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Iowa’s 2013 recruiting class

Kirk Ferentz AP

(Below are the bios released by Iowa on the new members of its 2013 recruiting class.)

Nathan Bazata (BUDGET-uh)
Defensive Line
6-2, 280, Freshman
Howells, Nebraska (Howells HS)
High school honors – – Nominated for Gatorade Football Player of the Year as a senior . . . named Division I Player of the Year by Huskerland Prep Reports . . . earned fi rst team all-state and all-district honors as a senior, being named honorary captain . . . was first team all-state as a sophomore and junior as well . . . Career – – four-year letterman as defensive lineman and team captain as a senior as prep team posted 47-3 record in four seasons . . . helped prep team win state championships as a freshman and sophomore, while placing as runner-up as a junior and reaching quarterfinals as a senior . . . recorded 45 tackles as a senior, including nine QB sacks and 11 tackles for loss, with one touchdown on a recovered fumble . . . collected 91 tackles as a junior, with 24 tackles for loss and nine QB sacks, along with a safety . . . had 118 tackles as a sophomore, with 10 tackles for loss, four QB sacks and one safety . . . 71 tackles, including fi ve tackles for loss and two QB sacks as a freshman . . . also four-year wrestling letterman and earned three letters in track, throwing both shot and discus.
Personal – – Born 7/15/94 . . . open major . . . parents are Laurie and Dan Bazata . . . member of prep Honor Roll . . . high school coach was Mike Speirs.

Ike Boettger (BOT-gir)
Tight End
6-6, 235, Freshman
Cedar Falls, Iowa (Cedar Falls HS)
High school honors – – Selected to compete in 2013 Iowa Shrine Game . . . named first team all-state by Des Moines Register and Iowa Newspaper Association as a senior . . . first team all-conference and all-metro honors as a senior . . . was fi rst team all-metro as a junior . . . Career – – played tight end, wide receiver, quarterback and defensive back as a prep while earning two letters . . . helped prep team post 22-4 record as a junior and senior, reaching state semifinals each season . . . had 33 receptions for 452 yards and four touchdowns as a senior . . . on defense registered 61 tackles, five QB sacks, six pass break-ups and two fumble recoveries . . . in seven games as a junior quarterback, completed 58-95 pass attempts for 750 yards and nine touchdowns, with one interception . . . team captain in both football and basketball . . . three-year basketball letterman, earning second team all-conference in basketball as a junior.
Personal – – Born 10/05/94 . . . given name is Isaac . . . business management major . . . parents are Kris and Tim Boettger . . . member of prep Honor Roll with a 3.5 career GPA . . . high school coaches were Pat Mitchell and Brad Remmert.

LeShun Daniels (Luh-SEAN)
Running Back
6-0, 215, Freshman
Warren, Ohio (Harding HS)
Hawk-Item – – Attended Harding HS as a junior and senior after attending Dekalb, Ill. HS as a freshman and sophomore.High school honors – – Earned first team all-state, all-district, all-county and all-conference honors as a senior . . . named Lake Erie League Player of the Year as a senior . . . all-county first team as a junior . . . honorable mention all-conference and all-area as a sophomore . . . Career – – earned three letters in football and four in track . . . rushed for 1,614 yards and 15 touchdowns on 261 attempts as a senior as team posted 9-2 record . . . rushed 165 times for 908 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior . . . totaled 243 yards and one touchdowns on KO returns as a junior . . . rushed 88 times for 406 yards and five touchdowns as a sophomore at Dekalb HS, helping team reach playoffs for first time in over 20 seasons . . . team captain as a senior . . . earned all-state honors on 400-meter relay team as a junior . . . football team captain as a senior . . . ranks fourth in career rushing yards at Harding HS.
Personal – – Born 6/04/95 . . . pre-physical therapy major . . . parents are Alicia and LeShun Daniels . . . member of National Honor Society and prep Honor Roll . . . high school coach was Steve Arnold.

Colin Goebel (GO-bul)
Offensive Line
6-5, 280, Freshman
Lisle, Illinois (Naperville North HS)High school honors – – Earned prep All-America honors and was selected to compete for Team USA in International Bowl . . . fi rst team all-state and all-conference as a senior . . . first team all-state and all-conference as a junior, while being named conference Offensive Lineman of the Year . . . named to Chicagoland Underclassman All-Area team as a freshman and sophomore . . . Career – – earned three letters as offensive and defensive lineman, helping prep team reach state playoffs three straight seasons . . . also lettered two years prep wrestling team.
Personal – – Born 8/04/94 . . . Health Services major . . . parents are Gail and Brian Goebel . . . earned academic all-conference recognition . . . high school coach was Sean Drendel.

Brant Gressel (GRES-uhl)
Defensive Line
6-2, 280, Freshman
Centerville, Ohio (Centerville HS)
High school honors – – Earned all-state honorable mention honors as a senior, along with being first team all-conference and all-district . . . first team all-conference and honorable mention all-district as a junior . . . Career – – helped prep team post 30-14 record over four years, while advancing to state playoffs in three seasons . . . team captain as a senior . . . collected 38.5 tackles as a senior, including 8.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 QB sacks . . . also had two recovered fumbles and one forced fumble and one pass break-up in fi nal season . . . 34 tackles and 4.5 sacks as a junior, while also collecting two recovered fumbles, one caused fumble and two blocked punts . . . also competed for prep baseball team.
Personal – – Born 1/17/95 . . . engineering major . . . parents are Lisa and Tony Gressel . . . . two-time scholar athlete as a prep . . . high school coach was Ron Ullery.

Andre Harris
Wide Receiver
6-0, 170, Freshman
Kirkwood, Missouri (Kirkwood HS)
High school honors – – First team all-state as a senior . . . first team all-conference as a junior and senior . . . Career – -played both wide receiver and defensive back for prep team that posted three-year record of 34-5 . . . prep team reached state semifi nals as a sophomore, lost in championship game as a junior and won state title with perfect 13-0 record as a senior . . . totaled 600 receiving yards and five interceptions as a senior, scoring 11 touchdowns . . . totaled 300 receiving yards and four interceptions as a junior, scoring four touchdowns . . . team captain as a senior . . . also competed as a sprinter for prep track team.
Personal – – Born 8/04/95 . . . open major . . . parents are Tausha and Aaron Harris . . . high school coach was Matt Irvin.

Josey Jewell
Linebacker
6-2, 200, Freshman
Decorah, Iowa (Decorah HS)
High school honors – – Named to Des Moines Register Elite named as all-area Player of the Year by Cedar Rapids Gazette/KCRG-TV as a senior . . . first team all-district as a junior and senior . . . second team all-district as a sophomore . . . Career – – three-year letterman as linebacker and running back . . . helped prep team post 34-6 record in three seasons . . . team reached state playoffs as a sophomore, was state runner-up as a junior and won state title with perfect 14-0 record as a senior . . . recorded 62 solo tackles and 38 assists as a senior, with one interception and two recovered fumbles . . . 86 solo tackles and 58 assists as a junior, with one interception and one fumble recovery . . . 42 solo stops and 24 assists as a sophomore, with one interception . . . career totals include 190 solo tackles and 120 assists . . . as a senior rushed 166 times for 1,314 yards and 21 touchdowns, along with 11 receptions for 91 yards and 15 punt returns for 250 yards and a touchdown . . . 150 rushing attempts for 1,475 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior, with six receptions for 43 yards and one touchdown . . . gained 451 rushing yards and scored three touchdowns on 96 carries as a sophomore . . . football team captain as a senior . . . also competed in basketball, baseball and track throughout prep career . . . all-conference and all-district in discus as sophomore and junior . . . placed 18th in discus at state championships as a junior . . . all-conference in shuttle hurdle relay as a junior, placing 12th at state meet . . . first team all-conference and third team all-state in baseball as a junior as prep team finished as state runner-up.
Personal – – Born 12/25/94 . . . environmental studies/business major . . . parents are Paula and Bobby Jewell . . . member of National Honor Society . . . earned academic all-district recognition.

A.J. Jones
Wide Receiver
6-3, 190, Freshman
Dallas, Texas (South Oak Cliff HS)
High school honors – – Earned second team all-district honors as a senior . . . Career – – helped prep team post 19-3 record as a junior and senior, advancing to state playoffs each season . . . team captain as a senior . . . recorded 23 receptions for 390 yards and seven touchdowns as a senior . . . also lettered in basketball and track.
Personal – – Born 1/22/95 . . . given name is Anjeus (Ahn-JAY-us) . . . sports management major . . . parents are Krashawn Cloud and Herbert Jones . . . high school coach was Emmett Jones.

John Kenny
Linebacker
6-2, 215, Freshman
Carmel, Indiana (Carmel HS)
Hawk-Item – – Enrolled at Iowa for spring semester and will take part in spring practice. High school honors – – Named to Indianapolis Star Super Team as a senior . . . earned fi rst team all-state and all-conference honors as a senior and junior . . . Career – – helped prep team post three-year record of 31-5, including state championship as a junior . . . recorded 98 tackles as a senior, including 14 tackles for loss and four QB sacks, while also collecting four forced fumbles, one recovered fumble and two blocked kicks . . . collected 120 tackles as a junior, including 19 tackles for loss, eight QB sacks, four forced fumbles, four recovered fumbles, one touchdown and one blocked kick . . . 86 tackles as a sophomore, with 12 tackles for loss, six QB sacks, two forced fumbles and one recovered fumble . . . team captain as a senior . . . also lettered in lacrosse and hockey.
Personal – – Born 6/20/94 in Charlotte, N.C. . . . open major . . . parents are Debbie and Shawn Kenny . . . . carried a 3.2 prep GPA . . . high school coach was Kevin Wright.

Desmond King
Defensive Back
5-11, 185, Freshman
Detroit, Michigan (East English Village Prep)
High school honors – – Earned first team all-state honors . . . also first team all-city and named to Dream Team as a senior . . . first team all-state and all-city as a junior . . . first team all-city and second team all-state as a sophomore . . . Career – – established Michigan high school record with 29 career interceptions . . . set school record for career rushing yards . . . rushed for 2,360 yards and scored 33 touchdowns as a senior . . . recorded 56 tackles and seven interceptions as a senior . . . rushed for 1,610 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior, with 49 tackles and 12 interceptions on defense . . . rushed for 811 yards and nine touchdowns as a sophomore, with 44 tackles and 10 interceptions on defense . . . team captain as junior and senior . . . competed on three teams that advanced to state playoffs, including regional championship as a senior . . . helped prep team post three-year record of 32-6 . . . four-year letterman in track, competing in sprint events and relays.
Personal – – Born 12/14/94 . . . mass communications major . . . member of prep Honor Roll and Principal’s List . . .. . . mother is Yvette Powell . . . high school coach was Rod Oden.

Derrick Mitchell
Wide Receiver
6-1, 190, Freshman
St. Louis, Missouri (Vashon HS)
High school honors – – Selected to compete in Illinois vs. Missouri all-star game . . . third team all-state as a senior . . . fi rst team all-conference and conference Athlete of the Year as a junior and senior . . . Career – – played wide receiver, defensive back, quarterback and running back . . . helped prep team advance to state playoffs as a senior . . . totaled 712 rushing yards, 468 passing yards and 205 yards on KO returns while scoring 14 touchdowns as a senior . . . scored 17 touchdowns as a junior, with 518 rushing yards, 277 receiving yards and 302 yards on KO returns . . . collected 39 tackles, two interceptions and one fumble recovery as a junior . . . as a sophomore had 17 receptions for 338 yards, while collecting 31 tackles on defense . . . football team captain as a junior and senior . . . also competed on varsity teams in basketball, baseball and track as sophomore, junior and senior.
Personal – – Born 8/18/95 . . . open major . . . father is Derrick Mitchell, Sr. . . . member of Honor Roll all four years as a prep . . . high school coach was Reginald Ferguson.

Jonathan Parker
Running Back
5-8, 175, Freshman
St. Louis, Missouri (Christian Brothers HS)
High school honors – – Second team all-conference, all-metro and all-state as a senior . . . second team all-conference as a junior . . . Named Special Teams Player of the Year as sophomore and senior . . . Career – – played running back, wide receiver and linebacker, as well as returning kicks . . . helped prep team reach state playoffs for three seasons, posting a 24-2 record his fi nal two years . . . team posted undefeated record in conference play for three straight seasons . . . rushed 162 times for 1,111 yards and 18 touchdowns as a senior, along with 16 receptions for 213 yards and one score . . . rushed 125 times for 982 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior, with 10 receptions for 264 yards and two touchdowns . . . as a sophomore had 83 rushing attempts for 600 yards and eight touchdowns, with two receptions for 35 yards . . . career KO return totals include 18 returns for 555 yards (30.8 average) and two touchdowns . . . team captain as a senior . . . also competed in basketball and track.
Personal – – Born 3/01/95 . . . business major . . . mother is Shirley Wilson . . . high school coach was Scott Pingel.

Damond Powell
Wide Receiver
5-11, 180, Junior
Toledo, Ohio (Rogers HS)
Snow, Utah CC
Junior College – – Attended Snow Community College in Ephraim, Utah . . . helped team post 11-1 overall record as a sophomore and No. 2 national ranking . . . honorable mention all-America and All-WSFL as a sophomore . . . 41 receptions for 1,231 yards and 14 touchdowns as a sophomore . . . led the nation in yards per reception (30.0) and ranked third in yards per game (102.6) . . . junior college coach was Tyler Hughes.High school honors – – Named second team all-district and first team all-city as a senior . . . Career – – earned three letters as wide receiver . . . team captain as a senior . . . helped prep team reach state playoffs while posting a 9-3 record as a junior . . . also lettered in basketball (four) and track (two) . . . three-year basketball team captain . . . as a senior led team to Final Four in state tournament, earning Mr. Basketball honors for the state of Ohio.
Personal – – Born 10/31/92 . . . business major . . . parents are Nikita and Damond Powell, Sr. . . . high school coach was Rick Rios.

Malik Rucker (muh-LEEK)
Defensive Back
6-0, 170, Freshman
Minneapolis, Minnesota (Robbinsdale Cooper HS)
High school honors – – Earned first team all-conference and all-metro honors, as well as being named conference defensive MVP as a senior . . . first team all-conference and all-metro as a junior . . . honorable mention all-conference as a sophomore . . . Career – – three-year letterman as defensive back and receiver, while also returning kicks and punts . . . helped prep team post 9-3 record as team captain as a senior after reaching playoffs as a junior . . . recorded 83 tackles as a senior, including 60 solo stops . . . forced five fumbles and had three interceptions, scoring one touchdown . . . as wide receiver had six receptions for 157 yards and two scores . . . also recorded 83 tackles as a junior, with two forced fumbles and two interceptions . . . had one punt return for a score . . . recorded 20 tackles as a sophomore . . . also competed in basketball and track.
Personal – – Born 6/25/95 . . . open major . . . mother is Chanda Smith Baker . . . high school coach was Willie Howard.

Nic Shimonek (SHIM-oh-nik)
Quarterback
6-4, 196, Freshman
Corsicana, Texas (Mildred HS)
High school honors – – Finalist for state Player of the Year as a senior . . . honorable mention all-state as a senior and junior . . . named district and area Offensive Most Valuable Player while earning first team honors as a junior and senior . . . first team all-district and all-area as a sophomore . . . honorable mention all-district as a freshman . . . Career – – led prep team to runner-up finish in Texas Class 2-A Division II as a senior, helping team post 13-2 overall record . . . passed for 2,714 yards and 33 touchdowns as a senior, completing 160-252 passes, with just six interceptions . . . rushed for 850 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior . . . as a junior completed 193-291 attempts for 2,939 yards and 37 touchdowns, with three interceptions, while also rushing for 220 yards and nine touchdowns . . . team posted 13-1 record in junior season, reaching state semi-finals . . . completed 139-243 attempts for 1,885 yards and 21 touchdowns as a sophomore, with nine interceptions . . . as a freshman completed 64-143 attempts for 673 yards and six touchdowns, with 11 interceptions . . . helped team reach state playoffs as a freshman and sophomore . . . career totals included 8,211 passing yards and 97 passing touchdowns . . . holds school and area passing records for career completions, yards and touchdowns . . . team captain as a senior . . . also four-year letterman in basketball and baseball.Personal – – Born 8/22/94 . . . business/engineering major . . . parents are Tresa and Kenny Shimonek . . . carried over a 3.75 prep GPA . . . high school coach was Patrick Harvell.

Reggie Spearman
Linebacker
6-3, 225, Freshman
Chicago, Illinois (Simeon HS)
High school honors – – First team all-state as a senior and
named to Team USA . . . named first team all-city and All-Chicago Public League as a senior . . . Career – – helped prep team earn city championship three straight years . . . team won Chicago Prep Bowl at Soldier Field as a senior, posting a combined 21-5 record his last two seasons . . . recorded 120 tackles as a senior, with 12 QB sacks and two interceptions . . . team captain as a senior . . . also competed for prep track team.
Personal – – Born 8/17/96 . . . sports management major . . . parents are Belinda and William Spearman . . . high school coach was Dave Culbreath.

Akrum Wadley (ACK-rum)
Running Back
5-11, 170, Freshman
Newark, New Jersey (Weequahic HS)
High school honors – – Second team all-state as a senior . . . named Essex County Player of the Year as a senior . . . first team all-conference, all-city and all-county as a senior . . . first team all-conference as a junior while being named offensive Rookie of the Year . . . Career – – played both running back and defensive back, while also competing in basketball and track as a prep . . . helped team post 9-3 record as both a junior and senior, reaching state championship game each season . . . team captain as a senior . . . holds school record for touchdowns in a season . . . 105 rushing attempts for 1,548 yards and 25 touchdowns as a senior, along with 11 receptions for 153 yards and two scored . . . totaled 371 yards and four touchdowns on special teams, including 95-yard return in state championship game . . . recorded two QB sacks and a fumble recovery on defense.
Personal – – Born 3/13/95 . . . communications major . . . parents are Sheronda Phelps and John Wadley . . . high school coach was Brian Logan.

Solomon Warfield
Defensive Back
6-0, 185, Freshman
Lorain, Ohio (St. Edward HS)
High school honors – – Earned first team all-Ohio honors as a senior . . . Career – – helped prep team post 15-0 record and claim state title as a sophomore . . . recorded 81 tackles as a senior, with one interception, five pass break-ups and one forced fumble . . . four-year football letterman, while also competing for prep track team.
Personal – – Born 12/09/94 . . . business major . . . parents are Vernita and Ryan Warfield . . . high school coach was Rick Finotti.

Sean Welsh
Offensive Line
6-3, 285, Freshman
Springboro, Ohio (Springboro HS)
High school honors – – Named Offense-Defense All-America as a senior . . . earned second team all-state honors as a senior, along with being first team all-district, all-conference and all-division . . . named to All-Ohio first team by JJ Huddle/Muscle Milk . . . first team all-division as a junior and second team as a sophomore . . . named first team all-area by Dayton Daily News as a junior and senior . . . Career – – earned four letters in football as offensive and defensive lineman . . . team captain as a senior, helping team post perfect 10-0 record.
Personal – – Born 10/13/94 . . . business/marketing major . . . parents are Deb and Matt Welsh . . . . earned Principal’s List and Scholar-Athlete honors four straight years . . . high school coach was Ryan Wilhite.

Derrick Willies (WILL-eez)
Wide Receiver
6-4, 205, Freshman
Rock Island, Illinois (Rock Island HS)
High school honors – – Selected to participate in fourth annual International Bowl . . . first team all-conference as a senior in only season at Rock Island HS . . . first-team all-conference and second team all-state as a junior at Burlington, Iowa HS . . . Career – – recorded 56 receptions for 877 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior . . . 57 receptions for 934 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior . . . team captain as a junior . . . set high school career records for receiving yards and touchdowns and single game records for yards and receptions . . . also played end and safety on defense . . . competed in track (hurdles, sprints) and basketball as a prep, winning 300-meter dash state title as a junior.
Personal – – Born 10/12/94 in Banning, Cal. . . . engineering major . . . parents are Mandie and Derrick Willies . . . . member of prep Honor Roll . . . high school coach was Bryan Stortz at Rock Island HS.

Jon Wisnieski (Wiz-NEW-ski)
Tight End
6-5, 220, Freshman
West Des Moines, Iowa (Dowling HS)
High school honors – – Names to elite all-state first team and all-district first team as a senior . . . honorable mention all-conference as a junior . . . Career – – member of state championship team as a sophomore . . . helped prep team post 18-6 record in final two seasons, reaching state playoffs each season while playing tight end and linebacker . . . team captain as a senior . . . recorded 24 receptions for 234 yards and four touchdowns as a senior . . . eight receptions for 119 yards and two touchdowns as a junior . . . recorded 36 tackles, with one interception for a touchdown, as a junior . . . also lettered in both basketball and baseball.
Personal – – Born 9/21/94 . . . business major . . . parents are Barb and Dave Wisnieski . . . . earned academic all-state honors for football . . . member of National Honor Society . . . member of prep Honor Roll . . . high school coach was Tom Wilson.

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Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen wins Maxwell Football Club’s coaching award

Dan Mullen

Following the most successful season in Mississippi State football program history, head coach Dan Mullen added a new honor to his bio. Mullen was named the George Munger Award winner Monday by the Maxwell Football Club, honoring the top college football coach.

Mississippi State went 10-2 in 2014, making a push for the SEC championship and a possible spot in the College Football Playoff. The Bulldogs may have fallen shy of that goal in the month of November, but that does not take away from the level of play performed by Mississippi State under Mullen. Mississippi State climbed from unranked to number one in the Associated Press poll in a shorter span than any other team in history. Mississippi State broke 22 single-season records along the way.

“Coach Mullen has engineered a tremendous season for the Mississippi State football program,” Maxwell Football Club Executive Director Mark Wolpert said in a released statement. “The team’s 10-2 record is a great testament to the hard work of Coach and his staff, and also to the dedication shown by the student-athletes involved in the football program at Mississippi State University.”

The George Munger Award is named after former University of Pennsylvania head coach George Munger. The award was replaced by the Joseph V. Paterno Award for the same honor, named after former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno. Following the Jerry Sandusky scandal in 2011, the Maxwell Football Club stripped Paterno’s name from the award and returned to the name of Munger.

Duke head coach David Cutcliffe was the 2013 Maxwell Football Club’s coach of the year. The last time the award went to a coach from the SEC was when Tennessee’s Phil Fulmer won the award in 1998. Mullen is just the fourth SEC coach (Auburn’s Terry Bowden in 1993 and Alabama’s Gene Stallings in 1992) to win the Maxwell’s collegiate coaching award since it was first presented in 1989 to Michigan’s Bo Schembechler.

Mullen will be presented the award during an awards gala put on by ther Maxwell Football Club on March 13, 2015 at the Tropicana Casino Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey. All of the Maxwell Football Club’s award winners will be honored at that time, including Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota (Maxwell Award) and Arizona’s Scooby Wright III (Chuck Bednarik Award).

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Christmas comes early for walk-on TE at Tennessee (video)

You can never get enough of this stuff in college football. For all the negative stories that come about, there are plenty of positive stories. This being the holiday season, we can never see enough of the good around the sport.

This takes us all to Tennessee, where Vols head coach Butch Jones gave walk-on tight end Alex Ellis the best present possible, a scholarship. Ellis has played in all 12 games this season and has six catches for 115 yards and a touchdown. The redshirt junior from Delaware may not have a significant impact on the field for the Vols, but his dedication and hard work has not gone unrecognized, nor unrewarded, by the Tennessee coaching staff.

Jones closed a team meeting by handing out presents to the hardest working player in bowl practices when he called Ellis down to receive his present.

Tennessee will face Iowa in the Taxslayer Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida on January 2, 2015.

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Texas still the most valuable football program, but lead narrows

University of Texas Introduces Charlie Strong

The Texas Longhorns remain the most valuable football program in college football, despite seeing the value of the program dip from it’s estimated value from a year ago. The annual list of most valuable college football programs assembled by Forbes shows Texas is valued at $131 million, which is down from $139 million from 2013. While Texas is still the most valuable program in the land, other programs appear to be catching up.

Notre Dame is the second-most valuable program according to Forbes with a value of $122 million. That is about $5 million from 2013 due to an extended contract with NBC as well as new revenue coming in through the College Football Playoff. Notre Dame receives $2.3 million from the new playoff format annually, compared to its $1.9 million paycheck from the old BCS. Notre Dame also started a new scheduling agreement with the ACC to provide not only for more stable scheduling but for more marketable match-ups to go with its traditional rivalries.

Michigan followed Notre Dame with a value of $117 million. Two SEC schools followed; Alabama ($107 million) and LSU ($103 million). The rest of the top 10 programs are;

6. Auburn ($97 million)
7. Tennessee ($94 million)
8. Oklahoma ($93 million)
9. Ohio State ($87 million)
10. Georgia ($83 million)

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Attorney for Jameis Winston comes out swinging

Jameis Winston

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston was cleared by a university code of conduct hearing on Sunday. The ruling means Winston will not be punished by the school for any alleged misconduct in violation of school code stemming from a previous sexual encounter with a woman. This also means Winston will be eligible to play for Florida State in the upcoming Rose Bowl against Oregon, the College Football Playoff semifinal.

With the ruling now made official, the attorney for Winston, David Cornwell, is sharing his reaction and thoughts on the entire process, and he has come out laying haymakers at anyone who may have been against he and his client from the start. Cornwell was a guest on the Erik Kuselias Show on NBC Sports Radio Monday morning, where he never held back. Cornwell took aim at the accuser in the case, calling her a liar and accusing the accuser’s family of demanding to be paid.

Below is the entire transcript as provided by the Erik Kuselias Show.

Erick Kuselias: Major Harding said, “I don’t find him more credible, I don’t find her more credible. She has to have a burden of proof of being more credible and she’s not, so I’m sending everybody home.” Do you agree with that reading or did you read it differently?

David Cornwell: That’s precisely what he wrote. I don’t find one story more persuasive than the other. She has the burden of showing at minimum 51 percent. I’m not surprised because she adjusted her story for the 7th time and moved the alleged rape out of the bedroom where one of the teammates testified that it appeared to be consensual, and into a bathroom where nobody else was present of claimed to observe the act. This was the 7th change in her story and in a he-said-she-said case, the best the accused can hope for is 50-50, right?

EK: Is the single biggest change in her story that she changes her account of the location of where she claimed the alleged attack occurred?

Unfortunately no. There are numerous other areas where she’s changed her story.  Frankly, you know what? There are no winners in this and I feel sorry for this young lady. I think that she was abused by her lawyers. To walk her into this hearing room and say that she suffered from traumatic memory loss without offering any evidence of a physical or mental exam, let alone any expert to suggest that there is such a trauma that enables you to have a better memory two years after an event than you do 20 hours after it. I think in many respects Justice Harding was charitable. Our brief lays out in painstaking detail that number of times that she was apparently coached to change her story, so…as I say I don’t think there are any winners in this. I feel sorry for this young lady to the extent that she was taken through the ringers in a process that was inevitable once she was coached to lie.

Her aunt demanded 7 million dollars from us, I mean, what was this about? What was this about? Why do they think it way okay to do this to a 20 year old college student? To Antonor and Loretta’ son – because he played football?

EK interrupts:  Do you think this is over now? Or do you think Jamies is still going to have to continue on through this process, either through an appeal at Florida State or a civil suit?

DC: EK, I’m going to tell you something – I’m done guessing. I’m done predicting. Because of your background as a lawyer you know, at the water cooler you can flip coins and take guesses, but when you put on your lawyering hat your job is to confront the problem that you’re presented with. So I’m just going to deal with things as they arrive, but I’ll tell you this: These two lawyers that arrived after we rejected the 7 million dollar, uh, demand… they’re not lawyers they’re investors. They’re (unintelligible), they invested in this case, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they tricked themselves into thinking that the return on their investment comes with the filing of a civil complaint. I’ll tell you, with the filing of a civil complaint comes a counter claim against this young lady, unfortunately. Not out of anger, but out of necessity, comes a new complaint against these lawyers because they  made statements that are not protected by the litigation privilege in viciously attacking a 20 year old college student and we’re going to go to their pockets to get damages for that.

EK: Are you saying if she sues you, you will counterclaim against her and her attorneys, or are you going to do that anyway?

DC: No, we have no intention of doing it anyway, but of course, and you can explain to your listeners when our call is done, there’s not a chance we’re going into a courtroom without counter-claims. But separate and apart, what I’m telling you is that if she sues us, we will start a new lawsuit against Mr. Clune and Ms. Carroll.

It was at this point the discussion turned to the media coverage of Winston and the case. As you can imagine, Cornwell was not happy.

EK: All right, I understand you’re an advocate for your client…What is the biggest misconception that I would have if I were just watching the media coverage?

DC: You tell me. I can’t prioritize them, man. I can’t give you a list that says there’s the single greatest one. There is a list of about – if we get the authority, or if we’re challenged, we’ll release our brief and we’ll invite the public to read it and they will see. Do you know that this young lady, after claiming that this man assaulted her, sat there and watched the Clemson game his first year as a starter? And tweeted about it? Tweeted about it? About his successful play against Clemson? I mean, nobody knows about that because the media doesn’t cover the other side of the story.

 

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Not going anywhere: Matt Campbell reportedly re-ups with Toledo

Matt Campbell AP

Toledo coach Matt Campbell’s name has popped up in connection to the vacant job at Pitt, but he can reportedly be taken off that list.

According to the Toledo Blade’s Nicholas Piotrowicz, Campbell has signed a contract extension with Toledo that’ll be formally announced later Monday. The 35-year-old Campbell has led the Rockets to a 25-13 record since taking over for Tim Beckman for the 2011 Military Bowl, which the Rockets won.

Under Campbell, Toledo went 9-4 in 2012, 7-5 in 2013 and 8-4 in 2014, with a Jan. 4 GoDaddy Bowl date with Arkansas State finishing off this season. Toledo even cracked the AP top 25 for a spell in 2012.

Per Piotrowicz, Campbell earned a base salary of $285,000 under his old deal. Western Michigan’s P.J. Fleck recently became the highest-paid coach in the MAC, with his base salary checking in at $800,000.

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The meaning behind P.J. Fleck’s ‘Row Your Boat’ mantra at WMU

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Western Michigan didn’t have itself a great weekend, but a 38-24 loss to Air Force shouldn’t put a damper on what was an incredible turnaround in Kalamazoo.

Under the watch of its 34-year-old coach, P.J. Fleck, Western Michigan went from 1-11 to 8-5 and has built some strong recruiting momentum that should have fellow MAC schools on notice. He signed a six-year extension earlier this month and now is the conference’s highest paid coach.

Fleck, though, is probably most well known for a video during his first year as WMU’s coach that produced this gif.

But “Row Your Boat” is much more than a college football Twitter meme. ESPN.com’s Matt Fortuna, in his excellent feature on Fleck, has the coach explain it.

The story is loaded with observations and anecdotes that’ll endear you to Fleck — like his three framed photos of John F. Kennedy hanging beneath the words “If only…” — but this may be the best:

A slide on the PowerPoint presentation behind him shows a mountain with the team’s 2014 opponents lined up in chronological order, from the bottom to the top. Another slide offers all of the weekly nicknames attached to 2014’s schedule, also known as “How Mountain.” Among them: HOWkies (Virginia Tech), ToLeadHOW (Toledo), HOWcoming (Homecoming vs. Ohio).

Fleck rattles them off, punctuating IdaHOW (Idaho) to his assembled audience: “You-da-how …”

“WE-DA-HOW!” the players shout back in unison.

“It’s an active HOWcano,” Fleck says, and everyone cannot help but laugh. “What’s going to happen at 11 a.m. on Black Friday? The shoppers will hear what’s happening at Waldo Stadium.”

Go read the story, and feel free to hope your Power Five program of choice hires Fleck in the next couple years.

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CFT Previews: Your Dec. 22 & 23 Viewer’s Guide

Connecticut v Memphis

Taking a quick-hit look at the Dec. 22 AND 23 bowl menu, which features one game Monday and two more on Tuesday.

WHO: BYU (8-4) vs. Memphis (9-3)
WHAT: The inaugural Miami Beach Bowl
WHERE: Marlins Park, Miami, Fla.
WHEN: Dec. 22 at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN
THE SKINNY: Under the direction of Justin Fuente, Memphis went from a 3-9 disaster in 2013 to the 9-3 AAC co-champions in 2014.  The Tigers finished up 2014 riding a six-game winning streak, with five of those wins coming by double digits.  For BYU, its season can be broken down into thirds: unbeaten first and last thirds, winless middle third.  Two of those four losses in the heart of the season, though, came by a mere seven points, including an overtime loss on the road to AAC co-champion UCF.  Three of the Cougars wins, meanwhile, came against Power Five conference members (Texas, Virginia and Cal).  The Tigers’ most impressive performance of the season may have been one of its three losses, a 42-35 setback to UCLA in Pasadena in Week 2.  All in all, this should be one of the better non-marquee matchups of the 2014-15 bowl season.
THE LINE: BYU, +1
THE PREDICTION: Memphis 27, BYU 24

__________

WHO: Marshall (12-1) vs. Northern Illinois (11-2)
WHAT: The inaugural Boca Raton Bowl
WHERE: FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, Fla.
WHEN: Dec. 23 at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN
For the remainder of an extended preview, click HERE.

__________

WHO: Navy (7-5) vs. San Diego State (7-5)
WHAT: The 10th San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
WHERE: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, Cal.
WHEN: Dec. 23 at 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
THE SKINNY: San Diego State is 13th among Group of Five teams in stopping the run at 145.6 yards per game.  Navy, meanwhile, is third out of all 128 FBS teams in rushing yards per game at 345.1.  The two teams had two common opponents in 2014: Air Force and San Jose State.   SDSU went 2-0 vs. those two (30-14 over AF Week 13, 38-7 over SJSU Week 14) while Navy went 1-1 (41-31 win over SJSU Week 9, 30-21 loss to AF Week 6).  And then there’s this: 35-14.  That was the score of the Aztecs’ 2010 Poinsettia Bowl matchup with the Midshipmen.  What does it all mean?  I have no clue.  I’m just looking forward to watching yet another service academy in the postseason.  And yet another opponent trying to stop its version of the triple-option.
THE LINE: Navy, +3
THE PREDICTION: Navy 41, San Diego State 34

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Report: Texas A&M reached out to LSU DC John Chavis

LSU v Washington Getty Images

Texas A&M is currently without a defensive coordinator, a fact that may have cost the Aggies the nation’s top linebacker prospect and a five-star defensive tackle. Head coach Kevin Sumlin fired Mark Snyder on Nov. 28, and with a holiday week upon us and the Aggies’ Liberty Bowl date approaching, it now appears likely the one month mark will pass before Snyder’s replacement is hired.

That’s not to say Sumlin has sat on his hands, though.

Sumlin chased LeBron-in-a-headset free agent Will Muschamp, and Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster and Florida’s D.J. Durkin were also reportedly on the Aggie wish list as well.

On Sunday night, a report emerged out of Baton Rouge through The Advocate that Texas A&M has reached out to LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis.

Chavis has coordinated the Bayou Bengals’ defense for the past six seasons and is regarded as one of the very best in the business. Since his arrival in 2009, LSU has ranked 15th, 22nd, second, seventh, 27th and 18th nationally in yards per play allowed. Before arriving in Baton Rouge, Chavis served as defensive coordinator under Philip Fulmer at Tennessee from 1995-08.

Most importantly for Sumlin, Chavis’ defenses have completely flummoxed Texas A&M’s offenses in their three meetings since the Aggies joined the SEC in 2012. LSU has won each of the three games while holding the Texas A&M to less than 20 points and more than 100 yards below their season average. Nabbing Chavis would be a major coup for Sumlin, bringing instant credibility to a defense that last in the SEC in total defense this season while simultaneously weakening a division rival.

Of course, they’d have to get him first. Chavis earns the third-highest salary of all college football assistants at just north of $1.3 million according to USA Today. (Snyder earned $708,000.) His contract expires after this season, and LSU has offered him a extension that Chavis has yet to sign, according to The Advocate.

However, when you’re blowing up half your stadium as part of a near half-billion dollar renovation project, in the long run busting the budget by a few hundred thousand dollars for an elite defensive coordinator is much less costly than putting a mediocre product on the field.

Texas A&M concludes its season in the Liberty Bowl against West Virginia on Dec. 29 (2 p.m. ET, ESPN), while LSU wraps up against Notre Dame in the Music City Bowl on Dec. 30 (3 p.m. ET, ESPN).

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Ole Miss QB signee Chad Kelly arrested after scuffle with police

Chad Kelly

Chad Kelly was dismissed at Clemson this April for what Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney deemed “conduct detrimental to our program” but, after a season spent leading East Mississippi Community College to a national title, reclaimed his major college football destiny by signing with Ole Miss earlier this month.

For now.

Back home in his native Buffalo, Kelly was arrested early Sunday morning after fighting with bouncers at a local watering hole and later scuffling with police, reports the Buffalo News. According to Buffalo police, Kelly refused to leave an establishment known as Encore and punched a bouncer in the face. He then took on two bouncers and, according to the police report, said, “I’m going to go to my car and get my AK-47 and spray this place.”

Police officers later stopped a 2005 Ford F-150 pickup, where Kelly was a passenger.

“Kelly was forcibly removed from the vehicle, officers said,” writes the Buffalo News. “Police said Kelly kicked and tried to swing at officers as they removed him from the vehicle. They said he resisted getting into a patrol vehicle and struggled with staff at central booking.”

Kelly has been charged with third-degree assault, second-degree harassment, second-degree menacing, resisting arrest, fourth-degree criminal mischief, second-degree obstructing governmental administration and, along with a friend involved in the melee, third-degree criminal trespass. All charges are misdemeanors or violations, and Kelly has been released without bail.

“It remains to be seen who was the aggressor and thankfully it was a scuffle where no one was hurt,” Kelly’s attorney Thomas J. Eoannou said.

Kelly is the nephew of former Buffalo Bills great and Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly. He was named the New York State Sportswriters Association Class AA Player of the Year in 2011 and was regarded as the nation’s top junior college quarterback after throwing for 3,905 yards and 47 touchdowns this fall.

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Mark Richt raids Nick Saban’s staff for strength coach

Mark Richt

They say the strength coach is the most important hire a head coach will make. Between the end of spring ball and the beginning of fall camp, the strength coach is the main point of contact players have with their football program on a daily basis. With longtime strength coach Joe Tereshinski stepping down late last month, Mark Richt has raided Nick Saban‘s strength staff at Alabama to fill his all-important head strength coach role, as Georgia announced the hiring of Mark Hocke on Sunday evening.

“Mark received some outstanding recommendations from those in the industry and is known for his high energy, ability to motivate and relate to his athletes, as well as develop them mentally, physically, spiritually and socially,” Richt said in a statement.

Hocke served as an assistant strength and conditioning coach since 2009. At Georgia, he’ll join a growing roster of Bulldog coaches with Crimson ties (get it?), including defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt (a former Alabama assistant), linebackers coach Kevin Sherrer (formerly Alabama’s director of player development) and offensive line coach Will Friend (a former Alabama player).

Hocke replaces Tereshinksi, the Bulldogs’ head strength coach since 2011 and a member of the Georgia program since 1982.

Prior to his arrival in Tuscaloosa, Hocke worked as an assistant coach and the head strength and conditioning coach at Jesuit High School in New Orleans.

Hocke will join the program in Charlotte before its date with No. 20 Louisville in the Belk Bowl on Dec. 30. “This will allow him to be better prepared as we begin our training program in January,” Richt said.

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Gus Malzahn, new Auburn DC Will Muschamp haven’t discussed staff changes yet

In addition to the reported $1.6 million salary, one of the things that drew Will Muschamp to Auburn’s open defensive coordinator slot was the freedom granted by head coach Will Muschamp to select his own staff to work under him.

And while staff changes are likely coming for a defense that ranked 74th in yards per play allowed and 61st in scoring, they won’t happen before the Outback Bowl.

“We have not talked about it,” Malzahn told AL.com. “We’re just trying to give these guys the best plan to win the bowl game. We’ll talk about that at a later date.”

It has been widely speculated within the industry that Muschamp would like to bring Florida defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson with him to The Plains, but a spot is not open for him at this time. Safeties coach Charlie Harbison is set to serve as the Tigers’ defensive coordinator in the Outback Bowl. And it’s possible that a few Gators assistants could look to follow their former boss to Auburn after new Florida head coach plucked Geoff Collins away from Mississippi State to coordinate his defense.

In the meantime, though, rival recruiters are pouncing as the Auburn defensive staff remains in flux. Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College safety Tony Bridges chose Ole Miss over Auburn in part because of the uncertainty around the Tigers’ staff.

“(Muschamp) looked at tape of me and said ‘I really need you,’ this and that. I have love for them because they showed me love, so I can’t say nothing bad about them,” Bridges told the Sun Herald before inking with the Rebels on Wednesday. “That being said, it was too late. I didn’t know which way the defensive coaches, like (cornerbacks coach) Melvin Smith, was he going to be there or not?”

No. 19 Auburn will meet No. 18 Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl at noon ET on New Year’s Day (ESPN2).

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Report: Jim Harbaugh not the only NFL coach Michigan is chasing

Atlanta Falcons v New Orleans Saints Getty Images

With the NFL’s own coaching carousel ready to start spinning in the next seven-to-10 days, we’re beginning to find out which college coaches that have caught the NFL’s eye and, apparently, the other way around. Michigan’s interest in San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh is widely known, but he’s apparently not the only NFL coach that the Wolverines have an interest in.

According to a report from CBS NFL reporter Jason La Canfora, Michigan is aware that the former Wolverines quarterback is likely to remain in the NFL for the 2015 season, so interim AD Jim Hackett and company have shown interest in John HarbaughSean PaytonJason Garrett and Doug Marrone.

Of course, just because Michigan is interested in those coaches doesn’t mean those coaches are interested in Michigan.

Harbaugh has expressed no desire in leaving Baltimore, Payton already reportedly earns more than the $8 million the Wolverines are dangling in front of Jim Harbaugh, and Garrett is expected to sign an extension with the Dallas Cowboys after the season.

So it’s clear why those coaches wouldn’t be interested in Michigan, but it’s unclear why Michigan would even be interested in them. None have any recent experience coaching the college game. The only coach in that group that does have college experience is Buffalo’s Marrone, who went 25-25 in four seasons at Syracuse.

A .500 mark at Syracuse isn’t typically a stepping stone to Michigan, even if there is an NFL stop in between.

With Harbaugh reportedly using Michigan’s interest for leverage against other NFL suitors, it appears likely at this point that the Wolverines will find their next coach within the college ranks.

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Jameis Winston cleared in FSU Code of Conduct hearing

Jameis Winston; David Cornwell

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston has been cleared of wrongdoing in his Code of Conduct hearing with the university, his attorney David Cornwell tweeted Sunday.

“In sum, the preponderance of the evidence has not shown that you are responsible for ANY of the charged violations of the Code,” he wrote.

The hearing was held Dec. 3, and a decision was not expected until next month.

Former Florida state supreme court justice Major Harding presided over the case.

“This was a complex case, and I worked hard to make sure both parties had a full and fair opportunity to present information. In sum, the preponderance of the evidence has not shown that you are responsible for any of the charge violations of the Code. Namely, I find that the evidence before me is insufficient to satisfy the burden of proof,” Harding wrote in a letter obtained by USA Today.

“As summarized in the preceding paragraphs, the evidence regarding the events that unfolded between you and (the woman) once in your room is irreconcilable. In light of all the circumstances, I do not find the credibility of one story substantially stronger than that of the other. Both have their own strengths and weaknesses. I cannot find with any confidence that the events as set forth by you, (the woman), or a particular combination thereof is more probable than not as required to find you responsible for a violation of the Code.”

While the alleged 2012 sexual assault will likely follow Winston through the civil courts and the NFL Draft process, it will not bar him from completing this season – and likely his college career.

Florida State’s Code of Conduct says that his accuser can pursue an appeal, but it would not be heard before the Jan. 12 College Football Playoff Championship. Moreover, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner is widely expected to declare for the NFL Draft by the Jan. 15 deadline.

Winston and the ‘Noles will meet Oregon in the CFP semifinals at the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day.

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How many FBS programs are still looking for their first bowl win?

A chance at history was missed on Saturday. Western Michigan and South Alabama had respective shots at winning their first bowl games in program history, but each fell short. Western Michigan saw a comeback effort squandered by a catastrophic scoop ‘n’ score in a 38-24 loss to Air Force in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, and South Alabama blew a late lead in its first ever bowl appearance, falling to Bowling Green 33-28 in the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl.

The losses meant the Broncos remained on and the Jaguars joined the ignominious list of eight FBS programs that are 0-fer in their only bowl trips. Warning, this list is #MACtion heavy (via Winsipedia.com):

Akron – 0-1
Ball State – 0-7
Buffalo – 0-2
Kent State – 0-2
Louisiana-Monroe – 0-1
South Alabama – 0-1
Western Kentucky – 0-1
Western Michigan – 0-6

If you want to look at the bright side, those programs are fortunate. Appalachian State, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Texas State and UTSA have never enjoyed the fortune of even appearing in a bowl game, and poor UAB was axed with an 0-1 bowl record.

Western Kentucky has a chance to get off this list on Wednesday as the Hilltoppers will face Central Michigan (3-4 all-time in bowl games) in the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl (12 p.m. ET, ESPN).

 

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Boise State running back Jay Ajayi declares for NFL Draft

Jay Ajayi

Boise State running back Jay Ajayi will play his final game as a Bronco in the upcoming Fiesta Bowl against Arizona. Ajayi announced Sunday he will enter himself into the 2015 NFL Draft, passing on his final year of eligibility at Boise State.

Ajayi informed his teammates while in the huddle for the final rep in practice on Sunday. He reportedly made his decision to enter the NFL Draft without hearing from the NFL advisory group in place to assist with the decision-making for underclassmen thinking about leaving for the NFL Draft.

Ajayi was the second-leading rusher in the Mountain West Conference in 2014 with 1,689 rushing yards, but he was the conference’s leader with 25 rushing touchdowns. His 25 rushing touchdowns are second in the nation only to Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon.

The NFL Draft has not been particularly kind to running backs in recent seasons. Last year there was not a single running back chosen in the first round of the draft. There was also a record number of underclassmen declared for the NFL Draft, which left many without a football home in 2014. Ajayi will be likely to be drafted somewhere between the second and fifth round of the draft, although exactly when he may go is difficult to predict.

Boise State has had six running backs drafted in NFL Draft history. Doug Martin to the Tampa Bay Bucaneers in 2012 is the most recent Broncos running back to be picked.

Boise State will face Arizona in the Fiesta Bowl on December 31.

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