William McKamey

Navy RB Will McKamey, dead at the age of 19


Sadly, there will be no happy ending for the already-tragic situation that developed over the weekend at the U.S. Naval Academy.

The Navy confirmed in a release sent out late Tuesday night that running back Will McKamey passed away earlier in the day at Baltimore Shock Trauma.  McKamey collapsed during a spring practice session Saturday afternoon and was airlifted via helicopter to the emergency medical facility, where he underwent surgery on his brain.  McKamey had been in a coma since shortly after collapsing.

He was just 19 years old.

“During this most difficult of times, first and foremost, our prayers and thoughts turn to Randy, Kara and their beautiful family,” said Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo in a statement. “Our deepest and most sincere condolences go out to their entire family and friends. As our Navy football family mourns the loss of one of our brothers, we also celebrate and honor his life. He loved his family, his friends and his teammates. The Brotherhood loves you! Keep the ball ‘high and tight’ in Heaven.”

McKamey’s collapse Saturday was the second on-field incident the running back has suffered the past two years; during his high school days, he suffered a similar episode during a game. McKamey missed the Tennessee high school playoffs in 2012 due to the first incident, but was still named the state’s Mr. Football that year.

Photo: Navy Athletics
Photo: Navy Athletics

In a statement sent through the Navy sports information department Monday, the family stated that their son had “been seen by four different neurosurgeons and had 4-6 CAT scans and MRI’s to rule out any issue and clear him for contact.”

“I want to be clear that the Navy football program nor us as his parents would have ever allowed him to be in a dangerous situation,” the statement emphasized.

The family stated that “Navy coaches… poured through the films of practice” prior to McKamey collapsing and found nothing out of the ordinary. Three days later, McKamey was dead.

“We are all so very heartbroken by the death of Midshipman Will McKamey,” said Naval Academy Superintendent VADM Mike Miller. “This is devastating news for his family, his classmates, his teammates and the entire Naval Academy family. We offer our deepest condolences to Will’s family, friends and shipmates in the wake of this tragedy.”

McKamey did not play as a true freshman for the Midshipmen as a true freshman in 2013.

Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to McKamey’s family, friends, teammates and coaches as they deal with this tragedy.

(Photo credit: Navy athletics)

Vols ‘very confident there was no inappropriate conduct’ between Butch Jones, player

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 11:  Head coach Butch Jones of the Tennessee Volunteers watches the action during a game against the Chattanooga Mocs at Neyland Stadium on October 11, 2014 in Knoxville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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In the midst of reports that he had a physical altercation with one of his Tennessee players during summer camp this year, Butch Jones labeled the speculation “absolutely ridiculous.”

Apparently, his bosses agree with the head coach.

At a board meeting Thursday, UT-Knoxville chancellor Jimmy Cheek stated that he and athletic director Dave Hart had done their “due diligence” in investigating the accusations that Jones and senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder were involved in some type of physical skirmish during practice this past August.  The end result of interviews with Jones, coaches and players was the conclusion that there was nothing to the reports and message-board rumors.

“There’s been a lot of rumor and misinformation on social media and message boards about an alleged incident during football practice,” Cheek said according to GoVols247.com‘s Wes Rucker. “It’s not our practice to respond to rumors, but I thought it was important to let you know that we’ve done our due diligence and Dave Hart and I are very confident there was no inappropriate conduct with any players or coaches.”

Shortly after Cheek spoke at the board meeting, Crowder took to Twitter with a series of missives that speaks around the issue.

Michigan’s keeping ‘fingers crossed’ for leading rusher’s availability

De'Veon Smith
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Michigan played without its leading rusher in Week 5.  The Wolverines are hoping there won’t be a repeat in Week 6.

De'Veon Smith sustained a lower-leg injury in the Week 4 win over BYU and didn’t travel with the team for last Saturday’s win over Maryland.  Smith has been practicing with his teammates throughout the first few days of this week, and head coach Jim Harbaugh is guardedly optimistic that the running back will be available for what’s turned into a huge Big Ten matchup with Northwestern Saturday in the Big House.

“He’s practicing and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’s going to stay good and be ready to play,” Harbaugh said during a radio appearance Thursday morning. “But we’ll (keep) looking at that every day.”

Despite essentially missing a game and a half, Smith currently leads the Wolverines with 331 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. He’s added four receptions for 35 yards and a touchdown coming out of the backfield the first four games.

Should Smith be unable to go again, the Wolverines have three other backs with at least 100 yards on the ground: Ty Isaac (187, 7.2 yards per carry), Drake Johnson (125, 4.2 ypc) and Derrick Green (100, 3.3 ypc).

In addition to Smith, Harbaugh is hopeful Channing Stribling will be available this weekend as well.  The starting cornerback didn’t play against the Cougars because of injury