2014 winner Scooby Wright III headlines Nagurski Trophy watch list

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There has only ever been one repeat winner of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, but Arizona’s Scooby Wright III is hoping to become the second. The 2014 Nagurski Trophy winner was among the 88 players listed on the watch list for one of the top defensive player awards in college football.

The only other player to repeat as Nagurski Trophy winner was Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald, as a linebacker in 1995 and 1996. Fitzgerald is now the head coach of the Wildcats.

Among the top names on the initial watch list joining Wright are Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa, Michigan State end Shilique Calhoun, and defensive backs Kendall Fuller of Virginia Tech, Jeremy Cash of Duke, Jalen Ramsey of Florida State and Michael Caputo of Wisconsin.

Five finalists for the award will be plucked from the Football Writers Association of America  All-American team at the end of the season. A winner will be named on December 7.

 

2015 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List

LB Dominique Alexander, Oklahoma
DE Jonathan Allen, Alabama
DB Budda Baker, Washington
DB Dante Barnett, Kansas State
DE Derek Barnett, Tennessee
LB Kendell Beckwith, LSU
DB Vonn Bell, Ohio State
LB Vince Biegel, Wisconsin
DT Andrew Billings, Baylor
DB Quin Blanding, Virginia
DB Briean Boddy-Calhoun, Minnesota
DE Joey Bosa, Ohio State
LB Kentrell Brothers, Missouri
DE DeForest Buckner, Oregon
LB James Burgess, Louisville
DE Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State
DB Maurice Canady, Virginia
DB Michael Caputo, Wisconsin
DB Jeremy Cash, Duke
DT Kenny Clark, UCLA
DT Maliek Collins, Nebraska
DB Tony Conner, Ole Miss
DE Kamalei Correa, Boise State
LB Su’a Cravens, USC
DT Sheldon Day, Notre Dame
DE Ken Ekanem, Virginia Tech
LB Kyler Fackrell, Utah State
LB Leonard Floyd, Georgia
DB Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech
DE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
DT Adam Gotsis, Georgia Tech
DB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida
LB Myles Jack, UCLA
DB William Jackson, Houston
DB Adoree’ Jackson, USC
DE Jordan Jenkins, Georgia
DT Gerrand Johnson, ULM
DB Jonathan Jones, Auburn
DT Chris Jones, Mississippi State
DB Karl Joseph, West Virginia
DE Bronson Kaufusi, BYU
DE Carl Lawson Auburn
LB Darron Lee, Ohio State
DB William Likely, Maryland
DB Jordan Lucas, Penn State
DT Luther Maddy, Virginia Tech
LB Curt Maggitt, Tennessee
DT Corey Marshall, Virginia Tech
LB Blake Martinez, Stanford
LB Tyler Matakevich, Temple
DB Danzel McDaniel, Kansas State
DB Adrian McDonald, Houston
LB Cassanova McKinzy, Auburn
DB Jalen Mills, LSU
DB Fabian Moreau, UCLA
LB Antonio Morrison, Florida
DB Eric Murray, Minnesota
DE Dadi Nicolas, Virginia Tech
DT Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss
LB Jared Norris, Utah
DE Shawn Oakman, Baylor
DE Pat O’Connor, Eastern Michigan
DE Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State
DE Drew Ott, Iowa
LB Joshua Perry, Ohio State
LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama
DB Jalen Ramsey, Florida State
DE Sheldon Rankins, Louisville
DB Will Redmond, Mississippi State
DE Pete Robertson, Texas Tech
DT A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama
DB KeiVarae Russell, Notre Dame
DB Zack Sanchez, Oklahoma
LB Jovan Santos-Knox, Massachusetts
LB Joe Schmidt, Notre Dame
DE Ian Seau, Nevada
LB Terrance Smith, Florida State
LB Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame
LB Eric Striker, Oklahoma
DE Charles Tapper, Oklahoma
DB Darian Thompson, Boise State
LB Jeremy Timpf, Army
DT Travis Tuiloma, BYU
DT Adolphus Washington, Ohio State
DB Xavier Woods, Louisiana Tech
LB Scooby Wright III, Arizona
DB Ronald Zamort, Western Michigan
DT Anthony Zettel, Penn State

Broyles Award for top assistant narrows field to 15 semifinalists

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The most prestigious award a college football assistant can claim has significantly narrowed its list of potential winners.

Tuesday, the Broyles Award unveiled its 15 semifinalists for the 2018 version of its hardware.  Four of the semifinalists come from the SEC, while two each hail from the Big 12, Pac-12 and football independents.  The ACC has two of the 15 and the Big Ten has one.

Group of Five conferences account for three of the semifinalists as UAB, UCF and Utah State are all represented.  Army also accounts for one of the semifinalists.

Of the 15 semifinalists, seven are defensive coordinators and seven are offensive coordinators.  Just one position coach made the cut — UCF offensive line coach Glen Elarbee.

Clemson co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott was the 2017 winner of the Broyles Award; the Tigers’ other offensive coordinator, Jeff Scott, is a semifinalist this year.

Alabama – Mike Locksley, Offensive Coordinator
Army – Jay Bateman, Defensive Coordinator
Cal – Tim DeRuyter, Defensive Coordinator/Outside Linebackers
Clemson – Jeff Scott, Co-Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers
Georgia – Sam Pittman, Offensive Line
LSU – Dave Aranda, Defensive Coordinator
Michigan – Don Brown, Defensive Coordinator
Mississippi State – Bob Shoop, Defensive Coordinator/Safeties
Notre Dame – Chip Long, Offensive Coordinator
Oklahoma – Bill Bedenbaugh, Co-Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line
UAB – David Reeves, Defensive Coordinator
UCF – Glen Elarbee, Offensive Line
Utah State – David Yost, Offensive Coordinator/QBs
Washington State – Tracy Claeys, Defensive Coordinator
West Virginia – Jake Spavital, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks

Miami Hurricanes down to one healthy tight end, a walk-on

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To say that injuries at the tight end position have been an issue for Miami this season would be a significant understatement.

In early August, Michael Irvin II suffered an MCL injury in his right knee and will be out for up to four months.  In mid-September, the Hurricanes were down to two healthy scholarship tight ends when Brian Polendey suffered a season-ending injury.

Unbelievably, both of the remaining scholarship tight ends, Brevin Jordan (pictured) and Will Mallory, who are both true freshmen, were injured in last Saturday’s win over Virginia Tech.  Both Jordan, who is second on the team in receptions with 30, and Mallory will be sidelined for the regular-season finale against Pitt this weekend.

The good news is that, per head coach Mark Richt, the two tight ends should be healthy enough to return for a bowl game.  The bad news?  According to the Sun-Sentinel, the Hurricanes are now down to just one healthy tight end, and he’s a walk-on — Nicholas Ducheine.

The redshirt freshman Ducheine has appeared in two games this season — Week 2 vs. Savannah State, Week 12 vs. Tech — and is still looking for his first career reception.

Houston-Washington State to serve as 2019 AdvoCare Texas Kickoff Game

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With the curtain about to fall on the 2018 regular season, there’s some news on the next regular season on which to note.

Houston had already been scheduled to open the 2019 season against Washington State on Saturday, Sept. 14.  Tuesday, however, it was announced that that matchup has been selected as the 2019 AdvoCare Texas Kickoff Game.

The game will now be played Friday, Sept. 13, at NRG Stadium in Houston.

“We are excited to face a quality program such as the Houston Cougars next year in the AdvoCare Texas Kickoff Game at NRG Stadium,” said Washington State athletic director Pat Chun in a statement. “It provides our fan base the opportunity to see a tremendous nonconference opponent in a great part of the country, while giving our student-athletes the chance to play in a world-class stadium.”

“We are honored to receive the invitation to participate in the AdvoCare Texas Kickoff,” Chun’s counterpart, Chris Pezman, said in his statement. “We have fond memories from our last action in the event and look forward to creating more in front of our hometown fans in a primetime nationally-televised game.”

Houston has played in the Kickoff Classic one time previously, a 33-23 win over Oklahoma in 2016.  This will mark Wazzu’s first appearance in the game.

The two football teams have met three times previously, the first coming in 1959 and the most recent in the 1988 Aloha Bowl.  The Pac-12 Cougars own a 2-1 edge in the miniseries.

Report: UMass ‘moving on’ from Mark Whipple

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And then there were seven.

Last Saturday, UMass put the finishing touches on another underwhelming season as the Minutemen were pushed around by fifth-ranked Georgia in a 66-27 loss Between the Hedges.  Three days later, there will apparently be a change in leadership as Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports and The Athletic is reporting that the university is “moving on” from Mark Whipple as its head football coach.

An official announcement from UMass is expected at some point this week.

In his second stint with the Minutemen, Whipple has compiled a 16-44 record from 2014-18.  UMass has won four games each of the past two seasons after winning a combined eight in his first three years with the school.

Including UMass, there are now seven openings for head coach at the FBS level: Bowling Green, Charlotte, Colorado, Louisville, Maryland and Texas State.  The Kansas job had been open prior to Les Miles taking over the Jayhawks this past weekend.