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Wazzu adds 24 as part of 2013 signing class

UCLA v Washington State Getty Images

(Below are the bios released by Washington State on the new members of its 2013 recruiting class.)

The following student-athletes signed Financial Aid Agreements or a National Letter of Intent and enrolled at WSU in January and are attending classes:

LYMAN FAOLIU
Defensive End
6-2 / 275
Vallejo, Calif. / Vallejo HS / College of San Mateo ‘12

FAOLIU’S JUNIOR COLLEGE CAREER
Attended College of San Mateo…as a FRESHMAN, tallied 36 tackles with 6.5 tackles-for-loss including two sacks…also intercepted one pass and forced one fumble…as a SOPHOMORE, named to the All-NorCal Conference team…recorded 46 tackles including 3.5 tackles-for-loss and two sacks…also recovered a fumble…rated three stars by Rivals.com and member of ESPN’s Top-100 Junior College players…enrolled in January and have three years to play two.

FAOLIU’S HIGH SCHOOL CAREER
Attended Vallejo High School…as a JUNIOR, earned all-league second team honors as a defensive lineman…as a SENIOR, named all-league first team as both an offensive and defensive lineman…also threw shotput and discus.

IVAN McLENNAN
Linebacker
6-3 / 220
Hawthorne, Calif. / Leuzinger HS ‘11 / El Camino College ‘12

MCLENNAN’S JUNIOR COLLEGE CAREER
Attended …as a FRESHMAN, earned All-Central Conference honors after making 77 tackles, 10.5 tackles-for-loss and three sacks…intercepted one pass and recovered three fumbles…as a SOPHOMORE earned Junior College All-American honors and First Team All-Central Conference honors after making 79 stops including 9.5 tackles-for-loss and 1.5 sacks…had one interception he returned of a touchdown…also forced a fumble and recovered one…rated three stars by Rivals.com…rated the No. 24 junior college prospect and No. 2 outside linebacker prospect by 247Sports.com.

MCLENNAN’S HIGH SCHOOL CAREER
Attended Leuzinger High School…as a SENIOR, named All-Bay League i rst team and defensive MVP of 2011 Lions All-Star game.

JACOB SEYDEL
Offensive Lineman
6-6 / 285
Riverside, Calif. / Arlington HS ’11 / Riverside City College ‘13

SEYDEL’S COLLEGE CAREER
Attended Riverside City College…full qualifier out of high school, went to junior college route…as a FRESHMAN, earned All-Central Conference second team honors…enrolled at UCLA following freshman year but came back to Riverside for the 2012 season…as a SOPHOMORE, named to All-Central Conference first team…rated two stars by Rivals.com…enrolled in January and will have three to play two.

SEYDEL’S HIGH SCHOOL CAREER
Attended Arlington High School…as a SOPHOMORE, named All-Inland Valley League honorable mention…as a JUNIOR, earned First Team All-Inland Valley League honors and helped Lions to a 10-2 record…as a SENIOR, named First Team All-Inland Valley League and helped AHS to a 9-2 record.

ROBERT LEWIS
Wide Receiver
5-10, 160
South Gate, Calif. (South East HS)

As a SOPHOMORE made 14 catches for 192 yards and two touchdowns and carried 137 times for 1,085 yards and seven scores…as a JUNIOR earned second team All-Los Angeles and first team All-Eastern League honors…rushed 142 times for 1,090 yards and seven scores…caught 14 passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns…had two punt returns for touchdowns, one kickoff return for a touchdown and also scored once on a fake punt…as a SENIOR was named the Player of the Year in the division, league and region…led South East HS to a 13-1 record and its inaugural City Section D-II Championship…also played running back, safety and returned kicks…scored 36 total touchdowns…had 203 carries for 2,023 yards and 30 touchdowns, and 20 receptions of 338 yards…as a defensive back made 59 tackles, five interceptions and blocked three kicks…named All-Area First Team by the Los Angeles Times and was All-Los Angeles City Section Division II Team…ranked the nation’s No. 10 running back prospect by Rivals.com…named No. 26 prospect in California by ESPNU…rated four stars by ESPNU rated the No. 106 overall prospect in the West Top 150 by Scout.com…rated the No. 13 wide receiver prospect in the West by FoxSportsNext.com.

B.J. SALMONSON
Offensive Lineman
6-5, 285
Everson, Wash. (Nooksack Valley HS)

As a JUNIOR named first-team Class 1A all-state as a defensive lineman and all-state honorable mention as an offensive lineman by Associated Press…named all-classii cations Whatcom County and first-team all-NWC on both lines… finished season with 78 tackles (30 solo) including 16.5 for loss and 9.5 sacks…as a SENIOR named to 2011 Ron Siegel Washington State Preseason Senior All-State Team…named i rst-team all-state on offensive line by Associated Press… named to Seattle Times Red Chip list.

The following signees plan to enroll at WSU in August, 2013:

DAQUAWN BROWN
Cornerback
6-0 / 175
Los Angeles, Calif. / Dorsey HS ‘13

HIGH SCHOOL
Attended Dorsey High School….as a JUNIOR, earned all-league second team honors after making 52 tackles, 30 solo, and three interceptions…as a SENIOR, named All-City Section i rst team, All-Coliseum League first team and All-Region first team by the Los Angeles Times …made 55 tackles, five interceptions and broke up 10 passes…returned two kickoffs for touchdowns…selected to play in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl…named Most Outstanding Defensive Player at the Cal-State All-America game…named to the West Top 150 by Scout.com…rated three stars by ESPN.com, Rivals.com and Scout.com…ranked the No. 33 cornerback in the country and No. 55 overall prospect in California by Rivals.com…high school teammates with current Cougar linebacker Jeremiah Allison.

TYLER BRUGGMAN
Quarterback
6-2 / 202
Phoenix, Ariz. / Brophy College Prep ‘13

HIGH SCHOOL
Attended Brophy College Prepatory and played for coach Scooter Molander…as a SOPHOMORE, earned All-Region honorable mention after passing for 1,304 yards, 11 touchdowns and six interceptions…as a JUNIOR, helped Brophy Prep to an 11-1 record…named Phoenix Metro Player of the Year by Arizona Republic after completing 156-of-259 passes for 2,497 yards and 37 touchdowns and two interceptions…as a SENIOR, guided Brophy Prep to an 11-3 record and earned all classification All-State second team by the Arizona Football Coaches Association…also named All-State Division I honorable mention by Arizona Republic, Division I Section III Offensive Player of the Year …completed 177-of-323 (.548) passes for 2,803 yards with 33 touchdowns and eight interceptions…also rushed for four touchdowns…threw for 300+ yards three times and tossed 3+ touchdowns seven times…threw for 368 yards and six touchdowns against Pinnacle High School….named to Academic All-State first team…rated four stars by ESPN.com, Rivals.com and Scout.com… one of 12 quarterbacks named to the Western 100 by the Tacoma News Tribune…ranked the No. 49 overall prospect in the West Top 150 by Scout.com…ranked the No. 18 quarterback prospect in the country by Rivals.com…ranked the No. 2 overall prospect and top quarterback prospect in Arizona by ESPN.com.

RIVER CRACRAFT
Wide Receiver
6-2 / 205
Trabuco Canyon, Calif. / Santa Margarita HS ‘13

HIGH SCHOOL
Attended Santa Margarita High School…as a JUNIOR, earned All-State, All-CIF and All-Trinity League honors after catching 46 passes for 654 yards and six touchdowns…helped SMHS to a CIF State D1 title…as a SENIOR, named All-County by the Orange County Register and Trinity League Offensive Player of the Year after recording 51 receptions for 935 yards and 10 touchdowns…also intercepted one pass and recorded i ve pass breakups…selected to play in South Bay BMW West Coast Bowl, caught two passes for 32 yards including a 17-yard touchdown…rated three stars by ESPN.com, Rivals.com and Scout.com…ranked the No. 91 overall prospect out of California by ESPN.com…high school teammates with fellow Cougar signee Riley Sorenson.

ISAAC DOTSON
ATHLETE
6-3 / 210
Bellevue, Wash. / Newport HS ‘13

HIGH SCHOOL
Attended Newport High School…as a JUNIOR, rushed for 741 yards and 12 touchdowns…also passed for 1,073 yards and 10 touchdowns…also named All-League in basketball…as a SENIOR, earned All-Area honors by the Seattle Times and allleague i rst team after rushing for 1,047 yards and 17 touchdowns…also threw for 765 yards and 11 touchdowns…named a red chip prospect, one of Washington’s top 100 prospects by the Seattle Times…rated three stars by Rivals.com and ESPN.com…ranked the No. 16 prospect in Washington by ESPN.com…father, Michael, wrestled for the Cougars 1983-86, was a three-time NCAA and Pac-10 qualii er and earned All-American honors as junior.

DANIEL EKUALE
Defensive Line
6-4 / 290
Pago Pago, American Samoa / Nuuuli Technical HS ‘12

HIGH SCHOOL
Attended Nuuuli Techincal High School, graduated in 2012…rated three stars by Scout.com…ranked the No. 92 defensive tackle prospect by Scout.com and America Samoa’s top overall prospect by 247sports.com.

CARLOS FREEMAN
Offensive Line
6-3 / 290
Oklahoma City, Okla. / Midwest City HS ‘13

HIGH SCHOOL
Attended Midwest City High School…as a SENIOR, helped MCHS to an 11-1 record and earned All-State accolades from the Oklahoma Coaches Association…named District 3 Offensive Lineman of the Year…also ranked state’s No. 1 heavyweight wrestler… allowed just one sack in 23 career starts…named to The Oklahoman’s Super 30 prospect list for the state of Oklahoma…rated three stars by ESPN.com, Rivals.com and Scout.com…ranked the No. 25 center prospect in the country by Scout.com and the No. 11 overall prospect out of Oklahoma by ESPN.com…carries a 4.0 GPA.

DARIUS LEMORA
Safety
6-0 / 185
Port Arthur, Texas / Memorial HS ‘13

HIGH SCHOOL
Attended Memorial High School…as a JUNIOR, earned 5A All-State honorable mention by the Associated Press…as a SENIOR, earned All-District second team after making 54 tackles, two sacks and two pass breakups…earned Academic All-District first team…rated two stars by ESPN.com, Rivals.com and Scout.com…named the No. 96 safety prospect in the country by ESPN.com.

PAULO LEPUA
Defensive Line
6-3 / 265
Habor City, Calif. / Narbonne HS ‘13

HIGH SCHOOL
Attended Narbonne High School…as a JUNIOR, tallied 14 sacks…as a SENIOR, named Los Angeles City Lineman of the Year, All-City Section first team and All-Area by the Los Angeles Times and South Bay Daily Breeze Defensive Player of the Year after recording 26 sacks…All-State first team by calhisports.com…selected to play in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl, made three tackles including one sack… ranked the No. 64 overall prospect in the West Top 150 by Scout.com… one of 11 defensive linemen named to the Western 100 by the Tacoma News Tribune…rated three starts by ESPN.com, Rivals.com and Scout.com…rated the No. 41 defensive tackle in the country by Scout.com.

COLE MADISON
Tight End
6-6 / 270
Burien, Wash. / Kennedy HS ‘13

HIGH SCHOOL
Attended Kennedy High School…as a SOPHOMORE, earned First Team All-Seamount League at defensive tackle and offensive tackle…as a JUNIOR, named First Team All-Seamount League as a tight end and defensive end and Seamount League Offensive Lineman of the Year…tallied 15 receptions for 265 yards along with 37 tackles and two sacks…invited to Army Bowl Junior Class Combine…as a SENIOR, First Team 3A All-State by the Associated Press…named Defensive Interior Player of the Year and First Team All-Seamount League as a tight end and as a defensive lineman…also earned all-league honors in basketball three times…named to the West Top 150 by Scout.com…ranked the No. 9 guard prospect in the West by Scout.com…rated three stars by ESPN.com and Scout.com…ranked the No. 42 guard in the country by Scout.com and the No. 14 overall prospect in Washington by ESPN.com.

VINCE MAYLE
Wide Receiver
6-3 / 220
Natomas, Calif. / Inderkum HS / Sierra College ‘13

HIGH SCHOOL
Attended Inderkum High School…as a SENIOR, rushed for 661 yards and caught 11 passes for 299 yards…also made a team-best 12 sacks.

JUNIOR COLLEGE
Played basketball for Shasta Community College in 2009-10…attended Sierra College to play football in 2012……as a SOPHOMORE in 2012, named to the All-America i rst team by the California Community College Association, All-California and Valley Conference Offensive MVP after leading all California Junior Colleges with 16 touchdown catches…tallied 61 receptions for 984 yards…rated four stars and a top-5 junior college WR prospect by ESPN.com.

MATT MEYER
Offensive Line
6-6 / 290
Lynden, Wash. / Lynden HS ‘13

HIGH SCHOOL
Attended Lynden High School…as a JUNIOR, earned All-Northwest Conference second team…helped football and basketball teams to 2A State Championships and the baseball team to the championship game……also named All-NWAC first team in basketball and baseball…earned all-league second teams honors in football and all-league first team in basketball and baseball…as a SENIOR, earned all-league honors at both offensive line and defensive end and helped LHS to its second straight2A State Championship…named All-State offensive lineman by the Seattle Times and the Associated Press…earned All-State honors at defensive end by the Tacoma News Tribune…named a red chip prospect by the Seattle Times…rated three stars by ESPN.com, Rivals.com and Scout.com.

JAMAL MORROW
Running Back
5-8 / 180
Menifee, Calif. / Heritage HS ‘13

HIGH SCHOOL
Attended Heritage High School…as a SOPHOMORE, rushed for 731 yards and eight touchdowns…as a JUNIOR, rushed 207 times for a school-record 1,777 yards and 21 touchdowns…also caught 15 passes for 139 yards…as a SENIOR, named to All-CIF Central Division first team, All-Valley Offensive Player of the Year, All-Area by the Press Enterprise and Sunbelt League Player of the Year after rushing for a school-record 2,092 yards and 15 touchdowns…reached the 200-yard mark six times…also caught two touchdown passes…averaged 9.96 yards-per-carry and helped HHS to the CIF Southern Section semifinals…also made 26 tackles, two interceptions and forced two fumbles…rated three stars by ESPN.com, Rivals.com and Scout.com…ranked the No. 84 running back prospect in the country by Scout.com.

CODY O’CONNELL
Offensive Line
6-8 / 350
Wenatchee, Wash. / Wenatchee HS ‘13

HIGH SCHOOL
Attended Wenatchee High School…as a JUNIOR, named All-Big Nine second team…named Offensive Line MVP as the NW Elite Football Camp in May, 2012…as a SENIOR, earned all-classifications All-State honors by the Seattle Times and Tacoma News Tribune despite missing most of season with knee injury…also named 4A All-State by the Associated Press and Big Nine Lineman of the Year… named a red chip prospect, one of Washington’s top 20 prospects by the Seattle Times…rated three stars by ESPN.com and Rivals.com…rated the No. 75 offensive tackle prospect in the country and No. 10 overall prospect in Washington by ESPN.com… honorable mention Northwest Nugget by the Tacoma News Tribune.

PEYTON PELLUER
Linebacker
6-2 / 225
Sammamish, Wash. / Skyline HS ‘13

HIGH SCHOOL
Attended Skyline High School…as a SOPHOMORE, earned 4A All-State honors by the Associated Press after making 176 total tackles including 110 solo…as a JUNIOR, helped SHS to a state championship and named 4A All-State by the Associate Press after making 153 total tackles including 122 solo…as a SENIOR, helped SHS repeat as state champions…was named First Team All-State by the Seattle Times and Tacoma News Tribune and 4A All-State by the ¬Associated Press after making 55 tackles including 40 solo, two sacks and one interception…missed four games due to an injury…selected to play in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl, led the West team with six tackles, including three solo…named a red chip prospect, one of Washington’s top 20 prospects by the Seattle Times…rated four stars ESPN.com and three stars by Rivals.com..ranked the No. 25 middle linebacker prospect in the country and the No. 5 overall prospect in Washington by ESPN.com…one of 14 linebackers named to the Western 100 by the Tacoma News Tribune…named an honorable mention Northwest Nugget by the Tacoma News Tribune…father, Scott, started at linebacker for the Cougars 1977-80 and played five seasons in NFL for the New Orleans Saints…grandfather, John, played end for WSU 1953-55 and his great grandfather, Carl Gustafson, played flanker for the Cougars from 1925-27 and was given WSU’s Fred Bohler Award for inspiration…uncle, Steve, played quarterback at Washington and later played eight years in the NFL, five for the Dallas Cowboys and three for the Kansas City Chiefs.

RILEY SORENSON
Offensive Lineman
6-5 / 320
Santa Margarita, Calif. / Santa Margarita HS ‘13

HIGH SCHOOL
Attended Santa Margarita High School…three-year starter at SMSH…as a SOPHOMORE, named All-State SuperSoph Team by GoldenStatePrep.com…as a JUNIOR, named All-Trinity League first team and helped SMHS to a California Division I State Championship…as a SENIOR, named All-Trinity League first team…rated three stars by ESPN.com. Rivals.com and Scout.com…ranked the No. 67 offensive line prospect in the country by Scout.com…high school teammates with fellow Cougar signee River Cracraft.

GERALD STERLING
Defensive Line
6-4 / 275
Aliceville, Ala. / Aliceville HS ‘13

HIGH SCHOOL
Attended Aliceville High School…as a JUNIOR, recorded 15 sacks and also caught two touchdowns as a tight end…as a SENIOR, tallied 15 sacks, forced 10 fumbles, recovered four fumbles and blocked one field goal…also rushed for five touchdowns rated three stars by ESPN.com, Rivals.com and Scout.com…ranked the No. 79 defensive tackle prospect in the country and No. 33 overall prospect out of Alabama by ESPN.com.

EMMITT SU’A-KALIO
Defensive Line
6-4 / 250
Pago Pago, American Samoa / Kanana Fou HS ‘13

HIGH SCHOOL
Attended Kanana Fou High School…rated two stars by Scout.com…chose WSU over Utah, Wisconsin and Colorado.

CHARLESTON WHITE
Defensive Back
6-1 / 170
Amarillo, Texas / Palo Duro HS ‘13

HIGH SCHOOL
Attended Palo Duro High School…as a JUNIOR, had 46 receptions for 759 yards and six touchdowns…as a SENIOR, earned 4A All-District 3 i rst team honors as a wide receiver and a defensive back after making 50 tackles, six pass breakups, two interceptions and catching 26 passes for 557 yards and six scores…rated three starts by ESPN.com and two stars by Scout.com…rated the No. 209 wide receiver prospect in the country by ESPN.com.

GERARD WICKS
Running Back
5-10 / 195
Carson, Calif. / Long Beach Poly HS ‘13

HIGH SCHOOL
Attended Long Beach Poly High School…as a JUNIOR, rushed for 772 yards and 11 touchdowns…averaged 8.0 yards-percarry…as a SENIOR, named Pac-5 Division Offensive Player of the Year and All-CIF Pac-5 Division i rst team…also named to All-Area Team by Long Beach Telegram after rushing 156 times for 1,596 yards and 20 touchdowns…also named the Division 1 All-State team by MaxPreps…selected to play in South Bay BMW West Coast Bowl, rushed 10 times for 52 yards…named to the West Top 150 by Scout.com…one of 10 running backs named to the Western 100 by the Tacoma News Tribune…rated three stars by ESPN.com, Rivals.com and Scout.com…ranked the No. 51 running back in the country and the No. 77 overall prospect in California by Rivals.com

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Texas LB calls Baylor ‘trash,’ says ‘they still suck to me’

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Other than Tyrone Swoopes‘ struggles, there wasn’t a whole heck of a lot of news coming out of Charlie Strong’s first spring game at Texas.

Well, that and a Longhorn giving a conference rival some serious bulletin board material.

Following the spring game, Steve Edmond was one of several UT players to make an appearance in front of the media.  When asked about how Strong can improve the Longhorns’ fortunes from the last couple of years, the linebacker decided to go off on a tangent and aim some rather sharp words directly at the reigning Big 12 champs, Baylor.

“We could have won the conference. Even though I didn’t get a chance to play in the Baylor game, I really feel like we should have beat Baylor. I really don’t like Baylor. I still think they’re trash. …

“I’m mad as I can be. I knew we were a better team than they were. And then … Baylor gets the win and acts like they had never won before. Even in high school, you know how to react when you win a game. It’s not like you never won a game.

“I’m like, ‘They won it, so what?’ They still suck to me.”

Thanks to Oklahoma State’s upset loss to Oklahoma earlier in the day, the Texas-Baylor game Dec. 7 turned into a de facto Big 12 championship game. After playing to a 3-3 tie through the first two quarters of play, the Bears outscored the Longhorns 27-7 the rest of the way to claim the conference title and its first-ever spot in a BCS bowl.

In fact, Baylor has come out on top of Texas in three of the last four meetings, with the only loss in that span coming by six points in Austin in 2012. Perhaps that’s why Edmonds, who missed last year’s loss due to a lacerated liver, reiterated his stance with an “I don’t like Baylor” to conclude his remarks.

Regardless, current and former members of the Baylor football program had a chuckle at Edmond’s bombast.

Oh, and for those wondering, Baylor and Texas will next meet again Oct. 4 in Austin.  Go ahead and grab yourselves some popcorn now as that one’s going to be some fun.

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Potential secondary starter for UK out up to four months with sports hernia

Alabama v Kentucky Getty Images

The good news is a potential starter for Kentucky on the defensive side of the ball will be laid up for quite a bit of time.  The good news?  It shouldn’t impact the player’s availability for the start of the upcoming season.

According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, cornerback Nate Willis will be sidelined for the next 3-4 months after undergoing surgery in the near future for a sports hernia.  Such a timeline would have Willis out of action no longer than the middle of August, which means the defensive back could be sidelined for the beginning of the Wildcats’ second summer camp under head coach Mark Stoops.

“It’s always hard when you have an injury and you’ve got to be out, because you miss all those reps,” defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot said according to the Herald-Leader. “That frustration sets in, but you’ve always got to look at things on a positive note. He knows that he’ll be back in time for the season, so he just has got to get the mental reps until then, and then when he comes back, he’s just got to be clicking on all cylinders.”

Willis, who transferred to UK from the JUCO ranks, started seven of the first nine games last year before suffering a season-ending knee injury.  Despite the missed playing time, Willis still led the team with five pass breakups.

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Tide tops in spring game attendance despite lowest turnout of Saban era

Alabama Spring Game Getty Images

Only at football-mad Alabama could being tops at something nationally also, at the same time, result in a low-water mark for the current era.

Such was the case Saturday afternoon as a total of 73,506 fans took in their Crimson Tide’s annual A-Day spring game.  That total topped the previous 2014 high-water mark of just over 72,000 for Penn State’s first spring game under James Franklin last weekend.

It also bested Iron Bowl rival Auburn, coming off an appearance in the BCS title game, and its 70,465 fans this same day, although weather in that part of the state may have played a role in those numbers.

It’s highly (highly) (highly) likely the Tide’s total from this Saturday will finish out the spring campaign as the most at the FBS level in 2014; of the remaining spring games, only those at Michigan State and UCLA could even remotely hope to surpass that total — and even that’s simply wishful thinking on anyone’s part.

Despite adding a “Spring Game Attendance High” notch in the belt to go along with yet another recruiting title this year, the turnout for Saturday’s A-Day game was the lowest since Nick Saban took over in Tuscaloosa.  In fact, it was the lowest since the 78,200 showed up during Saban’s second spring.

Of course, there’s not really any reason (at all) to fret over spring attendance as the Tide has blown past the 90,000-mark three times –2011 (92,310), 2007 (92,138), 2010 (91,312) — and the 80,000-mark once — 2009 (84,050) — during Saban’s eight years heading the football program.

More to the point, the eight most-attended spring games in the school’s history have come under Saban; prior to Saban’s arrival, the record amount of fans who took in a spring game was 51,117 (1988), or more than 20,000 fewer than the low-tide attendance Saturday.

Yeah, again, no need to fret for those who were even remotely inclined.

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Confident Nick Marshall dazzles as Auburn exits spring

Nick Marhall, Montravius Adams AP

It’s impossible for a player to win a Heisman based on his spring-game performance, just as, barring injury, it’s impossible for someone to lose it.  What a solid-to-spectacular performance — especially when it’s televised — can do is show the level of progress made from the previous year… and put that player on the minds of those with a stiff-armed lean during the dog days of the offseason.

Based on that assumption — howdy, Coach Saban! — you can very well expect rave reviews and upbeat predictions for the upcoming season to be rolling in for Nick Marshall.

During Auburn’s spring game Saturday, the Tigers quarterback led the first-team offense on seven possessions… and put points on the board at the end of every single one of them.  Included in that very efficient and proficient performance were four touchdown passes from Marshall to three different receivers.  Additionally, all of that scoring came in the first half as Marshall didn’t see the field for the last two quarters.

One of the few negatives to take out of Marshall’s day was the fact that he completed 59 percent of his passes; offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee has set a standard of a 65-percent completion percentage for Marshall.  Other than that, though, Marshall’s head coach came out of the day pleased with the triggerman of his offense as he grows both as a quarterback and as a leader.

“He’s more of a leader by example,” Gus Malzahn said of the second-year starter. “He doesn’t say a lot, but when he does, his teammates listen. …

“Our emphasis was obviously throwing the football. It was good to see our guys throwing and catching the ball in front of a crowd.”

For his part, Marshall had ominous words for what opposing defenses can expect from an offense that was run-centric in 2013 but could be adding a potent dimension for 2014.

We’re going to be a scary sight this year,” the quarterback said. “We can get real scary. We know we can run the ball. We’re just focusing on throwing the ball down the field. That’s the emphasis this year.”

In Marshall’s first year as a starter at this level of football, the Georgia transfer, by way of the JUCO ranks, played a significant role in leading the Tigers on a magical ride to the BCS title game following the 2013 season.  In two of AU’s biggest games of the season — the Kick-Six win over Alabama in the regular-season finale and the SEC championship game win over Missouri that propelled AU to its date with Florida State — Marshall completed just over 74 percent of his passes for three touchdowns and, most importantly, zero interceptions.  Not only that, but Marshall rushed for 200 yards and a pair of scores for good measure in those huge wins.

Of course, Marshall then proceeded to put up arguably his worst performance of the year against the best defense he faced, barely completing 50 percent of his passes and throwing a pick in what was still just a three-point loss to the Seminoles.

Coming off that inaugural starting campaign, AU coaches have done nothing but privately rave about the work Marshall has put in to improve himself this offseason.

Yes, it’s the spring and, yes, the spring game specifically is nothing more than a glorified scrimmage with fans in attendance.  Marshall has shown the desire to improve as a player, and those results showed themselves this afternoon.  How that all plays out when the real footballs start flying in a handful of months, though, remains to be seen.

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Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon takes home third straight A-Day MVP

TJ Yeldon, Landon Collins

Back in the day, New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner derisively referred to his high-priced slugger, Dave Winfield, as “Mr. May.”  With no Steinbrenner-like derisiveness intended, T.J. Yeldon has taken the “Mr. April” mantle and literally run away with it.

As Alabama concluded Spring Practice 2014 Saturday with its annual A-Day spring game, Yeldon was named as the game’s MVP despite his Crimson team falling to the White squad 17-13.  Remarkably, it’s the third time in the running back’s three years with the Tide that he’s claimed those spring honors.

The true junior led all Tide backs with 95 yards on just 11 carries.  Yeldon had one of the three touchdowns the Tide offense was able to muster on the day as well, the other being touchdown passes from Blake Sims, the frontrunner (for now) to replace AJ McCarron, and Cooper Bateman.

Speaking of the quarterback situation, nothing was decided on that front — that battle will continue in earnest when Florida State transfer Jacob Coker gets to town — although there could’ve been a bit of concern this afternoon for a coach as averse to turnovers as Nick Saban.  All told, five Tide quarterbacks combined to toss four interceptions on the day.

Despite the turnovers and all-around lack of scoring in what was the first real public debut of new coordinator Lane Kiffin‘s offense, Saban, as expected, didn’t seem the least bit concerned.  Well, kind of.

After beginning his postgame remarks by stating that, from a coach’s perspective, “[n]obody ever has a bad spring game,” Saban did allow that the offense wasn’t quite where he thought it should be.

“I didn’t think the consistency on offense was what I would’ve liked for it to have been today,” Saban said in quotes distributed by the team. “We did make some plays, but there wasn’t the consistency that you would like to see in the offense.”

Seeing as the Tide is transitioning not only from a three-year starter at the quarterback position to a new coordinator, it’s not surprising that the consistency isn’t where Saban would like it.  Getting that consistency will be tested even further when Coker, who some or even most observers expect to be under center when the Tide opens the 2014 season, enters the fray when summer camp opens in early August and further dilutes the reps.

Regardless of how it ultimately turns out, it’s going to be absolutely fascinating to watch how the Tide gets to Saban’s optimum level of consistency at the position and moves on post-McCarron.

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Key recruiter leaving the Hawkeyes

Eric Johnson

A week ahead of its spring game, the Iowa football program has taken a rather significant hit on the recruiting front.

The Hawkeyes announced in a press release Saturday that assistant coach Eric Johnson has decided to leave Kirk Ferentz‘s coaching staff.  The state reason is that Johnson wants to pursue an unnamed career opportunity outside of football.

Johnson was a part of Ferentz’s first Iowa staff as a grad assistant.

“I know Eric and his family have given this decision great attention and thought, and we all wish them the best as they move forward,” said Ferentz in a statement.  “Eric has been a valued staff member since he joined our original staff in 1999 and has made many contributions to our program and team as a coach, recruiter and mentor.  I am very appreciative of Eric’s efforts and his commitment to Iowa and wish him all the best in the future.”

Johnson has served as assistant defensive line coach (2012-13), tight ends coach (2010-11; 2003-07) and assistant linebackers coach (2008-2009) during his decade-plus career with the Hawkeyes, but it was on the recruiting trail where Johnson made his biggest mark and where his departure will hit the program the hardest.  From the release on Johnson, who had spent the past 10 seasons as the Hawkeyes’ recruiting coordinator:

Johnson has been heavily involved in Iowa’s recruiting efforts since joining the Hawkeye staff. Iowa’s 2006 recruiting class was ranked extremely high by all the recruiting experts. Iowa’s 2005 recruiting class was ranked among the top 10 in the nation by all of the top recruiting services, while Iowa’s classes in 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2009 were all ranked in the nation’s top 25. Sporting News ranked Iowa’s 2011 recruiting class second best among Big Ten programs and the 2012 class was ranked third among league programs.

Johnson ranked as one of the top ten recruiting coordinators in the country by Tom Lemming in 2001 and was named one of the Top Ten Recruiters in the Big Ten Conference by Rivals.com in 2007.

“My family and I can’t thank everyone enough for our 15 years at Iowa,” said Johnson. “It has been a great time in our lives. From a family standpoint, we had a chance to raise our children in a tremendous community. From a professional standpoint, I have worked for the best person in college football.

“Coach Ferentz is the best teacher, leader, and person I have ever been around; he truly embodies the Iowa way. I have also been mentored by three great coordinators in Norm Parker, Phil Parker and Ken O’Keefe, and had the opportunity to work with one of the best people anyone can ask for in Reese Morgan.”

(Photo credit: Iowa athletics)

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Ark. St.’s ‘Coach for a Day’ claims spring game win

Nick Bhardwaj

How much does a win at the FBS level cost?  For Nick Bhardwaj, it was $11,700 of well-spent funds.

Earlier this month, Arkansas State and head coach Blake Anderson announced that it was auctioning off the opportunity for a fan to coach one of the Red Wolves’ squads in the annual spring game.  The winning bid went to Bhardwaj, who is the 25-year-old CEO of a California-based tech company.

Friday, Bhardwaj put his football mettle to the test… and came out on the winning side as his Black team dropped a 48-17 decision on the Red squad.  Bhardwaj, a release from the school stated, “gave the team’s pregame and halftime speeches and communicated with the coaching staff on headset throughout the entire game while making play-calling and fourth-down decisions.”  That decision-making came after an extensive film session with offensive coordinator Walt Bell.

Also as part of the promotion, Bhardwaj received a Powerade bath (pictured)following the lopsided win.

The truth was I was just a fan of the sport, a fan of the game, and just happy to be a part of this opportunity,” Bhardwaj, who had never been to the state of Arkansas prior to the spring game, said during a press conference. Even a day after the game, Bhardwaj was still basking in the glow of the unique experience while Anderson was praising the man with the unblemished coaching mark.

In addition to Bhardwaj, ASU had another surprise up its spring sleeves as beloved former Red Wolves head coach Larry Lacewell was on the Red team sidelines as coach.  Lacewell stills holds the school record for career wins.

“[Athletic director] Terry [Mohajir] kept this a big secret that I was going to coach because he didn’t want the crowd to get so big, or he was scared that when everybody finds out I’m going to coach again that nobody’s coming,” Lacewell said.

Well done and very classy on all fronts by Anderson and the football program.

(Photo credit: Arkansas State athletics)

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VIDEO: Navy football takes near-annual trip to White House

Navy White House 1

Navy’s trips to the White House in celebration of its gridiron success are becoming such a yearly tradition that we wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if the Midshipmen had their own monogrammed towels in one of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue’s myriad bathrooms.

Friday afternoon, Navy players and coaches were honored yet again by President Barack Obama at the White House for claiming the 2013 edition of the Commander-In-Chief trophy.  It’s the ninth time in the past 11 years the Midshipmen have staked its claim to the prestigious trophy.

Navy defeated both Air Force (28-10, after it looked like the game wouldn’t be played) and bitter rival (sometimes) Army (34-7) to earn its 14th CIC honor since the trophy was first handed out in 1972.  Despite the recent run of football success, the Midshipmen still trail the Falcons’ 18 trophies.  The Black Knights, the inaugural winner of the award, are well behind both service academies with six, with the last coming in 1996.

The trophy has been shared on four different occasions: 1974, 1976, 1980 and 1986.

Navy White House 2“When you sign up to play at Annapolis, you know you’re in for a different experience,” the President said. “So, yes, it’s about learning to be a good football player, but more importantly, it’s about learning how to be a good leader and to be a good man. And that’s what these outstanding Americans are and will continue to be.”

The President also acknowledged the tragedy with which the program has been forced to deal.  Last month, running back Will McKamey passed away after falling unconscious and into a coma during a spring practice session.

“I understand your motto for this season is ‘I Will’ in memory of him. And that’s what camaraderie is all about: Honor. Courage. Commitment. That’s what makes the Midshipmen so strong,” the POTUS said. “And that’s why I’m so proud to serve as your commander-in-chief. Not primarily because of what you’ve done on the football field, but because of your dedication to each other and your service to America.”

 

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Nick Saban ‘shocked’ at Manning-Gase imbroglio

Nick Saban Peyton Manning AP

In the course of a post yesterday on Peyton Manning and Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase having their brains picked on the no-huddle offense by Nick Saban during a recent visit to Tuscaloosa, we mentioned in passing, as noted by our redheaded stepmothers over at PFT, that the confab may have been in violation of the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement.

For its part, the NFL is looking into whether or not Manning and Gase violated the portion of the CBA which prohibits coaches from meeting with players prior to the start of their team’s offseason workouts (the Broncos began their offseason program Monday, after the visits took place).  For his part, Saban is stunned that an NFL issue may have arisen out of what’s sounding like an impromptu get-together, ensuring that he stressed that Manning and his coach were never in the same room discussing football during their overlapping time in Tuscaloosa.

From an interview Saban did with the Denver Post after the situation blew up:

“I’m like shocked that anybody would think someone did anything wrong on their part,” Saban said by phone Friday night. “I never met with Adam. When I talked with him I talked about his family. Peyton, we talked an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon. Adam had been talking to our assistant coaches. I never talked with Adam about football.”

Asked specifically if Manning and Gase were in a meeting at the same time, Saban said, “Only to say hello and b.s. with each other. Adam came Monday and talked to the offensive coaches and some of the defensive coaches. I know he talked with Kirby (Smart, the Crimson Tide’s defensive coordinator). He and I just visited casually. We didn’t talk football. Adam was with me through two different college programs (at Michigan State and LSU).”

Saban firmly stated that Manning and Gase did not arrive together; in fact, the coach had been then there “for a couple days” prior to the player’s arrival.

Because of Manning’s proficiency in operating the no-huddle offense, the Alabama head coach and Denver Broncos quarterbacks spent a couple of hours one day — without Gase present — going over what defenses are problematic for that type of offense.

“And Peyton,” Saban said, “we were just talking ball. We talked about particular defenses that give us trouble with the no-huddle. Things like that.”

Given how the situation exploded, Saban took the opportunity to intimate an “ass out of you and me” joke when explaining the cause of the explosion.

“I was asked about their visit at my coach’s clinic press conference but I never said we sat down together. Because we didn’t. That’s what happens when people assume.”

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Hoke: Shane Morris narrowed gap on Devin Gardner after ‘good spring’

Shane Morris, Devin Gardner AP

While Devin Gardner said “it was amazing how much better (the quarterback competition this spring) made me,” the incumbent at the position –despite his pre-spring proclamation — exited the 15 practice sessions without a firm grasp on the starting job.

How tenuous Gardner’s hold on the job was further demonstrated by head coach Brady Hoke, who stated Friday “he might” when asked if Gardner would be his starter when the 2014 regular season commenced.  Gardner and Shane Morris have been engaged in what appeared to be a  neck-and-neck battle to lead the Wolverines offense throughout the spring.

When asked about Morris, Hoke was damn-near effusive, relative to his tepid comments Morris’ competition, in his praise.

“I thought Shane had a good spring,” Hoke said according to mlive.com. “Was it flawless? No. But I think he learned more about the urgency that he has to have to be the quarterback at Michigan.

“I thought he had a good spring.”

Gardner started every game last season before a foot injury he suffered in the loss to Ohio State in the regular-season finale sidelined him for the Wolverines’ bowl game.  In his first career start, and as a true freshman no less, Morris completed 24-of-38 passes for 196 yards and interception as UM dropped a 31-14 decision to Kansas State in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.

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UGA expects Keith Marshall, pair of WRs back for summer workouts

Tennessee v Georgia

A high-profile running back and a pair of experienced and productive wide receivers missed all or part of Georgia’s spring practice due to injury and/or rehabilitation from injury, but that shouldn’t be the case when the Bulldogs takes its next big step in preparing for the upcoming season.

According to head coach Mark Richt, running back Keith Marshall (pictured) and wide receivers Malcolm Mitchell and Justin Scott-Wesley are expected to be healthy enough to participate in the football program’s “voluntary” summer workouts.  Those structured workouts will commence in June.

All three of the players are coming off of torn ACLs suffered last season that forced them to miss various amounts of games.  Marshall and Scott-Wesley both incurred their knee injuries during the Tennessee game last October, while Mitchell’s knee was injured in late August.

Mitchell had been participating — in non-contact fashion — in UGA’s spring practice earlier this year before another leg injury knocked him out for the remainder of the spring.

In addition to those three, Richt said he expects tight end Jay Rome, who suffered a foot injury last year and underwent surgery in the offseason, to be at full speed for the workouts as well.

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Washington latest to unveil new uniforms for 2014

View of Mascot

Another day, another FBS program has itself some new football duds.  Hooray?

This time around, it’s the Washington football players who will wear new uniform combinations for the 2014 season.  From the release:

The new stadium and athletic facilities are filled with Husky references, echoing the team’s ethos that “no dog runs alone.” A graphic symbol and unique coded sequence embroidered into the back inside neckline of the jerseys reinforces this mantra. Representing the quickest/most agile sled dog formation, the focal point of this special graphic is the area representing the “team dogs,” who are the heart and soul of the squad. The symbol is formed by lines that, when turned sideways, make an 11 to honor the 11 players on the field. Like a sled team, the Husky football team competes as a pack through innovative formations on field.

Our players can’t wait to take the field in these new uniforms. The design tells the story of our program and provides modern innovations in materials and design while embracing the rich tradition that has made Husky football so special,” said first-year UW head coach Chris Petersen in a statement.

Below are the three uniform combinations the Huskies will wear this season as well as a video tied to the release:

Washington Uniforms

 

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BYU lands Nebraska DB transfer Harvey Jackson

Monte Ball Harvey Jackson AP

The BYU Cougars are on the receiving end of some B1G transfer help in the secondary for the 2014 season.

The football program announced in a release Thursday that defensive back Harvey Jackson has signed with the football program and will continue his playing career with the Cougars.  As Jackson has already received his degree from NU, he will be eligible to play immediately in 2014.

“Harvey is an experienced player and a mature individual with excellent character,” head coach Bronco Mendenhall said in a statement. “He will join our program after graduating in construction management with a business minor. He is a great fit for BYU on and off the field.”

Jackson played in 35 games the past three years, starting four of those contests.  He started the first three games of the 2013 season before losing that job.

In 2011, Jackson, a three-star member of the Cornhuskers’ 2010 recruiting class, was an Academic All-Big Ten selection

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Saban picks Peyton Manning’s no-huddle brain during visit

Nick Saban Peyton Manning AP

In mid-December last year, Lane Kiffin was brought to Alabama by head coach Nick Saban to help evaluate the Tide’s offense ahead of its BCS bowl matchup with Oklahoma.  Less than a month later, the former USC head coach was hired as Saban’s offensive coordinator.

While another hire likely won’t come out of another high-profile visit, Saban has again decided to pick the brain of some offensive-centric football types in his never-ending quest to improve his football program.

Saban confirmed to the media that current Denver Broncos and former Tennessee Vols quarterback Peyton Manning, along with Manning’s coordinator Adam Gase, visited Tuscaloosa for two days last week for a meeting that may have violated the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement.  Saban said Manning has “been a friend and very well-respected for a long time,” and the visit came about as the player and coach were taking a football tour to select cities across the country.

Given the proliferation of no-huddle, spread offenses in the college game — and the Tide’s notorious struggles in stopping them — and Manning’s expertise in running such a system, Saban jumped at the opportunity to pick the brain of one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game.

“Since they’re a no-huddle team, we had a lot of questions for them, in terms of what gives them problems and what defensive teams do that give them problems,” Saban said. “That was a mutual benefit. I know it was a benefit to us. I hope it was a benefit to them as well.”

Saban’s attempts to decipher the no-huddle riddle from a defensive standpoint has become almost legendary; earlier this month, a football clinic hosted by Saban featured, among others, the head coach of the fast-paced, high-octane Baylor Bears, Art Briles.

“The goals that you have for next year are basically the things that you struggled with last year,” Saban said in explaining the proliferation of high-profile visitors of late. “You make a list of those things through your quality control, and then you go out and look for people who might be able to help you develop a little more expertise, a better way to teach, a better way to coach some situation.

“Sometimes we bring somebody in here to visit with us. Sometimes we have people call us and ask us if they can come and visit us and try to learn from us, which we share with quite a few people. I think we usually learn from them as well when that happens.”

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Clemson responds to group’s ‘too religious’ complaint

Dabo Swinney AP

It was reported earlier this week that a group of individuals with too much time on its hands and not nearly enough of a life had filed a formal complaint to Clemson alleging that Dabo Swinney‘s football program blurs the line between the separation of church and state as mandated in the U.S. Constitution.

An attorney for the Freedom From Religion Foundation stated that “the football coaching staff is doing a number of things to promote Christianity to their student-athletes” such as conducting Bible studies with their players.  A school spokesperson subsequently fired back that “no one is required to participate in any religious activities related to the football program” and that any participation is strictly voluntary.

Thursday, the university released a lengthier rebuttal to the group’s accusations, stating that “the FFRF is mistaken in its assessment” of the religious atmosphere in and around the Tigers football program.  Below is the school’s statement, in its entirety:

“We believe the practices of the football staff regarding religion are compliant with the Constitution and appropriately accommodate differing religious views. Participation in religious activities is purely voluntary, and there are no repercussions for students who decline to do so. We are not aware of any complaints from current or former student-athletes about feeling pressured or forced to participate in religious activities.

“Clemson takes very seriously its obligation to provide a comprehensive program for the development and welfare of our student-athletes ¬ which encompasses academic, athletic and personal support, including support for their spiritual needs.

“We will evaluate the complaints raised in the letter and will respond directly to the organization, but we believe FFRF is mistaken in its assessment. The Supreme Court has expressly upheld the right of public bodies to employ chaplains and has noted that the use of prayer is not in conflict with the principles of disestablishment and religious freedom.”

(Tip O’ the Cap: OrangeAndWhite.com)

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