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Virginia’s Micah Kiser claims prestigious ‘Academic Heisman’ trophy

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For the second time, Virginia is the home to one of the most prestigious academic honors in all of collegiate sports.

At the 60th annual National Football Foundation Awards Dinner in New York City Tuesday night, the William V. Campbell Trophy was presented to UVa. linebacker Micah Kiser. The Campbell Trophy, often referred to as the “Academic Heisman,” recognizes “an individual [who is] the absolute best in the country for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership.

Kiser is the 28th recipient of the Campbell Trophy.

“Micah Kiser’s exceptional accomplishments on and off the field rank him among the best student-athletes in the history of our sport, making him the ideal Campbell Trophy® recipient,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell in a statement. “He truly embodies the scholar-athlete ideal and we are proud to have him as a member of this elite fraternity. He stands as the perfect example for the next generation to emulate.”

Western Michigan quarterback Zach Terrell was the winner of the 2015 award.

Kiser was one of 13 finalists for this year’s award. Below are those baker’s dozen players, with their GPAs and majors for good measure:

Mark Richt named the Walter Camp Coach of the Year

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The first of what should be a handful of these types of awards for Mark Richt is a rather significant one.

The Walter Camp Foundation announced Tuesday afternoon that Richt has been named as its 2017 Coach of the Year.  This award has been handed out annually since 1967 and is voted on by the 130 FBS head coaches and sports information departments.

In his second season at his alma mater, Richt has led Miami to a 10-2 record and the football program’s first-ever appearance in the ACC championship game.  The 10 wins are the most for the Hurricanes since the 2003 season, with that performance netting The U a spot in this year’s Orange Bowl opposite Wisconsin Dec. 30.

Richt is the second Hurricanes head coach to claim Camp honors, joining Jimmy Johnson in 1986.  He’s also the third coach from the ACC to win the award in the past five seasons — Clemson’s Dabo Swinney (2015) and Duke’s David Cutcliffe (2013).

Last year’s winner was Colorado’s Mike MacIntyre.  The first honoree?  Indiana’s John Pont.

RB Mark Walton leaving Miami early for the NFL

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Another day, another college football player leaving early for a paying gig in the pros — they hope.

On his personal Twitter account Tuesday afternoon, Miami’s Mark Walton confirmed that he has “decided to pursue my dream and enter the 2018 NFL draft.” “I am excited to begin this next chapter of my life and I hope you all continue to support me on this journey,” the running back added.

Walton’s time with the Hurricanes was truncated in more ways than one.

In the Week 6 win over Florida State, Walton sustained what turned out to be a season-ending ankle injury.  The junior did not play in the last eight games, and will not play in The U’s bowl game because of the injury.

Despite missing two-thirds of the season, Walton is still second on the Hurricanes with 428 yards rushing while his 7.6 yards per carry are far and away tops on the team.  Walton will finish his collegiate career with 1,995 yards rushing and 26 touchdowns on 394 carries.  Showing his versatility, he also caught 56 passes for 624 yards coming out of the backfield over the last three years.

Mizzou’s Josh Heupel named UCF’s coach; Randy Shannon hired as DC

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Four days after Nebraska found its new head coach at UCF’s expense, the Knights have found a replacement — and an experienced voice to help the first-year boss for good measure.

The football program announced Tuesday morning that Josh Heupel has been hired as its 11th head coach.  Heupel had spent the 2017 season as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Missouri.

Heupel will be officially introduced at a 2 p.m. ET press conference this afternoon.

“I’m thrilled to welcome Josh and his family to UCF,” UCF athletic director Danny White said in a statement. “I believe we’ve identified one of the brightest offensive minds in college football. His offensive system is very similar to what we’ve been running. I know he’s going to utilize all the great talent on our roster and continue to add to it. He’s no stranger to success, winning a national championship as a quarterback and leading a number of extremely high-powered offensive teams. Coach Heupel is in coaching for the right reasons. He cares about his student-athletes and that’s one of the most important attributes I look for in a coach.”

Heupel, who finished up his collegiate playing career at Oklahoma, spent the 2015 season as coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Utah State after he was fired by his alma mater in January 2015.  From 2006-14, he was an assistant on Bob Stoops‘ Sooners coaching staff, the first four years as quarterbacks coach and the last four as co-coordinator.

Heupel replaces Scott Frost, who spent two seasons with the Knights and led them to an unbeaten regular season that included a conference championship before leaving for the Cornhuskers this past weekend.

This will mark Heupel’s first-ever job as a head coach at any level.

“I’m extremely excited about the opportunity to represent UCF, Heupel’s statement began. “What makes this opportunity so unique is the vision of the leadership from President John Hitt, Provost Dale Whitaker and Director of Athletics Danny White. Their vision for this becoming one of the premier programs in the country makes this an exciting opportunity. That vision, the amazing campus, along with the recruiting base not only allows you to have immediate success but sustained success. I’m very excited to get a staff together and get to work with our wonderful student-athletes.”

Not long after Heupel’s announcement, the program also confirmed that Randy Shannon has been hired as the Knights’ defensive coordinator.  Shannon was promoted to defensive coordinator at Florida in January of this year, then became interim head coach when Jim McElwain was fired.

Shannon comes to UCF with a coaching pedigree almost exclusively tied to the state of Florida.

A linebacker for the Hurricanes, Shannon’s first coaching job came at The U as a graduate assistant in 1991.  He then spent 12 of the next 15 years as an assistant at his alma mater — he was on the Miami Dolphins staff from 1998-2000 — the last five in the role of defensive coordinator before being promoted to head coach in 2007.  Fired in 2010, Shannon spent 2012 at TCU and 2013-14 at Arkansas — he was linebackers coach at each stop — prior to his move to Florida in 2015 as co-coordinator and linebackers coach.

“Randy is someone who I have always had a great deal of respect for throughout the years,” Heupel said. “Seeing what he’s been able to do with defenses, in addition to his ability to recruit this state, it’s extremely special and will be invaluable to our staff.”

Your 2017-2018 college football bowl schedule

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The matchups have been set. The dates have been reserved. Here is your full bowl schedule and pairings for this bowl season, starting with the College Football Playoff. All times are Eastern.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF

Rose Bowl Game: No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 3 Georgia
January 1, 2018, 5:00 p.m., ESPN

Allstate Sugar Bowl: No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 4 Alabama
January 1, 2018, 8:45 p.m., ESPN

CFB National Championship Game: TBD vs. TBD
January 8, 2018, 8:00 p.m., ESPN

NEW YEARS SIX

Goodyear Cotton Bowl: No. 5 Ohio State vs. No. 8 USC
December 29, 8:30 p.m., ESPN

PlayStation Fiesta Bowl: No. 9 Penn State vs. No. 11 Washington
December 30, 4:00 p.m., ESPN

Capital One Orange Bowl: No. 6 Wisconsin vs. No. 10 Miami
December 30, 8:00 p.m., ESPN

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: No. 7 Auburn vs. No. 12 UCF
January 1, 2018, 12:30 p.m., ESPN

THE REST

DECEMBER 16, 2017

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Troy vs. North Texas
1:00 p.m., ESPN

AutoNation Cure Bowl: Georgia State vs. Western Kentucky
2:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network

Las Vegas Bowl: No. 25 Boise State vs. Oregon
3:30 p.m., ABC

Gildan New Mexico Bowl: Colorado State vs. Marshall
4:30 p.m., ESPN

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl: Arkansas State vs. Middle Tennessee
8:00 p.m., ESPN

DECEMBER 19, 2017

Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl: FAU vs. Akron
7:00 p.m., ESPN

DECEMBER 20, 2017

Frisco Bowl: SMU vs. Louisiana Tech
8:00 p.m., ESPN

DECEMBER 21, 2017

Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl: Temple vs. FIU
8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN

DECEMBER 22, 2017

Bahamas Bowl: Ohio vs. UAB
12:30 p.m., ESPN

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Wyoming vs. Central Michigan
4:00 p.m., ESPN

DECEMBER 23, 2017

Birmingham Bowl: USF vs. Texas Tech
12:00 p.m., ESPN

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl: Army vs. San Diego State
3:30 p.m., ESPN

Dollar General Bowl: Appalachian State vs. Toledo
7:00 p.m., ESPN

DECEMBER 24, 2017

Hawai’i Bowl: Houston vs. Fresno State
8:30 p.m., ESPN

DECEMBER 26, 2017

Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl: Utah vs. West Virginia
1:30 p.m., ESPN

Quick Lane Bowl: Duke vs. Northern Illinois
5:15 p.m., ESPN

Cactus Bowl: UCLA vs. Kansas State
9:00 p.m., ESPN

DECEMBER 27, 2017

Walk On’s Independence Bowl: Florida State vs. Southern Mississippi
1:30 p.m., ESPN

New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Iowa vs. Boston College
5:15 p.m., ESPN

Foster Farms Bowl: Purdue vs. Arizona
8:30 p.m., FOX

Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl: Missouri vs. Texas
9:00 p.m., ESPN

DECEMBER 28, 2017

Military Bowl: Navy vs. Virginia
1:30 p.m., ESPN

Camping World Bowl: No. 19 Oklahoma State vs. No. 22 Virginia Tech
5:15 p.m., ESPN

San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl: No. 16 Michigan State vs. No. 18 Washington State
9:00 p.m., FS1

Valero Alamo Bowl: No. 13 TCU vs. No. 15 Stanford
9:00 p.m., ESPN

DECEMBER 29, 2017

Belk Bowl: Texas A&M vs. Wake Forest
1:00 p.m., ESPN

Hyundai Sun Bowl: No. 24 NC State vs. Arizona State
3:00 p.m., CBS

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: No. 21 Northwestern vs. Kentucky
4:30 p.m., ESPN

NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl: Utah State vs. New Mexico State
5:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network

DECEMBER 30, 2017

TaxSlayer Bowl: No. 23 Mississippi State vs. Louisville
12:00 p.m., ESPN

AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Memphis vs. Iowa State
12:30 p.m., ABC

JANUARY 1, 2018

Outback Bowl: Michigan vs. South Carolina
12:00 p.m., ESPN2

Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl: No. 14 Notre Dame vs. No. 17 LSU
1:00 p.m., ABC