Coaches name Aaron Murray All-SEC over Johnny Manziel

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The SEC coaches have spoken, and apparently they don’t expect Johnny Football to top his Heisman-winning 2012 season.

The conference released its preseason All-SEC teams Thursday afternoon, and there was what some would consider a surprise at the quarterback position.  The 14 coaches, who can’t vote for their own players, tabbed Georgia’s Aaron Murray as the first-team SEC quarterback over Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel (second-team) and Alabama’s AJ McCarron (third-team).

The media voted Manziel first-team All-SEC last month.

After the 2012 regular season, the conference quarterback pecking order was Manziel on the first-team and McCarron on the second-team.

Per the conference, Alabama placed a league-high 16 players on the three teams.  The Tide’s five first-team selections were also tops in the conference.  Georgia and LSU had eight selections apiece, followed by Florida and Tennessee with seven each.

Florida, Georgia, LSU and Vanderbilt all placed three players on the first-team, while Arkansas, South Carolina and Tennessee had two apiece.  All told, 11 of the 14 SEC teams placed players on the first-team squad.

OFFENSE
First-Team
QB – Aaron Murray, Georgia
RB – Todd Gurley, Georgia
RB – T.J. Yeldon, Alabama
WR – Amari Cooper, Alabama
WR – Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt
TE – Arthur Lynch, Georgia
OL – Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
OL – Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama
OL – Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State
OL – Antonio Richardson, Tennessee
C – Travis Swanson, Arkansas

Second-Team
QB – Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
RB – LaDarius Perkins, Mississippi State
RB – Tre Mason, Auburn
WR – Mike Evans, Texas A&M
WR – Donte Moncrief, Ole Miss
TE – Rory Anderson, South Carolina
OL – Anthony Steen, Alabama
OL – Ja’Wuan James, Tennessee
OL – Wesley Johnson, Vanderbilt
OL – *A.J. Cann, South Carolina
OL – *Chris Burnette, Georgia
OL – *Zach Fulton, Tennessee
OL – *Jon Halapio, Florida
C – Reese Dismukes, Auburn

Third-Team
QB – AJ McCarron, Alabama
RB – Alfred Blue, LSU
RB – Keith Marshall, Georgia
WR – *Odell Beckham Jr., LSU
WR – *Malcolm Mitchell, Georgia
WR – *Dorial Green-Beckham, Missouri
TE – *Brian Vogler, Alabama
TE – *C.J. Uzomah, Auburn
OL – La’el Collins, LSU
OL – David Hurd, Arkansas
OL – Justin Britt, Missouri
OL – Aaron Morris, Ole Miss
C – James Stone, Tennessee

DEFENSE
First-Team

DL – Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
DL – Dominique Easley, Florida
DL – Anthony Johnson, LSU
DL – Chris Smith, Arkansas
LB – C.J. Mosley, Alabama
LB – A.J. Johnson, Tennessee
LB – Denzel Nkemdiche, Ole Miss
DB – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama
DB – Craig Loston, LSU
DB – Andre Hal, Vanderbilt
DB – Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida

Second-Team
DL – Kelcy Quarles, South Carolina
DL – Daniel McCullers, Tennessee
DL – *Ed Stinson, Alabama
DL – *Xzavier Dickson, Alabama
DL – *Jeoffrey Pagan, Alabama
LB – Lamin Barrow, LSU
LB – Jordan Jenkins, Georgia
LB – Adrian Hubbard, Alabama
DB – Damian Swann, Georgia
DB – Marcus Roberson, Florida
DB – E.J. Gaines, Missouri
DB – Deion Belue, Alabama

Third-Team
DL – *Dee Ford, Auburn
DL – *C.J. Johnson, Ole Miss
DL – *Ronald Powell, Florida
DL – *Alvin Dupree, Kentucky
DL – *Denico Autry, Mississippi State
LB – Avery Williamson, Kentucky
LB – Benardrick McKinney, Mississippi State
LB – *Ronald Powell, Florida
LB – *Trey DePriest, Alabama
DB – Deshazor Everett, Texas A&M
DB – Nickoe Whitley, Mississippi State
DB – Vinnie Sunseri, Alabama
DB – Charles Sawyer, Ole Miss

SPECIALISTS
First-Team
PK – Carey Spear, Vanderbilt
P – Kyle Christy, Florida
RS – Odell Beckham Jr., LSU
AP – Bruce Ellington, South Carolina

Second-Team
PK – Cody Parkey, Auburn
P – *Tyler Campbell, Ole Miss
P – *Cody Mandell, Alabama
P – *Steven Clark, Auburn
RS – Marcus Murphy, Missouri
AP – Odell Beckham Jr., LSU

Third-Team
PK – *Andrew Baggett, Missouri
PK – *Zach Hocker, Arkansas
P – Michael Palardy, Tennessee
RS – Bruce Ellington, South Carolina
AP – LaDarius Perkins, Mississippi State

Wazzu statement: ‘The tragic news today surrounding Tyler Hilinksi is devastating to all’

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Tuesday night, the Pullman Police Department confirmed that 21-year-old Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski was found dead in his apartment of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.  Very early Wednesday morning, the football program and athletic department released statements addressing the devastating developments.

HEAD FOOTBALL COACH MIKE LEACH
We are deeply saddened to hear the news of Tyler’s passing. He was an incredible young man and everyone who had the privilege of knowing him was better for it. The entire WSU community mourns as thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

INTERIM ATHLETIC DIRECTOR John Johnson
The tragic news today surrounding Tyler Hilinski is devastating to all. Tyler was a tremendous individual, great friend and teammate, and he will be deeply missed. Our hearts go out to his family and friends.

Earlier tonight, the football team was brought together and informed of the tragedy. There, they were met by campus and department counseling and psychological services, including athletics’ on-staff clinical psychologist and a licensed mental health counselor, along with WSU Athletics medical team. The university will continue to coordinate and provide ongoing counseling care for all student-athletes as long as needed.

Washington State QB Tyler Hilinski found dead in apparent suicide

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There is utterly tragic and horrific news coming out of Pullman Tuesday night.

According to the Pullman Police Department, Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski was found dead at his apartment late Tuesday afternoon of what was described as an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. “A rifle was discovered next to Hilinski and a suicide note was found,” the police stated in a release.

Police officers were called to the residence at 7:30 p.m. ET (4:40 p.m. local time) for a wellness check after the redshirt sophomore failed to show up for a team activity earlier in the day.

Hilinski was just 21 years old.

As of this posting, there’s been no official response from the football program regarding the passing of Hilinski.  Wednesday, the university had been expected to announce the new athletic director replacing Bill Moos, Florida Atlantic’s Pat Chun; because of the football player’s death, that press conference will be rescheduled for a later date.

In place of Luke Falk, Hilinski started Wazzu’s Holiday Bowl loss to Michigan State.  With Falk off to the NFL, Hilinski was expected to be the Cougars’ starting quarterback in 2018.

Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to all of those impacted by Hilinski’s way-too-early passing.

Former Nebraska OL coach Mike Cavanaugh hired by Syracuse

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Dino Babers has added a very experienced trenchman to his Syracuse coaching staff.

The school confirmed Tuesday that Babers has hired Mike Cavanaugh as his next offensive line coach. In a coaching career that spans 32 seasons, Cavanaugh has been a line coach in some form or fashion for 31 of them.

“Mike has an outstanding track record of teaching and developing quality offensive linemen,” Babers said in a statement. “He’s done it successfully at every level in college as well as the pros. This was an opportunity to add someone whose knowledge and experience will greatly enhance our staff and benefit our players.”

The past three seasons, Cavanaugh was the line coach at Nebraska. At the FBS level, he’s also served as a line coach at Oregon State (2005-14) and Hawaii (1999-2004).

From 1997-98, Cavanaugh was the assistant offensive line coach for the NFL’s San Diego Chargers.

“I’d like to thank Coach Babers for this opportunity and for welcoming me into the Syracuse family,” Cavanaugh said. “He and his staff have coached some of the most prolific offenses in college football. I’m excited to learn from them and to be part of the championship-caliber program they are building at Syracuse.”

The 2018 season will mark the first time since 2004 Cavanaugh is not a part of a Mike Riley-coached staff.

Kevin Stepherson one of four dismissed by Notre Dame

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At least in South Bend, Kevin Stepherson‘s freefall is complete.

According to 247Sports.com, Stepherson, along with three other Notre Dame football players — sophomore running backs CJ Holmes and Deon McIntosh as well as junior defensive tackle Brandon Tiassum — have been dismissed from the Fighting Irish program.  No specific reason or reasons for the dismissals were given.

Stepherson was one of four Irish players who were suspended for the team’s Citrus Bowl matchup with LSU, with the wide receiver’s suspension stemming from a handful of off-field issues.

Dec. 15, Stepherson was arrested for shoplifting.  The day before that arrest, Stepherson was pulled over on a traffic stop and charged with marijuana possession, driving without a valid license and speeding (he was clocked doing 80 in a 60 mph zone). To make matters worse, at the time of his twin arrests the receiver was already on probation for a marijuana-related arrest in August of 2016.

Adding to the off-field issues, Stepherson was suspended for the first four games of the 2017 season for reasons unrelated to the arrest in August of 2016.

At the time of the second suspension, Stepherson led the Fighting Irish in receiving touchdowns with five and yards per catch at 18.9 despite missing one-third of the regular season because of the first suspension.  His 19 receptions and 359 receiving yards were both good for third on the team.

Another of the players who were dismissed, Holmes, was arrested along with Stepherson in the shoplifting incident.  Holmes ran for 32 yards on eight carries this season.

McIntosh was the fourth of the four players suspended for the bowl game.  At the time of his suspension, McIntosh was third on the team in rushing with 368 yards and five touchdowns.

Tiassum played very sparsely this past season, and wasn’t looking at much more playing time in 2018.