Chris Boyd

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

Report: Penn State will hire James Franklin

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Earlier Thursday, it was reported James Franklin had been offered Penn State’s head coaching job. A few hours later, CBS Sports’ Bruce Feldman reported it’s a done deal, and Franklin will be the next coach of the Nittany Lions.

The initial reaction: This is absolutely a home run hire for Penn State. Franklin could’ve been a good fit at two of college football’s most powerful programs — USC and Texas — so landing him in State College appears to be a good omen for the direction of the program.

Franklin takes over an improving situation as the historic sanctions leveled against Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal were eased last September, and could be eased again this fall. If the sanctions aren’t softened, Penn State will be allowed a full 85 scholarships in 2016 — two years before the original sanctions called for.

It appears possible, too, that Penn State could be eligible to play in a bowl and the Big Ten Championship as early as this year.

Franklin took over Vanderbilt in 2011 and led the Commodores to three consecutive bowls — this after the program only played in four bowl games in its previous 107 years. Vanderbilt finished in the top 25 for the first time since 1948 last season, and half of the program’s four nine-win seasons came under Franklin.

It wasn’t all pretty under Franklin’s watch in Nashville — four Vanderbilt players were charged over the summer with rape and a fifth (receiver Chris Boyd) pleaded guilty to attempting to cover up the incident. All five players were dismissed from the team.

Chris Boyd dismissed by Vandy

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Even as his legal woes came to an end with a plea deal to a reduced charge, Chris Boyd has found himself on the outside of the Vanderbilt football program looking in.

In a press release sent out late Tuesday afternoon, the school announced that Boyd has been dismissed from the Commodores football team.  The decision to dismiss comes four days after Boyd pleaded guilty to misdemeanor criminal intent in connection to a sexual assault case involving four former Vandy football players.

Boyd had originally been charged with felony accessory after the fact.

“The action came after an ongoing review that included information disclosed during a hearing Sept. 13 in Davidson County Criminal Court,” the statement from vice chancellor for public affairs Beth Fortune read. “The review concluded that Mr. Boyd’s admitted actions are clearly inconsistent with the high standards of behavior expected of our student-athletes.”

Boyd was placed on 11 months and 29 days of probation and, if he successfully completes that nearly year-long probationary period, he will have his record expunged.

Four of Boyd’s former Vandy teammates have been indicted on charges related to the on-campus rape of an unconscious female student.  It’s alleged that one of the four videotaped the sexual assault; the original charge against Boyd was based on the player allegedly erasing the video of the attack.

It also surfaced during Boyd’s hearing last Friday that he had went to an on-campus hall where the attack occurred and helped get the semi-nude female victim back into a room.  The prosecutor also stated at the hearing that one of the alleged perpetrators sent a text to Boyd “showing the unconscious victim with an object inserted in her anally.”  Boyd deleted that photo, and advised those allegedly involved in the rape to do the same.

Boyd was suspended by the football program shortly after his mid-August indictment.

Last season, Boyd’s 50 receptions for 774 yards and three touchdowns were third on the team.

Vandy WR Chris Boyd gets probation in connection to rape case

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Faced with up to two years in prison, Vanderbilt’s Chris Boyd has instead reached a deal that will keep him from going behind bars and could result in his return to the Vanderbilt football program.

According to multiple media outlets, the wide receiver struck a plea agreement Friday that saw him plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of criminal intent.  Boyd had originally been charged with felony accessory after the fact.

Boyd has been placed on 11 months and 29 days of probation and, if he successfully completes that nearly year-long probationary period, he will have his record expunged.

Four of Boyd’s former Vandy teammates have been indicted on charges related to the on-campus rape of an unconscious female student.  It’s alleged that one of the four videotaped the sexual assault; the original charge against Boyd was based on the player allegedly erasing the video of the attack.

Boyd was suspended by the football program shortly after his mid-August indictment.  There’s no official word yet from the university as to what if any effect the plea deal will have on Boyd’s future with the team.

Last season, Boyd’s 50 receptions for 774 yards and three touchdowns were third on the team.

Boyd’s plea deal is the second piece of news related to the Vandy rape case to surface over the past 24 hours.  Yesterday, it was reported that Jaborian McKenzie, one of the four charged in the sexual assault, had transferred to Alcorn State and played in the FCS school’s game this past weekend.  Late last night, Alcorn announced that McKenzie had been removed from the football program.

UPDATED 11:24 a.m. ET: Vanderbilt vice chancellor for public affairs Beth Fortune released a statement addressing the development involving Boyd.

“Chris Boyd will remain suspended from the Vanderbilt University football team, pending further review by the university. We have no further comment on the matter at this time.