Texas A&M Aggies

CLEMSON, SC - OCTOBER 01: Lamar Jackson #8 of the Louisville Cardinals looks to pass under pressure from Scott Pagano #56 of the Clemson Tigers during the second quarter at Memorial Stadium on October 1, 2016 in Clemson, South Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
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Nearly three dozen teams show interest in Clemson grad transfer


It was expected there would be a significant market for a Clemson defensive lineman leaving the Tigers as a graduate transfer. Suffice to say, that is indeed the case.

This past week, Dabo Swinney‘s football program confirmed that Scott Pagano would be leaving the team and transferring elsewhere. The head coach also revealed that the tackle would “probably” end up at a West Coast school to finish out his career.

Teams in that part of the country are indeed interested in the one-year rental, as are myriad others as 247Sports.com is reporting that 32 made contact with the lineman in the hours after his impending pending departure was announced. Arizona State, Cal, Oregon, USC, Washington and Hawaii are among the teams out west who have expressed interest.

A handful of Power Five programs further east have expressed interest as well, including Arkansas, Baylor, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisville, LSU, Maryland, Nebraska, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Purdue, Texas and Texas A&M. Group Five teams that have shown interest include Charlotte, East Carolina, FAU, FIU, Louisiana Tech, Memphis, SMU, Temple and Utah State.

Coming out of high school in Hawaii as a four-star 2013 recruit, Pagano was rated as the No. 24 tackle in the country and the No. 2 player at any position in the state. Pagano started 13 games the past two seasons, four of which came in 2016.

Michigan, SEC earn most invites to NFL’s Scouting Combine

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 28: Defensive lineman Joey Bosa of Ohio State participates in a drill during the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 28, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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The annual Underwear Olympics has a new individual “champion” and a familiar one when it comes to the dominant conference.

The NFL Wednesday announced the 330-plus players who will partake in the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis later this month.  Michigan saw 14 of its former players receive invitations, the most of any individual school.  The only others in double digits were Alabama and LSU with 10 apiece.

The conference of the latter schools, the SEC, paced all leagues with 66 invitations.  The ACC was next with 60, followed by the Big Ten’s 51 and the Pac-12’s 46.  The Big 12 lags far behind the other Power Fives with just 19 players on the receiving end of invitations, just ahead of the best the Group of Five has to offer, the AAC’s 18.

In addition to those in double figures already mentioned, there were eight schools that have eight or more players heading to the combine: Clemson, Miami, Texas A&M and USC with nine each, Arkansas, Florida, Florida State and Ohio State with eight apiece.

Below is the conference-by-conference breakdown of the invites:

AAC — 18
ACC — 60
Big 12 — 19
Big Ten — 51
Conference USA — 11
Independents — 5
MAC — 11
MWC — 11
Pac-12 — 46
SEC — 66
Sun Belt — 5

Texas A&M formally announces Ron Cooper as defensive backs coach

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Nearly two weeks after it was first reported, Texas A&M has its defensive backs coach.

The Aggies on Monday announced Ron Cooper as their secondary coach. The hire was previously reported by FootballScoop on Feb. 1 (full disclosure: I also write for FootballScoop) and by TexAgs on Feb. 2.

Nevertheless, Cooper’s hiring is now officially official.

Cooper was most recently seen as Florida International’s interim head coach but his most relevant experience came as LSU’s defensive backs coach from 2009-11. Those three seasons saw him produce talents such as Tyrann MathieuPatrick Peterson and Morris Claiborne while claiming the 2011 SEC championship.

“I am very pleased to have Ron join our staff,” Kevin Sumlin said in a statement. “He has experience in the SEC, has been a head coach, a coordinator and has worked with Coach Chavis as well. He will work with our secondary as well as our entire team.”

“I am excited about the opportunity Coach Sumlin has given me at Texas A&M,” Cooper said. “I look forward to getting to know our players and working with our staff. I have been across the field from the Aggies on a few occasions. I look forward to being a part of the Aggie family.”

Cooper will be charged with improving a pass defense that ranked 45th nationally — eighth in the SEC — in pass efficiency defense.

Alabama DL Jonathan Allen wins Lombardi Award

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 31:  Jonathan Allen #93 of the Alabama Crimson Tide tackles Myles Gaskin #9 of the Washington Huskies during the 2016 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at the Georgia Dome on December 31, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Awards season in college football falls over a 2-week period in December, while February is typically reserved for music and movies. However, one last statue was still left to give to a college football player, and that player was Jonathan Allen.

The former Alabama defensive lineman was named the winner of the Lombardi Award, announced last night in Houston.

He defeated Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett, Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers and Louisville’s Lamar Jackson to claim the honor. The Lombardi was founded in 1979 to honor the games’s best interior player, but expanded its criteria in 2016 to include all players.

“I was just in shock,” Allen told ESPN afterward. “Whenever you receive an award of this magnitude, it’s obviously a blessing.”

A senior now bound for the first round of the NFL Draft, Allen led Alabama’s top-rated defense by collecting 69 tackles, 10.5 sacks and 16 tackles for loss. He also won the Nagurski, Bednarik and Hendricks trophies while finishing seventh in Heisman voting.

Allen is the third defensive lineman in four years and the fifth in the last eight to claim the honor, following Ndamukong Suh (Nebraska, 2009), Nick Fairley (Auburn, 2010), Aaron Donald (Pittsburgh, 2013) and Carl Nassib (Penn State, 2015).

Aggies officially hire Ron Cooper as new secondary coach

MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 29: Interim head coach Ron Cooper of the Florida International Golden Panthers washes his players warm up prior to the game against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders on October 29, 2016 at FIU Stadium in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
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Coaching announcements have been coming fast and furious since the conclusion of National Signing Day and the latest move became official in College Station after several days of rumors.

Texas A&M officially named Ron Cooper as the team’s new secondary coach on Friday, formally replacing Terry Joseph after he departed for the same position at North Carolina.

“I am excited about the opportunity Coach (Kevin) Sumlin has given me at Texas A&M,” Cooper said in a release. “I look forward to getting to know our players and working with our staff. I have been across the field from the Aggies on a few occasions. I look forward to being a part of the Aggie family.”

Cooper recently served as interim head coach for Florida International after Ron Tuner was let go and has a lengthy resume from stops across the country. The veteran coach is also quite familiar with Aggies’ defensive coordinator John Chavis, having worked together at LSU from 2009-2011 where they developed several stars like Tyrann Mathieu and Patrick Peterson.