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Stanford’s leading receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside declares for NFL

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Stanford is losing one more key offensive player early to the NFL this offseason. Joining running back Bryce Love as an early entrant to the 2019 NFL Draft will be wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside, who officially made himself eligible for the draft process Friday. Arcega-Whiteside announced his decision as so many college football players do these days with a statement shared on his Twitter account.

“It has been a dream to play in the NFL, and I have decided to officially declare for the 2019 NFL Draft,” Arcega-Whiteside said in a post share don his Twitter account Friday afternoon. “Thank you to all who have been part of my journey.”

Arcega-Whiteside led the Cardinal with 1,059 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns this season. Arcega-Whiteside was a senior for Stanford this past season but he had another year of eligibility at his disposal after not appearing in a game during his freshman season in 2015. The Biletnikoff Award semifinalist was named All-Pac-12 Second Team and was a team captain for the Cardinal in 2018.

Stanford’s Kaden Smith opts to leave early for NFL

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For the second time this year, one of the most talented tight ends in the country has decided to ply his football wares at the next level.

Early Tuesday afternoon, Jace Sternberger used Twitter to announce that he’s leaving Texas A&M early.  On the same social media website a short time later, Stanford’s Kaden Smith confirmed a similar decision as he wrote that, “after much thought and discussion, I have decided to forego my senior year and declare for the 2019 NFL Draft.”

Despite missing the last three games because of an injury, Smith caught 47 passes for 635 yards and a pair of touchdowns this season.    He was third on the Cardinal in both receptions and receiving yards.

The 6-5, 252-pound Smith will finish his time down on The Farm with 70 receptions for 1,049 yards and seven touchdowns.

Nearly a year ago to the day, fellow tight end and former Smith teammate Dalton Schultz announced that he was declaring early for the draft.

Tua Tagovailoa named Walter Camp Player of the Year, wins Maxwell Award

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The college football world’s elite gathered in Atlanta at the College Football Hall of Fame for the 28th annual Home Depot College Football Awards Show. The night turned out to be a pretty eventful night for College Football Playoff representatives from Alabama, Oklahoma and Notre Dame all took home some major awards on Thursday evening.

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa took home the first player of the year award prior to the start of the show when he was named the Walter Camp Player of the Year winner for the 2018 season. The last five Walter Camp award winners have gone on to win the Heisman Trophy, but we will have to wait until Saturday night to see if Tagovailoa keeps that streak going. The last four Walter Camp award winners also took home the Maxwell Award. Tagovailoa later made it five straight by closing out the evening’s presentation by being named the winner of the Maxwell Award. For a college football player, Tagovailoa has completed the first two legs of the player of the year triple crown with the Heisman Trophy on deck this weekend.

Tagovailoa wasn’t the only Alabama player taking home some hardware. Wide receiver Jerry Jeudy won the Biletnikoff Award, and Quinnen Williams won the Outland Trophy.

Some quick notes:

  • Kyler Murray became the fifth Oklahoma quarterback to win the Davey O’Brien Award, following Baker Mayfield from last year. No school has more Davey O’Brien Award winners than Oklahoma.
  • Georgia defensive back DeAndre Jordan became the first Georgia player to win the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back.
  • Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly won his second Home Depot Coach of the Year Award (he previously won it in 2009 at Cincinnati). He is the first two-time winner of the coaching award.
  • Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy was named the Biletnikoff Award winner, breaking a three-year run by the Big 12 since Alabama’s first Biletnikoff Award winner, Amari Cooper, won the award in 2014.

Here is a full list of the finalists and winners of awards handed out Thursday night. Winners of the awards are listed first and are in bold, with the remaining finalists following them in alphabetical order according to last name. Some of the awards were announced prior to the awards show but are included here because they were recognized or formally presented Thursday night.

WALTER CAMP PLAYER OF THE YEAR

  • Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
  • Josh Allen, Kentucky
  • Will Grier, West Virginia
  • Gardner Minshew, Washington State
  • Kyler Murray, Oklahoma

MAXWELL AWARD
(Player of the Year)

  • Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
  • Will Grier, West Virginia
  • Kyler Murray, Oklahoma

CHUCK BEDNARIK AWARD
(Defensive Player of the Year)

  • Josh Allen, Kentucky
  • Christian Wilkins, Clemson
  • Quinnen Williams, Alabama

DAVEY O’BRIEN AWARD
(Best Quarterback)

  • Kyler Murray, Oklahoma
  • Gardner Minshew II, Washington State
  • Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama

FRED BILETNIKOFF AWARD
(Outstanding Receiver)

  • Jerry Jeudy, Alabama
  • Andy Isabella, UMass
  • Tyan Wallace, Oklahoma State

DOAK WALKER AWARD
(Best Running Back)

  • Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
  • Travis Etienne, Clemson
  • Darrell Henderson, Memphis

JOHN MACKEY AWARD
(Best Tight End)

JIM THORPE AWARD
(Best Defensive Back)

  • DeAndre Baker, Georgia
  • Julian Love, Notre Dame
  • Greedy Williams, LSU

OUTLAND TROPHY
(Most Outstanding Interior Lineman)

  • Quinnen Williams, Alabama
  • Christian Wilkins, Clemson
  • Jonah Williams, Alabama

RIMINGTON TROPHY
(Best Center)

  • Garrett Bradbury, NC State
  • Sam Mustipher, Notre Dame
  • Ross Pierschbacher, Alabama

LOU GROZA AWARD
(Outstanding Placekicker)

  • Andre Szmyt, Syracuse
  • Cooper Rothe, Wyoming
  • Cole Tracy, LSU

RAY GUY AWARD
(Punter of the Year)

  • Braden Mann, Texas A&M
  • James Smith, Cincinnati
  • Mitch Wishnowsky, Utah

HOME DEPOT COACH OF THE YEAR

  • Brian Kelly, Notre Dame

WUERFFEL TROPHY
(Community Service)

  • Drue Tranquill, Notre Dame
  • David Blough, Purdue
  • Dalton Risner, Kansas State

David Shaw improves to 8-0 vs. Cal as Stanford wins another Big Game

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Cal may be heading in a positive direction and they may have beaten Washington and USC this season, but getting over the Stanford hurdle is still too tough a task for the Golden Bears at this time. Stanford once again topped Cal in The Big Game, winning this year’s delayed edition of the game by a score of 23-13.

Stanford nearly shutout Cal in the second half and closed out the game with 10 points in the fourth quarter. Cal scored a late touchdown with the game essentially decided in every facet except for the final score with 10 seconds remaining. Bryce Love, perhaps playing in his final game for Stanford, carried the football 22 times for 74 yards. Cameron Scarlett scored a touchdown on the ground in the fourth quarter, and quarterback K.J. Costello completed 18 of 29 passes for 237 yards and a touchdown. JJ Arcega-Whiteside led all players with 109 receiving yards on five receptions. Turnovers were crucial in the game, with Cal turning the football over three times to just one turnover by Stanford.

Stanford’s current nine-game winning streak in the rivalry remains the longest winning streak for either team in the series. Cal’s last win came in 2009 with a team that included Shane Vereen topped a Cardinal team with Andrew Luck and Toby Gerhart. Jim Harbaugh was the head coach of the Cardinal. Harbaugh and Luck would get the Stanford winning streak against Cal started up the next season, and David Shaw has continued to keep Stanford on top of the classic rivalry. Shaw is 8-0 in the series.

Both Stanford and Cal should be heading to the postseason to play in a bowl game, so the season is not over yet for either program. Stanford and Cal could land in a number of different bowl games including the Sun Bowl, Las Vegas Bowl and Cheez-It Bowl as the most likely destinations from which to choose.

Finalists announced for major college football awards

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Bowl season is approaching in college football, which means awards season is also approaching. On Monday, the finalists for the major college football awards except the Heisman Trophy — basically, the Heisman for each side of the ball and/or position — were revealed, leading up to the 28th annual Home Depot College Football Awards show on ESPN.

There’s a lot to get to here, so let’s dive right in:

Bednarik Award (top defensive player)
Josh Allen, Kentucky
Christian Wilkins, Clemson
Quinnen Williams, Alabama
Previous winner: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama

Biletnikoff Award (top wide receiver)
Andy Isabella, Massachusetts
Jerry Juedy, Alabama
Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State
Previous winner: James Washington, Oklahoma State

Lou Groza Award (top kicker)
Cooper Rothe, Wyoming
Andre Szymt, Syracuse
Cole Tracy, LSU
Previous winner: Matt Gay, Utah

Ray Guy Award (top punter)
Braden Mann, Texas A&M
James Smith, Cincinnati
Mitch Wishnowsky, Utah
Previous winner: Michael Dickson, Texas

John Mackey Award (top tight end)
T.J. Hockeson, Iowa
Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri
Kaden Smith, Stanford
Previous winner: Mark Andrews, Oklahoma

Maxwell Award (player of the year)
Will Grier, West Virginia
Kyler Murray, Oklahoma
Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
Previous winner: Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

Davey O’Brien Award (top quarterback)
Garnder Minshew, Washington State
Kyler Murray, Oklahoma
Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
Previous winner: Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

Outland Trophy (top interior lineman)
Christian Wilkins, Clemson
Jonah Williams, Alabama
Quinnen Williams, Alabama
Previous winner: Ed Oliver, Houston

Jim Thorpe Award (top defensive back)
Deandre Baker, Georgia
Julian Love, Notre Dame
Greedy Williams, LSU
Previous winner: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama

Doak Walker Award (top running back)
Travis Etienne, Clemson
Darrell Henderson, Memphis
Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
Previous winner: Bryce Love, Stanford

Wuerffel Trophy (top community servant)
David Blough, Purdue
Dalton Risner, Kansas State
Drue Tranquill, Notre Dame
Previous winner: Courtney Love, Kentucky

The Home Depot College Football Awards will air Thursday, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. ET from the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.