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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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Vandy QB Patton Robinette cleared to play, won’t start against Missouri

Patton Robinette

Four quarterbacks have played for the Vanderbilt Commodores this season. Sophomore Patton Robinette has proven to be the most effective during the limited time he’s been at the helm of the offense.

However, Robinette is recovering from a concussion and won’t start Saturday against the Missouri Tigers despite being cleared to play.

Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason already made 10 changes at the quarterback position through seven games. Freshman Wade Freebeck started last weekend against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers. Freedbeck was 5-of-7 passing for 20 yards before suffering a finger injury during the Commodores’ narrow 21-20 over the FCS program.

Freshman Johnny McCrary took over for Freebeck and played relatively well. The two then competed during practice this week to be the team’s starter. McCrary eventually won the opportunity to start this Saturday.

“When I step on the field, I can only do my best,” McCrary told The Tennessean‘s Adam Sparks Wednesday. “If my best isn’t good enough, I’ll take myself out of the game. You can tell if you’re not moving this team, but I want to stay tough and maybe something special will happen.”

If McCary doesn’t play at his best, he won’t have to pull himself. Mason has proven he’s more than willing to make changes at the position. Now that Robinette is healthy, McCrary could very well be on a short leash.

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UPDATE: Syracuse football is under NCAA investigation

Scott Shafer

Syracuse is the latest football program to find itself in the clutches of the NCAA.

While the Orange’s basketball team was believed to be the focus of an ongoing investigation, there are concerns regarding the football program, too.

Syracuse.com’s Nate Mink reported the investigation could affect multiple areas within the school’s athletic department.

“The Syracuse football program is part of the wide-ranging NCAA investigation into the school’s athletic department,” sources told Mink.

“The information shows that the NCAA inquiry that has swirled around the basketball team for two years is more involved, and that the football team is part of the investigation and potentially exposed to penalties. It’s unclear if other teams are involved.”

If the Orange football team was to receive any type of sanctions, possible infractions apparently didn’t occur during Doug Marrone‘s tenure. Marrone served as the Orange’s head coach from 2009-12. The current head coach of the Buffalo Bills spoke with Fink about possible reasons behind the investigation.

“There’s nothing that I know about that we did that wasn’t either punished or put forth,” Marrone said.

“One thing I did, if we made a mistake, an incidental contact or something, I just always reported it. It’s not worth it. This way I can sleep at night.”

Syracuse officials are expected to meet with the NCAA in Indianapolis at some point before the end of the month.

UPDATE (8:45 ET): ESPN.com’s Brett Murphy reported Syracuse officials will go to Indianapolis on Oct. 30-31 to face the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions.

While the basketball program is the primary target of the investigation, the football program might not escape unscathed.

“The football team is also facing allegations involving extra benefits, but only for a two-or-three-year stretch around 2004 or 2005,” a source told McMurphy.

The time period falls between Syracuse’s transition from Paul Pasqualoni to Greg Robinson as the team’s head coach. The Orange were 7-16 during those two campaigns.

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Maryland approves policy to link coaches’ bonuses to academic success

Randy Edsall

Some institutions are serious about keeping the student in student-athlete.

The Maryland Board of Regents unanimously voted in favor of a policy “denying bonuses to coaches and athletic directors whose players don’t measure up academically”, according to the Baltimore Sun.

“I think this is another step for Maryland to be in the vanguard on issues of intercollegiate athletics,” former U.S. Rep. Tom McMillen, who is a member of the Board of Regents, told the Sun. “They were a leader on guaranteed scholarships and now they are a leader in academic accountability.”

Maryland approved a “lifetime guarantee degree” in August. At that time, athletic director Kevin Anderson said, “Our vision is to be the best intercollegiate athletic program while producing graduates who are prepared to serve as leaders in the local, state and global communities. We are confident ‘The Maryland Way Guarantee’ will further demonstrate our commitment to our student-athletes’ pursuit of a college degree.”

The school’s commitment — which extends to Towson, Coppin State and UMBC — took a logical step by making its coaches more accountable for the academic performance of their athletes.

The coaches’ bonuses will ultimately be tied to the school’s yearly Academic Progress Rate. To determine a school’s APR, as defined by the NCAA, “a score of a thousand means every student-athlete on that team stayed eligible and returned to school. You begin losing points for students who are not eligible and/or are not retained.”

During the 2012-13 seasons, the Maryland Terrapins received a score of 950, which would have been worst among Big Ten schools. Clearly, there is room for improvement from Maryland head coach Randy Edsall.

This decision also becomes a recruiting advantage for the Terrapins. With the school’s added emphasis on education and new demands on its coaches, parents can see how dedicated the university is to each student-athlete. Education is at the forefront for Maryland, and it will only help the school’s athletics.

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Two Georgia Tech starters ruled out for Pitt contest

Zach Laskey, Akeem Langham

Saturday’s meeting between the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Pitt Panthers is a crucial match up in the ACC Coastal division. Both teams are trying to stay within striking distance of the Duke Blue Devils.

The Yellow Jackets will have to do so without their starting right tackle. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Chris Griffin has been ruled out for Saturday’s contest.

The redshirt freshman started all seven games on the strong side this season, but he’s currently dealing with a shoulder injury.

With Griffin out of the lineup, another redshirt freshman, Eason Fromayan, is expected to slide into the starting lineup. Fromayan already started one game this season at left tackle when Bryan Chamberlain was unable to play in the Duke contest due to an ankle injury.

Griffin isn’t the only starter that’s been ruled out for the upcoming game. Starting B-back (fullback) Zach Laskey is also dealing with a shoulder injury and won’t be able to play against Pitt.

Laskey is a key component in Georgia Tech’s triple-option attack, which is currently ranked fourth overall in rushing yards per game. The fullback is the team’s second-leading rusher with 595 yards on the ground.

Seniors Synjyn Days and Matt Connors should be able to fill in for Laskey and provide the presence needed to keep the Yellow Jackets’ inside running attack viable. Without the mid-line option, the Panthers will have a much easier time defending the outside runs or pitches by quarterback Justin Thomas.

These injuries will only help a Pitt defense that ranks 18th in the nation against the run.

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Indiana prepares for life without RB Tevin Coleman, who is considering NFL draft

Tevin Coleman

Running backs such as Georgia’s Todd Gurley, Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon and even South Carolina’s Mike Davis are all expected to bypass their senior seasons and enter April’s NFL draft. A surprise name could enter the equation.

None of those talented backs lead the FBS in rushing, though. Indiana’s Tevin Coleman does.

Coleman’s 1,192 rushing yards and 8.8 yards per carry makes the running back one of the most explosive players in all of college football. Due to this season’s success, Coleman, a junior, now appears to be leaning toward entering the NFL draft.

“There’s been scant news directly from the source but people close to the Indiana Hoosier program are planning for the departure of Tevin Coleman at seasons end,” DraftInsider.net’s Tony Pauline reported.

From a football perspective there is very little reason why  Coleman should return this season. He’s already one of the top running backs in the country, and his body hasn’t taken much of a beating after sharing the backfield most of his career. It’s an opportunity to strike while the iron is hot instead of adding more wear and tear to his body.

While the Hoosiers couldn’t replace what Coleman brought to the team the past two seasons (including 23 rushing touchdowns and counting), they can continue to sprinkle freshman running back Devine Redding into the rotation to make sure he’s ready to take over a much bigger role once Coleman and senior D’Angelo Roberts are no longer with the program next season.

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Ex-UM WR Csont’e York will serve seven days in jail

Csont'e York

Before Csont’e York can go on to the next chapter of his football-playing career, he’ll have to atone for some of his past transgressions.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the former Michigan wide receiver was sentenced to, among other things, 365 days in jail — he’ll have to serve seven — in connection to the incident that he led him to becoming the former Michigan wide receiver. In late September, York pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated assault and one charge of assault and battery. In exchange for that plea deal, another assault and battery charge was dropped.

In mid-July, York became involved in a verbal disagreement outside of a drinking establishment in Ann Arbor. Security video that was released Aug. 12 showed York sucker-punching 22-year-old male, who suffered a broken jaw as a result.

York was initially suspended by the football program in early August.  Six days after the video was released, York was dismissed by the Wolverines.

The victim in the case requested that York not be sentenced to jail. The judge had other ideas.

“I feel very strongly that some jail term is appropriate to hold you accountable so you can reflect on your actions and see that your behavior will not be tolerated,” Judge Elizabeth Pollard Hines said in sentencing York according to the Free Press. “In balancing all those factors — accountability, rehabilitation, considering protecting the community and the wishes of victim in this case — I’m going to sentence you to 365 days in jail. I’m suspending the rest, and you will serve seven of those days.”

The paper writes that “[t]he seven-day sentence will be split, with four days occurring immediately, then York being released and returning to jail Oct. 31 for the final three days.”

In addition to the jail time, York was sentenced to 24 months probation; $540 in court fines and costs; and payment of victim medical expenses that currently total $2,134.70. Even more damaging financially for York is that he will also be held responsible for any future unpaid medical expenses connected to the assault, which the judge said could exceed $70,000.

York has transferred to Toledo although he’s not yet a part of the Rockets football team. That’s expected to occur as early as spring practice next year.

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Bear Bryant Award releases 20-coach watch list

AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION GUS MALZAHN

In this latest watch list, it’s all about the Big 12 and SEC, with a healthy sprinkling of the Pac-12 for good measure.

The Bear Bryant Award announced Friday a watch list for its annual Coach of the Year that consists of 20 coaches from seven of the 10 FBS conferences.  It’s mainly, though, a list consisting of coaches from the leagues mentioned in the lede.

The Big 12 and SEC lead all conferences with five coaches apiece, while the Pac-12 is right behind with four.  The Big Ten, with two, is the only other conference with more than one, with the AAC, ACC and Conference USA hitting that singular number.

Six of the coaches on this year’s initial watch list were on last year’s as well: Baylor’s Art Briles, Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher, Oregon’s Mark Helfrich, Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, Alabama’s Nick Saban and Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops.  Malzahn, incidentally, won last year’s award.

As for this year’s contenders?  If it were up to me, and at the moment, I’d split the award right down the middle and hand one piece to East Carolina’s Ruffin McNeill and Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen.

That said, below are the 20 members of the Bear Bryant Award watch list.  Bitch, whine and/or moan about who’s on it/not on it below that:

  • Art Briles, Baylor
  • Mark Dantonio, Michigan State
  • Jimbo Fisher, Florida State
  • Huge Freeze, Ole Miss
  • Todd Graham, Arizona State
  • Mark Helfrich, Oregon
  • Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia
  • Doc Holliday, Marshall
  • Brian Kelly, Notre Dame
  • Gus Malzahn, Auburn
  • Ruffin McNeill, East Carolina
  • Dan Mullen, Mississippi State
  • Gary Patterson, TCU
  • Bo Pelini, Nebraska
  • Mark Richt, Georgia
  • Rich Rodriguez, Arizona
  • Nick Saban, Alabama
  • Bill Snyder, Kansas State
  • Bob Stoops, Oklahoma
  • Kyle Whittingham, Utah

 

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SMU AD: ‘no discussion of compensation with potential candidates’

Kliff Kingsbury, Mack Brown

You have to love the twists and turns of a coaching search with a high-profile name connected to it.

In a report taking a look at potential candidates to become the permanent successor to June Jones as head coach that we mentioned Thursday, Dallas Morning News writer Bill Nichols set the Twitterverse ablaze with the following: “SMU officials have already had preliminary discussions with former Texas coach Mack Brown, floating $4 million annually over eight years.”

That came a short time after the former UT head coach’s attorney confirmed that SMU had approached his client about a return to the sidelines.  Brown himself, currently serving as a college football analyst on ESPN, said a week earlier that he will decide in December if his coaching career is done.

The hubbub over the $4 million-per-year- report, however, prompted SMU athletic director Rick Hart to take to his Twitter account to shoot it down.

“While it is not our policy to comment during a search process, the attention a recent report has attracted dictates it be addressed. While we have a great deal of respect for Mack Brown, no one associated with our search has contacted him or his representatives. To that end, there has been no offer or discussion of compensation with any potential candidates.”

So, in summation…

He was approached [by SMU], I was approached, but he’s not interested in coaching anywhere right now.” — Mack Brown attorney Joe Jamail, Oct. 5.

[N]o one associated with our search has contacted him or his representatives.” — SMU athletic director Rick Hart, Oct. 24.

Yep, love the contradictory statements as part of these searches too.  Then again, maybe the well-heeled boosters and political figures connected to the university’s athletic department are merely circumventing official channels, and those in charge of the search are simply unaware of what’s going on behind doors that are closed to even them.  In Texas, anything and everything is possible.

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Wyoming has fingers crossed for injured second-leading rusher

D.J. May

Last week it was a suspension.  This week, it’s an on-field matter that leaves one of Wyoming’s top running back’s future uncertain.

Earlier this week rumors begin to circulate that D.J. May suffered some type of injury during practice. The school sent out a press release Thursday stating that “May did suffer an injury to a knee in Wednesday’s practice,” but that “[d]octors have not yet evaluated tests on the severity of May’s injury.”

As of early Friday afternoon, there was still no definitive word on May’s status moving forward.

May’s 260 yards and two rushing touchdowns remain second on the Cowboys this season. His two receiving touchdowns are tied for second on the team as well.

Mays was suspended for last Saturday’s overtime loss to San Jose State for violating unspecified team rules.

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Season, college career of starting UConn corner over

Connecticut v Central Florida Getty Images

UConn’s loss to East Carolina Thursday night came at a much steeper cost than just in the won-loss column.

By way of John Silver of snyuconn.com, head coach Bob Diaco confirmed Friday that Byron Jones will miss the remainder of the 2014 season because of injury.  The cornerback aggravated a lingering shoulder injury in the loss, and will undergo season-ending surgery in short order.

“Byron was playing through a small issue there,” Diaco said. “That, then exacerbated himself last night to the point that it needs to be addressed. If it doesn’t get addressed it will be something else. Right now, [it's] an isolated thing that needs to be fixed.”

Because Jones is a senior who has already used his redshirt, and will not be eligible for a medical waiver, his collegiate career has come to a close.

Jones started all seven games this season, and started 39 in his career. This season, his two interceptions are the only two picks for the Huskies defense.

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UNC’s Elijah Hood again listed as doubtful

Liberty v North Carolina Getty Images

For the second consecutive game, it appears North Carolina will be sans one of the most productive members of its backfield.

On its weekly injury report, UNC lists running back Elijah Hood as doubtful for Saturday’s game against Virginia.  Thus far, the nature of Hood’s injury hasn’t been disclosed.

Hood was also listed as doubtful heading into last Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech, and ended up not playing against the Yellow Jackets.

Prior to the GT game, Hood had been tops among Tar Heel backs with 199 yards rushing.  His four rushing touchdowns are currently tied for the team lead.

The true freshman was a five-star member of UNC’s most recent recruiting class and was rated as the No. 4 back in the country.

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Judge who will conduct Winston hearing identified

Florida Supreme Court

The “when” of Jameis Winston‘s student conduct hearing is still to be determined.

One “who,” however, has been determined.

According to WCTV in Tallahassee, retired Florida Supreme Court chief justice Major Harding has been selected to preside over the hearing as what’s described as an “independent observer.”  Two other former state court justices, Joseph Hatchett and Charles T. Wells, were in the group of three candidates considered by the Florida State quarterback and his accuser.

Each side was able to strike one of the three from consideration.  If both struck the same judge, FSU would pick from the remaining two.  It’s unknown exactly how Harding came to oversee the hearing.

Harding did confirm to the television station that he has “been chosen to oversee a student conduct hearing, but says no student’s name has been provided to him.”

ESPN.com‘s Mark Schlabach provided a brief description of each judge in his confirmation of the earlier report on Harding.

Harding, 79, was a state Supreme Court justice from 1991 to 2000. A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, he is a graduate of Wake Forest and Virginia’s law school. Harding, who is currently a practicing attorney with the law firm Ausley McMullen in Tallahassee, began his career as a jurist in Florida with a 1968 appointment as a Duval County Juvenile Court judge. When he was appointed to the state’s Supreme Court, he was the dean of the Florida Judicial College and chair-elect of the Florida Conference of Circuit Judges, according to his bio on the law firm’s website.

Hatchett, 82, was the first black man appointed to a federal appeals court in the Deep South, by President Jimmy Carter in 1979. Wells, 75, a graduate of the University of Florida and UF law school, was the Florida Supreme Court’s chief justice from 2000 to 2002. He presided over the 2000 U.S. presidential election recount cases involving the hanging chads on Florida’s ballots.

At the hearing, whenever that may be if it even happens at all, Winston could be charged with up to four student code of conduct violations in connection to the alleged sexual assault of an FSU student in December of 2012.

Winston, as long as he is still a student at the university, will be compelled to attend the hearing. He will not be required, however, to answer questions even as he is permitted to give an opening statement and cross-examine witnesses. Unless given explicit permission by whomever is overseeing the hearing, his attorney, David Cornwell, will not be allowed to speak or argue on his client’s behalf.

Provided it doesn’t interrupt the hearing process, Winston can consult with Cornwell, who will presumably be the one “advisor” permitted at the hearing.

Cornwell has publicly expressed concern over the process, saying earlier this month, “I’m not walking this kid into a firing line without the necessary weapons.”  That tack’s being viewed by some, including the accuser’s attorney, as taking on the feel of “a stall.”

(Photo credit: Florida Supreme Court)

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A&M drops Ducks, adds future Clemson series

12th Man AP

The scheduling gods taketh… and then they giveth right back.

Thursday, Twitter was all, well, atwitter when it was reported that Texas A&M had backed out of its home-and-home series with Oregon that had been scheduled for 2018 and 2019. “Typical SEC school, ducking tough non-conference games,” some derisively said, never mind the fact that A&M already has Notre Dame, Clemson, UCLA and Arizona State on its future slates.

A short time later, however, both A&M and Clemson announced that they had agreed to a future series, with the Tigers replacing the Ducks in 2018 and 2019. Clemson will travel to Kyle Field on September 8, 2018, while TAMU will head to Memorial Stadium on September 7, 2019.

“We are excited to play the Clemson Tigers, who have been on Texas A&M’s non-conference schedule previously, A&M athletic director Eric Hyman said in a statement. “As a fellow land-grant institution, Clemson is very similar to Texas A&M with a great football tradition and passionate fans. This will be a great non-conference series for both schools.”

According to FOXSports.com, Hyman “exercised a clause from the contract A&M and the Ducks… that said they could get out deal if A&M changed conferences.” The original series between A&M and UO was agreed to in 2009, prior to the Aggies’ departure from the Big 12 for the SEC.

Hyman further explained that the reason for dumping Oregon came down to simple math as it relates to home dates in 2018 and 2019.

“Our goal is to play seven home games at Kyle Field each season,” the release quoted Hyman as saying. “Playing at Oregon in 2018, combined with the Arkansas game in Arlington, would leave us with only six home games that season. In even-numbered years such as 2018, we only have three SEC home dates as long as we continue to play Arkansas in Arlington.”

And, for those who are wondering, this is not a case of UO being hard to deal with either.  Also from the release:

Texas A&M offered to switch the home-and-home dates with Oregon on the original contract, but Oregon faces the same situation with only four Pac-12 home games in even years with five on the road.

Clemson and A&M have met four times previously, with the last coming in 2005. The Aggies own a 3-1 edge in the series.

“We are looking forward to playing Texas A&M as the two schools share a rich military heritage and of course passionate fan bases,” Hyman’s Clemson counterpart, Dan Radakovich, said. “We know our fans make Clemson a great game day experience and the Aggie fans make Kyle field also one of the great venues in all of college football.”

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Ground and pound: Hurricanes establish identity during 30-6 victory over Hokies

Al Golden, Duke Johnson

The Miami Hurricanes made a statement Thursday against the Virginia Tech Hokies.

While the program may never return to the winning ways it once experienced while Al Golden is at the helm, the program finally gravitated toward an identity that’s long been forgotten. The vaunted Miami teams from the 1980’s and the early 2000’s used to physically dominate opponents. They did that Thursday night in Blacksburg.

Miami (5-2) captured a dominant 30-6 victory over Virginia Tech (4-4).

When Golden was the head coach of Temple from 2006-10, the Owls climbed their way out of football purgatory by running the football effectively week in and week out. The talent level at Miami supersedes anything Golden had at Temple, but the team’s approach against the Hokies was reminiscent of those Owls.

There was nothing fancy about what Miami did to Virginia Tech. The Hurricanes lined up and jammed the ball down the Hokies’ collective throat. Two running backs combined to run for an impressive 364 yards.

Junior running back Duke Johnson ran like a man possessed. Johnson set a career high with 249 rushing yards on 29 carries.

Sophomore Gus Edwards took over in the second half and managed 115 yards.

The Hurricanes were so dominant in the trenches, freshman quarterback Brad Kaaya was only asked to throw the ball 16 teams. He completed seven of those passes for 92 yards and a touchdown.

Plus, Miami played well on the defensive side of the football.

The Hurricanes shut out the Hokies through the first half of play, before Virginia Tech decided to ride freshman running back Marshawn Williams. Willams carried the ball 21 times for 100 yards. The young back also fumbled twice.

With the ACC Coastal division being wide open, the Hurricanes may have found its identity at the right time. At 2-2 in the division, Miami is now a half game behind the Duke Blue Devils going into this weekend’s games. But Miami holds the head-to-head edge.

If Miami plans to make a run in their division, its ball-control offense will be needed over the next two weeks against the North Carolina Tar Heels and No. 2 Florida State Seminoles.

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No. 18 ECU Pirates may stumble in polls despite 31-21 victory over UConn

Ruffin Mc Neill

The No. 18 East Carolina Pirates secured a 31-21 victory over the Connecticut Huskies Thursday. But was it enough for the Pirates to remain the top non-Power Five program and the favorite to claim an appearance in a contract bowl?

Sometimes a win can be viewed as a loss.

The Pirates struggled against a Huskies squad that entered the game 1-5 and didn’t have a victory against a single FBS opponent this season. It wasn’t until six minutes left in the game that East Carolina finally pulled away from UConn.

When a non-power conference team trying to impress the College Football Playoff gets an opportunity to add style points to their resume on national television, it has to do so. East Carolina didn’t.

The Pirates moved the ball and racked up 580 total yards, but they weren’t able to complete drives most of the evening. UConn employed a bend-but-don’t-break, and the scheme worked.

If East Carolina isn’t putting up big scoring and yardage numbers, the team is nowhere near as impressive.

East Carolina’s primary competition as the top non-Power Five program is the Marshall Thundering Herd. Marshall is currently ranked 23rd overall in the AP Top 25. The Thundering Herd’s underwhelming schedule has prevented them from legitimately entering the national conversation. Yet, Marshall’s schedule doesn’t feature a team ranked lower than Connecticut.

Despite the lackluster effort, East Carolina did win the game. Ruffin McNeill‘s squad overcame adversity and was able to win a close contest even though everything didn’t go in their favor. The program still holds victories over the Virginia Tech Hokies and the No. 25 North Carolina Tar Heels.

Plus, very few teams feature a dynamic duo like quarterback Shane Carden and Justin Hardy. Carden was 38-of-64 passing Thursday for 445 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Hardy, meanwhile, grabbed 14 passes for 186 yards. The impressive effort moved Hardy into second place among the FBS’ all-time receptions list.

The Huskies deserve some credit for knocking down the Pirates a notch. First-year head coach Bob Diaco has his team playing hard, and they seem to be figuring some things out. The defense plays sound football, while the offense was finally able to move the ball in stretches against East Carolina.

In the end, East Carolina is still the top non-Power Five program in college football, but the margin between the top team and the second team is much closer after Thursday night’s effort.

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