Jameis Winston

Heisman winner Jameis Winston headlines AP All-America team


And the honors keep rolling in for Florida State’s redshirt freshman quarterback, with Jameis Winston grabbing a spot on one of the most prestigious All-America teams in the country.

The Associated Press Tuesday released its annual three-deep postseason All-America teams, with Winston being just one of two redshirt freshmen to be named to the AP first team.  The other?  Teammate and kicker Robert Aguayo.

Just two players were repeat selections from the first team a year ago, and both of those came from the defensive side of the ball: Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley and Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton.

The Seminoles, the only unbeaten team remaining at the FBS level, led all schools with four first-teamers.  Alabama and Texas A&M with two apiece were the only other schools with more than one player on the first team.

The ACC, Pac-12 and SEC each had six first-team selections.


First Team: Jameis Winston, redshirt freshman, Florida State
Second Team: Johnny Manziel, sophomore, Texas A&M
Third Team: AJ McCarron, senior, Alabama

Running backs
First Team: Andre Williams, senior, Boston College; Ka’Deem Carey, junior, Arizona
Second Team: Tre’ Mason, junior, Auburn; Bishop Sankey, junior, Washington
Third Team: Carlos Hyde, senior, Ohio State; Ameer Abdullah, junior, Nebraska

First Team: Jake Matthews, senior, Texas A&M; Cyrus Kouandjio, junior, Alabama
Second Team: Cameron Erving, junior, Florida State; Taylor Lewan, senior, Michigan
Third Team: Jack Mewhort, senior, Ohio State; Gregory Robinson, sophomore, Auburn

First Team: Cyril Richardson, senior, Baylor; David Yankey, senior, Stanford
Second Team: Gabe Jackson, senior, Mississippi State; Xavier Su’a-Filo, junior, UCLA
Third Team: John Urschel, senior, Penn State; Ryan Groy, senior, Wisconsin

First Team: Bryan Stork, senior, Florida State
Second Team: Gabe Ikard, senior, Oklahoma
Third Team: Reese Dismukes, junior, Auburn

Wide receivers
First Team: Brandin Cooks, junior, Oregon State; Mike Evans, sophomore, Texas A&M
Second Team: Sammy Watkins, junior, Clemson; Davante Adams, sophomore, Fresno State
Third Team: Allen Robinson, junior, Penn State; Jordan Matthews, senior, Vanderbilt

Tight end
First Team: Jace Amaro, junior, Texas Tech
Second Team: Eric Ebron, junior, North Carolina
Third Team: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, junior, Washington

All-purpose player
First Team: Jordan Lynch, senior, Northern Illinois
Second Team: Ty Montgomery, junior, Stanford
Third Team: Odell Beckham Jr., junior, LSU

First Team: Roberto Aguayo, redshirt freshman, Florida State
Second Team: Anthony Fera, senior, Texas
Third Team: Jeff Budzien, senior, Northwestern


First Team: Michael Sam, senior, Missouri; Jackson Jeffcoat, senior, Texas
Second Team: Vic Beasley, junior, Clemson; Shilique Calhoun, sophomore, Michigan State
Third Team: Marcus Smith, senior, Louisville; Jeremiah Attaochu, senior, Georgia Tech

First Team: Aaron Donald, senior, Pittsburgh; Will Sutton, senior, Arizona State
Second Team: Timmy Jernigan, junior, Florida State; Kelcy Quarles, junior, South Carolina
Third Team: Ra’Shede Hageman, senior, Minnesota; Leonard Williams, sophomore, USC

First Team: Anthony Barr, senior, UCLA; C.J. Mosley, senior, Alabama; Ryan Shazier, junior, Ohio State
Second Team: Trent Murphy, senior, Stanford; Khalil Mack, senior, Buffalo; Chris Borland, senior, Wisconsin
Third Team: Shayne Skov, senior, Stanford; Max Bullough, senior, Michigan State; Denicos Allen, senior, Michigan State

First Team: Darqueze Dennard, senior, Michigan State; Lamarcus Joyner, senior, Florida State
Second Team: Justin Gilbert, senior, Oklahoma State; Jason Verrett, senior, TCU
Third Team: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, junior, Oregon; Vernon Hargreaves III, freshman, Florida

First Team: Cody Prewitt, junior, Mississippi; Deone Bucannon, senior, Washington State.
Second Team: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, junior, Alabama; Ahmad Dixon, senior, Baylor
Third Team: Jimmie Ward, senior, Northern Illinois; Ty Zimmerman, senior, Kansas State

First Team: Tom Hornsey, senior, Memphis
Second Team: Drew Kaser, sophomore, Texas A&M
Third Team: Austin Rehkow, freshman, Idaho

Not everybody seems happy about USC’s hiring of Clay Helton

Clay Helton

If there is one thing that can be said about USC hiring Clay Helton as head coach on a permanent basis, it is that it provides stability for the program moving forward. Current players have responded well to Helton. Future Trojans players are responding well to Helton on the recruiting trail. Former USC players? Well, that’s a different situation.

We saw some of this at Miami in recent years with former Hurricanes ripping now former head coach Al Golden. That was a bit of a different situation with Golden being a coach that went against the grain of all that was perceived to be representative of The U. Helton is different because he has been loyal to the program as an assistant coach during a turbulent time. He at least deserves respect of those following and those who have played for USC for that alone. The problem is Helton lacks the kind of appeal most wearing USC lenses expect from their coaching hire and it seems more likely to believe athletics director Pat Haden settled for Helton instead of being able to expand the coaching search and bring in a high-quality coach for the job.

There is one way to swing the emotions the other way for those unhappy with the decision. If USC beats Stanford to win the Pac-12 championship this week, that would be one step in the right direction for the Helton haters and the Haden skeptics (myself included). The pressure will be on more next season regardless of what happens this week in the Pac-12 championship game and whatever bowl game USC ends up playing. USC will be loaded with talent and will be a trendy pick to make a run in the Pac-12 and, perhaps, even the College Football Playoff.

USC names Clay Helton permanent head coach

Clay Helton

The top coaching vacancy in college football has been filled. USC has announced it will remove the interim tag from Clay Helton and make him the permanent head coach moving forward.

Helton has gone 5-2 since taking over the program following the dismissal of Steve Sarkisian as head coach. The most recent win this weekend against UCLA both snapped a three-game losing streak to the crosstown rival Bruins and clinched USC’s first trip to the Pac-12 championship game as Pac-12 South Division champions. Helton has been with the USC program since 2010 under various assistant roles. He was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2013 and named interim head coach that season following the firing of Lane Kiffin. He stayed on the staff following the hiring of Sarkisian from Washington.

Helton had become a clear player favorite in the program, as Helton calmed a troublesome environment of uncertainty in the middle fo the season and delivered a division championship. The only losses under Helton came on the road against Notre Dame in Helton’s first game as interim head coach and more recently at Oregon, a program that revived itself as well. If nothing else, Helton’s being named the head coach provides for some stability for the program, although there should be some questions moving forward whether it will be the right move or not in the long term. The USC job was thought to be the top job on the market and worthy of some high-caliber candidates. There had been rumblings USC reached out to Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly, a former Oregon coach of course, but the odds Kelly was going to leave the Eagles on his own a year after getting general manager power were always low.

USC will continue to bring plenty of pressure to win, and win big. Helton will continue to guide a roster packed with talent and getting back to full strength after a stretch of sanctioned seasons. If Helton does not win, he will quickly enter the hot seat conversation.

USC plays Stanford for the Pac-12 championship this week.

Will Mark Richt coach again? “Oh yeah, no doubt”

Mark Richt

On Sunday the end of the line for Mark Richt at Georgia was finally reached. The Bulldogs and the head coach will go separate ways after a 15-season run in Athens, but this will not be the final stop for Richt as a head coach. On Monday, during a press conference with the media to address the coaching change, Richt was asked whether he will coach again.

“Oh yeah, no doubt,” Richt said in his response. “I’m going to listen to anybody that’s interested in talking to me,” Richt said when again asked about what’s next for the now former head coach of Georgia.

The press conference with Richt was a bit unusual for these types of settings. First, Richt continued to show his Georgia pride by wearing a black coat and red tie and had a Georgia pin on his coat. Second, he sat right next to Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity, who offered no insight whatsoever on what’s next for Georgia. When asked about the coaching search or the status for assistants, McGarity continued to shift the focus on Richt.

Richt expressed his enthusiasm for getting to coach one final game for Georgia. He will coach Georgia’s bowl game, wherever that may be, giving him one last chance to end a season with a bowl victory, which he has done nine times previously.

Kentucky QB Patrick Towles to transfer

Patrick Towles

Kentucky quarterback Patrick Towles will transfer, he announced in an Instagram post Sunday afternoon.

Towles leaves school as Kentucky’s sixth-most prolific passer, completing 427-of-759 passes for 5,099 yards with 24 touchdowns and 24 interceptions.

Once compared to Ben Roethlisberger, Towles’ career peeked in a 2014 game with then-No. 1 Mississippi State, as he completed 24-of-43 passes for 390 yards with two touchdowns in a 45-31 loss to the Bulldogs.

But Kentucky stumbled down the stretch, starting 5-1 and finishing 5-7, and Towles stumbled through a 2015 campaign in which he threw nine touchdowns against 14 interceptions.

He’d been passed by freshman Drew Barker by the end of the season, and threw only four passes in a loss to Louisville on Saturday.

A junior, Towles will complete his political science degree in December and be eligible for immediate playing time at a new destination in 2016.