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

Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione reportedly set to join CFP selection committee

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The College Football Playoff is set to replace six selection committee members before next season, and the first one is in. Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione will join the committee, according to ESPN’s Heather Dinich.

Castiglione will replace Texas Tech AD Kirby Hocutt, who also served as the committee’s chairman.

This will be the third selection committee on which Castiglione has served, finishing the Big Three trifecta after he worked on the baseball and men’s basketball committees. He will be on the committee for the 2018, ’19 and ’20 seasons.

Castiglione will be forced to recusal himself from any discussions involving Oklahoma, a 2015 and 2017 participant in the College Football Playoff. Ohio State AD Gene Smith and Clemson AD Dan Radakovich also did the same regarding their programs. Radakovich is also set to cycle off the committee this year, along with former Arkansas AD Jeff Long, former NCAA executive Tom Jernstedt, former Stanford, Notre Dame and Washington head coach Tyrone Willingham and former USA Today reporter Steve Wieberg.

Iowa State QB Kyle Kempt petitioning for extra year of eligibility

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Iowa State quarterback Kyle Kempt was a senior in 2017. If it’s up to him, he’ll be a senior again in 2018.

Kempt is attempting to apply the “run off” rule to gain an extra year of eligibility, in which the NCAA grants additional years to players who are “run off” from their original four-year schools. He signed with Oregon State out of Massillon, Ohio, but did not play in his two seasons there. “They told me I wasn’t going to play there,” Kempt said last month, according to the Des Moines Register.

Kempt spent the 2015 season at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas before joining the squad at Iowa State. He was the Cyclones’ Scout Team Player of the Year in 2016 before bursting on the scene this season, famously hitting 18-of-24 passes for 343 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions in a 38-31 win at No. 3 Oklahoma. He had not thrown a single major college pass before that. Kempt finished the year hitting 66.3 percent of his throws for 1,787 yards with 15 touchdowns against three interceptions.

Iowa State closed the year at 8-5 with a win over No. 25 Memphis in the Liberty Bowl. It was Iowa State’s best season since 2000.

“It’s a really fluid situation right now,” Campbell told the Register. “The percentages continue to go back and forth — yes, we think Kyle will be back, no we don’t think he’ll be back, and yes he will.

“It’s a little unsettling, but we have to prepare as if Kyle wouldn’t be coming back.”

If Kempt is not back, Iowa State would go through the odd transition of losing three experienced quarterbacks in a single season. Quarterback-turned-linebacker Joel Lanning graduated and Jacob Park was released from his scholarship. The next most experienced quarterback returning is rising sophomore Zeb Noland, a Watkinsville, Ga., native who threw 66 passes and started one game in 2017.

Ex-Auburn TE Landon Rice transfers to Alabama FCS team

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The latest addition to one FCS team comes with some off-field baggage, to say the least.

Jacksonville State confirmed Monday night that it has added Landon Rice to its football roster.  The tight end had spent the 2017 season at a Mississippi junior college after parting ways with his original Power Five home under a cloud of controversy.

In early September of 2016, Rice left the Auburn football program for what were initially described as “personal reasons.” It was subsequently reported that Rice had been accused of first-degree rape.

A 19-year-old female filed a police report July 27, 2016, accusing Rice of raping her three months earlier at an on-campus residence hall and sought a protective order against him Sept. 12, with a temporary order issued three days later.

The attorney for Rice issued a statement shortly after the accusations came to light in which he labeled the allegations as “false” and that his client has been “vilified” and “unfairly treated” because of them.  In response to that statement, the lawyer for the unnamed 19-year-old allegedly raped by Rice released a series of text messages between the player and alleged victim in which the former apologized to the latter on multiple occasions.

Rice had denied any wrongdoing through his lawyer; while he was never charged in connection with the allegations, a Title IX investigation found him to be responsible for sexual assault and, as a result, he was barred from the AU campus until 2024.  However, those restrictions were rescinded in September of last year, which Landon’s new school alluded to in its statement on the player’s addition to the roster.

Jacksonville State University conducted a very thorough investigation surrounding all of the facts on Landon Rice, just like we do on any of our recruits. After speaking with several officials from Auburn University and getting all of the facts surrounding the investigation, and after meeting with Landon, we decided to allow Landon to enroll at JSU and join our football program.

“On September 26, 2017, all sanctions imposed upon Landon as a result of a Title IX investigation expired and Landon was returned to the status of ‘good standing’ at Auburn University. The matter and all proceedings therein have been concluded, according to a memo dated November 7, 2017, from Kelley Taylor, Director AA/EEO and Title IX Coordinator at Auburn University.

“We have high standards for all of our student-athletes and we do our due diligence on all recruits before they join any of our athletics teams at Jacksonville State and Landon was treated the same. Privacy laws prevents us from releasing more details on the investigation.

A four-star member of the Tigers’ 2016 recruiting class, Rice was rated as the No. 8 tight end in the country.  He was an early enrollee who participated in spring practice and was expected to contribute as a true freshman before the off-field issue derailed those plans.

Ex-Texas QB/WR Kai Locksley commits to UTEP

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Kai Locksley left the state of Texas, but has now found his way back.

The former University of Texas quarterback announced on Twitter Monday night that he has committed to continuing his collegiate playing career at UTEP. The Miners’ new head coach, Dana Dimel, addressed the development on his own Twitter account.

Locksley, whose father Mike is an assistant at Alabama, was a four-star member of the Longhorns’ 2015 recruiting class, rated as the No. 6 player at any position in the state of Maryland. After not attempting a pass or playing a down his first two seasons at UT — he ultimately transitioned to wide receiver — Locksley moved on to an Iowa junior college.

After spending the 2017 season at the JUCO, Locksley was rated by 247Sports.com as the No. 4 dual-threat quarterback at that level of football.