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Wake Forest adds 25 on signing day

Jim Grobe AP

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

WINSTON-SALEM, NC – Wake Forest head football coach Jim Grobe on Wednesday announced the addition of 25 newcomers to the Demon Deacon football squad. Grobe announced the signing of 22 prospective student-athletes to National Letters of Intent and also released the names of three newcomers who enrolled at Wake Forest in January.

The signing class consists of players from 12 states including five from Florida and four each from Georgia, North Carolina and Texas. In addition, the Deacons received commitments from players in Alabama, California, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

The class is evenly distributed on both sides of the ball. Wake Forest is adding 14 defensive players, 10 on offense, and one kicker.

The 25 signees mark the most since Grobe became head coach prior to the 2001 season. The previous largest class was 23 in 2003.

The Deacons will welcome four new offensive linemen including center Cory Helms (6-4, 290) from Milton High School near Atlanta and his high school teammate Josh Harris (6-4, 290). Wake Forest will also add linemen Cameron Gardner (6-5, 275) from Bailey, NC (Southern Nash) and Taylor Chambers (6-8, 300) from Columbia, SC (Irmo).

Three receivers will join Wake Forest next fall including wideout Tyree Harris (6-2, 180) of Marietta, GA (Marietta). The Deacons also signed a pair of tight ends/H-backs in Cam Serigne (6-3, 215) of Ashburn, VA (Briar Woods), and Brendan O’Neil (6-4, 220) of Burlington, MA (Buckingham Browne and Nichols).

Wake Forest added a quarterback in 6-3, 195-pound Michael Radford of Charlotte, NC (Country Day). Two running backs also inked with the Deacons. Dez Wortham (6-0, 205) of Frisco, TX (Hebron) is coming off ACL surgery last fall and John Armstrong (5-9, 165) of Orlando, FL (Olympia) has all the tools to become a slot receiver.

On defense, Wake Forest added five outside linebackers to fit its 3-4 scheme. The quintet includes Julian Thomas-Jackson (6-4, 210) of Dothan, AL (Dothan), Wendell Dunn (6-3, 210) of Miami, FL (Palmetto), Lance Virgile (6-2, 220) of Fort Lauderdale, FL (St. Thomas), Ali Lamot (6-2, 200) of Mebane, NC (Eastern Alamance) and Duke Ejiofor (6-4, 220) of Houston, TX (Alief Taylor).

Both of Wake Forest’s new inside linebackers are already enrolled and will participate in spring drills. They include Marquell Lee (6-3, 220) of Pomfret, MD (Westlake) and Ford Howell (6-1, 225) from Memphis, TN (University School).

The Deacons will add five newcomers in the secondary including cornerbacks Deonte Davis (5-10, 170) of Snellville, GA (South Gwinnett), Josh Okonye (6-0, 185) of Sugar Land, TX (George Ranch), Brad Watson (6-0, 170) of Round Rock, TX (Round Rock), and Jalen Latter (6-0, 185) of Charlotte, NC (Vance) as well as safety Michael Stevenson (6-0, 175) of Clearwater, FL (Central Catholic).

Along the defensive front, Wake Forest signed Andrew Hauser (6-2, 235) of Covina, CA (Charter Oak). The Deacons have James Looney (6-3, 275) of Lake Worth, FL (Lake Worth) on campus as an early enrollee. Looney, a projected nose guard, is the younger brother of former Wake Forest All-ACC guard Joe Looney, now with the San Francisco 49ers.

Wake Forest also added a kicker/punter in Mike Weaver (6-1, 180) of Pine City, NY (Elmira Southside). Weaver has been out of high school for two years while pursuing college football opportunities after a stellar amateur soccer career.

Notes
• Lance Virgile, from St. Thomas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is from the same high school that produced Wake Forest great Brian Piccolo. The stadium at St. Thomas is named after Piccolo. At the time Piccolo attended the school, it was known as Central Catholic.
• With the addition of OL Josh Harris, Wake Forest will have three players named Josh Harris on next year’s squad. The senior Harris is a running back from Duncanville, Texas who has rushed for 1,760 career yards. He will be a senior in 2013. Another Josh Harris is a walk-on defensive back from Raeford, NC who did not see any game action last fall. The newest Josh Harris is an offensive lineman.
• The largest signing classes in the Grobe Era include this year’s group of 25, followed by 23 in 2003, and 22 in 2005 and 2000.
• Quarterback Michael Radford’s father, Michael, Sr., was a guard at Marshall when Jim Grobe was an assistant coach with the Thundering Herd (1979-83).

(Writer’s note: below the jump are the complete bios of all 25 members of Wake Forest’s 2013 recruiting class.)

John Armstrong RB 5-9 165 Orlando, FL (Olympia)
Earned all-state honors (Class 8A) in 2012 . . . Ranked No. 23 in the Orlando Sentinel’s Central Florida Super 60 . . . Had 980 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns as a senior to go with 269 receiving yards on 30 receptions and three receiving scores . . . Averaged better than 17 yards per kickoff return as a senior . . . Scored five touchdowns in a 41-27 win over West Orange as a senior . . . As a junior, led Olympia in rushing (1,101 yards), touchdowns (19), receptions (60) and receiving yards (653) . . Has 4.4 speed in the 40 . . . Played at the same high school as Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans and broke Johnson’s season rushing record . . . Ranked No. 17 on the Bright House Sports Network list of top players in Central Florida . . . As a high school freshman, scored on a 62-yard run on his first varsity carry . . . Played for Coach Bob Head . . . Also had offers from Duke, Illinois, Iowa State, Cincinnati, East Carolina, and Temple . . . . Is the cousin of Alton Howard, a freshman receiver for the Tennessee Volunteers . . . Recruited by Tom Elrod.

Taylor Chambers OL 6-8 300 Columbia, SC (Irmo) Named first team all-state in South Carolina in Class 4A . . . Graded out at 92 percent for the season . . . Preseason All-State pick in 2012 by MaxPreps . . . Helped lead the Yellow Jackets to the second round of the state playoffs as a senior . . . Rated the No. 18 prospect in South Carolina by Rivals.com . . . Played for Coach Bob Hanna . . . Invited to San Antonio for the Army All-American game following the 2012 season . . . Selected to the North team for the South Carolina North-South All-Star game . . . Born Jan. 11, 1995 . . . Son of Tom and Angela Chambers . . . Recruited by Jonathan Himebauch.
Former Deacon from the same high school: DL Don Richardson, 1984 letterman

Deonte Davis CB 5-10 170 Snellville, GA
(South Gwinnett)
A two-year starter for South Gwinnett . . . Saw action at both cornerback and safety . . . Earned honorable mention All-Gwinnett County honors . . . Helped the Comets to a 10-3 record including a first round victory over Milton High . . . Played for Coach John Small . . . Played in the Rivalries of Gwinnett All-Star Football game following his senior season . . . Was a middle school teammate of current Deacon WR Jonathan Williams . . .Played in Region 8-6A . . . Had offers from Air Force, Colorado State and Navy among others . . . Recruited by Brian Knorr.

Wendell Dunn OLB 6-3 210 Miami, FL (Palmetto)
Honorable mention all-state Class 8A at linebacker as a senior . . . Four-year starter for the Lancers . . . Had 95 tackles and four interceptions as a junior . . . Runs a 4.7 in the 40 . . . Started his career has a safety . . . Selected for the Under Armour All-American game . . . Ranked as the No. 54 OLB in his class by Scout.com . . . His uncle, Jermaine Chambers, was a wide receiver with the Miami Hurricanes . . . Played for Coach Matt Dixon . . . Also had offers from Central Florida, UConn, West Virginia . . . Recruited by Ray McCartney.
Former Deacons from the same high school: C Dick Penn (1964-66); LB/C Bo Williams (1965-66)

Duke Ejiofor OLB 6-4 220 Houston, TX (Alief Taylor)
Honorable mention All-Greater Houston selection . . . Named one of the top 100 players in the Houston area by the Houston Chronicle . . . Was an honorable mention selection in District 18-5A . . . Had 58 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, three forced fumbles and six pass break-ups as a senior . . . Runs a 4.53 40 and has a 39 inch vertical leap . . . An honor roll student at Alief Taylor High School . . . Helped the Lions to an 8-4 record and a district championship in 2012 . . . Played for Coach J.D. Jordan . . . Also is a high jumper in track for the Lions . . . Son of Samuel and Franca Ejiofor . . . Born April 24, 1995 . . . Had offers from Houston, Rice, Kansas and TCU . . . Recruited by Derrick Jackson.

Cameron Gardner OL 6-5 275 Bailey, NC (Southern Nash)
First team all-state pick in 3A by NCPreps.com . . . Was the anchor for an offensive line that produced Southern Nash’s top two all-time leading rushers . . . Helped the Firebirds to an 8-3 record and a second place finish in the Big East Conference in 2012 . . . Played for Coach Brian Foster at Southern Nash High . . . Also throws the shot put in track . . . Missed three games during his senior season after dislocating his thumb . . . Enjoys fishing and 4-wheeling . . . Son of Jeff and June Gardner . . . Born Sept. 16, 1995 . . . Chose Wake Forest over NC State, Virginia Tech and Penn State . . . Will be 17-years old when camp starts in August . . . Recruited by Jonathan Himebauch.

Josh Harris OL 6-4 290 Milton, GA (Milton)
Earned first team all-state and all-region 5-6A honors as a senior . . . Rated the No. 41 offensive guard in the country and the No. 73 prospect in Georgia by Rivals.Com . . . Three-year letterman as an offensive lineman at Milton High School . . . High school teammate of fellow signee Cory Helms . . Played for Coach Howie DeCristofaro . . . Helped the Eagles to a 7-3 record and a berth in the state playoffs as a senior . . . All-region selection as a junior . . . Invited to the 2013 Offense Defense Showcase Bowl . . . Also wrestled as a junior and senior . . . Qualified for sectionals as a junior . . . Full name is Joshua Thomas Harris . . . Born May 14, 1995 . . . Son of Tom and Kim Harris . . . . Had offers from Maryland, North Carolina and South Florida . . . Recruited by Jonathan Himebauch.

Tyree Harris WR 6-2 180 Marietta, GA (Marietta)
First team All-Region 4-6A as a senior . . . A first team All-Cobb County pick by the Marietta Daily Journal and honorable mention all-state . . . Member of the Marietta Daily Journal’s Dynamite Dozen . . . Helped the Blue Devils to the second round of the 6A state playoffs in 2012 . . . Three-year starter . . . Had six receptions for 97 yards and a touchdown vs. Lovejoy in the playoffs . . . Had a 30-yard touchdown reception in the opening round of the playoffs at Marietta upset Valdosta Lowndes . . . Team finished the year 8-4 . . . Had 48 receptions for 856 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2012 . . . Set the school record for receiving yards and TD catches in a season . . . Finished his career with 114 catches for 1,914 yards and 18 touchdowns . . . Played for Coach Scott Burton . . . Played in the Cobb All-Star Senior Bowl following the 2012 season where he had five catches for 74 yards and a touchdown . . . Was selected to the inaugural High School Clash of Scholar Athletes Game which featured the Palm Beach County, Fla. All-Stars vs. Atlanta All-Stars . . . Chose Wake Forest over Mississippi State . . . Also had offers from Auburn, Georgia Tech, Louisville and NC State . . . Recruited by Brian Knorr.
Former Deacon from the same school: LT Hank Hames (1967)

Andrew Hauser DE 6-3 265 Covina, CA (Charter Oak)
Named first team all-area as a senior by the San Gabriel Valley Tribune . . . Earned All-Sierra League honors at linebacker as a senior . . . Played for Coach Lou Farrar at Charter Oak . . . Had 13 tackles and a pair of sacks vs. Chino Hills . . . Started his career at Bishop Amat as a sophomore offensive lineman and helped the Lancers to a 9-2 record . . . Transferred to Charter Oak High and sat out his junior season in order to gain eligibility . . . Recruited by Ray McCartney.

Cory Helms C 6-4 290 Alpharetta, GA (Milton)
An all-metro, all-region and high school All-American . . . Earned first team All-Region 5-6A honors as a senior . . . Was the starting center for the Blue team in the Offense-Defense All-America Bowl in Houston . . . Ranked as the No. 9 center nationally and the No. 58 prospect in Georgia by Rivals.com . . . High school teammate of Josh Harris . . . Played for Coach Howie DeCristofaro . . . Full name is Cory Scott Helms . . . Born Dec. 31, 1994 . . . Son of Scott and Sharon Helms . . . Had 11 offers including South Carolina, Syracuse, Cincinnati, Louisville and South Florida . . . Recruited by Jonathan Himebauch.

Ford Howell ILB 6-1 225 Memphis, TN (University School)
EARLY ENROLLEE . . . Joins Wake Forest from Memphis, Tenn. University School . . . A 6-1, 225-pound linebacker . . . First team All-State Division II-AA by the Tennessee Sports Writers Association . . . Helped the Owls to the AA Division 2 state championship game in 2012 . . . Had 72 solo tackles and 13 tackles for loss as a senior . . . Added five sacks, 11 quarterback hurries and a pair of interceptions . . . All-state, all-region and all-metro selection as a senior . . . Also named an AutoZone Liberty Bowl High School All-Star . . . Named to the Best of the Preps team by the Memphis Commercial Appeal . . . As a junior, had 60 tackles and three tackles for loss . . . Helped University School to an 8-4 record and the state semifinals in 2011 . . . Runs a 4.7 40 . . . Played for Coach Bobby Alston . . . Son of Jim and Ann Howell . . . Was also offered by NC State . . . Recruited by Steed Lobotzke.
Former Deacon from the same high school: C Russell Nenon (2007-10)

Ali Lamot OLB 6-2 200 Mebane, NC (Eastern Alamance)
First team all-state Class 3A by NCPreps.com . . . Had 101 tackles as a senior including 74 solos, 17 sacks and 20 quarterback hurries . . . Helped the Eagles to a 12-2 record and the third round of the state playoffs . . . Tied for fourth in the state with 17 sacks as a senior . . . Earned all-region honors in football as a junior . . . Rivals.com ranks him as the No. 30 prospect in North Carolina . . . Played at Eastern Alamance for Coach John Kirby . . . Finished second in the region in the 110 meter hurdles in the spring of 2012 . . . Also played basketball at Eastern Alamance . . . Recruited by Derrick Jackson.
Jalen Latter CB 6-0 185 Charlotte, NC (Vance)
Signed as an cornerback . . . Versatile athlete who played both quarterback and cornerback at Charlotte Vance High School . . . Threw for over 1,600 yards as a senior with 16 touchdowns . . . Also rushed for 400 yards and six touchdowns . . . Had offers from Air Force, Navy and Charlotte . . . Recruited by Tim Duffie.
Former Deacons from the same high school: OT Wesley Bryant (2003-05)

Jalen Latter CB 6-0 185 Charlotte, NC (Vance)
Signed as an cornerback . . . Versatile athlete who played both quarterback and cornerback at Charlotte Vance High School . . . Threw for over 1,600 yards as a senior with 16 touchdowns . . . Also rushed for 400 yards and six touchdowns . . . Had offers from Air Force, Navy and Charlotte . . . Recruited by Tim Duffie.
Former Deacons from the same high school: OT Wesley Bryant (2003-05)

Marquell Lee LB 6-3 200 Pomfret, MD (Westlake)
EARLY ENROLLEE . . . Played at Westlake High in Waldorf, Md. . . . A three-year starter for the Westlake Wolverines . . . Earned honorable mention all-state as a senior . . . First team All-Southern Maryland Athletic Conference at linebacker . . . Helped Westlake to the Maryland Class 3A South Region final . . . The Wolverines finished the season 8-4 . . . Had 12 tackles and a fumble recovery vs. Huntingtown during a regular season victory . . . Had an interception in the South Region semifinal win over Potomac and a fumble return for a touchdown vs. Lackey . . . Made 14 tackles vs. Calvert . . . Considered the Wolverines’ emotional leader . . . Played for Coach Marlon Curtis as a senior . . . Had 70 tackles as a junior while also throwing for over 800 yards as a quarterback . . . Ranked No. 36 on the Chose Wake Forest over Maryland . . . Recruited by Jonathan Himebauch.

James Looney DL 6-3 275 Lake Worth, FL (Lake Worth)
EARLY ENROLLEE . . . . Graduated from Lake Worth (Fla.) Community High School in December and enrolled at Wake Forest in January, 2013 . . . First team All-State Class 7A on the offensive line . . . Also earned first team all-Palm Beach County honors . . . Member of the Sun-Sentinel Super 11 . . . Projected as a defensive lineman for the Deacons . . . Rated the No. 14 player in Palm Beach County on The Big Board . . . Served as a team captain as a senior . . . Missed three games as a high school senior with a pulled muscle in his hip . . . Had two sacks and a forced fumble against Atlantic . . . First team All-Palm Beach County as a junior as he registered 60 tackles and two sacks . . . Played for Coach Errick Lowe . . . Had over a dozen offers from major colleges . . . Younger brother of former Deacon Joe Looney, now with the San Francisco 49ers . . . Recruited by Ray McCartney.
Former Deacons from the same high school: DE Todd Middleton (1987-89), LB Scott Shelhamer (1989-92), OG Joe Looney (2008-11)

Josh Okonye CB 6-0 185 Sugar Land, TX (George Ranch)
Played at George Ranch High School in its first season of football . . . Helped the Longhorns to a 5-5 record . . . Projected as a cornerback for the Deacons . . . Was a second team Texas Academic All-State selection . . . First team All-District 23-4A selection at defensive back . . . Has 4.72 speed . . . Played for Coach Ricky Tullos . . . Also runs track where he has been a regional qualifier in the 200 meters . . . Member of the National Honor Society . . . Born June 5, 1995 . . . Son of John and Philo Okonye . . . Recruited by Derrick Jackson.

Brendan O’Neil TE 6-4 220 Burlington, MA
(Buckingham Brown and Nichols)
Rated the No. 5 prospect in Massachusetts and the No. 39 tight end in the nation . . . As a senior, earned NEPSAC Lineman of the Year, All-ISL, All-New England, Boston Herald All-Scholastic . . . Named All-Scholastic by the Boston Globe . . . Selected team offensive MVP and All-ISL at tight end as a junior . . . Earned honorable mention All-Independent School League as a sophomore . . . Has also played defensive end for the Knights . . . Also captains the BBN basketball team . . . Played for Coach John Papas . . . Son of Chris and Cathy O’Neil . . . Father, Chris, played football at UMass . . . Rated the No. 88 TE by Scout.com . . . Had offers from Connecticut, UMass and Temple . . . Recruited by Steed Lobotzke.

Michael Radford QB 6-3 195 Charlotte, NC (Country Day)
Quarterback at Charlotte Country Day . . . Considered a dual-threat quarterback with the ability to run as well as throw . . . Led Country Day to the state semifinals before suffering a concussion and missing the semifinal game . . . Completed 78 of 159 passes for 1,625 yards and 21 touchdowns with just seven interceptions . . . Carried the ball 110 times for 707 yards and seven touchdowns . . . Helped lead the Buccaneers to a 9-2 record in 2012 . . . As a junior, threw for 1,519 yards and 14 touchdowns while rushing for 750 yards and 20 touchdowns . . . Played for Coach Bob Witman . . . Parents and Michael and Tammy . . . Michael, Sr. was a guard at Marshall when Jim Grobe was an assistant coach with the Thundering Herd . . . Fielded offers from Charlotte, Marshall and Presbyterian . . .

Cam Serigne TE 6-3 215 Ashburn, VA (Briar Woods)
Helped Briar Woods to a 15-0 record in 2012 and a 42-3 record over the past three seasons . . . Led the Falcons to three consecutive AA Div. 4 state titles from 2010-2012 . . . Earned first team all-state honors as a tight end and was also all-region as a defensive end . . . First team All-Washington Metro . . . Had 56 receptions for 937 yards and 11 touchdowns while serving as a captain in 2012 . . . Had a 30-yard interception return for a touchdown in a first round playoff win over Powhatan in 2012 . . . Set Briar Woods’ career records for receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches . . . Selected to the South team in the 2012 Chesapeake Bowl . . . Earned first team all-district, all-region and all-state as a junior . . . Had 53 receptions for 709 yards and 10 touchdowns during the 2011 season . . . Had 43 receptions for 438 yards as a sophomore . . . Projected as a tight end/H-back at Wake Forest . . . Played for Coach Charlie Pierce . . . Also lettered in baseball . . . Son of David and Michelle Serigne . . . Ranked as the No. 45 tight end in the class of 2013 by Scout.com . . . Had offers from James Madison, Air Force and Ohio . . . Recruited by Steed Lobotzke.

Michael Stevenson S 6-0 175 Clearwater, FL
(Central Catholic)
A first team all-state Class 3A pick The No. 59 safety in the country as rated by Rivals.com . . . Played at Clearwater Central Catholic . . . Played for Coach John Davis . . . Had 91 tackles and three interceptions as a senior . . . Helped the Marauders to a school-record 11 wins as CCC reached the Class 3A state semifinals . . . Had offers from South Florida, Central Florida, Pittsburgh and West Virginia . . . Recruited by Tim Duffie.

Julian Thomas-Jackson OLB 6-4 210 Dothan, AL
(Dothan)
Had 141 total tackles as a senior including 110 solos and 33 tackles for loss . . . Collected seven sacks in earning team defensive MVP honors . . . Played OLB in a 3-4 scheme as a senior after working at ILB in a 4-3 as a junior . . . Team tackle leader and defensive MVP . . . . Was at Oxford (Miss.) High School as a freshman and sophomore before moving to Dothan for his final two years of high school . . . The Tigers were 6-4 in 2012 . . . Played for Coach Kelvis White . . . Son of James and Elaine Byrd . . . Born March 7, 1994 . . . Brother Alan Thomas played defensive end at Ole Miss from 2009-11 . . . Recruited by Derrick Jackson.

Lance Virgile OLB 6-2 220 Ft. Lauderdale, FL
(St. Thomas)
Rated the No. 25 OLB in the nation by ESPN and No. 55 by Rivals.com . . . Played at St. Thomas Aquinas High in Fort Lauderdale, the same high school that produced Wake Forest legend Brian Piccolo (though the school was known as Central Catholic at the time) . . . Helped the Raiders to a 13-2 record and the Florida 7A state championship . . . A two-year starter . . . Lost in the regional finals in 2011 . . . Member of the U.S. National U-19 team . . . Ranked as the No. 82 OLB by Scout.com . . . Played his home football games in Brian Piccolo Stadium . . . Played for Coach Rocco Casullo . . . Recent NFL Hall of Fame inductee Cris Carter is an assistant coach for the Raiders . . . Had offers from Houston, Louisville, NC State and West Virginia . . . Recruited by Ray McCartney.
Former Deacons who attended the same high school: FB Brian Piccolo (1962-64), RT William Salter (1963-64), C Mike Nesselt (1981-84), K Danny Nolan (1983), DB Ulysses Robertson (1990-92), TE Ben Stafford (1996-99), LB Mike Simmons (2004-07)

Brad Watson CB 6-0 170 Round Rock, TX
(Westwood)
Member of the Texas Class 5A Region 2 Elite Team . . . A three-year letterman and starter at Westwood High School . . . Has the ability to play either corner or safety . . . Named to the Academic All-District team . . . Helped the Warriors reach the third round of the Texas 5-A Division 1 playoffs . . . Had 55 tackles, three interceptions and seven pass break-ups as a senior . . . Added two touchdown receptions as a receiver to go with an interception return for a touchdown and a kickoff return for a touchdown . . . . The Warriors won back-to-back 5A Division 1 area championships in 2011 and 2012 . . . Had 67 stops, three interceptions and seven pass break-ups as a junior . . . Made eight career interceptions and totaled over 150 tackles for his career . . . Played for Coach Anthony Wood . . . Also runs track where he competes in the 200 meters and the long jump . . . Son of Carlton and Alexis Watson . . . Born August 20, 1995 . . . Recruited by Derrick Jackson.

Mike Weaver P/PK 6-1 180 Pine City, NY
(Elmira Southside)
A 2010 graduate of Southside High School in Elmira, NY . . . Was primarily a soccer player until playing just his senior year of football . . . Played varsity soccer starting in the seventh grade . . . Ran track and also played basketball for the Green Hornets . . . Has been out of high school for two seasons while pursuing college opportunities . . . Booted five field goals in just four varsity football games . . . Punted six times for a 53.0 average . . . Nailed a 42-yard field goal on his first career attempt in high school . . . Named Southside’s Special Teams Player of the Year and was invited to the Ernie Davis Senior Bowl Game . . . Earned West All-Division honors in soccer in 2007 . . . Won a pair of state championships while playing soccer for BC Fusion as a striker and midfielder . . . Son of Rick and Lori Weaver . . . Born Aug. 12, 1991 . . . Also had offers from Cincinnati and Miami (Fla.) . . . Recruited by Billy Mitchell.

Dez Wortham RB 6-0 205 Frisco, TX (Hebron)
Tore his ACL in the fifth game of his senior season . . . Had 115 carries for 745 yards before being injured in mid-October . . . Scored seven touchdowns and had 12 receptions for 100 yards in four and one-half games . . . Rushed for 797 yards and five touchdowns as a freshman in high school . . . Went over the 1,000-yard mark as both a sophomore and junior . . . The Hawks reached the Texas 5A playoffs in 2012 . . . Had offers from Kentucky, Colorado State, Connecticut and Houston among others . . . Recruited by Tim Duffie.

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Oklahoma WR Jordan Smallwood suffers ACL injury

Jordan Smallwood, Steven Parker

On the same day its running back depth took a hit, Oklahoma’s pool of wide receivers got a little more shallow. The Sooners announced on their official Twitter account Monday that Jordan Smallwood had suffered an ACL injury and will be out through early-to-mid September.

A junior, Smallwood caught three passes for 21 yards a year ago.

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Nick Saban “very, very sorry” for way Jonathan Taylor situation worked out

Nick Saban

Nick Saban is sorry. Well, sort of.

The Alabama head coach spoke to reporters Monday evening for the first time since giving troubled defensive tackle Jonathan Taylor the boot one day ago for yet another domestic violence charge, saying he was sorry for the way the situation worked out but not for taking a player with two strikes on his record in the first place.

“I’m not apologizing for the opportunity that we gave him,” Saban told the Associated Press. I wanted to try to help the guy make it work. It didn’t work. We’re sorry that it didn’t work and we’re sorry that there was an incident and we’re sorry for the people that were involved in the incident. But we’re not apologizing for what we did, and we’re going to continue to try to create opportunities in the future.”

The confusing thing about the Taylor saga is that Saban went against his whole ethos to sign him, saying at SEC Media Days last summer that “there’s never been a player I’ve kicked off the team that ever amounted to anything.” So why would that mantra hold any less true for a player Mark Richt already kicked off his own team? Why did Saban mention the “psychological profiling” his program performed on Taylor, but not bother to contact Richt or the Athens-Clarke County District Attorney?

“I think you learn from every experience and we certainly learned some things from this one,” Saban said. “But I will say this. We will continue to try to create opportunities for players and try to help them be successful, and even in Jonathan Taylor’s case, if there’s anything we can do to help him overcome his issues and problem we will still certainly try and help him be successful. But right now the guy just can’t be on our football team.”

Elsewhere in “Alabama players in handcuffs” news, Saban said that Tide defensive back Geno Smith, arrested Friday on DUI charges, could return to the team provided he behaves properly.

“When he does a few things that he needs to do over the next few days, and he’s going to have quite a bit of things that he has to do in the future, which I’m not going to be willing to share with anybody — that’s kind of a private matter — then he’ll be back on the field and we’ll allow him to practice again,” Saban said.

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PHOTO: Ohio State has a Michigan fire hydrant near its vet school

Michigan v Ohio State

Ohio State is hoping, pining, aching for Jim Harbaugh to turned the hated Wolverines into a worthy adversary to Urban Meyer and the scarlet-and-grey behemoth in Columbus.

Don’t believe me?

Buckeyes fan site Eleven Warriors shared a photo taken near the Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine of a maize-and-blue fire hydrant for the local canine population to, uh, enjoy.

So, yes, Ohio State is definitely ready for this to become a rivalry again.

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UW Huskies add 2017 game against Fresno State

Paul Williams

It’s not exactly Colorado adding TCU and Texas A&M or Stanford adding TCU and Vanderbilt, but another Pac-12 school has added a game to its future schedule against a very respectable Group of Five team.

In twin press releases, Washington and Fresno State announced that the two football programs have reached an agreement on a 2017 game.  Not surprisingly, that game will be played at Husky Stadium and will take place Sept. 16.

The two teams have played just three times previously, the last coming in 2006.

“This is a great opportunity for us to stay on the west coast and play a highly competitive Pac-12 program,” Fresno athletic director Jim Bartko said in a statement. “This game will provide us with great exposure and is an easy trip for both our team and our fans to get to and from Seattle.”

UW had previously announced two other non-conference games for the 2017 season, a home game against FCS Montana and a road trip to Rutgers. There are also future home-and-homes scheduled against BYU (2018,2019) and Michigan (2020, 2021).

The Bulldogs have played teams from the Pac-12 17 of the last 20 seasons, and have schools from that conference on schedules in four of the next five years: Utah (2015), UW (2017), UCLA (2018) and Colorado (2019).

(Photo credit: Fresno State athletics)

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Louisville has a new WR… sort of

Alphonso Carter

As part of Louisville’s 2015 recruiting class, the Cardinals announced the addition of Paul Harris this past December.

Paul Harris is no longer with the team, but the player is.  Wait, what?

It’s actually very simple, even as its something that leans toward the rare side: Harris, you see, has changed his name.  The U of L unveiled the name change in a tweet posted to the football program’s Twitter account, although they didn’t get into the why of the situation.

Harris… errr Carter came to the U of L from the JUCO ranks, but actually began his collegiate career at Tennessee.  A four-star member of UT’s 2013 recruiting class, Carter was rated as the No. 40 wide receiver in the country and the No. 7 player at any position in the state of Maryland.

Playing in five games in his one and only season with the Vols, Carter had one catch for 15 yards.  After transferring to Iowa Western Community College, Carter missed the 2014 season with a broken leg.

In addition to Louisville, Carter also held offers from Nebraska and East Carolina in his second recruiting go ’round.

(Photo credit: Rivals.com)

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UNC grad assistant busted for DWI resigns

Gerald McRath

It’s not just college football players who set back our “Days Without An Arrest” ticker.

According to WRAL-TV, North Carolina graduate assistant Gerald McRath was arrested early Monday morning and charged with driving while impaired.  According to the television station’s website, McGrath was found asleep at the wheel by police with his vehicle running.

He was released on a $1,500 bond a short time later.

A few hours later, McRath also relieved himself of his duties at UNC as he announced in a statement that he has decided to, ahem, “resign” his post.

“I apologize for my actions and for bringing negative publicity and attention to the University of North Carolina and the football program,” McRath wrote. “I have decided to resign my position as a graduate assistant coach at UNC and move forward with my career.”

McRath was just added to Larry Fedora‘s staff earlier this year as a defensive grad assistant. He played a portion of his college football career for Fedora at Southern Miss during the latter’s first year in Hattiesburg (2008) before embarking on a four-year NFL career with the Tennessee Titans.

His first coaching job was in 2014 as a defensive quality control coach at his alma mater.

(Photo credit: North Carolina athletics)

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Wake Forest announces six-game series with Army, other non-conference games

Duke v Wake Forest

Wake Forest announced a season’s worth of non-conference games in one fell swoop Monday as athletics director Ron Wellman revealed 13 new games in a column on the Demon Deacons’ website.

Headlining the list of games is a six-game series with Army beginning in 2016 and then occurring occasionally through the next decade. The Deacons will host the Black Knights in 2016, 2022 and 2025 and visit West Point in 2021, 2024 and 2026. The schools have met 14 times previously, most recently a 24-21 Wake Forest win last fall, with the Deacons taking 10 of those affairs.

Wake Forest also announced a home-and-home with Vanderbilt (in Nashville in 2022, in Winston-Salem in ’23), as well as a 2022 home game with Air Force and guarantee games with Presbyterian (2017), Elon (2018) and Elon (2019). Wellman wrote to his constituents to expect more road non-conference games due to the college football underclass raising the prices of guarantee games. “Our goal of playing seven home games each season is becoming more challenging in today’s economic environment. The financial guarantees that non-conference opponents are receiving today for ‘buy games’ have doubled and tripled from just a few years ago,” he wrote. “Therefore, it is more realistic to play a home- and- away series against quality opponents than to ‘buy’ one-time games.”

Wellman also broke a little news, confirming that the ACC will indeed require a Power Five non-conference foe for each of its schools moving forward and that BYU will be counted among that group. “The ACC athletic directors have agreed that each ACC school will play a football non-conference opponent from the SEC, Big 10, PAC 12, Big 12 or Notre Dame or BYU annually,” he wrote.

As it stands today, Wake Forest has non-conference dates with the likes of Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, Indiana, Tulane, Air Force, Ole Miss, Purdue and North Carolina lined up through 2026. Ah, yes, the North Carolina non-conference series. You remember that, right? Yeah, Wellman told you that you can take your criticisms and your snark for that unorthodox piece of scheduling and shove it.

“The overwhelming feedback from Wake Foresters has been extremely positive, as they want to play UNC as often as possible,” he wrote.

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More games set to be added to postseason bowl platter?

Portland Trail Blazers v Chicago Bulls Getty Images

If you’re of the mindset that the more bowls the better, you might just be in for a treat.  If you’re not?  Well, you might throw up a little bit in your mouth over the following possibility.

ESPN.com’s Brett McMurphy is reporting that the cities of Tucson and Little Rock are wanting a piece of the postseason pie, tweeting that both are expected to apply for new bowl games for the 2015 season.  The proposed Tucson game would pit the Mountain West against Conference USA, while the Little Rock matchup would find the AAC squaring off with the Sun Belt.

According to McMurphy, the bowl in Little Rock will likely be televised by either NBC Sports Network or CBS Sports Network.  There is no indication from McMurphy who would televise the other, which will likely be called the Arizona Bowl.

Last year, not counting the College Football Playoff game, there were 38 bowl games.  If these two games are added, it would bring the total to a whopping 41 bowls for the 2015 season — the Cure Bowl in Orlando was announced last April and will debut following the upcoming season.  At that number, a full 65 percent of FBS programs would “earn” a bowl bid.

In 2014, there were 84 teams — counting UAB, which disbanded its football program prior to the start of the postseason — who were bowl-eligible with at least six wins.  That’s enough to fill the spots for 42 bowl games.  The year before that, 82 schools reached the requisite six wins; in 2012, there were only 77 bowl-eligible teams, which means that there could very well be years where not enough teams reach six wins and bowls would have to take a look at 5-7 teams to fill all of the slots.

And, if you’re anti-bowl expansion, that’s enough to make your skin crawl.  But wait, there’s more…

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Harbaugh, staff add ‘guest coach’ stops at Florida, PA, Cali camps

Jim Harbaugh AP

Last week it was reported that Jim Harbaugh was going the way of James Franklin and Brian Kelly, with he and his Michigan coaching staff appearing as guest coaches at football camps in Alabama and Texas.

It appears that Harbaugh’s summer road show won’t be limited to just those two states.  And one of the new additions may not sit very well with one of UM’s Big Ten rivals.

According to mlive.com, Harbaugh & Company are planning on “guest coaching” at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania June 7.  Lafayette is located less than three hours away from Big Ten member Penn State, so that could ruffle the feathers of Franklin and his Nittany Lion associates.

Additionally, Harbaugh will invade Pac-12 country at an undisclosed location in California (June 10) as well as one in Tampa, Florida (June 6).

Finally, the UM staff will make an appearance at a June 8 camp in Houston, Texas.  One day later, they’ll “guest coach” at a previously-announced camp in Dallas.

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Buckeyes tops in combined Final Fours/major bowls in BCS/CFP era

Urban Meyer Billy Donovan

This past weekend, the Final Four of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament was set, with Michigan State, Wisconsin, Kentucky and Duke punching their tickets to Indianapolis.  While the two Big Ten teams in that foursome bolstered their two-sport résumés, it still wasn’t enough to catch one of its conference rivals.

Since the advent of the Bowl Championship Series for the 1998 college football season, and bleeding into the College Football Playoff established for the 2014 season, Ohio State has played in 11 so-called major bowl games.  Additionally, the hoops version of the Buckeyes has qualified for three Final Fours in that span; that total of 14 BCS/CFP/New Year’s Six/Final Four appearances since the 1998-99 season is the most of any FBS program in general and Power Five conferences specifically.

(Writer’s note: Yes, I’m including the “vacated” Sugar Bowl appearance following the 2010 season.)

Behind OSU is Florida, which has four Final Fours and seven major bowls since the 1998 college football season for a total of 11.  The only other school in double figures is Oklahoma, which comes in with a total of 10 that decidedly favors the gridiron — nine on the football side of the ledger, to be exact.

After that it’s the two B1G teams mentioned in the lede, with MSU totaling nine (seven hoops, two football) and UW eight (three and five).

Speaking of the B1G, a total of six of its current members have pulled off this particular “double-double,” with the others being Michigan (one hoops, five football), Illinois (one, two) and Maryland (two, one).  And in fairness, yes, none of the latter’s came while it was a part of the Big Ten; in fact, all three came while the Terps were members of the ACC..

As far as the rest of the Power Five conferences go, the Big 12 has had five teams pull it off, followed by the ACC with three and the Pac-12 and SEC with two each.

Other than the schools already mentioned, just one other has multiple appearances in the Final Four and major bowls since 1998: Louisville.  The Cardinals have appeared in three Final Fours and two BCS bowl games.  Those appearances came while the U of L was a member of  Conference USA and the Big East.

There has also been exactly one major college that has won a national championship in both basketball and football in this time period: Florida.  And, actually, and more impressively, they won multiple titles in each, with the football Gators laying claim to the crystal following the 2006 and 2008 seasons, and the hoops Gators hoisting the trophy after the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 seasons.

Of course, the head coach of Florida for their two football championships is now the head coach at Ohio State, with Urban Meyer adding the first CFP title to his illustrious résumé in his third year with the Buckeyes.

Below is the complete list of 18 teams that have earned a spot in the Final Four and qualified for a major bowl berth since the 1998-1999 season:

Ohio State, 14 (three basketball, 11 football)
Florida, 11 (four, seven)
Oklahoma, 10 (one, nine)
Michigan State, nine (seven, two)
Wisconsin, eight (three, five)
LSU, six (one, five)
Michigan, six (one, five)
Kansas, five (four, one)
Louisville, five (three, two)
Texas, five (one, four)
UCLA, four (three, one)
West Virginia, four (one, three)
Illinois, three (one, two)
Maryland, three (two, one)
Syracuse, three (two, one)
Arizona, two (one, one)
Georgia Tech, two (one, one)
Oklahoma State, two (one, one)

For all of your college hoops needs, hit up CollegeBasketballTalk HERE or follow them on Twitter HERE.  Or do both.  You know you want to.

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Urban on Braxton’s potential violation: ‘Everything is fine. No issue’

Urban Meyer, Braxton Miller AP

It’s been nearly a week since reports surfaced that Ohio State was looking into a potential NCAA violation committed by Braxton Miller.

Since then, OSU has been mum on the issue — until now.  Sort of.

According to a tweet from Todd Porter of the Canton Repository, head coach Urban Meyer was asked about the potential for NCAA issues when it comes to the quarterback’s situation.  At least publicly, Meyer has taken the Lt. Drebin tack and stated, essentially, move on, there’s nothing to see here.

Whether Meyer is correct in his assessment remains to be seen.

As for the issue at hand, a school spokesperson last Wednesday confirmed to The Lantern, OSU’s student newspaper, that the university is looking into a potential NCAA rules violation committed by Miller.  ElevenWarriors.com wrote at the time that “Miller… had a bit of a lapse in judgement [Tuesday] night when he appeared to endorse Advocare, a weight-loss and nutrition multi-level marketing firm that some people consider a pyramid scheme.”

The apparent endorsement came in the form of a post made to Instagram, which was subsequently taken down when the mini-controversy began to grow.

Braxton Miller

Student-athletes are permitted to hold jobs and even be self-employed, which appears to be the case in Miller’s association with the Amway-like AdvoCare group.  However, as Texas A&M compliance director Brad Barnes explained to SBNation‘s Steven Godfrey in an excellent Q&A on the issue, a player’s earnings “may not include any remuneration for value or utility that the student-athlete may have for the employer because of the publicity, reputation, fame or personal following that he or she has obtained because of athletics ability.”

That will be the decision that OSU, and potentially the NCAA, has to make: whether Miller’s Instagram post constitutes using his “reputation, fame or personal following” for financial gain (whether it should be that way is another matter entirely).

Meyer doesn’t seemed concerned at all over the issue, although until the school officially reaches a decision and issues a public statement, it’s a situation that bears watching.

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Sooners indefinitely suspend RB Keith Ford

Keith Ford AP

With rumors and speculation swirling that there was some type of an issue with Keith Ford, Bob Stoops confirmed as much Monday morning.

According to Oklahoma’s Twitter account, the head coach acknowledged that Ford has been indefinitely suspended from the OU football program.  Stoops stated that the running back’s suspension is related to “academic and team rules violations.”

While true sophomore Samaje Perine is certainly the bell cow in the running game, Ford is still an important part of that aspect of the offense.

Last season, Ford’s 392 yards rushing were good for third on the team, while his five rushing touchdowns were tied for second.  The junior added 11 receptions for 140 yards and another touchdown coming out of the backfield.

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Cincy QB says racial slurs preceded punch that KOd victim

Cincinnati v Miami Getty Images

Back in late October, backup Cincinnati quarterback Jarred Evans was arrested on a misdemeanor assault charge and suspended a short time later, even as head coach Tommy Tuberville said “there’s a good chance he’s not guilty.”

While Tuberville’s player is not denying there was a punch thrown, he is saying there was something that triggered it.

Testifying in court Friday in connection to the charge, Evans alleged that the victim, 20-year-old UC student Ryan Smith, was part of a group of males who began harassing him and his girlfriend, 22-year-old Jennifer Dunlap.  According to Evans, the group, or someone in the group, was directing “n****r lover” comments at him and his girlfriend; Evans is black, his girlfriend is white.  Evans said in his testimony that he tried to ignore the epithets, but the situation ultimately escalated.

From the Cincinnati Enquirer:

Eventually, Evans responded: “I told them, ‘I will f**k all of you up if you come after me.”

Soon after, he testified, one of the men stood in front of them, blocking their path.

“He flinched at me with his hands up,” Evans testified, “and I just reacted with a punch, a jab.”

The individual who was on the receiving end of the jab was Smith, who sustained a concussion and lacerations that required stitches. Smith had previously testified that he wasn’t with the group of men who were harassing Evans and Dunlap. Oddly enough, Dunlap’s roommate, Courtney Gravett, backed up Smith’s account, testifying that the victim was not a part of the harassing group and that she tried to stop Evans from confronting them.

“For no obvious reason,” the Enquirer said Gravett testified, “Evans struck Smith, who had his head down and his hands in his pockets.”

According to the paper, closing arguments and jury deliberations are expected Monday.

Evans, incidentally, remains suspended from the football program.

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Syracuse’s Luke Arciniega granted two additional years of eligibility

Chris James, Luke Arciniega AP

It appears the NCAA was feeling particularly benevolent this past week.

On Instagram Saturday, Syracuse’s Luke Arciniega revealed that he has been granted two additional seasons of eligibility by The Association.  One of the years came from Arciniega missing all but the first four games of the 2014 season due to what was only described as a lower-body injury.  The second year is a bit murkier, although the Syracuse Post-Standard has an idea from where it came.

He finished his career at Spanish Springs (Sparks, Nev.) High School in 2009 before initially attending Nevada. He spent three semesters there, but was only on scholarship for the first year as a disagreement with the coaching staff regarding his concussion history left him on the sideline for each game that first year.

It’s possible that the second season in which Arciniega was not part of the program merited another year of eligibility by the NCAA.

Regardless of where the additional season came from, the NCAA’s decision means that he’ll be eligible to play in both the 2015 and 2016 seasons.

“College career hasn’t gone as planned with all the injuries but patience and faith [have] kept me on track,” Arciniega wrote on the social media site. “After few months of waiting, found out that I was granted 2 years of eligibility back when I was only hoping for one. Feeling blessed.”

Arciniega came to the Orange in 2013 from the JUCO ranks, playing in all 13 games that initial season.  This offseason, he’s transitioning from linebacker to defensive end.

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Fourth-most votes for Jim Harbaugh in UM student president election

Jim Harbaugh AP

Earlier this month, Nick Saban finished third in the student government’s presidential election.  A couple of weeks later, another high-profile college football coach is making political waves as a write-in candidate.

According to the Michigan Daily, the University of Michigan’s student newspaper, first-year head football coach Jim Harbaugh received 115 votes in the Central Student Government’s election for president.  That equates to 1.26 percent of the vote, which is not bad for a fledgling campaign that was, one, not launched until January of this year and, two, never actually launched to begin with.

And, for those into the comparison thing, Harbaugh’s 115 votes vastly surpassed Saban’s six; what percentage of the vote the latter received is not something that’s at my disposal.  Nor is it something that I’m interested in concretely knowing as it’ll be a lot funnier seeing the B1G/UM fans tout Harbaugh trouncing Saban in unrelated elections.

One of the best parts of Harbaugh’s vote total is the breakdown, which per the Daily is thus: 82 votes for “Jim Harbaugh;” another 18 simply for “Harbaugh;” four for the joint ticket of “Jim Harbaugh and Diag Squirrel;” and one vote each for “Jim Harbaugh and Jabrill Peppers,” “Jim Harbaugh and His Khakis” and “Jim Harbaugh and Jesus Shuttlesworth”. For a primer on the squirrel who was part of the joint ticket, click HERE; for a primer on Jesus Shuttlesworth, click… nah, don’t click anything.  Broaden your horizons as everyone should know that particular basketball Jesus.

(Writer’s note: I have no clue where the other eight unaccounted for votes came from or how they were designated on the ballot.)

UPDATED March 30 at 11:44 a.m. ET: The competitive juices obviously flowing, Jim Harbaugh took to Twitter to not only express his disappointment over the fourth-place finish but to also throw his hat in the ring for the 2016 race.

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