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

ESPN analyst: Jimbo Fisher called Texas A&M soft, vowed to change the program

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If there was one thing that really seemed to put Kevin Sumlin on the hot seat during his time at Texas A&M, it was the Aggies seemingly annual collapse in the second half of the season and inability to finish games they had the potential to win. That explains some of the reason why the school ponied up to lure Jimbo Fisher from Florida State in a $75 million hire late last year.

While most of the outside focus on Fisher’s move to College Station has been centered on that humongous contract, there’s little question that hiring a national title-winning coach was a coup for the team. That subject was brought up again on the SEC Network’s Paul Finebaum Show Friday evening and ESPN college football analyst Booger McFarland relayed a rather interesting conversation he had with the coach earlier this year in which Fisher said something you typically don’t hear made public. You can head to the 8:18 mark (or there abouts) for the interview.

“I talked to Jimbo in Atlanta. I told Jimbo point-blank — the same thing I told you guys about Texas A&M the last several years — A&M is a soft program,” McFarland said. “Jimbo looked me in the eye and was like, ‘You know what, you’re damn right. We are soft, but I’m going to change that.’”

Something says that Fisher and the Aggies strength coaches are going to use the comments as a bit of a challenge in the weight room and during spring practice over the coming months as they lay the groundwork for the 2018 season. Even the most ardent maroon and white supporters would probably agree with the sentiment that the team went a little soft toward the end of Sumlin’s tenure but it’s not everyday you see a coach call out his new program quite like that.

Maybe it’s something in the water down there in College Station though, judging by some other comments by the school’s athletic director, but one thing is for certain — things are going to be very different at Texas A&M going forward.

Scott Frost wants Nebraska football roster to grow to 150 players or more in 2018

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In the days before you were limited to 85 scholarship players, it was not totally uncommon to see teams stock their rosters full of players and wind up in the triple-digits with close to 200 players on a team. Even after the NCAA mandated a limit of 85 scholarships, roster sizes were still not that much smaller when you factored in walk-ons and others on a squad.

It appears Scott Frost wants to get back to those sort of days in Lincoln and is apparently pushing the school to help him expand the Cornhuskers roster right into the 150 range.

“I’d like to accommodate (Frost’s) desire” to expand the roster, athletic director Bill Moos said this week in an interview with Rivals’ HuskerOnline. “But we do have that issue with Title IX” along with locker room facilities challenges, organized practice schedules, and other daily management nuts and bolts to sort through.

“Nebraska has been known for having a lot of players on the team…a lot of walk-ons. I’d like to get back to that,” Frost had said on Signing Day earlier in the month. “The best thing Coach (Tom) Osborne did was have everybody practice… and part of that is what led to the development of players and helped walk-ons and young players get better faster and get on the field and help the team. I think that’s an asset that Nebraska can have if we’re willing to expand the roster.”

HuskerOnline details some of the compliance and budgetary challenges that going to 150 would entail but it certainly sounds like the school is making the effort to beef the numbers up. The Cornhuskers are well known in college football history for their walk-on program and roughly 10-15 walk-ons per class would apparently help them land right around Frost’s ideal roster size after factoring in the 85 full-scholarship players he would recruit.

Interestingly, going to 150 would allow the program to pass Michigan for the Big Ten’s biggest roster. The Wolverines under Jim Harbaugh are reportedly sitting at around 135 players after the 2017 season while most of the other conference’s schools are mostly around the 120 mark with a few exceptions. Title IX is not surprisingly the biggest obstacle for teams but it seems like some can manage things with no issue.

Frost was hired this offseason to help take Nebraska back to their perch atop college football and it seems like he is certainly attempting to do that in more ways than one when it comes to Big Red.

Purdue hires Utah State’s Mark Tommerdahl as special teams and tight ends coach

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Jeff Brohm is bringing in longtime coaching veteran Mark Tommerdahl to fill out his staff and serve as Purdue’s special teams and tight ends coach.

The Boilermakers announced the move on Saturday afternoon as Tommerdahl heads to West Lafayette after spending just a season at Utah State where he also coached running backs and ran the Aggies’ special teams. While his stay in Logan was brief, Tommerdahl has been all over the country in 34 years as a coach and is highly regarded for his work in the kicking game.

Tommerdahl has plenty of prior Power Five coaching experience and spent four seasons with Sonny Dykes at Cal where he coached three different position groups and served as assistant head coach. Prior to that he also had stops at Louisiana Tech, Texas A&M, Alabama, TCU and several other schools.

The move to bring in Tommerdahl fills the spot on the Boilermakers’ staff that was left when former Houston coach Tony Levine left after one season with the school to pursue opportunities outside of the coaching profession. Brohm’s 10th assistant Kevin Wolthausen was also given special teams responsibilities when he was elevated to a full-time role so it’s possible the team is really beefing up their emphasis on the third phases of the game with the two new coaches splitting duties when it comes to special teams.

Either way, after a surprising 2017 season that ended with a bowl game victory it’s pretty clear that Brohm is not just sitting back when it comes to his coaching staff and is bringing in some veteran names to help the team take the next step in 2018.

Iowa State OC Tom Manning reportedly leaving Ames for Indianapolis Colts staff

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After one of the most successful seasons in recent memory at Iowa State, it appears head coach Matt Campbell will not be able to keep the band together for another run.

Campbell confirmed to The Des Moines Register on Saturday morning that offensive coordinator Tom Manning was leaving Ames and will be taking a job in the NFL. The paper later was able to confirm that the team in question will be the Indianapolis Colts for a spot on Frank Reich’s new staff. ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg says Manning will be the team’s tight ends coach.

“I’m really happy and proud of him,” Campbell told the Register.

Manning has been with Campbell for years and the two actually played (and coached) together at famed D-III power Mount Union in the early 2000’s. Both were on the same staff at Toledo and Manning served as offensive line coach both there and at Iowa State. As offensive coordinator in 2017 he guided the Cyclones to a bit of an offensive renaissance despite relying on backup quarterback Kyle Kempt for most of the season, helping the team produce the third most points per game in school history while ranking in the top five in both total yards and passing.

ISU memorably upset Oklahoma in Norman and capped off an eight-win campaign in the Liberty Bowl with a victory over a ranked Memphis team.

The move leaves two openings on Campbell’s staff for 2018 but the Register notes that graduate assistant Jeff Myers is a possibility for the offensive line job and special teams analyst Joe Houston could be the team’s potential 10th assistant coach.