Record 65 underclassmen declare early for NFL draft

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Last year around this time, the NFL was announcing a record 56 underclassmen had left eligibility on the table in order to make themselves available for the April draft.

A year later?  Consider that record shattered.

The NFL announced Thursday that a total of 65 eligible underclassmen have decided to take their game to the next level.  Prior to last year, the record had been 53, first in 2008 then tied in 2010.

And, as is normally the case, there were a handful of players included in this year’s NFL list that had not been previously reported:

  • Jamison Berryhill, RB, Texas
  • Tiree Eure, TE, Minnesota
  • Dorian Graham, WR, Syracuse
  • Janzen Jackson, DB, McNeese State
  • Aldarius Johnson, WR, Miami
  • Ken Plue, G, Purdue
  • Johnny Thomas, DB, Oklahoma State
  • Phillip Thomas, DB, Syracuse

Interestingly, a pair of running backs who had previously announced they were leaving early — Washington’s Chris Polk by the school and Utah State’s Robert Turbin on Twitter — were not on the list released by the NFL.  It’s unclear why they weren’t included, and emails seeking clarification from the respective schools on the status of the players have not yet been returned.

(Writer’s note: a UW official responded to CFT’s email, writing that Polk being excluded by the NFL “[m]ust be a mistake on their part. He made it official on Jan. 2, and nothing has changed.”  In a followup email, the same official wrote “that the NFL considers him a senior since he never technically redshirted. Had he wanted to come back for the 2012 season, he could have gotten a year back (without any doubt), but no one had ever done the paperwork for that year (2008) for whatever reason.”  So, for accounting purposes, Polk is not considered an early entry by the NFL.)

(Writer’s note, the sequel: USU’s director of media relations, Zach Fisher, wrote that “because of being five years out of high school, [Turbin] is not classified as needing to be granted the special eligibility for the draft.”)

The running back position, incidentally, saw the most attrition, with 13 players at that position on the NFL’s list.  Defensive linemen (12), wide receivers (11), defensive backs (9) and offensive linemen (8) were the next hardest hit positions.  Tight end saw the least attrition with three players, while just five quarterbacks made themselves available for the upcoming draft.

Conference-wise, three accounted for well over half of the early entries — the ACC (14), SEC (12) and Pac-12 (10).  All 11 conferences lost at least one player, with the Big Ten (7), Big 12 (6) and Big East (6) accounting for most of the remaining future draftees.  A pair of players from non-Div. 1-A — Southern Illinois RB Jewel Hampton and McNeese State DB Janzen Jackson — were included as well.

As far as last year’s draft was concerned, it seemed to be a boom-or-bust proposition for those who applied for early entry.  While nearly half of the entire first round (15) consisted of juniors, redshirt or otherwise, the same number went undrafted.  Add in 12 players selected in the second round, and exactly 75 percent of the players in the early-entry Class of 2011 either went in the first two rounds or were not selected at all.

What does it mean?  Make the leap if you have the talent.  If not, jump at your own peril.

Anyway, for the complete list of underclassmen whose future lies in the professional ranks, click HERE.

Michigan’s Devin Bush stomps and kicks Michigan State logo in pregame warmups

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Remember a couple of years ago when a Michigan football player drove a tent spike into the turf at Michigan State as a rally call for the Wolverines, and then Michigan State got the last laugh with a win? Well, we could have the seeds of a similar incident already in East Lansing this morning.

Michigan’s Devin Bush decided to try and scuff up the Michigan State spartan logo on the field during the pregame warmups this morning at Spartan Stadium. The action was caught on camera by the Big Ten Network, quickly leading to comments about hos disrespectful the action is.

Michigan comes to Michigan State looking to remain undefeated in Big Ten play this season. The Wolverines are the favorites against Michigan State, but the Spartans have held the upper hand in this in-state rivalry over the course of the past decade. After a big win on the road last week at Penn State, you have to imagine this action by Bush will somehow be relayed to Michigan State before kickoff. Will that serve as similar motivation (as if any is needed against Michigan)?

It was Michigan linebacker Joe Bolden who was unapologetic for driving the tent stake into the turf prior to kickoff at Michigan State back in 2014. Former Michigan head coach Brady Hoke apologized for the action, which was called out by Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio.

Michigan and Michigan State square off at noon eastern.

UPDATE: Yeah, the pregame shenanigans are getting heated.

Son of Outkast star Big Boi commits to Oregon

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It seems things are beginning to turn around for Oregon under head coach Mario Cristobal. A week after knocking off rival Washington in a key Pac-12 matchup and on the eve of another big division game on the road against Washington State, the Ducks reeled in the verbal commitment of Georgia running back Cross Patton for the Class of 2019. Patton is the son of Outkast’s Big Boi.

Patton announced his decision in front of his teammates on Friday, with his proud father capturing the moment on Instagram.

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#ScoDucks 🦆 #18 @crosspatton #PattonClan

A post shared by Big Boi (@bigboi) on

Although Patton is not rated by the recruiting services, mostly due to his size (5′ 6″, 170 lb according to Rivals), there is value to having a celebrity dad on board with the program that Oregon could take advantage of, especially if Patton develops into a weapon for the Ducks moving forward either on offense or special teams. And for a program looking to continue to move back to the top of the Pac-12 with the kind of swag the Ducks had at the height of the Chip Kelly era, the potential appears to be there.

Patton chose Oregon over a handful of offers to form FCS program including Columbia and Butler. Rivals also listed Georgia Tech as a school Patton was interested in. Florida State, with former Oregon head coach Willie Taggart, also appeared to be making a sales pitch for Patton. Big Boi was invited to perform at Florida State’s home game against Wake Forest today.

UAB football players to wear names of child patients on uniforms

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UAB and North Texas collide today in a pivotal Conference USA matchup between the 6-1 Mean Green (2-1 in Conference USA) and the 5-1 Blazers (3-0 in Conference USA. The matchup alone is enough to carry plenty of importance moving forward as far as the conference championship race is concerned, but today UAB will be doing something that means something more beyond football by paying tribute to patients at Children’s Harbor, a medical center focusing on assisting children and their families dealing with serious illnesses.

Players for UAB will ditch their own names on the back of their jerseys and instead will wear the names of a young patient at Children’s Harbor. It has become a bit of a tradition for the Blazers and is a nice way to be a part of the community since the football program was resurrected.

“It shows the city how appreciative we were when the program shutdown,” UAB wide receiver Collin Lisa said, via Al.com. “It’s not just the university, it’s about the city, the medical center, and all the little kids. It’s way more than just the game of football here.”

A full list of the children each UAB player will be representing today can be found here.

Indiana confirms 2½-year suspension for Morgan Ellison, permanent dismissal from football team

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Morgan Ellison‘s time in Bloomington has officially come to an end.

Friday night, Indiana announced that the running back has been suspended for two and a half years from the university as well as permanently dismissed from the Hoosiers football team. On Oct. 3, an IU panel determined that Ellison had sexually assaulted a female student in mid-August of this year.

IU’s announcement yesterday came after Ellison had appealed the original ruling.

The unidentified victim had alleged at the hearing that she was sexually assaulted in her sleep by Ellison. “It hurt so much and when I woke up I was like stop stop and he wouldn’t stop,” the alleged victim claimed in a text to a friend shortly after the assault, the Indianapolis Star had previously reported.

During the hearing, Ellison had claimed that all sexual activity that night in August was consensual.

Ellison has not been charged criminally in connection to the alleged sexual assault, although it’s unclear if the university’s police department is investigating the allegations.

In late August, Indiana announced that Ellison had been indefinitely suspended from all football activities, including games and practice, by Tom Allen for unspecified violations of team rules. Oct. 2, one day before the panel found him guilty, the head coach revealed that the running back was permitted to practice with his teammates but would remain suspended from playing in games for the foreseeable future.

Last season, Ellison led the Hoosiers with 143 carries for 704 yards and six touchdowns. The true junior had not played in any of the Hoosiers’ games this season before or after the panel’s ruling.