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AP All-American Team highlighted by Mayfield and Sooners on First Team

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The Oklahoma Sooners will bring three AP First Team All-Americans into the College Football Playoff this year, including Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield. Mayfield was named a First Team All-American by the Associated Press on Monday, and he is joined by fellow Sooners offensive tackle Orlando Brown and tight end Mark Andrews.

Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith, and Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell were also named to the AP’s First Team to combine to match Oklahoma’s First Team total. Other First Team All-Americans included Heisman finalist and Doak Walker Award winner Bryce Love of Stanford, Biletnikoff Award winner James Washington. Lombardi Award winner Saquon Barkley of Penn State was named to the First Team as an all-purpose player, and the nation’s leading rusher, Rashaad Penny of San Diego State joined Love as a First Team running back.

FIRST TEAM

OFFENSE

Quarterback — Baker Mayfield, senior, Oklahoma.

Running backs — Bryce Love, junior, Stanford; Rashaad Penny, senior, San Diego State.

Tackles — Orlando Brown, junior, Oklahoma; Mike McGlinchey, senior, Notre Dame.

Guards — Quenton Nelson, senior, Notre Dame; Braden Smith, senior, Auburn.

Center — Billy Price, senior, Ohio State.

Tight end — Mark Andrews, junior, Oklahoma.

Receivers — James Washington, senior, Oklahoma State; Anthony Miller, senior, Memphis.

All-purpose player — Saquon Barkley, junior, Penn State.

Kicker — Matt Gay, junior, Utah.

DEFENSE

Ends — Bradley Chubb, senior, North Carolina State; Clelin Ferrell, sophomore, Clemson.

Tackles — Hercules Mata’afa, junior, Washington State; Maurice Hurst, senior, Michigan.

Linebackers — Roquan Smith, junior, Georgia; Josey Jewell, senior, Iowa; T.J. Edwards, junior, Wisconsin.

Cornerbacks — Josh Jackson, junior, Iowa; Denzel Ward, junior, Ohio State.

Safeties — Minkah Fitzpatrick, junior, Alabama; DeShon Elliott, junior, Texas.

Punter — Michael Dickson, junior, Texas.

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SECOND TEAM

OFFENSE

Quarterback — Lamar Jackson, junior, Louisville.

Running backs — Jonathan Taylor, freshman, Wisconsin; Kerryon Johnson, junior, Auburn.

Tackles — Mitch Hyatt, junior, Clemson; Isaiah Wynn, senior, Georgia.

Guards — Cody O’Connell, senior, Washington State; Will Hernandez, senior, UTEP.

Center — Bradley Bozeman, senior, Alabama.

Tight end — Troy Fumagalli, senior, Wisconsin.

Receivers — David Sills V, junior, West Virginia; Michael Gallup, senior, Colorado State.

All-purpose player — Dante Pettis, senior, Washington.

Kicker — Daniel Carlson, senior, Auburn.

DEFENSE

Ends — Sutton Smith, sophomore, Northern Illinois; Nick Bosa, sophomore, Ohio State.

Tackles — Ed Oliver, sophomore, Houston; Christian Wilkins, junior, Clemson.

Linebackers — Malik Jefferson, junior, Texas; Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, senior, Oklahoma; Dorian O’Daniel, senior, Clemson.

Cornerbacks — Jalen Davis, senior, Utah State; Carlton Davis, junior, Auburn.

Safeties — Derwin James, junior, Florida State; Justin Reid, junior, Stanford.

Punter — Johnny Townsend, senior, Florida.

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THIRD TEAM

OFFENSE

Quarterback — Mason Rudolph, senior, Oklahoma State.

Running backs — Ronald Jones II, junior, Southern California; Devin Singletary, sophomore, Florida Atlantic.

Tackles — David Edwards, sophomore, Wisconsin; Jonah Williams, sophomore, Alabama.

Guards — Beau Benzschawel, junior, Wisconsin; Tyrone Crowder, senior, Clemson.

Center — Frank Ragnow, senior, Arkansas.

Tight end — Jaylen Samuels, senior, North Carolina State.

Receivers — Steve Ishmael, senior, Syracuse; A.J. Brown, sophomore, Mississippi.

All-purpose player — D.J. Reed, junior, Kansas State.

Kicker — Eddy Piniero, junior, Florida.

DEFENSE

Ends — Austin Bryant, junior, Clemson; Mat Boesen, senior, TCU.

Tackles — Vita Vea, junior, Washington; Harrison Phillips, senior, Stanford.

Linebackers — Micah Kiser, senior, Virginia; Tremaine Edmunds, junior, Virginia Tech; Devin Bush, sophomore, Michigan.

Cornerbacks — Andraez Williams, redshirt freshman, LSU; Jack Jones, sophomore, Southern California.

Safeties — Armani Watts, senior, Texas A&M; Quin Blanding, senior, Virginia.

Punter — Mitch Wisnowsky, junior, Utah.

Oregon reportedly set to name Mario Cristobal head coach

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I guess the answer to that question was, yes, the players were indeed heard.

In the post right below this one, we noted that more than 70 playing members of the Oregon football program had signed a petition seeking Mario Cristobal, the team’s interim head coach, to be named as the permanent replacement for Willie Taggart.  According to Aaron Fentress of NBC Sports Northwest, Cristobal will become the next Ducks head coach.

Per a university official, an announcement on the status of the search for Taggart’s successor could come as early as today.

Cristobal is in his first season as UO’s co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach.  Prior to that, he was the line coach at Alabama for four years.

This would mark Cristobal’s second stint as a head coach.  Prior to his time in Tuscaloosa, Cristobal took over a Florida International program that was 0-12 in its third year of existence and, three years later, had them playing in the first of two straight bowl games.  To the surprise of many, he was fired as the Panthers’ coach in 2012.

Cristobal’s first, and perhaps most important, job will be to convince Jim Leavitt to remain at Oregon instead of following Taggart to Florida State.  Leavitt, who’s potentially in line to replace Bill Snyder at Kansas State, is in his first season as the Ducks’ defensive coordinator.

If the hiring comes to fruition, there would be no Power Five jobs open at the moment.  Three Group of Five openings still need to be filled — Kent State, Louisiana and SMU.

Jimbo Fisher explains ‘mystery’ of Christmas tree imbroglio

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One of the more bizarre aspects of the 2017-18 spinning of the coaching carousel has been explained.

With speculation swirling that Jimbo Fisher was leaning toward leaving Florida State for Texas A&M, a tweet posted by an FSU beat writer showing a Christmas sitting out on the curb waiting to be picked up as garbage went viral, with Seminole Nation using it as a clear indication that the head coach was indeed gone.

While Fisher did end up officially leaving the ‘Noles for the Aggies later on that same Saturday, the tree-on-the-curb imbroglio wasn’t a sign that he was gone.  Rather, as Fisher explained on the Dan Patrick Show, it was simply a matter of a broken tree being replaced, with it merely coinciding with his break from FSU a short time later.

Florida State officially announces Willie Taggart as head coach

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Oregon announced Willie Taggart was no longer their head coach, and minutes later Florida State has officially claimed him.

Taggart will take over for Jimbo Fisher and find the pot of gold after Florida State’s first job opening since 1976.

Taggart gets the job after one 7-5 season at Oregon and an 18-7 run to close his four seasons at South Florida. A Bradenton, Fla., native, Taggart returns home to his home state and the high school ranks in which he himself starred as a quarterback in the 1990’s.

Salary terms were not disclosed in the announcement.

Oregon confirms Willie Taggart’s departure, names Mario Cristobal interim head coach

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Florida State has yet to announce Willie Taggart as its new head coach, but Oregon has announce he’s no longer theirs. The Ducks acknowledged Taggart’s impending departure in a news release Tuesday, and named offensive coordinator Mario Cristobal as interim head coach.

Taggart went 7-5 in his one season leading the program.

“We thank Willie for his efforts at Oregon, and we wish him and his family all the best in the future,” AD Rob Mullens said in a statement.

Cristobal is expected to be a candidate for the full-time position, and an appearance in the Las Vegas Bowl next Saturday against No. 25 Boise State will provide a nice audition, assuming the search lasts that long.

“I am grateful to Mario Cristobal for his willingness to step up and lead our program through our upcoming bowl game,” Mullens said. “The University of Oregon is a high-caliber academic institution with one of the premier college football programs in the country, and we are confident that we will find another outstanding coach to lead our tremendous group of student-athletes into the future.”

Cristobal was FIU’s head coach from 2007-12 and is regarded as one of the top recruiters in the country.