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Semi-finalists for Ray Guy Award announced, but missing last year’s winner

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Who is the best punter in the land? According to the Ray Guy Award, there are now 10 players left in the running for that title in the 2019 season.

This year’s semi-finalists for the Ray Guy Award are Oscar Bradburn (Virginia Tech), Joseph Charlton (South Carolina), Max Duffy (Kentucky), Tyson Dyer (New Mexico), Sterling Hofrichter (Syracuse), Adam Korsak (Rutgers), Dane Roy (Houston), Tommy Townsend (Florida), Michael Turk (Arizona State), Owen White (Navy).

Somehow, last year’s winner, Texas A&M’s Braden Mann, didn’t make the cut. Mann is third in the nation in punting average (48.21 yards per punt). Not exactly sure how that happened, but there will be a new Ray Guy Award winner this season as a result of this slip form the award’s committee.

Four finalists named for 2019 Paul Hornung Award

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The field for the award that fetes the nation’s most versatile college football player has been whittled down significantly.

Earlier Thursday, the Louisville Sports Commission announced the four finalists for the 2019 Paul Hornung Award that have been chosen by the 17-member selection committee.  And (surprise!), all four of the finalists come from Power Five conferences: Lynn Bowden Jr. (Kentucky), Clyde Edwards-Helaire (LSU), Joe Reed (Virginia) and Wan’Dale Robinson (Nebraska).

All four of the finalists come from the offensive side of the ball and have spent time as return specialists as well.  Because of injuries at the position, Bowden, listed as a wide receiver to start the season, has started the last three games at quarterback for UK, with the Wildcats going 2-1 in that span.

Reed is primarily a wide receiver and Edwards-Helaire a running back, while Robinson has split his time between both positions.

The 2018 winner of the Hornung Award was Purdue’s Rondale Moore, who likely would’ve been given serious finalist consideration again this year if not for his season essentially being derailed by a lingering hamstring injury.

For all of the statistical particulars for each candidate, click HERE the award’s press release:

 

Auburn transfer QB Joey Gatewood to reportedly visit Kentucky, Florida, LSU, Mississippi State

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Not long after saying his goodbyes on the way out of the door from The Plains, Joey Gatewood is taking the next step on his college football journey.

First reported by Kentucky Sports Radio and subsequently confirmed by 247Sports.com, Gatewood will visit the Kentucky campus this weekend as UK plays host to Tennessee Saturday.  According to the latter website, Wildcats tight ends coach/recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow paid the quarterback an in-person visit last week that paved the way for this weekend’s visit.

Florida, LSU and Mississippi State are also reportedly in the mix as well.

A four-star 2018 signee, Gatewood was rated as the No. 9 player at any position in the state of Florida and the No. 49 recruit overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board. The Jacksonville product was the highest-rated signee in the Tigers’ class that year.

After redshirting as a true freshman — and after losing out on the starting job to five-star 2019 signee Bo Nix — Gatewood had thrown for 54 yards and two touchdowns this season prior to his decision to leave Auburn, adding another 148 yards and three scores on the ground.

Barring something unexpected, Gatewood will likely have to sit out the 2020 season.  That would then leave him with two years of eligibility he can use beginning in 2021.

Rumors swirling connecting Bob Stoops to Florida State job

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If one report is to be believed, a Stoops could indeed be set to take over in Tallahassee, just not the one who’s been bandied about of late.

In the hours after Willie Taggart was ousted as the head coach at Florida State, speculation surfaced that Mark Stoops, a former defensive coordinator for the Seminoles (2010-12), could leave Kentucky to take the same job at FSU.  Monday night, however, a report from NoleGameday.com had the athletic department identifying Mark Stoops’ older brother, Bob Stoops, “as the top target in the coaching search.”

Another report late Monday night went a step further, claiming “that a deal is really close to being done” and that the 59-year-old Stoops would keep Taggart’s two coordinators, grooming one of them as the head coach-in-waiting.  From WTXL-TV:

Bob Stoops could become the next head coach of Florida State football in the near future, according to sources. We’ve heard the announcement could come as early as the end of this week or early next week…

Along with Stoops taking over as head coach, sources said that Kendal Briles will remain on staff as offensive coordinator, while Jim Leavitt would be retained as defensive coordinator. The source went on to say that with keeping Briles on staff as offensive coordinator, it could turn into a head coach in waiting role. Stoops is 59, would want to groom a successor before he retires.

A source with knowledge of the situation wouldn’t directly address the reports, but did say the “brakes need to be tapped on the speculation.” The Athletic‘s Bruce Feldman added further context to the overnight developments.

In June of 2017, Stoops stunned the college football world by stepping down as the head coach at Oklahoma at the age of 56.

In his 18 seasons with that program, he guided the Sooners to a 190-48 record.  After a 7-5 first season, OU won 10-plus games in 14 of the next 17 seasons.  The Sooners won 11 games six times — including what turned out to be the last two seasons of Stoops’ tenure — 12 games five times and 13 games once.

Stoops won 10 Big 12 championships, including nine outright, during his time in Norman.  His 2000 squad won the lone national title of his tenure, going unbeaten in 13 games and capping the championship season with a 13-2 win over Florida State in the Orange Bowl.  That was the Sooners’ first since 1985.

Earlier this year, Stoops, whose name has been connected to Auburn (HERE) and Ohio State (HERE) since his retirement, was named as the head coach and general manager of the Dallas XFL franchise.

Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops prefers not to address FSU rumors

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With Florida State now officially looking for a new head coach after firing Willie Taggart on Sunday, Kentucky’s Mark Stoops has quickly been tabbed a potential candidate. Given his ties to the Seminoles, it makes sense why Stoops, who has achieved success at Kentucky relative to the overall history of Kentucky football, would be a potential target for filling the vacancy in Tallahassee, however, Stoops is already trying to keep this speculation from being any type of distraction as he focuses on his job in Lexington.

It’s something that you don’t really want to address in season,” Stoops said when meeting with the media at his Monday press conference. Of course, he is flattered and takes the speculation as a bit of a compliment for the work he is currently doing with Kentucky. “It’s better than the alternative.”

Stoops is in his seventh season as head coach of the Wildcats. Although Kentucky is sitting at 4-4 at the moment, the program is coming off a historic 2018 season that saw Kentucky win 10 games for the first time since 1977, and for just the third time in program history. Kentucky has had three consecutive winning seasons under Stoops and is looking for its fourth straight winning season, a feat accomplished twice by the program since 1957.

Besides, if Florida State is going to swing for the fences to hire a Stoops, maybe the more likely target would be former Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops, who is currently preparing to coach in the resurrected XFL. There has been no indication the former national championship coach of the Sooners is interested in the Florida State job, or any job outside the XFL at this time, but Florida State is the kind of job with some great potential that could lure some good quality coaching candidates to the job despite recent down seasons.