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Indiana signs 22 on National Signing Day

Kevin Wilson AP

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

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana head football coach Kevin Wilson announced Wednesday the signing of 22 student-athletes to National Letters of Intent to play for the Hoosiers in 2013.

“We executed our plan very well and are excited about this class,” Wilson said. “We are very fortunate to have a good amount of returning starters, but we backed that up with, what on paper, is a very, very strong class, which is critical in building our program. There is potential to help on the defensive side, up front, at linebacker and on the perimeter. Offensively, we have 14 returning linemen and three quarterbacks. With those returners, we were able to concentrate on some other positions, including running back, wide receiver, tight end and the defense.”

IU signed 13 defensive players, five offensive players and four athletes. The Hoosiers added six defensive linemen, four linebackers and three defensive backs on defense and two tight ends, two wide receivers and one running back on offense.

The class features players from eight different states, including five from Indiana, five from Florida, four from Georgia, four from Ohio, one from Illinois, one from Louisiana, one from Nebraska and one from New York.

“We recruit as a team,” Wilson said. “There was not one lead recruiter on any one student-athlete. We had multiple coaches going to schools over and over, whether it be the areacoach, the assistant coach, the position coach, the coordinator or me. We also had tremendous behind the scenes administrative help and support. It was a great team effort that put together what is a very strong class.”

(Writer’s note: below the jump are the complete bios of all 22 members of Indiana’s 2013 recruiting class.)

Antonio Allen
DB – 5-10, 205
Indianapolis, Ind./Ben Davis H.S.
Prep/Personal: Safety for head coach Mike Kirschner at Ben Davis High School … played in the 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl … first Indiana student-athlete to ever participate in the game … won the push-up contest with 76 in one minute … collected 74 tackles, two tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, two interceptions and one fumble recovery as a senior … Indiana Associated Press Class 5A All-State as a junior and senior … Indiana Football Coaches Association Top 50 and All-State as a junior and senior … selected to the 2012 Indianapolis Star Super Team and named Position Award winner (defensive back) … two-time all-conference selection … finished his career with 241 tackles, three interceptions, eight pass breakups, four tackles for loss, four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery… rated the No. 5 prospect in Indiana and the No. 231 prospect overall by Rivals.com … rated the No. 19 safety nationally by ESPN.com … high school teammate of IU redshirt freshman wide receiver Caleb Cornett … threeyear letterwinner … parents are Antonio and Althenia Allen … born on Nov. 19, 1994, Antonio Lee Allen, Jr., intends to study business.

Daryl Chestnut
RB – 5-10, 190
Miami, Fla./Christopher Columbus H.S.
Prep/Personal: Running back for head coach Chris Merritt at Christopher Columbus High School … rushed 111 times for 1,208 yards (10.9 average) with 14 touchdowns as a senior … first team All-Dade County selection … team earned regional championship in 2011 and 2012 … collected 526 yards on 44 rushes with eight TDs as a junior … rated the No. 8 all-purpose back nationally by Rivals.com … three-year football letterwinner … parents are Daryl Chestnut and Alva Strachan … born on Dec. 31, 1994, Daryl Chestnut intends to study communications.

Christopher Cormier
DL – 6-2, 315
New Iberia, La./Arizona Western C.C.
2012 (Sophomore): Defensive tackle for head coach Tom Minnick at Arizona Western Community College … ranked third on the team with 44 tackles and added three tackles for loss … first team All-Arizona Community College Athletic Conference selection … second team All-Western States Football League honoree … team won the El Toro Bowl and conference championship. 2011 (Freshman): Defensive tackle at Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas … played in three games and made seven tackles with two tackles for loss. Prep/Personal: Defensive tackle for head coach Greg Alexander at Alief Hastings High School in Houston … named Old Spice Red Zone Player of the Year … fouryear football and two-year basketball letterwinner … uncle is Larry Johnson … Christopher H. Cormier was born on Sept. 6, 1991.

Patrick Dougherty
DL – 6-5, 260
Aurora, Ohio/Aurora H.S.
Prep/Personal: Defensive end and offensive tackle for head coach Bob Mihalik at Aurora High School … posted 120 tackles, 12 sacks, including one safety, 50 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and 15 pass breakups over his junior and senior seasons … first team all-state selection as a senior … two-time all-district and all-conference selection … team advanced to the state semifinals in 2011 and 2012 … also played basketball … averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds as a junior … parents are Frank and Lynn Dougherty … born on Sept. 3, 1994, Patrick Dougherty intends to study business.

Chase Dutra
ATH – 6-1, 205
Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg H.S.
Prep/Personal: Safety and wide receiver for head coach Brett Comer at Brownsburg High School … Indiana Associated Press Class 5A All-State and Indiana Football Coaches Association (IFCA) Top 50 and all-state as a senior … team captain was selected to the 2012 Indianapolis Star Super Team … runner-up to signee Antonio Allen for the Indianapolis Star Position Award (defensive back) … IFCA Top 50 and all-state and Associated Press honorable mention all-state as a junior … two-time all-conference selection … closed his career with 1,827 rushing yards on 183 carries (10.0 average) with 22 touchdowns … made 54 receptions for 1,033 yards and eight scores … added a school record 883 yards on 34 kick return yards (26.0) … also holds single-game record with 210 kick return yards … recorded 327 yards on 21 punt returns (15.6) with three TDs … collected 72 tackles with one interception, one forced fumble and 15 passes defended … rated the No. 9 prospect in Indiana and the No. 51 athlete nationally by Rivals.com … team captured conference championships in 2011 and 2012 and ranked in the top 10 all four years … four-year football and three-year basketball letterwinner … born in Turkey and grew up in Alaska … parents are Jim and Tammy Dutra … Chase Michael Dutra was born on Jan. 19, 1994.

Rashard Fant
DB – 5-10, 165
Atlanta, Ga./Our Lady of Mercy H.S.
Prep/Personal: Athlete for head coach Mike Earwood at Our Lady of Mercy High School … three-time all-state, all-region and all county selection … named the team’s offensive and special teams player of the year twice … played in the 2013 Offense-Defense All American Bowl … rushed for 614 yards on 33 rushes (18.6 average) with five touchdowns as a senior … recorded 303 yards on 21 receptions with five scores … added a pair of kick return and punt return TDs … made 36 tackles, four interceptions and nine pass breakups at cornerback … carried the ball 33 times for 543 yards (16.5 average) and nine touchdowns as a junior … brought in 21 balls for 361 yards and four scores … returned one kick and two punts for TDs … collected 41 tackles with one INT touchdown return … compiled 826 rushing yards and 11 scores to go along with 24 catches for 461 yards and six TDs as a sophomore … posted five kick return and six punt return touchdowns … rated the No. 14 athlete nationally, the No. 16 prospect in Georgia and the No. 147 prospect overall by ESPN.com … four-year football, three-year basketball and one-year track and field letterwinner … starting point guard since freshman season … holds school record for most career touchdowns (63) and all-purpose yards … posted a school record 4.37 40-yard dash time … parents are Randy Fant and Donna Wilson-Fant … born on Jan. 8, 1995, Rashard Ahmad Fant intends to study business.

Danny Friend
TE – 6-5, 240
Morris, Ill./Morris Community H.S.
Prep/Personal: Tight end and defensive end for head coach Alan Thorson at Morris Community High School … made 15 receptions for 283 yards and four touchdowns as a senior … added 56 tackles, 33 solo, seven sacks, three interceptions (one touchdown), one fumble recovery, one forced fumble and one blocked field goal … a 2012 Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Class 5A All State selection … named the 2012 Herald-News Defensive Player of the Year and the 2012 Northern Illinois Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year … two-time all-conference honoree … team went 12-2 and advanced to the state championship game … as a junior, recorded 18 catches for 262 yards and five TDs … posted 34 tackles, two sacks, three fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles … rated the No. 24 player in Illinois by 247Sports.com and the No. 26 tight end nationally by Scout.com … three-year football, three-year basketball and two-year track and field letterwinner … recognized on the 2011 and 2012 Class 5A All-State Academic team … high honor roll student … parents are Patrick and Sherry Friend … David Patrick Friend was born on Jan. 15, 1995.

Steven Funderburk
LB – 6-3, 231
Port St. Lucie, Fla./Iowa Western C.C.
2012 (Sophomore): Linebacker for head coach Scott Strohmeier at Iowa Western Community College … tallied 49 tackles, a half-sack, 7.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions (88 yards), both returned for touchdowns, and one fumble recovery … first team all conference selection … team went 12-0 and won the 2012 National Junior College Athletic Association national championship … teammate and defensive lineman Jordan Heiderman also a member of the signing class.
2011 (Freshman): Played in 11 games and posted 13 tackles at Tulane University … tallied seven stops at Army. 2010: Redshirted the 2010 season at Tulane University.
Prep/Personal: Linebacker for head coach Will Kelley at Treasure Coast High School in Port St. Lucie, Fla. … made 69 tackles, 52 solo, with nine tackles for loss, three interceptions, seven pass breakups and one fumble recovery as a senior … first team all district selection also named the team’s most valuable player … four-year football, basketball, baseball and track and field letterwinner … parents are Magdaline Funderburk and Charles Pauldo … born on July 5, 1991, Steven Funderburk intends to study education.

Myles Graham
ATH – 6-0, 215
Miami, Fla./Chaminade-Madonna College Preparatory
Prep/Personal: Running back for head coach Tim Tyrell at Chaminade-Madonna College Preparatory … rushed for 852 yards on 75 carries (11.4 average) with 14 touchdowns in seven games as a junior … also added five receptions for 113 yards and one score … a second team All-Broward County selection … missed senior season with an injury … rated the No. 93 running back nationally by 247Sports.com … two-year football letterwinner … parents are Mario and Teresa Graham … born on Aug. 20, 1995, Myles Alexander Graham intends to study business or criminal justice.

Isaac Griffith
WR – 6-0, 180
Fort Wayne, Ind./Homestead H.S.
Prep/Personal: Wide receiver for head coach Chad Zolman at Homestead High School … finished his career with school records in receptions (119), yardage (2,453) and touchdowns (37) … set school single-season marks in points scored (162) and receiving TDs (22) … owns school single-game records for most scores (six), most points (36) and most receiving touchdowns (five) … also has the longest punt return TD (80 yards) … Indiana Associated Press Class 5A All-State and Indiana Football Coaches Association Top 50 and all-state as a senior … honorable mention Associated Press All-State as a junior … two-time all-area and AllNortheast Conference selection … team won four conference championships … rated the No. 12 prospect in Indiana by ESPN.com … first commitment in the 2013 signing class … four-year football letterwinner … parents are Kim and Shannon and Kim Griffith … Shannon is the head football coach at Division III Manchester (Ind.) College … born on July 31, 1994, Isaac William Griffith intends to study sport marketing and management.

Jordan Heiderman
DL – 6-3, 280
Norfolk, Neb./Iowa Western C.C.
Junior College: Defensive tackle for head coach Scott Strohmeier at Iowa Western Community College … collected 43 tackles with 4.5 sacks (38 yards) and nine tackles for loss in 2012 … earned second team all-conference honors … team went 12-0 and won the 2012 National Junior College Athletic Association national championship … posted 42 tackles, three sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss in
2011… team went 9-2 and won the Graphic Edge Bowl … redshirted in 2010 … teammate and linebacker Steven Funderburk also a member of the signing class.
Prep/Personal: Defensive tackle for head coach Tom Olson at Norfolk (Neb.) High School … two-year football and four-year wrestling letterwinner … parents are Rick and Ann Heiderman … born on Sept. 3, 1991, Jordan Heiderman intends to study sport marketing and management.

Evan Jansen
TE – 6-4, 245
Mason, Ohio/Moeller H.S.
Prep/Personal: Tight end for head coach John Rodenberg at Moeller High School … caught 14 passes for 180 yards and a pair of touchdowns as a senior … team won the state championship for the first time in 27 years and the eighth time in school history … Moeller also has five national championships … rated the No. 41 tight end nationally by ESPN.com … three-year football letterwinner also played basketball … honors student … parents are Norbert and Karen Jansen … born on Dec. 22, 1994, Evan Jansen intends to study pre-medicine.

David Kenney
DL – 6-2, 250
Indianapolis, Ind./Pike H.S.
Prep/Personal: Defensive end for head coach Derek Moyers at Pike High School … selected to the 2012 Indianapolis Star Super Team and named Position Award winner (defensive line) … Indiana Associated Press Class 5A All-State and Indiana Football Coaches Association (IFCA) Top 50 as a senior … IFCA AllState selection as a junior and senior … played in the 2013 Offense-Defense All-American Bowl … posted 76 tackles, nine sacks, 19.5 tackles for loss, 29 quarterback hurries, one forced fumble and four pass breakups as a senior … two-time allconference selection and Pike defensive most valuable player … made 68 tackles, 11 sacks, 17 tackles for loss, nine quarterback hurries, three fumble recoveries and one forced fumble as a junior … honorable mention all-state Associated Press in 2011… rated the No. 6 prospect in Indiana, the No. 11 weak-side defensive end nationally and the No. 244 prospect overall by Rivals.com … two-year football letterwinner … parents are David and Kristen Kenney … born on Feb. 6, 1995, David Khristopher Kenney intends to study biology.

Darius Latham
DL – 6-5, 291
Indianapolis, Ind./North Central H.S.
Prep/Personal: Defensive and offensive lineman for head coach Keith Shelton at North Central High School … Indiana Football Coaches Association Top 50 and all-state as a junior and senior … Indiana Associated Press Class 5A All-State as a senior and honorable mention as a junior … selected to the 2012 Indianapolis Star Super Team … runner-up to signee David Kenney for the Indianapolis Star Position Award (defensive line) … nominated for the 2013 U.S. Army AllAmerican Bowl … made 62 tackles with eight sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss in 2012 … two-time first team all-conference and All-Marion County selection … team captain as a senior and the defensive lineman of the year his final two seasons … posted 42 stops with 4.5 sacks and six TFLs as a junior … added 37 tackles with three sacks and four tackles for loss as a sophomore … rated the No. 3 prospect in Indiana and the No. 160 prospect nationally by 247Sports.com … rated the No. 14 defensive tackle nationally and the No. 239 prospect overall by Rivals.com … four year football and basketball letterwinner … teammate of IU redshirt sophomore quarterback Tre Roberson in youth football league … started all four seasons he has played basketball … currently averaging 16 points, eight rebounds and 2.5 assists … team’s most valuable player was selected to the Hoosier Basketball Magazine North/South All-Star team as a junior … North Central won the state championship his freshman season … parents are Cori Latham and David Turner … born on Nov. 9, 1994, Darius Kyree Latham intends to study sport marketing and management.

Clyde Newton
ATH – 6-1, 215
Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte H.S.
Prep/Personal: Linebacker and running back for head coach Binky Waldrop at Charlotte High School … made 108 tackles, 74 solo, with two sacks, one interception and one forced fumble as a senior … rushed for 1,938 yards with an 8.4 average and 23 touchdowns … named the 7A District Player of the Year … twotime all-district selection also recognized as the team’s most valuable player … holds school records for most 200-yard games (seven) and most yards in a game (299) … rushed for 1,033 yards and a 7.4 average as a junior … team won four district championships … four-year football letterwinner also earned letters in track, wrestling and weight lifting … mother is Barbara Ann Bryant … brother, Leonard Bryant, played defensive back and lettered at IU from 2002-04 … Clyde Newton was born on Sept. 20, 1993.

Marcus Oliver
LB – 6-1, 220
Hamilton, Ohio/Hamilton H.S.
Prep/Personal: Linebacker and running back for head coach Bob Jacoby at Hamilton High School … made 135 tackles, 92 solo, with one sack, 10 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, one blocked kick and one defensive touchdown in 2012 … also rushed for 587 yards with six scores … all-state, all-district and Greater Miami Conference Player of the Year … two-time first team all-conference … posted 131 stops, 88 solo, four sacks, six TFLs, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, with one INT (TD), one blocked kick and one rushing touchdown … rated the No. 39 inside linebacker nationally by Rivals.com … named to the J. Kyle Braid and Wilks Leadership teams … threeyear football, two-year basketball and two-year baseball letterwinner … parents are Lonnie Oliver and Kimberly Gibson … born on Feb. 8, 1995, Javier Demarcus Oliver, intends to study athletic training.

Noel Padmore
DB – 5-11, 175
Flowery Branch, Ga./Flowery Branch H.S.
Prep/Personal: Cornerback for head coach Chris Griffin at Flowery Branch High School … teammate and linebacker Kris Smith also a member of the signing class … first team all-state, all-region and all-area selection as a senior … posted 101 tackles, five tackles for loss, four interceptions, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and 17 pass breakups from 2011-12 … named the team’s outstanding defensive back as a junior and senior … played in the 2012 East-West Metro Atlanta All-Star Game … team captured the Region 8-AAAAA championship in 2011 and 2012 … rated the No. 48 cornerback nationally by ESPN.com … fouryear football letterwinner … also lettered in track and field … parents are George and Christine Padmore … Noel was born in Monrovia, Liberia … born on Nov. 2, 1994, Noel Padmore intends to study communications.

T.J. Simmons
LB – 6-0, 230
Lakeland, Fla./Lakeland H.S.
Prep/Personal: Linebacker for head coach Bill Castle at Lakeland High School … finished his career with 325 tackles … made 121 tackles, three sacks, 32 tackles for loss, two interceptions and one fumble recovery as a senior … first team allstate selection and two-time all-county selection … Top 16 player in Polk County and Bright House Top 30 player … rated the No. 53 inside linebacker nationally by ESPN.com … also lettered in weight lifting … mother is Pamala Willis … Timothy B Simmons was born on Oct. 24, 1994.

Kris Smith
LB – 6-2, 215
Flowery Branch, Ga./Flowery Branch H.S.
Prep/Personal: Linebacker for head coach Chris Griffin at Flowery Branch High School … teammate and cornerback Noel Padmore also a member of the signing class … made 103 tackles, 12 sacks, including one safety, and 21 tackles for loss as a senior … first team all-state and all-region selection … named the team’s most outstanding linebacker … played in the 2012 GACA North-South All-Star Game and the 2012 East-West Metro Atlanta All-Star Game … participated in the 2012 U.S. Army National Combine … team won the Region 8-AAAA championship in 2011 and 2012 … rated the No. 41 outside linebacker nationally by ESPN.com … played two years of football at Flowery Branch and also lettered in track and field … 2012 Flowery Branch Scholar-Athlete … parents are Sean Smith and Pam Smith … born on Nov. 18, 1994, Kristopher Bryce Smith intends to study law.

Laray Smith
ATH – 6-0, 185
Staten Island, N.Y./Xaverian H.S.
Prep/Personal: Running back for head coach Joe DeSiena at Xaverian High School … rushed for 1,700 yards with 16 touchdowns and added four receiving scores over his junior and senior seasons … two-time all-borough, all-city and allconference honoree … a Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl selection … rated the No. 2 prospect in New York and the No. 12 all-purpose back nationally by 247Sports.com … three-year football letterwinner also runs track … currently owns the fastest indoor 300m time nationally and the second-fastest indoor 200m and 400m time nationally … two-time high school All-American sprinter on the track … placed third at the USA Track & Field Junior Olympics in the 400m … two-time, top-five finisher at New York state championships … took eighth at the New Balance High School Indoor National meet in the 200 … has run 10.43 in the 100m, 21.4 in the 200m, 47.3 in the 400m and 6.55 in the 55m … parents are Lawrence Smith and Sandra Burnett … born on Oct. 31, 1994, Laray Smith intends to study communications.

Maurice Swain
DL – 6-5, 305
LaGrange, Ga./Troup H.S.
Prep/Personal: Defensive lineman for head coach Lynn Kendall at Troup High School … two-year all-state selection … made 65 tackles with seven sacks, 15 tackles for loss, 33 quarterback hurries, two fumble recoveries and one fumble return TD as a senior … all region honoree played in the Georgia vs. Florida Bowl … three-year captain named the team’s most valuable defensive lineman … 43 tackles, eight sacks and 16 tackles for loss as a junior … played in the 2011 Rising Senior Bowl … rated the No. 56 defensive tackle nationally by ESPN.com … fouryear football lettterwinner … parents are Maurice Swain and Shani Garrett … born on July 25, 1995, Maurice T. Swain intends to study business or graphic design.

Anthony Young
WR – 6-1, 175
Lakewood, Ohio/St. Edward H.S.
Prep/Personal: Wide receiver for head coach Rick Finotti at St. Edward High School … made 35 catches for 520 yards (14.9) and 10 touchdowns as a senior … returned four kickoffs and one punt for scores … All-Ohio selection and special teams athlete of the year … holds school records for the most career receiving TDs (14), most receiving touchdowns in a game (three) and the longest kick return score (99 yards, twice) … three-year football and three-year track and field letterwinner … All-American sprinter in four events … won 10 state titles in Ohio … owns Ohio’s indoor state records in the 60 meters (6.80 seconds) and 200 meters (21.34) … led team to indoor and outdoor track and field state team titles in 2012 … three-year honor roll student … parents are Michael and Jackie Young … born on July 19, 1994, Anthony Young intends to study special education.

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Buckeyes sending conflicting message with hype video?

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As you get set for your Thanksgiving feast, here’s a little something to chew on in the meanwhile.

During the 2013 edition of The Game between Ohio State and Michigan, a pair of Buckeyes — offensive lineman Marcus Hall and running back Dontre Wilsonwere ejected for throwing punches in the midst of a kick-return fracas. Mindful of that situation, Urban Meyer had a message his players were to carry into this year’s version of The Game.

“He said he wants the game to be very intense, but if anybody throws a punch they’re dismissed,” linebacker Curtis Grant said Monday. “He pretty much put it out there [Sunday]. There’s no telling what will happen if we get in a fight this year.”

Fast-forward a day or so later, and OSU released a hype video for this year’s game — Meyer tweeted it out to his 140,000-plus followers — that featured, you guessed it, fisticuffs and dust-ups from past UM-OSU football battles.

 

“What do you expect?” defensive lineman Michael Bennett said Monday of the volatility of The Game in general and last year’s game specifically. “We just watched this highlight video of Ohio State-Team Up North fights for the last week on repeat with ‘It’s Time for War‘ playing the whole time. Kids wanna fight, that’s just how it is. It didn’t surprise me.”

When it comes to Meyer’s ultimatum, is this is one of those “do as I say, not as I hype video” type deals? You be the judge.

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LSU’s Mike the Tiger ate Texas A&M (logo) for breakfast

Mike the Tiger

Many of us will be feasting on turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, pie and perhaps a green bean casserole or cranberry sauce if you prefer. But tigers need to eat too, right?

LSU is playing Texas A&M Thursday night to add to your football enjoyment. In honor of the occasion, LSU made sure to prepare an appropriate Thanksgiving Eve feast for Mike The Tiger. Today, Mike was fed raw meat in the form of Texas A&M’s logo, with a question on social media asking how many tigers it takes to devour the Aggies.

The answer? Just one.

Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 9.35.15 PM

It should be noted, this is a fairly common treat for Mike the Tiger. He has also devoured the logos of Alabama, Arkansas and Ole Miss this season.

Image via Mike the Tiger’s Instagram.

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Clemson QB Watson might have shot to snap losing streak to Gamecocks

Deshaun Watson

When Clemson lost starting quarterback Deshaun Watson to a sprained LCL in mid-November, there was a chance he could be expected to return this season. With just days to go leading up to The Palmetto Bowl against South Carolina, it appears there is a chance Watson will play for Clemson. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney had some good things to say about Watson’s healthy and mobility in practice this week.

“I thought he was better today than he was yesterday,” Swinney said, according to TigerNet. “It’s just like I have been saying it gets better each day. I know he was more confident today than he was yesterday.”

Cole Stoudt has been leading the offense and will be Clemson’s starter this week unless Watson is deemed ready to step back into the starting job. Watson replaced Stoudt earlier in the season against Florida State and held onto the job until getting injured. Swinney will play it safe and wait until he sees more before throwing Watson back under center.

“Tomorrow is another important day for us from a preparation standpoint. I think he has a good chance,” Swinney added. “How much or when? We haven’t decided that yet. But I think he definitely has a chance to play.”

Clemson has lost five straight games to their in-state rivals from the SEC. The last time Clemson defeated South Carolina at home was in 2008.

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Status of UCLA starting WR unknown following practice injury

Thomas Duarte, Adoree' Jackson

UCLA needs one more win to clinch the Pac-12 South Division, but the Bruins may have to do so without the services of one of their top wide receivers. Thomas Duarte had to leave practice on Tuesday after injuring his left leg, putting his status for Saturday’s contest with Stanford in some question.

“He is so important to us,” UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone said according to The Los Angeles Times. “He has excellent ball skills, and that’s big for us. He is an inside guy that causes matchup problems.”

Duarte is UCLA’s second-leading receiver this season with 458 yards and three touchdowns. Tyler Scott has been listed behind Duarte on the UCLA depth chart and could be in line for a spot start if needed. Freshman Mossi Johnson could be another possible option if it comes to needing to replace Duarte.

If UCLA defeats Stanford, the Bruins will win the Pac-12 South and face Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship game. A UCLA loss to Stanford will hand the division championship to the winner of the Arizona-Arizona State game.

Stanford will be playing UCLA without its top wide receiver. Ty Montgomery has been ruled out due to a right shoulder injury.

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Is it better for Ohio State to play Wisconsin or Minnesota (again)?

Ohio State v Minnesota Getty Images

Regardless of what unfolds Saturday in Columbus, Ohio we know the Ohio State Buckeyes will be heading to the Big Ten Championship Game as the Big Ten East Division champions. The Buckeyes will learn whom they will face on Saturday as Wisconsin and Minnesota play for Paul Bunyan’s Axe and the Big Ten West Division championship. With Ohio State looking to make a push up the College Football Playoff rankings in the next two weeks, does it matter more if Ohio State plays Wisconsin or Minnesota?

Here is the situation for Ohio State. The Buckeyes are currently ranked sixth in the College Football Playoff rankings. TCU is ranked just ahead of Ohio State and Mississippi State owns the fourth spot in the rankings. Baylor is in the conversation as well, sitting at seventh place just behind Ohio State.

Ohio State has already played Minnesota this season, winning a competitive game on the road in the snow just a couple of weeks ago. Ohio State did not have Wisconsin on the regular season schedule. If the committee compares results against similar opponents, then TCU seems to hold an edge on Ohio State with a wider margin of victory against Minnesota from a game in September. As it turns out, the Minnesota game is helping keep TCU ahead of Baylor, despite the Horned Frogs losing a head-to-head result against Baylor and having an identical record.

For Ohio State, winning the final two games of the season will be an absolute must in order to have a shot at one of the four playoff spots, especially if Alabama, Florida State and Oregon win their remaining games and conference championship games. Ohio State will have to hope the selection committee sticks to the idea of conference championships carrying a little extra weight when it comes time to selecting the four playoff teams. That overall body of work would likely look more impressive with a Big Ten championship game victory over a surging Wisconsin, with a potential Heisman Trophy running back in Melvin Gordon leading the Badgers offense.

There is no guarantee Ohio State can leapfrog TCU and Mississippi State. If ending the season on a high note holds any significance, then Ohio State may have the best argument to make with a win against Wisconsin. Would playing Minnesota a second time have the same importance?

Well, actually…

If Minnesota beats Wisconsin, it is possible the Gophers could climb as many as five spots in the next playoff ranking. This happens easier if Auburn loses to Alabama, Georgia Tech loses to Georgia and Missouri loses to Arkansas. The loser of the Arizona-Arizona State game should also fall behind a victorious Minnesota. Then we would be talking about a top 13 Minnesota, and this is assuming UCLA is not upset by Stanford or Michigan State upset by Penn State.

But Ohio State has already proven it can beat Minnesota, doing so on the road. Doing it again on a neutral field does not add much to the overall body of work for Ohio State. Adding another team to the list of opponents would likely be more beneficial to the Buckeyes. Wisconsin beating Minnesota would diminish the attractiveness of one of Ohio State’s wins, but it would do the same for TCU as well. The more Minnesota wins, the better things could play out for TCU, and not Ohio State.

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Georgia Southern has bowl waiver denied

Georgia Southern has already clinched a share of the Sun Belt Conference championship in its first season at the FBS level, but it does not look as though the Eagles will be going to a bowl game. The university reportedly filed for a waiver to be eligible to participate in a postseason bowl game, but that waiver has been denied. Georgia Southern can still file an appeal and hope for the best.

Any appeal decision at this point is likely to uphold the original ruling on the waiver. If bowl spots start to become harder to fill, then the chances Georgia Southern could receive a positive response could increase.

Programs moving up from the FCS to the FBS ranks are ineligible for postseason play in their first year in FBS. Exceptions may be made to allow these schools play in a bowl game, but this has rarely been a legitimate concern. Georgia Southern’s case is just about as strong as it could have been with a share of the Sun Belt title and a chance to win the conference’s outright title.

Georgia Southern can win the outright Sun Belt title with a win against ULM or a Louisiana-Lafayette loss to Troy this weekend. The Sun Belt’s champion typically plays in the GoDaddy Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.

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Todd Gurley begins rehab after ACL surgery

Todd Gurley

Georgia running back Todd Gurley underwent surgery on Tuesday to address a torn ACL, and he started his rehab on Wednesday.

It used to be a torn ACL would keep a player out of action for a year, but sometimes players can come back earlier than they used to thanks to improved medical treatment and rehab practices. Regardless, Gurley should not be expected to play again this season and he will likely be limited at best in the spring. The other question is whether or not Gurley will be working to return for one more season at Georgia or if he will risk taking a shot at the NFL while coming off a torn ACL.

Returning for one more year at Georgia would appear to be the most logical situation for Gurley. Before the injury Gurley would have likely been the first running back off the big board in the 2015 NFL Draft, but considering the diminished running back stock in the NFL Draft and the injury, heading to the NFL would be an unwise move for Gurley right now.

Gurley recently had his anticipated return to the field cut short. After sitting out four games due to a suspension, Gurley returned to action in a home game against Auburn. It was a fine return, but a torn ACL in the final minutes of the game put a damper on the entire game despite the win.

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Broyles Award nominees include Kiffin, Venables, 38 others

Lane Kiffin

With the next round fo the coaching carousel about to get underway at full speed, some programs may want to pay attention to the list of names nominated for the Broyles Award. The Broyles Award is presented annually to the top assistant coach in college football, and the list of 40 nominees for this year’s award includes some names with previous head coaching experience and others about to be in line for a head coaching gig somewhere around the country.

Current head coaches who previously won the Broyles Award include Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, UConn’s Bob Diaco and Duke’s David Cutcliffe. Last year’s Broyles Award winner was Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, who many feel could be ready for a head coaching offer in the next round of the coaching carousel.  This year Narduzzi is not a finalist for the award, but Spartans co-offensive coordinator Dave Warner is.

“This will be one of the most challenging years ever for our selection committee to choose the top 5 finalists and winner, so many assistant coaches did outstanding work this year,” David Bazzel, Broyles Award executive director.

This year’s Broyles Award winner will be announced on Tuesday, December 9 by The Rotary Club of Little Rock and sponsor Delta Dental. The award is named after former Arkansas head coach Frank Broyles, who had a solid track record of pumping out quality assistant coaches. Some of the assistants who coaches under Broyles include Barry Switzer, Jimmy Johnson, Hayden Fry, Joe Gibbs, and Jackie Sherrill.

Broyles Award Nominees

Alabama – Lane Kiffin, Offensive Coordinator
Appalachian State – Dwayne Ledford, Co-Offensive Coordinator
Arizona – Jeff Casteel, Defensive Coordinator
Arkansas – Robb Smith, Defensive Coordinator
Arkansas State University – Walt Bell, Offensive Coordinator
Boise State University – Mike Sanford, Offensive Coordinator
Boston College – Don Brown, Defensive Coordinator
Brigham Young University – Nick Howell, Defensive coordinator
Clemson – Brent Venables, Defensive Coordinator
Colorado State – Dave Baldwin, Offensive Coordinator
Duke University – John Latina, Run Game Coordinator/OL
East Carolina University – Lincoln Riley, Offensive Coordinator
FIU – Josh Conklin, Defensive Coordinator
Georgia Southern University – Doug Ruse, Offensive Coordinator
Louisiana – Marquase Lovings, Running Backs
Louisiana Tech – Manny Diaz, Defensive Coordinator
Louisville – Todd Grantham, Defensive Coordinator
Memphis – James Shibest, Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends
Miami – Mark D’Onofrio, Defensive Coordinator
Michigan – Greg Mattison, Defensive Coordinator
Michigan State University – Dave Warner, Co-Offensive Coordinator
Minnesota – Tracy Claeys, Defensive Coordinator
Mississippi State – Geoff Collins, Defensive Coordinator
Missouri – Dave Steckel, Defensive Coordinator
NC State – Desmond Kitchings, Running Backs/Recruiting Coordinator
Ohio State University – Tom Herman, Offensive Coordinator
Ole Miss – Dave Wommack, Defensive Coordinator
Oregon – Scott Frost, Offensive Coordinator
Penn State University – Bob Shoop, Defensive Coordinator
Stanford – Lance Anderson, Defensive Coordinator
TCU – Doug Meacham, Co-Offensive Coordinator
Temple – Phil Snow, Defensive Coordinator
UCF – Brent Key, Offensive Line Coach/Recruiting Coordinator
UCLA – Noel Mazzone, Offensive Coordinator
Utah – Kalani Sitake, Defensive Coordinator
Utah State University – Todd Orlando, Defensive Coordinator
UTSA – Neal Neathery, Defensive Coordinator
West Virginia University – Tony Gibson, Defensive Coordinator
Western Michigan University – Kirk Ciarrocca, Offensive Coordinator
Wisconsin – Dave Aranda, Defensive Coordinator

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Freeze, on Bo Wallace: ‘have to chain him down to keep him from’ Egg Bowl

Mississippi v Arkansas Getty Images

While it’s not yet officially official, it appears Ole Miss’ triggerman will indeed be under center for the Egg Bowl Saturday.

Bo Wallace missed a substantial chunk of the Arkansas loss last week after injuring his ankle.  During practice leading up to the rivalry game against Mississippi State, Wallace has been somewhat limited.

On the SEC coaches teleconference Wednesday, however, Wallace’s head coach seemed decidedly optimistic that the quarterback will be on the field when the Rebels take on the Bulldogs.

You would have to chain him down to keep him from going,” Hugh Freeze said. “He’s looking better every day. We anticipate him being ready to go.”

If Wallace were to suffer a setback, the Rebels would turn to either Devante Kincaid and Ryan Buchanan. The backup duo, both redshirt freshmen, has attempted 39 passes this season, with Kincaid completing 15 of his 17 attempts.

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Hoos your coach in 2015? For Virginia, it’s Mike London

Mike London AP

There will be many head coaches dragged to the chopping block over the next month or so.  One of those who won’t be, somewhat surprisingly, is Mike London.

With speculation swirling, Virginia athletic director Craig Littlepage confirmed in a press release Wednesday afternoon that London will be returning as the Cavaliers’ head coach in 2015.  A two-win team in London’s fourth season last year, the Cavaliers stand at five wins in 2014 and on the cusp of bowl eligibility.

It’s that improvement that led Littlepage to take his finger off the trigger and give London what most would consider a one-year reprieve.

“It was important to see improvement in our football program this season,” Littlepage’s statement began. “I’ve seen signs of progress in many areas. Through the staff changes made over the last two years, we are better at teaching the game and in the overall development of the student-athletes. We also continue to notice the commitment by this group of coaches and student-athletes to their academic and community responsibilities.

“The staff has re-focused its recruiting efforts to emphasize the need to attract student-athletes capable of helping the program compete at a high level in the expanded Atlantic Coast Conference. We are seeing many of these student-athletes on the field right now and the staff continues to have success on the recruiting trail. We will continue to support the program in their efforts to maximize their recruiting success.

“It’s important for each of our sports programs to continue to show progress and follow a plan to compete for conference championships and in postseason competition to support the department’s goals. I trust the plan Mike has in place and believe his leadership provides the best opportunity for Virginia football to be successful in the future.”

In London’s five-plus seasons, UVa is 23-37 overall and 11-28 in ACC play.  An 8-5 season in 2011 led to speculation that he would replace Joe Paterno at Penn State.  London instead remained in Charlottesville, and the Cavaliers finished sixth and seventh in the Coastal division in 2012 and 2013, respectively; they’re tied for fourth this year.

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Report: no contact between Braxton Miller, Oregon

Braxton Miller AP

It’s not just the coaching rumor mill that’s churning the day before Turkey Day.

Because of J.T. Barrett‘s eyebrow-raising success this season, success that has put the redshirt freshman squarely in the Heisman mix, speculation has been growing that the window on Braxton Miller‘s days at Ohio State is closing.  As the speculation goes, Miller will look to transfer from the Buckeyes — as a graduate transfer, he’d be eligible to play immediately — and move on to a situation that would afford him the opportunity to be the starter for his final collegiate season, which may or may not be the case at OSU.

Miller’s name, despite no hints from the player himself, mind you, has been connected to schools such as Auburn, Boston College and, most notably, Oregon.  The Ducks would make sense on numerous levels, as both the offensive system utilized would seem to match Miller’s skillset and UO’s triggerman, Marcus Mariota, is expected to leave early for the NFL.  The dot-connecting is reasonable, although that doesn’t mean it’s accurate.

According to The Oregonian, and citing a source with knowledge of the situation, “[t]here has been no contact between Oregon and either Miller or anyone acting on his behalf.” Leading up to the paper knocking down the talk, there was a rumor making the rounds that Miller had let it be known to the UO football program that he had an interest in the school and offensive coordinator Scott Frost followed up on that interest during a recruiting trek a couple of weeks ago. One of the problems with that, the paper notes, is that Frost wasn’t on the recruiting trail at that time.

A little over a week ago, NFL.com reported that “the quarterback’s plan for now is to remain at Ohio State and lead the Buckeyes in 2015.” Two months ago, Urban Meyer stated emphatically that Miller is his guy.

Braxton is our quarterback,” Meyer said Sept. 30. “To be fair to Braxton, Big Ten Player of the Year. But it’s good to know we’ve got both of them.”

A month and a half later, Meyer’s tune had changed slightly as he heavily intimated Miller will have to earn the job back… if he even stays, which the head coach seemed to hint at as well.

Competition brings out the best, and I’m really excited to have two really good quarterbacks next year, if that’s the plan,” the coach hedged.

If it’s made clear to Miller that he will have to earn back a job that he held for three years prior to re-injuring his shoulder during summer camp, it will be interesting to see if he accepts the challenge or moves on.  And, if there is a true competition, is it something Miller can even win?  Barrett, in 11 games, has already proven to be the better passer of the two — as the competition has already pointed out — and his running ability, while not at Miller’s level, is a significant weapon as well.

It’s hard to see how Meyer could send Barrett back to the bench after the season he’s had, one that could see a mid-December trip to New York City for the Heisman ceremony.  It’s also hard to see how Meyer could keep Miller, the 2012 and 2013 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, off the field.  One way or the other, whether it’s by transfer attrition or competition, something has got to give.

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Clemson-South Carolina officially dubbed ‘The Palmetto Bowl’

Clemson v South Carolina Getty Images

After years of fans and media alike ofttimes and unofficially referring to it as “The Palmetto Bowl,” the in-state rivalry between Clemson and South Carolina has officially taken on that moniker, both schools announced Wednesday.

Seeing as both teams hail from “The Palmetto State,” the name makes perfect sense.  The announcement also comes just a couple of days before the 112th meeting between the two football programs.

“This is one of the premier games every year in college football, and it’s a great opportunity for our institutions to increase exposure to the State of South Carolina and all the great people here,” Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich said in a statement. “To name this game ‘The Palmetto Bowl’ hopefully adds to the identity of this great rivalry.”

“From ‘Big Thursday’ to ‘The Palmetto Bowl,’ there is so much history and tradition to showcase about this rivalry,” said Radakovich’s South Carolina counterpart, Ray Tanner. “The Palmetto Bowl gives this rivalry an identity that highlights the State of South Carolina and the accomplishments of these outstanding institutions.”

In addition to the name, the schools also announced a trophy and logo will be developed and unveiled prior to the 2015 game.

Behind only Minnesota-Wisconsin (108 this weekend), Clemson-South Carolina is the second-longest, consecutively-played rivalry in the country at 106 straight (as of Saturday).  The Tigers currently lead the series 65-42-4, although the Gamecocks have won five straight and six of the last eight.

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Sun Devils’ leading receiver to play in Territorial Cup

Jaelen Strong, Dominique Hatfield

A head injury kept the most productive piece of Arizona State’s passing game out of last week’s game.  That, though, won’t be the case on rivalry weekend.

Tuesday, Todd Graham confirmed that Jaelen Strong will play in this Saturday’s Territorial Cup battle with Arizona.  Graham allowed that the wide receiver was “close to playing last week” against Washington State, but the team decided to take the precautionary route because of the concussion.

That won’t be the case this week as the symptoms have subsided, giving the offense back one of its most potent weapons.

It’s going to be great to have him back,” quarterback Taylor Kelly said. “It’s going to open up D.J. (Foster) and our running game and also get Cam Smith the ball more.”

Strong is tops on the Sun Devils in receptions (71), receiving yards (982) and receiving touchdowns (nine). Those totals are good for 12th, 16th and T-11th in the nation, respectively, and fourth among Pac-12 receivers in all three categories.

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TCU with good news, no news on skill-player front

B.J. Catalon, Orion Stewart

TCU’s skill-position players are getting healthier. Whether they are getting really healthy as the push toward a potential spot in the College Football Playoff remains to be seen.

Gary Patterson confirmed Tuesday that wide receiver Deante’ Gray will play in the Thanksgiving Day game against Texas. Gray has missed the past two games with a foot injury.

Despite being sidelined for a pair of games, Gray is still tied for the lead in touchdown receptions with seven, while he’s third in receiving yards (486) and fourth in receptions (29).

On the not-so-good injury front is B.J. Catalon.

The running back sustained what’s only been described as an upper-torso injury — the speculation is that it’s a concussion — in the Nov. 1 win over West Virginia. Catalon did not play in the last two games, wins over Kansas State and Kansas, because of the injury. Whether it’s a third straight sidelining is unclear, although it’s not sounding promising.

I don’t know whether B.J. will be with us or not,” the head coach said when asked about Catalon’s availability for the holiday road trip to Austin.

This season, Catalon has accounted for 910 all-purpose yards — 493 rushing, 163 receiving, 254 on returns. That versatility led the junior to be named as one of the five finalists for the Hornung Award.

Despite those two missed games, he still leads the Horned Frogs with 10 rushing touchdowns. He’s returned a punt for a touchdown this year as well.

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Wazzu to induct Steve Gleason into its Hall of Fame

Atlanta Falcons v New Orleans Saints

If you’re looking for a morning pick-me-up, we have you covered.

During Saturday’s Apple Cup game with Washington, Washington State will induct its Class of 2014 into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame. That class will consist of one person: Steve Gleason.

Gleason played both football and baseball for the Cougars from 1995-99. On the gridiron, he was a two-time captain; he was a captain on the baseball team his senior year as well. Three times he earned All-Pac-10 honors in football, and four times he was a Pac-10 All-Academic selection.

In 2011, a handful of years after a seven-year NFL career came to an end, Gleason was diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease. Since then, Gleason established “Team Gleason,” a foundation that looks to raise money and awareness for ALS.

Gleason raising awareness will serve as his lasting and most impactful legacy; his collegiate athletic prowess, though, will now have an official legacy as well.

“Steve is a tremendous Cougar and his induction Saturday night into the Washington State University Athletic Hall of Fame is well deserved,” said athletic director Bill Moos in a statement. “With a sold-out Martin Stadium for the Apple Cup, I can think of no better setting to highlight Steve’s accomplishments than in front of a fan base that has admired him for so many years.”

Gleason’s induction will take place between the first and second quarters of the rivalry game. It will mark the first time in the school’s history that just one former student-athlete has been inducted in that year’s class.

Based on how Gleason lived his life before and after his diagnosis, the honor is well-deserved.

 

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