Ifo Ekpre-Olomu

Ekpre-Olomu headlines Thorpe Award semifinalists


Unfortunately, we’ve hit one of the surest signs that the end of the college football season is fast approaching: the beginning of myriad announcements of award semifinalists.

The first major national honor to release its list is the Jim Thorpe Award, which revealed Monday a group of semifinalists that’s 15-players strong.  The award is handed out annually to the nation’s top defensive back.

Of those 15 players, just one was a semifinalist in 2012: Oregon cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu.

The Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC had three players each on the list, with the ACC and Big Ten coming in with two apiece.  The AAC and MAC each had one semifinalist.

There are nine seniors and four juniors in the group. Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves is the lone freshman semifinalist, while Alabama’s Landon Collins is the only sophomore.

Last year’s winner was Mississippi State’s Johnthan Banks.

Below is the complete list of semifinalists.

C.J. Barnett, Sr. Ohio State
Deone Bucannon, Sr. Washington State
Landon Collins, Soph. Alabama
Aaron Colvin, Sr. Oklahoma
Darqueze Dennard, Sr. Michigan State
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Jr. Oregon
Kyle Fuller, Sr. Virginia Tech
Vernon Hargreaves, Fr. Florida
Lamarcus Joyner, Sr., Florida State
Steven Nelson, Jr. Oregon State
Cody Prewitt, Jr. Ole Miss
Calvin Pryor, Jr. Louisville
Jason Verrett, Sr. TCU
Jimmie Ward, Sr. N. Illinois
Ty Zimmerman, Sr. Kansas State

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

Report: Duke Williams injured Auburn teammate with punch in ‘bar rampage’

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 29:  D'haquille Williams #1 of the Auburn Tigers misses a touchdown catch in the first quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the Iron Bowl at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 29, 2014 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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D’haquille Williams may have some additional explaining to do to NFL personnel if another report is accurate.

Monday night, Auburn announced that the star wide receiver had been dismissed from Gus Malzahn‘s football program.  A day later, reports surfaced that Williams’ dismissal came after he went on a weekend “bar rampage” following one of his friends getting the heave-ho from a local drinking establishment over a dress-code issue. It was alleged that Williams had punched a pair of security guards, a bartender’s assistant and an unnamed patron of the bar.

The unnamed, however, now has a name.

According to the ABC affiliate in Montgomery, Ala., and a citing a source close to the AU program, Tigers center Xavier Dampeer‘s jaw was on the receiving end of one of Williams’ alleged punches. The website wrote that “Dampeer has been treated and released from East Alabama Medical Center, according to a worker at the hospital.”

Malzahn was asked Tuesday if any other Tiger players were involved in the incident. “I’m not going to get into any details,” the coach said according to al.com.

No charges have been filed in connection to the incident.

“We cannot file charges until the injured person(s) comes forward,” Auburn police chief Paul Register told the television station. “Unless an officer personally sees a fight, no arrests can be made.”