Johnny Manziel made history last season, becoming the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy.
There’s a chance he may not be the only one.
Florida State redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston staked his claim to the Heisman on Saturday night, throwing for 444 yards and three touchdowns (plus another on the ground) to lead the No. 5 Seminoles to a 51-14 shellacking of No. 3 Clemson in Death Valley.
How good has Winston been this year? Through six games, he has 1,885 passing yards, 20 passing touchdowns (plus another three rushing touchdowns), 3 interceptions, a 71 percent completion percentage and a passer rating of 210. That’s some pretty amazing stuff for a guy who is just getting his feet wet.
More importantly, his production has helped Florida State harken back to some of its past glory. This is easily the Seminoles’ best team since 2000, which was also the last time FSU had a Heisman winner (Chris Weinke) and landed a berth in the BCS title game.
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, there’s still a long way to go this season. The ‘Noles still must play Miami, rival Florida and whoever it happens to play in the ACC title game (if it gets there).
And while Winston has been on fire, he’s not yet the favorite in this race. That honor would go to Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, who is still the player to beat.
But whether he wins or not, Winston has already established himself as a likely Heisman finalist. Before Manziel, the only freshmen to make it as finalists were Michael Vick and Herschel Walker.
That’s pretty good company.
After visiting Italy and France over the past two springs, Michigan is taking a break from Europe and hitting South Africa in 2019. Wolverines director of football operations Mark Taurisani made the announcement through his Twitter account on Tuesday.
Jim Harbaugh started the field trips (which are funded by Michigan donors) as part of an educational experience for Wolverines players. The 2017 Italy trip was incorporated with Michigan’s spring practice, but the Wolverines did not practice in France last year and will not practice in South Africa this year, either.
Specific dates and tour sites have not been announced. The Wolverines will leave after the completion of the spring semester, which concludes after Michigan’s April 13 spring game.
As a Detroit native, Mike Danna has probably spent his entire life hoping and wishing and believing he could play at Michigan. While playing at Warren De La Salle Collegiate High School, he probably thought it. Throughout the recruiting process, when Michigan didn’t offer him and he signed at Central Michigan, he probably thought it.
Now he’ll get a chance to prove it.
Danna on Tuesday announced he was leaving CMU to spend his final college season with the big boys in Ann Arbor.
The 6-foot-2, 257-pound defensive end won the Herb Deromedi Award as CMU’s most valuable player after collecting 66 tackles, a team-high 15 TFLs and 9.5 sacks. He was named a First Team All-MAC honoree and a Pro Football Focus First Team All-American as well.
In three seasons as a Chippewa, Danna posted 151 tackles, 28 TFLs, 15 sacks and four forced fumbles.
While he may or may not start, Danna will be a significant contributor for the Wolverines in 2019. Michigan loses starting ends Chase Winovich (graduation) and Rashan Gary (draft), so Danna will team with senior Josh Uche (who led the team with eight sacks last season) and sophomore Aidan Hutchinson.
College football is notoriously hard to predict, but go ahead and mark this prediction down in ink: in the 2023 season, Miami will beat Miami.
Miami (Florida) will host Miami (Ohio) in 2023, according to FBSchedules. Neither school has announced the game as of this writing. The game will be played Sept. 2, 2023 at Hard Rock Stadium in Coral Gables, Fla.
In what has been previously dubbed the Confusion Bowl, the two Miamis have played three times previously, with the Hurricanes winning each time. All three games were in Miami, Fla., and green-and-orange Miami won by scores of 27-13 in 1945, 20-17 in 1946 and, most recently, 54-3 in 1987.
Miami (Ohio) will net $1.5 million for the trip, according to FBSchedules.
Miami (Fla.) has a home game with Texas A&M and a visit to Temple lined up elsewhere for 2023, while Miami (Ohio) will visit Cincinnati and host Liberty.
After a little over two months on the job, one of the most glorious mustaches in all of college football has earned a promotion.
Tuesday, Bowling Green announced that Brian VanGorder has been named as first-year head coach Scot Loeffler‘s defensive coordinator. In mid-December, the MAC school announced VanGorder’s hiring as linebackers coach and associate head coach.
VanGorder replaces Carl Pelini, who left last month to pursue another coaching opportunity.
VanGorder has served as a coordinator for a significant portion of the last decade, including stops at Louisville (2018), Notre Dame (2015-16), Auburn (2012) and the Atlanta Falcons (2008-11). Prior to his one-year stint at Louisville, VanGorder served as a defensive analyst at both Georgia (2016, after he was fired by Notre Dame) and Oklahoma State (2017).
Interestingly, Bowling Green will travel to South Bend Oct. 5 this year to take on Notre Dame.
With VanGorder’s promotion, the Falcons also announced that Jim Herrmann has been hired to replace the new defensive coordinator as linebackers coach. Herrmann will also carry the title of associate head coach.
Herrmann has spent the past baker’s dozen seasons as linebackers coach at the NFL level, with stops with the Indianapolis Colts (2016-18), New York Giants (2009-15) and New York Jets (2006-08) dotting his résumé. His last college job at this level came during a lengthy stint at his alma mater Michigan (1985-2005). The last nine years of his time in Ann Arbor, Herrmann worked as the Wolverines’ defensive coordinator.