Marshall Thundering Herd

HUNTINGTON, WV - DECEMBER 06: A Marshall Thundering Herd helmet as seen on the sideleine at Joan C. Edwards Stadium during the Conference USA championship game on December 6, 2014 in Huntington, West Virginia. The Thundering Herd defeat the Bulldogs 26-23. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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South Carolina to pay Marshall $1.4 million for 2018 game

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The cost of doing scheduling business in big-time college football has gone up significantly.

The latest example?  Late this past week, Marshall announced that it has reached an agreement with South Carolina on a future game.  The Herd will travel to Columbia to take on the Gamecocks on Sept. 15, 2018.

And, according to the release, the athletic program will receive a $1.4 million guarantee for the one-off game with USC.

“We’re excited to play an SEC school, especially one that is in a fertile recruiting ground for our program and within driving distance for our fans,” said athletic director Mike Hamrick in a statement. “We had an opportunity to play a game of this caliber in 2018 and it was too good to pass up.”

The two football programs have met just once previously in football, a 24-21 Herd win over the Gamecocks in Columbia in 1998.

The week after the USC game, Marshall will play host to North Carolina State in the back-end of a home-and-home series.  MU also has agreements for future home-and-homes with Boise State (2019-20), Cincinnati (2017, 2019) and Navy (2021-2022).

Headed by ACC’s 15, record 88 player named to Wuerffel watch list

GAINESVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 28:  Quarterback Danny Wuerffel #7 of the Florida Gators readies to throw during a game against the Kentucky Wildcats on September 28, 1996 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.  The Gators defeated the Wildcats 65-0.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Records were made to be broken, even this kind of a record, I guess.

Continuing the watch list avalanche is the Wuerffel Trophy, which announced 88 players have been recognized as part of the annual preseason grouping.  That number is a record for the award, which is named in honor of former Florida great Danny Wuerffel and is awarded to the FBS player that “best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.”

The 2015 winner of the Wuerffel was Oklahoma’s Ty Darlington.

As far as the conference-by-conference breakdown?  From the release:

The Atlantic Coast Conference led all conferences with 15 players appearing on the 2016 watch list. Following the ACC are the SEC with 12 players, Conference USA with 10 and the Big 10 and Big 12 with 9 players each. The American Athletic followed with 8 players while the Sun Belt added 7, the PAC 12 submitted 6 and the MAC and Mountain West followed with 4 each. All FBS Conferences are represented on the list, as were Independent representatives BYU and United States Military Academy (Army) with 1 nominee each.

Below is the complete 2016 Wuerffel Trophy preseason watch list:

JK Scott, Alabama, Junior, P
O.J. Howard, Alabama, Senior, TE
Darian Small, Appalachian State, Senior, DL
Vilami “Laiu” Moeakiola, Arizona State, Senior, LB
Brooks Ellis, Arkansas, Senior, LB
Blaise Taylor, Arkansas State, Junior, DB
Andrew King, Army, Senior, LB
Daniel Carlson, Auburn, Junior, PK
Seth Russell, Baylor, Senior, QB
Mitchell Juergens, BYU, Senior, WR
Jonny Linehan, BYU, Senior, P
Jack Austin, California, Junior, WR
Jamal Covington, Charlotte, Senior, OL
Deshaun Watson, Clemson, Junior, QB
Sefo Liufau, Colorado, Senior, QB
Zack Golditch, Colorado State, Junior, OL
DeVon Edwards, Duke, Senior, DB
Zay Jones, East Carolina, Senior, WR
Jarrad Davis, Florida, Senior, LB
Shalom Ogbonda, Florida Atlantic, Senior, DL
Michael Montero, Florida International, Senior, OL
Alec Eberle, Florida State, Sophomore, OL
Jeb Blazevich, Georgia, Junior, TE
Keith Rucker, Georgia State, Senior, TE
KeShun Freeman, Georgia Tech, Junior, DE
Greg Ward, Jr., Houston, Senior, QB
Joe Spencer, Illinois, Senior, OL
Mitchell Paige, Indiana, Senior, WR
LeShun Daniels, Jr., Iowa, Senior, RB
Cole Netten, Iowa State, Senior, PK
Fish Smithson, Kansas, Senior, DB
Dante Barnett, Kansas State, Senior, DB
Antwan Dixon, Kent State, Sophomore, WR
Nick Cuthbert, Kent State, Senior, LB
Karmichael Dunbar, Louisiana, Senior, DL
Brandon Radcliff, Louisville, Senior, RB
Colin Jeter, LSU, Senior, TE
William Likely, Maryland, Senior, DB
Ryan Yurachek, Marshall, Sophomore, TE
Jake Elliott, Memphis, Senior, PK
Brad Kaaya, Miami, Junior, QB
Josiah Price, Michigan State, Senior, TE
Brent Stockstill, Middle Tennessee, Sophomore, QB
Damarius Travis, Minnesota, Senior, DB
Evan Engram, Mississippi, Senior, TE
Brandon Holloway, Mississippi State, Senior, WR/RB
Drew Brown, Nebraska, Junior, PK
Jeremy Maculey, Nevada, Senior, OL
Nick Weller, North Carolina, Senior, PK
Tony Adams, North Carolina State, Junior, OL
Drew Hare, Northern Illinois, Senior, QB
Matthew Harris, Northwestern, Senior DB
Jarrod Barnes, Ohio State, Senior, DB
Samaje Perine, Oklahoma, Junior, RB
Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State, Junior, QB
Tyler Compton, Old Dominion, Senior, OL
Ryan Nall, Oregon State, Sophomore, RB
Adam Biniswaty, Pittsburgh, Senior, OL
James Conner, Pittsburgh, Junior, RB
Mike Caprara, Pittsburgh, Senior, LB
Darik Dillard, Rice, Senior, RB
Daniel Brunskill, San Diego State, Senior, TE
Tim Crawley, San Jose State, Senior, WR
Nick Mullins, Southern Mississippi, Senior, QB
Jason Emerich, Syracuse, Senior, OL
Aaron Curry, TCU, Senior, DL
Brendan McGowan, Temple, Senior, OL
Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee, Senior, QB
Trevor Knight, Texas A&M, Senior, QB
Felix Romero, Texas State, Junior, OL
Patrick Mahomes, II, Texas Tech, Junior, QB
Brad Spelman, Toledo, Junior, LS
John Johnson, Troy, Junior, WR
Marshall Wadleigh, Tulane, Senior, TE
Dane Evans, Tulsa, Senior, QB
Justin Holman, UCF, Senior, QB
Bobby Puyol, UConn, Senior, PK
John Plattenburg, USC, Junior, DB
Travis Seefeldt, Utah State, Senior, DL
Oren Burks, Vanderbilt, Junior, LB
Matt Johns, Virginia, Senior, QB
Sam Rogers, Virginia Tech, Senior, RB
Ryan Janvion, Wake Forest, Senior, DB
Jeff Lindquist, Washington, Senior, TE
Skyler Howard, West Virginia, Senior, QB
Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky, Senior, OL
Marcus Ward, Western Kentucky, Senior, DB
Zach Terrell, Western Michigan, Senior, QB

Country music singer Craig Morgan’s son, who drowned Sunday, was set to walk-on at Marshall

NASHVILLE, TN - FEBRUARY 27:  Recording artist Craig Morgan performs onstage at the 3rd Annual Black River Entertainment Country Radio Seminar Luncheon on February 27, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Black River Entertainment)
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A tragedy that touched the country music world has affected the college football world as well.

Over the weekend, 19-year-old Jerry Greer, the son of country music singer Craig Morgan, was “tubing” on a lake west of Nashville when the tube, which was being pulled with a rope by a boat, flipped over.  The friend, who is not being identified, resurfaced while Greer didn’t.

Greer’s body was found Monday by the Humphrey County Sheriff’s Department in the Tennessee River, which feeds Kentucky Lake.  As many as a dozen boats and divers had been involved in the search.

According to authorities, both Greer and the friend were wearing life jackets.

Greer had just graduated from high school in Tennessee.  In less than a month, Greer was expected to enroll at Marshall and become a walk-on for the Thundering Herd football team.

“Jerry reached out to us this summer with the intention of joining our program at a later date,” Herd head coach Doc Holliday said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his friends and family during this most difficult time.”

70 interior linemen make up Outland Trophy watch list

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 13:  Eddie Vanderdoes #47 of the UCLA Bruins celebrates a sack against Tyrone Swoopes #18 of the Texas Longhorns at AT&T Stadium on September 13, 2014 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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An award that honors the big uglies on both sides of the ball is the latest to release its preseason roll call.

Released through the Football Writers Association of America, the Outland Trophy announced Friday that 70 players have been named to the award’s preseason watch list.  The Outland, named after the late John Outland, an All-America lineman at Penn at the turn of the 20th century, has been awarded since 1946 and honors only interior linemen on offense or defense are eligible for the award; ends are not eligible.

The SEC (12) led all conferences in watch listers, followed by the Big Ten (11), ACC (10), Pac-12 (10), Big 12 (6).  The remaining conferences are Group of Five leagues: American Athletic (4), Conference USA (4), Mountain West (4), Mid-American (3) and Sun Belt (2).  There were also four linemen from independents who made the list.

The preseason list includes 22 offensive tackles, 20 offensive guards, 17 defensive tackles and 11 centers.

In mid-November the award will announce its semifinalists.  Five days later, a group of three finalists will be announced, with the 2016 Outland Trophy being awarded Dec. 8 at the Home Depot College Football Awards.

Stanford’s Joshua Garnett was the 2015 winner of the honor.

Below is the complete preseason watch list for the 2016 Outland Trophy:

Montravius Adams, Auburn, DT
Brian Allen, Michigan State, C
Zach Banner, USC, OT
Adam Bisnowaty, Pittsburgh, OT
Chris Borrayo, California, G
J.T. Boyd East Carolina, C
Orlando Brown, Oklahoma, OT
Mason Cole, Michigan, C
Parker Collins, Appalachian State, G
Austin Corbett, Nevada, OT
Tyrell Crosby, Oregon, OT
Tyrone Crowder, Clemson, G
Dion Dawkins, Temple, OT
J.J. Dielman, Utah, OT
Pat Elflein, Ohio State, G
Dan Feeney, Indiana, G
Kyle Fuller, Baylor, C
Antonio Garcia, Troy, OT
Will Geary, Kansas State, DT
Avery Gennesy, Texas A&M, OT
Davon Godchaux, LSU, DT
Jay Guillermo, Clemson, C
Darius Hamilton, Rutgers, DT
Jon Heck, North Carolina, OT
Treyvon Hester, Toledo, DT
Daniel Isidora, Miami, G
Martez Ivey, Florida, G
Roderick Johnson, Florida State, OT
Dorian Johnson, Pittsburgh, G
Jaleel Johnson, Iowa, DT
Jarron Jones, Notre Dame, DT
Alex Kozan, Auburn, G
Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky, OT
Ului Lapuaho, BYU, G
Nick Linder, Miami, C
Lowell Lotulelei, Utah, DT
Erik Magnuson, Michigan, OT
Damien Mama, USC, G
Conor McDermott, UCLA, OT
Malik McDowell, Michigan State, DT
Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame, OT
Taylor Moton, Western Michigan, OT
Storm Norton, Toledo, OT
Larry Ogunjobi, Charlotte, DT
Tyler Orlosky, West Virginia, C
Ethan Pocic, LSU, C
Billy Price, Ohio State, G
Greg Pyke, Georgia, G
Jake Replogle, Purdue, DT
Cam Robinson, Alabama, OT
Chase Roullier, Wyoming, G
Nico Siragusa, San Diego State, G
Dan Skipper, Arkansas, OT
Tashon Smallwood, Arizona State, DT
Tanzel Smart, Tulane, DT
Braden Smith, Auburn, G
Chris Taylor, Tulane, G
Vincent Taylor, Oklahoma State, DT
Wyatt Teller, Virginia Tech, G
Cameron Tom, Southern Miss, C
Jon Toth, Kentucky, C
Travis Tuiloma, BYU, DT
Clint Van Horn, Marshall, OT
Eddie Vanderdoes, UCLA, DT
Dan Voltz, Wisconsin, C
Carlos Watkins, Clemson, DT
Chad Wheeler, USC, OT
Dylan Wiesman, Tennessee, G
Connor Williams, Texas, OT
Fred Zerblis, Colorado State, G

Three former finalists among 30 Lou Groza Award watch listers

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 29:  Daniel Carlson #38 of the Auburn Tigers kicks a field goal in the first quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the Iron Bowl at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 29, 2014 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Pound for pound, this could very well be the most decorated watch list you’ll read this offseason.

Thursday, the Lou Groza Award became the latest to release its 2016 preseason watch list, unveiling a group that’s 30 kickers strong.  And, the pedigrees of this group are unquestioned.

Included in the list are two finalists for last year’s award, Auburn junior Daniel Carlson and Memphis senior Jake Elliott, won by UCLA’s Ka’imi Fairbairn. A finalist for the 2014 award, West Virginia senior Josh Lambert, is included as well.

Additionally, 16 other kickers on the list have previously been semifinalists in various years. One of those 16, Utah senior Andy Phillips, has been a semifinalist each of the past three seasons.

And the award’s namesake?

The Award is named for National Football League Hall of Fame kicker Lou “The Toe” Groza, who played 21 seasons with the Cleveland Browns. Groza won four NFL championships with Cleveland and was named NFL Player of the Year in 1954. Although an All-Pro offensive lineman as well, Groza ushered in the notion that there should be a place on an NFL roster for a kicker.

Below is the complete 2016 preseason Lou Groza Award watch list:

Matt Anderson – California
Michael Badgley – Miami (FL)
Jonathan Barnes – Louisiana Tech
Drew Brown – Nebraska
Daniel Carlson – Auburn
Trent Domingue – LSU
Jake Elliott – Memphis
Elliott Fry – South Carolina
Andrew Gantz – Cincinnati
Zane Gonzalez – Arizona State
Adam Griffith – Alabama
Ben Grogan – Oklahoma State
Clayton Hatfield – Texas Tech
Greg Huegel – Clemson
Josh Lambert – West Virginia
Cole Murphy – Syracuse
Griffin Oakes – Indiana
Andy Phillips – Utah
Bobby Puyol – UConn
Tyler Rausa – Boise State
Austin Rehkow – Idaho
Ryan Santoso – Minnesota
Aidan Schneider – Oregon
Austin Seibert – Oklahoma
Joey Slye – Virginia Tech
Nick Smith – Marshall
Cameron Van Winkle – Washington
Nick Weiler – North Carolina
Justin Yoon – Notre Dame
Brent Zuzo – Nevada