145 — yes, 145 — players on Lombardi Award watch list

3 Comments

Most in the media, and many a fan, scoff in the general direction of preseason watch lists every time one’s released.  For those who fall into that category, here’s additional ammunition for your argument.

Tuesday morning, the Lombardi Award, handed out annually to either a lineman on either side of the ball or a linebacker who lines up no deeper than five yards off the line of scrimmage, released a watch list that includes 12 dozen, plus one football players.  That’s right, this watch list contains a whopping 145 players. Or, put another way, every one of the 26 letters of the alphabet besides “U” and “X” are represented.

Included in that rather lengthy list is the 2014 winner of the award, Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright, and another finalist for last year’s award, Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa.  Additionally, Michigan State defensive end Shilique Calhoun and Ole Miss defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche, 2014 semifinalists, are in the initial grouping as well.

Below is the complete list of players on this year’s preseason Lombardi Award watch list:

OL Ramadan Ahmeti, Central Michigan
LB Dominique Alexander, Oklahoma
G Vadal Alexander, LSU
C Jack Allen Michigan, State
LB T.T. Barber, Middle Tennessee
DL Alex Barrett, San Diego State
OL Willie Beavers, Western Michigan
OT Adrian Bellard, Texas State
OL Caleb Benenoch, UCLA
G Dalton Bennett, Troy
LB Vince Biegel, Wisconsin
LB Zeek Bigger, East Carolina
DT Andrew Billings, Baylor
OL Adam Bisnpwaty, Pittsburgh
DE Ronald Blair, Appalachian State
DE Joey Bosa, Ohio State
G J.T. Boyd, East Carolina
LB Jatavis Brown, Akron
DE DeForest Buckner, Oregon
LB James Burgess, Louisville
DT Vernon Butler, Louisiana Tech
DE Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State
LB Brandon Chubb, Wake Forest
DT Kenny Clark, UCLA
OT Le’Raven Clark, Texas Tech
OL Ben Clarke, Hawaii
DT Trevon Coley, Florida Atlantic
OT Jack Conklin, Michigan State
DE Kamalei Correa, Boise State
DT Sheldon Day, Notre Dame
OT Taylor Decker, Ohio State
DE Hunter Dimick, Utah
OT Spencer Drango, Baylor
G Parker Ehinger, Cincinnati
DE Ken Ekanem, Virginia Tech
G Pat Elflein, Ohio State
G Steve Elmer, Notre Dame
LB Kyler Fackrell, Utah State
G Dan Feeney, Indiana
G Sedrick Flowers, Texas
LB Leonard Floyd, Georgia
G Isaiah Folasa-Lutui, New Mexico State
C Kyle Fuller, Baylor
G Joshua Garnett, Stanford
DE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
DT Adam Gotsis, Georgia Tech
OL Darrell Greene, San Diego State
OT Ike Harris, East Carolina
DT Tylor Harris, Wake Forest
G Marcus Henry, Boise State
LB Nick Holt, Western Kentucky
C Alex Huettel, Bowling Green
OL Matt Hugenberg, Army
LB DJ Hunter, Marshall
LB Great Ibe, Eastern Michigan
LB Myles Jack, UCLA
LB Jordan Jenkins, Georgia
G Darius Johnson, Middle Tennessee
DT Gerrand Johnson, ULM
OT Tyler Johnstone, Oregon
DT Jarron Jones, Notre Dame
DE Bronson Kaufusi, BYU
DT Kingsley Keke, Texas A&M
C Ryan Kelly, Alabama
C Kaydon Kirby, North Texas
LB Hunter Kissenger, ULM
OL Tejan Koroma, BYU
OL James Kristof, Western Michigan
LB Nick Kwiatkoski, West Virginia
DE Royce LaFrance, Tulane
OL Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky
C Taylor Lasecki, SMU
LB Darron Lee, Ohio State
DE Dadi Lhomme-Nicolas, Virginia Tech
LB Steve Longa, Rutgers
LB Alex Lyons, Rice
C Nick Martin, Notre Dame
LB Blake Martinez, Stanford
DL Praise Martin-Oguike, Temple
LB Tyler Matakevich, Temple
LB Boomer Mays, Northern Illinois
LB Cassanova McKinzy, Auburn
LB Marc Millan, Idaho
LB Mason Monheim, Illinois
OL Alfredo Morales, Texas Tech
LB Antonio Morrison, Florida
DE Silverberry Mouhon, Cincinnati
C Andrew Ness, Northern Illinois
DE Thomas Niles, UCF
DT Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss
LB Reggie Northrup, Florida State
DE Shawn Oakman, Baylor
DE Pat O’Connor, Eastern Michigan
OT Rees Odhiambo, Boise State
DE Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State
DE Joe Ostman, Central Michigan
LB Montese Overton, East Carolina
DE Denzell Perine, FIU
G Caleb Peterson, North Carolina
LB Joseph Peterson, Georgia State
DT Davion Pierson, TCU
LB Manoa Pikula, BYU
G Greg Pyke, Georgia
OT Mykheal Quave, Louisiana
LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama
DE Sheldon Rankins, Louisville
OL Andrew Reue, Rice
DE Tyler Roberts, Troy
DT A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama
LB Jovan Santos-Knox, Massachusetts
C Joseph Scelfo, South Alabama
LB Joe Schmidt, Notre Dame
DE Ian Seau, Nevada
DL Blake Serpa, Central Michigan
C Isaac Seumalo, Oregon State
LB Ryan Simmons, Oklahoma State
C Matt Skura, Duke
OL Pearce Slater, San Diego State
LB Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame
LB Terrence Smith, Florida State
OT Garrett Stafford, Tulsa
OT Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame
LB Graham Stewart, Connecticut
DE Chris Stone, Arkansas State
LB Eric Striker, Oklahoma
LB Christian Tago, San Jose State
G Chris Taylor, Tulane
LB Jeremy Timpf, Army
LB Dominique Tovell, Louisiana
C Max Tuerk, USC
OT Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss
G Landon Turner, North Carolina
LB Tanner Vallejo, Boise State
OT Clint Van Horn, Marshall
DL Eddie Vanderdoes, UCLA
LB Nick Vigil, Utah State
DE Trent Voss, Toledo
DE Michael Wakefield, FIU
DT Adolphus Washington, Ohio State
OT Toby Weathersby, LSU
LB Scooby Wright III, Arizona
DE Eddie Yarbrough, Wyoming
OT Avery Young, Auburn
DT Anthony Zettel, Penn State

WVU wideout Dillon Spalding transfers to James Madison, will play against old team in Week 1

Getty Images
Leave a comment

In the NFL, you’ll often see teams sign a player who was just cut off another team the week or two before they wind up playing that opponent. We could sort of have a college football version of that scenario in the case of wide receiver Dillon Spalding.

The former West Virginia redshirt freshman announced on Twitter that he had committed to James Madison and would be transferring to join the team in 2019. The team’s opponent in Week 1? None other than the Mountaineers in Morgantown.

Of course any knowledge Spalding might bring with him is limited given that both JMU and WVU have new coaching staffs in place this year. The former three-star recruit is moving a little closer to his Lorton, Va. hometown and will have all four years of eligibility remaining between redshirting last season due to an injury and the drop down to the FCS level.

The Dukes have added a solid amount of FBS talent recently for new coach Curt Cignetti. In addition to Spalding, former Penn State wide receiver Brandon Polk joined the program this offseason and both will catch passes from ex-Pitt QB Ben DiNucci.

Wildcats see attendance spike after allowing beer and wine sales at Arizona Stadium in 2018

Getty Images
2 Comments

Arizona posted a disappointing 5-7 campaign in Kevin Sumlin’s first season in Tucson but Arizona fans still came out and enjoyed themselves thanks, in part, to the school allowing beer and alcohol sales for the first time.

As the Arizona Daily Star reports, attendance for the Wildcats home football games actually ticked up last year an average of 2,804 people while incidents of ejections at the stadium did the same — though were below historic averages.

“We’ve been very pleased with the rollout across the board in Arizona Stadium and McKale,” athletic director Dave Heeke said. “This was really focused around a number of things that we’ve done in the area of fan amenities and food service, and beverage selection was a key component.”

Some 43 people were kicked out of seven home games at UA, which is double the 21 from 2017 but well below the numbers the school reported for seasons when they played in-state rival Arizona State. It seems that Territorial Cup contest was the biggest indicator of above-average ejections in a year though game-by-game data was not given.

“I really haven’t noticed an increase in any type of criminal behavior due to beer and wine sales,” UAPD spokesman Sgt. Sean Shields told the paper. “Obviously from year to year the ejections and different numbers change and they fluctuate, but it’s very hard to pinpoint the reason why those happen.”

The amount of revenue generated by beer and alcohol sales wasn’t detailed by the school but Heeke noted it covered the additional costs on game days and the profit overall wasn’t hugely significant. Still, it seems the atmosphere at Arizona Stadium was still enough to lure fans into their seats despite plenty of late starts and a football team that was largely up-and-down in 2018.

Ex-FAU defensive coordinator Tony Pecoraro joins Kansas staff in off-the-field role

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Not many people can say they worked for the very different styles of head coaches Lane Kiffin and Les Miles back-to-back but Tony Pecoraro certainly can.

The recently let go Florida Atlantic defensive coordinator has apparently landed a new gig in Lawrence as a senior defensive analyst, primarily serving under Jayhawks DC D.J. Eliott.

Pecoraro took over the Owls defense in 2018 after spending the previous two seasons running things on that side of the ball for Southern Miss. Things didn’t quite work out in Boca however as FAU couldn’t get off the field like they did in Kiffin’s first year and allowed 31.8 points per game.

The veteran coordinator, who has Power Five assistant experience from a stint at Florida State, was replaced at FAU by longtime Oklahoma State DC Glenn Spencer back in December.

Wisconsin unlikely to join trend of selling beer and alcohol at football games anytime soon

Getty Images
1 Comment

Wisconsin fans are known to hold more than their own when it comes to enjoying an adult beverage or two before, during and after Badgers football games but they apparently will have to keep waiting for the opportunity to buy a cold one at Camp Randall on game days.

According to the Wisconsin State Journal, a decision on whether or not to allow beer/alcohol sales in the general seating sections of the stadium rests with school chancellor Rebecca Blank and that she is not inclined to change the status quo on such prohibition anytime soon.

“The university believes that there is already an atmosphere of energy and excitement around Badger game days,” a school statement to the paper read. “The addition of alcohol to general seating areas isn’t needed to improve that experience and could detract from it for our students and fans.”

Just in the last two months, Indiana, Rutgers and Illinois have turned on the taps for football games in 2019. That will result in fully half of Big Ten schools allowing such sales in general seating areas as a result this season and it’s turned into yet another lucrative revenue stream for those that have too.

Wisconsin appears resistant to the idea however, doing so in the face of declining attendance for games too. While it is certainly too early to remark ‘never say never’ when it comes to the Badgers, it’s pretty clear this trend isn’t making its way to Madison anytime soon.