Kansas State Wildcats head coach Bill Snyder looks on as his quarterback Collin Klein comes to the sidelines during a time-out against the Oregon Ducks at the Fiesta Bowl football game in Glendale

K-State announces 2013 recruiting class

Leave a comment

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

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Head football coach Bill Snyder released Kansas State’s 2013 recruiting class Wednesday with the announcement of 32 student-athletes who plan on joining or already are a part of the Wildcat program.

Kansas State’s class of 2013 includes 26 players from the high school ranks and six community-college players. Of the group, nine are currently enrolled at Kansas State and will participate in spring practice.

“As we’ve always maintained, it takes several years to accurately assess the quality of a recruiting class and the young men who represent it,” said Snyder. “Hopefully we have assessed the skills, capabilities and intrinsic values of these young people accurately. As always, time will tell. Part of the value of this class lies in the fact that nine of these student-athletes either have been or will be in classes and participate in our out-of-season program and spring practice. We are impressed by the desire of each of these young men to become the best person, best student and best athlete possible as they seem committed to work hard toward that end.

As always, we greatly appreciate the high school and community college coaches, faculty members and administrators throughout the state of Kansas and the United States who have received our coaches and our program so very graciously, and I am especially proud of the Kansas State faculty for their assistance in conveying the great support services and equally great education provided by this University.”

The defensive side of the ball boasts 18 players, including seven linebackers, six defensive linemen and five defensive backs. K-State’s offensive recruiting haul also includes three offensive linemen, tight ends and wide receivers as well as a pair of quarterbacks. Also included are a place kicker and long snapper, as well as one player listed as an “athlete” who could play on either side of the ball.

As is the case in past years, Kansas State’s class of 2013 also continues to show how broad and thorough Snyder and his staff were on the recruiting trail as 10 different states are represented, including 12 players from the state of Kansas, eight from the state of Texas, three from Iowa, two from the states of Missouri and Nebraska, and one each from the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Louisiana and Oklahoma.

(Writer’s note: below the jump are the complete bios of all 32 members of Kansas State’s 2013 recruiting class.)

Chance Allen
6-5, 295
Offensive Tackle
Klein, Texas (Duncanville)

AT BOOKER T. WASHINGTON HIGH SCHOOL: A two-year letterman and a two-year starter for coach Drew Svoboda… Helped Duncanville to back-to-back district runner-up finishes… An all-state honorable mention selection as a senior… Attended the same high school as former Wildcat and current Arizona Cardinal running back William Powell.

PERSONAL: Chance Allen was born on January 16, 1995… Son of James and Wendy McClure.

Blake Baird
6-1, 225
Linebacker
Silver Lake, Kan. (Silver Lake)

AT SILVER LAKE HIGH SCHOOL: Kansas 3A Defensive Player of the Year… A 3A all-state pick by VarsityKansas.com and the Topeka Capital-Journal… An all-league selection at linebacker as a senior… Helped Silver Lake to back-to-back 3A state title game appearances in 2011 and 2012… Was a member of the 2010 3A state championship team as well as Eagle teams that won four-straight league and district titles… Recorded 273 tackles and 15 sacks during his prep career… A two-year letterman in football and a three-year letterman in baseball.

PERSONAL: Blake Baird was born in 1995… Son of Ric and Anne Baird.

Brogan BArry
6-2, 195
Defensive Back
Topeka, Kan. (Hayden)

AT HAYDEN HIGH SCHOOL: Named to the Topeka Capital-Journal’s All-City first team as a senior… An all-league and all-state pick in 2012… Named team MVP following his senior season… Was an all-city and all-league honorable mention selection as a junior… Also participated in basketball and track and field for Hayden.

PERSONAL: Brogan Barry was born in 1994… Son of Anthony and Jana Barry.

Ajahne Brager
6-4, 280
Offensive Lineman
Magnolia, Texas (Magnolia)

AT MAGNOLIA HIGH SCHOOL: An all-district performer as a junior in 2011 and a second-team pick in 2012… Recorded 162 tackles, 14 sacks and 11 forced fumbles during his prep career.

PERSONAL: Ajahne Brager was born in 1994… Son of Paul and Rashindra Brager.

Chris Brown
6-4, 345
Defensive Tackle
Mesa, Ariz. (Scottsdale Community College)

AT SCOTTSDALE CC: Tallied 68 tackles, including 13 for loss, and six sacks during his sophomore season in 2011… Committed to Washington State following the 2011 season but chose to sit out the 2012 season due to a coaching change at WSU.

AT SKYLINE HIGH SCHOOL: Named first team all-region…Helped his school win a division championship in 2009… Participated in track and wrestling… Recorded a school record for pins in a season with 34.

PERSONAL: Chris Brown was born in 1992… Son of Christopher and Patricia Brown… Has one brother, Michael.

Austin Butterfield
6-4, 207
TIGHT END
AURORA, COLO. (GRANDVIEW)

AT GRANDVIEW HIGH SCHOOL: Played for the Wolves under head coach John Schultz… Team advanced to the semifinals of the Class 5A state championship… Hauled in 10 receptions for 96 yards and one touchdown… Also named a first team all-league punter after averaging 33 yards on 35 punts.

Jesse Ertz
Quarterback
6-4, 199
Burlington, Iowa (Mediapolis)

AT MEDIAPOLIS HIGH SCHOOL: Named the Iowa Gatorade Player of the Year following his senior year… An All-American honorable mention selection by Parade Magazine… Broke the Iowa high school state record for most touchdowns in a career (98) and ranks fifth in state history in career passing yardage (7,317)… Registered over 9,000 total yards and 130 touchdowns in his prep career … Named the 2012 Offensive Player of the Year as well as a first team all-state selection by Iowa Preps after leading Mediapolis to a state runner-up finish and a 13-1 record… Honored as the All-Hawkeye Player of the Year… A two-time Des Moines Register and Iowa Newspaper Association First Team All-State honoree… Twice named to the all-district first team as well as the district’s 2012 MVP… Was named to the Iowa Sports Connection’s First Team All-State squad in 2011… Named the All-Hawkeye Co-Offensive Player of the Year as a junior… An Iowa Preps Elite Second Team All-State selection as a junior… A three-year letterwinner in basketball… Named a first team all-state pick by the Des Moines Register and Iowa Sports Connection as a junior… A first team all-conference selection and a second team all-state performer by the Iowa Newspaper Association in 2012… A first team all-conference and a third team all-state performer as a sophomore… Also a three-year letterwinner in track… Won a state championship in the 4×100 in 2012.

PERSONAL: Jesse Ertz was born in 1994… Son of David and Denice Ertz.

Andy Friesen
Defensive End
6-8, 229
Meade, Kan. (Meade)

AT MEADE HIGH SCHOOL: A 2012 first-team all-State 1A pick at defensive end by VarsityKansas.com… Named to the all-district and all-league first teams as a senior… An honorable mention selection at defensive end by the Topeka Capital-Journal as a senior… Led the Buffaloes to a 2-1A state championship in 2010 and 2012 as well as three-straight league titles from 2010-2012… An honorable mention 2-1A player at defensive end and tight end as a junior… Also a standout for the Meade basketball team… Named a first-team all-league and All-Southwestern Kansas pick as a junior… An all-state second-team performer in 2012… Led Meade to a 2A state runner-up finish in 2012.

PERSONAL: Randy Friesen was born in 1994… Son of Buck and Margaret Friesen.

Will Geary
Defensive Lineman
6-0, 290
Topeka, Kan. (Topeka)

AT TOPEKA HIGH SCHOOL: A 2012 All-City League first-team pick at defensive linemen… Named to the Topeka Capital-Journal and VarsityKansas.com 2012 Top 11 teams… An All-State 6A first-team offensive lineman according to the Topeka Capital-Journal and VarsityKansas.com… Named Kansas 6A Defensive Player of the Year… Selected to play in the 2013 Kansas Shrine Bowl… The back-to-back 6A state wrestling champion in the 285-pound class… The defending 6A state power lifting champion… Also participated in baseball and track and field.

PERSONAL: Will Geary was born in 1995… Son of Mike Geary and Lee Geary.

LeAndrew Gordon
Wide Receiver
5-7, 160
Arlington, Texas (Pantego Christian Academy)

AT PANTEGO CHRISTIAN ACADEMY: Helped Pantego Christian Academy to a 6-4 record and a district championship during his senior year… Listed as the fastest wide receiver in the class of 2013 according to ESPNU… Was a first-team all-district selection following his junior year… Also a standout for the Panther basketball and track teams.

PERSONAL: LeAndrew Gordon was born in 1994… Son of former K-State defensive back Joe Gordon and Zina Barrow.

Travis Green
6-1, 210
Defensive Back
Omaha, Neb. (Iowa Western CC)

AT IOWA WESTERN CC: Helped IWCC win its first NCJAA National Championship in 2012… Played outside linebacker and strong safety for the Reivers during his redshirt freshman year… Named to the All-Midwest Conference first team as a defensive back in 2012… Earned back-to-back Player of the Week honors for his performances against North Dakota SCS and Ellsworth CC… Recorded 62 tackles, including seven tackles for loss… Also tallied one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and five interceptions, two of which he returned for scores… Signed and redshirted at Dodge City CC in 2010-11 before deciding to play closer to home at IWCC.

AT OMAHA NORTH HIGH SCHOOL: Led North High School to back-to-back district titles in 2008 and 2009… A three-year letterwinner for coach Larry Martin… An all-state, all-district and all-metro performer in 2010… Tallied over 100 tackles and 10 interceptions during his last two prep seasons.

PERSONAL: Travis Green was born in 1993… Son of Troy Tyler and Roxanne Green.

Nate Jackson
5-11, 185
Defensive Back
Daly City, Calif. (College of San Mateo)

AT COLLEGE OF SAN MATEO: Helped College of San Mateo to a 7-4 finish in 2012… Registered nine interceptions during his two years at CSM… Earned all-conference honors at defensive back in 2011.

Dakorey Johnson
6-3, 210
Linebacker
Mesquite, Texas (Trinity Valley Community College)

AT TRINITY VALLEY: Tallied 82 tackles, including seven tackles for loss, and five sacks in his two seasons at TVCC.

AT MESQUITE NORTH HIGH SCHOOL: Named a Second Team All-District 11-5A linebacker as a senior in 2009.

PERSONAL: Dakorey Johnson was born in 1992… Son of Glen and Kristina Johnson… Younger brother of former K-State wide receiver Quincy Morgan.

Judah Jones
6-1, 180
Wide Receiver
Shreveport, La. (Evangel Christian)

AT EVANGEL CHRISTIAN HIGH SCHOOL: Originally signed with K-State out of high school in 2012… Recorded just over 1,000 all-purpose yards and scored 16 touchdowns en route to all-district honors as a junior… Had 43 receptions for 728 receiving yards with six touchdowns as a senior… Also averaged 24.0 yards on eight kick returns in 2011… Evangel advanced to the Louisiana 2A State Semifinals in 2011.

PERSONAL: Judah Jones was born in 1993… Son of Dewitt and Kim Jones… Plays the drums for the highly-successful family Christian Gospel band, forever JONES… His parents formed the band with their five children… The band was nominated for two Grammy Awards in 2011.

Kip Keeley
6-2, 205
Linebacker
LaCrosse, Kan. (LaCrosse)

AT LACROSSE HIGH SCHOOL: Named to the 2012 All-Class ‘Top 11’ third team by the Topeka Capital-Journal… An All-State selection at linebacker by VarsityKansas.com and the Topeka Capital-Journal… Tabbed as the 2-1A Defensive Player of the Year… Named to the Hays Daily News Super 11 team… Selected to play in the 2013 Kansas Shrine Bowl… Led LaCrosse to back-to-back state runner-up finishes in 2011 and 2012… A three-time All-district and All-league linebacker… Named to the all-league second team at linebacker as a freshman in 2009… A three-year letterwinner in basketball and track and field… On the hardwood, was named to the all-atate second team as a junior in 2012… Is the defending Kansas 2A State Champion in the javelin… Set a school-record with a throw of 191-2.

PERSONAL: Kip Keely was born in 1995… Son of Bill and Kathy Keely.

Matthew McCrane
Kicker
5-11, 165
Brownwood, Texas (Brownwood)

AT BROWNWOOD HIGH SCHOOL: Connected on 7-of-12 field goals as a senior, including a school-record 52-yarder… Selected to play on Team USA in the 2013 U19 International Bowl… Won the Dallas Kicking Camp’s Golden Boot award in 2011.

PERSONAL: Matthew McCrane was born in 1994… Son of Steven and Lori McCrane.

Cre Moore
6-0, 175
Defensive Back
Broken Arrow, Okla. (Broken Arrow)

AT BROKEN ARROW HIGH SCHOOL: Named to the Oklahoma ‘Top 11’ All-State team as a senior… A 2012 All-State 6A selection at cornerback by The Oklahoman… A three-year starter who recorded four interceptions and 100 tackles in his final two years… Helped Broken Arrow to a runner-up finish in the 6A state championship game in 2011… A standout in track and field that helped set a school record in the 4×100 relay.

PERSONAL: Cre Moore was born in 1995… Son of Steve and Mary Moore.

Reid Najvar
6-4, 290
Offensive Lineman
Spring, Texas (Klein Oak)

AT KLEIN OAK HIGH SCHOOL: A first-team all-district pick as a senior… Named to the Houston Chronicle’s 2012 Top 100 football recruits… Voted a team captain as a senior… A 2012 Preseason First Team All-Greater Houston selection.

PERSONAL: Reid Najvar was born in 1994… Son of Don Najvar and LeeAnn Schultz… Brother, Jordan, plays tight end at Baylor.

Devon Nash
6-5, 260
Defensive End
Lincoln, Neb. (Iowa Western CC)

AT IOWA WESTERN CC: Helped IWCC win its first NCJAA National Championship in 2012… Earned First Team All-American honors as a defensive lineman… Was a Midwest Football Conference (MFC) first team all-conference pick as a sophomore… Ranked as the 53rd-best community-college player in the nation by Rivals.com… Tallied 36 tackles, four and a half sacks and one interception for a touchdown during his second season at IWCC… Named an Honorable Mention Region XI honoree as a freshman in 2011… Recorded 45 tackles and six sacks as a freshman in 2011.

AT LINCOLN EAST HIGH SCHOOL: Played linebacker at Lincoln East High School.

PERSONAL: Devon Nash was born in 1992.

Sean Newlan
Defensive Back
6-2, 200
Prairie View, Kan. (Phillipsburg)

AT PHILLIPSBURG HIGH SCHOOL: Named an all-state honorable mention performer as a junior and senior by VarsityKansas.com and the Topeka Capital-Journal… An all-league selection at quarterback, defensive back and punter… A four-year letterman in football and a three-year letterman in basketball and track and field… The back-to-back Kansas 3A State Champion in the 110M Hurdles… Also won the 3A crown in the 300M Hurdles and placed second in the discus in 2012.

PERSONAL: Sean Newlan was born in 1994… Son of George and Sue Newlan.

Nick Ramirez
6-1, 228
Linebacker
Lee’s Summit, Mo. (West High School)

AT WEST HIGH SCHOOL: A three-year starter for West High School… Dubbed a four-star prospect by Rivals.com and ESPN.com… Named to the MaxPreps 2012 Missouri Preseason All-State team prior to his senior season… Named to the Kansas City Star’s All-Metro Second Team as a linebacker following the 2012 season… Selected to play in the 2012 Offense-Defense All-American Bowl… Notched 115 tackles as a junior while leading the Titans to a 12-1 finish… Named a first team all-state linebacker by ESPNHS following his junior season in 2011… Helped Lee’s Summit West win a 5A state championship as a sophomore in 2010 as he registered 130 tackles and seven sacks.

PERSONAL: Nick Ramirez was born in 1994… Son of Humberto Ramirez and Tracy Ramirez.

Drew Scott
6-2, 205
Longsnapper
Cedar Rapids, Iowa (Xavier)

AT XAVIER HIGH SCHOOL: Successfully connected on 67-of-67 snaps over the course of his junior and senior seasons… Received a five-star rating at Kohl’s Longsnapping Camp prior to his senior year… Helped the Saints to a 14-1 record and a 4A runner-up finish in 2012… Also competed in basketball (two years) and baseball (four years).

PERSONAL: Drew Scott was born in 1995… Son of Andrew and Sue Scott.

Matt Seiwert
Athlete
6-3, 260
Conway Springs, Kan. (Conway Springs)

AT CONWAY SPRINGS HIGH SCHOOL: Originally signed with K-State out of high school in 2012… Made the Topeka Capital Journal’s Top 11 and was also an all-class pick… A 2011 MaxPreps All-American… A First Team All-Central Plains League pick on offense and defense… Named Co-Defensive MVP for the Central Plains League… Helped Conway Springs win the 2011 3A State Championship with four tackles, including one for a loss, and a fumble recovery… Led Conway Springs to a combined 38-4 record and two state titles in three seasons… Also earned all-league and all-state honors in basketball and javelin (187 feet).

PERSONAL: Matt Seiwert was born in 1993… Son of David and Mary Seiwert… Brother, Darin, played football for K-State.

Cody Small
Tight End
6-4, 237
Cypress, Texas (Cypress Woods)

AT CYPRESS WOODS HIGH SCHOOL: Originally signed with K-State out of high school in 2012… Helped Cypress Woods to a 9-3 record in 2011… Listed in VYPE’s Top 75 Football Prospects in the Northern Houston area at No. 38… An All-district performer as a junior and senior who also earned All-Houston area honors as a senior… A “Rising Star” in 2010 by 5ATexasFootball.com at defensive end… Competed on Cypress Woods’ 7-on-7 team, which reached the semifinals of the Cy Falls Tournament in 2011.

PERSONAL: Cody Small was born in 1993… Son of David and Jo Small.

Trent Tanking
Linebacker
6-2, 220
Holton, Kan. (Holton)

AT HOLTON HIGH SCHOOL: Named Kansas 4A Defensive Player of the Year… Named to the Topeka Capital-Journal and VarsityKansas.com 2012 Top 11 teams… Led Holton to the 2012 4A state championship… An All-4A first-team performer at linebacker by VarsityKansas.com and the Topeka Capital-Journal as a senior… Chosen to play in the 2013 Kansas Shrine Bowl… Named an All-league performer at linebacker as a sophomore, junior and senior… An honorable-mention All-4A pick at linebacker in 2010 and 2011… A three-time All-county selection at linebacker… Helped Holton to three-consecutive league titles… Also a three-year letterman for the Wildcat basketball team… An All-league and All-county pick at guard as a junior.

PERSONAL: Trent Tanking was born in 1994… Son of Andrew and Karla Tanking.

Logan Thompson
Linebacker
6-3, 225
Sedgwick, Kan. (Sedgwick)

AT SEDGWICK HIGH SCHOOL: Selected to play in the 2013 Kansas Shrine Bowl… A four-year letterman… Named to VarsityKansas.com’s All-State 4A first team at linebacker in 2012… Helped the Cardinals to back-to-back league, district and bi-district championships… Recorded over 2,900 total years and 36 total touchdowns in 12 games as a senior… A first-team all-league linebacker as a junior and senior… Named an all-state honorable mention linebacker and quarterback as a junior… Also a standout in baseball and basketball… A back-to-back All-league selection in baseball… A 2012 All-league firsr-team pick in basketball as a junior.

PERSONAL: Logan Thompson was born in 1995… Son of Bryan and Kim Thompson.

Dayton Valentine
6-4, 240
Tight End
Baldwin, Kan. (Baldwin)

AT BALDWIN HIGH SCHOOL: Selected to play in the 2013 Kansas Shrine Bowl… Named a First Team All-State 4A defensive end by the Topeka Capital-Journal… An honorable mention all-state selection by VarsityKansas.com… A star in track and field who won the 4A state championship in discus and shot put as a junior.

PERSONAL: Dayton Valentine was born in 1995… Son of the late Jeff Valentine and Marilee Valentine.

Vernon Vaughn
Wide Receiver
6-2, 190
Kansas City, Kan. (Sumner Academy)

AT SUMNER ACADEMY HIGH SCHOOL: Originally signed with K-State out of high school in 2012… A Kansas City-Atchison League first team pick… Named First Team All-Kansas during his sophomore and junior seasons… Had 58 catches for 865 yards and 17 touchdowns as a junior… Finished career with 94 catches for 1,517 yards and 24 touchdowns… Averaged 16.1 yards per catch and one touchdown for every three catches… Led Sumner Academy’s basketball team to two state championships… Was a league honorable mention selection on the court as a junior… A Kansas Honor Scholar, USD 500 Scholastic Athlete and National Honor Society member… Accumulated a 3.48 GPA in high school.

PERSONAL: Vernon Vaughn was born in 1994… Son of Vernon and Debra Vaughn.

Jake Waters
6-2, 215
Quarterback
Council Bluffs, Iowa (Iowa Western CC)

AT IOWA WESTERN CC: Named the 2012 NJCAA Offensive Player of the Year after leading Iowa Western to a 12-0 record and a National Championship… Accounted for over 300 yards of total offense in the National Championship game, a 27-7 win over second-ranked Butler CC… Named a 2012 NJCAA First Team All-American, the Midwest Football Conference Offensive Player of the Year and a MFC First Team All-Conference honoree… Set a NJCAA national record for completion percentage after connecting on 73.3 percent (244-of-333) of his passes while throwing for 3,501 yards, 39 touchdowns and just three interceptions… Threw for 307 yards and a school-record five touchdowns in the first half of a 65-21 win over No. 17 Dupage (Ill.)… Named a Second Team MFC All-Conference selection in 2011… Named to the 2010 Academic All-Region XI First Team as a freshman.

AT ST. ALBERT HIGH SCHOOL: Led the Falcons to two 1A Iowa State Championships and a 37-2 mark as a three-year starter… Threw for 5,288 yards and 70 touchdowns while running for 1,820 and 28 touchdowns during his prep career… A three-time First Team Iowa Newspaper Association (INA) All-State 1A selection at quarterback… Also a standout for the Falcons on the hardwood… Named a Second Team INA All-State 1A selection as a senior.

PERSONAL: Jake Waters was born in 1992… Son of Rick Waters and Carolyn Waters.

Isaiah Williams
6-1, 223
Linebacker
Dallas, Texas (Skyline)

AT SKYLINE HIGH SCHOOL: A 2012 all-district and all-region pick by the Dallas Morning News… Recorded 68 tackles as a senior en route to a 14-2 record…. Lettered three years and won three district championships while compiling a 28-6 combined record.

PERSONAL: Isaiah Williams was born in 1994… Son of Willie and Cecilia Williams.

Jordan Willis
Defensive End
6-5, 250
Raymore-Peculiar, Mo. (Rockhurst)

AT ROCKHURST HIGH SCHOOL: A three-year letterman for the Hawklets… A 2012 Kansas City Star All-Metro First Team performer… Recorded 58 tackles and nine sacks during his senior season… Named to the MaxPreps 2012 Missouri Preseason All-State team prior to his senior year… Amassed 60 total tackles and 13 sacks during his junior campaign… Helped Rockhurst to a Class 6 Missouri State Championship and 13-0 finish as a sophomore in 2010.

PERSONAL: Jordan Willis was born in 1995… Son of Calvin and Demetrica Willis.

Tanner Wood
Defensive End
6-5, 235
Conway Springs, Kan. (Conway Springs)

AT CONWAY SPRINGS HIGH SCHOOL: Named Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year following his senior year… An All-American honorable mention selection by Parade Magazine… A four-year letterman who led the Cardinals to a combined record of 45-5 during his high school career… Ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 2 player in the state of Kansas… Set a Kansas high school state record and the third-best single-game rushing yardage total in national high school history with a 659-yard, nine-touchdown effort in Conway Springs’ 84-56 win over Chaparral… Recorded 2,709 rushing yards, 43 total touchdowns and 110 tackles during his senior season … Named to the Topeka Capital-Journal and VarsityKansas.com 2012 Top 11 team… An All-3A first team performer at running back by VarsityKansas.com and at linebacker by the Topeka Capital-Journal as a senior… Chosen to play in the 2013 Kansas Shrine Bowl… Named a First Team All-Central Plains League performer as a running back and linebacker in 2012… An all-state pick at linebacker as a junior… Led Conway Springs to a 13-1 record and a Kansas 3A State Championship in 2011… Tallied 88 tackles and three interceptions during his junior campaign… Also a standout in basketball and track and field.

PERSONAL: Tanner Wood was born on in 1994… Son of Tim and Michele Wood.

No. 3 Clemson punches playoff ticket with ACC championship win over Virginia Tech

ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 03:  The Clemson Tigers take the field during the ACC Championship against the Virginia Tech Hokies on December 3, 2016 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Getty Images
2 Comments

For the second straight season, Clemson can say they punched their ticket to the College Football Playoff with yet another close ACC championship game victory.

The third-ranked Tigers jumped out to a big lead, led throughout and ultimately prevailed over Virginia Tech in a 42-35 win that was a tad closer than the final score indicated.

Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson continued his stellar play down the stretch this season, throwing for 288 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. The signal-caller added another two scores on the ground to go with his team-high 85 yards rushing as well on a night where he made some clutch throws down the stretch to keep the team in front of a stingy Bud Foster defense.

Tailback Wayne Gallman also found the end zone in Orlando but was still relatively limited with just 59 yards on 17 carries.

The Hokies did make sure Clemson sweated out things by threatening in the second and third quarters. Quarterback Jerod Evans threw for 264 yards and a touchdown but couldn’t get any help from Virginia Tech’s normally reliable ground game and threw an interception with 71 seconds left to end a comeback. Evans also led the team in rushing and scored twice while running back Travon McMillian did the same but managed to do so on only 37 yards rushing.

With a second straight ACC title in the bag for Dabo Swinney and company, the only question left for Clemson is where will they stand on Sunday afternoon and what semifinal site they will head to. Alabama appears locked into the No. 1 seed in the Peach Bowl but could the close result against Virginia Tech — combined with Washington’s emphatic win in the Pac-12 title game — force a national title game rematch in Atlanta?

That’s probably not on the minds of the Tigers on Saturday night as they rightfully celebrate yet another league championship and look like a dangerous team to face at the end of the month.

No. 7 Penn State completes comeback for the ages to claim B1G title

Penn State's Saquon Barkley (26) makes an 18-yard touchdown catch against Wisconsin's T.J. Watt (42) during the second half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
AP
16 Comments

On Sept. 24, Penn State was 2-2 on the season, 0-1 in Big Ten play after a 49-10 undressing by Michigan in Ann Arbor. Their Big Ten title hopes were left for dead. As we know, they managed to rally and win the Big Ten East.

And then, with 5:15 left in the second quarter, the Nittany Lions trailed 28-7 and their chances of actually winning the game were again left for dead.

But the Cardiac Cats rallied. Again. The seventh-ranked Lions closed the game on a 31-3 run to race past No. 6 Wisconsin for a 38-31 Big Ten Championship victory.

Of course, this win means much more than that. At 11-2 on the season, winners of nine in a row and winners of college football’s best conference, the question now becomes whether the College Football Playoff selection committee chooses the Lions over 11-1 Ohio State or Pac-12 champion Washington on Sunday.

But first, the comeback.

Penn State simply could not get out of its own way — or get Wisconsin out of its way… or get in Wisconsin’s way, for that matter — over the game’s first 25 minutes. The Badgers opened by forcing two three-and-outs and launching two long touchdown drives to grab a 14-0 lead a dozen minutes into the game. After a McSorley touchdown pass put Penn State on the board, the Nittany Lions allowed an errant snap to be returned for a touchdown early in the second quarter.

James Franklin elected to go for a fourth-and-short in his own territory on the ensuing possession and was rebuffed. Wisconsin again capitalized on the mistake to grab a 28-7 lead with 5:15 remaining in the first half. Penn State again failed on a fourth-and-short near midfield on the next possession, but this time the Badgers failed to cash in. And that proved costly.

Because that failure to land the death blow allowed Penn State’s Cardiac Cats persona to awaken.

The Lions’ comeback started when McSorley hit Saeed Blacknall for a 40-yard touchdown catch with 58 seconds left in the half to pull within  a more manageable 28-14 deficit at the break.

After Wisconsin missed a field goal to open the second half, McSorley answered by finding Blacknall for a 70-yard scoring strike on the very next play. Then Penn State tied the game on its next touch as Saquon Barkley punched in a 1-yard score at the 4:22 mark of the third quarter.

Wisconsin re-gained the lead with a 23-yard Andrew Endicott chip shot, but only after Bart Houston missed what would have been a walk-in touchdown to tight end Troy Fumagalli on 2nd-and-8 from the 10-yard line.

Given the opportunity to take the lead, Penn State took full advantage, marching 81 yards in only four plays as Barkley hauled in an 18-yard wheel route from McSorley.

McSorley finished the game hitting 22-of-31 passes for 384 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions — against a defense that came in allowing eight touchdowns while swiping 21 interceptions. Compared to Houston’s numbers — 16-of-21 for 174 yards — quarterback play proved to be the difference in the game. McSorley’s play allowed Penn State to win a game in which it was out-rushed 241-51.

Wisconsin punted on its next touch, and Penn State missed its chance to deliver a knockout punch, instead settling for a 24-yard Tyler Davis field goal with 5:14 to play in the game.

Wisconsin would need a touchdown to force overtime, while Penn State would need a stop to complete its 21-point comeback. The Badgers moved to the Penn State 24, but, facing a 4th-and-1, Corey Clement was stuffed for no gain.

Penn State expired the final 58 seconds and secured the largest comeback ever in a Power 5 conference championship game.

Arkansas State, Appalachian State end up as SBC co-champs

Sun Belt Logo
Leave a comment

Two of the 10 FBS conferences don’t have championship games to determine a league champion.  The Big 12, which will go to a title game format next season, crowned an undisputed champion earlier today.  The other game-less league, on the other hand, will have more than one official champ.

Arkansas State had the opportunity to potentially win the Sun Belt Conference outright, but lost in Week 13 to drop to 6-1 in conference play.  Appalachian State won the same weekend to finish the season at 7-1 and claim at least a share of league title.

ASU and Troy, both 6-1 entering Week 14, needed a win to claim its share.

Troy failed miserably, falling 28-24 on the road to a Georgia Southern team that entered the game 4-7 overall and 3-4 in the SBC.  ASU, though, passed its final regular season test, putting 20 fourth-quarter points on the scoreboard in getting past Texas State in a 36-14 win in San Marcos.

The Red Wolves have now won five SBC titles the past six years, with three of those (2011, 2012, 2015) being undisputed.  They’re also the first team since Troy was in the midst of a five-year run from 2006-10 to win back-to-back championships.

As for App State, this is the Mountaineers’ first FBS league championship since moving to the SBC from the FCS for the 2014 season.

The three teams at the top of the SBC will play in some combination of the New Orleans/Dollar General/Camellia Bowls.  Arkansas State will be playing in its sixth straight bowl game, while Appalachian State will be in its second in a row in just its third season at this level.  Troy, meanwhile, will be making its first postseason appearance since winning the New Orleans Bowl in 2010.

San Diego State runs past Wyoming for second straight Mountain West title

San Diego State's Donnel Humphrey runs for a touchdown during the first half against Wyoming in an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016, in Laramie, Wyo. (AP Photo/Michael Smith)
AP Images
Leave a comment

They say revenge is a dish best served cold. San Diego State checked off both boxes on Saturday night.

The Aztecs captured their second straight Mountain West championship and avenged an earlier loss with a 27-24 win over Wyoming in freezing conditions up in Laramie.

The San Diego State ground game was clicking all night long in a game where it was difficult to get much of anything through the air. Star tailback Donnel Pumphrey finished with 110 yards and a touchdown, passing former Texas great Ricky Williams to become the second leading rusher in FBS history late in the third quarter. The senior trails only Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne by 108 yards on the all-time list with a chance to top his mark later this month in what will likely be a berth in the Las Vegas Bowl.

Pumphrey’s backup Rashaad Penny wasn’t too shabby either, picking up a team-high 117 yards on the ground and finding the end zone twice. It was a good thing both players were humming in the backfield as quarterback Christian Chapman managed only 85 yards on six completions.

The SDSU defense also came to play in one of their best performances in a while. They picked off Wyoming’s Josh Allen twice, recovered a fumble late in the second half and bottled up the prolific runner Brian Hill to the tune of just 93 yards.

The Cowboys made a run to close the gap to just a field goal in the fourth quarter but couldn’t quite get over the hump for their second win in as many weeks over the Aztecs for a first ever Mountain West title.

Instead it was Rocky Long’s San Diego State squad that could lay claim to being the best in the conference this season for the second year in a row.