Boston College RB Andre Williams jumps to second in HeismanPundit Staw Poll

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Another ACC player has emerged as a serious contender in this year’s Heisman race.

Boston College running back Andre Williams, fresh off a 263-yard performance that pushed him past the 2,000-yard mark for the season, debuted in second-place in the latest HeismanPundit Heisman Straw Poll released on Tuesday.

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston held the top spot for the third week in a row, but he saw his point total drop as the result of two voters dropping him off their ballots. Winston grabbed six first-place votes, appearing on just those six ballots, and totaled 18 points.

Williams was close behind with 16 points. He did not garner any first-place votes from the 10-member panel of voters, but his appearance on eight ballots allowed him to leapfrog the rest of the field.

Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron grabbed two first-place votes and totaled eight points to move up to third place from fifth last week. Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch was fourth (1 first-place vote, 7 points) while defending Heisman winnerJohnny Manziel of Texas A&M was fifth (4 points). Oregon’sMarcus Mariota snared the remaining first place vote.

Now in its eighth season, the HeismanPundit.com Heisman Straw Poll is the college football world’s most trusted gauge of Heisman voter sentiment. It has been the most accurate Heisman poll in the country during the past seven seasons, with the final 2012 poll correctly picking the top five finishers and the final 2011 poll picking the top seven. This year’s poll is made up of 10 anonymous Heisman voters from across the country. Each week during the season they will pick three players. Tabulations for the preseason poll are tabulated like a real Heisman ballot, with three points awarded for a first-place vote, two points for a second-place vote and one point for a third-place vote.

Each week’s poll is released on Tuesdays throughout the season at HeismanPundit.com.

The HeismanPundit.com Heisman Straw Poll, 11/26/2013

Total Points (with first place votes in parentheses)

1. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State — 18 (6)

2. Andre Williams, RB, Boston College — 16

3. AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama — 8 (2)

4. Jordan Lynch, QB, Northern Illinois — 7 (1)

5. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M — 4

6. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon — 3 (1)

7. Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor — 2

8. (tie) Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State — 1

Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh — 1

Number of ballots

Williams — 8

Winston — 6

McCarron — 4

Lynch — 4

Manziel — 3

The rest — 1

Florida State’s third-leading receiver enters transfer portal

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Just a couple of days after officially taking over at Florida State, Mike Norvell has suffered his first personnel loss.

First reported by SEC Network‘s Cole Cubelic and subsequently confirmed by 247Sports.com and others, Tre'Shaun Harrison has taken the first step in leaving the Seminoles by placing his name into the NCAA transfer database.  As one Alabama player did this week, Harrison could always opt to pull his name from the portal and remain at FSU.

Moving into the portal also gives other schools the opportunity to contact the wide receiver without receiving permission from FSU.

A four-star member of FSU’s 2018 recruiting class, Harrison was rated as the No. 2 player at any position in the state of Washington.

Harrison is currently third on the Seminoles with 289 yards on 27 receptions.  As a true freshman last season, he caught 10 passes for 66 yards and a touchdown, the first of his three scores with the ‘Noles.

Mississippi State RB Kylin Hill declares for draft, will play in Music City Bowl vs. Louisville

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There’s good news and bad news on the early-entry front for Mississippi State.

The bad? As expected, Kylin Hill announced via Twitter Thursday that, “after much prayer and discussion with my family… I will be forgoing my final season of eligibility and entering my name in the 2020 NFL Draft.”

The good? Hill confirmed that he will be playing in the Music City Bowl matchup versus Louisville Dec. 30.

Hill led the Bulldogs and the SEC this past season with 1,347 yards rushing and 10 rushing touchdowns on 235 carries.  He added 17 catches for 174 yards and another touchdown coming out of the backfield.

For his career, Hill totaled 2,474 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground, and another 473 and five through the air.

Joe Burrow wins Associated Press Player of the Year in a landslide

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Come Saturday evening, when the results coming out of New York City are made official, I suspect this won’t be the first time we string the words “Joe Burrow” and “wins in a landslide” in the same sentence.

The Associated Press Thursday announced its College Football Player of the Year and, to the surprise of no one, Burrow claimed yet another piece of postseason hardware.  There were 53 media members who voted for the AP award; 50 of them cast first-place votes for Burrow, helping give the LSU quarterback a total of 156 points.

The senior, who is now viewed by some as the likely No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, currently leads the nation in passing touchdowns with 48 and completion percentage at 77.9 percent; right now, the completion percentage would be an FBS record, surpassing the 76.7 percent put up by Texas’ Colt McCoy in 2008.  The Ohio State transfer is also second in the nation in passing yards (4,715) and passing efficiency (201.5).

Speaking of Ohio State, a pair of Buckeyes, defensive end Chase Young and quarterback Justin Fields, finished well behind Burrow in the voting.  Young, who was the only other player to receive first-place votes, totaled 29 points while Fields totaled 43.  Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts was fourth in the voting.

All four of those players mentioned, incidentally, were named as Heisman Trophy finalists earlier this week.

New USF HC Jeff Scott lands commitment from ex-South Carolina RB

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After a season away, Lavonte Valentine is back at the FBS level.

By way of his personal Twitter account Wednesday, Valentine announced that he has decided to transfer to South Florida and continue his collegiate playing career with the Bulls.  As Valentine, whose transfer from South Carolina was confirmed in August of this year, comes to USF from the NAIA level, he will be eligible to play immediately in 2020.

The move comes a couple of days after Clemson offensive coordinator Jeff Scott was named as the football program’s next head coach.

Coming out of high school in Melbourne, Fla., Valentine was a three-star member of South Carolina’s 2018 recruiting class, rated as the No. 18 all-purpose running back in the country.  In part because of a torn ACL suffered his senior season of high school that caused him to miss spring practice and fall behind on the depth chart, Valentine took a redshirt for his true freshman season.

Valentine did, though, run track for USC this past spring, and he told The State that he will run track and play football at USF.