Troy Niklas

NFL Draft: SEC wins round two by edging Big Ten and Pac-12

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The SEC led the way in round one of the 2014 NFL Draft with 11 players drafted by NFL teams. In the second round the SEC once again pumped out more NFL talent than just about every other conference, but the Big Ten left a significant mark as well. The SEC turned in seven draft picks, edging the Big Ten when the Seattle Seahawks drafted Missouri offensive tackle Justin Britt with the final pick of the second round.

It took a while before we finally saw some running backs drafted (three of them, in fact) but the second round focused on wide receivers and linemen.

Here is the full round two breakdown, by conference.

SEC: 7

42. WR Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt
44. OT Cyrus Kouandijo, Alabama
51. DT Ego Ferguson, LSU
55. RB Jeremy Hill, LSU
60. DE Kony Ealy, Missouri
63. WR Jarvis Landry, LSU
64. OT Justin Britt, Missouri

Big Ten: 6

37. DT Ra’Shede Hageman, Minnesota
56. WR Cody Latimer, Indiana
57. RB Carlos Hyde, Ohio State
58. CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska
59. OT Jack Mewhort, Ohio State
61. WR Allen Robinson, Penn State

Pac-12: 6

33. OG Xavier Su’a-Filo, UCLA
38. TE Austin Seferia-Jenkins, Washington
39. WR Marqise Lee, USC
45. WR Paul Richardson, Colorado
47. DE Trent Murphy, Stanford
54. RB Bishop Sankey, Washington

Mountain West: 5

34. DE Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State
35. OT Joel Bitonio, Nevada
36. QB Derek Carr, Fresno State
44. C Weston Richburg, Colorado State
53. WR Davante Adams, Fresno State

ACC: 3

41. CB Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State
48. DT Timmy Jernigan, Florida State
50. LB Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech

 

Independent: 3

40. LB Kyle Van Noy, BYU
46. DT Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame
52. TE Troy Niklas, Notre Dame

Big 12: 1

49. TE Jace Amaro, Texas Tech

Non FBS: 1

62. QB Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois

Which positions were drafted in the second round?

Defensive Line: 7

Wide Receiver: 7

Offensive Line: 6

Tight End: 3

Running Back: 3

Cornerback: 2

Linebacker: 2

Quarterback: 2

Tide’s Sunseri one of record 98 players declaring for draft

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A draft-eligible Alabama rumored to be headed to the NFL — or not — will indeed be a part of a record-breaking pool this May.

Tide defensive back Vinnie Sunseri was one of 98 players included on the NFL’s official list, released Sunday, of players “who have been granted special eligibility” for the upcoming draft.  It was reported a week ago that the safety was leaning toward making the early leap into the NFL, although there was some vacillation as the redshirt junior waited until right up until the Jan. 15 deadline — plus the three additional days allotted to reconsider, provided there’s no signing with an agent — before making his final decision.

Sunseri is still rehabbing a torn ACL, which he suffered in a mid-October win over Arkansas.

The 98 players granted special eligibility by the NFL is a record, shattering and/or obliterating the old mark of 73 set just last year.  That standard broke the record of 65 set the year before that.  In 2004, just 43 players with eligibility remaining left school early.

For the second consecutive year, LSU led all schools with seven early entrants.  In 2013, the Tigers saw 10 players leave early.  Sunseri gave the Tide five players leaving early, the same number as USC and one-win Cal (?).  Florida, Florida State, Notre Dame and South Carolina each saw four players take the early jump into the NFL.

2014 marks the sixth consecutive year that the number of early entrants has increased.

The number could have actually topped the century mark as four players who have left school early but have already graduated were not included in the NFL’s official count: Southern California defensive back Dion Bailey, Arizona State linebacker Carl Bradford, Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and Alabama linebacker Adrian Hubbard.

You can view the complete, official list of early entrants into the NFL draft:

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An unofficial list of underclassmen who declared for the NFL draft

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The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the NFL draft is upon us. It looks like we’ll have a record 92 (at minimum) declarations this year, easily topping last year’s record of 73. This draft should be among the most talent-laden in recent history.

Why the sudden exodus? Blame the new rookie wage scale, which rewards less money to first round draft picks and delays the big payout until a player’s second contract. That means the more time spent in the league, the better. A lot of these players want to get moving on proving themselves, even if they are a late round pick at the start.

Here’s the unofficial list of early entries as of the Jan. 15 deadline. The NFL will have an official list on Jan. 19:

Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State
Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
George Atkinson III, RB, Notre Dame
Dion Bailey, S, USC
Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, LSU
Kapri Bibbs, RB, Colorado State
Brendan Bigelow, RB, California
Russell Bodine, C, North Carolina
Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
Chris Boyd, WR, Vanderbilt
Carl Bradford, DE/OLB, Arizona State
Bashaud Breeland, DB, Clemson
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson
Ka’Deem Carey, RB, Arizona
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, DB, Alabama
Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
Brandon Coleman, WR, Rutgers
Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State
Isaiah Crowell, RB, Alabama State
Jonathan Dowling, S, Western Kentucky
Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
Dominique Easley, DT, Florida
Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
Bruce Ellington, WR, South Carolina
Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
Ego Ferguson, DT, LSU
Mike Flacco, TE, New Haven
Cameron Fleming, OT, Stanford
Khairi Fortt, LB, California
Austin Franklin, WR, New Mexico State
Devonta Freeman, RB, Florida State
Xavier Grimble, TE, USC
Vic Hampton, CB, South Carolina
Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU
Adrian Hubbard, LB, Alabama
Kameron Jackson, CB, California
Anthony Johnson, DT, LSU
Storm Johnson, RB, UCF
Henry Josey, RB, Missouri
Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU
Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana
Demarcus Lawrence, DE, Boise State
Marqise Lee, WR, USC
A.C. Leonard, TE, Tennessee State
Colt Lyerla, TE, Oregon
Aaron Lynch, DE, USF
Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Marcus Martin, C, USC
Tre Mason, RB, Auburn
Terrance Mitchell, CB, Oregon
Viliami Moala, DT, California
Donte Moncrief, WR, Ole Miss
Adam Muema, RB, San Diego State
Jake Murphy, TE, Utah
Troy Niklas, TE, Notre Dame
Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame
Jeoffrey Pagan, DL, Alabama
Ronald Powell, LB, Florida
Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
Loucheiz Purifoy, CB, Florida
Kelcy Quarles, DL, South Carolina
Darrin Reaves, RB, UAB
Ed Reynolds, FS, Stanford
Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee
Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado
Marcus Roberson, CB, Florida
Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State
Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
Richard Rodgers, TE California
Bishop Sankey, RB, Washington
Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
Yawin Smallwood, LB, UConn
Brett Smith, QB, Wyoming
Jerome Smith, RB, Syracuse
Willie Snead, WR, Ball State
Josh Stewart, WR, Oklahoma State
Xavier Su’a-Filo, OL, UCLA
De’Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon
Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame
Trai Turner, OG, LSU
George Uko, DL, USC
Pierre Warren, FS, Jacksonville State
Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
Terrance West, RB, Towson
James Wilder Jr., RB, Florida State
David Yankey, OL, Stanford

Report: Mike Denbrock is the new Irish OC, Kelly to call plays

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ESPN.com reported on Tuesday that Notre Dame receivers coach and passing game coordinator Mike Denbrock has been elevated to offensive coordinator and that head coach Brian Kelly will resume play calling duties.

Denbrock has been the interim offensive coordinator for the Irish since Chuck Martin left in December to become the head coach at Miami (Ohio). Kelly reportedly interviewed Al Borges, Jeff Quinn and Don Patterson before sticking with Denbrock, who was the offensive coordinator for Kelly when he coached at Grand Valley State in the early 1990s.

Kelly called plays during his first three seasons with the Irish before turning over the duties to Martin last season.

The return of quarterback Everett Golson to the mix after sitting out a year should make things smoother for Denbrock and Kelly, although the Irish must replace tight end Troy Niklas and a couple linemen on the left side.

Late touchdown gives Notre Dame halftime lead on USC

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Notre Dame drove right down field on USC on the game’s opening possession, but the Irish were unable to punch the football in from the goal line on fourth down when Cam McDaniel was stuffed for a loss of three yards. Despite leaving points on the scoreboard, Notre Dame took a lead in to halftime against the Trojans, leading 14-10.

After USC’s defense stood tall, the Trojans offense went to work. USC put together a 96-yard touchdown drive, capping it off with a one-yard touchdown run by running back Silas Redd. Redd reached halftime with 91 rushing yards n 14 carries. Notre Dame would tie it up on the final play of the first quarter when Tommy Rees completed a seven-yard pass for a touchdown to Troy Niklas. Rees again struck gold with a touchdown strike to TJ Jones late in the first half. That second touchdown pass gave Notre Dame a 14-10 lead before halftime.

While this game may not have any sort of national impact, with both teams unranked and playing in the shadows of some other notable games around the country at the same time, the pageantry that goes along with this rivalry game is still something special to watch for the nostalgic fan. The game is also pretty important for both teams to determine which way the rest of the season could unfold.