2020 NFL Draft
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Official number of early entrants in 2020 NFL Draft is 115

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There is an update when it comes to the 2020 NFL Draft and early entrants.

Over the weekend, we noted that the unofficial count of early entrants for the 2020 NFL Draft was sitting at 111.  Tuesday, the NFL released the official number: 115.  Of those, 99 were granted special eligibility (players three years removed from high school) and 16 who have already graduated but have collegiate eligibility remaining.

While 115 is certainly a large number, it’s far from the record.  Last year, a whopping 135 players left early for the 2019 NFL Draft, 32 of which had already graduated.  In 2018, the number was 119.

Prior to 2018, the record was 98 who left for the 2014 draft.  The next three years saw 84 (2015), 96 (2016) and 95 (2017) early entrants into the respective drafts.

The SEC, yet again, lost more than any other conferences, with 35 players from that conference leaving eligibility on the table.  The Big Ten was a distant second with 21.  With 13 apiece, the ACC and Pac-12 were the only other leagues in double digits.

  • Big 12, eight
  • Mountain West, seven
  • AAC, five
  • Conference USA, four
  • Independents, three
  • Sun Belt, one

The MAC was the only FBS conference to not lose a player early to the 2020 NFL Draft.  Five of the early entrants came from a lower level of football.

As for individual schools, LSU lost the most with nine, followed by Alabama’s six and Georgia’s five.  Iowa and Texas A&M both lost four apiece.  With three, Boise State and Temple lost the most among Group of Five schools.

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

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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.)

No. 1 2021 QB who decommitted from Oklahoma commits to Georgia

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Oklahoma’s loss will apparently turn into a big gain for the Georgia Bulldogs football program.

In June of 2019, Brock Vandagriff, the top quarterback in the Class of 2021, committed to Oklahoma.  A little over six months later, the Georgia high schooler announced on Twitter that he had decided to decommit from the Sooners.

On Twitter Tuesday morning, Vandagriff tweeted he’s “staying home,” committing to play for the Georgia Bulldogs football team.  Athens is less than 20 miles from the Prince Avenue Christian School product’s home in Bogart, Ga.

“These last couple of months have brought to my attention how hard it is going to be for me to attend college so far away from home,” Vandagriff wrote in decommitting from OU earlier this month.

Prior to this announcement, Vandagriff had visited the UGA campus each of the past two weekends.

Not only is Vandagriff the No. 1 pro-style quarterback in the Class of 2021, he’s also the No. 1 player at any position in the state of Georgia and the No. 8 recruit overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board.

Prior to committing to Oklahoma last summer, Georgia was also one of six finalists that included Auburn, Clemson, Florida and Tennessee.  In the end, though, being close to home was a big piece of Vandagriff’s recruiting puzzle.

From DawgNation.com:

Oklahoma was a great fit given his skill set. Now toss in Lincoln Riley and his reputation for building up No. 1 draft choices-slash-Heisman winners at that position. It made a lot of sense.

Except when Thanksgiving and Christmas rolled around this past year. Those family ties tugged at his heart. He couldn’t sleep and found himself praying it.

“My Dad and I, we talked and stuff,” Brock Vandagriff said. “We are kind of sacrificing the best fit for me just for some other things that are priorities now.”

Ex-Browns OC, Southern Miss HC Todd Monken reportedly hired at Georgia

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Kirby Smart has heard Georgia football fans’ complaints about the team’s offense and appears to be making moves to fix the issues on that side of the ball in Athens.

According to multiple reports on Friday, the program is set to hire recent Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Todd Monken for a role on the offensive staff. While it’s not known if that will include some sort of co-offensive coordinator title, UGASports.com says that he will assume play-calling from current Bulldogs OC James Coley.

Monken has extensive experience in both the NFL and college football, having left as head coach of Southern Miss to serve as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator in 2016. He’s highly regarded for his development of wide receivers over the years and also has stints at LSU, Oklahoma State and Louisiana Tech among other stops.

Bringing in Monken should help juice a Georgia team that was 49th in FBS last season in scoring offense. It also forms a nice one-two pairing in recent days between him and Wake Forest transfer quarterback Jamie Newman both joining the team. While we don’t know how much the latter knew about the former before his decision, it nevertheless has resulted in quite the overhaul on the offensive side of the ball this month.

The combo of Newman, Monken and a host of four- and five-star skill players is still no guarantee of success after a very interesting offseason in Athens but it’s hard to deny that the reigning SEC East champs didn’t address some of their big structural issues going into 2020 in the past week. Whether that still makes them the division pick this summer over a surging Florida team remains to be seen but it definitely amps up competition in a league where there is no shortage of it on or off the field.

Either way, it should make for an even more intriguing opener against Virginia on Labor Day at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

College football title odds have Clemson as way-too-early 2020 favorite

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You say the corpse of the 2019 college football season isn’t even cold yet, and we’re already looking ahead to 2020 when it comes to title odds?  We say of course we are.  Because that’s how we roll.  Or something.

Monday night, in New Orleans appropriately enough, LSU landed its magic carpet ride of a 2019 season in seemingly the only way possible, overwhelming Clemson with waves of offensive talent to claim the College Football Playoff championship.  The video game that was Joe Burrow, wobbly early on, righted itself in the romp, with the Heisman Trophy winner setting the single-season record for touchdown passes en route to the ever-elusive ring.

The reality that will set in a day or two from now?  Burrow has played his last down in a Tigers uniform, with the senior expected to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.  Burrow’s counterpart on the night, Trevor Lawrence, will return to Clemson for one more season before he’s expected to be the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

As such, the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook has installed Clemson as a way-too-early 9/4 favorite to win the 2020 national championship.  LSU, meanwhile, sits at 8/1.

A year ago at this time?  Clemson, the reigning national champions, was at 7/2, behind Alabama at 3/2.  And LSU?  They were at 50/1 on Jan. 8, 2019.

This year, between Clemson and LSU, Ohio State comes in at an initial 3/1 and Alabama, which will be replacing Tua Tagovailoa, at 6/1.  Georgia’s odds are at 8/1 as well.

Of those five teams, just two — Clemson (Lawrence) and Ohio State (Justin Fields) — will return their starting quarterback.

At 14/1, Florida is the only other team in that neighborhood.  Six others start off at 30/1 — Auburn, Oklahoma, Oregon, Notre Dame, Penn State and Texas A&M.

And as for the Group of Five? At 1,000/1, Houston has the highest odds.