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Baker Mayfield, 2016 winner Lamar Jackson headline Walter Camp Award finalists

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Last year’s winner and the front-runner for it this season headline the finalists for one of the most prestigious awards in all of college football.

The Walter Camp Foundation on Wednesday announced the five finalists for the 2017 version of its Player of the Year Award.  There are a pair of quarterbacks — Louisville’s Lamar Jackson, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield — as well as a trio of running backs — Penn State’s Saquon Barkley, Stanford’s Bryce Love, San Diego State’s Rashad Penny — in the mix for the award.

Mayfield is considered the runaway favorite for this year’s Heisman Trophy, while Jackson, last year’s Heisman winner, also won the 2016 Camp Award.  Mayfield and Penny are seniors, the others juniors.

Below are the pertinents for each of the five finalists:

Barkley ranks second in the nation in all-purpose yardage (2,154; 179.5 yards per game). He has rushed for 1,134 yards and 16 touchdowns, totaling four 100-yard rushing efforts, for the 10-2 Nittany Lions. He has added 47 receptions for 594 yards and three more scores, and has also returned two kickoffs for touchdowns. Barkley has even thrown a touchdown pass this season.

The 2016 Walter Camp Player of Year recipient, Jackson has accounted for 42 touchdowns (25 passing, 17 rushing) for the 8-4 Cardinals this season. He has thrown for 3,489 yards (241-for-399) and rushed for 1,443 yards. He passed 300 or more yards six times, and had nine 100-yard rushing efforts. He accounted for a season-high 525 yards of total offense (393 passing, 132 rushing) and six touchdowns in a win over North Carolina on Sept. 8.

The leader of the Cardinal’s offense, Love ranks second in the nation with 1,848 rushing yards, averaging 8.6 yards per carry. Love has scored 16 touchdowns. Love has 10, 100-yard rushing efforts, including a season-best 301 (on 25 carries) and three touchdowns in a win over Arizona State on Sept. 30 that earned him Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week honors. Stanford (9-3) will play USC on Dec. 2 in the Pac-12 Championship Game.

The leader of the third-ranked Sooners offense, Mayfield has passed for 4,097 yards (247-of-346) and 37 touchdowns. His 4,097 yards rank second in the nation. He has thrown for 300 or more yards nine times, including a career-best 598 (24-of-36, 5 touchdowns) in a win against Oklahoma State on Nov. 4 that earned him Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week honors. Oklahoma (11-1) will play TCU on Dec. 2 in the Big 12 Championship Game.

The nation’s all-purpose yards leader (2,698; 224.8 yards per game), Penny has scored 24 touchdowns for the 10-2 Aztecs, coming four different ways this season – 19 rushing, 2 receiving, 2 kickoff return and 1 via punt return. Penny has rushed for a nation-leading 2,027 yards, averaging 7.4 yards per carry. Penny earned Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week honors twice this season (Sept. 9 and Nov. 19).

Reports: Bob Diaco finalizes deal with Oklahoma

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It appears Lincoln Riley has all but officially gotten his man.

Earlier this month, reports surfaced that Bob Diaco was expected to take a job on Riley’s Oklahoma football staff. Friday, Pete Thamel of tweeted that Diaco has finalized a deal to join the football program.‘s Adam Rittenberg subsequently confirmed the initial report.

With all 10 of Riley’s on-field assistant slots filled, Diaco will serve as a defensive analyst for the Sooners.

Diaco spent the 2017 season as the defensive coordinator at Nebraska, let go after that one year following the firing of head coach Mike Riley.  Prior to that brief stint in Lincoln, he was the head coach at UConn for three seasons before being fired after going 11-26 during his time with the Huskies.

Prior to that, he was the coordinator at Notre Dame for four seasons from 2010-13.

Florida’s athletics facilities upgrade scheduled to be completed in 2021

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Dan Mullen is just breaking in his new office chair, but it will be a few more years until the new head coach to truly be able to get comfortable in his new digs. The University of Florida is scheduled to begin a complete overhaul of the athletics facilities in Gainesville this summer. When it is complete, a brand new state-of-the-art football training facility will be among the highlights of the $130 million project.

The new football facility is planned to occupy a space currently used by Florida’s baseball stadium. WOrk on the football facility will have to wait until the baseball program can move into its new stadium that is part of the renovation plans at Florida.

“With the change in facility locations for both baseball and football, we will now adjust the sequencing for these projects,” Florida AD Scott Stricklin said in a press release, according to Gridiron Now. “Baseball will need to be built first, which will allow us to repurpose the current baseball site and put the stand-alone football complex in that space.”

The new football training facility will take up a good chunk of the renovation costs with an estimated price tag of $65 million for a 130,000 square foot structure. Florida won’t have to wait until 2021 to use the facility, however, as the Gators should be expected to be able to start using the new complex as early as 2019 while the construction and renovation continues.

Michigan high school coach shuts doors to EMU football following shutting down of athletic programs

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Eastern Michigan University made some tough decisions this week when it cut four athletic programs. Although cutting football was not deemed to be an option by AD Scott Wetherbee, the decision is already having some ramifications for the football program moving forward as one high school in the state of Michigan says the Eagles are no longer welcome on their premises.

Noel Dean, who coaches both the football and wrestling programs at Lowell High School, stated in a public letter addressed to EMU head coach Chris Creighton that he will no longer welcome Creighton or anyone else associated with EMU to his high school for recruiting purposes if the university goes through with cutting the wrestling program. Dean also issues a warning to Creighton in the letter, suggesting it may not be long before the university takes another hard look at the value of the football program.

“I can’t stand by and not take a stand against what is happening at EMU with the wrestling program,” Dean wrote in his letter, which was shared by Michigan Grappler. “Wrestling contributes too much to the fabric of our schools systems in Michigan (a guy from South Dakota might not get it), but if I stick to the facts on this. wrestling is only a bone to keep people happy FOR NOW. They are coming for you next.

“If this goes through, you and your staff will not be allowed in any one of our buildings.”

That is most certainly a hard line in the sand putting EMU on notice. If one school in the state of Michigan decides to close its doors to EMU and this message spreads throughout the high school coaching community in the state of Michigan, EMU would be in some serious trouble.

Helmet sticker to The Detroit Free Press.


Ed Warinner goes from $250K Michigan analyst to $525K U-M line coach

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Ed Warinner‘s bank account might want to consider sending Jim McElwain a thank-you note.

In January of this year, Warinner left Minnesota to take a job as a senior offensive analyst at Michigan. However, a month later, McElwain was added as U-M’s wide receivers coach; in an unsurprising twist to that move, offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Tim Drevno officially stepped down from his twin posts eight days after McElwain’s hiring and ultimately ended up back at USC.

McElwain, as had been widely expected before he was officially added to Jim Harbaugh‘s coaching staff, took over Drevno’s coordinating duties. Warinner, meanwhile, was officially named as Drevno’s replacement as line coach earlier this month.

According to, Warinner has signed a two-year contract that will pay him $525,000 in 2018 and $550,000 in 2019. His scheduled salary for his role as an analyst with the football program? A “measly” $250,000.

Warinner spent the 2017 season as the offensive line coach and running-game coordinator at Minnesota. Prior to that, He was the line coach at Ohio State from 2012-16. In 2015, he added the title of co-offensive coordinator.