Miami (OH)

Small school stars take center stage in NFLPA Collegiate Bowl

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Division 2 standout running back Terrell Watson, representing Azusa Pacific, won NFLPA Collegiate Bowl MVP honors on Saturday. Watson led the National team of college all-stars with 55 yards and a touchdown in leading his National team to a 17-0 victory on Saturday at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.

The NFLPA Collegiate Bowl is down the ladder in terms of star power in the college all-star circuit, but it is a terrific opportunity for some players from smaller schools to compete and catch the eye of an NFL coach or scout. Watson had his chance to do just that, as did Southern Illinois Malcolm Agnew, who complimented Watson’s production with 53 rushing yards for the National team. Eastern Kentucky running back Channing Fugate got one rushing attempt, and he made the most of it with a short touchdown run in the third quarter.

The NFLPA Collegiate Bowl did have some names most college football fans might be more familiar with though.

South Alabama quarterback Brandon Bridge led the National passers with 51 yards and Miami Ohio quarterback Andrew Hendrix added 47 yards. Georgia wide receiver Chris Conley had the most efficient day at receiver, leading the National team with 45 receiving yards on two catches.

Clemson quarterback Cole Stoudt was the leading passer for the losing American squad, completing seven of eight passes for 48 yards. Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato finished the game with 31 passing yards with a 50 percent completion percentage. Cato was also second on the American team in rushing with 15 yards. Prairie View A&M quarterback Jerry Lovelocke mixed in 40 passing yards. Missouri running back Marcus Murphy led the American team in rushing with 47 yards, and West Texas A&M wide receiver Anthony Johnson led the team with 40 receiving yards.

Transfer receiver ineligible to play for Jayhawks in 2013

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As it turns out, Kansas came just a handful of hours shy of having an impact transfer at its immediate disposal.  Or, more specifically, a mere six.

KU head coach Charlie Weis confirmed Wednesday that Nick Harwell will take a redshirt for the 2013 season and won’t play for the Jayhawks until next year.  Harwell, who announced he was transferring from Miami to Kansas earlier this offseason, was just six hours shy of graduating from the Ohio school; because of an arrest on theft charges in the spring, however, he was not permitted to return to the Oxford campus for summer school to complete his degree and become eligible immediately at Kansas as a graduate transfer.

“The bottom line was he was never allowed to complete his last six hours,” Weis said according to the Lawrence Journal-World. “And unless someone does something I’m not anticipating here, my intent with him is to treat (Marcus) Jenkins-Moore (injured linebacker) and Nick Harwell like I did Jake Heaps and Justin McCay last year. They’ll work on everything football related, get their academics in order, work on community service. There’s a bunch of things they can do to make themselves better prepared and better people and proud Jayhawks.”

As is always the case, Harwell will be permitted to practice with his new Jayhawk teammates as he sits out his transfer season.

KU, though, will be missing out on an immediate impact player on the offensive side of the ball.

Harwell led Miami in receiving yards (870) and touchdowns (eight) as junior in 2012, and finished second in receptions (68) — all while missing three games with injuries. Harwell was also the NCAA’s second-leading receiver in 2011 with 129.6 receiving yards per game, finishing his sophomore campaign with 97 receptions for 1,425 yards and nine touchdowns.

Tuesday offseason one-liners

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Some links from around college football on a Tuesday… 

Nick Harwell reportedly coming to Kansas ‘no matter what’

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In May, Kansas head coach Charlie Weis announced that former Miami (OH) wide receiver Nick Harwell would be joining the program, though the question of whether Harwell would immediately be eligible remained unanswered at the time.

Six weeks later, there’s still not a lot of clarity. Citing sources with knowledge of the situation, Matt Tait of the Lawrence Journal-World writes that Harwell will be coming to Kansas this summer “no matter what” even though Miami has reportedly “blocked his path to do so.”

As far as Miami’s side of the story goes, the university did not return requests for response. Harwell is reportedly close — as in two or three courses — to graduating, but a previous report from the Kansas City Star says Harwell was suspended from school following an arrest this spring on theft charges (which were later reduced to a single count of attempted theft, a second-degree misdemeanor). Therefore, he has been unable to enroll in summer classes to complete his degree.

The situation is apparently messy enough that Harwell needs an attorney with prior experience of working eligibility cases.

“He’s not going back to Miami under any circumstances,” Harwell’s attorney, Don Jackson, said. “He’ll be at the University of Kansas whether that means he’s playing this year or sitting this year and playing next year. But we’re optimistic and hopeful that he’ll be playing this year.”

Harwell led Miami in receiving yards (870) and touchdowns (eight) as junior in 2012, and finished second in receptions (68) — all while missing three games with injuries. Harwell was also the NCAA’s second-leading receiver in 2011 with 129.6 receiving yards per game, finishing his sophomore campaign with 97 receptions for 1,425 yards and nine touchdowns.

He’ll have one year of eligibility remaining when he does suit up for the Jayhawks, whether that’s in 2013 or ’14.

Kansas’ former second-leading RB rejoins the team

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Word came last week that Kansas would be getting some much-needed wide receiver help with the acquisition of former Miami (OH) wideout Nick Harwell. Whether or not Harwell will be cleared to play this season remains to be seen, but KU is also getting some immediate help at the running back spot too.

And from a familiar name, no less.

The school announced Tuesday that former running back Darrian Miller has signed a grant-in-aid and rejoined the team. Miller was dismissed in early 2012 following his freshman season with the Jayhawks in which he was the team’s second-leading rusher with 559 yards and four touchdowns.

“Coach Weis has given me a rare opportunity,” Miller said in a statement through the school. “I get the chance to get this right. I am truly thankful for this opportunity and I intend to make the most of it. I realize that I am leaving Butler at a bad time and I want to thank Coach Troy Morrell for the opportunity he gave me there. Coach Morrell and his staff were an amazing help to me.”

Miller has spent the past year at the community college level and will rejoin KU as a redshirt sophomore. He will be eligible to play immediately.

“We constantly research special situations concerning transfer students. Each situation is unique. Occasionally through our due diligence we find a player who fits. This was the case with both Darrian and Nick (Harwell). We believe both young men are prepared to thrive at Kansas on and off the field,” Charlie Weis said.

Weis is stocking up on talent that can contribute right away. Miller was a four-star back coming out of high school in 2011, according to Rivals.com, and joins a talented backfield that already has James Sims and Tony Pierson. While even a .500 record is a stretch for Kansas in 2013 after a one-win season in 2012, there’s a chance this team could make some nice strides in the win-loss columns. At the very least, it can’t get much worse.