Jameis Winston tops Bovada’s initial 2014 Heisman odds

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As expected, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner is the early favorite to become the second player to claim back-to-back stiff-armed trophies.

In its initial set of odds for the 2014 Heisman, Bovada.lv has installed Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston as a 2/1 favorite for this year’s award.  Of course, this past season Winston became the second consecutive redshirt freshman to be named the winner of the most prestigious award in college football.

Winston serves as the only 2013 Heisman finalist to be represented as the other five — Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, Auburn running back Tre Mason, Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron and Boston College running back Andre Williams –were either seniors or left school early.

Around this time last year, Manziel, the 2012 Heisman winner, was the prohibitive favorite at 4-1.  McCarron was the only other 2013 finalist to make Bovada‘s initial release in early February.  Winston was not listed as he had yet to claim the starting job coming off a redshirt year.

Right behind Winston are a trio of quarterbacks: Oregon’s Marcus Mariota (7/2), Ohio State’s Braxton Miller (4/1) and Baylor’s Bryce Petty (6/1).  Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon at 5/1 is the favorite running back, although I’d wait for his running mate Derrick Henry, who’s not included in the initial batch of odds, to be listed if you’re looking to drop some cash on a Tide back.

In somewhat of a surprise, six running backs are listed by Bovada to go along with nine quarterbacks.  Quarterbacks have won 12 of the last 13 Heismans, the lone exception being Alabama’s Mark Ingram in 2009.

Another surprise?  Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson, who did not play in 2013 because he cheated on a final exam earlier in the year, is listed at 25/1.

The Seminoles are the only team with two players listed by Bovada, with Winston joined by running back Karlos Williams (33/1).

Below is the complete set of 2014 Heisman odds, again courtesy of Bovada.lv:

Jameis Winston (QB, Florida State) 2/1
Marcus Mariota (QB, Oregon) 7/2
Braxton Miller (QB, Ohio State) 4/1
T.J. Yeldon (RB, Alabama) 5/1
Bryce Petty (QB, Baylor) 6/1
Brett Hundley (QB, UCLA) 12/1
Mike Davis (RB, South Carolina)  15/1
Melvin Gordon (RB, Wisconsin) 16/1
Everett Golson (QB, Notre Dame) 25/1
Trevor Knight (QB, Oklahoma) 25/1
Duke Johnson (RB, Miami) 33/1
Karlos Williams (RB, Florida State) 33/1
Matt Johnson (QB, Bowling Green) 66/1
Rakeem Cato (QB, Marshall) 66/1

Starting Nevada safety transfers to BYU

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Nevada’s secondary loss will turn into BYU’s gain.

In early December, it was reported that Nephi Sewell will be transferring from Nevada.  Less than two weeks later, Sewell took to Twitter over the weekend to announce that he has decided to continue his collegiate playing career at BYU.

The move serves as a homecoming for Sewell as the defensive back played his high school football in the state of Utah.

As a sophomore this season, Sewell started all 10 games in which he played after starting eight games in 2017. His 53 tackles in 2018 were good for sixth on the team.

Sewell’s older brother, Gabe Sewell, is a junior linebacker for Nevada and currently leads the Wolf Pack in tackles with 85.  His younger brother, Penei Sewell, is a freshman offensive lineman at Oregon.

Kentucky’s Josh Allen adds fourth national trophy honor

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When it’s all said and done, Josh Allen is going to need a bigger trophy cabinet — or at least significantly expand his current one.

Monday, it was announced that the Kentucky senior was named as the 2018 recipient of the Jack Lambert Award. That trophy is handed out annually by the Touchdown Club of Columbus (OH) and given to the national linebacker of the year.

Previously this awards season, Allen had been named as the winner of the Bronko Nagurski Award (HERE) and Chuck Bednarik Award (HERE) as well as the recipient of the Ronnie Lott IMPACT Trophy (HERE). He also earned unanimous first-team All-American honors.

Allen’s 14 sacks this season set the football program’s single-season record, while his 28.5 career sacks are the most ever for a member of the Wildcats.

Utah OC Troy Taylor named head coach at FCS Sacramento State

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For the second time since the 2018 regular season came to an end, Kyle Whittingham has seen one of his assistant coaches leave for a head-coaching job.

Exactly a week ago, Utah State announced that Utah associate head coach Gary Andersen was returning to again lead the Aggies.  Monday, Sacramento State announced that Troy Taylor has been hired as the FCS program’s next head football coach.

Taylor, who spent two seasons as Whittingham’s offensive coordinator, was the starting quarterback at Cal in the late eighties after playing his high school football in the state of California.  He also began his coaching career at the high school level near Sacramento.

“I am thrilled to be the new head football coach at Sacramento State,” Taylor said in a statement. “My family and I are excited to move back home and take on the challenge of building the Hornet Football program into something the city can be very proud. I want to thank President Nelsen, Mark Orr and the rest of the search committee for giving me this opportunity.”

With bowl season left, Utah is sixth in the Pac-12 and 67th nationally in scoring 28.7 points per game.  In Taylor’s first season in charge of the offense, they averaged 29.5 ppg.

Whittingham has already replaced Andersen with former Ute football player Sione Po’uha.

Nick Saban says Tua Tagovailoa ‘probably ahead of schedule’ in recovery from ankle surgery

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One of the biggest storylines leading into the 2018 College Football Playoff is the health of this year’s Heisman Trophy runner-up.  With Alabama’s date with Oklahoma less than two weeks away, the signs are pointing in a positive direction for Tua Tagovailoa.

The sophomore quarterback suffered a high-ankle sprain in Alabama’s SEC championship game win over Georgia two weeks ago and underwent surgery shortly thereafter to help aid the healing process.  Monday, Nick Saban sounded decidedly optimistic in giving an update on the status of his starter, who has participated at least partly in all four of the Crimson Tide’s practice session since the title game.

“He’s doing well,” the head coach said by way of ESPN.com. “I think he’s probably ahead of schedule. He’s been able to take a lot of reps. He’s been able to throw the ball from the pocket. He can run. …

“I don’t think he’s 100 percent in terms of change of direction yet. But he’s already going 100 percent on the gravity treadmill. So he’s been able to practice and he’s made really, really good progress. So we’re encouraged by that.”

Tagovailoa had been bothered by knee issues for a sizable chunk of the regular season before hurting his left ankle earlier this month.

Top-ranked Alabama will face Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray and Oklahoma in the Dec. 29 Orange Bowl, which this season is serving as one of the two playoff semifinals.  The winner of that game will face the Notre Dame-Clemson in the national championship game next month.