Michael Pittman

NFL Draft recruiting
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Exactly half of the players selected in first two rounds of NFL draft were four-star recruits; nearly 70% were four- and five-stars

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As the current NFL draft continues to show, recruiting rankings don’t mean everything. But they do mean a lot. Especially when it comes to the first two rounds.

In the first two rounds, a total of the 64 players found themselves their first professional football homes.  And, of those more than five dozen players selected, exactly half of them (32) were four-star signees* coming out of high school.  On top of that, another 11 were five-star prospects when they signed with their respective schools.

Of the first 20 players picked, 16 of them were either four-star (11) or five-star (five) signees.  The No. 1 overall pick, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, was a four-star coming into Ohio State.  His former five-star teammate, OSU defensive end Chase Young, was selected No. 2 overall.

As the No. 6 pick in the first round, Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert was the highest-drafted three-star.  Offensive lineman Robert Hunt out of Louisiana was drafted with the seventh pick of the second round, making him the highest-drafted two-star.  And the highest-drafted zero-star?  Div. II Lenoir-Rhyne safety Kyle Dugger, who was selected two picks before Hunt.

All told, 46 of the 106 players (43.4 percent) selected in the first three rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft were four-stars in the recruiting rankings.  The next highest percentage was three-stars at 34.9 percent (37 out of 106).

After 11 in the first two rounds, just one five-star, Arkansas defensive tackle McTelvin Agim, was taken in the third round.

(*According to the 247Sports.com composite.)

FIRST ROUND
1. LSU quarterback Joe Burrow: four-star
2. Ohio State defensive end Chase Young: five-star
3. Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah: five-star
4. Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas: four-star
5. Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa: five-star
6. Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert: three-star
7. Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown: five-star
8. Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons: three-star
9. Florida cornerback CJ Henderson: four-star
10: Alabama offensive tackle Jedrick Wills: four-star
11: Louisville offensive tackle Mekhi Becton: three-star
12. Alabama wide receiver Henry Ruggs III: four-star
13: Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs: four-star
14. South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw: four-star
15. Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy: five-star
16. Clemson cornerback A.J. Terrell: four-star
17. Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb: four-star
18. USC offensive tackle Austin Jackson: four-star
19. Ohio State cornerback Damon Arnette: three-star
20. LSU defensive end K'Lavon Chaisson: four-star
21. TCU wide receiver Jalen Reagor: four-star
22. LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson: three-star
23: Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray: three-star
24: Michigan center Cesar Ruiz: four-star
25: Arizona State wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk: three-star
26: Utah State quarterback Jordan Love: three-star
27: Texas Tech linebacker Jordyn Brooks: three-star
28: LSU linebacker Patrick Queen: four-star
29: Georgia offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson: five-star
30: Auburn cornerback Noah Igbinoghene: four-star
31: TCU cornerback Jeff Gladney: three-star
32: LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire: three-star

Five-star: 6
Four-star: 15
Three-star: 11
Two-star: 0
Zero-star: 0

SECOND ROUND
33. Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins: five-star
34. USC wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr.: four-star
35. Georgia running back D'Andre Swift: five-star
36: Alabama safety Xavier McKinney: four-star
37: Lenoir-Rhyne safety Kyle Dugger: zero-star
38: Penn State defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos: four-star
39. Louisiana guard Robert Hunt: two-star
40: TCU defensive tackle Ross Blacklock: four-star
41: Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor: three-star
42: Colorado wide receiver Laviska Shenault: three-star
43: Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet: four-star
44: LSU safety Grant Delpit: four-star
45. Minnesota safety Antoine Winfield Jr.: three-star
46. Penn State wide receiver KJ Hamler: four-star
47. Auburn defensive tackle Marlon Davidson: four-star
48. Tennessee defensive end Darrell Taylor: four-star
49. Notre Dame wide receiver Chase Claypool: four-star
50. Utah defensive back Jaylon Johnson: four-star
51. Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs: four-star
52. Florida State running back Cam Akers: five-star
53. Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts: four-star
54. Iowa defensive end AJ Epenesa: five-star
55. Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins: four-star
56. Alabama defensive tackle Raekwon Davis: four-star
57. Florida wide receiver Van Jefferson: four-star
58. Boise State offensive tackle Ezra Cleveland: three-star
59. Baylor wide receiver Denzel Mims: three-star
60. Michigan linebacker Josh Uche: three-star
61. LSU defensive back Kristian Fulton: five-star
62. Boston College running back AJ Dillon: three-star
63. Mississippi State linebacker Willie Gay Jr.: four-star
64. Southern Illinois defensive back Jeremy Chinn: zero-star

Five-star: 5
Four-star: 17
Three-star: 7
Two-star: 1
Zero-star: 2

THIRD ROUND
65. Wyoming linebacker Logan Wilson: two-star
66. Memphis wide receiver Antonio Gibson: three-star
67: Notre Dame linebacker Julian Okwara: four-star
68: Cal defensive back Ashtyn Davis: zero-star
69. LSU guard Damien Lewis: three-star
70. Texas defensive back Brandon Jones: four-star
71. Texas A&M defensive tackle Justin Madubuike: four-star
72. Houston offensive tackle Josh Jones: three-star
73. Ohio State defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton: three-star
74. Wisconsin linebacker Zack Baun: three-star
75. Ohio State offensive lineman Jonah Jackson: three-star
76. Vanderbilt running back Ke'Shawn Vaughn: four-star
77. Iowa cornerback Michael Ojemudia: three-star
78. Temple center Matt Hennessy: two-star
79. Florida defensive end Jabari Zuniga: three-star
80. Kentucky wide receiver Lynn Bowden: four-star
81. South Carolina wide receiver Bryan Edwards: four-star
82. Oklahoma defensive tackle Neville Gallimore: four-star
83. LSU center Lloyd Cushenberry: three-star
84. Alabama linebacker Terrell Lewis: four-star
85. Utah defensive back Julian Blackmon: three-star
86. Utah running back Zack Moss: three-star
87. Alabama linebacker Anfernee Jennings: four-star
88. Missouri defensive tackle Jordan Elliott: four-star
89. Mississippi State cornerback Cameron Dantzler: three-star
90. Florida defensive end Jonathan Greenard: three-star
91. UCLA tight end Devin Asiasi: four-star
92. Texas wide receiver Devin Duvernay: four-star
93. Appalachian State running back Darrynton Evans: two-star
94. Cincinnati tight end Josiah Deguara: two-star
95. Arkansas defensive tackle McTelvin Agim: five-star
96. TCU offensive tackle Lucas Niang: three-star
97: LSU linebacker Jacob Phillips: four-star
98. Ohio State linebacker Malik Harrison: three-star
99. UConn offensive tackle Matt Peart: two-star
100. Clemson safety Tanner Muse: three-star
101. Virginia Tech tight end Dalton Keene: three-star
102: Charlotte linebacker Alex Highsmith: zero-star
103: Colorado linebacker Davion Taylor: four-star
104: Utah safety Terrell Burgess: three-star
105: Dayton tight end Adam Trautman: zero-star
106. Mississippi State offensive tackle Tyre Phillips: three-star

Five-star: 1
Four-star: 14
Three-star: 19
Two-star: 5
Zero-star: 3

Second round of 2020 NFL Draft once again won by SEC

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A night after smashing the previous record for the most first-round draft picks in an NFL draft, the SEC once again helped provide some depth at the next level with a strong showing in the second round on Friday night. The SEC had 10 players selected in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft, the most of any conference.

Clemson’s Tee Higgins started the night heading to the Cincinnati Bengals (Joe Burrow and Tee Higgins should be fun to watch if you are a Bengals fan), and USC’s Michael Pittman was picked by the Indianapolis Colts with the second pick of the night. Then the SEC got involved once again.

Georgia’s D'Andre Swift was the first SEC representative off the board in the second round, courtesy of the Detroit Lions. He was joined by Alabama safety Xavier McKinney one pick later by the New York Giants. LSU added to their draft selections after a program-record five first-round picks Thursday night with Grant Delpit going to the Cleveland Browns and cornerback Kristian Fulton heading to the Tennessee Titans. Alabama later saw Trevon Diggs go to the Dallas Cowboys and Raekwon Davis to the Miami Dolphins.

The Big Ten had a solid showing in the second round of the draft. Highlighted by defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos of Penn State (to former Baylor head coach Matt Rhule with the Carolina Panthers) running backs Jonathan Taylor of Wisconsin (to the Indianapolis Colts) and JK Dobbins of Ohio State (to the Baltimore Ravens), the Big Ten saw seven players drafted in the second round. Iowa’s A.J. Epenesa may have been a bargain at 54th overall by the Buffalo Bills.

Notre Dame was the only independent program to have any players selected in the second round with Cole Kmet going to the Chicago Bears and Chase Claypool heading to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Southern Illinois got a chance to wave the FCS banner with the final pick of the second round. Safety Jeremy Chinn was drafted by the Panthers just before moving on to the third round.

There was a pick from the Division 2 pool. The New England Patriots selected Lenoir-Rhyne safety Kyle Dugger. Dugger was the fifth pick of the second round, officially putting the South Atlantic Conference on the board in this year’s NFL draft.

2020 NFL Draft Second Round Picks By Conference

  • SEC – 10
  • Big Ten – 7
  • ACC – 3
  • Big 12 – 3
  • Pac-12 – 3
  • Missouri Valley Conference (FCS) – 1
  • Mountain West – 1
  • South Atlantic Conference (D2) – 1
  • Sun Belt -1

(Independents – 2)

Joe Burrow has historic night for LSU at The Home Depot College Football Awards Show

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College football’s awards circuit took center stage at the College Football Hall of Fame Thursday night, and LSU quarterback Joe Burrow was a big winner. Burrow, who already has been named the AP Player of the Year and many feel will be putting his hands around the Heisman Trophy this weekend, was awarded the Walter Camp Football Foundation Player of the Year and the Maxwell Award for two-thirds of the college football triple crown.

Burrow is the first player from LSU to win the Walter Camp Football Foundation Player of the Year award in the history of the award, which was first presented in 1967. Burrow also took home the Davey O’Brien Award for the nation’s top quarterback, which is also a first for the LSU program.

Burrow also won the first Maxwell Award and Davey O’Brien Award in program history. And he wasn’t the only Tiger making some program history. Wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase was named the winner of this year’s Biletnikoff Award, marking the second time a player from LSU was named the nation’s most outstanding receiver (Josh Reed, 2001).

Burrow was not the only LSU player to collect some hardware at the award show. Grant Delpit won the Jim Thorpe Award for the top defensive back. Delpit is the third player from LSU to win the award, with Patrick Peterson and Morris Claiborne won the award in 2010 and 2011, respectively. It is the third consecutive season a player form the sEC has won the award (Minkah Fitzpatrick of Alabama in 2017 and Deandre Baker of Georgia in 2018).

While Burrow was in the midst of taking home some hardware back to Baton Rouge for the first time, Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor was doing something that is pretty common in Madison. Taylor was named the winner of the Doak Walker Award for the nation’s best running back. It was his second striaght year winning the award, entering Taylor in some rare company as one of three two-time winners of the award. Darren McFadden of Arkansas and Ricky Williams of Texas are the only other back-to-back winners.

Ohio State defensive end Chase Young brought an end to a Bednarik Award drought for the Big Ten by being the first player from a Big Ten school to win the award since 2007. Penn State’s Dan Connor had been the most recent Big Ten player to win the award for the nation’s top defensive player. Young also made some program history by doing so.

Below is a list of all of the awards presented during the show. A handful of the awards were previously announced but formally presented Thursday night.

(Winners in bold, listed along with finalists for the awards)

WALTER CAMP PLAYER OF THE YEAR
(College player of the year)
Joe Burrow, LSU (Sr.)
Justin Fields, Ohio State (So.)
Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State (So.)
Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin (Jr.)
Chase Young, Ohio State (Jr)

MAXWELL AWARD
(College player of the year)
Joe Burrow, LSU (Sr.)
Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma (Sr.)
Chase Young, Ohio State (Jr.)

CHUCK BEDNARIK AWARD
(College defensive player of the year)
Derrick Brown, Auburn (Sr.)
Isaiah Simmons, Clemson (Jr.)
Chase Young, Ohio State (Jr.)

DAVEY O’BRIEN NATIONAL QUARTERBACK AWARD
(Nation’s best quarterback)
Joe Burrow, LSU (Sr.)
Justin Fields, Ohio State (So.)
Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma (Sr.)

BILETNIKOFF AWARD
(Outstanding receiver)
Ja’Marr Chase, LSU (So.)
CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma (Jr.)
Michael Pittman Jr., USC (Sr.)

DOAK WALKER AWARD
(Nation’s premier running back)
Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State (So.)
Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin (Jr.)
J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State (Jr.)

OUTLAND TROPHY
(Nation’s most outstanding interior lineman)
Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin (Jr.)
Derrick Brown, Auburn (Sr.)
Penei Sewell, Oregon (So.)

PAYCOM JIM THORPE AWARD
(Nation’s best defensive back)
Grant Delpit, LSU (Jr.)
Jeff Okudah, Ohio State (Jr.)
J.R. Reed, Georgia (Sr.)

LOU GROZA COLLEGIATE PLACE-KICKER AWARD
(Nation’s outstanding placekicker)
Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia (Sr.)
Keith Duncan, Iowa (Jr.)
Blake Mazza, Washington State (So.)

RAY GUY AWARD
(College punter of the year)
Dane Roy, Houston (Sr.)
Max Duffy, Kentucky (Jr.)
Sterling Hofrichter, Syracuse (Sr.)

THE HOME DEPOT COACH OF THE YEAR
(Announced Dec. 11)
Ed Orgeron, LSU

DISNEY SPIRIT AWARD
Casey O’Brien, Minnesota

Chase Young, Ohio State headline list of national award finalists

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A slew of national awards released their finalists on Monday, and, shockingly, Ohio State led the way. Chase Young is a finalist for two separate awards, including the Maxwell Award as the national player of the year.

The Maxwell is typically the Golden Globe to the Heisman’s Oscars, as five times in the past 10 years Maxwell voters have picked a different player of the year than the Heisman electorate. However, it is a good sign that Young will be Ohio State’s representative in New York.

Joining Young was Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields as a Davey O’Brien finalist, running back JK Dobbins as a Doak Walker finalist and defensive back Jeff Okudah as a Jim Thorpe finalist. Former Buckeye Joe Burrow was also a Maxwell and O’Brien finalist.

Maxwell (best player)
Joe Burrow, LSU
Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma
Chase Young, Ohio State

Chuck Bednarik (best defender) 
Derrick Brown, Auburn
Isaiah Simmons, Clemson
Chase Young, Ohio State

Davey O’Brien (best quarterback)
Joe Burrow, LSU
Justin Fields, Ohio State
Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma

Doak Walker (best running back)
Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State
Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
JK Dobbins, Ohio State

Biletnikoff (best receiver)
Ja'Marr Chase, LSU
CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
Michael Pittman, Jr., USC

Outland (best interior lineman) 
Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin
Derrick Brown, Auburn
Penei Sewell, Oregon

Jim Thorpe (best defensive back) 
Grant Delpit, LSU
Jeff Okudah, Ohio State
JR Reed, Georgia

Lou Groza (best kicker)
Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia
Keith Duncan, Iowa
Blake Mazza, Washington State

Ray Guy (best punter)
Dane Roy, Houston
Max Duffy, Kentucky
Sterling Hofrichter, Syracuse

Each award will be given at the Home Depot College Football Awards on Thursday, Dec. 12 from the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.

 

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.