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

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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

Former four-star Oklahoma LB Levi Draper enters transfer portal

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It appears the Oklahoma Sooners football team will have some depth in its linebacking corps pared.

Thursday, it was reported that Levi Draper is entering his name into the NCAA transfer database, the first step in leaving OU.  An Oklahoma Sooners football official subsequently confirmed that Draper will be entering the portal.

The linebacker’s time in Norman hasn’t officially come to an end, however, as he could always pull his name from the portal and return.

A four-star member of Oklahoma’s 2017 recruiting class, Draper was rated as the No. 5 inside linebacker in the country and the No. 2 player at any position in the state of Oklahoma.  On the 247Sports.com composite, he was the No. 118 prospect overall.  Only three signees in the Sooners’ class that year were rated higher than Draper.

Injuries helped lead to Draper take a redshirt as a true freshman.  The past two seasons, Draper played in 28 games.  Most of that action came on special teams.

When Draper does find a new school, it should be as a graduate transfer.  That would then leave him with two years of eligibility to use.

Draper is one of a handful of Sooners who have entered the portal of late. From the school’s student newspaper:

This is the second Sooner linebacker to enter the portal in the last two days, as Ryan Jones reportedly entered it on Wednesday. Along with the two linebackers, wide receiver Mykel Jones, safety Ty DeArman, defensive linemen Coby Tillman and Troy James will all be transferring.

It’s not all attrition at OU, however. Earlier this week, the program confirmed the addition of UCLA transfer wide receiver Theo Howard.  The receiver was honorable mention All-Pac-12 in 2018.

Howard graduated from UCLA in December, giving him immediate eligibility at OU this coming season.

Texas A&M transfer Kellen Diesch lands at Arizona State

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The Arizona State football roster is the latest to benefit from a player coming in from a Power Five program.

In early December, Kellen Diesch entered the NCAA transfer database, the first step in a move away from Texas A&M. A month later, Diesch has taken the next step as 247Sports.com has reported that the offensive lineman will transfer to the Arizona State football team.

In fact, the website notes that Diesch is in Tempe and already enrolled in school at ASU.

As a graduate transfer, Diesch will be eligible to play for the Sun Devils immediately in 2020. The upcoming season will serve as his final year of eligibility.

A four-star member of A&M’s 2016 recruiting class, Diesch was rated as the No. 11 offensive tackle in the country and the No. 17 player regardless of position in the state of Texas. The only signee in the Aggies’ class that year rated higher was strongside defensive end Justin Madubuike.

After redshirting as a true freshman, Diesch has played in 21 games the past three years. A dozen of those appearances came this past season.

Despite the recruiting pedigree, the 6-6, 298-pound lineman didn’t start a game for the Aggies.

DE who began his collegiate career at Coastal Carolina, signed with Syracuse before flipping to NC State is back in transfer portal

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The NC State football program is the latest to find out first-hand that Jeffrey Gunter may have an issue with commitment.

In January of 2019, Gunter opted to transfer from Coastal Carolina. Three weeks later, he tweeted he was transferring to Syracuse… before deleting the tweet. Two days later, however, Syracuse confirmed the defensive end’s addition to the roster. Feb. 26, though, Gunter reneged on that commitment, tweeting he would no longer be transferring to Syracuse and would instead move on to NC State.

That commitment stuck… for all of 11 months, as it turned out, as 247Sports.com is now reporting that Gunter is listed in the NCAA transfer database

During his one season with the NC State football program, Gunter was the Co-Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year. He had to sit out the 2019 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules.

After totaling 14 tackles for loss and five sacks in 2018, Gunter, a two-star 2017 signee, was named first-team All-Sun Belt Conference.

It’s worth to note that, in Gunter’s winter of decommitment last year, he had also considered moving to either North Carolina or Oregon. Whether those two schools will be in play this time around is unclear.

Former Maryland DB Qwuantrezz Knight now transferring from Kent State

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A former member of the Maryland Terrapins football team is now a former player on yet another team. At least, he’s nearly former.

According to 247Sports.com, Qwuantrezz Knight is now listed in the NCAA transfer database. The defensive back just completed his first season at Kent State.

This past season, Knight led the Golden Flashes in tackles for loss with 10.5.  In Kent’s first-ever bowl win this past season, Knight was named as the game’s defensive MVP.

The move is odd, if for nothing more than the struggle Knight went through just to see the field in 2019.

Leaving the Maryland Terrapins football program shortly after head coach DJ Durkin was fired amidst scandal in the midst of the 2018 season, Knight ultimately transferred to Kent State in January of last year.  Four months later, Knight filed an appeal with the NCAA for a waiver that would’ve granted him immediate eligibility, a waiver that cited “depression symptoms”; in early June, that initial waiver was denied.

Armed with the ability to appeal the original decision, Knight did as much and it proved successful as the MAC program confirmed in June of last year that the appeal was successful and the waiver granted.

Presumably, Knight will be leaving Kent as a graduate transfer.  That would allow him to play immediately at a third FBS school.