Getty Images

Derrick Henry headlines five Walter Camp Award finalists

10 Comments

As the wagering front-runner for the Heisman Trophy, it’s no surprise that Derrick Henry is up for some additional prestigious hardware this award season as well.

Wednesday afternoon, the Walter Camp Football Foundation announced the five finalists for the 2015 version of its Player of the Year award.  In addition to the Alabama running back, Iowa defensive back Desmond King, Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey and Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson were named finalists for the award.

Four of the five finalists play on teams currently ranked in the College Football Playoff top four, the lone exception being McCaffrey.  Even then, though, McCaffrey’s Cardinal is at No. 7.

Last year’s winner of the Camp Award, which is voted on by FBS head coaches and sports information directors, was Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota.  This year’s winner will be announced Dec. 10.

Below are some quick biographical sketches provided by the Camp foundation:

DERRICK HENRY – ALABAMA – Junior – Running Back – The nation’s rushing leader (1,797 yards), Derrick Henry has rushed for 200+ yards in a game four times, including a season-high 271 in a win over Auburn. Henry’s 22 touchdowns also lead the nation. The second-ranked Crimson Tide (11-1) will face Florida on Dec. 5 in the Southeastern Conference title game.

DESMOND KING – IOWA – Junior – Defensive Back – The Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year, Desmond King leads the nation with eight interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown. He has added 61 tackles and 11 pass breakups for the Hawkeyes, who have won a school-record 12 games, and play Michigan State on Dec. 5 in the Big Ten Conference title game

BAKER MAYFIELD – OKLAHOMA – Junior – Quarterback – The leader of the Big 12 champion Sooners (12-0), Baker Mayfield has passed for 3,389 yards and 35 touchdowns this season. His 178.9 passing efficiency rating is ranked third in the nation. Mayfield has also rushed for 420 yards and scored seven touchdowns.

CHRISTIAN McCAFFREY – STANFORD – Sophomore – Running Back/Kick Returner – The nation’s leader in all-purpose yardage (3,305 – 252.9 yards per game), Christian McCaffrey is among the nation’s leaders in rushing (1,640 yards) for the 10-2 Cardinal, who will face USC on Dec. 5 in the Pac-12 championship game.

DESHAUN WATSON – CLEMSON – Sophomore – Quarterback – The leader of the top-ranked Tigers offense, Deshaun Watson has accumulated 3,979 yards of total offense and 36 total touchdowns, both of which rank first in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Watson’s 161.9 passing efficiency rating also leads the ACC. Clemson (12-0) will play North Carolina on Dec. 5 in the ACC Championship Game.

Braden White named prestigious 12th Man at Texas A&M

Getty Images
2 Comments

The 12th Man is a big, big deal at Texas A&M. In fact, it’s pretty much the brand of not just the football program, but the entire athletics department. Case in point, A&M’s athletics department website is 12thman.com.

For the uninitiated, in 1922 the Aggies found themselves short of players in a football game against Center College, the No. 1 team in the country at the time, after multiple players sustained injuries over the course of the game. Down to just 11 players, A&M student E. King Gill volunteered to suit up and stand on the sidelines in case the team needed him. Gill now has a statue outside of Kyle Field, and A&M’s student section is collectively referred to as the 12th Man.

As such, it’s a tremendous honor for an active Aggie player to be awarded the No. 12 and, after fullback Cullen Gillaspia donned the jersey for a record-tying 39 games, it’s time to hand it off to a new player.

On Tuesday, Jimbo Fisher awarded the No. 12 jersey to Braden White, a walk-on linebacker from Florence, Ala.

“I’m honored just to be able to represent this great university and everything about it,” White said. “It’s a true blessing.”

White is a redshirt junior who has checked all the boxes of a player who checks all the 12th Man boxes. He was named Defensive Scout Team MVP during his redshirt year of 2016 and was honored as the Top Conditioned Athlete at the Aggies’ 2018 team banquet. He has appeared in 18 career games, recording 16 career tackles playing primarily as a special teams contributor.

White will wear No. 12 for the first time next when Texas A&M — ranked, ironically, No. 12 in the preseason AP poll — hosts Texas State next Thursday night (8:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network).

UConn begins building out independent schedules with BC home-and-home

Getty Images
3 Comments

Until they tell us otherwise, Connecticut is going to try to make it as an FBS independent. This upcoming season will be the Huskies’ final one as a member of the American Athletic Conference, as the Huskies’ Olympic sports will return to the Big East and the football team will go it alone.

This will require lots (and lots and lots) of scheduling work, and quickly. As of now, the Huskies have four games on the schedule for a season that begins 12 months from now.

While it does nothing to help the 2020 slate, UConn began chipping away at the mountain in front of it on Wednesday by announcing a home-and-home with Boston College. The first game will be Oct. 29, 2022 in Storrs, with the return game going down Oct. 28, 2023 in Chestnut Hill.

The two programs have met 14 times previously; BC leads the series 12-0-2. The Eagles took the most recent meeting 39-16 in 2017.

Additionally, BC announced a 2023-28 home-and-home with Army and a Sept. 9, 2023 home game with Holy Cross.

Safety graduate transfers from Penn State to Pitt

Getty Images
2 Comments

Penn State safety Johnny Petrishen has left State College for Pittsburgh, where he is now a Panther.

Petrishen announced the transfer on Tuesday evening, and Pitt confirmed his addition on Wednesday morning.

Petrishen has two years of eligibility remaining thanks — if you want to use that term — to two medical redshirts.

A Lower Burrell, Pa., native, Petrishen appeared in 17 career games as a Nittany Lion, including all 13 last season. Primarily a special teams player, he posted eight career tackles and one TFL in State College.

NC State transfer Tim Kidd-Glass tweets move to Liberty

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Hugh Freeze may be dealing with what was a significant health issue, but he’s still working his first-year roster at Liberty.

On his personal Twitter account Tuesday evening, Tim Kidd-Glass announced that he “would like to thank God for allowing me to have another opportunity to further my football career… at Liberty University.” The announcement comes a couple of weeks after the safety triggered a move from North Carolina State by entering his name into the NCAA transfer database.

As a graduate transfer, Kidd-Glass will be eligible to play for the Flames in 2019.

The past three seasons, the Virginia native played in 33 games for the Wolfpack.  He started nine of those contests, all of which came during the 2017 season.