Over 100 players make preseason Lombardi Award watch list

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In addition to the Butkus Award watch list (which you can view HERE), the Rotary Lombardi Award preseason watch list was released today as the college football season inches ever closer.

The Lombardi Award is given annually to the best lineman or linebacker in college football, and this year’s preseason watch list is over 100 players strong. You’re probably on it too. (Congratulations!)

The 2013 Lombardi Award will be presented Dec. 11 in a ceremony at the Wortham Center in Houston, Texas. Last year’s winner was Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o.

As always, you can view the entire list of preseason candidates below. You can now also check out our preseason watch lists repository HERE.

C Josh Allen, ULM
LB Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech
DT Calvin Barnett, Oklahoma State
LB Anthony Barr, UCLA
LB Chris Borland, Wisconsin
DL Morgan Breslin, USC
LB Preston Brown, Louisville
LB Vince Buhaglar, San Jose State
G Austen Bujnoch, Cincinnati
LB Max Bullough, Michigan State
G Chris Burnette, Georgia
DT Ryan Carrethers, Arkansas State
G Le’Raven Clark, Texas Tech
DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
G La’El Collins, LSU
DE Scott Crichton, Oregon State
NG Tyeler Davison, Fresno State
DE Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh
LB Jake Doughty, Utah State
DT Dominique Easley, Florida
DT IK Enemkpali, Louisiana Tech
LB Kyler Fackrell, Utah State
LB Jake Fely, San Diego State
DE Devonte Fields, TCU
C BJ Finney, Kansas State
G Dominic Flewellyn, Bowling Green
DE Ben Gardner, Stanford
DE David Gilbert, Miami
C Hroniss Grasu, Oregon
OL Ryan Groy, Wisconsin
DT Ra’Shede Hageman, Minnesota
LB Bryce Hager, Baylor
LB Ben Heeney, Kansas
DE Brock Hekking, Nevada
LB Anthony Hitchens, Iowa
LB Adrian Hubbard, Alabama
DT Chucky Hunter, TCU
T James Hurst North, Carolina
DE Kerry Hyder, Texas Tech
DE Martin Ifedi, Memphis
C Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma
LB Andrew Jackson, Western Kentucky
G Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State
G Tre’ Jackson, Florida State
DE Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas
DT Timmy Jernigan, Florida State
LB AJ Johnson, Tennessee
DT Anthony Johnson, LSU
T Kaleb Johnson, Rutgers
T Wesley Johnson, Vanderbilt
T Tyler Johnstone, Oregon
LB Christian Jones, Florida State
G Nicholas Kaspar, San Jose State
C Zac Kerin, Toledo
T Cyrus Kouandijio, Alabama
C Tyler Larsen, Utah State
DE Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State
T Eric Lefeld, Cincinnati
T Charles Leno, Boise State
T Taylor Lewan, Michigan
G Spencer Long, Nebraska
G Antwan Lowery, Rutgers
DE Aaron Lynch, USF
LB Khalil Mack, Buffalo
LB Gabe Martin, Bowling Green
G Zack Martin, Notre Dame
T Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
T Morgan Moses, Virginia
LB CJ Mosley, Alabama
LB Trent Murphy, Stanford
LB Jonathan Newsome, Ball State
DT Louis Nix III, Notre Dame
DE Roosevelt Nix, Kent State
LB Denzel Nkemdiche, Ole Miss
G Andrew Norwell, Ohio State
T Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M
LB Zack Orr, North Texas
DE Alex Page, South Alabama
LB Hayes Pullard, USC
DT Travis Raciti, San Jose State
T Antonio Richardson, Tennessee
G Cyril Richardson, Baylor
C Weston Richburg, Colorado State
LB Jake Ryan, Michigan
G Eric Schultz, Utah State
DE Tyler Scott, Northwestern
C Issac Seumalo, Oregon State
LB Ryan Shazier, Ohio State
LB Prince Shembo, Notre Dame
LB Shayne Skov, Stanford
T Jeremiah Sirles, Nebraska
LB Yawin Smallwood, Connecticut
DE Chris Smith, Arkansas
LB Keith Smith, San Jose State
G Anthony Steen, Alabama
G Xavier Su’a-Filo, UCLA
DT Will Sutton, Arizona State
C Travis Swanson, Arkansas
T Brandon Thomas, Clemson
DE Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame
LB Jack Tyler, Virginia Tech
G John Urschel, Penn State
LB Kyle Van Noy, BYU
C Brandon Vitabile, Northwestern
G Mason Walters, Texas
T Austin Wentworth, Fresno State
T David Yankey, Stanford

Colorado State lands $37.7 million stadium naming rights deal

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Colorado State’s athletic department coffers will be a little more full thanks to one development this week.

CSU announced Thursday a 15-year agreement with Public Service Credit Union for the naming rights to the university’s year-old football stadium. The long-term agreement will result in the school being paid $37.7 million over the life of the deal. Per the school, “annual escalator clauses for inflation, as well as a signing bonus,” are also included in the agreement.

The on-campus stadium opened in July of last year at a cost of $225 million, with the first game played in August of 2017.

“This is a partnership that makes so much sense for our university community and for Public Service Credit Union, and we’re thrilled to announce this new agreement,” said CSU president Tony Frank in a statement. “Our stadium will carry the name of a Colorado-based business that shares our commitment to creating opportunity and opening doors for people at all income levels. Our mission and our values as a university align so well with those of PCSU, and the investment by the credit union and its members in our campus and programs will bring great visibility to how much they accomplish as a visionary community partner.”

According to the school’s release, the new naming rights deal, when combined with the field naming rights deal previously announced, actually compares reasonably well with some of the agreements reached by Power Five programs.

The agreement, which when added to the $20 million given in 2016 to name Sonny Lubick Field, brings the total naming rights revenues at Colorado State to $57 million for the stadium. This is comparable to the recently announced $69 million United Airlines Memorial Coliseum at University of Southern California and the $41 million Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium at the University of Washington.

Interestingly, Lubick, the legendary former Rams head football coach, currently serves as the vice president of community outreach for the credit union.

Ohio State announces passing of former head coach Earle Bruce

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The extended Ohio State family is mourning the loss of one its own.

In a statement attributed to the four daughters of Earle Bruce, OSU confirmed Friday morning the passing of the former head football coach.  The beloved coach had been battling Alzheimer’s for years prior to his death at age 87.

Below is the daughters’ statement, in its entirety:

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our father, Coach Earle Bruce, early this morning, Friday, April 20. He was a great man, a wonderful husband, father and grandfather, and a respected coach to many. Our family will miss him dearly, but we take solace in the belief that he is in a better place and reunited with his beloved wife, Jean. We thank you for your prayers and good wishes.

His loving daughters: Lynn, Michele, Aimee and Noel

Bruce played his college football with the Buckeyes, and embarked on his coaching career as an OSU student assistant under the legendary Woody Hayes in 1951.  He returned to his alma mater as an assistant from 1966-71 and then again in 1979 as the head coach as he replaced Hayes, who was fired after his infamous sideline punch of a Clemson player in a 1978 bowl game.

In nine seasons as the head coach of the Buckeyes, Bruce compiled a record of 81-26-1.  OSU won outright or claimed a share of the Big Ten title four times during Bruce’s tenure.  They played in a pair of Rose Bowls under Bruce, part of eight bowl games they qualified for in his first eight seasons as head coach.

In 2002, Bruce, who was the head coach at Iowa State prior to coming to Columbus, was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.

Jim Harbaugh, on threatening tweets directed at him by former player: ‘it’s a serious matter’

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The man at the center of a storm not of his creation has spoken.

Elysee Mbem-Bosse, or someone with access to his Twitter account, sent out a string of disturbing and threatening tweets Monday night that seemed to be directed at U-M head football coach Jim Harbaugh.  Even as U-M’s athletic director expressed concern for a player who left the football program in mid-November, the University of Michigan Police Department had already confirmed that they had launched an investigation into the social-media threats.

At a coaching clinic in Detroit Thursday night, Harbaugh for the first time (somewhat) addressed the threatening tweets seemingly directed at him by a former player.  From the Detroit News:

It’s a serious matter,” Harbaugh told The Detroit News. “I’m confident our administration and university officials will take the proper steps and are taking the proper steps.”

Harbaugh was asked if he felt threatened by the tweets.

“That’s all I’m going to say about it,” he said.

He issued the same response when asked when he became aware of the tweets.

Mbem-Bosse, who appeared in 12 games at linebacker the past two seasons, has not been arrested or charged as of yet in connection to the social-media threats.  Even in the face of a police investigation, the Twitter account attached to Mbem-Bosse, which he marked private before switching it back to public, has remained defiant and continued to direct unnerving tweets at his now-former head coach.

Nick Saban had ‘very positive meeting’ with Jalen Hurts’ dad

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Not surprisingly, Nick Saban is taking a measured approach to what could potentially be a volatile situation within his football program.

In an interview that was posted Thursday, Averion Hurts, the father of two-year starting quarterback Jalen Hurts, stated that, if his son fails to beat out Tua Tagovailoa for the starting job, he would “be the biggest free agent in college football history.”  The intimation, of course, was that Hurts would transfer if/when he lost the competition.

As it turned out, the Crimson Tide head coach was previously scheduled to meet with the media later on in the day, after the piece had gained some national traction.  Predictably, Saban was asked about the quotes attributed to the elder Hurts.

In answering the queries, Saban stated that he had met with the father this past weekend in what he described as “a very positive meeting.”

In the article in question, Averion Hurts stated that, while “Coach Saban’s job is to do what’s best for his team… my job is to do what’s best for Jalen.” Saban’s response? From al.com:

At the end of the day, everybody has career decisions that they have to make. Nobody knows what the outcome of this situation will bring. We don’t want any player not to be able to fill their goals and aspirations in our program here. We don’t want that for any of our players. Jalen’s dad has always been very positive and supportive in every conversation that I had.

So I’m not really concerned with what somebody else chose to write because I’m always sort of use the personal communication that I have with our player, Jalen and his family when necessary. And I have a lot of trust and respect for those folks. And I don’t think there’s an issue or problem from my standpoint.

Hurts has taken the majority of first-team reps this spring as Tagovailoa has been extremely limited because of an injury to his left (throwing hand) that has, thus far, required two different surgeries.  Tagovailoa will not participate in the annual spring game this Saturday, and Saban has refused to give a timeline for a decision on a starter to be made.