Brad Kaaya

Getty Images

ACC media poll has Clemson repeating as conference champions

5 Comments

DeShaun Watson is back from last year’s College Football Playoff runner-up, and with that, there was little debate in the ACC media poll about who will repeat as conference champions in 2016.

Clemson, with 144 votes, was picked to repeat as ACC champions in the conference’s annual media poll. Florida State (39), North Carolina (seven) and Louisville (one) also received votes.

Watson, the Tigers’ junior quarterback, was picked to be the ACC Player of the Year with 164 votes. Florida State running back Dalvin Cook (18), North Carolina running back Elijah Hood (four), Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya (two), Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson (two) and Duke cornerback/returner DeVon Edwards (one) also received player of the year votes.

Here’s how the voting broke down by division, with first-place votes in parentheses:

Atlantic                    
1. Clemson (148) – 1,293
2. Florida State (42) – 1,176
3. Louisville (1) – 961
4. NC State – 704
5. Boston College – 441
6. Syracuse – 426
7. Wake Forest – 347
Coastal                
1. North Carolina (121) – 1,238
2. Miami (50) – 1,108
3. Pitt (14) – 859
4. Virginia Tech (3) – 697
5. Duke (2) – 597
6. Georgia Tech (1) – 588
7. Virginia – 261

ACC releases list of players attending media days

Getty Images
1 Comment

The SEC’s done it.  So have the Big 12 and Big Ten.  Now, it’s another Power Five’s turn to do.

The it, as the headline suggests, is the players attending media days, which the ACC revealed to the masses Monday afternoon.  The 14 teams that make up the ACC will send, along with their head coaches, two players from each of their teams to the July 21-22 event in Charlotte.

In a refreshing change, as many linebackers ( six) will be in attendance as quarterbacks (six).  Four defensive linemen have been invited, three each of running backs, offensive linemen and defensive backs will take part.  Interestingly, two of the three linemen are centers, while all three defensive backs are cornerbacks.

Also, for those interested, one punter is on the list — Miami’s Justin Vogel.

Below is the complete list of attendees for the 2016 ACC Media Days:

Boston College
Myles Willis, Running Back, 5-9, 194, Senior, Conyers, Ga.
Matt Milano, Linebacker, 6-1, 218, Senior, Orlando, Fla.

Clemson
Deshaun Watson, Quarterback, 6-2, 210, Junior, Gainesville, Ga.
Ben Boulware, Linebacker, 5-11, 240, Senior, Anderson, S.C.

Duke
Thomas Sirk, Quarterback, 6-4, 220, Senior-R, Glen St. Mary, Fla.
DeVon Edwards, Cornerback, 5-9, 180, Senior-R, Covington, Ga.

Florida State
Dalvin Cook, Running Back, 5-11, 206, Junior, Fla., Miami, Fla.
DeMarcus Walker, Defensive End, 6-3, 273, Senior, Jacksonville, Fla.

Georgia Tech
Justin Thomas, Quarterback, 5-11, 185, Senior-R, Prattville, Ala.
Patrick Gamble, Defensive Line, 6-5, 277, Senior, Carrollton, Ga.

Louisville
Lamar Jackson, Quarterback, 6-3, 196, Sophomore, Boynton Beach, Fla.
Keith Kelsey, Linebacker, 6-1, 236, Senior, Gainesville, Fla.

Miami
Brad Kaaya, Quarterback, 6-4, 210, Junior, Los Angeles, Calif.
Justin Vogel, Punter, 6-4, 208, Senior, Tampa, Fla.

North Carolina
Ryan Switzer, Wide Receiver-Punt Returner, 5-10, 185, Senior, Charleston, W.Va.
Des Lawrence, Cornerback, 6-1, 185, Senior, Charlotte, N.C.

North Carolina State
Matthew Dayes, Running Back, 5-9, 203, Senior, Weston, Fla.
Jack Tocho, Cornerback, 6-0, 200, Senior, Charlotte, N.C.

Pittsburgh
Nathan Peterman, Quarterback, 6-2, 225, Senior-R, Jacksonville, Fla.
Ejuan Price, Defensive End, 6-0, 250, Senior-R, Rankin, Pa.

Syracuse
Jason Emerich, Center, 6-3, 284, Senior-R, New Ringgold, Pa.
Zaire Franklin, Linebacker, 6-0, 229, Junior, Philadelphia, Pa.

Virginia
Jackson Matteo, Center, 6-5, 290, Senior-R, Ashburn, Va.
Micah Kiser, Linebacker, 6-2, 245, Junior-R, Baltimore, Md.

Virginia Tech
Sam Rogers, Fullback, 5-10, 228, Senior, Mechanicsville, Va.
Ken Ekanem, Defensive End, 6-3, 255, Senior-R, Centreville, Va.

Wake Forest
Tyler Hayworth, Offensive Tackle, 6-4, 325, Senior-R, Kingsport, Tenn.
Marquel Lee, Linebacker, 6-3, 235, Senior, Waldorf, Md.

Heisman odds: Clemson’s Deshaun Watson the early betting favorite

7 Comments

2015 Heisman Trophy finalist and Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson is the early favorite to win the 2016 Heisman Trophy according to Bovada. In the first batch of early Heisman Trophy odds released by the popular sports book, Clemson’s quarterback was labeled the favorite to win the hardware next fall following a wildly successful 2015 season and run to the national championship game. The valiant effort in the championship game put everyone on notice just how good Watson is. Of course, he was already a Heisman finalist, so he has the college football world’s attention already.

Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey, another 2015 finalist for the Heisman Trophy, was tied for the second-best odds to win the Heisman Trophy with LSU running back Leonard Fournette. Fournette had appeared to be the easy pick for the Heisman Trophy last season but his run to the trophy was steamrolled by Alabama, which allowed Derrick Henry to take the lead in the race.

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield was given a 10/1 shot to win the Heisman Trophy, the same as Ohio State quarterback JT Barrett. Florida State running back Dalvin Cook was among a handful of players receiving 12/1 odds.

Odds to win the 2016 Heisman Trophy

  • QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson (9/2)
  • RB Leonard Fournette, LSU (5/1)
  • RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford (5/1)
  • QB JT Barrett, Ohio State (10/1)
  • QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma (10/1)
  • RB Nick Chubb, Georgia (12/1)
  • RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State (12/1)
  • RB Royce Freeman, Oregon (12/1)
  • QB Chad Kelly, Ole Miss (12/1)
  • RB Samaje Perine, Oklahoma (12/1)
  • WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama (16/1)
  • QB Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee (16/1)
  • QB Brad Kaaya, Miami (25/1)

Miami OL coach Art Kehoe removed from Mark Richt’s staff

Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images
12 Comments

The turnover continues in Miami. Offensive line coach Art Kehoe has been dismissed from his position on Miami’s coaching staff, The Miami Herald reports. He will be replaced by Virginia Tech offensive line coach Stacy Searels.

Kehoe has been associated with the Miami program for 31 years spanning back to his playing days. Kehoe has five national championship rings with the program in his collection. This news makes official a speculation that had been floating around over the past couple of weeks as Richt begins to piece together his coaching staff. Earlier reports suggest Kehoe was offered a job to help Miami with fundraising, but that no longer appears to be the case according to The Miami Herald.

As for the hiring of Searels, the odds are pretty good former Hurricanes players will be up in arms about one of their own being replaced by a Hokie. Searels will take over an offensive line unit that ranked 34th in the nation in sacks allowed (19.0) on quarterback Brad Kaaya, but the Hokies allowed 34.0 sacks last season. Miami’s rushing offense ranked 117th in the nation in 2015, while Virginia Tech finished 82nd.

Yesterday Miami announced the hiring of Manny Diaz as defensive coordinator. Miami also cut ties with longtime strength and conditioning coach Andreu Swasey, which has not gone over well with former Miami players.

Washington State outshines Miami in snowy Sun Bowl

Getty
4 Comments

The Hyundai Sun Bowl didn’t live up to its titular name, but Washington State and Miami provided the back-and-forth thriller we thought we’d see. As snow pelted the El Paso turf throughout Saturday afternoon — played simultaneously as the balmy Heart of Dallas Bowl across state and the comfortable Pinstripe Bowl in New York City — that the Bizarro Sun Bowl would be decided by Washington State’s 93rd-ranked defense.

Clinging to a 20-14 lead with 5:14 remaining, Washington State briefly saw Miami take the lead as Brad Kaaya tossed a go-ahead touchdown screen pass. But Hurricanes wideout Herb Waters was called for an illegal block, wiping the points off the scoreboard, and two plays later Miami running back Mark Walton fumbled and Wazzu defender Marcellus Pippins hopped on the snowy pigskin to end the threat. The Cougars took over at their own 4 and punted three plays later, which Braxton Berrios returned 20 yards to the Washington State 28 with a practical eternity (two minutes, 58 seconds) with which to work.

But again the Washington State defense stiffened.

Running back Joseph Yearby‘s halfback pass was intercepted on Miami’s next snap, and the Cougars consumed the final 148 seconds to secure a 20-14 victory.

Luke Falk led the Washington State attack with 29 completions on 53 attempts for 295 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. His 31-yarder to Jamal Marrow opened the scoring at the 12:41 mark of the first quarter, and his 25-yard strike to Gabe Marks gave the Cougars a 17-7 lead with 1:10 to play in the first half. A 25-yard Erik Powell field goal as time expired in the first half pushed the lead to 20-7 and provided Wazzu’s final points of the day.

Only Walton’s five-yard run with 13:10 left in the fourth quarter dented the scoreboard in the second half, played entirely under ever-increasing snow flurries.

Brad Kaaya threw for 219 yards with a touchdown and an interception, and Berrios led the all rushers with 72 yards on three carries. Yearby added 14 rushes for 63 yards.

Jamal Morrow led Washington State’s ground efforts with 10 carries for 71 yards, and Marks concluded a stellar junior season by snaring five receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown.

The win was Washington State’s (9-4) first post-season victory since knocking off No. 5 Texas in the 2003 Holiday Bowl. Miami (8-5) closes the book on a lost 2015 season and rests knowing sunnier days are ahead — both in the arrival of new head coach Mark Richt and, you know, in the literal sense.