Warren Sapp

Is this the year for Derrick Thomas? College Football Hall of Fame ballot released

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The ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2014 has been revealed by the National Football Foundation. In all, there are 75 names from the world of the FBS, including Oklahoma’s Brian Bosworth, Miami’s Warren Sapp (pictured), Ray Lewis and Jerome Brown, Penn State’s Shane Conlan, SMU’s Eric Dickerson, TCU’s LaDainian Tomlinson, Texas’s Ricky Williams and Colorado’s Rashaan Salaam. One other name on the ballot is Alabama’s Derrick Thomas, who appears to be this year’s successor to Nebraska’s Tommie Frazier after long being overlooked on the ballot.

The official class will be announced in May, honored in December and formally inducted at a time to be determined in 2015. Votes will be submitted by members of the National Football Foundation and hall of fame members.

FBS PLAYERS

Trev Alberts, LB, Nebraska

Eric Bieniemy, RB, Colorado

Dre Bly, DB, North Carolina

Tony Boselli, OT, USC

Brian Bosworth, LB, Oklahoma

Bob Breunig, LB, Arizona State

Jerome Brown, DT, Miami

Ruben Brown, OT, Pitt

Larry Burton, WR, Purdue

Dave Butz, DT, Purdue

Freddie Carr, LB, UTEP

Mark Carrier, S, USC

Wes Chandler, WR, Florida

Shane Conlan, LB, Penn State

Tim Couch, QB, Kentucky

Tom Cousineau, LB, Ohio State

Bob Crable, LB, Notre Dame

Paul Crane, C/LB, Alabama

Eric Crouch, QB, Nebraska

Randall Cunningham, QB/P, UNLV

Troy Davis, RB, Iowa State

Eric Dickerson, RB, SMU

Mike Dirks, DT, Wyoming

D.J. Dozier, RB, Penn State

Tim Dwight, WR/Returner, Iowa

Jumbo Elliott, OT, Michigan

William Fuller, DT, North Carolina

Thom Gatewood, WR, Notre Dame

Willie Gault, WR, Tennessee

Kirk Gibson, WR, Michigan State

Charlie Gogolak, K, Princeton

Joe Hamilton, QB, Georgia Tech

Al Harris, DE, Arizona State

Dana Howard, LB, Illinois

Randy Hughes, DB, Oklahoma

Bobby Humphrey, RB, Alabama

Raghib Ismail, WR, Notre Dame

Roy Jefferson, WR, Utah

Ernie Jennings, WR, Air Force

Keyshawn Johnson, WR, USC

Clinton Jones, RB, Michigan State

Lincoln Kennedy, OT, Washington

Tim Krumrie, DT, Wisconsin

Greg Lewis, RB, Washington

Jesse Lewis, DT, Oregon State

Ray Lewis, LB, Miami

Robert Lytle, RB, Michigan

Bob McKay, OT, Texas

Cade McNown, QB, UCLA

Mark Messner, DL, Michigan

Darrin Nelson, RB, Stanford

Ken Norton Jr, LB, UCLA

Tom Nowatzke, FB, Indiana

Jim Otis, FB, Ohio State

Paul Palmer, RB, Temple

Antwaan Randle El, QB, Indiana

Simeon Rice, LB, Illinois

Ron Rivera, LB, Cal

Willie Roaf, OL, Louisiana Tech

Mike Ruth, NG, Boston College

Rashaan Salaam, RB, Colorado

Warren Sapp, DT, Miami

John Sciarra, QB, UCLA

Larry Seivers, WR, Tennessee

Sterling Sharpe, WR, South Carolina

Art Still, DE, Kentucky

Derrick Thomas, LB, Alabama

Zach Thomas, LB, Texas Tech

LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, TCU

Jackie Walker, LB, Tennessee

Wesley Walls, TE, Mississippi

Lorenzo White, RB, Michigan State

Clarence Williams, RB, Washington State

Ricky Williams, RB, Texas

Steve Wisniewski, OG, Penn State

FBS COACHES

Mike Belotti – Chico State, Oregon

Jim Carlen – West Virginia, Texas Tech, South Carolina

Pete Cawthon – Texas Tech

Danny Ford – Clemson, Arkansas

Billy Jack Murphy – Memphis

Darryl Rogers – Call State-Hayward, Fresno State, San Jose State, Michigan State, Arizona State

You can see the full ballot, which includes brief biographies and the list of FCS, Division 2, Division 3 and NAIA candidates as well via the National Football Foundation.

Mark Dantonio ‘disappointed’ watching Connor Cook’s draft free fall

EAST LANSING, MI - NOVEMBER 14: Head coach Mark Dantonio and Connor Cook #18 of the Michigan State Spartans look on during the game against the Maryland Terrapins at Spartan Stadium on November 14, 2015 in East Lansing, Michigan. Michigan State defeated Maryland 24-7. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Every year a player falls unexpectedly in the draft, and this year’s poster boy, aside from Laremy Tunsil‘s gas mask bong and Confederate flag imbroglio, on that front was Connor Cook.

The former Michigan State quarterback was thought by some to have a chance at landing toward the end of the first round, with most seeing him scooped up before the end of the second round. Instead, Cook watched as 99 other players, including six fellow quarterbacks, were selected before hearing his name called by the Oakland Raiders in the fourth round.

It was a mighty tumble for a prospect whose biggest flaw, according to draftniks, was leadership — he famously wasn’t elected as a captain of the Spartans in the preseason, which some considered quite revealing, and damning, for a three-year starter at quarterback.

As hard as it was on Cook, it was just as hard on his former head coach. After watching Cook lead his Spartans to a 34-5 record as a starter the last three years, Mark Dantonio found it difficult to digest his former player’s free fall.

“I was probably living through the entire thing, as well, watched the entire draft,” Dantonio said by way of mlive.com. “I was disappointed. I think that Connor is an excellent football player. He’s done a tremendous job for us here and for his football team, and a lot of that success that we’ve had can be credited to his play and his leadership on our football team. …

“I think it did wear on him as time went on, but he tried to continue to stay above it. I remember when Kirk Cousins was drafted and he was really disappointed in the fact that he had gone in the fourth round and they had drafted a guy in the second round and the first round, and what did that do for his future.”

Speaking of Cousins, the Washington Redskins quarterback who supplanted former Heisman winner Robert Griffin III as the starter, he offered up some encouragement to his fellow Spartan.

Four Auburn Tigers arrested for pot possession

AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 28:  Richard Mullaney #16 of the Alabama Crimson Tide fails to pull in this reception against Carlton Davis #18 of the Auburn Tigers at Jordan Hare Stadium on November 28, 2015 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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With another weekend in the books, it’s time to, once again, reset ye olde arrest ticker.

The latest football program to send the tracker back to double zeroes is Auburn, with the Opelika-Auburn News reporting that four Tigers football players, defensive end Byron Cowart, defensive back Carlton Davis, wide receiver Ryan Davis and defensive back Jeremiah Dinson, were arrested by the Auburn police department late Saturday night.  According to the News, all four were arrested on a single charge each of second-degree possession of marijuana.

The papers write that “[s]econd degree marijuana possession is listed under Alabama Code – Section 13A-12-214 as a person who commits the crime if said person possesses marijuana for personal use only.”

Head coach Gus Malzahn told the News that he is “aware of the situation and we will handle this matter appropriately.”

The defensive back Davis is the most noteworthy of the pot-smoking foursome.  As a true freshman in 2015, he started at corner for the Tigers and led all SEC freshmen with three interceptions.  He was named to the SEC All-Freshman team at the end of the season.

Cowart, a five-star 2015 signee, played in all 13 games as a true freshman, while Dinson played in nine games in his first season with the Tigers.  The receiver Davis, also a true freshman, didn’t have a reception in 2015 but ran the ball twice for 20 yards.  Davis’ first college carry went for 28 yards.

ESPN tabs seven Big Ten games for primetime kickoffs

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - FEBRUARY 05:  A view of the logo during ESPN The Party on February 5, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for ESPN)
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Mark your calendars, because these are only five months away! (/sobs)

ESPN on Monday announced seven Big Ten games that’ll kick off in primetime, either on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2, this upcoming season. Not surprisingly, six of the seven feature either Ohio State or Michigan. The list:

Oct. 8: Michigan at Rutgers (7 p.m. or 8 p.m. ET)
Oct. 15: Ohio State at Wisconsin (8 p.m. ET)
Oct. 22: Ohio State at Penn State (8 p.m. ET)
Oct. 29: Northwestern at Ohio State (5:30 p.m. ET)
Oct. 29: Nebraska at Wisconsin (7 p.m. ET)
Nov. 5: Nebraska at Ohio State (8 p.m. ET)
Nov. 12: Michigan at Iowa (7 p.m. or 8 p.m. ET)

Noticeably absent from this list is Michigan State, though the Big Ten has a deal with Fox, too, meaning the Spartans will almost certainly play in primetime at some point this season. Plus, Ohio State and Michigan equal ratings, no matter how good either team is (and both are expected to be pretty good this season, of course).

 

ECU transfer QB Kurt Benkert moves on to Virginia

In this photo taken Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015 East Carolina quarterback Kurt Benkert rolls out to pass during NCAA college football practice in Greenville, N.C. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
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On April 25, East Carolina announced that Kurt Benkert had decided to transfer out of the Pirates football program.  Less than a week later, the quarterback has found himself a new football home.

On Twitter Sunday afternoon, Benkert confirmed that he will be enrolling at Virginia and continuing his collegiate playing career with the Cavaliers.  Beckert also acknowledged his decision in a text message to 247Sports.com.

“I’m really excited to be here,” Beckert said in a portion of the brief text.

As Beckert is headed to UVa. as a graduate transfer, he will be eligible to play for the Hoos immediately in 2016.  Not only that, but he will have two years of eligibility remaining.

Beckert was named the Pirates’ starter in early August of 2015, but sustained a right knee injury a couple of weeks later that knocked him out for the entire season.  In Charlottesville, Beckert will join a competition that includes returning starter Matt Johns and Texas/Arizona transfer Connor Brewer.