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

NCAA denies third immediate-eligibility waiver for transfer to Georgia Tech this month

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It hasn’t been a good month waiver-wise for the Georgia Tech football program.

As we noted Tuesday, the NCAA has already denied immediate-eligibility waivers being sought for Antonneous Clayton and Myles Sims, who transferred to Tech from Florida and Michigan, respectively, this offseason.  That same day, Marquez Ezzard took to Twitter to reveal that “[t]he NCAA has decided to not grant my waiver to play at Georgia Tech this season, and I will have to sit out.”

The wide receiver opted to transfer from Miami in January of this year, ultimately landing at Tech the following month.

With the decision, Ezzard will still have three years of eligibility he can use beginning with the 2020 season.

Ezzard was a four-star 2018 signee who played in three games as a true freshman, catching two passes for 24 yards during his brief stint with the Hurricanes.

Ex-Minnesota QB now in the FCS facing multiple felony rape, sexual assault charges

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A rather disturbing story involving a former Power Five quarterback is currently playing out in the state of Tennessee.

According to The Tennessean, Tennessee State quarterback Demry Croft was arrested Monday and charged with six felony counts of rape and two counts of sexual battery.  The charges stem from an alleged incident that occurred Dec. 1 of last year and came about after the allegations were presented to a grand jury by the university police department.

Other than the alleged rape wasn’t reported until April 4 of this year, no details surrounding the case have been revealed.

Croft remains a part of the FCS school, with the newspaper writing that “TSU officials would not confirm if Croft has been suspended from the football team.”

Croft began his collegiate playing career at Minnesota, but opted to transfer from the Gophers and ultimately landed at Tennessee State in December of 2017.

During his last season with the Gophers, Croft, who started the last six games of 2017,  completed 42 percent of his 122 passes for 674 yards, four touchdowns and seven interceptions. His 87.6 pass efficiency rating is not amongst the top 126 quarterbacks in the country.  Perhaps the most noteworthy moment of his Gophers career was posting a negative quarterback rating in a mid-November loss to Northwestern two weeks before he decided to transfer.

Conversely, though, he was good with his feet as his 309 yards rushing and four rushing touchdowns were fourth and third on the team, respectively.

At TSU, Croft started four games before missing the last half of the 2018 season with a shoulder injury.  Prior to the off-field issue, Croft had been penciled in as the Tigers’ starting quarterback.

Willie Taggart says turnover backpack won’t be a thing at Florida State this coming season

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Thankfully, mercifully, one of the most laughably embarrassing turnover “traditions” is no more.

In recent years, turnover props have become all the rage in college football, the most notable of which may have been Miami’s gaudy but very apt gold chain.  There has also been Boise State’s throne, Louisville’s boxing gloves, Memphis’s Ric Flair-inspired robe, Tennessee’s trash can, Tulane’s beads and Boise State’s throne, which is so damn awesome it deserves a second mention.  Multiple nods to professional rasslin’/boxing with championship belts for the likes of Alabama and Ohio State among others have become the norm as well.

Not to be forgotten is Virginia Tech, whose lunch pail is arguably the granddaddy of all props.

And then there’s Florida State.

Last year, in the midst of a five-win season that saw the Seminoles’ bowl streak snapped at 36 straight, someone on the FSU staff added off-field insult to on-field injury by busting out a turnover… backpack.  Yes, a turnover backpack.

Fortunately for all involved, saner heads have prevailed and the backpack has been retired.

“Nah, you are just going to see us play football,” second-year head coach Willie Taggart, by way of the Miami Herald, said on a CBS Sports podcast this week. “You are not going to see a backpack, anything, you are going to see us play football and have fun playing the game with each other and having fun making plays. I think that is what you are going to see out of our guys.

“That was something that our guys wanted to do and they enjoyed doing it. This is the 2019 team and guys want to do things different, they want to be different and expect to be different.”

Toledo announces future three-game series with Kentucky

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How about a little Power Five-Group of Five scheduling news to start off your Wednesday morning?

This week, Toledo announced that it has reached an agreement on a future three-game series with Kentucky, which is essentially a home-and-home plus a one-off.  The two schools will play in Lexington during the 2025 and 2028 seasons, with the Wildcats traveling to the Glass Bowl in 2027.

Specific dates for those matchups, which will be the first-ever between the school, weren’t divulged.

“We are very pleased to enter in this three-game series with the University of Kentucky,” said UT athletic director Mike O’Brien in a statement. “Bringing an SEC opponent into the Glass Bowl is huge for our football program and for our fans. We look forward to an exciting series with the Wildcats, beginning with the game in Lexington this fall.”

That 2027 game will mark just the second time an SEC school has ever traveled to Toledo for a football game, with the first being Missouri in 2014.  All told, the Rockets have played four games against members of that conference and have gone 1-3 in those contests, with the lone win coming against Arkansas in 2015.