Damien Thigpen

UCLA’s top RB ‘fine,’ expected to play vs. UW

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While Myles Jack stole the show, the linebacker’s running back emergence came about in large part because UCLA’s top back was sidelined with a lingering ankle injury.  Come this weekend, however, that should no longer be the case.

Following Wednesday’s practice, head coach Jim Mora declared Jordon Jamesfine,” presumably meaning the running back will take the field in Saturday’s game against Washington.

James missed three straight games after suffering a high-ankle sprain in an Oct. 3 win over Utah.  He returned for the win over Colorado last Saturday, but rushed for just eight yards on six carries.  He subsequently sat out the Arizona game this past weekend as well.

The first three games of the season, prior to the injury, he averaged over 140  yards per game.  Despite essentially missing an entire month of the season, James’ 471 yards leads all Bruin backs.

While James is returning to health, another pair of tailbacks are dealing with their own injury issues.  Steve Menfro has already been ruled out of the UW game and Damien Thigpen is a game-time decision, both situations courtesy of ankle injuries.  Those two have combined for 131 yards and tow touchdowns on 35 carries this season.

As for a repeat performance from Jack — the Pac-12’s Offensive Player of the Week — in the backfield, especially given the dings their depth at the position has taken?  “He’s a linebacker,” Mora flatly stated.

Well see about that.

Paul Hornung preseason watch list released

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Just another sign that the 2013 college football season is edging ever so closer.

The Paul Hornung preseason watch list was released today with 44 candidates spanning all 10 conferences in major college football. The award is given annually to the most versatile player in major college football. Last season’s winner was West Virginia’s Tavon Austin.

Three finalists from last season made this year’s watch list: Antonio Andrews (Western Kentucky), Dri Archer (Kent State) and Marqise Lee (USC). As far as conference representation goes, the SEC leads all with nine players followed by the ACC with six players. There are five players from both the Big Ten and Big 12.

Below is this year’s watch list, though being named to the watch list is not a necessity for being named the winner. The award itself will be handed out in late January, 2014 after the season.

Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin
Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska
Antonio Andrews, WKU
Dri Archer, Kent State
D.J. Banks, Louisiana Tech
Odell Beckham Jr., LSU
Corey Brown, Ohio State
Isaiah Burse, Fresno State
Trey Burton, Florida
Michael Campanaro, Wake Forest
Brandon Carter, TCU
Chris Coyer, Temple
Quandre Diggs, Texas
Stefon Diggs, Maryland
Bruce Ellington, South Carolina
Tyler Ervin, San Jose State
Cody Fajardo, Nevada
JD Falslev, BYU
D.J. Foster, Arizona State
Jerry “BooBoo” Gates, Bowling Green
Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State
Jamal Golden, Georgia Tech
Scott Harding, Hawaii
Akeem Hunt, Purdue
Kyshoen Jarrett, Virginia Tech
Duke Johnson, Miami (FLA)
Christion Jones, Alabama
Marqise Lee, Southern California
Tommylee Lewis, Northern Illinois
Tyler Lockett, Kansas State
Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois
Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
Venric Mark, Northwestern
Malcolm Mitchell, Georgia
Marcus Murphy, Missouri
LaDarius Perkins, Mississippi State
Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida
Bernard Reedy, Toledo
Jamill Smith, Ball State
Damien Thigpen, UCLA
De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon
Tramaine Thompson, Kansas State
Sammy Watkins, Clemson
Trey Watts, Tulsa