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K-State announces 2013 recruiting class

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 Reuters

(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.

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Leading receiver returning to UCLA for another season

USC v UCLA

Many FBS teams have to be concerned about losing players to an early jump to the NFL, but UCLA’s not one of them.  Well, at least not as far as one of its top offensive playmakers is concerned they won’t.

With speculation apparently swirling that he was leaving early, Jordan Payton confirmed Saturday that he will be returning to the Bruins for his senior season.  In fact, Payton claimed that leaving early for the NFL was never a part of his thought process when it came to his football future.

I’m coming back,” Payton told reporters after practice. “There were reports saying that I was leaving or something, but I’m coming back. Didn’t really even think about leaving, to be honest with you.”

As Payton isn’t being projected to be selected in the first couple of rounds of the 2015 draft, it’s likely a wise decision.

In 2014, Payton is leading all Bruins receivers with 63 receptions for 896 yards and seven touchdowns. Last season, he was third on the team in receptions (38) and receiving yards (440).

Jim Mora‘s Bruins won’t go completely unscathed on the early-entry front as the head coach confirmed earlier this month that star quarterback Brett Hundley will forego his remaining eligibility and enter the NFL draft.

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Dan Mullen goes yard with staff party sweater choice

Cousin Eddie

Other people can have “A Christmas Story” or “Miracle on 34th Street” or “It’s a Wonderful Life” or myriad others when it comes to Christmas movie classics.  For me, it doesn’t get any better this time of the year than “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”

For those who haven’t seen it… shame on you; rectify that egregious error and invite the Griswolds into your home this holiday season.

In that vein, the Mississippi State football staff held its Christmas party Saturday night, and Dan Mullen‘s sartorial sweater splendor was, without a doubt, the highlight of the evening.  Well, it was at least the highlight of the evening that was posted to Twitter.

We were all witnesses to this masterpiece of greatness, which may or may not be SFW depending on your place of employment.

Bravo Coach Mullen, and whoever was responsible for that thing of beauty.  Bravo.

And, again, for those unfamiliar with the movie, click HERE for some perspective on Mullen’s choice of attire.  And then go out and watch the entire movie.

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Nick Saban gives impassioned defense for D.J. Pettway’s second chance

Auburn v Alabama Getty Images

In February of 2013, four Alabama football players, including D.J. Pettway, were arrested in connection with a pair of robberies and, following an initial suspension, dismissed from the football program.  Only Pettway, in December of last year, was ultimately permitted to return to the Tide.

The second chance caused enough of a controversy — Pettway had initially been charged with a pair of felonies that involved beating a UA student– the the university took the somewhat unusual step of releasing a statement from the school’s athletic director addressing the reinstatement.

Fast-forward almost exactly a year, and Alabama is one win away from an appearance in the national championship game, and Pettway has played a role in the Tide’s success as a rush defensive end.  Not only that, but Pettway has earned his degree in just three and a half years.  He’s obviously done well with his second chance, regardless of whether some people think he deserved it at the time based on the serious nature of the crime.

It’s those people, though, for whom Nick Saban had some very choice words as he stepped up to the pulpit following Saturday’s practice and delivered a passionate sermon on second chances.  From al.com‘s account of Saban’s speech:

“Where do you want them to be? Guy makes a mistake. Where do you want them to be? You want him to be [on] the street or do you want them to be here graduating?”

He made reference to Muhsin Muhammad, who got in trouble while playing for Saban at Michigan State but turned into a success story after his second chance.

“Everybody in the school, every newspaper guy, everybody was killing [Muhammad] because he got in trouble and they said there’s no way he should be on our team,” Saban said. “I didn’t kick him off the team. I suspended him. I made him do some stuff.”

The receiver enjoyed a 15-year career in the NFL. He created a charity foundation called “The M2 Foundation for Kids.” Saban noted that he has seven children, and his oldest daughter is at Princeton.

“So who was right? I feel strong about this now, really strong, about all the criticism out there of every guy that’s 19 years old that makes a mistake and you all kill them,” Saban said.

“Some people won’t stand up for him. My question to you is, ‘Where do you want him to be?’ You want to condemn him to a life sentence? Or do you want the guy to have his children going to Princeton?”

Regardless of where you stand on football players and second chances, that’s some powerful stuff right there from Coach Saban.

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Air Force leading Western Michigan 20-10 at halftime of Potato Bowl

Colton Huntsman

The story line of Saturday’s Famous Idaho Potato Bowl was Air Force’s experience and execution versus Western Michigan’s youth and ability. So far, experience and execution is winning out.

The Falcons lead Western Michigan 20-10 at the half.

Air Force has successfully bottled up the nation’s 12th-leading rusher (and second-leading freshman rusher) Jarvion Franklin, limiting him to just 21 yards and six carries to this point. Quarterback Zach Terrell has been forced to carry the Broncos attack through the air (7-of-15 passing for 126 yards and a touchdown) and on the ground (seven carries for 52 yards).

Western Michigan’s 10 points have come on a 22-yard field goal drive that began after recovering a Devin Rushing fumble on Air Force’s first snap, and six-play, 75-yard drive punctuated by a 47-yard scoring strike from Terrell to Corey Davis. Outside of that,

Outside of that, Western Michigan has generated 102 yards of total offense while registering seven first downs and two third-down conversions in seven tries.

Air Force has used its diverse rushing game to lead its offense, as six different ball-carriers have combined for 34 rushes for 186 yards and three touchdowns. Shayne Davern has led the way with nine rushes for 92 yards and two touchdowns, turning a 3-0 deficit into a 6-3 lead and a 10-6 deficit into a 13-10 lead.

Kale Pearson has completed three of his four passes for 58 yards.

And in undoubtedly his best decision of the day, Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun has camouflaged his troops in blue helmets, blue jerseys and blue pants on the trademark blue turf of Boise State’s Albertson’s Stadium.

Western Michigan will receive the ball to open the second half.

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No. 22 Utah runs over Colorado State to win Las Vegas Bowl

Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl - Utah v Colorado State Getty Images

Colorado State played Saturday’s Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl with head coach Jim McElwain watching from a proverbial plush leather recliner from Gainesville, Fla., and it showed. No. 22 Utah did everything it wanted on offense while stifling Colorado State’s potent passing attack for a 45-10 blowout victory.

Utah scored a Las Vegas Bowl-record 21 first-quarter points – thanks to 202 yards of total offense on 15 plays – to grab a 24-10 halftime lead and it the revved the engines (powered by Royal Purple, of course) from there, scoring three unanswered touchdowns to create the 45-10 final with 12:28 to spare.

The 35-point margin is the second-largest in the game’s 23-year history, trailing only Oregon State’s 55-14 smashing of New Mexico in 2003.

The combination of Travis Wilson and Davontae Booker proved too much for the Colorado State defense to handle. Wilson completed 17-of-26 passes for 158 yards with a touchdown and an interception and eviscerated the Rams’ rush defense – particularly in the red zone – to the tune of 91 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries. Booker added 26 carries for 162 yards and a 60-yard touchdown, which came one snap after Colorado State had pulled within 14-7 midway through the first quarter and ended any semblance of momentum the Rams would enjoy on the afternoon.

Garrett Grayson completed 20-of-34 passes for 227 yards and an interception (he also caught Colorado State’s only touchdown, a 39-yard throwback from receiver Charles Lovett), and All-American wideout Rashard Higgins snagged seven passes for 109 yards, but Colorado State lost this game up front. The Rams were out-rushed 359-20.

After forcing a three-and-out to open the game, Utah’s first snap came from the Colorado State 47-yard line. Offensive coordinator Dave Christensen dialed up an end around-turned-reverse-turned-throwback pass from Wilson to Kaelin Clay for a 36-yard completion, a Vegas-inspired gamble that got the Utes off to a hot start. Overall, Utah racked up 548 yards of offense on 77 plays (7.11 yards per play) with 29 first downs and nine third-down conversions in 14 tries.

Colorado State closes its season at 10-3 – its first 10-win season since 2002 and, much like that 2002 season, the Rams close the year by dropping their final two games – and will turn its full attention toward finding McElwain’s full-time successor.

Utah, meanwhile, wraps up its 2014 season at 9-4, its best showing since joining the Pac-12 in 2011. The Utes will close the season ranked inside the top 25 for the first time since 2010, when they garnered a No. 23 ranking in the coaches’ poll.

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UW Huskies call report that Marcus Peters choked coach ‘bull****’

Ty Montgomery, Marcus Peters AP

Marcus Peters’ dismissal from Washington last month was preceded by a series of ugly incidents, something acknowledged by those around the football program.  What UW is taking issue with, however, is the latest specific report of ugliness.

According to NFL.com earlier this week, a veteran NFL scout quoted anonymously claimed that he had witnessed the cornerback choking an assistant coach after a verbal altercation turned physical.  The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel offered up a similar report.

Those allegations are apparently not sitting well with at least one member of the UW coaching staff.

“It’s bull****,” UW defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski told the Seattle Times when asked about the allegations. “We had our issues with Marcus, but there was never any physical altercation. Not with this staff.”

Regardless of whether or not it’s true, it serves as yet another black mark for a talented but troubled player looking to move on to the next level.

Peters’ dismissal in early November came nearly two months after the corner, in an early-season game against Eastern Washington, was seen throwing his helmet and gloves on the ground and arguing with Washington assistants. First-year head coach Chris Petersen in turn slapped the player with a one-game suspension; suffice to say, that lesson didn’t take.

It was then reported that, in the span of five days beginning in late October, Peters got into a verbal altercation with coaches on the sidelines during the Week 11 game against Colorado; skipped practice three days later for unknown reasons; and, finally, was involved in yet another verbal altercation with an assistant during practice a day after that.

There’s little doubt that, when Peters can maintain his composure and get on the playing field, he was one of the most talented players at his position in the Pac-12.  He had started 22 of 23 games at corner for the Huskies prior to his suspension, and was named second-team All-Pac-12 following the 2013 season.  He was also named to a handful of midseason All-American teams this year as well.

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Illinois State rallies past New Hampshire, set to face North Dakota State for the FCS title

Illinois State University v University of Northern Iowa

It’ll be an all-Missouri Valley affair for the FCS championship.

North Dakota State punched the first ticket Friday night with a 35-3 win over Sam Houston State, taking a 7-3 halftime lead and exploding from there. The Bison will play for their fourth straight national championship – and three of them could come at the expense of Sam Houston State after beating the Bearkats in the 2011 and 2012 championship games.

On Saturday, Illinois State booked its ticket to the championship in epic fashion. The Redbirds trailed top-seeded New Hampshire 18-6 through three quarters, but notched touchdowns in successive drives – traveling 173 yards in 19 plays – to take a 21-18 lead.

New Hampshire had one chance to tie or take the lead, but its eight-play, 29-yard drive was halted at the Illinois State 46 when Sean Goldrich‘s 4th-and-3 pass to Kyon Taylor was stopped for no gain. Illinois State consumed the game’s final four minutes and eight seconds to punch its first ticket to the FCS title game. Quarterback Tre Robertson carried the Redbirds, completing 18-of-31 passes for 278 yards while also leading the club with 12 carries for 95 yards and a touchdown. His prolific effort overcame a lost fumble at the New Hampshire goal line in the first half.

Illinois State (13-1) and North Dakota State (14-1) finished the regular season as co-champions of the Missouri Valley Football Conference. They did not meet in the regular season, and each suffered its lone loss on the road to Northern Iowa. Illinois State avenged its loss to the Panthers with a 41-21 win in a second-round playoff game on Dec. 6.

A win by North Dakota State will make the Bison the first FCS team to win four straight national titles since the subdivision was formed in 1978. Appalachian State also claimed three straight national titles from 2005-07.

The FCS National Championship will be held Saturday, Jan. 10 in Frisco, Texas (1 p.m. ET, ESPN2).

 

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Report: Ohio St. co-DC Chris Ash interviews for Colorado St. vacancy

Chris Ash, Tyvis Powell AP

Ohio State has already lost its offensive coordinator to a head coaching job.  Could a coordinator on the other side of the ball be next?

According to Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com, OSU co-defensive coordinator Chris Ash interviewed for the head-coaching vacancy at Colorado State.  Former USC associate head coach John Baxter interviewed for the job as well, McMurphy reported.

It’s unclear when the interviews took place.  It’s also unknown when CSU, in the midst of its bowl game against Utah Saturday afternoon, will pull the trigger on a hire as they’ve cast an expansive net searching for a replacement for Jim McElwain, who took the Florida job earlier this month.

This is Ash’s first season with the Buckeyes after leaving Arkansas, but his departure would be a significant one as he helped take a defense, particularly the secondary, that was extremely suspect in 2013 and turned it into one of the top units in the Big Ten.  Ash’s loss would be magnified as Tom Herman left his offensive coordinator post this past week to take over the Houston football program.

In addition to Ash and Baxter, there have been close to a dozen names mentioned in connection to the CSU opening, including Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo earlier this week.  Another name mentioned recently is that of Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, although it’s believed he might be the front-runner for the Pittsburgh job.

Interestingly, no current FBS defensive coordinators have been hired as head coaches during the 2014 spinning of the coaching carousel, although four coordinators on the other side of the ball and one wide receivers coach have claimed five of the 11 head coaching positions already filled.  CSU is one of three FBS programs still searching for a head coach, the others being Michigan and Pittsburgh.

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Utah State’s New Mexico Bowl victory is 10th win with 4th QB in 2014

Kent Myers

The New Mexico Bowl may have seen some crazy endings the past few years, but this year’s game went against that script. Instead, Utah State (10-4, 6-2 Mountain West Conference) recorded just the second 10-win season in program history with its third straight bowl victory with a 21-6 victory over UTEP (7-6, 5-3 Conference USA).

UTEP opened the scoring in the first quarter with a field goal on the game’s opening possession, but Utah State later scored a touchdown in the first quarter when quarterback Kent Myers broke off a 48-yard touchdown run down the left sideline for the lead. The Aggies punched in a second touchdown in the third quarter with Nick Vigil pushing one in from three yards out to cap a 75-yard drive. UTEP would add a late field goal.

UTEP’s chances to get the ball back for one last chance to tie things up took a critical blow when a kickoff following the second field goal by Jay Mattox went out-of-bounds, setting Utah State up in good field position. UTEP burned a timeout before the field goal try, which meant the decision not to go for the onside kick was a little extra confusing with under three minutes to play remaining. Utah State simply let running back Joe Hill carry the team the rest of the way with some big runs to run clock, including a touchdown run with 1:33 to play for the knockout blow.

Heading into 2015 the first big question for Utah State will be how does quarterback Chuckie Keeton look? Keeton’s return to the field in 2014 did not go according to plan, as he never seemed to be playing at full speed after a knee injury ended the 2013 season for him. The knee acted up again early in 2014, but he has one more year of eligibility to play. It would be wise to have Utah State proceed with extreme caution with Keeton in order to make sure he is ready for the rigors of the 2015 season.

Enough cannot be said about the coaching job Utah State head coach Matt Wells did this season. The Aggies won 10 games using four different starting quarterbacks along the way. That included a bowl game victory that even saw Myers receive some brief medical attention.

UTEP will look to find a way to build on the momentum the second half of the season saw on the field. The Miners win five of their final seven games of the regular season, although they fell a couple of games shy of the division title. The start to the 2015 season could be rough with three consecutive road games against Arkansas, Texas Tech and New Mexico State. UTEP will look to replace some key position players like quarterback Jameil Showers and receivers Jarred Shaw and Ian Hamilton, but the bulk of the offense should be in place. The defensive secondary will be hit hard as well, but the front of the defense should largely in good shape.

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No. 22 Utah handling Colorado State halfway through Las Vegas Bowl

Travis Wilson

No. 22 Utah used big plays and solid defense to build a 24-10 halftime lead over Colorado State in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl.

This being Vegas, both teams’ first scores were set up by successful rolls of the dice. After taking possession of its own 47, Utah’s first play from scrimmage was an end around-turned-reverse-turned-throwback pass from Travis Wilson to Kaelin Clay, good for a 36-yard gain. Wilson rushed in two plays later to put the Utes up 7-0.

After forcing a three-and-out, Utah swiftly moved 71 yards in six plays, capped by a 16-yard scoring strike from Wilson to Delshawn McClellon to go up 14-0 midway through the first quarter.

Colorado State responded by moving 77 yards in five plays on the ensuing possession, scoring on a 39-yard pass from senior wide receiver Charles Lovett to quarterback Garrett Grayson.

Utah quickly seized back momentum, though, as Devontae Booker raced 60 yards to pay dirt on the next play from scrimmage.

Overall, Utah scored a Las Vegas Bowl-record 21 first quarter points by gaining 201 yards of total offense on just 15 plays.

Jared Roberts knocked in a 41-yard field goal at the 2:09 mark of the first quarter to pull the Rams within 21-10, and Andy Phillips answered with a 38-yarder at the 8:25 mark of the second quarter to push the lead back to 14. Phillips missed a 38-yard try on the final play of the half.

Wilson has completed 12-of-18 passes for 124 yards with a touchdown and an interception while adding seven carries for 59 yards and a score. Combined with Booker’s 92 yards on 10 rushes, Utah is out-rushing Colorado State 203-13.

Grayson has completed 12-of-18 throws for 136 yards, and All-American receiver Rashard Higgins has notched four receptions for 83 yards.

Utah will receive the ball to open the second half.

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Utah State has edge in defensive New Mexico Bowl at half

Kent Myers

The Gildan New Mexico has served up some wackiness over the last few years, but this year’s game has been a much more defensive battle so far. Utah State holds the upper hand at the break, leading UTEP 7-3 at the half.

It may not matter who is playing quarterback for Utah State this season, because they just seem to make plays. Kent Myers, who started the season as Utah State’s fourth-string quarterback, gave the Aggies a 7-3 lead with a 48-yard touchdown run in the first quarter against UTEP in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl. Myers had to receive some medical treatment in the second quarter, but he returned to finish off Utah State’s final possession of the half.

UTEP got the scoring started early with a 32-yard field goal by Jay Mattox from 30 yards out to cap a game-opening drive of seven plays and 60 yards. The Miners were later stuffed on a fourth and four situation inside the Utah State 10-yard line. The Aggies capitalized on the game-changing sequence by sending Ronald Butler off to the races for a 61-yard gain on the first play of the ensuing possession. With time running short, the Aggies had to settle for a field goal attempt in the final seconds of the first half. The kick, after a UTEP timeout, was wide left.

The game has, for the most part, been pretty evenly played. One area UTEP has the clear advantage in is turnover margin. The Miners offense has not lost the football, but UTEP has forced two turnovers in the first half. Once UTEP gets their hands on the football though, they have been unable to cash in. Credit the Utah State offense for bailing out their offense.

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Ragin’ Cajuns win fourth straight New Orleans Bowl to start bowl season

C.J. Bates, James Butler

For the fourth straight season, the Louisiana-Lafayette (9-4, 7-1 Sun Belt Conference) season comes to an end by celebrating a victory in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. The Ragin’ Cajuns buckled down defensively to hold off Nevada (7-6, 4-4 Mountain West Conference) for a 16-3 victory. UL-Lafayette is the first school to ever win the same bowl game in four consecutive seasons.

UL-Lafayette jumped out to a quick 10-0 lead in the first quarter before Nevada got a handle on things defensively. The offense for the Wolf Pack could never really get going though. For the first time this season Nevada was held to fewer than 20 points, and it was the first time since losing to Florida State in 2013 (62-7) that Nevada was held to fewer than 10 points in a game.

UL-Lafayette quarterback Terrance Broadway was accurate and effective with his passing against Nevada, completing 26 of 31 attempts for 227 yards and a touchdown. Running back Elijah McGuire led the Ragin’ Cajuns on the ground with 97 yards and was the team’s leading receiver with 54 receiving yards.

Not only is this the fourth consecutive New Orleans Bowl victory in as many years for Louisiana-Lafayette, but this marks the fourth straight season with a record of 9-4 for the program, another tremendous credit to the work and model of consistency put together under the leadership of head coach Mark Hudspeth. The program had just four winning seasons dating back to 1990 before Hudspeth was named the head coach before the 2011 season. Hudspeth had his contract extended earlier this year, but he is going to remain one of the coaches to watch during next season’s coaching carousel unless he still moves somewhere during this season’s cycle. Pittsburgh and Michigan still have coaching vacancies to fill, as well as Colorado State.

Nevada’s last bowl victory came in the 2010 season in the Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco. Head coach Chris Ault did show signs of improvement with the Nevada a program this season though. Although it ended with a loss, Nevada doubled its win total from a year ago, at a time when the program was in the midst of some significant turnover and going through a realignment adjustment. One key offseason task for Nevada will be to find a replacement for quarterback Cody Fajardo. The senior was Nevada’s leading passer and rusher in the losing effort, and he had a rough finale as a college player. Nevada plays in a wide-open division in the Mountain West Conference, so it would not be a surprise at all to see Nevada bounce back next season and contend for the West Division.

With the Ragin’ Cajuns winning, the Sun Belt Conference gets off to a good start in the bowl season. The Sun Belt went 2-0 in its two bowl appearances last season. The Sun Belt has two more bowl games to be played this season, starting later today with South Alabama playing Bowling Green in the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl in Montgomery, Alabama. Arkansas State will face Toledo on January 4 in the GoDaddy Bowl.

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Nevada off to slow start vs ULL in New Orleans Bowl

Terrance Broadway

Playing in its fourth consecutive R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, the UL Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns showed plenty of comfort and poise playing in the Superdome, but after jumping out to a 10-0 lead the Cajuns have simmered and allowed Nevada to get back in the mix.

On the game’s opening possession, UL Lafayette marched right down field on the Wolf Pack with a 77-yard drive ending with a Terrance Broadway touchdown pass to C.J. Bates for the early 7-0 lead. They added a field goal on the next drive in the first quarter while Nevada’s offense was sputtering and slow to get rolling. This has been the story for UL Lafayette in previous trips to the New Orleans Bowl under head coach Mark Hudspeth.

Broadway completed his first 11 passes of the game before throwing one out-of-bounds. At the half, Broadway has completed 15 of 17 passes for 123 yards.

The second quarter started to swing the momentum toward the others sideline though. Nevada’s defense started to clamp down on their opponents, forcing a pair of three-and-outs and changing the field possession game. The offense did its part as well as Cody Fajardo started to get in a rhythm. However, the Wolf Pack could only manage to put a single field goal on the board. A fumble deep in ULL territory killed one scoring threat, and a crucial false start penalty on the one-yard line may have prevented Nevada from punching in a touchdown.

Nevada has been a good second half team this season. Nevada averages 19.4 points per game in the second half, ranking ninth in the country.

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Struggling Hawaii athletics department asks for $6 million from state

UNLV v Hawaii

The struggles to keep the athletics department afloat at Hawaii have led the university to ask for help from the state. The asking price? Six million dollars.

Hawaii News Now reports university athletics department officials are predicting a deficit of $3.5 million this year. That would put Hawaii in the red for the 12th time out of the last 15 years. Part of the reason for the budget issue is a failure to meet football ticket sales goals as well as falling shy of fundraising goals. At a time when UAB made the decision to cut the football program from the university’s expenses, the concern is high for those at Hawaii.

“We do need additional support for athletics,” UH Manoa Chancellor Robert Bley-Vroman told the State House Higher Education Committee Thursday, according to the Hawaii News Now report.

Earlier this month it was reported Hawaii athletics director Ben Jay was stepping down from his position. The inability to turn the budget around and slow down the deficit is part of the reason for the need to change leadership. While there are no indications Hawaii is ready to take any steps to drop its football program or any other programs, the thought and discussion has been floating around in some capacity for some time now, especially in light of the situation at UAB and with conferences bracing for changes in spending under new parameters in place.

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Maryland’s Stefon Diggs testing NFL waters

Jhavon Williams, Stefon Diggs AP

Maryland’s star wide receiver and special teams return man Stefon Diggs is deciding whether or not to leave for the NFL or come back for his senior season in College Park for one more year with the Terrapins. Maryland head coach Randy Edsall has started to reach out to some NFL contacts to get some feedback to help Diggs get some information to help him with that decision.

“I’ve called around to GMs and college scouting directors and personnel people and gathered information for him,” Edsall said in a report by CSN Baltimore. “And then once we get back the information from the NFL, I’m going to sit down with his mom and him and go over all the information that I have and present it to them.”

Diggs was Maryland’s leading wide receiver in 2014 with 654 yards and five touchdowns despite missing playing time in Maryland’s final three games due to a suspension and kidney injury. He also was a key contributor on special teams returns with 20 kickoff returns for 478 yards and the ability to make a big play happen any time he got his hands on the football.

Diggs is being scouted as a mid-round prospect right now, which could lead Diggs to come back for one more year at Maryland. Josh Norris of Rotoworld and NBC Sports NFL Draft analyst recently told CSN Baltimore Diggs would likely be drafted anywhere between rounds three and five if he came out for the 2015 NFL Draft.

Last year saw a record number of underclassmen declare for the NFL Draft, which led to increasing concern about poor advice and decisions being made by players opting to leave behind an extra year of eligibility.

Maryland is optimistic Diggs will be available for the Foster Farms Bowl in Santa Clara, California against Stanford. The Foster Farms Bowl is scheduled for December 30 at 10 p.m. eastern.

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