Sun Belt Conference

COLUMBIA, SC - NOVEMBER 14:  Treon Harris #3 of the Florida Gators drops back to pass against the South Carolina Gamecocks during their game at Williams-Brice Stadium on November 14, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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Two Power Five teams among handful of FBS schools to express interest in ex-Gator Treon Harris

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Less than a week after he left his first college football home, teams are lining up to inquire about being Treon Harris‘ second.  Reportedly.

According to 247Sports.com, at least nine FBS programs have either spoken to Harris’ family or “have interest and have requested Harris’ release so they have the option to make contact.”  Two included in the latter group are Power Five teams — Kansas and Minnesota.

Other FBS teams in that second group also include Coastal Carolina, East Carolina, Eastern Michigan and SMU.  Georgia State, Southern Miss and Texas State have all reportedly made contact with Harris and his family.

Additionally, a handful of FCS programs have been in contact.

Should Harris move on to another FBS program, he would be forced to sit out the 2016 season, but would then have two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2017.  A move to the FCS would give him immediate eligibility in 2o16.

Monday, Florida confirmed that Harris had decided to transfer out of the Gators football program.  There was no specific reason given for the departure, although the announcement came less than a week after Jim McElwain confirmed that Harris would be moved from quarterback to wide receiver.

At his press conference prior to the start of spring practice, McElwain acknowledged that a pair of his players, Harris and wide receiver Antonio Callaway, haven’t been a part of the Florida football team since January.

And that’s without even mentioning Harris’ in-season issue in 2014 that was ultimately resolved a week later.

Harris started the 2015 season opener, but gave way to Will Grier — with a suspension thrown in for good measure — until Grier was himself suspended in October for the remainder of the season.  The true sophomore then started the last eight games of the year, with the Gators going 4-4 in that span.  Included in that stretch were three losses to close out the year by an average of nearly 25 points per game, with Harris completing under 44 percent of his passes (36-83) and directing the offense to a combined 24 points.

A four-star member of the Gators’ 2014 recruiting class, Harris was rated as the No. 18 player at any position in the state of Florida and the No. 123 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board.

Georgia Southern vacates three wins from 2013-14 seasons

STATESBORO, GA - SEPTEMBER 12:  Players of the Georgia Southern Eagles sing the school's alma mater after defeating the Western Michigan Broncos 43-17 on September 12, 2015 at Paulson Stadium in Statesboro, Georgia.  (Photo by Todd Bennett/GettyImages)
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Georgia Southern has vacated three wins from the 2013-14 seasons stemming from a two-year investigation into its football program, the school has announced.

The violations occurred when the Eagles played an ineligible athlete in three games over those seasons. The wins came against Savannah State and St. Francis in 2013 and Louisiana-Monroe in 2014. Georgia Southern’s 2014 Sun Belt championship will not be impacted by the ruling.

“While it is disappointing to vacate these three victories, we get to put this chapter behind us,” Georgia Southern AD Tom Kleinlein said in a statement. “The student-athletes on this year’s football team, and teams moving forward, are not affected by the NCAA’s ruling and our goals are still in front of us. In addition to graduating student-athletes and developing leaders, we look forward to competing for conference championships and bowl berths this season and in the future.

“Compliance and academic integrity are of the utmost importance here at Georgia Southern; we will continue to reinforce these values and ensure that our department is operating in a manner that consistently upholds the proud tradition of this University.”

The player — who was unnamed — will also have his statistics removed from the record books, while Jeff Monken will have his Georgia Southern win total reduced by two and Willie Fritz by one. Each coach has since moved on to a new school; Monken is at Army and Fritz at Tulane.

 

Texas State to go FCS in replacing assistant who quit for ‘personal/family reasons’

Everett Withers
Texas State University
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Very abruptly, Everett Withers had a hole to fill on his Texas State coaching staff.  Then, just as quickly, he’s apparently filled it.

This past week, Withers announced that John Wiley had resigned from his post as the Bobcats’ associate head football coach.  In a statement, Withers cited “personal/family” reasons as the trigger for Wiley’s decision.

“John is resigning for personal/family reasons and we will respect and support his decision,” Withers said. “We are in the process of interviewing and completing the search to replace him and expect to have a coach in place in the very near future.

“No future comments will be made on the resignation of coach Wiley.”

Wiley had just joined Withers’ staff earlier this year, coming to TSU from East Carolina, where he had spent the previous six seasons.

As for a replacement, both FootballScoop.com and the San Marcos Record are reporting that Withers plans to hire Sam Houston State’s Troy Douglas.  In addition to his time at that FCS school, he’s also served on staffs at, among others, Pittsburgh (2014), Iowa State (2012-13), North Carolina (2009-11), USF (2006-08), Michigan State (2001-2002) and SMU 1997-2000) during a coaching career that’s spanned nearly 30 years.

Last July, Douglas filed a federal lawsuit for breach of contract against Pitt.  From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

Former University of Pittsburgh secondary coach Troy Douglas said in a federal lawsuit filed Monday that the university violated his two-year football coaching contract when it fired him a year into the contract.

Former head football coach Paul Chryst recruited him from Iowa State in 2014. His contract wasn’t contingent on Chryst remaining head coach, but the university fired him after Chryst left in December to take a head coaching job with Wisconsin, the lawsuit says.

Instead of making the $240,000 that Pitt promised him this year, Douglas had to take a $40,000 job at Florida State University, the lawsuit says. He is seeking the difference in his pay plus other losses his family has incurred as a result of the firing.

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

Four of five 2015 finalists on 40-player Walter Camp POTY watch list

NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 5: Quarterback Baker Mayfield #6 of the Oklahoma Sooners looks to throw against the Akron Zips September 5, 2015 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. Oklahoma defeated Akron 41-3.(Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
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One of the most prestigious awards in college football becomes one of the last honors to release its preseason watch list.

The Walter Camp Player of the Year award, the fourth-oldest individual college football award, released Friday its list of 40 players to watch for the upcoming season.  Named in honor of the legendary head coach, the Camp POTY award has been handed out annually since 1967, with USC running back O.J. Simpson claiming the first two trophies.

The 2015 winner of the award was Alabama running back Derrick Henry.  The other four finalists, Iowa defensive back Desmond King, Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey and Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, return for the 2016 season and, of course, are among the watch listers.

Florida State running back Dalvin Cook, Washington State quarterback Luke Falk and LSU running back Leonard Fournette were semifinalists in 2015 and make an appearance on the list.

There are 15 quarterbacks, 11 running backs, three wide receivers and one tight end, as well as 10 players on he defensive side of the ball.  The breakdown on the latter front is five defensive backs, four linebackers and one defensive lineman.

The Big Ten leads all conferences with eight watch listers, immediately followed by the SEC’s seven.  The rest of the leagues, from most to least, include Pac-12 (six), ACC (five), Big 12 (four), AAC (two), MAC (two), Mountain West (two), Conference USA (one) and Sun Belt (one).  There also one each from independents BYU and Notre Dame.

Clemson is the only team with three players on the list.  Florida State, Iowa, Michigan, Northwestern, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Texas A&M are the only ones with two each.

Below is the complete 2016 Walter Camp Ward preseason watch list:

Quarterbacks
J.T. Barrett, Junior, QB, Ohio State
C.J. Beathard, Senior, QB, Iowa
Josh Dobbs, Senior, QB, Tennessee
Luke Falk, Junior, QB, Washington State
Chad Kelly, Senior, QB, Ole Miss
DeShone Kizer, Junior, QB, Notre Dame
Tanner Mangum, Junior, QB, BYU
Baker Mayfield, Senior, QB, Oklahoma #
Nick Mullens, Senior, QB, Southern Miss
Josh Rosen, Sophomore, QB, UCLA
Seth Russell, Senior, QB, Baylor
Brett Rypien, Sophomore, QB, Boise State
Anu Solomon, RS Junior, QB, Arizona
Greg Ward, Senior, QB, Houston
Deshaun Watson, Junior, QB, Clemson *

Running Backs
Nick Chubb, Junior, RB, Georgia
Dalvin Cook, Junior, RB, Florida State *
Leonard Fournette, Junior, RB, LSU #
Royce Freeman, Junior, RB, Oregon
Wayne Gallman, Junior, RB, Clemson
Justin Jackson, Junior, RB, Northwestern
Marlon Mack, Junior, RB, South Florida
Christian McCaffrey, Junior, RB/KR, Stanford *
Samaje Perine, Junior, RB, Oklahoma
Donnel Pumphrey, Senior, RB, San Diego State
Larry Rose, Junior, RB, New Mexico State

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Corey Davis, Senior, WR, Western Michigan
Christian Kirk, Sophomore, WR, Texas A&M
Jordan Leggett, TE, Senior, Clemson *
JuJu Smith-Schuster, Junior, WR, USC

Defense
Myles Garrett, Junior, DE, Texas A&M #
Eddie Jackson, Junior, DB, Alabama *
Derwin James, Sophomore, DB, Florida State
Malik Jefferson, Sophomore, LB, Texas
Desmond King, Senior, DB, Iowa #
Jourdan Lewis, Senior, DB, Michigan *
Shawun Lurry, Junior, DB, Northern Illinois *
Raekwon McMillan, Junior, LB, Ohio State *
Jabrill Peppers, Sophomore, LB, Michigan
Anthony Walker, Junior, LB, Northwestern

# – 2015 Walter Camp First Team All-America selection
*- 2015 Walter Camp Second Team All-America selection