Mississippi State v Texas A&M

Walter Camp Award unveils 2013 semifinalists

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One of the most prestigious awards in the country has released its list of players who are up for this year’s version of the hardware.

And, somewhat shockingly, defensive players are well represented, relatively speaking, among the group of 15 semifinalists unveiled by the Camp folks Wednesday.  Included in what’s normally considered that other side of the ball are UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr, Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley and Missouri defensive end Michael Sam.

Of course, quarterbacks are well represented as well, with 10 players at that position included in the 15 semifinalists.  Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel is the only finalist for last year’s award, won by Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o, among this year’s semifinalists.

Clemson’s Tajh Boyd, Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, Alabama’s AJ McCarron and Ohio State’s Braxton Miller were semifinalists a year ago who made the cut again this year.

Ka’Deem Carey of Arizona is the only running back on the list, while Texas A&M’s Mike Evans is the only wide receiver.  Florida State’s Jameis Winston is the lone freshman, while Evans, Manziel and Oregon’s Marcus Mariota are the only sophomores.

A&M and Alabama were the lone schools with more than one player.  The SEC (five), Pac-12 (three) and ACC (two) were the only conferences with more than one player.

Below are the 15 semifinalists and brief statistical notes, as provided by the Camp Foundation:

ANTHONY BARR, Senior, LB, UCLA – Has recorded 13.0 tackles for loss, including six sacks, for the 7-2 Bruins.

TAJH BOYD, Senior, QB, Clemson – Has thrown for 2,620 yards and 20 touchdowns for the 8-1 Tigers.

TEDDY BRIDGEWATER, Junior, QB, Louisville – Has passed for 2,845 yards and 24 touchdowns for the 8-1 Cardinals.

KA’DEEM CAREY, Junior, RB, Arizona – Has rushed for 1,221 yards and 11 touchdowns for the 6-3 Wildcats.

DEREK CARR, Senior, QB, Fresno State – Has passed for 3,421 yards and 32 touchdowns for the 9-0 Bulldogs.

MIKE EVANS, Sophomore, WR, Texas A&M –  Has caught 57 passes for 1,263 yards and 12 touchdowns for the 8-2 Aggies.

JORDAN LYNCH, Senior, QB, Northern Illinois – Has 3,021 yards of total offense, including 12 rushing touchdowns, for the 9-0 Huskies.

JOHNNY MANZIEL, Sophomore, QB, Texas A&M – Second in the nation with 3,924 yards of total offense.  Has thrown for 31 touchdowns for the 8-2 Aggies.

MARCUS MARIOTA, Sophomore, QB, Oregon – Has passed for 2,531 yards , 22 touchdowns and zero interceptions for the 8-1 Ducks.

AJ MCCARRON, Senior, QB, Alabama – Has thrown for 2,041 yards and 19 touchdowns for the top-ranked and undefeated Crimson Tide (9-0).

BRAXTON MILLER, Junior, QB, Ohio State – Averaging 246.6 yards of total offense for the third-ranked Buckeyes (9-0).

C.J. MOSLEY, Senior, LB, Alabama – Has totaled 71 tackles and six tackles for loss for the nation’s top-scoring defense (10.6 points allowed per game).

BRYCE PETTY, Junior, QB, Baylor – Has thrown for 2,657 yards and 21 touchdowns for the fifth-ranked Bears (8-0).

MICHAEL SAM, Senior, DE, Missouri – Has recorded 10 quarterback sacks for the 9-1 Tigers.

JAMEIS WINSTON, Freshman, QB, Florida State – Has passed for 2,661 yards and 26 touchdowns for the second-ranked Seminoles (9-0).

ECU transfer QB Kurt Benkert moves on to Virginia

In this photo taken Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015 East Carolina quarterback Kurt Benkert rolls out to pass during NCAA college football practice in Greenville, N.C. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
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On April 25, East Carolina announced that Kurt Benkert had decided to transfer out of the Pirates football program.  Less than a week later, the quarterback has found himself a new football home.

On Twitter Sunday afternoon, Benkert confirmed that he will be enrolling at Virginia and continuing his collegiate playing career with the Cavaliers.  Beckert also acknowledged his decision in a text message to 247Sports.com.

“I’m really excited to be here,” Beckert said in a portion of the brief text.

As Beckert is headed to UVa. as a graduate transfer, he will be eligible to play for the Hoos immediately in 2016.  Not only that, but he will have two years of eligibility remaining.

Beckert was named the Pirates’ starter in early August of 2015, but sustained a right knee injury a couple of weeks later that knocked him out for the entire season.  In Charlottesville, Beckert will join a competition that includes returning starter Matt Johns and Texas/Arizona transfer Connor Brewer.

Mark Richt continues to be the classiest of acts in college football

Mark Richt gestures after being introduced as the new University of Miami NCAA college football head coach, Friday, Dec. 4, 2015,  in Coral Gables, Fla.  (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)
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In my seven-plus years at CFT, I’ve never been shy in expressing my absolute and utter respect for Mark Richt, whether it was for an honorable against-the-grain stance on transfers or honoring a high school football player who tragically drowned before he could become a walk-on at Georgia or myriad other things.  Sunday, Richt solidified that respect.

As you may know, Richt and UGA parted ways this offseason, with the head coach ultimately moving on to Miami to take over his alma mater’s football program.  As expected, his departure from Athens was classy.

Just as expected, one of Richt’s returns to his old stomping grounds further showed his class.

Not to be outdone, Richt’s replacement showed his class as well.

Bravo to both head coaches.  Sometimes, most times, being classy is the absolute right move — even as Richt’s successor could take some lessons from his predecessor when it comes to transfers.

Ohio State draftees to sign contracts worth in excess of $110 million

Urban Meyer
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Forget about going shirtless at a satellite camp or a sleepover or climbing up a tree or any of the like; this is what you call a recruiting pitch.

During the course of the three-day NFL draft, a dozen former Ohio State Buckeyes were drafted.  While OSU failed to break its own record for most picks in a single draft, the 12 selections in the first four rounds were the most ever.

And, not surprisingly, those players are going to get paid.

According to PennLive.com‘s David Jones, those players will sign contracts that could be worth a total of $120 million.  Tim May of the Columbus Dispatch has the number pegged slightly lower at $111,462,707.  Either way, that’s a lot of cash — and a lot dollar signs for Urban Meyer to flout in front of potential recruits.

Of course, not all of that money is guaranteed, although the guaranteed dollars involved aren’t too shabby either.  From the Dispatch:

Just the signing bonuses alone, which range from Bosa’s projected $17,017,226 to Jones’ $383,393, have an expected total of $60,526,660. Unless a player does something to cause his contract to be voided, signing bonuses are theirs to keep.

Regardless of how you spin it, former Buckeyes did quite well financially the last couple of days.  And, as Jones alludes to when it comes to James Franklin and Penn State specifically and the Big Ten in general, Meyer and the Buckeyes are in an entirely different zip code than the rest of the conference — a fact that will no doubt come up on the vast expanses of the recruiting trail.

The good news for Franklin and Penn State: They had three of those 11. The bad news for them and everyone else in the league: Urban Meyer is probably preparing a recruiting flyer right now with a 9-figure dollar amount printed in big bold numbers.

Veteran NFL assistant reportedly to fill Alabama’s coaching vacancy

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Buffalo Bills
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On the same day some details emerged on an Alabama assistant’s “resignation,” that assistant’s potential replacement has been identified.

Citing unnamed sources, al.com is reporting that Karl Dunbar is expected to be hired as the Tide’s new defensive line coach.  Dunbar would replace Bo Davis, who “resigned” Friday amidst allegations of potential NCAA violations.

Dunbar served as Nick Saban‘s strength & conditioning coach at LSU from 2001-02, and then returned to Baton Rouge as Les Miles‘ line coach in 2005 after spending two years (2003-04) in the same position at Oklahoma State.

Most of Dunbar’s coaching career, though, especially recently, has come at the NFL level.

From 2006-11, Dunbar was the line coach for the Minnesota Vikings, and then held the same job with the New York Jets from 2012-2014.  Hired by Rex Ryan to coach the Buffalo Bills’ line in 2015, Dunbar was fired in March of this year.

Dunbar is a former NFL defensive lineman who played for Arizona in 1994-95, when Ryan was one of his Cardinals assistant.