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Marvin Wilson one of 42 players on the Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List

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It was quite the eventful day for Marvin Wilson, and the Lott IMPACT Trophy merely added to it.

Thursday, the Lott IMPACT Trophy announced its 2020 preseason watch list.  Included in that 42-person group are 16 linebackers, 15 defensive backs and 11 defensive linemen.

According to the award’s release, the Big Ten and the ACC both have nine candidates while the Pac-12 has eight, the SEC seven, the Big 12 five, the Mountain West two, the AAC one and one independent, Notre Dame.

Defending national champion LSU is the only school to claim more than one Lott IMPACT Trophy watch lister.

Before we get to the individual players involved, a quick tutorial on what exactly the award, named in honor of the great Ronnie Lott, stands for both on and off the field:

Not only does this award honor defensive excellence on the field but the player who most represents the qualities of the honor’s namesake, former USC All-American Ronnie Lott, off of it — Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.

Now, for the 2020 Lott IMPACT Trophy watch listers.  As described by the group responsible for overseeing the Lott Impact Trophy:

Paulson Adebo, Stanford, CB, 6-1, 192, Mansfield, TX: Eight career interceptions in two seasons; All-American (second team) as a sophomore; All Pac-12 last year; Academic All-State in high school; Speaks French.

CARLOS “BOOGIE” BASHAM JR., DL, Wake Forest, 6-5, 275, Roanoke, VA: All-ACC selection; Led conference with 18 tackles for losses; 11 sacks.

TERREL BERNARD, Baylor, LB, 6-1, 222, La Porte, TX: All-Big 12 pick; All-Academic Big 12; 59 tackles, 9.5 tackles for losses, three fumble recoveries.

DICAPRIO BOOTLE, Nebraska, CB-S, 5-10, 195, Miami, FL: Academic All-Big Ten; All-Big Ten 3rd team; Nebraska Citizenship Team; Scholar Athlete; Community Involvement; Grad student.

K.J. Britt, Auburn, LB, 6-0, 230, Oxford, AL: All-SEC player; 69 tackles, 10 for losses; SEC Student-Athlete Leadership Council; SEC Academic Honor Roll, majoring in supply chain management.

Andre Cisco, Syracuse, S, 6-0, 203, Valley Stream, NY: Has 12 career interceptions in two seasons, most among active players; All-ACC last two years; All-American teams as a frosh; All-ACC Honor Roll.

Kuony Deng, Cal, LB, 6-6, 245, Aldie, VA: 119 tackles last season, (3rd in the Pac-12), 7.5 tackles for losses; 16 tackles in one game vs. Utah; Honorable Mention all-conference.

Victor Dimukeje, Duke, DE, 6-2, 265, Baltimore, MD: 122 career tackles, 24.5 career tackles for losses; majoring in evolutionary anthropology while pursuing a certificate in markets and management.

Paddy Fisher, Northwestern, LB, 6-4, 246, Katy, TX: Academic All-Big Ten; Three times All-Big Ten honors on the field; 318 career tackles; Freshman All-American when he had 113 tackles.

Justin Foster, Clemson, DE, 6-2, 265, Shelby, NC: Academic All-ACC; Honorable Mention All-ACC; 41 tackles, 10.5 for losses; 17.5 career tackles for losses.

Chauncey Golston, Iowa, DE-DT, 6-5, 270, Detroit, MI: 47 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, three fumble recoveries; High School honor society.

RICHIE GRANT, UCF, DB, 6-0, 194, Fort Walton Beach, FL: Academic All-American in 2017; six interceptions as a sophomore; 209 career tackles.

TALANOA HUFANGA, USC, S, 6-1, 220, Corvallis, OR: All-Pac-12 second team; 141 career tackles; 11 career tackles for losses; Junior.

Patrick Jones II, Pitt, DL, 6-5, 260, Chesapeake, VA: Earned status as one of the top defensive ends in the ACC…started all 13 games and compiled 43 tackles, 12 TFLs, 8.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and 18 QB hurries…led the Panthers in TFLs (tied), forced fumbles and hurries, while ranking second in sacks…paced the ACC and ranked sixth nationally with an average of 0.31 forced fumbles per contest…All-ACC (second team).

KEKAULA KANIHO, Boise State, DB, 5-10, 185, Kahuku, HI: Academic All-American with 3.93 grade point average; All-Mountain West performer; Has 20.5 tackles for loss, 19 passes defended and five interceptions in his career.

George Karlaftis, Purdue, DE, 6-4, 265, West Lafayette, IN: Big freshman season last year with 17 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks; Named 2nd team All-Big Ten.

CALEB KELLY, Oklahoma, LB, 6-3, 234, Fresno, CA: Chosen to AFCA Good Works team I 2018; Missed most of 2019 with injury; Grad student.

QUINTEN LAKE, UCLA, DB, 6-1, 193, Irvine, CA: Son of former Bruin All-American Carnell Lake; Three times on Athletic Director’s Academic Honor Roll; Injured most of 2019; Attended Mater Dei High School.

Nate Landman, Colorado, LB, 6-3, 230, Danville, CA: All-Pac-12 selection after 83-tackle season; Has 160 career tackles; On Lott Watch List previously.

RICHARD LECOUNTE, Georgia, S, 5-11, 190, Riceboro, GA: Had two interceptions in Sugar Bowl win over Baylor; four interceptions for the season; 75 tackles as a sophomore led team, 61 tackles last year; Voted most improved defensive player in 2019.

DEMONTE MEEKS, Air Force, LB, 6-1, 235, Maple Heights, OH: 98 tackles led the team, 9 tackles for losses; Majoring in civil engineering with minor in Portuguese.

Dimitri Moore, Vanderbilt, LB, 6-3, 230, Cedar Hill, TX: Led team with 99 tackles; SEC Academic Honor Roll; Pianist.

Dylan Moses, Alabama, LB, 6-3, 235, Baton Rouge, LA: One of the top recruits in the nation in 2017; Led Tide with 86 tackles in 2018 season; Had 10 tackles for losses; All-SEC second team; 2nd team All-American; Butkus Finalist as a sophomore; Injured and missed all of last season; Pre-season All-American for 2020.

Israel Mukuamu, South Carolina, CB, 6-4, 205, Bossier City, LA: All-SEC (2nd team); 45 tackles, four interceptions, 13 passes defended; SEC Academic Honor Roll.

AMEN OGBONGBEMIGA, Oklahoma State, LB, 6-1, 231, Calgary, AB: Had 15.5 tackles for losses among 100 total tackles; Defensive MVP; Team Captain; Three-time Academic All-Big 12.

Levi Onwuzurike, Washington, DE, 6-3, 293, Allen, TX: CoSIDA Academic All-American District 8; Twice Academic All-Pac-12, Washington Lineman of the Year in 2019; All-Pac-12 first team; 16 career tackles for losses.

Joseph Ossai, Texas, LB, 6-4, 245, Conroe, TX: Had six tackles for loss and three sacks in Alamo Bowl win over Utah, 38-10; 90 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss in 2019; Commissioner’s Honor Roll; Wants to start a foundation to help kids coming into the country; He is from Nigeria.

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame, Rover, 6-1, 216, Hampton, VA: Can play multiple positions on defense; Had team-best 80 tackles last season with 13.5 for losses.

Micah Parsons, Penn State, LB, 6-3, 245, Harrisburg, PA: Big Ten Linebacker of the Year; All-American; 109 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 4 forced fumbles; Junior.

Kwity Paye, Michigan, DE, 6-4, 277, Providence, RI: Led Wolverines with 12.5 tackles for losses; Added 6.5 sacks; All-Big Ten (second team); Two-time All-Big Ten Academic honoree.

HAMILCAR RASHED, JR., LB, Oregon State, 6-4, 238: Led the nation with 22.5 tackles for loss last year; Has 34 tackles for loss in his career; Had 14 sacks last season and made All-Pac-12 and several All-American teams; Active in local community projects.

Gregory Rousseau, Miami, DE, 6-7, 253, Coconut Creek, FL: Pre-season All-American, Frosh All-American last year, ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year, Second-team All-American; 19.5 tackles for loss, 154.5 sacks (2nd in nation); Redshirt sophomore.

Jack Sanborn, Wisconsin, LB, 6-2, 232, Deer Park, IL: As a sophomore led the team in tackles with 80; Had 9 tackles for losses and added three interceptions.

Antjuan Simmons, Michigan State, LB, 6-0, 216, Ann Arbor, MI: Had 15 tackles for loss; team-high 90 tackles; Honorable Mention All-Big Ten.

JaCoby Stevens, LSU, S, 6-1, 228, Murfreesboro, TN: All-SEC (2nd team); 85 tackles, 8.5 for losses, 4 interceptions last year; 127 career tackles; community-oriented.

Darius Stills, West Virginia, DE, 6-1, 282, Fairmont, WV: All Big-12 performer; 47 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, seven sacks last season.

Derek Stingley Jr., LSU, CB, 6-1, 190, Baton Rouge, LA: Consensus All-American as a freshman last year; Led the SEC with six interceptions; Had 27 interceptions in high school; Grandfather Derek Stingley played for the New England Patriots and was paralyzed when tackled by Jack Tatum of the Raiders.

Tre Swilling, Georgia Tech, DB, 6-0, 200, New Orleans, LA: ACC Academic Honor Roll; Broke up 10 passes and defended 11 more, both team highs; Father Pat was an All-American at Tech and is in the College Football Hall of Fame.

Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon, LB, 6-5, 250, Los Angeles, CA: Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year in 2019; Freshman All-American; 14 tackles for loss and 9 sacks last season; 54 career sacks at Oaks Christian High School in L.A.

Shaun Wade, Ohio State, CB, 6-1, 195, Jacksonville, FL: Pre-season All-American; 3rd team All Big-Ten last year.

Garret Wallow, TCU, LB-S, 6-2, 230, New Orleans, LA: No. 9 in the nation with 125 tackles last year and No. 9 with 18.5 tackles for losses; All Big-12 first team.

MARVIN WILSON, Florida State, DL, 6-5, 310, Houston, TX; Pre-season All-American; Bednarik semi-finalist last year, All-ACC selection; Team Captain.

Notre Dame-Navy game moving from Dublin to Annapolis

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As expected, the pandemic will impact this year’s matchup between Notre Dame and Navy.

Notre Dame and Navy are scheduled to open the 2020 season Aug. 29 in Dublin, Ireland.  While there were talks about moving the game, Navy’s athletic director was confident the game would still be played as scheduled.  And where scheduled.  In late April, though, it was confirmed that, even if the game could be played in Dublin, it would likely be fan-less.

Tuesday morning, the inevitable occurred as it was announced the matchup between Notre Dame and Navy will not be played in Dublin.  Instead, it will take place in Annapolis at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

This will mark the first-ever time the rivalry game has been played at the home of the Midshipmen.

“We are obviously disappointed not to be traveling to Ireland this August,” the Navy AD, Chet Gladchuk, said in a statement. “But, as expected, our priority must be ensuring the health and safety of all involved. I am expecting that we will still be able to play Notre Dame as our season opener, but there is still much to be determined by health officials and those that govern college football at large. Once we have a definitive plan in place, we will announce the specifics pertaining to the game. I am extremely grateful to all that were involved in the planning of our game in Aviva Stadium, especially John Anthony and Padraic O’Kane who created what would have been another extraordinary event in Dublin. I realize many are disappointed and were looking forward to the spectacle of this event and a visit to the Emerald Isle, but I do know there is a complete understanding of why it’s in our best interests to make every effort to relocate the game.”

“Our student-athletes have had great experiences competing in Ireland and are very disappointed not to be returning to Dublin in 2020,” said Gladchuk’s counterpart with the Fighting Irish, Jack Swarbrick, in his statement. “The change of venue has been a very difficult decision for our colleagues at the Naval Academy, but we are in full support of their choice. We are also grateful for everything our partners in Ireland have done to make this a smooth transition. We look forward to going back to Ireland for a game in the not too distant future.”

In addition to the venue change, the date will be changed as well.  While not yet determined, it will be played Labor Day weekend on either that Saturday (Sept. 5) or Sunday (Sept. 6).

This year’s game will mark the 94th-consecutive meeting between the programs, making it the longest-continuous-intersectional rivalry in the country.

College Football Hall of Fame damaged amidst protests in Atlanta overnight

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In the wake of the murder of George Floyd, protests have erupted across the country.  Overnight, those protests hit the home for college football history.

A peaceful protest in Atlanta Friday turned violent later in the night as many numerous businesses in the city were vandalized and looted.  According to myriad media outlets, one of those that suffered damage was the College Football Hall of Fame.

Fortunately, one of the reports stated, “none of the artifacts or history memorabilia was damaged… just the glass in front of the store.” One report, though, described the hall as being “destroyed.”

“First and foremost, our hearts go out to the friends and family of George Floyd,” College Football Hall of Fame CEO Kimberly Beaudin said in a statement. “We support the peaceful protests that honor his memory but unfortunately they deteriorated into chaos and disorder. We are heartbroken to see the damage to our city and the Hall of Fame. As our Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said, we are better than this, better than this as a city, and better than this as a country.

“In the coming days and weeks, we’ll work to pick up the pieces, to build back the sacred walls that housed memories and honored those who played the game many of whom fought these same injustices throughout their storied careers.”

Stanford transfer RB Trevor Speights officially commits to Notre Dame

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Once again, Notre Dame has added a Power Five football player.  And this one has been decidedly expected.

In early JanuaryTrevor Speights became one of more than a dozen Stanford players who had entered the NCAA transfer database. A month later, it was reported that Notre Dame football was viewed as the front-runner early on in the process.

In an update earlier this week, Speights confirmed that Notre Dame is still very much in play.  As is, oddly enough, Rice.

Thursday night, Speights confirmed that, yes, he is moving on to the Notre Dame football team.

“I am thankful for my time at Stanford and for everyone who has helped me while I was there,” the back wrote on Twitter. “It has been an opportunity of a lifetime to be able to pursue my dreams on and off the field. I’m thankful to have had great teammates whom I have created lifelong bonds with.  I look forward to what y’all do in the future. I will miss y’all! …

“Thank you to everyone who has helped me throughout this difficult process.  It has been a long month, but I am grateful to have the support system in place to come to a big decision like this one.”

Speights, incidentally, will head to South Bend as a graduate transfer.

Familiarity certainly played a role in the decision.

Lance Taylor was the running backs coach at Stanford before taking the same job with Notre Dame football in January of last year.  He was Speights’ position coach and helped recruit him to the Cardinal.

Speights was a three-star 2016 signee.  After rushing for 363 yards and a touchdown on 95 carries in 2017-18, Speights didn’t record a carry in 2019.

NCAA extends recruiting dead period through July 31; The Association will also allow strength coaches to ‘virtually observe voluntary physical workouts’

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Not surprisingly, the NCAA has reset its recruiting trail policies.  Again.

As the coronavirus pandemic effectively shuttered the sports world, the NCAA announced in mid-March that it was putting a halt to all in-person recruiting until at least April 15.  Last month, that dead period was extended through May 31.  This month, another extension took us to June 30.

As we close in on the month of June, another extension is official.  As expected, the NCAA announced Wednesday evening that the recruiting dead period has been extended through July 31.  That means all in-person recruiting activities — either on-campus or elsewhere — are prohibited.

The latest edict impacts all sports, not just football.

“The extension maintains consistent recruiting rules for all sports and allows coaches to focus on the student-athletes who may be returning to campus,” said Division I Council Coordination Committee chair M. Grace Calhoun, athletics director at Pennsylvania, said in a statement. “The committee is committed to reviewing the dead period again in late June or early July.”

One potential effect of all of these dead-period extension bans?  It could force The Association to, for one year, temporarily get rid of the December Early Signing Period.

The NCAA earlier this month also announced that football programs could begin bringing players back to campus for voluntary workouts starting June 1.  In the dead-period release, The Association also updated its tack on that front:

Additionally, the committee decided to allow strength and conditioning coaches to virtually observe voluntary physical workouts for health and safety purposes but only if requested by the student-athlete. The measure goes into effect June 1. The strength and conditioning coach will be allowed to observe the workouts and discuss items related to voluntary workouts but not direct or conduct the workout.

The decision was supported by the Committee on Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports Prevention and Performance Subcommittee. The subcommittee encouraged schools that decide to allow their strength and conditioning coaches to observe voluntary workouts to proactively consider the school’s overarching responsibility to protect the health of and provide a safe environment for each student-athlete. More specifically, the subcommittee stressed that schools should plan for how the strength and conditioning coach should respond if they observe an unsafe workout environment or in the event that a medical emergency occurs during a voluntary session.

The committee will continue to explore the opportunity for strength and conditioning coaches to conduct voluntary workouts virtually, as they do during in-person, on-campus voluntary workouts.