Isaiah Hodgins

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Oregon State WR Isaiah Hodgins tweets leap to 2020 NFL Draft

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Two posts thus far this morning, two more Power Five programs losing players early to the NFL.

The latest school to lose one to the next level is Oregon State, with Isaiah Hodgins tweeting Tuesday night that he has decided to forego his remaining eligibility at Oregon State and declare for the 2020 NFL Draft. “I plan on representing the Beavs at the next level, and most importantly representing my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” the wide receiver wrote.

This past season, Hodgins caught 86 passes for 1,171 yards and 13 touchdowns.  Those numbers rank second, third and first, respectively, among players in the Pac-12.

All told, Hodgins will finish his three seasons of college football with 2,322 yards (seventh in school history) and 20 touchdowns (second) on 176 receptions (second).

Justin Herbert wraps up Autzen Stadium career with ho-hum Civil War win over Oregon State

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Eugene native Justin Herbert¬†didn’t have the finest performance in his final game at Autzen Stadium but the hometown kid still notched his third straight Civil War win and ended the in-state rival’s season all the same as No. 14 Oregon topped Oregon State 24-10.

The lackluster margin was reflective of a rather dull and uninspiring game, something neither side has been a part of much lately but nevertheless was what they turned in on Saturday afternoon. Herbert was just 18-of-30 for 174 yards and a touchdown pass as the Ducks’ offense never seemed to find much of a rhythm in either phase. They did run for 191 yards behind that mammoth offensive line (Travis Dye¬†with 91,¬†C.J. Verdell¬†with 50) but converted just three times on third down and fumbled away a ball in the end zone that would have sealed the result much earlier than the final few minutes.

Luckily for the already crowned Pac-12 North champs, their defense and special teams more than made up for the performance. Mykael Wright returned a kickoff 98 yards to the house in the first quarter while OSU was similarly dreadful in converting third downs or moving the chains against a unit that was flying all over the place.

Safety¬†Brady Breeze¬†was the real hero though, scooping up a¬†Jamar Jefferson¬†(81 yards and a TD otherwise) fumble off the turf after the Beavers tailback tried to hurdle a defender but wound up losing control of the ball. That play was emblematic of an OSU offense that showed a few flashes but couldn’t get over the hump to really threaten to take the lead.

QB Tristan Gebbia made the start at quarterback in place of an injured Jake Luton and threw for 243 yards on 40 attempts, the bulk of the action going to top target Isaiah Hodgins to the tune of eight receptions for 85 yards.

It wasn’t enough in the end however, as Oregon moved to 11-1 in the last dozen games against the folks from Corvallis. The Ducks will now turn their attention to either Utah or USC in the Pac-12 title game next Friday night and take comfort in closing out the home schedule undefeated behind their local kid under center.

Biletnikoff Award whittles hunt for nation’s top receiver down to 12

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The Biletnikoff Award on Monday announced its list of 12 semifinalists for the 2019 award. The award specifies that any player who catches a pass is eligible to win — not just wideouts — but only wideouts have won the award through its 25-year history.

And for what has to be the first time in Biletnikoff history, both LSU and Alabama have two semifinalists, including 2018 winner Jerry Jeudy.

The semifinalists are:

Rashod Bateman, Minnesota: 44 catches for 945 yards (21.5 yards per) and seven touchdowns
Omar Bayless, Arkansas State: 73 catches for 1,262 yards (17.3 yards per) and 14 touchdowns
Ja'Marr Chase, LSU: 57 catches for 1,116 yards (19.6 yards per) and 13 touchdowns
Antonio Gandy-Golden, Liberty: 64 catches for 1,244 yards (19.4 yards per) and eight touchdowns
Isaiah Hodgins, Oregon State: 73 catches for 1,021 yards (14 yards per) and 13 touchdowns
Justin Jefferson, LSU: 71 catches for 1,010 yards (14.2 yards per) and 11 touchdowns
Jerry Jeudy, Alabama: 64 catches for 867 yards (13.6 yards per) and nine touchdowns
CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma: 44 catches for 983 yards (22.3 yards per) and 12 touchdowns
Michael Pittman, Jr., USC: 82 catches for 1,118 yards (13.6 yards per) and nine touchdowns
James Proche, SMU: 88 catches for 1,008 yards (11.5 yards per) and 12 touchdowns
Devonta Smith, Alabama: 56 catches for 1,026 yards (18.3 yards per) and 11 touchdowns
Sage Surratt, Wake Forest: 66 catches for 1,001 yards (15.2 yards per) and 11 touchdowns

The notable snub here is¬†Devin Duvernay¬†of Texas, who is one off the lead for catches (87) but could not crack the voters’ top 12. (Full disclosure: I am a Biletnikoff voter and had Duvernay on my semifinalist list.)

The 12 semifinalists will be chopped down to three next Monday, with the winner announced at the Home Depot College Football Awards on Dec. 12.

Oklahoma State wins battle of ‘OSUs’ over Oregon State in high scoring affair

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Death, taxes and Mike Gundy having a high-powered offense.

Orange was the new black on Friday night in Corvallis as Oklahoma State convincingly won the battle of ‘OSUs’ over Oregon State 52-36 in a terrific debut for the new look Cowboys offense.

Freshman Spencer Sanders got the nod as the starting quarterback and looked perfectly capable of executing what Gundy was calling in an impressive effort on the road in a hostile environment. He wound up throwing for 203 yards and a trio of scores while doing some damage with his legs to the tune of 109 yards as well. His dual-threat nature was a big reason why many considered him the favorite for the job over Hawaii transfer Dru Brown and the youngster from Texas showed enough to certainly raise expectations around Stillwater for what this team is capable of.

Of course, it helps to have a supporting cast as good as Sanders does and even more so when they ball out. Tailback Chuba Hubbard was a one-man wrecking crew on his way to 221 yards and three scores on the ground while star wideout Tylan Wallace found the end zone twice himself to go with 92 yards receiving.

All told it was an effortless 555 yard output on the night and a robust 7.3 yards per play average in the season opener for both sides.

That the Big 12 version of OSU beat up on the Pac-12 one isn’t too surprising given the state of both programs but there were a few encouraging elements for Beavers head coach¬†Jonathan Smith.¬†The team scored on their first two drives of the night and had a number of successful offensive series, with QB¬†Jake Luton¬†tossing three touchdowns and racking up 251 yards passing. Even backup signal-caller Tristan Gebbia¬†came in and led an 80-yard trip to the end zone late in the game and wideout Isaiah Hodgins¬†looks like a real threat after a 170 yard, two score outing.

Defense proved to be the real issue for the home team though given the number of coverage busts and missed tackles but at least linebacker Jack Colletto also scored a touchdown out of his specialized ‘Jackhammer’ goal line package.

The Pacific Northwest night belonged to the other version of OSU however as the Cowboys proved to be just too much. We’ll see if the game was ultimately a bit of a mirage given the level of competition but, so far, the early returns are still trending positive for Oklahoma State and their mullet-clad head coach who certainly knows a thing or two about cooking up a high-flying offense.

Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy headlines 2019 Biletnikoff Award Watch List

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Media Day season is also Watch List season and the latest to surface for the 2019 campaign comes out of Tallahassee in the form of the Biletnikoff Award Watch List. The award, given annually to the nation’s most outstanding receiver, includes the defending winner in Alabama’s¬†Jerry Jeudy and fellow semifinalist¬†Tylan Wallace¬†out of Oklahoma State,¬†as well as a number of other talented pass-catchers from around the country.

Here’s the full list, which is a good general overview of the best wide receivers and tight ends for the upcoming season even if a few names can gripe about being left off:

Lynn Bowden, Jr. (Kentucky)

Rico Bussey, Jr. (North Texas)

Cedric Byrd (Hawaii)

Grant Calcaterra (Oklahoma)

Damonte Coxie (Memphis)

Gabriel Davis (UCF)

Bryan Edwards (South Carolina)

D’Wayne Eskridge¬†(Western Michigan)

Aaron Fuller (Washington)

Antonio Gandy-Golden (Liberty)

KJ Hamler (Penn State)

Adrian Hardy (Louisiana Tech)

Damon Hazelton (Virginia Tech)

Tee Higgins (Clemson)

K.J. Hill (Ohio State)

Isaiah Hodgins (Oregon State)

Justin Jefferson (LSU)

Jerry Jeudy (Alabama)

Tyler Johnson (Minnesota)

Collin Johnson (Texas)

CeeDee Lamb (Oklahoma)

Ty Lee (Middle Tennessee State)

Kalija Lipscomb (Vanderbilt)

McLane Mannix (Texas Tech)

Kirk Merritt (Arkansas State)

Riley Miller (Ball State)

Denzel Mims (Baylor)

Darnell Mooney (Tulane)

Rondale Moore (Purdue)

Albert Okwuegbunam (Missouri)

K.J. Osborn (Miami)

Dezmon Patmon (Washington State)

Jared Pinkney (Vanderbilt)

Michael Pittman, Jr. (USC)

James Proche (SMU)

Jalen Reagor (TCU)

Jared Rice (Fresno State)

Sean Riley (Syracuse)

Reggie Roberson, Jr. (SMU)

Justyn Ross (Clemson)

Henry Ruggs III (Alabama)

Laviska Shenault, Jr. (Colorado)

JD Spielman (Nebraska)

Amon-Ra St. Brown (USC)

Marquez Stevenson (Houston)

Tamorrion Terry (Florida State)

Jaylen Waddle (Alabama)

Tylan Wallace (Oklahoma State)

JoJo Ward (Hawaii)

Quez Watkins (Southern Miss)