Chris Huston

Report: Miami OL hospitalized after workout

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Miami offensive lineman Hunter Knighton was hospitalized after losing consciousness following a Monday workout session at the school, the Miami Herald reported.

Details of his condition have not been released, but the Miami athletic department did release a statement later in the day:

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Hunter Knighton and his family at this time, though we are encouraged by the prognosis,” the UM athletic department said in a statement released Tuesday night. “We look forward to his return to normal activities as soon as his health permits.

“Out of respect for the privacy of those involved, UM will have no further comment at this time.”

Knighton is a 6-foot-6, 278-pound freshman who redshirted last fall after undergoing shoulder surgery.

We’ll be sure to update his status as we get more information.

Photo courtesy Miami athletics.

Future Heisman candidates from the recruiting class of 2014

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The recruits from the high school recruiting class of 2014 have signed their letters of intent, so it’s time to start thinking about what kind of impact they’ll make in college.

Not all of them are going to live up to their lofty recruiting rankings this season. Some will take time to adjust to the rigors of college life and go on to redshirt. Some will find ways to contribute as backups or on special teams. Others will be pressed into action due to injuries. Only a select few will become stars this fall.

That said, here are the recruits from 2014 who stand the best chance of competing for a Heisman in the future, according to HeismanPundit.com (in no particular order):

Keller Chryst, QB, Stanford — Chryst is the best quarterback prospect from the West Coast since Carson Palmer. He’s a big, strong, grown man (6-4, 230) with good athleticism who happens to throw lasers. He has first-pick-in-the-draft potential down the road and, if all goes right, he’ll be the latest Cardinal quarterback to make a legit run at the Heisman.

Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson — Think of how prolific Tajh Boyd has been in Chad Morris’s offense the past three seasons. Now replace him with an even more talented specimen like Watson and it’s not hard to imagine that the Gainesville, Ga., product is on his way to a special career. The 6-3, 195-pounder had over 17,000 yards of offense in high school.

Aaron Sharp, QB, UCLA — Sharp is very similar to Robert Griffin III coming out of high school due to his combination of track speed (21.19 200m) and raw football talent. It’s rare to have one of the fastest players in the country playing quarterback, but that’s what Sharp brings to the table. He also has a strong arm, good size and solid accuracy and with his skill set he should flourish in UCLA’s offensive scheme.

Joe Mixon, RB, Oklahoma — Mixon is a big, bruising downhill power back with good speed for his size (10.96 1oom at 6-1, 215 pounds). He is deceptively athletic and also exceptional as a receiver. He’s the best back signed by Oklahoma since Adrian Petersen. Like Petersen, he has an upright, attacking running style that makes him very tough to tackle in the open field. Though he’s no A.D. when it come to breakaway ability, he’ll play a lot as a freshman and eventually emerge as the latest star running back for the Sooners.

Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State — Rudolph is a perfect fit for the Cowboys offense. At 6-4, 210 pounds, he has a strong arm and is athletic enough to make plays with his feet. He is used to operating out of a shot gun attack. Like most of the quarterbacks who came before him in Stillwater, he’ll have excellent production in his career. But his overall physical ability separates him from previous OSU quarterbacks and could turn him into a potential Heisman candidate down the road.

Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU — Fournette is the consensus No. 1 running back in the country and some contend he is the best player overall. There’s no doubt he’s a physically gifted big back with very good speed for his size (10.95 at 6-1, 226) and he should play right away for the Tigers. The only question is whether he’ll get the chance to have the kind of production needed to challenge for a Heisman while playing for LSU. If given the carries, he should be a candidate sooner rather than later.

Elijah Hood, RB, North Carolina — This was an excellent year for high school running backs. Hood is another one of those big, physical backs who can kick it into an extra gear in the open field. It’s rare for a man this size to have such quick feet. Hood will start from Day One for the Tar Heels and have an outstanding career.

Racean Thomas, RB, Auburn — While Fournette, Mixon and Hood are power backs with speed, Thomas is an ultra-quick and shifty scatback with breakaway ability and a knack for staying on his feet. His vision is outstanding and his ability to stop and start and cut on a dime is the best I’ve seen in quite a while. It’s not hard to picture him gaining huge yardage in Gus Malzahn’s offense and, like Tre Mason, making it to New York one day.

Deshone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame — It’s only a matter of time before Brian Kelly finds the right quarterback to run his offense. Kizer could be that guy. He’s a very talented dual-threat with good size (6-4, 205) and athletic ability. A successful Irish quarterback is always a Heisman candidate, so Kizer stands a good chance to fulfill that promise.

Others to watch
Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
Luke Rubenzer, QB, California
Reggie Bonnafon, QB, Louisville
De’Chavon Hayes, RB, Arizona State
Adam Choice, RB, Clemson
KD Cannon, WR, Baylor
DJ Gillins, QB, Wisconsin
Jarrod Heard, QB, Texas
Will Crest, QB, West Virginia
Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia
Dalvin Warmack, RB, Kansas State

Photo courtesy of Rivals.com.

Michigan State extends Mark Dantonio, gives DC Pat Narduzzi a raise

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Michigan State, fresh off a 13-1 record, a No. 3 final ranking and a Rose Bowl win, showed its appreciation by giving head coach Mark Dantonio a contract extension and his assistants, including defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, a raise, the school announced on Tuesday.

A year was added to the length of Dantonio’s contract, making it a six-year rollover. In addition, increases were made to his base salary (from $682,905 to $2 million), supplemental income (from $869,000 to $1 million) and contingent annual base (from $200,000 to $286,000).

Under the new terms, Dantonio will have access to a private airplane for 25 hours of personal use. He also will continue to receive $100,000 from his shoe/apparel agreement and $50,000 guaranteed performance incentives.

Narduzzi, who won the Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant, saw his annual salary increase to $904,583.

“Mark Dantonio and his assistants have done a remarkable job in putting Michigan State football back on the national map and positioning it to compete for Big Ten Championships on a consistent basis,” athletic director Mark Hollis said. “The amended contract and enhanced compensation reflect his and his coaching staff’s value in the current marketplace.”

If anyone has earned such a bump in salary, it’s Dantonio and his staff, who won the school’s first Big Ten title since 1987 and ended with their highest ranking since 1966.

Michigan giving former Alabama OC Doug Nussmeier a big raise

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SEC schools aren’t the only ones who can lay down the cash when they need to.

Michigan showed just how much it wanted offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier when it hired him away Alabama, raising his salary by $150,000, according to AL.com.

Nussmeier will make at least $830,000 in his first season with the Wolverines. His salary will increase to $860,000 in his second year and $880,000 in 2016. The three-year deal is worth $2.57 million. If he stays at Michigan for three seasons, Nussmeier will receive a one-time bonus of $200,000.

Nussmeier made $680,000 in his final season in Tuscaloosa and was set to make the same in 2014.

Both he and Wolverines defensive coordinator Greg Mattison ($850,000 annually) are in the top six in pay among assistant coaches nationally.

Nussmeier was hired this past January to replace Al Borges, who made $630,000 in 2013.

Is he worth it? Well, Nussmeier as an offensive coordinator has never produced an offense that finished in the top 30 nationally in yards per game. You be the judge.

Report: Utah QB Travis Wilson cleared to participate in spring ball

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Utah got some good news as it was announced that quarterback Travis Wilson has been cleared to participate in spring practice, the Salt Lake City Tribune tweeted on Monday night.

Wilson was lost for the season last November after suffering a concussion against Arizona State. Tests afterward indicated that the true sophomore’s career might be in jeopardy due to damage to an intracranial artery.

Follow up tests taken this past week indicate he’s got a chance for a comeback.

The 6-foot-6, 230-pound Wilson will not be allowed in contact drills, but Utah quarterbacks don’t get hit anyway, according to the SLC Tribune report.

Utah confirmed the report via Twitter later on Monday:

Wilson has started 16 games the past two seasons: the last seven of his true freshman season in 2012 and the first nine last season.  He’s thrown 23 touchdowns and 22 interceptions in his career.

Make no mistake: This is great news all around for the Utes and for Wilson, who has the potential to be a very good Pac-12 quarterback if he can manage to stay healthy.