Kevin White

TCU’s top punt returner Echols-Luper will try to be Arkansas State’s QB

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TCU is preparing to enter the 2015 season with high expectations, starting the season ranked No. 2 in the coaches preseason poll. The Horned Frogs will proceed without its top punt returner. Cameron Echols-Luper is reportedly leaving TCU for Arkansas State. The transfer also comes with a change of positions with Echols-Luper reportedly switching to quarterback with the Red Wolves.

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Echols-Luper struggled to climb the depth chart at wide receiver and had been working on a switch to the defensive side of the football in the offseason. TCU was working on moving him from wide receiver to cornerback, a position he played in high school. It was thought at the time the position switch could help TCU soften the blow of losing Kevin White to graduation, but Echols-Luper was nowhere to be found on TCU’s post-spring depth chart in the secondary. He was, however, listed as the top punt returner and among the three kick returners for the Horned Frogs.

Echols-Luper returned 33 of 35 punts for the co-Big 12 champions last season, going a total of 349 yards and returning one for a touchdown in the process.

A three-star recruit in TCU’s Class of 2013, Echols-Luper will now move a little closer to home as he makes yet another position change. The Auburn, Alabama native will have to sit out the 2015 season due to NCAA transfer rules however, he will have two years of eligibility remaining. He did play quarterback in high school, passing for 1,036 yards and 11 touchdowns as a senior.

Duke football shown the money, renames stadium as result

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If you ever want to see your name attached to the stadium of a college football program you can do one of a few different things. First, you can be a standout player or coach and have a tremendous impact on the history of the program. But assuming you lack the athletic skill to reach such levels of skill and lack the ability to coach a team up for decades and win a couple of national titles, you may be better off just handing over a bunch of money to the school instead. You know, if you have the funds to do so.

Duke alums Steve Brooks and Eileen Brooks donated $13 million to the Duke Athletics Department. To recognize the generosity and support of the program, Duke has announced it will rename Wallace Wade Stadium. The new official name of the stadium will now be Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium.

“Lifting Duke football to the level of the rest of the university has been one of the pleasures of recent years, and Steve and Eileen Brooks have been steadfast friends throughout that process,” DukePresident Richard H. Brodhead said in a released statement Friday.  “We are grateful for their generosity, which will provide a strong foundation for the student-athlete experience at Duke.”

The $13 million donation will go to Duke’s university-wide campaign to raise $3.25 billion by June 30, 2017. That overall goal includes a goal of $250 million for Duke’s athletics program, with $50 million being used for endowment income and $100 million to be used for facility enhancements. The remaining $100 million is to be used for operating funds. To date, with this latest $13 million donation, the Brooks family has donated more than $20 million to Duke.

“Steve and Eileen Brooks have been tremendously generous, as well as incredibly faithful, relative to supporting Duke University for many years and, specifically in the case of Duke Football, no one has been more committed to helping us build a championship program,” said Kevin White, vice president and director of Duke Athletics.

Pac-12, ACC lead way with nine first-round picks

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Many of us watching college football maintained the Pac-12 was college football’s strongest conference in 2014. The NFL agreed – but it also liked the ACC a whole heck of a lot, too.

The Pac-12 and ACC led all conferences with nine selections apiece. The Pac-12’s nine selections was the most it has ever had according to ESPN’s research department. The SEC, normally the far-and-away leader of this category, followed with seven. The Big Ten claimed three picks, followed by the Big 12 and American with two each.

A few notes:

– The Big 12 narrowly avoids its worst first-round ever: Texas defensive tackle Malcom Brown snuck into the first round at No. 32, the Longhorns’ first pick since 2013.

– ACC leads off for the first time in a while: As widely expected, the Tampa Bay Bucs lead off the night by taking Florida State’s Jameis Winston. He became the ACC’s first No. 1 pick since the Texans grabbed N.C. State’s Mario Williams in 2006. Winston also became just the fourth player ever to complete the trio of a Heisman Trophy, a national championship and a No. 1 NFL Draft pick.

– Just because you have good players doesn’t mean you’re good: Al Golden‘s 6-7 Miami team had two first-round picks in offensive tackle Ereck Flowers and wide receiver Philip Dorsett. So did 4-8 Florida with defensive lineman Dante Fowler, Jr. and offensive lineman D.J. Humphries. Washington led all teams with three picks – defensive lineman Danny Shelton, cornerback Marcus Peters and linebacker Shaq Thompson – despite going 8-6 and posting a losing Pac-12 record.

– Other schools with multiple selections: Florida State (Winston, Cameron Erving), Clemson (Vic Beasley/Stephone Anthony), USC (Leonard Williams/Nelson Agholor) and Oregon (Marcus Mariota/Arik Armstead) Speaking of the Oregon…

– Chip Kelly just can’t help himself. Eventually there will come a time when the Pac-12 is no longer stocked with players the former Oregon coach recruited and/or coached against. Until then it’s insider trading in Philadelphia as Kelly nabbed USC’s Agholor.

– Duke is off the clock: Laken Tomlinson‘s selection was the Blue Devils’ first first-rounder in the lifetime of its entire roster.

For those of you living under a rock, here’s how the first round played out:

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jameis Winston, Florida State
2. Tennessee Titans – Marcus Mariota, Oregon
3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Dante Fowler, Jr., Florida
4. Oakland Raiders – Amari Cooper, Alabama
5. Washington Redskins – Brandon Scherff, Iowa
6. New York Jets – Leonard Williams, USC
7. Chicago Bears – Kevin White, West Virginia
8. Atlanta Falcons – Vic Beasley, Clemson
9. New York Giants – Ereck Flowers, Miami
10. St. Louis Rams – Todd Gurley, Georgia
11. Minnesota Vikings – Trae Waynes, Michigan State
12. Cleveland Browns – Danny Shelton, Washington
13. New Orleans Saints – Andrus Peat, Stanford
14. Miami Dolphins – DeVante Parker, Louisville
15. San Diego Chargers – Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin
16. Houston Texans – Kevin Johnson, Wake Forest
17. San Francisco 49ers – Arik Armstead, Oregon
18. Kansas City Chiefs – Marcus Peters, Washington
19. Cleveland Browns – Cameron Erving, Florida State
20. Philadelphia Eagles – Nelson Agholor, USC
21. Cincinnati Bengals – Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M
22. Pittsburgh Steelers – Bud Dupree, Kentucky
23. Denver Broncos – Shane Ray, Missouri
24. Arizona Cardinals – D.J. Humphries, Florida
25. Carolina Panthers – Shaq Thompson, Washington
26. Baltimore Ravens – Breshad Perryman, Central Florida
27. Dallas Cowboys – Byron Jones, Connecticut
28. Detroit Lions – Laken Tomlinson, Duke
29. Indianapolis Colts – Phillip Dorsett, Miami
30. Green Bay Packers – Damarious Randall, Arizona State
31. New Orleans Saints – Stephone Anthony, Clemson
32. New England Patriots – Malcom Brown, Texas

Twenty-six players invited to NFL Draft

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Ah, the NFL Draft. It’s that awkward in-between time when the likes of Jameis WinstonLeonard Williams, et al, aren’t college football players anymore but they aren’t really NFL players yet, either.

Nevertheless, it’s the last time the newest crop of NFL players will be identified primarily by their college, and on Tuesday the NFL released the list of 26 players invited to hear their names (and schools) called over Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre on Thursday, April 30.

They are as follows:

Arik Armstead, DL, Oregon
Vic Beasley, DE/LB, Clemson
La’El Collins, OL, LSU
Landon Collins, DB, Alabama
Bud Dupree, LB, Kentucky
Cameron Erving, OL, Florida State
Dante Fowler, DL/LB, Florida
Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
Randy Gregory, DE/LB, Nebraska
Todd Gurley, LB, Georgia
D.J. Humphries, OL, Florida
Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest
Byron Jones, CB, Connecticut
Bernardrick McKinney, LB, Mississippi State
DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
Andrus Peat, OL, Stanford
Breshad Perriman, WR, Central Florida
Shane Ray, DL, Missouri
Brandon Scherff, OL, Iowa
Danny Shelton, DL, Washington
Devin Smith, WR, Ohio State
Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State
Laken Tomlinson, OL, Duke
Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State
Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
Leonard Williams, DL, USC

 

Fedora & UNC pay for damages to Duke locker room, but UNC AD’s apology goes on misguided slant

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Football players from the University of North Carolina went a tad overboard with their celebration following a road win over in-state rival Duke last November. Tar Heel players were accused of spray painting the visitor’s locker room at Duke, something that carried over from the tradition of spray painting the victory bell. UNC had previously apologized to Duke for the excessive celebration and offered to pay for the cost of the repairs from damages. That bill was sent and has now bene paid.

UNC head coach Larry Fedora and UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham split the bill, which amounted to $27,170.44. Most of that cost went to buying new carpet for the locker room. But if you thought UNC paying the bill for damages was the end of the story, think again.

Cunningham wrote a letter of apology to Duke AD Kevin White and pointed out Duke head coach David Cutcliffe never returning a phone call of apology from Fedora. Cunningham also included a photo of spray paint damage found on UNC’s campus from last February with letters spelling “Duke” spread out across four pillars following a basketball game. Cunningham informed White UNC covered the cost of sandblasting the pillars without making a public spectacle of the incident.“I acknowledge we have no idea who did this, but I simply included it to demonstrate that all fans, teams, coaches, students, etc. need to appreciate and respect the rivalry.”

“I acknowledge we have no idea who did this, but I simply included it to demonstrate that all fans, teams, coaches, students, etc. need to appreciate and respect the rivalry,” Cunningham wrote, per News & Observer.

This seems like a silly point to make after your players trashed an opposing team’s locker room. You may not have control over the actions of the fans roaming about, but you have to accept responsibility for the actions of your players when they are in your uniform representing your university.