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Rimington watch list details list of returning centers

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It’s the dead time of the college football calendar, which means it’s time for this sport’s oldest, most antiquated tradition: watch lists.

First one in line is the Rimington Trophy, given to the best center in college football. And to help voters narrow down their choice for when voting picks up six months from now, the Rimington has helpfully provided this watch list of essentially every returning starting center in college football.

The 2017 list includes (deep breath):

– Aaron Mitchell, Fresno State
– Alan Knott, South Carolina
– Alac Eberle, Florida State
– Antonyo Woods, Florida Atlantic
– Asotui Eli, Hawaii
– Austin Doan, Central Michigan
– Austin Golson, Auburn
– Austin Schlottmann, TCU
– Billy Price, Ohio State
– Blaise Fountain, New Mexico
– Brad Lundblade, Oklahoma State
– Brad North, Northwestern
– Bradley Bozeman, Alabama
– Brendan Moore, Maryland
– Brian Allen, Michigan State
– Bryce Holland, Army
– Cameron Ruff, South Florida
– Chandler Miller, Tulsa
– Coleman Shelton, Washington
– Colton Prater, Texas A&M
– Danny Godloveske, Miami (Ohio)
– Dennis Edwards, Western Kentucky
– Drew Keyser, Memphis
– Erick Wren, Oklahoma
– Evan Brown, SMU
– Frank Ragnow, Arkansas
– Gabe Mobley, Georgia State
– Garrett McGhin, East Carolina
– Jake Bennett, Colorado State
– Jake Hanson, Oregon
– Jake Pruehs, Ohio
– James Daniels, Iowa
– James O’Hagan, Buffalo
– Jesse Burkett, Stanford
– John Keenoy, Western Michigan
– Jon Baker, Boston College
– Julian Good-Jones, Iowa State
– Keoni Taylor, San Jose State
– LaVonne Gauthney, Akron
– Levi Brown, Marshall
– Luke Shively, Northern Illinois
– Mason Hampton, Boise State
– Matt Hennessy, Temple
– Mesa Ribordy, Kansas
– Michael Deiter, Wisconsin
– Nathan Puthoff, Kent State
– Nick Allegretti, Illinois
– Nick Clarke, Old Dominion
– Reid Najvar, Kansas State
– Ryan Anderson, Wake Forest
– Sam Mustipher, Notre Dame
– Scott Quessenberry, UCLA
– Sean Krepsz, Nevada
– Sean Rawlings, Ole Miss
– Sumner Houston, Oregon State
– T.J. McCoy, Florida
– Tanner Thrift, Baylor
– Tejan Koroma, BYU
– Tim McAullife, Bowling Green
– Trey Martin, Rice
– Will Clapp, LSU
– Will Noble, Houston
– Zach Shackelford, Texas

Exhale.

Got all that?

Ohio State’s Pat Elflein claimed the honor last season.

Central Michigan pulls from Big 12 to hire new AD

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Central Michigan lost its previous AD to the Pac-12, and hired its new one from the Big 12.

The Chippewas on Monday named Michael Alford its new AD. He arrives from Oklahoma, where he served as senior associate AD for administration and development. He replaces Dave Heeke, who took the same post at Arizona.

CMU listed Alford’s experience in “fundraising and marketing” as the first reasons why it hired him. “Michael Alford has demonstrated leadership in Division I athletics in the Power 5 conferences and in the NFL. He’s worked with coaches, students and athletic supporters,” president George Ross said in a statement.

“I’ve said all along we would name an athletics director who is committed to furthering our championship culture, who agrees athletes are students first, and who has an unwavering commitment to upholding CMU’s reputation as one of just 13 universities without a major NCAA violation,” he said. “Michael Alford is a leader who represents all that CMU is, who is an excellent fundraiser and who will be an integral member of the CMU community.”

Alford has a long list of experience in generating revenue through sports. He previously worked for ESPN, served as the general manager for Crimson Tide Sports Marketing and ran corporate partnerships for the Dallas Cowboys before heading to Norman.

Alford inherits a Central Michigan football program that has reached bowl games in each of the two seasons since John Bonamego‘s hiring in Feb. 2015. The Chips are 13-13 in Bonamego’s two seasons, continuing a now 5-year streak of winning six or seven games and losing six or seven games.

Alford will take over his post as the top Chip on July 3.

Central Michigan AD taking same position at Arizona

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Arizona has its replacement for former athletic director Greg Byrne.

Central Michigan AD Dave Heeke is set to take the same position in Tucson with the Wildcats, the school announced Saturday afternoon.

“I couldn’t be more excited to be part of the Arizona Athletics family. It is truly an honor to be named the new Vice President for Athletics and have the opportunity to return to the prestigious Pac-12 Conference,” Heeke said in a release. “I want to thank Dr. Hart and those involved with the search process for their confidence in my ability to lead one of the premiere athletics departments in the country. This program is about excellence and we will continue to focus on achieving at the very highest level athletically and academically, while creating the finest experience in the country for our student-athletes.

Heeke has been in Mount Pleasant since early 2006 and found plenty of success with the MAC school across numerous sports. In football, he notably hired Butch Jones to replace Brian Kelly when the latter left for Cincinnati and has seen the Chippewas make a bowl game eight times during his tenure.

While he is a Michigan native, he’s no stranger to the way things operate out West having spent 18 years at Oregon. While he held a variety of roles in Eugene, he eventually became a senior associate athletic director with the Ducks before departing for CMU.

Arizona had a vacancy in their athletic leadership ever since Byrne left to become Alabama’s AD not long after the national title game in January.

Two hirings complete Tom Allen’s first Indiana coaching staff

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Entering the first full week of February, Tom Allen had two openings on his initial Indiana coaching staff.  With the second weekend of the month upon us, he now has none.  Again.

In  press release Friday, Allen announced that he has added Darren Hiller and Nick Sheridan as offensive assistants.  The former will serve as offensive line coach as well as running-game coordinator, the latter as quarterbacks coach.

With the twin hirings, which had previously been reported as likely HERE and HERE, Allen’s nine-man on-field staff is complete.

“I have known Darren Hiller for a number of years and have always been so impressed with him, both as a person and as a coach,” Allen said in a statement. “He is a tremendous teacher in the area of the offensive line. Darren does a great job mentoring young men and finding ways to motivate them to play at their highest level. He has been a part of a tremendous offensive attack at South Florida and I think that will continue with us here at Indiana.

“Nick Sheridan is a young offensive mind that I am very impressed with. I love the fact that he is a coach’s son. He has been around this game his entire life. I know that we feel like we got a young Shawn Watson in Nick Sheridan.”

Watson left Bloomington late last month to take the coordinator job at Pitt, for those wondering why his name was included in the quote.

Hiller had just been hired by new Houston head coach Major Applewhite for the the same job last month.  He replaces Greg Frey, who left late last month for a spot on Jim Harbaugh‘s Michigan staff.

Prior to that new — and brief — job at UH, Hiller had spent the 2016 season at USF. He’s also coached FBS-level lines at Cincinnati (2013-15), Nevada (2012) and Arkansas State (2002-11).

Sheridan’s hiring, which comes just a handful of weeks after he was hired to coach tailbacks at Central Michigan, reconnects him with Mike DeBord, who coached Sheridan when he was a quarterback at Michigan and recently took over as the Hoosiers’ offensive coordinator.  Prior to landing his first on-field job at CMU, Sheridan spent 2014-16 as an offensive graduate assistant at Tennessee.

Independents and Group of Five National Signing Day Recap: Irish bounce back, Memphis tops AAC

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Outside of the Power Five conferences, recruiting went about as expected in 2017.

Notre Dame continued to pound the national trail and landed a top 12 class full of players who will be expected to play early. BYU managed another impressive group that was one of the most diverse out there. The schools with a talent-rich backyard to draw on did well in the AAC.  Boise State was once again tops in the Mountain West and did better than a few peers in the region. And yes, Lane Kiffin earned that recruiting reputation by pulling in the best class of Conference USA.

Though there wasn’t much drama outside the top schools, there nevertheless was plenty of action for many programs on National Signing Day.

Top recruits (all rankings via 247Sports Composite): No. 67 overall Brock Wright (TE, Notre Dame), No. 154 overall Chaz Ah You (DB, BYU), Aisa Kelemete (DE, Boise State), Nick Robinson (TE, Memphis), Nicholas Sims (RB, Toledo)

Top classes: Notre Dame (No. 11 overall), Memphis (No. 58 overall), Boise State (No. 60 overall), BYU (No. 65 overall), Florida Atlantic (No. 71 overall), Toledo (No. 74 overall), Texas State (No. 87 overall)

Biggest storyline: Irish still land solid recruiting class

Despite the worst season in South Bend since Charlie Weis and a nearly brand new coaching staff, Notre Dame still managed to cobble together a top 12 class on Signing Day. Tight end Brock Wright was the highest rated player and should see early playing time but the number of quality offensive linemen was really evident in the group Brian Kelly signed. Will it be enough to help with a big turnaround? We’ll see.

Biggest surprise: Memphis runs away with things in the AAC but new coaches still fared well

Given all the turnover in the American this year, it should probably come as no surprise that the Tigers pulled the top recruiting class in the conference. That’s a testament to what Mike Norvell is building with the program and the fact that they don’t have to go far for players. Many of the same factors played a role in Scott Frost landing the second-best class at UCF. It was also pretty impressive what Luke Fickell did on the recruiting trail at Cincinnati and Charlie Strong did at USF given those two didn’t have a ton of time to get things lined up.

Don’t sleep on: Boise State, Colorado State

The Broncos were once again the class of the Mountain West on the recruiting trail and fended off several Pac-12 schools for prospects. That will put them firmly in the mix to win the league again in 2017 but don’t overlook another good job by Mike Bobo and staff at Colorado State in landing 17 three-star players.

We’ll see about: Everybody else