Former NFL head coach and current ESPN analyst Herm Edwards paid a visit to another former NFL coach on Tuesday. Edwards was in Champaign to visit Lovie Smith and his Illinois football program. While there, Edwards was scheduled to give the Illini a good old-fashioned pep talk. He’s good at that.
This is a reminder that the NFL coaching fraternity remains a strong bond over the years. Smith and Edwards were never a part of the same coaching staff in the NFL, but the two have remained friends over the years. Smith having these types of connections should be exploited at every opportunity to help promote the Illini program and boost it when needed. Edwards has been a vocal supporter of Smith, so it makes sense Smith would have his pal stop by and do what he does best. And he’s done it a number of times…
At Alabama in 2013…
Or the previous year before the Las Vegas Bowl…
Or this past summer with NC State…
Illinois is 2-5 this season and now flirting with the likelihood of not going to a postseason bowl game in Smith’s first season on the job. We’ll see if Edwards is able to give the program the extra juice it needs.
The Bednarik Award is the first major honor to release its watch list for the upcoming season. But it certainly won’t be the last. Far from it, actually.
In a release Monday, the Bednarik Award announced a 90-player strong watch list that represents every FBS conference in the country. The Bednarik Award has been presented annually since 1996 to the nation’s top player on the defensive side of the ball.
The ACC leads all conferences with 18 watch listers, with the Pac- 12 (13), SEC (11) and Big 12 (10) the only others in double digits. The Big Ten, the remaining Power Five, placed nine players.
Wit eight, Conference USA led all Group of Five leagues. Next up was the AAC’s six, followed by the Mountain West Conference and Sun Belt Conference with five each and four for the MAC.
School-wise, reigning national champion LSU, Pitt and USC placed three players apiece. A handful of other schools put two players each on the watch list:
San Diego State
No finalists from a year ago remain as both the winner (Ohio State’s Chase Young) and the two runners-up (Auburn’s Derrick Brown, Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons) have since moved on to the NFL. There are, though, three semifinalists for last year’s award that are back this season — Penn State’s Micah Parson, LSU’s Derek Stingley and Florida State’s Marvin Wilson.
For the complete Bednarik Award watch list, click HERE.
Four-star 2021 QB son of Deion Sanders commits to FAU
Sanders is a four-star 2021 prospect coming out of high school in Cedar Hill, Texas. On the 247Sports.com composite, the 6-1, 198-pound Sanders is the No. 14 pro-style quarterback in the country. he also held offers from, among others, Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Oregon and Tennessee.
Sanders’ older brother, Shiloh, will be a redshirt freshman defensive back at South Carolina this season.
While the Sanders and Irvin surnames are in the Owls fold, a couple of famous ones have recently left. The wide receiver son of Ray Lewis left FAU football earlier this month. Originally committed to FAU, the running back son of Frank Gore ultimately signed with Southern Miss earlier this offseason.
The extended Kansas football family is mourning the loss of one it’s own over the weekend.
According to the Lawrence Journal-World, and citing multiple people close to the Kansas football program, Jack Roche died in his hometown of Chicago late Saturday night after being hit by a car. Roche had just turned 21 in May. He was also scheduled to graduate from the university the same month next year.
Roche had spent the past couple of years as a student manager for the Jayhawks. Les Miles just completed his first season as the Kansas football head coach, and mourned the young man’s passing in a tweet Sunday night.
“The KU football family is heartbroken to hear of the passing of Jack Roche,” the coach wrote. “Jack was a tremendous, hard-working young man who embodied what our program is all about. We will remember Jack and he will forever be a part of our family. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Roches.”
Roche was beloved by players past and present as well.
“He always had a smile on his face and was genuinely one of the best people in the entire program,” ex-Jayhawk quarterback Carter Stanley said according to the Journal-World. “We’d talk every day, but I’d go in earlier than usual on Mondays and we’d share the results of our fantasy football teams from the day before, which usually gave me a chance to give him a hard time for being a Bears fan.”
Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to all of those impacted by Roche’s way-too-soon passing.
SEC reiterates no decision on football until late July
As expected, the SEC is going to wait as long as possible until making its next decision when it comes to the fate of football.
Last week, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey warned that “we are running out of time” when it comes to the 2020 college football season. That said, Sankey reiterated Monday that his conference will still wait to make any type of decision until the end of this month.
Below is Sankey’s statement on the current state of affairs, which came after an expected face-to-face meeting of the conference’s 14 athletic directors. The biggest takeaway? Sankey allowed that the current trend of COVID-19 positives across the country must begin trending downward in order for there to be a college football season in 2020.
We had a productive meeting on Monday and engaged in discussions on a number of important issues that will contribute to critical decisions to be made in the weeks ahead. The ability to personally interact over the course of an entire day contributed to the productivity of the meeting.
It is clear that current circumstances related to COVID-19 must improve and we will continue to closely monitor developments around the virus on a daily basis. In the coming weeks we will continue to meet regularly with campus leaders via videoconferences and gather relevant information while guided by medical advisors. We believe that late July will provide the best clarity for making the important decisions ahead of us.
The Big Ten and Pac-12 have already announced they are going to a conference-only schedule for football. The ACC is in line with the SEC in making such a determination at the end of July. It’s expected the Big 12 will announce its next move around the same time as well.