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Record number of players on NFL’s official early-entry list for 2018 draft

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If it seemed to you like there were an inordinate number of early cannonballers jumping into the draft pool, you were correct.

Four days after the Jan. 15 deadline, the NFL Friday announced that 106 players have been granted special eligibility for the April draft.  That sets a new record for early entrants, breaking the mark of 98 set in 2014.  The past two seasons, there were 95 and 96 in 2017 and 2016, respectively.  In 2015, there were just 74.

The SEC was hit hardest by attrition with 26 players leaving early, although the ACC wasn’t far behind at 24.  The Pac-12 was next among the Power Five conferences with 17, followed by the Big 12’s 13 and the Big Ten’s 11.

Among Group of Five leagues, Conference USA lost the most with four.  The Mountain West saw three go early, with the AAC (two), MAC (one) and Sun Belt (one) coming next in line.  There were also two non-FBS players who left early, as well as two from Notre Dame.

As far as individual schools go, there were three that lost six apiece — Florida State, LSU and Texas.  Alabama lost five, while Auburn, Miami, Oklahoma, UCLA, and USC all lost four apiece.  Clemson, Florida, Louisville, Stanford and Tennessee were on the losing end of three players each.

In addition to the 106 granted special eligibility — they’ll be listed at the end — the NFL also granted eligibility to 13 players who the league writes “have in timely fashion under NFL rules officially notified the league office that they have fulfilled their degree requirements.” Those players are listed below:

» Jordan Akins, TE, UCF
» Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
» Kyle Allen, QB, Houston
» Will Clapp, C, LSU
» Terrell Edmunds, DB, Virginia Tech
» Taylor Hearn, G, Clemson
» Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State
» Sam Jones, G, Arizona State
» Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
» Brian O’Neill, T, Pittsburgh
» Christian Sam, LB, Arizona State
» Tre'Quan Smith, WR, UCF
» Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

Courtesy of the NFL, below is the complete list of 106 players who have been granted special eligibility for the 2018 NFL Draft:

» Josh Adams, RB, Notre Dame
» Olasunkanmi Adeniyi, DE, Toledo
» Jaire Alexander, DB, Louisville
» Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma
» Dorance Armstrong, DE, Kansas
» Jerome Baker, LB, Ohio State
» Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
» Jessie Bates, DB, Wake Forest
» Orlando Brown, T, Oklahoma
» Taven Bryan, DT, Florida
» Deontay Burnett, WR, USC
» Deon Cain, WR, Clemson
» Antonio Callaway, WR, Florida
» Geron Christian, T, Louisville
» Simmie Cobbs, WR, Indiana
» Keke Coutee, WR, Texas Tech
» Vosean Crumbie, DB, Nevada
» J.J. Dallas, DB, Louisiana-Monroe
» James Daniels, C, Iowa
» Sam Darnold, QB, USC
» Carlton Davis, DB, Auburn
» Michael Dickson, P, Texas
» Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
» DeShon Elliott, DB, Texas
» Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
» Matt Fleming, WR, Benedictine
» Nick Gates, T, Nebraska
» Rashaan Gaulden, DB, Tennessee
» Frank Ginda, LB, San Jose State
» Rasheem Green, DT, USC
» Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
» Ronnie Harrison, DB, Alabama
» Quadree Henderson, WR, Pittsburgh
» Holton Hill, DB, Texas
» Nyheim Hines, RB, NC State
» Jeff Holland, LB, Auburn
» Mike Hughes, DB UCF
» Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina
» Joel Iyiegbuniwe, LB, Western Kentucky
» Ryan Izzo, TE, FSU
» Donte Jackson, DB, LSU
» J.C. Jackson, DB, Maryland
» Josh Jackson, DB, Iowa
» Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
» Derwin James, DB, FSU
» Richie James, WR, Middle Tennessee
» Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas
» Courtel Jenkins, DT, Miami
» Kerryon Johnson, RB, Auburn
» Ronald Jones, RB, USC
» John Kelly, RB, Tennessee
» Arden Key, LB, LSU
» Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
» Du’Vonta Lampkin, DT, Oklahoma
» Jordan Lasley, WR, UCLA
» Chase Litton, QB, Marshall
» Tavares Martin, WR, Washington State
» Hercules Mata’afa, DE, Washington State
» Ray-Ray McCloud, WR, Clemson
» Tarvarus McFadden, DB, Florida State
» R.J. McIntosh, DT, Miami
» Reginald McKenzie, DT, Tennessee
» Quenton Meeks, DB, Stanford
» Kolton Miller, T, UCLA
» D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland
» Ryan Nall, RB, Oregon State
» Nick Nelson, DB, Wisconsin
» Kendrick Norton, DT, Miami
» Isaiah Oliver, DB, Colorado
» Dwayne Orso-Bacchus, T, Oklahoma
» Da’Ron Payne, NT, Alabama
» Kamryn Pettway, RB, Auburn
» Eddy Pineiro, K, Florida
» Trey Quinn, WR, SMU
» D.J. Reed, DB, Kansas State
» Justin Reid, DB, Stanford
» Will Richardson, T, NC State
» Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
» Austin Roberts, TE, UCLA
» Korey Robertson, WR, Southern Miss
» Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
» Bo Scarbrough, RB, Alabama
» Dalton Schultz, TE, Stanford
» Tim Settle, DT, Virginia Tech
» Andre Smith, LB, UNC
» Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
» Van Smith, DB, Clemson
» Breeland Speaks, DE, Ole Miss
» Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Notre Dame
» Josh Sweat, DE, Florida State
» Auden Tate, WR, Florida State
» Maea Teuhema, T, Southeastern Louisiana
» Trenton Thompson, DT, Georgia
» Kevin Toliver, DB, LSU
» Travonte Valentine, NT, LSU
» Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
» Vita Vea, NT, Washington
» Mark Walton, RB, Miami
» Denzel Ward, DB, Ohio State
» Chris Warren, RB, Texas
» Toby Weathersby, T, LSU
» Jordan Whitehead, DB, Pittsburgh
» JoJo Wicker, DT, Arizona State
» Jalen Wilkerson, DE, Florida State
» Connor Williams, T, Texas
» Eddy Wilson, DT, Purdue

Five Wisconsin DBs listed as questionable on initial injury report

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When Wisconsin takes the field this weekend looking to bounce back from a stunning beating at the hands of Michigan in Week 7, the Badgers’ secondary could have decidedly different — and depleted — look to it.

UW released its initial injury report for this coming Saturday’s homecoming game against Illinois, and a whopping five defensive backs were listed on it.  The injured fivesome are safeties D’Cota Dixon (right leg), Scott Nelson (right leg) and Reggie Pearson (left leg) and cornerbacks Travian Blaylock (right leg) and Faion Hicks (left leg).

Hicks, Nelson and Pearson were all injured in the loss to Michigan.  Dixon sustained his injury in the Oct. 6 win over Nebraska and didn’t play against U-M.  Blaylock, after playing in the first four games this season, hadn’t seen any action in the last two.

Hicks and Nelson, both redshirt freshmen, along with the senior Dixon were listed as starters ahead of the Wolverines game.  Pearson made his first career start in place of Dixon, who hadn’t been listed on the injury report heading into that game.

The Badgers will update the status of all five defensive backs later on in the week.

Duke DT Edgar Cerenord’s season ends after surgery for ruptured Achilles

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The depth along the interior of Duke’s defensive line has taken an injury hit.

Earlier this week, Duke confirmed that Edgar Cerenord suffered a ruptured right Achilles tendon in this past Saturday’s win over Georgia Tech.  The defensive tackle underwent surgery Monday afternoon to repair the damage.

Suffice to say, the fifth-year senior will miss the remainder of the 2018 season.

Cerenord could pursue a sixth season of eligibility if he so chooses.  It’s unclear at this point if he’ll utilize this option.

Thus far, Cerenord, who started all 13 games last season, has played in 41 games during his Blue Devils career.  Four of those appearances came this season, and he was credited with 14 tackles in that action.

According to the school, he’s the lone senior on the Blue Devils’ defensive line.

Iowa State to appeal $25,000 for field storming after upset of WVU

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Iowa State’s not going to take the monetary hit lying down.

Earlier Tuesday, the Big 12 announced that ISU has been fined $25,000 after their fans stormed the field this past Saturday.  The field storming came in the aftermath of ISU’s huge upset of then-No. 6 West Virginia in Ames.

In a statement announcing the fine, conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby said that the league “[has] a duty to provide a safe game environment” and that ISU “has a written event management policy that was not thoroughly implemented, and was unsuccessful in ensuring the safety and security of all visiting team game participants” — a sentiment with which WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen is likely to agree.

Not long after the league’s announcement, ISU president Wendy Wintersteen confirmed in a statement that the university will appeal the fine.

Our institution takes the safety and welfare of all student-athletes, officials and fans very seriously. We have reviewed all of our procedures, including several videos of the post-game celebration, and we do not agree with Commissioner Bowlsby’s assessment of the events that evening,. Chief [Michael] Newton, of the Iowa State University Police Department, and the CSC staff had a very thorough and specific plan.

“Those plans were discussed and implemented prior to the game and were evaluated and adjusted during the game to ensure the safest atmosphere for everyone attending the game, including the West Virginia players and staff.

According to school officials, it took security less than 90 seconds to safely get the WVU football contingent off the field and into the locker room.  No injuries have been reported on either side.

Big 12 fines Iowa State $25K for West Virginia field rush

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No one ever wants to lose $25,000, but the guess here is Iowa State AD Jamie Pollard will be happy to cut this check. (And, yes, we know no one really cuts a check in these instances. Just roll with us here.)

The Big 12 on Tuesday slapped Iowa State with a $25,000 fine for the rushing of Jack Trice Stadium’s field following the Cyclones 30-14 destruction of No. 13 West Virginia on Saturday.

“We have a duty to provide a safe game environment,” said Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby. “The Iowa State Department of Athletics has a written event management policy that was not thoroughly implemented, and was unsuccessful in ensuring the safety and security of all visiting team game participants. Although the Big 12 conference does not currently have a policy prohibiting spectators from entering playing areas for post-game celebrations, it is of utmost importance that home game management provide adequate security measures for our student-athletes, coaches, game officials and spectators.”

Iowa State is the second school to receive such a fine this week. No. 5 LSU was fined $100,000 for the rushing of Tiger Stadium’s field following the Bayou Bengals’ 36-16 blowout of No. 8 Georgia.

Mountaineers head coach Dana Holgorsen said the field rush was “very unprofessional” during the Big 12 teleconference on Monday.

“Our job is to keep student-athletes in a safe place. When you have thousands of people coming at you, it’s not good,” he said. There are league rules and a league ban against that for a reason. Our job is to keep players safe, and we didn’t have time to get them off the field. That was not good.”