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Bryce Love among 62 Doak Walker Award watch listers

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Another day, another one of these releases that signal yet another college football season is fast approaching.

The Doak Walker Award became the latest to release its offseason watch list, with a whopping 62 players comprising its initial grouping.  The award has been handed out annually since 1990 to the nation’s top running back and is named in honor of the famed SMU halfback.

Headlining this year’s watch list is Stanford’s Bryce Love, who was named the 2017 winner of the Doak Walker Award.  The list also features 2017 finalist Jonathan Taylor from Wisconsin, and semifinalists from last year Justice Hill from Oklahoma State and Devin Singletary from Florida Atlantic.

The ACC led all conferences with 10 players, followed by the SEC (nine), Pac-12 (eight), Big Ten (seven) and the Big 12 and MAC with six each.  The next wave includes four apiece for Conference USA and Mountain West, three each for the AAC and the Sun Belt as well as two for those from Independents (BYU, UMass).

A total of three schools have two backs each listed: Florida State (Cam Akers, Jacques Patrick), Arkansas (Chase Hayden, Devwah Whaley) and Western Michigan (LeVante Bellamy, Jamauri Bogan).

Brandon Martin no longer listed on Arkansas’ roster

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There’s been yet another personnel change at a Power Five school a couple of weeks before summer camp kicks off.

In an update released earlier this week, Brandon Martin is no longer listed on Arkansas’ roster. Citing sources close to the program, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette writes that the wide receiver “has run into an academic issue and is trying to regain his eligibility.”

Per a school spokesperson, however, the door has been left open for Martin, who would be a redshirt junior this season, to eventually return to the Razorbacks football team. Martin’s head coach, though, doesn’t seem as optimistic.

Don’t know if he will become part of our roster again,” Chad Morris said at the SEC Media Days Tuesday. “I don’t know at this point. ..

“I do not see that happening right now,” the head coach added when asked if he could see the receiver rejoining the team this year.

Martin came to Arkansas from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, rated as the No. 1 junior college receiver in the Class of 2017 and the No. 7 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite rankings.

In his first year in Fayetteville, Martin caught nine passes for 119 yards. Both of those totals were eighth on the Razorbacks, while his 13.2 yards per reception was sixth on the team.

Maxwell Award watch list highlighted by Bryce Love, Jonathan Taylor, Khalil Tate, McKenzie Milton

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The height of watch list season is upon us as the new week begins. The Maxwell Football Club got things kicked off this week with the release of the Maxwell Award and Bednarik Award watch lists. Among the many names appearing on the organization’s watch list for its player of the year award are semifinalists from last year’s award; Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts, Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate, Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, Stanford running back Bryce Love, UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton and Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor.

Alabama landed three players on the watch list, with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and running back Damien Harris also joining Hurts on the watch list. Other players who played for the College Football Playoff participants last season include Clemson’s Christian Wilkins, Kelly Bryant, and Travis Etienne, Georgia’s Jake Fromm and D’Andre Swift,  Oklahoma’s Rodney Anderson and Kyler Murray.

Last year’s Maxwell Award winner was Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield. The Big Ten currently has the longest drought without a Maxwell Award winner among the power conferences. Penn State’s Larry Johnson was the last Big Ten player to win the award, doing so in 2002.

Here is this year’s watch list for the Maxwell Award:

RB Cam Akers, Florida State
RB Darius Anderson, TCU
RB Rodney Anderson, Oklahoma
RB Alex Barnes, Kansas State
RB KirVonte Benson, Georgia Tech
QB Jake Bentley, South Carolina
DE Nick Bosa, Ohio State
WR A.J. Brown, Ole Miss
RB Spencer Brown, UAB
QB Jake Browning, Washington
QB Kelly Bryant, Clemson
RB Stephen Carr, USC
QB KJ Costello, Stanford
RB AJ Dillon, Boston College
RB J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State
QB Eric Dungey, Syracuse
RB Travis Etienne, Clemson
QB Caleb Evans, ULM
QB Mason Fine, North Texas
QB Ryan Finley, N.C. State
QB Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State
QB Deondre Francois, Florida State
QB Jake Fromm, Georgia
QB Ty Gangi, Nevada
WR James Gardner, Miami (Ohio)
RB Myles Gaskin, Washington
RB James Gilbert, Ball State
QB Will Grier, West Virginia
QB Justice Hansen, Arkansas State
RB Damien Harris, Alabama
WR N'Keal Harry, Arizona State
RB Darrell Henderson, Memphis
QB Justin Herbert, Oregon
RB Karan Higdon, Michigan
RB Justice Hill, Oklahoma State
RB Travis Homer, Miami
QB Jalen Hurts, Alabama
QB Josh Jackson, Virginia Tech
WR Anthony Johnson, Buffalo
RB Ty Johnson, Maryland
QB Daniel Jones, Duke
RB Xavier Jones, SMU
RB Patrick Laird, California
QB Brian Lewerke, Michigan State
QB Drew Lock, Missouri
RB Bryce Love, Stanford
QB TaQuon Marshall, Georgia Tech
QB Marcus McMaryion, Fresno State
QB Trace McSorley, Penn State
QB McKenzie Milton, UCF
QB Steven Montez, Colorado
RB David Montgomery, Iowa State
RB Jalin Moore, Appalachian State
RB Zack Moss, Utah
QB Kyler Murray, Oklahoma
QB Frank Nutile, Temple
DT Ed Oliver, Houston
QB Shea Patterson, Michigan
QB Malcolm Perry, Navy
WR Tony Pollard, Memphis
WR Ahmmon Richards, Miami
QB Armani Rogers, UNLV
QB Nathan Rourke, Ohio
QB Brett Rypien, Boise State
WR Deebo Samuel, South Carolina
RB LJ Scott, Michigan State
QB Kyle Shurmur, Vanderbilt
WR David Sills, West Virginia
RB Devin Singletary, Florida Atlantic
RB Rodney Smith, Minnesota
RB Benny Snell, Kentucky
QB Nathan Stanley, Iowa
QB Jarrett Stidham, Auburn
QB Brent Stockstill, Middle Tennessee
RB D’Andre Swift, Georgia
QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
QB Khalil Tate, Arizona
RB Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
QB Clayton Thorson, Northwestern
RB Juwan Washington, San Diego State
DT Christian Wilkins, Clemson
QB Manny Wilkins, Arizona State
RB Trayveon Williams, Texas A&M
QB Brandon Wimbush, Notre Dame
RB Darnell Woolfolk, Army

Michael Chigbu not listed in Georgia media guide

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It appears the playing career of Michael Chigbu has indeed come to an end, at least for the foreseeable future.

In mid-April, Georgia’s Kirby Smart acknowledged that Chigbu “may be thinking about hanging it up” as the wide receiver has dealt with nagging and lingering shoulder and knee injuries over the past two seasons. Tuesday, UGA released its 2018 Football Media Guide and Chigbu’s name is not listed on its updated roster.

Chigbu would’ve been entering his senior season with the Bulldogs.

A three-star member of the Bulldogs’ 2015 recruiting class, Chigbu was rated as the No. 18 player at any position in the state of Louisiana. Chigbu enjoyed his best season as a true sophomore in 2016, starting seven of the nine games in which he played and totaling nine receptions for 88 yards. After not catching a pass this past season, he has 13 receptions and 116 receiving yards for his career.

There was some good news contained within the Media Guide, though, as Deangelo Gibbs is listed on the roster. The sophomore defensive back missed the last half of the 2017 regular season as well as UGA’s run to the national championship game because of unspecified issues. He also didn’t participate in spring practice as he wasn’t enrolled in classes, although it was reported in mid-May that he was enrolled in summer classes.

Stanford’s Love, Wisconsin’s Taylor still Heisman betting favorites, but Tua Tagovailoa gaining ground

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Nothing has actually happened in college football since Tua Tagovailoa‘s 41-yard rainbow landed in Devonta Smith‘s hands to win Alabama the 2017 national title, but that hasn’t stopped fans from laying bets on the 2018 Heisman winner.

According to the updated odds released Monday by LVSuperBook, Stanford running back Bryce Love is still the favorite, trailed by Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor — same as the initial 2018 odds and the most recent update. Love opened at 7-to-1, moved to 5-to-1 last month and sits at 6-to-1 today. Taylor started at 8-to-1, increased to 7-to-1 last month and is now back at where he started, 8-to-1.

But those runners have been joined by the man who ended the 2017 season: Tagovailoa. After starting in fourth place (10-to-1) and remaining there in June, Tagovailoa is now level with Taylor at 8-to-1.

Tagovailoa’s ascent has come at the expense of Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate, who started in third place at 9-to-1 and is now among a gaggle of fourth-place contenders at 15-to-1.

6-to-1: Love
8-to-1: Tagovailoa, Taylor
15-to-1: Georgia QB Jake Fromm, Oregon QB Justin Hebert, Penn State QB Trace McSorley, Tate
18-to-1: Alabama RB Damien Harris
20-to-1: Washington QB Jake Browning, Ohio State RB J.K. Dobbins, West Virginia QB Will Grier, Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray, Michigan QB Shea Patterson, Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham, Georgia RB D’Andre Swift

Vegas — or, at least, those who give their money to Vegas — is banking on Heisman voters breaking form in a major way by riding with Love as the favorite. The last non-Alabama running back to win the Heisman was USC’s Reggie Bush in 2005, and the last one before that was Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne in 1999. Meanwhile, no Alabama quarterback has ever won the Heisman.

Love is the nation’s leading returning rusher, carrying 263 times for 2,118 yards (8.05 a pop, the most for any player with at least 200 carries) and 19 touchdowns. Taylor ranks just behind Love with 1,977 yards and 13 touchdowns on 299 totes. Tagovailoa completed 49-of-77 passes for 636 yards with 11 touchdowns against two interceptions while rushing 27 times for 133 yards and two touchdowns; though the sophomore appeared in nine games in 2017, he has yet to start one.