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).

Fans can legally pack concealed heat at Georgia football tailgates

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Guns and SEC football are back in the news yet again this offseason.  And this one has the ACC riding shotgun as well.

In late March, the state of Arkansas legislature passed a law (House Bill 1249) that would allow concealed-carry handguns on publicly-owned property, which would’ve include college sporting events.  A day later, and after realizing, amidst considerable controversy, the potential for alcohol-fueled fans attending an SEC football game armed, the state’s senate voted to amend the law to exclude college sporting events.

Fast-forward to this month, and the state of Georgia legislature has passed a law (House Bill 280) that would allow the carrying of concealed handguns on college campuses, with exceptions that include on-campus stadiums, arenas, gymnasiums and the like hosting intercollegiate sporting events.  That bill is scheduled to become law in the state July 1.

In clarifying the language of the law, the university confirmed in an extensive press release Wednesday that individuals with valid weapons licenses will be permitted to conceal-carry outside of college football stadiums.  In other words, licensed individuals would be permitted to carry concealed weapons outside of Sanford Stadium as well as Bobby Dodd Stadium as part of the game-day tailgating experience.

Only handguns are allowed under this law, and only when concealed.  Long guns, obviously, are not permitted under any circumstance.

“I understand that many of you have strong feelings about this bill,” UGA Chancellor Steve Wrigley began his letter to the university community. “Yet, whether you opposed or supported the legislation, it will soon be state law, and I respectfully ask everyone to exercise patience, understanding and respect as we implement it.

“We all share the same goal of ensuring a safe campus environment. We should work together to implement the law as written and thoughtfully address any complications that may arise.”

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey released a statement amidst the Arkansas gun-law controversy that may or may not have had an impact on that state’s legislature tweaking of the bill. It bears watching whether the commish follows a similar public tack when it comes to this piece of legislation.

The Georgia Bulldogs will open their 2017 season at home against Appalachian State Sept. 2, while Georgia Tech’s home opener is Sept. 9 against Jacksonville State.

Illinois boots three players charged with home invasion and robbery

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Illinois head coach Lovie Smith has dismissed three players charged with home invasion and robbery. Offensive linemen Darta Lee and Howard Watkins and tight end Zarrian Holcombe have all been dismissed from the program, according to a statement.

Lee and Holcombe were previously suspended by Smith for violations of team rules. Watkins had also been indefinitely suspended following the initial allegations. All three players claimed the incident that led to the charges was nothing more than an innocent prank, but the authorities and Smith didn’t seem willing to buy that claim.

Each player faces a mandatory prison sentence of 4-15 years on each count against them if found guilty.

Report: Conference USA to air at least 15 football games on Twitter in 2017

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Conference USA is in a position where it needs to think outside the box and look to stay ahead of the curve in a changing TV landscape. It appears to be ready to air games on Twitter in 2017.

A report from The Virginian-Pilot says broadcast company STADIUM will air at least 15 football games involving Conference USA teams this fall. STADIUM is the result of a recent merger between the American Sports Network, 120 Sports and Silver Chalice (which also owns Campus Insiders and the online ACC Digital Network). The ASN had owned the broadcast rights to Conference USA games through the end of the 2017-2018 sports season that will carry over to the STADIUM deal (allowing for Conference USA basketball games to be aired on Twitter as well). It was announced earlier this month STADIUM intended to broadcast Conference USA games on Twitter, but it was unknown how many games might make it to the networking service. STADIUM reportedly has an interest in continuing to air Conference USA contests beyond the next athletic season.

Conference USA still has broadcast deals with ESPN and CBS Sports in effect as well, so don’t expect the premiere matchups in the conference to be aired on Twitter. However, by sharing the games online, Conference USA is hoping to reach a wide-spread audience and have the opportunity to be a trending topic. It could work, as Twitter would make sure the game is given a steady feed to allow for a pleasant viewing experience and fan interaction in real time.

Conference USA saw TV revenue take a big hit over the last year. Last summer, Conference USA’s television revenue reportedly dropped to just $2.8 million for the entire conference following realignment changes. Finding a home on a streaming platform now would be key for the conference’s future stability.

Alabama DC Jeremy Pruitt named son after former Tide linebackers Reuben Foster and Ryan Anderson

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It is not at all uncommon for children born in the state of Alabama to be named after Alabama football legends, but it is not every day you see a child of an Alabama coach receives a name inspired by former Alabama football players.

Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt announced the birth of his new son, Flynt Anderson-Foster Pruitt, on Twitter. Alabama fans will likely already know the connection to the new child’s name, as used the last names of two former Alabama football players to create the middle name of Anderson-Foster; Ryan Anderson and Reuben Foster.

Maybe this is more common than I’m aware of, but regardless of how often a coach names a child after former players, this is a testament to the relationship the Pruitt family established with both former Alabama linebackers. And now there will be a bond for years to come between the coach and his family and Anderson and Foster.

Helmet sticker to Al.com.