Players from top seven CFP teams among 15 Camp semifinalists

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It stands to reason that the highest-ranked teams possess a good amount of top-tier talent.  If the fine folks at the Walter Camp Foundation can be used as an accurate barometer, that’s certainly the case this year.

Wednesday morning, the Camp Foundation released its 15 semifinalists for the 2014 version of its prestigious Player of the Year award.  Included in that group was at least one player each from the top seven teams in the current College Football Playoff Top 25.

  • Wide receiver Amari Cooper, quarterback Blake Sims, No. 1 Alabama
  • Quarterback Marcus Mariota, No. 2 Oregon
  • Quarterback Jameis Winston, No. 3 Florida State
  • Quarterback Dak Prescott, No. 4 Mississippi State
  • Quarterback Trevone Boykin, No. 5 TCU
  • Quarterback J.T. Barrett, No. 6 Ohio State
  • Quarterback Bryce Petty, No. 7 Baylor

Winston and Mariota were semifinalists for last year’s award, , while Winston was named a finalist prior to claiming the 2013 Camp trophy. A group of five finalists will be announced Dec. 3, with the 2014 award being presented Dec. 11.

More than half of the 15 semifinalists (eight) are quarterbacks, while two are running backs and two are wide receivers.  There are just three defensive players on the list, and just two of them play defense exclusively (Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright, Louisville safety Gerod Holliman).  The other, Washington linebacker Shaq Thompson, is his team’s second-leading rusher.

OSU’s Barrett is the only freshman, redshirt or otherwise, while there are four sophomores — Colorado State wide receiver Rashard Higgins, Winston, Wright and Holliman.  The rest are juniors (seven) and seniors (three).

The ACC, SEC and Pac-12 have three semifinalists each.  The Big Ten and Big 12 have two apiece.

Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato and Higgins are the only players from Group of Five conferences to be named a semifinalist.

Just to name a few, among the notable players absent from the list of semifinalists are running backs Tevin Coleman of Indiana and James Conner of Pittsburgh (second and third nationally, respectively, in rushing); wide receivers Nelson Spruce of Colorado, Kevin White of West Virginia and Justin Hardy of East Carolina (first, second and third, respectively, in receptions); Colorado State quarterback Garrett Grayson (second in pass efficiency); and Utah’s Nate Orchard and Washington’s Hau’Oli Kikana (tied for the lead in most sacks).

Below is the complete list of Camp semifinalists, with statistical notes provided by the foundation.

J.T. BARRETT, RS Freshman, QB, OHIO STATEHas passed for 2,356 yards and 29 touchdowns for the 9-1 Buckeyes.

TREVON BOYKIN, Junior, QB, TCUHas passed for 3,201 yards and 24 touchdowns for the 9-1 Horned Frogs.

RAKEEM CATO, Senior, QB, MARSHALLHas passed for 2,613 yards and 26 touchdowns for the 10-0 Thundering Herd.

AMARI COOPER, Junior, WR, ALABAMAHas caught 87 passes for 1,303 yards and 11 touchdowns for the 9-1 Crimson Tide.

MELVIN GORDON, Junior, RB, WISCONSINLeads nation with 1,909 rushing yards, averaging 8.6 yards a carry, and has scored 23 touchdowns for the 8-2 Badgers.

RASHARD HIGGINS, Sophomore, WR, COLORADO STATEHas caught 67 passes for 1,280 yards and 13 touchdowns for the 9-1 Rams.

GEROD HOLLIMAN, Sophomore, DB, LOUISVILLELeads the nation with 13 interceptions for the 7-3 Cardinals.

DUKE JOHNSON, Junior, RB, MIAMI (FLA)Has rushed for 1,343 yards and 10 touchdowns for the 6-4 Hurricanes.

MARCUS MARIOTA, Junior, QB, OREGONHas passed for 2,780 yards and 29 touchdowns, and has eight rushing touchdowns for the 9-1 Ducks.

BRYCE PETTY, Senior, QB, BAYLORHas passed for 2,421 yards and 21 touchdowns for the 8-1 Bears.

DAK PRESCOTT, Junior, QB, MISSISSIPPI STATEHas passed for 2,521 yards and 20 touchdowns, and has 11 rushing scores for the 9-1 Bulldogs.

BLAKE SIMS, Senior, QB, ALABAMAHas passed for 2,454 yards and 18 touchdowns for the 9-1 Crimson Tide.

SHAQ THOMPSON, Junior, LB/RB, WASHINGTONHas 60 tackles and scored four defensive touchdowns, while rushing for 456 yards for the 6-5 Huskies.

JAMEIS WINSTON, Sophomore, QB, FLORIDA STATEHas passed for 2,844 yards and 18 touchdowns for the 10-0 Seminoles.

SCOOBY WRIGHT, Sophomore, LB, ARIZONAHas 117 tackles, 21 for losses, and 12 quarterback sacks for the 8-2 Wildcats.

Maryland latest to put coronavirus-related halt to voluntary football workouts

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We can officially add Maryland to the growing list of football programs hitting the workout pause button.

As with other schools in the Big Ten, Maryland welcomed back student-athletes, including football players, to campus for voluntary workouts last month.  Saturday, those workouts for Terrapins across several sports have come to a halt.

The suspension came as a result of an increase in positive tests for COVID-19.  The school didn’t specify the number of Maryland football players involved.  Below is the university’s release:

Maryland Athletics, as part of a gradual, phased approach to the return of student-athletes to campus, is working with the University Health Center to conduct regular COVID-19 testing. In preparation for this ongoing testing period, we worked with State, county and university health officials to develop appropriate protocols in the event of positive test results, including education, contact identification and tracing, and self-isolation.

On July 7-8, the University Health Center conducted on-campus screening of 185 student-athletes and staff; nine individuals tested positive for COVID-19. These nine student-athletes and staff have been notified and are currently in self-isolation, monitored by university health officials. Contact tracing is ongoing through the Prince George’s County Health Department and all identified individuals will follow a mandated 14-day self-observation period, under the supervision of university health officials. Under guidance from the Prince George’s County Health Department, we have temporarily suspended voluntary, individual training for the football program.

In previous testing of 105 individuals in June, no individual tested positive for COVID-19.

Maryland football is the latest but certainly not the first impacted by the pandemic.  Or the last, more than likely.

Just last week, Ohio State announced and North Carolina confirmed they were putting a temporary halt to voluntary workouts because of the results of recent COVID-19 testing among its student-athletes. July 3, Kansas was the latest FBS program to pause voluntary workouts after 12 players tested positive for COVID-19.  Earlier in that same week, Arizona announced that it was pausing its phased return of student-athletes to campus.  Prior to that, eight individuals connected to the Boise State football program tested positive, forcing the school to temporarily scuttle workouts.  June 20, K-State announced that it is pausing all voluntary workouts as well.  The reason?  “[A] total of 14 student-athletes have tested positive for active COVID-19 following PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing of more than 130 student-athletes.” The weekend before that, Houston decided to put a halt to voluntary on-campus workouts after six symptomatic UH student-athletes tested positive for COVID-19.

Other programs have seen a high number of players test positive but continue workouts.  Among those are Clemson (37 players tested positive), LSU (30 players quarantined), Texas (13 confirmed positives for football players) and Texas Tech (23 positives for players/staffers).

Colorado LB Jashua Allen tosses name into the transfer portal

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Colorado football has already seen one portal reversal this offseason.  They are now hoping for another change of heart.  Maybe?

Earlier this offseason, Sam Noyer took the first step in leaving the Colorado football team by placing his name into the NCAA transfer database.  In early April, the quarterback pulled his name from the portal and remained with the Buffaloes.

Three months later, 247Sports.com is reporting that Jash Allen has entered the portal as well.  While the linebacker didn’t confirm the news specifically, he did retweet reports of his impending departure.

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.

Allen began his collegiate career at the JUCO level.  In 2019, he was a four-star member of the Colorado football recruiting class that cycle.

His first season with the Buffs, Allen played in 10 games.  Most of that action came on special teams, although he did appear in three games on defense.  In that limited action on the defensive side of the ball, he was credited with four tackles and two quarterback pressures.  His official CU profile also notes he had “four special teams points on the season, one tackle inside the 20, one first down field and one knockdown or springing block on kick return.”

Allen will be leaving the Pac-12 school as a graduate.

It cost Indiana $44,000 to lose to Tennessee in the Gator Bowl

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Talk about adding financial insult to on-field injury for the Indiana football program.

Indiana faced Tennessee in the Gator Bowl this past college football bowl season.  Midway through the fourth quarter, the Hoosiers held a 22-9 lead.  IU was on the verge of claiming its first postseason win since the 1991 Copper Bowl.  The Vols, though, scored a pair of touchdowns in less than a minute of game time to come away with a 23-22 win.

For participating in the bowl game, Indiana’s athletic department received $2.125 million from the Big Ten.  The expenses surrounding the trip to Jacksonville, though, were $2,169,416.  So, in other words, it cost IU a little over $44,000 to lose that heartbreaker of a game.

From HoosierSportsReport.com:

Nearly $2 million of those expenses were for the football team specifically, with the most costly line item being travel. Flights to Jacksonville, Fla., cost $690,333, plus there was another $145,406 in ground travel.

Meals were the next biggest expense at $337,236. Hotel costs amounted to $219,240. Uniforms and bowl apparel were a nearly quarter-of-a-million-dollar expense, at $249,150.

There was also a $110,930 expense for awards, which includes commemorative rings for players in the game.

IU’s band and cheerleading team accounted for a combined $174,262 in expenses, including $156,272 for IU’s Marching Hundred.

If I were to hazard a guess, I’d say that the 15 extra practice sessions that came along with the bowl trip — especially since spring practice was gutted by the pandemic — helped ease the financial loss.  For the head coach, at least.

Name of Wake Forest’s football home will be Truist Field moving forward

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A banking merger has led to a name change for the home of Wake Forest football.

Since 2007, the Wake Forest football stadium has gone by the name BB&T Field.  In February of 2019, however, BB&T and SunTrust banks merged.  Eventually, the company’s name was changed to Truist.

As such, Wake Forest announced this past week that, moving forward, its football home will be known as Truist Field.

“Wake Forest University is proud of its affiliation with the people of Truist and grateful for their longtime support of Demon Deacon student-athletes,” said Wake athletic director John Currie said in a statement. “As Truist continues its climb as one of America’s leading financial institutions, we are excited that the 21st century’s best college football program in North Carolina will now call Truist Field its home.”

The facility that now goes by the name of Truist Field was built in 1968.  It has a seating capacity of 31,500, although the record attendance is 37,623 set in November of 2013.  For that game against North Carolina, temporary bleachers were installed.

Wake is scheduled to open the 2020 college football season Sept. 4 at Old Dominion.  They’ll face Appalachian State the following weekend in the home opener.

Wake Forest is coming off an 8-5 2019 campaign in Dave Clawson’s sixth season with the Demon Deacons.  Wake has played in four straight bowl games for the first time in school history.  Last April, Clawson signed a contract extension that would keep him at the ACC school through the 2026 season.