Another day, another one of these releases that signal yet another college football season is fast approaching.
The Doak Walker Award became the latest to release its offseason watch list, with a whopping 62 players comprising its initial grouping. The award has been handed out annually since 1990 to the nation’s top running back and is named in honor of the famed SMU halfback.
Headlining this year’s watch list is Stanford’s Bryce Love, who was named the 2017 winner of the Doak Walker Award. The list also features 2017 finalist Jonathan Taylor from Wisconsin, and semifinalists from last year Justice Hill from Oklahoma State and Devin Singletary from Florida Atlantic.
The ACC led all conferences with 10 players, followed by the SEC (nine), Pac-12 (eight), Big Ten (seven) and the Big 12 and MAC with six each. The next wave includes four apiece for Conference USA and Mountain West, three each for the AAC and the Sun Belt as well as two for those from Independents (BYU, UMass).
A total of three schools have two backs each listed: Florida State (Cam Akers, Jacques Patrick), Arkansas (Chase Hayden, Devwah Whaley) and Western Michigan (LeVante Bellamy, Jamauri Bogan).
Western Michigan running back Matt Falcon just can’t seem to catch a break, it seems. After injuring his knee last season, Falcon has been medically disqualified to play for the Broncos this fall, according to a Battle Creek Enquirer report. Western Michigan will also be without redshirt freshman defensive lineman Dezmond Lance, who has also been medically disqualified.
Falcon redshirted for Western Michigan in 2016 under former head coach and current Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck. Falcon came to Minnesota after being offered a medical scholarship at Michigan after a second ACL injury in his senior year of high school. He injured the same knee during camp prior to the 2017 season and managed to make just one appearance for the MAC program. Falcon rushed for 37 yards on 10 rushing attempts.
Due to his injury history, Falcon was likely only to play a reserve role in the running game for Western Michigan this fall. Regardless, not being able to contribute this fall has to be disappointing for a player that was once rated as a four-star recruit in high school. In terms of his eligibility, the time to petition for a medical exemption for an extra year of eligibility could eventually be on the table for Falcon, although that does not need to be decided just yet.
Junior defensive back Brad Tanner has also been confirmed to have left the program.
It’s been well over a year since the NCAA reached a settlement in a class-action lawsuit over grant-in-aid/cost of attendance and yet the $208 million the organization is still just sitting in a bank account waiting to be doled out. While you might first think that this is the result of the usual dragging of their feet from those in Indianapolis, it turns out that is not the case at all.
USA Today is reporting that it’s actually former Western Michigan wide receiver Darrin Duncan who is the one holding things up. He withdrew from the class-action case but his attorney, Caroline Tucker, “attempted to obtain $200,000 from the plaintiffs’ lawyers in exchange for dropping the objection.” The lawyers on the plaintiffs’ side have naturally responded in force, asking either of the two to post a five-figure bond to cover their own legal fees resulting from this delay. The judge in the case, Claudia Wilken, knocked that down to $5,000 last Friday by calling Tucker/Duncan’s objection to the case “meritless and thus his appeal is unlikely to succeed.”
At this point, Duncan/Tucker can either put up the money and risk losing it to continue their objection or drop things and let the payments — which could go as high as $6,000 per athlete — begin. While this is naturally focused on money, there’s a bit more to what the former Broncos receiver is going through:
All of this is occurring against the backdrop of Duncan dealing with personal hardship.
Now 28, he has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, according to his mother and a GoFundMe page established on his behalf about a year ago. He has received death threats because of his objection to the settlement, his mother, Arleen Pollard, said in an interview with USA TODAY Sports.
It does appear as though a solution to this long-running saga is in the cards somewhat soon but until then, the wait continues before the checks can start hitting the mail.
If Tom Flacco is ever to be elite, he’ll have to give it a go at yet another school.
Citing two individuals with knowledge of the situation, nj.com is reporting that the brother of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has decided to transfer from Rutgers. Not only that, but the walk-on quarterback has decided to continue his collegiate playing career at Towson, the website reported.
Because Flacco has already graduated and Towson plays at the FCS level, he will be eligible to play immediately in 2018. Flacco will also have another year of eligibility that he can use in 2019.
This move comes nearly a year after he decided to transfer from Western Michigan and ultimately landed at Rutgers. Flacco never attempted a pass for the Scarlet Knights as he was forced to sit out the 2017 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules.
A two-star 2015 signee, Flacco played in 13 games in two seasons while with the Broncos. As a true freshman, he completed 10-of-12 passes for 188 yards and a touchdown while adding 266 yards and two scores on the ground. In 2016, he attempted just one pass — an incompletion — and rushed for 74 yards, which included a career-long 55-yarder.
With summer camp set to kickoff in less than two months, Western Michigan’s defensive secondary has suffered a significant blow.
According to ESPN.com‘s Adam Schefter, WMU cornerback Sam Beal has petitioned the NFL for entry into its July supplemental draft. The Broncos’ head coach, Tim Lester, also confirmed to Pete Thamel of Yahoo! Sports that Beal wouldn’t be eligible to play for the school this season because of what were described as “academic credit shortcomings.”
“The bottom line is he was forced to make this decision,” Lester said. “His GPA isn’t bad. We did everything we could to try [to help him]. We made sure we did everything in his best interest.”
Per Thamel, Beal will continue to workout at the school prior to the draft.
This past season, Beal led the Broncos with a team-high 10 pass breakups while also intercepting a pair of passes. The 6-1, 177-pound defensive back was named second-team All-MAC following the 2017 season. All told, he started 23 of 25 games the past two seasons.
Beal is actually the second Power Five defensive back to enter the supplemental fray this month. Late last week, Virginia Tech confirmed that cornerback Adonis Alexander was no longer a part of the football program; it was subsequently reported that Alexander had hired an agent and would drop his name into the NFL’ secondary draft.