuma, Ariz., Gregory is one of three junior-college players in the 2013 class. The 6-6, 230-pound Gregory is generally regarded as the nation’s top junior-college defensive end prospect and one of the top 10 JUCO prospects regardless of position. Gregory received extensive recruiting attention even though he missed the entire 2012 season because of a broken leg. As a freshman at Arizona Western in 2011, Gregory posted impressive numbers and was named a first-team all-conference defensive end. Gregory had 82 total tackles, including 21 tackles for loss and nine sacks to help Arizona Western to a trip to the NJCAA title game. He also forced three fumbles and recovered two others for Coach Tom Minnick’s team. In addition to Nebraska, Gregory also visited Iowa State, and received scholarship offers from dozens of schools including Iowa, UCLA, Missouri, Arkansas, Oregon State, Washington, Illinois and West Virginia. Gregory originally signed with Purdue after a standout prep career at Hamilton Southeastern High School in Fishers, Ind. He was ranked as one of the top 15 players in Indiana following his senior season. Gregory also had big numbers as a junior in high school, posting 92 tackles, including 17 sacks. In addition to numerous scholarship offers in football, Gregory also attracted Division I basketball interest out of high school. Gregory was born on Nov. 23, 1992, and he is the son of Ken and Mary Gregory.

Zach Hannon
6-5, 295, OL, Kansas City, Mo. (Rockhurst HS)
Kansas City area product Zach Hannon is one of five players who are expected to begin their Husker careers on the offensive ine. The 6-5, 295-pound Hannon joins the NU program following a standout career at Rockhurst High School under Coach Tony Severino. Hannon is one of two Kansas City area recruits in the 2013 class, joining Maliek Collins of Kansas City Center High. Hannon was a dominant force on the offensive line as a senior, helping Rockhurst to a 9-3 record and a trip to the third round of the state playoffs. Hannon did not allow a sack on the season and recorded 34 pancake blocks. For his efforts as a senior, Hannon earned first-team Class 6A all-state honors in Missouri and he was a first-team All-Metro pick by the Kansas City Star. Hannon was also a standout on the line for Rockhurst during his junior season when his play helped the school to a 10-2 record and a trip to the Class 6A quarterfinals. Following his senior season, Hannon was chosen to participate in the Semper Fi All-Star Game in Arizona in January. Hannon is regarded as one of the top 10 prospects in the state of Missouri and among the top 50 offensive line prospects in the country. Hannon did not take any official visits beyond Nebraska, but had offers from Arkansas, Colorado, Missouri, Kansas State, Kansas, Northwestern, Iowa State and Illinois to name a few. Hannon was born on Sept. 7, 1994, and he is the son of Timothy and Deborah Hannon.

Greg Hart
6-5, 225, TE, Dayton, Ohio (Archbishop Alter HS)
Ohio product Greg Hart comes to Nebraska after being a standout two-way player for Archbishop Alter High School in Dayton. Hart is one of three prospects from Ohio in Nebraska’s 2013 class, giving the Huskers seven signees from the state in the past three years. The 6-5, 225-pound Hart is expected to play tight end at Nebraska after excelling on both offense and defense for Coach Ed Domsitz. Archbishop Alter posted an 8-2-1 record in 2012 and reached the first round of the state playoffs. Hart finished his senior season with better than 20 receptions for approximately 300 yards and three touchdowns. From his defensive end spot, Hart racked up better than 60 tackles, including a league-leading 10 sacks and an interception. He earned conference defensive lineman-of-the-year honors and was an honorable-mention Division III All-Ohio choice. Hart was also a difference-maker on both sides of the ball during his junior season, when he helped Alter to a 10-1 record. The school completed the regular season with a perfect record in 2011, before losing in the first round of the state playoffs. Hart is regarded as one of the top 30 tight end prospects in the country and one of the top 40 overall prospects in the state of Ohio. Hart committed to Nebraska last May and did not take any other official visits. He had a several offers, including Northwestern, Indiana, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Louisville, Kentucky and North Carolina State. Hart is the son of Thomas and Linda Hart, and he was born on Oct. 12, 1994.

Dwayne Johnson
6-6, 275, OL, Pearland, Texas (Bellaire HS)
Offensive line prospect Dwayne Johnson was one of the final pieces in Nebraska’s 2013 signing class. The 6-6, 275-pound Johnson committed to Nebraska in early February and is one of five signees expected to begin their careers on the offensive line. Johnson is one of four Texas natives in the signing class, marking the sixth straight year Nebraska has had at least two signees from the Lone Star State. Johnson helped Bellaire and Coach Trey Sissom reach the Class 5A playoffs in 2012. Johnson’s play helped his team to a powerful running attack that averaged 197 yards per game. For his efforts, Johnson was a second-team All-Greater Houston selection on the offensive line, and he earned second-team all-district honors. As a junior, Johnson’s powerful blocking helped trigger an explosive Bellaire offense that gained nearly 375 yards per game, including 260 rushing yards per contest. Bellaire had three players rush for better than 700 yards and the team posted a 7-4 record and advanced to the state playoffs. Johnson is regarded as one of the top 60 offensive tackles in the 2013 class according to 247 Sports, and the service also ranks Johnson just outside the top 100 players in Texas. Johnson chose Nebraska over offers from Arkansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Virginia, Washington State and Purdue. He was born on March 24, 1995, and is the son of Dwayne Johnson Sr. and Fatima Brown.

Boaz Joseph
6-1, 190, DB, Weston, Fla. (Cypress Bay HS)
Cornerback Boaz Joseph (pronounced Bose) was one of the final pieces in the 2013 Nebraska signing class, committing to the Huskers in late January. The 6-1, 190-pound Joseph is a versatile defensive back and one of four players in the 2013 class expected to begin their NU careers in the secondary. Joseph is one of three signees from the Florida prep ranks, the most high school players from the Sunshine State to join the NU program in one season. Joseph joins Nebraska after a standout career at Cypress Bay High School in Weston, Fla., one of the top prep programs in Florida. As a senior, Joseph had 52 tackles, 12 pass breakups and four fumble recoveries to help Cypress Bay to a 12-3 record. The school reached the finals of the Class 8A playoffs by winning four straight games by 20 points or more, before dropping a 53-50 decision to Apopka in the state finals. Joseph’s play earned him third-team Class 8A all-state honors in 2012, as well as first-team All-Broward County accolades. A physical presence in the defensive backfield, Joseph recorded five interceptions as a junior in 2011, helping Cypress Bay to an 8-4 record and the second round of the state playoffs. Joseph is ranked as one of the top 70 corners in the nation by 247 Sports and is listed among the top 150 prospects in the talent-rich state of Florida. Joseph chose Nebraska after also visiting Louisville, Kentucky, Wisconsin and Purdue, while also receiving offers from Missouri, Minnesota and Pittsburgh among others. Joseph is the son of Jonas and Lisiana Joseph, and he was born on Sept. 8, 1994.

David Knevel
6-9, 300, OL, Brantford, Ontario, Canada (Pauline Johnson Collegiate HS)
David Knevel is one of five offensive line prospects in Nebraska’s 2013 recruiting class. All five members of the offensive line group stand at least 6-4, with Knevel the tallest of the group at 6-9. A native of Brantford, Ontario, Canada, Knevel is the Huskers’ first signee from Canada since defensive tackle Patrick Kabongo joined Nebraska in the 1999 signing class. Knevel was also one of three members of the 2013 class to join the Huskers for the spring semester, joining Courtney Love and D.J. Singleton in enrolling at UNL in January. Knevel was a standout on the offensive line for Coach Ken Chisolm at Pauline Johnson Collegiate High School. Last July, Knevel helped Team Canada to a 23-17 win over Team USA at the International Federation of American Football under-19 tournament in Austin, Texas. Knevel was a member of the Team Ontario West all-star team in 2011 and attended an Under Armour Combine in 2011. Knevel began playing football just four years ago after spending the majority of his youth playing hockey. Knevel is regarded as the top overall prospect in Canada this year and is ranked in the top 250 overall prospects by 247 Sports, which ranks him among the top 20 offensive tackles in the 2013 class. Knevel chose Nebraska over Alabama and West Virginia, and also had scholarship offers from Wisconsin, Purdue, Baylor, Missouri and Vanderbilt to name a few. Knevel is the son of Michelle Knevel and Mark Miller, and he was born on Oct. 18, 1994.

Chongo Kondolo
6-4, 290, OL, Carrollton, Texas (Creekview HS/Fresno City College)
Chongo Kondolo is one of two junior college offensive line prospects in Nebraska’s 2013 recruiting class, along with Matt Finnin. The 6-4, 290-pound Kondolo has been a standout offensive tackle at Fresno City College over the past two seasons. Kondolo will have three years to complete two seasons of eligibility at Nebraska. Kondolo helped Coach Tony Caviglia’s team rank among the top squads in the California junior-college ranks each of the past two seasons. In 2012, Fresno City College posted an 8-3 record behind a strong offense that averaged more than 30 points per game. Kondolo was a first-team All-America choice by the California Community College Coaches Association, and earned first-team Valley all-conference honors. Kondolo was also a key performer in 2011, when Fresno went 10-0 in the regular season, before losing in the Northern California Football Association Championship Game. Kondolo went to Fresno City College after a standout prep career at Creekview High School in Carrollton, Texas, where he played for Coach Kyle Geller. He is ranked among the top 30 junior college players in California and is listed as the sixth-best offensive tackle prospect by 247 Sports. Kondolo also visited BYU, Illinois, Tennessee and Utah State, and had offers from Florida State and Texas Tech. He was born on Aug. 9, 1993 and is the son of Hazel Muntemba.

Courtney Love
6-1, 225, LB, Youngstown, Ohio (Cardinal Mooney HS)
A two-time All-Ohio selection, linebacker Courtney Love is part of an impressive group of signees in the 2013 class from Ohio. Love is one of three scholarship recruits from Ohio, the most signees Nebraska has ever had from the state. The 6-1, 225-pound Love is also one of three talented linebackers in NU’s 2013 class. Love was one of the first players to commit to Nebraska’s 2013 class, announcing his intention in late April. Love posted impressive numbers for Coach P.J. Fecko as a senior, registering 110 tackles, 19 tackles for loss and nine sacks. He also forced four fumbles and had two pass breakups, despite missing one game because of injury. Love was honored for his efforts as a first-team Division III All-Ohio selection for the second straight year. During his junior season, Love played a key role in Cardinal Mooney winning the Division III state title. Love recorded 130 tackles, including seven sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. In the state title game victory over Springfield Shawnee, Love was Mooney’s leading tackler. His play for the Cardinals in 2011 earned Love first-team All-Ohio honors and Division III co-defensive Player-of-the-Year recognition. Love is regarded as one of the nation’s top 30 linebackers by multiple recruiting services and is listed among the top 30 overall prospects in the state of Ohio. Love chose Nebraska over dozens of offers from around the country, including Florida State, Ohio State, USC, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Michigan State, Illinois and Indiana to name a few. Love was born on Sept. 28, 1994, and he is the son of Faye Madison and Cory Love.

Drake Martinez
6-2, 200, DB, Laguna Beach, Calif. (Laguna Beach HS)
Drake Martinez joins the class after starring as a versatile two-way performer at Laguna Beach High School in California. The younger brother of Nebraska senior quarterback Taylor Martinez, Drake is one of three Californians in the Huskers’ 2013 class, joining offensive standouts Johnny Stanton and Terrell Newby. During his senior season in 2012, Martinez rushed for 1,613 yards and 23 touchdowns, while averaging 9.4 yards per carry from his running back position. The 6-2, 200-pound Martinez counted a 95-yard touchdown run among his many rushing highlights. Martinez also caught six passes for 122 yards, with each of those catches resulting in a touchdown. On defense, he made 130 tackles and had four interceptions, returning those picks for 154 yards, including two touchdowns. Martinez also averaged 49.6 yards on kickoff returns and 57.0 yards on two punt returns. His play helped Coach Michael Churchill’s team to an 11-1-1 record, an Orange Coast League title and a trip to the CIF-SS semifinals for a second straight year. Martinez was named the MVP of the Orange Coast League and was also named to the Orange County Register’s All-County team. Martinez posted equally impressive numbers during his junior season, helping his team to a 10-3 record. He rushed for 1,889 yards and 27 touchdowns, while catching 12 passes for 285 yards and two touchdowns. Defensively, he added five interceptions, including a 62-yard return for a score. Martinez also saw varsity action during his sophomore season in 2010. Martinez is ranked among the top 70 safety prospects in the nation by Fox Sports.com. He is also ranked as one of the top 100 outside linebacker prospects in the country by 247 Sports, who also lists him among the top 130 players in California. Martinez also visited Michigan State, and also had offers from Vanderbilt and San Diego State. He was born on Feb. 11, 1994, and is the son of Casey and Epifania Martinez.

Kevin Maurice
6-3, 270, DT, Orlando, Fla. (Freedom HS)
Defensive tackle prospect Kevin Maurice is one of six players in the Huskers’ 2013 recruiting class who are expected to begin their career on the defensive line. The 6-3, 270-pound Maurice is one of three players from the state of Florida in Nebraska’s 2013 signing class. The three signees from the Sunshine State ties for the most NU has signed from Florida and represents the largest number of signees from the Florida high school ranks in a single year. Maurice is regarded as one of the fastest-rising prospects in the state after a standout senior season at Freedom High School in Orlando. Maurice recorded approximately 70 tackles, including nine sacks and better than 20 tackles for loss, while also forcing two fumbles. His play helped Coach Andy Johnson’s team to a 7-4 season and a trip to the Class 8A state playoffs. Maurice earned first-team Class 8A all-state honors from the Orlando Sentinel and was an all-district and All-Metro selection. He was also selected to play in the Central Florida All-Star game. Maurice played on both sides of the ball as a junior for Freedom High. He had 50 pancake blocks as an offensive lineman, and totaled 50 tackles and six sacks on defense. Maurice also started as a sophomore in 2010, for a Freedom High team that finished with an 8-2 record. Maurice is regarded as one of the top 120 defensive tackles in the nation by several recruiting services. He also visited Boston College, and chose the Huskers over BC, Florida Atlantic, North Carolina State and Memphis. Maurice is the son of Hernise Maurice, and he was born on July 19, 1994.

Gabe Miller
6-0, 235, LS, Mishawaka, Ind. (Penn HS)
Gabe Miller joins the Nebraska program as a long snapper who is generally regarded as one of the top specialists in the country. The 6-0, 235-pound Miller has been a key contributor for Penn High School in Mishawaka, Ind. for the past three seasons. In 2012, Miller helped Coach Cory Yeoman’s team to a 9-2 record and a trip to the second round of the Class 5A (largest class) playoffs in Indiana. Miller was the team’s starting center and handled the long snapping chores. For his role in Penn’s success, Miller was a first-team 5A all-state selection by the Indiana Football Coaches Association. Miller also earned Academic All-State honors in 2012. Miller was the starting center and long snapper as a junior in 2011, when Penn High went 14-1 and reached the Class 5A state finals. He served as the starting long snapper and the backup center during his sophomore season when Penn High reached the state playoffs and finished with an 8-5 record. Miller also competes in track for Penn High School. Miller graded out as one of the nation’s top three long snappers at the Rubio Long Snapping Camp. He is also regarded as one of the top three long snappers in the country by several recruiting outlets, and one of the top 40 overall prospects in Indiana. Miller was born on Sept. 27, 1994, and is the son of Douglas and Steffany Miller.

Dimarya Mixon
6-3, 265, DE, Mesquite, Texas (West Mesquite HS)
Dimarya Mixon (pronounced Duh-mar-EE-yay) is part of an impessive group of defensive line prospects in the Huskers’ 2013 recruiting class. Mixon joins the Nebraska program from the Texas high school ranks where he was a standout at West Mesquite High School. Mixon is one of four Texas natives in Nebraska’s signing class, marking the sixth straight year NU has signed at least two players from the Lone Star State. Mixon recorded 48 tackles during his senior season, including 12 tackles for loss and a pair of sacks. He also added 11 quarterback hurries to help Coach Mike Overton’s team to an 8-3 record and a trip to the Class 4A state playoffs. For his play as a senior, Mixon was a first-team all-district selection. Mixon also had a productive junior season to help West Mesquite High to the state playoffs. He recorded 35 tackles, with three tackles for loss and a fumble recovery, while pressuring opposing quarterbacks 11 times. Mixon is regarded as one of the top 50 players in Texas by Rivals.com, who also ranks him as one of the nation’s top 20 strongside defensive ends. Mixon is listed among the top 40 defensive tackle prospects and as one of the top 70 players in Texas by 247 Sports. Mixon also had offers from Missouri, Oklahoma, Arizona State, Mississippi and West Virginia among others. He was born on March 10, 1995, and is the son of Tasha Mixon.

A.J. Natter
6-5, 240, DE, Milton, Wis. (Milton HS)
Wisconsin product A.J. Natter is one of six players in the 2013 signing class expected to begin their careers on the defensive line. Natter is NU’s first signee from the state of Wisconsin since 1997. Natter was a three-year standout on the defensive line for Jeff Bachinski at Milton High School. As a senior, Natter had 43 tackles, including 11 tackles for loss, and 4.5 sacks, while also recording two fumbles in eight games. His play as a senior earned Natter first-team all-state honors from the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association, while he was a second-team all-state pick by the Associated Press. In his junior season, Natter had 80 tackles, including 21 tackles for loss and eight sacks, while also blocking two kicks. His play in 2011 earned Natter honorable-mention all-state accolades from the WFCA, and Natter also picked up all-region and all-conference honors. In 2010, Natter started as a sophomore and helped Milton High to a 7-4 record and a trip to the state playoffs. Natter earned second-team all-conference honors after making 55 tackles and recording 10 sacks. Natter is ranked as the top prospect in Wisconsin according to the 247 Sports composite rankings, and is a consensus choice as one of the top three players in the state. Natter is also ranked among the nation’s top 25 defensive ends by 247, Rivals.com and Fox Sports.com. Natter was one of the first commitments in Nebraska’s 2013 class, pledging his intention last April. He did not take any other visits, but had offers from Iowa, Michigan State, Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Purdue among others. Natter was born on Oct. 8, 1994, and is the son of David and Beth Natter.

Marcus Newby
6-1, 210, LB, North Potomac, Md. (Quince Orchard HS)
Marcus Newby is a key part of an impressive group of linebackers in Nebraska’s 2013 signing class, joining Josh Banderas and Courtney Love. Newby comes to Nebraska after being a dominant defensive presence for Coach Dave Mencarini at Quince Orchard (Md.) High School the past three seasons. Newby is the first NU signee from Maryland since fellow Quince Orchard product Jason Ankrah joined the NU program in the 2009 class. Overall, Newby is just the third Maryland product to sign with the Huskers since 1990. As a senior, the 6-1, 210-pound Newby recorded a team-high 132 tackles, while adding more than 15 tackles for loss, seven pass breakups, an interception, two forced fumbles and a pair of blocked kicks. Newby’s play helped Quince Orchard to a 12-2 record and a second consecutive Class 4A state runner-up finish. For his work in 2012, Newby earned consensus all-state honors in Maryland for the second straight year. He was also a Washington Post All-Met first-team choice, and a Montgomery Gazette first-team pick. Newby was also a difference-maker for the Quince Orchard defense during a 13-1 campign in 2011. Newby racked up 107 tackles, 17 tackles for loss and three sacks as a junior, while also adding eight pass breakups and two fumble recoveries. In addition to being a first-team all-state choice in 2011, Newby was also named to the all-tournament team for his impressive play during the state playoffs. Newby broke into the varsity starting lineup as a sophomore in 2010 and earned first-team all-county honors after helping his team to a 9-3 record. Newby was selected to play in the Semper Fi All-American Bowl in Arizona in January. He is regarded as one of the top 150 overall prospects in the country by 247 Sports, which also ranks Newby among the top 10 players in Maryland and the top dozen outside linebackers in the country. Rivals.com also ranks Newby among the top 20 outside linebackers in the nation and the top 10 players in Maryland. Newby had offers from dozens of schools, including Oklahoma, Penn State, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, Arizona and Maryland. Newby is the son of Mary Lourdes and Kenneth Newby, and he was born on July 7, 1994.

Terrell Newby
5-10, 180, RB, West Hills, Calif. (Chaminade HS)
Running back Terrell Newby is regarded as one of the most explosive offensive playmakers in the nation in the 2013 class. The 5-10, 180-pound Newby posted back-to-back seasons with more than 2,000 yards rushing for Chaminade High in West Hills, Calif. Newby is one of three Californians in the class, marking the 15th straight year NU has had at least one signee from California. In his career, the 5-10, 180-pound Newby accounted for 105 total touchdowns for Coach Ed Croson’s team. As a senior in 2012, Newby ran for 2,305 yards and 45 touchdowns, and averaged 7.7 yards per carry. Newby also caught 18 passes for 176 yards and helped Chaminade to a 12-2 record and a trip to the finals of the CIF Southern Section playoffs. Newby’s top game in 2012 came against Harvard-Westlake, when he rushed for 360 yards and eight touchdowns in a 78-34 victory. For his efforts as a senior, Newby was a finalist for the Cal/Hi Sports Mr. Football Award and was named to the Los Angeles Times’ high school football All-Star team. He was also the Western Division Offensive Player of the Year and the Los Angeles Daily News Player of the Year. Newby also topped 2,000 yards as a junior in 2011, running for 2,117 yards and 34 rushing touchdowns on 303 attempts. He also caught 18 passes for 184 yards and a touchdown, while returning punts for Chaminade, helping his team to a 10-3 record and a trip to the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section playoffs. Newby first made a splash as a sophomore when he rushed for 1,372 yards and 18 touchdowns for Chaminade, helping his team to an 11-2 record and a playoff semifinal appearance. Newby is regarded as one of the top 75 overall prospects in the country by Rivals.com, which lists him as the top running back in California and one of the top 10 overall prospects in the Golden State. Newby is among the top 150 players in the country by 247 Sports which lists him among the top 20 players in California and as the No. 11 running back prospect in the nation. Newby was an honorable-mention Parade All-American and played in the International Bowl. He chose Nebraska over UCLA, Oregon, California and Washington, and had offers from dozens of other schools. He is the son of Terrell and Lorraine Newby and he was born on July 25, 1995.

D.J. Singleton
6-1, 195, DB, Jersey City, N.J. (St. Peter’s Prep HS)
New Jersey product D.J. Singleton is one of four players in Nebraska’s 2013 signing class who are expected to begin their careers in the secondary. The 6-1, 195-pound Singleton is also one of three recruits who enrolled at Nebraska in January, joining offensive lineman David Knevel and linebacker Courtney Love. Singleton originally signed with Wisconsin last February, but did not enroll at the school and re-opened his recruitment this winter. Singleton graduated from St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City, N.J., in 2012 and was one of the top defensive prospects in the Garden State. As a senior, Singleton posted 53 tackles, four sacks, 12 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles for Coach Rich Hansen. His play earned him second-team All-New Jersey selection by the Newark Star-Ledger, as well as all-metro and all-county honors. As a junior, Singleton made 40 tackles, including three sacks and forced three fumbles. His play earned him all-county honors in 2010. He first saw varsity action as a sophomore in 2009, and made 43 tackles. Following his senior season, Singleton was ranked as one of the top 30 safety prospects in the 2012 class by Rivals.com and 247 Sports. He was also regarded as one of the top 20 players in the state of New Jersey by several recruiting services. Singleton played in the Semper Fi All-Star game in January of 2012 and was selected to the USA Today International Bowl. Singlton was also a two-year letterwinner in track and field at St. Peter’s Prep. Singleton chose Nebraska over Wisconsin and Rutgers. A year ago, he had scholarship offers from dozens of schools, including Michigan, Michigan State and Illinois to name a few. Singleton was born on Jan. 7, 1994, and he is the son of Dwayne Sr. and Bernadette Singleton.

Johnny Stanton
6-2, 220, QB, Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. (Santa Margarita Catholic HS)
Talented dual-threat quarterback Johnny Stanton is one of three California prep standouts in NU’s 2013 signing class, joining running back Terrell Newby and defensive back Drake Martinez. The 6-2, 220-pound Stanton showed the ability to be a game-changing quarterback both as a passer and runner for Coach Harry Welch at Santa Margarita Catholic High School. Stanton’s senior season was cut short by a knee injury in week five, but before he was injured Stanton helped his team to a consensus ranking among the nation’s top five prep teams. In his shortened season, Stanton completed 59-of-88 passes for 949 yards and 12 touchdowns, while rushing for 386 yards and 10 touchdowns on just 47 carries. Santa Margarita was 5-0 at the time of Stanton’s injury and went on to finish with a 9-3 record. Stanton was one of California’s most dynamic offensive players in the 2011 season, helping Santa Margarita to a 13-2 record and the CIF Southern Section Division I state title. Stanton completed better than 60 percent of his passes for 2,439 yards and 13 touchdowns, while rushing for 1,428 yards and 21 touchdowns. Stanton was the first-team quarterback on the Los Angeles Times All-Area time and was the MVP of the SouthernCaliforniaPreps.com All-Pac 5 football team. As a sophomore in 2010, Stanton started at safety for the Santa Margarita defense and also logged time at quarterback. Stanton made 72 tackles on defense, while posting 375 passing yards and 223 rushing yards. Stanton showed his quarterback ability in leading a comeback win against St. John Bosco as a sophomore, throwing for 185 yards and three touchdowns in the second half. Stanton is generally regarded as one of the nation’s top dual threat QB prospects, ranking among the top 15 overall dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation by both 247Sports and Rivals.com, while Fox Sports Next ranks him among the nation’s top 30 quarterbacks overall. He is also regarded as one of the top 40 players in California. Stanton was also a finalist at the prestigious Elite 11 Quarterback Camp last summer in California. Stanton committed to Nebraska last summer and did not take any other visits, but had offers from California, Oregon, Oregon State, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin among others. Stanton is the son of John III and Lori Stanton, and he was born on Sept. 7, 1994.

Ernest Suttles
6-5, 240, DE, Tampa, Fla. (Gaither HS)
Florida product Ernest Suttles is one of six players in Nebraska’s 2013 signing class who are expected to start their careers on the defensive line. Suttles is also one of three signees from the Florida prep ranks, matching the largest group of scholarship signees Nebraska has ever had from the Sunshine State. The 6-5, 240-pound Suttles was a dominant defensive force for Gaither High School in Tampa over the past two seasons. As a senior for Coach Jason Stokes’ team, Suttles recorded 88 total tackles, including 55 solo stops. He made an impressive 31 tackles for loss, including 12 sacks and added four fumbles caused, a fumble recovery and two blocked field goals. His play helped Gaither High to the Class 7A district 7 title and an 8-3 record, before losing in the first round of the playoffs. Suttles earned third-team Class 7A all-state honors for his efforts in 2012. Suttles was also a dominant force on the defensive front during his junior year in helping Gaither to a 9-4 record and a trip to the regional final round of the 7A state playoffs. Suttles had 80 total tackles, including 37 solo stops, with five sacks, 12 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery. Suttles is regarded among the top 25 weakside defensive ends in the nation by 247 Sports, which also ranks him among the top 80 overall prospects in the state of Florida. Suttles chose Nebraska after also visiting Iowa State. He also had scholarship offers from Tennessee, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, South Florida and West Virginia among others. Suttles was born on Feb. 14, 1994, and he is the son of Ernestine Brower and the late George Suttles.

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USC’s Adoree Jackson working on offense and defense this spring

Adoree' Jackson

First it was Stanford’s Owen Marecic. Then UCLA’s Myles Jack and Washington’s Shaq Thompson. Now it may be USC sophomore Adoree Jackson‘s turn to become the Pac-12’s next two-way star.

To be clear, working on both sides of the ball isn’t new to Jackson. He did it in his first game, in fact. In all, Jackson saw action as a cornerback, wide receiver and return man in eight games last season, catching 10 passes for 138 yards with three touchdowns to go with two kickoff return touchdowns and 49 tackles.

But the Trojans are being more intentional about splitting Jackson’s time this spring.

If that’s not enough, take it from Jackson’s 2015 bio on USC’s official site:

Jackson, the most exciting player in college football who is a candidate for major national awards and All-American honors, returns as a starting cornerback and a dangerous kickoff returner, plus he figures to again see significant action at wide receiver. USC’s first 3-way player in nearly 20 years, he has drawn comparisons with former Michigan Heisman Trophy winner Charles Woodson (they posted comparable statistics).

Well, at least they’re subtle about it.

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Oklahoma LB Dominique Alexander to miss spring ball following wrist surgery

Desmond Roland, Ahman Thomas, Steven Parker, Jordan Thomas, Dominique Alexander

The Oklahoma defense that takes the field in next month’s spring game will look much different than the one that was torn apart by Clemson in the Russell Athletic Bowl. Defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery is gone for the NFL, replaced by Stanford’s Diron Reynolds. Kerry Cooks now coaches the defensive backs, and Mike Stoops may coach from the box.

But the changes don’t stop there. Head coach Bob Stoops revealed that Second Team All-Big 12 linebacker Dominique Alexander will miss spring ball after undergoing wrist surgery last week.

“It had healed up, looked like it was going to be ok,” Stoops told The Oklahoman. “Through the winter with all the different working out, the different everything they have to do with their wrist, it wore down. Doctors didn’t anticipate that. It happened.”

Frank Shannon still has not returned from a year-long suspension, which means a pair of redshirt freshmen (Tay Evans and Curtis Bolton) will get an increased workload this spring.

Alexander, a junior, notched 107 tackles, six tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and one forced fumble in 2014.

Stoops also revealed Thursday that redshirt freshman defensive tackle Courtney Garnett will miss spring ball after suffering a torn ACL in winter workouts, guard Nila Kasitati will miss the first half of the spring with an unspecified injury and wide receiver Sterling Shepard will ease back into action after playing with a groin injury for the latter half of last season.

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Report: Pac-12 could soon be way behind SEC, Big Ten TV money again

Larry Scott

Remember back in 2011 when the Pac-12 announced new TV deals with ESPN and Fox along with the creation of Pac-12 Enterprises and it seemed like the balance of power was going to shift out West?

In the world of television contracts, four years is a lifetime.

Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury-News, the man who would know this stuff better than anyone, has taken a peek behind the curtain of the Pac-12’s and found a picture that’s not so rosy as the conference would’ve had you believe back in 2011.

According to Wilner’s projections, the Pac-12 stands to distribute close to $23 million per school in 2017-18 – a figure that, to be fair, would’ve placed the conference at or near the top of the heap in 2011. Problem is, it’s not 2011 anymore and a lot has happened since then. SEC Network launched in August, and the Big Ten will take its first-tier rights to market soon. By 2017-18, Wilner writes the Big Ten could clear $33 million per school and the SEC should top $35 million. Sitting eight figures behind the Big Ten and SEC was why the conference hired Larry Scott in the first place.

The problem is the Pac-12 Networks. Where the SEC (quite successfully) partnered with ESPN and the Big Ten went in with Fox, the Pac-12 has financed its networks completely on its own. This would leave the conference to strike it rich if Pac-12 Networks somehow discovered the college sports version of The Walking Dead, but for now it’s only the first side of the risk/reward quandary.

For example, by 2017-18 Wilner projects the Pac-12 Networks to distribute $1 million a year, but the conference’s 12 schools will still have to cut a $750,000 check to buy back the content that the conference needed to start a network in the first place. All told, that leaves $250,000 per school on average, or the going rate for your typical linebackers coach these days.

Now you know why Scott has fought so bitterly with DirecTV these past few years.

“It could impact the competitive balance, the ability to hire top-notch coaches and manage the looming increase in expenses due to legislative changes and the O’Bannon lawsuit,” Wilner writes.

Anyone know if Keeping Up with the Kardashians is looking for a new home? I know a fledgling cable sports network that would like to talk.

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Watch: Kentucky forward Willie Cauley-Stein as a 7-foot wide receiver

Willie Cauley-Stein, Devin Robinson

Willie Cauley-Stein may be the best player in college basketball this year. The anchor of Kentucky’s asphyxiation-inducing defense, Cauley-Stein is a semifinalist for the Naismith Award as the nation’s top player and ranked No. 7 in the latest DraftExpress mock draft.

But there was a time when college basketball’s most fearsome rim protector was the most imposing figure on the gridiron. Hailing from Olathe, Kan., Cauley-Stein turned one year of varsity football into a scholarship offer from Kansas.

His highlights make Cauley-Stein look like a deer running through a field of rabbits.

“If Willie wanted to play in the NFL, I think there’s no doubt he could play in the NFL,” Cauley-Stein’s high school head coach Jay Novacek told The Sporting News. “That’s the kind of unique talent he is.”

NFL or no NFL, choosing Kentucky basketball over Kansas football qualifies as the best – and perhaps easiest – decision Cauley-Stein will ever make.

(Highlights courtesy The Sporting News)

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Surgery will KO favorite to start at QB for Army this spring

A.J. Schurr AP

Army headed into the offseason with just one quarterback who had any experience at the collegiate level.  Entering spring practice, that number is now down to zero.

Head coach Jeff Monken confirmed Thursday that A.J. Schurr will not participate in any of the service academy’s 15 spring practice sessions. Schurr underwent shoulder surgery shortly after the end of the 2014 season and still hasn’t sufficiently recovered.

As for a timeline for a return, Schurr should be available for the start of summer camp in August.

With Schurr sidelined, that leaves just three quarterbacks on the roster — sophomore Matt Kaufmann and freshmen Ahmad Bradshaw and Seth Gonzales — none of whom have played a down collegiately. HudsonValley.com’s Sal Interdonato explains the rather skimpy resumes of each player.

Kaufmann was the star of last year’s spring game. He left the team during the 2014 season but returned late to be a scout-team quarterback. Bradshaw missed a good portion of the 2014 season due to an administrative matter. Gonzalez was the jayvee quarterback in 2014.

That said, although it’s not like he has any other choice, Monken is looking forward to seeing how the trio handles the opportunity afforded them.

“We got a chance to see Matt be the scout-team quarterback and he’s such a great competitor and I don’t have any doubt that he will know what to do and he will compete,” Monken said. “Seth Gonzales got to play in jayvee games so he’s going to have a basis of the offense. I hope all three of those guys will compete and it will be interesting to see who comes out of that pack and then going into fall, we have a couple of guys coming in from the prep school and see how they will compete for the starting job.”

If experience means anything, though, Schurr will be the overwhelming favorite to win the job when he’s healthy.

Last season as a junior, Schurr started a pair of games for the Black Knights. He finished fourth on the team in rushing yards with 320 while his three rushing touchdowns were tied for third. In the passing game, such as it is with Army’s style of offense, Schurr passed for 242 yards and a touchdown on his 12 completions.

He entered summer camp last year as the favorite to win the starting job, but hamstring issues in large part derailed those aspirations.

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Buckeyes debut title game highlight video

It’s been days since Ohio State romped over Oregon to claim its first national title in more than a decade, but the Buckeye Nation can continue to revel in the unexpected run to the first-ever College Football Playoff championship.

Thursday, OSU debuted a video titled “Ohio State Football: National Championship Highlights.”  In the four-minute salute — which is really well done, incidentally — there are not only highlights of the decisive 42-20 win over the Ducks, but there are also some unique behind-the-scenes clips of the run-up to the game contained in the piece as well.

 

(I don’t know about you, but, after watching that video, I’m ready for the 2015 season to start now.  Right.  Now.)

Not so coincidentally, the CFP’s official Twitter account got in on the title remembrance fun as well, reminding everyone who follows them that the 2014 Buckeyes were the “undisputed” national champs.

http://collegefootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2015/01/13/buckeyes-survive-turnover-storm-claim-first-crown-in-over-a-decade/

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REWIND: 18 years ago, Peyton Manning announced return to Vols

Peyton Manning

In somewhat of an odd coincidence, March 5 has been a pivotal date and the No. 18 a key number in the football career of Peyton Manning.

Earlier today the Denver Broncos announced that Manning had passed his required physical, which means the future NFL Hall of Famer will be returning for an 18th season at the professional level.  As noted by the football program’s official website, it was 18 years ago today that Manning, the wearer of the No. 18 jersey in the NFL, announced that he would be returning to the Tennessee Volunteers for his senior season.

There would be no storybook ending for Manning in Knoxville in 1997, though, as he finished runnerup to Charles Woodson in the Heisman voting and the Vols, thanks in large part to yet another loss to Manning nemesis Steve Spurrier of Florida — “I know why Peyton came back for his senior year: he wanted to be a three-time Citrus Bowl MVP” and “You can’t spell Citrus without UT” — failed to win a national championship for the third straight year with Manning as the season-long starter. To add insult to his title injury, the Vols, quarterbacked by Tee Martin, won the first-ever BCS championship the season after Manning left UT and was selected No. 1 overall by the Indianapolis Colts.

On a completely unrelated note, yes, it’s a slow news day. And this post  shouldn’t have been your first clue, either.

(Photo credit: Tennessee athletics)

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Temple officially adds NFL experience to coaching staff

Glenn Thomas AP

An assistant who would be very familiar to Atlanta Falcons fans over the past half decade or so is one of two additions that have been made to the Temple coaching staff.

In a press release earlier this week, and as had been previously reported as a likelihood, head coach Matt Rhule announced that Glenn Thomas as well as Frisman Jackson have been hired as Owl assistants.  The former will serve as quarterbacks coach, the latter as wide receivers coach.

Adam DiMichele, the receivers coach last season, has been reassigned to director of player development, the school added

“I’m very excited to add such talent and diversity to our coaching staff,” Rhule said in a statement. “Frisman and Glenn have worked at the highest level and can lead our student-athletes to greater heights. I’m also excited about what each man brings to the table as a recruiter.”

Thomas had been on Mike Smith‘s Atlanta staff since 2008, the last three of which were as quarterbacks coach. Midwestern State (2001-07) was his last stop at the collegiate level, while he began his coaching career as a grad assistant at his alma mater Texas Tech (1998-2001).

Jackson was the receivers coach at North Carolina State the past two seasons. Last month, Jackson was let go by NCSU head coach Dave Doeren and replaced by George McDonald.

Following a six-year playing career, Jackson coached receivers at Northern Illinois (2012), Akron (2010-11), and Western Illinois (2008-09).

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LSU DB Jamal Adams takes Tiger hoops fans to task on Twitter

Kentucky v LSU

Memo to LSU basketball fans: step your game up and get with the program.

At least, that’s the message a member of the football team sent on social media Wednesday night after a double-digit home loss to Tennessee by the men’s hoops squad.  The Tigers and Vols were actually tied at halftime before the latter, which came into the game losers of five straight and nine of its last 11, stretched the lead to as many as 18 points in the second half.

Because of the deficit, LSU fans began leaving the Pete Maravich Assembly Center en masse before the final horn sounded on the 78-63 loss.  And because of that, LSU defensive back Jamal Adams took to Twitter to vent his frustration over the exodus.

Adams may take some heat from the LSU faithful, but he can take solace in knowing that, more than likely, Nick Saban has got his back on this front.

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Former BYU QB Christian Stewart rejoins team for spring ball

Christian Stewart

Christian Stewart played in 11 games in 2014, starting the final eight after Taysom Hill was lost for the season in October. The senior completed 199-of-348 passes for 2,621 yards with 25 touchdowns and nine interceptions. After throwing only two passes in 2013, Stewart stepped up and shined when needed, throwing for 408 yards and four touchdowns against Nevada and 433 yards with five touchdowns in a shootout win over California to close the regular season.

He had a rough day in the Miami Beach Bowl loss to Memphis, hitting only 23-of-48 passes for 348 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions, and that, supposedly, was that.

But Hill is not yet ready to return from injury and sophomore McCoy Hill injured his foot to open spring drills on Monday. Tanner Mangum is still on his church mission, and signee Beau Hoge has yet arrive on campus. Sophomore Hunter Moore is also on the roster, but not capable of properly testing the Cougars’ defense in an 11-on-11 setting, so BYU brought Stewart back for spring ball.

“I said, ‘You’re like gum on my shoe,'” head coach Bronco Mendenhall told the Associated Press. “‘I can’t get rid of you. No matter if I pull it, I stretch it, it just snaps back.’ So we laughed. Talk about a loyal alumni. I think he was maybe more excited than I was that he gets to play football again. Our team, they already loved him before, now he’s like idol status.”

BYU compliance cleared Stewart to practice in the spring, the AP noted, without penalizing the club. And it didn’t take much convincing to give Stewart one last shot at college football.

“I don’t necessarily feel any pressure, especially because what are the coaches going to do? Yell at me?” Stewart said. “They can’t really get on me because I’m the one doing them a favor. But myself, I demand a lot out of myself.”

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Michigan State WR Macgarrett Kings Jr. arrested over the weekend

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic - Michigan State v Baylor Getty Images

Nearly 11 months to the day after his first arrest, Michigan State wide receiver Macgarrett Kings Jr. was again in handcuffs. The rising senior was arrested over the weekend for drunken and disorderly conduct and obstructing, resisting, hindering or assaulting a police officer, according to a report from the Detroit Free Press.

He was taken into custody at 2:36 on Saturday morning and released on $200 bail.

Kings missed spring ball last year for a violation of team rules. It was later revealed that a DUI arrest was the cause for the suspension.

A similar punishment could be in line here.

“We’re aware of the incident,” head coach Mark Dantonio said in a statement. “All of our student-athletes are held to a high standard, and individuals will be held accountable for their actions. We will manage this situation internally.”

The Free Press notes that Kings was sentenced to 13 months of probation last summer, but it was cut short in December. Part of that suspension he would still otherwise be subject to included avoiding alcohol and establishments where alcohol is served.

In 35 games, Kings has caught 76 career passes for 942 yards. With Tony Lippett and Keith Mumphery lost for graduation, Kings’ 29 grabs for 404 yards and a touchdown qualifies him as the Spartans’ leading returning receiver. He was also the team’s punt returner in 2014.

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Gus Malzahn on downfield rule: “That’s part of the creativity of the game.”

Gus Malzahn

If you can’t beat ‘em, legislate ‘em.

That’s the way Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn sees it. One year after conference foes Nick Saban and Bret Bielema led the charge to institute a 10-second delay before snapping the ball, the NCAA is now considering reducing the space offensive linemen are permitted to roam downfield on pass plays from three yards to one.

“That’s part of the creativity of the game,” Malzahn told AL.com on Wednesday. “I’m not into anything that takes the creativity out of the game. You know, you see a lot of coaches around the country, specifically high school coaches that are coaching in college, that’s very important to them.”

Malzahn, like many of his offensive-minded peers, would rather see the existing rule enforced before creating a new one.

“You know, that’s been a rule that’s been in place for a while, and you see a lot of offenses utilizing that,” Malzahn said. “My whole deal is just make it a point of emphasis to start calling it if guys are downfield.”

The NCAA’s Playing Rules Oversight Panel is slated to meet Thursday and decide on whether or not to implement the change.

The good news for Malzahn, though: if the rule does pass, there’s no one in college football better suited to find a new, creative way to drive his peers crazy.

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‘Incidents’ lead Syracuse DT Ryan Sloan to leave team

Ryan Sloan, L.J. Scott, Robert Welsh, Durell Eskridge AP

A player who would’ve been competing for playing time along Syracuse’s defensive line has instead decided to call it quits.

The Syracuse Post-Standard reported Tuesday that Ryan Sloan (pictured, top right) has decided to take his leave of the Orange football team.  The fifth-year senior lineman will not transfer, rather finish out his academic career at the ‘Cuse and earn his degree in child and family studies in May.

Sloan’s decision to quit the team came against the advice of his family.

“After multiple long conversations with my step parents (who strongly suggested that I stay a fifth year), I came to the decision that I didn’t want to come back,” Sloan said. “I didn’t feel like it was the right place for me anymore. There were a couple of incidents that happened over the past two years that made me realize ‘Cuse wasn’t the right place for me.”

The Post-Standard described those incidents, as relayed by the player it should be noted, thusly:

Sloan said he felt pressured to transfer by the Syracuse staff in 2013, was held out of summer workouts due to a weight requirement the following offseason and wasn’t guaranteed a fifth year of eligibility until late in his redshirt junior year.

Sloan played 14 games the past two seasons, including a career-high 10 in 2014.

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Ruptured Achilles sidelines UK QB Reese Phillips

Tennessee v. Kentucky AP

It hasn’t been a very good last couple of months for Kentucky at the quarterback position.

In early January, Maxwell Smith announced he was transferring from UK, ultimately ending up at San Diego State.  Three weeks later, Drew Barker, along with two Wildcat teammates, was allegedly involved in a bar dispute that ended with an Eastern Kentucky football player suffering from multiple facial fractures.

Now the football program has an injury at the position with which to deal.  The mother of Reese Phillips announced on Facebook Wednesday that her son had ruptured his Achilles tendon and she was on her way to Lexington to be with him.  The university subsequently confirmed that Phillips sustained the injury during team workouts earlier today.

Phillips will undergo surgery Thursday and won’t participate in spring practice, although there’s a chance he could be back for summer camp.

The injury and Smith’s transfer leaves the Wildcats painfully thin at quarterback, with just two scholarship players available this spring: Barker and last year’s starter, Patrick Towles.  As for Barker’s potential legal predicament that could potentially sideline him for at least part of the spring?

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410-pound Baylor lineman getting spring looks at TE

LaQuan McGowan, Bryce Petty AP

Somewhat lost amidst Baylor’s come-from-ahead loss to Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl was, literally, the largest of all fat guy touchdowns.

Late in the third quarter of that postseason matchup, Laquan McGowan caught an 18-yard touchdown pass from Bryce Petty to extend the Bears’ lead to 41-21 in what would ultimately be a 42-41 loss to the Spartans.  What made the play utterly unique and positively fabulous and spectacularly breathtaking is the fact that McGowan was — the key word there being “was” — a 390-pound offensive lineman who shifted from his normal guard position and was lined up as an eligible receiver on the play.

Fast-forward two months, and the 6-7 McGowan is now listed as 410 pounds on the team’s official website.  He’s also getting significant and meaningful looks at the tight end position during spring practice, with Art Briles stating that the experiment, such as it is, will likely continue through the non-conference portion of BU’s 2015 slate before the staff decides whether to use him at that position during Big 12 play.

“We’re looking at him as kind of a slot and tight end type of guy,” the head coach said according to the Waco Tribune. “He can certainly help us in the run game in those situations. The way we’re looking at it is we’ve got three games in nonconference to kind of feel it out and see what he can do and teach him what to do in live action.”

The pass-catching ability of McGowan, who is currently sporting a very receiver-ish No. 80 on his spring jersey, has certainly caught the attention of the man who will likely be the Bears’ new starting quarterback.

“His hands are about as big as my leg, so I can pretty much put it wherever, and he can snag it out of the air,” Seth Russell said.

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