Auburn v Clemson

Rimington Trophy next to release spring watch list

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And then there were two (of many).

A handful of days after the Lott IMPACT Trophy became the first to release its spring watch list, the Rimington Trophy has done the same, announcing Monday an initial group of 64 players to watch.  There are two finalists for last year’s award on this year’s watch list: Auburn’s Reese Dismukes (pictured) and Oregon’s Hroniss Grasu.

Of the 64 players, 38 are seniors.  There are 22 juniors on the list and just four sophomores.

All 10 conferences at the FBS level are represented, paced by 11 from the SEC.  The Big Ten is next with 10, followed by seven from the ACC, six apiece from the AAC, Mountain West and Pac-12 and five each from the Big 12 and the MAC.  Conference USA and the Sun Belt had four and one, respectively, while three players from independent programs are recognized.

Dave Rimington, the award’s namesake, was a consensus first-team All-America center at Nebraska (1981 and 1982), during which time he became the Outland Trophy’s only two-time winner as the nation’s best interior lineman.

Last year’s winner was Florida State’s Bryan Stork.

After the jump you’ll find the complete 2014 Rimington Trophy spring watch list.

Alex Mateas Connecticut RS Senior 6’4 309
Alex Huettel Bowling Green RS Junior 6’3 292
Andy Gallik Boston College Junior 6’3 302
Artie Rowell Pittsburgh Junior 6’2 305
Austin Reiter USF Senior 6’3 286
Austin Barron Florida State Senior 6’3 292
Austin Blythe Iowa Junior 6’3 290
B.J. Finney Kansas State Senior 6’4 303
Betim Bujari Rutgers Senior 6’4 295
Braden Lyons Florida Atlantic Senior 6’5 295
Brandon Vitabile Northwestern Senior 6’3 300
Bryce Redman Houston Senior 6’1 285
Bryce Giddens Arkansas State Junior 5’11 300
Chris Jasperse Marshall Senior 6’4 289
Cody Waldrop South Carolina RS Soph 6’2 315
Collin Rahrig Indiana RS Senior 6’2 290
Dan Voltz Wisconsin Soph 6’3 313
David Peterson San Jose State Senior 6’5 297
David Andrews Georgia Senior 6’2 295
Deyshawn Bond Cincinnati Soph 6’2 296
Dillon Day Mississippi State Senior 6’4 300
Dominic Espinosa Texas Senior 6’4 305
Donald Senat FIU Senior 6’2 285
Dylan Foxworth Tulsa RS Senior 6’2 265
Edward Fusi BYU Senior 6’0 317
Elliot Porter LSU Senior 6’4 300
Evan Boehm Missouri Junior 6’3 315
Graham Shuler Stanford Junior 6’4 282
Greg Mancz Toledo Senior 6’5 300
Hroniss Grasu Oregon Senior 6’3 297
Isaac Seumalo Oregon State Junior 6’3 305
Jack Allen Michigan State Junior 6’1 297
Jake Smith Louisville Senior 6’3 307
Jake Brendel UCLA Junior 6’4 285
Joe Townsend Vanderbilt Senior 6’4 310
Joey Grant UCF RS Junior 6’2 291
Joey Hunt TCU Junior 6’3 295
Jon Toth Kentucky Soph 6’5 298
Jon Hoffing Western Mich. Senior 6’4 285
Jordan Smith San Diego State Junior 6’5 285
Kyle Friend Temple Junior 6’2 305
LaMar Bratton New Mexico Senior 6’0 291
Mark Pelini Nebraska Senior 6’0 290
Matt Skura Duke RS Junior 6’4 290
Matt Galas Nevada Senior 6’1 280
Max Garcia Florida RS Senior 6’4 311
Michael Husar Air Force Junior 6’0 275
Mike Criste Washington Senior 6’6 318
Mike Matthews Texas A&M Junior 6’2 285
Nick Beamish Central Mich. Senior 6’3 310
Nick Martin Notre Dame Senior 6’4.5 295
Reese Dismukes Auburn Senior 6’3 297
Robert Kugler Purdue Junior 6’3 290
Robert Waterman UNLV Senior 6’2 290
Ryan Norton Clemson Junior 6’3 280
Ryan Kelly Alabama Junior 6’5 296
Sal Conaboy Maryland Senior 6’4 290
Shane McDermott Miami Senior 6’4 296
Steven Gurrola Arizona Senior 6’2 291
Taylor Lasecki SMU Junior 6’3 296
Tommy Olson Minnesota Senior 6’4 301
Ty Darlington Oklahoma Junior 6’2 298
Tom Farniok Iowa State Senior 6’4 300
Valeria Ume-Ezeoke New Mexico State Senior 6’2 285

 

Temple adds recent NFL assistant, long-time college coach

MIAMI - 2009:  George DeLeone of the Miami Dolphins poses for his 2009 NFL headshot at photo day in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by NFL Photos)
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With the Cleveland Browns (again) changing regimes, George DeLeone found himself on the outside of the coaching profession looking in.  A couple of weeks later, DeLeone is back on the inside, and in a familiar locale at that.

While the school has yet to officially confirm it, the Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting that DeLeone has been added to Matt Rhule‘s coaching staff at Temple.  Bruce Feldman of FOXSports.com subsequently confirmed the report.

According to both outlets, DeLeone will serve as the Owls’ running-game coordinator.

The past two seasons, DeLeone worked as an assistant line coach with the Browns.  Prior to that, however, the vast majority of his 46-year coaching career had been spent at the collegiate level.  And a sizable chunk of that time was spent in the Northeast.

DeLeone’s first FBS job came at Rutgers from 1980-83.  Two different stints at Syracuse (1985-96, 1998-2004) were sandwiched between his the job at the NFL level with the Miami Dolphins (1997).  Temple was his home from 2006-07, and then UConn from 2011-13 before the Browns called.

Demoted by BC, Todd Fitch takes over as LaTech’s OC

NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 19:  Head coach Skip Holtz of the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs objects to a call during the first half of the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl against the Arkansas State Red Wolves at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 19, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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A promotion in 2015 was quickly followed by a demotion a year later for Todd Fitch.  Not long after the latter went down, Fitch left town for a fresh start to his coaching career.

Friday, Skip Holtz announced that Fitch has been hired as his offensive coordinator at Louisiana Tech.  Additionally, Fitch will serve as the wide receivers coach for the Bulldogs.

Fitch had spent the past three seasons at Boston College, first as receivers coach and passing-game coordinator in 2013-14 before being promoted to offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2015.  However, BC head coach Steve Addazio announced in mid-January that he had hired Scott Loeffler as his coordinator, effectively demoting Fitch back to receivers coach.

Three weeks later, Fitch headed south.

“I am excited to be joining a staff that is part of growing something special,” Fitch said. “This coaching staff has laid the groundwork for a program that has already done some great things and is building a foundation for future success. I am excited for the opportunity to be on a staff with Skip Holtz again and to keep growing this program.”

In addition to BC, Fitch had also been a coordinator at East Carolina and USF. Holtz was the head coach at both of those stops.

San Jose State QB Malik Watson latest to take grad transfer route

SAN JOSE, CA - NOVEMBER 29:  The San Jose State Spartans marching band plays their fight song against the Fresno State Bulldogs in the second quarter on November 29, 2013 at Spartan Stadium in San Jose, California.  The Spartans won 62-52.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
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Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a college football player has decided to ply his final season of college football wares elsewhere.

The latest to take that tack is Malik Watson, who announced via Twitter that he has “decided that I will not be returning to San Jose State for my senior and will be seeking elsewhere to pursue my dream.”  As Watson will graduate from SJSU this May, he will be eligible to play immediately in 2016 if he lands at another FBS school and enrolls in a grad program not offered at his former school.

Watson added that, as he awaits a new destination, he “will continue to train with my private QB coach in this meantime.”

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A California high school product who was born in Hawaii, Watson transferred from the junior college ranks to SJSU in 2014. After redshirting that first year, the 6-3, 208-pound Watson played in two games as the No. 3 quarterback on the depth chart.

In that time, Watson completed 9-of-15 passes for 59 yards and an interception. Of the 15 attempts, 14 came in the Week 3 loss to Oregon State.

Illini grad transfer T.J. Neal to visit WVU, Auburn

LINCOLN, NE - SEPTEMPER 27: Linebacker T.J. Neal #52 of the Illinois Fighting Illini arches of running back Ameer Abdullah #8 of the Nebraska Cornhuskersduring their game at Memorial Stadium on September 27, 2014 in Lincoln, Nebraska.  (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
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T.J. Neal does not yet know where he will continue his collegiate career, but it appears the linebacker has significantly narrowed the field.

A little less than two weeks ago, Neal, after being told by the coaching staff that they were planning to move him from middle to strongside linebacker, decided to transfer out of the Illinois football program.  As he will be a graduate transfer upon earning his degree in May, Neal will be eligible to play at another FBS program in 2016.

Enter West Virginia and Auburn, two teams which have been in contact with Neal and vice versa.  According to al.com, Neal will visit Morgantown this coming Monday, then head to The Plains a week later.

Upon the announcement of an impending departure, Illini head coach Bill Cubit said the Pennsylvania native “was talking about playing closer to home.”  Even as a move to Auburn would be the exact opposite of that, Neal seems genuinely excited over the prospects.

“Being able to play down there in Alabama, it’s like a dream come true,” Neal told Brandon Marcello of al.com. “From my high school, I never thought I’d play at a big-time school like Auburn. To have a chance now, it’s exciting to play against some of the top players in the country.”

According to blueandgoldsports.com, Penn State and Pittsburgh are/were also in play. It’s unclear if he’s visited or plans to visit those schools in his home state, although it was originally thought that the Nittany Lions could be high on Neal’s to-do list.

Not only is Neal a native of McKeesport, Pa., but Tim Banks, the Illini’s co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach the past four seasons, left in December to become the Nittany Lions’ coordinator.  PSU has also seen a pair of linebackers, Troy Reeder and Gary Wooten Jr., transfer out this month, meaning the opportunity for a starting job would certainly be on the table.

Regardless, Neal expects to make a decision shortly after the Feb. 15 visit to Auburn. He would then enroll in his new school of choice shortly after his graduation from Illinois.

Neal was a two-year starter for the Illini who finished second on the team in tackles (109) this past season.  He was named honorable mention All-Big Ten for his play in 2015.