The ESPYS are coming. ESPN’s annual summer tradition of showering star athletes with Hollywood praise is coming in July, and fans now have a chance to vote for their picks in multiple categories. As is typically the case, the reigning national champions tend to be well-represented.
The Clemson Tigers appear multiple times among the finalists for various ESPY awards. Former quarterback Deshaun Watson, now with the NFL’s Houston Texans, is one of four finalists for the Best Championship Performance award. Despite passing for 420 yards and three touchdowns without an interception and running for 43 yards and a score against Alabama in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game last January, Watson is up against some stiff competition in the category. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant, and Los Angeles Sparks player Candace Parker are the other finalists. Topping Brady or Durant may prove difficult for Watson considering the pedigree each of those two have. A player competing in the NBA Finals has won the award each of the past four seasons (three of them won by LeBron James). The only college football player to win the award was former Texas quarterback Vince Young in 2006 following his performance in the Rose Bowl against USC. Watson’s performance against Alabama was about as close to Young’s Rose Bowl as you can get, so maybe there is a chance.
Watson may stand a better chance of being named the Best Male College Athlete. He is the only college football player in the running and may have the most well-known name recognition across the nation compared to the others in contention, although Kansas basketball player Frank Mason could stand a chance.
Clemson’s victory over Alabama is also one of three finalists for Best Upset. The only other finalists for the award are the Mississippi State women’s basketball team upsetting the UConn women in the women’s Final Four and Denis Istomin toppling Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open. Clemson has a chance here, although the UConn women losing was a stunner. No college football game is up for Best Game despite a thrilling national championship game and a Rose Bowl for the ages. But then again, it’s hard to argue against Game 7 of the World Series and the Super Bowl, with a Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal Australian Open Final coming out as the three finalists.
Clemson is also up for Best Team, but against the Chicago Cubs, Warriors, Pittsburgh Penguins, Patriots, South Carolina women’s basketball and the United States women’s gymnastics team. It’s a loaded field.
Louisville quarterback and 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson is in the hunt for an ESPY though. His hurdle of a defender is in a tournament-style bracket of 16 plays for the Best Play ESPY. Given the No. 14 seed, Jackson is up against a pass by Aaron Rogers to Jared Cook that led to a playoff victory against the Dallas Cowboys, so once again it looks like a tough draw. Here’s the Jackson hurdle against Syracuse…
Thanks to a Nebraska football player, we won’t have to go through an entire day without a portal post. Hurray?
Late this past week, Tony Butler announced in a very classy, heartfelt post on Twitter that he will be entering the NCAA transfer database. The move would serve as the first step in a departure from the Nebraska football program.
The cornerback could also return to the Nebraska football team if he so desires.
That said, Butler would be leaving the Cornhuskers as a graduate transfer. The 2020 season will be his final year of collegiate eligibility.
“In 2016, I came here as an 18-year-old kid lost and looking for a home. Nebraska, you became my home and brought me in with open arms,” Butler wrote. “This place became very special. …
“Nebraska, you have done an incredible job at helping a lost boy become a man. My family and I are forever grateful for this opportunity.”
A three-star 2016 signee, Butler was rated as the No. 22 player regardless of position in the state of Ohio. He took a redshirt as a true freshman.
The past three seasons, Butler played in 27 games. Four of those appearances came in 2019, which was likely the trigger for the decision to transfer. Most of the games played came on special teams.
Butler is the third player to leave the Nebraska football program in a week.
Linebacker Pernell Jefferson, a three-star 2016 signee, entered the portal Wednesday. Days before that, offensive lineman John Raridon decided to retire from football to pursue a career in architecture.
Five-star Penn State WR Justin Shorter tweets transfer to Florida
The Florida Gators football program is the latest to benefit from Ye Olde Transfer Portal.
In late November, Justin Shorter took the initial step in transferring from Penn State by entering the NCAA database. Two months to the day later, the wide receiver took to Twitter to announce that he has committed to continuing his collegiate playing career as part of the Florida Gators football team.
As of yet, UF has not announced Shorter’s addition to the roster.
A five-star member of the Nittany Lions’ 2018 recruiting class, Shorter was rated as the No. 1 receiver in the country; the No. 1 player at any position in the state of New Jersey; and the No. 8 recruit overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board. Only defensive end Micah Parsons was rated higher than Shorter in Franklin’s class that year.
Limited to four games as a true freshman in large part because of injuries, Shorter caught three passes for 20 yards in 2018. In 11 games this season, Shorter caught 12 passes for 137 yards.
Barring the unexpected, Shorter will have to sit out the 2020 season to satisfy NCAA transfer bylaws. He would then have two seasons of eligibility beginning in 2021.
World of college football reacts to tragic deaths of Kobe Bryant, 13-year-old daughter in helicopter crash
Sunday morning, Bryant was one of nine people killed — initial reports had the number at five — in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on his way to a travel basketball event. The former NBA superstar, who retired from the sport following the 2015-16 season, was 41.
Adding to the devastation, one of Bryant’s daughters, who was also a player on her father’s travel basketball team, 13-year-old Gianna Maria Bryant, was killed in the crash as well.
Kobe and Gianna are survived by wife/mother Vanessa and three daughters/sisters. The oldest is 17, the youngest will turn one in June.
In the hours after the heartbreaking news was confirmed, the world of college football mourned the passing of Kobe Bryant. Below is just a sampling.
A Purpose Driven life is what Kobe Bryant gave us. His accolades are many and his impact will continue to be felt for decades to come. You have always been a 💫 and we will miss you. #MambaForever Our thoughts & prayers are with the families of those lost pic.twitter.com/vOyH8nhbv0
The opportunity to meet the Mamba was a blessing but the true blessing was the words he spoke! One to inspire greatness in everyone and instill belief in yourself through determination and hard work! 24 You will forever live on your legacy will never die! 🙏🏽 Bryant Family pic.twitter.com/PQI2X94UNP
Ever since California’s SB 206 passed last September, more than a dozen states followed with their own versions of the Golden State’s Fair Pay to Play Act, to go along with a number of concurrent pushes in Washington. No matter your stance on the pay-for-play issue or what side of the political aisle you sit on, it seems we can all agree that politicians are not the people to solve this issue, and yet the NCAA kept dragging its feet, and dragging its feet, and draaaaggging its feeetttt and, well, here we are. And Sandra Scott‘s bill a large reason why.
Scott, a state representative in Georgia (D-Rex) has introduced HB 766, a type of compromise bill that will make no one happy.
The appeal, at least from the outside, of California’s SB 206, is that it would allow college athletes to capitalize on their popularity during the lifetime of that popularity while costing the school very little money, since the money would come from third-parties.
Scott’s bill does neither. In fact, it goes out of its way to do the opposite.
According to HB 766, Georgia would require its schools to set aside a third of all monies earned in postseason play into an escrow account, which would then be given to players upon graduation.
Read for yourself below.
To recap, Scott’s bill would cost the schools millions of dollars and also shut out a lot of the players who generate those millions. Why should, say, Jake Fromm be barred from having a hand in the money he produced for Georgia just because he went pro?
In short, Scott’s (well-meaning) bill would anger both schools and athletes while continuing the overly paternalistic attitudes adults have adopted toward college athletes that applies to no other demographic in college sports.