Josh Ferguson

Big Ten latest P5 to announce media days attendees

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The SEC has done it this week.  So has the ACC.  Now, it’s the Big Ten’s turn to do it.

The “it,” of course, is a Power Five conference releasing its list of player who will represent their respective schools at the annual preseason media event.  And that’s just what the Big Ten did, with the Midwestern conference revealing the 42 players who’ll represent the league’s 14 member institutions at the B1G Football Media Days and Kickoff Luncheon in Chicago July 30-31.

From the conference’s press release:

The list of students scheduled to attend features 27 returning all-conference selections, including first-team honorees in Maryland’s Brad Craddock and William Likely, Michigan State’s Jack Allen and Shilique Calhoun, Minnesota’s Briean Boddy-Calhoun, Penn State’s Anthony Zettel and Rutgers’ Leonte Carroo.

Just five of the 14 teams in attendance will send quarterbacks, with none of those being QB-rich Ohio State: Indiana (Nate Sudfeld), Michigan State (Connor Cook), Minnesota (Mitch Leidner), Nebraska (Tommy Armstrong Jr.) and Wisconsin (Joel Stave).

This is, though, a conference that greatly respects veteran leadership as 36 of the 42 players are classified as seniors. The other six players are juniors.

Below is the complete list of Big Ten players attending football media days.

EAST DIVISION

INDIANA
Adarius Rayner, Sr., DL
Jason Spriggs, Sr., OL*
Nate Sudfeld, Sr., QB

MARYLAND
Brad Craddock, Sr., PK*
William Likely, Jr., DB*
Andrew Zeller, Sr., OL

MICHIGAN
Joe Bolden, Sr., LB
Jehu Chesson, Sr., WR
James Ross III, Sr., LB

MICHIGAN STATE
Jack Allen, Sr., C*
Shilique Calhoun, Sr., DE*
Connor Cook, Sr., QB*

OHIO STATE
Taylor Decker, Sr., OT*
Joshua Perry, Sr., LB*
Adolphus Washington, Sr., DT*

PENN STATE
Jordan Lucas, Sr., S*
Angelo Mangiro, Sr., C/G*
Anthony Zettel, Sr., DT*

RUTGERS
Leonte Carroo, Sr., WR*
Darius Hamilton, Sr., DT*
Keith Lumpkin, Sr., OL

WEST DIVISION

ILLINOIS
Josh Ferguson, Sr., RB
Ted Karras, Sr., OG*
Mason Monheim, Sr., LB*

IOWA
Austin Blythe, Sr., C*
Jordan Lomax, Sr., DB*
Drew Ott, Sr., DE*

MINNESOTA
Briean Boddy-Calhoun, Sr., DB*
Theiren Cockran, Sr., DE*
Mitch Leidner, Jr., QB

NEBRASKA
Tommy Armstrong Jr., Jr., QB
Nate Gerry, Jr., S*
Jordan Westerkamp, Jr., WR

NORTHWESTERN
Traveon Henry, Sr., S
Christian Jones, Sr., WR
Dan Vitale, Sr., SB*

PURDUE
Danny Anthrop, Sr., WR
Robert Kugler, Sr., C*
Frankie Williams, Sr., CB*

WISCONSIN
Michael Caputo, Sr., S*
Corey Clement, Jr., RB
Joel Stave, Sr., QB*

* indicates previous all-conference selection

The Fifth Quarter: Week 12 Rewind

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As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.

PROJECTING CFP TOP FOUR
Thanks to fifth-ranked Alabama’s win over top-ranked Mississippi State and sixth-ranked Arizona State’s upset loss at Oregon State, there will certainly be a shakeup when the College Football Playoff committee releases its updated Top 25 rankings this Tuesday night.

Just how big of a shakeup?  That’s hard to say, if for nothing more than we have very little data on the the 13-person group’s thought process.

The Tide was leapfrogged by No. 4 TCU last week, seemingly because of the strength of the latter’s résumé.  Nothing, though, quite strengthens the ol’ résumé like a win over the No. 1 team in the country.  Mix in the Horned Frogs struggling on the road against lowly Kansas, and that Big 12 school will likely find itself on the outside of the Fine Four.  So will another from that conference, Baylor, thanks to its strength of schedule, or lack thereof.

Speaking of résumés, No. 3 Florida State’s took a significant shot this weekend.  FSU has what some would’ve consider three quality wins this season, Clemson, Notre Dame and Louisville; those first two teams suffered bad losses in Week 12, meaning the Seminoles, despite being undefeated, could find themselves at No. 4 when the rankings are released.  Some “experts” have even suggested they could be outside the Top Four entirely.  While the latter scenario seems far-fetched, the former certainly isn’t.  Remember, the committee moved one-loss Oregon ahead of FSU in the last set of rankings.

It would not be surprising at all to see the Tide, No. 2 Oregon and, yes, the Bulldogs ahead of the ‘Noles come Tuesday night.  MSU’s résumé is certainly much stronger than FSU’s, with wins over LSU, Auburn and Texas A&M surpassing anything the team from Tallahassee has done this season.  The Bulldogs, though, lost some luster aside from its first loss as each of those teams mentioned as quality wins lost in Week 12.

The other one-loss team in the Top Ten, No. 8 Ohio State, simply doesn’t have the strength of schedule to move up more than the one spot ASU’s loss hands them.  Plus, they have the albatross that is the still-inexplicable loss to Virginia Tech earlier in the year hanging around its neck, although some — some — of the stink of that loss came off as Tech upset No. 21 Duke earlier today.

Again, it’ll all come down to what the committee values more: overall résumé or overall record.  As we saw last week, it was decidedly the former, so I’m predicting the Top Four come Tuesday will look like this:

1. Alabama
2. Oregon
3. Mississippi State
4. Florida State

I’m not saying it’s right, and I’m not saying it’s what I would do — scroll down a little to see who would be in my Top Four — I’m just saying it’s how I think the committee will look at the current state of the top of its rankings.  Or not.  One of the two.

CONFERENCE CHASE CLARITY
Well, for the most part.

With 12 weeks in the books, and just two more remaining in the regular season (three if you’re the Big 12), more than half of the nine Power Five division/league races have either been claimed (ACC Atlantic,  Pac-12 North) or have a very clear front-runner (Big Ten East, SEC East, SEC West).

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Abdullah, Davis and Gordon headline Doak Walker Award watch list

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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)

 

Admissions issue deals blow to Illini running back depth

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The depth at running back at Illinois 2014 is starting to resemble that of a kiddie pool. One of the key additions to the Class of 2014 by the Illini has failed to meet academic requirements for admission to the university this fall.

Running back Matt Domer was denied admission to Illinois, according to a report by CSN Chicago. While unable to play football for head coach Tim Beckman, Domer reportedly will focus on academics this fall by enrolling at a community college, with the goal of applying once more for the spring semester. Domer is a three-star running back prospect, but was likely to find a solid role on the roster right away if eligible. Illinois does return two upperclassmen at the position with Josh Ferguson (779 rushing yards, seven touchdowns) and Donovonn Young (376 yards, three touchdowns) returning in 2014, but Domer could have worked into the mix or at least provided a decent enough back-up option where needed. For now, that plan will have to be put on hold for another year.

Domer comes form a high school with some good football background. Mount Carmel High School, in Chicago, has produced plenty of talent over the years, including Donovan McNabb, Matt Cushing, and Simeon Rice. The high school is also where former Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch attended, as well as NHL legend Chris Chelios.

Domer’s collegiate career may be getting a delay of game for now, but there will be plenty of time to make up for it moving forward if all goes well this fall academically. Domer was a three-star running back recruit according to Rivals.com.

Scheelhaase ‘close to 100 percent’, expects to play vs LaTech

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Good news for Illinois: it appears quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase will not miss a third consecutive game with an ankle injury.

Scheelhaase told reporters yesterday he plans to play this weekend’s game against Louisiana Tech, and on the Big Ten conference call Wednesday, Illini coach Tim Beckman said his quarterback is close to 100 percent. Beckman stopped short of naming Scheelhaase the starter, but barring an unforeseen development, that will likely be the case.

Scheelhaase missed Week 2’s game at Arizona State and last week’s game against Charleston Southern because of an ankle injury he suffered in the season opener against Western Michigan.

Also, Illinois running back Josh Ferguson practiced fully and will play against the Bulldogs. Ferguson missed the Charleston Southern game after “complaining of a headache” the week before.