USC Trojans

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 26:     Adoree' Jackson #2 of the USC Trojans gets to the 15 yard line on a kick off return before he is stopped by Te'von Coney #4 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the first half of the game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 26, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

USC star Adoree’ Jackson declares for 2017 NFL draft

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One of college football’s most versatile players in the country is taking his game to the next level. Adoree’ Jackson of USC announced, via Twitter, he is declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft.

Jackson leaves USC as a highly-decorated player and leaves behind a legacy of versatility on the football field. Jackson was named the 2016 Jim Thorpe Award winner and was a consensus All-American and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. He was a threat on defense and special teams and even dabbled in offense at times. In the NFL, it is expected he will stick to defense and perhaps get a chance to play some special teams, which makes him a valuable asset in the draft.

Deshaun Watson claims back-to-back Manning Awards

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 09:  Quarterback Deshaun Watson #4 of the Clemson Tigers reacts after a touchdown by running back Wayne Gallman #9 (not pictured) during the fourth quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium on January 9, 2017 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Deshaun Watson may be off to the NFL, but he’s taking one more piece of collegiate hardware with him.

Thursday, the Allstate Sugar Bowl announced that Watson, one of 10 finalists, has been named as the recipient of the 2016 Manning Award.  The Clemson quarterback won the Manning after the 2015 season, making him the first player to win the award in back-to-back seasons.

The other finalists for this year’s Manning Award were: J.T. Barrett (Ohio State), Jake Browning (Washington), Sam Darnold (USC), Luke Falk (Washington State), Jalen Hurts (Alabama), Lamar Jackson (Louisville), Patrick Mahomes II (Texas Tech), Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma) and Zach Terrell (Western Michigan).  Seven of those 10 finalists (Barrett, Browning, Darnold, Falk, Hurts, Jackson, Mayfield) will return in 2017 with another opportunity to claim the Manning.

The award, named in honor of the quarterbacking Mannings — Archie, Peyton and Eli — is the only one to take into account a player’s performance in the postseason.  And what a postseason performance it was for Watson.

In the national championship game win over defending champ Alabama, Watson accounted for 463 yards of offense and four touchdowns against the vaunted Crimson Tide defense.  It was the perfect ending for a stellar collegiate career.

“Over the years, we have seen so many tremendous performances in the postseason, and this year we saw Deshaun Watson turn in an amazing two-game playoff performance,” said Archie Manning in a statement. “When the Allstate Sugar Bowl created the Manning Award in 2004, one of the key components was to recognize achievements throughout the entire year, including bowls, and now the playoff. This year is a prime example of why we do that.”

A Heisman finalist each of the past two seasons — some would say if the Heisman followed the Manning lead and voted after the postseason he would’ve won at least one — Watson also claimed the Davey O’Brien and Johnny Unitas quarterbacking awards.  He also won the former in 2015.

Chargers move to LA won’t mean another team in the Coliseum

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 28:  USC Trojans take to the field before the game against the UCLA Bruins at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 28, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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The turf at the famed Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum can breathe a little easier this morning.

Last season, the famed venue served as the football home of the USC Trojans, of course, as well as the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams, which will again play at the Coliseum in 2017 as it awaits its permanent home to be constructed. The San Diego Chargers, rumored to be on the move with the Rams and headed for the same college stadium, opted to remain for the 2016 season.

As the calendar has shifted to 2017, so has the Chargers’ stance as the NFL organization is expected to announce at some point Thursday that they too will be moving to Los Angeles beginning with the 2017 season.  Unlike the Rams, however, the Chargers will not call the Coliseum home.

As part of their relocation plan for Los Angeles, the San Diego Chargers have an agreement to play at the StubHub Center in nearby Carson for the next two seasons before moving into their permanent new home in Inglewood with the Los Angeles Rams, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports late Wednesday.

The Rams will continue to play their home games at the Coliseum during the 2017 and 2018 NFL seasons before a permanent move to their $2.7 billion Inglewood stadium for the 2019 season.

Dabo Swinney wins second straight Bear Bryant coaching award

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 09:  Head coach Dabo Swinney of the Clemson Tigers celebrates with the College Football Playoff National Championship Trophy after defeating the Alabama Crimson Tide 35-31 to win the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium on January 9, 2017 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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Dabo Swinney vanquished Bear Bryant‘s former team in the national championship game earlier in the week.  Last night, the Clemson head coach claimed an award named in the legend’s honor.  Again.

At a ceremony Wednesday, Swinney was named as the 2016 recipient of the Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year award.  Swinney won the award last year, and is the first in its history to win it in  back-to-back seasons.

The former Alabama walk-on becomes just the second two-time winner, joining Boise State’s Chris Petersen (2006, 2009).

Monday night, Swinney guided the Tigers to its first national championship in more than three decades.

Swinney and his counterpart on the opposing sideline, Nick Saban, were two of the nine finalists for the award.  The other seven included Paul Chryst (Wisconsin), P.J. Fleck (Western Michigan), James Franklin (Penn State), Clay Helton (USC), Dana Holgorsen (West Virginia), Mike MacIntyre (Colorado) and Bob Stoops (Oklahoma).

Alabama opens as Bovada’s early 2017 title favorite

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 09:  Quarterback Jalen Hurts #2 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates after throwing a 68-yard touchdown pass during the third quarter against the Clemson Tigers in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium on January 9, 2017 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Alabama may have seen their dynasty temporarily derailed Monday night in Florida, but at least one wagering establishment expects Nick Saban to get it back on track post-haste.

Bovada.lv released its opening set of 2017 national championship odds very early Tuesday afternoon, with the bookmaker installing Bama as a 4/1 favorite coming off the loss to Clemson.  Last year at this time, coming off their fourth title in seven years, the same book had the Crimson Tide as a 7/1 favorite.

The team ‘Bama beat, Clemson, is at 16/1, tied with ACC Atlantic rival Louisville and behind six other teams besides the one they beat on the field last night — Florida State (7/1), Ohio State (15/2), Michigan (9/1), Oklahoma (9/1), USC (9/1) and LSU (12/1).  The other 2016 playoff team, Washington, is at 40/1, the same as 4-8 Notre Dame and behind the likes of Texas (28/1) and Miami (33/1).

Boise State, at 75/1, was the highest favorite amongst Group of Five programs.

Below are the complete list of 2018 title odds for the championship following the 2017 season, again courtesy on Bovada.lv:

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