Western Kentucky

Injury to sideline WKU’s second-leading rusher indefinitely

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Whatever in-game breather Leon Allen was expected to get because of Anthony Wales‘ presence will, for the foreseeable future, be put on hold. Or entrusted to someone less experienced.

Wales sustained an undisclosed injury recently and will most certainly miss Western Kentucky’s opener against Vanderbilt Thursday. Head coach Jeff Brohm would only say that the running back is out indefinitely and his return is “a little bit down the road.”

Behind Allen’s 1,542 yards rushing and 13 rushing touchdowns last season, Wales was second on the team with 518 and five. He added 15 receptions for 127 yards coming out of the backfield for good measure.

Other than Allen and Wales, the only other running backs on the Hilltoppers’ roster who have carried the ball at this level are graduate transfer Anthony Davis (65 yards rushing in 2013 at Indiana, scout team player in 2014) and Darmontre Warr (29 yards total the past two seasons at WKU).

“There are some guys that we’re missing, but I like the guys we have,” Brohm said. “They’ve worked hard. At any point throughout the season, someone’s going to have to step up, and there will be a few this first game that will have to step up.”

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)

WKU’s leading rusher, arrested Sunday, tased in separate incident

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To say the least, Leon Allen has had a very interesting offseason.  Actually, a very legally interesting last nine months to be accurate.

This past Sunday, the Western Kentucky running back was arrested for being drunk in public.  As it turns out, it wasn’t Allen’s brush with the law this year.

According to the Bowling Green Daily News, Allen was cited — and tased — following an incident two months ago.  From the paper’s report:

Allen, 22, of Bradenton, Fla., was cited on charges of alcohol intoxication in a public place, second-degree criminal trespassing, and menacing March 22 after a Bowling Green Police Department officer deployed a Taser on him following a disturbance at a local bar, according to a police report.

“Upon arrival I located Allen in the lower level of the building,” according to the police report. “Employees of the business asked Allen to leave several times due to him being belligerent yet he refused. I then ordered him to leave and he still refused. While attempting to reason with Allen, I noticed he was uneasy on his feet and slurred speech. He was manifestly under the influence of alcohol. Allen extended his index finger to an employee in a threatening manner, touching his shoulder.

“I drew my Taser and again ordered Allen to leave. He then opened his arms leaning forward taking a pugilistic stance. I believed Allen was preparing to become physical. Allen then appeared to aggressively and quickly approach me still refusing commands to stop and leave. I then deployed my Taser making contact with his upper left thigh. Allen stated he tripped and fell and was not being aggressive.”

Allen was sentenced to 40 hours of community service for that incident. This is actually his third arrest in less than a year as he was charged with disorderly conduct in August of last year.

“We are aware of the incidents, and along with going through the legal process, Leon will face additional internal discipline from the football program,” WKU wrote in a statement sent to the Daily News.

Allen was far and away the Hilltoppers’ leading rusher in 2014, totaling 1,542 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground. Anthony Wales was next with 518 yards and five touchdowns.

Those totals for Allen were good for third in Conference USA and 18th nationally.