Derek Carr

Ex- WVU QB plans to walk on at Fresno State

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The chances of seeing quarterback Ford Childress back at West Virginia looked grim back in January 2014 when word broke he was not enrolled at West Virginia for the spring semester. Childress had been suspended from the program for a violation of team rules, and now he is looking to renew his football playing career at Fresno State.

As first reported by BarkBoard.com, Childress will attempt to walk on to the Fresno State program. Childress is believed to have received interest from Texas and Texas A&M, which would make this a nice pickup for head coach Tim DeRuyter and the Bulldogs. He could also be stepping right into a chance to win a starting job once he becomes eligible to play again. Childress would be available to play this season after sitting out of action for the entire 2014 season. That bodes well for his chances of winning a job as a starter as well, as he will be the oldest quarterback at Fresno State and brings some previous starting experience to the table.

Fresno State is entering another year looking for a way to replace Derek Carr at quarterback. Last season Brian Burrell led the team with 2,690 yards and 22 touchdowns, but he was intercepted 18 times and completed 58.3 percent of his pass attempts. Burrell decided not to return to the football field this fall, leaving Fresno State with redshirt sophomore Zack Greenlee, redshirt freshman Kilton Anderson and true freshman Chason Virgil. Greenlee appeared in three games for Fresno State last season, in which he completed 18 of his 41 attempts for 213 yards and a touchdown.

Why Friday’s game at Buffalo is crucial to Bryce Petty’s Heisman chances

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On the surface, what could possibly be less consequential than a Friday night game at Buffalo for the Heisman Trophy chances of Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty?

Heisman candidates have talent, a positive public image, name recognition – greetings, people of Salem, Oregon! – an integral role in their team’s success, eye-popping statistics, and perfect attendance. Petty has all of those in spades, except that last one. And it could end up costing him.

It takes extremely good fortune to win a Heisman, including an immunization to injuries. In fact, no Heisman Trophy winner has missed extended time in the recent history of the award. Petty has already missed a game and a half, which counts as extended time in the chase for sport’s most coveted individual award. He left Baylor’s 45-0 win over SMU in the opener at halftime after cracking two transverse processes in his back, and did not play in Saturday’s 70-6 thumping of Northwestern State. (And it doesn’t help Petty’s case for college football’s MVP award when his replacement, sophomore Seth Russell, was named the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week in his absence after throwing for 438 yards and accounting for six touchdowns.)

With only two quarters of action to his credit, Petty has completed 13-of-23 passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns and rushed twice for 21 yards and a touchdown. He does not currently rank in the top 100 nationally in passing yards or total offense. He will make up ground once he returns, of course, but how much? Petty is already more than 700 passing yards behind Texas A&M’s Kenny Hill, nearly 500 yards behind UCLA’s Brett Hundley and Florida State’s Jameis Winston, and more than 400 yards behind Oregon’s Marcus Mariota.

This is where forces well beyond Petty’s control conspire against him. No. 8 Baylor plays a 12-game regular season. Each of the quarterbacks listed above has the potential to play 13. With two games already in the books, Petty at best will play 10 full games and half of another, almost 20 percent less than his competition.

Name recognition plays a role in Heisman voting, and smart voters will remember Petty missed time in September while casting their votes in late November and early December, but Heisman voters are a large electorate. Many voters, sadly, do not pay as close attention to college football as the type of person reading a blog post about a player’s Heisman chances in early September. This is where sheer tonnage of yardage comes into play, and where Petty has already fallen behind.

Let’s say Petty enjoys perfect health over Baylor’s 10 remaining games and duplicates his numbers from last season, where he ranked sixth nationally with 323.1 passing yards per game. That puts him at 3,392 passing yards and somewhere around 27 touchdowns. Assuming Baylor remains a College Football Playoff contender throughout the season, those are good enough numbers to send him to New York and maybe even bring a trophy home with him. But what if he misses Friday’s game at Buffalo? Then, when applying his 2013 numbers forward, Petty projects to throw for 3,069 yards and his candidacy enters the danger zone. Only three quarterbacks in the past 25 years have won the Heisman while throwing for less than 3,000 yards: 2001 winner Eric Crouch, 2006 winner Troy Smith, and 2010 winner Cam Newton. Crouch won his award on the strength of his legs, Smith on the strength of his resume as the quarterback of a college football blue blood that both opened and closed the regular season as No. 1 and beat two No. 2 teams, and Newton did both.

The last four Heisman winners, Newton, Robert Griffin IIIJohnny Manziel, and Winston, averaged 4,313 yards of total offense and accounted for 44.5 touchdowns in their respective runs to immortality. Petty would have to average 413 total yards and 4.25 touchdowns per game assuming he plays Friday – which, thankfully, he should according to John Werner of the Waco Tribune-Herald – and 459 total yards with 4.7 touchdowns per game if he sits. Last year’s national leader in total offense, Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr, averaged 400 yards on the nose. Manziel led the country in 2012 with a 393-yard average. Griffin averaged 384 yards in his Heisman year, and Newton averaged 309. Petty ranked eighth nationally a year ago at a shade over 339 yards of total offense per game.

In that scenario, Petty would have to put up absolutely ridiculous numbers throughout what should be a difficult Big 12 schedule, or Baylor would almost certainly have to go undefeated and secure a Playoff berth for Petty to have a realistic shot at the award. And it might take both.

So, Mr. Petty, just accomplish something never been done before in the history of your university while outpacing the numbers of some of the greatest players in the recent history of college football, and then you can win the Heisman.

CFT 2014 Preseason Preview: Key transfers

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The lifeblood of a college football program comes through recruiting, but there are times when recruiting requires making sales pitches to experienced college football players as well. Seniors looking for a chance to compete for a starting job in the final year or years of eligibility can turn into great stories at any school, and this season is no exception.

We already took a look at some of the impact freshmen and the top Heisman Trophy candidates this season, but here is a look at some of the names you may already be familiar with looking to take advantage of a clean slate with a new program.

MICHAEL BREWER, VIRGINIA TECH, QB
With Virginia Tech looking for a new starting quarterback to replace Logan Thomas, the Hokies could be hoping Texas Tech transfer Michael Brewer emerges as the best available option. The spring game failed to answer the question under center so the addition of Brewer figured to spice things up a bit. By all accounts it appears Brewer is making his case for playing time this fall as well, taking over the top spot in the depth chart during fall camp. Brewer appeared in just four games last season for Texas Tech, completing seven of his 10 pass attempts for 65 yards and a touchdown. He graduated this spring, making him eligible to play this fall for the Hokies.

JACOBY BRISSETT, NC STATE, QB
A change of scenery could be just what Jacoby Brissett needed after a disastrous 2012 season at Florida. With Jeff Driskel taking on the starter role for the Gators, Brissett made the decision to transfer to NC State, where head coach Dave Doeren will finally get a chance to coach him after attempting to recruit the quarterback to Wisconsin out of high school. Fortunately for NC State, Brissett’s desire to transfer to Miami was blocked due to a lack of room on the roster at the position in January 2013. Little did Miami know at the time the potential need for a transfer option  in 2014 (more on that later). Brissett played in five games in 2012 for Florida, completing 65.7 percent of his pass attempts for 249 yards and a touchdown. Brissett will be the starting quarterback for NC State, and he will have a stable of healthy receivers and good running back depth surrounding him on the field.

JACOB COKER, ALABAMA, QB
Looking to find his third starting quarterback in six seasons, Alabama head coach Nick Saban may not have been able to find a more suitable option through a transfer than Jacob Coker. Coker came to Alabama from Florida State, looking to get out from under the tremendous shadow cast by Jameis Winston. He does so with the personal endorsement of Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher. Coker could likely be a starter on just about any team in the country, but it is not a guarantee just yet Coker will be the Tide’s starter just yet. Coker will have to beat Blake Sims for the job and Saban is known to let these competitions play out as long as he needs before coming to a final decision, even if it means a week or two into the season.

BRANDON CONNETTE, FRESNO STATE QB
An opportunity to play his final year of eligibility closer to home and his ailing mother landed Brandon Connette at Fresno State. Leaving a promising and developing Duke program was surely a tough decision, but as far as football is concerned Connette appears to be landing in another good position as well. Connette is competing for the starting job at Fresno State, offering a bit of a different style than the Bulldogs had grown accustomed to under Derek Carr the last few years, but it is what Connette offers with his feet that could be beneficial for the Bulldogs in their quest to repeat as Mountain West Conference champions. Connette rushed for 14 touchdowns for Duke last season, a big reason why Duke was able to clinch the ACC Coastal Division and play for the conference championship. He may not wing it like Carr, but he did throw for 1,212 yards on 145 pass attempts last season, including 13 touchdowns.

DEE HART, COLORADO STATE RB
Colorado State has some big shoes to fill at running back after Kapri Bibbs rushed for 1,741 yards and 31 touchdowns last season. It is clear the Rams like to run the football, so bringing in a running back from Alabama is certainly a good way to go for head coach Jim McElwain, the former Alabama assistant who secured a new contract recently. Dee Hart, who is looking for a more prominent role in an offense rather than part-time work in the crowded and deep Alabama backfield, arrives at Colorado State and should slide right into the starting role right away. Hart, who has battled through various knee injuries already, had just 22 carries in 2013 and with T.J. Yeldon leading the way for the Crimson Tide it looked as though getting many snaps was out of the question for Hart in Tuscaloosa this season. That should not be the case at Colorado State.

JAKE HEAPS, MIAMI QB
Perhaps the third time will be the charm for Jake Heaps. The former BYU and Kansas quarterback has arrived at Miami and may have done so at just the right time. With an injury to projected starting quarterback Ryan Williams in the spring, Al Golden left the door open for all possibilities to plug the hole, including transfer options. That left an option on the table for Heaps to find a better situation for the remainder of his eligibility. He was once a highly rated recruit but has struggled to match that expected potential. With the right pieces around him, like running back Duke Johnson, Heaps could finally be ready to enjoy some stable success on the football field this fall. Heaps is currently one of the top two candidates for the starting job at Miami.

MATT JOECKEL, TCU, QB
The former back-up to Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M decided it was best to try and compete for a starting job at another program rather than go through another round at Texas A&M. That led senior Matt Joeckel to TCU, where he is eligible to play right away this fall and making his case for the starting job. Joeckel is in the thick of the competition at TCU with Trevone Boykin, who has started 15 games for the Horned Frogs. TCU head coach Gary Patterson could have some options though, with the possibility of moving Boykin to receiver and allowing more time under center for Joeckel addressing two areas of need with one decision.

GUNNER KIEL, CINCINNATI QB
Despite Cincinnati working incumbent starter Munchie Legaux back from injury, it looks like the new guy may be the number one option to lead the American Athletic Conference favorites. Gunner Kiel, who transferred to Cincinnati from Notre Dame, put on quite the show in Cincinnati’s spring game and brings plenty of potential to the passing game for the Bearcats. Kiel sat out the 2013 season due to transfer rules and is now poised to take on the role of starting quarterback for a contender in the AAC as well as for a spot in a big revenue bowl.

WES LUNT, ILLINOIS QB
Illinois offensive coordinator Bill Cubit thinks the Illini can have the best offense in the Big Ten this season. That may not be totally unrealistic with the addition of quarterback Wes Lunt, from Oklahoma State. Lunt arrived at Oklahoma State with loads of hype and potential as an early enrollee looking to succeed Brandon Weeden in 2012, but injuries quickly erased those plans in Stillwater. As he struggled to regain a footing on the depth chart, it became necessary to look for other options to compete for a starting job. Illinois had the need to improve at the position, and Lunt has become the top candidate for the starting job this summer.

JAKE MCGEE, FLORIDA TE
This one came as a bit of a surprise, and is a pretty significant blow to Virginia. Jake McGee was Virginia’s leading receiver last season, and after transferring to Florida he fills a position in need of a major upgrade at Florida. Tight ends at Florida combined for four receptions for 42 yards last season. McGee had a little over 10 times as many catches for the Cavaliers in 2013 and should immediately give Jeff Driskel a competent target in the field. The two have already been developing some chemistry in fall camp, with highlight plays apparently giving the offense a lift. Offensive coordinator Kurt Roper intends to make McGee a significant part of the rejuvenated Florida offense.

RUSHEL SHELL, WEST VIRGINIA RB
Going from one end of the Backyard Brawl to the other, Rushel Shell transferred from Pittsburgh to West Virginia last summer. After sitting out the 2013 season, Shell is ready to go and make his case for playing time in a West Virginia offense in need of some physicality. Head coach Dana Holgorsen has said Shell has some of the best skills at the position this camp. In 2012, at Pittsburgh, Shell backed up Ray Graham but still accounted for 641 rushing yards and four touchdowns. West Virginia was seventh in the Big 12 in rushing offense in 2013. Shell could help the Mountaineers improve on the ground as a key contributor.

(Click HERE for the CFT 2014 Preseason Preview Repository)

Fresno State AD reassigned, co-athletic directors named

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Fresno State announced Tuesday athletic director Thomas Boeh will no longer serve in the same capacity with the university, and he will be reassigned to another position.

“Thomas has effectively directed our athletics program to successes in the classroom and on the field,” Fresno State president Joseph Castro said in the school’s press release. “He has been unwavering in his commitment to our university, our intercollegiate program and our student-athletes. Fresno State has benefitted from his laser focus on student-athletes and dedication to Bulldogs athletics.”

Boeh will assume duties as special assistant to the president Aug. 15.

“After nine years as Director of Athletics at Fresno State, I am very proud of all that we have accomplished.” Boeh said. “Fresno State is a great university and I will look forward to continuing my service in a new capacity, one in which I believe I can contribute in a significant manner.”

Stephen Robertello and Dr. Cynthia Teniente-Matson will step into Boeh’s place and be named co-athletic directors.

“Our athletic programs will benefit from a fresh perspective and new leadership as they elevate to new heights of success,” Castro said.

Uncertainty always comes along with a fresh perspective. Fresno State’s football program was firmly in the nation’s spotlight last season under head coach Tim DeRuyter, thoughDeRuyter is 20-6 after his first two seasons with the program. But lets see if he can maintain the momentum built last season without Derek Carr at quarterback. If Fresno State football falters over the next year or two, questions about DeRuyter’s status under a new athletic director will certainly be called into question.

(Hat Tip: The Fresno Bee)

NFL Draft: SEC wins round two by edging Big Ten and Pac-12

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The SEC led the way in round one of the 2014 NFL Draft with 11 players drafted by NFL teams. In the second round the SEC once again pumped out more NFL talent than just about every other conference, but the Big Ten left a significant mark as well. The SEC turned in seven draft picks, edging the Big Ten when the Seattle Seahawks drafted Missouri offensive tackle Justin Britt with the final pick of the second round.

It took a while before we finally saw some running backs drafted (three of them, in fact) but the second round focused on wide receivers and linemen.

Here is the full round two breakdown, by conference.

SEC: 7

42. WR Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt
44. OT Cyrus Kouandijo, Alabama
51. DT Ego Ferguson, LSU
55. RB Jeremy Hill, LSU
60. DE Kony Ealy, Missouri
63. WR Jarvis Landry, LSU
64. OT Justin Britt, Missouri

Big Ten: 6

37. DT Ra’Shede Hageman, Minnesota
56. WR Cody Latimer, Indiana
57. RB Carlos Hyde, Ohio State
58. CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska
59. OT Jack Mewhort, Ohio State
61. WR Allen Robinson, Penn State

Pac-12: 6

33. OG Xavier Su’a-Filo, UCLA
38. TE Austin Seferia-Jenkins, Washington
39. WR Marqise Lee, USC
45. WR Paul Richardson, Colorado
47. DE Trent Murphy, Stanford
54. RB Bishop Sankey, Washington

Mountain West: 5

34. DE Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State
35. OT Joel Bitonio, Nevada
36. QB Derek Carr, Fresno State
44. C Weston Richburg, Colorado State
53. WR Davante Adams, Fresno State

ACC: 3

41. CB Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State
48. DT Timmy Jernigan, Florida State
50. LB Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech

 

Independent: 3

40. LB Kyle Van Noy, BYU
46. DT Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame
52. TE Troy Niklas, Notre Dame

Big 12: 1

49. TE Jace Amaro, Texas Tech

Non FBS: 1

62. QB Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois

Which positions were drafted in the second round?

Defensive Line: 7

Wide Receiver: 7

Offensive Line: 6

Tight End: 3

Running Back: 3

Cornerback: 2

Linebacker: 2

Quarterback: 2