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UCF RB Jawon Hamilton out for the 2017 season following surgery for leg injury

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Saturday’s game between Maryland and UCF took a toll on the injury report for the Big Ten’s Terrapins, but UCF took a blow as well. Now, the Knights will have to play the remainder of the season with a new starting running back.

Jawon Hamilton had started UCF’s first two games of the season and accumulated 11 starts in his time at UCF, but a leg injury in the first quarter of Saturday’s game led to surgery and a premature end to his 2017 season. Hamilton shared the news of his surgery on his Facebook page, saying his surgery went well and already focusing on the fact he will have three years of eligibility to use. Hamilton will be eligible for three years because he will qualify for a medical redshirt with his season-ending injury coming so early in the year.

Hamilton rushed for 495 yards and four touchdowns last year but never got a chance to have the impact he was expected to have in the offense this season. UCF blew out their first opponent of the year, FIU, and allowed Hamilton to get some early rest, and his injury occurred in the first quarter against Maryland after a storm-altered layoff interfered with UCF’s football schedule.

Junior Taj McGowan and sophomore Adrian Killins now step in as the running backs that will fill the void. Neither is designated as the starter over the other on the depth chart this week, which means head coach Scott Frost either wants to keep both involved or see which one proves capable of carrying the load moving forward. McGowan rushed for 156 yards and two touchdowns in 2016, and Killins had a team-high 6.5 rushing yards per attempt in 2016.

The other option available would be 6′-0″ 248-lb freshman Cordarrian Richardson. The big freshman has carried the football 11 times for 39 yards and a touchdown in the early stages of the season. He may not be ready for full-time rushing duties just yet, but he certainly brings a sizable advantage in short0-down situations with a little help from his blockers up front. Don’t be surprised if Frost finds ways to get him involved in the game plan as the Knights potentially go with a bit of a running back by committee in the next few weeks.

UCF hosts Memphis this week in a key conference battle, with the Tigers owning the fifth-best rushing defense in the AAC coming in. After that, UCF’s next two games are against Cincinnati and East Carolina. The Bearcats and Pirates have really struggled against the run so far this season, with 19 rushing touchdowns combined and an average of 264.0 and 274.5 rushing yards per game allowed, respectively. That would seem to suggest UCF has a good three-week stretch to figure out how best to use the running backs before having to make any final decisions for the second half of the season.

Florida’s statement on Jim McElwain’s death-threat claim is interesting, to say the least

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Maybe it’s nothing, maybe it’s something.  Regardless, it’s something that bears watching.

Losers of two in a row and off to a 3-3 start to the season,  Florida has underperformed and underwhelmed to say the least.  So much so, in fact, that head coach Jim McElwain indicated Monday that he, his family, his coaching staff and players have been subjected to death threats by unknown individuals.

The head coach went into no detail publicly regarding the nature of the threats.  Apparently, it was the same privately when discussing the situation with his employer.

OK then.

Again, it could be in the same neighborhood as naked shark humping — nothing. Bears watching, though, as one very outspoken member of the Florida media is very much already doing publicly about a situation that was apparently reported to the media before it was reported to the police or even the university.

LOOK: Arizona State to wear Pat Tillman-themed uniforms

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Pat Tillman is essentially the Knute Rockne of Arizona State football, the central figure that will be as important to the program 100 years from now as he is today. And while Notre Dame will wear Rockne-themed uniforms later this season, so, too, will Arizona State.

The program revealed Tillman-centric uniforms on Monday for their Nov. 4 game with Colorado, based on the uniform Tillman wore as a member of the U.S. Army while fighting in Afghanistan.

Tillman played linebacker at Arizona State from 1994-97 (he was named the Pac-10’s Defensive Player of the Year as a senior) and then spent four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals before the events of 9/11 inspired him to join the U.S. Army. He was a member of the Army Rangers before he was killed in action in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004, at age 27.

Arizona State unveiled a Tillman statue at Sun Devil Stadium at its season-opening win over New Mexico State.

“Pat spent his whole life trying to be the best person he could possibly be,” Kevin Tillman, Pat’s brother, said at the unveiling. “He didn’t focus on money, he didn’t focus on fame, he didn’t focus on a pretty statue. It was, ‘How can I make myself a better person in all these different facets of my life?’ And ASU gave him an opportunity to do that.”

Jim McElwain says family, players have received death threats over 3-3 start

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Florida has lost two in a row and is off to a 3-3 start, and that streak will probably reach three on Saturday after the Gators meet No. 3 Georgia. While everyone knows SEC fans are passionate about their football, some have taken Florida’s struggles too far.

How far? By threatening to kill the players and coaches.

“I think it’s a pretty good lesson for the way things are,” head coach Jim McElwain said, via Only Gators. “There’s a lot of hate in this world and a lot of anger. And yet, it’s freedom to show it. The hard part is, obviously, when it’s threats against your own players, death threats to your families, the ill will that’s brought upon out there. And yet, I think it’s really one of those deals that really is a pretty good testament to what’s going on out there nationally. There’s a lot of angry people, and in this business, we’re the ones you take the shots at. And that’s the way it is.”

In my experience, it seems people lodging death threats are far more serious about the threat part than the, uh, other. But that’s easy for me to say, I’ve never received one.

Report: Sam Darnold expected to return to USC in 2018

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Sam Darnold was appointed the No. 1 pick of the 2018 NFL Draft on the second day of 2017. As a redshirt freshman, Darnold torched Penn State to the tune of 33-of-53 passing for 453 yards with five touchdowns and one interception in a 52-49 Rose Bowl win.

One problem, though. Darnold hasn’t played like a No. 1 pick this season.

While he hasn’t been the most disappointing player on what’s turning out to be a disappointing USC team, Darnold has posted pedestrian numbers (for him): hitting 63.5 percent of his passes for an even eight yards per attempt with 17 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. He ranks 38th nationally in passing efficiency. This puts him, coincidentally, one spot ahead of former USC quarterback Max Browne.

On Monday, NFL Draft analyst Benjamin Allbright shared a report that Darnold is expected to return to USC next season.

Considering Ronald Jones could return next season and that Stephen Carr is just a freshman, the prospect of Darnold returning in 2018 has to take the sting out of a lost 2017 for Trojans fans.