2012 class for Kentucky announced

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(Kentucky’s press release on the Wildcats’ 2012 recruiting class.)

Daron Blaylock, DB, 6-1, 215, Fr-HS, Marietta, Ga. (Walton) – Played both safety and linebacker in high school … Second-team all-state in Class AAAAA by the Georgia Sports Writers Association … Played at Walton HS in Marietta, Ga. … Helped Walton to a 14-1 record and state runnerup finish in Class AAAAA … Ranked as the No. 31 inside linebacker in the nation by 24/7 Sports … One of the nation’s top-100 linebackers by Scout.com … Posted 75 tackles and an interception during his junior season … Has been timed in the 4.5-second range in the 40-yard dash, an excellent time for a linebacker … Coached by Rocky Hidalgo … Son of Mookie Blaylock, who played 13 years in the NBA with New Jersey, Atlanta and Golden State … Twin brother of fellow UK signee Zack Blaylock … Name pronounced same as “Darren.”

Shawn Blaylock, DB, 5-10, 166, Fr-HS, Lithonia, Ga. (Stephenson) – Two-way player in high school, seeing action as a wide receiver and cornerback at Stephenson HS in Stone Mountain, Ga. … Projects as a defensive back as a collegian … Broke the school record with three interceptions in a game … Team posted a 9-2 record and advanced to the state playoffs both his seasons at Stephenson … Also played corner his sophomore season at Shiloh HS in Snellville, Ga. … The nation’s No. 77 corner by Scout.com … Has been timed under 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash … Coached at Stephenson by Ron Gartrell … Teammate of current UK signee DeMarcus Sweat … Will join former Stephenson products Jabari Johnson, Raymond Sanders and Ronnie Shields at UK.

Zack Blaylock, DB, 6-0, 188, Fr-HS, Marietta, Ga. (Walton) – Big-play performer from his safety position … Intercepted 11 passes as a senior, returning five for touchdowns … First-team all-state in Class AAAAA by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Georgia Sports Writers Association … Played at Walton HS in Marietta, Ga. … Helped Walton to a 14-1 record and state runnerup finish in Class AAAAA … Cobb County Defensive Player of the Year … Rated the No. 34 safety in the nation by Rivals.com … Rated No. 52 nationally by Scout.com … One of the top-40 prospects in Georgia by SuperPrep … Coached by Rocky Hidalgo … Son of Mookie Blaylock, who played 13 years in the NBA with New Jersey, Atlanta and Golden State … Twin brother of fellow UK signee Daron Blaylock.

Kory Brown, DB, 6-0, 208, So-JC, Moncks Corner, S.C. (Berkeley/East Central Community College) – Enrolled at UK in January … Has three years of eligibility at UK after redshirting 2011 while recovering from a knee injury … Spent the last two years at East Central Community College in Decatur, Miss. … Played four games at safety as a freshman until sustaining the injury … During those four games he made 26 tackles, caused two fumbles and intercepted a pass … The nation’s No. 69 junior-college player as ranked by 247 Sports, also the No. 11 juco player in Mississippi and the nation’s No. 3 juco safety … Coached by Brian Anderson … “Kory’s physical nature stands out,” Anderson said. “He gets off blocks well and is a big hitter. He’s also a quality young man of the finest character.” … Played high school football at Berkeley HS in Moncks Corner, S.C. … Three-year starter who played cornerback and safety … An all-region pick as a senior … Helped Berkeley to three strong runs in the state playoffs, including a state semifinal appearance his junior year and quarterfinal berths as a sophomore and senior … Played for the winning South team in the South Carolina North-South All-Star Game following his senior season … Coached at Berkeley by Jerry Brown … Berkeley’s defensive coordinator, Ed Moore, said, “Kory was the most instinctive player I’ve ever coached, always at the right place at the right time. He’s a very physical player, very good in run support as well as pass coverage. He’s also a great young man.” … In addition to football, participated in basketball, baseball, wrestling and track and field in high school … Advanced to the state meet in the high jump his senior year and had a best leap of six feet, four inches … Comes from an athletic family … An older brother, Omar, played football at Marshall and was a senior in 2011 … Another brother, Evan McKelvey, currently plays at Marshall … A cousin J.J. McKelvey, played at Clemson and is now playing arena football … Kory enjoys community service and has helped coach children in youth league sports.

Thomas Chapman, DL, 6-4, 285, Fr-HS, Louisville, Ky. (duPont Manual) – Highly regarded defensive tackle prospect … The nation’s No. 30 DT and the No. 2 prospect in Kentucky by Rivals.com … The No. 31 tackle and No. 4 Kentucky prospect by 24/7 Sports … The No. 32 tackle nationally by Scout.com … No. 4 in Kentucky by ESPN and SuperPrep … Selected for the Offense-Defense All-America Game at Cowboys Stadium … Played at duPont Manual HS in Louisville … Bounced back to play his senior year after missing most of his junior season because of injury … Team went 9-3 his senior season and was in the second round of the Class AAAAAA playoffs … Coached by Dr. Oliver Lucas.

Landon Foster, K/P, 6-1, 198, Fr-HS, Thompson Station, Tenn. (Independence) – Has the ability and versatility to be a punter and kicker on the collegiate level … Named first-team all-state in Class AAAAAA as a kicker by the Tennessee Sports Writers’ Association … Picked as the punter for the all-state “Dream Team,” covering all classifications, by the Nashville Tennesseean … Made 11 of 16 field goals as a senior with a long of 49 … Averaged 41.3 yards per punt… 50 of his 56 kickoffs went for touchbacks and four of the others were on-side kicks … Named his team’s Most Valuable Player, a rare honor for a kicking specialist … Independence HS went 8-3 his senior year and reached the state playoffs in Class AAAAAA … Rated the No. 8 kicker in the nation by Scout.com and the No. 12 kicker by 24/7 Sports … The No. 10 prospect in the state of Tennessee by SuperPrep, which wrote, “Technically strong with good hang times and directional ability. Also performs well under pressure.” … Played for the winning West team in the Tennessee East-West All-Star Game … Coached by Kevin Dyson … Has worked with former Tennessee Titans punter Craig Hentrich … Also played soccer in high school.

Patrick Graffree, DL, 6-4, 270, Fr-HS, Elizabethtown, Ky. (Central Hardin) – Second-team all-state as a senior by The Associated Press and the Louisville Courier-Journal … Played at Central Hardin HS in Cecilia, Ky. … Team’s best finish was 9-3 as a junior, advancing to the second round of the state playoffs … Totaled 91 tackles as a junior, featuring 10 tackles for loss, six quarterback sacks and a pass interception … Participated in a pair of postseason all-star games after his senior year … Played for the winning Greater Louisville team in the Best of the Bluegrass All-Star Game, defeating a team from the remainder of the state … Also played in the Kentucky vs. Tennessee Border Bowl … One of the top-10 prospects in Kentucky by Rivals.com, 24/7 Sports and SuperPrep … The nation’s No. 72 defensive tackle by 24/7 … Head coaches at Central Hardin were former UK quarterback Mark Perry and Mike Lawson.

Josh Harris, DB, 6-0, 191, Fr-HS, Maysville, Ky. (Mason County) – Versatile athlete … His multiple skills were displayed at Mason County (Ky.) High School, where he played running back, receiver, linebacker and defensive back … Rushed for 2,848 yards and 42 touchdowns in his career, despite missing most of his senior season because of injury … Totaled 582 receiving yards and eight TDs … Also threw a couple of touchdown passes … Totaled 287 tackles and six fumble recoveries on defense … Team went 9-2 his junior season and 10-1 as a sophomore … One of the nation’s top-60 running backs as chosen by Scout.com … The No. 2 prospect in Kentucky by SuperPrep … Coached by David Buchanan … Also played basketball in high school.

Khalid Henderson, LB, 6-0, 213, Fr-HS, Mableton, Ga. (Pebblebrook) – Linebacker combines good size with outstanding athleticism … Has been timed as fast as 4.57 seconds in the 40-yard dash … Made 74 tackles with two interceptions as a senior at Pebblebrook HS in Mableton, Ga. … The No. 19 outside linebacker in the nation by ESPN and the No. 17 prospect in Georgia … Rated as the No. 51 outside linebacker in the nation by Scout.com … One of the top-60 prospects in Georgia by 24/7 Sports … Coached by Randall Smith … Named is pronounced “kah-LEED.”

T.J. Jones, OL, 6-6, 290, Fr-HS, Myrtle Beach, S.C. (Myrtle Beach) – Offensive line prospect who projects as a tackle on the collegiate level … Played tackle at Myrtle Beach (S.C.) HS … Helped his team win at least 11 games every season … Myrtle Beach won the Class AAA state championship his junior year with a 14-1 record … State quarterfinalist as a senior with an 11-2 mark … 13-2 record and state runner-up his soph season … Rated the No. 23 prospect in South Carolina by 24/7 Sports and No. 28 in the state by Rivals.com … No. 34 in South Carolina by SuperPrep … One of the nation’s top-100 offensive tackles by 24/7 and Scout.com … Coached by Mickey Wilson.

A.J. Legree, WR, 6-1, 178, Fr-HS, Fort White, Fla. (Fort White) – Gifted wide receiver combines pass-catching skills with the athletic ability of a state-champion high jumper … Played wide receiver and cornerback at Fort White (Fla.) HS … As a senior, caught 47 passes for 698 yards and 10 touchdowns … Made six interceptions on defense, returning two for touchdowns … First-team all-state in Class AAA by The Associated Press … Named the Area Player of the Year by the Gainesville Sun … Helped Fort White to an 8-4 record and second round of the state playoffs … Turned in a breakout performance in the Florida Athletic Coaches Association North-South All-Star Game … Was named the No. 2 prospect in the game by Rivals.com and the “Sleeper of the Night” by Scout.com … Coached by Demetric Jackson … Won the state high-jump championship as a junior with a leap of six feet, 10 inches.

Dyshawn Mobley, RB, 5-11, 205, Fr-HS, Powell, Tenn. (Powell) – Set Tennessee single-season rushing records with 3,068 yards and 44 touchdowns as a senior … Averaged 12.2 yards per carry … Led Powell (Tenn.) to a 14-1 record, reaching the state championship game in Class AAAAA … Named to the all-state “Dream Team,” covering all classifications, selected by the Nashville Tennesseean … First-team all-state by The Associated Press … Career totals feature 5,849 rushing yards, averaging more than 10 yards per carry, and 76 touchdowns … Three-year all-district choice … Helped Powell to an 11-1 mark and second round of the state playoffs as a junior … Also excelled as a linebacker on defense … Rushed for a record 118 yards in the Tennessee East West All-Star Game and was named the East Offensive Most Valuable Player … Coached by Matt Lowe … Name is pronounced “DAY-shawn MOBE-lee.”

Zach Myers, OL, 6-3, 285, Fr-HS, Miamisburg, Ohio (Miamisburg) – Combines good athletic ability with offensive line skills … Played offensive guard at Miamisburg (Ohio) HS … Could become a center as a collegian … Rated as the No. 52 offensive guard in the nation by Rivals.com … Also the No. 79 guard by 24/7 Sports and the No. 85 guard by Scout.com … One of the top 60 prospects in the talent-rich state of Ohio by Rivals … Named second-team All-Southwest Ohio … Coached by Tim Lewis … Son of Brad Myers, an offensive lineman at UK from 1984-87 … Brad played one year with Joker Phillips (1984) and blocked for three of the top rushers in Kentucky history – George Adams, Mark Higgs and Marc Logan.

Langston Newton, DL, 6-4, 254, Fr-HS, Carmel, Ind. (Carmel) –First-team all-state as a senior at Carmel (Ind.) HS … Helped lead Carmel to a 14-1 record and state championship in Class AAAAA … A disruptive presence in the defensive line, combining good size, strength and athletic ability … Projected as an end in the collegiate ranks … The No. 6 prospect in Indiana and the No. 28 strongside defensive end in the nation by 24/7 Sports … No. 8 in Indiana and the No. 40 strongside end nationally by Rivals.com … Rated as the No. 69 overall prospect in the six-state Midwest area by SuperPrep … Helped Carmel to the state finals his soph season … Coached by Kevin Wright … Also outstanding in track and field, as he had full scholarship offers in that sport from nationally prominent schools … Competes in the shot put and discus throw, events that put a premium on quickness and explosion as well as strength … Brother of current Kentucky quarterback Morgan Newton.

Cody Quinn, DB, 5-10, 163, Fr-HS, Middletown, Ohio (Middletown) – Brings outstanding speed to the cornerback position, having run the 40-yard dash under 4.5 seconds … Helped Middletown (Ohio) HS to three-consecutive 10-win seasons and berths in the state playoffs … Third-team All-Ohio by The Associated Press as a senior … Intercepted two passes, returning one for a touchdown, and had 10 pass breakups … His speed also indicated by the fact that he returned two kickoffs for touchdowns as a junior … The No. 63 prospect in Ohio by ESPN and also the nation’s No. 68 cornerback … The No. 102 prospect in the six-state Midwest area by SuperPrep … Coached by Troy Everhart.

Jonathan Reed, DB, 5-9, 185, Fr-HS, Indianapolis, Ind. (Pike) – Swift cornerback has been timed as low as 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash … Played at Pike HS in Indianapolis, Ind. … Helped Pike to a state playoff berth each season … Runner-up in the state sectional as a junior with a 9-3 record … One of the top-10 prospects in Indiana by ESPN … Also the nation’s No. 44 cornerback prospect by ESPN … Named to the juniors-only all-state team in 2010 by the Indiana Football Coaches Association … Coached by Derek Moyers.

DeMarcus Sweat, WR, 6-1, 192, Fr-HS, Lithonia, Ga. (Stephenson) – Combines good size with explosive ability … Has good height for a receiver … Big-play potential shown by his three punt return touchdowns and three kickoff return touchdowns during his senior season at Stephenson HS in Stone Mountain, Ga. … Has been timed as fast as 4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash … One of the nation’s top-100 wide receivers by ESPN … One of top-80 prospects in Georgia by ESPN and 24/7 Sports … Team posted a 9-2 record each of his last two seasons at Stephenson … Coached at Stephenson by Ron Gartrell … Teammate of current UK signee Shawn Blaylock … Will join former Stephenson products Jabari Johnson, Raymond Sanders and Ronnie Shields at UK.

Jordan Swindle, OL, 6-7, 310, Fr-HS, St. Johns, Fla. (Creekside) – Second-team all-state as a senior in Florida Class AAAAA by The Associated Press … Big offensive line prospect … His height and long reach are ideal for pass protection … Played at Creekside HS in St. Johns, Fla. … Helped lead Creekside to an 8-4 record as a senior and the first state playoff win in school history … Named All-First Coast (all-area) by the Florida Times-Union … Also named to the Florida Times-Union “Super 24” list of top area prospects … One of the nation’s top-100 offensive tackles as evaluated by ESPN … Coached by Greg Stanton.

Justin Taylor, RB, 5-10, 200, Fr-HS, Atlanta, Ga. (North Atlanta) – Projected as one of the South’s top running backs heading into his senior season … Committed to Alabama prior to his senior year at North Atlanta HS but incurred a knee injury in September … Decided to re-open his recruitment after Alabama asked him to grayshirt … Knee rehabilitation is going well and is expected to be ready to compete when practice begins in August … Rushed for approximately 1,500 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior at Washington HS in Atlanta … Named All-Atlanta as a junior … One of the nation’s top-40 running backs by ESPN and 24/7 Sports … Coached by Stanley Pritchett.

Kadeem “Pancho” Thomas, LB, 6-0, 225, Fr-HS, Tallahassee, Fla. (Godby) – A tackling machine at Godby HS in Tallahassee, Fla. … Racked up 142 tackles as a senior … Helped team to a 9-3 record and a spot in the second round of the state playoffs … Totaled 143 stops as a junior, ranking sixth in the state in tackles, and was named the Area Defensive Player of the Year by the Tallahassee Quarterback Club … One of the nation’s top 40 inside linebackers by Rivals.com, 24/ 7 Sports and ESPN … Played for the winning North team in the Florida North-South All-Star Game sponsored by the Florida Athletic Coaches Association … Coached by Ronnie Cottrell … Name is pronounced “kah-DEEM.”

Fred Tiller, DB, 6-0, 180, Fr-HS, Homerville, Ga. (Clinch County) – Outstanding athlete could play either side of the ball in college … Standout wide receiver and cornerback at Clinch County (Ga.) HS … First-team all-state by the Atlanta Journal Constitution and Georgia Sports Writers Association as a senior … Helped Clinch to a perfect 15-0 record and Class A state championship as a junior … Caught 31 passes for 736 yards and nine touchdowns during that junior year, along with 65 tackles and five interceptions on defense … Rated the No. 45 athlete in the nation by Rivals.com … Coached by Jim Dickerson.

Jon Toth, OL, 6-5, 290, Fr-HS, Indianapolis, Ind. (Brebeuf Jesuit) – Big offensive lineman who also is noted for his athleticism … Could be slotted as a guard or tackle on the collegiate level … Played at Brebeuf Jesuit in Indianapolis, Ind. … Helped Brebeuf advance to the state playoffs each year he was on the varsity … Ranked as the No. 11 player in Indiana and the No. 33 offensive guard in the nation by 24/7 Sports … Rated the nation’s No. 60 offensive tackle by Scout.com … Coached by Ryan Gallogly … Name is pronounced “TOETH” with a long “o” sound.

Patrick Towles, QB, 6-5, 242, Fr-HS, Ft. Thomas, Ky. (Highlands) – Named to the Parade magazine All- America team … “Mr. Football” for the Commonwealth of Kentucky … Gatorade Player of the Year in Kentucky … Won the Paul Hornung Award as the Kentucky Player of the Year … Big, strong-armed quarterback who also has notable running ability … Led Highlands HS to three consecutive state championships as the starting quarterback, Class AAAA as a senior and Class AAAAA as a sophomore and junior … Team compiled a three-year record of 44-1, including 38-1 with Towles as the starter … As a senior completed 171 of 279 passes (61.3 percent) for 3,820 yards with 42 touchdowns and only one interception … Also rushed for 589 yards and 15 TDs … Career totals feature 7,429 passing yards and 73 touchdown passes while rushing for 1,718 yards and 38 TDs … The No. 1 prospect in Kentucky and one of the top-10 pro-style quarterbacks in the country by Rivals.com and 24/7 Sports … Athleticism is such that ESPN rates his college position as “athlete” instead of quarterback … Coached by Dale Mueller … Highlands’ quarterbacks coach was former UK QB Jared Lorenzen … Strong arms are in Towles’ heritage as he is the grandson of Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning … Last name is pronounced “TOLES.”

Jordan Watson, OL, 6-4, 315, Fr-HS, Fayetteville, Ga. (Whitewater) – Well-regarded offensive lineman … The No. 39 offensive guard in the nation by Scout.com … No. 37 nationally by 24/7 Sports … Rated as the No. 31 prospect in Georgia by SuperPrep … Earned first-team all-state honors by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution … Played at Whitewater HS in Fayetteville, Ga., and blocked for current Wildcat Josh Clemons … Earned a spot in the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association North-South All- Star Classic … Coached by Amos McCreary.

Jalen Whitlow, QB/ATH, 6-2, 210, Fr-HS, Prattville, Ala. (Prattville) – Exciting athlete with multiple skills … Helped Prattville (Ala.) HS to the Class AAAAAA state championship and a top-25 national ranking … Split time at quarterback and wide receiver … Earned honorable-mention all-state honors even though he wasn’t the team’s full-time quarterback … Listed as the nation’s No. 12 dual- threat QB and the No. 20 prospect in Alabama by 24/7 Sports … The No. 32 prospect in Alabama by Rivals.com … Coached by Jamey Dubose.

Sterling Wright, DB, 5-11, 201, Fr-HS, Miami, Fla. (Coral Reef/North Carolina Tech) – Played prep school football at North Carolina Tech in Charlotte, the same school that produced current Wildcat Farrington Huguenin … Known as a hard hitter with good range … Coached at N.C. Tech by Tim Newman … Played his high school football at Coral Reef HS in Miami, Fla. … Helped team to a 6-4 record senior year … Totaled 55 tackles and caused eight fumbles … Coached at Coral Reef by Chevas Clements.

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

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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

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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?

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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”