FCS-to-Ducks transfer one of 30 QBs on Unitas Award watch list


Even as one high-profile FCS transfer has yet to be officially added to his new Power Five program’s roster, he’s still highly thought of by at least one major award.

Tuesday, the fine folks at the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award released its preseason watch list, with the annual award given to the best college senior or fourth-year junior quarterback recognizing 30 players who meet the qualifications.  And, again, those qualifications are that they are, one, a quarterback and, two, are a college senior or fourth-year junior.

Included in that group of 30 is Vernon Adams, one of the most decorated players in the Football Championship Series who announced in February of this year that he would be transferring from Eastern Washington to Oregon for his final season of collegiate eligibility.  In early July it was reported that Adams had been admitted to UO and ruled eligible to enroll in classes at the university.  However, Adams will likely miss at least the first three days of the Ducks’ summer camp that begins Aug. 10 as he cleans up one final class that will allow him formal admission and his inclusion on his new squad’s roster.

There’s also one current FCS quarterback in the group: North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz.

In addition to Adams and Wentz, 2014 Unitas finalists Cody Kessler of USC and Dak Prescott of Mississippi State are included in the initial watch list.   Last year’s winner was the man Adams will attempt to replace, Marcus Mariota.

Below is the complete list of preseason Unitas Award watch listers.  And, again, those eligible are college senior or fourth-year junior quarterbacks.

Vernon Adams, Oregon
Brandon Allen, Arkansas
Tommy Armstrong, Nebraska
Mike Bercovici, Arizona State
Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Blake Frohnapfel, UMass
Everett Golson, Florida State
Taysom Hill, BYU
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Driphus Jackson, Rice
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Chuckie Keeton, Utah State
Cody Kessler, USC
Gunner Kiel, Cincinnati
Fredi Knighten, Arkansas State
Joe Licata, Buffalo
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Maty Mauk, Missouri
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Zach Terrell, Western Michigan
Justin Thomas, Georgia Tech
Chad Voytik, Pittsburgh
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah

College football’s other Division 1 Final Four is set


The College Football Playoff field was set last Sunday, but the first and real Division 1 college football playoff has been going on for weeks before whittling down the field to its final four. On Saturday, other than the Army-Navy Game and the Heisman Trophy presentation, it was a day for the Football Championship Subdivision to shine, and boy did it.

Quarterfinal action was packed with tense moments and close games, providing a reminder of just how fun this level can be. At the end of the day, the semifinal match-ups were set in stone on the FCS playoff bracket; New Hampshire will host Illinois State in one semifinal, and North Dakota State will host Sam Houston State in the other.

New Hampshire’s defense gave up 566 yards to Chatanooga on Friday night, but a 61-yard touchdown pass from Sean Goldrich to R.J. Harris proved to be the difference in a 35-30 victory for the top seed in the tournament. Saturday was not short on the drama either. Three-time defending champion North Dakota State and Coastal Carolina traded scores all game long, but the Bison got the last word with a 45-yard touchdown run by John Crockett for a 39-32 lead following a two-point conversion. The defense did the rest in the game of the day.

Sam Houston State’s victory at Villanova was a back-and-forth event as well. Sam Houston State head coach K.C. Keeler was very familiar with Villanova, as the former head coach of Delaware. His quarterback, Jared Johnson passed for 303 yards and three touchdowns to send Sam Houston to the national semifinal against another familiar foe, North Dakota State. The two schools met in the national championship game in 2011 and 2012.

North Dakota State will host Sam Houston State on Friday, December 19 at 8:00 p.m. eastern on ESPN2. New Hampshire will host Illinois State on Saturday, December 20 at 2:00 p.m. eastern on EPSNU.

North Dakota State is looking to win its fourth straight FCS national championship, a feat that has not been accomplished at the FCS level since the split of Division 1.