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Pac-12 defensive stars headline Lott IMPACT Trophy semi-finalists

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The semifinalists for this year’s Lott IMPACT Trophy have been announced, and it is quite an impressive short list of some of college football’s finest defensive talents. Among the semifinalists for the award are Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick and Iowa linebacker Josey Jewel. The Pac-12 leads all conferences with three semi-finalists.

The Lott IMPACT Trophy honors the nation’s best player that exhibits the qualities of former NFL All-Pro Ronnie Lott; integrity, maturity, performance, academics, community, and tenacity.

In addition to three players from the Pac-12, this year’s semifinalists include two players from the Big 12, and one player each from the ACC, Big Ten, and SEC. Notre Dame is also represented by safety Drue Tranquill. A Big Ten player has won the award each of the past two seasons with Penn State defensive end Carl Nassib winning the award in 2015 and Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers receiving the award last season.

The 2017 Lott IMPACT Trophy Semi-Finalists

Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
Malik Jefferson, DE, Texas
Josey Jewell, LB, Iowa
Micah Kiser, LB, Virginia
Hercules Mata’afa, DL, Washington State
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, LB, Oklahoma
Harrison Phillips, DL, Stanford
Cameron Smith, LB, USC
Drue Tranquill, S, Notre Dame

Oklahoma State LB Amen Ogbongbemiga tweets he tested positive for COVID-19 after attending Tulsa protest

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Oklahoma State has joined Marshall in returning football players testing positive for the coronavirus.  This one, though, comes with a twist.

On his personal Twitter account, Amen Ogbongbemiga revealed that he has been confirmed as having COVID-19.  The Oklahoma State football player added that he tested positive after attending a protest and taking safety measures.

“After attending a protest in Tulsa AND being well protective of myself, I have tested positive for COVID-19,” the linebacker revealed. “Please, if you are going to protest, take care of yourself and stay safe.”

It should be noted that, at this point, it’s unclear when Ogbongbemiga attended a protest.  And if that’s where he contracted the virus.

Ironically enough, the announcement came the same day OSU released its steps for the return of football players to Stillwater.  In fact, the first group returned Monday.  As with other programs, the Cowboys will take a phased approach to their players returning.

As of this posting, the Oklahoma State football program has not reacted publicly to Ogbongbemiga’s revelation.  But, per the university’s protocol, Ogbongbemiga would be placed in isolation upon his return to campus.  Among other steps, of course.

  • If a student-athlete, coach or support staff member tests positive for COVID-19, they will enter the quarantine protocol per medical, local/state health department and university guidelines and will begin to receive the appropriate monitoring and treatment from the team physician, athletic training staff and any other medical consultants.
  • The positive student-athlete will be moved to separate housing designated by OSU for quarantine purposes.
  • Appropriate contact tracing as per local/state health department and university guidelines will begin and all that have been in contact will be instructed to quarantine and have symptoms monitored for a period determined by health and medical officials. Contact tracing will begin with the student-athlete’s cohort/workout group.

This past season, Ogbongbemiga earned second-team All-Big 12 honors.  His 15½ tackles for loss and five sacks led the Cowboys. His 100 tackles were second on the team.

College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history, including the price tag for Nebraska dumping Bo Pelini revealed

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The sports world, including college football, has essentially screeched to a halt as countries around the world battle the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there’s a dearth of college football news as spring practices have all but been canceled at every level of the sport. And there’s even some concern that the health issue could have an impact on the 2020 college football campaign.

In that vein, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives that stretch back to 2009 and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on June 3, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this college football hiatus, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: Via email, Clemson fans pitch athletics department officials on conspiracy to inject Tigers players with banned substance
THE SYNOPSIS: College football fans, y’all!

2017

THE HEADLINE: Lane Kiffin invites Kim Kardashian, Kanye West to FAU game
THE SYNOPSIS: Because, Lane Kiffin of course.  Kiffin left FAU two years later for the Ole Miss job.

2016

THE HEADLINE: Price tag for Nebraska dumping Bo Pelini, staff? Nearly $8.5 million
THE SYNOPSIS: Nebraska, in seven seasons under Pelini: 67-27 record.  At least nine wins in all seven seasons.  Nebraska, in five seasons since Pelini was fired: 28-34 record.  At least nine wins in one of five seasons.  Also, the first time since the early sixties the Cornhuskers finished below .500 in three consecutive seasons.  Nice move, NU.

2013

THE HEADLINE: Ruffin McNeill lands extension, raise from ECU
THE SYNOPSIS: From 2012-14, East Carolina won 26 games under McNeill.  That matched the best three-year stretch in program history.  Then, coming off a five-win 2015 campaign, ECU inexplicably fired the head coach.  In the four years since, the Pirates have won 13 games.  Combined.  Maybe the AAC school consulted Nebraska prior to firing McNeill?

2011

THE HEADLINE: Raise your glass: WVU allows beer sales at football games
THE SYNOPSIS: Couches all across the God’s Country peed themselves a little.

Georgia Tech DE Kelton Dawson makes his way into the transfer portal

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For at least the fifth time this year, Georgia Tech has seen a player enter the football transfer portal.

According to Rivals.com, Kelton Dawson has taken the first step in leaving the Georgia Tech football team by entering the NCAA transfer database.  A Georgia Tech football official subsequently confirmed the portal move.

The defensive end has thus far declined to address his impending departure on Twitter.

Now, for what’s seemingly becoming a daily disclaimer when it comes to transfers.

As we’ve stated myriad times in the past, a player can remove his name from the portal and remain at the same school. At this point, though, other programs are permitted to contact a player without receiving permission from his current football program.

NCAA bylaws also permit schools to pull a portal entrant’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered it.

Dawson was a three-star member of the Georgia Tech football Class of 2017.  At this point, it’s unclear if he will be leaving the Yellow Jackets as a graduate transfer.  Should he follow through, of course.

The lineman took a redshirt as a true freshman.  Dawson then appeared in one game in 2018, recording his first career tackle.  A season ago, he started seven of 11 games.  In that action, he was credited with 26 tackles, three tackles for loss and a forced fumble.

As for the other four Tech football player who entered the portal in 2020?

Johnson, incidentally, transferred to San Diego State last month.

Clemson assistant football coach accused of using the N-word years ago issues statement

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Clemson football was the subject throughout Tuesday of an incident a couple of years in the making.  And, not surprisingly, they have addressed it.  But first, the back story.

On Twitter this morning, former Clemson walk-on football player Kanyton Tuttle laid a damning claim on Dabo Swinney.  Specifically, that the Clemson head football coach had allowed one of his assistants “to call a player the N-word during practice with no repercussions.”

In a subsequent interview with The State, former Clemson tight end D.J. Greenlee acknowledged that the assistant, who he identified as current special teams coordinator and tight ends coach Danny Pearman (pictured), had indeed used the N-word.  However, Greenlee, who played for the Tigers from 2013-17, explained that Pearman did not call any player the N-word.  Instead…

“It was just a heated argument during practice, basically,” Greenlee told the newspaper. “Me and the coach got into it and I was speaking with one of my teammates. He heard me use the n-word basically, and basically tried to correct me by saying the n-word back.

“He wasn’t saying that I was a n-word. It was, using the tone, in a word like, ‘OK … I was talking to my teammate and you came over here.'”

In the end, Clemson football did the expected.  And released a statement attributed to Pearman.

Three years ago on the practice field, I made a grave mistake involving D.J. Greenlee. I repeated a racial slur I overheard when trying to stop the word from being used on the practice field. What I overheard, I had no right to repeat.

While I did not direct the term at any player, I know there is no excuse for me using the language in any circumstance. I never should have repeated the phrase. It was wrong when I said it, and it is wrong today.

I apologized to D.J. at the conclusion of practice, who then appropriately raised his concern to Coach Swinney. Coach and I met to discuss the incident, and he reiterated that my language was unacceptable. I later apologized again as well as expressed my sincere regret to our position group the following day.

I love the young men who choose to come to our university, and I would never do anything to intentionally hurt them. I sincerely apologize to D.J., his family, our team and our staff.