ARK

If rehab goes well, Hogs will lose Jonathan Williams to NFL

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At the rate things are going, Jonathan Williams may have played his final down as a member of the Arkansas football program.

Initially diagnosed with a foot injury that was expected to sideline him for an extended period of time, the Arkansas running back was subsequently ruled out for the entire season.  Williams, who sustained the injury during a scrimmage a couple of weeks ago, had two screws surgically inserted into his left foot to help promote growth and healing in a torn ligament.

If his rehab goes as expected, Williams said, he won’t be returning to the Razorbacks for the 2016 season.  Instead, he’ll make his way to the NFL as an early entrant in the draft.

Last season, Williams led the Hogs in rushing with 1,190 yards. His 12 rushing touchdowns were tied for the team lead with Alex Collins, who was second on the team with 1,100 yards.  The backs were the only FBS teammates to rush for more than a thousand yards last season.

Williams is Arkansas’ No. 10 all-time leading rusher with 2,321 career rushing yards. His 5.72 career yards per rush average ranks sixth all-time at Arkansas and his rushing total in 2014 was the eighth-best single-season mark in Razorback history.

Ezekiel Elliott, Trevone Boykin top picks in Bovada Heisman odds

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When Bovada.lv released its odds in May on who will win the 2015 Heisman Trophy — and even the previous release in January — Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott was the favorite.  In the most recent release, in early July, TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin had surpassed the OSU running back as the wagering favorite.

A month later, the two players are intertwined.

In the latest set of odds released by the popular sportsbook, Boykin and Elliott ar e the co-favorites at 5/1 to claim the 2015 Heisman Trophy.  Both of those odds are shorter, with the former having been at 6/1 and the latter 7/1.

Two of Elliott’s teammates, quarterbacks J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones, are listed at 9/1 and 12/1, respectively, as they wage a battle for the starting job.  Barrett and Jones had been expected to be involved in a three-man quarterback competition with Braxton Miller, who instead, because his surgically-repaired throwing shoulder is still not 100 percent, opted to move to wide receiver/H-back.  Even with that move, the senior is part of the odds at 33/1.

Perhaps because of a miss-an-extended-period-of-time injury that turned into a season-ending one for Arkansas running back Jonathan Williams, teammate and fellow back Alex Collins has gone from off the board to 33/1, ahead of the likes of Pittsburgh running back James Connor (50/1), Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya (66/1) and Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright (100/1).

The only player taken off the board this time around?  Florida State running back Dalvin Cook, whose future with the Seminoles remains uncertain.

Below are the complete set of odds, again provided by Bovada.lv.

Bovada August Heisman Odds

Arkansas RB Jonathan Williams will not play in 2015

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Few teams have accumulated the kind of depth at running back the way Arkansas has under head coach Bret Bielema. The Razorbacks will need it. Jonathan Williams will not play during the 2015 season, Bielema announced Monday.

The senior running back must undergo surgery on his left foot. The procedure figures to keep him off his feet, at least running on them, through December. In all likelihood, that could mean his career is over at Arkansas, although there is always room for a potential return for a bowl game. He can also still use a redshirt to come back and play one more season next fall, which may be advisable after deciding to skip out on the NFL this year in order to return to Arkansas.

Williams was the leading rusher for the Razorbacks last season, rushing for 1,190 yards and 12 touchdowns as one half of the dynamic duo at Arkansas. The other half, Alex Collins, also rushed for 1,000 yards last season and will now be looked upon to carry a bit more of the load this fall. He should be more than capable of handling primary running duties, but Bielema will likely find ways to help reduce the workload for Collins.

Hogs RB Jonathan Williams to miss ‘extended period of time’

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Alex Collins, I hope your shoulders — and legs — are strong enough.

In a rather significant development Sunday afternoon, Arkansas announced that Jonathan Williams sustained an injury to his left foot during Saturday’s scrimmage.  As a result, the running back will miss what the school described as “an extended period of time during the 2015 season.”

The injury will require surgery, but Williams is expected to make a full recovery. How soon the senior can take the field for the first time in 2015 remains to be seen.

“I have no doubt that Jonathan will come back stronger than ever. Anyone that knows Jonathan Williams knows this is just another opportunity for him to prove the man of character and substance that he really is,” said head coach Bret Bielema in a statement. “It’s an unfortunate injury to a great young man, but we are in the process of gathering as much information as possible. There are short- and long-term impacts of how he proceeds and we want to make sure he does what’s best for him and his family, and his career beyond Arkansas.”

“This is no doubt a tough moment, but I know through my faith and hard work that I will make a full recovery,” said Williams.”

Suffice to say, though, this is a rather large blow to the Razorbacks’ punishing rushing attack.

Last season, Williams led the Hogs in rushing with 1,190 yards. His 12 rushing touchdowns were tied for the team lead with Collins, who was second on the team with 1,100 yards.  The backs were the only FBS teammates to rush for more than a thousand yards last season.

Williams is Arkansas’ No. 10 all-time leading rusher with 2,321 career rushing yards. His 5.72 career yards per rush average ranks sixth all-time at Arkansas and his rushing total in 2014 was the eighth-best single-season mark in Razorback history

FCS-to-Ducks transfer one of 30 QBs on Unitas Award watch list

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Even as one high-profile FCS transfer has yet to be officially added to his new Power Five program’s roster, he’s still highly thought of by at least one major award.

Tuesday, the fine folks at the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award released its preseason watch list, with the annual award given to the best college senior or fourth-year junior quarterback recognizing 30 players who meet the qualifications.  And, again, those qualifications are that they are, one, a quarterback and, two, are a college senior or fourth-year junior.

Included in that group of 30 is Vernon Adams, one of the most decorated players in the Football Championship Series who announced in February of this year that he would be transferring from Eastern Washington to Oregon for his final season of collegiate eligibility.  In early July it was reported that Adams had been admitted to UO and ruled eligible to enroll in classes at the university.  However, Adams will likely miss at least the first three days of the Ducks’ summer camp that begins Aug. 10 as he cleans up one final class that will allow him formal admission and his inclusion on his new squad’s roster.

There’s also one current FCS quarterback in the group: North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz.

In addition to Adams and Wentz, 2014 Unitas finalists Cody Kessler of USC and Dak Prescott of Mississippi State are included in the initial watch list.   Last year’s winner was the man Adams will attempt to replace, Marcus Mariota.

Below is the complete list of preseason Unitas Award watch listers.  And, again, those eligible are college senior or fourth-year junior quarterbacks.

Vernon Adams, Oregon
Brandon Allen, Arkansas
Tommy Armstrong, Nebraska
Mike Bercovici, Arizona State
Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Blake Frohnapfel, UMass
Everett Golson, Florida State
Taysom Hill, BYU
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Driphus Jackson, Rice
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Chuckie Keeton, Utah State
Cody Kessler, USC
Gunner Kiel, Cincinnati
Fredi Knighten, Arkansas State
Joe Licata, Buffalo
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Maty Mauk, Missouri
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Zach Terrell, Western Michigan
Justin Thomas, Georgia Tech
Chad Voytik, Pittsburgh
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah