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Duke signs 20 to Class of 2013

FIU Duke Football

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

DURHAM, N.C. — Duke University head football coach David Cutcliffe and his staff announced on Wednesday that 20 student-athletes have signed national letters of intent to join the Blue Devil gridiron program.

The class includes two quarterbacks, four linemen and 14 backs.  A total of eight states are represented in the group as Duke signed a class-high five student-athletes from Florida and four from North Carolina.  The group includes three student-athletes from Virginia, two each from California, Georgia and Texas and one apiece from Nevada and South Carolina.

The four in-state prospects include back Breon Borders (Statesville), quarterback Quay Chambers (Monroe), back Bryon Fields (Charlotte) and back Quay Mann (Rocky Mount).

Borders, who helped Statesville High School to 13 wins as a senior, was a first team all-state honoree in 2012 after recording 91 tackles and seven interceptions while Chambers, also an all-state selection, guided Monroe to 21 wins over his final two seasons including a pair of Rocky River Conference championships.

Fields helped Providence Day to a state championship as a junior and went on to receive MVP honors of the 2012 Oasis Shrine Bowl after guiding the North Carolina squad to a 27-6 victory over South Carolina while Mann, who was selected to the 76th annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas, earned all-state accolades out of Northern Nash High School following a senior season that included 30 tackles on defense in addition to 900 all-purpose yards and 11 touchdowns.

Florida is represented with back Terrence Alls (Miami Gardens), back Johnell Barnes (Lehigh Acres), quarterback Parker Boehme(Jacksonville Beach), back T.J. Douglas (Fort Myers) and back Dominic McDonald (Longwood).  Alls helped Dade Christian to 38 wins in four seasons while catching 108 career passes for 1,856 yards while Barnes guided Dunbar High School to three district championships while scoring 18 touchdowns over his final two seasons.  Boehme, listed as the No. 23 dual-threat quarterback in the nation by 247Sports.com, played for former Duke wide receiver Adam Geis at Sandalwood High School.  Douglas, who helped Fort Myers High School to 17 wins over his last two seasons, compiled 1,685 yards of total offense as a senior while McDonald garnered first team all-state honors following a 65-tackle, eight-sack campaign in 2012.

Joining Duke’s skilled position units are three Virginia products in Evrett Edwards (Woodbridge), Chris Holmes (Fredericksburg) and Jake Kite (Roanoke).  Edwards, who had 10 career interceptions as a prep, is charted as the No. 43 cornerback in the nation by ESPN.com while Holmes helped Chancellor High School to 21 wins over three seasons and carded 30 tackles along with 25 receptions for 330 yards as a senior.  Kite posted 120 tackles and four fumble recoveries as a senior en route to earning his second River Ridge District Defensive Player of the Year citation.

California natives Joseph Ajeigbe and Phillip Carter signed with the Blue Devils.  Ajeigbe, the No. 61 running back in the country according to ESPN.com, posted three seasons with 1,000-plus rushing yards at Norco High School while Carter helped Folsom High School to 25 wins over two seasons and set a state single-game record with 317 receiving yards against Roseville Woodcreek on August 24, 2012.  Duke’s pair of signees from Georgia are lineman Mike Ramsay (Smyrna) and back Deondre Singleton (Dacula).  Ramsay was a first team all-state choice by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution after helping the Walker School to 11 wins in 2012 while Singleton was selected to play in the Georgia Coaches Athletic Association North-South All-Star Game after totaling 47 tackles, two interceptions and 14 pass break-ups as a senior.

Lineman prospects Austin Davis (Mansfield) and Sterling Korona (San Antonio) join the Duke program from Texas.  Davis, who is charted as the No. 6 center in the nation by ESPN.com, helped Mansfield High School to 26 wins and three state playoff berths while Korona, who led Ronald Reagan High School to 19 victories over his final two seasons, was a Texas Class 5A All-Super Team pick by the San Antonio News-Express following the 2012 campaign.  Gabe Brandner, a Blythewood, S.C., native, rounds out the group of four linemen after receiving first team all-state honors as well as South Carolina MVP accolades at the eighth annual Oasis Shrine Bowl.

Back Ryan Smith, a product of Las Vegas, Nev., signed with the Blue Devils after helping Bishop Gorman High School to 56 wins and four straight state titles from 2009-12.  Smith closed his prep career as Nevada’s all-time leader in receiving yardage (3,208).

Boehme, Edwards, Mann and McDonald enrolled at Duke last month.

(Writer’s note: below the jump are the complete bios of all 20 members of Duke’s 2013 recruiting class.)

Joseph Ajeigbe
5-9, 215
Riverside, Calif. (Norco)

• Three-year letterman at Norco under coach Todd Gerhart

• Helped Norco to three-year record of 23-13 with three state playoff berths

• Listed as the No. 61 running back in the nation by ESPN.com, the No. 81 running back in the country by Scout.com and the No. 82 running back in the nation by 247Sports.com

• Three-time all-league selection

• First team CIF Southern Section choice following senior season

• As a senior, rushed for 1,605 yards with 16 TDs

• Had 1,875 rushing yards with 20 TDs as a junior and 1,075 rushing yards with 12 TDs during sophomore campaign

• Also lettered in basketball

• High school teammate of current Blue Devil safety Corbin McCarthy

• Born January 30, 1995

• Son of David and Ruth Ajeigbe

Terrence Alls
6-1, 180
Miami Gardens, Fla. (Dade Christian)

• Lettered four seasons at Dade Christian under coach Mike Sonneborn

• Helped Dade Christian to a four-year ledger of 38-8 with three state playoff berths including a 13-1 record and appearance in the state championship game in 2012

• In the state title game, caught seven passes for 90 yards and one TD

• First team all-state selection by the Associated Press in 2012

• As a senior, caught 35 passes for 620 yards and three TDs, rushed 18 times for 211 yards and two TDs, returned nine punts for 93 yards and returned seven kickoffs for 236 yards including a 90-yard return for TD vs. North Broward Prep, and added 33 total tackles and two interceptions on defense

• As a junior, caught 21 passes for 366 yards while totaling six TDs

• Recorded 30 receptions for 639 yards and nine total TDs as a sophomore and 22 catches for 231 yards and three TDs during freshman campaign

• Finished career with 108 receptions for 1,856 yards and a 17.2 yards per catch average

• Also lettered in basketball and track and field

• Placed eighth in the 100-meter dash at the 2012 Florida Class 1A state championship track and field meet

• Born September 29, 1994

• Son of Rosalyn and Terrence Alls, Sr.

Johnell Barnes
6-0, 175
Lehigh Acres, Fla. (Dunbar)

• Three-year letterman at Dunbar under coach Phil Vogt

• Helped Dunbar to a three-year ledger of 22-11 with three district championships and three state playoff appearances

• Listed as the No. 38 cornerback in the nation by Scout.com and the No. 79 wide receiver in the country by Rivals.com

• As a senior, caught 24 passes for 500 yards and eight TDs

• Had 38 receptions for 763 yards and 10 TDs during junior campaign

• Also lettered in basketball and track and field

• Born August 21, 1995

• Son of Ana Rosario and Terell Barnes

Parker Boehme
6-2, 220
Jacksonville Beach, Fla. (Sandalwood)

• Four-year letterman at Fletcher High School (2009) and Sandalwood (2010-11-12) under coach Adam Geis

• Listed as the No. 23 dual-threat quarterback in the country by 247Sports.com

• Charted as the No. 40 pocket-passing quarterback in the nation by ESPN.com

• Listed as the No. 62 overall quarterback in the country by Scout.com

• As a junior, accounted for 3,202 total yards (951 rushing & 2,251 passing) and 40 touchdowns en route to earning honorable mention all-state (8A) honors from the Associated Press

• Also lettered in track & field, earning all-conference honors in the shot put

• Born October 5, 1994

• Son of Nancy and Richard Boehme

• Brother, John, is a member of the golf team at Charlotte

• High school coach, Adam Geis, lettered four seasons (1994-95-96-97) as a wide receiver at Duke

• Enrolled at Duke in January, 2013

Breon Borders
6-0, 175
Statesville, N.C. (Statesville)

• Three-year letterman at Statesville under coach Randall Gusler

• Helped Statesville to a three-year record of 28-12 with three state playoff berths including a 13-2 ledger and state 3A semifinal appearance in 2012

• As a senior, earned first team all-state (3A) honors from CarolinaPreps.com after posting 91 tackles, 14 pass breakups, seven interceptions, three caused fumbles and two fumble returns for TDs

• During junior campaign, registered 48 tackles, five interceptions and six pass breakups

• Finished career with 15 interceptions and 25 pass breakups

• Also lettered in basketball and track and field

• At the 2012 track and field state championship meet, placed sixth in the 300-meter hurdles and fourth in the 4×200 relay

• Two-time all-conference and all-county selection

• Born July 22, 1995

• Son of Chaketa Borders and Kaseem Miller

Gabe Brandner
6-6, 255
Blythewood, S.C. (Heathwood Hall)

• Three-year letterman at Heathwood Hall under coach Jon Wheeler

• Helped Heathwood Hall to consecutive state playoff berths in 2011-12

• Charted as the No. 78 offensive tackle in the nation by 247Sports.com

• Listed as the No. 19 overall prospect in South Carolina by Rivals.com

• Earned first team SCISA AAA all-state honors from the High School Sports Report following senior campaign

• All-area selection in 2012 by The State

• As a senior, graded out at 92 percent on offense while recording 68 tackles and 12 tackles for loss

• Posted 70 tackles including 13 tackles for loss during junior season

• In sophomore campaign, carded 34 tackles, seven tackles for loss and three interceptions

• Earned South Carolina MVP honors at the eighth annual Oasis Shrine Bowl on November 24, 2012 in Mooresville, N.C.

• Also lettered in baseball, basketball and track and field, earning all-state honors on the diamond as a pitcher and first baseman

• Born February 15, 1995

• Son of Antara and Thomas Brandner

• Mother played tennis at the University of West Virginia

• Father lettered two seasons (1974-75) as an offensive tackle under Hall of Fame head coach Bobby Bowden at the University of West Virginia, helping the Mountaineers to a two-year ledger of 13-10 including a 13-10 win over N.C. State in the 1975 Peach Bowl

Phillip Carter
6-1, 200
El Dorado Hills, Calif. (Folsom)

• Two-year letterman at Folsom under coaches Troy Taylor and Kris Richardson

• Helped Folsom to a two-year ledger of 25-4 with two state playoff berths including the 2012 Delta River League and Sac-Joaquin Section championships

• Charted as the No. 72 safety in the nation by ESPN.com

• As a senior, served as team captain and totaled 91 tackles, two interceptions, 10 pass breakups and two fumble recoveries while catching 40 passes for 662 yards and 12 touchdowns

• Established California high school single-game record with 317 receiving yards on 10 receptions (5 TDs covering 20, 37, 60, 66 & 78 yards) against Roseville Woodcreek on August 24, 2012

• First team all-metro and all-league pick following senior season

• As a junior, posted 54 tackles, four pass breakups and two caused fumbles while adding 24 receptions for 292 yards and five touchdowns

• Born August 30, 1995

• Son of Lentice and Phillip Carter

• Cousin, Darnell Jackson, lettered four seasons (2005-06-07-08) in basketball at the University of Kansas, helped the Jayhawks to the 2008 NCAA championship and was selected in the second round of the 2008 NBA Draft by the Miami Heat and also played with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Milwaukee Bucks and Sacramento Kings

• Cousin, Adam Jennings, lettered four seasons (2002-03-04-05) in football at Fresno State University, helped the Bulldogs to 35 wins and four bowl game appearances, was selected in the sixth round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons and also played with the Detroit Lions and New York Giants

Quay Chambers
6-3, 215
Monroe, N.C. (Monroe)

• Two-year letterman at Monroe under coach Johnny Sowell

• Helped Monroe to a two-year record of 21-9 with two state playoff berths and two (2011-12) Rocky River Conference championships

• Listed as the No. 39 dual-threat quarterback in the country by 247Sports.com and the No. 40 dual-threat quarterback in the nation byESPN.com

• First team all-state (1A) pick as a senior by both NCPreps.com and CarolinaPreps.com

• Two-time all-conference pick

• Rocky River Conference Offensive Player of the Year choice in 2011

• As a senior, completed 93-of-155 (.600) passes for 1,520 yards and 19 TDs while rushing 143 times for 1,105 yards and seven TDs as Monroe went 11-4 and reached the state (I-AA) semifinals

• In junior campaign, completed 104-of-213 (.488) passes for 1,776 yards and 22 TDs while rushing 147 times for 1,221 yards and 16 TDs

• Also lettered in basketball and track and field

• Helped Monroe to state class I-A championship in basketball and was a member of Monroe’s state championship 4×400 relay unit in 2012

• Born March 13, 1995

• Son of Natasha Melton and Tony Chambers

• High school teammate of current Blue Devil tight end Issac Blakeney and wide receiver Jamison Crowder

Austin Davis
6-4, 290
Mansfield, Texas (Mansfield)

• Three-year letterman at Mansfield High School under coach Jeff Hulme

• Nationally, listed as the No. 6 center by ESPN.com, No. 14 center by 247Sports.com, the No. 16 center by Rivals.com and the No. 23 center by Scout.com

• Helped Mansfield to a three-year record of 26-10 with three state playoff appearances

• As a senior, served as team captain and was a finalist for the Touchdown Club of Fort Worth’s offensive player of the year honor

• Three-time first team all-district pick

• Born February 25, 1995

• Son of Larry and Tracy Davis

T.J. Douglas
6-1, 190
Fort Myers, Fla. (Fort Myers)

• Three-year letterman at Fort Myers under coach Sammy Sirianni

• Helped Fort Myers to a three-year ledger of 22-10

• Second team all-state (6A) selection by the Associated Press in 2012

• Two-time first team all-conference and all-district choice

• As a senior, compiled 1,685 yards of total offense (1,053 rushing & 632 passing) with TD responsibility total of 22 (15 rush, 1 receive & 6 pass)

• During junior campaign, logged 1,888 yards of total offense (625 rushing & 1,263 passing) with 18 total touchdowns

• Also lettered in track and field and wrestling

• Born April 26, 1995

• Son of Shaynon DiNatale and Willie Douglas

• Cousin, Jammi German, lettered three seasons (1994-95-96) as a wide receiver at  the University of Miami (Fla.), was selected in the third round of the 1998 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons and also played with the Cleveland Browns

• Cousin, Melvin German, is a member of the football program at Florida Atlantic University

• Cousin, Joel German, is a member of the football program at Western Kentucky University

Evrett Edwards
5-11, 175
Woodbridge, Va. (Woodbridge)

• Three-year letterman at Woodbridge under coach Kevin Smith

• Helped Woodbridge to state playoff appearances in 2010 and 2012

• Nationally, listed as the No. 43 cornerback by ESPN.com, the No. 59 cornerback by Rivals.com, the No. 67 cornerback by247Sports.com and the No. 79 cornerback by Scout.com

• Charted as the No. 4 cornerback and No. 22 overall prospect in Virginia by Rivals.com

• Two-time all-district and All-Met selection

• As a senior, posted 37 tackles, eight PBUs and one interception while catching 32 passes for 540 yards and two TDs

• In junior season, recorded 37 tackles, eight interceptions and five PBUs while catching 17 passes for 270 yards and two TDs

• Finished prep career with 107 tackles, 21 PBUs & 10 interceptions

• Born September 22, 1994

• Son of Beth and Charles Edwards

• Father played football at Southern University

• Uncle, Benny Guilbeaux, lettered four seasons (1995-96-97-98) as a safety at Notre Dame, leading the team in interceptions as both a sophomore and junior while helping the Fighting Irish to a four-year record of 33-15 with three bowl game appearances

• Enrolled at Duke in January, 2013

Bryon Fields
5-11, 185
Charlotte, N.C. (Providence Day)

• Four year letterman at Providence Day under coach Bruce Hardin

• Helped Providence Day to a four-year record of 29-18 with three state playoff berths including the 2011 NCISAA Division I state championship

• Two-time first team all-state selection by the North Carolina Independent School Athletic Association

• Two-time All-Mecklenburg pick by the Charlotte Observer

• As a senior, posted 67 tackles and four interceptions, returned two punts for touchdowns, caught 49 passes for 851 yards and six TDs and rushed 44 times for 400 yards and four TDs

• In junior season, logged 47 tackles and five interceptions, caught 47 passes for 632 yards and four TDs and returned five punts for TDs

• Earned MVP honors as Providence Day defeated Charlotte Country Day, 20-14, in the 2011 NCISAA Division I state championship game

• Named the 2011 Special Teams Player of the Year by South Charlotte Weekly

• Finished career with 208 tackles, 14 interceptions and 10 punt returns for touchdowns

• Named the MVP of the eighth annual Oasis Shrine Bowl after helping North Carolina to a 27-6 win over South Carolina with a 71-yard punt return for a touchdown and an eight-yard touchdown run on November 24, 2012 in Mooresville, N.C.

• Also lettered in basketball and track and field

• Captured the NCISAA 3A state championship in the 400 meters in 2012

• Born August 23, 1994

• Son of Bryon and Julie Fields

Chris Holmes
6-2, 200
Fredericksburg, Va. (Chancellor)

• Three-year letterman at Chancellor under coach Bob Oliver

• Helped Chancellor to three-year record of 21-12

• Charted as the No. 77 safety in the nation by Scout.com

• First team all-district selection following senior season

• As a senior, carded 30 tackles and one interception while catching 25 passes for 330 receiving yards and four TDs

• During junior season, had 20 tackles and two interceptions in addition to 17 receptions for 355 yards and five TDs

• Credited with 50 tackles and one interception as a sophomore

• Also lettered in basketball and track and field

• Born August 14, 1995

• Son of Cecil Holmes and Antoinette Young

• Prep teammate of current Blue Devil lineman Sam Marshall

Jake Kite
6-0, 185
Roanoke, Va. (Hidden Valley)

• Four-year letterman at Hidden Valley under coach Scott Weaver

• Charted as the No. 39 safety in the nation by ESPN.com

• Two-time first team all-state (AA) selection by VirginiaPreps.com

• Two-time Timesland Defensive Player of the Year pick by the Roanoke Times

• Two-time Virginia Region IV Defensive Player of the Year choice

• Two-time River Ridge District Defensive Player of the Year honoree

• Earned first team all-district and all-region honors as a kick return specialist in 2012 after returning 14 kickoffs for 304 yards and 19 punts for 215 yards

• In senior season, carded 120 total tackles, six caused fumbles and four fumble recoveries along with 33 receptions for 392 yards and six TDs

• As a junior, posted 148 tackles and four interceptions on defense while catching 34 passes for 458 yards and four TDs

• Three-year letterman in wrestling and finished third in the state’s Group AA classification as a junior

• Born July 6, 1994

• Son of Christie and Christopher Kite

• Father was a member of the football team as a defensive back and wide receiver at the university of Virginia from 1984-87, helping the Cavaliers to a four-year record of 25-19-2 with Peach Bowl and All American Bowl victories following the 1984 and 1987 seasons, respectively

Sterling Korona
6-7, 260
San Antonio, Texas (Ronald Reagan)

• Two-year letterman at Ronald Reagan under coach David Wetzel

• Helped Ronald Reagan to a two-year record of 19-6 with a pair of state playoff appearances

• Charted as the No. 68 offensive tackle in the nation by both ESPN.com and 247Sports.com

• Texas Class 5A All-Super Team choice and all-area selection by the San Antonio Express-News following senior season

• Texas District 26-5A first team all-district pick and team offensive MVP in 2012

• Also participated in track and field

• Born November 8, 1994

• Son of Laura Korona-Ureste and Mark Ureste

Quay Mann
5-9, 185
Rocky Mount, N.C. (Northern Nash)

• Four-year letterman at Northern Nash under coach Mickey Crouch

• Listed as the No. 89 cornerback in the nation by ESPN.com

• First team all-state (3A) honors from CarolinaPreps.com as a senior

• Three-time all-conference selection

• First team all-area pick by the Rocky Mount Telegram in 2012

• As a senior, served as a team captain and posted 30 tackles and one interception while totaling 900 all-purpose yards and 11 touchdowns

• Had 43 tackles, five interceptions and two caused fumbles during junior season

• Selected to play in the 76th annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas on December 15, 2012 in Spartanburg, S.C.

• Also lettered in track and field

• Born January 22, 1995

• Son of Velva Mann-Hunter and Raymond Hunter

• Enrolled at Duke in January, 2013

Dominic McDonald
6-2, 240
Longwood, Fla. (Lake Brantley)

• Four-year letterman at Lake Brantley under coach George Clayton

• Helped Lake Brantley to three straight state playoff berths (2010-11-12)

• Listed as the No. 59 outside linebacker in the country by ESPN.com and the No. 71 outside linebacker in the nation by 247Sports.com

• Received first team all-state (8A) honors from the Associated Press after senior season

• As a senior, totaled 65 tackles, 14 tackles for loss and eight sacks

• Recorded 50 tackles including 12 tackles for loss and three sacks as a junior and 60 tackles with 17 tackles for loss and eight sacks during sophomore campaign

• Selected to play in the Florida North-South All-Star game on December 19, 2012 in Sebring, Fla.

• Also lettered in weightlifting

• Born December 26, 1994

• Son of Jill and Joey McDonald

• Enrolled at Duke in January, 2013

Mike Ramsay
6-2, 280
Smyrna, Ga. (Walker School)

• Four-year letterman at Walker School under coach John East

• Helped Walker School to an 11-1 ledger and state playoff appearance as a senior

• Georgia Class A first team all-state selection by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution following senior campaign

• In senior season, served as team captain and posted 40 tackles and four quarterback sacks as the Walker School defense allowed just 8.4 points per game en route to a perfect 10-0 regular season

• As a junior, recorded 37 tackles and 12 quarterback sacks

• Selected to play in the Georgia Coaches Athletic Association North-South All-Star Game

• Also lettered in basketball, soccer and track and field

• Placed fourth in the shot put at the 2012 high school state championship meet

• Born March 16, 1995

• Son of Jean and Michael Ramsay, Sr.

Deondre Singleton
5-11, 175
Dacula, Ga. (Archer)

• Four-year letterman at Archer under coach Andy Dyer

• Charted as the No. 82 safety in the nation by ESPN.com

• Charted as the No. 91 cornerback in the nation by 247Sports.com

• First team all-county selection by the Daily Post and the Touchdown Club of Gwinnett following senior season

• As a senior, posted 47 tackles, two interceptions,14 pass breakups and two fumble recoveries while catching 21 passes for 329 yards and three touchdowns

• Earned all-county and all-state accolades as a junior after carding 42 tackles, seven interceptions and 12 pass breakups

• Selected to play in the Georgia Coaches Athletic Association North-South All-Star Game

• Chosen to participate in the Gwinnett County All-Star Game

• Also lettered in baseball, earning all-county honors as an outfielder

• Born February 7, 1995

• Son of Cedric and Crystal Singleton

• Father lettered three seasons (1989-90-91) in football at Louisiana Tech, helping the Bulldogs to a three-year ledger of 21-8-4 including an appearance in the 1990 Independence Bowl

Ryan Smith
5-7, 165
Las Vegas, Nev. (Bishop Gorman)

• Lettered four seasons at Bishop Gorman under coach Tony Sanchez

• Helped Bishop Gorman to a four-year ledger of 56-4 with four state championships

• Charted as the No. 1 wide receiver and No. 3 overall prospect in Nevada by Rivals.com

• Three-time all-state selection

• In senior season, had 39 receptions for 856 yards and 14 TDs as Bishop Gorman captured its fourth straight state title and earned a ranking of No. 9 in the final USA Today national poll

• As a junior, caught 37 passes for 1,041 yards and 17 TDs as Bishop Gorman closed the season at 15-1 and ranked No. 5 in the final USA Today national poll

• Had 38 receptions for 935 yards and 16 TDs as a sophomore and 18 catches for 376 yards and four TDs during freshman campaign

• Career prep totals include 132 receptions for 3,208 yards and 51 touchdowns along with four returns for TDs (3 punt & 1 kickoff)

• Finished high school career as Nevada’s all-time leader in pass receiving yardage

• High school teammate of current Blue Devil running back Shaquille Powell

• Born June 25, 1995

• Son of DeAndre and Lori Smith

• Father is an assistant football coach at Syracuse University

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Strong message at Texas; RB Bergeron is gone

Marqueston Huff, Joe Bergeron

If there was one thing the Texas football program needed, it was a focus on discipline and getting a toughness back. That is what makes head coach Charlie Strong a terrific hire for the program after cutting ties with Mack Brown. Strong’s message to the team was put on display once more Friday morning with news of senior running back Joe Bergeron being dismissed from the roster.

Bergeron is the seventh player to be booted from the Texas football program since Strong arrived on his saddle in Austin. That number has skyrocketed in the past week with four others being dismissed this week. Running back Jalen Overstreet and defensive end Chevoski Collins were also dismissed by the program on Thursday for various violations, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Wide receivers Kendall Sanders and Montrell Meander were also suspended by Strong on Thursday as a legal situation stemming from an alleged sexual assault.

Bergeron had been sent home from spring practice earlier this year, so seeing Strong come to this decision may not be quite a shock, although the head coach did sing the praises of the running back during a spring tour. Strong has said from day one as the Texas head coach he needed to make some changes to overhaul what could be a sleeping giant of a program at this point. Strong has always been focused on discipline and he does not waste time coddling players, which is a little bit of the dose of reality seemingly needed in Austin.

Bergeron was third on the team in rushing in 2013, accumulating 362 rushing yards and four touchdowns in 13 games.

Don’t mess with Texas? Don’t mess with Strong, that much is for sure.

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Media covering Big Ten picks Ohio State as the favorite, Wisconsin in west

Urban Meyer

The Big Ten is late in the media day circuit, getting started on Monday in Chicago, but we already have a favorite from the media; Ohio State.

The Buckeyes were named the media favorite in a media poll organized by The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, with members of various organizations spread across the Big Ten’s footprint casting their votes and predictions for each Big Ten division and conference champion. There is no formal media poll organized by the Big Ten, so the Cleveland-based newspaper has taken on the responsibility of giving Big Ten fans a preseason poll that swung and missed on the outcome a year ago (nobody picked Michigan State, but that happens). Ohio State received 23 first-place votes to win the Big Ten’s new east division. Defending Big Ten champion Michigan State received the other 10 first-place votes in the east and finished second in the preseason poll. Michigan and Penn State followed, respectively. Big Ten newcomer Maryland was picked to finish fifth in the east, followed by Indiana and the other Big Ten rookie, Rutgers.

The Big Ten’s west division was a bit more open according to the poll voters. Wisconsin came out on top with 15 first-place votes, but Iowa comes in a somewhat surprising second place with 11 first-place votes. Nebraska finished third with five first-place votes and one voter gave Northwestern (fourth in the preseason poll) a first-place vote. Minnesota, Illinois and Purdue round out the west division.

Ohio State received 19 out of 29 votes to win the Big Ten. Michigan State received nine votes and Nebraska received one vote. Wisconsin received no votes to win the Big Ten despite being picked to win the west division.

You can see the full unofficial preseason media poll for more voting results.

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Baylor’s Art Briles admits to interest in Texas vacancy

Art Briles

When a dream job comes along, few reasonable people would likely fault anyone for exploring the possibility of leaving all that you have built behind to take the new opportunity. Fortunately for Baylor, their head coach shrugged aside the idea of coaching at Texas this past offseason.

Baylor head coach Art Briles took over the desolate and often hopeless program prior to the 2008 season after a successful stint as a head coach at Houston. Briles was asked to do what seemed to be impossible; turn Baylor football into something worth respecting in the Big 12. After starting out his career in Waco with identical 4-8 seasons, the building blocks were starting to form a foundation and Baylor broke through with a 7-6 record in 2010, the first winning season for the Bears since 1995 in the old Southwest Conference. The next season Robert Griffin III exploded on the scene to win the Heisman Trophy and lead Baylor to a 10-win season, a top 25 finish and the first bowl win for the school since the 1992 season. Last year Baylor won the Big 12 championship and played in the Fiesta Bowl. As far as stock is concerned, Briles may have peaked and could have cashed in.

This is why it only makes sense that Briles would not only be one of the top candidates for the vacancy in Austin, once Texas found a way to move on from Mack Brown, but Briles also had an interest in the job. Was Briles interested? You bet. Yesterday while moving through the ESPN car wash with a stop on the Paul Finebaum radio show, Briles admitted as much.

Briles, of course, chose to stay where he is at Baylor at a big time for the program. The Bears are coming off the first Big 12 championship in school history, appear to be a threat once again in the conference and move into a brand new football stadium this season. Times are good for Baylor. Briles is a big reason why, and it is nice to see someone choose to stay put to see through it all, especially when it is very likely Texas could have made Briles a wealthier man for years to come.

Texas may not have nabbed Nick Saban from Alabama, but the Longhorns ended up with a pretty good coach anyway by hiring Charlie Strong away from Louisville.

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SEC Network’s Time Warner deal increases launch viewership to 60 million

A cable truck returns to a Time Warner Cable office in San Diego, California

Things continue to be developing smoothly for the SEC Network, just weeks away from going live on the air. After successfully putting together deals with Comcast and COX Networks, the new network has added another big name to the cable distribution line-up; Time Warner. Just for good measure, the SEC Network has added Bright House Networks to the mix as well. The total potential reach for the launch of the SEC Network is now expected to total an estimated 60 million homes.

John Ourand of Sports Business Daily broke the news about the agreement, which was later confirmed by a release from the SEC Network on Thursday.

“We know we have customers who want the SEC-ESPN Network, and are pleased to bring it to them,” said Andrew Rosenberg, Senior Vice President of Content Acquisition for Time Warner Cable. “This deal will help ensure that fans and alumni of SEC universities won’t miss any important games.”

“By delivering the SEC Network across Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks’ nationwide footprint, including key markets within SEC territory, we are meeting the demands of fans while also adding value to customers’ video subscriptions in advance of the network’s launch next month,” said Sean Breen, Disney and ESPN Media Networks senior vice president of affiliate sales.

There is still one giant hurdle remaining for what is already being praised as a masterful launch for the network; DirecTV. There is also some growing concern about ESPN’s involvement with the SEC Network and the College Football Playoff, as expressed by Bart Doan on The Student Section, but as far as preparing for a grand debut, ESPN has been hard at work at the negotiating table to make sure everything is lined up for the launch of the new network. It may just be a matter of time before there is a deal with DirecTV signed by all parties. At this point, DirecTV would be wise to not be labeled as the one provider without the network.

The SEC Network will launch on August 14.

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Four Cincy players forced to retire, QB Legaux working his way back

Cincinnati v Louisville

The playing careers for a pair of Cincinnati players have come to an end as a result of a car crash last September. Wide receivers Mark Barr and Javon Harrison will no longer play football due to injuries suffered in a tragic auto accident that claimed the life of offensive lineman Ben Flick.

In addition to Barr and Harrison, Cincinnati head coach Tommy Tuberville confirmed to Tom Groeschen of the Cincinnati Enquirer that safety Marcus Foster and defensive back Drake Burns will also no longer be able to play football. All four players will remain on scholarship.

Harrison was listed in stable condition once taken to a hospital following the accident, but Barr was placed in critical condition. Barr was released from a hospital nearly a month later.

In more positive injury news out of Cincinnati, quarterback Munchie Legaux is making some good progress on his return to football. After suffering a devastating knee injury early last season, Legaux was granted an extra year of eligibility and he is looking to make it count. Tuberville expects Legaux to be in uniform and available to practice once the Bearcats open training camp. With Gunner Kiel stating his case for the starting job in the spring, Legaux may have to be at 100 percent and work to win the job back once he is.

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Larry Scott already stumping for Pac-12 champ in playoff

Larry Scott

As to be expected, the past couple weeks of conference media days has brought a number of tired debates back to the surface. Among them has been the debate over eight-game conference schedules or nine-game schedules. For the Pac-12, the answer is simple. Commissioner Larry Scott addressed the benefits of having a nine-game conference schedule as college football moves into the College Football Playoff era this fall.

“We know that there will be continued controversy and debate, but the clear statement has been made that strength of schedule is going to be a determining factor in figuring out which of the four teams ought to be competing in that playoff,” Scott said during his state of the Pac-12 press conference this week at the Pac-12 media day event in California. The College Football Playoff selection committee will be placing an emphasis on strength of schedule when determining its rankings and choosing which four teams will be selected to participate in the College Football Playoff. the Pac-12 has opted to go with a nine-game conference schedule in part to raise the overall strength of schedule for the conference. Of course, it also makes it easier to schedule for all Pac-12 schools when they only have to fill three non-conference spots as opposed to four. The Pac-12 also backed out of a conference-wide scheduling agreement with the Big Ten that would have raised the strength of schedule for both conferences.

Scott chose to focus on the depth of the Pac-12 in 2014, a wise strategy considering the national respect for Oregon, Stanford and UCLA along with the rising expectations for programs like USC, Washington and Washington State. With some quality depth, the Pac-12 could be the most entertaining conference to watch this fall, so folks on the east coast may have to prepare for some late nights. The Pac-12 also has a chance to impress on a national level with some key non-conference match-ups.

“This year the Pac‑12, again, has scheduled a very tough non‑conference slate that includes 13 games against bowl teams from a year ago,” Scott said. “Highlights of our non‑conference match‑ups this year include five games against Big Ten opponents – Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Rutgers and Illinois. We’ve got three games against Notre Dame this year – Stanford, USC, Arizona State all playing against Notre Dame, and of course UCLA’s match‑up in Dallas against Texas early in the season.”

But Scott’s final remark about the schedule was one with a slight aim at the ACC and SEC. Both the ACC and SEC will play eight-game conference schedules. Whoever comes out on top of the Pac-12 is likely to have a decent shot at playing in the College Football Playoff, which Scott is already stumping for as best he can.

“Here it is with the most competitive nine‑game conference schedule in the nation, our champion will be incredibly well‑positioned in this first-ever historic College Football Playoff.”

Some power conference is going to get left out of the four-team playoff, if not more. Scott clearly believes his conference should not be on the outside looking in.

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WR Rhodes moving from Big 12 champs to MAC champs

Dino Babers

Former Baylor wide receiver Robbie Rhodes is moving from one conference champion to another. Rhodes is transferring to Bowling Green, a report by ESPN.com has confirmed. Bowling Green won the MAC championship in 2013 and is the preseason favorite to win the conference again in 2014.

A month ago it was learned Rhodes was no longer with the Baylor Bears, 2013 Big 12 champions. Earlier in the offseason Rhodes was arrested and charged for possession of marijuana and tampering with physical evidence, but the charges were never levied against him.

Rhodes appeared in 11 games last season for Baylor, recording 10 receptions for 157 yards. Where he goes from here is unknown at this time for the true sophomore. He still has three years of eligibility remaining. At Bowling Green, Rhodes will feel comfortable being inserted into the offense once he is eligible, because there will be many similarities between what the Falcons do and what Baylor runs. Bowling green head coach Dino Babers (pictured) is a former receivers coach at Baylor.

Due to NCAA transfer rules, Rhodes will have to sit out the 2014 season but will have multiple years of eligibility once he is eligible to resume playing for Bowling Green in 2015.

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Texas media guide published with recurring typo

University of Texas Introduces Charlie Strong Getty Images

Everybody makes a typo from time to time, and I may be one of the biggest culprits. But I also do not print and release 200-page media guides for some of the largest college football programs in the country, like Texas.

The Texas Longhorns media guide was released with a typo at the bottom of each and every page of the media guide, misspelling the website address for Texas sports website (TexsaSports.com). Hey, mistakes happen but this one happened to be printed through the entire media guide.

How could something like this happen?

This is just a hunch, but it is not as though somebody manually typed the same typo for each page of the media guide. The media guide was more likely formatted so the address only needed to be typed once and it would appear on each page of the media guide. This may have also been one of the first things entered into the media guide as well, so it could have easily been forgotten.

For what it is worth, the typo has been corrected.

Helmet sticker to SB Nation.

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Notre Dame WR Mahone sentenced to 10 days in jail

Notre Dame v Michigan

Notre Dame wide receiver Will Mahone will serve 10 days in jail after pleading guilty to four misdemeanor counts of resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, assault and aggravated menacing. Felony charges were wiped off his record as part of his plea.

A county judge offered Mahone some leniency in the sentencing, telling Mahone he felt a stronger sentence should be enforced. Mahone will also serve a year on probation and he received credit for two days in jail served following the initial arrest until bail was posted.

As noted by Keith Arnold of Inside the Irish, Mahone still has an uncertain future at Notre Dame. Following Mahone’s arrest, Notre Dame suspended the receiver indefinitely while the legal process played out. Mahone is not currently enrolled at Notre Dame, leaving a cloud of uncertainty surrounding his future at this point. An attorney representing Mahone has said Mahone would like to be able to return to Notre Dame when the time is appropriate, but no decision on his fate has been made just yet.

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Ohio State fires band director and will investigate sexual culture

Ohio State Marching Band

This one strays a bit away from the football side of our usual conversation, but few would argue the marching band is as much a part of the college football experience as anything else. Ohio State’s marching band is one of the best in the country, earning the nickname The Best Damn Band in the Land for a good reason, but it is currently in an unfortunate position. Ohio State has fired band director Jon Waters and continues to investigate what is being referred to as a sexualized culture within the organization.

Ohio State has been investigating the marching band for the last two months, according to The Columbus Dispatch, following a complaint registered by a parent of a member of the band. The investigation turned up evidence of students routinely harassing or hazing each other, usually new students. Further complicating things is information suggesting the director of bands was aware of such activity and did nothing to prevent it from continuing. One of the specific complaints claimed students in the band went on parade in their underwear in the middle of the night. This was allegedly done under the supervision of Waters and other staff members. This obviously goes against the university’s sexual harassment policy, which prompted the investigation, which gathered testimony from nine witnesses as well as Waters, other staff members and the concerned parent and child.

You can read the full 23-page report, which includes some vulgar and not-safe-for-work descriptions.

Some may to write off some of the information in the report as “college kids doing college things,” but even if that is the case there still is a line that needs to be drawn, especially from the leaders of the organization. Knowing the student policies, if Waters did indeed allow some of these thing to continue then the university was absolutely in the right to take swift action.

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Friedgen ready to open up Rutgers offense, fix Nova’s mechanics

Ralph Friedgen

This year marks the return of Ralph Friedgen to a college football sideline. The former head coach at Maryland is getting back in the swing of things as offensive coordinator at Rutgers, and it is a transition he believes has gone smoothly as well as one he seems to be embracing. No longer in charge of directing the daily operations of the football program, Friedgen can focus more on mapping out the offensive schemes the Scarlet Knights will use this fall, the first as a Big Ten member.

With Friedgen in charge of the offense, things are going to change as he tries to make use of what is available to him. Do not expect Friedgen to ask Rutgers to do anything he does not feel they are capable of doing, and perhaps that will be a good thing.

“What I think we have to be careful about – and I think it happened a little bit in the spring – is we can wear these kids out and not have anything left,” Friedgen said in a sit-down interview with veteran Rutgers scribe Tom Luicci for ScarletKnights.com. “My philosophy is to have a balance between run and pass… If you’re only one dimensional then they’re going to make you play left-handed and I don’t like to play left-handed. I like to take what the defense gives us.”

One of the biggest concerns for Rutgers may be the play of quarterback Gary Nova. Friedgen arrived hearing plenty about Nova’s ups and (mostly) downs, but he feels confident he can get the most out of his starting quarterback. Friedgen has also taken some measures to improve Nova’s mechanics.

“I’ve made one correction with his mechanics. He threw the ball on his toes, which puts a lot of pressure on your arm and can lead to arm problems. I was always taught, especially when I was in the NFL, to put your heel in the ground and push off like you’re a pitcher and then get your waist and hips right. It seems to have helped him.”

You can read the full Q&A with Friedgen on ScarletKnights.com.

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Report: Washington suspends QB Miles for season opener

Washington v Oregon State Getty Images

If you are having trouble keeping up with the status of Washington quarterback Cyler Miles, you are forgiven. It has been quite a back-and-forth situation this offseason. For those keeping score, Miles is currently suspended for the season opener at Hawaii, according to Washington beat reporter Adam Jude, of The Seattle Times.

Jude reported the news of a suspension via Twitter;

Miles and former wide receiver Damore’ea Stringfellow were connected to an on-campus assault incident that led to the suspensions. Miles was not charged for the incident. Stringfellow later decided to transfer to Nebraska, and then to Ole Miss. Miles was suspended by Washington on February 6 and then reinstated on May 14. After seeing Miles serve a suspension through spring practices, it comes as a small surprise to see he will now be suspended for the first game of the season, although this is also a way for new head coach Chris Petersen to lay down the (football) law and send a message to the entire team right off the bat.

Miles was expected to be the leading candidate to be Washington’s next starting quarterback after the departure of Keith Price. That may prove to be the case in the long run regardless of this news, but he will have some catching up to do while Jeff Lindquist and/or Troy Williams take care of leading the offense in the season opener.

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Updated: Texas WRs charged with felony sexual assault, suspended

Kendall Sanders

A pair of Texas wide receivers was reportedly charged for felony sexual assault Thursday. Arrests for Kendall Sanders and Montrel Meander are currently pending. The two have already been suspended by Texas.

The felony sexual assault charges are considered second-degree in nature and stem from an incident that took place earlier this week, according to The Austin American-Statesman. Sanders also faces an additional charge for what is being reported as improper photography. Bail for each has been set at $75,000 for Meander and $95,000 for Sanders ($75,000 for each and an additional $20,000 for the improper photography charge to Sanders).

According to police records acquired by The Austin American-Statesman, University of Texas police found an alleged victim crying under a desk with no shoes. The victim claims to have agreed to consensual sex with Meander, but Sanders knocked on a door and was let in by Meander. At that time, the alleged victim claims, Sanders began to force himself on the alleged victim. When Meander returned to the room, the alleged victim claims both Texas receivers continued to “forcibly” penetrate the victim. After seeing what was believed to be a camera flash, the alleged victim got dressed and left. University of Texas police was notified of the incident early Monday morning and began investigating quickly.

Texas head coach Charlie Strong issued a statement regarding the suspensions.

Sanders has been in legal trouble before at Texas. He was suspended from the 2013 season opener following a DUI charge. He started seven games last season for the Longhorns, finishing the year third on the Longhorns in receiving yards with 361 yards and a touchdown. Sanders was also used on special teams, with 10 kickoff returns over 12 games. Meander is a redshirt freshman after sitting out the 2013 season.

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Auburn QB Nick Marshall’s $1,000 fine is paid

Nick Marshall

Auburn’s preseason All-SEC quarterback Nick Marshall has had his fine for possession of marijuana paid in full. As far as the police are concerned, the case is now closed.

According to a report by Al.com, Marshall was fined $1,000 for possessing a small amount of marijuana and another $100 for illegally tinted car windows. The fine was paid in full by Marshall’s mother. Because the fine was paid, Marshall will not be required to attend a court hearing, which was to be scheduled for September 10.

Marshall was originally scheduled to attend SEC Media Week last week, but in light of this infraction with the law head coach Gus Malzahn decided not to bring the quarterback to the highly covered event as a punishment. Malzahn has not announced any decision on potential lost playing time to be served by Marshall, although it appears he may not have to miss playing time based off the school’s drug policy.

Marshall was named to the preseason All-SEC First Team offense during SEC Media Week.

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U.S. passport glitch only adds to potential problems for Conference USA

US passport

One of the more difficult tasks in organizing and running a college football program may be the responsibility of arranging for the travel of the team. Throw in the need to get passports for all players and coaches and other staff members, and a headache probably enters severe migraine territory for those in charge of travel plans. Schools in Conference USA and the MAC are working now to ensure their programs would be prepared for a potential trip to the Bahamas this holiday season, but delays in receiving passports are not helping that cause right now.

As reported by NBC News, the U.S. State Department’s global database for issuing travel documents has crashed, leading to even more delays in the process for many. Fortunately, Conference USA and MAC schools would not need the passports until December.

UAB head coach Bill Clark said at Conference USA media day this week his team is still working to get their passports. Although there is plenty of time between now and the Christmas Eve kickoff, now is the time to get in the required paperwork.

“They’re trying to get everyone in our conference to get passports,” Clark said to Al.com. “We have not (gotten our passports yet) but we need to get them. I’ve got mine, but we’ve got to get the players passports.”

Of course, every school in Conference USA needs to prepare for the possibility of playing in the Bahamas Bowl, not just one or two schools. The same is true for the MAC, so in all a total of 26 schools are likely scrambling to make sure they get the passport paperwork filed quickly, if it is not already submitted.

“Nobody else in the league had either,” Clark added. “Two of the coaches said to please remind our athletic directors that we’ve all got to get those. We’re planning on getting them.”

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