Army Black Knights

WASHINGTON - JANUARY 30:  President of the United States Barack Obama (C) talks to CBS annoucers Clark Kellogg and Verne Lundquist during a college basketball game between Georgetown Hoyas and the Duke Blue Devils on January 30, 2010 at the Verizon Center in Washington DC.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
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Brad Nessler to replace Verne Lundquist as voice of SEC on CBS after 2016

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Rumors have been swirling throughout the off-season, but CBS made the news official on Tuesday by announcing Verne Lundquist will step down as the lead voice of the network’s college football coverage — primarily the SEC, but also Army-Navy and the Sun Bowl — to be replaced by Brad Nessler after the upcoming season.

“Verne has set the standard for college football broadcasting,” CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said in a statement. “Together with Gary Danielson he has played a key role in making the SEC on CBS the highest-rated college football package in America. After an incredible 17 years, he will be handing the reigns off to Brad, who in his own right is highly acclaimed and respected as one of the premier play-by-play broadcasters in the business. I am very pleased that Verne will still have a prominent role in our college basketball and major championship golf coverage.  We are fortunate to have one more football season to appreciate Verne’s one-of-a-kind storytelling as we pave the way for a seamless and smooth transition to Brad.”

Lunquist will continue with the network covering college basketball and golf, but will cede the college football chair in what was certainly a contract bullet point to lure Nessler away from ESPN.

“Being a part of the SEC on CBS since 2000 has been the most significant assignment I’ve been given in my more than five decades in this business,” said Lundquist. “Now, it’s time to step back and take in the aroma of those tulips, those roses, and those daffodils that friends have been telling me about for years. In 2017, I’ll happily step aside from college football and welcome Brad to the booth. I’ve known Brad for more than 30 years and have always admired his work ethic and his on-air presence. He shares the same passion for college football that I do. The SEC on CBS is in great hands. Brad and Gary will form a great partnership in the years ahead.”

Nessler leaves a plum gig at ESPN, where he, Todd Blackledge and Holly Rowe called the ESPN Saturday primetime game and one of the two College Football Playoff semifinals each of the past two seasons.

“Verne has been a friend for over 30 years and someone I’ve always looked up to in this business,” said Nessler. “I’m not replacing him as it would be impossible to replace Verne. I am truly honored to carry on where he leaves off and work to maintain the standard of excellence he has set calling the SEC on CBS. I am excited to rejoin the CBS Sports team this season and look forward to working alongside Gary again in 2017.”

CB Josh Jenkins, injured last year in fight with teammate, ‘looking to transfer from Army’

Josh Jenkins ,Joseph Pavlik's
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The West Point career of Josh Jenkins has apparently taken yet another twist.

On his personal Twitter account earlier Tuesday — he pinned it for emphasis — Jenkins posted a tweet that included a YouTube highlight video with the text consisting of “looking to transfer from Army West Point.” Just why the defensive back has decided to leave the service academy is unclear.

Jenkins reportedly suffered a serious and significant head injury during an on-post fight with a teammate over the Fourth of July weekend last year. The teammate, linebacker Seth Combs, was dismissed from the team; Jenkins was unable to play at all in 2015 because of the injuries he sustained.

During spring practice, Jenkins was not allowed to participate in contact drills. Sal Interdonato of the Times Herald-Record wrote that Black Knights head coach “Jeff Monken said near the end of spring practice that he was ‘hopeful’ that Jenkins would be cleared to practice with full contact in the preseason.”

In 2014, Jenkins was tied for second on the team with 63 tackles, while his four interceptions and eight passes broken up were the most of any Black Knight. He also blocked two kicks, a total that was tops on the team as well.

42 defensive players named to Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list

Ronnie Lott
Associated Press
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Another day, another watch list.

One day after the Rimington Award released its initial spring watch list, the Lott IMPACT Trophy has followed suit, with the award named in honor of former USC great Ronnie Lott unveiling a watch list consisting of 42 players from seven of the 10 FBS conferences.  The trophy is handed out annually to the defensive player who most represents the qualities of the honor’s namesake – Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.

Last year’s winner was Penn State defensive end Carl Nassib.

Alabama is the only team with three players on the list. Six teams placed two players each: Michigan, Stanford, TCU, Tennessee, USC and Virginia. There was also one FCS team represented — Harvard.

Conference-wise, the Big Ten paced all leagues with 10 players selected, followed by the SEC”s eight and the ACC’s seven. The Mountain West led all Group of Five conferences with two players. The only other G5 league to get an initial nod was the AAC (Houston).

Below is the complete 42-player watch list for the 2016 Lott IMPACT Trophy.

Jamal Adams, S, LSU
Sean Ahern, S, Harvard
Joey Alfieri, LB, Stanford
Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
Dante Barnett, S, Kansas State
Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
Evan Berry, CB, Tennessee
Quin Blanding, S, Virginia
Ben Boulware, LB, Clemson
Riley Bullough, LB, Michigan State
Jason Cabinda, LB, Penn State
Josh Carraway, DE, TCU
Jack Cichy, LB, Wisconsin
Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
Dylan Haines, S, Texas
Charles Harris, DL, Missouri
Adoree’ Jackson, CB, USC
Eddie Jackson, S, Alabama
Derwin James, S, Florida State
Joshua Kalu, CB, Nebraska
Andrew King, LB, Army
Desmond King, S, Iowa
Micah Kiser, LB, Virginia
Jourdan Lewis CB, Michigan
William Likely, CB, Maryland
Dallas Lloyd, S, Stanford
Cameron Malveaux, DE, Houston
James McFarland, DE, TCU
Raekwon McMillan, LB, Ohio State
Viliami Moeakiola, LB, Arizona State
Calvin Munson, LB, San Diego State
Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
Cameron Smith, LB, USC
Arrion Springs, DB, Oregon
Weston Steelhammer, S, Air Force
M.J. Stewart, CB, North Carolina
Jordan Thomas, CB, Oklahoma
Drue Tranquill, S, Notre Dame
Anthony Walker, LB, Northwestern
Jordan Whitehead, DB, Pitt
Tim Williams, LB, Alabama
A.J. Wolf, DL, Duke

Notre Dame to likely put Shamrock Series on hold for 2017

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 21:  A general view of Fenway Park before the game between the Boston College Eagles and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on November 21, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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For a program as bound to tradition as Notre Dame, the Shamrock Series is either a much-needed annual breath of fresh air or an affront to Touchdown Jesus himself.

Started in 2009, the Shamrock Series is a neutral site game that takes the Irish to a new location, usually accompanied by some, uh, creative uniforms. Recent editions have seen Notre Dame play in locales like Yankee Stadium (vs. Army, 2010), Soldier Field (vs. Miami, 2012) and Fenway Park (vs. Boston College, last season). The 2016 game will be a repeat of venue (San Antonio’s Alamodome) and opponent (Army) on Nov. 12.

As for the 2017 Shamrock Series? Well, there probably won’t be one.

“In all likelihood we will not do one in ’17, because that’s the opening of the Crossroads and we want to maximize the number of home games, but we anticipate doing it in subsequent years,” Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick told ESPN on Wednesday. “It’s been phenomenal. We have a lot of people who annually target that game and make it one where they get together with former classmates and really plan their years around it. It’s been good.”

Campus Crossroads is a $400 million project that will bring more than three quarters of a million square feet of academic, meeting and event space to campus, centered around Notre Dame Stadium.

“In spring of 2013, Notre Dame announced the launch of a feasibility study into expanding the use of Notre Dame Stadium,” Notre Dame’s Crossroads landing page states. “Over its 80-plus-year history, the stadium has become one of the most centrally located facilities on campus, and yet, it is used perhaps 10 to 12 times annually. Future growth of the University around the stadium would reinforce its geographic centrality, but do little to take advantage of the fact. The stadium would remain a kind of sleeping giant throughout much of the year.”

Notre Dame expects Campus Crossroads to be complete in August of next year.

Keenan Reynolds leads No. 21 Navy to 14th straight win vs. Army

Keenan Reynolds
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Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds was making history left and right in a 21-17 victory over Army in Philadelphia on Saturday. Reynolds set a new Division 1 rushing touchdown record, set a new Army-Navy Game record for career touchdowns and became the first player from Navy to ever go 4-0 as a starting quarterback against Army.

Reynolds passed for 113 yards and a touchdown and led Navy on the ground with 136 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns, setting the new Division 1 all-time rushing touchdown record at 85. Reynolds also scored his seventh touchdown in an Army-Navy Game, setting another gold standard for the series. As if that were not enough record setting for one day, Reynolds’ passing touchdown was his 30th career touchdown pass at Navy, which set a school record for career passing touchdowns.

With this being one of the better Navy teams coached by Ken Niumatalolo, this was no blowout. In fact, Navy had to hang on for the win as Army hung around and forced Navy to punt the ball enough times to keep hope alive of ending the losing streak against Navy. Army tried dipping into the trick play book by having DeAndre Bell unload on a deep pass down toward the end zone, but Navy’s Daiquan Thomasson got enough air to snag the football to kill what looked to be a promising drive by Army in the final minutes. It was a play that would have been praised for years to come by Army fans. Instead, it is added to a long and growing list of moments of misfortune for the long-suffering Army fans. Navy’s offense was forced to punt the ball away from their own nine-yard line, giving Army one more chance. Two incomplete passes by Kelvin White fell incomplete though and time expired.

The win for Navy was the 14th straight over Army, continuing to add on to the longest winning streak by either academy in the long historic rivalry series. Army’s last victory over the Midshipmen came in 2001.

Army did show some good fight though, which should come as no real surprise. Despite the success of Navy this season, Army always tends to bring their best performance of the season against their rivals from Annapolis. Army quarterback Chris Carter connected on some big gains with Edgar Poe to keep Army in the game, and at times in front on the scoreboard. The problem was every time Army made something happen, Navy seemed to strike right back with big plays of their own. One time, in particular, Army did it to themselves. In the fourth quarter, a promising looking drive crossed midfield only to see a fumbled snap be recovered by Navy with eight and a half minutes to play. That allowed Navy an opportunity to run some clock with a four-point lead.

Navy still has one more game to play. The Midshipmen will play Pittsburgh in the Military Bowl on a not-so-neutral field on December 28. The Military Bowl is played in Navy’s home stadium, so Navy will feel at home for the game against the Panthers. The two programs last faced each other in 2013, with Navy winning 24-21 in Annapolis. This will be the first postseason meeting between the two.

Army will head into the offseason once again not looking forward to a postseason game. Army’s 2016 season is scheduled to open right back at Lincoln Financial Field though, as Army will open the season on the road against Temple on September 3.