Cincinnati

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

Five Buckeyes among 50 named to Walter Camp Player of the Year watch list

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Award watch list season is drawing to a close, but not before the Walter Camp Foundation released its list of 50 players worthy of consideration for its player of the year honors.

TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin was a second-team Walter Camp All-American last season, and he is among the popular candidates for the Walter Camp Award this season. Other previous Walter Camp All-Americans joining Boykin on this watch list are Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright III and Colorado State wide receiver Rashard Higgins. Of course, there is a handful of players from Ohio State, as has been the case on multiple watch lists thus far. Ohio State quarterbacks Braxton Miller, J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones each made the watch list. So did running back Ezekiel Elliott and defensive end Joey Bosa.

The list of candidates will be trimmed down to 10 semi-finalists in mid-November and the award will be presented on December 10 at the annual college football awards show. Last year’s winner was Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. A quarterback has won the award all but five times since 2000. USC has been the home to a nation-leading six Walter camp Award winners, including running backs Reggie Bush, Marcus Allen and O.J. Simpson (twice). USC quarterback Cody Kessler and linebacker Su’a Cravens each appears on this year’s watch list.

2015 Walter Camp Award Watch List

S Dante Barrett, Kansas State
QB J.T. Barrett, Ohio State
RB Devontae Booker, Utah
DE Joey Bosa, Ohio State
QB Trevone Boykin, TCU
DE Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State
DB Jeremy Cash, Duke
RB Nick Chubb, Georgia
RB James Conner, Pittsburgh
QB Connor Cook, Michigan State
LB Su’a Cravens, USC
QB Brandon Doughty, Western Kentucky
DB/KR DeVon Edwards, Duke
RB Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State
RB Kenneth Farrow, Houston
RB Leonard Fournette, LSU
RB Jarvion Franklin, Western Michigan
RB Royce Freeman, Oregon
DB Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech
WR Will Fuller, Notre Dame
QB Jared Goff, California
QB Everett Golson, Florida State
QB Christian Hackenberg, Penn State
LB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida
RB Derrick Henry, Alabama
WR Rashard Higgins, Colorado State
QB Taysom Hill, BYU
QB Kevin Hogan, Stanford
RB/LB Myles Jack, UCLA
RB Devon Johnson, Marshall
QB Cardale Jones, Ohio State
QB Cody Kessler, USC
QB Gunner Kiel, Cincinnati
QB Paxton Lynch, Memphis
LB Blake Martinez, Stanford
RB Elijah McGuire, Louisiana
QB Braxton Miller, Ohio State
DE Shaun Oakman, Baylor
RB Samaje Perine, Oklahoma
RB Paul Perkins, UCLA
QB Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
QB Keenan Reynolds, Navy
QB Anu Solomon, Arizona
QB Justin Thomas, Georgia Tech
DB Darian Thompson, Boise State
WR Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss
QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson
WR Duke Williams, Auburn
LB Scooby Wright III, Arizona
QB Malik Zaire, Notre Dame

A mere two dozen QBs placed on O’Brien watch list

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“You call that a watch list?  The Lombardi Award scoffs in your general direction.” — the Lombardi Award, speaking in the third person.

Be that as it may, the Davey O’Brien Award released the shortest preseason watch list of the year thus far, with a mere 24 quarterbacks posted to the initial grouping.  Interestingly, and unlike the Maxwell Award, there’s only one Ohio State quarterback on this list — Cardale Jones.  Neither Braxton Miller nor J.T. Barrett were included, although the O’Brien explained that Jones “[f]inished last year as Ohio State’s starting quarterback” and OSU “has not yet named a starter for the 2015 season.”

Those who actually are on the list includes 2014 finalists Trevone Boykin of TCU and Dak Prescott of Mississippi State, who finished behind winner Marcus Mariota in the voting last year. Additionally, 2014 semifinalist Connor Cook of Michigan State is on the initial watch list this year.

The O’Brien also notes that there are nine players appearing on the watch list for the second straight year: Cook and Prescott, along with Jared Goff (California), Christian Hackenberg (Penn State), Taysom Hill (BYU), Kevin Hogan (Stanford), Chuckie Keeton (Utah State), Cody Kessler (USC) and Keenan Reynolds (Navy).

All 10 FBS conferences placed at least one player on the watch list, with the ACC and Pac-12 leading the way with four each. The AAC, Big Ten and SEC had three apiece, while the MAC, with two, was the only other conference with more than one.

By class, there are 11 seniors, eight juniors and five sophomores.

Trevone Boykin (TCU, Senior)
Connor Cook (Michigan State, Senior)
Joshua Dobbs (Tennessee, Junior)
Brandon Doughty (Western Kentucky, Senior)
Blake Frohnapfel (UMass, Senior)
Jared Goff (California, Junior)
Christian Hackenberg (Penn State, Junior)
Taysom Hill (BYU, Senior)
Kevin Hogan (Stanford, Senior)
Jeremy Johnson (Auburn, Sophomore)
Cardale Jones (Ohio State, Junior)
Brad Kaaya (Miami, Sophomore)
Chuckie Keeton (Utah State, Senior)
Cody Kessler (USC, Senior)
Gunner Kiel (Cincinnati, Junior)
Fredi Knighten (Arkansas State, Junior)
Paxton Lynch (Memphis, Sophomore)
Dak Prescott (Mississippi State, Senior)
Keenan Reynolds (Navy, Senior)
Anu Solomon (Arizona, Sophomore)
Zach Terrell (Western Michigan, Junior)
Justin Thomas (Georgia Tech, Junior)
Deshaun Watson (Clemson, Sophomore)
Marquise Williams (North Carolina, Senior)

Two glaring omissions headline Biletnikoff watch list

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It’s not often that who’s not on what’s essentially a meaningless preseason watch list is the main storyline, but that’s the case when it comes to the Biletnikoff Award this year.

First, who is on the watch list for the award handed out annually to the nation’s top wide receivers: a total of 48 players at the position, which is actually a rather subdued number compared to other watch lists that come out this time of the year.

Headlining the four dozen receivers actually listed is Colorado State’s Rashard Higgins, who was a finalist for last year’s award that went to Alabama’s Amari Cooper.  Joining Higgins are 2014 semifinalists Sterling Shepard of Oklahoma and Nelson Spruce of Colorado.

Now, the players who was inexplicably excluded from the initial watch list? Auburn’s D’haquille Williams, first and foremost. The senior wideout was already named to the Maxwell Award watch list earlier this month. He’s considered by many to be the best receiver in the SEC — Mel Kiper has Williams as his No. 1 player at that position — yet four receivers from that conference are included.  The only receiver on the Biletnikoff watch list to also make Maxwell’s is South Carolina’s Pharoh Cooper.

Williams missed three of the last four games last season because of an injury, yet still totaled 45 receptions for 730 yards and five touchdowns. Kiper may have him a bit overrated on his Big Board, but Williams certainly deserves one of the 48 spots allotted — or the award should at least make room for a 49th.  Or a 49th and 50th.

That said, Williams can, and probably will, be added to an in-season update from the folks at the Biletnikoff.  The same could be said for Player. No. 2: Ole Miss’ Laquon Treadwell.

Despite missing the last four games of the year because of a gruesome leg injury, Williams still led the Rebels in receptions with 48 and was second in yardage with 632.  Like Williams, Treadwell made the cut for the Maxwell, which is awarded annually to the best player in college football regardless of position.

Anyway, below is the complete Biletnikoff Award preseason watch list.

Victor Bolden, Oregon State
Devonte Boyd, UNLV
Daniel Braverman, Western Michigan
Ryan Burbrink, Bowling Green
KD Cannon, Baylor
Leonte Carroo, Rutgers
Rashon Ceaser, ULM
Corey Coleman, Baylor
Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina
River Cracraft, Washington State
Jared Dangerfield, Western Kentucky
Corey Davis, Western Michigan
Josh Doctson, TCU
Travin Dural, LSU
Alex Erickson, Wisconsin
William Fuller, Notre Dame
Jakeem Grant, Texas Tech
DaeSean Hamilton, Penn State
Donovan Harden, Georgia State
Carlos Harris, North Texas
Rashard Higgins, Colorado State
Ajalen Holley, ULM
Cayleb Jones, Arizona
Corey Jones, Toledo
Isaiah Jones, East Carolina
Marcus Kemp, Hawaii
Roger Lewis, Bowling Green
Keevan Lucas, Tulsa
Byron Marshall, Oregon
Mitch Mathews, BYU
Teldrick Morgan, New Mexico State
Jordan Payton, UCLA
Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M
Jalen Robinette, Air Force
Demarcus Robinson, Florida
Alonzo Russell, Toledo
Artavis Scott, Clemson
Hunter Sharp, Utah State
Tajae Sharpe, Massachusetts
Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma
Thomas Sperbeck, Boise State
Nelson Spruce, Colorado
Taywan Taylor, Western Kentucky
Trent Taylor, Louisiana Tech
Michael Thomas, Ohio State
Shaq Washington, Cincinnati
Mike Williams, Clemson
Ron Willoughby, Buffalo

Cincinnati QB Hayden Moore makes strong case for backup spot behind Kiel in spring game

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Before Michigan got started with its spring game today in Ann Arbor, Cincinnati was already getting to work Saturday morning. The Bearcats were not on TV, so the offensive fireworks that were lacking in Michigan Stadium were not on display down south in Ohio. That is a shame, because Cincinnati’s spring game was all about the offense.

Gunner Kiel completed 18 of his 26 pass attempts for 221 yards and a touchdown. His backup, Hayden Moore seemed to grab a firm hold of the backup job after a nice showing in the spring game. Moore completed 22 of his 29 pass attempts for 391 yards and three touchdowns. Despite the better day in the box score, do not anticipate Kiel’s starting job to be in jeopardy after Moore’s impressive spring game.

Other offensive highlights included Chris Moore leading all players with 133 receiving yards on seven catches and Nate Cole making a push with 105 yards on nine receptions. Last season’s leading rusher, Mike Boone, led the ground game with 152 yards on 13 rushing attempts. Tion Green had a pair of touchdown runs and 96 rushing yards as well. It was a good day for the offenses, and not quite so much for the defenses. First team offense went against first team defense and second team units faced each other as well.

Cincinnati is still going through a renovation to Nippert Stadium, so the team moved the spring action over to Sheakley Athletics Center, where fans seemed to pack the limited seats pretty well. Nippert Stadium will be ready for the first game of the season when Cincinnati opens the schedule at home against Alabama A&M on September 5.

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