SEC, Alabama lead list of invitees to NFL combine

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The NFL has announced the names of the 335 players who will be invited to its annual scouting combine held in Indianapolis on Feb. 19-24, CBSSports.com reported on Thursday.

The SEC leads all conferences with 71 invitees, while Alabama leads all schools with 12.

The ACC was second with 48 invitees while the Pac-12 had 45, the Big Ten had 36 and the Big 12 had 25. LSU was second to Alabama with 11 invitees, while Notre Dame and Florida State had nine and Stanford had eight.

A record 85 underclassmen will be going to the combine as well, which makes sense since a record 98 players declared early for the NFL draft.

Getting invited to the combine is no guarantee of being drafted, but it does tell us which players are on the NFL’s radar as of right now.

The list, by position:

QUARTERBACKS
*Bortles, Blake, Central Florida
Boyd, Tajh, Clemson
Bridgewater, Theodore (Teddy), Louisville
Carr, Derek, Fresno State
Fales, David, San Jose State
Garoppolo, James (Jimmy), Eastern Illinois
Lynch, Jordan, Northern Illinois
*Manziel, Johnnyxas A & M
Mathews, Jeffrey (Jeff), Cornell
McCarron, Raymond (A.J.), Alabama
Mettenberger, Zachary (Zach), Louisiana State
Morris, Stephen, Miami
Murray, Aaron, Georgia
Renner, Bryn, North Carolina
Savage, Thomas (Tom), Pittsburgh
Shaw, Connor, South Carolina
Thomas, Logan, Virginia Tech
Vaughan, Dustin, West Texas A & M
Wenning, Keith, Ball State

RUNNING BACKS
Andrews, Antonio, Western Kentucky
Archer, Dri, Kent State
*Atkinson, George, Notre Dame
*Bibbs, Kapri, Colorado State
*Blue, Alfred, Louisiana State
*Carey, Ka’deem, Arizona
Copeland, Javoddron (J.C.), Louisiana State
Cornett, Timothy (Tim), Nevada – Las Vegas
*Crowell, Isaiah, Alabama State
Flanders, Timothy, Sam Houston State
Fluellen, David, Toledo
*Freeman, Devonta, Florida State
Gaffney, Tyler, Stanford
Grice, Marion, Arizona State
Hewitt, Ryan, Stanford
*Hill, Jeremy, Louisiana State
Hyde, Carlos, Ohio State
*Johnson, Westleigh (Storm), Central Florida
*Josey, Henry, Missouri
*Mason, Tre, Auburn
Mc Kinnon, Jerick, Georgia Southern
Millard, Trey, Oklahoma
*Muema, Adam, San Diego State
Perkins, Ladarius, Mississippi State
Redd, Silas, Southern California
*Sankey, Bishop, Washington
*Seastrunk, Lache, Baylor
Sims, Charles, West Virginia
*Smith, Jerome, Syracuse
Taliaferro, Lorenzo, Coastal Carolina
*Thomas, De’anthony, Oregon
*Westrrance, Towson
White, James, Wisconsin
*Wilder, James, Florida State
Williams, Andre, Boston College
Williams, Damien, Oklahoma

TIGHT ENDS
*Amaro, Jacexas Tech
Blanchflower, Robert (Rob), Massachusetts
Burton, Lawrence (Trey), Florida
Denham, Anthony (A.D.), Utah
Duncan, Joseph (Joe Don), Dixie
*Ebron, Eric, North Carolina
Fedorowicz, Colton (C.J.), Iowa
Gillmore, Crockett, Colorado State
*Grimble, Xavier, Southern California
*Jacobs, Nicholas (Nic), Mc Neese State
Jensen, Marcel, Fresno State
Jordan, Reginald (Reggie), Missouri Western State
*Leonard, A.C.nnessee State
*Lyerla, Colt, Oregon
Lynch, Arthur, Georgia
*Murphy, Jake, Utah
Najvar, Jordan, Baylor
*Niklas, Troy, Notre Dame
Pedersen, Jacob (Jake), Wisconsin
*Rodgers, Richard, California
*Seferian-Jenkins, Austin, Washington
Tialavea, Donald (D.J.), Utah State

WIDE RECEIVERS
Abbrederis, Jared, Wisconsin
*Adams, Davante, Fresno State
*Beckham, Odell, Louisiana State
*Benjamin, Kelvin, Florida State
*Boyd, Christopher, Vanderbilt
Brown, Corey (Philly), Ohio State
Brown, John, Pittsburg State
*Bryant, Martavis, Clemson
Burse, Isaiah, Fresno State
Campanaro, Michael, Wake Forest
*Coleman, Brandon, Rutgers
Colter, Theodis (Kain), Northwestern
*Cooks, Brandin, Oregon State
Copeland, Damian, Louisville
Davis, Michael (Mike) Texas
*Ellington, Bruce, South Carolina
Enunwa, Onochie (Quincy), Nebraska
*Evans, Mikexas A & M
Evans, Shaquelle (Shaq), UCLA
Fowler, Bennie, Michigan State
*Franklin, Austin, New Mexico State
Gallon, Jeremy, Michigan
Grant, Ryan, Tulane
Hazel, Charles (Matt), Coastal Carolina
Herron, Robert, Wyoming
Hoffman, Cody, Brigham Young
Huff, Joshua (Josh), Oregon
Hurns, Allen, Miami
Janis, Jeffrey (Jeff), Saginaw Valley State
Jones, Tailer (T.J.), Notre Dame
*Landry, Jarvis, Louisiana State
*Latimer, Cody, Indiana
*Lee, Marqise, Southern California
Lucas, Marcus, Missouri
Matthews, Jordan, Vanderbilt
*Moncrief, Donte, Mississippi
Norwood, Kevin, Alabama
Powell, Walter (Walt), Murray State
Reesevin, Baylor
*Richardson, Paul, Colorado
*Robinson, Allen, Penn State
Saunders, Jalen, Oklahoma
*Snead, Willie, Ball State
*Stewart, Josh, Oklahoma State
Street, Devin, Pittsburgh
Washington, L’damian, Missouri
* Watkins, Sammy, Clemson
Wilson, Albert, Georgia State

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN
Armstrong, Matthew (Matt), Grand Valley State
Bitonio, Joel, Nevada
*Bodine, Russell, North Carolina
Boffell, Conor, Iowa
Britt, Justin, Missouri
Dozier, Dakota, Furman
Edwards, Kadeemnnessee State
Feiler, Matt, Bloomsburg
*Flemong, Cameron, Stanford
Fulton, Zachery (Zach)nnessee
Groy, Ryan, Wisconsin
Halapio, Jonathan (Jon), Florida
Harrison, Jonotthan, Florida
Henderson, Seantrel, Miami
Hurst, James, North Carolina
Ikard, Gabriel (Gabe), Oklahoma
Jackson, Gabriel, Mississippi State
James, Ja’wuannnessee
Johnson, Wesley, Vanderbilt
*Kouandijo, Cyrus, Alabama
Larsen, Tyler, Utah State
Leno, Charles, Boise State
Lewan, Taylor, Michigan
Linder, Brandon, Miami
Linsley, Corey, Ohio State
Long, Spencer, Nebraska
Lucas, Cornelius (Luke), Kansas State
*Martin, Marcus, Southern California
Martin, Zachary (Zack), Notre Dame
Matthews, Jacob (Jake)xas A & M
Mewhort, Jack, Ohio State
Moses, Morgan, Virginia
Paradis, Matthew (Matt), Boise State
Patchan, Matthew (Matt), Boston College
*Richardson, Antonionnessee
Richardson, Cyril, Baylor
Richburg, Weston, Colorado State
*Robinson, Greg, Auburn
Schofield, Michael, Michigan
Steen, Anthony, Alabama
Stone, Jamesnnessee
Stork, Bryan, Florida State
*Su’a-Filo, Xavier, UCLA
Swanson, Travis, Arkansas
Thomas, Brandon, Clemson
*Turner, Trai, Louisiana State
Turner, William (Billy), North Dakota State
Urschel, John, Penn State
Watt, Christopher (Chris), Notre Dame
*Yankey, David, Stanford

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN
Carrethers, Ryan, Arkansas State
Clarke, William, West Virginia
*Clowney, Jadeveon, South Carolina
*Crichton, Scott, Oregon State
*Ealy, Kony, Missouri
Edeball, Kasim, Boston College
Enemkpall, Kemefuna (I.K.), Louisiana Tech
Ford, Donald (Dee), Auburn
Gayle, Jacon (James), Virginia Tech
Hart, Taylor, Oregon
Jeffcoat, Jacksonxas
*Jernigan, Timmy, Florida State
Jones, Howard, Shepherd
Kerr, Zachariah (Zach), Delaware
*Lawrence, Demarcus, Boise State
*Lynch, Aaron, South Florida
Manumaleuna, Eathyn, Brigham Young
Marsh, Cassius, UCLA
Martin, Kareem, North Carolina
Mauro, Joshua (Josh), Stanford
Mimsvin, South Florida
Moore, Zachary (Zach), Concordia
Newsome, Jonathan, Ball State
*Nix, Louis, Notre Dame
*Pagan, Jeoffrey, Alabama
Ramsey, Kaleb, Boston College
Sam, Michael, Missouri
Smith, Chris, Arkansas
Smith, Marcus, Louisville
Stinson, Edward (Ed), Alabama
*Tuitt, Stephon, Notre Dame
*Uko, George, Southern California
Webster, Larry, Bloomsburg
Westbrooks, Ethan, West Texas A & M

DEFENSIVE TACKLES
Bromley, Jason (Jay), Syracuse
Coleman, Deandre, California
Donald, Aaron, Pittsburgh
Easley, Dominique, Florida
Ellis, Justin, Louisiana Tech
*Ferguson, Ego, Louisiana State
Hageman, Ra’shede, Minnesota
Hyder, Kerryxas Tech
*Johnson, Anthony, Louisiana State
Jones, Daquan, Penn State
Mc Cullers, Daniel (Dan)nnessee
Palepoinny, Utah
Pennel, Michael (Mike), Colorado State – Pueblo
*Quarles, Kelcy, South Carolina
Reid, Caralin, Princeton
Stephen, Shamar, Connecticut
Sutton, William (Will), Arizona State
Thomas, Robert, Arkansas
Thornton, Khyri, Southern Mississippi
Urban, Brent, Virginia
Whaley, Christopher (Chris)xas
Wynn, Kerry, Richmond

LINEBACKERS
Attaochu, Jeremiah (Jerry), Georgia Tech
Barr, Anthony, UCLA
Barrow, Lamin, Louisiana State
Borland, Christopher (Chris), Wisconsin
Bradford, Carl, Arizona State
Brown, Jonathan, Illinois
Brown, Michael (Preston), Louisville
Bullough, Max, Michigan State
*Fortt, Khairi, California
George, Jeremiah, Iowa State
Hitchens, Anthony, Iowa
Hubbard, Adrian, Alabama
Jackson, Andrew (Drew), Western Kentucky
Jones, Christian, Florida State
Kennard, Devon, Southern California
Kirksey, Christian (Chris), Iowa
Lokombo, Boseko, Oregon
Mack, Khalil, Buffalo
Morris, James, Iowa
Mosley, Clinton (C.J.), Alabama
Murphy, Trenton (Trent), Stanford
Pierre-Louis, Kevin, Boston College
*Powell, Ronald, Florida
Reilly, Trevor, Utah
*Shazier, Ryan, Ohio State
Shembo, Prince, Notre Dame
Skov, Shayne, Stanford
*Smallwood, Yawin, Connecticut
Smithlvin, Florida State
Starr, Tyler, South Dakota
Tripp, Jordan (Jordie), Montana
Unga, Devin (Uani’), Brigham Young
Van Noy, Kyle, Brigham Young
Williamson, Avery, Kentucky
Zumwalt, Jordan, UCLA

DEFENSIVE BACKS
Alexander, Maurice (Mo), Utah State
Allen, Ricardo, Purdue
Bailey, Dion, Southern California
Belue, Deion, Alabama
Benwikere, Bene’, San Jose State
Berhe, Natneal (Nat), San Diego State
Boston, Jayestin (Tre), North Carolina
*Breeland, Bashaud, Clemson
Brooksrrence, Florida State
Bucannon, Deone, Washington State
Carrie, Travis (T.J.), Ohio
*Clinton-Dix, Ha’sean (Ha Ha), Alabama
Cockrell, Ross, Duke
Colvin, Aaron, Oklahoma
Davis, Christopher (Chris), Auburn
Dennard, Darqueze, Michigan State
Desir, Pierre, Lindenwood
Dixon, Ahmad (A.D.), Baylor
Dixon, Brandon, Northwest Missouri State
*Dowling, Jonathan, Western Kentucky
Exum, Antone, Virginia Tech
Fuller, Kyle, Virginia Tech
Gaines, Edwin (E.J.), Missouri
Gaines, Phillip, Rice
Gilbert, Justin, Oklahoma State
Goodson, Demetri (Meech), Baylor
Hal, Andre (Dre), Vanderbilt
*Hampton, Victor, South Carolina
Huff, Marqueston, Wyoming
Jackson, Bennett, Notre Dame
James, Kendall, Maine
Jean-Baptiste, Stanley (Stan), Nebraska
Johnson, Dontae, North Carolina State
Joyner, Lamarcus, Florida State
Ladler, Kenneth (Kenny), Vanderbilt
Lawson, Nevin (Nevo), Utah State
Lewis, Isaiah, Michigan State
Loston, Craig, Louisiana State
Mc Dougle, Dexter (Dex), Maryland
Mc Gill, Keith, Utah
*Mitchellrrance, Oregon
Price, Jabari, North Carolina
*Pryor, Calvin, Louisville
*Purifoy, Loucheiz, Florida
Reaser, Keith, Florida Atlantic
*Reynolds, Ed, Stanford
Reynolds, Rashaad, Oregon State
*Roberson, Marcus, Florida
*Roby, Bradley, Ohio State
Sorensen, Daniel, Brigham Young
Southward, Dezmen (Dez), Wisconsin
*Sunseri, Vinnie, Alabama
Thomas, Jemea, Georgia Tech
Vereen, Brock, Minnesota
Verrett, Jasonxas Christian
Ward, Jimmie, Northern Illinois
Washington, Todd, Southeastern Louisiana
Watkins, Jaylen, Florida
Westbrooks, Lavelle, Georgia Southern

LONG SNAPPER
Heit, Marcus, Kansas State

PUNTERS
Clark, Steven, Auburn
Hocker, Zachary (Zach), Arkansas
Hornsey, Thomas (Tom), Memphis
Leone, Richard (Richie), Houston
Mandell, Cody, Alabama
O’Donnell, Patrick (Pat), Miami

KICKERS
Boswell, Christopher (Chris), Rice
Fera, Anthonyxas
Santos, Cairo, Tulane

BYU wearing special patch in honor of LaVell Edwards

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BYU got the summer media day fun started on Friday with their football media day. BYU tends to pull out all the stops on its media day with coach and player interviews, alumni returning, and a handful of announcements about the future of the program. In addition to news about their relationship with ESPN, BYU also announced the football team will be sporting a patch this season in honor of the late LaVell Edwards.

In addition to players wearing the patch on their jerseys, BYU coaches will also wear the patch on their sleeves.

Edwards passed away in December at the age of 86. The BYU coaching legend spent 29 seasons on the sidelines in Provo and accumulated 257 wins along the way. Among those was a national championship season in 1984, which remains the most recent national championship to be claimed by a program not currently in a power conference. Edwards took 22 BYU teams to a bowl game.

Now if we can just keep getting BYU to stick to that lighter shade of blue as their main home uniform, we’ll be in great shape.

Former Vanderbilt football player Brandon Banks found guilty of rape

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Former Vanderbilt football player Brandon Banks was convicted by a jury on Friday for rape of a female Vanderbilt student. Following 15 hours of jury deliberations, the verdict of guilty on one count of aggravated rape and one count of aggravated sexual battery was in.

”He’s shocked but understands that this is only the first part of this process, there’s a lot more to do from here on,” Banks’ lawyer, Mark Scruggs, said after the verdict. ”We have some really good issues to raise.”

Part of Banks’ defense was built on succumbing to peer pressure, suggesting he feared he may be beaten up by teammates if he did not participate in the scandalous activity. The jury, having reviewed videos and photos from the incident, some of which were shot by Banks, determined that was not a viable defense.

”Making fun of another person is not right, but we know it happens,” Assistant District Attorney Roger Moore said in closing arguments, according to the Associated Press. ”But it doesn’t give you a legal defense to commit a crime, particularly not an aggravated rape, an aggravated sexual battery. I mean if that’s the case, then we’d have the ‘football team defense.”’

Banks will serve a minimum of 15 years in prison. One count of aggravated rape has a minimum sentence of 15 years.

Other former Vanderbilt players had previously been convicted for their roles in the 2013 rape. Cory Batey was found guilty of aggravated rape and sentenced to 15-25 years in prison in April 2016. Brandon Vandenbeurg was found guilty and sentenced to 17 years in prison.

California’s state-funded travel ban to discriminating states raises mild football scheduling concerns

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The state of California is banning state-funded travel to the states of Texas, Alabama, Kentucky, and South Dakota. Those states are added to the previous state-funded travel bans that included Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee due to what California lawmakers say are laws that allow for discrimination against gay and transgender people.

So what does this have to do with college football? My colleague, Bryan, notes this latest decision from the state means scheduling any potential road games for a handful of schools just got a tad trickier.

This development poses a couple of issues for some California schools to address moving forward.

San Jose State is the school affected by this latest news right off the bat. San Jose State has a road game scheduled at Texas on September 9 this season. San Jose State may have to rely on some of that guaranteed money from Texas to cover the expenses, which would put a dent in the total takeaway from playing the game in the first place.

Cal is also scheduled to play at North Carolina on September 2. Cal also plays at TCU in 2021 and at Auburn in 2024. If the ban is still in operation at those times, then Cal will have to budget ahead of time to tackle the expenses. UCLA will play at Memphis on September 19.

The state-funded travel ban to these states may not be an issue for the postseason, as bowl game expenses tend to be carried by the conference and their revenue shares.

Fresno State has a road game at Texas A&M scheduled in 2020. San Diego State has no future scheduling hassles to worry about for the time being.

When ‘physically, mentally ready,’ door wide open for Keyshawn Johnson Jr.’s return to Nebraska

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Keyshawn Johnson Jr. has yet to play a down for Nebraska, but, if it’s up to Mike Riley, he will at some point down the road.

Earlier this month, the son of former USC great Keyshawn Johnson was cited for marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia.  This past week, the younger Johnson decided to take a leave of absence, with his father stating that his son needed some time to “mature” and will not play for the Cornhuskers in 2017.

Left open at the time was the question of whether Johnson Jr. would ever play for the ‘Huskers, period.  Friday, Riley left the door wide open for a return.

“We’re disappointed that he’s not here with us right now today,” the head coach said according to the Lincoln Journal-Star. “I think there’s kind of a wellness factor for Keyshawn going home. We talked to him about the possibility of maybe enrolling part time and taking care of his progress toward his degree, and also getting in great shape.

“And we opened the door for return, which is just kind of left open that we’ll deal with at the time that he is physically and mentally ready to do that.”

A three-star 2017 signee who was an early enrollee and participated in spring practice, the younger Johnson had been expected to be an immediate contributor for the Cornhuskers this season.