Pac-12 lands 18 players on Nagurski Trophy watch list

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No conference has more players on the Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list than the Pac-12. Of the 81 top defensive players listed on the watch list for the nation’s top defensive player, the Pac-12 is home to 18 players. The SEC followed with 16 players. The Big 12 has 13 players, the ACC has 12 players and the Big Ten has 10 players on the watch list.

The Nagurski Trophy has been awarded each year since 1993 by the Charlotte Touchdown Club and the Football Writers Association of America. Miami, Oklahoma, Texas and Northwestern are tied for the most Nagurski Trophy winners with two each. Northwestern linebacker, and now head coach, Pat Fitzgerald won two and is the only two-time winner of the award. Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald was the winner of the 2013 Bronko Nagurski Trophy.

Finalists for the Nagurski Trophy will be announced on November 20 and the winner will be named December 8.

Here is this year’s Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list:

DE Henry Anderson, Stanford
LB Stephone Anthony, Clemson
DE Vic Beasley, Clemson
DT Michael Bennett, Ohio State
DB Craig Bills, BYU
DE Joey Bosa, Ohio State
DT Malcom Brown, Texas
LB Kelby Brown, Duke
DE Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State
DB Alex Carter, Stanford
DB Sam Carter, TCU
DB Jeremy Cash, Duke
DE Frank Clark, Michigan
DB Landon Collins, Alabama
DB Blake Countess, Michigan
DT Christian Covington, Rice
DB Su’a Cravens, USC
DT Carl Davis, Iowa
DE Tyeler Davison, Fresno State
LB Trey DePriest, Alabama
DB Quandre Diggs, Texas
DB Lorenzo Doss, Tulane
DB Kurtis Drummond, Michigan State
DE Alvin Dupree, Kentucky
DE Mario Edwards Jr., Florida State
DB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon
LB Kyler Fackrell, Utah State
DE Devonte Fields, TCU
DE Trey Flowers, Arkansas
LB Leonard Floyd, Georgia
DE Dante Fowler Jr., Florida
LB Alani Fua, BYU
DB Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech
DE Markus Golden, Missouri
DE Randy Gregory, Nebraska
LB Bryce Hager, Baylor
DB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida
DB Anthony Harris, Virginia
LB Ben Heeney, Kansas
DT Chucky Hunter, TCU
DE Martin Ifedi, Memphis
LB Myles Jack, UCLA
DT Grady Jarrett, Clemson
LB Jordan Jenkins, Georgia
LB A.J. Johnson, Tennessee
LB Eric Kendricks, UCLA
DE Hau’oli Kikaha, Washington
DT Luther Maddy, Virginia Tech
LB Derrick Malone, Oregon
LB Tyler Matakevich, Temple
LB Derrick Mathews, Houston
DE Lorenzo Mauldin, Louisville
LB Benardrick McKinney, Mississippi State
DE Ryan Mueller, Kansas State
DB Steven Nelson, Oregon State
DT Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss
DE Shawn Oakman, Baylor
LB Denzel Perryman, Miami
DB Marcus Peters, Washington
DB Cody Prewitt, Ole Miss
LB Hayes Pullard, USC
DE Cedric Reed, Texas
DB Jordan Richards, Stanford
DE A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama
DB KeiVarae Russell, Notre Dame
LB Jake Ryan, Michigan
DB Zack Sanchez, Oklahoma
DT Danny Shelton, Washington
LB Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame
DB Derron Smith, Fresno State
LB Eric Striker, Oklahoma
DE Charles Tapper, Oklahoma
LB A.J. Tarpley, Stanford
DB Jared Tevis, Arizona
LB Shaq Thompson, Washington
DE Tony Washington, Oregon
DB Trae Waynes, Michigan State
DE Leonard Williams, USC
DB P.J. Williams, Florida State
LB Ramik Wilson, Georgia
DT Gabe Wright, Auburn

Catch up on your watch lists released this week:

Maxwell Award (best player)

Bednarik Award (best defensive player)

Hornung Award (most versatile player)

Mackey Award (best tight end)

Rimington Trophy (best center)

Lou Groza Award (best kicker)

Ray Guy Award (best punter)

Florida makes signings of ex-Notre Dame QB Malik Zaire, former Clemson OL Jake Fruhmorgen official

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Two Power Five transfer players are officially Florida Gators.

Monday, the Gators confirmed that offensive lineman Jake Fruhmorgen and quarterback Malik Zaire have enrolled in classes at the university.  Zaire was given his unconditional release from Notre Dame in late November and, after awaiting the SEC’s tweaking of its graduate transfer policy, confirmed his move to UF earlier this month, while Fruhmorgen left Clemson in mid-January before two months later revealing that Gainesville would serve as his next college football home.

As Zaire is coming to the Gators as a grad transfer, he’ll be eligible to play immediately in 2017 and is looked upon as a potential, or even likely starter under center.  Fruhmorgen will have to sit out the 2017 season, but will then have two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2018.

Zaire started three games during his time with the Fighting Irish — the first in the Music City Bowl win over LSU following the 2014 season then the first two games of the 2015 season before an ankle injury sidelined him for the remainder of the year.  He played in eight games last season as the backup to DeShone Kizer.

Fruhmorgen didn’t play another game last season after suffering a shoulder injury in late October. While the injury kept him out of a couple of games, he missed the latter quarter of the regular season, as well as the postseason, dealing with unspecified personal issues that kept him away from the team.

Prior to all of that, the true sophomore had started the first eight games of the 2016 season at right tackle.

A four-star 2015 signee, Fruhmorgen was rated by 247Sports.com as the No. 8 offensive tackle in the country and the No. 20 player at any position in the state of Florida. As a true freshman, the 6-5, 290-pound lineman played in 11 games, starting one of those contests.

WR T.J. Simmons transferring from Alabama to West Virginia

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A former Miami Hurricane wasn’t the only Power Five transfer West Virginia landed over the weekend.

On his personal Twitter account Sunday, T.J. Simmons surprised many by announcing that he would be transferring from Alabama. Not only that, but the wide receiver announced his new college football home — West Virginia.

After sitting out the 2017 season, Simmons will have three years of eligibility remaining with the Mountaineers.

A three-star member of the Crimson Tide’s 2016 recruiting class, Simmons was rated as the No. 58 receiver in the country and the No. 9 player at any position in the state of Alabama. While he played in 12 games as a true freshman, mainly on special teams, he caught six passes for 82 yards and a touchdown in this year’s spring game.

In addition to Simmons, former Miami tight end Jovani Haskins announced Saturday he would be transferring to WVU as well. All told, four Power Five players have come to Morgantown this offseason — those two, plus former Syracuse defensive back Corey Winfield (HERE) and ex-Miami quarterback Jack Allison (HERE).

Meanwhile, In Tuscaloosa, Simmons has joined linebacker Shawn Jennings (HERE) and O.J. Smith (HERE) as transfers away from UA in the last month. As 247Sports.com noted, that trio of transfers gets the Tide down to 86 scholarship players, one above the 85-man limit.

East Carolina mourns loss of former Pirate Domonique Lennon in fatal shooting

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The extended Eastern Carolina football family is in mourning following the passing of one of their own.

Over the weekend, Domonique Lennon was shot and killed following an incident outside of a Raleigh, NC restaurant. He was just 24 years old.

Witnesses described hearing upwards of 15 gunshots, with police arriving at 9:45 p.m. Friday night. No suspect or suspects are in custody as police continue to investigate the fatal shooting, which they believe involved more than one shooter.

It’s unknown if Lennon was the target or just caught up in the crossfire.

Lennon played defensive back for the Pirates from 2011-15. He played in 26 games his last two seasons with ECU, starting 14 of those contests in 2014.

“East Carolina University, the athletics department and Pirate football program are saddened by the tragic passing of Domonique Lennon,” a statement from the school began. “He made a positive impact on many people during his time as a student-athlete at ECU and earned the respect of both his teammates and coaches. We extend our condolences to Domonique’s family, friends and all those who knew and loved him.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help start a college fund for Lennon’s young son Landon. You can reach it by clicking HERE.

VIDEO: LSU RB Derrius Guice squats 650 pounds

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Derrius Guice may be the most underrated player in college football.

Playing in the shadow of Leonard Fournette, Guice posted an eye-popping 8.55 yards per carry (51 rushes for 436 yards) as a freshman in 2015, then kept his big-play ability as his usage increased while Fournette battled injuries in his final college season. Guice rushed 183 times for 1,387 yards and 15 touchdowns; his 7.58 yards per carry average was the most among Power 5 rushers with at least 180 carries.

So, yes, Guice is really good. He’s also a physical freak.

LSU captured and tweeted video Friday of Guice squatting 650 pounds, more than three times his listed 212 pounds.

If — and this is a massive, Les Miles-firing if — LSU can consistently throw the ball in 2017, go ahead and make Guice your darkhorse Heisman contender in 2017.

(HT CBS Sports)