Oregon State Beavers

Oregon State quarterback Seth Collins throws down field against Arizona during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
AP Photo/Rick Scuteri

Oregon State QB transfer lands at Northern Illinois

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A day after signing day, Northern Illinois put the finishing touches on its Class of 2016 with the addition of Oregon State transfer quarterback Seth Collins.

“We’re really happy to have Seth, he’s a quality, quality young man,” said NIU head coach Rod Carey in a released statement. “He’s obviously a fantastic football player and a great quarterback, and he comes from a great family who we have gotten to know during this process. We look forward to having him on campus with the rest of the class this summer and to 2017 when he will be eligible to suit up and play for us.”

As noted by Carey, Collins will not be eligible to play for the Huskies until the 2017 season. NCAA transfer rules mean Collins will have to sit out the 2016 season, but he can join the team in all other activities other than playing games.

Collins left Oregon State as speculation grew he was possibly going to be moved to wide receiver. At NIU it looks as though he will be locked into playing quarterback for the MAC squad. Collins started seven games for the Beavers in 2015 before being sidelined with a knee injury.

Mammoth bones unearthed in end zone of OSU’s Resar Stadium

BILLINGSHURST, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 26:  A woolly mammoth skeleton is displayed at Summers Place Auctions on November 26, 2014 in Billingshurst, England. The ice age mammoth skeleton, complete with tusks, fetched £189,000 to a telephone bidder. The woolly mammoth died out about 10,000 years ago. Errol Fuller, the curator of the sale, said: 'This is a virtually complete Mammoth skeleton with beautiful tusks, which makes it particularly rare. Its impressive size of 3.5 metres  (11'6) height and 5.5 metres (18') long, suggests it may be a male Mammoth and may have weighed up to six tonnes in its lifetime'.  (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
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Here’s something you normally don’t hear every day. Or ever, actually.

Construction crews are in the midst of an expansion project, which began shortly after the end of the 2015 season, at Oregon State’s Resar Stadium. Monday, those crews were digging in the north end zone of the stadium when they stumbled across what’s believed to be the femur from a woolly mammoth. Additionally, the bones of several other extinct mammals were found.

Mammoth bonesThe area where the bones were found is believed to have been a bog or marsh around the time mammoths roamed the area 10,000-plus years ago. An Oregon State professor of anthropology said in a school release that “[a]nimals who were sick would often go to a body of water and die there, so it’s not unusual to find a group of bones like this;” given the Beavers’ 115th-ranked scoring offense in 2015, that visual of what led to the end zone find is more than apropos.

As for construction, work in that area of the stadium has been temporarily halted as the school’s anthropology department further investigates the site of the find. Because no human remains or human artifacts have been found, it’s not considered an archaeological site and therefore the site is not subject to regulations that would halt work for a significant period of time.

As it stands now, the project manager stated that the delay in construction because of the find has been minimal.

The Valley Football Center expansion and renovation project is still expected to be completed prior to the start of the 2016 season.

(Photo credit: Oregon State University)

SEC, Ohio State tops on Carolina, Denver Super Bowl rosters

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 29:  Former Tennesse quarterback Peyton Manning and current quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts is honored alongside his former college coach Phillip Fulmer before the start of the game against the South Carolina Gamecocks on October 29, 2005 at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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Cam Newton may be hurtling toward history, but the former Auburn quarterback will not be the lone player representing the SEC in next month’s Super Bowl.  In fact, he’s far, far from it.

As you may have heard, Newton’s Carolina Panthers are set to square off with Peyton Manning‘s Denver Broncos in the 50th Super Bowl Feb. 3.  Manning and Newton are two of and FBS-best 30 former SEC players who are on the two teams’ rosters, which includes those on the 53-man, reserved/injured list, practice squad, reserved/suspended by commissioner and reserve/future squad.

The Pac-12 is next with 23, followed by the Big Ten (21) and ACC (17).  The final Power Five conference, the Big 12, has 10, three less than the Mountain West’s 13.  The AAC, with eight, is the only Group of Five league to come close to double digits.  The MAC, meanwhile, is the only conference to be shutout, while all of the other divisions in the NCAA combined for 18 players.

Nearly every SEC team is represented in this year’s big game, the lone exception being Vanderbilt.  Of the dozen schools in the Pac-12, only Arizona and Washington State are missing.  Both the ACC and Big Ten have 11 of their 14 teams in the game, the lone exceptions being Clemson, Louisville and Virginia Tech for the former and Illinois, Minnesota and Rutgers for the latter.

One of those B1G schools that’s in, Nebraska, has had at least one player on a Super Bowl roster for 23 straight years, the longest active streak for any FBS program.

Ohio State easily outdistances individual schools with seven, three more than the four each for Auburn, Georgia Tech, Oregon State and Tennessee.  Alabama, Arizona State, Colorado State, Georgia, Nevada, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas A&M, USC and Utah.

A total of 20 schools have two players each, including Coastal Carolina, the only non-FBS program in the group.  The other 19 includes Arkansas, Boise State, Duke, Florida, Florida State, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi State, Missouri, North Carolina, San Diego State, South Carolina, Stanford, Troy, Tulane, Washington and Wisconsin.

Seth Collins abruptly decides to leave the Beavers

PULLMAN, WA - OCTOBER 17: Quarterback Seth Collins #4 of the Oregon State Beavers carries the ball in the second quarter against the Washington State Cougars at Martin Stadium on October 17, 2015 in Pullman, Washington. (Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images)
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Seth Collins began the 2015 season looking like he may be the answer at the all-important quarterback position for Oregon State.  Now, Collins will begin the 2016 offseason looking for a new place to play football.

In a move that seemingly came out of nowhere, OSU announced that Collins has elected to leave the Beavers and continue his playing career elsewhere.  No reason was given for the decision, although there was speculation late last year that the coaching staff was considering moving Collins to receiver.

Whether that potential created some dissension between the two sides is unknown.

“Seth has made the decision to transfer and we wish him good luck,” head coach Gary Andersen said in a rather brief and terse statement.

“I thank Oregon State for a great year,” Collins said in his. “But it is in my best interest to pursue my education and football somewhere else.”

Collins, a two-star member of OSU’s 2015 recruiting class coming out of high school in California, started the first seven games of his true freshman season. However, a knee injury knocked him out of the next four, with Nick Mitchell taking over as the starter.

Despite missing one-third of the season, Collins led the team with 575 yards rushing and eight rushing touchdowns. In fact, he had more than half of the Beavers’ 15 rushing touchdowns.

Collins struggled in the passing game, however. He completed under 52 percent of his attempts, and had just six touchdown passes vs. four interceptions. If he had enough attempts to qualify, he would’ve been 101st in the country in passing efficiency.

2016 early NFL draft entries fall just shy of ’14 record

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So close, yet so far.  Well, technically speaking it is.

With the deadline for early entry into the NFL draft in the rearview, the NFL announced Friday that 96 players “have been granted special eligibility for the 2016 NFL Draft” and will be eligible to be selected during the April 28-30 event in Chicago. While that’s significantly more than 74 draft-eligible sophomores and juniors who declared last year, it falls two shy of the record 98 who declared early for the 2014 draft.

For some perspective, the number of players combined who declared early for the 2007 (40) and 2008 (53) falls short of the number for this year alone.

Another 11 players with eligibility remaining “have in timely fashion under NFL rules officially notified the league office that they have fulfilled their degree requirements” and are thus eligible for the draft as well. Those 11 are…

2016 NFL Draft I

Of the 96 deemed by the NFL as having special draft eligibility granted, 48 played defense and 46 were from the offensive side of the ball. There were also two kickers in this category — Southern Oregon’s Aldrick Ross and British Columbia’s Quinn van Gylswyk.

A total of 18 defensive ends and tackles are included, while the secondary, combining both cornerbacks and safeties, has 17. On the offensive side, 16 running backs are in the group, joined by 12 offensive linemen and 10 running backs. Just four draft-eligible quarterbacks cannonballed into the pool: Cal’s Jared Goff, Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg, Ohio State’s Cardale Jones and Memphis’ Paxton Lynch.

The SEC, naturally, leads all conferences in NFL-designated special draft eligibility — The Shield differentiates this year between them and those who have eligibility remaining but earned degrees — with 25 players leaving early.  12 of the 14 teams in that conference have at least one player in the group, the lone exceptions being Kentucky and Missouri. Next up is the 15 of the Big Ten and Pac-12; the only other conference in double digits is the ACC (11).  The lone remaining Power Five conference, the Big 12, just missed with nine.

The most of any Group of Five league is the Mountain West’s four.  Two conferences, Conference USA and the Sun Belt, had no players granted special eligibility.

Individually, Ohio State saw seven players deemed to have met the NFL’s criteria for special eligibility, followed by UCLA with six and Clemson with five.  Below are the other individual schools with more than one player in this category:

4 — Notre Dame
3 — Arkansas, Baylor, Mississippi State, Ole Miss
2 — Alabama, Arizona, Auburn, Cal, Indiana, LSU, Oklahoma, West Virginia

And, below this, are all of the 96 players with special eligibility for the NFL draft:

Bralon Addison, WR, Oregon
Dominique Alexander, LB, Oklahoma
Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson
Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State
Demarcus Ayers, WR, Houston
Peyton Barber, RB, Auburn
Vonn Bell, DB, Ohio State
Caleb Benenoch, OL, UCLA
Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor
Dariusz Bladek, OG, Bethune-Cookman
Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
Tyler Boyd, WR, Pittsburgh
Daniel Braverman, WR, Western Michigan
Beniquez Brown, LB, Mississippi State
Artie Burns, CB, Miami
Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA
Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor
Trenton Coles, DB, Duquesne
Alex Collins, RB, Arkansas
Maliek Collins, DT, Nebraska
Jack Conklin, OL, Michigan State
Pharoh Cooper, WR, South Carolina
Kamalei Correa, DL, Boise State
Su’a Cravens, LB, USC
Elijah Daniel, DT, Murray State
Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson
Thomas Duarte, WR, UCLA
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
Leonard Floyd, LB, Georgia
Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame
Jared Goff, QB, Cal
T.J. Green, S, Clemson
David Grinnage, TE, North Carolina State
Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida
Jerald Hawkins, OL, LSU
Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama
Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas
Willie Henry, DT, Michigan
Rashard Higgins, WR, Colorado State
Austin Hooper, TE, Stanford
Jordan Howard, RB, Indiana
Xavien Howard, CB, Baylor
Germain Ifedi, OT, Texas A&M
Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
Quinton Jefferson, DL, Maryland
Cardale Jones, QB, Ohio State
Cayleb Jones, WR, Arizona
Chris Jones, DL, Mississippi State
Jayron Kearse, DB, Clemson
Denver Kirkland, OT, Arkansas
Darius Latham, DL, Indiana
Kenny Lawler, WR, Cal
Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State
Roger Lewis, WR, Bowling Green
Steve Longa, LB, Rutgers
Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
Jalin Marshall, WR, Ohio State
Alex McCalister, DE, Florida
Brett McMakin, LB, Northern Iowa
Keanu Neal, S, Florida
Yannick Ngakoue, DL, Maryland
Robert Nkemdiche, DL, Ole Miss
Marquez North, WR, Tennessee
Emmanuel Ogbah, DL, Oklahoma State
Paul Perkins, RB, UCLA
C.J. Prosise, RB, Notre Dame
Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State
Alex Redmond, OL, UCLA
Hassan Ridgeway, DT, Texas
A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama
Demarcus Robinson, WR, Florida
Rashard Robinson, CB, LSU
Aldrick Rosas, K, Southern Oregon
Zack Sanchez, CB, Oklahoma
Isaac Seumalo, OL, Oregon State
Wendell Smallwood, RB, West Virginia
Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame
Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
Kelvin Taylor, RB, Florida
Ron Thompson, DE, Syracuse
Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
Quinn van Gylswyk, K, British Columbia
Nick Vigil, LB, Utah State
Cleveland Wallace III, CB, San Jose State
Dwayne Washington, RB, Washington
Stephen Weatherly, LB, Vanderbilt
De’Runnya Wilson, WR, Mississippi State
Daryl Worley, CB, West Virginia
Scooby Wright III, LB, Arizona
Avery Young, OL, Auburn