Eastern Michigan

John Mackey Award announces 33-member midseason Watch List

1 Comment

The John Mackey Award released its 33-name midseason Watch List on Monday and, considering the state of the position in college football, this may very well be the only 33 names that meet its criteria.

We all remember the Jace Amaro fiasco last year, where the Texas Tech tight end was first deemed not eligible for the award, then granted eligibility, only to be snubbed from the finalist list despite ranking sixth nationally with 106 catches, while North Carolina’s Eric Ebron ranked second among tight ends at 62. Washington’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins took home the 2013 trophy.

Wake Forest’s Cam Serigne leads all tight ends with 29 catches for 282 yards and one touchdown. He ranks 78th nationally among all pass-catchers, and stands as the only tight end in the top 100.

Here is the full list, presented in alphabetical order:

– Rory Anderson – South Carolina
– Kennard Backman – UAB
– E.J. Bibbs – Iowa State
– Gerald Christian – Louisville
– Evan Engram – Ole Miss
– Billy Freeman – San Jose State
– David Grinnage – N.C. State
– Connor Hamlett – Oregon State
– Mitchell Henry – Western Kentucky
– Jeff Heuerman – Ohio State
– Bucky Hodges – Virginia Tech
– Austin Hooper – Stanford
– O.J. Howard – Alabama
– Jesse James – Penn State
– Malcolm Johnson – Missisippi State
– Ben Koyack – Notre Dame
– Tyler Kroft – Rutgers
– Jimmay Mundine – Kansas
– Nick O’Leary – Florida State
– Casey Pierce – Kent State
– Joel Ruiz – Georgia State
– Tyreese Russell – Eastern Michigan
– Wes Saxton – South Alabama
– Cam Serigne – Wake Forest
– Jean Sifrin – Massachusetts
– Justin Sinz – Purdue
– Jonnu Smith – Florida International
– Randall Telfer – USC
– Eric Tomlinson – UTEP
– C.J. Uzomah – Auburn
– Clive Walford – Miami (Fla.)
– Alex Welch – Miami (Ohio)
– Maxx Williams – Minnesota

Semifinalists will be announced Nov. 17, finalists a week after that, and the winner will be revealed at ESPN’s college football awards show on Dec. 11.

Arrested EMU players charged with attacking relative of man who shot, killed teammate

5 Comments

Yesterday we noted that a trio of Eastern Michigan football players had been charged with aggravated assault in connection to an incident last Friday afternoon, although no details were released.

That changed a day later, and it casts the incident in a slightly different light.

According to court records obtained by mlive.com, EMU defensive back Darius Scott and wide receivers Quincy Jones and Jay Jones (pictured) stand accused of assaulting 24-year-old Demarko Taylor.  Taylor is the cousin of Kristopher Pratt, who pleaded guilty earlier this year to the second-degree murder of Demarius Reed.

Reed was an EMU receiver at the time of his murder last October. Suffice to say, the relationship between Pratt and Taylor — Taylor was at a party with Pratt a few hours before the shooting and had talked to Reed — played a role in the latter’s alleged assault.

From a phone conversation Taylor had with the website:

He said he was walking back home after a trip to the store Kampus Korner, 819 Huron River Drive, and he saw the trio drive by him.

He said he was with two friends and told them, “Watch, they’re going to turn around and jump me.” Not long after, he said the Dodge sedan the three players were in turned back around. Taylor said he tried to talk to them, saying he had nothing to do with Reed’s murder, but the players didn’t listen.

“They’re not trying to hear it,” he said. “They want revenge or something.”

Taylor suffered a broken facial bone and required stitches, with the website writing that “[h]e was taken to a local hospital and was in stable condition after the assault.” No weapons were used in the alleged assault, police said.

There had been one prior run-in between Taylor and EMU football players prior to the incident late last week, the alleged victim said.

All three of the football players were released on a $5,000 bond Friday evening. Scott and Quincy Jones have pretrial hearings set for next Monday, while none has been scheduled for the other Jones.

The school is aware of the situation, which is why none of the players participated in the season opener Saturday. There is no word on whether any of the three will play this weekend against Florida at The Swamp.

Jay Jones, a redshirt junior, was third on the Eagles last year with 25 receptions for 293 yards in starting 10 games. Scott has started 12 games the past two seasons, including five as a junior last season.

Quincy Jones has totaled 10 receptions 84 yards during his time in Ypsilanti.

One of two suspected murderers of EMU player pleads guilty

5 Comments

A man suspected of murdering Eastern Michigan wide receiver Demarius Reed has pleaded guilty of the crime. Kristopher Pratt entered a plea agreement on Friday in Washtenaw County Trial Court in which he admitted guilt to second-degree murder. As part of the plea deal, Pratt will testify against Ed Thomas, the second man accused of murdering Reed, according to the Associated Press.

Pratt confessed to a county judge to following Reed into an apartment with the intent to rob the football player. Pratt admitted to shooting Reed twice in the side, according to the Associated Press. His testimony will be critical for the trial of Thomas, which is scheduled to begin Monday. A defense lawyer has said there is not enough evidence to convict Thomas, but testimony from Pratt could change that outcome.

Reed ws found dead in his apartment the morning of October 18, when his roommate discovered the scene. Police had suspected Reed was the victim of an armed robbery. A little more than a month later Pratt and Thomas were charged for the murder as well as armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

In Eastern Michigan’s first football game since the homicide, the Eagles returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown in one of the most heartwarming moments of the 2013 college football season. This season Eastern Michigan will begin playing on a new, gray playing field affectionately known as The Factory. Just beneath the surface of the new playing turf is Reed’s football uniform. Players and coaches gathered to honor Reed and bury his jersey in the ground before the new playing surface was installed.

Abdullah, Davis and Gordon headline Doak Walker Award watch list

2 Comments

College football may be trending more to the passing game, but the Doak Walker Award reminds us all there are some top quality running backs playing key roles on their teams as well. This year’s Doak Walker Award watch list includes 53 of the nation’s top running backs. The list includes semifinalists from last year’s award, Mike Davis of South Carolina and Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin. Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah, the nation’s leading returning rusher, is also considered a top candidate.

Boston College’s Andre Williams was the winner of the Doak Walker Award last season. The award has gone to a player from a power conference each year since 2002. BYU’s Luke Staley and Rice’s Trevor Cobb are the only players from non-power conferences to win the award (although Rice was a part of the old Southwest Conference at the time Cobb won the award). Texas leads the nation with three Doak Walker Award winners. Arkansas, Texas Tech and Wisconsin each have two.

This year’s semifinalists will be announced on November 18, and finalists will be announced on November 24. The Doak Walker Award will be presented on December 11 during the annual awards show on ESPN. The watch list will accept nominees until October, so more names could be added along the way. Here is the full watch list as it stands right now;

Ameer Abdullah (Sr.), Nebraska
Jay Ajayi (Jr.), Boise State
Javorius “Buck” Allen (Jr.), USC
Leon Allen (Jr.), Western Kentucky
Terry Baggett (Sr.), Army
Bill Belton (Sr.), Penn State
Malcolm Brown (Sr.), Texas
Tra Carson (Jr.), Texas A&M
B.J. Catalon (Jr.), TCU
David Cobb (Sr.), Minnesota
Tevin Coleman (Jr.), Indiana
Alex Collins (So.), Arkansas
James Conner (So.), Pittsburgh
Marcus Cox (So.), Appalachian State
Mike Davis (Jr.), South Carolina
Kenneth Dixon (Jr.), Louisiana Tech
Jahwan Edwards (Sr.), Ball State
Kenneth Farrow (Jr.), Houston
Josh Ferguson (Jr.), Illinois
D.J. Foster (Jr.), Arizona State
Melvin Gordon (Jr.), Wisconsin
Michael Gordon (Jr.), Arkansas State
Johnathan Gray (Jr.), Texas
Todd Gurley (Jr.), Georgia
Kenneth Harper (Sr.), Temple
Alonzo Harris (Sr.), Louisiana-Lafayette
Derrick Henry (So.), Alabama
Bronson Hill (Sr.), Eastern Michigan
Joe Hill (Sr.), Utah State
Duke Johnson (Jr.), Miami
Jeremy Langford (Sr.), Michigan State
Daniel Lasco (Jr.), California
Shock Linwood (So.), Baylor
Robert Lowe (Jr.), Texas State
Tre Madden (Jr.), USC
Terrence Magee (Sr.), LSU
Raymond Maples (Sr.), Army
Byron Marshall (Jr.), Oregon
Kevin Parks (Sr.), Virginia
Christian Powell (Jr.), Colorado
Donnel Pumphrey (So.), San Diego State
Josh Robinson (Jr.), Mississippi State
William Stanback (So.), UCF
Cameron Stingily (Sr.), Northern Illinois
Kelvin Taylor (So.), Florida
Thomas Tyner (So.), Oregon
Jamaal Williams (Jr.), BYU
Jonathan Williams (Jr.), Arkansas
Trey Williams (Jr.), Texas A&M
Aaron Wimberly (Sr.), Iowa State
T.J. Yeldon (Jr.), Alabama
Kelsey Young (Sr.), Stanford
Zach Zwinak (Sr.), Penn State


Catch up on your watch lists released so far:

Maxwell Award (best player)

Bednarik Award (best defensive player)

Hornung Award (most versatile player)

Davey O’Brien Award (best quarterback)

Biletnikoff Award (best receiver)

Mackey Award (best tight end)

Rimington Trophy (best center)

Outland Trophy (best interior lineman)

Lombardi Award (best down lineman)

Butkus Award (best linebacker)

Jim Thorpe Award (best defensive back)

Lou Groza Award (best kicker)

Ray Guy Award (best punter)

 

Trial set for suspects in murder of Eastern Michigan player

2 Comments

Two men accused of murdering an Eastern Michigan football player last October will go to trial on murder charges. Demarius Reed was the victim of a homicide on October 18 outside his off-campus apartment.

On Monday a plausible cause hearing was held in a district court. Lawyers for the defendants, Kristopher Pratt and Ed Thomas, made the argument there was not enough evidence to support any accusations of murder.

“At best, they have indicated there was a shooting, that a death occurred and perhaps Ed Thomas was present,” said public defender Gina Noveskey, Thomas’s attorney. “I don’t believe the people have shown that Ed Thomas had any role whatsoever in the death of Demarius Reed.”

That argument fell flat in front of a distract judge, although a charge of conspiracy to commit armed robbery was dropped before a hearing was scheduled for March 25. A jury will be asked to decide between convicting of first or second-degree murder for either defendant.

Photo: Eastern Michigan Athletics