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.

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.