39 DBs make up Thorpe Award watch list

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The interminable Watch List Week (Part I) continues unabated Friday morning, with the Jim Thorpe Award the latest to release its group.

Given annually to the nation’s top defensive back, the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame announced earlier today a watch list consisting of 39 players. Four semifinalists for last year’s award — Alabama’s Landon Collins, Oregon’s Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves (pictured) and Ole Miss’ Cody Prewitt — are a part of this initial list.

The three finalists for last year’s trophy — winner Darqueze Dennard of Michigan State, Justin Gilbert of Oklahoma State and Lamarcus Joyner of Florida State — were all selected in the May NFL draft.

All 10 FBS conferences were represented, led by five apiece from the ACC, Big Ten, Conference USA and Mountain West. The AAC, Pac-12 and SEC had four each.

A total of five schools placed two players apiece on the watch list: Arkansas State, Boise State, Florida State, Michigan State and UCF.  Of the 39 players, 19 are seniors, 13 are juniors and just seven are sophomores.

Below is the complete 2014 Thorpe Award watch list:

Kevin Byard, Middle Tenn, Jr.
Bryce Callahan, Rice, Sr.
Ibraheim Campbell, Northwestern, Sr.
Sam Carter, TCU, Sr.
Jeremy Cash, Duke, Jr.
Donald Celiscar, Western Michigan, Sr.
Landon Collins, Alabama, Jr.
Blake Countess, Michigan, Jr.
Su’a Cravens, USC, So.
Donte Deayon, Boise State, Jr.
Quandre Diggs, Texas, Sr.
Lorenzo Doss, Tulane, Jr.
Kurtis Drummond, Michigan State, Sr.
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon, Sr.
Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech, So.
Clayton Geathers, UCF, Sr.
Jacoby Glenn, UCF, So.
Vernon Hargreaves, Florida, So.
Anthony Harris, Virginia, Sr.
Rocky Hayes, Arkansas State, Jr
Jeremy Ioane, Boise State, Sr.
Jordan Lucas, Penn State, Jr.
Marcus Peters, Washington, Jr.
Cody Prewitt, Ole Miss, Sr.
Jalen Ramsey, Florida State, So.
Jordan Richards, Stanford, Sr.
Zack Sanchez, Oklahoma, So.
Derron Smith, Fresno State, Sr.
D’Joun Smith, Florida Atlantic, Sr.
Trevon Stewart, Houston, Jr.
Brian Suite, Utah State, Sr.
Cam Thomas, WKU, Sr.
Triston Wade, UTSA, Sr.
Ryland Ward, Bowling Green, Jr.
Trae Waynes, Michigan State, Jr.
Tre’Davious White, LSU, So.
J.J. Whittaker, San Diego State, Sr.
PJ Williams, Florida State, Jr.
Sterling Young, Arkansas State, Sr.

Four-star 2015 signee second Aggie to leave Texas A&M this week

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With a new head coach in town, it’s far from surprising to see somewhat of a personnel exodus in the spring.  In that vein, Jimbo Fisher‘s first-year Texas A&M roster is the latest FBS football program to see such attrition.

On his personal Twitter account Thursday night, offensive lineman Koda Martin announced that he would be transferring from A&M to Syracuse.  On the same social media website a day later, teammate Kemah Siverand announced that he too will be leaving College Station as a transfer.

Unlike Martin, Siverand (pictured, left) did not reveal his next college football home in the tweet.

As Siverand will be leaving the Aggies as a graduate transfer, he’ll be eligible to play immediately at another FBS school in 2018 if that’s the tack he takes.

Siverand was a four-star member of A&M’s 2015 recruiting class.  After beginning his collegiate career as a wide receiver, the Cypress, Tex., native moved to defensive back between the 2016 and 2017 seasons.  He caught two passes for 16 yards in two games as a redshirt freshman in 2016, then was credited with six tackles in 12 games last season.

Iowa LB Aaron Mends to miss extended time with injury

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Talk about a hard-luck story.

After never starting a game at Iowa, Aaron Mends (pictured, blocking punt) had earned a starting job at outside linebacker during practice this spring.  With football being the cruel mistress that it can be at times, the Hawkeyes announced Friday night that Mends “will miss an extended period of time due to injury.” The program offered no details as to the specific nature of the injury, although it’s believed to involve the knee.

According to the school’s release, the fifth-year senior suffered the injury during the final week of Iowa’s spring drills.

Mends was a three-star member of the Hawkeyes’ 2014 recruiting class.  He was the highest-rated linebacker in Iowa’s class that year.

After taking a redshirt as a true freshman, Mends has played in 38 games the past three seasons.  A baker’s dozen of those appearances came during the 2017 season.

Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, James Franklin and Clay Helton among 15 CFB coaches attending NFL Draft

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We’re less than a week away from former college players officially finding out their new homes with the start of the 2018 NFL Draft and the excitement is palpable no matter if you’re a Cleveland Browns fan or somebody who dons the cardinal and gold of USC.

Naturally this is a big deal for the players’ former programs as well and their recent head coaches will be taking full advantage of the marketing opportunity to future recruits by stopping by the draft itself at AT&T Stadium for the festivities. The NFL released a list of 14 college football coaches and one recent one on Friday as being confirmed to attend the event and there are a few notable names beyond the big ones we’re used to seeing every year:

In addition, Stanford head coach David Shaw will serve as a draft analyst on NFL Network for a seventh year in a row and even ESPN’s College GameDay is getting involved with a pregame show outside the stadium they are quite familiar with from big games over the years.

Georgia DB Mark Webb tears meniscus in practice but expected back before fall camp

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Georgia’s injury luck this spring isn’t getting much better as the defending SEC champions move toward their annual G-Day spring game over the weekend.

Head coach Kirby Smart confirmed with reporters after Thursday’s practice that sophomore defensive back Mark Webb suffered a knee injury earlier in the week and tore his meniscus. He already had the knee scoped and is expected back before fall camp after the rather minor procedure.

Webb originally landed in Athens as a wideout but made the move to the secondary just as the season was getting going. He appeared in 13 games in 2017, mostly on special teams, but was expected to challenge for one of the starting spots at cornerback heading into the upcoming campaign.

The absence of Webb in the lineup for the final week of spring adds to a growing list of injuries for the team during practice as they do a little bit of roster building toward the future. Receiver Michael Chigbu’s career may be over due to lingering injuries and defensive back Divaad Wilson tore his ACL not long after enrolling this semester.

Safe to say that G-Day on Saturday might not be as physical as Smart and the coaching staff would otherwise like as a result of trying to keep the team healthy as they prepare to head into a big offseason.