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Former Troy WR John Johnson, 24, dies from injuries sustained in motorcycle accident

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The entire Troy football family is mourning the loss of one of its former players, John Johnson.

According to a release from the program, Johnson died Thursday from injuries he sustained motorcycle accident Thursday.  According to FirstCoastNews.com, Johnson was attempting to pass a truck when he clipped its rear end.  Police stated that Johnson wasn’t wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

Johnson, 24, played wide receiver for the Trojans from 2014-17.

“I was devastated to learn of the passing of John Johnson yesterday,” former Troy and current West Virginia head coach Neal Brown said in a statement. “John was a great representative of his hometown Troy, the Troy football program and Troy University. On the field, I will always remember John’s knack for trick plays and his strong performance in his last game in the 2017 New Orleans Bowl. More importantly, I will remember John’s big smile, how he loved children, and how he led our football team in community service for three years in a row. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, and former teammates. An immensely talented young man, gone way too soon.”

Johnson started 15 games during his time with the Trojans.  He finished his collegiate career with 949 yards and four touchdowns on 81 receptions.

Where Johnson really shined, though, was off the field.  From the program’s release:

… he was proud to be from Troy and was generous of his time in the community. Johnson never missed an opportunity to volunteer for Read Across America, Pike County Heart Walk, Salvation Army food drives, Habitat for Humanity and many more community service projects.

While he never sought out recognition for his work, Johnson’s kindness did not go unnoticed. He was nominated for both the Wuerffel Trophy and Allstate Good Works Team and was named to the Sun Belt Conference Leadership Team in the spring prior to his senior season. The Sun Belt Leadership Team was an exclusive team was for student-athletes who exemplified the highest qualities of being a true student-athlete.

Family of Colby Singletary, killed in July car wreck, sign preferred walk-on papers at Miami in honor of son

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Out of everything that transpired on the first day of the Early Signing Period, what the Miami football program did for the family of Colby Singletary was arguably the classiest.  Actually, it was inarguably the classiest.

Singletary grew up a fan of Miami Hurricanes football and dreamed of playing football for The U.  While Singletary, who was also a two-time state champion in wrestling, held football scholarship offers from the likes of Buffalo, Southern Miss and Troy, he hadn’t yet earned one from his preferred school. He had even talked about walking on with the Hurricanes if need be.

Sadly, none of that ever came to fruition as the 18-year-old Singletary, who wasn’t wearing a seatbelt at the time, was killed in a single-car crash this past July. His girlfriend, who was wearing her seatbelt, was a passenger and survived.

Fast-forward to Wednesday, when Singletary’s family took part in a signing ceremony at Palmetto Ridge High School that made their son a posthumous preferred walk-on at Miami.  The family had been kept in the dark about the surprise until the day before it took place.

“He and I were huge Miami fans, we watched the games every Saturday and went to quite a few of them as well,” Casey Singletary, the late young man’s father, told the Naples Daily News. “It didn’t look like it would be possible. They started looking at him his junior year but I don’t know if they were going to offer him a scholarship. I told him maybe we should look at some other schools and he wasn’t having it. He told me, ‘I’ll walk on if I have to and I’m going to start there one day.”

With the help of the U-M football staff, the genesis for such an emotional ceremony started shortly after Singletary’s death.  From the News:

It was with that in mind that the wheels started being put in motion this summer by the Palmetto Ridge football and wrestling coaching staff. Defensive coordinator and recruiting director PJ Gibbs reached out to Miami outside linebackers coach Jonathan Patke — who had been recruiting Singletary — to see if they could make something happen.

He went through NCAA compliance and texted me a few weeks ago that everything was good to go,” Gibbs said. “I spoke to him on the phone and he sent me the letter. This is a great day for Colby’s family and like I said, it was going to happen regardless because this was his dream school. We would have worked toward a preferred walk-on or a scholarship for Colby had July not happened.

Bravo to all involved in this sweet gesture for a family that’s certainly still grieving their loss.

No. 25 Appalachian State pummels Troy to remain in Group of 5 race

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They may be the fourth team in the running (or third after today’s results), but No. 25 Appalachian State (11-1, 7-1 Sun Belt) did what it needed to make sure they remain in the conversation for a spot in the Cotton Bowl. The top team in the Sun Belt took care of business in their regular-season finale with a 48-13 victory at Troy (5-7, 3-5 Sun Belt). the loss by Troy eliminates the Trojans from bowl eligibility this season, while Appalachian State will play for a conference title next week with hopes of potentially wiggling into the Cotton Bowl as the highest-ranked Group of Five champion.

Appalachian State quarterback Zac Thomas had a five-touchdown day with four touchdown passes (to go with 326 yards on 28-of-34 passing) and one more on the ground in the blowout road victory. Thomas Hennigan was the go-to receiver with 11 receptions for 140 yards, while Malik Williams hauled in two of the touchdown passes. Appalachian State’s defense gave up some yards and plays to Troy, but the Trojans managed just five third-down conversions in 15 attempts, and Appalachian State out-gained Troy 522-339 (Appalachian State was an efficient 10-of-13 on third down). Troy picked up just 35 rushing yards in the game on 21 attempts.

Appalachian State will now begin preparing for the Sun Belt Conference Championship Game next week against Louisiana. A win will be necessary to keep any hopes of playing in the Cotton Bowl, but the Mountaineers will likely need a considerable amount of help as well. The Sun Belt Conference Championship Game will be played at 12 PM ET next Saturday, which means Appalachian State will do some scoreboard watching if they manage to top Louisiana next week.

The Sun Belt Conference has confirmed Appalachian State will host the game.

The Mountaineers will need Cincinnati to win at Memphis in next week’s American Athletic Conference championship game in the middle of the afternoon, but even then the fate may be left in the hands of the selection committee, and both AAC contenders may finish ahead of Appalachian State anyway. Appalachian State would also need some help from Hawaii, who will look to score a big upset at Boise State. The Broncos, like Memphis and Cincinnati, entered the week ranked ahead of Appalachian State and it’s still possible all three remain in front of the Mountaineers when the next College Football Playoff rankings are released on Tuesday night.

The bottom line for Appalachian State is just win next week and then let the rest of the pieces fall where they may. It may be a bit of a long shot, but the hopes and dreams will live on for one more week at the very least.

Appalachian State leading Troy, 34-13, at halftime to stay on G5 radar

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On what has been a pivotal day in the Group of Five race, Appalachian State is doing all it can to stay in the picture. The Mountaineers are closing out the regular season in style right now with a 34-13 lead at Troy.

Appalachian State quarterback Zac Thomas has passed for 206 yards and two touchdowns and he has also run for a score as the Mountaineers have been over-powering Troy. Darrynton Evans leads all players with 74 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns for Appalachain State as part of the effort. The defense has shut down the Troy running game as well by allowing just three yards on 14 rushes. Troy has found some room in the passing game, however, with Kaleb Barker throwing for 202 yards to seven different receivers in the first half.

Appalachian State scored 20 points in the first quarter to set the tone and establish control early on. The scoring advantage continued in the second quarter with a 14-3 edge.

Appalachian State will play in the Sun Belt Conference championship game next week. That matchup has already been locked in with Appalachian State set to face Louisiana.

Troy unveils ‘Trojan Smoke’ uniform for regular season finale vs. No. 25 App State

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Troy needs a win over No. 25 Appalachian State on Friday to extend its season, otherwise the Trojans are staying home for Christmas.

And, to bring in some extra juice amongst their players, they’re breaking out new uniforms for the game. Chip Lindsey‘s team will debut “Trojan Smoke” uniforms, charcoal jerseys and pants with cardinal lettering and silver lining, below their traditional chrome helmets.

The “Trojan Smoke” uniforms and the players wearing them will hit the field at 6 p.m. ET on Friday (ESPN+).