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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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Oklahoma recruit Joe Mixon claims innocence in statement

Mixon

In a statement released by his lawyer, Oklahoma’s five-star running back recruit, Joe Mixon, claims he was merely defending himself during an altercation Friday morning with University of Oklahoma student Amelia Molitor.

The statement, provided by The Oklahoman, reads:

This past Friday morning Joe Mixon found himself in a situation where he was subjected to both verbal and physical attacks from a very intoxicated and troubled young woman.  As a result of these physical attacks, Joe instinctually defended himself against further harm.

As promised, Joe met with investigators from the Norman Police Department this afternoon. Throughout the meeting, Joe continued to be forthcoming and cooperative with their investigation.

We are looking forward to a thorough investigation and are very much looking forward to the truth coming out.  As we have always maintained, Joe has done nothing wrong.

Molitor alleged Mixon punched her in the face, which caused a broken bone.

The Norman Police Department is still reviewing the case, and no charges have been filed against Mixon or Molitor at this time.

The University of Oklahoma is aware of the situation and will likely withhold further comment until the findings of the case are divulged.

Photo credit: Rivals

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Michigan AD says Brady Hoke isn’t on hot seat

University of Michigan Introduces Brady Hoke Getty Images

Michigan head coach Brady Hoke isn’t worried about being on the hot season this season, and he shouldn’t be.

Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon stated Hoke’s job isn’t on the line as the Wolverines prepare for the 2014 campaign.

“It’s not,” Brandon told The Detroit News’ Bob Wojnowski. “Every football coach in America lives under enormous pressure, so I don’t need to apply any more. We’re the winningest program in the history of college football, we know what the expectations of our fan base is. Nobody has to tell Brady that. And I have all the confidence in the world that he’s bringing in the right kids, that he continues to do the right thing in terms of getting his staff lined up. I’m convinced we’re heading to a very, very good place.”

It’s certainly different to make such a claim in July than it will be a few months from now, particularly if the Wolverines struggle through another season.

Brandon expects the Wolverines to improve from last year’s 7-6 record. But he wasn’t willing to provide a benchmark for Hoke to remain off the hot seat. Brandon simply expects to see continued improvement.

“I have a high level of confidence that the pieces are being put together for this program to be what we all want it to be,” Brandon said. “I have to be patient because I know what’s involved. I know what was here when coach Hoke arrived, in terms of how we needed to change.

“We needed to get bigger, we went from one style (the spread offense under Rich Rodriguez) to a different style. You’d like to think you can snap your fingers and make that happen, but it takes time. So on the one hand, I have to be patient because I realistically know it takes some time, but on the other hand, I’m as impatient as anybody.

“I want to win, and my expectations haven’t changed one iota. We want to be in that game in Indianapolis, we want to be competing for that championship. We have unfinished business and that’s to get this program back where we want it. I’m confident that’s going to happen.”

Unfortunately for Michigan, the road to Indianapolis and the Big Ten Championship doesn’t go through Ann Arbor. It goes through Columbus or East Lansing. And a third place finish — or worse — in the Big Ten’s eastern division could finally land Hoke on the hot seat.

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Georgia adds brother of Alabama recruit

Georgia v Clemson Getty Images

Recruiting is all about relationships, and the Georgia Bulldogs may have pulled a trump card to eventually flip a current Alabama Crimson Tide commit.

The Bulldogs received a commitment from tight end Joseph Ledbetter, according to The Macon Telegraph.

“I’ll be at camp on Friday … and I will be on a full scholarship,” Ledbetter confirmed to Dawgs247.com.

Ledbetter, who played basketball for two years before deciding to transfer from Pfeiffer University, is the older brother of four-star recruit Jonathan Ledbetter.

Rivals.com ranks Johnathan Ledbetter as the third-best defensive end recruit in the nation. The defensive lineman committed to Alabama in January.

Despite his brother’s decision, Jonathan Ledbetter isn’t prepared to change his verbal commitment.

“It doesn’t really affect me,” Jonathan Ledbetter said. “I’m just glad he’s in school and has the opportunity, but we aren’t a package deal or anything.”

There could be some family pressure for Jonathan to eventually join Joseph at UGA, though.

“I would love to have two Georgia Bulldogs as sons, or three – because I have a third son as well,” the mother of Joseph and Jonathan Ledbetter, Teresa Belcher, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “But I try to stay out of it. I try to let them decide what is best for them. Of course, I give my opinion. But Jonathan will make his decision on what is best for him, as far as the type of team that fits his personality. I try not to overwhelm him with questions about that.

“Jonathan is very happy for Joseph. He is very excited for his brother. But I really don’t think it’s going to influence his college decision on way or the other.”

Georgia, meanwhile, will still benefit even if the younger Ledbetter doesn’t change his mind. Joseph Ledbetter will add depth and athleticism to the Bulldogs’ tight end position after Hunter Atkinson decided to leave the program.

The trend at the tight end position is get highly athletic former basketball players and convert them. Georgia now has two with Joseph Ledbetter and starter Jay Rome on the roster.

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B1G commish expects governance model to pass

Jim Delany

College football continues to evolve and one of the game’s primary power players foresees a major change in the game coming in the next few days.

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany fully expects his conference, along with the rest of the “Big 5″ conferences, to be granted more autonomy once the NCAA Division I board of directors votes Aug. 7 on a new governance model.

“I do think it’ll pass and capture the autonomy issues that are important to us in assisting student-athletes in the 21st century in ways that make sense,” Delany said during his speech at Big Ten media days, according to The Columbus Dispatch’s Todd Jones. “I’d be very surprised if it doesn’t pass.”

With more autonomy, the schools within the Big Ten, ACC, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC can address a glaring issues in college football…extra stipends to fully cover the cost of tuition.

The vote will be made with the lingering threat of the power conferences renouncing their NCAA affiliations if it doesn’t pass.

“If we do not achieve a positive outcome under the existing big tent of Division I, we will need to consider the establishment of a venue with similar conferences and institutions where we can enact the desired changes in the best interests of our student‑athletes,” SEC commissioner Mike Slive said during SEC media days.

Delany wasn’t as demonstrative as Slive when asked what the conferences will do if the model isn’t passed, but he didn’t rule out the possibility of a potential mutiny.

“If it doesn’t (pass), I don’t really know what we’d do,” Delany said. “I expect there would probably be conversations within each conference, we’d huddle up, and then see where we’re at.”

When Delany and Slive speak, people listen.

“Mike Slive and Jim Delany don’t make their comments without the support of the individual institutions, which means the presidents have signed off on it,” Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith told The Columbus Dispatch on July 18. “So each conference in the top five has gone through a process to get agreement from the presidents that if these things aren’t in place, at the vote, then we have to look at a different structure.”

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Will OSU QB Braxton Miller run the ball less this season?

Braxton Miller

During his first three seasons as a member of the Ohio State Buckeyes, quarterback Braxton Miller ran the ball 557 times for 3,054 yards. Miller is one of the premier dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation, but he’s also suffered numerous injuries caused by his scrambling.

Miller emphasized better conditioning during the off season, and he expects those injuries to be far less problematic this fall.

The Buckeyes can also help Miller by relying less on him as the one of the team’s primary ball carriers. Unfortunately, they may not have that luxury.

Miller is the team’s leading returning rusher despite missing two games last season.

There is plenty of talent in the Buckeyes’ backfield with Ezekiel Elliot, Bri’onte Dunn, and Rod Smith, but it’s largely unproven. The Buckeyes desperately need one of these running backs to take over the role vacated by Carlos Hyde, who led the team with 1,521 rushing yards last season. This year’s backs don’t need to be as productive as Hyde was, but they have to take the pressure off of Miller to prevent the quarterback from becoming the team’s primary rushing threat.

Miller may not get much of a reprieve even when he drops back to pass. Four starters along the offensive line graduated and are no longer on the roster. And Taylor Decker is switching from right tackle to left tackle. This unit is going to need time to gel.

Miller is now physically ready to take the pounding which comes during the Big Ten’s regular season, and he’s going  to need it.

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Urban Meyer: ‘Stefon Diggs is one of best players in the country’

Fellonte Misher, Stefon Diggs

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer might be a little jealous of the Maryland Terrapins. The Buckeyes may be favored to win the Big Ten Conference and they’re one of the most talented teams in college football, but they don’t have a wide receiver the caliber of Maryland’s Stefon Diggs.

Meyer was quite complimentary of Diggs when asked about the receiver at the Big Ten’s media days.

“Very athletic. Diggs is one of the best players in the country in my opinion,” Meyer told the Baltimore Sun’s Matt Zenitz.

Meyer went as far as proclaiming the Terrapins could be competitive during the program’s first season in the Big Ten Conference.

If Maryland is going to live up to Meyer’s expectations, Diggs will have to be fully healthy and return to the same explosive player he was prior to breaking his leg Oct. 19 against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. Diggs missed the final six games of the season.

But Diggs says he’s fully healthy and ready for fall camp.

Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown believes Diggs will be the same explosive player seen prior to the injury.

A healthy Diggs is a dangerous player. As a freshman, he finished eighth nationally in all-purpose yards. Diggs averaged 17.3 yards per catch last season and Maryland was 5-1 before the receiver was knocked out of the lineup.

Even though Maryland was picked to finish fifth in the Big Ten’s eastern division, Diggs will be a reason to watch the Terrapins each Saturday.

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Brady Hoke not worried about being on the hot seat at Michigan

Brady Hoke AP

If Brady Hoke is entering a make-or-break season for his tenure at Michigan, he’s not too concerned about it.

Entering his fourth year in Ann Arbor, Hoke has seen Michigan’s success decline since 2011’s 11-win Sugar Bowl season. The Wolverines won eight games in 2012 and then seven in 2013. Another slip toward mediocrity this fall and Hoke’s future could be far from certain.

Hoke, though, said at Big Ten Media Day on Monday in Chicago that he’s not concerned about his job security. Via the Detroit Free Press’ Mark Snyder:

“Believe me, we’re not satisfied with anything,” he said. “But to worry about what other people think? I’ve never worried about what other people think in anything I’ve done.”

Hoke went the diplomatic route and trumpeted Michigan’s graduation rates and said he’s most concerned about the academic success of his players. That’s fine and all, but if Hoke wants to continue to guide his student-athletes to a degree from a prestigious Big Ten school, he’ll probably have to win some more games.

Snyder has a good quote from Devin Gardner in his story on Hoke’s status, so give it a click.

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Injuries end playing career for Rutgers wide receiver

Michaelee Harris, Tejay Johnson

Injuries have ended the career of Rutgers wide receiver Tejay Johnson, per NJ.com’s Dan Duggan. Rutgers coach Kyle Flood made the announcement at Monday’s Big Ten Media Days in Chicago.

Johnson will have a to-be-determined role with the team in his senior year at Rutgers.

The Egg Harbor Township, N.J., native converted to wide receiver in spring practice after making 35 tackles as a safety in 2013. He was frequently limited by injuries over the course of his career, and according to Duggan his move to wide receiver — his natural position — was made in an effort to limit the wear and tear on his body.

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Bo Pelini continues to be self-aware about his cat and Faux Pelini

Bo Pelini Cat 2

Say what you will about Bo Pelini as a coach, but this is pretty funny:

If you don’t know what Pelini’s getting at, that means you’re not following Faux Pelini on Twitter, which means you’re doing Twitter wrong. This isn’t the first time the real Nebraska coach has engaged the fake Nebraska coach — back in January during the BCS Championship, Pelini asked the parody account if he could have his cat back.

The Nebraska coach also brought his cat to the Huskers’ spring game this year.

Pelini has a reputation of being an incredibly intense coach on the sidelines — which stems from moments like this — but he said at Big Ten Media Days on Monday that he’s trying to show he’s a different person off the field:

And hey, if his cat and a parody Twitter account are the vehicle for showing that, it’s pretty awesome.

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Jimbo Fisher sounds fine with Jameis Winston playing baseball

Jameis Winston AP

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston admitted earlier this month he’ll eventually have to choose between baseball and football, but wants to continue his two-sport career for as long as he can.

Jimbo Fisher, too, is all for his Heisman-winning quarterback continuing his career on the diamond. From Fisher’s appearance on ESPN’s First Take this morning (h/t to Coaching Search):

“Baseball is a game of failure. Baseball is a much greater game of failure. It’s a whole different mindset. Anytime you’re competing in any sport, I think it’s good, but what baseball teaches you is how to overcome adversity. It teaches you how to fail and fail and fail, and still be able to perform.

“I think as a quarterback, I don’t care how good you are, there are going to be bad moments. … I think baseball slows it down for him and has made him a better (football) player.”

That’s a good take on it, though Winston only had five hits in 39 at-bats with eight walks and nine strikeouts for FSU this spring. Batting involves an awful lot of failure — and even when you don’t fail and hit a ball hard, there’s still a chance you’ll make an out. If Fisher thinks playing baseball is making Winston mentally tougher, then by all means should he continue to play.

Where I’d be worried if I were Fisher is Winston pitching. Winston is a much better pitcher than he is a hitter, posting a 1.08 ERA with 31 strikeouts and seven walks in 33 1/3 innings last season. But every pitch he throws is putting strain on his ulnar collateral ligament, and if one day he feels a pop in his right elbow and needs Tommy John surgery…it could very well wipe out a full season of his football career.

It’s not a huge risk, given Winston doesn’t pitch an awful lot for FSU. But baseball’s rash of Tommy John surgeries this season has created such a panic over any minor elbow discomfort, that if Winston does feel a little twinge one day next spring maybe it’d be best for his football career to shut down his baseball one.

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Auburn WR commit is Rivals No. 1 class of 2016 recruit

Auburn logo

The recruiting class of 2016 is still a year and a half away from its signing day (unless an early signing period materializes), but Rivals released some early ratings for the group and ranked wide receiver Nate Craig as 2016’s top recruit.

That’s good news for Auburn fans, since Craig pledged his verbal commitment to the Tigers on July 21.

Of course, a verbal commitment isn’t really a commitment and 18 months separate us from February 2016. But Craig did commit to Auburn while holding offers from powerhouse programs like Alabama, Florida State, Notre Dame, Ohio State and USC, among many others.

If his rating holds, the Tampa native would join Percy Harvin, Derrick Williams and Dorial Green-Beckham, all of whom were wide receivers ranked as the No. 1 recruit in their respective classes.

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Beavers’ standout center may not be ready to start season

Oregon State v Arizona State Getty Images

Oregon State C Isaac Seumalo became an instant starter for the Beavers the day he stepped onto the team’s practice field as a true freshman. Seumalo, however, may not open the season as a starter this fall due to a broken foot he suffered during the Hawaii Bowl.

Seumalo missed all of spring practice due to his recovery, and Oregon State head coach Mike Riley doesn’t have a definitive timetable for the center’s return.

“I think it’s on pretty good schedule to be ready to play, if not at the very first game, early,” Riley told the Oregonian’s Gina Mizell at Pac-12 Media Days. “So we’re going to be very, very careful with that. So that’s why I’m being very careful when I say he’s going to play. But I anticipate him being ready. I would think he might be ready for the first game, but maybe not.”

Oregon State opens the season against against the Portland State Vikings and returns to the islands to play the Hawaii Warriors on Sept. 6. If Seumalo hasn’t returned to the lineup by that point, the Beavers have an open date, which will grant the lineman an extra week to heal.

Seumalo, who was named to the Outland Trophy watch list this summer, is one of the nation’s top interior blockers. He’s already considered the top center prospect for the 2016 NFL draft by ESPN’s draft guru, Mel Kiper Jr.

“Seumalo is another center who could easily move to guard, and is also athletic enough to handle tackle,” Kiper wrote. “He already has 25 starts, but will be coming into the season with a layer rust after missing the spring with a foot injury.”

Riley is considering the possibility of moving Seumalo to guard upon his return. Riley told Mizell that he actually prefers Seumalo to play right guard, while sophomore Grant Bays steps in as the team’s new center.

Either way, the Oregon State offensive line is far better with a healthy Seumalo in the lineup than when he’s not.

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Ohio State AD: B1G expansion ‘is about money’

Gene Smith

Ohio State AD Gene Smith knows how to pander to his audience. Within the course of two days, Smith gave two different spins on the addition of Rutgers (and Maryland) to the Big Ten Conference.

Smith defended the league’s addition of Rutgers Saturday in an interview with NJ.com’s Dan Duggan.

Smith stated Rutgers “will bring a lot to the table.” The Buckeyes’ athletic director complimented Rutgers’ prestigious academic programs. He also mentioned the football team’s success under former head coach Greg Schiano and the money the school put into the program during that period.

The idea Rutgers was chosen to become a member of the Big Ten Conference due to a business decision was merely an after thought.

Smith was far more candid Sunday during an interview with The Columbus Dispatch’s Todd Jones. When Smith was asked directly about the Big Ten’s additions of Rutgers and Maryland, Smith stated the obvious.

“From a business point of view, it makes huge sense,” Smith told Jones. “This is a business deal. This is about money. Everybody wants to dodge that; I don’t. It’s about the stability of our conference for the long term.”

Smith looks at these moves as a way to adjust to the changing landscape of college football and the United States’ shifting population.

“It provides a new geography for us to have a presence in, for a number of reasons: television, recruiting, (and) providing Penn State with some geographical partners,” Smith stated. “The reality is, growth was inevitable for intercollegiate athletic conferences. We needed to be part of that.

“As far as the shifting population, that is reason enough by itself to look at the concept of expansion.”

With the Big Ten’s media days set to commence Monday and Tuesday, a big spectacle will be made of the additions of Rutgers and Maryland. The two programs will be accepted as equals among the likes of Ohio State, Michigan, etc. The reality is these program were merely business acquisitions which proved to be a means to an end for the Big Ten Conference.

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Steve Spurrier expects Mike Davis to turn pro after season

Mike Davis

South Carolina RB Mike Davis rushed for 1,183 yards and 11 touchdowns last season as a sophomore. If he has a similar junior campaign, Davis won’t return to Columbia for his senior season.

“Mike Davis, if he has a big year, he’s going to go pro,” South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier told ESPN.com’s Edward Aschoff after his annual media golf event Thursday. “And we’re going to tell him to go pro, because he should. The lifespan of a running back is only a certain amount of years. If a young man after three years can go, we’re going to shake his hand and let him go. That’s why you keep recruiting more running backs.”

After Spurrier watched former RB Marcus Lattimore suffer two major knee injuries, which put his potential professional career in jeopardy, the coach’s only recourse is to recommend Davis leaves after this season, whether he has an outstanding year or not.

“The thing as a running back is your life expectancy isn’t long in the NFL,” South Carolina running backs coach Everette Sands told Aschoff. “Here in the SEC, it’s probably the closest thing to the NFL.”

South Carolina will help Davis by employing a running back rotation this fall with fellow juniors Brandon Wilds and Shon Carson in the backfield. This will prevent some of the wear and tear other feature backs around the country will experience.

While Davis isn’t considered the top running back prospect potentially available for the 2015 NFL draft — that distinction belongs to Georgia’s Todd Gurley — his size (5-9, 223) coupled with a physical running style projects well to the next level. Early projections rank Davis as a Top 5 prospect at his position prior to the start of the 2014 season.

Davis’ ability to play at a high level and avoid injuries will set him up to make an easy decision after the season.

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Auburn’s Gabe Wright expects to bounce between DT and DE

Gabe Wright, Bo Wallace

While Auburn’s run to the national title game last season was spurred by the team’s innovative offense and overwhelming rushing attack, the Tigers’ defense was led by defensive tackle Gabe Wright. Wright proved to be one of the most disruptive interior defenders in the nation, but his role is expected to expand this fall.

Wright will start the season at defensive tackle, but he’ll also be expected to receive repetitions at defensive end.

Wright was forced to play defensive end during spring practice due to injuries along the defensive line, and the Tigers’ coaching staff came away  impressed with his play.

“(Auburn defensive line coach Rodney Gardner) actually wanted to put me in last year, but he just stated I wasn’t mentally ready,” Wright told al.com’s Brandon Marcello. “I respect and I don’t second-guess his decision. If I’m called upon, I will answer the call. There’s no doubt about that. It just shows his confidence in me.”

Wright also wasn’t physically ready to play defensive end last year. He’s down to 290 pounds with enough the athleticism to set the edge and rush the passer.

“I’ve been wanting to drop down body weight since I’ve been here — and body fat —  which has been done,” Wright said.

Wright’s versatility will provide insurance along the Tigers’ defensive line after losing Dee Ford to the NFL and Carl Lawson to a potential season-ending ACL injury. Wright’s ability to provide depth at defensive end also allows the ultra-talented Montravius Adams to gain more repetitions at defensive tackle.

While Wright remains one of the best interior defenders in college football, his biggest contribution this season may be his ability to play defensive end until Lawson is fully healthy or one of the Tigers’ young pass rushers are ready to take over the spot.

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