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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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Amari Cooper likely to become Alabama’s first Biletnikoff winner

Amari Cooper

And then there were three. The competition for the Biletnikoff Award is down to three of the nation’s top wide receivers. Alabama’s Amari Cooper is the lone player from a College Football Playoff contender in the running, although that should not diminish the accomplishments of two others up for the award.

Colorado State wide receiver Rashard Higgins and West Virginia’s Kevin White are also finalists for the Biletnikoff Award, which is awarded to the nation’s top wide receiver in college football. No player from any of these three schools has ever won the award, which was first awarded in 1994.

Last year’s award went to Brandin Cooks of Oregon State. This year’s award will be presented on December 11 during The Home Depot College Football Awards Show on ESPN.

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Les Miles will worry about LSU’s QB future, in the future

Les Miles

LSU has one more game to play in the 2014 regular season before going to a bowl game. Some are already wondering what head coach Les Miles is going to do with the quarterback position in the future, but Miles is not ready to make any long-term decisions. He still has a game at Texas A&M to prepare for after all. But he will make those decisions at the appropriate time. When he does, freshman Brandon Harris appears to be getting a chance to make his case for the starting job.

“We’ve chosen not to make the decision on our future quarterback until down the road,” Miles said during his weekly radio show Tuesday night, according to The Advocate. “That’s why he’s getting 50 percent of the reps.”

Harris has appeared in eight games this season. In those games, Harris has completed 55.6 percent of his passes for 452 yards and six touchdowns. He has been intercepted twice. Harris has not been seen much since an early October game against Auburn.

“We like Brandon Harris, and he’s coming. We’re not going to put parameters on that,” Miles added. “What we’re trying to get accomplished is put him in a position where he can go on the field and give us some explosive plays and not necessarily encumber him with the full offense, the whole thing. If we can do that, we might be able to get him on the field.”

Anthony Jennings, a sophomore, is the other quarterback in the mix, of course. Jennings has completed 47.9 percent of his passes in 11 games for 1,353 yards and nine touchdowns. He has been picked off six times this season.

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Ohio State’s Spence declared permanently ineligible by Big Ten

Ohio State Buckeyes v Michigan State Spartans 12-7-2013

We will not see defensive end Noah Spence wearing an Ohio State football uniform this season, and we may not see him in any Big Ten uniform anytime soon. The Big Ten has declared Spence permanently ineligible from all intercollegiate athletics competition. Ohio State released a statement with that decision Tuesday night.

Spence was suspended by Ohio State earlier this season following a failed drug test. It was not the first time Spence failed a drug test at Ohio State, which led to an automatic suspension by the program and the threat of the NCAA wiping out the remaining two years of his eligibility.

Spence was guided through an appeals process by Ohio State, which is customary when filing appeals to the NCAA. That appeals process played out today, and it did not go well for Spence.

“While we are disappointed in the outcome, we are pleased that Noah has come a long way and we are very proud of the progress he has made with regard to his health,” Ohio State Athletics Director Gene Smith said in the released statement. “The Department of Athletics will continue to assist Noah through his pursuits and provide the academic resources necessary to help him complete his degree program.

Spence took to Twitter to express his feelings as well.

What is next for Spence is unknown at this point. Hopefully the troubles are behind him and he can find a way to thrive on and off the football field.

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College Football Playoff Rankings: No change in top four, but hello Boise State and Marshall!

Oklahoma State v Florida State Getty Images

The top of the latest College Football Playoff rankings look the same as they did a week ago, but this week’s rankings saw a significant development toward the bottom of the order.

Alabama remains on top of the playoff ranking, followed by Oregon, Florida State and Mississippi State in that order. This is the same top four from last week. TCU remains sitting in fifth place, waiting for a shot to creep into the top four, just as it did last week.

Boise State and Marshall made their respective debuts in the playoff ranking this week, and this is notable. The highest-ranked conference champion from a non-power conference will be given a spot in an access bowl. If Boise State wins the Mountain West Conference, it will be difficult for Marshall to make up enough ground to pass the Broncos despite trailing Boise State by one in the rankings.

The Top Four

1. Alabama

2. Oregon

3. Florida State

4. Mississippi State

No change here, perhaps as expected. The question was whether or not the committee would drop Florida State after another close loss during a week that saw Mississippi State blow away Vanderbilt. This was not the case, although that precedent had already been set. The big question the next two weeks will be whether or not Mississippi State without a conference championship can stay ahead of a one-loss Big 12 and/or Big Ten champion.

Who Is On Deck?

5. TCU

6. Ohio State

7. Baylor

Ohio State remains one spot behind TCU, which means it looks like the Buckeyes could need a little help to move up two spots. The good news for Ohio State is the Buckeyes could have a Big Ten championship game match-up with a rising Wisconsin team to help push them up in the final rankings if things go Ohio State’s way. We also need to know when the committee might feel the time is right to move Baylor ahead of TCU with a head-to-head result in favor of the Bears.

The Full Ranking

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 7.39.15 PM

Some Quick Thoughts

We finally got a glimpse of the non-power conference representation in this week’s ranking, yet it does not come without some potential controversy. Boise State, if it wins out, would have a more impressive overall body of work compared to a potentially undefeated Marshall, but what about Colorado State? If Boise State slips, Marshall is set up to stay ahead of a one-loss Colorado State team at a late point in the season. The committee will have to hope Boise State runs the table, because Colorado State with one loss has an even stronger case than a two-loss Boise State does against an undefeated Marshall. Colorado State has two victories against power conferences away from home compared to zero for Marshall, and the Rams only lost one game, at Boise State.

At what point does the committee remember that Baylor beat TCU? It has to happen at some point, right? Although TCU’s non-conference drubbing of Minnesota clearly looks better now, and may be a key win to hold over Ohio State as well. TCU defeated Minnesota by a wider margin of victory compared to the Buckeyes.

Minnesota avoided being dropped from the committee’s top 25 last week despite losing, and a win against Nebraska helped move them up seven spots this week. This is great news for TCU and Ohio State.

Take a look at UCLA. The Bruins continue to wiggle up the rankings, and could still be within reach of making the top four with a little help. If UCLA wins this weekend against Stanford, the Bruins will play Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship Game. UCLA has struggled to get over the hump to be an elite team in the Pac-12, but they seem to be surging at a very good time. It may be a lot of ground to make up in two weeks, but it is far from impossible.

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Maxwell Football Club award finalists include Mariota, Prescott, Gordon and Beasley

Dak Prescott

The Maxwell Football Club has announced the three finalists for each of its individual awards, the Maxwell Award and the Chuck Bednarik Award. Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott and Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon have been named finalists for the Maxwell Award. Clemson defensive end Vic Beasley, Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa and Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright III have been named finalists for the Chuck Bednarik Award.

the Maxwell Award is presented to the top player in college football as determined by the Maxwell Football Club and voting panel. The award does not always go to the player that wins the Heisman Trophy. Last year, for example, the Maxwell Award went to Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron. Mariota, Gordon and Prescott may be likely names to be heading to New York City for the Heisman Trophy presentation at the end of the season, but the odds may be good the Maxwell Award goes to another player. No Oregon or Mississippi State player has ever won the Maxwell Award, but Wisconsin has one. The last running back to iwn the award was Penn State’s Larry Johnson in 2002.

The Chuck Bednarik Award is in its 20th season and goes to the top defensive player as determined by the Maxwell Football Club and its voters. Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald won the award last season. Whichever player wins the award this year will be doing so for the first time in school history.

this year’s winners for each award will be announced on December 11 during The Home Depot College Football Awards Show on ESPN. The awards will be formally presented in Atlantic City, New Jersey in March as part of the Maxwell Football Club’s Awards Gala.

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Doak Walker Award finalists filled by Big Ten trio

Melvin Gordon, Desmond King

The Big Ten has a handful of really good running backs, and it shows with the naming of the finalists for the Doak Walker Award. Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon, Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah and Indiana’s Tevin Coleman were each named finalists for the top running back award, filling all three finalist spots.

Gordon held the single-game rushing record for just one week, but his production this season has been steady. Gordon leads the nation in rushing with 2,109 rushing yards with one more regular season game to play and possibly two more if Wisconsin plays in the Big Ten Championship Game and Gordon plays in Wisconsin’s bowl game.

Abdullah is also one of the top running backs in the country, but he has been slowed by injuries at times. Abdullah is still on track for a possible 2,000-yard season with 20 rushing touchdowns with one regular season game left and a bowl game.

Indiana’s offense may have been a disappointment this season, but this does not apply for Coleman. Coleman is the nation’s second-leading rusher behind Gordon with 1,906 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns. Coleman has carried the Hoosiers offense for much of the season, and he has handled it well.

Wisconsin’s Montee Ball was the last Big Ten running back to win the Doak Walker Award, two seasons ago. As good of a running program Nebraska has been through the years, the Cornhuskers have never had a Doak Walker Award winner. Indiana is also looking for its first Doak Walker Award winner. Gordon looks to be the favorite in this pack though.

If Gordon wins the award, he will become the third Wisconsin running back to win the award. That total would also tie Texas for the most Doak Walker Award winners.

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FSU’s Aguayo highlights 2014 Lou Groza Award finalists

Roberto Aguayo

Florida State kicker Roberto Aguayo has been named a finalist for the Lou Groza Award. This should come as little surprise after the Seminoles kicker won the award in 2013 and has put together another dependable season kicking field goals and extra points for the defending national champions.

Maryland kicker Brad Craddock and West Virginia’s Josh Lambert join Aguayo as finalists for this year’s award for best kicker.

Aguayo is looking to become the second repeat winner of the Lou Groza Award. He would join another former Florida State kicker sharing that honor if he wins the award again. Sebastian Janikowski won the Lou Groza Award in 1998 and 1999. No other player has ever won the award multiple times.

Craddock is the only kicker in the country who has been perfect on all of his field goal attempts, and he has kicked a bunch of them. Craddock is a perfect 17-for-17 this season and the Australien kicker has shown great range at times as well.

No kicker in the country has kicked more field goals than Lambert though. The West Virginia kicker has kicked 24 of 32 kicks for the Mountaineers this season, and his 24 field goals made this season already surpasses the regular season high for kickers in the 2013 regular season.

All three finalists will be honored at a banquet on Tuesday, December 9 in West Palm Beach, Florida. The winner will be revealed during The Home DepotCollege Football Awards Show on Thursday, December 11 in Disney World.

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Auburn loses sacks leader for season before Iron Bowl

Auburn v Mississippi State Getty Images

If Auburn was hoping to find ways to bring down Alabama quarterback Blake Sims, the Tigers may have to look for someone else on the defensive line to step up. Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn announced Tuesday defensive end DaVonte Lambert will miss the Iron Bowl and Auburn’s bowl game after undergoing season-ending surgery on his left knee on Monday.

“That’s a big blow for us,” Malzahn said, per The Montgomery Advertiser. “We’re going to need some guys to step up.”

Lambert led the defense with 3.5 sacks this season. Montravius Adams and Angelo Blackson each have three sacks. Adams is also second on the team in tackles for loss, so he may be the most likely name to watch try and fill the void left by Lambert.

Lambert had been listed as the starting defensive end for Auburn on this week’s depth chart for the Alabama game. Sophomore Elijah Daniel (3.5 tackles for loss, 1.0 sacks) is listed as his back-up.

“He’s a factor,” Malzahn said. “But we need some other guys to step up. Football’s a team game and when you’re playing against your rival, it’s got the ability to have guys step up and play better than they have all year, and that’s what we need.”

Getting sacks against Alabama is tough enough. The Crimson Tide have allowed just 10.0 sacks all season. Auburn has just 19.0 sacks this season as well. Losing one of their better sack specialists could be tough to overcome.

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Alabama and Florida State in mix for 2017 Atlanta game? Yes please

Boise State v Georgia Getty Images

Florida State and Alabama have met just four times dating back to 1965, although we could be heading to a postseason head-to-head clash between the Seminoles and Crimson Tide in the College Football Playoff. We could also be on the verge of seeing the two southern powers collide in Atlanta to open the 2017 season, and that would be awesome.

The Palm Beach Post reports Alabama and Florida State are discussing a potential 2017 season opener in Atlanta, which would likely be a part of the annual Chick-fil-A Kickoff. The game typically features a team from the SEC and the ACC often fills the other spot for the high-profile game. Alabama has been a frequent visitor to Atlanta for these games as well, so hearing about the possibility of the Tide once again playing in Atlanta to open the season is no shock.

According to the report, Alabama had also been in discussions about playing a game in 2017 with Penn State and USC, although the extent of those talks is unconfirmed. Penn State’s 2017 non-conference schedule is already filled, and USC has one spot to fill. The Trojans are also set to open the 2016 season against Alabama in Arlington.

By 2017, both the ACC and SEC will have a non-conference scheduling requirement in place that requires all conference members to schedule at least one game against another power conference opponent. Florida State has this requirement fulfilled by playing Florida each season. A game with Florida State would fulfill the requirement for Alabama in 2017.

Alabama leads the all-time series 2-1-1. The last time the teams played was in 2007 in another neutral site game in Jacksonville. Florida State won the September game, 21-14. Alabama has hosted the other three meeting in the series, winning two, between 1965 and 1974.

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Hugh Freeze to Florida? Rumor mill is turning out unlikely scenarios

Hugh Freeze

There is no question the Florida coaching vacancy that will soon officially become available will be one of the top landing spots for some coach in this season’s edition of the coaching carousel, and the rumor mill should be working at high speed in the coming weeks as Florida looks to find a replacement for outgoing Will Muschamp. One name that has been thrown out there in the coaching rumor mill already is Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze.

On the surface, it would seem to make sense Freeze would be on the list of potential targets for Florida, and why not? Freeze has shown signs of solid recruiting and development with the Ole Miss program in his short time in Oxford, and the Rebels looked to be one of the top teams in the country until the last few weeks. Despite a couple of losses in recent weeks, Ole Miss still looks to be in a better position than Florida right now, and that alone should be enough to keep Freeze in Ole Miss.

This time of the year always seems to turn out rumor after rumor, and sometimes those rumors may be leaked by agents representing coaches ready to either make a move or make a power move to get a brand new contract signed. Ole Miss is already working to put an end to any potential coaching rumors tied to Freeze. The school is already in the process of working on a new contract for Freeze, which both sides previously were reported to be in agreement to finalize after the regular season. The job security for Freeze at Ole Miss also appears to be very good, as he has already had his contract extended twice before.

Freeze leaving Ole Miss may not necessarily be out of the question, but leaving a job at one SEC school with as much job security as Ole Miss has provided for a bit of a rebuilding project at Florida does not appear to be the likely scenario to bank on. Coaches rarely make a move from one school to another within the same conference too. It is even more rare to see a coach at a strong program leave to rebuild another in the same conference.

Florida announced last week Muschamp will be removed as head coach at the conclusion of the regular season. It was Muschamp’s decision, apparently, to not coach the Gators in any potential bowl game the program will be invited to play. This makes sense, as it gives him plenty of time to focus on his next job, whatever and wherever that may be. It also gives the entire program a chance to move in a new direction and the players a chance to play without the distractions that could come with the Muschamp sideshow.

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Texas’ Espinosa won’t seek sixth year

Mississippi v Texas

As it turns out, an injury occurred early on in the season has played a significant role in one of the most experienced Texas offensive linemen calling it a career.

Starting center Dominic Espinosa sustained what turned out to be a very significant ankle injury in UT’s season-opening win over North Texas.  Because a health issue kept him off the field as a true freshman in 2010, it was thought that the offensive lineman would apply for a sixth season of eligibility and return to the Longhorns in 2015.

That won’t be the case, however, as Espinosa himself confirmed, via a very heartfelt letter penned to the fans of the football program and posted on social media, that he is retiring from the game of football.

Prior to the injury in the opener, Espinosa had started 40 straight games at center for the Longhorns.

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Stanford won’t have Ty Montgomery for game vs. UCLA

Ryan Murphy, Ty Montgomery AP

Stanford’s offense has been bad enough with Ty Montgomery on the field.  Without him?  That’s far from optimal, yet that’s the position the Cardinal will find itself this weekend.

Tuesday afternoon, David Shaw confirmed that the all-purpose wide receiver will not play in Friday’s regular-season finale against UCLA.  Montgomery sustained an injury to his right shoulder very early on in last weekend’s win over Cal.

It’s the same shoulder that nearly kept him out of the opener after undergoing surgery earlier in the offseason.  Shaw did say there’s a “distinct possibility” he’ll be healthy enough to play in a bowl game.

Montgomery leads the Cardinal in receptions (61) and receiving yards (604), and is tied for the team lead in receiving touchdowns (three).  Montgomery’s absence will also hurt the Cardinal on special teams as he’s their leading kickoff (25.2 yards per return) and punt returner (19.8 ypr).  He’s returned two punts for touchdowns this season.

The Hornung Award finalist being unavailable could also impact the Pac-12 South race.

If UCLA wins Saturday, they claim the division title and the spot opposite Oregon in the Pac-12 championship game.  If UCLA loses, the winner of the Arizona-Arizona State game earns the berth.

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Gophers’ David Cobb ‘very questionable’ for B1G play-in game

Minnesota v Nebraska Getty Images

The winner of Saturday’s Minnesota-Wisconsin game will move on to face Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game the following weekend.  Unfortunately for one of the participants, they could very well be missing a very key piece of its running game.

Tuesday afternoon, Gophers head coach Jerry Kill was asked about running back David Cobb‘s status for the play-in game. “Very questionable,” Kill responded.

Cobb sustained a hamstring injury in the fourth quarter of the Week 13 win over Nebraska in Lincoln.

Especially when it comes to a game with such high stakes, losing Cobb would be a significant blow for the Gophers.

Cobb has rushed for 1,430 yards this season, over 1,000 yards more than the team’s No. 2 rusher, quarterback Mitch Leidner (407).  The top back besides Cobb?  Berkley Edwards and his 140 yards.

While Cobb is ninth nationally in rushing, his Gopher teammates on the defensive side of the ball will be tasked with stopping the nation’s leading rusher (2,109 yards) and scorer of rushing touchdowns (25) in Melvin Gordon.

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Christian Hackenberg’s dad ‘won’t even touch’ transfer talk

Christian Hackenberg, Adolphus Washington

To say that Christian Hackenberg‘s second season in Happy Valley has been underwhelming would be an understatement.

As a true freshman, Hackenberg completed 59 percent of his passes and tossed 20 touchdowns vs. 10 interceptions in Bill O’Brien‘s final year at Penn State.  In James Franklin‘s first season with the Nittany Lions, Hackenberg has thrown just eight touchdowns against 14 interceptions in completing just over 55 percent of his passes.  In 2013, he threw for 2,955 yards on 392 attempts; in 389 passes this season, he’s totaled 2,411 yards.

Certainly not all of the struggles are on Hackenberg — the offensive line has allowed 39 sacks and even more quarterback hits — but those struggles, alongside public squabbling with teammates and just overall frustration, has led some to speculate that the Freshman All-American could be looking to transfer from the  Nittany Lions at season’s end.  In a telephone interview with Lancaster Online, Hackenberg’s father, a former college quarterback himself, didn’t exactly refute the speculation, although he did allow that leaving is not a talking point for the family.  Well, at least for now it’s not.

I won’t even touch that,” Erick Hackenberg told the paper when asked about the rumors. “That’s everyone else’s $64,000 question. The $64,000 question in the Lasch Building (PSU’s football facility) and in this household is how can we get better every week and at the end of the year be in a better place than now — or three weeks from now, or a month from now, at a bowl game, be at a better place than we are now. Everything else will handle itself.

“I don’t really have a comment on that at all. I think that’s a lot of conjecture. … It’s the outside, looking in. Out of respect to Coach (James) Franklin and the team, out of respect to Christian and everybody else, that’s not fair to a lot of people, so I’m not going to touch that. That’s something that doesn’t even need to be talked about at this point. He loves being at Penn State.”

It seems highly unlikely that Hackenberg, a five-star recruit rated as the No. 2 pro-style quarterback in the Class of 2013 coming out of high school in Virginia, would leave the Nittany Lions after this season.  Stranger things have happened, though so it at least bears monitoring.

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Irish won’t have two starting defensive linemen for USC game

Rice v Notre Dame Getty Images

Notre Dame will head into its annual rivalry game with USC very shorthanded along its defensive line.

Tuesday afternoon, head coach Brian Kelly confirmed that Sheldon Day (pictured, left) and Jarron Jones (pictured, right) have been ruled out of Saturday’s game with the Trojans due to injuries. Day will miss a second consecutive game because of a sprained knee, while Jones is out with a Lisfranc injury.

Day could return for a bowl game, Kelly said, but Jones is out for the remainder of the season. Jones will undergo surgery next week and be sidelined for anywhere from 4-6 months, which means his availability for spring practice is certainly up in the air.

Jones had started all 11 games this season and totaled 12 for his career.  Day started the first 10 games before suffering his knee injury.  He has 17 career starts.

The injury news is not limited to the defensive line, unfortunately, as freshman defensive back Drue Tranquill sustained a torn ACL in the loss to Louisville and will, obviously, be out for the remainder of the 2014 season.  As is the case with Jones, Tranquill’s availability for spring practice is in jeopardy.

Tranquill had started two of the last three games at safety for the Irish.

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