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Wisconsin football Class of 2013

Wisconsin Coach Football AP

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

Hayden Biegel

Freshman
Offensive Line
6-7 / 275
Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. (Wisconsin Rapids)

High School: Three-star recruit according to ESPN, Rivals and Scout … ranked as the No. 82 offensive tackle by Scout, No. 105 by ESPN … rated as the No. 6 recruit in the state of Wisconsin by ESPN, No. 12 by Rivals … won the 2012 Joe Thomas Award as the most outstanding senior offensive lineman in Wisconsin … first-team all-state by Wisconsin Football Coaches Association as a junior and senior … two-time first-team all-conference selection as a junior and senior … conference offensive lineman of the year as a senior … team captain as a senior … also lettered in track and field … three-year honor roll student … head coach was Tony Biolo

Personal: Parents are Jamie and Rocky Biegel … brother of Badgers linebacker Vince Biegel … father played linebacker at BYU from 1988-92 and also wrestled at BYU … uncle, T.D. Biegel, played fullback at BYU from 1989-93 … grandfather, Ken Biegel, played linebacker and offensive line at UW-Eau Claire … enjoys skiing, hunting and fishing

Keelon Brookins

Freshman
Defensive Back
5-11 / 185
St. Paul, Minn. (Tartan)

High School: Four-star recruit by Rivals … rated as three-star recruit by ESPN and Scout … ranked No. 32 cornerback in the nation by Rivals, No. 58 by Scout and No. 74 by ESPN … rated the No. 2 recruit in state of Minnesota by Rivals … despite playing in only 12 games due to injury, finished career with nine interceptions as a defensive back and scored seven touchdowns as a wide receiver… as a senior, tallied two interceptions and a forced fumble in three games before missing rest of season with knee injury … had an interception, blocked punt and eight solo tackles in lone game of junior season … as a sophomore, recorded six interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown … also returned a kickoff for a touchdown and scored four offensive TDs on way to All-Classic Suburban Conference honors … claimed 2012 Minnesota Class AA state title in 200 meters as a junior, running a wind-aided 21.90 … Tartan High School’s recipient of 2012 Wendy’s High School Heisman Athletic Award … three-time All-Academic selection … three-year honor roll member … head coach was Tim Murtha

Personal: Parents are Tyrone and Dorene Brookins… active in DECA and Link Crew leadership program … volunteered as elementary school mentor and in children’s ministries at church

Corey Clement

Freshman
Running Back
5-11 / 210
Glassboro, N.J. (Glassboro)

High School: Four-star recruit according to ESPN, Rivals and Scout … rated as the No. 14 running back according to ESPN, No. 17 by Rivals, and No. 31 by Scout … ESPN Top 150 recruit … ranked as the No. 5 prospect from state of New Jersey according to ESPN, No. 8 by Rivals … selected for Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl … finished career with 6,245 rushing yards, 34 rushing touchdowns and 90 total TDs … rushed for 2,323 yards and 33 touchdowns while also recording 47 tackles and eight sacks as a senior … set New Jersey state record with 479 rushing yards in game vs. Gloucester City … first-team all-state, first-team All-South Jersey, first-team All-Group 1 and South Jersey Times All-Star team and offensive player of the year as a senior… ran for 2,510 yards and 36 total touchdowns as a junior … third-team all-state, first-team All-South Jersey, first-team All-Group 1 and South Jersey Times All-Star team and offensive player of the year as a junior … had 1,205 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns as a sophomore … head coach was Mark Maccarone

Personal: Parents are Latanya and Stephen Clement

Garret Dooley

Freshman
Linebacker
6-2 / 215
Rochester, Ill. (Rochester)

High School: Four-star recruit according to ESPN … rated three stars by Rivals and Scout … rated as the No. 18 inside linebacker according to ESPN, No. 22 by Scouts and No. 25 by Rivals … ranked as the No. 11 recruit in the state of Illinois by ESPN, No. 17 by Rivals … made 132 tackles, including 18.0 for loss and 14.5 sacks, at middle linebacker … on offense, ran for 1,456 yards and 32 touchdowns, adding 34 catches for 474 yards and five more touchdowns as a senior … Class 4A first-team all-state, ILB Lemming Award Recipient, Chicago Tribune All-State selection … first-team all-conference and Central State Eight Conference Player of the Year as a senior … as a junior, recorded 1,209 rushing yards, 598 receiving yards and 31 total touchdowns to go along with 146 tackles, 21 tackles for loss, six sacks … all-state honorable mention, first-team all-conference as a junior … two-time academic all-state pick … six-time academic all-conference selection between football and baseball … Spanish National Honor Society … head coach was Derek Leonard

Personal: Parents are Barbie and Greg Dooley … cousin, Buck Casson, played football at Rice University (2003-06) … cousin, Adam Casson, plays baseball at Parkland College (2011-present) … volunteers with the Big Buddy program, Homes for Troops, Community Service Sundays … enjoys golfing and playing the guitar

Matt Hubley

Freshman
Defensive Back
6-2 / 205
Waukesha, Wis. (Catholic Memorial)

High School: Three-star recruit according to Scout … ranked as the No. 97 safety by Scout, No. 172 by ESPN … rated the No. 12 recruit in the state of Wisconsin by ESPN … as a senior, named 2012 Associated Press Wisconsin Player of the Year … first-team all-state, first-team all-region and first-team All-Classic 8 Conference as a running back … also named second-team all-conference at defensive end … first-team all-county selection by Waukesha Freeman and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel … rushed for 1,671 yards and scored 21 touchdowns as a senior … on defense, finished with 75 total tackles, including 17 TFLs and 15 sacks to go along with three forced fumbles and a defensive touchdown … also a four-year letterwinner in track … head coach was Bill Young

Personal: Parents are Jenny and Greg Hubley … volunteers with the Rotary Club, Big Brothers/Big Sisters and local elementary schools … enjoys weight training and basketball

Leon Jacobs

Freshman
Linebacker
6-4 / 220
Santa Clarita, Calif. (Golden Valley)

High School: Three-star recruit according to ESPN … rated as the No. 77 outside linebacker according to ESPN, No. 119 by Scout … ranked as the No. 89 recruit in the state of California by ESPN … first-team all-conference as a senior … rushed for 847 yards and six touchdowns as a senior … also recorded 19 tackles, three sacks, a forced fumble and a defensive touchdown … four-year letterwinner in basketball … three-time second-team All-Del Rey League selection in basketball … honor roll student … head coach was Robert Fisher

Personal: Parents are Tony and Theresa Jacobs … volunteered as math and science tutor … enjoys listening to music and playing basketball

Alec James

Freshman
Defensive End
6-4 / 220
Brookfield, Wis. (East)

High School: Four-star recruit according to ESPN … rated three stars by Rivals and Scout … No. 29 defensive end as rated by ESPN, No. 64 by Scout … ranked as the No. 1 recruit in the state of Wisconsin according to ESPN, No. 2 according to Rivals … had 97 tackles, 25.0 for loss, 12 sacks and four forced fumbles as a senior … 2012 Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Defensive Player of the Year … unanimous first-team all-state, first-team all-conference, first-team all-area and all-area Player of the Year according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel … Greater Metro Conference defensive lineman of the year … Tim Krumrie Award winner as the most outstanding senior defensive lineman in Wisconsin … first- team all-state, first-team all-conference, Greater Metro Conference defensive lineman of the year, second-team all-area according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel as a junior … all-conference honorable mention as a sophomore … three-year letterwinner in track, qualifying for state meet in 4×100 and 4×200 relays … head coach was Tom Swittel

Personal: Parents are Heidi and Jimmy James … father played football at Minnesota … enjoys working out and playing video games

Jackson Keeler

Freshman
Offensive Line
6-7 / 290
Barrington, Ill. (Barrington)

High School: Four-star recruit according to ESPN … rated three stars by Rivals and Scout … ranked as the No. 29 offensive tackle by ESPN, No. 39 by Rivals, No. 49 by Scout … rated as the No. 10 recruit in the state of Illinois by ESPN, No. 11 by Rivals … received 28 total scholarship offers … named to the 2013 Senior Offense-Defense All-American Bowl … named All-Area by the Chicago Sun Times … head coach was Joey Sanchez

Personal: Parents are Katherine Keeler and Paul Keeler … high school teammate of fellow Badgers offensive lineman Dan Voltz … volunteered with the Barrington Crop Walk for Hunger and Relay for Life … senior physical education leader and was member of choir … hobbies are fishing and playing basketball

Tanner McEvoy

Sophomore
Quarterback
6-6 / 215
Hillsdale, N.J. (Bergen Catholic)
Arizona Western College

Junior College: Passed for 1,943 yards and 25 touchdowns, while throwing just six interceptions … ran for 414 yards and scored six touchdowns … named first-team All-Arizona Community College Athletic Conference and ACCAC Offensive Player of the Year … first-team All-Western States Football League

High School: Enrolled and spent one season at South Carolina before transferring to Arizona Western College after spring practice in 2011 … three-star prospect according to Rivals … threw for 2,264 yards and 32 touchdowns while rushing for 1,196 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior … 2010 New Jersey Offensive Player of the Year … named to MSG Metro All-Star Team for the tri-state area … first-team all-state as a senior … three-time first-team all-county selection … as a junior, caught 35 passes for 550 yards and three touchdowns at wide receiver and recorded 49 tackles and three interceptions at defensive back … also lettered in basketball … honor roll student … head coaches were Fred Stengel and Nunzio Campanile

Personal: Parents are Tina and Steve McEvoy… brother, Colin, played football at Rutgers from 2007-10 … volunteered with American Red Cross Disaster Services and with Guiding Eyes of New York program, helping to train seeing-eye dogs

Matt Miller

Freshman
Offensive Line
6-5 / 265
Maumee, Ohio (St. Johns Jesuit)

High School: Three-star recruit according to ESPN, Rivals and Scout … rated as the No. 35 guard by Scout, No. 39 by Rivals and No. 55 by ESPN … ranked as the No. 50 recruit in the state of Ohio according to ESPN, No. 55 according to Rivals … 48 pancake blocks as a senior … first-team all-state, first-team all-district, first-team all-league and team captain … selected to play for the under-19 U.S. national team in the 2013 International Bowl … 40 tackles, including 11.0 for loss and four sacks, 28 pancake blocks as a junior … first-team all-district, first-team all-league … 25 tackles, including five for loss and one sack as a sophomore … head coach was Doug Pearson

Personal: Parents are Jane and P.J. Miller … brother, Jack, currently plays football at Michigan … father played football from 1986-90 at St. Joseph’s College in Indiana … uncle is Jim Leyland, manager of the Detroit Tigers since 2006 … volunteers at Sunshine Children’s Home, Cherry St. Mission, and through St. John’s Jesuit Christian Service … enjoys hunting, fishing, and working out

Chikwe Obasih

Freshman
Defensive End
6-2 / 235
Brookfield, Wis. (Central)

High School: Four-star recruit according to Rivals … rated three stars by ESPN and Scout … ranked as the No. 45 defensive end by Scout, No. 46 by ESPN … rated the No. 1 recruit in the state of Wisconsin by Rivals, No. 2 by ESPN … selected to 2013 Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl … finished three-year varsity career with 223 tackles, 49 tackles for loss, 17 sacks, 9 forced fumbles, 6 fumble recoveries and an interception … first-team all-state by Associated Press and WFCA … first-team all-conference, first-team all-area according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel as a senior … finished senior season with 101 tackles, 24 TFLs, 7.5 sacks, 5 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries … first-team all-conference, honorable mention all-area as a junior … had 83 tackles, 15.5 TFLs, 6 sacks and 2 forced fumbles during junior season … honorable mention all-conference as a sophomore … head coach was Jamie Meulemans

Personal: Father is Kemakolam Obasih … sister, Chidera Obasih, competes in track and field at Minnesota … volunteered on Boy Scout service projects and as coach at youth football camps and with various church projects

Jazz Peavy

Freshman
Wide Receiver
6-0 / 175
Kenosha, Wis. (Tremper)

High School: Three-star recruit according to ESPN and Rivals … rated as the No. 177 wide receiver by ESPN … rated as the No. 9 recruit in the state of Wisconsin by ESPN, No. 11 by Rivals … had 38 catches for 535 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior … first-team all-state, first-team all-conference, all-region … team MVP and captain … Kenosha Alan Ameche Award finalist … caught 26 passes for 425 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior … first-team all-state, first-team all-conference, all-region … career totals of 115 catches for 1774 yards and 37 touchdowns … head coach was Frank Matrise

Personal: Parents are Linda and Jeff Peavy … volunteered with the Boys and Girls Club youth football camp … helped distribute gifts to less fortunate kids at the Holiday House … enjoys weight lifting, basketball and video games

Sojourn Shelton

Freshman
Defensive Back
5-9 / 175
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. (Plantation)

High School: Four-star recruit according to ESPN … rated as three-star recruit by Rivals and Scout … ranked No. 26 cornerback in the nation by ESPN, No. 47 by Rivals and No. 76 by Scout … named to Gridiron Kings 7-on-7 camp in July 2012 … selected for Nike’s “The Opening” all-star camp … named MVP of Miami-area Nike Football Training Camp in April 2012 … as a senior, returned three punts for touchdowns and recorded an interception, 16 pass breakups and 22 tackles … named first-team all-county by South Florida Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald … as a junior, recorded three interceptions at cornerback and was named to the Broward County Super 11 by the Sun Sentinel … started at cornerback as a sophomore and grabbed four interceptions … head coach was Steve Davis

Personal: Parents are Rachel Victor and Sojourn Shelton, Sr. … active in 100 Black Men of Greater Ft. Lauderdale and Junior Achievement … served as motivational speaker for Plantation area Little Leaguers

Donnell Vercher

Junior
Safety
6-2 / 200
Clovis, Calif. (Clovis)
Fresno City College

Junior College: Finished sophomore season at Fresno City College with 23 tackles and eight interceptions, earning junior college All-America honors … had 41 tackles, three interceptions and four pass breakups as a freshman

High School: Three-star recruit by Rivals and ESPN … as a senior, named 2010 Tri-River Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year … finished senior season with 112 tackles, three interceptions, six forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and three blocked kicks … also rushed for 258 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior … also competed in basketball, track and volleyball … coach was Rich Hammond

Personal: Parents are Betty and Eric Vercher … cousin, Roshon Vercher, played football at Fresno State … volunteered with Amazing Grace Ministries … enjoys spending time with family

Jakkarie Washington

Freshman
Cornerback
5-10 / 170
Everett, Mass. (Everett)

High School: Three-star recruit according to Scout … ranked as the No. 56 cornerback by Scout, No. 110 by ESPN … rated as the No. 8 recruit in the state of Massachusetts by ESPN … caught 33 passes for 439 yards and nine touchdowns, ran for 697 yards on just 75 carries and scored 15 touchdowns, recorded two interceptions and two fumble recoveries, returning one for a touchdown as a senior … ESPN Boston first-team all-state as a senior … two-time all-state selection … head coach was John Dibiaso

Personal: Mother is Keisha Washington

T.J. Watt

Freshman
Tight End
6-4 / 215
Pewaukee, Wis. (Pewaukee)

High School: Three-star recruit according to ESPN, Rivals and Scout … rated as the No. 28 tight end by ESPN, No. 44 by Scout … ranked as the No. 9 recruit from the state of Wisconsin by Rivals, No. 11 by ESPN … threw for 527 yards and seven touchdowns and rushed for 554 yards and nine touchdowns as a senior … also recorded 42 tackles and five sacks as a senior … honorable mention all-state … first-team all-conference quarterback, linebacker and punter … honorable mention all-area at linebacker according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel … made 27 catches for 505 yards and three touchdowns as a junior … first-team all-conference as a tight end … also lettered in track and field … head coach was Justin Friske

Personal: Parents are Connie and John Watt … brother of former Badgers defensive lineman J.J. Watt, who was named 2012 NFL Defensive Player of the Year with the Houston Texans, and current Badgers fullback Derek Watt

Robert Wheelwright

Freshman
Wide Receiver
6-1 / 179
Columbus, Ohio (Walnut Ridge)

High School: Four-star recruit according to Scout … rated three stars by ESPN and Rivals … ranked as the No. 28 wide receiver according to Scout, No. 49 by Rivals, No. 70 by ESPN … rated as the No. 21 recruit in the state of Ohio by Scout, No. 30 by ESPN … finished career with 26 touchdown receptions … recorded 48 receptions for 903 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior …. had 45 catches for 528 yards, 11 touchdowns as a junior … first-team all-city, all-district and all-state as a senior … advanced honor roll student … head coach was Byron Mattox

Personal: Parents are Debra and Ernest Wheelwright … grandfather, Ernie Wheelwright, played football at Southern Illinois and went on to nine-year NFL career with New York Giants, Atlanta and New Orleans … uncle, Eric Wheelwright, played football at Utah … brother, Michael Bell, played at Ohio Dominican University … brother, Ernest Wheelwright III, played football at Minnesota from 2004-07 and went on to pro career with Baltimore Ravens and Saskatchewan Roughriders in the CFL … high school teammate of current Badgers tight end Austin Traylor

Jack Cichy

Freshman
Linebacker
6-3 / 195
Somerset, Wis. (Hill Murray)

High School: Recorded 107 tackles, seven tackles for loss, four sacks, six forced fumbles and four fumbles recovered, as well as one interception , four pass breakups and two blocked kicks as a senior … all-conference selection as a senior … honorable mention all-state … team MVP as a senior … finished with 111 tackles, seven tackles for loss, two sacks, four forced fumbles and three fumbles recovered, plus three interceptions, seven pass breakups and four blocked punts as a junior … all-conference selection … two-time team captain … 58 tackles and one pass broken up as a sophomore

Personal: Parents are Lisa and Steve Cichy … father played football at Notre Dame and in the Canadian Football League … mother played basketball at Marquette … sister, Tessa, plays basketball for the Badgers … volunteers with Amnesty International and as a camp counselor with local football and basketball youth … participated in food preparation at a local homeless shelter and volunteered at Ronald McDonald House … enjoys golfing, boating and playing with his three dogs

D.J. Spurling

Freshman
Athlete
5-11 / 215
Slinger, Wis. (Slinger)

High School: Ran for 1,084 yards and nine touchdowns, threw one touchdown, and made 76 tackles, including six for loss, as a senior … all-county offensive player of the year, second team all-conference, team MVP and team captain as a senior … recorded 104 tackles, eight tackles for loss, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery as a junior

Personal: Parents are Lisa and Duane Spurling … uncle, Brian Fulton, played football and basketball at Carroll College (1986-91) … participated in powerlifting in high school, placing fifth in the state and eighth nationally as a junior … volunteers with Future Christian Athletes, Skills US, Habitat for Humanity and local youth football programs … enjoys working out, mountain biking and playing paintball

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Broyles Award nominees include Kiffin, Venables, 38 others

Lane Kiffin

With the next round fo the coaching carousel about to get underway at full speed, some programs may want to pay attention to the list of names nominated for the Broyles Award. The Broyles Award is presented annually to the top assistant coach in college football, and the list of 40 nominees for this year’s award includes some names with previous head coaching experience and others about to be in line for a head coaching gig somewhere around the country.

Current head coaches who previously won the Broyles Award include Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, UConn’s Bob Diaco and Duke’s David Cutcliffe. Last year’s Broyles Award winner was Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, who many feel could be ready for a head coaching offer in the next round of the coaching carousel.  This year Narduzzi is not a finalist for the award, but Spartans co-offensive coordinator Dave Warner is.

“This will be one of the most challenging years ever for our selection committee to choose the top 5 finalists and winner, so many assistant coaches did outstanding work this year,” David Bazzel, Broyles Award executive director.

This year’s Broyles Award winner will be announced on Tuesday, December 9 by The Rotary Club of Little Rock and sponsor Delta Dental. The award is named after former Arkansas head coach Frank Broyles, who had a solid track record of pumping out quality assistant coaches. Some of the assistants who coaches under Broyles include Barry Switzer, Jimmy Johnson, Hayden Fry, Joe Gibbs, and Jackie Sherrill.

Broyles Award Nominees

Alabama – Lane Kiffin, Offensive Coordinator
Appalachian State – Dwayne Ledford, Co-Offensive Coordinator
Arizona – Jeff Casteel, Defensive Coordinator
Arkansas – Robb Smith, Defensive Coordinator
Arkansas State University – Walt Bell, Offensive Coordinator
Boise State University – Mike Sanford, Offensive Coordinator
Boston College – Don Brown, Defensive Coordinator
Brigham Young University – Nick Howell, Defensive coordinator
Clemson – Brent Venables, Defensive Coordinator
Colorado State – Dave Baldwin, Offensive Coordinator
Duke University – John Latina, Run Game Coordinator/OL
East Carolina University – Lincoln Riley, Offensive Coordinator
FIU – Josh Conklin, Defensive Coordinator
Georgia Southern University – Doug Ruse, Offensive Coordinator
Louisiana – Marquase Lovings, Running Backs
Louisiana Tech – Manny Diaz, Defensive Coordinator
Louisville – Todd Grantham, Defensive Coordinator
Memphis – James Shibest, Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends
Miami – Mark D’Onofrio, Defensive Coordinator
Michigan – Greg Mattison, Defensive Coordinator
Michigan State University – Dave Warner, Co-Offensive Coordinator
Minnesota – Tracy Claeys, Defensive Coordinator
Mississippi State – Geoff Collins, Defensive Coordinator
Missouri – Dave Steckel, Defensive Coordinator
NC State – Desmond Kitchings, Running Backs/Recruiting Coordinator
Ohio State University – Tom Herman, Offensive Coordinator
Ole Miss – Dave Wommack, Defensive Coordinator
Oregon – Scott Frost, Offensive Coordinator
Penn State University – Bob Shoop, Defensive Coordinator
Stanford – Lance Anderson, Defensive Coordinator
TCU – Doug Meacham, Co-Offensive Coordinator
Temple – Phil Snow, Defensive Coordinator
UCF – Brent Key, Offensive Line Coach/Recruiting Coordinator
UCLA – Noel Mazzone, Offensive Coordinator
Utah – Kalani Sitake, Defensive Coordinator
Utah State University – Todd Orlando, Defensive Coordinator
UTSA – Neal Neathery, Defensive Coordinator
West Virginia University – Tony Gibson, Defensive Coordinator
Western Michigan University – Kirk Ciarrocca, Offensive Coordinator
Wisconsin – Dave Aranda, Defensive Coordinator

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Freeze, on Bo Wallace: ‘have to chain him down from keep him from’ Egg Bowl

Mississippi v Arkansas Getty Images

While it’s not yet officially official, it appears Ole Miss’ triggerman will indeed be under center for the Egg Bowl Saturday.

Bo Wallace missed a substantial chunk of the Arkansas loss last week after injuring his ankle.  During practice leading up to the rivalry game against Mississippi State, Wallace has been somewhat limited.

On the SEC coaches teleconference Wednesday, however, Wallace’s head coach seemed decidedly optimistic that the quarterback will be on the field when the Rebels take on the Bulldogs.

You would have to chain him down from keep him from going,” Hugh Freeze said. “He’s looking better every day. We anticipate him being ready to go.”

If Wallace were to suffer a setback, the Rebels would turn to either Devante Kincaid and Ryan Buchanan. The backup duo, both redshirt freshmen, has attempted 39 passes this season, with Kincaid completing 15 of his 17 attempts.

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Hoos your coach in 2015? For Virginia, it’s Mike London

Mike London AP

There will be many head coaches dragged to the chopping block over the next month or so.  One of those who won’t be, somewhat surprisingly, is Mike London.

With speculation swirling, Virginia athletic director Craig Littlepage confirmed in a press release Wednesday afternoon that London will be returning as the Cavaliers’ head coach in 2015.  A two-win team in London’s fourth season last year, the Cavaliers stand at five wins in 2014 and on the cusp of bowl eligibility.

It’s that improvement that led Littlepage to take his finger off the trigger and give London what most would consider a one-year reprieve.

“It was important to see improvement in our football program this season,” Littlepage’s statement began. “I’ve seen signs of progress in many areas. Through the staff changes made over the last two years, we are better at teaching the game and in the overall development of the student-athletes. We also continue to notice the commitment by this group of coaches and student-athletes to their academic and community responsibilities.

“The staff has re-focused its recruiting efforts to emphasize the need to attract student-athletes capable of helping the program compete at a high level in the expanded Atlantic Coast Conference. We are seeing many of these student-athletes on the field right now and the staff continues to have success on the recruiting trail. We will continue to support the program in their efforts to maximize their recruiting success.

“It’s important for each of our sports programs to continue to show progress and follow a plan to compete for conference championships and in postseason competition to support the department’s goals. I trust the plan Mike has in place and believe his leadership provides the best opportunity for Virginia football to be successful in the future.”

In London’s five-plus seasons, UVa is 23-37 overall and 11-28 in ACC play.  An 8-5 season in 2011 led to speculation that he would replace Joe Paterno at Penn State.  London instead remained in Charlottesville, and the Cavaliers finished sixth and seventh in the Coastal division in 2012 and 2013, respectively; they’re tied for fourth this year.

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Report: no contact between Braxton Miller, Oregon

Braxton Miller AP

It’s not just the coaching rumor mill that’s churning the day before Turkey Day.

Because of J.T. Barrett‘s eyebrow-raising success this season, success that has put the redshirt freshman squarely in the Heisman mix, speculation has been growing that the window on Braxton Miller‘s days at Ohio State is closing.  As the speculation goes, Miller will look to transfer from the Buckeyes — as a graduate transfer, he’d be eligible to play immediately — and move on to a situation that would afford him the opportunity to be the starter for his final collegiate season, which may or may not be the case at OSU.

Miller’s name, despite no hints from the player himself, mind you, has been connected to schools such as Auburn, Boston College and, most notably, Oregon.  The Ducks would make sense on numerous levels, as both the offensive system utilized would seem to match Miller’s skillset and UO’s triggerman, Marcus Mariota, is expected to leave early for the NFL.  The dot-connecting is reasonable, although that doesn’t mean it’s accurate.

According to The Oregonian, and citing a source with knowledge of the situation, “[t]here has been no contact between Oregon and either Miller or anyone acting on his behalf.” Leading up to the paper knocking down the talk, there was a rumor making the rounds that Miller had let it be known to the UO football program that he had an interest in the school and offensive coordinator Scott Frost followed up on that interest during a recruiting trek a couple of weeks ago. One of the problems with that, the paper notes, is that Frost wasn’t on the recruiting trail at that time.

A little over a week ago, NFL.com reported that “the quarterback’s plan for now is to remain at Ohio State and lead the Buckeyes in 2015.” Two months ago, Urban Meyer stated emphatically that Miller is his guy.

Braxton is our quarterback,” Meyer said Sept. 30. “To be fair to Braxton, Big Ten Player of the Year. But it’s good to know we’ve got both of them.”

A month and a half later, Meyer’s tune had changed slightly as he heavily intimated Miller will have to earn the job back… if he even stays, which the head coach seemed to hint at as well.

Competition brings out the best, and I’m really excited to have two really good quarterbacks next year, if that’s the plan,” the coach hedged.

If it’s made clear to Miller that he will have to earn back a job that he held for three years prior to re-injuring his shoulder during summer camp, it will be interesting to see if he accepts the challenge or moves on.  And, if there is a true competition, is it something Miller can even win?  Barrett, in 11 games, has already proven to be the better passer of the two — as the competition has already pointed out — and his running ability, while not at Miller’s level, is a significant weapon as well.

It’s hard to see how Meyer could send Barrett back to the bench after the season he’s had, one that could see a mid-December trip to New York City for the Heisman ceremony.  It’s also hard to see how Meyer could keep Miller, the 2012 and 2013 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, off the field.  One way or the other, whether it’s by transfer attrition or competition, something has got to give.

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Clemson-South Carolina officially dubbed ‘The Palmetto Bowl’

Clemson v South Carolina Getty Images

After years of fans and media alike ofttimes and unofficially referring to it as “The Palmetto Bowl,” the in-state rivalry between Clemson and South Carolina has officially taken on that moniker, both schools announced Wednesday.

Seeing as both teams hail from “The Palmetto State,” the name makes perfect sense.  The announcement also comes just a couple of days before the 112th meeting between the two football programs.

“This is one of the premier games every year in college football, and it’s a great opportunity for our institutions to increase exposure to the State of South Carolina and all the great people here,” Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich said in a statement. “To name this game ‘The Palmetto Bowl’ hopefully adds to the identity of this great rivalry.”

“From ‘Big Thursday’ to ‘The Palmetto Bowl,’ there is so much history and tradition to showcase about this rivalry,” said Radakovich’s South Carolina counterpart, Ray Tanner. “The Palmetto Bowl gives this rivalry an identity that highlights the State of South Carolina and the accomplishments of these outstanding institutions.”

In addition to the name, the schools also announced a trophy and logo will be developed and unveiled prior to the 2015 game.

Behind only Minnesota-Wisconsin (108 this weekend), Clemson-South Carolina is the second-longest, consecutively-played rivalry in the country at 106 straight (as of Saturday).  The Tigers currently lead the series 65-42-4, although the Gamecocks have won five straight and six of the last eight.

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Sun Devils’ leading receiver to play in Territorial Cup

Jaelen Strong, Dominique Hatfield

A head injury kept the most productive piece of Arizona State’s passing game out of last week’s game.  That, though, won’t be the case on rivalry weekend.

Tuesday, Todd Graham confirmed that Jaelen Strong will play in this Saturday’s Territorial Cup battle with Arizona.  Graham allowed that the wide receiver was “close to playing last week” against Washington State, but the team decided to take the precautionary route because of the concussion.

That won’t be the case this week as the symptoms have subsided, giving the offense back one of its most potent weapons.

It’s going to be great to have him back,” quarterback Taylor Kelly said. “It’s going to open up D.J. (Foster) and our running game and also get Cam Smith the ball more.”

Strong is tops on the Sun Devils in receptions (71), receiving yards (982) and receiving touchdowns (nine). Those totals are good for 12th, 16th and T-11th in the nation, respectively, and fourth among Pac-12 receivers in all three categories.

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TCU with good news, no news on skill-player front

B.J. Catalon, Orion Stewart

TCU’s skill-position players are getting healthier. Whether they are getting really healthy as the push toward a potential spot in the College Football Playoff remains to be seen.

Gary Patterson confirmed Tuesday that wide receiver Deante’ Gray will play in the Thanksgiving Day game against Texas. Gray has missed the past two games with a foot injury.

Despite being sidelined for a pair of games, Gray is still tied for the lead in touchdown receptions with seven, while he’s third in receiving yards (486) and fourth in receptions (29).

On the not-so-good injury front is B.J. Catalon.

The running back sustained what’s only been described as an upper-torso injury — the speculation is that it’s a concussion — in the Nov. 1 win over West Virginia. Catalon did not play in the last two games, wins over Kansas State and Kansas, because of the injury. Whether it’s a third straight sidelining is unclear, although it’s not sounding promising.

I don’t know whether B.J. will be with us or not,” the head coach said when asked about Catalon’s availability for the holiday road trip to Austin.

This season, Catalon has accounted for 910 all-purpose yards — 493 rushing, 163 receiving, 254 on returns. That versatility led the junior to be named as one of the five finalists for the Hornung Award.

Despite those two missed games, he still leads the Horned Frogs with 10 rushing touchdowns. He’s returned a punt for a touchdown this year as well.

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Wazzu to induct Steve Gleason into its Hall of Fame

Atlanta Falcons v New Orleans Saints

If you’re looking for a morning pick-me-up, we have you covered.

During Saturday’s Apple Cup game with Washington, Washington State will induct its Class of 2014 into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame. That class will consist of one person: Steve Gleason.

Gleason played both football and baseball for the Cougars from 1995-99. On the gridiron, he was a two-time captain; he was a captain on the baseball team his senior year as well. Three times he earned All-Pac-10 honors in football, and four times he was a Pac-10 All-Academic selection.

In 2011, a handful of years after a seven-year NFL career came to an end, Gleason was diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease. Since then, Gleason established “Team Gleason,” a foundation that looks to raise money and awareness for ALS.

Gleason raising awareness will serve as his lasting and most impactful legacy; his collegiate athletic prowess, though, will now have an official legacy as well.

“Steve is a tremendous Cougar and his induction Saturday night into the Washington State University Athletic Hall of Fame is well deserved,” said athletic director Bill Moos in a statement. “With a sold-out Martin Stadium for the Apple Cup, I can think of no better setting to highlight Steve’s accomplishments than in front of a fan base that has admired him for so many years.”

Gleason’s induction will take place between the first and second quarters of the rivalry game. It will mark the first time in the school’s history that just one former student-athlete has been inducted in that year’s class.

Based on how Gleason lived his life before and after his diagnosis, the honor is well-deserved.

 

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Guy, Mackey, O’Brien, Outland, Thorpe awards announce finalists

Melbourne Cup Day Getty Images

It was a busy Tuesday night for major awards announcing its finalists, as evidenced by the fact that CFT is now just getting to the other half of them.

The finalists for the Maxwell (most outstanding player at any position), Nagurski (defensive player), Biletnikoff (wide receiver), Groza (kicker) and Walker (running back) awards we’ve already covered; now we’ll get to the other five. In announcements Tuesday night, the Guy (punter), Mackey (tight end), O’Brien (quarterback), Outland (interior lineman) and Thorpe (defensive back) finalists were revealed.

Below are the three distinguished finalists for each award:

RAY GUY AWARD
Tom Hackett, Utah (Jr.)
JK Scott, Alabama (Fr.)
Austin Rehkow, Idaho (Soph.)

DAVEY O’BRIEN AWARD
Trevone Boykin, TCU (Jr.)
Marcus Mariota, Oregon (RS Jr.)
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State (Jr.)

JOHN MACKEY AWARD
Nick O’Leary, Florida State (Sr.)
Clive Walford, Miami (Sr.)
Maxx Williams, Minnesota (RS Soph.)

OUTLAND TROPHY
Malcom Brown, Texas (Jr.)
Reese Dismukes, Auburn (Sr.)
Brandon Scherff, Iowa (Sr.)

JIM THORPE AWARD
Landon Collins, Alabama (Jr.)
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon (Sr.)
Gerod Holliman, Louisville (RS So.)

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Amari Cooper likely to become Alabama’s first Biletnikoff winner

Amari Cooper

And then there were three. The competition for the Biletnikoff Award is down to three of the nation’s top wide receivers. Alabama’s Amari Cooper is the lone player from a College Football Playoff contender in the running, although that should not diminish the accomplishments of two others up for the award.

Colorado State wide receiver Rashard Higgins and West Virginia’s Kevin White are also finalists for the Biletnikoff Award, which is awarded to the nation’s top wide receiver in college football. No player from any of these three schools has ever won the award, which was first awarded in 1994.

Last year’s award went to Brandin Cooks of Oregon State. This year’s award will be presented on December 11 during The Home Depot College Football Awards Show on ESPN.

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Les Miles will worry about LSU’s QB future, in the future

Les Miles

LSU has one more game to play in the 2014 regular season before going to a bowl game. Some are already wondering what head coach Les Miles is going to do with the quarterback position in the future, but Miles is not ready to make any long-term decisions. He still has a game at Texas A&M to prepare for after all. But he will make those decisions at the appropriate time. When he does, freshman Brandon Harris appears to be getting a chance to make his case for the starting job.

“We’ve chosen not to make the decision on our future quarterback until down the road,” Miles said during his weekly radio show Tuesday night, according to The Advocate. “That’s why he’s getting 50 percent of the reps.”

Harris has appeared in eight games this season. In those games, Harris has completed 55.6 percent of his passes for 452 yards and six touchdowns. He has been intercepted twice. Harris has not been seen much since an early October game against Auburn.

“We like Brandon Harris, and he’s coming. We’re not going to put parameters on that,” Miles added. “What we’re trying to get accomplished is put him in a position where he can go on the field and give us some explosive plays and not necessarily encumber him with the full offense, the whole thing. If we can do that, we might be able to get him on the field.”

Anthony Jennings, a sophomore, is the other quarterback in the mix, of course. Jennings has completed 47.9 percent of his passes in 11 games for 1,353 yards and nine touchdowns. He has been picked off six times this season.

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Ohio State’s Spence declared permanently ineligible by Big Ten

Ohio State Buckeyes v Michigan State Spartans 12-7-2013

We will not see defensive end Noah Spence wearing an Ohio State football uniform this season, and we may not see him in any Big Ten uniform anytime soon. The Big Ten has declared Spence permanently ineligible from all intercollegiate athletics competition. Ohio State released a statement with that decision Tuesday night.

Spence was suspended by Ohio State earlier this season following a failed drug test. It was not the first time Spence failed a drug test at Ohio State, which led to an automatic suspension by the program and the threat of the NCAA wiping out the remaining two years of his eligibility.

Spence was guided through an appeals process by Ohio State, which is customary when filing appeals to the NCAA. That appeals process played out today, and it did not go well for Spence.

“While we are disappointed in the outcome, we are pleased that Noah has come a long way and we are very proud of the progress he has made with regard to his health,” Ohio State Athletics Director Gene Smith said in the released statement. “The Department of Athletics will continue to assist Noah through his pursuits and provide the academic resources necessary to help him complete his degree program.

Spence took to Twitter to express his feelings as well.

What is next for Spence is unknown at this point. Hopefully the troubles are behind him and he can find a way to thrive on and off the football field.

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College Football Playoff Rankings: No change in top four, but hello Boise State and Marshall!

Oklahoma State v Florida State Getty Images

The top of the latest College Football Playoff rankings look the same as they did a week ago, but this week’s rankings saw a significant development toward the bottom of the order.

Alabama remains on top of the playoff ranking, followed by Oregon, Florida State and Mississippi State in that order. This is the same top four from last week. TCU remains sitting in fifth place, waiting for a shot to creep into the top four, just as it did last week.

Boise State and Marshall made their respective debuts in the playoff ranking this week, and this is notable. The highest-ranked conference champion from a non-power conference will be given a spot in an access bowl. If Boise State wins the Mountain West Conference, it will be difficult for Marshall to make up enough ground to pass the Broncos despite trailing Boise State by one in the rankings.

The Top Four

1. Alabama

2. Oregon

3. Florida State

4. Mississippi State

No change here, perhaps as expected. The question was whether or not the committee would drop Florida State after another close loss during a week that saw Mississippi State blow away Vanderbilt. This was not the case, although that precedent had already been set. The big question the next two weeks will be whether or not Mississippi State without a conference championship can stay ahead of a one-loss Big 12 and/or Big Ten champion.

Who Is On Deck?

5. TCU

6. Ohio State

7. Baylor

Ohio State remains one spot behind TCU, which means it looks like the Buckeyes could need a little help to move up two spots. The good news for Ohio State is the Buckeyes could have a Big Ten championship game match-up with a rising Wisconsin team to help push them up in the final rankings if things go Ohio State’s way. We also need to know when the committee might feel the time is right to move Baylor ahead of TCU with a head-to-head result in favor of the Bears.

The Full Ranking

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 7.39.15 PM

Some Quick Thoughts

We finally got a glimpse of the non-power conference representation in this week’s ranking, yet it does not come without some potential controversy. Boise State, if it wins out, would have a more impressive overall body of work compared to a potentially undefeated Marshall, but what about Colorado State? If Boise State slips, Marshall is set up to stay ahead of a one-loss Colorado State team at a late point in the season. The committee will have to hope Boise State runs the table, because Colorado State with one loss has an even stronger case than a two-loss Boise State does against an undefeated Marshall. Colorado State has two victories against power conferences away from home compared to zero for Marshall, and the Rams only lost one game, at Boise State.

At what point does the committee remember that Baylor beat TCU? It has to happen at some point, right? Although TCU’s non-conference drubbing of Minnesota clearly looks better now, and may be a key win to hold over Ohio State as well. TCU defeated Minnesota by a wider margin of victory compared to the Buckeyes.

Minnesota avoided being dropped from the committee’s top 25 last week despite losing, and a win against Nebraska helped move them up seven spots this week. This is great news for TCU and Ohio State.

Take a look at UCLA. The Bruins continue to wiggle up the rankings, and could still be within reach of making the top four with a little help. If UCLA wins this weekend against Stanford, the Bruins will play Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship Game. UCLA has struggled to get over the hump to be an elite team in the Pac-12, but they seem to be surging at a very good time. It may be a lot of ground to make up in two weeks, but it is far from impossible.

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Maxwell Football Club award finalists include Mariota, Prescott, Gordon and Beasley

Dak Prescott

The Maxwell Football Club has announced the three finalists for each of its individual awards, the Maxwell Award and the Chuck Bednarik Award. Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott and Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon have been named finalists for the Maxwell Award. Clemson defensive end Vic Beasley, Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa and Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright III have been named finalists for the Chuck Bednarik Award.

the Maxwell Award is presented to the top player in college football as determined by the Maxwell Football Club and voting panel. The award does not always go to the player that wins the Heisman Trophy. Last year, for example, the Maxwell Award went to Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron. Mariota, Gordon and Prescott may be likely names to be heading to New York City for the Heisman Trophy presentation at the end of the season, but the odds may be good the Maxwell Award goes to another player. No Oregon or Mississippi State player has ever won the Maxwell Award, but Wisconsin has one. The last running back to iwn the award was Penn State’s Larry Johnson in 2002.

The Chuck Bednarik Award is in its 20th season and goes to the top defensive player as determined by the Maxwell Football Club and its voters. Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald won the award last season. Whichever player wins the award this year will be doing so for the first time in school history.

this year’s winners for each award will be announced on December 11 during The Home Depot College Football Awards Show on ESPN. The awards will be formally presented in Atlantic City, New Jersey in March as part of the Maxwell Football Club’s Awards Gala.

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Doak Walker Award finalists filled by Big Ten trio

Melvin Gordon, Desmond King

The Big Ten has a handful of really good running backs, and it shows with the naming of the finalists for the Doak Walker Award. Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon, Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah and Indiana’s Tevin Coleman were each named finalists for the top running back award, filling all three finalist spots.

Gordon held the single-game rushing record for just one week, but his production this season has been steady. Gordon leads the nation in rushing with 2,109 rushing yards with one more regular season game to play and possibly two more if Wisconsin plays in the Big Ten Championship Game and Gordon plays in Wisconsin’s bowl game.

Abdullah is also one of the top running backs in the country, but he has been slowed by injuries at times. Abdullah is still on track for a possible 2,000-yard season with 20 rushing touchdowns with one regular season game left and a bowl game.

Indiana’s offense may have been a disappointment this season, but this does not apply for Coleman. Coleman is the nation’s second-leading rusher behind Gordon with 1,906 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns. Coleman has carried the Hoosiers offense for much of the season, and he has handled it well.

Wisconsin’s Montee Ball was the last Big Ten running back to win the Doak Walker Award, two seasons ago. As good of a running program Nebraska has been through the years, the Cornhuskers have never had a Doak Walker Award winner. Indiana is also looking for its first Doak Walker Award winner. Gordon looks to be the favorite in this pack though.

If Gordon wins the award, he will become the third Wisconsin running back to win the award. That total would also tie Texas for the most Doak Walker Award winners.

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