Luke Falk

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Richmond QB Kyle Lauletta steals show in Senior Bowl; Baker Mayfield leaves early


The Senior Bowl can be a terrific opportunity for top senior prospects from the lower divisions of football to make a serious impact in the NFL draft cycle. On Saturday in Mobile, Alabama, it was Richmond quarterback Kyle Lauletta who shined the brightest in the annual Senior Bowl. Lauletta passed for a game-high 198 yards and three touchdowns to help the team of top seniors from the South blow out the North, 45-16.

Lauletta, the CAA Offensive Player of the Year and a First-Team All-CAA, took advantage of the opportunity against some of the top senior players college football had to offer in the top all-star game college football has. Lauletta connected on some big plays to LSU wide receiver D.J. Chark (who had five receptions for 160 yards and a touchdown). Lauletta was named the Senior Bowl MVP for his performance.

Lauletta also showed off the ability to send a laser into the end zone when needed.

The South also got a big game out of Western Kentucky quarterback Mike White, who completed eight of his 11 pass attempts for 128 yards and a touchdown. It was White who was one of the stars of the first half of the game. San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny was also making plays all day long, ending his final college game with 64 rushing yards on nine attempts and one 73-yard touchdown reception (after Virginia quarterback Kurt Benkert made a nice play to avoid pressure).

Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen had a slow start to the game once coming into the game for the North, but he was in control in the second half. Allen threw both of his touchdowns in the third quarter before ending his day with 158 yards and 9-of-13 passing.

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield started the game for the North team but appeared just for a couple of offensive series before leaving the game late in the first quarter and then leaving the stadium entirely at halftime. After completing three of seven pass attempts for nine yards, Mayfield’s exit from the Senior Bowl came quickly. Mayfield reportedly left the stadium to return home to be with his mother, who was recently hospitalized for a heart condition. Washington State quarterback Luke Falk left Mobile, Alabama on Friday to attend the funeral services for former teammate Tyler Hilinski.

South Alabama safety Jeremy Reaves had a solid outing in his home stadium. Reaves was tasked with covering Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki in coverage, and Reaves broke up two passes intended for one of the top tight ends in the country, including one on a two-point conversion try in the third quarter. Not too many players managed to cover Gesicki that well the past couple of seasons. Reaves also came up with an interception of Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee later in the third quarter.

Other players having solid outings included Arizona State running back Kalen Ballage (10 carries for 57 yards), Colorado State wide receiver Michael Gallup (3 receptions for 60 yards), and UCF wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith (5 receptions, 79 yards, 1 TD).

There was a moment of comedy late in the game when UCF’s Shaquem Griffen was doing a sideline interview for the NFL Network. While discussing his chances of being invited to the NFL Combine and his tackling techniques, Griffen was alerted he was supposed to be on the field for punt coverage, which sent Griffen scrambling to get on the field before being pulled back to the sideline.

After having great weather all week long, the Senior Bowl moved to a running clock in the second half as the weather continued to turn nasty. And now, another Senior Bowl is in the books as some of the top seniors in college football now officially move on to pursue their NFL dreams.

Luke Falk leaves Senior Bowl to attend Tyler Hilinski’s funeral

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Washington State quarterback Luke Falk will not get the chance to impress NFL scouts in the Senior Bowl this weekend, but he will be OK with that given the circumstances. Falk reportedly took himself out of the Senior Bowl on Friday so he could fly back to the west coast and attend the funeral services for former Cougars teammate Tyler Hilinski.

Stefanie Loh of The Seattle Times reported the news via Twitter.

Before making the decision to leave Mobile, Alabama to attend the funeral services for Hilinski, Falk was wearing Hilinski’s uniform number for Senior Bowl practices. It was Falk’s intention to raise awareness about Hilinski, who died in an apparent suicide attempt last week.

No replacement is expected to be made for Falk’s roster spot given the late timing of his departure and the game being played on Saturday.

Luke Falk wearing Tyler Hilinski’s uniform number at Senior Bowl

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Luke Falk of Washington State will be honoring his teammate while at the Senior Bowl this week in Mobile, Alabama. Following the death of Tyler Hilinski, Falk will wear Hilinski’s No. 3 in his memory.

“I just felt like [the jersey switch] is what I needed to do. He needs to be remembered,” Falk told reporters during a media opportunity, according to ESPN. “He was an amazing person and an amazing soul. This guy was one of the most outgoing, bubbly … just a guy you want to be around. And people need to know it.”

Hilinksi was found dead in his apartment last week in an apparent suicide. Just 21 years old, Hilinski’s death raised awareness about suicide and suicide prevention resources that are made available to anyone who may need them. By wearing Hilinski’s uniform number this week at the Senior Bowl, Falk hopes to continue the effort to rasie awareness as best he possibly can.

“We really want Tyler to be remembered and this to be talked about,” Falk said. “I mean, when suicide is the leading cause of death of men from 18 to 45 years old, it should be talked about. And we should do something about it. I feel like at times we feel like we can’t express our emotions because we’re in a masculine sport. And him being a quarterback, people look up to you as a leader, so he felt like he really probably couldn’t talk to anybody. You know, we gotta change some of that stuff. We gotta have resources and not have any more stigma on people going through that.”

This is a simple gesture that will hopefully pay off for suicide prevention and awareness, even if it just helps one person in the long run. Falk will be given plenty of opportunities to keep Hilinski’s memory alive this week as he looks to shine in the Senior Bowl. Considered to be a mid-round quarterback prospect, Falk will have the chance to boost his own draft stock with a solid showing this week in Mobile, and that could also lead to more awareness of Hilinski’s tragic death.

WSU QB Luke Falk broke wrist in Week 2 and held off surgery

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Washington State quarterback Luke Falk broke his wrist in a Week 2 game against Boise State, but he put off surgery on his wrist until after the end of the regular season. According to a report from Cougfan on the 247 Sports network, Falk intended to play in the Holiday Bowl against Michigan State but the wrist continued to get worse and forced Falk to undergo surgery prior to the bowl game.

Falk was able to continue playing with the injury, which was covered up for the rest of the season because it was his non-throwing hand. However, the hand was still vulnerable to further damage while playing. Falk was given medical clearance to continue playing as long as the wrist was properly protected. Falk played every game with a small cast around his wrist, and the cast was covered in a glove. Both were removed immediately after a game to not arise suspicion and questioning from media members covering the Cougars this season.

Tyler Hillinski got the start in the Holiday Bowl in place of Falk, although head coach Mike Leach did not want to address the injury status of Falk after the game, which is typical for Leach.

Falk passed for 3,593 yards and 30 touchdowns with 13 interceptions.

Stanford running back getting serious Love from Bovada in Heisman race

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Penn State running back Saquon Barkley was held in check for much of the afternoon on Saturday by Northwestern, but that wasn’t enough to change Barkley’s Heisman odds this week. The latest Heisman Trophy odds form Bovada held firm with the 5/4 odds placed on Barkley last week, which keeps him atop the Heisman board for now.

The most notable development in the Heisman odds this week may be the rise of Stanford running back Bryce Love. Love rocketed up the board this week by going from 14/1 odds last week to 4/1 odds this week. The only two players ahead of Love right now are Barkley and Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield. After a home loss to Iowa State, Mayfield’s Heisman odds moved from 9/4 to 13/4.

Love leads the nation with 206.67 yards per game and is the only running back in the nation to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark so far. Love leads the nation with 1,240 rushing yards, which is roughly 240 yards than the next leading running back, San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny. For reference, Barkley’s rushing total stands at 649 yards, although Barkley’s all-purpose yardage adds up to 1,302 yards, which is ahead of Love’s all-purpose yardage so far.

Last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, saw his odds dip from 10/1 to 16/1 after a road loss at NC State on Thursday night.