Photo by Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Jerry Jeudy, AJ Dillon, Eno Benjamin and more set for State Farm All-Star Football Challenge

1 Comment

It may fly under the radar for most, but the 22nd annual State Farm All-Star Football Challenge is set to take place on Jan. 31 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The skills competition will pit 24 college football stars in a team event. Among those participating in this year’s challenge will be Boston College running back AJ Dillon, Penn State defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos, Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray, and Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy.

Five teams representing each of the power five conferences will consist of players from those respective conferences: ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, and SEC. A sixth team of “wild card” players will be comprised of players from the Group of Five or below. This year’s wild card players will come from the Mountain West Conference (Utah State QB Jordan Love, Boise State DE Curtis Weaver), Conference USA (FAU TE Harrison Bryant) and the South Atlantic Conference of Division 2 (Lenoir-Rhyne S Kyle Dugger).

The individual events included in the competition are a quarterback accuracy contest, obstacle course, strength challenge, and a hands competition. A team event will complete the overall event.

TEAM ACC
Cam Akers, RB, Florida State
AJ Dillon, RB, Boston College
Bryce Perkins, QB, Virginia
Jason Strowbridge, DL, North Carolina

TEAM BIG TEN
Zack Baun, LB, Wisconsin
Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State
KJ Hamler, WR, Penn State
Nate Stanley, QB, Iowa

TEAM BIG 12
Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU
Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
Carter Stanley, QB, Kansas

TEAM PAC-12
Salvon Ahmed, RB, Washington
Bradlee Anae, DE, Utah
Eno Benjamin, RB, Arizona State
Anthony Gordon, QB, Washington State

TEAM SEC
Nick Coe, DE, Auburn
Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Terrell Lewis, LB, Alabama
Riley Neal, QB, Vanderbilt

TEAM WILD CARD
Harrison Bryant, TE, Florida Atlantic
Kyle Dugger, S, Lenoir-Rhyne
Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
Curtis Weaver, DE, Boise State

LSU, two B1G schools will have most players on Super Bowl rosters

LSU Super Bowl
Getty Images
1 Comment

The LSU Tigers football program represented the sport well in winning the 2019 national championship, and now they’re set to be well-represented when the next level crowns its Super Bowl champion as well.

Sunday afternoon, the Kansas City Chiefs again overcame an early deficit to beat the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Championship game. In the NFC championship game, the San Francisco 49ers pummeled the Green Bay Packers to earn a berth opposite the Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV. That game will be played at the home of the Miami Hurricanes, Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Feb. 2.

The 49ers, seeking their first Super Bowl win since 1994, have four former LSU football players currently listed on their official online roster*. The Chiefs, in search of their first title since 1969, have one former LSU football player on their Super Bowl roster. That total of five is tied for the most for a single school in this year’s game.

The number for LSU is matched by a pair of schools from the Big Ten — Iowa and Penn State — for the most players on Super Bowl rosters this year. Three former Nittany Lions and Hawkeyes play for the 49ers, two for the Chiefs.

Two SEC schools, Florida and Vanderbilt, each have four former players as part of the game, as does Stanford. Middle Tennessee State and San Diego State are two of a gaggle of schools with three players on teams playing in the game, which is the most of any Group of Five conference member.

Conference-wise, it was the SEC leading the way (again) with 32 players, followed by the Big Ten’s 22. The ACC (17), Pac-12 (16), Big 12 (12) and Conference USA (11) were the only other FBS leagues in double digits.

As for the other conferences?

  • Mountain West, nine
  • AAC, six
  • MAC, five
  • Sun Belt, four

Football independents accounted for six players. There were a total of 21 players who played at levels of football other than the FBS.

Below are all of the individual schools that will be represented on Super Sunday:

FIVE
Iowa
LSU
Penn State

FOUR
Florida
Stanford
Vanderbilt

THREE
Arizona
Auburn
Clemson
Kansas State
Middle Tennessee State
Mississippi State
Notre Dame
Ohio State
Oklahoma
Pittsburgh
San Diego State
South Carolina

TWO
Alabama
BYU
Central Michigan
Duke
FAU
Florida State
Georgia Southern
Michigan
Michigan State
NC State
Ole Miss
Oregon
Purdue
Southern Miss
Tennessee
Texas
Texas A&M
USF
Utah
Virginia

ONE
Air Force
Alabama A&M
Appalachian State
Arizona State
Arkansas
Baylor
Boston College
Bowling Green State
Buffalo
Cal
Cincinnati
Colorado
Colorado State
Colorado State-Pueblo
Eastern Illinois
Eastern Michigan
Eastern Washington
Georgia
Georgia Tech
Grand Valley State
Harvard
Hawaii
Illinois
Indiana
James Madison
Louisiana Tech
Louisiana
McGill (Canada)
Minnesota
Montana State
New Hampshire
New Mexico State
North Texas
Northern Illinois
Northern Iowa
Oklahoma State
Old Dominion
Oregon State
Princeton
Samford
San Diego
San Jose State
SMU
South Carolina State
TCU
Temple
Texas Tech
UConn
Utah State
Valdosta State
Villanova
Virginia Tech
Wagner
Washington
West Alabama
Western Illinois
Western Kentucky
Wyoming

(*Includes players on injured reserve, practice squad, etc.)

Texas A&M transfer Kellen Diesch lands at Arizona State

Arizona State football
Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Arizona State football roster is the latest to benefit from a player coming in from a Power Five program.

In early December, Kellen Diesch entered the NCAA transfer database, the first step in a move away from Texas A&M. A month later, Diesch has taken the next step as 247Sports.com has reported that the offensive lineman will transfer to the Arizona State football team.

In fact, the website notes that Diesch is in Tempe and already enrolled in school at ASU.

As a graduate transfer, Diesch will be eligible to play for the Sun Devils immediately in 2020. The upcoming season will serve as his final year of eligibility.

A four-star member of A&M’s 2016 recruiting class, Diesch was rated as the No. 11 offensive tackle in the country and the No. 17 player regardless of position in the state of Texas. The only signee in the Aggies’ class that year rated higher was strongside defensive end Justin Madubuike.

After redshirting as a true freshman, Diesch has played in 21 games the past three years. A dozen of those appearances came this past season.

Despite the recruiting pedigree, the 6-6, 298-pound lineman didn’t start a game for the Aggies.

Arizona State announces contract extension for Herm Edwards

Arizona State football
Getty Images
1 Comment

For Herm Edwards and the Arizona State football program, you play to win the game.  And coach to get your contract extended.

Monday, the latter is exactly what happened as the Sun Devils announced a contract extension for Edwards.  The two years tacked onto Edwards’ original deal means he’s signed through 2024.  Five-year contracts are the longest allowed under state law.

The school’s release stated that the amended deal still needs to be approved by the Arizona Board of Regents.  Terms of the extension weren’t released; those details will be announced at a later date.

The 65-year-old Edwards — he’ll turn 66 in April — just completed his second season at ASU.  After going 7-6 in 2018, the Sun Devils posted an 8-5 record this past season.  The eight wins were the program’s most since 2014.  Making that win total even more impressive?  More than 30 true or redshirt freshmen contributed in 2019.

ASU has also beaten rival Arizona in both of Edwards’ seasons.

“We are pleased to announce this two-year contract extension for Head Football Coach Herm Edwards,” said athletic director Ray Anderson. “Dr. Michael Crow (ASU President) and I are extremely encouraged with the overall direction of the football program under Coach Edwards and his staff. They have built a foundation that is recruiting at unprecedented levels and we must ensure the continuation of that effort. This five-year commitment to Coach Edwards will demonstrate to prospective student-athletes and their parents the long-term commitment the University has toward his valued leadership. Additionally, Coach Edwards and staff have increased the win total, earned two bowl invitations, including one bowl victory, and have developed our young student-athletes at a very high level. We’ve had several freshman All-Americans in the past two years and we played 32 true and redshirt freshmen in 2019. Coach Edwards has assembled an impressive staff of coordinators, full-time assistants, consultants and analysts and has hired and developed young coaches as well, such as Sun Devil alum Derek Hagan.”

“It is an honor for myself and my family to serve as Head Football Coach at Arizona State University,” the Arizona State football head coach said in a statement. “We have accomplished a lot in our first two years in Tempe and we look forward to continuing that momentum in all facets of our program. Recruiting is the lifeblood of winning college football games and we are pleased with where we are and we look forward to continued improvement.”

Arizona State’s Michael Turk punts remaining eligibility, heads to NFL draft

Michael Turk Arizona State
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Michael Turk of Arizona State, you’re next up on the latest edition of “Which NFL Player Will Leave Eligibility on the Table?”

“After a lot of prayer and consideration,” Turk confirmed via Twitter that he is making himself available for the 2020 NFL Draft. “I am 100% committed to being the best punter possible and I am looking forward to what the future holds,” Turk added.

Turk actually had two years of eligibility that he will be foregoing.

Michael Turk came to Arizona State as a transfer from the junior college ranks as part of its 2018 recruiting class. Turk’s uncle is Matt Turk, the former NFL punter who spent one year of his professional career with a New York Jets team coached by current ASU head coach Herm Edwards.

As a redshirt sophomore this season, Turk was tied for 11th nationally and led the Pac-12 in averaging 46 yards per punt.  For that, he earned first-team all-conference honors.  He was also named as a handful of semifinalists for the 2019 Ray Guy Award.

Turk is the second Sun Devil to leave early.  Last month, running back Eno Benjamin opted to declare for the 2020 NFL Draft as well.