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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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Stagg Bowl XLII: Wisconsin-Whitewater claims sixth DIII title in eight years

Lance Leipold

The Wisconsin-Whitewater Warhawks are champions once again.

Since Lance Leipold took over the the program in 2007, the Warhawks have done nothing but win football games.

The team’s sixth championship — all under Leipold’s watch — came Friday in Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl XLII when the Warhawks once again beat the Mount Union Purple Raiders 42-34 to claim the program’s second straight Division III national championship.

Leipold will leave the program in style.

As the fastest coach ever at any level of college football to reach 100 wins, Leipold was tabbed as the next head coach of the Buffalo Bulls. It’s a big jump in competition for a Division III head coach, but Leipold just must be the exception if his early success as a head coach is any indication.

The two teams combined for 1,168 total yards and seven turnovers.

Mount Union shot itself in the foot with five turnovers. Quarterback Kevin Burke — the only two-time winner of the Gagliardi Trophy as the top player at the Division III level — threw four interceptions. He only threw five the entire season before Friday’s effort.

Wisconsin-Whitewater quarterback Matt Behrendt, meanwhile, received plenty of help as he completed 26 of 38 passes for 365 yards and four touchdowns.

Warhawks wide receiver Jake Kumerow was the best player on the field. The 6-5 target was nearly unstoppable throughout the contest and finished the game with eight receptions for 130 yards. Dennis Moore added 108 yards only on two catches. Finally, running back Jordan Ratliffe proved to be a workhorse with 24 carries for 116 yards.

Wisconsin-Whitewater’s offensive production along with Mount Union’s turnovers were the recipe for yet another Warhawks championship.

After meeting each other in the Stagg Bowl nine out of the last 10 years, Wisconsin-Whitewater has now gotten the best of Mount Union six out of the last seven times.

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RB Deantre Lewis abruptly leaves Arizona State Sun Devils

Colorado v Arizona State

Senior running back Deantre Lewis will not finish his career as a member of the Arizona State Sun Devils.

After finishing the regular season with 298 total yards as both a running back and a wide receiver, Lewis will not play in the Sun Bowl against the Duke Blue Devils.

No reason was given for Lewis departure, but Arizona State head coach Todd Graham confirmed he is no longer part of the program.

Lewis career never blossomed after a promising freshman campaign. During his first year on campus, Lewis produced three straight 100-yard games against the Wisconsin Badgers, Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers. He never ran for more than 64 yards in any single game during the rest of his career.

The running back was a victim of a random shooting in 2012. Upon his return, he was stuck on the depth chart behind Marion Grice and D.J. Foster. Lewis was then shifted to the defensive side of the football for a short period. He suffered an MCL injury in 2014. He was even called out publicly by his coach.

After an average senior season, it appears Lewis finally had enough.

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Gus Malzahn uncertain of D’haquille Williams’ status for Outback Bowl

D'haquille Williams

Auburn wide receiver D’haquille Williams continues to be bothered by lingering injuries and illness.

The Outback Bowl is 13 days away, but Auburn’s leading receiver isn’t currently on track to play in the game.

When asked about whether Williams would definitely play against the Wisconsin Badgers, Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn wasn’t willing to commit one way or another.

“Not at this point,” Malzahn told Al.com’s Joel A. Erickson.

Williams missed two of Auburn’s final three games due to a sprained MCL and a bruised knee that he suffered Nov. 8 against the Texas A&M Aggies. The JUCO transfer returned for the Iron Bowl against the Alabama Crimson Tide and caught seven passes for 121 yards.

However, the talented wide receiver hasn’t been feeling well.

“He has not practiced,” Malzahn said. “He was sick and he’s got some treatment things to do from the last game.”

Despite missing those two games, Williams still leads the Tigers with 45 receptions for 730 yards. The 6-2, 216-pound receiver has proven to be the security blanket for quarterback Nick Marshall.

If Williams can’t play, the Badgers will roll coverage toward Auburn’s deep threat, Sammie Coates. The junior will be playing his last game as a member of the Tigers before he’s NFL bound.

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Former four-star TE transfers from Vanderbilt to Colorado State

team headshots(John Russell/Vanderbilt University)

The Colorado State Rams don’t have a head coach yet, but they’ve already landed a big commitment.

Tight end Mitchell Parsons was one of the crown jewels in the Vanderbilt Commodores’ 2013 recruiting class. The former four-star recruit was considered the nation’s seventh-best tight end prospect, according to Rivals.com.

After a redshirt season and no playing time this year, the native of Parker, Colorado, decided he wanted to play closer to home.

Parsons’ transfer shouldn’t come as a surprise. He originally committed to head coach James Franklin, who left to take the job at Penn State less than a year later. Vanderbilt’s offense will again transition this offseason after new head coach Derek Mason fired offensive coordinator Karl Dorrell.

The tight end might not know who he’ll be playing for at Colorado State, but at least his family will only be an hour or so down the road.

Parsons will have to sit out next season due to NCAA transfer rules. Once he is eligible to play, he’ll have an opportunity to replace Steven Walker, who will be a senior in 2015, as the team’s starting tight end.

(Photo courtesy of Vanderbilt athletic department)

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Missouri will be without its second-leading receiver for Citrus Bowl

Jimmie Hunt ,Jabriel Washington

The Missouri Tigers will be without their second-leading receiver, Jimmie Hunt, for the Citrus Bowl against the Minnesota Gophers. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dave Matter reported Hunt underwent shoulder surgery Wednesday.

Hunt was second on the team in receptions (40), yardage (698) and receiving touchdowns (7) this season. The senior is also coming off the best game of his career against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the SEC Championship Game. Hunt amassed an impressive 169 yards after beating the Alabama secondary deep multiple times.

Without Hunt in the lineup, the Tigers’ spread offense will feature a new slot receiver.

The two receivers Missouri’s head coach mentioned have caught a total of five passes this season. Otte, a senior, is the experienced option, but Brown presents a matchup problem at 6-3 and 205 pounds. Both may be required to step up in Hunt’s absence.

Minnesota is yet another big and physical team in Missouri’s way. The Tigers’ spread offense needs to be firing on all cylinders to score quickly once the Gophers try to control the clock with their running game and sound defense.

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Big 12 would look ‘East not West’ if league decides to expand

Bob Bowlsby

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby provided the first hint of possible expansion during an interview on 740 AM the Game with the Orlando Sentinel‘s Mike Bianchi.

Expansion could be vital for the league as it moves forward after being left out of the first College Football Playoff.

Once the Baylor Bears and TCU Horned Frogs weren’t included as one of the nation’s top four teams, the Big 12 Conference became the only Power Five league without representation in the inaugural playoff system.

Two reasons became evident why the Big 12 was left out of the mix.

First, the Big 12 only has 10 teams. The NCAA prevents a league from hosting a championship game if it has less than 12 teams. As a result, the champions of the Big 12 played one less game than those teams that won their championship game.

In an attempt to make both the Baylor and TCU enticing candidates — because the Horned Frogs were rated higher even though they lost to the Bears — the conference decided its “One True Champion” would include both teams and the College Playoff Committee could decide which team should be more highly ranked.

Instead, the league’s decision backfired since neither team was seen as a true champion of their conference.

The most likely solution to the Big 12’s problem is to acquire a waiver from the NCAA to hold a championship game. After all, the Big 12 places a higher value on monetary gain than true competitive balance.

“We divide the money 10 ways,” Bowlsby told Bianchi, via UCFSports.com. “Right now, we’re distributing the largest amount of money to each of our members in any league in college athletics. I don’t know that our members are prepared to take a reduction in that distributable revenue. It’s certainly about TV sets. It’s certainly about recruiting. It’s certainly about the possibility of competitive implications in all of our sports, but particularly our high-profile sports. At the present time we have no strategy. We haven’t had any discussions around expansion. Our CEOs have said they like 10. I expect that we’ll be at 10 for a while. Could that change down the road? Sure it could… I don’t think we’re going to take a kneejerk reaction and think immediately about expansion just because on this occasion we got left out of the playoff.”

While Bowlsby expects an answer for the league’s appeal within six months, expansion might quickly develop into a legitimate option if the NCAA doesn’t approve the waiver.

The commissioner provided an initial hint of what the league might do once league expansion is back on the table.

“We have one member in West Virginia that’s on the East Coast,” Bowlsby said. “We have to be mindful of their situation. If we took somebody in that was on the far West Coast it would certainly do a disservice to our member in West Virginia. As I mentioned earlier, it may be a different set of criteria to some of our members than it is to other members. As the commissioner, I certainly have to take all 10 institutions and their sensitivities into play.”

The two obvious candidates would be the Cincinnati Bearcats and the UCF Knights. Cincinnati would provide a travel partner and a rival for West Virginia. UCF, meanwhile, is an burgeoning program that would allow the Big 12 to get into the talent-rich state of Florida for recruiting purposes.

Bowlsby’s inclination to look at teams in the eastern half of the United State would exclude the BYU Cougars and Boise State Broncos, both of which would be strong candidates as football programs.

“We don’t have any schools on our radar at the present time,” Bowlsby said. “As you know, the Grant of Rights was noted earlier in the previous question. Our institutions all have granted their rights to the Big 12. Several other conferences have Grants of Rights. There are some institutions that are essentially off the table. We don’t have any expansion initiative. We don’t have any list of prospects. We don’t have any plans to expand. As our athletic directors, our CEOs, talk about what the model looks like, talk about the challenges of the future and talk about the immediate past experience we had with the playoff, you know, those are things that are going to get discussed. But we don’t have any list. We don’t have any initiative. I would say that the status quo is by far the most attractive status to most of our members.”

While the Big 12 doesn’t have any current plans to expand, Bowlby’s stance has slightly softened in the past 11 days.

The league’s future expansion now hinges on the NCAA’s decision to allow the Big 12 to hold a championship game with on 10 members. If the appeal is denied, the expansion conversation will intensify.

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CFT Previews: Your Dec. 20 Viewer’s Guide

Mark Hudspeth AP

Taking a quick-hit look at the Dec. 20 bowl menu, which on “opening weekend” features five bowl games as the 2014 postseason kicks off.

WHO: Nevada (7-5) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (8-4)
WHAT: The 14th R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
WHERE: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, La.
WHEN: 11 a.m. ET on ESPN
THE SKINNY: Unless you were on Bourbon Street the night before, what better way to cap off your Saturday morning, and start the 2014 bowl season, than with a little Mountain West vs. Sun Belt action?  After never making a bowl in the first 38 years of the football program’s existence, Louisiana-Lafayette has now qualified for four straight under Mark Hudspeth.  Not only that, but they’ve won their first three appearances — all of which came in this very bowl.  Nevada, meanwhile, has lost its last two bowl games and six of its last eight.  The Ragin’ Cajuns are also playing very well as they head into the postseason, closing out the regular season with a 7-1 burst.  That burst came after a 1-3 start to the season that featured losses to nationally-ranked Ole Miss and Boise State as well as Conference USA runner-up Louisiana Tech. UL-L will prove to be a significant challenge to Nevada, one that Cody Fajardo and the Wolf Pack may not be able to overcome.
THE LINE: Louisiana-Lafayette, +1
THE PREDICTION: Louisiana-Lafayette 31, Nevada 27

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WHO: Utah State (9-4) vs. UTEP (7-5)
WHAT: The 9th Gildan New Mexico Bowl
WHERE: University Stadium, Albuquerque, NM
WHEN: 2:20 p.m. ET on ESPN
THE SKINNY: If you’re a fan of old school football that features copious amounts of defense and pounding yards out on the ground, this game is for you.  Utah State is very stingy defensively, giving up just 20.8 points per game (21st nationally).  USU is also very good against the run (26th, giving up 129.2 ypg); that also happens to be UTEP’s strength offensively (35th, 213.8 ypg).  The Aggies, though, are coming off their worst performance of the season, giving up 50 points and nearly 500 yards in the regular-season finale against Boise State.  Something tells me that it’ll be the Miners who will end up paying the price for that debacle.
THE LINE: UTEP, +10½
THE PREDICTION: Utah State 48, UTEP 17

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WHO: Utah (8-4) vs. Colorado State (10-2)
WHAT: The 23rd Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl
WHERE: Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, Nev.
WHEN: 3:30 ET on ABC
THE SKINNY: The first day of bowl action has landed what could be one of the best and most intriguing matchups of the postseason.  Colorado State is coming off its best regular season in over a decade, but will also be without its head coach as Jim McElwain took the Florida job and won’t coach in the bowl game.  Utah, the only Power Five team in action today, began the 2014 season 6-1, but stumbled to a 2-3 finish that eliminated it from contention for a significantly more important bowl berth.  The teams do have one 2014 opponent in common in Colorado, with CSU winning at home 31-17 in Week 1 and the U of U winning 38-34 in Week 14 on the road.  A significant focus for Utah’s defense, one of the best in the country, will be shutting down All-American wide receiver Rashard Higgins.  If the Utes can accomplish that feat — it won’t be easy as Higgins has at least 143 yards receiving in each of the last seven games — it would go a long way in securing their first bowl win since after the 2011 season.
THE LINE: Colorado State, +3½
THE PREDICTION: Utah 27, Colorado State 20

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WHO: Western Michigan (8-4) vs. Air Force (9-3)
WHAT: The 18th Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
WHERE: Albertsons Stadium, Boise, Id.
WHEN: 5:45 p.m. ET on ESPN
THE SKINNY: This game very easily could’ve been called the Turnaround Bowl.  The fact that either team, let alone both, are playing in the postseason somewhat constitutes a minor miracle as Air Force won a mere two games in 2013 while Western Michigan trumped even that with just a single win last season.  This game is also your classic immovable object vs. irresistible force matchup: WMU is 37th in the country in rushing yards given up per game (142.7) while AF, as service academies ofttimes are, is seventh in rushing offense at 272.2 yards per game.  Throw in how the Falcons gain those yards on the ground, and it could be a long day for the Broncos.
THE LINE: Western Michigan, +1
THE PREDICTION: Air Force 37, Western Michigan 24

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WHO: South Alabama (6-6) vs. Bowling Green (7-6)
WHAT: The Inaugural Raycom Media Camellia Bowl
WHERE: Cramton Bowl, Montgomery, Ala.
WHEN: 9:15 p.m. ET on ESPN
THE SKINNY: It’s appropriate that South Alabama is appearing in the first-ever Camellia Bowl as the Jaguars, who moved to the FBS level three years ago, are making their first-ever bowl appearance.  Their opponents, meanwhile, are playing in their seventh bowl game the past 12 years.  The Jaguars have struggled to score points all year long, with their 20.2 points per game ranking 113th out of 128 FBS teams.  The Falcons, meanwhile, have struggled to stop the opposition from scoring all season, as its 33.9 ppg (109th nationally) attests.  Whichever trend continues will play a significant role in determining the outcome.
THE LINE: Bowling Green, +3
THE PREDICTION: Bowling Green 38, South Alabama 24

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Danny Hope officially added to Willie Taggart’s USF staff

Danny Hope

After a two-season absence, Hope — and one of the best mustaches — has returned to college football.

Following up on a couple of days worth of speculation, USF announced Friday afternoon that Danny Hope has been added to Willie Taggart‘s coaching staff at USF.  The long-time college assistant will serve as the Bulls’ co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach.

The co-coordinator title is mildly surprising as all of the rumors had centered around Hope being the line coach. Instead, Hope will share coordinating duties with David Reaves, who was, the release stated, “promoted to co-offensive coordinator with oversight of the Bulls’ passing attack.”

Hope has spent the past two seasons on the coaching sidelines after his dismissal as Purdue’s head coach in November of 2012. Interestingly, this is the first time in a collegiate career that spans nearly three decades that Hope’s had the coordinator title in his job description. Previously, he had either been the assistant head coach (Louisville) or the offensive line coach (Oklahoma, Louisville, Wyoming) or both (Purdue).

“Danny is one of the best offensive line coaches in college football and a Florida native with strong ties to the Bay Area,” Taggart said in a statement. “He is a leader and a great recruiter who has helped to build and orchestrate some very successful offenses at several stops in major college football. I’m excited to welcome Danny and his family back to Florida and get to work.”

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Leukemia fighter, frosh DB to serve as captain in Chips’ bowl game

Derrick Nash

If you recall, last May we made mention of a heartwarming story coming out of Central Michigan.  Shortly after signing with CMU in February of 2013, Derrick Nash was diagnosed with leukemia and was told that he’d be forced to sit out that season.  Nash vowed to return to the playing field, while the university vowed to honor his scholarship.

The running back did return, playing in the spring game earlier this year.  Unfortunately, the leukemia returned as well, forcing the player to miss a second straight season as he underwent additional chemotherapy.  As the Chips prepare to play Western Kentucky in the Popeyes Bahama Bowl Christmas Eve, though, Nash will be a part of the team in the postseason.

According to the school, Nash will serve as the honorary captain for the Chips in their postseason game.  Head coach Dan Enos said in a statement that the NCAA, as well as his doctors, signed of recently on allowing Nash to perform the ceremonial duties.

And, it should be noted, get that free trip to the Bahamas he’s earned.

“We had to file a waiver with the NCAA to clear him just to invite him on the trip,” Enos said. “When we got the waiver that we could bring him that was a real blessing. Then we didn’t know if he was going to be able to go and to have his doctors clear him to go was another blessing.

“Our team loves him, he’s part of our family. He’s been through a lot obviously and I think our team loves to have one of our own as a captain, but a guy like Derrick who we draw so much strength from just watching how courageous he is every day and what an inspiration he is to our entire program.”

Both the player and the football program are hopeful he can return to the playing field in 2015 in something other than an honorary role.

(Photo credit: Central Michigan athletics)

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Report: Harbaugh’s family, friends encouraging him to take UM job

Jim Harbaugh AP

The will-he-or-won’t-he spinning of the Wheel of Harbaugh has taken yet another turn, perhaps the most interesting and dramatic one in this whole extended soap opera.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, and citing sources close to the situation, the family and friends of San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh “have been encouraging him to take the Michigan [head coaching] job, but he is torn because his heart is in the NFL.” Perhaps most importantly, and especially if the coach’s household hierarchy is anything like mine, “Harbaugh’s wife also is said to be open and on board to him going back to Ann Arbor if that’s what he wants.”

It’s previously been reported/speculated that Harbaugh’s wife would be against a move from California to Ann Arbor; if Schefter’s report is accurate, that would remove one potential obstacle.

Schefter’s report comes two days after a report surfaced that Michigan was prepared to over Harbaugh a contract in the neighborhood of $8 million annually over six years. Thursday, Harbaugh declined to answer when asked directly if his alma mater had offered him a contract.

Harbaugh’s father could also be a family member who’s nudging his son in the direction of the Wolverines.

There is an undisputed emotional connection for Harbaugh, who played at Michigan, is an iconic figure there, and has been hearing from family and friends about returning as the prodigal son. Harbaugh’s father, Jack, is influential with his son and he has made it known that he likes and admires Michigan’s interim athletic director, Jim Hackett, whom he got to know in the mid 1970s, when he was coaching the defensive backs at Michigan while Hackett was playing center at the school.

Harbaugh would like to make his decision after the NFL season ends, after what Schefter describes as “the players’ getaway day on Monday, Dec. 29.” Certainly if UM knew, with absolute certainty, Harbaugh will take the job, they would be more than willing to wait. Should there be any doubt — and apparently there is in the mind of the man who’s reportedly their top candidate — can the university really afford to put its search on hold awaiting an answer?

That’s the $8 million question… or $8 million-plus if you’re of the mindset that Harbaugh and/or his agent are merely using UM to drive up his NFL price.

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Report: starting DE among four Fresno St. players suspended for bowl

Ikaika Woolsey, Maurice Poyadue

Fresno State will head into the postseason with depleted strength at a couple of positions thanks to off-field issues.  Reportedly.

Citing sources within the program, the Sacramento Bee is reporting that defensive end Maurice Poyadue, wide receiver Myles Carr and linebackers Xavier Ulutu and Michael Lazarus have been suspended for the Dec. 24 Hawaii Bowl against Rice. The suspensions stemmed from the catch-all “violation of athletic department policy.”

The most notable of the suspensions is that of Poyadue as he has started the past seven games of the 2014 season.  He’s played in all 13 games this season as well after playing in 12 games as a redshirt sophomore in 2013.

Likewise, Ulutu has played in every game this season, although those appearances came as the No. 2 inside linebacker.  Lazarus, listed behind Ulutu on the depth chart, has played in seven games.

Carr, a redshirt sophomore, has not caught a pass this season after playing in five games in 2013.

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Kentucky makes hiring of WVU OC Shannon Dawson official

Photo credit: West Virginia Athletics

Two days after it was initially reported, and a day after Dana Holgorsen confirmed it, Kentucky has made it official.

In a press release, UK announced that Mark Stoops has hired Shannon Dawson as his new offensive coordinator.  In addition to coordinator, Dawson will serve as the Wildcats’ quarterbacks coach.

Dawson will replace Neal Brown, who was named as Troy’s head coach late last month.

“I’m very excited to bring Shannon Dawson to the University of Kentucky,” Stoops said. “He has done a great job in helping build programs to success on every level. I’ve been impressed with the balance of West Virginia’s offense and how difficult they are to defend. I love the continuity he will bring to what we’ve been doing as we build on the progress we’ve made so far.

“In learning more about Shannon, I’ve found out what a strong leader he is and heard nothing but good things about him throughout our profession.”

As he will with the Wildcats, Dawson served as the Mountaineers’ coordinator and quarterbacks coach the past two seasons. He was named WVU’s coordinator in 2012, his second season in Morgantown. Unlike at WVU, however, Dawson will have play-calling responsibilities at UK.

WVU, incidentally, was Dawson’s first full-time job at the FBS level.

(Photo credit: West Virginia athletics)

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Ex-Wake QB Travis Smith transfers to EMU

Travis Smith

With John Wolford, a true freshman, seemingly entrenched as Wake Forest’s starting quarterback, Travis Smith took his leave of the football program in mid-September.  Three months later, the quarterback officially has a new home.

Friday afternoon, Eastern Michigan announced that Smith is one of eight players, mostly from the JUCO ranks, who have been added to the football program.  Smith is already enrolled in classes at EMU for the winter semester.

The rising sophomore will participate in spring practice and, because of when he left Wake, will be eligible to play immediately in 2015.

Smith, who didn’t see the field during his very brief stint with the Demon Deacons, was a three-star member of Wake’s 2014 recruiting class, rated as the No. 24 dual-threat quarterback in the country.  Following his senior season in high school, he was named the Gatorade Michigan Player of the Year.

(Photo credit: Wake Forest athletics)

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QB Tanner McEvoy to go both ways for Badgers in bowl game

Tanner McEvoy, John Lowdermilk, Desmond King AP

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Prior to transferring to Wisconsin from South Carolina via the JUCO ranks, Tanner McEvoy was a quarterback. In 2013, McEvoy was moved to safety, a position he played all season last year for the Badgers. In 2014, he moved back to quarterback and started five games under center to start the year and played in the last eight at that position to end the year.

With the postseason on the horizon, and the Badgers still licking their wounds from the defensive beatdown they received in the Big Ten championship game, McEvoy is headed back to the defensive side of the ball. As well as remaining on the offensive side.

I’ll be going both ways,” McEvoy said. “I just love playing. Wherever I can get on the field, that’s what I’m here to do and help this team win. So I’m excited to be able to get more reps out there and just help these guys get a bowl victory and send the seniors off the right way.

“As long as I get on the field and help the team win, that’s my goal.”

McEvoy began practicing again with the defense Tuesday. Thursday, he worked with the first-team defense at both safety and linebacker.

Despite the defensive work, there wil still be opportunities for McEvoy offensively.  Even after Joel Stave reclaimed the starting job, McEvoy saw extensive action as the running threat at the quarterback position, finishing the 2014 regular season with 574 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns.  His 8.8 yards per carry was tops on the team.

UW will face Auburn in the Jan. 1 Outback Bowl.

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Jimbo, on Jameis’ football future: ‘it would not shock me either way’

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston signs autographs

For two very basic and simple reasons, most people have assumed throughout the year that Jameis Winston‘s second season as Florida State’s starting quarterback will be his last.

One, he was viewed by many (most?) as a likely Top 10, if not Top Five, selection in the 2015 NFL draft… provided teams could get past the off-field noise.  Which, of course, brings us to the second reason, that being the deafening and voluminous amount of noise that has come with being Winston at the collegiate level.  Winston is under more of a focused microscope on a college campus — autographs, student code of conduct hearing — than he would be in an NFL city, the theory goes, so he’d better off taking his leave of the amateur ranks and heading to the pros, where he’d at least get paid for the media headaches.

On the flip side, Winston said as recently as July off this year that playing two more years at the collegiate level, 2014 and 2015, wasn’t out of the question.  And that came a month after Winston’s dad was quoted as saying his son would remain with the football Seminoles for two more seasons.

Fast-forward to today, and the NFL question when it comes to Winston still lingers.  As he’s preparing FSU for its semifinal showdown with Oregon New Year’s Day, Jimbo Fisher, he of a new contract (almost), was asked about Winston’s future.  As has been the case every other time the subject’s been broached, Fisher says no decision has been made.

“I understand if he wants to go, when a guy’s that high and you’re doing what you do,” the head coach said. “But remember, he’s a very, very good student. He’s very smart. He loves baseball. He loves his time in college. He loves all the interaction of this, believe it or not. So it would not shock me either way.”

While most view, or viewed, Winston’s jump to the NFL as a fait accompli, it may not be the lock that it once was.

Winston is coming off a regular season that, at least statistically, paled into comparison to a 2013 season that ended with him holding the Heisman Trophy.  His performance on the field has led some to question whether his stock is falling.  And then there’s the very off-field noise that most had as being the impetus for him leaving early.

In September, ProFootballTalk‘s Mike Florio opined that Winston is “running out of chances to convince the NFL he can come in and be that player who is the leader of your team both in the locker room and in the public eye.”  A month later, FOXSports.com‘s Jay Glazer reported that “general managers are moving Winston down their potential draft boards — or off them completely.”

Winston certainly has a big decision to make over the next month, although it may not be as clear either way as some thought a few months ago.

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