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)

Starting Navy S Kwazel Bertrand undergoes surgery, likely out for season

Kwazel Bertrand, Jacobi Owens
Associated Press
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Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.

Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.

“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”

Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.

Unitas Award whittles watch list in half down to 15

FORT WORTH, TX - OCTOBER 03:  Trevone Boykin #2 of the TCU Horned Frogs looks for an open receiver against the Texas Longhorns in the second quarter at Amon G. Carter Stadium on October 3, 2015 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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You know how I know we’re gradually creeping up on the end of another regular season?  Watch lists are being whittled.

The first major honor to do so is the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given out annually to the best quarterback who is a college senior or fourth-year junior.  The preseason watch list was 30 quarterbacks strong; the newest list has been cut in half to 15.

The most recent list includes one of the top Heisman contenders (TCU’s Trevone Boykin) and the top two nationally in passing yards (Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty), as well as a quarterback who’s closing in on the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns (Navy’s Keenan Reynolds).

The Pac-12 leads all conferences with three watch listers, followed by two each from the AAC, ACC and Big Ten.  The SEC has as many players (one, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott) as the FCS (North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz).

Last year’s winner was Marcus Mariota of Oregon.

Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Everett Golson, Florida State
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Cody Kessler, USC
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah