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Virginia announces recruiting class of 22

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

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia football program signed 21 student-athletes to a National Letters of Intent (NLI) for the 2013-14 academic school year head coach Mike London announced. One additional recruit enrolled at UVa in January, topping the class off at 22. Highlighting the nationally ranked class are 10 signees from the state of Virginia, including six from the Richmond region and three from the Tidewater region.

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

George Adeosun
6-6 • 295 • OL
Alpharetta, Ga.
Alpharetta HS

Played offensive tackle at Alpharetta High School for head coach Jason Dukes … a native of Nigeria, didn’t start playing football until reaching high school … started junior season on the junior varsity team and an injury forced him to make varsity debut blocking ESPN’s No. 2 recruit and Auburn signee Carl Lawson … holding his own, he remained on varsity for the remainder of his career … student body president at Alpharetta High School … a four-star player by 247sports … a three-star player by Rivals.com, ESPN.com and Scout.com.

Zach Bradshaw
6-3 • 210 • ATH
Damascus, Md.
Damascus HS

Played linebacker, receiver and kick returner for head coach Eric Wallich at Damascus High School … named to the Maryland Consensus All-State team at linebacker … also named to Maryland’s Big School All-State team at linebacker … Washington Post All-Met first team and Montgomery Gazette first team honoree … one of the state’s top all-around performers, a defensive standout who had more than 600 receiving yards and handled kick return duties … played in the 2012 Chesapeake Bowl … listed as three-star player by ESPN.com, Rivals.com, Scout.com and 247Sports … attended the same high school as current UVa safety Brandon Phelps.

Tyrell Chavis
6-3 • 290 • DT
Richmond, Va.
Varina HS/Fork Union Military Academy

Was a 2012 signee with Virginia before attending Fork Union Military Academy for a post-graduate season where he played for coach John Shuman … offensive guard and defensive tackle for head coach Stu Brown at Varina High School … first-team all-district offensive lineman … first-team all-region offensive and defensive line … Touchdown Club of Richmond first-team defensive lineman … first-team All-Metro offensive and defensive line … is a four-star player by 247Sports and the No. 9 prep player in the country … a three-star player by Rivals.com and ESPN.com … played at Varina with current UVa cornerback Maurice Canady … son of Marie Chavis … has an older brother, Robert … enjoys cooking.

Malcolm Cook
6-1 • 195 • S
Richmond, Va.
Fork Union Military Academy

Played safety for head coach Captain Brian Hurlocker at Fork Union Military Academy, playing for the high school team … was an All-Prep League and Virginia Prep/Rivals.com All-State honoree … made 96 tackles and intercepted nine passes, four of which he returned for touchdowns … amassed 369 interception yards … had a 100-yard interception for a touchdown against St. Christopher’s … returned two interceptions for touchdowns against Georgetown Prep … scored a receiving touchdown against Liberty Christian in the VIS Division 1 State Championship game … caused three fumbles during the season … caught four passes for 59 yards … spent first three years of high school at Armstrong High School in Richmond where he also played quarterback … made 67 tackles and had seven interceptions at Armstrong in 2011 … returned five of his interceptions at Armstrong in 2011 for touchdowns … a four-star player by 247Sports … a three-star player by Rivals.com, Scout.com and ESPN.com … ranked the No. 27 safety in the nation by 247Sports … ranked the No. 13 prospect in Virginia by the Roanoke Times.

Corwin Cutler
6-4 • 180 • QB
Chesapeake, Va.
Ocean Lakes HS

Played quarterback at Ocean Lakes High School for head coach Chris Scott … senior season was cut short due to injury, but still threw for over 2,100 yards and 30 touchdowns … VHSL Group AAA All-State first-state first-team honoree … named a VHSCA All-State first-team quarterback as a senior … All-Tidewater first-team honoree while guiding the Dolphins to an unbeaten regular season and Beach District Championship … Beach District Offensive Player of the Year and first-team All-Eastern Region … threw for over 1,700 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2011 … finished high school career with 4,635 career passing yards in regular season games, which ranks No. 12 all-time on the South Hampton Roads career passing list … ranked by ESPN.com as a four-star player and the No. 21 quarterback in the class of 2013 … a three-star player by 247Sports, Scout.com and Rivals.com … ranked the No. 14 prospect in Virginia by the Roanoke Times … nickname is Turtle.

Jack English
6-5 • 260 • DL
Richmond, Va.
St. Christopher’s School

Played tight end and defensive line at St. Christopher’s School for head coach Michael Turner … Richmond Times-Dispatch All-Metro second team in 2012 … was a three-year letterwinner in football, earning all-state, all-prep and All-Metro honors twice … as a tight end, made 11 catches for 204 yards and one touchdown in 2012 … made 56 tackles and 17.0 tackles for loss … also collected five sacks for a loss of 43 yards … made 50 tackles, including 20 tackles for loss and seven sacks in 2011 … also plays baseball and basketball … all-prep and all-state pitcher and outfielder on the baseball team … is a three-star player by ESPN.com and Rivals.com … ranked the No. 18 prospect in Virginia by the Roanoke Times … son of Ben and Loretta English … has an older brother, Patrick … has an older sister, Kate.

Kirk Garner
5-11 • 180 • S
Olney, Md.
Our Lady of Good Counsel High School

Played safety and receiver at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School for head coach Bob Milloy … rushed 10 times for 70 yards and one touchdown … caught 18 passes for 270 yards … made 42 tackles on defense and two tackles for a loss … snatched four interceptions and caused two fumbles … returned a kickoff against Gonzaga for a 78-yard touchdown … returned 14 punts for 128 yards … Maryland Consensus All- State honoree … All-State Big Schools first team at defensive back … All-WCAC first team at wide receiver … All-Gazette first team … All-Met second team as a defensive back … played in the 2012 Chesapeake Bowl … made 33 tackles as a junior in 2011 … a four-star player by Rivals.com … a three-star player by 247sports, ESPN.com and Scout.com … current Cavaliers E.J. Scott and Vincent Croce attended the same high school.

Tim Harris
6-2 • 190 • DB
Richmond, Va.
Varina HS

Defensive back and wide receiver at Varina High School for head coach Stud Brown … Richmond Times-Dispatch All-Metro first team … played in the Chesapeake Bowl … ranked the No. 10 prospect in Virginia by the Roanoke Times … All-Capital and All-Central Region first-team honoree … ranked as the No. 11 recruit in Virginia according to the 2013 Daily Press Fab 15 … a four-star performer by 247sports, ESPN.com, Scout.com and Rivals.com … the No. 124-rated player in the nation by 247sports and the No. 16 rated cornerback … the No. 179-rated player in the nation by Rivals.com and the No. 14-rated cornerback.

Keeon Johnson
6-3 • 200 • WR
Kannapolis, N.C.
A.L. Brown HS

Wide receiver at A.L. Brown High School for head coach Mike Newsome … in 2012, made 41 catches for 535 yards and five touchdowns … ranked as MaxPreps.com’s No. 25 wide receiver … member of the 2012 Carolina All-Gridiron team … represented the North team in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas … as a junior in 2011, caught 39 passes for 795 yards and nine touchdowns … a three-star performer by 247sports, ESPN.com, Scout.com and Rivals.com.

Zack Jones
5-11 • 180 • WR
Chesapeake, Va.
Oscar Smith HS

Wide receiver at Oscar Smith High School for head coach Richard Morgan … earned VHSL Group AAA all-state second-team honors as a wide receiver in 2012 … caught three passes for 85 yards, one touchdown and had 116 all-purpose yards in the 2011 Group AAA Division 6 state title game, helping Oscar Smith win its second title in four years … caught 32 passes for 675 yards and eight touchdowns in 2012 … named first-team all-district and all-region … named to the All-Tidewater second- team … caught 52 passes 1,015 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior … had a 90- yard kick return for a touchdown and a 70-yard punt return for a touchdown in 2011, the only two times he registered a kick return … also punted for over a 40- yard average … all-district and all-region first-team … All-Tidewater and all-state … three-star performer by 247sports, ESPN.com, Rivals.com and Scout.com … ranked the No. 19 prospect in Virginia by the Roanoke Times … brother of former UVa captain Perry Jones.

Micah Kiser
6-2 • 215 • LB
Baltimore, Md.
Gilman School

A linebacker and tight end at the Gilman School for head coach Biff Poggi … was a three-year letterwinner and a three-time All-Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association Conference honoree … two-time Maryland Consensus All-State first- team defense … two-time All-Metro first-team … was the 2012 All-Metro Defensive Player of the Year … Baltimore Sun ‘s Defensive Co-Player of the Year … helped Gilman to a MIAA A Conference title defense … was a 2012 Semper Fidelis All- American … accumulated 111 tackles, two forced fumble and intercepted three passes, while returning two for touchdowns … was a team captain in senior and helped lead Gilman to a No. 19 ranking in the USA Today Super 25 high school team rankings … was a 2011 MaxPreps Air Force Junior All-American second-team linebacker … made 91 tackles and forced three fumbles as a junior in 2011 … a four- star player by 247sports and ESPN.com … a three-star player by Scout.com and Rivals.com …. also played lacrosse at Gilman in 2011 with current Cavalier Ryan Tucker … played the 2010 season of football at Gilman with current Virginia wide receiver Darius Jennings … volunteers with Ronald McDonald House Charities and the Agape House … son of Michael and Donna Kiser … has a younger brother, Jordan.

Andre Levrone
6-2 • 195 • WR
Laurel, Md.
Our Lady of Good Counsel

Played wide receiver and safety at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School for head coach Bob Milloy … suffered a lower extremity injury in the first game of 2012 and didn’t return to play until the final three games of the year … caught nine passes for 117 yards … rushed twice for 63 yards … ranked the No. 42 wide receiver in the nation and No. 2 wide receiver in Maryland by Rivals.com … ranked the No. 11 recruit from Maryland by Rivals .com … ranked the No. 1 wide receiver in Maryland by 247sports … selected first-team all-combine of the US Army All-American Junior Combine … named preseason all-state first-team by MaxPreps … named Top Performer out of the 30 participants from the state of Maryland at the Army All- American Combine by MDHigh.com … named the No. 2 wide receiver at the Top Gun Showcase Camp by Rivals.com … a three-star player by 247sports, ESPN.com, Rivals.com and Scout.com … son of Andre and Angie Levrone … has an older brother, Jonathan … has an older sister, Raquel … brother Jonathan served a tour in Iraq as a tanker in the U.S. Army … mother Angie was a high school MVP for three years in track & field, gymnastics and cheerleading … father Andre, Sr. played linebacker for his base team while serving in the Marine Corp … cousin Kevin Levrone is a IFBB Hall of Fame body builder, four-time first-runner-up to Mr. Olympia … current Cavaliers E.J. Scott and Vincent Croce attended the same high school.

Brendan Marshall
6-5 • 210 • QB
Gaithersburg, Md.
Our Lady of Good Counsel

Played quarterback and punter at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School for head coach Bob Milloy … completed 102-of-172 passing attempts for 1,375 yards and seven touchdowns to lead Good Counsel to an 11-1 record and a national rank of No. 43 … was an honorable mention All-State Big Schools first-team as a punter … had 37 punts for 1,351 yards which comes to a 36.51 average … seven punts were inside the 20 … also named All-Sentinel first-team punter … in 2011 he threw for 1,471 yards and 13 touchdowns as a junior … a three-star player by 247sports, ESPN.com, Rivals.com and Scout .com … current Cavaliers E.J. Scott and Vincent Croce attended the same high school.

Jack McDonald
6-5 • 275 • OL
Quincy, Mass.
Boston College HS

Played the offensive and defensive line at Boston College High School for head coach Joe Gaff … also played for two seasons for head coach Jon Bartlett … three- year starter on the offensive line … two-time Catholic Conference All-Star … 2012 Catholic Conference Offensive Lineman of the Year … 2012 Massachusetts Super 26 all-state team … three-time scholar athlete … 2011 Massachusetts Division I state champion … 2012 Patriot Ledger All-Scholastic … 2012 Boston Globe All-Scholastic … earned High Honors or Honors every term of high school … volunteers at My Brothers Keeper, an organization that delivers presents and furniture to families in need … son of John and Michelle McDonald … has an older sister, Kiley … has two younger brothers, Michael and Dylan … uncle Cliff McDonald played offensive tackle at New Hampshire and held the New England Heavyweight boxing title … cousin Cliff McDonald, Jr. played football at Dartmouth.

Taquan Mizzell
5-10 • 185 • RB
Virginia Beach, Va.
Bayside HS

Played running back at Bayside High School for head coach Darnell Moore … a five- star player by Rivals.com … the first five-star recruit to come to UVa since current Jacksonville Jaguar Eugene Monroe in 2005 … a Parade All-American honorable mention honoree … ranked the No. 29 player in the nation by Rivals.com and the No. 5 running back in the class … a ESPNU Top 150 prospect, ranking in at No. 78 … ranked by ESPN.com as the No. 9 running back in the nation … a four-star recruit by ESPN.com, Scout.com and 247sports … ranked the No. 3 player in Virginia by the Roanoke Times … ranked as the No. 6 recruit in Virginia according to the 2013 Daily Press Fab 15 … a Lemming Top Player for MaxPreps.com as the No. 4 running back prospect in the nation … ranked the No. 51 prospect in the nation by MaxPreps.com … selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl … had a 72-yard kickoff return that set up the game-winning score as the East beat the West, 15-8, in the U.S. All-American Bowl which was played in the Alamodome in San Antonio … also played in the Chesapeake Bowl and rushed for one touchdown … All-Tidewater first-team honoree … All-Beach District first-team honoree at running back and kick returner … finished senior season with 1,231 yards rushing with 31 touchdowns … accounted for over 2,000 all-purpose yards … led Beach District in rushing … added five receiving touchdowns and returned two punts and one kickoff for scores … finished high school career with 416 regular-season points, which ranks No. 2 all-time in South Hampton Roads history … collected more than 3,500 career rushing yards … All-Beach District first-team running back and kick returner … All- Tidewater first-team honoree … VHSL Group AAA All-State second team honoree … rushed for 1,198 yards and 23 touchdowns as junior in 2011 … nickname is Smoke.

Sadiq Olanrewaju
6-6 • 280 • OL
Gaithersburg, Md.
Salisbury School (Conn.)

Played offensive line and defensive line at the Salisbury School for head coach Chris Phelps … registered 16 tackles and 2.5 sacks for a loss of 21 yards … helped the Salisbury School to the 2012 New England Championship … a three-star player by 247.com, ESPN.com, Scout.com and Rivals.com … listed as the No. 64 overall player in Scout.com’s East 100 rankings … helped school to a 9-0 record during his senior season … named to Max Emfinger’s Northeast Top-75 list … named No. 3 player in Connecticut by Rivals.com … helped team defeat Phillips Exeter Academy to win the Jack Etter Bowl and win its second New England Preparatory School Athletic Council title in the last three years.

Eric Smith
6-5 • 280 • OL
Decatur, Ga.
Columbia HS

Played offensive line at Columbia High School for head coach David Edwards … also played for former head coach Mario Allen … Atlanta Journal-Constitution All-DeKalb honoree … is a three-star player by 247sports and ESPN.com … team finished 5-5 during his senior season … starting center on high school basketball team … named to Class AAAA All-Region 6 team.

LaChaston Smith
6-0 • 215 • LB
Statesville, N.C.
South Iredell HS

January early enrollee and will participate in spring football … a linebacker and running back at South Iredell High School for head coach Scott Miller … was MVP of the North Carolina AA State title game after rushing 25 times for 159 yards and three scores … scored the game-winning touchdown with 19 seconds left in 30-27 win over Carrboro … missed most of senior season with an injury … upon return in opening round of playoffs rushed for a state single-game record of seven touchdowns on 13 carries for 191 yards and all in the first half … did not play the second half … played in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas … as a junior made 82 tackles, 12 of which went for a loss … also had 1.0 sacks and two interceptions … added 99 tackles, 24 of which went for a loss in 2010 … also had 7.0 sacks and forced seven fumbles … Catawba Valley Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore … all-conference selection as both a sophomore and junior … listed as a four-star linebacker by ESPN.com … listed as three-star player by Rivals.com, Scout.com and 247Sports … national position ranked by Rivals.com at No. 36, ESPN.com at No. 40 and Scout.com at No. 45 … son of Janice Smith … has three sisters, Shakayla, Tatiana and Kendrea Mayfield … has one brother, Preston Ellis … brother Preston ran track at Livingstone … nickname is Ray Ray.

Max Valles
6-5 • 210 • ATH
Sicklerville, N.J.
St. Joseph (Fork Union Military Academy)

Was a 2012 signee with Virginia before attending Fork Union Military Academy for a post-graduate season … played wide receiver, defensive end and safety for head coach Paul Sacco at St. Joseph High School in Hammonton, N.J. … finished 2011 with 13 catches for 204 yards and four touchdowns … on defense had 33 tackles and seven sacks … grabbed one interception, caused three fumbles and recovered one … part of a defense that allowed only 17 points the entire season (1 rushing TD, 1 passing TD & 1 FG) … member of three state championship teams, including 2011 with a 10-0 record … All-South Jersey … all-state … Press Athlete of the Fall … named All-Cape-Atlantic League … Philadelphia Inquirer South Jersey Defensive Player of the Year … also a All-Cape-Atlantic performer as an outfielder for the St. Joseph baseball team … son of Paul and Pamela Valles … has two older brothers, Andre, and Hakeem, a sophomore in 2012 on the football team at FCS Monmouth … volunteers at the St. Joseph eighth grade football camp … plans to major in criminal justice.

Eric Tetlow
6-6 • 300 • OL
Richmond, Va.
Mills E. Godwin HS

Played on the offensive line at Mills E. Godwin High School for head coach John Phillips … saw time all over the offensive line, including at center … started on the defensive line as well at Godwin … VHSL Group All-State second-team and VHSL Group AAA Coaches All-State second-team honoree on offense … VirginiaPreps.com’s All-Central Region first-team honoree … led an offensive line at Godwin that produced two players who each averaged over 96 yards rushing per game in 2012 … ranked the No. 36 prospect in Virginia by the Roanoke Times … played in the 2012 Chesapeake Bowl … a three-star player by ESPN.com, 247sports and Rivals … listed as the No. 41 offensive tackle prospect in the nation by ESPN.com … listed as the No. 23 prospect in Virginia by ESPN.com … a two-star player by Scout.com … also played baseball, basketball and wrestling first two years of high school … father Peter, who was born and raised in Australia, was a world-class swimmer, won national championships and qualified for the Olympics before coming to the United States to swim at Harvard … father was ranked as high as seventh in the world in the 1,500-meter freestyle.

Donta Wilkins
6-2 • 305 • DT
Woodbridge, Va.
Potomac HS

Played offensive and defensive line at Potomac High School for head coach Jerry Roadcap … VHSCAA All-State AAA first-team honoree as an offensive lineman … All- Met first-team honoree and two-time Northwest Region offensive and defensive player of the year … recorded 100 tackles with 12.5 sacks and 27 tackles for a loss in 2012 … played in the Chesapeake Bowl … recorded 90 tackles and 10 sacks in 2011 as a junior … also recorded 20 tackles for a loss … in 2011 was a VHSCAA All-State AAA honoree on both offense and defense … was a first-team defensive honoree and a second-team offensive honoree … ranked the No. 12 prospect in Virginia by the Roanoke Times … ranked the No. 18 defensive tackle in the nation by 247sports and the No. 13 player in the Commonwealth of Virginia regardless of position … is a four-star player by 247sports … ranked a three-star player by ESPN.com, Rivals.com and Scout.com.

Connor Wingo-Reeves
6-3 • 220 • LB
Midlothian, Va.
Monacan HS

Played linebacker and tight end at Monacan High School for head coach Danny Parsons … collected 93 tackles, two interceptions and two forced fumbles as a senior in 2012 … Richmond Times-Dispatch All-Metro second-team performer in 2012 … a first-team All-Dominion District linebacker … ranked the No. 40 prospect in Virginia by the Roanoke Times … a two-star player by 247sports, ESPN.com, Scout.com and Rivals.com … also plays basketball for Monacan.

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Reports: UGA’s Keith Marshall won’t play vs. Florida

Keith Marshall

No Todd Gurley and no Keith Marshall have been no problem for Georgia for quite a while.  Saturday, it’ll be lather, rinse, repeat in UGA’s backfield for the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.

As previously reported, Gurley, suspended for two more games by the NCAA earlier this week, won’t play against Florida after his appeal was denied.  Additionally, both the Macon Telegraph’s Seth Emerson and 247Sports.com’s Gentry Estes are reporting that Marshall didn’t travel with the team to Jacksonville and, thus, won’t play in the annual rivalry game.

Marshall has been sidelined since suffering an ankle injury — presumably the high-ankle variety — in the Sept. 20 win over Troy, with Saturday marking the fifth consecutive game he will have missed.  This season, the former four-star running back has rushed for just 24 yards on 12 carries.

As has been the case since Gurley’s autographs-for-money issues surfaced, Nick Chubb will shoulder the bulk of the running-game load against the Gators.

The first five games of the season, the true freshman ran for 223 yards and two touchdowns.  The last two, those numbers are 345 and three, including a career-high 202 in the win over Arkansas two weeks ago.  In those two games, Chubb is responsible for 68 of the 86 running back carries; in the win over the Razorbacks, it was 30 to three.

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Four former winners highlight Dodd coaching award watch list

David Cutcliffe

In yet another (sad) sign that yet another season is rapidly slipping away, a coaching award has released its midseason(ish) watch list.

The second such major award to do the deed — the Bear Bryant Award did the same a week or so ago — is the Dodd Trophy, which recognizes “the head coach of a team which enjoys a successful football season while also stressing the importance of academic excellence and character.” A total of 13 coaches made the initial cut, all of whom come from Power Five conference schools.

Four former winners of the award are on the watch list, including last year’s winner, Duke’s David Cutcliffe, and two-time winner Bill Snyder of Kansas State (1998, 2012). The other two are Clemson’s Dabo Swinney (2011) and Bob Stoops (2003).

Some of the noteworthy names left off the list includes, among others, Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher, Ole Miss’ Hugh Freeze, Marshall’s Doc Holliday, TCU’s Gary Patterson, Baylor’s Art Briles and Oregon’s Mark Helfrich.  The first two and last three of those have their respective teams in the Top 10, while the Herd is one of just three unbeaten FBS squads.

Meanwhile, two-loss coaches like Swinney, Stoops and UCLA’s Jim Mora are a part of the group.

The SEC led all conferences with four coaches on the watch list.  The ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12 have two apiece.

The 2014 winner of the Dodd Trophy will be announced in Atlanta during the week prior to the Dec. 31 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl week.

2014 Dodd Trophy Watch List

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Harvey Updyke claims he’s going trick-or-treating… as a dead tree

Harvey Updyke AP

Because, of course he is.  Possibly

On the scariest of the holidays, one of the most frightening football fans on the planet, Harvey Updyke, is making a claim related to the criminal offense that turned him into a household name a couple of years ago.  In a Facebook posting this afternoon, the convicted tree-killer claimed that he will be going trick-or-treating this Halloween dressed up as a dead tree.

Updyke, a lifelong Alabama fan, was convicted of poisoning, and ultimately killing, the famed Toomer’s Corner oaks at Auburn following the 2010 Iron Bowl.

This stunt, as it were, comes a couple of months after Updyke had been scheduled to appear at a charity event where people would’ve been allowed to either dunk [Updyke] in a dunking booth or throw pies at his face.  Because of the ensuing uproar, the appearance was canceled.

Even if it’s a joke, which is what we’re guessing will eventually be the case, it likely won’t come off as a particularly funny one to either UA or AU fans.

Updyke, as “Al from Dadeville,” infamously called into the Paul Finebaum radio show in February of 2011 and claimed to have poisoned the Toomer’s oaks after Auburn beat Alabama in the 2010 Iron Bowl. He was subsequently arrested, chargedand ultimately pleaded guilty to one count of criminal damage of an agricultural facility, a Class-C felony. He was sentenced to three years in jailhe served 180 days of the sentence — and was placed on supervised probation for a period of five years. During that probationary period, he has a 7 p.m. curfew.

Additionally, Updyke, who now lives in Louisiana less than an hour from the LSU campus, was ordered to pay $800,000 in restitution and has been barred from the following: any Auburn University property, any collegiate sporting event and speaking to the media.  Thus far, he’s only reportedly paid $99 in restitution.

While there was initial hope that the oaks could be saved, they were ultimately taken down after one final roll. New trees are expected to be planted next year.

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Deshaun Watson resumes throwing football in practice

Deshaun Watson AP

No, Deshaun Watson is not ready for a return to the playing field, but he’s getting closer.  Much, much closer.

For the first time Wednesday night since injuring his hand in the Oct. 11 win over Louisville, the Charleston Post & Courier reported, the Clemson quarterback threw a football at practice.  The fact that Watson is back throwing a football less than three weeks after incurring the injury came as a bit of a shock to the true freshman’s offensive coordinator.

“Looked good. I think he’s kind of surprised everybody how far along he is right now with everything,” Chad Morris said. “[Wednesday] was his first time back into it taking actual snaps and reps, so it was good to see him back in there.”

Despise the surprise of what thus far has been a speedy recovery, don’t look for the original timeline for a return to be updated. Probably.

Morris, whose Tigers are on a bye this weekend, said its “doubtful” Watson would play in the Thursday night game next week against Wake Forest. That, though, is actually a slight upgrade as Watson’s currently listed as “out” on the official Clemson injury report for that game.

Cole Stoudt, who has started the last two games, is still expected to start against the Demon Deacons.  Watson might — might — be available as an emergency-type quarterback if the need arises.  Barring a setback, Watson is expected to return for the Nov. 15 game against Georgia Tech as the starter.

Watson remains the No. 2 quarterback in the country in passing efficiency, behind only Heisman front-runner Marcus Mariota of Oregon. In the two games Watson has started and completed — he was injured early on in his third start– the Tigers have averaged 45.5 points per game; in Stoudt’s four starts against FBS teams, that average is 17.7 ppg.

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Dave Brandon officially out as Michigan’s AD

University of Michigan Introduces Brady Hoke Getty Images

The trigger has officially been pulled.

Following up on reports that surfaced late Friday morning, Michigan president Mark Schlissel announced this afternoon that Dave Brandon has (ahem) “resigned as UM’s athletic director”.  The move comes after a month in which Brandon was assailed from numerous corners for various missteps, from the handling of the Shane Morris head injury to the corporate nature of home football games to go along with the pricing to an embarrassing string of emails from the AD to various fans.

Add in the football team’s 3-5 record to start the 2014 season, its worst since 2008, and it’s a recipe for what most will consider a forced resignation after four years on the job.

“Dave feels that it would be in the best interest of our student-athletes, our athletic department and our university community if he moved on,” the president said.  Schlissel stated during a press conference that he accepted Brandon’s resignation this morning and that he agreed with the now-former AD’s decision to step aside.

Former UM football player Jim Hackett will serve as interim athletic director until a permanent replacement is found. Mlive.com wrote that “Hackett, a 1977 Michigan graduate, comes to U-M after two decades as chief executive of Grand Rapids-based Steelcase Inc., one of the world’s largest office furniture makers based.”

Brandon’s departure almost certainly means Brady Hoke, already on one of the hottest coaching seats in America, will be out as the Wolverines’ head coach at season’s end, if not sooner.  And, just who will make the decision to kick the chair out from underneath Hoke’s noosed neck?

Speculation had heavily centered on Arkansas AD and College Football Playoff chairperson Jeff Long even before Brandon’s resignation was announced; expect that speculation to increase exponentially with today’s development.  UConn’s Warde Manuel and Boston College’s Brad Bates have been mentioned prominently as well.  There’s even one report that tosses the name of Oklahoma’s Joe Castiglione into the mix, while another states UM has already reached out to current Central Michigan AD Dave Heeke.

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Kentucky again extends Mark Stoops’ contract

Mark Stoops AP

Back in May, Kentucky announced that it had extended the contract of Mark Stoops.

Nearly six months and eight games later, they’ve done it again.

UK announced Friday afternoon that it had reached an agreement on yet another contract extension for its head football coach.  The deal back in May would’ve kept Stoops with the Wildcats through June 30, 2019; this new agreement binds him to UK through the 2019 season, meaning that it’s a rare half-year extension.

“Mark is guiding our program in the direction we all want it to go and we are proud to reward that,” athletic director Mitch Barnhart wrote in the first of a series of tweets posted to his Twitter account. “I was confident Mark was right for this job when I hired him, but he has exceeded my expectations. From leading a group of young men to recruiting to fundraising, Mark has embraced and excelled in all facets of this job. I am excited about the progress our team has shown on the field, but this is as much about the next five years as it is the last 1.5.

“As I’ve said before, I believe we can compete at the highest level in the toughest conference. @UKCoachStoops is the coach to take us there.”

There was no word on what if any salary increases may be involved.

After going 2-10 in his first season last year, Stoops has his Wildcats sitting at 5-3 in 2014 and on the verge of bowl eligibility for the first time since 2010.  While there’s certainly a greater on-field buzz when it comes to the Wildcats, it’s on the recruiting trail where it’s the loudest and most pronounced.

Kentucky currently has the No. 22 recruiting class for the 2015 cycle after Stoops and his coaching staff pulled in the No. 17 class this past February and the No. 29 class in 2013.  Prior to Stoops’ arrival, UK had just two recruiting classes — 2006 (No. 36) and 2009 (No. 41) — finish inside the Top 50 nationally since 2002.

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David Brandon will reportedly step down as Michigan’s AD

University of Michigan Introduces Brady Hoke Getty Images

It appears Michigan’s athletic department — and likely its football program as well — is about to embark on a new direction.

Late Friday morning, UM announced in a press release that university president Mark Schlissel will conduct a press conference at 1:30 ET this afternoon. The only reason given for the presser was that Schlissel would be making an unspecified announcement.

It’s been rumored for weeks that embattled athletic director Dave Brandon is on his way out. Based on one report, that’s indeed both the case and the subject of the this afternoon’s media event.

The Detroit News subsequently confirmed that Brandon will be stepping down.

In addition to the woeful performance of the football team under Brady Hoke, Brandon has come under fire for the handling of the Shane Morris head injury; the corporate nature of home football games to go along with the pricing; and an embarrassing string of emails from the AD to various fans.

Should Brandon be out as all signs indicate, it would likely serve as the second-to-last nail in Hoke’s coaching coffin, with the last being driven in by the new AD just before he brings in his own hand-picked head coach.

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Tulane loses WR to season-ending ACL injury

NCAA Football: Georgia Tech at Tulane AP

Unfortunately for both the player and the team, reality matched the speculation.

Tulane confirmed earlier this week that Xavier Rush suffered an undisclosed knee injury during practice and would undergo further evaluation.  There were rumblings that the injury was related to the wide receiver’s ACL.

While the school has yet to confirm it, both the Baton Rouge Advocate and New Orleans Times-Picayune are reporting that Rush has indeed torn an ACL.  The Green Wave is expected to confirm the news at some point today.

As the senior has already used his redshirt season and he will not be eligible for a medical waiver, Rush’s collegiate career has come to an end.

Rush is currently second on the Green Wave in receiving yards with 295 and leads the team with three receiving touchdowns and a 19.7 yards per catch average. His 15 catches are second among receivers and third among all players.

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Reports: Kyle Allen to start at QB for A&M

Kyle Allen AP

The 2014 season began with Kenny “Trill™” Hill being mentioned alongside other Heisman Trophy contenders.  It could, though, end with a performance-based benching.

Officially, Texas A&M will not name a starting quarterback for Saturday’s game against Louisiana-Monroe until shortly before kickoff.  Unofficially, a change is in the offing at the most important position on the football field as both the CBS affiliate in Dallas-Fort Worth and Billy Liucci of TexAgs.com are reporting that Kyle Allen will get the start in the non-conference home game.

Hill tossed six interceptions in the last two losses to Alabama and Ole Miss, leading to the quarterback competition being opened up yet again during the Aggies’ bye week.  He had been named as Johnny Manziel‘s successor in mid-August after a fight with Allen that began in the spring and continued on into summer camp.

Should Allen start against ULM, he’d hit the field with as impressive an on-paper pedigree as any player in the country.  Allen came to College Station this season as a five-star member of the Aggies’ 2014 recruiting class, rated as the No. 1 pro-style quarterback in the country and the No. 7 player at any position.

Allen has thrown passes in four of eight games this season, going 23-38 for 264 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.

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No. 2 Florida State still unconquered, rallies to beat Louisville 42-31

Dalvin Cook

Before we get to what Louisville didn’t do, first let’s discuss what Florida State did on Thursday night: overcome a 21-0 deficit on the road, score 42 points over the game’s last 30 minutes and 33 seconds, drop 580 yards of total offense (and 380 in the second half) against the nation’s top statistical defense, and held the Louisville without a third- or fourth-down conversion until the game was put away. And in the process, No. 2 Florida State extended its winning streak to 24 games with a rise-from-the-dead 42-31 victory over Louisville.

With that out of the way, here is the list of things Louisville did not do that could have pushed this game the other way:

  • Turn a 1st-and-goal at the four into points on the game’s opening possession.
  • Recover a fumble by Florida State’s Karlos Williams at the goal line in the waning moments of the first half.
  • Hold on to the ball after intercepting Jameis Winston to open the second half.
  • Corral what would have been a possible pick six, which would have pushed Louisville’s lead to 31-21.
  • Convert a third down while the game was still in doubt.
  • Catch a 4th-and-2 pass with room to run while trailing 35-31 deep into the fourth quarter.

In the end, Louisville did just enough to give its fans (and the FSU-hating masses) just enough to hope, but not enough to actually put the game away.

Florida State trailed 21-0 late in the second quarter, and got on the board 33 seconds before halftime after Nick O’Leary recovered Williams’ fumble in the end zone to pull within 21-7 at the half.

Cardinals defensive back Gerold Holliman intercepted Winston – the reigning Heisman winner’s third pick of the night, and second to Holliman – on the first play from scrimmage of the second half, but Winston then forced a fumble as Holliman fought for extra yardage, and wide receiver Travis Rudolph hopped on the loose pigskin.

Louisville forced a turn0ver on downs on the next possession and then pushed the lead to 24-7 a minute later, but the two 50/50 plays falling Florida State’s way gave the Seminoles life.

Normally a 17-point road deficit is overcome through the battle-hardened strength only veterans possess, but true freshman teamed with Winston to overcome and then put away Louisville over the last 25 minutes of the game. Winston hit freshman Rudolph for a 68-yard catch-and-run score to pull within 24-14, and then true freshman Dalvin Cook accounted for 76 yards in an 80-yard drive, including a 40-yard touchdown dash, to make the score 24-21.

Florida State took its first lead with 12:48 to go in the fourth quarter when Winston hit Ermon Lane, another freshman, for a 47-yard pass that somehow threaded through three Louisville defenders, and came one play after Holliman let a possible pick-six bounce off his knee and land incomplete.

Louisville then regained the lead with 9:20 to go on a one-yard Dyer plunge, but the Seminoles re-took it for good with a 38-yard rush by Cook. The Cardinals’ next possession ended when a Will Gardner pass bounced off tight end Charles Standberry‘s hands on 4th-and-2 at the Louisville 39 with a shade over 150 seconds to go. Florida State scored three plays later when Winston hit fullback Freddie Stevenson for a 35-yard play-action touchdown pass on a 3rd-and-6.

Winston posted his finest performance of the season, overcoming self-inflicted adversity and a bum ankle to complete 25-of-48 passes for 401 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions (and one very important forced fumble), while Cook came off the bench to account for 150 yards and two touchdowns on 13 touches.

Gardner threw for 330 yards with a touchdown and an interception, but did not rise to the moment when Louisville needed it, missing every third down pass until the game was out of reach. DeVante Parker carried the Cardinals’ passing attack with eight grabs for 214 yards. Dyer rushed 28 times for 134 yards and three touchdowns, but tallied only 39 yards in the second half.

Louisville drops to a very painful 6-3 (4-3 ACC) on the season and heads to Boston College on Saturday.

Florida State improves to 8-0 on the year, and is now one win away from becoming the 11th team in the last 50 years to mount a 25-game winning streak.

After Clemson (17-10 deficit into a 23-17 win), N.C. State (24-7 deficit into a 56-41 win), Notre Dame (17-10 deficit into a 31-27 win) and tonight, this 2014 Florida State team has taught future opponents that they had best not bother even taking a lead; defeat is inevitable, and that’s just going to make it all the more painful.

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Georgia Southern drubs Troy 42-10, pushes winning streak to six

Willie Fritz, Kevin Ellison

One week after popping Georgia State to the tune of 69 points, 10 touchdowns in 11 possessions and 613 rushing yards, Georgia Southern kept the beat going with a 42-10 blowout of Troy on Thursday night.

Nine Georgia Southern rushers combined for 421 yards and six touchdowns on 63 carries. Quarterback Kevin Ellison led the way with 99 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries while also completing 5-of-9 passes for 31 yards, and Favian Upshaw added 96 yards and a touchdown on seven carries.

Tonight’s result means Georgia Southern, the top-ranked FBS rushing offense at a shade over 400 yards per game, has racked up 1,034 rushing yards in the past five days. They’ve punted twice in 22 combined possessions.

All that running limited Troy to just 44 offensive snaps. Five Trojans combined to rush 33 times for 141 yards, while two quarterbacks lifted only 11 passes with four completions for a combined 13 yards. The Trojans were held out of the end zone until the 1:18 mark of the fourth quarter, with the score already at 42-3.

In all, Georgia Southern outgained Troy 461-154 and held a 28-9 advantage in first downs.

The win pushes Georgia Southern to 7-2 and 6-0 in Sun Belt play with a trip to Texas State waiting next Saturday.

Troy (1-8, 1-4 Sun Belt) will host Georgia State next Saturday.

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NCAA upholds Todd Gurley suspension, won’t return until Nov. 15

Todd Gurley

The Todd Gurley saga has finally reached its final conclusion.

The NCAA announced Thursday night it had upheld Georgia’s appeal of his four-game suspension for accepting more than $3,000 in exchange for autographs.

Gurley has missed the last two games due to the investigation, and will miss the ninth-ranked Bulldogs’ dates with Georgia (Saturday) and Kentucky (Nov. 8).

“We are very disappointed in tonight’s decision by the Division I Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee regarding our appeal on Todd Gurley’s eligibility reinstatement,” Georgia said in a statement. “We believe our case to the NCAA for Todd’s immediate reinstatement was strong and compelling.  However, we now have exhausted all available options and look forward to Todd’s return to competition on November 15.  The full attention of the Bulldog Nation now needs to be focused on our team and Saturday’s important game against Florida.”

The silver lining here for Georgia is that the Bulldogs should beat the Gators and Wildcats without Gurley, and then get a rested and hacked off version of the nation’s best runner back for No. 4 Auburn on Nov. 15.

Despite missing the past two games, Gurley still leads Georgia in rushing with 773 carries and eight touchdowns on 94 carries while catching 11 passes for 53 yards and completing his only pass for 50 yards.

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Former Iowa State coach, FSU and Vandy AD Clay Stapleton dies at 93

Toledo v Iowa State Getty Images

Former Iowa State head coach and Florida State and Vanderbilt athletics director Clay Stapleton passed away Thursday in Missouri City, Mo. He was 93.

Stapleton is best known for coaching the Cyclones’ famed “Dirty Thirty” 1959 team, remembered for putting together a 7-3 season with only 30 players on the roster. It was Iowa State’s first winning season in a decade. Stapleton went 42-53-4 as head coach from 1958-67.

Stapleton left coaching for athletics administration, first serving as the athletics director at Iowa State, where he was instrumental in the construction of Jack Trice Stadium and Hilton Coliseum and hired future College Football Hall of Fame coach Johnny Majors as his replacement.

He then moved on to serve as athletics director at Florida State (1971-72) and Vanderbilt (1973-78).

Stapleton played at Tennessee, and served as an assistant coach at Wofford College (S.C.), Wyoming and Oregon State.

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Arizona State QB Taylor Kelly, K-State WR Tyler Lockett headline list of Campbell Trophy finalists

Tyler Lockett, Keenon Ward

The National Football Foundation on Thursday released its list of 17 finalists for the Campbell Trophy, college football’s highest scholar-athlete honor. Now in its 25th season, the Campbell Trophy is considered the academic version of the Heisman.

“We are extremely proud to announce this year’s National Scholar-Athlete Class,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “These young men have an unrelenting commitment to excellence in all aspects of their lives, and they represent all that is right in college football. They serve as living examples of our mission of building leaders through football, and they create an exceptional pool of candidates for the Campbell Trophy.”

To be eligible for consideration, finalists much be in their final year of eligibility, carry a GPA of 3.2 or higher, be listed first team on their respective teams’ depth charts, and have an outstanding record as of leadership and community service.

As a group, the players average a 3.69 GPA, a dozen are team captains, 15 have earned all-conference honors, six have received All-America accolades, four have been named their conference’s player of the year, and nine hold school records of some sort.

The 17 finalists are:

  • Terry Baggett, Army running back
  • Austin Damaschke, Concordia (Wis.) quarterback
  • Austin Hasquet, Northern Arizona linebacker
  • David Helton, Duke linebacker
  • Taylor Kelly, Arizona State quarterback
  • Nate Leonard, UTSA center
  • Tyler Lockett, Kansas State wide receiver
  • Mike Mancini, Trinity (Conn.) safety
  • Charles Moore, Tarleton State (Texas) safety
  • Mark Murphy, Indiana safety
  • Jordan Richards, Stanford safety
  • Kevin Rodgers, Henderson State (Ark.) quarterback
  • Mike Sadler, Michigan State punter
  • Caleb Schafffitzel, Missouri State safety
  • Tyler Varga, Yale tailback
  • Brandon Vitabile, Northwestern center
  • Zach Zenner, South Dakota State running back

All 17 finalists will receive $16,000 post-graduate scholarships and will head to New York City for the Dec. 9 awards dinner at the Waldorf=Astoria. The Campbell Trophy winner, in addition to joining a group consisting of Danny Wuerffel,Peyton Manning, and Tim Tebow, receives a $25,000 post-graduate scholarship.

Penn State’s John Urschel won the honor in 2013.

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No. 2 FSU’s 23-game winning streak on the ropes, trails Louisville 21-7 at the half

Florida State v Louisville Getty Images

Thursday night in college football has a long history of seeing highly-ranked favorites see its dream season turn into ash in front of a raucous stadium, and it looks like another upset will get added to the lore tonight. Louisville has pounded No. 2 Florida State to the tune of a 21-7 first half lead in the ‘Ville.

After a scoreless first quarter, Michael Dyer put Louisville on top with a four-yard scoring dash at the 12:13 mark of the second quarter, and then pushed the lead to 14 with a 12-yard jaunt seven minutes later. The Cardinals then pushed the lead to 21 – and thereby put FSU’s 23-game winning streak on life support – with an 11-yard scoring strike from Will Gardner to Gerald Christian.

Florida State stole back momentum immediately after falling down by 21 by cooly marching 78 yards in six plays, saved by a third-and-goal rush at the 1 where a Karlos Williams fumble rolled into the end zone and was recovered by Seminoles tight end Nick O’Leary.

The 21-point deficit – brief as it was – is the largest Florida State has faced on its 23-game streak.

Todd Grantham‘s defense, ranked second nationally in pass efficiency defense heading into tonight with seven touchdowns allowed and 15 interceptions, has lived up to its billing, intercepting Jameis Winston twice (on consecutive passes, no less) and turning both opportunities into touchdowns.

Florida State’s defense, on the other hand, has let Louisville get what it wanted on the ground and through the air. Gardner has thrown for 179 yards, and Dyer already has 95 yards and that pair of touchdowns on 14 carries.

The lead could actually be larger, as a 71-yard pass from Gardner to DeVante Parker on the first play from scrimmage gave the Cardinals a first-and-goal from the four inside the game’s first minute, but a fourth-and-goal pass from Gardner to Christian fell incomplete.

Florida State will get the ball to open the second half on the biggest possession of the season for both teams. A Florida State touchdown makes the score 21-14 and officially pulls the game back into toss-up territory. A stop keeps Louisville in control, and FSU’s status as the second-ranked team back on life support.

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