Getty Images

Kyle Kempt, Joel Lanning re-joining Iowa State as quality control coaches

1 Comment

We normally don’t report on off-the-field hires here at CFT, but these are not two normal off-the-field hires.

On Wednesday, Iowa State announced Kyle Kempt and Joel Lanning are returning to the program as quality control assistants.

If those names sound familiar, they should. With apologies to David Montgomery, Allen Lazard and Hakeem Butler, it’s possible no two players are more responsible for the ongoing Cyclone Renaissance than Kempt and Lanning.

A one-time third-string quarterback, Kempt quarterbacked Iowa State to a 38-31 win at No. 3 Oklahoma in 2017. In his first career start, Kempt diced the Sooners by going 18-of-24 for 343 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Later that season, Kempt guided Iowa State to a win over No. 4 TCU, making him the first and only quarterback to lead Iowa State to two victories over top-5 opponents.

Sparked by Kempt, Iowa State finished the 2017 campaign with an 8-5 record, a Liberty Bowl win and an AP Top 25 finish, the program’s best season at the time since 2002.

Granted a sixth-year of eligibility, Kempt entered 2018 as the Cyclones’ starter, but was lost for the year to a knee injury and gave way to true freshman Brock Purdy, who enters 2019 firmly entrenched as Iowa State’s starter.

“With all of the events that have happened with Coach Campbell helping me out, I now have the chance to give back to the program that gave me so many opportunities,” said Kempt. “To be able to work under a coach as great as Coach Campbell, who is considered one of the best in the nation, is really special.”

Lanning arrived in Ames as a quarterback and spent his first four years at the position, but his talents grew to a point where he eventually became a three-way player. Lanning starred at linebacker, finishing third nationally as a senior with 8.8 tackles per game while rushing for 135 yards and throwing for 47. The 2017 winner of the Paul Hornung Award as the nation’s most versatile player, he became the first FBS player since 2006 (Eric Weddle) to record a sack, interception, fumble recovery, rushing touchdown and passing touchdown in a season.

“Coach Campbell and this staff helped turned my football career around and I will do whatever I can to give back,” Lanning said. “I also want to learn a lot from them and help the program out any way I can. You have to start your coaching career somewhere and I am blessed to be able to do it at Iowa State. This will be fun and a great opportunity for me.”

Kempt will work with Iowa State’s offense, while Lanning will work with the defense.

“Joel and Kyle are two of the biggest reasons we have been able to change the culture within our program at Iowa State,” Campbell said. “As captains, they were leaders who inspired greatness in their teammates. They also have sharp football minds and are eager to get into coaching. This will be a great first step for them as they initiate their coaching careers and they will be a valuable asset to our coaching staff and players.”

Lott IMPACT Trophy announces semifinalists

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
1 Comment

You know we are getting close to award season in college football because it seems this week has been filled with announcements about semifinalists for every award possible. Welcome to the party, Lott IMPACT Trophy. A total of nine semifinalists were announced by the Lott IMPACT Trophy, which is awarded to the best defensive player with a focus on success on and off the field, integrity, maturity, performance, academics, community and tenacity.

The nine semifinalists for this year’s Lott IMPACT Trophy are:

  • Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn
  • Cole Christiansen, LB, Army
  • Jordan Fuller, DB, Ohio State
  • Brandon Jones, DB, Texas
  • Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
  • Chris Orr, LB, Wisconsin
  • Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
  • Curtis Weaver, DL, Boise State
  • Evan Weaver, LB, Cal

Linebacker remains a strong position for the Lott IMPACT Trophy this season, with five of the nine semifinalists playing a linebacker position.

This year’s recipient of the Lott IMPACT Trophy will be announced on Dec. 15 at the Pacific Club in Newport Beach. This list of nine semifinalists will be trimmed down to four finalists prior to the announcement.

Kentucky’s Josh Allen took home the award last season.

Class of 2019 four-star Baylor commit says he’s heading to Utah

Photo by Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
3 Comments

Former Baylor quarterback Peyton Powell has a new football home in the Pac-12. Powell announced on Thursday he is heading to Utah to join the Utes program.

“It’s time for me to clear the air and I WILL be doing that at THE University of Utah,” Powell said in a statement share don his Twitter account on Thursday afternoon.

Powell came to Baylor with the hopes of being able to compete and play quarterback for the Bears. That opportunity was one of the reasons Baylor ended up winning his commitment out of high school, while many schools hoping to sign the four-star athlete could find ways to use his athleticism at different positions. Powell, a member of the Baylor Class of 2019, has not played this season and will have four years of eligibility remaining. NCAA rules would force Powell to sit out the 2010 season before being ruled eligible to play, but he may be given a chance to play right away considering he did not play during his freshman year at Baylor.

Arizona continues shaking up coaching staff with reported firing of defensive line coach

Photo by Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
2 Comments

As a year of disappointing results comes down the final stretch for the Arizona Wildcats, changes are already in the air for Kevin Sumlin and the program. On Thursday, Arizona continued to go through the process of overhauling its defensive coaching staff with the firing of defensive line coach Iona Uiagalelei.

News of the coaching change was first reported by Jason Scheer of Wildcat Authority. According to that same report, defensive analyst Greg Patrick will be moved into the position of defensive line coach, at least for the remainder of the current season.

Arizona ranks 73rd nationally in rushing defense, 113th in sacks, and 119th in tackles for a loss. These are all stats most commonly used to evaluate the performance of the defensive line, and the results this late in the season just simply aren’t good any way you look at it.

A month ago, Arizona parted ways with defensive coordinator Marcel Yates and linebackers coach John Rushing. Uiagalelei is the third defensive coach to be removed from the staff during the 2019 season.

Jonathan Taylor, Chuba Hubbard among semifinalists for Doak Walker Award

Getty Images
3 Comments

Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor is attempting to do something that has only been done twice before by winning the Doak Walker Award in back-to-back seasons. Taylor was one of the 10 semifinalists revealed by the Doak Walker Award on Thursday, putting last year’s top running back one step closer to pulling off the rare feat on the college football award circuit.

Taylor will have some stiff competition for the award this season. Among the other semifinalists for the award include Oklahoma State’s Chuba Hubbard, the nation’s rushing leader with 1,726 yards and 20 rushing touchdowns (Taylor has 1,463 yards and 17 rushing touchdowns in the same number of games as Hubbard).

Darren McFadden of Arkansas is the most recent player to win the Doak  Walker Award in back-to-back seasons, doing so in 2006 and 2007. The only other player to win the award in consecutive seasons, and the only other two-time winner of the Doak Walker Award, is Ricky Williams of Texas. Williams won the award in 1997 and 1998. Taylor joined former Wisconsin running backs Melvin Gordon (2014), Montee Ball (2012) and Ron Dayne (1999) to move Wisconsin into first place for most all-time Doak Walker Award winners. Texas also has four awards won, but by three players (Ricky Williams twice, Cedric Benson in 2004 and D’Onta Foreman in 2016).

The other semi-finalists for the Doak Walker Award this year include LeVante Bellamy of Western Michigan (21 touchdowns leads the nation), AJ Dillon of Boston College, JK Dobbins of Ohio State, Clyde Edwards-Helaire of LSU, Travis Etienne of Clemson, Kenneth Gainwell of Memphis, Xavier Jones of SMU, Zack Moss of Utah.