Conference USA

ARLINGTON, VA - MAY 27:  A member of the U.S. Army Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), salutes after placing a flag on a grave stone at Arlington National Cemetary May 27, 2004 in Arlington, Virginia. An event called "Flags In" takes place before every Memorial Day weekend in honor of those veterans who have lost their lives.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Associated Press

This Memorial Day, take time to remember

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(Reprinted and reposted with permission for a seventh straight year from, well, me.)

You have to admit that, despite the financial woes and political in-fighting and every other really crappy thing going on, we have a pretty damn good life, living in these United States of America.  It’s a far-from-perfect country, but, dammit, it’s ours.  Ours because our own have and will continue to shed their blood in the ultimate sacrifice.  Gave and will continue to give their lives, their hopes, their dreams so that we — and our children and our children’s children and their children — may live and realize ours and theirs.

As you go about your day today, doing whatever it is that you do on Memorial Day, take a second or two or sixty — or more — to reflect on what exactly this day is all about.

Please.  Just take a moment.  Take a moment to God bless those who have given so much.

God bless those who have paid the ultimate price for the freedom we enjoy day-in and day-out.

God bless those hundreds of thousands who’ve lost fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters in the ultimate sacrifice paid forward to every single one of us, for our freedoms.

And thank you — thank you, thank you, thank you with every fiber of my being — to those who continue serving this country and keeping this great nation safe.

And, again, God bless families torn apart and made lesser by the heartbreaking losses, hellish and unthinkable holes in the soul that allow us to do whatever the hell it is we want to on this day and every other day of the year…

Social media post indicates ex-Miami FB Walter Tucker’s headed to FIU

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - NOVEMBER 01:  Walter Tucker #44 of the Miami Hurricanes takes the field during a game against the North Carolina Tar Heels  at Sun Life Stadium on November 1, 2014 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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While Walter Tucker has left Miami, it doesn’t appear he’l be leaving the state of Florida.

On social media over the weekend, Walter Tucker, by way of Matt Porter of Palm Beach Post, has indicated that he will continue his collegiate playing career at FIU. That football program has not announced one way or the other the fullback’s connection to the football program.

In his Instagram post, Tucker, in addition to revealing his father has cancer, posted a photo of himself superimposed over FIU’s football stadium as well as the hashtags “#FIUNATION,” “#PANTHERNATION.” and “#PANTHERPRIDE.”

 

It’s unclear if Tucker would be eligible to play immediately in 2016 with the Panthers.

Tucker played in 32 games the past three seasons, mainly on special teams. He carried the ball three times for eight yards in 2015, and caught one pass for eight yards the year before.

In February, new Hurricanes head coach Mark Richt announced that Tucker had decided to transfer from The U.

Former UAB TE Steve Pickren returning to Blazers, too

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Another day, another former UAB football player has returned home.

Speaking to al.com, Steve Pickren confirmed that he will be transferring back into the UAB football program and will play for the Blazers when they resume the sport for the 2017 season. Pickren played for UAB from 2012-14, but left the team and transferred to FCS Chattanooga after the university disbanded the sport.

The tight end will have one season of eligibility remaining, the 2017 season.

“Just look forward to helping the team any way I can,” Pickren said. “I love and respect everyone at UTC, but I’ve never had a better coach than Coach [Bill] Clark. So excited to play for him and the Blazers again.”

Pickren played in 13 games for the Mocs in 2015, although he was mainly a blocking tight end as he didn’t record a catch. He played in 15 games in his first stint with the Blazers, starting two of those contests. Just like at Chattanooga, Pickren didn’t catch a pass at UAB.

Pickren is one of at least five former UAB players (HEREHEREHERE, HERE) who have returned to the Blazers the last few months.

Collin Lisa leaving Buffalo, will transfer back to UAB

Bill Clark
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After a short sabbatical away, Collin Lisa is set to return to the resurrected UAB football program.

Lisa confirmed to both the Buffalo News and al.com that he has decided to transfer out of the Buffalo Bulls football program and return to UAB. Lisa began his collegiate playing career with the Blazers, but transferred to the Bulls when his first school disbanded the football program.

With the sport set for a return in 2017, so is the wide receiver.

“I definitely think I could have had had a big year this year, but when I heard it was coming back, it crossed my mind now and then,” the Georgia native told al.com. “I really liked the city of Birmingham. That’s where I wanted to play originally. I can’t even emphasize how much I wanted to play for coach Clark. …

“It was more than football playing for UAB. You feel like you’re playing for the city with everything that happened and playing for the state. It feels like you’re playing for a bit more than just football.”

Lisa played in two games for the Blazers (no receptions) in 2014 as a true freshman. In his only season with the Bulls, Lisa’s 31 receptions and 325 receiving yards in 11 games were fourth on the team.

When the team returns to the field, Lisa should have two seasons of eligibility remaining beginning in 2017.

Lisa is continuing somewhat of a trend as a couple of former Blazers who left the program have already returned (HEREHEREHERE) in anticipation of playing for their new/old team. Head coach Bill Clark has also received a commitment from a former LSU defensive lineman in October of last year; one from a former Kansas State running back; and one from a former Notre Dame running back.
Tragically, that Irish running back, Greg Bryant, was shot and killed earlier this month.

57 centers named to Rimington Award spring watch list

AJ McCarron, Ryan Kelly
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You know how I know we’re getting closer to the start of a new season?  The first watch list of the offseason has arrived.

The first for that honor this year is the Rimington Award, which on Tuesday released its spring watch list that is 57 players strong.  The Rimington Award, named in honor of former Nebraska standout Dave Rimington, is presented annually to the top center in the nation and is determined by the consensus All-American center pick from three existing All-America teams — Walter Camp. Sporting News and FWAA.

None of the finalists for the 2015 award, won by Alabama’s Ryan Kelly, are included on this year’s initial watch list as all three have since moved on with expired eligibility.

The ACC and SEC pace all conferences with eight watch listers apiece, followed by the AAC and Big 12 with seven each.  The Big Ten placed six, while the Pac-12’s three was the least of all of the Power Five programs.

All 10 of the FBS leagues, plus one independent (Notre Dame), are represented on the spring watch list, the full roster of which appears below.

AAC
Deyshawn Bond, Cincinnati, senior
Ryan Crozier, UConn, redshirt sophomore
Will Noble, Houston, sophomore
Drew Kyser, Memphis, sophomore
Evan Brown, SMU, junior
Brendan McGowan, Temple, redshirt senior
Chandler Miller, Tulsa, sophomore

ACC
Jay Guillermo, Clemson, senior
Alec Eberle, Florida State, redshirt sophomore
Freddie Burden, Georgia Tech, redshirt senior
Nicholas Linder, Miami, junior
Lucas Crowley, North Carolina, senior
Alex Officer, Pittsburgh, redshirt junior
Jason Emerich, Syracuse, redshirt senior
Jackson Matteo, Virginia, senior

BIG TEN
Joe Spencer, Illinois, senior
Sean Welsh, Iowa, junior
Brendan Moore, Maryland, sophomore
Mason Cole, Michigan, junior
Dylan Utter, Nebraska, senior
Michael Dieter, Wisconsin, sophomore

BIG 12
Kyle Fuller, Baylor, senior
Dalton Risner, Kansas State, sophomore
Jonathan Alvarez, Oklahoma, junior
Brad Lundblade, Oklahoma State, junior
Austin Schlottman, TCU, junior
Tony Morales, Texas Tech, senior
Tyler Orlosky, West Virginia, redshirt senior

CONFERENCE USA
Michael Montero, FIU, senior
Dillon DeBoer, FAU, redshirt senior
Daniel Stephens, Middle Tennessee State, senior
Nick Clarke, Old Dominion, sophomore
Cameron Tom, Southern Miss, senior
Max Halpin, Western Kentucky, redshirt senior

MAC
Tim McAuliffe, Bowling Green redshirt junior
James O’Hagan, Buffalo, sophomore

MOUNTAIN WEST
Jake Bennett, Colorado State, junior
Asotui Eli, Hawaii, redshirt sophomore
Nathan Goltry, Nevada, senior
Arthur Flores, San Diego State, senior
Austin Stephens, Utah State, senior

PAC-12
Toa, Lobendahn, USC, junior
Coleman Shelton, Washington, junior
Riley Sorenson, Washington State, senior

SEC
Frank Ragnow, Arkansas, junior
Brandon Kublanow, Georgia, senior
Jon Toth, Kentucky, senior
Ethan Pocic, LSU, senior
Jamaal Clayborn, Mississippi State, senior
Robert Conyers, Ole Miss, senior
Alan Knott, South Carolina, redshirt junior
Coleman Thomas, Tennessee, junior

SUN BELT
Devin Mondie, Arkansas State, senior
Andy Kwon, Georgia Southern, senior
Gabe Mobley, Georgia State, sophomore
Steve Matlock, Idaho, senior

INDEPENDENTS
Sam Mustipher, Notre Dame, junior