Twenty-six players invited to NFL Draft


Ah, the NFL Draft. It’s that awkward in-between time when the likes of Jameis WinstonLeonard Williams, et al, aren’t college football players anymore but they aren’t really NFL players yet, either.

Nevertheless, it’s the last time the newest crop of NFL players will be identified primarily by their college, and on Tuesday the NFL released the list of 26 players invited to hear their names (and schools) called over Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre on Thursday, April 30.

They are as follows:

Arik Armstead, DL, Oregon
Vic Beasley, DE/LB, Clemson
La’El Collins, OL, LSU
Landon Collins, DB, Alabama
Bud Dupree, LB, Kentucky
Cameron Erving, OL, Florida State
Dante Fowler, DL/LB, Florida
Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
Randy Gregory, DE/LB, Nebraska
Todd Gurley, LB, Georgia
D.J. Humphries, OL, Florida
Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest
Byron Jones, CB, Connecticut
Bernardrick McKinney, LB, Mississippi State
DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
Andrus Peat, OL, Stanford
Breshad Perriman, WR, Central Florida
Shane Ray, DL, Missouri
Brandon Scherff, OL, Iowa
Danny Shelton, DL, Washington
Devin Smith, WR, Ohio State
Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State
Laken Tomlinson, OL, Duke
Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State
Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
Leonard Williams, DL, USC


Jedd Fisch officially added to Harbaugh’s Michigan staff


Earlier today, Michigan announced the addition of John Baxter as special teams coordinator.  A short time later, another hire that had been widely reported was officially confirmed.

As expected, Jedd Fisch (pictured, right) has been hired by new head coach Jim Harbaugh as his quarterbacks and wide receivers coach.  Additionally, Fisch will carry the title of passing-game coordinator.

Fisch had spent the past two seasons as the offensive coordinator of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars.

“Jedd has acquired a great deal of expertise during his career and he’ll be an outstanding member of our Michigan family,” a statement from Harbaugh began. “He has shown the ability to develop young talent, like Blake Bortles just last year with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and he has a great passion for teaching the game. With his track record in the NFL and college — including time in Big Ten country — he will be a great fit in Ann Arbor.”

Prior to his latest stint in the NFL, Fisch spent two seasons (2011-12) as the coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Miami (Fla.). Fisch’s only other staff job at the collegiate level came in 2009 as the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Minnesota.

He did, though, begin his coaching career as a grad assistant under Steve Spurrier at Florida for two seasons (1999-2000).

“I am extremely excited about the opportunity to come to Michigan and work with Coach Harbaugh,” said Fisch. “I have had the good fortune during my years to learn from some tremendous mentors, and I believe this situation will be another terrific experience. Most importantly, I am looking forward to mentoring the outstanding student-athletes that will suit up for the Wolverines.”

With the additions of Fisch and Baxter, Harbaugh now has two openings remaining on his staff to announce.

UCF’s leading receiver Breshad Perriman entering NFL Draft

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The UCF Knights will need a new go-to receiver in 2015. Breshad Perriman has announced his decision to leave UCF a year early to declare for the 2015 NFL Draft. The school released a brief statement confirming and announcing the decision for Perriman to turn pro.

“I met with Breshad on Sunday. After discussing it with his family, he informed me he of his plans to enter the Draft,” UCF head coach George O’Leary said. “I wish him the best of luck and I hope everything works out for him.”

Perriman was fourth in the American Athletic Conference in 2014 with 1,044 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. Perriman was just one of four receivers in the conference to record 1,000 receiving yards this season, and his average receiving yards per reception of 20.88 ypr were second most in the AAC behind Cincinnati’s Chris Moore (22.43 ypr).

Perriman is hoping to become UCF’s first wide receiver drafted by an NFL team since Mike Walker in the 2007 NFL Draft (Jacksonville Jaguars, third round). Last year’s draft saw former UCF teammate quarterback Blake Bortles drafted in the first round and running back Storm Johnson selected in the seventh round. Both Bortles and Johnson were drafted by the Jaguars.

Jacoby Brissett steals show as NC State leads UCF 17-10 at halftime of St. Petersburg Bowl

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North Carolina State quarterback Jacoby Brissett was nearly perfect through two quarters of play in the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl. As a result, the Wolfpack established a 17-10 lead over the UCF Knights with the two teams preparing for the second half of play.

Brissett was 10-of-12 passing for 197 yards and a touchdown. He was elusive in the pocket, extended plays and placed plenty of stress on UCF’s defense due to his ability to run the football if needed. The quarterback led the Wolfpack with 29 rushing yards.

The only mistake Brissett made came at the end of the half when he took a sack while the Wolfpack was in scoring position. North Carolina State had an opportunity to extend the lead by two scores and receive the kickoff in the second half, but the sack forced the clock to run out for halftime.

UCF’s Justin Holman hasn’t been quite as good, but he’s been solid and created a few big plays in the first half. The sophomore was 11-of-19 passing for 118 yards and a touchdown. The UCF signal-caller didn’t make any key mistakes, and his team remains within striking distance.

Holman needs help, though. George O’Leary‘s offense is predicated on establishing the run, which allows the quarterback to strike down field. North Carolina State’s defense held the Knights’ rushing attack to 3.7 yards per carry. UCF needs to stay ahead of the chains to keep pressure of its quarterback and put him in the best position to succeed.

Brissett, on the other hand, needs to get his offense into the end zone. North Carolina State drove the ball inside the 30-yard line on its final two drives. Those drives resulted in only three points.

Despite an impressive first half performance, Brissett will need to continue his current level of play for the Wolfpack to secure its first bowl victory under head coach Dave Doeren.

UCF needs a miracle to claim a share of American Athletic Conference title


UCF head coach George O’Leary will likely be humming an old Mike & The Mechanics tune on his trip back to Orlando.

All UCF needed was a miracle to claim a share of the American Athletic Conference title. Wide receiver Breshad Perriman answered the Knights’ prayers with a 51-yard touchdown catch as time expired to give the UCF a 32-30 victory over the East Carolina Pirates.

Horrible late-game play-calling cost the Pirates their ninth win of the season. With 1:47 remaining at UCF’s 15-yard line, the Pirates called four straight plays that resulted in negative yardage.

The Knights took over at their 35-yard line with 10 seconds remaining. Quarterback Justin Holman immediately connected with receiver Josh Reese for a 15-yard completion, which resulted in a first down and a momentary stoppage in play. Then Holman hurled a prayer into the air with Perriman getting behind a pair of East Carolina defensive backs to score the improbable game-winning touchdown.

The talented junior was outstanding and finished the contest with four receptions for 139 yards.

Perriman was topped by college football’s all-time leading receiver, though. East Carolina’s Justin Hardy made 12 catches for 140 yards and a touchdown.

East Carolina moved the ball, particularly in the second half, and posted another 400-yard game on offense. The Pirates gained over 400 yards in every game this season.

Senior quarterback Shane Carden was 36-of-48 passing for 397 yards, three touchdowns and a pair of interceptions in his last game Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

Holman was steller, too. UCF’s signal caller completed 67 percent of his passes for 274 yards and one unforgettable touchdown toss.

With the win, UCF will share this year’s American Atheltic Conference championship with the Memphis Tigers. It doesn’t matter how it happened; the Knights can celebrate after their second-straight conference title: