Tajh Boyd, Clemson preseason ACC media favorites

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If the media is right (chuckle), it’ll be all about the Orange & White in the ACC in 2013.

At the conference’s kickoff meetings Monday in Greensboro, NC, both Clemson and its starting quarterback, Tajh Boyd, were tabbed by the media as overwhelming favorites for both team and individual honors.

On the former front, Clemson was picked by 95 of the 120 members as the favorite to claim the ACC championship.  Defending conference champion Florida State was the only other school to receive double-digit votes (15), while Georgia Tech, Miami and North Carolina received three title votes apiece.  Virginia Tech (1) was the only other of the 14 members schools to receive a nod from the media.

Division-wise, Clemson was again the overwhelming favorite of the media type in the Atlantic, pulling in 102 first-place votes and 815 points total to far outdistance FSU (18, 731).  Those were the only two schools to receive first-place votes.

Over in the Coastal, the voting was much closer.  Miami received 65 first-place votes, followed by Virginia Tech (27), North Carolina (22) and Georgia Tech (6).

Newcomers Pittsburgh and Syracuse are projected to finish sixth in the Atlantic and fifth in the Coastal, respectively.

Of the 120 voters, 55 of them predicted a Clemson win over Miami in the ACC Championship Game.

On the individual side of the ledger, Boyd received 105 of a possible 120 first-place votes as the media’s preseason Player of the Year.  Boyd won the award in 2012, and a repeat would be the first for the conference since Florida State’s Charlie Ward went back-to-back in the early nineties.

Miami running back Duke Johnson, with four votes, placed second to Boyd in the POTY voting. Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas and Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins received three votes apiece. Three other players — Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech; Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State; Stephen Morris, Miami — received votes.

Below is the individual vote totals for both the Atlantic and Coastal divisions, with first-place votes in parentheses:

Atlantic Division
1. Clemson (102) 815
2. Florida State (18) 731
3. NC State 490
4. Wake Forest 392
5. Maryland 373
6. Syracuse 320
7. Boston College 211

Coastal Division
1. Miami (65) 736
2. Virginia Tech (27) 654
3. North Carolina (22) 649
4. Georgia Tech (6) 522
5. Pitt 313
6. Virginia 230
7. Duke 228

Infant son of D’Onta Foreman passed away during Texas’ 2016 season

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As a father five times over, I simply can’t imagine doing what D'Onta Foreman did last season.

On the field, the Texas running back was an absolute beast.  He led the nation in rushing yards per game at 184.4 — next closest was San Diego State’s Donnell Pumphrey at 152.4 — while his 2,028 total rushing yards were second to Pumphrey (2,133).  On Nov. 5 against Texas Tech, Foreman ran for 341 yards, the third-highest total in Longhorns history.

In a profile that appeared on the NFL Network, Foreman revealed that, unbeknownst to those outside of the football program, his girlfriend gave birth to a baby boy on Sept. 16.  His son was born premature and weighed just 15 ounces at birth; 50 days later, the infant passed away — not long after Foreman’s historic performance against Tech.

In fact, Foreman learned of his son’s death as he was driving back to the hospital in Texas City after the game to be with him.

From HookEm.com‘s transcription of his interview with the NFL Network:

I always dreamed of having a boy and naming him after me and you know, just seeing him grow. You know, just loving him.

“He was a fighter, you know. He would like fight and he’s going to make it and everything will be fine.”

“I really didn’t know how to feel. I was like numb. I was driving and then I was crying while I was driving. I was crushed and I was so hurt. I feel like something was taken away from me before I even really got the chance to experience it.

While nothing can ever replace Foreman’s loss, there is a silver lining in his story as the back’s girlfriend is again pregnant.  The due date?  The same day D’Onta Vanton Foreman Jr. was born.

Foreman Sr. is one of the players who are part of the pool for the NFL draft, which will take place this Thursday in Philadelphia.

Via Twitter, safety Jordan Fogal says he’s leaving Utah

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Utah has become the latest FBS program to lose a player via the increasingly-popular graduate transfer route.

Jordan Fogal announced on his Twitter page this weekend that, “after many prayers and long discussions, I found it in my best interest to leave Utah and look to transfer to another university. The specific destination for the continuation of his collegiate playing career was not divulged in the missive.

The safety described his decision as “very difficult” as he said “Utah and the fan base here will forever hold a place in my heart and I will truly miss this place.”

As a grad transfer, Fogal will be eligible to play immediately in 2017 at another FBS school. This upcoming season will be his final year of eligibility.

After spending two seasons at the junior college level, Fogal played in 11 games the past two years.  Fogal’s two interceptions last season were tied for fourth on the team.

The defensive back’s 2015 season came to a premature end after three games because of an injury. He then played in eight games in 2016 for the Utes.

Oklahoma State’s Jordan Brailford undergoes shoulder surgery, may be back before opener

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The injury-plagued career of Jordan Brailford (pictured, right) in Stillwater is apparently showing no signs of slowing down.

While the football program has yet to confirm it, Oklahoma State’s student newspaper, the Daily O’Collegian, has reported that Brailford has undergone a surgical procedure to repair unspecified damage in his shoulder. The Oklahoman subsequently confirmed the initial report.

It’s expected that the surgery will sideline the redshirt junior defensive lineman for up to four months, which would put him back in time to participate in the latter portions of summer camp. The Oklahoman notes that, via a team source, “Brailford’s availability for the opener depends on how quickly he heals and strengthens the shoulder.”

OU opens the 2017 season against Tulsa Sept. 2, although that game could be moved to Aug. 31.

A three-star 2014 signee, Brailford took a redshirt his true freshman season after suffering a fractured tibia. After playing in 10 games the following season, he missed all of 2016 because of a stress fracture in his foot.

He’s already received a medical hardship waiver for one of those seasons.

Alabama QB Jalen Hurts uses photo of Clemson celebrating title win as motivational phone background

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Nick Saban said last week that the loss to Clemson in the the national championship game earlier this year is one that he’ll never get over, although he didn’t go so far as to compare it to a death in the family. One playing member of Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide team is taking to steps to ensure that he never forgets, either.

Jalen Hurts was the Tide’s talented true freshman starting quarterback who helped lead ‘Bama into the title game and, with a 30-yard touchdown run with just over two minutes left, gave his team a 31-28 lead. That lead was short-lived, however, as Deshaun Watson led his Tigers on an epic 88-yard drive that was capped by his two-yard touchdown pass with just one tick left on the clock for the 35-31 win.

The stunning last-second loss is something that Hurts makes a conscious effort to remind himself of daily as the rising sophomore, as the background on his smartphone, has a picture of Clemson players celebrating their win.

“We’re obviously all on our phones all the time,” Hurts said according to al.com after this past weekend’s spring game. “Every time I unlock it, it’s kind of a reminder. It kind of humbles me and keeps me motivated. …

“It’s not a grudge at all. It’s just something that keeps it on the back of your shoulder like, yeah, it’s still there. Remember why you’re doing it because at the end of the day, the goal for this team is to win the national championship.