2011 Lombardi Award watch list

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Player Pos School Player Highlights
Mike Adams OT Ohio St. 1st Team All-Big 10, started all 13 games in 2010
Levy Adcock OT Oklahoma St. 1st Team All-Big 12, 13 starts at tackle in 2010
Jeff Allen OT Illinois 2nd Team All-Big 10, 34 consecutive starts
Alvin Bailey G Arkansas All-SEC freshman team in 2010, started 13 games
Don Barclay OT W. Virginia 2nd Team All-Big East honors in 2010
Kelvin Beachum OT SMU 1st Team All-CUSA, started all 39 games in his career
Jake Bequette DE Arkansas 2nd Team All-SEC, led team with seven sacks in 2010
Nigel Bradham LB Florida St. Led the Seminoles in tackles for the past two seasons
Mike Brewster C Ohio St. 1st Team All-Big 10, 3 year starter for the Buckeyes
Tanner Brock LB TCU 1st Team All-MWC, led team in tackles with 106
Jaymes Brooks G Va. Tech 2nd Team All-ACC honors in 2010
Austin Brown DT Miami 2nd Team All-MAC, 27 solos, 10 tackles for loss (TFLs)
Vince Browne DE Northwestern 2nd Team All-Big 10, led team with 7 sacks in 2010
Vontaze Burfict LB Arizona St. 2nd Team All-Pac 10, led ASU with 90 tackles
Ben Burkett C Northwestern Rimington Award watch list for 3rd straight year
Miles Burris LB San Diego St. 1st Team All-MWC, led team with 80 tackles, 9.5 sacks
Thomas Byrd C Boise St. 1st Team All-WAC, started 27 games in ’09 and ‘10
Tank Carder LB TCU 1st Team All-MWC, 2011 Rose Bowl Defensive MVP
Audie Cole LB NC St. Led team in tackles in ’09, 3rd on team with 86 in ’10
Jonathan Cooper G N. Carolina 2nd Team All-ACC, 22 consecutive starts
Quinton Coples DT N. Carolina 1st Team All-ACC, 3rd in the ACC with 10 sacks
Jared Crick DT Nebraska 1st Team All-Big 12, RLA semi-finalist & 2nd team A-A
Vinny Curry DE Marshall 1st Team All-CUSA, 5th in the nation with 12 sacks
Andrew Datko OT Florida St. Four year starter, only missed three starts in career
Lavonte David LB Nebraska 2nd Team AP A-A, 1st Team All-Big 12
Ja’Gared Davis LB SMU 1st Team All-CUSA, led team with 8 sacks and 15 TFLs
Demario Davis LB Arkansas St. 1st Team All-Sun Belt, 63 tackles, 3.5 TFLs
David DeCastro G Stanford 1st Team All-Pac 10, anchors OL that gave up 13 sacks
Blake DeChristopher OT Va. Tech 2nd Team All-ACC, has made 37 career starts
Joe Duhon G So. Miss. Honorable Men. All-CUSA, started 9 games in 2010
Lonnie Edwards G Texas Tech 1st Team All-Big 12, played in 13 games in 2010
Joe Flading OT Ohio 1st Team All-MAC, led team with 62 pancake blocks
Joel Foreman G Michigan St. Honorable Men. All-Big 10, 36 career starts at guard
Marcus Forston DT Miami Rebounded from injury in 2009 with 12 TFLs
Jerry Franklin LB Arkansas 2nd Team All-SEC, led the team with 95 tackles in 2010
Dalton Freeman C Clemson 22 consecutive starts at center, allowed only 2 sacks
Cordy Glenn G/T Georgia Started 36 games at guard over the last 3 years
Stephen Good G Oklahoma Recorded 81 knockdowns on 500 snaps last year
Ben Habern C Oklahoma Honorable Men. All-Big 12, 14 starts at center
Logan Harrell DT Fresno St. 1st Team All-WAC, led team with 10.5 sacks (14 TFLs)
Dont’a Hightower LB Alabama 2nd Team All-SEC in 2010, 69 tackles
Alex Hoffman G Cincinnati 2nd Team All-Big East, started all 13 games
Jaye Howard DT Florida Played in 31 games, 66 career tackles and 15.5 TFLs
Bruce Irvin DE W. Virginia 2nd Team All-Big East, 2nd in nation with 14 sacks
Malik Jackson DE/DT Tennessee 2nd Team All-SEC, led Vols with 11 TFLs and 5 sacks
Brandon Jenkins DE Florida St. 1st Team All-ACC, led the ACC with 13.5 sacks
Tony Jerod-Eddie DL Texas A&M Played in all games since arrival in Aggieland
Luke Joeckel OT Texas A&M Freshman A-A, started all 13 games
Cam Johnson DT Virginia 3rd Team All-ACC, 53 tackles, 14.5 TFLs, 6.5 sacks
Chandler Jones DE Syracuse 2nd Team All-Big East, four sacks and 9.5 TFLs
Barrett Jones G Alabama 2nd Team All-SEC, 24 career starts at guard
Ben Jones C Georgia 4th Team All-SEC, started 12 games in 2010
Matt Kalil OT USC 13 career starts at left tackle for USC
Mychal Kendricks LB Cal. 2nd Team All-PAC 10, 8.5 sacks, 15 TFLs, 3 fumbles
Jake Knott LB Iowa St. 2nd Team All-Big 12, 2nd in the Big 12 with 130 tackles
Peter Konz C Wisconsin Honorable Men. All-Big 10, started 11 games
Luke Kuechly LB Boston College 1st Team A-A and All-ACC, led nation in tackles
Shaun Lewis LB Oklahoma St. Big 12 co-Freshman Defensive Player of the Year
Travis Lewis LB Oklahoma 2nd Team All-Big 12, led the Sooners with 109 tackles
Brandon Lindsey DE Pittsburgh 2nd Team All-Big East, led Panthers with 10 sacks
Trent Mackey LB Tulane 2nd Team All-CUSA, led Green Wave with 124 tackles
Brad Madison DL Missouri 2nd Team All-Big 12, 11 TFLs, 7.5 sacks
Jonathan Martin OT Stanford 1st Team All-Pac 10, has 24 career starts for the Cardinal
Mike Martin DT Michigan 2nd team All-Big 10, six TFLs in 2010
Chris Marve LB Vanderbilt 2nd Team All-SEC, led team with eight TFLs
Jonathan Massaquoi DE Troy 1st Team All-Sun Belt, 4th in the nation with 13.5 sacks
Matt McCants OT UAB 1st Team All-CUSA, 31 career starts
Shea McClellin DE Boise St. 1st Team All-WAC, led Broncos with 9.5 sacks
Marcus McGraw LB Houston 2nd Team All-CUSA, 156 tackles, 75 solo tackles
Cameron Meredith DE Nebraska 2nd Team All-Big 12 in 2010, 64 tackles
Carmen Messina LB New Mexico 2nd Team All-MWC, 1st in the MWC with 115 tackles
Ryan Miller G Colorado Honorable Men. All-Big 12, 35 career starts in Big 12
Julian Miller DT W. Virginia Tied for team lead with 14 TFLs
David Molk C Michigan 1st Team All-Big 10, started 13 games after 2009 injury
Roosevelt Nix DE Kent St. 1st Team All-MAC, 20 TFLs and nine sacks
Trevor Olson OT N. Illinois 1st Team All-MAC, NIU’s Offensive lineman of the Year
Kelechi Osemele OT Iowa St. Honorable Men. All-Big 12 (’10), 2nd Team Big 12 (’09)
Donte Paige-Moss DE N. Carolina 2nd on the team with 7 sacks and 13.5 TFLs
Corey Paredes LB Hawaii 1st Team All-WAC, 14th in the nation with 151 tackles
Nick Perry DE USC 12 career sacks in 10 starts, 7.5 TFLs, 25 tackles
Moe Petrus C U Conn 2nd Team All-Big East, 39 career starts
Nate Potter OT Boise St. 3rd Team AP A-A, 1st team All-WAC (2nd straight year)
Tydreke Powell DT N. Carolina Captain as a junior, finished the season with 47 tackles
Sean Progar DE N. Illinois 1st Team All-MAC, 10 TFLs and four sacks
Kheeson Randall DL Texas Honorable Men. All-Big 12, 22 starts, 16 TFLs
Taylor Reed LB SMU Led SMU with 145 tackles, finished 16th in the nation
Riley Reiff OT Iowa 2nd Team All-Big 10 honors, 21 consecutive starts
Kendall Reyes DE U Conn 1st Team All-Big East, 10 TFLs
Matt Reynolds OT BYU 2x 1st Team All-MWC selection, 39 career starts
Travian Robertson DT S. Carolina 14 starts, finished the season with 10 TFLs
Keenan Robinson LB Texas Honorable Men. All-Big 12, led in tackles with 106
Adrian Robinson DE Temple 1st Team All-MAC, 3.5 sacks for the Owls in 2010
Mike Ryan OT U Conn 1st Team All-Big East, 12 starts at right & left tackle
Quentin Saulsberry G/C Miss. St. 37 career starts at tackle, center and guard
JK Schaffer LB Cincinnati 2nd Team All-Big East, two straight 100+ tackle seasons
Mitchell Schwartz OT Cal 2nd Team All-Pac 10, fixture for Cal’s OL, 38 starts
Mychall Sisson LB Colorado St. 2nd Team All-MWC in 2010, 38.5 career TFLs
Shayne Skov LB Stanford Honorable Men. All-Pac 10, led team with 84 stops
Jacquies Smith DE Missouri 2nd Team All-Big 12, 5.5 sacks in 2010
Bradley Sowell OT Ole Miss 2nd Team All-SEC, started 24 of last 25 games
Sean Spence LB Miami 2nd Team All-ACC, 111 tackles in 2010
Andrew Sweat LB Ohio St. 41 tackles in 2010, 1 interception
Alameda Ta’amu DT Washington Honorable Men. All-Pac 10, five TFLs in 2010
Bruce Taylor LB Virginia Tech 2nd Team All-ACC, 15.5 TFLs, 91 total stops
Devin Taylor DE South Carolina 1st Team All-SEC, led the Gamecocks with 13 TFLs
Manti Te’o LB Notre Dame 21 tackles against Stanford, 133 tackles in 2010
Taylor Thompson DE SMU 1st Team All-CUSA, 2nd on team with 5.5 sacks
Chris Thompson C Houston 1st Team All-CUSA, 37 starts at G and T, moved to C
Danny Trevathan LB Kentucky 1st Team All-SEC, led the SEC with 144 tackles
Jabaree Tuani DE Navy Led the Midshipmen with 15.5 TFLs in 2010
Courtney Upshaw DE/LB Alabama Led the Crimson Tide with 7 sacks and 14.5 TFLs
Joe Vellano DT Maryland 2nd Team All-ACC, 10.5 TFLs
William Vlachos C Alabama 2nd Team All-SEC, started 27 straight games at center
Bobby Wagner LB Utah St. 1st Team All-WAC, 7th in nation with 133 tackles
Chaz Walker LB Utah 2nd Team All-MWC, 74 tackles in 2010
Larry Warford G Kentucky 2nd Team All-SEC, started all 13 games at right guard
Brandon Washington G Miami 1st Team All-ACC, leader of experienced line in Miami
Scott Wedige C N. Illinois 1st Team All-MAC, started all 13 games in 2010
Sean Westgate LB UCLA Honorable Men. All-PAC 10, 90 tackles, 11 TFLs
Garrick Williams LB Texas A&M Honorable Men. All-Big 12, 112 tackles in 2010
Korey Williams LB So. Miss Led So. Miss in tackles with 92 and TFLs with 14.5
Billy Winn DT Boise St. 2x 2nd Team All-WAC, 9.5 TFLs in 2010
Jerel Worthy DT Michigan St. 26 career games, 77 tackles, 17 TFLs, 8.5 sacks
Carson York G Oregon Honorable Men. All-Pac 10, started all 13 games at G
Kevin Zeitler G Wisconsin Honorable Men. All-Big 10, played in all 13 games

Big Ten pulls plug on fall football amid COVID-19 concerns

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The Big Ten won’t play football this fall because of concerns about COVID-19, becoming the first of college sports’ power conferences to yield to the pandemic.

The move announced Tuesday comes six day after the conference that includes historic programs such as Ohio State, Michigan, Nebraska and Penn State had released a revised conference-only schedule that it hoped would help it navigate a fall season with potential COVID-19 disruptions.

But it was not a surprise. Speculation has run rampant for several days that the Big Ten was moving toward this decision. On Monday, coaches throughout the conference tried to push back the tide, publicly pleading for more time and threatening to look elsewhere for games this fall.

“The mental and physical health and welfare of our student-athletes has been at the center of every decision we have made regarding the ability to proceed forward,” Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said in a statement. “As time progressed and after hours of discussion with our Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee, it became abundantly clear that there was too much uncertainty regarding potential medical risks to allow our student-athletes to compete this fall.”

The Big Ten touts itself as the oldest college athletic conference in the country, dating back to 1896 when it was called the Western Conference, and its schools have been playing football ever since. It became the Big Ten in 1918 and grew into a football powerhouse.

The 14 Big Ten schools span from Maryland and Rutgers on the East Coast to Iowa and Nebraska out west. Not only has it been one of the most successful conferences on the field but off the field it has become one of the wealthiest.

The Big Ten, with its lucrative television network, distributes about $50 million per year to its members.

Trump, coaches push for college football as cracks emerge


President Donald Trump joined a U.S. senator and a number of coaches Monday in the push to save the college football season from a pandemic-forced shutdown.

There was speculation that two of the five most powerful conferences — the Big Ten and the Pac-12 — might call off their seasons. Farther east, Old Dominion canceled fall sports and became the first school in the Bowl Subdivison to break from its league in doing so; the rest of Conference USA was going forward with plans to play.

A Big Ten spokesman said no votes had been taken by its presidents and chancellors on fall sports as of Monday afternoon and the powerful Southeastern Conference made clear it was not yet ready to shutter its fall season.

“Best advice I’ve received since COVID-19: ‘Be patient. Take time when making decisions. This is all new & you’ll gain better information each day,’” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey posted on Twitter. ”Can we play? I don’t know. We haven’t stopped trying.”

A growing number of athletes have spoken out about saving the season with Clemson star quarterback Trevor Lawrence among the group posting their thoughts on Twitter with the hashtag #WeWantToPla. Trump threw his support behind them Monday.

“The student-athletes have been working too hard for their season to be cancelled,” he tweeted.

Old Dominion has stopped trying. The Virginia school canceled football and other fall sports less than a week after Conference USA set out a plan to play a football season.

“We concluded that the season – including travel and competition – posed too great a risk for our student-athletes,” ODU President Broderick said.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh took a different stand, saying the Wolverines have shown players can be safe after they return to school.

“I’m not advocating for football this fall because of my passion or our players desire to play but because of the facts accumulated over the last eight weeks since our players returned to campus on June 13,” he wrote. “I am advocating on August 10 that this virus can be controlled and handled because of these facts.”

Sen. Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Republican, picked up on the safer-with-football theme in a letter to the presidents and chancellors of the Big Ten.

“Life is about tradeoffs. There are no guarantees that college football will be completely safe — that’s absolutely true; it’s always true,” he wrote. “But the structure and discipline of football programs is very likely safer than what the lived experience of 18- to 22-year-olds will be if there isn’t a season.”

“Here’s the reality: Many of you think that football is safer than no football, but you also know that you will be blamed if there is football, whereas you can duck any blame if you cancel football,” added Sasse, a former college president. “This is a moment for leadership. These young men need a season. Please don’t cancel college football.”

Players unite in push to save college season, create union


Michigan defensive back Hunter Reynolds saw the tweets from Trevor Lawrence and other college football players pushing for the opportunity to play this season despite the pandemic.

Reynolds, one of the organizers behind a players’ rights movement in the Big Ten, didn’t like the way some on social media seemed to be pitting Lawrence’s message against the efforts of #BigTenUnited and #WeAreUnited.

“There was a lot of division,” Reynolds told AP early Monday morning.

Reynolds got on a call with Lawrence and the star quarterback’s Clemson teammate, Darien Rencher, and within a matter of hours the summer of athlete empowerment found another gear.

College football players from across the country united Sunday in an attempt to save their season and ensure they will no longer be left out of the sport’s biggest decisions.

Lawrence, Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, Oklahoma State All-America running back Chuba Hubbard, Alabama running back Najee Harris and numerous other players from Florida State to Oregon posted a graphic on social media with #WeWantToPlay and #WeAreUnited.

“We came to the conclusion, We Want to Play, their message might have been conveyed differently but at the end of the day the message wasn’t too far off from what Big Ten United wanted to promote,” Reynolds said. “Which is we all want to play sports this fall. Every athlete, I’m pretty sure, wants to play their sports. They just want to do so safely.”

The #WeAreUnited hashtag was used a week ago by a group of Pac-12 players in announcing a movement they say has the support of hundreds of peers within their conference. They have threatened mass opt-outs by players if concerns about COVID-19 protocols, racial injustice in college sports and economic rights for athletes are not addressed.

#BigTenUnited arrived on the scene a couple days later, a movement that claimed the backing off 1,000 Big Ten football players. Their demands were more targeted, strictly related to health and safety in dealing with COVID-19.

Sunday night, the call with Reynolds, Rencher and Lawrence led to a Zoom meeting — of course — with some of the Pac-12 players involved in “WeAreUnited.”

Washington State defensive lineman Dallas Hobbs got to work on a graphic and now the movement is officially nationwide.

“Just started bouncing ideas off each others’ heads and kind of discussing where we go from here and we ended up coming up with that statement,” said Reynolds, a senior from South Orange, New Jersey.

Under the logos of each Power Five conference — ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC — the players pronounced their platform:

— We all want to play football this season.

— Establish universal mandated health & safety procedures and protocols to protect college athletes against COVID-19 among all conferences throughout the NCAA.

— Give players the opportunity to opt out and respect their decision.

— Guarantee eligibility whether a player chooses to play the season or not.

— Use our voices to establish open communication and trust between players and officials: Ultimately create a College Football Players Association.

All of this capped a weekend during which the adults who run college sports seemed to be moving toward shutting it all down because of the pandemic.

A day after the Mid-American Conference became the first of the major college football leagues to cancel the fall season, Power Five conference commissioners met Sunday. They discussed mounting concerns about whether a season can be safely conducted with the pandemic still not under control in the United States.

Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said no decisions on the season have been made, but conceded the outlook has not improved.

“Are we in a better place today than two weeks, ago? No, we’re not,” he said.

Bowlsby cited “growing evidence and the growing pool of data around myocarditis.”

Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart and it has been found in some COVID-19 patients. There is concern it could be a long-term complication of contracting the virus even in young, healthy people, a group that has usually avoided severe cardiovascular symptoms.

Also Sunday night, the Big Ten’s university presidents and chancellors held a previously unscheduled meeting, a person with knowledge of the meeting told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting was not announced by the conference.

Another person with direct knowledge of the meeting, speaking on condition of anonymity, said no votes were taken or decisions made about the college football season.

The final call on whether major college football will played this season rests in the hands of the university presidents who oversee the largest conferences.

With doom and gloom hanging over college football, Lawrence, who has become the face of the sport in a summer of strife, tried to push back the tide with a series of tweets.

“People are at just as much, if not more risk, if we don’t play,” Lawrence posted. “Players will all be sent home to their own communities where social distancing is highly unlikely and medical care and expenses will be placed on the families if they were to contract covid19.”

Penn State tight end Pat Freiermuth had a similar message, and the parents of Ohio State football players weighed in, too.

Reynolds wants athletes to have a say in the meetings that are deciding the fate of their sports — starting now.

”All college athletes through unifying and not being afraid to speak our minds and having social media to kind of mobilize, I think that box on a Zoom call is something that is pretty attainable,” he said. “Especially, in the near future.”

After MAC surrenders to pandemic, will other leagues follow?

MAC football
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In many ways, the Mid-American Conference has little in common with Power Five leagues that first come to mind when fans think of major college football.

There are no 75,000-seat stadiums in the MAC. Million-dollar per year coaches are rare. In a typical season, NFL scouts might find one or two potential first-round draft picks playing at the 12 MAC schools that dot the Midwest. The MAC’s biggest games — #MACtion, if you will — are often played on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Its television deal with ESPN pays per year only a few million more than the $9 million Clemson pays coach Dabo Swinney.

Still, the MAC is one of 10 conferences that competes in the NCAA’s highest level of football, and Saturday it became the first of those to surrender to the coronavirus pandemic and cancel the fall sports season.

So is the MAC an anomaly, done in by its small budgets or is this a dire sign of things to come in college football?

“I won’t try to judge what other folks are doing,” MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said. “I know we’re all in the same place. They all have their advisers. They’re going to make judgments based on the information they are receiving.”

Not long after the MAC announced it would explore second-semester seasons for all fall sports, including soccer and volleyball, the Big Ten made its own announcement that seemed ominous given the timing.

Tapping the brakes on football’s preseason, the Big Ten told its schools that until further notice full contact practices cannot begin. All teams will remain in the first two days of what is known as the “acclimatization period,” working out in just helmets. The first Big Ten games of the season are scheduled for Sept. 5.

“As we have consistently stated, we will continue to evaluate daily, while relying on our medical experts, to make the best decisions possible for the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes,” the Big Ten said in a statement.

The MAC’s schools were facing a significant financial burden by trying to maintain costly COVID-19 protocols, while also dealing with the uncertainty that campuses can be opened safely.

A move to the spring, however, could also be budget-buster if it means less revenue from the ESPN deal, which pays each school about $1 million per year, and football ticket sales. The MAC also shares about $90 million per year in College Football Playoff money with four other conferences.

“It would be naive to say that you don’t give thought and consideration to what the financial ramifications of any decision are, but this was a health and well-being decision first and foremost,” Steinbrecher said. “As we sit here today we don’t know what this will mean financially and how the rest of the fall plays out.”

Steinbrecher said the decision effects only fall sports, not basketball or others that begin in the second semester such as baseball, softball and lacrosse.

He added the decision was unanimous among the membership. Northern Illinois athletic director Sean Frazier, supported by NIU President Lisa Freeman, has been a vocal advocate of delaying the season.

“No one wants to have football or sports more than me,” said Frazier, who played football at Alabama in the late 1980s. “Football gave me all the opportunities I have today, but I can’t do it at the expense of people’s lives.”

Eastern Michigan athletic director Scott Wetherbee said he has been feeling a sense of inevitability for two weeks about the MAC canceling fall football, but can’t predict whether this decision trickles up to other conferences.

“Could it? Certainly. There’s certainly a narrative out there that could happen,” Wetherbee said. “No, it wouldn’t shock me if some followed suit. In fact, it would shock me if some didn’t.”

NCAA chief medical officer Brian Hainline made clear that even though plans for the football season have been adjusted to accommodate potential COVID-19 disruptions like the ones Major League Baseball has had, they are all still aspirational.

“Almost everything would have to be perfectly aligned to continue moving forward,” Hainline said Friday during the NCAA’s weekly video chat on social media.

As the Power Five conferences re-worked their schedules to play exclusively or mostly within their conferences, another of the MAC’s revenue streams dried up.

MAC schools, with athletic budgets in the $30 million range, rely heavily on payouts from road games against power conference teams. Kent State alone had more than $5 million in so-called guarantee games canceled. Whether they can be recouped and when is still to be determined. Without that revenue, the strain became too great of trying to keep players and staff safe during a pandemic.

“Certainly there was a cost attached to it,” Wetherbee said. “But as a league we were prepared to do it.”

The move to try spring football has already been going on in the second tier of Division I.

Nine of 13 conferences that play in the Championship Subdivision, have postponed fall football seasons. The first was the Ivy League in early July.

Now it’s the MAC, which was among the first conferences to limit fan access to its basketball tournament in March as concerns for the virus began to soar across the country. On March 12, the MAC was among many conferences to call off their tournaments hours before the NCAA canceled all of March Madness.

“If you told me in March we’d be here today,” Steinbrecher said, “I’d never have believed it”