Carey, Yeldon among 63 RBs on Doak Walker Award preseason watch list

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Oh, you know. Just another preseason watch list coming your way.

The Doak Walker Award, given annually to college football’s most outstanding running back, released its preseason watch list on Friday with 63 candidates. Among those to be included were Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey, who was the nation’s leading rusher in 2012, Miami’s Duke Johnson, Oregon’s De’Anthony Thomas and Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon.

The winner of the Doak Walker Award will be announced at the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Dec. 12. Last year’s winner was Wisconsin’s Montee Ball.

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

Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska
Michael Alisa, BYU
Antonio Andrews, Western Kentucky
Dri Archer, Kent State
Brendan Bigelow, California
Beau Blankenship, Ohio
Alfred Blue, LSU
Dominique Brown, Louisville
Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona
B.J. Catalon, TCU
Orleans Darkwa, Tulane
Kenneth Dixon, Louisiana Tech
Trayion Durham, Kent State
Jahwan Edwards, Ball State
David Fluellen, Toledo
D.J. Foster, Arizona State
Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin
Marion Grice, Arizona State
Todd Gurley, Georgia
Joe Hill, Utah State
John Hubert, Kansas State
Carlos Hyde, Ohio State
Waymon James, TCU
Duke Johnson, Miami
Storm Johnson, UCF
Matt Jones, Florida
Henry Josey, Missouri
Ben Malena, Texas A&M
Raymond Maples, Army
Venric Mark, Northwestern
Keith Marshall, Georgia
Glasco Martin, Baylor
Tre Mason, Auburn
Lyle McCombs, Connecticut
Adam Muema, San Diego State
David Oku, Arkansas State
Branden Oliver, Buffalo
Jordan Parker, Middle Tennessee
LaDarius Perkins, Mississippi State
Senorise Perry, Louisville
Christian Powell, Colorado
Darrin Reaves, UAB
Silas Redd, USC
Bishop Sankey, Washington
Lache Seastrunk, Baylor
David Sims, Georgia Tech
James Sims, Kansas
Kiero Small, Arkansas
Jeremy Smith, Oklahoma State
Jerome Smith, Syracuse
De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon
Zurlon Tipton, Central Michigan
Trey Watts, Tulsa
Mark Weisman, Iowa
James White, Iowa State
James White, Wisconsin
Andre Williams, Boston College
Damien Williams, Oklahoma
Jamaal Williams, BYU
Jonathan Williams, Arkansas
Storm Woods, Oregon State
T.J. Yeldon, Alabama
Zach Zwinak, Penn State

SEC leads NFL Draft for 11th straight year as Alabama and Michigan set school records

Brandon Wade/AP Images for NFLPA
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The 2017 NFL Draft has come and gone, and once again it is the SEC claiming another NFL Draft national championship. A grand total of 53 players from the SEC were drafted by NFL teams. It is the 11th straight year the SEC has had the most players drafted by NFL teams.

The ACC ended the draft with 42 players drafted, followed by the Pac-12 (36) and Big Ten (35). The Big 12 ended the draft with just 14 players drafted.

Helping to contribute to the SEC’s NFL Draft total was Alabama setting a school record with 10 players drafted.

Alabama’s nine players drafted in the first 80 picks was also a new Alabama record.

Michigan ended up having more players drafted than any other Big Ten team, slipping past Ohio State by the time the draft closed up shop this year. For the Wolverines, 11 players ended up being drafted. The previous school record for draft picks was 10, set in 1972 and tied in 1974. Head coach Jim Harbaugh will get plenty of the praise for developing that many players getting a chance to be drafted, but Brady Hoke should be recognized for recruiting those players as well (and blamed for not developing the talent he brought in).

 

Air Force changes rules for football players with NFL aspirations

AP Photo/The Colorado Springs Gazette, Michael Ciaglo
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One of the top players from Air Force was ineligible to be drafted by the NFL this weekend, and it had nothing to do with NFL rules. It also had nothing to do with NFL teams backing away from a particular player due to off-field concerns. Instead, a policy at Air Force is what is to blame for wide receiver Jalen Robinette not moving on to the NFL at this time.

The U.S. Air Force will not approve requests from academy graduates to defer their two years of active duty in order to be allowed to play professional football. Just a year ago, the Department of Defense changed the policy to allow for the possibility, which made it possible for Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds to be allowed to play. Reynolds later joined the Baltimore Ravens. Reynolds had received a recommendation to be allowed to play by the U.S. Naval Academy.

“The Air Force notified academy leaders [Thursday] that the service would not approve requests to waiver active duty military commitments for cadet athletes,” a statement from Air Force read. “Cadets will be required to serve two years active duty prior to entering Ready Reserve, which would allow their participation in professional sports. The Air Force places tremendous value on our cadet athletes and their contributions to the nation as we continue to build leaders of character, engage in combat operations overseas and continue to ensure our highest military readiness at home.”

Because of the policy change and confirmation, Robinette was not able to be drafted. He may still have been a long shot to be drafted by an NFL Team, but the policy also means he is unable to be signed as an undrafted free agent as well.

Rawleigh Williams carted off at Arkansas scrimmage

AP Photo/Chris Brashers
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Any time a player that has previously undergone neck surgery goes down on the field and needs to be carted off is quite the scary moment. On Saturday, the Arkansas football program had that exact scare when Rawleigh Williams went down on the field in pain and ended up having to be carted off the practice field during the Arkansas scrimmage.

Williams was placed on a stretcher and taken out of the facility on a cart to receive medical attention. His legs and arms were moving on the ground, a slight sigh of relief given the hit and his injury history. In 2015, Williams was carted off and had to undergo surgery on his neck. Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema said the injury concern on Saturday was apparently not related to the previous neck injury, which was expected to have a full recovery.

It is an unfortunate ending to the spring for Williams, because all indications seemed to be he was certainly improving running the football. Bielema said earlier in the week Williams was running with more patience, which is always a key for a running back.

Arkansas moved its final scrimmage of the spring indoors due to bad weather rolling through the area.

Justin Herbert shines in first Oregon spring game under Willie Taggart

Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images
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A glimpse of a brand new era of Oregon football took center stage in Eugene, Oregon on Saturday as the spring football season drew to a close. Willie Taggart showed fans a little bit of what to expect from Oregon in the fall as the program looks to bounce back from a down season under the coach who has shown a knack for improving programs. As is usually the case in a spring game, Oregon’s quarterback situation was under a microscope, and sophomore Justin Herbert took advantage of the opportunity.

Herbert completed 16 of 26 passes for 327 yards and established a connection with wide receiver Darren Carrington. The two connected for three touchdowns in the game. Sophomore Travis Jonson and early enrollee Braxton Burmeister also saw playing time in the game, but Carrington was confident in saying this is Herbert’s job to lose.

”Our chemistry has definitely improved this spring, and it’ll improve more by the time fall comes, but Herbert, I mean, that’s the guy right now to beat,” Carrington said after the spring game.

As for the team as a whole, Taggert knows there is much still to address as a new system and style are implemented and the roster adjusts physically to the demands of the new coach.

‘We’re still building. We’re nowhere where we need to be as a football team yet. We have some good players. We don’t have a lot of depth that we need to have, that’s going to be a work in progress,” Taggart said. ”The thing for us as coaches is just to make our guys better than they were before. If I guy wasn’t good enough we want to make him look better than he was before. If I guy was good we want to make him great.”

Og course, it wouldn’t be an Oregon spring game without having that typical Oregon uniform flair. Even with a new head coach and with the talk suggesting the Ducks will go for a more traditional approach to uniforms in the fall, the spring game was used for some sizzle on the unis.

Oregon’s spring game crowd of 36,821 assured the Ducks of having the highest spring game attendance among Pac-12 school for a third consecutive year.