While nothing is official, it’s looking as though one of the most productive defensive players in the Pac-12 will eschew an early leap to the NFL.
Thursday, Arizona State head coach Todd Graham was asked about the playing future of linebacker Carl Bradford. While not saying anything with any degree of uncertainty, Graham seemed confident the junior will be back with the Sun Devils for his senior season.
“Each individual is different,’” Graham said according to azcentral.com. “I’ve been in situations where I advised the guy that he needed to (go pro).
“But where we’re sitting, I fully anticipate him being back. I think he knows his development, his maturity, all those things are things that will better him to be here another eight months. At the end of the day, he can do what he wants to do, but I would be shocked if he didn’t come back.”
Bradford returning would be a boon for Graham’s 2014 defense.
In 2013, Bradford led ASU with 18 tackles for loss and tied for the team lead in sacks with 8.5. He also intercepted one pass and forced three fumbles.
For that effort, he was named second-team All-Pac-12.
Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.
Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.
And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.
“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”
Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.
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