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

Clemson DT Xavier Kelly announces entry to transfer portal

Clemson redshirt junior Xavier Kelly will leave Clemson as a graduate transfer.
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Defensive tackle Xavier Kelly will no longer be a part of the Clemson football program. The redshirt junior announced he has entered the NCAA transfer portal and will look for another school to wrap up his collegiate career.

“I have never shied away from hard work or a challenge. My time at Clemson was a challenge that I happily accepted, [and I] worked hard to be the best defensive lineman, teammate and student I could be,” Kelly said in a statement shared on his Twitter account on Saturday afternoon.

“With this being said, I have decided to enter the transfer portal and continue my football career elsewhere. It is an honor to be able to say that I graduated from Clemson. Clemson will always have a special place in my heart.”

Kelly was listed third on the Clemson depth chart for one of the team’s two defensive tackle positions. Kelly appeared as a backup option behind freshman Tyler Davis and redshirt sophomore Jordan Williams. Kelly appeared in 10 games in the 2019 season and recorded a total of six tackles with credit for half of a sack. Kelly did not play in either of Clemson’s game sin the College Football Playoff.

In 2016, Kelly was involved in a moped accident that resulted in stitches. Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables said at the time Kelly was not wearing a helmet when somebody crashed into his moped.

By entering the transfer portal, Kelly is free to have contact with any other college football program interested in recruiting him. As a graduate transfer, Kelly will be able to use his final year of eligibility in 2020 and will not have to sit out the 2019 season.

Bob Shoop and Brian Jean-Mary join Michigan coaching staff, Jay Harbaugh promoted to special teams coordinator

Brian Jean-Mary and Bob Shoop are the newest members of Michigan's coaching staff.
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Michigan has officially introduced two new defensive assistants to the staff. Brian Jean-Mary and Bob Shoop were added to the defensive side of the coaching staff on Saturday as Michigan continues to retool its coaching staff this offseason.

According to the release from Michigan on Saturday, Shoop will take on the role of safeties coach for the Wolverines. Jean-Mary will serve as linebackers coach. In addition, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh promoted his son, Jay Harbaugh, to special teams coordinator. Harbaugh will continue to coach the running backs as well.

“I am excited about the addition of Brian and Bob to our defensive coaching staff,” said Harbaugh. “Brian and Bob are well-respected, experienced coaches who represent great fits for the University of Michigan. Both coaches have experience coordinating some of the best defenses in the country, and their development of all-conference and future NFL players throughout their careers will benefit our program and student-athletes. Michigan Football looks forward to having Brian, Bob and their families join the University family.”

Jean-Mary joins the Michigan program after three seasons with former USF head coach Charlie Strong at USF. Jean-Mary has been a longtime assistant under Strong, coaching with Strong at Louisville and Texas prior to USF.

Shoop previously was the defensive coordinator at Mississippi State. This will mark a return to the Big Ten for Shoop. Shoop previously coached at Penn State under James Franklin. Shoop went to Penn State with Franklin after three seasons at Vanderbilt. Shoop left Penn State for Tennessee after the 2015 season and coached the Vols defense for two seasons for former Tennessee head coach Butch Jones. Shoop and Penn State also carried on a bit of a legal squabble over Shoop’s contract and his exit from the Nittany Lions. Shoop took a job at Mississippi State when Joe Moorhead was hired (in the same coaching carousel that saw a coaching change at Tennessee and the hiring of Jeremy Pruitt, a former defensive coordinator himself).

Joe Burrow reportedly passing on Senior Bowl

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow will not attend the 2020 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, according to a report.
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LSU quarterback Joe Burrow will reportedly be passing on the opportunity to play in next week’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. Ben Baby, who covers the Cincinnati Bengals for ESPN, reported the Burrow Senior Bowl news, via Twitter, Saturday morning.

The Senior Bowl is the highest-regarded college football all-star game and is the last major offseason event on the NFL Draft schedule before the annual scouting combine. Many of the nation’s top seniors will arrive in Mobile, Alabama next week to begin a week of workouts instructed by coaches from the NFL. This year’s Senior Bowl teams will be coached by the staffs from the Cincinnati Bengals and Detroit Lions.

The Bengals own the top draft pick in this year’s NFL Draft, and they just so happen to be a team many believe might draft Burrow to inject some life into the Bengals offense. The Lions own the No. 3 overall pick. The Senior Bowl is attended by scouts and coaches from around the NFL, and with the top tier of seniors typically at the Senior Bowl, the whole week is a terrific opportunity for seniors to impress their future employers.

Of course, Burrow not playing in the Senior Bowl will be made out by some to be a negative on his draft profile, but that should not be the case. Burrow admitted to playing the national championship game against Clemson with a rib injury. Coming off a historic season that saw Burrow break the NCAA record for most passing touchdowns in a single season (and doing so in the SEC), missing out on the Senior Bowl shouldn’t be a concern. The Heisman Trophy winner has done more than enough to raise his draft stock for 2020 off the wild successes of the 2019 season. Burrow will still get a chance to focus on the scouting combine and decide what’s best for him in Indianapolis.

LSU students will go to class on Saturday to make up for national title game

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LSU students who got to skip class for the national title game (and the ensuing celebrations…) were hit with a dose of reality returning to Baton Rouge on Friday.

According to an announcement from the university, classes that were cancelled on Monday and Tuesday for the championship game have been rescheduled. As a result, students will have to go to class on Saturday, Jan. 25 and Saturday, Feb. 8.

So yes, Saturdays in the fall have resulted in a few Saturdays of work in the spring.

The school had received a bit of criticism when it was announced that classes were cancelled on the dates surrounding the championship game. While the practice has happened elsewhere, the nature of the game being less than an hour from campus in New Orleans certainly made things unique for the Tigers and their large fan base.

While some students no doubt had hoped that the classes at the time were indeed cancelled, it turns out they were in fact just being rescheduled. Going to school on a Saturday probably isn’t what many had in mind when signing up for the spring semester but there’s probably not a soul in purple and gold will take issue with the change given that it comes as a result of hoisting the ultimate football trophy on Monday night in the Big Easy.