Half of O’Brien Award semifinalists come from Big 12, SEC


Not long after the Lombardi Award announced its 2014 semifinalists, an award that rewards outstanding play at the quarterback position has done the same.

The Davey O’Brien Award Tuesday released its list of 16 semifinalists for this year’s trophy.  Eight different conference affiliations are represented (AAC, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, C-USA, Independents, Pac-12 and SEC), with the Big 12 and SEC leading all leagues with four each.

The Big Ten and Pac-12, with two apiece, were the only other conferences with more than one semifinalist.

Class-wise, there are nine seniors and five juniors. There is just one sophomore (Florida State’s Jameis Winston) and one freshman (Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett).

Winston, of course, was last year’s winner of the O’Brien as he collected numerous pieces of major trophy hardware on the Seminoles’ road to the BCS title. Oregon’s Marcus Mariota and Baylor’s Bryce Petty join Winston as semifinalists from a year ago who are in that group for the second consecutive year.  This is actually Mariota’s third consecutive year as a semifinalist, and he will be considered the favorite for the 2014 award.

Below are all 16 semifinalists, with brief bios provided by the O’Brien Award.

J.T. Barrett, Ohio State, Freshman, Wichita Falls, Texas, 6-1, 225
Lone freshman among the semifinalists; Fourth in the nation in passing efficiency (170.0) and points responsible for (174); Eighth in NCAA in touchdown passes (23)

Trevone Boykin, TCU, Junior, Dallas, Texas, 6-2, 205
Davey O’Brien Quarterback of the Week on Oct. 28; Fourth nationally in total offense (361.9) and eighth in points responsible for (156); Seven touchdown passes vs. Texas Tech

Shane Carden, East Carolina, Senior, Houston, Texas, 6-2, 221
Davey O’Brien Quarterback of the Week on Sept. 16; Third in the nation in total offense (362.0) and sixth in passing yards (2,791); 2014 Senior CLASS Award candidate

Rakeem Cato, Marshall, Senior, Miami, Fla., 6-1, 176
All-time NCAA record holder for consecutive games with a touchdown pass (40); Eighth in the nation in passing efficiency (160.1) and 10th in points responsible for (150)

Connor Cook, Michigan State, Junior, Hinckley, Ohio, 6-4, 218
Seventh in the nation in passing efficiency (163.1); 19 total touchdowns (17 passing); 19-2 career record as a starter; Semifinalist for 2014 Maxwell Award

Everett Golson, Notre Dame, Senior, Myrtle Beach, S.C., 6-0, 200
Davey O’Brien Quarterback of the Week on Oct. 21; Third in points responsible for (176) and 11th in touchdown passes (22); First Notre Dame player to throw and rush for three TDs in a game

Brett Hundley, UCLA, Junior, Chandler, Ariz., 6-3, 226
Second in nation in completion percentage (.710) and 12th in passing efficiency (156.5); Shares school’s all-time record for career TD passes (68); 2013 Davey O’Brien Award semifinalist

Marcus Mariota, Oregon, Junior, Honolulu, Hawaii, 6-4, 219
Davey O’Brien Quarterback of the Week on Sept. 9; First nationally in points responsible for (204) and passing efficiency (187.2); 2012 and 2013 Davey O’Brien Award semifinalist

Nick Marshall, Auburn, Senior, Pineview, Ga., 6-1, 210
Has 631 yards and nine touchdowns rushing and 1,357 yards and 13 scores passing; School quarterback record eight career 100-yard rushing games; 2014 Maxwell Award semifinalist

Bryce Petty, Baylor, Senior, Midlothian, Texas, 6-3, 230
Davey O’Brien Quarterback of the Week on Oct. 14; Seventh in points responsible for per game (19.7); Team leads nation in scoring offense (50.3); 2013 Davey O’Brien Award semifinalist

Dak Prescott, Mississippi State, Junior, Haughton, La., 6-3, 230
Two-time Davey O’Brien Quarterback of the Week (Sept. 23, Oct. 7); Sixth in points responsible for (162), seventh in total offense (343.8) and 10th in passing efficiency (157.8)

Blake Sims, Alabama, Senior, Gainesville, Ga., 6-0, 208
Third in the nation in passing efficiency (172.7) and 19th in completion percentage (.655); 20 total touchdowns (15 passing) with 2,034 yards passing and 250 yards rushing

Clint Trickett, West Virginia, Senior, Tallahassee, Fla., 6-2, 186
One of two multi-time winners of Davey O’Brien Quarterback of the Week (Sept. 16, Oct. 21); Fourth in NCAA in passing yards (2,925) and eighth in completion percentage (.675)

Bo Wallace, Ole Miss, Senior, Pulaski, Tenn., 6-4, 217
2014 Maxwell Award semifinalist; 2,416 yards passing and 20 touchdowns plus three rushing scores; Among NCAA’s top 20 in passer rating; Led Ole Miss to national top-5 ranking

Jake Waters, Kansas State, Senior, Council Bluffs, Iowa, 6-1, 210
Maxwell Award semifinalist; 404 rushing yards and seven touchdowns plus 1,878 passing yards and 11 TDs; Nine straight games passing for at least 200 yards

Jameis Winston, Florida State, Sophomore, Bessemer, Ala., 6-4, 230
21-0 career record as starting quarterback; Ninth nationally in total offense (331.9) and 10th in completion percentage (.672); 2013 Davey O’Brien Award winner

Oregon State’s defensive lineman Conner Warick enters transfer portal

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Oregon State, step on up as the subject of the next installment of “The Days of Our Portal Lives.”

According to 247Sports.com, Conner Warick has taken the first step in leaving Oregon State by entering his name into the transfer database. An Oregon State football official subsequently confirmed that the defensive lineman is in the portal.

Now, for what’s seemingly becoming a daily disclaimer when it comes to transfers.

As we’ve stated myriad times in the past, a player can remove his name from the portal and remain at the same school. At this point, though, other programs are permitted to contact a player without receiving permission from his current football program.

NCAA bylaws also permit schools to pull a portal entrant’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered it.

Coming out of high school, Warick was a three-star signee as part of the Class of 2018 for Oregon State. He was rated as the No. 25 player regardless of position in the state of Washington.

In his two seasons at OSU, Warick didn’t make an appearance for the Beavers. The search for a better shot at playing time triggered the lineman’s decision.

Oregon State is coming off a five-win 2019 campaign in Jonathan Smith‘s second season as head football coach. That marked the program’s most wins since hitting that same number in 2014 in Mike Riley’s last season. Earlier this offseason, it was reported that OSU is working on a contract extension for Smith, who has gone 7-17 in his two seasons.

Ex-Houston safety Earl Foster killed in shooting

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Houston is the latest college football program to be hit with a tragedy involving a current or former player.

Citing a source with knowledge of the situation, Joseph Duarte of the Houston Chronicle has reported that Earl Foster (pictured, right) was killed in an East Houston shooting Tuesday night. According to the report, Foster was found dead outside of a gas station.

Duarte also wrote that “[a] female companion was transported to a local hospital in critical condition.”

The shooting reportedly happened somewhere other than the gas station. “The vehicle arrived at the gas station and asked for help,” the report stated.

As of this posting, no arrests have been made. The shooting remains under investigation by the Houston Police Department.

Foster, a three-star prospect coming out of Lamar High School in Houston, was a safety for the Houston football team from 2012-15. He appeared in 49 games for the Cougars. All of his action came in a reserve role or on special teams.

The Houston football program expressed sadness over Foster’s death.

Craig Naivar, who was Foster’s position coach in 2015, posted on Twitter his sadness over the development.

“The relationships & bonds built thru competition, the grind & fellowship last forever,” the new USC safeties coach wrote. Very saddened today to hear of the loss of one of our brothers. Please keep Earl & his family close you your hearts, in your thoughts & prayers, Love you buddy.”

Oregon expected to land Boston College grad transfer QB Anthony Brown

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A very experienced player who could replace Justin Herbert has been added to the Oregon football roster.  Reportedly.

In mid-December, Anthony Brown took the first step in leaving Boston College by placing his name into the NCAA transfer database.  Four months later, the quarterback is ready to take the next step as Yahoo Sports! is reporting that Brown is set to be added to the Oregon football roster.

As a graduate transfer, Brown would be eligible to play for the Oregon football team in 2020.  The upcoming season would serve as his final year of eligibility.

In mid-October, Brown suffered a knee injury that was serious enough to sideline him for the remainder of the 2019 season.  He also saw his redshirt freshman season in 2017 cut short because of a knee injury.

In between the twin knee injuries, Brown had started 18 straight games under center for the Eagles — 12 in 2018, six in 2019.  All told, he started 28 games during his time with the ACC school.

Brown, whose decision to transfer came a week or so after head coach Steve Addazio was fired, will apparently finish his time at BC with 4,738 yards, 40 touchdowns and 20 interceptions in completing nearly 55 percent of his 680 pass attempts.  he also ran for 421 yards and another four touchdowns.

Oregon currently has three quarterbacks on its football roster.  Those are redshirt sophomore Tyler Shough, redshirt freshman Cale Millen and true freshman Jay Butterfield.  Shough is the only one in that group who has actually attempted a pass at the collegiate level.  As Herbert’s primary backup in 2019, Shough completed 12-of-15 passes for 144 yards and three touchdowns.

Butterfield was a four-star member of the Oregon football Class of 2020.  The California high schooler was rated as the No. 5 pro-style quarterback in the country in this year’s class.  He’s widely viewed as as the quarterback of the future for the Ducks.

Iowa State announces one-year, temporary reductions in pay, bonuses for coaches

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Iowa State is the first FBS athletic department to address the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.  They certainly, though, won’t be the last.

Because of the crisis, there are growing fears that the 2020 college football season could be canceled.  While all options are being considered, a complete cancellation of the season would have a steep impact on the financial bottom line of most FBS schools, especially those in the Group of Five.

Because of previous revenue streams in the tens of millions, a Power Five program would be better equipped to handle such a development.  One Power Five school, though, is getting ahead of the cash-cow spigot that is college football potentially being shut off.  In a letter posted Wednesday night, Iowa State athletic director Scott Pollard unveiled “several initiatives that we are implementing in the athletics department to best prepare for, both the known and the unknown, financial challenges that we will be facing soon.”

For our audience, the most noteworthy initiative involves coaches’ pay.  That one-year reduction will save the athletic department — Pollard made sure to note the department “is funded almost entirely by external sources” — in excess of $3 million.  Additionally, bonuses for coaches have been suspended.  That move will save in the neighborhood of $1 million

From the release:

  1. A one-year, temporary pay reduction for athletics department coaches and certain staff. This comprehensive plan will reduce total payroll by more than $3M.
  2. A one-year, temporary suspension of all bonuses/incentives for all coaches. This decision will save the department $1M.
  3. Delaying (from January 2021 to January 2022) a previously announced increase in Cyclone Club annual giving levels. The delay will save donors approximately $2.5M for required seating donations.
  4. A freeze on season / individual game ticket prices for all sports.
  5. An extension to the deadline for this year’s Cyclone Club donations and football season ticket renewals to May 29, 2020.
  6. Providing multiple payment options for season tickets and donations. Those required payments can be made monthly, quarterly or semi-annually.

In December of last year, and amidst rumors of other job opportunities, Iowa State announced a contract extension for head football coach Matt Campbell.  His $3.6 million in salary was sixth among Big 12 head coaches in 2019.

At this point, it’s unclear how much Campbell’s pay will be reduced.