Virginia Cavaliers

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ACC preseason poll predicts FSU will beat Miami for ACC title


The Miami Hurricanes are set to embark on their 14th season as a member of the ACC since moving over from the old Big East. The Hurricanes were brought in to the ACC to help give the football product a boost, but Miami has yet to play for an ACC championship. Could that drought end this season?

Miami was chosen as the ACC’s Coastal Division favorite by the preseason poll at ACC media days. The Hurricanes edged out defending Coastal Division champion Virginia Tech for the top preseason spot in the division. With Mark Richt gearing up for his second season on the job at Miami, the expectations continue to rise as he tries to emulate some of the success he had at Georgia in the SEC. Considering the ACC’s Coastal Division tends to be a division up for grabs the last few years, why not Miami this season?

In the Atlantic Division, the preseason poll is heavy on Florida State, with defending ACC and national champion Clemson coming in second place behind the Seminoles. Florida State is being hyped as a top playoff contender for the 2017 season, and the preseason poll out of the ACC seems to support that thought pretty well. Florida State will open the season with a bang against Alabama in Atlanta. If all goes according to plan, it could end up being a preview of a future playoff or national championship game this season.

Louisville quarterback and 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson was chosen as the preseason ACC player of the year, easily outpacing the next man in line, Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois.

ACC Championship
  1. Florida State – 118
  2. Clemson – 35
  3. Louisville – 7
  4. (tie) Virginia Tech – 3
    (tie)Miami – 3
  5. Duke – 1
Atlantic Division  
(First place votes in parenthesis)                  
  1. Florida State (121) – 1,108
  2. Clemson (37) – 1,007
  3. Louisville (9) – 843
  4. NC State – 658
  5. Wake Forest – 415
  6. Syracuse  – 362
  7. Boston College – 283
Coastal Division
(First place votes in parenthesis)                  
  1. Miami (103) – 1,065
  2. Virginia Tech (40) – 932
  3. Georgia Tech (9) – 708
  4. Pitt (7) – 673
  5. North Carolina (4) – 606
  6. Duke (4) -473
  7. Virginia -219
ACC Player of the Year
  1. Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville – 113
  2. Deondre Francois, QB, Florida State – 23
  3. Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson – 11
  4. Harold Landry, DE, Boston College – 8
  5. Jaylen Samuels, AP, NC State – 7
  6. Eric Dungey, QB, Syracuse – 2
  7. (tie) Shaquille Quarterman, LB, Miami – 1
    (tie) Ahmmon Richards, WR, Miami – 1
    (tie) Daniel Jones, QB, Duke – 1

ACC, SEC place most DBs on Jim Thorpe Award watch list

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Another day, yet another watch list as the 2017 offseason barrels towards a merciful death.

This time around it’s the Jim Thorpe Award doing the honors, with the trophy given annually to the nation’s top defensive back releasing a watch list consisting of a mere 45 players from all 10 FBS conferences.  Headlining this year’s list are a pair of semifinalists from a year ago, Louisville’s Jaire Alexander and Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick.

The ACC and SEC lead all conferences with seven players apiece selected, followed by the Pac-12’s six and five each for the Big Ten and Big 12.  Conference USA was next with four, while the AAC, MAC and Sun Belt had three and the Mountain West two.

Alabama, Florida State and Stanford were the only programs with two players each selected.

USC’s Adoree’ Jackson won the 2016 version of the Thorpe Award.  The other finalists for last year’s trophy were Michigan’s Jourdan Lewis and LSU’s Tre’Davious White.  All three of those players were selected in the 2017 NFL draft.

ACC tops as Bronko Nagurski watch list hits triple digits

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It may not be the biggest award in college football, but it’s certainly the most voluminous.

Watch List Season continued unabated Thursday morning, with the Bronko Nagurski Trophy revealing a group which consists of a whopping 103 FBA players.  Within that triple-digit preseason club, there are 30 defensive backs, 29 linebackers, 25 defensive ends and 19 defensive tackles.

Two 2016 first-team Football Writers Association of America All-Americans appear on the list — Clemson’s Christian Wilkins (pictured) and Florida State’s Tarvarus McFadden.

Conference-wise, the ACC leads with 20 players selected for the initial watch list.  The Big Ten is next with 16, followed by the SEC’s 14, the Pac-12’s 13 and the Big 12’s 11.  The AAC paced Group of Five leagues with 10, with the Sun Belt (6), Mountain West (5), Mid-American (3) and Conference USA (2) rounding out the conferences, while football independents chipped in the remaining three.

The Nagurski Trophy has been handed out annually since 1993 to college football’s best defensive player.  Last year’s winner was Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen.

Report: Virginia set to add former Texas QB Matthew Merrick

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Former Texas quarterback Matthew Merrick is set to join the roster at Virginia, according to a report from Wahoos247. The site reports the transfer will be complete when Merrick completes his summer courses at Texas.

Merrick was a preferred walk-on brought to Texas out of Dallas by former ‘Horns offensive coordinator Shawn Watson; Merrick chose Texas over offers from Colorado State and Nevada. He did not see game action in his two seasons with the Longhorns, back up Jerrod Heard and Tyrone Swoopes in 2015 and Shane Buechele in 2016. Merrick left the team in March to focus on academics.

Though he was not linked to Virginia out of high school, Charlottesville makes sense for the third-year signal caller; his father, Nick, was a Cavaliers wide receiver from 1981-84.

Wahoo247 reports Merrick will walk on to Virginia’s roster and have three years of eligibility remaining.

Son of former K-State RB Eric Gallon transferring from Virginia to Wildcats

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In the late eighties and early nineties, running back Eric Gallon was part of the foundation used by Bill Snyder in the legendary head coach’s reshaping of the Kansas State football program from Big Eight doormat to Big 12 contender.  Two decades later, his linebacker son is headed to Little Manhattan as well.

On his personal Twitter account this week, Eric Gallon II announced that “[w]ith extremely long thought my family and I have decided to ask for a release from the [U]niversity of Virginia and I will be transferring this summer to complete my academic and athletic career at The Kansas State University.” Neither football programs have commented publicly on Gallon’s social media announcement.

Barring something unforeseen, Gallon would be forced to sit out the 2017 season. He would then have two seasons of eligibility remaining beginning in 2018.

Gallon was a three-star member of the Cavaliers’ 2015 recruiting class. After playing in five games as a true freshman, Gallon played in 10 games last season. All told, he was credited with two tackles in his two seasons.

In 1991-92, the elder Gallon combined to run for 1,807 yards and 12 touchdowns for the Wildcats, adding 31 receptions and 310 receiving yards for good measure in that same span. He led the team in rushing each of those two seasons.

After going 1-10 in what were both Gallon’s and Snyder’s first years at K-State in 1989, the program won a combined 17 games the next three seasons. It was the school’s most prosperous three-year stretch since winning the same number of games from 1953-55.

That success also set the stage for a run beginning in 1993 in which the Wildcats won at least nine games in 10 of the next 11 years, finishing with double-digit wins in seven of those seasons.