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Middle Tennessee State to add Alabama walk-on to roster

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Joseph Sewell, they hardly knew ye.  Or knew of ye, at least when it comes to the fans.

The ye in this case is Alabama, with Sewell announcing on Twitter that he has decided to transfer from the defending national champions.  Not only that, but the defensive lineman announced his transfer destination for good measure — Middle Tennessee State.

As Sewell hails from Murfreesboro, the home of the Blue Raiders, the landing spot is far from a surprise.  It should be noted, though, that MTSU, which didn’t offer him a scholarship coming out of high school interestingly enough, has yet to officially announce Sewell’s addition to the roster.

Sewell was a two-star 2017 recruit who walked on with the Crimson Tide last year after receiving offers from, among others, Vanderbilt, Army, Navy, Appalachian State, Miami (Ohio) and UT-San Antonio.  Suffice to say, he never played a down for ‘Bama.

Army feted at White House after winning first Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy in two decades

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It took more than two decades, but Army has, by way of the President of the United States of America, finally gotten its hands again on some significant service academy football hardware.

In December, Army beat Navy when its rival’s last-second field-goal attempt fell short.  Combined with Army’s win over Air Force earlier in the season, it meant that the Black Knights had staked its claim to the 2017 version of the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy, handed out annually since 1972 to the service academy that wins that season’s three-way football series.

The last time Army won the trophy (1996), the president was Bill Clinton; this time around, the Oval Office is occupied by Donald Trump, who in a White House ceremony Tuesday afternoon awarded the trophy to the reigning service academy champions.

The Black Knights will be looking to win back-to-back Commander-in-Chief Trophies for the first time in the honor’s history.  All told, Army has claimed the trophy seven times, compared to 20 for Air Force and 15 for Navy.  On four occasions (1974, 1976, 1980, 1993) the award was shared, with the winner the previous year retaining possession of the physical trophy.

Army is the second college football team to visit the White House this offseason.  Earlier this month, Alabama, with Nick Saban famously calling recruits during it, took its trip to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to celebrate the Crimson Tide claiming the 2017 national championship.

Army’s Donovan Franklin tweets transfer to Kansas

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This is something you don’t see all too often.

Donovan Franklin (pictured, No. 26) tweeted out late Tuesday night that, “[a]fter careful consideration I am happy to announce that I have decided to continue my academic and athletic career at the University of Kansas.” Franklin had spent the past two years at the United States Military Academy at West Point, playing his college football for the Army Black Knights.

It’s unclear what led the slotback to leave the service academy and head to the Big 12 school.

Franklin was a two-star prospect coming out of high school in Maryland in Army’s Class of 2015.  After playing in two games in 2016, he carried the ball one time for seven yards this past season.

The 5-9, 185-pound Franklin was listed as a defensive back coming out of high school, and could assume such a role yet again with the Jayhawks.  That likely won’t happen this season, however, as it’s expected he will have to sit out the 2018 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules.

Army assistant Tucker Waugh reveals he’s fighting Parkinson’s

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One member of the Army coaching staff is fighting something much bigger than the game of football.

On Tuesday, in a story posted to Army’s official football website, assistant coach Tucker Waugh acknowledged that he has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.  According to the posting, Waugh has been battling the insidious, potentially debilitating disease “for a few years now.”

“When you see me, know that my left hand may shake, but my resolve is steadfast to attack this condition with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind,” Waugh was quoted as saying.

One of the more poignant quotes came from the coach’s wife.

“I think his Parkinson’s diagnosis has only made his work ethic even stronger,” Jen Waugh said. “I feel as though he wants to prove to himself that this disease is not going to beat him. He’s very determined that it’s not going to take away from how he coaches and how he does his job. It makes me so happy to see that his passion for coaching has not changed, but rather increased, because of Parkinson’s.”

Waugh has spent 16 seasons in two separate stints as an assistant at West Point, the first coming from 2000-04 and then, after two years at Stanford, another from 2007 to the present.  Entering his 17th season at the military academy, Waugh will continue on with his duties as slotbacks coach and recruiting coordinator.

Army ‘will probably’ give Kell Walker shot at QB

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With uncertainty surrounding Ahmad Bradshaw, Army will apparently leave no stone unturned when it comes to the triggerman for its offense.

While Bradshaw, the Black Knights’ starting quarterback the past three seasons, will be a cadet at the service academy this fall, it’s unclear — or even unlikely — that he’ll be permitted to play football in 2018.  In December of last year, the Army defended an internal investigation that concluded Bradshaw and a female cadet had a consensual sexual relationship.

“We are,” head coach Jeff Monken said according to the Times Herald-Record when asked if the football team is moving forward under the assumption that Bradshaw will not be available this season. “We kind of have to move in that direction because we don’t know what the status is going to be. Right now, we are just preparing for us to have a new quarterback.”

With that in mind, Monken also confirmed this week “that sophomore slotback Kell Walker ‘will probably’ get a look at quarterback when the Black Knights open spring practice Tuesday,” Sal Interdonato of HudsonValley.com wrote.  Walker, who was third on the Black Knights in rushing last season (629 yards) and led them in yards per carry at 7.3, has never played quarterback before at any level.

Army, of course, is unique in that its offense allows them to even attempt such an experiment as their run-heavy system resulted in just 65 passes in 13 games last season.  Conversely, they led the nation in rushing at 362.3 yards per game.

“We will probably play him there some just to see what he is capable of doing,” Monken said of Walker by way of the Herald-Record. “We obviously want to get the ball in his hands as often as we can. He’s a good player for us. I think that would be a way to do that. I just don’t know if he’s going to be the guy that can lead our offense.

“The leadership piece for the quarterback is maybe as important as anything. I think he’s a good leader whether he will be able to lead from that position I do not know.”

The potential loss of Bradshaw, though, can’t be understated.  As a junior last season, Bradshaw ran for a school-record 1,746 yards and accounted for 14 of the Black Knights’ 50 rushing touchdowns.

The Walker experiment notwithstanding, Kelvin Hopkins will likely head into the spring as the favorite to replace Bradshaw under center.  The sophomore was the only player other than Bradshaw to attempt a pass last season, throwing 18 times (six completions) for 76 yards, one touchdown and one interception.  He also carried the ball seven times for 40 yards.