Jameis Winston, Pac-12 QBs headline O’Brien Award watch list

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Don’t worry.  We’re just a couple of days away from the end of the dreaded “Watch List Season.”

The latest to release its watch list are the fine folks at the Davey O’Brien Award, which announced a 39-strong group of quarterbacks to watch in 2014.  Not so surprisingly, last year’s winner headlines the individual names on the list.

Florida State’s Jameis Winston, the 2013 trophy winner, is looking to become the fourth quarterback to ever claim two O’Briens.  If a repeat is in order, Winston would join BYU’s Ty Detmer (1990-91), Florida’s Danny Wuerffel (1995-96) and Oklahoma’s Jason White (2003-04) as the award’s only two-time winners.

Winston, though, will face some stiff competition. There are five semifinalists for last year’s award on this year’s watch list: UCLA’s Brett Hundley, Oregon State’s Sean Mannion, Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, Ohio State’s Braxton Miller and Baylor’s Bryce Petty.

The Pac-12 easily paced all conferences with eight players on the watch list, followed by the Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC with five apiece. Of the 39 players selected, just 13 came from non-Power Five conferences.

Class-wise, there were 19 seniors, 13 juniors and seven sophomores on the list.

Below is the complete 2014 Davey O’Brien Award preseason watch list:

Anthony Boone (Duke, Senior)
Terrance Broadway (Louisiana-Lafayette, Senior)
Shane Carden (East Carolina, Senior)
Rakeem Cato (Marshall, Senior)
Connor Cook (Michigan State, Junior)
Jeff Driskel (Florida, Junior)
Cody Fajardo (Nevada, Senior)
Devin Gardner (Michigan, Senior)
Jared Goff (California, Sophomore)
Everett Golson (Notre Dame, Junior)
Garrett Grayson (Colorado State, Senior)
Christian Hackenberg (Penn State, Sophomore)
Connor Halliday (Washington State, Senior)
Grant Hedrick (Boise State, Senior)
Taylor Heinicke (Old Dominion, Senior)
Taysom Hill (BYU, Junior)
Kevin Hogan (Stanford, Junior)
Brett Hundley (UCLA, Junior)
Matt Johnson (Bowling Green, Junior)
Chuckie Keeton (Utah State, Senior)
Taylor Kelly (Arizona State, Senior)
Cody Kessler (USC, Junior)
Trevor Knight (Oklahoma, Sophomore)
Sean Mannion (Oregon State, Senior)
Marcus Mariota (Oregon, Junior)
Nick Marshall (Auburn, Senior)
Hutson Mason (Georgia, Senior)
Braxton Miller (Ohio State, Senior)
John O’Korn (Houston, Sophomore)
Bryce Petty (Baylor, Senior)
Dak Prescott (Mississippi State, Junior)
Keenan Reynolds (Navy, Junior)
Joel Stave (Wisconsin, Junior)
P.J. Walker (Temple, Sophomore)
Bo Wallace (Ole Miss, Senior)
J.W. Walsh (Oklahoma State, Junior)
Jake Waters (Kansas State, Senior)
Davis Webb (Texas Tech, Sophomore)
Jameis Winston (Florida State, Sophomore)

WATCH: Troy player receives football scholarship from his mom

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The moment when a player receives a surprise scholarship among the company of his teammates is never one that gets old watching, and you have to give it to coaches and programs finding new ways to always keep these moments as special as they can. Recently, Troy long snapper Cameron Kaye was surprised with a scholarship at the end of a practice, and his mother was the one to hand over the official paperwork.

As Troy head coach Neal Brown says in the video, Kaye started every game Troy played a season ago and has earned a 3.0 GPA as an exercise science major.

Kaye announced he had received his full scholarship offer on Friday, two days prior to Troy’s video team releasing the video included in this post.

Videos of players learning they are being put on scholarship will never, ever get old.

Penn State DE Torrence Brown the latest Nittany Lion to retire

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The hits just keep on coming for Penn State. Just days after a pair of Penn State players announced their retirement from football, defensive end Torrence Brown has announced his retirement from the game just before the start of the college football season.

“Due to multiple injuries and surgeries, my career at Penn State has come to an end,” Brown said in a statement shared on his Twitter account recently. “It has been tough coming to terms with this news but I know that everything happens for a reason and God will continue to guide me.”

Brown missed the majority of the 2017 season due to a knee injury suffered early in the year. He had hoped to return to the field this fall, but that clearly did not come to be for Brown as he battled back from injury.

Last week, Ryan Buchholz and Jordan Miner announced their retirements from the game. Prior to that, 2018 signee Nana Asiedu announced his retirement due to a heart condition. Quarterback Jake Zembiec also has retired due to a shoulder injury.

“We’re kind of having a strange year, to be honest with you,” Penn State head coach James Franklin said recently in response to some of the previously announced retirements, according to PennLive. “It’s challenging for them, it’s challenging for their parents, it’s challenging for us as a staff, in terms of managing a roster and depth, and those types of things. Most importantly, it’s difficult (because) this is their dream. This is their ultimate dream.”

Brown said he intends to follow through with the winter semester to earn his degree.

UCLA loses LB Josh Woods to season-ending knee injury

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UCLA’s defense was dealt a bad card just before the start of the 2018 college football season. Bruins head coach Chip Kelly announced to reporters that linebacker Josh Woods will miss the entire season due to a knee injury from Thursday’s practice.

“It’s a big blow,” Kelly said, according to a Los Angeles Daily News report. “Just a great young man, everything you want in a football player. So it’s hard for us to try to replace because we don’t have that much depth at that position. But right now our thoughts are with Josh.”

Woods was expected to be a starter for the UCLA defense this season. Last season, he appeared in seven games and recorded 30 tackles, including 23 solo tackles. His 2017 season was cut short due to a shoulder injury.

It remains to be determined if Woods will get the chance to play for UCLA again. The senior has already earned his degree but does have the option of using a redshirt for the 2018 season and continuing to play again in 2019.

Jeremy Pruitt still expects Vols’ highest-rated 2018 signee to enroll

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Tennessee has spent the whole of summer camp without its most highly-touted true freshman, but that could change in the not-too-distant future.

While JJ Peterson signed with the Vols this recruiting cycle, he has yet to enroll in classes at UT as he still has some academic requirements to clear. After Saturday’s scrimmage, Jeremy Pruitt seemed confident that the linebacker will join the team on the field sooner rather than later.

“He’s finishing up a class, and when he gets the class finished up, he’ll be here,” the head coach said by the Knoxville News Sentinel. “Would we have liked it… been last week? Absolutely. But that’s part of it. You’ve got to do it, and he’s working hard to do that.”

According to the News Sentinel, UT starts its fall semester this coming Wednesday.

A four-star member of the Volunteers’ 2018 recruiting class, Peterson was rated as the No. 3 outside linebacker in the country; the No. 7 player at any position in the state of Georgia; and the No. 48 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board.  The 6-3, 231-pound signee was the highest-rated prospect in Pruitt’s first class with the Vols, one that was 22nd nationally and eighth in the SEC.

Tennessee kicks off the 2018 season Sept. 1 against West Virginia in Charlotte.