B1G’s 11-strong ‘Players to Watch’ list released

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Most conferences this time of the year release their preseason players of the year.  The Big Ten is not like other conferences.

Ahead of the start of the the B1G Media Days in Chicago Thursday afternoon, the Midwest league released what it calls its “Players to Watch” list.  This year’s list consists of 11 players — six from the West division and five from the East.  There is one more in the West than in the East due to a tie in the media voting.

While there are 11 players listed, just seven schools are represented as four members earned two players each: Michigan State, Nebraska, Ohio State and Wisconsin.  The schools with just one each include Iowa, Northwestern and Penn State.

Interestingly, six of the 11 come from the defensive side of the ball while five come from the offensive.  Also, just one quarterback is represented, and that one wasn’t from Ohio State.

Below is the complete list of preseason honorees.

EAST DIVISION
Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State
Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State
Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
Anthony Zettel, DT, Penn State

WEST DIVISION*
Drew Ott, DE, Iowa
Maliek Collins, DT, Nebraska
De’Mornay Pierson-El, WR, Nebraska
Justin Jackson, RB, Northwestern
Michael Caputo, S, Wisconsin
Corey Clement, RB, Wisconsin

*Additional honoree due to tie

USF debuts new, lightweight Adidas threads

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I’m not sure if you knew this, but it can get hot in Tampa in the early fall. Humid. Steamy. Muggy. Downright uncomfortable. Sweat is a part of life there, especially if you’re spending your Saturday afternoons running around in full pads and a helmet.

As such, South Florida figured it’d be to their advantage to wear lightweight, breathable uniforms, and Adidas has produced.

On Tuesday, USF debuted a brand new WVN A1 uniform, the German-based manufacturer’s lightest uniform. USF was certain to point out they will be the only team in the threads this season.

“We are very excited that in the second year of our partnership with adidas our football team will be the only one in the country wearing their lightest weight uniforms,” USF AD Michael Kelly said in a statement. “We look forward to the Bulls looking great and feeling great in the new lightweight, breathable material.”

The design itself is slightly different from what the Bulls wore previously, solid green or white with green shoulders, cresting into golden bull horns on each side, above a solid color pant. The metallic material that comprises the golden Bull horn on each shoulder was developed in Israel.

Everyone has their own opinion when it comes to uniforms, but in this set of eyes these kits are a massive step up from the chainmail-style Adidas template South Florida wore previously, shown above.

The new, lightweight uniforms will take the field for the first time on Friday, Aug. 30 vs. Wisconsin (7 p.m. ET, ESPN).

K-State WR Hunter Rison, formerly at Michigan State, reportedly pursuing second transfer

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Kansas State wide receiver Hunter Rison will pursue a second transfer in as many years, according to reports Tuesday from GoPowercat and the Wichita Eagle.

The son of Michigan State great Andre Rison, Hunter signed with his father’s alma mater in 2017 and caught 19 passes for 224 yards as a freshman before transferring to Kansas State. After sitting out the 2018 season, as per NCAA transfer rules, Rison shined in spring practice, but his career as a Wildcat was instantly derailed when he was arrested for domestic battery in April.

Rison was immediately suspended from the team, though he maintains his innocence. Charges have not been filed, and his first court appearance in the civil case related to the charge is scheduled for July 16.

“This will be my only response,” Rison wrote on Twitter at the time. “I will continue to be myself … A man of God, as well as a great student-athlete at this university. I have done nothing wrong.”

Report: Suspended Texas LB will not return to team

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Texas linebacker Demarco Boyd will continue to be a UT student but no longer a Longhorn football player, according to Anwar Richardson of Orangebloods.

Boyd, a linebacker out of Gilmer, Texas, was suspended last season after he was arrested for an alleged assault last July.

According to Richardson, Boyd will remain in school until his graduate transfer, when he will pursue a graduate transfer elsewhere. A 3-star member of UT’s 2016 class, Boyd redshirted his first year on campus and played sparingly in his one season on the active roster.

He is the younger brother of former Texas cornerback Kris Boyd, a 2019 seventh-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings.

FCS McNeese State adds four transfers from FBS schools

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Particularly on the offensive side of the ball, Sterlin Gilbert‘s first-year roster at McNeese State will have a decidedly FBS look to it.

Earlier this month, the Cowboys announced the addition of four transfers from the FBS level to the roster — fifth-year senior wide receiver Rhashid Bonnette (Louisiana Tech), redshirt sophomore running back D’Andre Hicks (Appalachian State), redshirt sophomore defensive lineman Damien DeGruy (Fresno State) and third-year junior running back Elijah Mack (South Florida). As McNeese State plays at the FBS level, all four of the players will be eligible to play immediately in 2019.

Bonnette also comes to Lake Charles as a graduate transfer from Tech.

During his time in Ruston, Bonnette totaled 1,065 yards and three touchdowns on his 74 receptions. 22 of those catches, 300 of the yards and one of the touchdowns came this past season.

Mack, one of a handful of suspended Bulls ultimately dismissed from Charlie Strong‘s program late last year, ran for 59 yards on 14 carries in 10 appearances during his time at USF and will be a third-year junior this season.

After moving from the defensive backfield to the offensive backfield between the 2017 and 2018 campaigns, Hicks rushed for 185 yards and a touchdown in the first six games last year as a redshirt freshman before going down with a season-ending injury.

DeGruy played in a total of 16 games during his time with the Bulldogs, including a dozen as a true freshman in 2017. During that time, he was credited with eight tackles.