Southern Miss

East Carolina WR Justin Hardy wins Burlsworth Trophy as nation’s top former walk-on

1 Comment

East Carolina wide receiver Justin Hardy was famously – and ridiculously – left off the Biletnikoff Award semifinalist list back in November, but he took home a nice consolation prize on Monday. Hardy was named the winner of the Burlsworth Trophy as the nation’s top former walk-on.

He received the honor at a ceremony in Springdale, Ark., on Monday night. The ECU play-maker beat out Mississippi State offensive lineman Ben Beckwith and Iowa running back Mark Weisman.

Last month Hardy surpassed Oklahoma’s Ryan Broyles as FBS’s all-time leader in receptions.

Hardy leads the nation in receptions per game (9.17), ranks sixth in receiving yards per game (111.2) and places 20th with nine touchdown grabs.

Hardy is the fifth Burlsworth Trophy winner, joining Sean Benford (Georgia Tech, 2010), Austin Davis (Southern Miss, 2011), Matt McGloin (Penn State, 2012) and Jared Abbrederis (Wisconsin, 2013).

The trophy is named in honor of former Arkansas walk-on Brandon Burlsworth, who earned All-America honors in 1998 was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in 1999 but slain in a car accident before his NFL career began.

Hardy will conclude his collegiate career in the Birmingham Bowl against Florida on Jan. 3.

Backup Ole Miss DB to pursue pro baseball career

Leave a comment

Ahead of its huge matchup with Alabama Saturday, Ole Miss has seen its depth in the secondary take a bit of a hit.

Rebels head coach Hugh Freeze announced Tuesday that Anthony Alford has decided to leave the football team and pursue a career in professional baseball. Since being drafted in the third round of the 2012 MLB draft by the Toronto Blue Jays, the defensive back had participated in the club’s extended spring training program before reporting for summer camp.

The contract Alford signed with the Blue Jays had permitted him to play football for the Rebels, although that will not be an issue moving forward.

“We wish him the best. He’s a great kid.,” Freeze said in a part of his statement.

Alford actually began his collegiate career as a quarterback at Southern Miss, starting five games as a true freshman in 2012. In January of 2013, Alford transferred to Ole Miss and moved to the defensive secondary, although there had been plans to use him as a Wildcat quarterback.

After sitting out the 2013 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules, Alford had played in all four games for the Rebels at safety in 2014. He was credited with six tackles as well as returning two punts for eight yards.

Where’s the beef? Not at QB for Ole Miss

2 Comments

For those looking for the next big thing at the quarterback position, you’ll have to look somewhere other than Oxford.

Jeremy Liggins was a JUCO transfer who worked out at the quarterback position for Ole Miss this spring.  While a JUCO transfer is normally not too big of a deal, the fact that Liggins is listed at 6-3, 296 pounds (winkwink nudgenudge) made it a big deal.

Liggins had been working as part of a Wildcat package as Bo Wallace is firmly entrenched as the Rebels’ starter.  The Lorenzian experiment, however, appears to be over.

At the beginning of summer camp, Liggins was moved to tight end.  With the opener against Boise State less than a week away, head coach Hugh Freeze confirmed that there would be no Wildcat package involving Liggins.

“Jeremy is overwhelmed a bit with learning what he has,” coach Hugh Freeze said. “I just did not want to add on to that.”

Liggins will instead concentrate on the three packages that utilize him as a tight end, at least for now.  Also for now, 6-1, 212-pound defensive back Anthony Alford, a former high school quarterback, will work out of the Wildcat when called upon.

Camp honors go to CSU’s Bibbs, Duke’s Edwards

Leave a comment

A Mountain West running back and an ACC defensive back have claimed weekly Camp honors, the Walter Camp Foundation announced Sunday morning.

Colorado State’s Kapri Bibbs and Duke’s Devon Edwards were named as the Camp National Offense and Defensive Players of the Week, respectively, for their Week 11 performances.

Bibbs’ 312 rushing yards and four touchdowns in the Rams’ 38-17 win over Nevada broke the school record of 310 set by current Notre Dame assistant Tony Alford in 1989.  That total represents the most yards rushing at the FBS level for a running back this season, surpassing the 304 yards by Army’s Terry Baggett in the middle of last month. Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch rushed for 316 a week after Baggett’s performance.

Bibbs is the first-ever Colorado State Ram to earn Camp honors.

In the Blue Devils’ win over North Carolina State, Edwards returned two interceptions for touchdowns while also taking a kickoff back 100 yards for another score.  Incredibly, the pair of pick-sixes came in a span of 10 seconds with less than four minutes left in the fourth quarter to seal Duke’s fifth straight win and seventh on the season.

The redshirt freshman became the first player to score three non-offensive touchdowns in the same game since Oklahoma’s Antonio Perkins returned three punts for a touchdown against UCLA in 2003.

Below is the year-to-date list of weekly 2013 Camp honorees:

WEEK 1: Alabama wide receiver Christion Jones, Virginia safety Anthony Harris
WEEK 2: Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, Michigan State defensive end Shilique Calhoun
WEEK 3: Ohio State quarterback Kenny Guiton, UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr
WEEK 4: Pittsburgh quarterback Tom Savage, Maryland safety A.J. Hendy
Week 5: Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, TCU safety Sam Carter
Week 6
: Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, Florida cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy
Week 7
: Army running back Terry Baggett, Louisiana-Monroe safety Isaiah Newsome
Week 8: NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch, Florida State cornerback Lamarcus Joyner
Week 9: SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert, Duke linebacker Kelby Brown
Week 10
: Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr, Michigan State linebacker Denicos Allen
Week 11
: Colorado State running back Kapri Bibbs, Duke defensive back Devon Edwards

The Fifth Quarter: Week 2 Rewind

8 Comments

As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.

WINNERS

A-C-C! A-C-C! A-C-C!
Well would you look at what basketball conference has done a little bit of football growing up the first two weeks of the season.  And what football program grabbed a signature win by the throat after years of NCAA turmoil.  It was far from pretty offensively — most games involving the team from Gainesville are — but unranked (for now) Miami was able to punch its way to a 21-16 win over No. 12 Florida, the biggest win for The U since, what, Ohio State in 2011?  Florida State or Oklahoma in 2009?  Regardless, it was Al Golden‘s biggest win in his two-plus years with the Hurricanes, and a clear signal that, while they might not be there yet, The U is certainly pointed in the direction of the national stage.  It’s also a sign that, after Clemson’s win over then-No. 5 Georgia opening weekend, the ACC will no longer be a pushover at the top.  Or that the SEC East is vastly overrated.  One of the two.

Big OBC monkey, be gone!
For both No. 11 Georgia in general and Aaron Murray specifically, there has been a mountain-sized monkey on their respective backs, a South Carolina one for the former and a big-game one for the latter.  In one fell swoop, the simian has left the building thanks to the Bulldogs’ highly-entertaining 41-30 win over the No. 6 Gamecocks.  For UGA it snapped a three-game losing streak against the ‘Cocks, made even sweeter coming off the tough three-point loss to Clemson.  For Murray, it was just his second win — versus four losses — against a team ranked in the Top Ten.  With the Bulldogs defense (again) struggling, Murray turned in a career-like performance, throwing for 309 yards and four touchdowns.  Here’s to guessing Murray’s home won’t get TP’d and/or egged this year.

Teddy Heisman?
Tabbed as the gambling Heisman Trophy frontrunner earlier this week, Teddy Bridgewater did little to break that momentum this weekend.  In No. 8 Louisville’s thumping of  FCS-level Eastern Kentucky, the quarterback completed 23-of-32 passes for 397 yards and four touchdowns.  On the season, Bridgewater has completed 77 percent of his passes for 752 yards, nine touchdowns and an interception.  Granted, the competition has been a MAC school and one from the FCS — and the schedule doesn’t get much tougher moving forward — but the junior is doing what he has to do: putting up big numbers when he’s supposed to, all the while hoping that some teams from the AAC step up their level of play.

(more…)