Brett Smith

Ex-Hoosier QB says he’ll play for Wyoming

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Four months to the day his decision to transfer from Indiana became public knowledge, Cameron Coffman has found himself a new place to call home.

In an Instagram posting — replete with photoshopped picture — the quarterback wrote he’s”[e]xcited to announce that I will be going to Wyoming” and continue his collegiate playing career. “Blessed to have another opportunity,” the player added.

It’s unclear if Coffman will be eligible to play immediately in 2014 for first-year Cowboys head coach Craig Bohl. Should he be eligible, however, Coffman, whose sister played volleyball at Wyoming, would give Bohl an experienced candidate to replace long-time starter Brett Smith.

The decision to transfer from IU back in January came after a season in which Coffman languished behind co-starters Nate Sudfeld and Tre Roberson — both sophomores — on IU’s depth chart. He appeared in just three games and attempted nine passes in 2013.

In 2012, and after Roberson suffered a broken leg very early on, Coffman threw for 2,734 yards, the second-highest total for a Big Ten quarterback that season. It was also the fourth-highest total in the program’s history.

Tide’s Sunseri one of record 98 players declaring for draft

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A draft-eligible Alabama rumored to be headed to the NFL — or not — will indeed be a part of a record-breaking pool this May.

Tide defensive back Vinnie Sunseri was one of 98 players included on the NFL’s official list, released Sunday, of players “who have been granted special eligibility” for the upcoming draft.  It was reported a week ago that the safety was leaning toward making the early leap into the NFL, although there was some vacillation as the redshirt junior waited until right up until the Jan. 15 deadline — plus the three additional days allotted to reconsider, provided there’s no signing with an agent — before making his final decision.

Sunseri is still rehabbing a torn ACL, which he suffered in a mid-October win over Arkansas.

The 98 players granted special eligibility by the NFL is a record, shattering and/or obliterating the old mark of 73 set just last year.  That standard broke the record of 65 set the year before that.  In 2004, just 43 players with eligibility remaining left school early.

For the second consecutive year, LSU led all schools with seven early entrants.  In 2013, the Tigers saw 10 players leave early.  Sunseri gave the Tide five players leaving early, the same number as USC and one-win Cal (?).  Florida, Florida State, Notre Dame and South Carolina each saw four players take the early jump into the NFL.

2014 marks the sixth consecutive year that the number of early entrants has increased.

The number could have actually topped the century mark as four players who have left school early but have already graduated were not included in the NFL’s official count: Southern California defensive back Dion Bailey, Arizona State linebacker Carl Bradford, Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and Alabama linebacker Adrian Hubbard.

You can view the complete, official list of early entrants into the NFL draft:

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An unofficial list of underclassmen who declared for the NFL draft

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The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the NFL draft is upon us. It looks like we’ll have a record 92 (at minimum) declarations this year, easily topping last year’s record of 73. This draft should be among the most talent-laden in recent history.

Why the sudden exodus? Blame the new rookie wage scale, which rewards less money to first round draft picks and delays the big payout until a player’s second contract. That means the more time spent in the league, the better. A lot of these players want to get moving on proving themselves, even if they are a late round pick at the start.

Here’s the unofficial list of early entries as of the Jan. 15 deadline. The NFL will have an official list on Jan. 19:

Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State
Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
George Atkinson III, RB, Notre Dame
Dion Bailey, S, USC
Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, LSU
Kapri Bibbs, RB, Colorado State
Brendan Bigelow, RB, California
Russell Bodine, C, North Carolina
Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
Chris Boyd, WR, Vanderbilt
Carl Bradford, DE/OLB, Arizona State
Bashaud Breeland, DB, Clemson
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson
Ka’Deem Carey, RB, Arizona
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, DB, Alabama
Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
Brandon Coleman, WR, Rutgers
Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State
Isaiah Crowell, RB, Alabama State
Jonathan Dowling, S, Western Kentucky
Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
Dominique Easley, DT, Florida
Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
Bruce Ellington, WR, South Carolina
Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
Ego Ferguson, DT, LSU
Mike Flacco, TE, New Haven
Cameron Fleming, OT, Stanford
Khairi Fortt, LB, California
Austin Franklin, WR, New Mexico State
Devonta Freeman, RB, Florida State
Xavier Grimble, TE, USC
Vic Hampton, CB, South Carolina
Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU
Adrian Hubbard, LB, Alabama
Kameron Jackson, CB, California
Anthony Johnson, DT, LSU
Storm Johnson, RB, UCF
Henry Josey, RB, Missouri
Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU
Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana
Demarcus Lawrence, DE, Boise State
Marqise Lee, WR, USC
A.C. Leonard, TE, Tennessee State
Colt Lyerla, TE, Oregon
Aaron Lynch, DE, USF
Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Marcus Martin, C, USC
Tre Mason, RB, Auburn
Terrance Mitchell, CB, Oregon
Viliami Moala, DT, California
Donte Moncrief, WR, Ole Miss
Adam Muema, RB, San Diego State
Jake Murphy, TE, Utah
Troy Niklas, TE, Notre Dame
Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame
Jeoffrey Pagan, DL, Alabama
Ronald Powell, LB, Florida
Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
Loucheiz Purifoy, CB, Florida
Kelcy Quarles, DL, South Carolina
Darrin Reaves, RB, UAB
Ed Reynolds, FS, Stanford
Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee
Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado
Marcus Roberson, CB, Florida
Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State
Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
Richard Rodgers, TE California
Bishop Sankey, RB, Washington
Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
Yawin Smallwood, LB, UConn
Brett Smith, QB, Wyoming
Jerome Smith, RB, Syracuse
Willie Snead, WR, Ball State
Josh Stewart, WR, Oklahoma State
Xavier Su’a-Filo, OL, UCLA
De’Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon
Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame
Trai Turner, OG, LSU
George Uko, DL, USC
Pierre Warren, FS, Jacksonville State
Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
Terrance West, RB, Towson
James Wilder Jr., RB, Florida State
David Yankey, OL, Stanford

Wyoming QB transferring to Utah

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After losing Brett Smith to early entry into the NFL draft, Wyoming was expected to head into spring practice with Jason Thompson as its starting quarterback.

Um, oops?

In a surprise move Tuesday, Utah announced via its Twitter account that Thompson has decided to transfer into the Utes football program.  Wyoming’s athletic director subsequently confirmed that Thompson had asked to be released from his scholarship.

Thompson, who had two cousins play football for the Utes, will be forced to sit out the 2014 season and will retain two years of eligibility beginning in 2015.

Former Cowboys head coach Dave Christensen, fired by the university in late November of last year, was hired as the Utes’ offensive coordinator in mid-December.

Thompson was a two-star member of the Cowboys’ 2012 recruiting class and played in six games as a true freshman.  He took a redshirt for the 2013 season, a season in which Christensen had to talk the player into a return to Laramie.

(Photo credit: Wyoming athletics)

Wyoming QB Brett Smith heading to the NFL Draft a year early

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Wyoming quarterback Brett Smith will be skipping his final season with the program and taking a chance with the NFL Draft. The school announced the decision Friday evening, hours after Smith informed the program of his decision.

“After much consideration, I have decided to forgo my senior season at UW to pursue my dream of playing quarterback in the National Football League,” said Smith. “Wyoming has been such a special place for me and my family, and will always hold a special place in my heart.”

Smith passed for 3,359 yards and 29 touchdowns this season, completing 62.6 percent of his pass attempts for the Cowboys. In 2012 Smith had the highest passing yard average per attempt in the Mountain West Conference (he slipped to ninth this season). His early departure is a bit of a surprise, although with a new head coach coming to take over the program this may have been more about taking a chance on the draft now rather than potentially going through a bit of a transition under a new coaching staff.

“I have so much respect for Coach (Craig) Bohl and know that we will be very successful at Wyoming,” Smith said of the new Wyoming head coach, who is currently finishing out his duties as head coach of North Dakota State in the FCS playoffs before taking on the Wyoming job full time. “I appreciate him coming out and meeting with me and my family this past weekend and talking with us about his vision for the future of Cowboy Football.”

As for Wyoming’s quarterback situation heading in to the spring, it looks as though an open competition between sophomore Jason Thompson and freshman Tommy Thornton. Thornton had more playing time this season and may be the leading candidate for the job in 2014, although with a new coach taking over it would make sense that most positions will be up for grabs starting as soon as possible.