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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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Surgery in the offing for Jayhawk QB Michael Cummings

Michael Cummings (14)

The quarterback position at Kansas took a significant shot over the weekend.  Just how significant remains to be seen.

As previously reported, Michael Cummings sustained a knee injury in Saturday’s spring game.  Two days later, KU announced that Cummings will undergo surgery in the not-too-distant future to repair the damage.

The specific nature of the injury wasn’t detailed, nor was a timeline for a return given.

“Michael sustained a left knee injury that is going to require surgery,” Jayhawk head coach David Beaty said in a statement. “Following his surgery he will work diligently, alongside our medical staff, to get back to the field as quickly as possible.”

While quarterbacks were off-limits for contact, Cummings was inadvertently tackled by a teammate on the play that led to the injury to his left knee.

“It was a complete freak accident,” said Cummings in his statement. “I have reviewed the film from Saturday and Michael Glatczak (the player who made the tackle) was being blocked down the field and had his back to the action for almost the entire play. At the last second he turned to make the tackle without having any idea who was carrying the ball. He is a great kid, a great teammate and again it was just a very unfortunate accident.”

Or maybe not.

Cummings started the last seven games at quarterback for the Jayhawks and accounted for a total of 13 of KU’s 25 offensive touchdowns — nine passing, four rushing. Provided he’s healthy, Cummings will enter summer camp as the front-runner for the starting job.

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After leaving A&M, LaQuvionte Gonzalez lands at Kansas

Chick-fil-A Bowl - Duke v Texas A&M Getty Images

Last Monday, LaQuvionte Gonzalez took to Twitter to announce he was transferring from Texas A&M. A week later, Gonzalez took to the same social media platform to announce where he will continue his collegiate playing career.

In a tweet, Gonzalez revealed that he has decided to transfer to “the University of Kansas.” After sitting out the 2015 season t satisfy NCAA transfer bylaws, the wide receiver will have two seasons of eligibility remaining beginning in 2016.

A big reason for Gonzalez’s decision to move on to the Jayhawks is David Beaty. In his first year as KU’s head coach, Beaty spent three years (2012-14) as A&M’s wide receivers coach and, in addition to serving as his position coach, helped recruit Gonzalez to the Aggies.

A four-star member of A&M’s 2013 recruiting class, Gonzalez was rated as the No. 30 player at any position in the state of Texas and the No. 234 player overall byRivals.com.

As a true freshman in 2013, Gonzalez was fifth on the team with 21 receptions and 240 receiving yards.  His production took a precipitous drop in 2014, however, as he finished with just five receptions for 77 yards.

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Alabama, Auburn, Ohio State big early favorites for Week 1

Nick Saban AP

Only a little over four months until college football. That’s practically nothing! It’s only one-third of the year!

Fortunately, we have some stuff to talk about this Monday morning involving that first week of the season. The 5dimes sportsbook released some fresh Week 1 odds, with the following highlights:

Ohio State – 20.5 @ Virginia Tech
TCU – 19.5 @ Minnesota
UCLA – 16 @ Virginia
Alabama – 12.5 vs. Wisconsin (Arlington, Texas)
Auburn – 12.5 vs. Louisville (Atlanta, Ga.)
Notre Dame -12.5 vs. Texas
South Carolina – 7.5 vs. North Carolina
Texas A&M – 5.5 vs. Arizona State
Utah – 3.5 vs. Michigan

There’s plenty of time for transfers, injuries and suspensions to affect these lines. Ohio State and Virginia Tech may have opposite trajectories right now, but the Buckeyes being nearly a three-touchdown favorite on the road against a Power Five opponent stands out.

On the other end of the spectrum, Jim Harbaugh certainly won’t have an easy debut heading to Salt Lake City. And while Texas is still grinding through a rebuild, Notre Dame only has beat two Power Five teams at home by more than 12 points in the last three years (Michigan 2014, Wake Forest 2012).

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Urban Meyer collects another Buckeye national title trophy

MacArthur Bowl

After being feted at the White House and showing off multiple title rings and myriad other events, one more celebratory festivity was held as Ohio State officially closes the book on the 2014 season and shifts its full focus to 2015.

At the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta Sunday, head coach Urban Meyer was officially presented with the MacArthur Bowl, handed out annually by the National Football Foundation to the FBS champion.  The Buckeyes, thanks to their 42-20 win over Oregon in the first-ever College Football Playoff title game this past January, are the 57th team to be presented the trophy since it was first handed out in 1959.

It also marked the fourth MacArthur Bowl for the OSU football program, joining the 2002, 1970 and 1968 teams.  Meyer also won two (2006, 2008) during his time at Florida.

“On behalf of the Ohio State University I want to thank Chick-fil-A… obviously the National Football Foundation and Steve [Hatchell] and then this beautiful Hall of Fame for having us here,” Meyer said in quotes sent out by the NFF. “It should be a tradition for the head coach to come celebrate at this incredible facility with fans. I want to thank our players, we had an incredible group and they should be here. They are part of history. We really try to develop a program where the players love each other and it’s a family atmosphere.

“The 2014 Buckeyes, that was a real team. How did they overcome adversity? Because they cared for each other. I’m honored to be here and on behalf of Ohio State, my football players and coaching staff to accept this incredible award. It has incredible history and we’ll forever be grateful to be on the side of this beautiful trophy.”

And, yes, this particular trophy is named in honor of the famed Army general.

Ohio State closed out the last of its spring practice sessions last weekend, setting an all-time spring game attendance record in the process.  OSU will open up its defense of the 2014 title with a road trip to Blacksburg against Virginia Tech, the only team to beat the Buckeyes in 2014.

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James Franklin to throw out first pitch at Yankees game

New Era Pinstripe Bowl - Boston College v Penn State Getty Images

The head football coach at Penn State will offering his ceremonial services to a stick-and-ball sport in the near future, the school announced this past week.

In a press release, Penn State revealed that James Franklin will throw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium Tuesday prior to the start of the New York Yankees-Tamp Bay Rays game. The contest will essentially serve as a Penn State night at the Bronx stadium, with Nittany Lions fans able to purchase tickets for up to 50-percent off.

This will actually serve as Franklin’s second on-field trip to that particular ballpark in less than four months.

In late December, Penn State squared off with Boston College in the fifth annual Pinstripes Bowl at Yankee Stadium. The Nittany Lions were able to claim an overtime win after the Eagles’ kicker misfired on an extra point attempt in the first overtime session.

“It’s such an awesome opportunity to throw out the first pitch and take in a Yankees game at such an iconic stadium,” Franklin said in a statement. “The Yankees’ staff was great to work with and hosted a first-class event in the Pinstripe Bowl. The experience our student-athletes, coaches and staff had at Yankee Stadium in December was second to none. I am looking forward to taking the mound, maybe I will try to get some pitching advice from Masahiro Tanaka or Michael Pineda.”

Franklin and his Nittany Lions concluded spring practice last weekend with the third-highest attendance total for a spring game this year, and will open the coach’s second season in Happy Valley Sept. 5 at Temple. The home opener comes a week later against Buffalo of the MAC.

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WVU reportedly the new home for Miami’s Antonio Crawford

A.J. Blue, Antonio Crawford

Antonio Crawford might be in for what some people would call “a culture shock.”

Following a couple of weeks worth of speculation, Miami confirmed in late February that Crawford was no longer a part of the Hurricanes football program.  Crawford had aired his grievances with his position on the roster on social media, which hastened the parting of ways.

Nearly two months later, the defensive back and Tampa native has reportedly taken his football talents from near South Beach to Morgantown.

Crawford, a three-star member of the Hurricanes’ 2012 recruiting class, started two of the 38 games in which he played the last three seasons.  Both of those starts came in 2013.

The defensive back likely would’ve entered summer camp as Miami’s top nickel corner, a role he had manned the past two seasons.  Instead, after sitting out the 2015 season, he’ll have one final season of eligibility in 2016.

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Jaxon Hood making way back to Sun Devils?

Weber State v Arizona State Getty Images

Because of what were described as personal issues, Jaxon Hood twice left the Arizona State football program shortly before and then during the 2014 season.

While he’s not returned from the second sabbatical, he could in the near future. Maybe.

On his protected Twitter account Friday, Hood proclaimed “I’m back” and “[t]he road to greatness continues.” When a writer who covers the Sun Devils wrote on Twitter that “Hood’s tweets insinuate nothing about playing football” and that the tweets “[c]ould mean anything in [his] personal life,” Hood responded.

Hold the bus on the Welcome Wagon, though.

The Arizona Republic, citing a source with knowledge of the situation, is reporting that Hood is not officially back with the football team. As of early Sunday afternoon, Hood was not listed on ASU’s online roster, although head coach Todd Graham said late this past week that he wouldn’t rule out an eventual return.

Such a development would be a positive one for ASU’s defensive line rotation.

In starting 12 games as a true freshman in 2012, Hood earned numerous Freshman All-American honors. He was the starter at nose tackle in 2013, then started the first eight games of the season before missing the remainder of the year with his second bout with personal issues.

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Ex-Okla. St. WR Ra’Shaad Samples reportedly transfers to Houston

Oklahoma State v Mississippi State Getty Images

Nearly two months to the day after Ra’Shaad Samples‘ decision to transfer from Oklahoma State went public, the wide receiver has found a landing spot.

Citing sources with knowledge of the situation, Mark Berman of KRIV-TV is reporting that Samples has decided to continue his collegiate playing career at Houston.  The school has yet to officially announce the addition of Samples to the roster, although that’s expected to happen at some point this week.

Because of NCAA transfer rules, Samples will be forced to sit out the 2015 season.  He’ll then have two seasons of eligibility remaining beginning in 2016.

A four-star member of OSU’s 2013 recruiting class coming out of high school in Dallas, Samples was rated as the No. 33 receiver in the country and the No. 32 player at any position in the state of Texas. Along with fellow receiver Marcell Ateman and defensive back Jerel Morrow, Samples was the highest-rated member of that year’s Cowboy class.

After redshirting as a true freshman, Samples played in six games in 2014. In that limited action, he caught three passes for 11 yards.

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Report: FSU not expecting NCAA penalties for Jameis’ crab hook-up

Jameis Winston

At least as far as Florida State is concerned, the athletic department is going Lt. Drebin on the latest Jameis Winston revelations — alright, move on, nothing to see here.  Please disperse.

In an interview with Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh that appeared on an ESPN NFL draft special last week, the former FSU quarterback, for the first time, stated publicly that he had received a seafood hook-up from an individual who worked at a Tallahassee grocery store. Winston went on to claim that he had gotten a similar hook-up from the Publix employee on at least one other occasion prior to that.

While Winston’s former head coach Jimbo Fisher stated that FSU’s compliance department had previously looked into the issue but felt like it was an isolated incident, athletic director Stan Wilcox subsequently released a statement saying “we will work in partnership with the NCAA to determine whether a violation occurred.”

According to the Tallahassee Democrat, which cites a source close to the football program, the school “does not expect any NCAA violations to stem from the latest revelation in Jameis Winston’s shoplifting incident.” Wilcox declined to respond to the Democrat’s report, but did state that he doesn’t expect the situation be a drawn-out one.

Winston was issued a citation late last April for shoplifting crab legs from a local Publix store. At the time, Winston claimed to police he had simply forgotten to pay for the seafood.

After leaving the Seminoles early for the NFL, Winston is widely expected to be the top pick in the upcoming draft.

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Blind USC walk-on hopeful will need NCAA waiver

Jake Olson Pete Carroll

Leave it to the NCAA and its policies to be the buzzkill, at least temporarily, as it concerns a potentially heartwarming story.

Last week it was reported that high school senior Jake Olson will attempt to become a walk-on at USC this year. Olson is a young man who, in addition to being a USC super fan, lost his eyesight to a rare form of cancer a few years ago and was essentially adopted by the Trojans football program in general and former head coach Pete Carroll specifically.

Flipping a middle finger in the general direction of his blindness, Olson became a long-snapper on his high school football team. He became so adept at that particular skill, in fact, that current USC head coach Steve Sarkisian very firmly stated that, when it comes to Olson snapping in a game for the Trojans, “it will happen” someday.

Before someday comes, though, Olson will have to navigate some NCAA obstacles.

Olson, you see, is one of this year’s recipients of a Swim With Mike scholarship, a handful of which are awarded annually from the Physically Challenged Athletes Scholarship fund at USC. Because that scholarship is considered an athletic one, the Orange County Register explains, Olson would count as one of the 85 scholarship players for the Trojans. From the Register‘s report:

The way the NCAA determines counters, football supersedes all other sports. According to bylaw 15.5.9.1, even a student-athlete “who was not recruited and/or offered financial aid to participate in football and who competes in football and one or more (other) sports shall be counted in football.”

Schools in the Football Bowl Subdivision have annual caps of 25 “initial counters” (incoming freshmen and transfers) and 85 total scholarships. USC has reached its limit of initial counters for 2015 – the first year it has been able to add a full recruiting class since 2011 because of NCAA sanctions.

The university will seek a waiver from the NCAA that would allow Olson to be a counted as a non-scholarship walk-on and not count against the 85-man limit.

As it turns out, there are other potential “issues” for which the family is being proactive and very upfront about in working with the school’s compliance officials. “Jake is a published author, makes motivational speeches and is involved in a charitable foundation – all of which the Olsons plan to vet through USC’s compliance department,” the Register writes.

“Jake has aspirations to walk on to the team and play football at USC,” Jake’s father, Brian Olson, told the paper. “There has to be a process of approaching the NCAA. We’re putting faith in the process that there’s a positive outcome for Jake. We’ll take it as it comes.

“It’s nothing negative. It’s just the way things are at the college level.”

The Register is of the belief that it’s unlikely the NCAA will deny Olson the waiver. Hopefully, the NCAA gets it right this time.

(Photo credit: openyoureyes.org)

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Big Ten, SEC each draw 400,000+ fans in spring football

Ohio State Spring Game Getty Images

When it comes to spring football, the Big Ten and SEC tend to rule the attendance game. It only makes sense with the largest stadiums in the country mostly residing within the Big Ten or SEC, not to mention some of the top brands in the game. Both conferences went over the 400,000 fan mark this year in the conference-wide spring game attendance figures.

Both conferences closed the books on spring practices Saturday with Tennessee and Arkansas the last two SEC schools to play a spring game and Iowa, Michigan State and Wisconsin closing out the Big Ten spring schedule. When all was said and done, the Big Ten edges the SEC in spring attendance by roughly 2,000 fans.

The Big Ten’s spring total added up to 410,943 fans. That includes a new national record set by Ohio State (99,391) and three other schools with over 60,000 fans (Nebraska, Penn State, Michigan). Michigan State also set a new school record with 48,000 fans on Saturday. Illinois, Maryland and Northwestern are not included in that total due to not keeping track or recording a spring game attendance.

The SEC ended the spring with 408,599 fans coming out to SEC stadiums. The Big Ten numbers were top heavy, but there was a little bit more even distribution of fans throughout the SEC, with the notable exception of Vanderbilt. It should be noted Kentucky and Texas A&M did not play a spring game or record any spring attendance numbers. It should be expected Texas A&M be a solid spring draw next year after the completion of renovations on Kyle Field (better than Jerry World?). That could be enough to push the SEC in front of the Big Ten if we assume most of these attendance numbers are roughly the same in 2016.

Numbers are still coming in for the Big 12 and Pac-12, but none of the other power conferences will even sniff 200,000 fans this spring. It’s just a different routine in the Big Ten and SEC every spring, and the attendance numbers show it.

Source: 2015 Spring Football Attendance

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Michigan State center scores only TD of Spartans’ spring game

Jack Allen

Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio was pushing to get 50,000 fans to show up at Spartan Stadium for the annual spring game, but he had to settle for 48,000 fans instead. That was still good enough for a school record for the spring game.

The 48,000 fans that did show up were treated to a handful of trick plays and familiar dominance in the trenches. The only touchdown of the game was scored by center Jack Allen, who found space on his way for a short touchdown run after 300-pound guard Donavon Clark rumbled 13 yards on a lateral from quarterback Connor Cook. Do not expect to see too much of that during he regular season, but do not forget about it either. Dantonio is know for pulling some tricks in key moments, but even that might be considered a bit of a costly risk.

As for individual performances, Shilque Calhoun was credited for 2.5 sacks in the game.Cook went 11-of-22 for 105 yards. It was not a stellar performance from the Spartans’ quarterback, but there is no real reason for concern in East Lansing. that is because the starting offensive line was split between teams. Put them all together and Cook should be in good shape in the fall. Cook’s backup, Damion Terry, did not play in the spring game as he recovers from injury.

Michigan State’s crowd of 48,000 was locked in as the fifth best this spring around the Big Ten. Ohio State, Nebraska, Penn State and Michigan all finished ahead of the Spartans, but Dantonio should feel good about the crowd that turned out. In Madison, Wisconsin, the crowd was considerably smaller, but there is a lot to do in Madison. Michigan State’s attendance (combined with the totals from Wisconsin and Iowa on Saturday) pushed the total spring attendance around the Big Ten to 410,943, giving the Big Ten the largest combined spring attendance in 2015.

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Hokies close out spring and set focus on Buckeyes

Motley, Brewer

Every year there is one team that has the opportunity to play the defending national champions in the first game of the season. In 2015 that will be Virginia Tech, the only team to hand national champion Ohio State a loss last season. This year the Buckeyes visit Blacksburg for a Monday night game n Labor Day, which means now that the spring is over the Hokies are already in need of getting ready for everything Ohio State will throw at them.

Some teams end their springs with some question marks, but the vibe seems pretty positive at Virginia Tech after Saturday afternoon’s spring game.

“I like where we are. I like our football team,” Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer said after the game. “I think we’ve got a lot of good character guys and a lot of good football players. I like where we are right now and we’ve got to keep going in a positive direction.”

Starting quarterback Michael Brewer threw one touchdown while splitting time between teams. The red zone efficiency was respectable between the two teams as well, with touchdowns scored on four of five red zone opportunities. On the flip side, the defense gave up four touchdowns in five red zone situations.

“I thought the offense took a step in the right direction,” Brewer said following the game. “We’re not where we need to be or where we want to be, but it’s a step in the right direction.”

In typical Virginia Tech fashion, the first score of the game came on special teams when Greg Stroman returned a punt early on for an 88-yard touchdown. Later in the game the defense got on the scoreboard when Donovan Riley returned a fumble 36 yards for a score. The defense could be credited for another score after recovering a fumble deep in the offense’s pat of the field to set up a short touchdown run by Trey Edmunds.

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Kansas spring game sees starting QB injured, leading rusher suspended

Michael Cummings

It was quite a disastrous afternoon for the Kansas Jayhawks. Not only was a starting quarterback injured, but two more players were confirmed to be suspended for violations of team rules.

Michael Cummings limped off the field with the assistance of the team’s medical staff. He had taken a low hit by safety Michael Glatczak, but the severity of the injury is not yet known. Kansas head coach David Beaty said it was too early to start discussing how the future of Cummings looks. Cummings was the leading passer for Kansas in 2014 with 1,715 yards and nine touchdowns.

Two other players with an uncertain future right now at Kansas are wide receiver Rodriguez Coleman and running back Corey Avery. Beaty said both players have been suspended indefinitely for violating team rules, and it is unknown when or if either player will return to the program. Avery was the leading rusher for the Jayhawks last fall, rushing for 631 yards and five touchdowns as a freshman. Coleman had three catches for 37 yards in 2014.

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Jeff Long says 13th games were factor for CFB Playoff committee

Jeff Long

This may not sit too well with some fans in Big 12 country, specifically fans of Baylor or TCU. If there was any doubt how valuable a conference championship game was going to be in the College Football Playoff era, Arkansas athletics director Jeff Long made the message pretty clear; it’s pretty important.

Long, who chairs the selection committee for the College Football Playoff, was a guest in the broadcast booth for a short Q&A on the SEC Network during the Arkansas spring game Saturday afternoon. During his interview Long was asked about the College Football Playoff and the value of playing a conference championship game in the eyes of the selection committee. In his response, Long said the 13th game played by those in conference championship games was a factor for the selection committee. Baylor and TCU only played 12 games, with the Big 12 not holding a conference championship game.

Baylor and TCU shared the Big 12 championship last fall, and neither school was invited to participate in the first College Football Playoff despite entering the final week of the season ranked ahead of Ohio State. The Buckeyes roared into the playoff following a dominating victory over Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game despite trailing TCU in the weekly CFB Playoff rankings up until the final week of the rankings.

Change may be on the way for the Big 12 though. The conference could begin playing a championship game as soon as 2016, which would give its conference champion one more time to impress the selection committee. Of course, even if the Big 12 had a championship game last season it is unknown if it would have been enough to keep TCU or Baylor in the playoff field ahead of a surging Ohio State along with Alabama, Oregon and Florida State. Big brands still carry weight growing and blossoming programs like Baylor and TCU are working to achieve.

Long also said during his brief moment in the booth the committee would be reviewing possible minor changes to the College Football Playoff, although nothing too drastic is expected to change in the eyes of the public.

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