Jordan Thompson

Reigning Biletnikoff winner Marqise Lee one of 75 on preseason watch list

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The next stop on our tour of preseason watch lists is the Biletnikoff Award.

The award is presented annually to the top receiver in college football. Last year’s winner was USC’s Marqise Lee.

Lee is featured as one of 75 players on this year’s Biletnikoff preseason watch list. Other notable preseason candidates include Jared Abbrederis (Wisconsin), Amari Cooper (Alabama), Stefon Diggs (Maryland), Rashad Green (Florida State), and Sammy Watkins (Clemson). The SEC leads all major conferences with 14 candidates, followed by the ACC and Big 12 with 10. The list is not final, however, as players can be added to it later.

The winner of this year’s award will be announced at The Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Dec. 12, 2013.

As always, you can view the entire list of preseason candidates below. You can now also check out our preseason watch lists repository HERE.

Jared Abbrederis, Sr., Wisconsin
Davante Adams, So., Fresno State
Nelson Agholor, So., USC
Alex Amidon, Sr., Boston College
Odell Beckham, Jr., Jr., LSU
Kenny Bell, Jr., Nebraska
Michael Bennett, Jr., Georgia
Chris Boyd, Jr., Vanderbilt
Corey Brown, Sr., Ohio State
Aaron Burbridge, So., Michigan State
Damiere Byrd, Jr., South Carolina
Michael Campanaro, Sr., Wake Forest
Brandon Carter, Jr., TCU
Brandon Coleman, Jr., Rutgers
Brandin Cooks, Jr., Oregon State
Amari Cooper, So., Alabama
Jamison Crowder, Jr., Duke
DaVaris Daniels, Jr., Notre Dame
Mike Davis, Sr., Texas
Quinshad Davis, So., North Carolina
Titus Davis, Jr., Central Michigan
Stefon Diggs, So., Maryland
Phillip Dorsett, Jr., Miami
William Dukes, Jr., FAU
Quinton Dunbar, Jr., Florida
Bruce Ellington, Jr., South Carolina
Mike Evans, So., Texas A&M
Shaquelle Evans, Sr., UCLA
Austin Franklin, Jr., New Mexico State
Jeremy Gallon, Sr., Michigan
Keyarris Garrett, Jr., Tulsa
Ryan Grant, Sr., Tulane
Rashad Green, Jr., FSU
Dorial Green-Beckham, So., Missouri
Deontay Greenberry, So.,  Houston
Noel Grigsby, Sr., San Jose State
Je’Ron Hamm, Sr., Louisiana-Monroe
Justin Hardy, Jr., East Carolina
Chris Harper, So., California
Robert Herron, Sr., Wyoming
Cody Hoffman, Sr., BYU
Josh Huff, Sr., Oregon
T.J. Jones, Sr., Notre Dame
Cody Latimer, Jr., Indiana
Marqise Lee, Jr., USC
Jordan Leslie, Jr., UTEP
Jordan Matthews, Sr., Vanderbilt
J.D. McKissic, So., Arkansas State
Trey Metoyer, So., Oklahoma
Matt Miller, Jr., Boise State
Malcolm Mitchell., Jr. Georgia
Donte Moncrief, Jr., Ole Miss
Tracy Moore, Sr., Oklahoma State
Alex Neutz, Jr., Buffalo
Kevin Norwood, Sr., Alabama
DeVante Parker, Jr., Louisville
Charone Peake, Jr., Clemson
Bernard Reedy, Sr., Toledo
Tevin Reese, Sr., Baylor
Paul Richardson, Jr., Colorado
Allen Robinson, Jr., Penn State
Shaq Roland, So., South Carolina
Alonzo Russell, So., Toledo
Jalen Saunders, Sr., Oklahoma
Jaxon Shipley, Jr., Texas
Tommy Shuler, So., Marshall
Devin Smith, Jr., Ohio State
Willie Snead, Jr., Ball State
Josh Stewart, Jr., Oklahoma State
Devin Street, Jr., Pittsburgh
Eric Thomas, Sr., Troy
Jordan Thompson, So., West Virginia
Eric Ward, Sr., Texas Tech
Sammy Watkins, Jr., Clemson
Brandon Wimberly, Sr., Nevada

Big 12 spring games wrap-up

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Recapping the Big 12 spring games from Saturday: 

Iowa State
Iowa State’s offense took off during the Cyclones’ spring game on Saturday, with both offenses combining for nearly 900 yards and 68 points. Grant Rohach completed 19-of-31 passes for 185 yards and one touchdown. Sam Richardson, a starter late last season, completed 9-of-12 passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns

— Running backs played especially well yesterday. DeVondrick Nealy rushed 18 times for 142 yards and two touchdowns; Rob Standard had 65 yards on 10 carries; and Aaron Wimberly had 89 yards on 15 carries
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“I had felt the running back position overall had the best spring,” Rhoads said. “DeVondrick Nealy is running as he was capable. He is going into his third season and that is encouraging to see. James White is James White. He runs hard, smart, and knows everything about the offense. Aaron Wimberly showed why we are excited to have him and why we recruited him. Rob Standard is productive every time we play him.”

Oklahoma State
Though Oklahoma State finished the 2012 season with an 8-5 record, it could be considered one of Mike Gundy‘s better coaching jobs in Stillwater. Now, with three quarterbacks with starting experience competing for the No. 1 job this fall, the Cowboys could also be in a position to make a run at another Big 12 title. But Gundy won’t tip his hand as to who will start Week 1: Clint Chelf, Wes Lunt or J.W. Walsh. 

“We are not really going to talk about that from this point on,” Gundy said. “There is no reason for us to talk about what our quarterback situation is. I think we have been very open about it throughout the spring. Our players have been very open about it.

— Believe it or not, but Oklahoma State’s defense held the advantage in Saturday’s spring game. Linebacker Caleb Lavey and cornerback Justin Gilbert combined to intercept three passes, one of which went back for a touchdown. Afterward, Gundy pointed out Gilbert’s strong spring.

“Justin played very average last year, and he would be the first to admit that,” Gundy said. “He’s certainly very talented, and he was in position to make plays today, and that’s what he needs to do for us. He needs to be a guy who has several interceptions and runs the ball back. As fast he as he is, if he’s in the right area, he can get the ball off a tip–and that’s what he did today. He played very well.”

— Overall, Gundy was pleased with the defensive effort in its first spring following the departure of DC Bill Young.

“I know the crowd here is not used to it. We dropped some passes on offense that contributed to it, but I’m really excited about the play we’re getting on defense. In the long run, we’re going to move the ball and score a lot of points here, because that’s what we do and who we are, but if we want to consistently compete for a championship, we have to play better on defense,” Gundy explained. “I’m excited about our group, I think their attitude is different and I think they have a chance to be better this season.”

Texas Tech
Tommy Tuberbille is out. Kliff Kingsbury is in. And on Saturday, over 16,000 fans made their way to watch Texas Tech’s spring game. Quarterbacks Michael Brewer and Davis Webb combined for 506 yards and three touchdowns through the air during the scrimmage.

Jace Amaro led all receivers with 11 catches for 80-yards, but Derrick Edwards had the most receiving yards with 101, including an 83-yard touchdown pass from Webb. Senior linebacker Will Smith led the defense with 10 tackles.

“I loved the atmosphere,” Kingsbury said.  “It was a great crowd and our kids were fired up.  I thought the defense came out and really competed well.  Both sides kept it base but their effort was really, really good.”

West Virginia
Coming off a 10-win season with Orange Bowl victory in 2011-12, West Virginia was predicted by some *ahem* to immediately compete for a Big 12 title. Yeah, about that. The Mountaineers went on a five-game losing streak in the middle of the season and finished 7-6. Now with the likes of Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey gone to the NFL, WVU must replace the core of its offensive production. Battling to succeed Smith are junior Paul Millard and redshirt freshman Ford Childress.

Though both QBs posted solid passing numbers, offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson wasn’t happy with their tendency to hold on to the ball. “Taking sacks gets you beat,” Dawson said. “We’re giving up sacks we shouldn’t give up. If you sit in the pocket for three, four, five seconds and get sacked, you can’t do that. If that’s what they’re going to do, then neither one of them can play.”

— Running back Dustin Garrison shined as a freshman in 2011, but was limited last year because of an ACL tear he sustained right before the Orange Bowl. Garrison came back strong in WVU’s spring game with 51 yards on seven carries.

— Though it will be difficult if not downright impossible to replicate what Tavon Austin did for WVU’s offense, receiver Jordan Thompson could emerge as a similar shifty playmaker. Thompson had three touchdowns during yesterday’s game.

— Defense will still be a concern for WVU, but Travis Bell‘s move from safety to corner could be an upgrade for a unit that was picked on often during last season. “He has embraced the change, and he’s excited about it. He can run fast, and he has great conditioning,” Dana Holgorsen said. “It is an experiment that we talked about a week ago, and we moved him. We’ll keep looking into it.”

— The Mountaineers will be sporting some new unis this fall as well.