Biletnikoff, Mackey Award semifinalists announced

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Texas A&M’s Mike Evans and Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro headline the semifinalists for the Biletnikoff and Mackey Awards, both of which were unveiled Monday.

Amaro, in fact, is a semifinalist for both awards — the Texas Tech tight end, who was injured Saturday against Baylor (and received a classy note from Bill Snyder), has 92 catches for 1,157 yards and six touchdowns this year.

The Biletnikoff semifinalists:

Davante Adams (Fresno State, SO): 91 REC, 967 YDS, 15 TD
Jace Amaro (Texas Tech, JR): 92 REC, 1,157 YDS, 6 TD
Odell Beckham Jr. (LSU, JR): 51 REC, 1,051 YDS, 8 TD
Brandin Cooks (Oregon State, JR): 100 REC, 1,443 YDS, 14 TD
Mike Evans (Texas A&M, SO): 57 REC, 1,263 YDS, 12 TD
Antwan Goodley (Baylor, JR): 48 REC, 1,075 YDS, 11 TD
Jordan Matthews (Vanderbilt, SR): 83 REC, 1,076 YDS, 5 TD
Allen Robinson (Penn State, JR): 81 REC, 1,204 YDS, 6 TD
Willie Snead (Ball State, JR): 86 REC, 1,296 YDS, 13 TD
Sammy Watkins (Clemson, JR): 71 REC, 1,086 YDS, 9 TD

It depends on which side you’re on in handicapping the award — Evans and Goodley are the most explosive of the bunch, each averaging about 22 yards per reception. Adams, Amaro and Cooks are the only players with over 90 receptions as of now. Guys like Matthews, Robinson and Amaro haven’t caught a ton of touchdowns like Adams, Cooks and Snead.

It’s worth noting, too, that preseason frontrunner Marqise Lee isn’t a semifinalist. The star USC receiver has been banged up and hasn’t been targeted as much as expected for an elite wideout this year, only amassing 44 catches for 604 yards and two touchdowns.

As for the Mackey Award semifinalists:

Jace Amaro  (Texas Tech, JR): 92 REC, 1,157 YDS, 6 TD
Ted Bolser (Indiana, SR): 30 REC, 296 YDS, 5 TD
Eric Ebron (North Carolina, JR): 49 REC, 763 YDS, 3 TD
Devin Funchess (Michigan, SO): 42 REC, 684 YDS, 5 TD
Gator Hoskins (Marshall, SR): 28 REC, 455 YDS, 9 TD
Troy Niklas (Notre Dame, JR): 25 REC, 390 YDS, 5 TD
Nick O’Leary (Florida State, JR): 26 REC, 444 YDS, 7 TD
Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Washington, JR): 27 REC, 328 YDS, 6 TD

Basically, it’d be stunning if Amaro didn’t win this. The award does take being a complete tight end into account — i.e. run/pass blocking — but Amaro’s numbers are so above and beyond those of the other semifinalists that he looks like the clear favorite.

Braden White named prestigious 12th Man at Texas A&M

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The 12th Man is a big, big deal at Texas A&M. In fact, it’s pretty much the brand of not just the football program, but the entire athletics department. Case in point, A&M’s athletics department website is 12thman.com.

For the uninitiated, in 1922 the Aggies found themselves short of players in a football game against Center College, the No. 1 team in the country at the time, after multiple players sustained injuries over the course of the game. Down to just 11 players, A&M student E. King Gill volunteered to suit up and stand on the sidelines in case the team needed him. Gill now has a statue outside of Kyle Field, and A&M’s student section is collectively referred to as the 12th Man.

As such, it’s a tremendous honor for an active Aggie player to be awarded the No. 12 and, after fullback Cullen Gillaspia donned the jersey for a record-tying 39 games, it’s time to hand it off to a new player.

On Tuesday, Jimbo Fisher awarded the No. 12 jersey to Braden White, a walk-on linebacker from Florence, Ala.

“I’m honored just to be able to represent this great university and everything about it,” White said. “It’s a true blessing.”

White is a redshirt junior who has checked all the boxes of a player who checks all the 12th Man boxes. He was named Defensive Scout Team MVP during his redshirt year of 2016 and was honored as the Top Conditioned Athlete at the Aggies’ 2018 team banquet. He has appeared in 18 career games, recording 16 career tackles playing primarily as a special teams contributor.

White will wear No. 12 for the first time next when Texas A&M — ranked, ironically, No. 12 in the preseason AP poll — hosts Texas State next Thursday night (8:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network).

UConn begins building out independent schedules with BC home-and-home

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Until they tell us otherwise, Connecticut is going to try to make it as an FBS independent. This upcoming season will be the Huskies’ final one as a member of the American Athletic Conference, as the Huskies’ Olympic sports will return to the Big East and the football team will go it alone.

This will require lots (and lots and lots) of scheduling work, and quickly. As of now, the Huskies have four games on the schedule for a season that begins 12 months from now.

While it does nothing to help the 2020 slate, UConn began chipping away at the mountain in front of it on Wednesday by announcing a home-and-home with Boston College. The first game will be Oct. 29, 2022 in Storrs, with the return game going down Oct. 28, 2023 in Chestnut Hill.

The two programs have met 14 times previously; BC leads the series 12-0-2. The Eagles took the most recent meeting 39-16 in 2017.

Additionally, BC announced a 2023-28 home-and-home with Army and a Sept. 9, 2023 home game with Holy Cross.

Safety graduate transfers from Penn State to Pitt

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Penn State safety Johnny Petrishen has left State College for Pittsburgh, where he is now a Panther.

Petrishen announced the transfer on Tuesday evening, and Pitt confirmed his addition on Wednesday morning.

Petrishen has two years of eligibility remaining thanks — if you want to use that term — to two medical redshirts.

A Lower Burrell, Pa., native, Petrishen appeared in 17 career games as a Nittany Lion, including all 13 last season. Primarily a special teams player, he posted eight career tackles and one TFL in State College.

NC State transfer Tim Kidd-Glass tweets move to Liberty

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Hugh Freeze may be dealing with what was a significant health issue, but he’s still working his first-year roster at Liberty.

On his personal Twitter account Tuesday evening, Tim Kidd-Glass announced that he “would like to thank God for allowing me to have another opportunity to further my football career… at Liberty University.” The announcement comes a couple of weeks after the safety triggered a move from North Carolina State by entering his name into the NCAA transfer database.

As a graduate transfer, Kidd-Glass will be eligible to play for the Flames in 2019.

The past three seasons, the Virginia native played in 33 games for the Wolfpack.  He started nine of those contests, all of which came during the 2017 season.