Troy Trojans

MOBILE, AL - DECEMBER 23: Members of the Georgia Southern Eagles celebrate after defeating the Bowling Green Falcons on December 23, 2015 at Ladd Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama. The Georgia Southern Eagles defeated the Bowling Green Falcons 58-27. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
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GoDaddy Bowl changes name to Dollar General Bowl

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The jokes pretty much write themselves on this one.

The GoDaddy Bowl has changed its name to the Dollar General Bowl effective immediately, it was announced Wednesday.

“Having a title sponsor in today’s world is just fantastic,” bowl president Jerry Silverstein told AL.com. “There are a lot of bowls out there, and for Mobile to get the recognition from a national sponsor, to want to participate in the event we have here, just leads to the national stage of what we try to produce here in Mobile.”

The new sponsor was celebrated in a very, uh, Dollar General way.

Heading into its 18th season, Dollar General Bowl will be the sixth different name and third separate title sponsor for the Mobile, Ala., based game. It was born in 1999 as the Mobile Alabama Bowl, then changed to the GMAC Mobile Alabama Bowl a year later. The name stuck as simply the GMAC Bowl from 2001-10, before the name switched to the GoDaddy.com Bowl in 2011. The “.com” was dropped before the 2014 game.

Representatives from the Sun Belt and MAC will compete in the 2016 game for the eighth consecutive season on the night of Dec. 23 (8 p.m. ET, ESPN). Georgia Southern took last year’s game by a 58-27 score over Bowling Green. The Sun Belt has claimed three of the last four Dollar General Bowls over its northern adversaries.

Watson, Mayfield headline Manning Award watch list

COLUMBIA, SC - NOVEMBER 28:  Deshaun Watson #4 of the Clemson Tigers after scoring a touchdown during their game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium on November 28, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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The Manning Award released its 30-member Watch List on Monday, in case you needed reminding which quarterbacks were the best in college football. The Manning separates itself from the Davey O’Brien and Unitas quarterback awards — and, more often than not, the Heisman and Maxwell, too — by taking bowl performances into account before handing out its trophy.

“We once again have a great group of quarterbacks returning to college football this fall,” said Archie Manning in a statement. “While this Watch List has many of the best returning players, we look forward to making midseason additions as teams settle on definite starters and as young players step up and make names for themselves. I’m really looking forward to getting the season rolling to see which guys will rise to the top and become Manning Award finalists.”

The Watch List includes:

  • Tommy Armstrong, Nebraska
  • J.T. Barrett, Ohio State
  • C.J. Beathard, Iowa
  • Jake Browning, Washington
  • Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee
  • Dane Evans, Tulsa
  • Luke Falk, Washington State
  • Quinton Flowers, South Florida
  • Skyler Howard, West Virginia
  • Lamar Jackson, Louisville
  • Brad Kaaya, Miami
  • Chad Kelly, Ole Miss
  • Trevor Knight, Texas A&M
  • Taylor Lamb, Appalachian State
  • Wes Lunt, Illinois
  • Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech
  • Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
  • Nick Mullens, Southern Miss
  • Kent Myers, Utah State
  • Josh Rosen, UCLA
  • Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State
  • Cooper Rush, Central Michigan
  • Seth Russell, Baylor
  • Brett Rypien, Boise State
  • Brandon Silvers, Troy
  • Brent Stockstill, Middle Tennessee
  • Zach Terrell, Western Michigan
  • Phillip Walker, Temple
  • Deshaun Watson, Clemson

As far as snubs go, Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer and/or Malik Zaire feel like pretty big ones. If you’re the type to get upset about preseason watch lists, that is. (Which you shouldn’t be.)

The Manning Award will announce its midseason Watch List additions — which either Kizer or Zaire will be — on Oct. 12, its 10 finalists on Nov. 30, and its winner on Jan. 11.

Watson will attempt to become the first repeat winner in the 12-year history of the award. Previous winners (Matt LeinartTim TebowJohnny Manziel and Jameis Winston) are 0-for-4 in their attempts to repeat.

Troy adds North Carolina DL Junior Gnonkonde as grad transfer

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 11:  Everett Golson #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish breaks away from Junior Gnonkonde #44 of the North Carolina Tar Heels at Notre Dame Stadium on October 11, 2014 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated North Carolina 50-43.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Less than a week before the start of summer camp, Troy has made a Power Five addition to its roster.

Monday afternoon, the Trojans announced that Junior Gnonkonde has joined the squad as a graduate transfer.  Gnonkonde graduated from North Carolina in May and opted to transfer from the Tar Heels for unknown reasons.

As a grad transfer, Gnonkonde will be eligible to play immediately in 2016.  This will be Gnonkonde’s final season of eligibility.

When Gnonkonde takes a seat in his first defensive meeting, he’ll see a familiar face as Troy defensive coordinator Vic Koenning served in the same capacity at UNC during the lineman’s last three seasons at Chapel Hill.

“He is a great young man, which really showed by getting his degree in four years at North Carolina,” Koenning said. “His teammates really liked him and he does everything you ask him to do. He is a freak of nature physically, but the best part of Junior is the type of young man he is. …

“If he doesn’t come in here and play like an all-conference player and put himself in position for that type of recognition after the season, then I will be disappointed. I’ve set a pretty high bar for him, but that is why he is coming here. He is coming here because he trusts me, and he believes getting back in this system gives him a great opportunity to move on to the next level.”

All told, Gnonkonde played in 37 games for the Tar Heels.  The past two seasons, he was credited with 12 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks.

Memphis transfer Jamarius Henderson moves on to Troy

Jamarius Henderson
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That didn’t take long.

A week ago, Memphis announced that it had granted a release to Jamarius Henderson so that he could transfer “in order to be closer to his son” in Alabama.  And, according to the Dothan Eagle, Henderson has done just that, with the running back confirming to the paper that he will be transferring to Troy and continuing his collegiate playing career with the Trojans.

“Troy is a perfect environment to transfer,” Henderson told the paper. “It is pretty close to home, not even an hour away. It was a case of a family situation and I had to take the responsibility to do the right thing. Troy just felt right to me. Hopefully I can take up where I left off at Memphis. …

“It just felt like the right place. I prayed about it and I talked to my dad – I talk to my dad about everything – and I poured my heart out to him. I talked to my little boy (Preston) about it even though I am not sure he understood it. In the end, it (Troy) felt right, especially when I toured the campus.”

Henderson’s son is three years old.

It’s unknown if Henderson will seek a waiver for immediate eligibility.  If not, he would be forced to sit out the 2016 season, and would then have three seasons of eligibility remaining beginning in 2017.

As a true freshman last season, Henderson, a Midland, Ala., native, was fourth on the team in rushing yards (320) and rushing touchdowns (four) in 10 games. His 5.3 yards per carry was tops among all Tiger ballcarriers with at least 20 carries.

The 5-11, 210-pound back also caught a pair of touchdown passes among his seven receptions.

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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