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

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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

Arkansas WR Jordon Curtis recovering after being hit by car

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A potentially serious, or even deadly, situation involving one member of the Arkansas football team has turned out okay for all involved.

According to multiple media outlets in the area, defensive back Jordon Curtis was hit by a car after leaving practice Sunday night. Curtis was walking in a crosswalk near the Razorbacks’ practice facility when he was struck.

From the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:

According to UAPD, officers were dispatched to the scene at 5:26 p.m. Sunday. The officer reported that Curtis was bleeding from a wound above his right eye, but was able to answer cognitive questions about his date of birth and hometown. An ambulance transported Curtis to Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville.

The driver of a blue 2007 Hyundai Veracruz was issued two citations for failure to yield to a pedestrian at a crosswalk and for speeding too fast for conditions. The report states that four witnesses observed the driver never hit his brakes, but the driver stated he tried to stop but was unable to avoid hitting Curtis.

Thankfully for all involved, Cutis was treated and released from the hospital not long after the incident.

“We’re very fortunate, and our thoughts and prayers will be with him and his recovery,” head coach Chad Morris said Monday. “He will not be around this week, but is doing good. We’re very, very, very fortunate. Again, our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”

A redshirt freshman, Curtis played in the 2018 season opener but hasn’t seen any game action since.

Reports: Clemson transfer Kelly Bryant scraps planned Miami visit

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We don’t know yet to where Kelly Bryant will transfer.  Based on the most recent intel, though, we can divine one destination that has been taken out of play.

It was reported last week that, after rumored interest, the former Clemson quarterback would be visiting Miami on Nov. 24, with a decision on a future college football home coming on Dec. 4.  While the decision date is still the same, the visit to the Hurricanes reportedly won’t take place.

Miami was supposed to be the fifth of five official visits the graduate transfer can take.  Instead, that fifth visit will go to Auburn at some point next week.  Bryant has already taken an unofficial visit to Auburn earlier this month.

Officially, Bryant has taken visits to North Carolina (HERE), Missouri (HERE), Arkansas (HERE) and Mississippi State (HERE).

As a graduate transfer, Bryant will be eligible to play in 2019 regardless of where he ultimately lands.  Next season would be his final year of eligibility.

Bryant had started 18 games in a row at quarterback for the Tigers, winning 16 of those contests, before he was benched in favor of five-star 2018 signee Trevor Lawrence in September.  Bryant labeled Dabo Swinney‘s decision to bench him as “a slap in the face.”

That perceived slap triggered the much-discussed decision to transfer on Sept. 26.

Kyler Murray gains ground on Tua Tagovailoa in Bovada Heisman odds

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The 2018 Heisman Trophy was all but handed to Tua Tagovailoa earlier this month, but, if he’s going to ultimately go down, Kyler Murray and his Heisman website are not going down without a fight.

In the latest set of odds to be released by Bovada.lv, Tagovailoa is still listed as the prohibitive favorite to claim this year’s stiff-armed trophy, although his odds have lengthened a bit from 2/9 a week ago to 1/4. Murray, meanwhile, has seen his odds shorten from 5/1 to 9/2.

This is actually the second week in a row that Murray has pecked away at Tagovailoa’s wagering lead. On Nov. 5, the Alabama quarterback was at 1/10 while the Oklahoma signal-caller sat at 6/1.

Another pair of quarterbacks, Washington State’s Gardner Minshew and Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins, saw their odds shrink significantly over the last seven days, with the former going from 50/1 to 30/1 and the latter moving from 100/1 to 50/1. West Virginia’s Will Grier went from 7/1 a week ago to 12/1 this week.

Just four other players remain on Bovada‘s board, although they are distant underdogs to the two frontrunners:

Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence (25/1 a week ago, 50/1 this week)
UCF QB McKenzie Milton (100/1, 50/1)
Clemson RB Travis Etienne (25/1, 60/1)
Michigan QB Shea Patterson (20/1, 100/1)

Texas’ Breckyn Hager publicly apologizes for ‘OU still sucks’ blast

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Necessary or not, you knew this was coming.

Following Texas’ huge win over Iowa State Saturday night, eccentric UT defensive end Breckyn Hager punctuated a postgame meeting with the media with an “OU still sucks” blast directed at bitter rival Oklahoma. Monday, the Big 12 publicly reprimanded Hager for his words and stated that it expected a public apology from the player.

Monday night, that apology came from a contrite Hager.

I consider sportsmanship to be an essential part of the game I so truly love. I spoke with our athletics director Chris Del Conte and Coach Herman about what I said after Saturday’s game and understand why it reflected poorly on me and my team. I had no ill intentions when I made my comments about Oklahoma, which included a phrase that’s used by fans, but I have to realize that it’s different coming from me. My thought process was that it would put a fun and light-hearted charge into the greatest rivalry in college football that my family has been involved in playing in for many years, but I can see now that was not the way to do it.

I have the utmost respect for the University of Oklahoma and their football program and know a number of players on their team, and I want to apologize to them. I want to represent myself, my family, my football program, my university and the Big 12 Conference in the best possible way. I’m truly sorry for the comments I made, will learn from this and will keep working to improve my ability to think about the ramifications of what I say before I say it.

If Texas beats Kansas and Oklahoma beats West Virginia this Saturday, the two Red River Shootout rivals will meet the following weekend in the Big 12 championship game.