Mississippi State Bulldogs

Jeffery Simmons
Rivals.com

Five-star Miss. St. signee Jeffery Simmons sees resolution to legal issues

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At least when it comes to the legal system, the saga of Jeffery Simmons has come to an end.

According to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, the touted Mississippi State signee pleaded no contest to a charge of simple assault while he was found guilty on one count of malicious mischief Tuesday.  A disturbing the peace charge he had been facing was dismissed.

Simmons’ restitution consists of $711 for medical bills and $175 for the alleged damage to the victim’s car. Simmons will also pay fines of $175 for the simple assault and $300 for the malicious mischief.

Controversy swirled in late March after a video that showed Simmons violently striking a female several times while she was on the ground went viral. In a Facebook apology, Simmons claimed that the woman had spoken ill of a deceased relative, although he stated that didn’t excuse his actions.

The woman on the receiving end of Simmons’ fists, Sophia Taylor, was subsequently found guilty of disorderly conduct.

The controversy was renewed and grew in early June when Mississippi State announced that Simmons would only be suspended for the opener against South Alabama.  Based on the video, many observers thought that Simmons shouldn’t be permitted to enroll in school let alone see the field at all in 2016.

“I would caution people to be careful about judging a man and his character through 10 or 20 seconds of a video,” Simmons’ attorney, Jay Perry, said according to WTVA.com. “He’s a fantastic young man who made a poor choice but he’s really looking forward to carrying on at Mississippi State.”

Simmons was the only five-star member of the Bulldogs’ 2016 recruiting class, rated as the No. 1 player at any position in the state of Mississippi and the No. 15 player overall by Rivals.com.  On National Signing Day this past February, Simmons, in what some recruitniks considered a surprising development, opted for MSU over Alabama and in-state rival Ole Miss.

Miss. St. mourns the loss of Chris Smith, the former Bulldog WR killed in shooting Friday

STARKVILLE, MS - SEPTEMBER 08:  Wide receiver Chris Smith #8 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs tries to get around defensive back Demetruce McNeal #12 of the Auburn Tigers and cornerback Chris Davis #11 of the Auburn Tigers in the first quarter of a NCAA college football game on September 8, 2012 at Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville, Mississippi. (Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images)
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Unfortunately, tragedy has struck the Mississippi State football program this weekend.

Late Friday night, Chris Smith was shot and killed in his hometown of Meridian, Miss.  No details of what led up to the shooting have been released, and police are currently investigating the incident as they search for a suspect.

The 26-year-old Smith played for wide receiver for the Bulldogs from 2009-12, coinciding with Dan Mullen‘s first four years as the head coach of the program.

“We are shocked and saddened by the tragic passing of Chris,” Mullen said in a statement. “Our entire Mississippi State family mourns his loss. Chris was an important part of our first recruiting class and helped set the foundation for our success. He was a terrific teammate and his work ethic was impeccable. He earned his way onto the field as a true freshmen in 2009 and later received his degree from Mississippi State. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of his family and friends.”

Smith played in 48 games from 2009-12, recording 109 catches for 1,180 yards and five touchdowns.In 2011, he led the team in receiving.

His 109 receptions rank 10th in MSU career history.

Our prayers, thoughts and condolences go out to anyone impacted by Smith’s passing.

Hornung Award watch list headlined by 2015 winner Christian McCaffrey

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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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

2015 finalists Leonard Fournette, Christian McAffrey part of Walker Award watch list

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 07:  Leonard Fournette #7 of the LSU Tigers runs the ball against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the first quarter at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 7, 2015 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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With 2015 winner Derrick Henry of Alabama off to the NFL, there will be a new winner of the Doak Walker Award in 2016.  Based on the projected performances of a couple of other finalists from a year ago, this year’s winner could very well come from the group below.

Thursday, the PwC SMU Athletic Forum announced a watch list that contains a whopping 76 players.  The Walker Award has ben handed out annually since 1990 to the nation’s top running back and is named in honor of former SMU great Doak Walker.

Two finalists for last year’s award have made the cut this preseason — LSU’s Leonard Fournette and Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey.

The SEC led all conferences with 13 watch listers, followed by the Big 12 (9), Big 12 (9), Pac-12 (9), ACC (8), Mountain West (6), Sun Belt (6), MAC (5), Conference USA (4) and AAC (3).  There were also four from independents (BYU, Notre Dame).

Those two independents were two of the 13 schools with two running backs listed, the others being Alabama, Arkansas, Baylor, Cal, Duke, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas, USC, Western Kentucky and Western Michigan.

Below is the complete 2016 Doak Walker Award preseason watch list:

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Surprise! Media taps reigning champ Alabama as preseason SEC favorite

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 5: Alabama Crimson Tide raise the trophy into the air after defeating the Florida Gators 29-15 in the SEC Championship game at the Georgia Dome on December 5, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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If history is an indicator, Alabama should be very concerned right about now when it comes to its hopes of defending its title.

With another SEC Media Days in the books, the conference released the results of its media poll, with ‘Bama targeted by that group as the overwhelming favorite.  Based on the league’s points system, ‘Bama, with 223 points to win the SEC championship, easily lapped LSU and its 59.  Tennessee, Georgia and Florida from the East Division are next with 29, seven and five, respectively.

Being the favorite, though, doesn’t exactly bode well for Nick Saban and his troops.

UA, with 2,220 points, received 246 first-place votes to win the West.  Others in that division receiving first-place votes are LSU (76), Ole Miss (five), Texas A&M (three) and Arkansas (one).  Mississippi State is projected to finish last, 372 points ahead of fifth-place Auburn (890-518).

Over in the East, every team but Kentucky and Missouri received first-place votes.  Tennessee received 225 of those, followed by Florida (57) and Georgia (45).  Vanderbilt actually received a pair of first-place votes, while South Carolina, projected to finish in the East’s cellar, received a pair as well in the anonymous voting.

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