2012 Clemson football signees

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(Clemson’s press release on its 2012 recruiting class.)

Martin Aiken
DE • 6-3 • 245 • Fr. • HS
Bamberg, SC
Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School
Ranked as the #24 defensive end in the nation by Scout.com, where he is a four-star player…#25 defensive end in the nation and #2 overall player in South Carolina by Rivals.com, also a four-star player by that service…#43 defensive end in the nation by ESPN.com, which lists him as a three-star player…#10 player in South Carolina and #23 defensive end in the nation by 247Sports.com…#11 player in South Carolina by SuperPrep…played in the Offense-Defense All-American game…recorded 73 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and 11 sacks as a senior…recorded 106 tackles, 36 tackles for loss and 16 sacks as a junior…comes to Clemson from same school that sent Da’Quan Bowers and Rick Sapp to Clemson, they are both current in the NFL…Coached by Kevin Crosby at Bamberg-Ehrhardt…recruited to Clemson by Marion Hobby…born Oct. 17, 1993.

Isaiah Battle
OT • 6-7 • 285 • Fr. • HS
Brooklyn, NY
Blue Ridge (VA) School
Rated as the #5 prep school prospect in the nation by Rivals.com out of Fork Union Military Academy…#36 offensive lineman in the nation and #11 player in Virginia by Rivals.com at Blue Ridge School…#59 offensive tackle in the nation by ESPN.com…two-time, first-team all-state selection…had 67 tackles and seven sacks as a senior…had 12 tackles for loss and eight sacks as a junior…first-team All-Virginia Independent Conference as a senior…all-conference as an offensive and defensive lineman…attended Blue Ridge School to play basketball…coached by John Shuman at Fork Union Military Academy and Del Smith at Blue Ridge School…enrolled at Clemson in January 2012 and will go through spring practice…recruited by Danny Pearman…born Feb. 10, 1993.

Travis Blanks
DB • 6-1 • 195 • Fr. • HS
Tallahassee, FL
North Florida Christian School
Rated as the #15 overall player and the #2 safety in the nation by ESPN.com…Clemson’s top incoming player according to ESPN.com…#25 overall player and #2 defensive back in the nation by Tom Lemming…#60 player and #4 defensive back in the nation by Rivals.com…#13 safety in the nation by Scout.com…#12 safety in the nation by 247Sports.com…#1 player in the Orlando area by Orlando Sentinel…played in the U.S. Army All-American game…his North Florida Christian School team won the state title his freshman and senior year…third-team All-American by ESPN.com…honorable mention All-American by Sports Illustrated as a senior despite missing five games due to injury…earned all-state honors as a junior and senior…named FACA 1A Player of the Year as a junior…named First Team All-Big Bend as a junior and senior…had 104 tackles, four interceptions, 35 receptions, and eight touchdowns as a junior…comes to Clemson from the same area as recent Clemson All-American DeAndre McDaniel (2007-10)…coached by Robert Craft at North Florida Christian School…enrolled at Clemson in January of 2012, he will go through spring practice…recruited by Jeff Scott…born Dec. 3, 1993.

Zac Brooks
RB • 6-2 • 180 • Fr. • HS
Jonesboro, AR
Jonesboro Senior High School
Rated as the #129 player in the nation by Tom Lemming…#15 athlete in the nation by Rivals.com…#35 wide receiver in the nation and #3 player in Arkansas by ESPN.com…#15 running back in the nation and top player in state of Arkansas by Rivals.com…#3 player in Arkansas and #22 athlete in the nation by 247Sports.com…#42 wide receiver in nation by Scout.com…ranked as #1 overall player in Arkansas by SuperPrep…played at Jonesboro Senior High School, where he was a running back and wide receiver…had an injury-plagued senior season, but still had 650 rushing yards and nine touchdowns along with five receiving touchdowns…had 28 receptions as a senior…had 1,358 yards on 180 carries and 15 touchdowns along with 33 receptions for 211 yards as a junior…had 38 receptions for 769 yards and five touchdowns as a sophomore…first Tiger signee from the state of Arkansas since 1976 (Steve Carr); Carr did not play in a game, therefore if Brooks plays in a game, he would become the first Tiger from Arkansas on record to play in a game for the Tigers…coached by Jim DeVazier at Jonesboro Senior High School…enrolled at Clemson in January of 2012, he will go through spring practice…recruited by Chad Morris…born Feb. 1, 1993.

Josh Brown
DT • 6-5 • 288 • Fr. • HS
Aiken, SC
South Aiken High School
Ranked as the #76 defensive tackle in the nation by Scout.com… #19 player in South Carolina by Rivals.com…#38 player in South Carolina by ESPN.com…#26 player in South Carolina according to 247Sports.com…rated as a three-star prospect by all four services…ranked as the #28 player in South Carolina by SuperPrep…named SCFCA 4A Lower State Lineman of the Year, and Region 5 4A Defensive MVP…named to the ESPN RISE Channel 6 All-Area team…a member of the Aiken Standard All-Area team and the Augusta Chronicle All-Area team…played in the North-South High School All-Star Game in Myrtle Beach…recorded 90 tackles, 22 tackles for loss and eight sacks as a senior…coached by Jeremy West at South Aiken High School…recruited by Charlie Harbison…born May 26, 1993.

T.J. Burrell
LB • 5-11 • 205 • Fr. • HS
Goose Creek, SC
Goose Creek High School
Ranked as the #57 outside linebacker in the nation and #20 overall player in South Carolina by ESPN.com…#58 outside linebacker in the country by Scout.com…#26 player in South Carolina by Rivals.com #21 in South Carolina by 247Sports.com…listed as a three-star prospect by all three services…#18 player in South Carolina by SuperPrep…played in the Shrine Bowl for the South Carolina team and the Offense-Defense All-American game…recorded 105 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and three sacks as a senior…Coached by former Clemson assistant coach Chuck Reedy at Goose Creek High School…recruited by Tony Elliott…born Jan. 26, 1994.

Patrick DeStefano
OL • 6-4 • 275 • Fr. • HS
Spartanburg, SC
Dorman High School
Rated as the #115 overall player in the nation by ESPN.com…ranked as #13 offensive tackle in the nation by ESPN.com as well…#19 offensive guard in the nation by Scout.com…played in the Shrine Bowl…played in the Under Armour All-America game along with classmate Jay Guillermo…#18 overall player in South Carolina according to 247Sports.com…South Carolina Coaches Association Lineman-of-the-Year at Dorman High School…Big 16 Upper State Lineman-of-the-Year…first-team all-area each of the last two years from an academic standpoint…graded 82 percent as a senior by his coaches…his father played at Duke and lettered in 1976 and 1977… high school teammate of current Clemson wide receivers Adam Humphries and Charone Peake…coached by Dave Gutshall at Dorman High School…enrolled at Clemson in January of 2012…recruited by Jeff Scott….born Nov. 26, 1993.

Kevin Dodd
DL • 6-5 • 280 • Fr. • HS
Taylors, SC
Riverside High School
Spent the 2011 season at Hargrave Military Academy…had an outstanding career in two sports at Riverside High School…#14 player in South Carolina by Rivals.com…#27 player in South Carolina by SuperPrep…played in the North-South High School All-Star game in Myrtle Beach; he had five tackles, two sacks, a caused fumble, and recovered fumble in that game…all-region and all-county selection…had 78 tackles, 22 tackles for loss, nine sacks, three caused fumbles, one recovered fumble, and four pass breakups as a senior…outstanding track athlete; he joined that team in the spring of 2010…county champion in the shot put, runner-up in the discus, and named Greenville County Field Athlete-of-the-Year…region champion in the shot and discus and was a state qualifier in the shot put…Riverside High School Field Athlete-of-the-Year and was voted as a team captain as a senior…set school records in the shot (49’ 1”) and discus (128’ 6.5”)…coached by Steve Eoute in football and Eric Cummings in track at Riverside High School…recruited by Jeff Scott and Dan Brooks…enrolled at Clemson in January of 2012….born July 14, 1992.

Ronald Geohaghan
DB • 6-0 • 185 • Fr. • HS
Fairfax, SC
Allendale-Fairfax High School
Ranked as the #10 safety in the nation and the #3 overall player in South Carolina by Rivals.com, which lists him as a four-star prospect…#23 safety in the country by Scout.com, which also rates him as a four-star prospect…#21 safety in the country and #10 player in South Carolina by ESPN.com, which list him as a three-star prospect…ranked as 13th best player in South Carolina and #30 safety in the nation by 247Sports.com…played in the Shrine Bowl and the Offense- Defense All-American game…coached by Eddie Ford at Allendale-Fairfax High School…comes to Clemson from the same school that sent Clemson all-time leading rusher Raymond Priester…recruited by Marion Hobby…born Aug. 9, 1994.

Jay Guillermo
C • 6-2 • 287 • Fr. • HS
Maryville, TN
Maryville High School
Rated as the #89 player in the nation, #1 center in the nation, and #1 player in Tennessee by ESPN.com…first-team All-American by ESPN.com, MaxPreps.com, and Sports Illustrated…#13 center in the nation by Rivals.com…#15 player in state of Tennessee and #9 center in the nation by 247Sports.com…helped Maryville High School to the state title each of the last two seasons…Mr. Football Lineman-of-the-Year in Tennessee…played in the Under Armour All- America game with Clemson classmates Patrick DeStefano and Chad Kelly…County player-of- the-year…led his team to a 15-0 record as a senior, as his team was ranked #11 in the nation by MaxPreps.com….played in East/West Tennessee All-Star Game…first commitment to Clemson’s 2012 class…coached by George Quarles at Maryville High School…enrolled at Clemson in January of 2012…recruited by Dan Brooks…born Aug. 26, 1994.

Germone Hopper
WR • 6-0 • 170 • Fr. • HS
Charlotte, NC
Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology
As a consensus four-star prospect, he is ranked as #11 wide receiver in the country and #75 overall player in the nation by Rivals.com…#13 wide receiver in the nation and #81 overall player in the country by ESPN.com…#20 wide receiver prospect in the nation by Scout.com…#4 prospect in North Carolina by both Rivals.com and ESPN.com…#6 player in North Carolina by SuperPrep…ranked as #113 overall player, #6 player in North Carolina and #15 wide receiver by 247Sports.com…played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and the Shrine Bowl…rushed for over 4,000 yards and 50 touchdowns in his four years in high school…returned five kickoffs and one punt for touchdowns as a senior…finished his high school career as school’s career leader in rushing yards, punt and kickoff return yardage…coached by Andrew Howard at Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology…recruited by Danny Pearman…born Oct. 22, 1993.

Oliver Jones
OL • 6-6 • 320 • Fr. • HS
Ninety Six, SC
Ninety Six High School
Rated as the #14 offensive guard/center in the nation by MaxPreps.com…#58 offensive tackle in the nation by Scout.com…#65 offensive tackle in the nation by ESPN.com…#66 offensive tackle in the nation by Rivals.com…top-15 player in South Carolina by Rivals.com…top-20 player in South Carolina by ESPN.com…ranked #21 player in South Carolina by SuperPrep…ranked as #22 player in South Carolina by 247Sports.com…named SCFCA 1A Upper State Lineman of the Year…an SCFCA First-Team All-State player…played in the Shrine Bowl…from the same school that produced former Clemson All-ACC running back Ronald Williams (1990-92)…he will now be a teammate with Williams’ son, who is now a sophomore defensive lineman on the Clemson team…coached by Chris Liner at Ninety Six High School…enrolled at Clemson in January 2012…recruited by Charlie Harbison…born Sept. 26, 1993.

Chad Kelly
QB • 6-3 • 209 • Fr. • HS
Buffalo, NY
Saint Joseph’s Collegiate Institute
Ranked as #1 overall player in the state of New York and #4 quarterback in the country by ESPN.com, where he is listed as a four-star prospect…that site also lists him as the 84th best overall player in the nation…#4 dual-threat quarterback in the country and #2 player in New York by Rivals.com, which also rated him as a four-star player…247Sports.com ranks him as fourth best dual quarterback and 101st best overall player in the nation…named SuperPrep All-American…played in the Under Armour All-American Game…threw for 3,050 yards and 27 touchdowns while rushing for 991 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior…threw for 2159 yards and 24 touchdowns and rushed for 1059 yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior…led his team to the state championship game as a junior and senior, winning the state title as a junior…a four- time National Punt, Pass & Kick winner, and the current record holder…played at Saint Joseph’s Collegiate Institute…recruited by Chad Morris…born March 26, 1994.

Shaq Lawson
DE • 6-3 • 240 • Fr. • HS
Central, SC
D.W. Daniel High School
Ranked as #18 defensive end in the nation and #3 player in South Carolina by ESPN.com, listed by that service as a four-star recruit…#19 defensive end in nation and #5 player in South Carolina by Rivals.com, which also him as a four-star prospect…ranked as fifth best overall player in South Carolina and 24th best defensive end in the nation by 247Sports.com…rated as a three-star prospect by Scout.com…played in the North-South High School All-Star game and the Offense-Defense All-American game…recorded 99 tackles, 23 tackles for loss, nine sacks and forced five fumbles as a senior…recorded 100 tackles and 13 sacks as a junior…coached by Randy Robinson at D.W. Daniel High School…recruited by Chad Morris and Marion Hobby…born June 17, 1994.

Jay Jay McCullough
TE • 6-5 • 232 • Fr. • HS
Fort Mill, SC
Nation Ford High School
Ranked as #45 athlete in the country by ESPN.com…a consensus three-star prospect, he is a top-20 player in South Carolina by ESPN.com and Rivals.com…ranked as 16th best player in South Carolina and 59th best athlete by 247Sports.com…#26 tight end in the nation by Scout.com…played in the Shrine Bowl and the Offense-Defense All-American game…recorded 37 receptions for 493 yards and five touchdowns while rushing for 112 yards as a senior…coached by Michael Allen at Nation Ford High School…recruited by Jeff Scott…born Jan. 18, 1994.

Bradley Pinion
P • 6-5 • 220 • Fr. • HS
Concord, NC
Northwest Cabarrus High School
Ranked as the top punter in the nation by 247Sports.com…rated as the #3 kicker in the nation by ESPN.com…#4 kicker in the nation by Rivals.com…#6 kicker in the nation by Scout.com…averaged 46.1 yards per punt as a senior at Northwest Cabarrus High School…first- team All-American by ESPN.com…played in the U.S. Army All-American game and the Shrine Bowl…second-team All-American by USA Today, the first Clemson kicker signee to earn USA Today All-America honors since Chris Gardocki in 1988…averaged 40 yards per punt and had 17 punts inside the 20 as a junior…had 37 touchbacks in 50 kickoffs as a junior…helped his high school team to the state playoffs…also played soccer (goal tender) and basketball in high school…coached by Rich Williams at Northwest Cabarrus High School…enrolled at Clemson in January 2012…recruited by Danny Pearman….born June 1, 1994.

D.J. Reader
OG • 6-3 • 306 • Fr. • HS
Greensboro, NC
Grimsley High School
Ranked as the #19 offensive guard in nation and #20 player in North Carolina…#20 offensive guard in the nation by Scout.com…#58 offensive guard in nation and #27 player in North Carolina by ESPN.com…#41 defensive lineman in the country and #8 player in North Carolina by SuperPrep…named SuperPrep All-American…recorded 50 tackles, seven tackles for loss and five sacks from the defensive tackle position as a senior…plans to play both football and baseball at the collegiate level…batted .435 as junior on the diamond…coached by Damon Coiro at Grimsley High School…recruited by Robbie Caldwell…born July 1, 1994.

Cordrea Tankersley
DB • 6-1 • 190 • Fr. • HS
Aiken, SC
Silver Bluff High School
Ranked as the #37 wide receiver in the country by Scout.com, a four-star player by that service…#39 safety in the country by Rivals.com, lists him as a three-star player…#6 player in South Carolina and 25th best athlete by 247Sports.com…#41 athlete in the nation by ESPN.com, lists him as a three-star player…top-10 player in South Carolina by ESPN.com…#3 player in South Carolina by SuperPrep…named to ESPN RISE Channel 6 All-Area team…a member of the Augusta Chronicle All-Area team…played in the Shrine Bowl…selected for the Offense/ Defense All-American game in Dallas, TX…on the defensive side of the ball, he recorded 40 tackles as a senior…on offense, rushed for 650 yards and five touchdowns and threw for 708 yards and six touchdowns…coached by Al Lown at Silver Bluff High School…recruited by Charlie Harbison…born July 1, 1994.

Carlos Watkins
DT • 6-4 • 275 • Fr. • HS
Forest City, NC
Chase High School
Clemson’s top signee in this class according to 247Sports.com, he is ranked as 55th best overall player in the nation…also ranked as fourth best player in North Carolina and seventh best defensive lineman…ranked as #8 defensive tackle in the nation by Rivals.com and Scout.com, list him as a four-star player…#12 defensive tackle in the nation by ESPN.com, a four-star player by that service…#5 player in North Carolina by both ESPN.com and Rivals.com…#104 overall player in the nation by Rivals.com and #134 overall player in the country by ESPN.com…#13 player in North Carolina by SuperPrep…recorded 15 sacks, an interception and forced five fumbles as a senior…recorded 50 tackles, 29 tackles for loss and 14 sacks as a junior…played in the U.S. Army All-American game and the Shrine Bowl…coached by Daniel Bailey at Chase High School…attends same high school that sent the McSwain brothers (Rod and Chuck) to Clemson in the early 1980s, they were both on Clemson’s National Championship team of 1981…Chuck is current track coach at Chase High School…recruited by Dan Brooks….born Dec. 5, 1993.

Marty Williams
DB • 6-1 • 200 • Fr. • HS
North Augusta, SC
Fox Creek High School
Ranked as ninth best player in South Carolina and a 24th best safety in the nation by 247Sports.com… #31 safety in the country by Scout.com…#42 athlete in the nation by ESPN.com…#47 athlete in the country by Rivals.com…top-10 player in South Carolina by Rivals.com…a three-star prospect by all three services…#13 player in South Carolina by SuperPrep…named All-Region High School Sports Report Offensive Player of the Year for Class A as a sophomore, junior and senior…named WJBF/ESPN RISE Athlete of the Year as a junior and senior…a first-team all-area selection by the Augusta Chronicle as a junior and senior…named Aiken Standard Offensive Player of the Year as a junior and senior…selected to play in the Shrine Bowl but was not able to play due to injury…accounted for 3,000 yards of total offense and 36 touchdowns as a senior…coached by Russ Schneider at Fox Creek High School…recruited by Charlie Harbison…born Aug. 21, 1993.

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”