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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

Number of players who have left Nebraska football team since Scott Frost was hired now at 10

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Even as summer camp is under a month away from kicking off, the attrition in Lincoln isn’t easing up.

As noted by the Lincoln Journal Star, a pair of tight ends, junior Matt Snyder and sophomore David Engelhaupt, are no longer listed on Nebraska’s updated online roster. A school spokesperson subsequently confirmed that the pair are no longer a part of the Cornhuskers football program, although no reason or reasons for their departures were given.

Neither player caught a pass during their time with the ‘Huskers. Snyder was a three-star member of NU’s 2015 recruiting class, while Engelhaupt was a two-star signee in 2016.

Including Engelhaupt and Snyder, a total of 10 Cornhuskers players have left the program since Scott Frost was hired in December of last year.  The other eight are offensive lineman Bryan Brokop, wide receiver Zack Darlington (HERE) offensive lineman Michael Decker (HERE), linebacker Willie Hampton (HERE), fullback Ben Miles (HERE), quarterback Patrick O’Brien (HERE), inside linebacker Andrew Ward (HERE) and wide receiver Keyan Williams (HERE).  Eight of those 10 transferred, while one of the remaining two, Decker, retired from football and the other, Darlington, joined the Army.

By the Journal Star‘s count, NU now has 83 scholarship players, two below the NCAA-mandated 85-man limit.

Nebraska transfer Keyan Williams lands at Ball State

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A little over two weeks after leaving the Big Ten, Keyan Williams has landed in the MAC.

Williams revealed on his personal Twitter account late Tuesday morning that he has committed to continuing his collegiate playing career at Ball State.  The wide receiver had announced on the same social media website May 14 that he would be transferring from Nebraska.

As Williams is leaving the Cornhuskers as a graduate transfer, he’ll be eligible to play immediately in 2018 for the Cardinals.  The upcoming season will be the receiver’s final year of eligibility.

This will mark the third school for which Williams has played.

After beginning his collegiate career at Fresno State, Williams transferred to Nebraska after the 2015 season to join his father, Cornhuskers’ wide receivers coach Kevin Williams, in Lincoln. Mike Riley and his entire coaching, the elder Williams included, were fired at the end of the 2017 season.

Williams caught seven passes for 34 yards during his time with the Bulldogs. He sat out the 2016 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules, then caught just one pass for 19 yards for the Cornhuskers this past season. That lone reception came in the 42-point, season-ending loss to Iowa that served as the final nail in Riley’s coaching coffin in Lincoln.

Andrew Ward becomes latest Nebraska player to announce plans to transfer

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Everybody figured that Scott Frost’s arrival with a new way of doing things in Lincoln would prompt a few transfers out of the program but the latest name to leave Nebraska is on the defensive side of the ball as linebacker Andrew Ward became the latest name to announce a transfer after just a year with the Cornhuskers.

As Ward mentions in his post, he was originally recruited to the school by the prior coaching staff under Mike Riley. He redshirted as a freshman in 2017 and seemed to fall down the pecking order at his position during spring practice. Originally from Michigan, the linebacker was rated as a three-star coming out of high school according to 247Sports and held offers from Penn State and Virginia Tech among others.

Ward adds to the growing list of roster turnover this offseason for the Cornhuskers. Also on Saturday it was confirmed that center Michael Decker was retiring from football, while wideout Kenyan Williams, fullback Ben Miles, quarterback Patrick O’Brien, and receiver Zack Darlington all announced intentions to leave the program.

Two Nebraska players hospitalized following workouts, since released

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The term “rhabdomyolysis” has entered the college football discussion yet again.

New Nebraska head coach Scott Frost confirmed to the Lincoln Journal Star Tuesday morning that two of his Cornhuskers football players were hospitalized recently and treated for rhabdomyolysis following a winter workout.  The two players involved were wide receiver Tyjon Lindsey (pictured) and defensive lineman Dylan Owen, the former who was hospitalized for three days and the latter two.

Both have since been released from the hospital.

“Anything that happens in our program is ultimately my responsibility,” Frost said. “Our strength coach and training room were coordinating to do absolutely the best they could to make sure the transition went smooth, but two kids that exerted themselves too far…

“I want to make sure people understand that the health of our players is always going to be our primary concern. It’s been kind of a scary deal and both kids are doing fine now.”

The Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group describes rhabdomyolysis thusly:

Rhabdomyolysis is defined as “a degeneration of muscle cells and is characterized by a group of conditions including muscle pain, tenderness, weakness, and swelling; myoglobinuria (presence of myoglobin in the urine); and increased levels of sarcoplasmic (muscle) proteins and other muscle constituents in the blood.”

“One of the proteins released from damaged muscle cells is myoglobin. High levels of myoglobin in the blood (myoglobinemia) result in a “spill over” of myoglobin into the urine (myoglobinuria). In certain situations, myoglobin can precipitate in the kidneys and cause renal failure.”

“Equally dangerous can be the leakage of potassium into the bloodstream, which under certain circumstances can interfere with propagation of the heartbeat. Another danger is posed by the possible leakage of excessive calcium into the cell, creating a state of hypocalcemia in the bloodstream, which can lead to irregular heartbeat, muscle spasms, and other symptoms.

In June of 2011, a dozen Iowa football players were hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis for various lengths of time following a workout.  A year ago at this time, several Oregon football players were hospitalized as well with the same issue.