Ohio State Buckeyes

SHREVEPORT, LA - DECEMBER 26:  Head coach Frank Beamer of the Virginia Tech Hokies takes the field for pregame warmups prior to the Camping World Independence Bowl against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane on December 26, 2015 in Shreveport, Louisiana.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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Frank Beamer headlines class of new CFP selection committee members

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Now three years into the new system, the College Football Playoff’s selection committee roster is beginning change.

Gone are Barry AlvarezCondoleezza Rice and Lloyd Carr (Carr had already stepped down for health reasons), and in are Ohio State AD Gene Smith, Robert Morris University president Dr. Chris Howard and former Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer, which the CFP made official on Tuesday.

Additionally, Kirby Hocutt had his 2-year stay on the committee extended through the 2017 season, and Bobby Johnson will stay through 2018. Hocutt and Johnson stepped in when Oliver Luck stepped away after taking a job with the NCAA and Archie Manning stepped down due to health reasons. Hocutt will again serve as committee chairman in 2017.

With Rice leaving, the CFP will consist entirely of men for the first time in its history.

“Frank, Chris and Gene will each bring a wealth of knowledge to the selection committee,” CFP executive director Bill Hancock said in a statement. “All three played college football.  And they will continue the CFP tradition of committee members with high integrity and a passion for college football.

“We are also delighted that Kirby will return as chair. He did a tremendous job of leading and facilitating the committee’s deliberations, and he was also an excellent representative with the media and public.  Likewise, we are pleased that Bobby accepted our invitation to return. He is an excellent evaluator of teams and brings a valuable coach’s perspective.”

Smith has served as Ohio State’s AD for 12 years and served on a wealth of NCAA committees in that time, including a run on the Men’s Basketball Selection Committee.

“This is a tremendous honor and privilege to be appointed to this committee,” Smith said in a statement. “The sport of football has given so much to me and I feel extremely fortunate to have this opportunity to be able to give back.”

Howard is a former Air Force player who was named the inaugural Campbell Trophy winner as the nation’s top scholar-athlete in 1990. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in politics from the University of Oxford and an M.B.A. from Harvard. Howard became the president of Hampden-Sydney College in 2009 — he was among the youngest college presidents in the country at the time — and took over at Robert Morris in 2015. Also a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, Howard earned a Bronze Star for distinguished service in Afghanistan.

Beamer, of course, is a future College Football Hall of Fame coach who walked away from the game with 280 total victories and a 238-121-2 mark while serving as Virginia Tech’s head coach from 1987-2015. In addition to winning or sharing seven conference championships, seven top-10 finishes and an appearance in the 1999 BCS title game, Beamer shepherded the Hokies from a Division I-AA independent to the ACC.

“College football has been my life’s work, and I’m really humbled that I can still contribute to the game in this role,” Beamer said in a statement. “Hopefully the rest of the committee will be interested in my perspective. To join a group with so many great minds and such a diverse range of experience, I just want to pull my weight. The committee has an important role, and I’ll do everything asked of me to help rank the best teams in America for the right to compete for the national championship.”

Report: Ohio State AD Gene Smith joining CFP Selection Committee

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 28:  Athletics Director Gene Smith of The Ohio State University introduces Urban Meyer as the 24th head coach in Ohio State football history at a press conference on November 28, 2011 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
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The 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship is over and all of the trophies have been handed out, but there’s still plenty of business left to do for the organization responsible for the sport’s postseason.

The first item of business is determining who will fill vacant spots on the CFP Selection Committee. According to ESPN, one name expected to be selected is Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith.

Smith certainly has the credentials to join the committee for a term, having played on Notre Dame’s 1973 national title team as a defensive end and been a member of the NCAA’s men’s basketball selection committee for five years (including one as the chairman).

Three committee members terms have expired and Smith is expected to fill the role vacated by Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and ex-coach Bobby Johnson are also outgoing members of the committee.

The selection of Smith to fill one of those spots will certainly be well received inside the college athletics community given his connections and reputation in the industry. Still, it will be interesting to see how fans in general are receptive to yet another athletic director of a perennial playoff contender serving as one of the members of the committee.

Deshaun Watson claims back-to-back Manning Awards

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 09:  Quarterback Deshaun Watson #4 of the Clemson Tigers reacts after a touchdown by running back Wayne Gallman #9 (not pictured) during the fourth quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium on January 9, 2017 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Deshaun Watson may be off to the NFL, but he’s taking one more piece of collegiate hardware with him.

Thursday, the Allstate Sugar Bowl announced that Watson, one of 10 finalists, has been named as the recipient of the 2016 Manning Award.  The Clemson quarterback won the Manning after the 2015 season, making him the first player to win the award in back-to-back seasons.

The other finalists for this year’s Manning Award were: J.T. Barrett (Ohio State), Jake Browning (Washington), Sam Darnold (USC), Luke Falk (Washington State), Jalen Hurts (Alabama), Lamar Jackson (Louisville), Patrick Mahomes II (Texas Tech), Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma) and Zach Terrell (Western Michigan).  Seven of those 10 finalists (Barrett, Browning, Darnold, Falk, Hurts, Jackson, Mayfield) will return in 2017 with another opportunity to claim the Manning.

The award, named in honor of the quarterbacking Mannings — Archie, Peyton and Eli — is the only one to take into account a player’s performance in the postseason.  And what a postseason performance it was for Watson.

In the national championship game win over defending champ Alabama, Watson accounted for 463 yards of offense and four touchdowns against the vaunted Crimson Tide defense.  It was the perfect ending for a stellar collegiate career.

“Over the years, we have seen so many tremendous performances in the postseason, and this year we saw Deshaun Watson turn in an amazing two-game playoff performance,” said Archie Manning in a statement. “When the Allstate Sugar Bowl created the Manning Award in 2004, one of the key components was to recognize achievements throughout the entire year, including bowls, and now the playoff. This year is a prime example of why we do that.”

A Heisman finalist each of the past two seasons — some would say if the Heisman followed the Manning lead and voted after the postseason he would’ve won at least one — Watson also claimed the Davey O’Brien and Johnny Unitas quarterbacking awards.  He also won the former in 2015.

Ex-OSU WR Torrence Gibson following Luke Fickell to Cincinnati

CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 5: Zach Edwards #4 of the Cincinnati Bearcats leads his teammates on to the field prior to the start of the game against the BYU Cougars at Nippert Stadium on November 5, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
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Torrance Gibson may have left Ohio State, but he’s not leaving the state of Ohio.

Back in August, it was announced that Gibson had been suspended for the entire 2016 season, a suspension with which Urban Meyer didn’t agree.  In December, even as Gibson signed with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, the head coach left the door open for the wide receiver’s return.

That appears to have since been shut as Gibson tells ESPN.com that he has committed to Cincinnati and will play for new Bearcats head coach and former Buckeyes defensive coordinator Luke Fickell.  Instead of MGCCC, though, Gibson is enrolled at Cincinnati State in pursuit of an associate’s degree that would allow him to play for UC in 2017.

“I’m confident about what is happening in the Queen City,” Gibson told the website. “I’m just ready to roll.”

A four-star 2015 recruit, Gibson was rated by 247Sports.com as the No. 12 player at any position in the state of Florida. Coming to OSU as a dual-threat quarterback, Gibson was moved to wide receiver.  At least at first, Fickell will move Gibson back to quarterback.

Marshon Lattimore becomes sixth Buckeye, third OSU DB to leave early for 2017 NFL draft

NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 17:  Dede Westbrook #11 of the Oklahoma Sooners tackles Marshon Lattimore #2 of the Ohio State Buckeyes as he ran an interception back in the first half of their game at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on September 17, 2016 in Norman, Oklahoma.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
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Ohio State’s defensive backfield has taken yet another hit, albeit a largely expected one.

Following in the footsteps of others, Marshon Lattimore announced via Twitter that he will be leaving OSU early and making himself available for the April NFL draft.  The cornerback would’ve had two years of eligibility remaining had he decided to return.

A redshirt sophomore in 2016, Lattimore tied for second on the Buckeyes in interceptions with four. That total was also tied for sixth in the Big Ten, and he was named first-team all-Conference by the coaches after the regular season.

His first two seasons in Columbus were marred by leg injuries that, after surgery, caused him to take a redshirt his true freshman season and sidelined him for nearly half of 2015.

The other of the trio of defensive backs who are leaving early are cornerback Gareon Conley (HERE) and safety Malik Hooker (HERE).  Linebacker Raekwon McMillan (HERE), wide receiver Noah Brown (HERE) and running back/wide receiver Curtis Samuel (HERE).