Kendall Fuller

AP Photo/The Roanoke Times, Matt Gentry, file

Virginia Tech’s Kendall Fuller will enter 2016 NFL Draft

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The Fuller dynasty at Virginia Tech is coming to a close. Defensive back Kendall Fuller, who missed the majority of the 2015 season due to injury, will skip his senior season of eligibility at Virginia Tech and declare for the 2016 NFL Draft.

Fuller sustained a torn meniscus during Virgina Tech’s summer camps but managed to play in the first three games of the season. That was all he could do though as his season ended after just those three games so he could undergo surgery on his right knee. While his final season in Blacksburg did not go quite to plan, Fuller left his mark on the program, as did his brothers that came before him.

“Virginia Tech is better because the Fuller brothers were Hokies,” retiring Virgina Tech head coach Frank Beamer said in a statement. “Vinny, Corey, Kyle and Kendall were all different, but they were all the same in that they were smart, competitive, very athletic and great teammates, who possessed great character.”

Fuller was the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2013 and a first-team All-ACC player in 2014. If healthy, he could go as early as in the first round in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Surprise! Mountain West leads all conferences on Jim Thorpe Award watch list

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Today may be the beginning of college football’s media day season, but it also marks the continuation of watch list season. Today’s watch list reveal came from the Jim Thorpe Award, which named 42 of college football’s top defensive backs. In what may be considered a bit of a surprise as far as watch lists go, the Mountain West Conference landed the most players on the watch list for the award. Take that power conferences!

Six players from the MWC appear on the watch list, including a pair of players from Boise State (Donte Deayon, Darian Thompson). The ACC and Pac-12 each had five players on the watch list, including 2014 semifinalists Jeremy Cash (Duke) and Kendall Fuller (Virginia Tech). The Big 12, Conference USA, MAC and Sun Belt Conference each have four players on the watch list, and the Big Ten, SEC and American Athletic Conference each have three.

2015 Jim Thorpe Award Watch List

Ishmael Adams, UCLA
Mackensie Alexander, Clemson
Tony Annese, Central Michigan
Budda Baker, Washington
Adairius Barnes, Louisiana Tech
Dante Barnett, Kansas State
Vonn Bell, Ohio State
Quin Blanding, Virginia
Kevin Byard, Middle Tennessee
Michael Caputo, Wisconsin
Jeremy Cash, Duke
Tony Conner, Ole Miss
Donte Deayon, Boise State
Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech
Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida
Nate Holley, Kent State
Adoreé Jackson, USC
William Jackson, Houston
Randall Jette, Massachusetts
Jonathan Jones, Auburn
Karl Joseph, West Virginia
Damontae Kazee, San Diego State
Montres Kitchens, Troy
Mitch Lane, ULM
Richard Leonard, FIU
William Likely, Maryland
Paris Logan, Northern Illinois
Trent Matthews, Colorado State
Adrian McDonald, Houston
Doug Middleton, Appalachian State
David Mims II, Texas State
Fabian Moreau, UCLA
Parry Nickerson, Tulane
Kevin Peterson, Oklahoma State
Jalen Ramsey, Florida State
Max Redfield, Notre Dame
Zack Sanchez, Oklahoma
Jordan Simone, Arizona State
Weston Steelhammer, Air Force
Darian Thompson, Boise State
JJ Whittaker, San Diego State
Xavier Woods, Louisiana Tech

Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list includes Wright, Oakman, Nkemdiche, Bosa & more

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You know we are starting to turn a page toward the next college football season when spring games are in the air and some award gets an early jump on watch list season. Today the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation got award watch list season underway with 42 players being named to the watch list for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, which is awarded to a defensive player based largely on performance on the field and character.

Six players on this year’s first watch list were on the watch list for the trophy last season. Duke’s Kelby Brown, Michigan State’s Shilque Calhoun, Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves, West Virginia’s Karl Joseph, Notre Dame’s Jaylon Smith and Oklahoma’s Eric Striker are among the players represented. Other prominent names for the award on the watch list include Baylor’s Shawn Oakman, Robert Nkemdiche of Ole Miss, Ohio State’s Joey Bosa, and Arizona’s Scooby Wright III. The watch list includes a total of 37 players from power five conferences, with the Big Ten leading the way with 10 players.

2015 LOTT IMPACT TROPHY WATCH LIST

LB Kevin Anderson, Stanford

DB Dante Barnett, Kansas State

LB Joe Bolden MichiganDB

DB Briean Boddy-Calhoun, Minnesota

DL Joey Bosa, Ohio State

LB Kelby Brown, Duke

DL DeForest Buckner, Oregon

S Michael Caputo, Wisconsin

DE Shilque Calhoun, Michigan State

S Jeremy Cash, Duke

S Su’a Cravens, USC

LB Leonard Floyd, Georgia

CB Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech

DB Nate Gerry, Nebraska

DL Adam Gotsis, Georgia Tech

LB Deon Hollins, UCLA

DB Dylan Haines, Texas

CB Vernon Hargreaves, Florida

DB Ryan Janvion, Wake Forest

DB Jonathan Jones, Auburn

S Karl Joseph, West Virginia

LB Bronson Kaufusi, BYU

S Derrick Kindred, TCU

DB Jordan Lomax, Iowa

DL Dean Lowry, Northwestern

LB Blake Martinez, Stanford

LB Viliami Moeakiola, Arizona State

LB Calvin Munson, San Diego State

DT Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss

LB Jared Norris, Utah

DE Shawn Oakman, Baylor

DE Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State

LB Joshua Perry, Ohio State

LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama

DB Jalen Ramsey, Florida State

DE Sheldon Rankins, Louisville

LB Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame

DB Weston Steelhammer, Air Force

LB Eric Striker, Oklahoma

LB Jeremy Timpf, Army

LB Scooby Wright III, Arizona

DT Anthony Zettel, Penn State

With Beamer coaching Military Bowl from above, Hokies lead Cincy at half

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Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer is coaching the Hokies from the coaches box above the sidelines in the Military Bowl. After one half of play, he has seen some things he should like, and others he should not. Virginia Tech took a 13-10 lead into halftime following a 49-yard field goal by Joey Slye as the clock in the first half expired.

Cincinnati has more than double the offensive yards (308 to Virginia Tech’s 148), but a pair of interceptions by the Hokies defense kept things even on the scoreboard. Cincinnati and Virginia Tech were tied at 7-7 after the first quarter. Penalties hurt Cincinnati at times as well.

Gunner Kiel tossed a 31-yard touchdown pass to Chris Moore in the first quarter to give Cincinnati a 7-0 lead, capping a seven-play, 89-yard drive. The lead short-lived though, because the Hokies responded with a quick six-play, 64-yard touchdown drive. J.C. Colemann pushed the ball across the goal line to tie things up just about two minutes later.

Kiel has thrown for 234 yards and a touchdown, but he has been picked off twice. Chuck Clark and Kendall Fuller each have one interception for the Hokies. His Virginia Tech counterpart, Michael Brewer, has thrown for 75 yards and has been intercepted once. Brewer also caught a pass from Hokies receiver Isaiah Ford for a gain of 30 yards. For a while, Brewer was the team’s leading receiver and Ford was the leading passer for Virginia Tech.

Cincinnati battled to tie the game at 10-10 in the final minute of the half, but the ensuing kickoff was returned by Der’Woun Greene to around midfield, which allowed Virginian Tech a few plays to set up a last-second field goal. It was the second field goal from beyond 40 yards for Slye in the first half. He hit a 45-yard field goal early in the second quarter.

ACC and SEC load up on Jim Thorpe Award semifinalists

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The Butkus Award semifinalists were announced Monday morning, and so too were the semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award. The Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame announced the 15 names on the semifinalist list for the Jim Thorpe Award, presented to the top defensive back in college football.

The ACC and SEC each have four players appearing on the semifinalist list. The Big 12 and Pac-12 each have two players listed and the ACC, Big Ten and Conference USA each have one player. Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard was named the 2013 Jim Thorpe Award, but an SEC player had won the award the previous four seasons.

Of the players listed as a semifinalist, Louisville’s Gerod Holliman and Senquez Golson of Ole Miss are tied for the nation’s lead in interceptions. Each player has eight picks this season and each has returned one of those turnovers for a touchdown. None of the players with two pick-sixes this season is a semifinalist for the award.

THORPE AWARD SEMIFINALISTS
Sam Carter, TCU, Sr.
Jeremy Cash, Duke, Jr.
Landon Collins, Alabama, Jr.
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon, Sr.
Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech, So.
Senquez Golson, Ole Miss, Sr.
Josh Hawkins, East Carolina, Jr.
Gerod Holliman, Louisville, Jr.
Ronald Martin, LSU, Sr.
Cody Prewitt, Ole Miss, Sr.
Jordan Richards, Stanford, Sr.
Zack Sanchez, Oklahoma, So.
Triston Wade, UTSA, Sr.
Trae Waynes, Michigan State, Jr.
PJ Williams, Florida State, Jr.