UNLV Rebels

Part of a record crowd of 50,500 watches Clemson's spring football game Saturday, April 9, 2016, at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, S.C. (Ken Ruinard/Anderson Independent-Mail via AP)
Ken Ruinard/Anderson Independent-Mail via AP

Clemson is No. 1 in spring game attendance (for now)

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Coming off one of the most successful seasons in program history, the Clemson Tigers saw the largest crowd attend its spring game during the second weekend of April. With an estimated 50,000 fans coming out to see the defending ACC champs in action, Clemson narrowly edged division rival Florida State for the top spot in the early going of the spring football game attendance leader board.

If history is any indication, Clemson will not remain on top for very long unless Mother Nature gets involved. Ohio State set the record last year with nearly 100,000 coming out to see the defending national champions. Urban Meyer is hoping to cross the 100,000-fan barrier this year. Alabama, Tennessee, Nebraska and Penn State are all traditionally big draws for spring football games as well, and they each have spring games still to be played.

When evaluating spring game attendance it is important to keep a few things in mind. First, every school handles the number differently. Some keep an actual count, while others merely give a rough estimate. Some do not even bother to keep track at all, which is why not every spring game attendance can be accounted for. Second, some spring games are held in a different venue than the football stadium. For example, Stanford held a spring scrimmage in a soccer stadium with a much smaller capacity. So take some of these numbers for what they are with all of that in mind.

Here are the most up-to-date spring game attendance numbers as of April 12, 2016 as provided by each school (note: schools with no attendance tracked are not included, as are schools that did not respond to College Football Talk via email on the subject);

  1. Clemson – 50,000
  2. Florida State – 49,913
  3. Florida – 46,000
  4. Auburn – 45,723 (read more about Auburn’s attendance)
  5. Oklahoma – 42,436
  6. Michigan – 35,000
  7. South Carolina – 32,916
  8. Texas A&M – 27,412
  9. BYU – 18,000
  10. Boise State – 6,100
  11. Colorado – 5,100
  12. UNLV – 2,800
  13. Stanford – 2,500
  14. Wake Forest – 2,100
  15. Nevada – 600
  16. Air Force – 500

All updates to this year’s spring game attendance database can be viewed HERE, and you can break the data down by conference.

UNLV hires Tony Samuel to coach defensive line

BERKELEY, CA - SEPTEMBER  7:  New Mexico State head coach Tony Samuel during the game with the California Golden Bears on September 7, 2002 at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, California. (Photo By Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
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Tony, meet Tony.

On Wednesday UNLV head coach Tony Sanchez announced the hiring of Tony Samuel as the Rebels’ new defensive line coach. Samuel spent the 2015 season in a similar capacity at Georgia State, helping the Panthers jump from 121st nationally in yards per play allowed all the way to 43rd en route to the program’s first-ever bowl appearance.

“I’ve known Tony Samuel since 1997 and we have had a long-lasting relationship,” Sanchez said in a statement. “He’s a tremendous football coach with a proven track record of success and we are fortunate to have him at UNLV.”

Samuel jumped into coaching at Western Michigan in 1982 but made his name in the business during an 11-year stint as outside linebackers/rush ends coach for Tom Osborne at Nebraska. From there he deposited head coaching stints at New Mexico State (1997-04) and Southeast Missouri State (2006-13).

“I have stayed in touch with Tony since we first met when I was taking over at New Mexico State and there is a lot of familiarity with a lot of people on the staff,” Samuel said. “I am excited about the potential of what can happen at UNLV and looking forward to being a part of it.”

In 2015, UNLV finished 107th nationally in yards per play allowed, tied for 126th in tackles for loss and a dead last 128th in sacks.

UNLV losing an assistant to Arizona State

TUCSON, AZ - NOVEMBER 28:  Head coach Todd Graham of the Arizona State Sun Devils stands with his team before taking the field for the Territorial Cup college football game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on November 28, 2014 in Tucson, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Instead of losing an assistant as has ofttimes been the case of late, it appears Todd Graham is gaining one for his Arizona State coaching staff.

According to a report from the Arizona Republic, Graham is set to hire Joe Seumalo as the Sun Devils’ defensive line coach.  Seumalo would replace Jackie Shipp, who left earlier this month for the same job at Missouri.

Seumalo spent the 2015 season as the line coach at UNLV.  The Las Vegas Sun notes that Seumalo is the first assistant to leave the Rebels staff since Tony Sanchez took over the football program in December of 2014.

Prior to his time in Sin City, Seumalo spent six seasons as an assistant at Oregon State.  He was an assistant at Fresno State for one year before that.

The last six months, Graham has seen six assistants leave for various reasons.  The latest was Kodi Burns, who was hired as ASU’s running backs coach a month ago but left Monday for a job at his alma mater Auburn.  According to the Republic, and with Seumalo’s pending hire, “ASU’s defensive staff appears set.”

That leaves Graham with needing to find a replacement for Burns at running backs coach to complete his staff.  For now, at least.

UNLV would benefit from push to bring NFL, Raiders to Las Vegas

Las Vegas Strip casinos are seen from the 550 foot-tall (167.6 m) High Roller observation wheel, the tallest in the world, in Las Vegas, Nevada April 9, 2014. The wheel is the centerpiece of the $550 million Linq project, a retail, dining and entertainment district by Caesars Entertainment Corp. REUTERS/Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus (UNITED STATES - Tags: TRAVEL BUSINESS SOCIETY CITYSCAPE)
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The St. Louis Rams are heading to Los Angeles. The San Diego Chargers may be joining them. While that may lead to some temporary overcrowding in the Los Angeles Coliseum for three seasons, the long-term picture sees a fabulous new football venue that could easily become a destination for college football on a regular basis, from neutral site early-season events to the possible relocation or alternating host site for the Pac-12 Championship Game to hosting College Football Playoff national title games. There is much to be excited about the NFL’s move to Los Angeles for college football fans. The same could eventually prove to be the case in Las Vegas, much to UNLV’s delight.

On Thursday reports surfaced about the push by Las Vegas Sands to work out a deal to work with UNLV to build a new “special events stadium” costing up to $1 billion on land owned by the university. UNLV reportedly owns 42 acres of land and that land is being called a “prime location” by Las Vegas Sands Corp., a giant name in the casino business. The company ideally would like to build a 65,000 seat stadium in southern Nevada, which would then be used as a sales pitch to lure the Oakland Raiders to the desert. Like the Rams and Chargers, the Raiders had contemplated a move out of Oakland, but the possible relocation to Los Angeles seemed to fall apart. The door for relocation, however, was not officially shut by the NFL franchise.

Andy Abboud, senior vice president of government relations and community development for Las Vegas Sands, says the stadium project will advance regardless of being able to get a franchise from the NFL.

“We are moving forward with the stadium concept with or without an NFL team,” Abboud said Thursday. “We see a lot more opportunities — conference championships, bowl games, NFL exhibition football, boxing, soccer, neutral site games, and music festivals. There is an entire segment out there.”

You would have to figure one of those segments would include UNLV football, since this would be on UNLV’s property. And that would be fantastic news for the Rebels. Sam Boyd Stadium has had a good run, and UNLV purchased the land with the intent of building a new home for the football program anyway. With a large backer like the Sands picking up the bulk of the tab for the new stadium, that is a pure win for UNLV football.

There are a few things worth noting here that should not be overlooked. Despite what is being said, it is very much a possibility the extent of the plans to build a stadium would be dependent on the NFL voting to allow the Raiders to move to Las Vegas. Given the NFL’s recent history against gambling (see daily sports leagues in New York), it is fair to say moving a franchise into the country’s gambling epicenter would be a long shot. But the NFL is in business for one reason and one reason only, and that is making money without ever really having to pay for it when possible. A commitment to build and fund a stadium project that could cost as much as $1 billion might seem attractive, and it would almost certainly spark interest. If Las Vegas can’t get an NFL team, the plans to build a top-of-the-line stadium probably get filed away for another time down the road.

With or without the NFL, if Las Vegas Sands is committed to building a new stadium for events, then UNLV will benefit as a result.

Hall of Fame announces 16-member 2016 class

Randall Cunningham
UNLV athletics
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As has become customary this time of the year, the College Football Hall of Fame has announced yet another class on its way to enshrinement.

Friday afternoon in Arizona, the National Football Foundation announced that is 16 individuals strong — 14 players, two head coaches.  The NFF stated that “[t]he inductees were selected from the national ballot of 76 All-America players and five elite coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision and the 92 players and 27 coaches from the divisional ranks.”

Of the 14 players on their way to induction, 11 came from the FBS level — 10 from Power Five programs — while the other three hail from the likes of Nebraska-Omaha (quarterback Marlin Briscoe), Harvard (punter Pat McInally) and Ashland (OH) (linebacker Bill Royce). Both of the coaches set for enshrinement come from non-FBS programs — New Hampshire’s Bill Bowes and Frank Girardi of Lycoming (Pa.).

Below are the complete list of individuals who will officially be inducted during a ceremony Dec. 6 in New York City:

Marlin Briscoe – QB, Nebraska Omaha (1964-67)
Derrick Brooks – LB, Florida State (1991-94)
Tom Cousineau – LB, Ohio State (1975-78)
Randall Cunningham – P/QB, UNLV (1982-84)
Troy Davis – TB, Iowa State (1994-96)
William Fuller – DT, North Carolina (1981-83)
Bert Jones – QB, LSU (1970-72)
Tim Krumrie – DL, Wisconsin (1979-82)
Pat McInally – TE, Harvard (1972-74)
Herb Orvis – DE, Colorado (1969-71)
Bill Royce – LB, Ashland (Ohio) (1990-93)
Mike Utley – OG, Washington State (1985-88)
Scott Woerner – DB, Georgia (1977-80)
Rod Woodson – DB, Purdue (1983-86)

“We are extremely proud to announce the 2016 College Football Hall of Fame Class,” said Archie Manning, NFF Chairman and a 1989 College Football Hall of Famer from Mississippi. “Each of these men has established himself among the absolute best to have ever played or coached the game, and we look forward to immortalizing their incredible accomplishments.”

Now, for those who are wondering — and are pissed off because Player X from Y State University isn’t on his way to enshrinement — below are the Hall of Fame’s ofttimes controversial rules for induction:

1. First and foremost, a player must have received First Team All-America recognition by a selector organization that is recognized by the NCAA and utilized to comprise their consensus All-America teams.

2. A player becomes eligible for consideration by the Foundation’s honors courts ten years after his final year of intercollegiate football played.

3. While each nominee’s football achievements in college are of prime consideration, his post football record as a citizen is also weighed. He must have proven himself worthy as a citizen, carrying the ideals of football forward into his relations with his community and fellow man. Consideration may also be given for academic honors and whether or not the candidate earned a college degree.

4. Players must have played their last year of intercollegiate football within the last 50 years*. For example, to be eligible for the 2016 ballot, the player must have played his last year in 1966 or thereafter. In addition, players who are playing professionally and coaches who are coaching on the professional level are not eligible until after they retire.

5. A coach becomes eligible three years after retirement or immediately following retirement provided he is at least 70 years of age. Active coaches become eligible at 75 years of age. He must have been a head coach for a minimum of 10 years and coached at least 100 games with a .600 winning percentage.

* Players that do not comply with the 50-year rule may still be eligible for consideration by the Football Bowl Subdivision and Divisional Honors Review Committees, which examine unique cases.