Category: Vanderbilt Commodores

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

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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.

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

2014 NFL Draft
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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

Lloyd Carr one of four added to playoff committee

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Earlier this week it was reported that a former Michigan head coach was under consideration for a spot on the committee that selects the College Football Playoff participants.  Thursday, those reports came to fruition.

The CFP revealed in a press release just a short time ago that former Wolverines head coach Lloyd Carr is one of four new members of the playoff selection committee.  The other three are Jeff Bower (long-time Southern Miss head coach), Herb Deromedi (winningest coach in MAC history) and Rob Mullens (current athletic director at Oregon).

Carr and Deromedi are members of the College Football Hall of Fame.

“We are delighted that Jeff, Lloyd, Herb and Rob are joining the committee,” CFP executive director Bill Hancock said in a statement. “Throughout the selection process, it was essential that the four new members have an in-depth knowledge and passion for college football. Each of these four fit that description perfectly. They will continue the high integrity of the committee.”

The four new members replace Mike Gould, Pat Haden, Tom Osborne and Mike Tranghese, all whose terms expired at the end of the 2015 season. Carr & Company will begin three-year terms starting with the 2016 season.

The additions of this quartet to the committee comes exactly a week after Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt replaced his counterpart at Arkansas, Jeff Long, as the chairperson.

Heading into the 2016 offseason, the makeup of the committee looks as such:

Hocutt, chairperson
Barry Alvarez, Wisconsin AD
Carr
Deromedi
Tom Jernstedt, former NCAA executive vice president
Bobby Johnson, former Vanderbilt head coach
Long
Mullens
Dan Radakovich, Clemson AD
Condoleezza Rice, former United States Secretary of State
Steve Wieberg, former sportswriter
Tyrone Willingham, former Notre Dame/Stanford/Washington head coach

Vandy assistant one of two tapped as Utah State’s co-DC

LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 09:  Head coach Matt Wells of the Utah State Aggies watches his team warm up before their game against the UNLV Rebels at Sam Boyd Stadium on November 9, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Utah State won 28-24.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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After losing its defensive coordinator to the Pac-12, Utah State looked, in part, to the SEC to fill the hole.

In a press release, Frank Maile and Kendrick Shaver were introduced as the new co-defensive coordinators on Matt Wells‘ USU coaching staff. The two-headed coaching duo replaces Kevin Clune, who officially left Logan a week ago today to become the defensive coordinator at Oregon State.

Maile’s name will likely ring a bell for Aggies fans as he played his football for USU before graduating from the school in 2007, and then spent five years in the Aggies football program — 2009-10 as a grad assistant, 2011-13 as defensive line coach.

Maile left USU following the 2013 season for Vanderbilt, where he spent the past two seasons as the Commodores’ defensive line coach.

“I’m really looking forward to returning to Utah State and the opportunity to work with so many of the players and coaches I have in the past,” said Maile in his statement. “Utah State football has great momentum and I hope to continue leading the young men of the program to even greater achievements.”

Shaver is also a familiar face as he has spent the past five seasons as USU’s cornerbacks coach. He’s also held the title of passing-game coordinator the past two seasons.

Prior to joining the USU staff in 2007, he had never been an assistant at the FBS level.

“I’m excited to also announce the position of co-defensive coordinator to Kendrick Shaver,” said Wells. “It’s a reflection of his tremendous work in the secondary with our defensive backs, his knowledge of our system and his loyalty to this program.

“Kendrick and Frank will both do a great job together leading our young men on that side of the ball.”

Vandy QB Johnny McCrary decides to transfer losing starting job

COLUMBIA, SC - OCTOBER 17:  Johnny McCrary #2 of the Vanderbilt Commodores drops back to pass against the South Carolina Gamecocks during their game at Williams-Brice Stadium on October 17, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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After losing his starting job midway through this past season, Johnny McCrary is on the prowl for a fresh start somewhere else next season.

With rumors swirling regarding McCrary’s status, Vanderbilt’s Derek Mason confirmed that the quarterback has decided to take his leave of the Commodores and intends to transfer elsewhere.  McCrary has already received a release from his Vandy scholarship.

“I wish Johnny McCrary all the best in all his future endeavors. He competed hard every day here, and he’s just a great young man,” Mason said. “I will always be in Johnny’s corner, and I’ll be watching wherever he plays next.”

McCrary is expected to remain in school at Vandy until receiving his degree at some point in the summer. The redshirt sophomore would then move on as a graduate transfer and be eligible to play immediately in 2016 if he decides to remain at the FBS level. He would also have two years of eligibility remaining.

The past two seasons, McCrary started 12 games for the Commodores, including seven in 2015.  However, he lost his starting job in late October to true freshman Kyle Shurmur and played in just three games the rest of the way.

McCrary’s issues, which ultimately led to his benching, revolved around ball protection as he threw 20 interceptions in the 17 games he played.  He also completed just 53.5 percent of his 419 career pass attempts.