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Joe Burrow, Justin Fields, Jalen Hurts, Chase Young named Heisman Trophy finalists

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The Heisman Trophy will be awarded to college football’s best player on Saturday evening in New York City. Four players will attend the ceremony as finalists for the award.

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts, and Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields and defensive end Chase Young were the four finalists announced by The Heisman Trust Monday evening.

Heisman Trophy votes have already been submitted by Heisman voters. The announcement of the finalists is an indication of how the voters cast their ballots, with these four players the highest vote-receivers, and perhaps at least a few of them relatively close to each other while the fifth and sixth-place player in the voting was lagging behind enough to establish a cutoff point.

LSU’s record-setting quarterback Joe Burrow is considered by many to be the favorite for the award. Burrow rewrote the sEC record book and LSU record book with his production this season while helping LSU to an undefeated regular season and an SEC title. LSU has just one Heisman Trophy winner in school history with Billy Cannon winning the award in 1959. So it’s been a long time for the Tigers. Burrow, like the rest of his fellow Heisman Trophy finalists, will be playing in the College Football Playoff, with the Tigers taking the No. 1 seed in this year’s playoff.

Burrow will face Oklahoma, where Hurts will be looking to keep an impressive streak going for the Sooners. Each of the previous two Heisman Trophy winners were transfer quarterbacks playing for the Sooners. Kyler Murray won the Heisman Trophy last season, and Baker Mayfield took home the trophy in 2017.

Ohio State’s two finalists, Fields and Young, each were major players in Ohio State’s success this season. Fields is also a transfer quarterback like Burrow (who, ironically, transferred from Ohio State). Young has been widely considered the best defensive player in the country, if not the best overall player. Young did miss two games for a suspension, but his inclusion in this year’s list of finalists is a credit to the impact he had when he was on the field. Ohio State’s most recent Heisman Trophy winner was Troy Smith in 2006. Smith is also the last Big Ten player to win college football’s most iconic award.

Oklahoma and Ohio State are tied with Notre Dame for the most all-time Heisman Trophy awards. Ohio State has actually had six Heisman Trophy winners, but Archie Griffin remains the only player to win the award twice. If Joe Burrow doesn’t win the award, then we will officially have a new leader in the Heisman Trophy clubhouse.

NC State LB Brock Miller announces transfer to Boise State

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The Boise State football team is the latest to see the beneficial side of the portal.

Earlier this month, Brock Miller entered his name into the NCAA transfer database.  Two weeks later, the NC State linebacker announced on Twitter that he will be transferring into the Boise State football program.

As of yet, the Broncos have not announced Miller’s official addition to the roster.

Miller, a three-star 2016 signee, played in 31 games during his time with the Wolfpack. He started 13 of those appearances, including 11 in 2019.

This past season, his seven tackles for loss were tied for third on the team. He had 40 total tackles, which were good for eighth.

Miller is leaving the Wolfpack as a graduate transfer. Next season will be the Florida native’s final year of eligibility.

Four-star 2018 signee Kukea Emmsley of Boise State is in transfer portal

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In December of 2017, Kukea Emmsley posted on Twitter that he dreamt of being a Boise State football player.  A little over two years later, the dream is over.  Or, it’s on its way to being over.

According to 247Sports.com, Emmsley has entered himself into the NCAA transfer database.  The move to the portal by the redshirt defensive end would be the first step in leaving the Boise State football team.  Emmsley could, though, pull his name and remain with the Broncos.

Conversely, the Boise State football program could pull his scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered the portal.

A four-star 2018 signee, Emmsley was rated as the No. 4 player regardless of position in the state of Hawaii.  He was also the No. 25 outside linebacker in that class.  Of the 25 recruits signed by Boise State football that year, only one on the defensive side of the ball, Chris Mitchell, was rated higher than Emmsley.

Despite that pedigree, Emmsley failed to live up to the pre-career billing.

As a true freshman in 2019, Emmsley took a redshirt.  This past season, Emmsley made his Boise State debut in an Oct. 19 loss to BYU.  As it turns out, that was Emmsley’s lone appearance.

Emmsley will likely have to sit out the 2020 season if he follows through on a transfer and moves to another FBS school.  That would leave him with two years of eligibility beginning in 2021.

Virginia OC Robert Anae withdraws name from Hawaii coaching search

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We don’t know yet who will be the head coach of the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors football team.  We do, though, now who it won’t be.

In days after Nick Rolovich left to replace Mike Leach at Washington State, Robert Anae‘s name has been mentioned prominently as a potential successor.  Tuesday, however, the Virginia offensive coordinator announced in a statement that he has withdrawn his name from consideration for the job as the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors head coach.

“After careful consideration, I am withdrawing my application for the University of Hawaii head football coach position,” the statement began. “I have been overwhelmed with the commitment by Coach [Bronco] Mendenhall and the leadership of [athletic director] Carla Williams. I am excited and energized to close out our recruiting class as we continue our quest for the conference championship.”

The 61-year-old Anae, who played his college football at BYU, was born in Hawaii and began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors football team.  Anae just completed his fourth season as Virginia’s coordinator.  He also coaches the team’s wide receivers.

With Anae out of the picture, Hawaii could stay in-house for its new head coach. Craig Stutzmann, UH’s quarterbacks coach and passing-game coordinator and Mark Banker, UH’s assistant head coach and linebackers coach, have been mentioned as possibilities.  The offensive line coach at Syracuse, Mike Cavanaugh, has been floated as a possibility as well.

Penn State DE Daniel Joseph hurtles into the portal

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Count the Penn State football program as the next FBS school facing a potential personnel loss.

First reported by the SEC Network‘s Cole Cubelic, defensive end Daniel Joseph has taken the first step in leaving the Penn State football team by entering his name into the NCAA transfer database.  247Sports.com subsequently confirmed the initial report.

A four-star 2016 signee, Joseph was rated as the No. 12 strongside defensive end in the country and the No. 3 player regardless of position in the state of Illinois.

Joseph took a redshirt as a true freshman.  The next three seasons, Joseph appeared in 33 games.  A dozen of those appearances came during the 2019 campaign.

In those three seasons, the defensive lineman was credited with 29 tackles, 5½ tackles for loss, five sacks, one pass defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

On the last depth chart of the 2019 season, Joseph was listed No. 3 behind starter Yetur Gross-Matos and backup Shane Simmons.  Gross-Matos confirmed in early December that he will be leaving the Nittany Lions early for the 2020 NFL Draft.

Joseph is the second Nittany Lion to hit the portal this offseason.  Earlier this month, offensive lineman Hunter Kelly entered his name into the transfer database.  Both Kelly and Joseph will be leaving the Penn State football team as graduate transfers.