Navy Midshipmen

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.”

Starting corner Brendon Clements reinstated by Navy

ANNAPOLIS, MD - NOVEMBER 09: Cornerback Brendon Clements #1 of the Navy Midshipmen tackles wide receiver Marcus Kemp #14 of the Hawaii Warriors during the second quarter at NavyMarine Corps Memorial Stadium on November 9, 2013 in Annapolis, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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A potentially significant blow to Navy’s secondary has been averted.

Back in February, Navy announced that Brendon Clements had been indefinitely removed from the football team’s roster for violating Naval Academy rules.  It was initially thought that the senior’s playing career had come to an end, although that could never be confirmed.

Nearly three months later, however, the service academy announced that the starting cornerback has been reinstated.

Over the past three seasons, Clements started 35 games for the Midshipmen. Those are easily the most of any returning Navy player.

Navy QB Keenan Reynolds named co-winner of 2016 Sullivan Award

Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds (19) sings the U.S. Naval Academy fight song alongside teammates after an NCAA college football game against SMU, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in Annapolis, Md. Reynolds broke the NCAA all-time record for rushing touchdowns during the game and Navy won 55-14. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
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Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds may not have been a Heisman Trophy finalist, but the legendary Midshipmen took home a share of one of the most prestigious individual awards in collegiate athletics Sunday. Reynolds was named a co-winner of the 2016 AAU James E. Sullivan Award in New York. He shares the honor with Connecticut women’s basketball player Breanna Stewart.

“I’m extremely blessed and honored to have won this award,” said Reynolds. “I would like to thank my family, the coaching staff, my teammates, the Naval Academy Athletic Association, the Naval Academy administration, the Brigade of Midshipmen and the entire Naval Academy family for all the support they have provided me over the last four years. Winning this award is the cherry on top of a great four years.”

Reynolds was an all-around class act on and off the field and exhibited all of the best qualities a college football player could possess. Winning the Sullivan Award confirms that as the award is presented to an outstanding amateur athlete who has displayed outstanding achievement in athletics while showing great leadership, character and sportsmanship. Reynolds exhibited all of that in victory and defeat for the Naval Academy.

Reynolds is the third football player in three years to receive the high honor, joining Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott and Penn State offensive lineman John Urschel. Other football players to receive the honor previously include Tim Tebow and Peyton Manning.

Derrick Henry and Keenan Reynolds are finalists for Sullivan Award

Alabama running back Derrick Henry (27) runs toward the end zone for a touchdown against Auburn defensive back Derrick Moncrief (24) during the second half of the Iron Bowl NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Alabama won 55-44. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson )
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Alabama running back Derrick Henry added a truckload of awards last season while powering Alabama to a national championship run. Henry won the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Doak Walker Award and the Walter Camp Award in addition to being named a unanimous All-American and taking home SEC Offensive Player of the Year and SEC Championship Game MVP honors. Henry may be focusing on the NFL now, but he may not be done collecting hardware for his most recent season with the Crimson Tide.

Henry is one of seven finalists for the Sullivan Award, awarded to the top amateur athlete across all amateur sports. Navy’s Keenan Reynolds was also named a finalist. Henry and Reynolds are the only two college football players left standing.Clemson’s Deshaun Watson and Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey were semifinalists for the award.

A college football player has won the award three out of the last four years. Last year saw Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott win the award. The year before that it was Penn State offensive lineman John Urschel. Army’s Andrew Rodriguez won the award two years prior to that, with Olympic star Missy Franklin taking home the award in 2013 following her dominant showing in the 2012 summer Olympics (four gold medals, one bronze). Other past winners from the college football gridiron include Tim Tebow and Peyton Manning.

Fans can cast their vote for their Sullivan Award pick online until Wednesday, March 23 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Deshaun Watson, Christian McCaffrey semifinalists for Sullivan Award

during the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 11, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.
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A college football player has claimed the past two Sullivan Awards, one of the most prestigious honors in amateur athletics.  In going for three straight, the sport will have a quartet of opportunities to extend what would be a first-of-its-kind streak.

Monday, a total of 16 semifinalists for the 2016 Sullivan Award were announced.  Of those 16, four are current or former college football players — Alabama running back Derrick Henry, Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey, Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds and Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Henry, who opted to leave the Tide early for the NFL, was the 2015 Heisman Trophy winner while McCaffrey and Watson, who will be juniors in 2016, were second and third, respectively, in the Heisman voting.  Reynolds put the finishing touches on what will be a Hall of Fame career by becoming the all-time FBS leader in total touchdowns.

Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott was the 2015 winner of the Sullivan, while Penn State offensive lineman John Urschel claimed the 2014 honor.  Six other college football players have earned an honor handed out annually since 1930: Felix “Doc” Blanchard (Army, 1945), Arnold Tucker (Army, 1946), Charlie Ward (Florida State, 1993), Peyton Manning (Tennessee, 1997), Tim Tebow (Florida, 2007) and Andrew Rodriguez (Army, 2011)

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The remaining dozen semifinalists for the 87th Sullivan are Andrew Benintendi (Arkansas baseball), Ben Simmons (LSU basketball), Nirra Fields (UCLA basketball), Kelsey Minato (Army basketball), Breanna Stewart (UConn basketball), Mikaela Foecke (Nebraska volleyball), Ashleigh Johnson (USA Water Polo), Jordan Burroughs (USA Wrestling), Adeline Gray (USA Wrestling), Jamie Greubel Poser (USA Bobsled), Jordan Wilimovsky (USA Swimming), Brittany Bowe (USA Speed skating) and Simone Biles (USA Gymnastics).