Members of the Clemson University football team led hundreds of demonstrators on the school’s campus Saturday as they marched for equality and against police brutality toward African Americans.
The demonstration included a moment of silence for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the length of time prosecutors say George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, was pinned to the ground under a white Minneapolis police officer’s knee before he died last month.
“This is a historic time, and a challenging time,” head football coach Dabo Swinney told the crowd during a speech. “But as I tell my team all the time, challenge is what creates change. … Black lives more than matter — Black lives significantly matter and equally matter. For far too long that has not been the case for the Black community.”
The protest was organized by quarterback Trevor Lawrence, linebacker Mike Jones Jr., wide receiver Cornell Powell and running back Darien Rencher, according to news outlets.
The march came a day after Clemson trustees voted to rename its honors college, stripping from the program the name of former vice president and slavery proponent John C. Calhoun.
Calhoun, who was born in South Carolina, declared slavery a “positive good” on the U.S. Senate floor in 1837.
Prior to the administrators’ vote, an online petition by students calling for the name to be changed drew more than 20,000 signatures. Clemson football alumni and onetime Houston Texans teammates DeAndre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson voiced support for the petition on social media.
Auburn quarterback Bo Nix certainly picked some good company to hang out with during his spring break. Before the world essentially shut down due to COVID-19, Nix was able to board a plane and fly out to the west coast to get in some spring break training sessions with a few guys who know a thing or two about tossing around the pigskin.
Nix spent his spring break working with private quarterback coach Jordan Palmer. Palmer has built a respectable list of clients over the years as a private instructor. Among the coaches who have worked with Palmer include Super Bowl champion and former Texas Tech Red Raider Patrick Mahomes, former Clemson standout Deshaun Watson, and former Cal quarterback Jared Goff. Two other quarterbacks working with Palmer at the time Nix was was with him were former USC quarterback Sam Darnold and last year’s Heisman Trophy winner from LSU, Joe Burrow.
“Just going out there, obviously you can learn so much from them and you can soak up so much knowledge from them and how they play the game and just how to go about playing quarterback on a level like that,” Nix said when speaking with the media during a conference call this week, according to Al.com.
Nix passed for 2,366 yards and 15 touchdowns and rushed for 301 yards and seven touchdowns in his freshman season as Auburn’s starting quarterback from the start. Taking the opportunity to work with a couple of other quarterbacks who have gone on to be high NFL draft picks (Darnold was No. 3 overall in 2018 and Burrow is expected to be a possible No. 1 pick in the 2020 draft) is a terrific learning experience for any quarterback, especially one so fresh into his career.
This likely doesn’t mean Nix is about to be the runaway Heisman Trophy favorite in 2020, but Auburn fans should be looking forward to a good season of growth from their starting quarterback this fall.
There is a new preseason favorite for the 2016 Heisman Trophy, at least as far as Bovada is concerned.
The betting service Tuesday listed LSU running back Leonard Fournette checks in with the best odds at 9/2. He moved ahead of Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, whose odds went from 9/2 in January to 5/1 now.
Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey’s odds moved to 11/2 while Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett, Florida State running back Dalvin Cook and Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield are all at 12/1.
Several players were added to the board since January, including UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen (16/1), Alabama running back Bo Scarbrough (20/1) and Baylor quarterback Jarrett Stidham (28/1).
The group of newcomers also includes both of the competitors to be Notre Dame’s starting quarterback. DeShone Kizer and Malik Zaire are both set at 28/1.
The Clemson Tigers fell five points shy against Alabama in the national championship game earlier this month. Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson put on a performance reminiscent of Vince Young in the Rose Bowl, although Watson and the Tigers let a fourth quarter lead slip away as Alabama took the upper hand and brought home another national championship under Nick Saban. Though Clemson lost the game, there was absolutely nothing to be ashamed of in the performance. Wide receiver Charone Peake certainly didn’t feel any shame in his team’s performance.
“We felt like we dominated the game,” Peake said following a Senior Bowl practice on Thursday, per Al.com. “Those couple two or three plays took over and kinda overshadowed our play. The scoreboard didn’t show it but I felt like we dominated the game.”
The plays Peake was likely referring to were an onside kick called by Alabama following a touchdown, a 95-yard kickoff return by Kenyan Drake and a long touchdown run by Alabama’s Heisman Trophy-winning running back, Derrick Henry, and a long touchdown pass to seldom-used O.J. Howard. To support Peake’s case, Clemson’s offense did a fantastic job against a defense that was heralded as one of the best in the nation, anchored by the top defensive line and defensive front in the game. Clemson rolled up 550 yards of offense and scored 40 points on Alabama, so in a sense, yes, Clemson’s offense was dominant. Peake was responsible for 99 receiving yards on six receptions as well. Clemson defensive tackle D.J. Reader agreed.
“They capitalize. If you’re going to beat them, you really have to beat them,” Reader said. “You can’t go out there and have a fluke game and just win against them. You have to beat them straight up. That’s what I respect about them as a team. They’re going to do the things that matter. They’re going the little tackles, even if it doesn’t count, they’re going to make them. They just do things the right way.”
It must be open season on the newly crowned national champions down at the Senior Bowl. This week also saw Ohio State players suggest they would have given Alabama a better fight than their Big Ten division foes from Michigan State. Who will be next to suggest they could take Alabama?
2015 Heisman Trophy finalist and Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson is the early favorite to win the 2016 Heisman Trophy according to Bovada. In the first batch of early Heisman Trophy odds released by the popular sports book, Clemson’s quarterback was labeled the favorite to win the hardware next fall following a wildly successful 2015 season and run to the national championship game. The valiant effort in the championship game put everyone on notice just how good Watson is. Of course, he was already a Heisman finalist, so he has the college football world’s attention already.
Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey, another 2015 finalist for the Heisman Trophy, was tied for the second-best odds to win the Heisman Trophy with LSU running back Leonard Fournette. Fournette had appeared to be the easy pick for the Heisman Trophy last season but his run to the trophy was steamrolled by Alabama, which allowed Derrick Henry to take the lead in the race.
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield was given a 10/1 shot to win the Heisman Trophy, the same as Ohio State quarterback JT Barrett. Florida State running back Dalvin Cook was among a handful of players receiving 12/1 odds.
Odds to win the 2016 Heisman Trophy
- QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson (9/2)
- RB Leonard Fournette, LSU (5/1)
- RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford (5/1)
- QB JT Barrett, Ohio State (10/1)
- QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma (10/1)
- RB Nick Chubb, Georgia (12/1)
- RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State (12/1)
- RB Royce Freeman, Oregon (12/1)
- QB Chad Kelly, Ole Miss (12/1)
- RB Samaje Perine, Oklahoma (12/1)
- WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama (16/1)
- QB Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee (16/1)
- QB Brad Kaaya, Miami (25/1)