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Scott Boras: 2018 season will be Kyler Murray’s last in college football

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Kyler Murray‘s situation is going to be a year-long fascination for media covering Oklahoma because, well, it’s a fascinating situation. The two-sport star was drafted ninth overall by the Oakland Athletics in June’s MLB draft, but the club and the quarterback quickly worked out a deal that will allow Murray to play football in 2018 before turning his attention to the diamond in 2019 and beyond — and then handed him $4.6 million to secure Murray’s commitment starting next year.

Each of the principals was on board with the plan, with A’s scouting director Eric Kubota saying on draft night, “We were totally on board with his desire to play quarterback at Oklahoma. Frankly, we’re kind of excited to be Oklahoma fans.”

Each of the principals was on board, it seems, except OU head coach Lincoln Riley.

“Well, I’m not really,” Riley told The Oklahoman when asked how he’ll approach his quarterback position given Murray is essentially a senior this season. “Decide how I want to handle that … um, we’ll see if it’s his final year. That hasn’t been determined yet. I’m not worried about it if it is or if it isn’t. That’s gonna have no impact on this year.”

Pressed on the issue, Riley went on to say he wasn’t informed on his quarterback’s contract situation — an odd explanation, since it’s part of his job to be informed of his quarterback’s availability.

“I’ve stayed out of the negotiation stuff with the A’s,” Riley said. “That’s not my business. It’s his business. My hope through this whole thing is that Kyler is gonna be able to do what he wants to do. If he wants to go play baseball after this year, then we’ll wish him well and be happy for him. But the ball’s gonna be in his court, which is where it should be.”

Reached by The Athletic on Saturday, baseball super-agent Scott Boras confirmed that, yes, this is Murray’s final season. That’s what the $4.6 million was for, after all. “Kyler’s baseball career has a very defined path which includes playing football at OU for only the 2018 season,” he told the site.

Riley also insisted at Big 12 media days that Murray has not yet secured the Sooners’ starting quarterback job, saying that redshirt sophomore Austin Kendall was very much in competition with Murray.

Asked if Murray would truly come back to school without a starting job assured to him given the A’s have promised him $4.6 million, Riley said, “Because he loves football. He simply loves football. A lot of people have a hard time believing that, but money’s not everything to some people. Not to say that doesn’t factor in — I’m sure it does — but the kid, he loves football.”

Murray served as Baker Mayfield‘s backup last season, hitting 18-of-21 passes for 359 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions while rushing 14 times for 142 yards. Kendall redshirted last fall after completing 16-of-22 passes for 143 yards with two scores and no picks in two appearances as a true freshman in 2016.

It certainly seems like Murray will be Oklahoma’s quarterback for 2018 and 2018 only. But maybe, in Riley’s world, Murray will be Kendall’s backup for the next two years and tell the A’s to pound sand.

Academics force App State’s Jermaine McDaniel to take sabbatical

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A familiar face in Appalachian State’s defensive line rotation early on in the season hasn’t been seen around of late, and now we know why.

Following practice Tuesday, Scott Satterfield confirmed that Jermaine McDaniel has left the football team as he focuses on getting his academic house in order.  The head coach did, though, leave the door open for the defensive end to return — if he decides to return to the sport.

“Well, No. 1, I love Jermaine,” Satterfield said according to the Winston-Salem Journal. “Awesome player for us. He just wants to focus on academics, and I’ll support him and whatever his decision is.

“That’s what he wanted to do, so we’ll just support him and wish him well finishing his academics and whatever career he decides to go into.”

The redshirt freshman played in the first six games of the 2018 season, recording a pair of sacks in that span.  However, he saw action in just one of the last four.

Despite missing all of that action, his two sacks are still tied for third on the Mountaineers.

2017 finalist Jonathan Taylor headlines Doak Walker Award semifinalists

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Not surprisingly, Jonathan Taylor will get another crack at claiming a piece of running back hardware.

Early Wednesday afternoon, Taylor was announced as one of the 10 semifinalists for the 2018 Doak Walker Award.  The Wisconsin sophomore was one of the three finalists for the 2017 award won by Stanford’s Bryce Love.  Despite the fact that Love returned for another season,  he’s not one of this year’s semifinalists as nagging injuries have hampered the senior all season long.

The nation’s top four backs in terms of rushing yards are represented, including Taylor (first, 1548 yards), Memphis’ Darrell Henderson (second, 1,446), Arizona State’s Eno Benjamin (third, 1,295) and Arizona’s J.J. Taylor (1,221).  Two others in the Top Ten — FAU’s Devin Singletary (sixth, 1,169), Texas A&M’s Trayveon Williams (eighth, 1,159) — are included as well.

The other four to make the cut are Kentucky’s Benny Snell (11th, 1,089), Clemson’s Travis Etienne (13th, 1,076), Michigan’s Karan Higdon (18th, 1,005) and Boston College’s AJ Dillon (24th, 936).  Dillon moves up to ninth in yards per game (117) as he’s battled a leg injury for the last few weeks.

Higdon is the only senior in the group, while Benjamin, Dillon, Etienne and both Taylors are sophomores.  The other four are juniors.

Walter Camp Award announces 15 semifinalists

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An award that many consider the second-most prestigious in the sport has further narrowed the field of players who can claim this year’s honor.

Wednesday, the Walter Camp Foundation announced its 15 “Players to Watch,” essentially semifinalists, for its prestigious Player of the Year Award. The Walter Camp Award is voted on by the 130 FBS head coaches/sports information directors and is the fourth-oldest award in the sport.

“It’s been another exciting college football season with many teams and players still in the hunt for national recognition,” Camp Foundation president Michael Madera said in a statement. “We’ve identified some outstanding players and we know the final weeks of the regular season should be even more thrilling.”

Top-ranked Alabama is the only team with two semifinalists — quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and defensive lineman Quinnen Williams.  UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton and Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor are the only 2017 semifinalists to make the cut this year.

The 2017 Walter Camp Award winner was Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield.

Josh Allen, Senior, Linebacker, Kentucky
Deandre Baker, Senior, Defensive Back, Georgia
Devin Bush, Junior, Linebacker, Michigan
Travis Etienne, Sophomore, Running Back, Clemson
Will Grier, Senior, Quarterback, West Virginia
Dwayne Haskins, Junior, Quarterback, Ohio State
Darrell Henderson, Junior, Running Back, Memphis
Trace McSorley, Senior, Quarterback, Penn State
McKenzie Milton, Junior, Quarterback, UCF
Gardner Minshew, Senior, Quarterback, Washington State
Kyler Murray, Junior, Quarterback, Oklahoma
Tua Tagovailoa, Sophomore, Quarterback, Alabama
Jonathan Taylor, Sophomore, Running Back, Wisconsin
Jerry Tillery, Senior, Defensive Tackle, Notre Dame
Quinnen Williams, Sophomore, Nose Guard, Alabama

Knee injury to sideline UConn RB Zavier Scott until next summer

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A rather significant injury will cost one playing member of the UConn football program more than just the rest of this year.

Randy Edsall confirmed Tuesday that Zavier Scott is set to undergo season-ending knee surgery on Friday.  According to the head coach, the running back suffered tears to his MCL and PCL in last Saturday’s loss to SMU.

Not only will Scott be sidelined for the last two games of the regular season, but he’s also already been ruled out for spring practice as well.  Edsall expects the redshirt freshman to be healthy enough to participate in summer camp next year.

Scott is currently third on the Huskies with 194 yards on the ground.  Where they’ll arguably miss him the most is in the passing game as his 33 receptions coming out of the backfield are tops on the team.

Scott’s injury continues the spate of attrition at the position for the Huskies over the last couple of months.

In early August, Nate Hopkins, who led the Huskies in rushing touchdowns in 2017, decided to leave the football team.  Two weeks later, Donevin O’Reilly, a former walk-on who earned a scholarship over the summer and was on track to be the No. 1 running back, was lost to a season-ending ACL injury.  In late September, freshman Khyon Gillespie went down with his own ACL injury in the loss to Syracuse.

Quarterback David Pindell is the Huskies’ leading rusher with 1,118 yards.  Kevin Mensah has taken over as the lead back and is second on the team with 860 yards.  Those two have accounted for all 16 of UConn’s rushing touchdowns this season, with Pindell leading the way with 10.