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

NCAA grants NC State QB Ryan Finley another year of eligibility

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Not surprisingly, Ryan Finley‘s stay in Raleigh has been extended.

North Carolina State confirmed Tuesday that Finley has been granted an additional season of eligibility by the NCAA.  Finley received a medical waiver from The Association that will give him a sixth year if he ultimately chooses to use it.

So, in summation, Finley has three years of eligibility remaining beginning this season and running through the 2018 season.

In April of this year, the quarterback announced that he had decided to transfer from Boise State.  A month later, he moved on to NC State as a graduate transfer.

Finley started the first three games last season as a redshirt sophomore for the Broncos before suffering a broken ankle and losing the job he won in the summer to Freshman All-American Brett Rypien, with the latter further solidifying his hold on the position this spring and triggering the transfer decision.

On the depth chart the Wolfpack released earlier this week, Finley was listed as the co-starter along with redshirt sophomore Jalan McLendon.

Maryland names starting QB, adds UNC transfer QB Caleb Henderson

COLLEGE PARK, MD - NOVEMBER 07: Quarterback Perry Hills #11 of the Maryland Terrapins makes a pass against the Wisconsin Badgers during the first half at Byrd Stadium on November 7, 2015 in College Park, Maryland.(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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There were a couple of developments on the quarterback front for Maryland Wednesday morning.

The one with the most immediate impact was the announcement that Perry Hills has been named the Terps’ starter at the position.  Hills, a senior, had been involved in an offseason-long competition with fellow senior Caleb Rowe for the starting job.

Hills started eight games last season and ran for 535 yards, the fourth-most by a quarterback in the program’s history.  He also tossed 13 interceptions; in fact, Hills and Rowe, who started the other four games, combined to toss a staggering 28 interceptions.

Of the 114 quarterbacks in passing efficiency listed on the NCAA’s stats website, Hills was 109th.  The 114th?  Rowe.

“After an open competition through the spring and the first two-plus weeks of training camp, we’re excited to move forward with Perry as our starting quarterback,” said first-year head coach DJ Durkin in a statement. “Perry has embraced this challenge from day one and has put in the work and shown improvement every day. He’s grasped our offense and the way we want to do things, and has shown tremendous leadership.”

In addition to the Hills news, the U of M also announced the addition of transfer Caleb Henderson.  The quarterback had just confirmed via Twitter four days ago that he would be transferring from North Carolina.

A four-star member of UNC’s 2014 recruiting class, Henderson was rated as the No. 10 pro-style quarterback in the country and the No. 7 player at any position in the state of Virginia.

After redshirting as a true freshman, Henderson played in a pair of games last season.  He attempted one pass, which fell incomplete.

Henderson will be forced to sit out the 2016 season.  He’ll then have two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2017.

Hogs QB Rafe Peavey confirms transfer, move to SMU

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 26:  Arkansas Razorbacks flag girl during the Southwest Classic at AT&T Stadium on September 26, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Expected to be Arkansas’ backup quarterback, Rafe Peavey is instead on the move.

Following up on speculation that began surfacing earlier in the day, Peavey confirmed Tuesday night that he will be transferring from the Razorbacks.  Not only that, but the redshirt sophomore also revealed his destination: SMU.

Peavey, who will have to sit out the 2016 season with the Mustangs and will have two years of eligibility remaining thereafter, said he came to the decision “[a]fter much prayer and consideration,” although he didn’t give a specific reason for the move.

Peavey was hampered by a back injury that required surgery in the middle of last month.  At the time the surgery was announced July 14, it was described as “minor” in nature, but its lingering nature caused him to fall behind redshirt freshman Ty Storey and true freshman Cole Kelley since the start of camp.

“We have a lot of guys in the program who do everything right, but that doesn’t automatically guarantee them a spot in the two-deep. We’ve got to earn it,” head coach Bret Bielema said following a scrimmage this past Saturday in which Peavey didn’t play a snap.

Peavey, a three-star prospect, took a redshirt as a true freshman in 2014, then didn’t see the field in 2015.  After Austin Allen was named the Hogs’ starter exiting spring, Peavey was viewed as his backup entering summer.

Report: Ex-Illini coach Tim Beckman now a volunteer assistant at UNC

CHAMPAIGN, IL - SEPTEMBER 20: Head coach Tim Beckman of the Illinois Fighting Illini protests a call to the officials during the game against the Texas State Bobcats at Memorial Stadium on September 20, 2014 in Champaign, Illinois.  (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
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This one might not go over too well with some/most segments of the North Carolina fan base.

According to a report overnight from the Champaign News-Gazette, former Illinois head coach Tim Beckman has been added to Larry Fedora‘s UNC football staff as a volunteer assistant coach.  Beckman and Fedora have a previous working relationship, having been on the same Oklahoma State staff in 2007.

The Tar Heels have thus far declined to comment publicly on Beckman’s reported addition, and likely for good reason.

Nearly one year ago to the day, Beckman was fired as the head coach at Illinois amidst allegations of mistreatment of players, specifically those who were injured.  Those allegations led to an independent investigation initiated by the university.

The firing came more than three months after a former player accused the coach of “misuse and abuse of power,” while another stated shortly thereafter that Beckman “takes the cake as the worst coach I ever met.”  Athletic director Mike Thomas initially supported Beckman, but the preliminary results of an external review into the accusations forced Thomas into pulling the trigger.

Saying he was “shocked and disappointed,” Beckman labeled the allegations “totally false” in a post-dismissal statement. “I firmly deny the implications in Mike’s statements that I took any action that was not in the best interests of the health, safety and well-being of my players,” the coach stated, adding, “The health and well-being of our student-athletes is of paramount importance.”

To add another layer to this development?  North Carolina and Illinois will face each other Sept. 10 this year in Champaign.  It’s unknown if Beckman will be a part of UNC’s traveling party.