Total of 16 semifinalists up for Bednarik Award

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Yesterday, Oregon’s Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and Alabama’s C.J. Mosley were named as repeat semifinalists for national awards at their respective positions.  Now, the talented duo are up for an award given annually to the best defensive player regardless of position.

The Bednarik Award announced Tuesday morning that a total of 16 players have made the cut as 2013 semifinalists.  As was the case with the Butkus Award, Mosley is the only semifinalist who was in this group last year as 13 of the other honorees headed to the NFL.

One of the two remaining players among the 16 2012 semifinalists not on this year’s list?  South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who was not only a semifinalist for the 2012 Bednarik but was a finalist for the award that went to Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o.  The other 2012 semifinalist who failed to repeat the feat this year is Arizona State’s Will Sutton.

Unlike the Maxwell Award announced earlier today, the Bednarik is dominated by seniors as 12 of the 16 semifinalists come from that class.  USC defensive end Leonard Williams is the only sophomore.

Seven linebackers, six defensive linemen (four ends, two tackles) and three cornerbacks make up the semifinalists positionally.

The ACC and Pac-12 had five and four players, respectively, included in the release.  The Big Ten and SEC with two apiece were the only other conferences with more than one player.  While there were no individual teams with more than one Bednarik semifinalist, there were five that had players on both the Bednarik and Maxwell lists: Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Oregon and Wisconsin.

Both of those awards are handed out annually by the Maxwell Football Club.

2013 Bednarik Award Semifinalists

Miami announces star WR Jeff Thomas has been dismissed

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That certainly didn’t take long.

Amidst rumors of issues with the coaching staff that surfaced earlier in the week, speculation was making the rounds earlier in the day today that Jeff Thomas had decided to leave the Miami football team.  Prior to Wednesday’s practice, a U-M spokesperson clarified that the wide receiver was still a member of the team but wouldn’t be at practice as he tended to an unspecified personal matter.

Just a short time ago, however, The U announced in a press release that Thomas has been dismissed from the football program.  No specific reason for the dismissal was given.

“We have high standards for excellence, for conduct and for the commitment to team for all of the young men who wear our uniform, and we will not waver from those standards,” head coach Mark Richt said in a statement. “We wish Jeff the very best as he moves forward in his journey.”

Thomas is currently leading the Hurricanes in receptions (35) and receiving yards (563).  The sophomore’s 16.1 yards per reception are second on the team while his three touchdown receptions are tied for third.

Miami closes out the 2018 regular season with a home date against ACC Coastal champion and 24th-ranked Pitt this Saturday.

Texas ‘expecting’ Sam Ehlinger (shoulder) to play against Kansas

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As Texas looks to wrap up a spot in its conference’s championship game, it appears the Longhorns will have their starting quarterback under center.

In Saturday’s win over Iowa State, Sam Ehlinger aggravated the AC joint in his right (throwing) shoulder that he had originally injured earlier in the season.  Monday, Ehlinger’s status was decidedly up in the air for this Friday’s game against Kansas.

Wednesday, however, there was a decidedly optimistic update from the football program.

“Ehlinger’s injured right shoulder continues to progress as Texas’ sophomore QB fully participated in practice on Wednesday,” a release from the school began. “He increased his workload to 40 live throws during UT’s final workout before heading to Lawrence on Thanksgiving Day.”

Most notably, head coach Tom Herman stated that he is expecting Ehlinger to play against the Jayhawks.  Should Ehlinger suffer a setback over the next 48 hours or so, Shane Buechele would once again step into the starting role.

A Texas win over Kansas would mean the Longhorns will face the winner of Friday night’s Oklahoma-West Virginia matchup in the Big 12 championship game the following weekend.

Former Penn State LB Manny Bowen transfers to Utah

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Manny Bowen’s winding roller coaster journey in his college football life will include the Pac-12 as his next stop.

On his personal Twitter account late Wednesday morning, Bowen announced that he “will be playing my final season of college football for the University of Utah.” Bowen, who announced his transfer from Penn State in mid-October, is set to graduate from the university next month.

The Utes subsequently confirmed the addition of Bowen.

In late August, James Franklin confirmed that Bowen had left his football program; that move came a little over three weeks after the fourth-year senior rejoined the team and was practicing with the rest of the Nittany Lions in preparation for the 2018 season.  Bowen was suspended late last season and then dismissed in late December for what were described as violations of team rules.

Bowen had started the first nine games of the 2017 season, before the disciplinary issues hit, after starting a dozen contests during the 2016 campaign.  He didn’t play in the Rose Bowl that season because of, you guessed it, unspecified violations of team rules.

At the time of his 2017 suspension, Bowen was third on the team with 51 tackles and tied for second in quarterback hits with four.

Rumored to have left Hurricanes, Miami says Jeff Thomas still ‘a member of the football team’

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Is he or isn’t he?  That’s a rather significant question that’s being asked regarding the status of one of Miami’s most productive players on the offensive side of the ball.

Earlier in the day, speculation was swirling that Jeff Thomas had left the Miami football team. Not long after, a UM spokesperson stated that the wide receiver would not be at practice Wednesday due to what were described as personal reasons but that he’s still a member of the football team.

It has been rumored that there was some type of issue between Thomas and unspecified members of the coaching staff earlier this week that led to the current situation.

Head coach Mark Richt is not scheduled to meet with the media Wednesday or Thursday.  It’s unclear if the football program will send out an update on Thomas’ status with the team, although it’s possible that could happen at some point today.

Thomas is currently leading the Hurricanes in receptions (35) and receiving yards (563).  The sophomore’s 16.1 yards per reception are second on the team while his three touchdown receptions are tied for third.

Miami closes out the 2018 regular season with a home date against ACC Coastal champion and 24th-ranked Pitt this Saturday.