Christan Hackenberg, Tyler Ferguson

Penn State latest not to name starting QB

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Oklahoma State, TCU and USC declined to do it.  Now, Penn State has joined the non-committal quarterback club.

In mid-June, the Nittany Lions depth chart listed the No. 1 quarterback spot as “Tyler Ferguson OR Christian Hackenberg.”  Two months later, and a handful of days ahead of the opener, it’s lather, rinse, repeat as both players share the top spot on the depth chart released Monday morning.

Penn State opens the season Saturday in the new Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, against Syracuse.

Following the transfer of Stephen Bench to USF in late May, the Nittany Lions’ quarterback competition was essentially a two-man battle between Ferguson (pictured, right) and Hackenberg (pictured, left).

Ferguson was an early enrollee at Penn State this past January after spending the 2012 season at a California junior college.  Hackenberg, on the other hand, came to Happy Valley with a very heft recruiting résumé.

The five-star player was rated by as the No. 2 pro-style quarterback in the Class of 2013; the No. 3 player in the state of Virginia; and the No. 24 player in the country at any position. was even higher on Hackenberg, rating him as the top player at his position as well as the No. 6 player overall.

Unlike Ferguson, Hackenberg didn’t participate in spring practice and didn’t join the team until the summer.

In another interesting note related to the position, true freshman D.J. Crook is listed as the third-team QB.  Crook, a walk-on who came to PSU this past January, is one of 10 true freshmen listed on the Nittany Lions’ three-deep roster.

Starting Navy S Kwazel Bertrand undergoes surgery, likely out for season

Kwazel Bertrand, Jacobi Owens
Associated Press
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Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.

Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.

“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”

Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.

Unitas Award whittles watch list in half down to 15

FORT WORTH, TX - OCTOBER 03:  Trevone Boykin #2 of the TCU Horned Frogs looks for an open receiver against the Texas Longhorns in the second quarter at Amon G. Carter Stadium on October 3, 2015 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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You know how I know we’re gradually creeping up on the end of another regular season?  Watch lists are being whittled.

The first major honor to do so is the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given out annually to the best quarterback who is a college senior or fourth-year junior.  The preseason watch list was 30 quarterbacks strong; the newest list has been cut in half to 15.

The most recent list includes one of the top Heisman contenders (TCU’s Trevone Boykin) and the top two nationally in passing yards (Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty), as well as a quarterback who’s closing in on the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns (Navy’s Keenan Reynolds).

The Pac-12 leads all conferences with three watch listers, followed by two each from the AAC, ACC and Big Ten.  The SEC has as many players (one, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott) as the FCS (North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz).

Last year’s winner was Marcus Mariota of Oregon.

Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Everett Golson, Florida State
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Cody Kessler, USC
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah