Oregon State Beavers

SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 05:  Running back Christian McCaffrey #5 of the Stanford Cardinal stiff arms cornerback Iman Marshall #8 of the USC Trojans on a kick return during the first quarter of the Pac-12 Championship game at Levi's Stadium on December 5, 2015 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Hornung Award watch list headlined by 2015 winner Christian McCaffrey

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And then there were none.

The avalanche of watch lists (I believe) (I hope) has come to a merciful end for another year, with the Hornung Award becoming the final college football honor to be released.  This year’s Hornung Award consists of 43 players, including 2015 winner Christian McCaffrey of Stanford.

Additionally, two other 2015 finalists have returned as watch listers — Adoree’ Jackson of USC and Jabrill Peppers of Michigan.

First given out in 2010, the Hornung Award, named in honor of Notre Dame legend Paul Hornung, honors the nation’s most versatile player.

“I’m ecstatic that the Paul Hornung Award has gained national prominence in such a short time,” Hornung said in a statement. “During the past six years the quality of our winners, finalists and weekly honorees has been impressive, and I’m pleased that we are able to acknowledge outstanding players who contribute any way possible to help their teams win the way I did.

“I enjoy following the players on our Watch List and watching many of our winners and finalists from the first six years as they make their marks in the NFL.”

From the award’s release:

The 2016 Watch List is composed of 21 seniors, 13 juniors and nine sophomores who start at a total of seven different positions, and represent 42 universities and all 10 conferences that are part of the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). The Pac-12 leads the conferences with eight players followed by the ACC and SEC with seven players and the Big Ten with six players.

Below is the complete 2016 Paul Hornung Award preseason watch list:

Ishmael Adams, UCLA
Victor Bolden Jr., Oregon State
Antonio Callaway, Florida
Seth Collins, Oregon State
Jared Cornelius, Arkansas
Tim Crawley, San Jose State
DeVon Edwards, Duke
Brisly Estime, Syracuse
Johnathan Ford, Auburn
Janarion Grant, Rutgers
Nyheim Hines, NC State
Brandon Holloway, Mississippi State
Adoree’ Jackson, USC
D’Ernest Johnson, South Florida
Quay Johnson, East Carolina
Xavier Johnson, South Alabama
Corey Jones, Toledo
Desmond King, Iowa
Christian Kirk, Texas A&M
Donovan Lee, Colorado
William Likely, Maryland
Jalen McCleskey, Oklahoma State
Christian McCaffrey, Stanford
Elijah McGuire, Louisiana Lafayette
Isaiah McKenzie, Georgia
Charles Nelson, Oregon
Zach Pascal, Old Dominion
Rashaad Penny, San Diego State
Jabrill Peppers, Michigan
Darius Phillips, Western Michigan
Trevor Ryen, Iowa State
Artavis Scott, Clemson
R.J. Shelton, Michigan State
Cameron Sutton, Tennessee
Ryan Switzer, North Carolina
Jahad Thomas, Temple
Aregeros Turner, Northern Illinois
KaVontae Turpin, TCU
Tim White, Arizona State
Jordan Whitehead, Pittsburgh
Brandon Wilson, Houston
Dontre Wilson, Ohio State
Olamide Zaccheaus, Virginia

TE Caleb Smith reportedly leaves the Beavers

EUGENE, OR - NOVEMBER 29:  Caleb Smith #10 of the Oregon State Beavers is tackled by Tyrell Robinson #19 of the Oregon Ducks during the 117th playing of the Civil War on November 29, 2013 at the Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
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Last week it was reported that a pair of Oregon State football players had taken medical retirements.  Thursday, it appears the attrition on the Beavers’ roster continues.

Citing sources close to the team, The Oregonian is reporting that Caleb Smith is no longer with the team. “The sources would not comment on the reason for his departure from the roster and Smith did not immediately respond to a request for comment,” the newspaper wrote.

In 2013, his 25 receptions for 343 yards and four touchdowns were all second among OSU tight ends.  In 2014, he was second among that group again with 20-202-1.  His production plummeted to just one catch for nine yards last season, due in large part to an illness that knocked him out for all but two games.

For his career, the 6-6, 270-pound Smith finishes with 573 yards and five touchdowns on 48 receptions.

In addition to Smith, the same paper also reported that reserve offensive lineman Drew Clarkson is taking a medical retirement because of a second cancer-related surgery.

For first time ever, media taps Stanford as preseason Pac-12 favorite

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 7:  Stanford Cardinal players, including cornerback Quenton Meeks #24, sing the fight song after a 42-10 win over the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field on November 7, 2015 in Boulder, Colorado.  (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
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While all preseason polls are relatively useless, at least this one has a historical tinge to it.

As the Pac-12 kicked off its so-far-off-the-radar-it’s-not-even-on-the-screen Media Days, the conference announced that the media has tapped Stanford as its preseason favorite.  It’s the first time in the 56 years of this poll that the Cardinal has been the media’s preseason favorite.

Stanford was actually an overwhelming favorite of the media, receiving 20 of the 33 first-place votes.  Others receiving votes were USC (5), Washington (4), UCLA (3), Utah (1).

Suffice to say, Stanford is  sizable favorite to win the North division, claiming 24 first-place votes to finish well ahead of Washington (8) and Oregon (1).  In the South, the media sees it as a two-horse race between USC and UCLA, with the Bruins receiving 19 first-place votes and and the Trojans 12.  Utah received the other two votes.

Oregon State, meanwhile, is a unanimous selection to finish at the bottom of the North.

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Headed by ACC’s 15, record 88 player named to Wuerffel watch list

GAINESVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 28:  Quarterback Danny Wuerffel #7 of the Florida Gators readies to throw during a game against the Kentucky Wildcats on September 28, 1996 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.  The Gators defeated the Wildcats 65-0.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Records were made to be broken, even this kind of a record, I guess.

Continuing the watch list avalanche is the Wuerffel Trophy, which announced 88 players have been recognized as part of the annual preseason grouping.  That number is a record for the award, which is named in honor of former Florida great Danny Wuerffel and is awarded to the FBS player that “best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.”

The 2015 winner of the Wuerffel was Oklahoma’s Ty Darlington.

As far as the conference-by-conference breakdown?  From the release:

The Atlantic Coast Conference led all conferences with 15 players appearing on the 2016 watch list. Following the ACC are the SEC with 12 players, Conference USA with 10 and the Big 10 and Big 12 with 9 players each. The American Athletic followed with 8 players while the Sun Belt added 7, the PAC 12 submitted 6 and the MAC and Mountain West followed with 4 each. All FBS Conferences are represented on the list, as were Independent representatives BYU and United States Military Academy (Army) with 1 nominee each.

Below is the complete 2016 Wuerffel Trophy preseason watch list:

JK Scott, Alabama, Junior, P
O.J. Howard, Alabama, Senior, TE
Darian Small, Appalachian State, Senior, DL
Vilami “Laiu” Moeakiola, Arizona State, Senior, LB
Brooks Ellis, Arkansas, Senior, LB
Blaise Taylor, Arkansas State, Junior, DB
Andrew King, Army, Senior, LB
Daniel Carlson, Auburn, Junior, PK
Seth Russell, Baylor, Senior, QB
Mitchell Juergens, BYU, Senior, WR
Jonny Linehan, BYU, Senior, P
Jack Austin, California, Junior, WR
Jamal Covington, Charlotte, Senior, OL
Deshaun Watson, Clemson, Junior, QB
Sefo Liufau, Colorado, Senior, QB
Zack Golditch, Colorado State, Junior, OL
DeVon Edwards, Duke, Senior, DB
Zay Jones, East Carolina, Senior, WR
Jarrad Davis, Florida, Senior, LB
Shalom Ogbonda, Florida Atlantic, Senior, DL
Michael Montero, Florida International, Senior, OL
Alec Eberle, Florida State, Sophomore, OL
Jeb Blazevich, Georgia, Junior, TE
Keith Rucker, Georgia State, Senior, TE
KeShun Freeman, Georgia Tech, Junior, DE
Greg Ward, Jr., Houston, Senior, QB
Joe Spencer, Illinois, Senior, OL
Mitchell Paige, Indiana, Senior, WR
LeShun Daniels, Jr., Iowa, Senior, RB
Cole Netten, Iowa State, Senior, PK
Fish Smithson, Kansas, Senior, DB
Dante Barnett, Kansas State, Senior, DB
Antwan Dixon, Kent State, Sophomore, WR
Nick Cuthbert, Kent State, Senior, LB
Karmichael Dunbar, Louisiana, Senior, DL
Brandon Radcliff, Louisville, Senior, RB
Colin Jeter, LSU, Senior, TE
William Likely, Maryland, Senior, DB
Ryan Yurachek, Marshall, Sophomore, TE
Jake Elliott, Memphis, Senior, PK
Brad Kaaya, Miami, Junior, QB
Josiah Price, Michigan State, Senior, TE
Brent Stockstill, Middle Tennessee, Sophomore, QB
Damarius Travis, Minnesota, Senior, DB
Evan Engram, Mississippi, Senior, TE
Brandon Holloway, Mississippi State, Senior, WR/RB
Drew Brown, Nebraska, Junior, PK
Jeremy Maculey, Nevada, Senior, OL
Nick Weller, North Carolina, Senior, PK
Tony Adams, North Carolina State, Junior, OL
Drew Hare, Northern Illinois, Senior, QB
Matthew Harris, Northwestern, Senior DB
Jarrod Barnes, Ohio State, Senior, DB
Samaje Perine, Oklahoma, Junior, RB
Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State, Junior, QB
Tyler Compton, Old Dominion, Senior, OL
Ryan Nall, Oregon State, Sophomore, RB
Adam Biniswaty, Pittsburgh, Senior, OL
James Conner, Pittsburgh, Junior, RB
Mike Caprara, Pittsburgh, Senior, LB
Darik Dillard, Rice, Senior, RB
Daniel Brunskill, San Diego State, Senior, TE
Tim Crawley, San Jose State, Senior, WR
Nick Mullins, Southern Mississippi, Senior, QB
Jason Emerich, Syracuse, Senior, OL
Aaron Curry, TCU, Senior, DL
Brendan McGowan, Temple, Senior, OL
Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee, Senior, QB
Trevor Knight, Texas A&M, Senior, QB
Felix Romero, Texas State, Junior, OL
Patrick Mahomes, II, Texas Tech, Junior, QB
Brad Spelman, Toledo, Junior, LS
John Johnson, Troy, Junior, WR
Marshall Wadleigh, Tulane, Senior, TE
Dane Evans, Tulsa, Senior, QB
Justin Holman, UCF, Senior, QB
Bobby Puyol, UConn, Senior, PK
John Plattenburg, USC, Junior, DB
Travis Seefeldt, Utah State, Senior, DL
Oren Burks, Vanderbilt, Junior, LB
Matt Johns, Virginia, Senior, QB
Sam Rogers, Virginia Tech, Senior, RB
Ryan Janvion, Wake Forest, Senior, DB
Jeff Lindquist, Washington, Senior, TE
Skyler Howard, West Virginia, Senior, QB
Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky, Senior, OL
Marcus Ward, Western Kentucky, Senior, DB
Zach Terrell, Western Michigan, Senior, QB

Report: transferring DB Maurice Smith being denied release by Alabama

TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 24:  Maurice Smith #21 of the Alabama Crimson Tide attempts to force a fumble as he strips the ball from Josh Malone #3 of the Tennessee Volunteers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 24, 2015 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  Malone was ruled down before the fumble.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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What once seemed like a clearcut situation has reportedly turned a bit murky.

Last month, reports surfaced that Maurice Smith had been given permission to pursue a transfer from Alabama, even as the defensive back’s family left the door open for a return to the Tide.  However, sources with knowledge of the situation have told al.com that, thus far, the school has yet to grant Smith a release from his scholarship.  Why it’s being denied is unclear, even as the program has granted permission to Smith to speak to specific schools about transferring in.

Regardless of the reason, Smith, who will graduate in early August, is going through the appeals process in an attempt to secure a release.

Georgia, Louisville, Miami, Oregon, Oregon State and Wisconsin have been mentioned as potential destinations if/when a release is granted.

A four-star 2013 recruit, Smith was rated as the No. 9 corner in the country and the No. 84 prospect overall. All told, Smith played in 41 games for the Tide. He started a pair of those contests.

Exiting the spring, Smith was viewed as the Tide’s starting nickel corner.