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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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Vandy QB Patton Robinette cleared to play, won’t start against Missouri

Patton Robinette

Four quarterbacks have played for the Vanderbilt Commodores this season. Sophomore Patton Robinette has proven to be the most effective during the limited time he’s been at the helm of the offense.

However, Robinette is recovering from a concussion and won’t start Saturday against the Missouri Tigers despite being cleared to play.

Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason already made 10 changes at the quarterback position through seven games. Freshman Wade Freebeck started last weekend against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers. Freedbeck was 5-of-7 passing for 20 yards before suffering a finger injury during the Commodores’ narrow 21-20 over the FCS program.

Freshman Johnny McCrary took over for Freebeck and played relatively well. The two then competed during practice this week to be the team’s starter. McCrary eventually won the opportunity to start this Saturday.

“When I step on the field, I can only do my best,” McCrary told The Tennessean‘s Adam Sparks Wednesday. “If my best isn’t good enough, I’ll take myself out of the game. You can tell if you’re not moving this team, but I want to stay tough and maybe something special will happen.”

If McCary doesn’t play at his best, he won’t have to pull himself. Mason has proven he’s more than willing to make changes at the position. Now that Robinette is healthy, McCrary could very well be on a short leash.

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UPDATE: Syracuse football is under NCAA investigation

Scott Shafer

Syracuse is the latest football program to find itself in the clutches of the NCAA.

While the Orange’s basketball team was believed to be the focus of an ongoing investigation, there are concerns regarding the football program, too.

Syracuse.com’s Nate Mink reported the investigation could affect multiple areas within the school’s athletic department.

“The Syracuse football program is part of the wide-ranging NCAA investigation into the school’s athletic department,” sources told Mink.

“The information shows that the NCAA inquiry that has swirled around the basketball team for two years is more involved, and that the football team is part of the investigation and potentially exposed to penalties. It’s unclear if other teams are involved.”

If the Orange football team was to receive any type of sanctions, possible infractions apparently didn’t occur during Doug Marrone‘s tenure. Marrone served as the Orange’s head coach from 2009-12. The current head coach of the Buffalo Bills spoke with Fink about possible reasons behind the investigation.

“There’s nothing that I know about that we did that wasn’t either punished or put forth,” Marrone said.

“One thing I did, if we made a mistake, an incidental contact or something, I just always reported it. It’s not worth it. This way I can sleep at night.”

Syracuse officials are expected to meet with the NCAA in Indianapolis at some point before the end of the month.

UPDATE (8:45 ET): ESPN.com’s Brett Murphy reported Syracuse officials will go to Indianapolis on Oct. 30-31 to face the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions.

While the basketball program is the primary target of the investigation, the football program might not escape unscathed.

“The football team is also facing allegations involving extra benefits, but only for a two-or-three-year stretch around 2004 or 2005,” a source told McMurphy.

The time period falls between Syracuse’s transition from Paul Pasqualoni to Greg Robinson as the team’s head coach. The Orange were 7-16 during those two campaigns.

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Maryland approves policy to link coaches’ bonuses to academic success

Randy Edsall

Some institutions are serious about keeping the student in student-athlete.

The Maryland Board of Regents unanimously voted in favor of a policy “denying bonuses to coaches and athletic directors whose players don’t measure up academically”, according to the Baltimore Sun.

“I think this is another step for Maryland to be in the vanguard on issues of intercollegiate athletics,” former U.S. Rep. Tom McMillen, who is a member of the Board of Regents, told the Sun. “They were a leader on guaranteed scholarships and now they are a leader in academic accountability.”

Maryland approved a “lifetime guarantee degree” in August. At that time, athletic director Kevin Anderson said, “Our vision is to be the best intercollegiate athletic program while producing graduates who are prepared to serve as leaders in the local, state and global communities. We are confident ‘The Maryland Way Guarantee’ will further demonstrate our commitment to our student-athletes’ pursuit of a college degree.”

The school’s commitment — which extends to Towson, Coppin State and UMBC — took a logical step by making its coaches more accountable for the academic performance of their athletes.

The coaches’ bonuses will ultimately be tied to the school’s yearly Academic Progress Rate. To determine a school’s APR, as defined by the NCAA, “a score of a thousand means every student-athlete on that team stayed eligible and returned to school. You begin losing points for students who are not eligible and/or are not retained.”

During the 2012-13 seasons, the Maryland Terrapins received a score of 950, which would have been worst among Big Ten schools. Clearly, there is room for improvement from Maryland head coach Randy Edsall.

This decision also becomes a recruiting advantage for the Terrapins. With the school’s added emphasis on education and new demands on its coaches, parents can see how dedicated the university is to each student-athlete. Education is at the forefront for Maryland, and it will only help the school’s athletics.

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Two Georgia Tech starters ruled out for Pitt contest

Zach Laskey, Akeem Langham

Saturday’s meeting between the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Pitt Panthers is a crucial match up in the ACC Coastal division. Both teams are trying to stay within striking distance of the Duke Blue Devils.

The Yellow Jackets will have to do so without their starting right tackle. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Chris Griffin has been ruled out for Saturday’s contest.

The redshirt freshman started all seven games on the strong side this season, but he’s currently dealing with a shoulder injury.

With Griffin out of the lineup, another redshirt freshman, Eason Fromayan, is expected to slide into the starting lineup. Fromayan already started one game this season at left tackle when Bryan Chamberlain was unable to play in the Duke contest due to an ankle injury.

Griffin isn’t the only starter that’s been ruled out for the upcoming game. Starting B-back (fullback) Zach Laskey is also dealing with a shoulder injury and won’t be able to play against Pitt.

Laskey is a key component in Georgia Tech’s triple-option attack, which is currently ranked fourth overall in rushing yards per game. The fullback is the team’s second-leading rusher with 595 yards on the ground.

Seniors Synjyn Days and Matt Connors should be able to fill in for Laskey and provide the presence needed to keep the Yellow Jackets’ inside running attack viable. Without the mid-line option, the Panthers will have a much easier time defending the outside runs or pitches by quarterback Justin Thomas.

These injuries will only help a Pitt defense that ranks 18th in the nation against the run.

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Indiana prepares for life without RB Tevin Coleman, who is considering NFL draft

Tevin Coleman

Running backs such as Georgia’s Todd Gurley, Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon and even South Carolina’s Mike Davis are all expected to bypass their senior seasons and enter April’s NFL draft. A surprise name could enter the equation.

None of those talented backs lead the FBS in rushing, though. Indiana’s Tevin Coleman does.

Coleman’s 1,192 rushing yards and 8.8 yards per carry makes the running back one of the most explosive players in all of college football. Due to this season’s success, Coleman, a junior, now appears to be leaning toward entering the NFL draft.

“There’s been scant news directly from the source but people close to the Indiana Hoosier program are planning for the departure of Tevin Coleman at seasons end,” DraftInsider.net’s Tony Pauline reported.

From a football perspective there is very little reason why  Coleman should return this season. He’s already one of the top running backs in the country, and his body hasn’t taken much of a beating after sharing the backfield most of his career. It’s an opportunity to strike while the iron is hot instead of adding more wear and tear to his body.

While the Hoosiers couldn’t replace what Coleman brought to the team the past two seasons (including 23 rushing touchdowns and counting), they can continue to sprinkle freshman running back Devine Redding into the rotation to make sure he’s ready to take over a much bigger role once Coleman and senior D’Angelo Roberts are no longer with the program next season.

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Ex-UM WR Csont’e York will serve seven days in jail

Csont'e York

Before Csont’e York can go on to the next chapter of his football-playing career, he’ll have to atone for some of his past transgressions.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the former Michigan wide receiver was sentenced to, among other things, 365 days in jail — he’ll have to serve seven — in connection to the incident that he led him to becoming the former Michigan wide receiver. In late September, York pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated assault and one charge of assault and battery. In exchange for that plea deal, another assault and battery charge was dropped.

In mid-July, York became involved in a verbal disagreement outside of a drinking establishment in Ann Arbor. Security video that was released Aug. 12 showed York sucker-punching 22-year-old male, who suffered a broken jaw as a result.

York was initially suspended by the football program in early August.  Six days after the video was released, York was dismissed by the Wolverines.

The victim in the case requested that York not be sentenced to jail. The judge had other ideas.

“I feel very strongly that some jail term is appropriate to hold you accountable so you can reflect on your actions and see that your behavior will not be tolerated,” Judge Elizabeth Pollard Hines said in sentencing York according to the Free Press. “In balancing all those factors — accountability, rehabilitation, considering protecting the community and the wishes of victim in this case — I’m going to sentence you to 365 days in jail. I’m suspending the rest, and you will serve seven of those days.”

The paper writes that “[t]he seven-day sentence will be split, with four days occurring immediately, then York being released and returning to jail Oct. 31 for the final three days.”

In addition to the jail time, York was sentenced to 24 months probation; $540 in court fines and costs; and payment of victim medical expenses that currently total $2,134.70. Even more damaging financially for York is that he will also be held responsible for any future unpaid medical expenses connected to the assault, which the judge said could exceed $70,000.

York has transferred to Toledo although he’s not yet a part of the Rockets football team. That’s expected to occur as early as spring practice next year.

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Bear Bryant Award releases 20-coach watch list

AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION GUS MALZAHN

In this latest watch list, it’s all about the Big 12 and SEC, with a healthy sprinkling of the Pac-12 for good measure.

The Bear Bryant Award announced Friday a watch list for its annual Coach of the Year that consists of 20 coaches from seven of the 10 FBS conferences.  It’s mainly, though, a list consisting of coaches from the leagues mentioned in the lede.

The Big 12 and SEC lead all conferences with five coaches apiece, while the Pac-12 is right behind with four.  The Big Ten, with two, is the only other conference with more than one, with the AAC, ACC and Conference USA hitting that singular number.

Six of the coaches on this year’s initial watch list were on last year’s as well: Baylor’s Art Briles, Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher, Oregon’s Mark Helfrich, Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, Alabama’s Nick Saban and Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops.  Malzahn, incidentally, won last year’s award.

As for this year’s contenders?  If it were up to me, and at the moment, I’d split the award right down the middle and hand one piece to East Carolina’s Ruffin McNeill and Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen.

That said, below are the 20 members of the Bear Bryant Award watch list.  Bitch, whine and/or moan about who’s on it/not on it below that:

  • Art Briles, Baylor
  • Mark Dantonio, Michigan State
  • Jimbo Fisher, Florida State
  • Huge Freeze, Ole Miss
  • Todd Graham, Arizona State
  • Mark Helfrich, Oregon
  • Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia
  • Doc Holliday, Marshall
  • Brian Kelly, Notre Dame
  • Gus Malzahn, Auburn
  • Ruffin McNeill, East Carolina
  • Dan Mullen, Mississippi State
  • Gary Patterson, TCU
  • Bo Pelini, Nebraska
  • Mark Richt, Georgia
  • Rich Rodriguez, Arizona
  • Nick Saban, Alabama
  • Bill Snyder, Kansas State
  • Bob Stoops, Oklahoma
  • Kyle Whittingham, Utah

 

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SMU AD: ‘no discussion of compensation with potential candidates’

Kliff Kingsbury, Mack Brown

You have to love the twists and turns of a coaching search with a high-profile name connected to it.

In a report taking a look at potential candidates to become the permanent successor to June Jones as head coach that we mentioned Thursday, Dallas Morning News writer Bill Nichols set the Twitterverse ablaze with the following: “SMU officials have already had preliminary discussions with former Texas coach Mack Brown, floating $4 million annually over eight years.”

That came a short time after the former UT head coach’s attorney confirmed that SMU had approached his client about a return to the sidelines.  Brown himself, currently serving as a college football analyst on ESPN, said a week earlier that he will decide in December if his coaching career is done.

The hubbub over the $4 million-per-year- report, however, prompted SMU athletic director Rick Hart to take to his Twitter account to shoot it down.

“While it is not our policy to comment during a search process, the attention a recent report has attracted dictates it be addressed. While we have a great deal of respect for Mack Brown, no one associated with our search has contacted him or his representatives. To that end, there has been no offer or discussion of compensation with any potential candidates.”

So, in summation…

He was approached [by SMU], I was approached, but he’s not interested in coaching anywhere right now.” — Mack Brown attorney Joe Jamail, Oct. 5.

[N]o one associated with our search has contacted him or his representatives.” — SMU athletic director Rick Hart, Oct. 24.

Yep, love the contradictory statements as part of these searches too.  Then again, maybe the well-heeled boosters and political figures connected to the university’s athletic department are merely circumventing official channels, and those in charge of the search are simply unaware of what’s going on behind doors that are closed to even them.  In Texas, anything and everything is possible.

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Wyoming has fingers crossed for injured second-leading rusher

D.J. May

Last week it was a suspension.  This week, it’s an on-field matter that leaves one of Wyoming’s top running back’s future uncertain.

Earlier this week rumors begin to circulate that D.J. May suffered some type of injury during practice. The school sent out a press release Thursday stating that “May did suffer an injury to a knee in Wednesday’s practice,” but that “[d]octors have not yet evaluated tests on the severity of May’s injury.”

As of early Friday afternoon, there was still no definitive word on May’s status moving forward.

May’s 260 yards and two rushing touchdowns remain second on the Cowboys this season. His two receiving touchdowns are tied for second on the team as well.

Mays was suspended for last Saturday’s overtime loss to San Jose State for violating unspecified team rules.

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Season, college career of starting UConn corner over

Connecticut v Central Florida Getty Images

UConn’s loss to East Carolina Thursday night came at a much steeper cost than just in the won-loss column.

By way of John Silver of snyuconn.com, head coach Bob Diaco confirmed Friday that Byron Jones will miss the remainder of the 2014 season because of injury.  The cornerback aggravated a lingering shoulder injury in the loss, and will undergo season-ending surgery in short order.

“Byron was playing through a small issue there,” Diaco said. “That, then exacerbated himself last night to the point that it needs to be addressed. If it doesn’t get addressed it will be something else. Right now, [it's] an isolated thing that needs to be fixed.”

Because Jones is a senior who has already used his redshirt, and will not be eligible for a medical waiver, his collegiate career has come to a close.

Jones started all seven games this season, and started 39 in his career. This season, his two interceptions are the only two picks for the Huskies defense.

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UNC’s Elijah Hood again listed as doubtful

Liberty v North Carolina Getty Images

For the second consecutive game, it appears North Carolina will be sans one of the most productive members of its backfield.

On its weekly injury report, UNC lists running back Elijah Hood as doubtful for Saturday’s game against Virginia.  Thus far, the nature of Hood’s injury hasn’t been disclosed.

Hood was also listed as doubtful heading into last Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech, and ended up not playing against the Yellow Jackets.

Prior to the GT game, Hood had been tops among Tar Heel backs with 199 yards rushing.  His four rushing touchdowns are currently tied for the team lead.

The true freshman was a five-star member of UNC’s most recent recruiting class and was rated as the No. 4 back in the country.

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Judge who will conduct Winston hearing identified

Florida Supreme Court

The “when” of Jameis Winston‘s student conduct hearing is still to be determined.

One “who,” however, has been determined.

According to WCTV in Tallahassee, retired Florida Supreme Court chief justice Major Harding has been selected to preside over the hearing as what’s described as an “independent observer.”  Two other former state court justices, Joseph Hatchett and Charles T. Wells, were in the group of three candidates considered by the Florida State quarterback and his accuser.

Each side was able to strike one of the three from consideration.  If both struck the same judge, FSU would pick from the remaining two.  It’s unknown exactly how Harding came to oversee the hearing.

Harding did confirm to the television station that he has “been chosen to oversee a student conduct hearing, but says no student’s name has been provided to him.”

ESPN.com‘s Mark Schlabach provided a brief description of each judge in his confirmation of the earlier report on Harding.

Harding, 79, was a state Supreme Court justice from 1991 to 2000. A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, he is a graduate of Wake Forest and Virginia’s law school. Harding, who is currently a practicing attorney with the law firm Ausley McMullen in Tallahassee, began his career as a jurist in Florida with a 1968 appointment as a Duval County Juvenile Court judge. When he was appointed to the state’s Supreme Court, he was the dean of the Florida Judicial College and chair-elect of the Florida Conference of Circuit Judges, according to his bio on the law firm’s website.

Hatchett, 82, was the first black man appointed to a federal appeals court in the Deep South, by President Jimmy Carter in 1979. Wells, 75, a graduate of the University of Florida and UF law school, was the Florida Supreme Court’s chief justice from 2000 to 2002. He presided over the 2000 U.S. presidential election recount cases involving the hanging chads on Florida’s ballots.

At the hearing, whenever that may be if it even happens at all, Winston could be charged with up to four student code of conduct violations in connection to the alleged sexual assault of an FSU student in December of 2012.

Winston, as long as he is still a student at the university, will be compelled to attend the hearing. He will not be required, however, to answer questions even as he is permitted to give an opening statement and cross-examine witnesses. Unless given explicit permission by whomever is overseeing the hearing, his attorney, David Cornwell, will not be allowed to speak or argue on his client’s behalf.

Provided it doesn’t interrupt the hearing process, Winston can consult with Cornwell, who will presumably be the one “advisor” permitted at the hearing.

Cornwell has publicly expressed concern over the process, saying earlier this month, “I’m not walking this kid into a firing line without the necessary weapons.”  That tack’s being viewed by some, including the accuser’s attorney, as taking on the feel of “a stall.”

(Photo credit: Florida Supreme Court)

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A&M drops Ducks, adds future Clemson series

12th Man AP

The scheduling gods taketh… and then they giveth right back.

Thursday, Twitter was all, well, atwitter when it was reported that Texas A&M had backed out of its home-and-home series with Oregon that had been scheduled for 2018 and 2019. “Typical SEC school, ducking tough non-conference games,” some derisively said, never mind the fact that A&M already has Notre Dame, Clemson, UCLA and Arizona State on its future slates.

A short time later, however, both A&M and Clemson announced that they had agreed to a future series, with the Tigers replacing the Ducks in 2018 and 2019. Clemson will travel to Kyle Field on September 8, 2018, while TAMU will head to Memorial Stadium on September 7, 2019.

“We are excited to play the Clemson Tigers, who have been on Texas A&M’s non-conference schedule previously, A&M athletic director Eric Hyman said in a statement. “As a fellow land-grant institution, Clemson is very similar to Texas A&M with a great football tradition and passionate fans. This will be a great non-conference series for both schools.”

According to FOXSports.com, Hyman “exercised a clause from the contract A&M and the Ducks… that said they could get out deal if A&M changed conferences.” The original series between A&M and UO was agreed to in 2009, prior to the Aggies’ departure from the Big 12 for the SEC.

Hyman further explained that the reason for dumping Oregon came down to simple math as it relates to home dates in 2018 and 2019.

“Our goal is to play seven home games at Kyle Field each season,” the release quoted Hyman as saying. “Playing at Oregon in 2018, combined with the Arkansas game in Arlington, would leave us with only six home games that season. In even-numbered years such as 2018, we only have three SEC home dates as long as we continue to play Arkansas in Arlington.”

And, for those who are wondering, this is not a case of UO being hard to deal with either.  Also from the release:

Texas A&M offered to switch the home-and-home dates with Oregon on the original contract, but Oregon faces the same situation with only four Pac-12 home games in even years with five on the road.

Clemson and A&M have met four times previously, with the last coming in 2005. The Aggies own a 3-1 edge in the series.

“We are looking forward to playing Texas A&M as the two schools share a rich military heritage and of course passionate fan bases,” Hyman’s Clemson counterpart, Dan Radakovich, said. “We know our fans make Clemson a great game day experience and the Aggie fans make Kyle field also one of the great venues in all of college football.”

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Ground and pound: Hurricanes establish identity during 30-6 victory over Hokies

Al Golden, Duke Johnson

The Miami Hurricanes made a statement Thursday against the Virginia Tech Hokies.

While the program may never return to the winning ways it once experienced while Al Golden is at the helm, the program finally gravitated toward an identity that’s long been forgotten. The vaunted Miami teams from the 1980’s and the early 2000’s used to physically dominate opponents. They did that Thursday night in Blacksburg.

Miami (5-2) captured a dominant 30-6 victory over Virginia Tech (4-4).

When Golden was the head coach of Temple from 2006-10, the Owls climbed their way out of football purgatory by running the football effectively week in and week out. The talent level at Miami supersedes anything Golden had at Temple, but the team’s approach against the Hokies was reminiscent of those Owls.

There was nothing fancy about what Miami did to Virginia Tech. The Hurricanes lined up and jammed the ball down the Hokies’ collective throat. Two running backs combined to run for an impressive 364 yards.

Junior running back Duke Johnson ran like a man possessed. Johnson set a career high with 249 rushing yards on 29 carries.

Sophomore Gus Edwards took over in the second half and managed 115 yards.

The Hurricanes were so dominant in the trenches, freshman quarterback Brad Kaaya was only asked to throw the ball 16 teams. He completed seven of those passes for 92 yards and a touchdown.

Plus, Miami played well on the defensive side of the football.

The Hurricanes shut out the Hokies through the first half of play, before Virginia Tech decided to ride freshman running back Marshawn Williams. Willams carried the ball 21 times for 100 yards. The young back also fumbled twice.

With the ACC Coastal division being wide open, the Hurricanes may have found its identity at the right time. At 2-2 in the division, Miami is now a half game behind the Duke Blue Devils going into this weekend’s games. But Miami holds the head-to-head edge.

If Miami plans to make a run in their division, its ball-control offense will be needed over the next two weeks against the North Carolina Tar Heels and No. 2 Florida State Seminoles.

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No. 18 ECU Pirates may stumble in polls despite 31-21 victory over UConn

Ruffin Mc Neill

The No. 18 East Carolina Pirates secured a 31-21 victory over the Connecticut Huskies Thursday. But was it enough for the Pirates to remain the top non-Power Five program and the favorite to claim an appearance in a contract bowl?

Sometimes a win can be viewed as a loss.

The Pirates struggled against a Huskies squad that entered the game 1-5 and didn’t have a victory against a single FBS opponent this season. It wasn’t until six minutes left in the game that East Carolina finally pulled away from UConn.

When a non-power conference team trying to impress the College Football Playoff gets an opportunity to add style points to their resume on national television, it has to do so. East Carolina didn’t.

The Pirates moved the ball and racked up 580 total yards, but they weren’t able to complete drives most of the evening. UConn employed a bend-but-don’t-break, and the scheme worked.

If East Carolina isn’t putting up big scoring and yardage numbers, the team is nowhere near as impressive.

East Carolina’s primary competition as the top non-Power Five program is the Marshall Thundering Herd. Marshall is currently ranked 23rd overall in the AP Top 25. The Thundering Herd’s underwhelming schedule has prevented them from legitimately entering the national conversation. Yet, Marshall’s schedule doesn’t feature a team ranked lower than Connecticut.

Despite the lackluster effort, East Carolina did win the game. Ruffin McNeill‘s squad overcame adversity and was able to win a close contest even though everything didn’t go in their favor. The program still holds victories over the Virginia Tech Hokies and the No. 25 North Carolina Tar Heels.

Plus, very few teams feature a dynamic duo like quarterback Shane Carden and Justin Hardy. Carden was 38-of-64 passing Thursday for 445 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Hardy, meanwhile, grabbed 14 passes for 186 yards. The impressive effort moved Hardy into second place among the FBS’ all-time receptions list.

The Huskies deserve some credit for knocking down the Pirates a notch. First-year head coach Bob Diaco has his team playing hard, and they seem to be figuring some things out. The defense plays sound football, while the offense was finally able to move the ball in stretches against East Carolina.

In the end, East Carolina is still the top non-Power Five program in college football, but the margin between the top team and the second team is much closer after Thursday night’s effort.

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