Big Ten Media Day: Miller, Abdullah, Gordon, Diggs heading to Chicago

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The ACC was not the only conference to announce which players will be heading to the conference media day circuit in the next few weeks. The Big Ten released its list of players that will be making the trip to Chicago for the Big Ten’s media day, the first as a 14-member conference with the additions of Maryland and Rutgers. With Maryland on board, that means a chance for Big Ten media to get to know some of the new faces in the crowd, like Maryland wide receiver Stefon Diggs, already one of the best playmakers in the conference.

The Big Ten media day event will include the familiar faces as well, of course, like Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller, Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon, Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah, Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner and Michigan State safety Kurtis Drummond.

The Big Ten’s media day event is scheduled for July 28-29 in Chicago. Here is the full rundown of Big Ten players appearing at Big Ten media day and luncheon, as released by the Big Ten Thursday.

EAST DIVISION

INDIANA
David Cooper, Sr., LB
Nate Sudfeld, Jr., QB
Shane Wynn, Sr., WR*

MARYLAND
C.J. Brown, Sr., QB
Stefon Diggs, Jr., WR*
Jeremiah Johnson, Sr., DB

MICHIGAN
Frank Clark, Sr., DE*
Devin Gardner, Sr., QB*
Jake Ryan, Sr., LB*

MICHIGAN STATE
Shilique Calhoun, Jr., DE*
Connor Cook, Jr., QB*
Kurtis Drummond, Sr., FS*

OHIO STATE
Michael Bennett, Sr., DL*
Jeff Heuerman, Sr., TE*
Braxton Miller, Sr., QB*

PENN STATE
Bill Belton, Sr., RB
Sam Ficken, Sr., PK*
Mike Hull, Sr., LB

RUTGERS
Michael Burton, Sr., FB
Darius Hamilton, Jr., DL
Lorenzo Waters, Sr., DB

WEST DIVISION

ILLINOIS
Simon Cvijanovic, Sr., OT
Jon Davis, Sr., TE
Austin Teitsma, Sr., DL

IOWA
Carl Davis, Sr., DT*
Brandon Scherff, Sr., OL*
Mark Weisman, Sr., RB

MINNESOTA
David Cobb, Sr., RB
Mitch Leidner, So., QB
Cedric Thompson, Sr., S

NEBRASKA
Ameer Abdullah, Sr., RB*
Kenny Bell, Sr., WR*
Corey Cooper, Sr., S*

NORTHWESTERN
Ibraheim Campbell, Sr., S*
Collin Ellis, Sr., LB
Trevor Siemian, Sr., QB

PURDUE
Raheem Mostert, Sr., RB
Sean Robinson, Sr., LB
Ryan Russell, Sr., DE

WISCONSIN
Melvin Gordon, Jr., RB*
Rob Havenstein, Sr., RT*
Warren Herring, Sr., DL

NC State adds Division 2 graduate transfer kicker

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It’s possible Dave Doeren‘s life would feel completely different right now if he had a better kicker in 2016.

In this reality, Doeren is 25-26 after four seasons in Raleigh, coming off back-to-back 7-6 seasons following his 8-5 breakthrough of 2014. But if his Wolfpack could kick last year, Doeren is most likely riding high after an 8-4 regular season buoyed by a win over Clemson in Death Valley. Because not only did NC State lose that game on a late field goal whiff, the Pack also suffered a 33-30 loss to East Carolina in which it endured two missed field goals.

NC State’s two kickers combined to hit only 9-of-17 tries last fall, good for 121st nationally, and ranked 104th with a 93.3 percent conversion rate on 45 extra points. And the situation wasn’t getting better this spring.

To rectify that situation, NC State announced the addition of kicker Carson Wise. A graduate transfer from Division II Carson-Newman, Wise will have two years of availability for the Wolfpack.

Wise connected on 21-of-31 field goals and 97-of-101 PATs last season, numbers that, on their face, do not represent massive changes from what NC State posted last season. But Doeren is banking on Wise as a solution for NC State in 2017.

“I’m excited to have Carson join the family,” Doeren said in a statement. “He is a talented player who should be a great addition to our special teams as we look for him to handle our field goal and kickoff duties this fall.”

Arkansas House votes to exempt sporting venues from expanded gun law

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Remember how we talked about it’s impossible to follow sports and ignore politics? Not long after John Swofford released a statement on how a North Carolina law would effect ACC sporting events, the Arkansas legislature passed a bill that will do the same in the SEC.

The Arkansas House voted 71-20 to allow its state colleges and universities to exempt themselves from a law that greatly expands venues permitting concealed-carry handguns. Until the passing of SB724 today, guns would have been permissible inside Razorback Stadium, among other places.

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey released a statement earlier this week urging state lawmakers to remove sporting venues from the bill. “HB 1249 creates concerns for the Southeastern Conference and its member institutions,” he said. “It remains our collective desire to provide a safe environment for student-athletes, coaches, officials and fans, and will continue to closely monitor the status of this legislation.”

Passing the bill was made more complicated by the involvement of the NRA, according to Rep. Jimmy Gateway.

The bill must now head back to the Senate before it can receive final approval from Governor Asa Hutchinson.

John Swofford releases statement on North Carolina repeal of HB2

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It’s pretty much impossible to keep politics out of the sports page today. SEC commissioner Greg Sankey was forced to release a statement on Tuesday urging Arkansas state legislators to exempt Razorbacks sporting venues from a bill that would greatly expand areas allowing concealed-carry handguns, and now ACC commissioner John Swofford has been forced to wade back into political waters.

North Carolina’s state legislature brokered a deal Thursday with new governor Roy Cooper to repeal House Bill 2, the controversial law requiring persons within Tar Heel state borders to use public bathrooms matching their gender at birth. The “bathroom bill” cost the state a reported $3.76 billion in revenue, and some of that lost revenue related directly to college football.

Following the NCAA’s lead of revoking the state’s championship event hosting privileges due to HB2, the ACC moved its football championship game from Charlotte to Orlando (the men’s basketball tournament was previously booked for Brooklyn), a move that cost the conference itself money as well.

Thursday’s repeal of HB2 is more complicated than simply yanking the bathroom bill (this is where I’ll direct you to a much more appropriate place to digest the political news of the hour than a college football blog) and, as such, Swofford’s statement is appropriately nuanced.

The ACC is still undecided where this December’s title game will be played, and Swofford will kick that decision upstairs to the league’s presidents.

Oklahoma OL Christian Daimler to pursue graduate transfer

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Oklahoma offensive tackle Christian Daimler will pursue a transfer, according to a message posted to his Twitter account Thursday.

As a fifth-year senior, Daimler qualifies as a graduate transfer and will be eligible immediately. “I could not be more excited about what my future holds,” Daimler wrote. “Wherever I end up I know that I will always be a Sooner and for that am I so proud. This University [sic] will forever remain close to my heart. Boomer Sooner.”

If that name does not immediately ring a bell, you are forgiven. Daimler appeared in three games as a Sooner, all over last season.

Hailing from Houston, Daimler, who stands 6-foot-7 and is listed at 321 pounds, was a 3-star recruit when he signed with Oklahoma over Texas A&M, Arizona State and Colorado, among others.