Nevada Wolf Pack

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Body of Nevada’s Marc Ma found, a year after he was presumed drowned

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Sadly, there is some closure for the family, friends and teammates of Marc Ma.

In mid-June of last year, Ma was one of a half-dozen or so Nevada football players who went paddle boarding on Lake Tahoe.  At some point, the group, only one of whom was wearing a life vest, was all washed off their boards, with the 20-year-old Ma heading back to shore to get help.

Ma subsequently disappeared, with the marina staff finding only his paddle board and personal flotation device.  It was presumed that Ma had drowned as his body wasn’t recovered.

That all changed over the weekend as Ma’s head coach, Brian Polian, confirmed Tuesday that the player’s body has been recovered from Lake Tahoe.

The recovery came, writes, after “Ma’s family hired private contractor “Bruce’s Legacy,” which is equipped with a specialized robotic camera system. Ma’s body was found in 240 feet of water very near where he was last seen, and was brought to shore with the aid of personnel from the Placer County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Nevada names ‘Bama transfer as starting QB, but doesn’t say he’ll start opener

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David Cornwell, an Alabama transfer, will be Nevada’s starting quarterback — until he isn’t.

Wolf Pack head coach Jay Norvell said at Pac-12 media days that Cornwell will enter fall camp, which begins Monday, as the starter but that doesn’t mean Cornwell will actually start Nevada’s opener at Northwestern.

“David’s the starting quarterback right now and he’ll have to compete and earn that spot throughout training camp and if there’s reason for him not to be (the starting quarterback) we’ll address,” Norvell said, via the Reno Gazette-Journal. “Until we see that, we won’t make any changes at that position.”

A junior from Jones, Okla., Cornwell did not throw a pass with the Crimson Tide. He started Nevada’s spring game and completed 22-of-33 throws for 302 yards with two touchdowns.

“David fits those qualities and demonstrated those strengths the best out of all of our quarterbacks in the spring, and that’s why he was the starting quarterback,” said Norvell. “And the way he played in the spring game gave us even more evidence of that.”

Cornwell’s competition for the starting spot will be incumbent Ty Gangi, also a junior. Gangi appeared in 10 games last season, nailing 99-of-172 throws for 1,301 yards with eight touchdowns against six interceptions whilst rushing 49 times for 217 yards and three scores.


Pair of 2016 finalists headline Outland Trophy watch list

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In yet another sign that the offseason is quickly coming to an end and another season is rapidly approaching, the Outland Trophy has become the latest college football award to release its preseason watch list.

Given annually to the nation’s top interior linemen on either side of the ball, the Outland’s watch list this year consists of 81 players from all 10 FBS conferences.  Headlining that group are Washington State senior guard Cody O’Connell (pictured, No. 76) and Texas junior offensive tackle Connor Williams, two of the three finalists for the 2016 award won by Alabama offensive tackle Cam Robinson.

From the release, courtesy of the Football Writers Association of America:

The ACC (17) led all conferences with members on the Watch List, followed by the Big Ten and SEC (11 each), Pac-12 (10), American Athletic (9), Big 12 and Mid-American (6 each), Independents and Mountain West (4 each), Conference USA (2) and Sun Belt (1).

The list includes 24 offensive tackles, 21 defensive tackles, 20 centers and 16 offensive guards.

ACC tops as Bronko Nagurski watch list hits triple digits

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It may not be the biggest award in college football, but it’s certainly the most voluminous.

Watch List Season continued unabated Thursday morning, with the Bronko Nagurski Trophy revealing a group which consists of a whopping 103 FBA players.  Within that triple-digit preseason club, there are 30 defensive backs, 29 linebackers, 25 defensive ends and 19 defensive tackles.

Two 2016 first-team Football Writers Association of America All-Americans appear on the list — Clemson’s Christian Wilkins (pictured) and Florida State’s Tarvarus McFadden.

Conference-wise, the ACC leads with 20 players selected for the initial watch list.  The Big Ten is next with 16, followed by the SEC’s 14, the Pac-12’s 13 and the Big 12’s 11.  The AAC paced Group of Five leagues with 10, with the Sun Belt (6), Mountain West (5), Mid-American (3) and Conference USA (2) rounding out the conferences, while football independents chipped in the remaining three.

The Nagurski Trophy has been handed out annually since 1993 to college football’s best defensive player.  Last year’s winner was Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen.

Iowa lands Nevada’s leading rusher as a graduate transfer

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The speculation involving one of the most dynamic performers on Nevada’s offense has officially come to fruition — at least from the player’s perspective.

Over the past week or so, rumblings had been growing that James Butler was given strong consideration to transferring from the Wolf Pack.  Tuesday, the running back confirmed via Twitter that he will indeed be taking his leave of the Mountain West football program.

Not only that, but he revealed his new college football home as well — Iowa.

As a graduate transfer, Butler will be eligible to play for the Hawkeyes in 2017, his final year of eligibility.

Last season, Butler was far and away the Wolf Pack’s leading rusher, topping the team in rushing yards (1,336) and rushing touchdowns (12). It was the second straight year he led the team in both categories (1,345-10 in 2015).

For good measure, he was second on the team with 37 receptions for 381 yards and three receiving touchdowns.

The Hawkeyes lost second-leading rusher LeShun Daniels (1,058 yards) to the NFL. Leading rusher Akrum Wadley (1,081) returns for the 2017 season.