The three finalists for the Lou Groza Collegiate Award, which goes annually to the nation’s finest place kicker, were announced on Monday.
Roberto Aguayo of Florida State, Anthony Fera of Texas, and Marvin Kloss of South Florida were the honorees. The winner will be named on Dec. 12.
Aguayo, a freshman, set the FBS record for most consecutive extra points in one season, having made all 80 of his PAT attempts thus far. Combined with his 15 field goals, that gives him 125 points on the season, the most by any kicker in the nation and the third-most by any player at any position. Aguayo made his first 70 total kicks, an FSU record for consecutive makes, before his only missed field goal. At 15-of-16 on field goals and 80-of-80 on extra points, Aguayo has made 98.95% of his kicks, the most by any FBS kicker with double-digit field goals.
Fera, a senior, is putting together the best kicking season in Longhorns history. Having made 17 of his 18 field goals, Fera’s conversion rate of 94.4% would go down as the most accurate in the 121 years of Texas football. The mark stands as the third-highest in the nation and the best among kickers with 18 attempts and a 50 yard conversion. After missing his fifth attempt of the year, Fera has converted his last 13 field goals, the third-longest active streak in FBS. He is 38-of-39 on extra point conversions, with his only miss blocked.
Kloss, a junior, has played in just ten games for South Florida but has already set the school’s career record for made field goals from 50 yards or more, connecting on four this year. That’s the most kicks from long distance in FBS this season, as are his nine field goals from at least 40 yards. In South Florida’s two wins this year, Kloss has scored every offensive point. He has made 14 of his 18 field goal attempts, with three of his misses coming from 49 yards or more, and 13 of 13 extra points.
Myriad off-field issues have dogged Art Briles‘ Baylor program of late, but at least the Bears head coach can take comfort in the fact that he’s very well compensated.
As Baylor is a private university, they are not forced to release coaching salaries, although those details are available via federal tax returns. The last known salary for Briles was $3.6 million for the 2013 calendar year; according to the tax returns for 2014 obtained by USA Today, Briles salary for that calendar year jumped to more than $5.3 million.
When all of Briles’ compensation is taken into account, he earned just a shade over $5.9 million for 2014.
In the USA Today coaching salary database for 2015, Briles would’ve been the highest-paid coach in the Big 12, ahead of Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops ($5.4 million). He also would’ve been the third-highest paid head coach in all of college football, trailing only Alabama’s Nick Saban ($7.087 million) and Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh ($7.004 million) in total compensation. Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, at $5.86 million, sits in that No. 3 spot.
Per the tax returns obtained by the website, Briles earned $540,000 in bonuses and incentives; how those were broken down wasn’t detailed in the returns. Briles received another $28,000 in retirement and other deferred compensation, as well as $5,000 in apparel from Nike.
As for the lag in the numbers for Briles and why the 2015 financials are not available, USA Today explains it thusly:
Because private schools are organized as non-profit organizations, they must annually file a tax return that includes information about the pay of their most highly compensated employees. Although the returns mostly cover fiscal years that involve parts of two calendar years, the IRS requires that the compensation reporting cover the most recently completed calendar year.
Due to the complexity of their returns, large colleges and universities routinely take filing extensions that result in a significant time lag between the period covered by their most recent return and the date they file.
Baylor’s new return covers a tax year from June 1, 2014 through May 31, 2015, making 2014 the most recently completed calendar year.
Ohio State had a banner first day of the 2016 NFL draft with five Buckeyes selected, although they fell one short of tying the 2004 Miami Hurricanes for most first-round picks in a single year. A day later, they first matched then set a couple of draft standards.
In Friday’s second round, two more Buckeyes were drafted — wide receiver Michael Thomas and safety Vonn Bell. That pushed OSU’s total to seven, tying USC in 2008 and Tennessee in 2000 for the most selections through the first two rounds since the common era began in 1967.
In the ensuing round, defensive lineman Adolphus Washington and quarterback-turned wide receiver Braxton Miller were selected. With the nine draft picks through three rounds, OSU broke the common-era draft record of eight set by the 2004 Vols. OSU wasn’t finished as, shortly after Miller’s selection, tight end Nick Vannett was grabbed toward the end of the third round, giving Urban Meyer‘s program an even 10 draft picks thus far.
On opening night, three Buckeyes were scooped up in the first 10 picks — defensive end Joey Bosa, running back Ezekiel Elliott, cornerback Eli Apple — while offensive lineman Taylor Decker and linebacker Darron Lee were selected before the opening round ended.
With four rounds remaining, and six unselected players still available, the Buckeyes might not be done making history as they are within shouting distance of the all-time record for most selections since the draft went to seven rounds in 1994. The record? 14. The record holder? The 2004 Ohio State Buckeyes, which had seven players taken in the first three rounds.
And, before Bevo commences bloviating, it should be noted that Texas holds the all-time record with 17 picks in the 1984 draft. That year, the draft lasted 12 rounds.
While Miami had not yet confirmed it, one of the most talented Hurricanes on the defensive side of the ball, Al-Quadin Muhammad (pictured, right), underwent a successful but unspecified surgical procedure recently. And just how did we know that initially? Because the player posted a picture of himself laying in a hospital bed and clothed in hospital garb, that’s how.
Subsequent to Muhammad’s social media revelation, the university confirmed that the lineman had undergone “a small surgical procedure… on his knee.” Muhammad is expected to resume football activities in a couple of weeks.
The redshirt junior played in 12 games in 2015, leading the team in both tackles for loss (8.5) and sacks (five). He’ll enter summer camp, provided he doesn’t suffer a setback, as arguably the Hurricanes’ top pass rusher.
A potentially significant blow to Navy’s secondary has been averted.
Back in February, Navy announced that Brendon Clements had been indefinitely removed from the football team’s roster for violating Naval Academy rules. It was initially thought that the senior’s playing career had come to an end, although that could never be confirmed.
Nearly three months later, however, the service academy announced that the starting cornerback has been reinstated.
Over the past three seasons, Clements started 35 games for the Midshipmen. Those are easily the most of any returning Navy player.