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Justin Fields, Chuba Hubbard headline Maxwell Award preseason watch list

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#WatchListSZN continues unabated, with the Maxwell Award next up on the preseason junket.

Friday morning, the Maxwell Award announced its preseason watch list consisting of 90 college football players from across the country.  Presently annually to the Collegiate Player of the Year, the Maxwell Award is one of the oldest and most prestigious in the sport.

None of the three finalists from a year ago, LSU quarterback and 2019 winner Joe Burrow, Ohio State defensive end Chase Young and Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts, are on this year’s watch list.  Burrow and Young, incidentally, went 1-2 in the 2020 NFL Draft.  There are, however, six semifinalists from a year ago.

The Big Ten leads all conferences with 15 watch listers, followed by the ACC (14) and SEC (13).  The AAC and Mountain West, with nine apiece, have the most for Group of Five leagues.  And the other Power Fives?  The Pac-12 posted eight, the Big 12 seven.

Four individual schools, Alabama, Indiana, Louisville and Memphis, had three players apiece on the preseason watch list.  Another 11 have two each: Auburn, Boise State, Clemson, Florida State, LSU, Minnesota, Mississippi State, Ohio State, Oregon, Penn State and SMU.

Below is the complete preseason watch list for the 2020 Maxwell Award.

College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history, including Johnny Manziel leaving Manning Passing Academy and denying his illness was a hangover

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The sports world, including college football, had essentially screeched to a halt in the spring as countries around the world battled the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there was a dearth of college football news as the sport went into a COVID-induced hibernation.  Slowly, though, the game is coming back to life.  Hopefully.

That being said, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives that stretch back to 2009 and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on July 14, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this college football down-time, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: Conference USA athletic directors have reportedly discussed trading schools with other leagues
THE SYNOPSIS: Most notably, this would’ve involved a realignment that included the Sun Belt Conference.  In the midst of the pandemic, chatter over some sort realignment between the two Group of Fives is still bubbling.

2017

THE HEADLINE: Oregon dismisses star WR Darren Carrington two weeks after DUII arrest
THE SYNOPSIS: This was a significant blow to the Ducks offense.  The year before, Carrington’s 606 yards receiving last year were tops on the team, while his five receiving touchdowns were tied for first.  His 43 catches were second on the team. Carrington subsequently moved on to Utah. After one season with the Utes, Carrington went undrafted.  He signed with Dallas in August of 2018.

2016

THE HEADLINE: Reports of Tom Herman meeting with Baylor labeled ‘completely ridiculous and absolutely false’
THE SYNOPSIS: Then the head coach at Houston, Herman was mentioned as a possible replacement for the disgraced Art Briles.  The Bears job, though, ultimately went to Matt Rhule.  Herman, meanwhile, took the head job at Texas four months later.

2014

THE HEADLINE: CFP unveils new title trophy
THE SYNOPSIS: The College Football Playoff replaced the BCS starting with the 2014 campaign.

2014

THE HEADLINE: Will Muschamp faces hot-seat talk head-on
THE SYNOPSIS: With a 6-5 record at the time, Muschamp was fired by Florida with a game left in the 2014 regular season. A little over a year later, South Carolina hired the Auburn defensive coordinator as its head coach.

2013

THE HEADLINE: Johnny Manziel leaves Manning Academy early; camp denies report of hangover
THE SYNOPSIS: Johnny Football, y’all!

2011

THE HEADLINE: Georgia Tech to vacate ’09 ACC title, placed on four years probation
THE SYNOPSIS: The sanctions revolved around college football players receiving impermissible benefits.

2010

THE HEADLINE: Vandy’s Bobby Johnson retires from coaching; Robbie Caldwell named interim coach
THE SYNOPSIS: That move opened the door for “turkey inseminating crew” to enter the college football lexicon.

2009

THE HEADLINE: Arkansas St. CB Shot, Booted From Team
THE SYNOPSIS: Get shot AND dismissed?  That’s a rough day.  Of course, Paul Stephens was shot while allegedly burglarizing a residence, so there’s that.

North Texas gets commitment from Purdue transfer Jordan Rucker

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North Texas is seeing a native son come back home to its football team.

Back in May, Jordan Rucker announced on Twitter that he took the first step in leaving Purdue by entering the NCAA transfer database.  A little over a month later, the defensive back took to the same social media service to announce his commitment to North Texas football.

Rucker played his high school football in the city of Denton, home of the Mean Green.

“It’s been a long process but I am more than happy to say I will be transferring back home balling for North Texas!!” Rucker wrote. “IM COMING HOME.”

Rucker was a three-star member of the Purdue football Class of 2018.  The Texas native took a redshirt as a true freshman.  This past season, he appeared in five games as a reserve.  He didn’t record any statistics in that limited action.

Rucker will have to sit out the 2020 season as he’s moving on to another FBS school.  After that, the cornerback will have two years of eligibility at his disposal.

North Texas is coming off a 4-8 2019 football campaign.  It was the program’s worst since a one-win 2015 season.  Following the end of the regular season, head coach Seth Littrell fired his coordinators on both sides of the ball.

NCAA Council formally approves six-week preseason model for football, which will begin July 13 for teams that start season Sept. 5

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The NCAA is proceeding with a significant step toward prepping for the 2020 college football season.

Earlier this month, it was confirmed that the NCAA Div. I Oversight Committee was crafting a plan that would shape the path college football programs would take to prepare for the upcoming season.  Last week, the NCAA announced that it has finalized its proposal for a preseason model for the sport.  However, the plan still needed the approval of the NCAA Division I Council.

Thursday, that expected thumbs-up came to fruition as the council has approved what will essentially be a six-week preseason for college football.  The NCAA writes that, “[a]ssuming a first game on Sept. 5, the model begins summer access activities July 13 and adds meetings and walk-throughs July 24.  Preseason practice begins Aug. 7.” Schools that open the seasoning Week 0 (Aug. 29), all of the dates would get seven days subtracted from them.  It’s unclear if teams whose first games are Sept. 3 will follow the Sept. 5 model or not.

The activities mentioned do not include the ongoing voluntary on-campus workouts.

As for the particulars?  The NCAA referred to its previous release as a guideline:

… student-athletes may be required to participate in up to eight hours of weight training, conditioning and film review per week (not more than two hours of film review per week) from July 13-23.

Then, from July 24 through Aug. 6, student-athletes may be required to participate in up to 20 hours of countable athletically related activities per week (not more than four hours per day) as follows:

— Up to eight hours per week for weight training and conditioning.
— Up to six hours per week for walk-throughs, which may include the use of a football.
— Up to six hours per week for meetings, which may include film review, team meetings, position meetings, one-on-one meetings, etc.
— During this 14-day period, student-athletes are required to get at least two days off.

The model does not make any adjustments to the legislated 29-day preseason practice period. In the previous example, the school’s preseason practice period would begin Aug. 7 with a five-day acclimatization period, followed by the opportunity for up to 25 on-field practices.

Hawaii confirms addition of North Texas transfer WR Rico Bussey Jr.

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Hawaii has officially added some Group of Five talent to its football roster.

In February, North Texas’ Rico Bussey Jr. made his way into the NCAA transfer database.  Three months later, the wide receiver used his Twitter machine to announce he is headed to the Hawaii football team.

Tuesday, Hawaii confirmed Bussey’s addition to the football team.

Bussey will be eligible to play for the Hawaii football team in 2020.  This will be the receiver’s final season of eligibility.

A torn ACL prematurely ended Bussey’s 2019 campaign in mid-September last year.  Because he played in four or fewer games, he was able to take a redshirt.  That saves a year of eligibility that he’ll now use at the Mountain West Conference school.

Two seasons ago, Bussey led the Mean Green in receptions (68), receiving yards (1,017) and receiving touchdowns (12).  Prior to the serious knee injury in 2019, Bussey had 150 yards and a touchdown on five catches this year.

All told, Bussey accounted for 1,941 yard and 21 touchdowns on 128 receptions during his time in Denton.  He also returned a pair of kickoffs for a combined 78 yards.

Bussey was a two-star member of the Class of 2016 for UNT.  The Oklahoma native was rated as the No. 32 player regardless of position in the Sooner State.

Bussey will be coming to a Hawaii football team that will be under new management. In mid-January, Nick Rolovich left to take over for Mike Leach at Washington State. A week later, Todd Graham was named as Rolovich’s replacement.

Hawaii football is coming off its best season since 2010. Included in a 10-win season was the program’s first appearance in the Mountain West Conference championship game.  Of course, that appearance ended in a loss to Boise State.