Heisman Trophy announces three 2015 finalists

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In what’s sure to be a controversial decision regardless of who ultimately wins it, the finalists for the most famous hardware in all of college sports were revealed Sunday evening on ESPN.

The 2015 finalists for the Heisman Trophy include a pair of running backs and one quarterbacks.  The three finalists are also spread out among the ACC, Pac-12 and SEC.

Below are those finalists and their pertinent stats, presented in alphabetical order so as not to offend anyone:

Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama (12-1, No. 2)
Season: 339 carries for 1,986 yards (5.9 ypc), 23 touchdowns; 10 receptions for 97 yards
Highlights: Henry leads the country in both rushing yards and rushing touchdowns.  His yardage total broke the 34-year-old single-season SEC record set by Georgia great Herschel Walker in 1981.

Christian McCaffrey, RB/WR/return specialist/hot dog vendor, Stanford (11-2, No. 6)
Season:319 carries for 1,847 yards (5.8 ypc), eight touchdowns; 41 receptions for 540 yards, four touchdowns; 36 kick returns for 1,042 yards, one touchdown; 14 punt returns for 67 yards; 2-3 passing (66.7%), 39 yards, two touchdowns, 395.9 passer rating
Highlights: One of the most versatile players in the country, McCaffrey is also a finalist for the Paul Hornung Award.  His 3,496 all-purpose yards broke the record set by Oklahoma State’s Barry Sanders in 1988.

Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson (13-0, No. 1)
Season: 287-413 (69.5%), 3,512 yards, 30 touchdowns, 11 interceptions; 163 carries for 887 yards (5.4 ypc), 11 touchdowns
Highlights: The triggerman for the only undefeated team in the country, Watson is 11th in the country in passing efficiency.  He’s also third among quarterbacks in rushing yards (887) and tied for fifth in rushing touchdowns (11).

As we have noted in the past, the number of finalists are determined by hitting an unspecified voting threshold. That number fluctuates as low as three (last year) and as high as six (2013).

Alabama has now seen 13 of its players finish in the top five of the Heisman voting since the first award was handed out in 1935, behind only Notre Dame (29), Ohio State (18), Oklahoma (17) and USC (16).  Stanford has had 10 in the top five, tying Army, Miami and Texas for ninth-best ever.

The 2014 winner of the Heisman was Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota.  The 81st winner of the stiff-arm trophy will be announced Saturday night on ESPN late in a show that begins at 8 ET.

Four-star 2019 corner tweets transfer from Arkansas

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For the second time today, there’s some Arkansas personnel news on which to touch.

Monday, Chad Morris confirmed that linebacker D’Vone McClure left the team to deal with family responsibilities.  Later that same day, teammate Devin Bush took to Twitter to announce that, “[a]fter speaking with my parents and coaches, I’ve made the decision to officially enter the transfer portal.”

A four-star member of the Razorbacks’ 2019 recruiting class, Bush was rated as the No. 28 corner in the country and the No. 13 player at any position in the state of Louisiana.  The New Orleans native was the highest-rated defensive signee in Arkansas’ class this year.

Because he played in just four games this year, Bush will be able to take a redshirt for his true freshman season.

WR Weston Bridges is fourth Michigan State player to enter portal

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In the offseason, Weston Bridges changed positions.  Midway through the 2019 season, it appears Bridges is now set to change schools.

On his personal Twitter account Monday afternoon, Bridges indicated that he has decided to take his leave of Michigan State and transfer to an undetermined elsewhere.  It has subsequently been confirmed that the wide receiver is headed into the NCAA transfer database.

A three-star member of the Spartans’ 2017 recruiting class, Bridges was rated as the No. 31 running back in the country and the No. 24 player at any position in the state of Ohio.  During the spring this year, Bridges moved from running back to receiver.

After redshirting as a true freshman, Bridges carried the ball 16 times for 53 yards last season.  He was suspended for a late-September game because of unspecified violations of team rules.

Bridges is the fourth MSU football player to enter the portal since the 2019 season kicked off, joining linebacker Brandon Bouyer-Randle (HERE) as well as a pair of running backs in Connor Heyward (HERE) and La’Darius Jefferson (HERE).

Louisville’s season-opening QB starter to undergo year-ending surgery

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Jawon Pass began the 2019 season as Louisville’s starter under center.  After a couple of weeks of uncertainty, the redshirt junior will end it on the sidelines.

Pass suffered what turned out to be diagnosed as a case of turf toe in the season-opening loss to Notre Dame.  It wasn’t severe enough, however, to keep the starting quarterback out of the Week 2 win over Eastern Kentucky.

The past four games, though, Pass has been sidelined because of the injury.  Tuesday, it was confirmed by the football program that, as some have speculated, Pass will undergo surgery and, as a result, miss the remainder of the 2019 season.

With Pass sidelined, Malik Cunningham had started all four games in his place.  The redshirt sophomore, though, has been dealing with his own injuries, including a knee issue, that at least temporarily knocked him out of a pair of games.

True freshman Evan Conley replaced Cunningham both times, and was even named as the ACC’s Quarterback and Rookie of the Week for his performance in the upset of Wake Forest this past weekend.

For the season, Cunningham has completed 44-of-66 passes (66.7 percent) for 820 yards, seven touchdowns, one interception.  Conley is at a 64.9 completion percentage on his 37 attempts, throwing for 422 yards, four touchdowns and a pick.  Cunningham is the Cardinals third-leading rusher with 226 yards, while Conley is fifth with 84.

As of today, head coach Scott Satterfield has not named a starter for this weekend’s game against No. 3 Clemson.

USC’s leading rusher set for knee surgery

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Vavae Malepeai tolerated the pain as long as he could, until he couldn’t.

A knee injury sidelined Malepeai for most of USC’s summer camp.  Even as he had played — and played well — in all six games, the issue lingered on into the regular season; this weekend, the pause button was hit on Malepeai’s year as Clay Helton confirmed that the running back will undergo surgery to repair the damage to his knee.

No timetable for a return was given.

“Vavae is a warrior,” the head coach said according to the Los Angeles Times. “[He was] dealing with a sore knee and really fighting through it for his team. It’s just gotten to the point where it’s gotten too sore, so we’re going to go ahead and take care of it now.”

Malepeai’s 406 yards rushing and four touchdowns currently lead the Trojans.

With Malepeai out for the foreseeable future, Markese Stepp and Stephen Carr will see their opportunities in the running game increase.  Stepp is second on the team with 241 yards rushing, Carr third at 233.  Both players have a pair of touchdowns each on the ground.