Johnny Manziel

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

Jim Harbaugh is looking forward to seeing Chief Osceola and Renegade at the Orange Bowl

TALLAHASSEE, FL - SEPTEMBER 15:  Chief Osceola, mascot of the Florida State Seminoles plants a spear at midfield prior to a game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Doak Campbell Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Tallahassee, Florida.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images
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Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh and Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher got together for a joint press conference in Miami today as the two coaches prepare to face one another in the Orange Bowl on December 30. Harbaugh said he is looking forward to the matchup but seemed to be much more interested in getting a chance to witness one of the pregame traditions of Florida State; Chief Osceola riding on Renegade and planting a spear in the turf.

“I’ve never been to a game at Florida State,” Harbaugh said. “I’ve always wanted to go there and see what that atmosphere was like in person. This will be as close as I’ve ever been to that. I’m excited for that. I know I’m going to get some chills when that Appaloosa comes riding out there.”

Of course, this isn’t exactly a home game for the Seminoles, so sometimes pregame traditions are put on ice for the bowl season. Knowing this, Harbaugh made his case and made sure everyone listening knows just how cool he thinks it is.

“I want to see that. That’s one of the cool things,” Harbaugh said. “We have cool things and other teams have cool things, but that is right up there as one of the coolest things.”

Fortunately for Harbaugh, he will indeed get a chance to witness this pregame routine in person. Florida State Associate Athletics Director Jason Dennard said on Twitter Chief Osceola and Renegade will make the trip to Miami from Tallahassee.

Houston reportedly closing in on a head coach; Kiffin and Miles still being considered

TUSCALOOSA, AL - APRIL 18:  Offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin of the Alabama Crimson Tide watches action prior to the University of Alabama A Day spring game at Bryant-Denny Stadium on April 18, 2015 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images
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The Houston Cougars are reportedly hoping to have a new head coach named as soon as this coming weekend. As expected, Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin and former LSU head coach Les Miles are among the final candidates being considered for the job.

One candidate no longer to be in the mix, according to a report from Joseph Duarte of The Houston Chronicle, is Oklahoma offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley. That should be good news for Oklahoma, as it likely means Riley will be back in Norman for at least one more season to run the offense (and with Baker Mayfield coming back for 2017, the Sooners offense should continue to rack up some big numbers).

As noted by Duarte, five total candidates were vetted by Houston for the head coaching job. Kiffin, Miles and interim Houston coach Todd Orlando and offensive coordinator Major Applewhite along with Riley all were checked by the university as a decision is approaching.

KD Cannon promised Matt Rhule Baylor will beat Boise State in Cactus Bowl

WACO, TX - SEPTEMBER 12:  KD Cannon #9 of the Baylor Bears at McLane Stadium on September 12, 2015 in Waco, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
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Baylor introduced new head coach Matt Rhule in a press conference setting today, and it would seem Rhule has already gotten some opportunities to speak to his new players in Waco. One player in particular delivered a promise to the new Bears head coach. Baylor wide receiver KD Cannon reportedly made a bowl game guarantee to Rhule.

Baylor started the season with a 6-0 record but dropped their last six games to enter the bowl season at just 6-6. The Broncos of Boise State finished the season with a 10-2 record and second in the Mountain Division behind Wyoming in the Mountain West Conference. Boise State has won six bowl game sin the last seven seasons between head coaches Chris Petersen (now at Washington) and Bryan Harsin.

Personally, I’m still trying to figure out how many people thought pairing Boise State and Baylor in a bowl game would be a good idea, considering the unfortunate story surrounding former Boise State and Baylor player Sam Ukwuachu. We can focus plenty on the non-controversial stuff leading up to the Cactus Bowl, but that is one story that cannot be totally overlooked either, especially given the current state of the Baylor football program.

Baylor and Boise State have never faced each other in football. The two will play in the Cactus Bowl in Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona on Tuesday, Dec. 27.

Mark Emmert thought “Penn State’s season was spectacular”

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JULY 23:  NCAA president Mark Emmert speaks during a press conference at the NCAA's headquarters to announce sanctions against Penn State University's football program on July 23, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The sanctions are a result of a report that the university concealed allegations of child sexual abuse made against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who was found guilty on 45 of 48 counts related to sexual abuse of boys over a 15-year period. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images
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There was a certain irony in seeing Penn State win and celebrate a Big Ten championship in Indianapolis on Saturday night. Penn State, five years after the horrifying revelations of the Jerry Sandusky scandal ripped through the program, university, and community, was slammed hard by the NCAA, whose offices are located in Indianapolis with sanction terms that were thought to be crippling for the program at the time in the summer of 2012.

So, with Penn State clinching the Big Ten title in the home city of the NCAA headquarters, what did NCAA President Mark Emmert have to say about it?

I thought Penn State’s season was spectacular,” Emmert said while taking questions at the Learfield Intercollegiate Athletics Forum in New York on Wednesday: “What coach [James] Franklin has done there, I think, is very, very impressive.”

Emmert has been criticized by many who have taken issue with the NCAA getting involved with any decisions regarding Penn State’s football program in the aftermath of the Sandusky fallout following the release of the Freeh Report, which the NCAA used in place of its own in-depth investigation.

“It’s great to see it bounce back and do well,” Emmert said of Penn State’s 11-2 season. “While people will occasionally say those sanctions were meant to cripple the university, that’s not true at all. I’ve always said and always believed Penn state is a wonderful university, because it is, and secondly it’s got great sports traditions.”

Emmert may say the sanctions dropped on Penn State were never meant to cripple the university, but that is exactly what a four-year postseason ban and a massive reduction of available scholarships (reduced to 15 per year as opposed to the typical 25) is intended to do. Regardless, Emmert had nothing but praise for Penn State’s 2016 season.

“How can you not be pleased that they’re playing good football again? That’s very good stuff.”