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Davey O’Brien Award watch list highlighted by former finalists, semifinalists and SEC

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The Davey O’Brien Award (top quarterback) took the spotlight in the ongoing college football watch list tour on Wednesday morning. A total of 30 quarterbacks were named to the initial watch list for the award, including six from the SEC along with a few potential Heisman Trophy candidates and a Heisman Trophy winner.

Highlighting the watch list are two finalists from last season; Louisville’s Lamar Jackson and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield. Mayfield has been a two-time finalist for the award. Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett and Washington State’s Luke Falk are also on the watch list and are each two-time semifinalists for the award. Joining them on the watch list are former semifinalists Jake Browning (Washington), Sam Darnold (USC), Jalen Hurts (Alabama), Josh Rosen (UCLA), Mason Rudolph (Oklahoma State)m and Wilton Speight (Michigan).

While the SEC led the way with six watch list players, the ACC, Big 12, and Pac-12 each had four players named to the watch list. The Big Ten had three, with Penn State’s Trace McSorley joining Barrett and Speight.

Clemson’s Deshaun Watson won the Davey O’Brien Award each of the past two seasons, becoming the second two-time winner of the award (Oklahoma’s Jason White in 2003-04). A player does not need to be included on the watch list in order to win the award, but only quarterbacks from the 130 FBS programs are eligible.

2017 Davey O’Brien Award Watch List

Austin Allen, Arkansas
Josh Allen, Wyoming
J.T. Barrett, Ohio State
Jake Bentley, South Carolina
Jake Browning, Washington
Shane Buechele, Texas
Sam Darnold, USC
Eric Dungey, Syracuse
Jacob Eason, Georgia
Jesse Ertz, Kansas State
Luke Falk, Washington State
Riley Ferguson, Memphis
Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State
Quinton Flowers, USF
Deondre Francois, Florida State
Jalen Hurts, Alabama
Lamar Jackson, Louisville
Daniel Jones, Duke
Tanner Mangum, BYU
Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Trace McSorley, Penn State
Shea Patterson, Ole Miss
Josh Rosen, UCLA
Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State
Brett Rypien, Boise State
Brandon Silvers, Troy
Wilton Speight, Michigan
Brent Stockstill, Middle Tennessee
Mike White, WKU
Logan Woodside, Toledo

The Davey O’Brien Award will be trim its watch list down to a handful of semifinalists on November 7. Finalists for the award will be unveiled two weeks later on November 21, and the winner will be announced on December 7 at the annual Home Depot College Football Awards show on ESPN.

ACC, SEC place most DBs on Jim Thorpe Award watch list

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Another day, yet another watch list as the 2017 offseason barrels towards a merciful death.

This time around it’s the Jim Thorpe Award doing the honors, with the trophy given annually to the nation’s top defensive back releasing a watch list consisting of a mere 45 players from all 10 FBS conferences.  Headlining this year’s list are a pair of semifinalists from a year ago, Louisville’s Jaire Alexander and Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick.

The ACC and SEC lead all conferences with seven players apiece selected, followed by the Pac-12’s six and five each for the Big Ten and Big 12.  Conference USA was next with four, while the AAC, MAC and Sun Belt had three and the Mountain West two.

Alabama, Florida State and Stanford were the only programs with two players each selected.

USC’s Adoree’ Jackson won the 2016 version of the Thorpe Award.  The other finalists for last year’s trophy were Michigan’s Jourdan Lewis and LSU’s Tre’Davious White.  All three of those players were selected in the 2017 NFL draft.

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.

Academic issues cost Davion Freeman his career at Wyoming

Craig Bohl
Wyoming athletics
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A classroom issue has left Wyoming a little thinner in the defensive secondary than they were at the beginning of the week.

A school spokesperson confirmed to the Wyoming Tribune Eagle that Davion Freeman is no longer a member of the Craig Bohl‘s Cowboys football team.  Unspecified academic issues were given as the reason behind the cornerback’s departure.

After redshirting as a true freshman, Freeman played in all 14 games last season.  He wasn’t, however, credited with a tackle in that span.

Coming out of spring practice this year, he was one of the Cowboys’ starting kick returners and was a backup punt returner.  He failed to crack to the two-deep depth chart at any of the corner spots.

In addition to Freeman, the Tribune Eagle also notes that offensive lineman Richard Bettencourt has been medically disqualified because of an ongoing shoulder issue.  The junior played in 11 games during his time with the Cowboys.

Utah and Wyoming add home-and-home series in 2020, 2025

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Former Mountain West Conference foes Utah and Wyoming are set to revive a long-time series with an upcoming home-and-home series.

Wyoming will host Utah on September 19, 2020. Utah will serve as host in the second game of the series, but not until September 19, 2020.

“This is a great opportunity for us to renew a traditional rivalry that goes back to the Skyline Conference, through the WAC and the Mountain West Conference,” said Tom Burman, University of Wyoming Athletics Director, in a released statement. “We’re excited for our fans, particularly in Western Wyoming.”

“This will be an outstanding opportunity for us to play another quality PAC-12 opponent in the coming years,” Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl said. “We look forward to the challenge as we continue to take steps forward in the development of our football program.”

Any time a school from the Mountain West Conference can line up a home-and-home deal with a program from the power conferences is a scheduling win regardless of the outcome on the field. In 2020, Utah will be the second power conference opponent Wyoming will face. The Cowboys are scheduled to visit Texas Tech of the Big 12 the week prior to hosting Utah. As of now, Utah is the only opponent on Wyoming’s non-conference schedule in 2025, but Wyoming has a number of power conference opponents lined up in the coming years, including a road trip to Iowa to open the 2017 season and a home game against Oregon in mid-September. Wyoming also has future dates with Clemson, Washington State, Missouri, Illinois, and Arizona State.

Utah continues to keep old Mountain West Conference on the future schedules. Utah will play BYU this fall and annually through 2022. Utah also has future games against San Jose State (this season) and San Diego State in addition to this new series with Wyoming.

Utah and Wyoming have faced each other 84 times overall, with Utah owning the 51-32-1 edge in the all-time series that started in 1904, according to FBSchedules.com. The teams last squared off in 2010 in MWC play, with Utah winning by a score of 30-6. Utah has won the last four meetings and 10 of the last 11 games in the series.