Christian Covington

Rice’s Christian Covington announces he will enter NFL draft

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Rice defensive lineman Christian Covington officially made his decision to forgo his senior season with the Rice Owls and enter the NFL draft Friday.

“The decision for me to leave was not an easy one, but through a lot of prayer, and the help of my family, my decision to declare became clear,” Covington said in a statement, per KHOU 11 Sports’ Daniel Gotera. “I am truly grateful for the opportunity Rice gave me to pursue my dreams and will forever remember the achievements that we made as a team that will surely go down in Rice Football history.

“I want to thank the coaching staff, strength staff, training staff, front office staff, academic staff, and all involved with the Rice Football; you truly impacted my life. I thank my teammates for the bonds and memories that I will never forget, and I thank the friends I have made who will remain a part of my life for years to come.”

Covington entered this season with some buzz regarding his pro potential. His status took a hit in November when he required knee surgery. As a result, the talented defender may not be able to work out for NFL scouts prior to April’s draft.

Prior to the injury, the 6-3, 300-pound defensive lineman registered 20 tackles and 2.5 sacks in seven games. The Vancouver native was named a First-Team All Conference USA performer as a sophomore.

Bednarik Award watch list names 76 players

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Watchlist season continued Monday with the release of the 2014 Chuck Bednarik Award watch list by the Maxwell Football Club. A total of 76 players were named to the watch list.

The Chuck Bednarik Award is awarded to the nation’s top defensive player as determined by the Maxwell Football Club. Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald was named the Bednarik Award winner each of the first two years the award was presented (1995 and 1996), and Penn State has had four Bednarik Award winners, the most of any school. Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald was the 2013 Bednarik Award winner.

This year’s watch list includes three of last year’s semifinalists, Clemson defensive end Vic Beasley, Oregon cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and USC defensive end Leonard Williams. Georgia has three linebackers on the watch list and Stanford continues to gain respect on defense with four players named to the watch list.

Here is the 2014 Bednarik Award watch list:

DE Henry Anderson, Stanford

LB Stephone Anthony, Clemson

DE Vic Beasley, Clemson

DT Michael Bennett, Ohio State

DE Joey Bosa, Ohio State

LB Kelby Brown, Duke

DT Malcom Brown, Texas

DE Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State

CB Alex Carter, Stanford

S Sam Carter, TCU

S Jeremy Cash, Duke

DE Frank Clark, Michigan

S Landon Collins, Alabama

DT Christian Covington, Rice

S Su’a Cravens, USC

DT Carl Davis, Iowa

LB Trey DePriest, Alabama

CB Quandre Diggs, Texas

CB Lorenzo Doss, Tulane

S Kurtis Drummond, Michigan State

DE Alvin Dupree, Kentucky

DE Mario Edwards, Florida State

CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon

LB Kyler Fackrell, Utah State

DE Devonte Fields, TCU

DE Try Flowers, Arkansas

LB Leonard Floyd, Georgia

DE Dante Fowler, Florida

CB Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech

DE Markus Golden, Missouri

DE Randy Gregory, Nebrska

LB Bryce Hager, Baylor

CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida

DE Eli Harold, Virginia

S Anthony Harris, Virginia

LB Ben Heeney, Kansas

DT Chucky Hunter, TCU

DE Martin Ifedl, Memphis

LB Myles Jack, UCLA

DT Grady Jarrett, Clemson

LB Jordan Jenkins, Georgia

LB A.J. Johnson, Tennessee

S Karl Joseph, West Virginia

LB Eric Kendricks, UCLA

LB Hau’oli Kikaha, Washington

CB Jordan Lucas, Penn State

DT Luther Maddy, Virginia Tech

LB Tyler Matakevich, Temple

LB Lorenzo Mauldin, Louisville

LB Benardrick McKinney, Mississippi State

DE Ryan Mueller, Kansas State

DE Shawn Oakman, Baylor

DE Norkeithus Otis, North Carolina

LB Denzel Perryman, Miami

LB Terrance Plummer, UCF

S Cody Prewitt, Ole Miss

LB Hayes Pullard, USC

DE Cedric Reed, Texas

S Jordan Richards, Stanford

DE A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama

DT James Rouse, Marshall

CB KeiVarae Russell, Notre Dame

LB Jake Ryan, Michigan

LB Frank Shannon, Oklahoma

DT Danny Shelton, Washington

S Derron Smith, Fresno State

LB Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame

LB Eric Striker, Oklahoma

DE Charles Tapper, Oklahoma

LB A.J. Tarpley, Stanford

S Robenseon Therezie, Auburn

LB Shaq Thompson, Washington

CB Trae Waynes, Michigan State

DE Leonard Williams, USC

CB P.J. Williams, Florida State

LB Ramik Wilson, Georgia

Earlier today the Paul Hornung Award watch list was released. The Maxwell Award watch list was released alongside the Bednarik Award watch list as well.

Rice loses starting defensive lineman for 2014 to knee injury

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A knee injury will sideline one of Rice’s projected defensive starters this fall. Stuart Mouchantaf, a defensive tackle, will miss the 2014 season according to a statement released by the university Thursday.

Mouchantaf suffered a setback from a knee surgery that put his status in jeopardy. During a rehab workout, Mouchantaf reinjured his knee, which required additional surgery.

“This is a tough blow because we were excited about having [Christian Covington] and `Mooch’ back together this season,” Rice head coach David Bailiff said in a statement. “Dylan Klare, Ross Winship and Cody Henessee all stepped up after he was hurt last season, so we will obviously depend on them heavily this year and I know Chris Thurmond and his defensive staff will look at some other options before we open camp in August.”

Mouchantaf started the first eight games of the season for Rice alongside Covington in the middle of the defensive line. He had to leave a game against UTEP after injuring his knee. In the time he did play, Mouchantaf recorded 33 tackles.

Mouchantaf is eligible for a redshirt and will work to return to the Owls in 2015.