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Michael Penix to start at QB for Indiana vs. Ball State

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Michael Penix will be Indiana’s starting quarterback this season, Hoosiers head coach Tom Allen announced Monday.

A redshirt freshman from Tampa, Penix overcame tough competition and a torn ACL to win the job. He appeared in three games as a true freshman in 2018, hitting a total of 21-of-34 passes for 219 yards and a touchdown while rushing seven times for 45 yards, before an ACL tear against Penn State on Oct. 20 knocked him out for the season.

Penix rehabbed the knee to the point where he beat out both incumbent starter Peyton Ramsey and 4-star Utah transfer Jack Tuttle to win the job.

“It was a very difficult decision in regards to the competition involved with the young men, Jake (sic) Tuttle, Peyton’s an awesome kid, one of the finest young men I’ve ever been around. So much respect for him,” Allen told the Indianapolis Star.

Indiana opens its season Saturday against Ball State at Indianapolis’s Lucas Oil Stadium (noon ET, CBS Sports Network).

Clemson’s projected starting DTs to be sidelined for spring

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With Dexter Lawrence and Christian Wilkins off to the NFL, Clemson knew it would need to replace a pair of All-Americans along the interior of its defensive line.  The favorites to be their replacements, though, will be forced to delay staking an official claim to the spots.

Wednesday, Dabo Swinney revealed that Nyles Pinckney and Jordan Williams will be sidelined for the whole of spring practice after they each underwent surgery recently.  The former had a slight tear in a pectoral muscle that required surgery, while the latter had a screw surgically implanted in one of his legs to repair unspecified damage.

According to the head coach, Williams suffered his injury playing basketball last month.

Both players are expected to be 100-percent healthy for the start of summer camp.

“The good news is both those guys got a ton of experience this year and really learned a lot,” Swinney said according to “And obviously had a great model in front of them with those guys as to what we got to do. I think they will provide great leadership. So that is the good news. They will be alright.”

Pinckney, a rising redshirt junior, played in 15 games during the Tigers’ run to their second national championship in three years, totaling 4.5 tackles for loss as part of the team’s line rotation.  A rising redshirt sophomore, Williams was credited with three tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks in 12 games.

Reports: Nebraska RB Greg Bell won’t travel to Wisconsin, considering transfer

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Nearly midway through what so far has been a winless season in Lincoln, the personnel upheaval is continuing.  Reportedly.

According to multiple media outlets in the area, Greg Bell will not make the trip to Madison this weekend for Nebraska’s game Saturday against Wisconsin. is reporting that Bell has decided to leave the Cornhuskers and transfer, although the Omaha World-Herald writes that “NU is not confirming Bell’s departure and will not have a comment on his situation until after the Wisconsin game.”

Bell had started the first three games of the season, but was benched ahead of the Week 5 loss to Purdue and played sparingly last weekend. If the junior were to leave now without playing another down for the ‘Huskers, he’d be able to take advantage of the new redshirt rule and retain a season of eligibility that he could use elsewhere.

Through four games, Bell was third on the team, and second among running backs, with 173 yards rushing on his 35 carries.  Just two of those carries came in the loss to the Boilermakers this past Saturday.

Should he end up transferring, Bell would become at least the 15th player to leave the program since Scott Frost took over last December.  The other 14 are offensive lineman Bryan Brokop, wide receiver Zack Darlington (HERE) offensive lineman Michael Decker (HERE), tight end David Engelhaupt (HERE), quarterback Tristan Gebbia (HERE), linebacker Willie Hampton (HERE), defensive back Will Jackson (HERE), wide receiver Tyjon Lindsey (HERE), fullback Ben Miles (HERE), quarterback Patrick O’Brien (HERE), linebacker Avery Roberts (HERE), tight end Matt Snyder (HERE) inside linebacker Andrew Ward (HERE) and wide receiver Keyan Williams (HERE).  An even dozen of those 14 transferred, while one of the remaining two, Decker, retired from football and the other, Darlington, joined the Army.

Biletnikoff Award watch list highlighted by 2017 finalist David Sills

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You know how I know we’re getting closer to the start of a new season?  Yet another watch list.

The latest to release theirs is the Biletnikoff Award, with the honor going to the nation’s top receiver issuing a list consisting of 50 players from all nine FBS conferences as well as one independent (UMass).  Headlining this year’s preseason list is West Virginia’s David Sills, who was a finalist for the 2017 award claimed by Oklahoma State’s James Washington.  One other 2017 semifinalist is included as well, Ole Miss’ A.J. Brown.

A total of seven teams placed two receivers each on the watch list: Cal (Kanawai Noa, Vic Wharton III), Louisville (Dez Fitzpatrick, Jaylen Smith), Nebraska (Stanley Morgan Jr., JD Spielman), North Texas (Jalen Guyton, Michael Lawrence), Oklahoma (Marquise Brown, CeeDee Lamb), Toledo (Diontae Johnson, Cody Thompson) and West Virginia (Gary Jennings Jr., Sills).

Three conferences totaled seven players apiece, the ACC, Big 12 and MAC.  That trio is followed by five each from Conference USA and four apiece for the AAC, Pac-12 and Sun Belt.  The Big Ten and Mountain West each placed three.

Below is the complete list of 2018 Biletnikoff Award preseason watch listers:

JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Stanford
Tyre Brady, Marshall
A.J. Brown, Ole Miss
Marquise Brown, Oklahoma
Trevon Brown, East Carolina
Ryan Davis, Auburn
Greg Dortch, Wake Forest
Terren Encalade, Tulane
Dez Fitzpatrick, Louisville
James Gardner, Miami-Ohio
Jonathan Giles, LSU
Marcus Green, ULM
Jalen Guyton, North Texas
Emanuel Hall, Missouri
Justin Hall, Ball State
Kelvin Harmon, North Carolina State
N’Keal Harry, Arizona State
Penny Hart, Georgia State
Justin Hobbs, Tulsa
Andy Isabella, Massachusetts
Gary Jennings Jr., West Virginia
Anthony Johnson, Buffalo
Collin Johnson, Texas
Diontae Johnson, Toledo
KeeSean Johnson, Fresno State
CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
Michael Lawrence, North Texas
Ty Lee Middle, Tennessee
McLane Mannix, Nevada
Scott Miller, Bowling Green
Denzel Mims, Baylor
Stanley Morgan Jr., Nebraska
Kanawai Noa, California
James Proche, SMU
T.J. Rahming, Duke
Ahmmon Richards, Miami
Deebo Samuel, South Carolina
David Sills V, West Virginia
Steven Sims Jr., Kansas
Jaylen Smith, Louisville
Kwadarrius Smith, Akron
JD Spielman, Nebraska
Cody Thompson, Toledo
John Ursua, Hawaii
Teddy Veal, Louisiana Tech
Jamarius Way, South Alabama
Nick Westbrook, Indiana
Vic Wharton III, California
Malcolm Williams, Coastal Carolina
Olamide Zaccheaus, Virginia

Maxwell Award watch list highlighted by Bryce Love, Jonathan Taylor, Khalil Tate, McKenzie Milton

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The height of watch list season is upon us as the new week begins. The Maxwell Football Club got things kicked off this week with the release of the Maxwell Award and Bednarik Award watch lists. Among the many names appearing on the organization’s watch list for its player of the year award are semifinalists from last year’s award; Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts, Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate, Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, Stanford running back Bryce Love, UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton and Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor.

Alabama landed three players on the watch list, with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and running back Damien Harris also joining Hurts on the watch list. Other players who played for the College Football Playoff participants last season include Clemson’s Christian Wilkins, Kelly Bryant, and Travis Etienne, Georgia’s Jake Fromm and D’Andre Swift,  Oklahoma’s Rodney Anderson and Kyler Murray.

Last year’s Maxwell Award winner was Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield. The Big Ten currently has the longest drought without a Maxwell Award winner among the power conferences. Penn State’s Larry Johnson was the last Big Ten player to win the award, doing so in 2002.

Here is this year’s watch list for the Maxwell Award:

RB Cam Akers, Florida State
RB Darius Anderson, TCU
RB Rodney Anderson, Oklahoma
RB Alex Barnes, Kansas State
RB KirVonte Benson, Georgia Tech
QB Jake Bentley, South Carolina
DE Nick Bosa, Ohio State
WR A.J. Brown, Ole Miss
RB Spencer Brown, UAB
QB Jake Browning, Washington
QB Kelly Bryant, Clemson
RB Stephen Carr, USC
QB KJ Costello, Stanford
RB AJ Dillon, Boston College
RB J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State
QB Eric Dungey, Syracuse
RB Travis Etienne, Clemson
QB Caleb Evans, ULM
QB Mason Fine, North Texas
QB Ryan Finley, N.C. State
QB Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State
QB Deondre Francois, Florida State
QB Jake Fromm, Georgia
QB Ty Gangi, Nevada
WR James Gardner, Miami (Ohio)
RB Myles Gaskin, Washington
RB James Gilbert, Ball State
QB Will Grier, West Virginia
QB Justice Hansen, Arkansas State
RB Damien Harris, Alabama
WR N'Keal Harry, Arizona State
RB Darrell Henderson, Memphis
QB Justin Herbert, Oregon
RB Karan Higdon, Michigan
RB Justice Hill, Oklahoma State
RB Travis Homer, Miami
QB Jalen Hurts, Alabama
QB Josh Jackson, Virginia Tech
WR Anthony Johnson, Buffalo
RB Ty Johnson, Maryland
QB Daniel Jones, Duke
RB Xavier Jones, SMU
RB Patrick Laird, California
QB Brian Lewerke, Michigan State
QB Drew Lock, Missouri
RB Bryce Love, Stanford
QB TaQuon Marshall, Georgia Tech
QB Marcus McMaryion, Fresno State
QB Trace McSorley, Penn State
QB McKenzie Milton, UCF
QB Steven Montez, Colorado
RB David Montgomery, Iowa State
RB Jalin Moore, Appalachian State
RB Zack Moss, Utah
QB Kyler Murray, Oklahoma
QB Frank Nutile, Temple
DT Ed Oliver, Houston
QB Shea Patterson, Michigan
QB Malcolm Perry, Navy
WR Tony Pollard, Memphis
WR Ahmmon Richards, Miami
QB Armani Rogers, UNLV
QB Nathan Rourke, Ohio
QB Brett Rypien, Boise State
WR Deebo Samuel, South Carolina
RB LJ Scott, Michigan State
QB Kyle Shurmur, Vanderbilt
WR David Sills, West Virginia
RB Devin Singletary, Florida Atlantic
RB Rodney Smith, Minnesota
RB Benny Snell, Kentucky
QB Nathan Stanley, Iowa
QB Jarrett Stidham, Auburn
QB Brent Stockstill, Middle Tennessee
RB D’Andre Swift, Georgia
QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
QB Khalil Tate, Arizona
RB Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
QB Clayton Thorson, Northwestern
RB Juwan Washington, San Diego State
DT Christian Wilkins, Clemson
QB Manny Wilkins, Arizona State
RB Trayveon Williams, Texas A&M
QB Brandon Wimbush, Notre Dame
RB Darnell Woolfolk, Army