UNLV athletics

Hall of Fame announces 16-member 2016 class

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As has become customary this time of the year, the College Football Hall of Fame has announced yet another class on its way to enshrinement.

Friday afternoon in Arizona, the National Football Foundation announced that is 16 individuals strong — 14 players, two head coaches.  The NFF stated that “[t]he inductees were selected from the national ballot of 76 All-America players and five elite coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision and the 92 players and 27 coaches from the divisional ranks.”

Of the 14 players on their way to induction, 11 came from the FBS level — 10 from Power Five programs — while the other three hail from the likes of Nebraska-Omaha (quarterback Marlin Briscoe), Harvard (punter Pat McInally) and Ashland (OH) (linebacker Bill Royce). Both of the coaches set for enshrinement come from non-FBS programs — New Hampshire’s Bill Bowes and Frank Girardi of Lycoming (Pa.).

Below are the complete list of individuals who will officially be inducted during a ceremony Dec. 6 in New York City:

Marlin Briscoe – QB, Nebraska Omaha (1964-67)
Derrick Brooks – LB, Florida State (1991-94)
Tom Cousineau – LB, Ohio State (1975-78)
Randall Cunningham – P/QB, UNLV (1982-84)
Troy Davis – TB, Iowa State (1994-96)
William Fuller – DT, North Carolina (1981-83)
Bert Jones – QB, LSU (1970-72)
Tim Krumrie – DL, Wisconsin (1979-82)
Pat McInally – TE, Harvard (1972-74)
Herb Orvis – DE, Colorado (1969-71)
Bill Royce – LB, Ashland (Ohio) (1990-93)
Mike Utley – OG, Washington State (1985-88)
Scott Woerner – DB, Georgia (1977-80)
Rod Woodson – DB, Purdue (1983-86)

“We are extremely proud to announce the 2016 College Football Hall of Fame Class,” said Archie Manning, NFF Chairman and a 1989 College Football Hall of Famer from Mississippi. “Each of these men has established himself among the absolute best to have ever played or coached the game, and we look forward to immortalizing their incredible accomplishments.”

Now, for those who are wondering — and are pissed off because Player X from Y State University isn’t on his way to enshrinement — below are the Hall of Fame’s ofttimes controversial rules for induction:

1. First and foremost, a player must have received First Team All-America recognition by a selector organization that is recognized by the NCAA and utilized to comprise their consensus All-America teams.

2. A player becomes eligible for consideration by the Foundation’s honors courts ten years after his final year of intercollegiate football played.

3. While each nominee’s football achievements in college are of prime consideration, his post football record as a citizen is also weighed. He must have proven himself worthy as a citizen, carrying the ideals of football forward into his relations with his community and fellow man. Consideration may also be given for academic honors and whether or not the candidate earned a college degree.

4. Players must have played their last year of intercollegiate football within the last 50 years*. For example, to be eligible for the 2016 ballot, the player must have played his last year in 1966 or thereafter. In addition, players who are playing professionally and coaches who are coaching on the professional level are not eligible until after they retire.

5. A coach becomes eligible three years after retirement or immediately following retirement provided he is at least 70 years of age. Active coaches become eligible at 75 years of age. He must have been a head coach for a minimum of 10 years and coached at least 100 games with a .600 winning percentage.

* Players that do not comply with the 50-year rule may still be eligible for consideration by the Football Bowl Subdivision and Divisional Honors Review Committees, which examine unique cases.

Utah State hires ex-Washington State assistant Roc Bellantoni

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Utah State is the latest football program to make a late-offseason addition to its coaching staff.  Or an early-fall addition.  Whichever verbiage you prefer.

That being said, Utah State announced this week that Roc Bellantoni has been added to Gary Andersen‘s Utah State football staff. Bellantoni will serve not only as the special teams coordinator for the Aggies but as tight ends coach as well.

Bellantoni spent the 2019 season at Washington State.  After Tracy Claeys stepped down as defensive coordinator in October of last year, Bellantoni, the linebackers coach at the time, and cornerbacks coach Darcel McBath served as interim co-defensive coordinators for the rest of the season.

Bellantoni spent the two seasons prior to his time at Wazzu at Buffalo as defensive ends coach and special teams coordinator.  In 2018, he also served as the Bulls’ special teams coordinator.

Prior to that, Bellantoni was the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Florida Atlantic for three years. That marked Bellantoni’s first job at the FBS level.

All told, Bellantoni has spent 25 seasons as an assistant at the collegiate level.  The Iona graduate also spent time on coaching staffs at Villanova, Eastern Illinois and Drake.  At Villanova, Bellantoni was special teams coordinator as well as defensive line coach.

Oklahoma beats out LSU, Maryland for Caleb Williams, the highest-rated quarterback in the Class of 2021

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LSU handed it to Oklahoma in the 2019 College Football Playoff.  On the Fourth of July a few months later, the Sooners returned the favor on the recruiting trail.

Last month, Caleb Williams, one of the top prospects in the Class of 2021, announced that he had whittled his recruiting to-do list down to three schools: LSU, Maryland and Oklahoma.  As expected, Williams announced his verbal commitment on the holiday weekend.  And, as expected, the quarterback gave that verbal to Oklahoma football.  Or, the new QBU if you will.

Lincoln Riley acknowledged the commitment on Twitter.

Williams is a five-star 2021 prospect.  The Washington D.C. high schooler is rated as the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the country — and the No. 1 quarterback overall.  On the 247Sports.com composite, Williams is rated as the No. 4 recruit in the country.

Suffice to say, recruiting observers are high on Williams’ future.  Very high.

“There’s nothing this kid can’t do,” former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer said last month. “I’ve been doing this a long time, he has very few limitations if any. He’s uber-competitive. Very focused when he walked in. He’s really clean, he’s consistent, clean usually means consistent.

“Every throw was good to great. I think he takes it that serious. I’m interpreting what his mind is telling him and it’s as if every throw is the most important throw of the day.

Texas Tech WR Caden Leggett arrested for racing on a highway

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Yes, Texas Tech football fan.  You read that headline correctly.

According to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Caden Leggett was arrested over the weekend in Lubbock County.  The charge?  Racing on a highway.  It’s believed that another Texas Tech football player was involved in the race, although that player has not yet been identified by the police.

Leggett was driving a Ford Mustang and admitted to police that a teammate was one of the individuals with which he was racing.  From the Avalanche-Journal‘s report:

A Lubbock police patrol officer saw three vehicles speeding northbound about 2:40 a.m. in the 10000 block of Indiana Avenue and began chasing the vehicles.

“I had to travel at a high rate of speed in order to attempt to catch up to the vehicles,” the officer wrote in his report.

The officer caught up to the three vehicles — a dark colored Dodge Challenger, a white Ford Mustang and another white vehicle — at a red light in the intersection of 82nd Street and Indiana Avenue. However, the vehicles sped away again when the light turned green, the report states.

The officer activated his lights and sirens to get the three vehicles to stop.

The officer pulled along side the Challenger and motioned and yelled at the driver to pull over. The officer believed the driver of the Challenger saw him and pulled behind the Mustang to stop the driver.

The driver of the Mustang pulled over in the 3300 block of 76th Street. However, the driver of the Challenger and third vehicle continued driving, the report states.

The Texas Tech football program is aware of the off-field situation involving members of the Red Raiders team.

Leggett joined the Tech football team in 2018 as a walk-on.  In 2019, the wide receiver was placed on scholarship.

In two seasons, Leggett appeared in 15 games.  Of those appearances, 11 came in 2019.  The Georgetown, Texas, product has caught two passes for 16 yards.

Family of the first Black football player in University of Texas history suing the NCAA

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A racial pioneer in the Texas football program is back in the news.

As we have noted previously, dozens of Texas student-athletes, including football players, are demanding change at the university.  One of those demands is naming a part of Royal-Memorial Stadium in honor of Julius Whittier, the first-ever Black player in University of Texas football history.

Coincidentally or not, the family of Whittier this week filed a lawsuit against NCAA.  In the suit, which is seeking damages in excess of a million dollars, the Whittier family is accusing the NCAA of negligence and wrongful death in connection to the pioneer’s passing in September of 2018.  Whittier had been battling Alzheimer’s for several years prior to his death.

According to the Houston Chronicle, “[p]ostmortem examination of his brain at Boston University… revealed that he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease associated with head trauma.” The suit, filed by Whittier’s sister on behalf of her brother’s estate and three surviving children, alleges the Whittier’s death at the age of 68 was the direct result of football-related head trauma.

“Julius Whittier was a pioneer who became a lawyer and a member of the district attorney’s staff in Dallas County, and his life was about justice,” the family’s attorney told the Chronicle. “His family wants to carry on in his name and hope that we can make changes.

“We don’t want to end football. We just want to make it as safe as possible and make sure that everybody is informed about what can happen. That has not been the case historically, and we want to change that.”

The sister, Mildred Whittier, had previously filed a lawsuit against the NCAA on behalf of college players who suffered brain injuries from 1960 to 2014.

In 1970, Whittier became the first black player to letter in football at Texas.  He first joined the Longhorns in 1969.  At the time, though, the NCAA did not allow freshmen to play.  Whittier lettered every year from 1970-72, first as an offensive guard and then as a tight end his senior season.