Chick-fil-A Bowl - Duke v Texas A&M

Duke loses starting TE for all of 2014 with ACL tear

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Last week, Duke lost its top defensive performer to an injury that will cost the player, linebacker Kelby Brown, the entire 2014 season.

Nearly a week later, the serious injury bug has slammed headfirst into the other side of the ball.

The Blue Devils confirmed Monday that Braxton Deaver suffered a torn ACL in his right knee during Monday’s practice. As a result, obviously, the tight end will be sidelined for all of the 2014 season.

No date for surgery to repair the damage has been determined.

“This certainly seems redundant after Kelby’s injury last week, but again our thoughts and prayers lie with Braxton and his family with this news,”a statement from head coach David Cutcliffe began. “While we’ll miss his presence on the field, the priorities with Braxton right now shift to his health and spirit. We do know that Braxton will continue to be a valued member of our program going forward.”

There is an outside chance Deaver will have recovered sufficiently to participate in spring practice next year, although that seems unlikely. He should, though, be fully healed by the time summer camp rolls around… should he decide to return.

Deaver is a redshirt senior who missed all of the 2012 season with myriad injuries — ACL tear, fractured knee cap, broken thumb — to go along with this ACL issue. Because of that, he could petition the NCAA for a sixth season of eligibility, an appeal that would most certainly be approved.

The loss of Deaver is a significant blow to the offense. Deaver started all 14 games for the Blue Devils, finishing second on the team in receptions (46), receiving yards (600) and receiving touchdowns (four).

Deaver was suspended for the start of summer camp this year for unspecified reasons.

Deaver’s injury continued a rough stretch for the football program over the past several months. In addition to Brown’s injury, 2013 (because of injury) starting quarterback Brandon Connette transferred out — ultimately landing at Fresno State — while running back Jela Duncan is suspended for the entire 2014 season due to academic issues. At the time of his suspension last December, he was the Blue Devils leading rusher.

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