Surprise! Mountain West leads all conferences on Jim Thorpe Award watch list

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Today may be the beginning of college football’s media day season, but it also marks the continuation of watch list season. Today’s watch list reveal came from the Jim Thorpe Award, which named 42 of college football’s top defensive backs. In what may be considered a bit of a surprise as far as watch lists go, the Mountain West Conference landed the most players on the watch list for the award. Take that power conferences!

Six players from the MWC appear on the watch list, including a pair of players from Boise State (Donte Deayon, Darian Thompson). The ACC and Pac-12 each had five players on the watch list, including 2014 semifinalists Jeremy Cash (Duke) and Kendall Fuller (Virginia Tech). The Big 12, Conference USA, MAC and Sun Belt Conference each have four players on the watch list, and the Big Ten, SEC and American Athletic Conference each have three.

2015 Jim Thorpe Award Watch List

Ishmael Adams, UCLA
Mackensie Alexander, Clemson
Tony Annese, Central Michigan
Budda Baker, Washington
Adairius Barnes, Louisiana Tech
Dante Barnett, Kansas State
Vonn Bell, Ohio State
Quin Blanding, Virginia
Kevin Byard, Middle Tennessee
Michael Caputo, Wisconsin
Jeremy Cash, Duke
Tony Conner, Ole Miss
Donte Deayon, Boise State
Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech
Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida
Nate Holley, Kent State
Adoreé Jackson, USC
William Jackson, Houston
Randall Jette, Massachusetts
Jonathan Jones, Auburn
Karl Joseph, West Virginia
Damontae Kazee, San Diego State
Montres Kitchens, Troy
Mitch Lane, ULM
Richard Leonard, FIU
William Likely, Maryland
Paris Logan, Northern Illinois
Trent Matthews, Colorado State
Adrian McDonald, Houston
Doug Middleton, Appalachian State
David Mims II, Texas State
Fabian Moreau, UCLA
Parry Nickerson, Tulane
Kevin Peterson, Oklahoma State
Jalen Ramsey, Florida State
Max Redfield, Notre Dame
Zack Sanchez, Oklahoma
Jordan Simone, Arizona State
Weston Steelhammer, Air Force
Darian Thompson, Boise State
JJ Whittaker, San Diego State
Xavier Woods, Louisiana Tech

Texas Tech QB Alan Bowman cleared to fly to Red Raiders’ game at Iowa State

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Texas Tech quarterback Alan Bowman missed the better part of the Red Raiders’ loss to West Virginia and all of their win over TCU after dealing with a partially collapsed lung suffered during the WVU game. While he did not play in the TCU game, he was in attendance, though in an unusual way. While the team flew from Lubbock to Fort Worth, Bowman had to make the 5-ish hour drive to Cowtown and back since he was not cleared to fly.

He returned to the lineup Saturday for the Red Raiders’ home game with Kansas. The freshman diced the Jayhawks to the tune of 36-of-46 passing for 408 yards with three touchdowns against one interception in a 48-16 blowout win. His return brings a much-needed second dimension to the Texas Tech attack, bolstering the Red Raiders’ status as a Big 12 dark horse contender over the last five weeks of the regular season.

But one key question remained: could he fly?

The answer is yes, head coach Kliff Kingsbury said Monday. Texas Tech visits Iowa State on Saturday, and Kingsbury confirmed his freshman quarterback will make the trip.

“We bussed him to the TCU game, but he was cleared after that,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said, via the Dallas Morning News.

Texas Tech (5-2, 3-1 Big 12) visits Iowa State and its freshman phenom quarterback Brock Purdy (572 yards, seven touchdowns in two games) in a must-win game. The Red Raiders host No. 8 Oklahoma and No. 6 Texas in the two games following the trip to Ames. Win those, and Kansas State and Baylor will be the only things standing between the Texas Tech and the Big 12 Championship.

BC RB A.J. Dillon on track to return to lineup vs. Miami

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Boston College running back A.J. Dillon has missed the Eagles’ last two games, but it’s all systems go for the club’s next game.

Head coach Steve Addazio said Tuesday Dillon should be back in the lineup when BC hosts Miami on Friday. He participated in practice on Tuesday.

“He looked really good and I would say barring anything popping here I think he’ll be ready to roll,” Addazio told the Boston Herald. “It’s been a slow steady process and I think the last two days have been his real matriculation back into normal practice.

“It was a little bit slow (Monday) and little bit more today and it will be full tomorrow.”

The action will be Dillon’s first in a month. He rolled up 106 carries for 652 yards and six touchdowns before exiting the Eagles’ Sept. 29 win over Temple after rolling his ankle.

The leading ACC rusher at the time of his injury, Dillon rushed for 149 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Holy Cross and 185 yards and a score in a 41-34 win at Wake Forest on Sept. 13.

Dillon missed the Eagles’ last two games, a 28-23 loss to No. 22 NC State and a 38-20 win over Louisville.

 

LSU fans to fund ‘Free Devin White’ billboards around SEC offices

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Devin White will miss the first half of No. 4 LSU’s date with No. 1 Alabama on Nov. 3 (8 p.m. ET, CBS). The SEC confirmed as much on Tuesday, and Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron has conceded the fact.

“Discussions with the SEC made clear there is no process for appeal,” LSU senior associate athletic director Robert Munson told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “The suspension will stand.”

Though the administration has accepted White will miss the first two quarters, the fans have not.

A GoFundMe campaign launched Monday has now surpassed its goal of $4,150 to place two “Free Devin White” billboards in the Birmingham metro areas, which holds the SEC offices. As of this writing, the campaign had amassed $6,130.

Reads the campaign, started by LSU fan Edward H.:

We’re putting up a billboard for two weeks in Birmingham, AL, the home of SEC headquarters, to let them know it’s time to #FreeDevinWhite.

A downtown Birmingham billboard will cost $2305.

An I-65 billboard will cost $1845.

We’ll fund as many billboards as possible, with any excess funding going as a donation toward the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, in honor of Devin’s love of horses.  

That’s a Geaux Tigers.

White was ejected for targeting during the fourth quarter of the Tigers’ 19-3 win over Mississippi State over a targeting call that is ticky-tack at best.

LSU’s fervor — I read one post on Tiger Droppings on Sunday that polled whether the White suspension should be a catalyst for LSU to leave the SEC — is indicative of how devastating to the Tigers’ chances it will be to play without White for the first half. The linebacker is easily LSU’s leading tackler with 76 stops.

Alabama’s offense averages 38.8 points per game… by halftime.

Boise State possible landing spot for ex-UCLA QB Devon Modster

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A month after leaving UCLA, the market for Devon Modster is beginning to take shape.

According to 247Sports.com, Modster visited Boise State over the weekend, the first school he’s taken a trip to since parting ways with the Bruins.  There’s one significant personal connection with the MWC program as the quarterback’s older brother, Sean Modster, is a senior wide receiver for the Broncos.

Per Devon Modster, he was told by Boise quarterbacks coach Zak Hill the Broncos are “still evaluating what they want to do [at the quarterback position] and he would let me know by December if they were going to take an older guy or if they want a young guy out of high school.”

In addition to Boise, other Mountain West schools like Nevada, San Diego State and San Jose State have expressed some level of interest.  Additionally, he’s “heard a little from North Carolina State too.”

On Sept. 21, Modster announced he would be transferring from the Bruins.  Shortly thereafter, he enrolled at a California junior college.  Regardless of where he ends up, he’ll be eligible to play immediately in 2019, the first of his two seasons of eligibility he’ll have remaining.

The California native was a four-star signee in the Bruins’ 2016 recruiting class.  As the backup to Josh Rosen last season, Modster 51-of-79 passes for 671 yards and four touchdowns.  Prior to transferring, he hadn’t thrown a pass this season.