02/17/19 - Ashton Dulin, Sr/2019, Malone, 6-1, 210 (DS#59 WR) Since Malone announced plans to shut down its football program on Feb. 1, former Pioneers coach Fred Thomas estimates he has talked to coaches from more than 160 colleges. Coaches from more than 60 different colleges have been on Malone's campus to talk to his players. Malone's student senate has started a GoFundMe campaign to raise $1,500 for the Pioneer coaching staff to see wide receiver Ashton Dulin at the NFL Combine on March 1 in Indianapolis. Dulin, who holds just about every school record for receiving and all-purpose yards, will be the first Pioneer to compete at the Combine. Although the event is free to enter, the students want to raise enough money to pay for food, hotels and gas. - The Canton Repository
02/17/19 - Easton Stick, rSr/2019, North Dakota State, 6-1, 217 (DS#13 QB) The success of the FCS powerhouse known as the North Dakota State Bison national champions has Fargo ranking as one of the top cities in the country for college football. WalletHub has recently named Fargo, ND as the third best city in the country for college football. It definitely helps that the Bison have won the FCS national championship in seven of the last eight seasons. You may also notice that the city ranked just ahead of Fargo on the list is Tuscaloosa, AL, which is home to the Alabama Crimson Tide, the FBS powerhouse that has accumulated 17 national championships at that level of their own. That's some pretty good company to be included in. - Hot 975
02/17/19 - Robert Valencia, rSr/2020, Washington State, 6-5, 300 (DS#999 OT) Robert Valencia made the first start of his career in what was supposed to be his last game at Washington State, but now the offensive lineman will have another year of eligibility to play with the Cougars. Valencia, a redshirt senior in 2018, announced Friday on Twitter that he'd been granted another year of eligibility. According to a Washington State official, Valencia was granted an extension of clock waiver because the school proved he had two years of denied opportunity.
A former San Francisco City College offensive lineman who was once ranked the 11th-best junior college tackle in the country by ESPN.com and a four-star prospect by Scout.com, Valencia played in all 13 games for the Cougars last season, primarily on field-goal and PAT teams. The 6-foot-6, 300-pound offensive lineman was the primary backup to Josh Watson at right guard last season. He had his number called when Watson suffered an undisclosed upper-body injury before the Cougars played Iowa State in the Alamo Bowl. - Spokesman-Review
02/17/19 - Rico Bussey Jr., Sr/2020, North Texas, 6-1, 190 (DS#32 WR) One of the big concerns when Seth Littrell took over North Texas' program heading into the 2016 season was if the Mean Green could find enough talented wide receivers to run his spread system. Littrell and his coaching staff quickly alleviated those concerns and have been on a roll ever since. Rico Bussey Jr. was among the top wide receivers in Conference USA last season and was a first-team all-league selection after catching 68 passes for 1,017 yards and 12 touchdowns. Bussey returns to lead a group of talented players that should be among the best in C-USA in 2019. - Denton Record
02/17/19 - Tyler Mabry, Jr/2020, Buffalo, 6-3, 265 (DS#999 TE) Two University at Buffalo football players, including first-team All-MAC tight end Tyler Mabry, reportedly have entered the NCAA Transfer Portal. 247Sports on Wednesday updated its list of players in the portal to include Mabry and running back Emmanuel Reed. A source told the News that wide receiver Charlie Jones is no longer in the NCAA Transfer Portal, while Mabry and Reed are currently in the portal. If an athlete enters the NCAA Transfer Portal, it allows them to communicate with other programs about the possibility of transferring. Mabry had 27 catches for 230 yards and two touchdowns in 14 games in 2018. He had 60 catches for 567 yards and three touchdowns in three seasons at UB; he redshirted as a freshman in 2015. Mabry would be immediately eligible to play for another program as a graduate transfer. - Buffalo News
02/16/19 - *Dexter Lawrence, Jr/2019, Clemson, 6-3, 350 (DS#5 DT) As Clemson continues its investigation into how three football players tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug before the Dec. 29 Cotton Bowl, Dexter Lawrence is looking on with particular interest. Perhaps no one has more invested in the answer to that question than Lawrence, the Tigers' former star defensive tackle and one of the three players who tested positive for ostarine, a banned PED. Lawrence, who was suspended for both the Cotton Bowl and the national championship win over Alabama, is projected as a first-round draft pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. The 6-4, 350-pounder knows he'll face questions about the failed drug test at the NFL Combine, which starts Feb. 26.
"I do want to know how it got in my system and where it came from," Lawrence said Saturday before an appearance at the Fan Zone in North Charleston. "But right now, they are still doing their research to see where exactly it came from, and they don't know where right now." Clemson coach Dabo Swinney acknowledged last week that the banned drug could have been given to the players by the school itself, by mistake. Lawrence said his plan for questions about PEDs from NFL teams at the combine is simple. "Just tell the truth," he said. "That's all I can do. It was heartbreaking when I heard about it, but it's just life. You've got to be tested sometimes just to bring out your character, and that's how I'm going about it." - Charleston Post Courier
02/16/19 - *Dwayne Haskins Jr., rSo/2019, Ohio State, 6-2, 220 (DS#1 QB) Raised in Highland Park, N.J., Haskins' football sensibilities were honed in Potomac, Md., where he attended the prestigious Bullis School - evolving from a pudgy kid into a dart-throwing quarterback, carrying himself as a quiet leader determined to hit the books and his receivers with equal aplomb. It was at Bullis that Haskins rose to prominence without stepping over anyone else, forging a reputation for academic and athletic excellence as he blazed a trail of inclusion that took him to Ohio State and into rarefied air: He is the top quarterback prospect in the 2019 NFL draft. "Great person,'' Patrick Cilento, Haskins' head coach at Bullis, told The Post. "Great young man, he really is. "He's everything you want a quarterback to be. Never in trouble, loves the game of football, always looking out to make people better. That kind of stuff. He spreads the ball around and wants everybody to be better.'' - The New York Post
02/16/19 - *Jeffery Simmons, Jr/2019, Mississippi State, 6-3, 300 (DS#4 DT) Three draft-eligible prospects who had previously lost the chance to impress teams at the NFL's annual scouting combine in Indianapolis will apparently not be shut out of the process completely. On Friday, the NFL informed teams that Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons, Louisiana Tech edge rusher Jaylon Ferguson and Colorado State wide receiver Preston Williams will be allowed to attend the combine in order to undergo the same comprehensive medical exams that other prospects have, which will give NFL teams a better idea of the health of each player entering the league.
The news is particularly relevant for Simmons, a potential top-15 pick who suffered a torn ACL while training for the combine. Both he and Williams were not invited to the combine due to the NFL's policy barring players from the event if a background check turns up a felony or misdemeanor conviction due to domestic violence, sexual assault or weapons charges. Simmons was arrested as a high school senior after a video surfaced of him hitting a woman. Williams pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault in 2017. - CBS News
02/16/19 - *Kyler Murray, rJr/2019, Oklahoma, 5-10, 195 (DS#2 QB) Before picking football over baseball, Kyler Murray got some advice from another famous two-sport star. One Heisman Trophy winner to another. Tim Tebow says he told Murray to follow his heart when deciding between the Athletics and pursuing an NFL career. Murray, who won the Heisman last year in his lone season as Oklahoma's starting quarterback, announced Monday he was fully committing to the gridiron despite being selected ninth overall in the 2018 amateur baseball draft.
After arriving Saturday at the Mets' spring training camp, Tebow said he interviewed Murray a few months ago in his job as a college football television analyst and the two have gotten to know each other. Tebow, a former NFL quarterback, won the 2007 Heisman Trophy at Florida. "Kyler, I think he's a really good young man, and I think this was a really tough decision for him," Tebow said. "He loves two sports and I can really relate to that. And he went with something that he's been really good at lately and dominating in. When we talked about it, and we did talk about that, I just gave him the advice to follow your heart. Whatever you're passionate about." - AP College Football
02/16/19 - Chris Nelson, rSr/2019, Texas, 6-1, 303 (DS#33 DT) For newly graduated Texas players Chris Nelson and Andrew Beck, their journey to the NFL may not come with the perks of some higher-profile teammates, but they are putting in the necessary work to make that dream happen. Both went through two years in a bowl-less wilderness under former coach Charlie Strong before finishing their careers with a 17-10 turnaround that included a couple of bowl wins under Tom Herman. As their college careers fade to the background with hopes of making a living at this game, they're preparing for UT's pro timing day on March 27 while five former teammates will travel to Indianapolis for the NFL scouting combine on March 1. Nelson had a productive year at defensive tackle with 39 tackles, including 5.5 for loss, but he didn't get a combine invitation.
"From all the word I was getting coming off a great game at the Sugar Bowl and then the Senior Bowl, I was going," Nelson said. "The coaches were telling me they wanted to see me as a pass-rusher. They told me I had some great practices." Beck, a tight end who caught 28 passes for 281 yards and a pair of touchdowns, got a similar message from his conversations at the East-West Shrine game. But no invite to Indy. "I wasn't necessarily heartbroken about not going because I will be at Pro Day where a lot of the coaches will be attending," Beck said. "It's bittersweet because I wanted to go, but the good thing is I will have another month to prepare." - Austin American Statesman
02/16/19 - Zach VanValkenburg, rSo/2021, Iowa, 6-3, 263 (DS#999 DE) owa has added an experienced recruit at a position of need. Zach VanValkenburg, a graduate transfer out of Division II Hillsdale College in Michigan, announced he was committing to the Hawkeyes via Twitter on Saturday. He has two years of eligibility remaining. The 6-foot-4, 265-pounder is versatile enough to play defensive end or defensive tackle, although he played a lot on the edge at Hillsdale. During his redshirt sophomore year last season, VanValkenburg amassed 70 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. He was named the Great Midwest Athletic Conference defensive lineman of the year. A product of Zeeland West in Hudsonville, Michigan, VanValkenburg had 32 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and one forced fumble two years ago as a redshirt freshman. - Hawk Central
02/16/19 - Darrian Beavers, So/2021, Cincinnati, 6-2, 235 (DS#999 OLB) UConn defensive end Darrian Beavers, who led the Huskies in sacks during the 2018 season, will transfer to Cincinnati, an athletic department spokesperson confirmed Wednesday. Beavers is originally from the Cincinnati area and played high-school football just outside the city. After arriving at UConn in 2017, Beavers tallied three sacks as a freshman linebacker, then four more during a sophomore season that saw him slide from linebacker to defensive end. He figured to be part of the Huskies' defensive-line rotation in 2019. - The Hartford Courant
02/16/19 - C.J. Avery, So/2021, Louisville, 5-11, 221 (DS#999 ILB) Watching injured from the sidelines last season gave Louisville junior linebacker C.J. Avery a different glimpse of the defense. "We had a rough year last year," said Avery, who missed three games because of an undisclosed injury. "Seeing how they played from the sideline made a big difference in me and made me see how I can help with being a vocal leader and playing out there with them." That motivation is going to be needed after a 2018 season that broke records - in all the wrong ways. Louisville was the first Power Five team ever to allow more than 50 points in five games in a row. They gave up 100 more points than any other team in school history. The Cardinals finished winless in the ACC for the first time and 2-10 overall.
"Nobody wants to go 2-10, man. You wake up every day and you tell yourself, you can't go 2-10 again. Everything that you do is motivated toward having a better year next here," Avery said. It won't be easy for Louisville. But redshirt senior cornerback P.J. Mbanasor said the players have come out under new coach Scott Satterfield and defensive coordinator Bryan Brown with a lot more positivity and a "refreshed and energized point of view." "I think last year woke a lot of people up as far as players. We've seen how bad it can get, so everyone is motivated to do better," Mbnasor said. - Courier Journal
02/16/19 - Kengera Daniel, rSr/2020, Kentucky, 6-4, 235 (DS#999 OLB) Mark Stoops is preparing to sign a smaller-than-normal recruiting class in 2020. At his 2019 signing day news conference Wednesday, Stoops said he will need additional attrition from his current roster to sign more than approximately 17 players in the 2020 class and stay under the NCAA's 85-man scholarship limit. That number already includes three departures previously unknown from the 2018 roster. Senior running back Sihiem King and senior outside linebacker Kengera Daniel have both left the program after redshirting in 2018, a UK spokeswoman confirmed. Both players could play at another FBS program immediately next season as graduate transfers after finishing their degrees at UK. Junior cornerback Domonique Williams, who appeared in just one game in 2018 in his first season as a junior-college transfer, has also left the team. Those departures leave Kentucky with 10 seniors on the roster for 2019. - The Courier Journal
02/16/19 - Marquill Osborne, Jr/2020, Charlotte, 5-11, 190 (DS#999 CB) Cornerback Marquill Osborne, a former Hough High star who started his college football career at Tennessee, is transferring to Charlotte. Osborne tweeted the news on Twitter on Friday. Osborne, who announced Dec. 7 he was leaving Tennessee, played in 10 games as a junior last season and intercepted two passes against Kentucky. He has one season of eligibility remaining. - The Charlotte Observer
02/15/19 - *Quinnen Williams, rSo/2019, Alabama, 6-3, 295 (DS#1 DT) Previewing the 2019 NFL Combine: A First Round Prototype: Quinnen Williams, Alabama,...With all due respect to quarterbacks Tua Tagovailoa and Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray (among others), Williams was the best player in college football in 2018. Teams will have to weigh the fact that he enjoyed just one dominant season before making the jump to the NFL but Williams' combination of size, quickness and power suggest he is on his way towards future Pro Bowls rather than proving a fluke. There are few interior defensive linemen who dominated the competition as consistently and completely as Williams in 2018. Former No. 2 overall pick (2010) and five-time Pro Bowler Ndamukong Suh is perhaps the best "recent" example of a player who simply toyed with opponents in the same fashion as Williams in 2018, perhaps why he's held fast to the No. 1 overall pick in my updated mock draft. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
02/15/19 - *Trysten Hill, Jr/2019, Central Florida, 6-1, 315 (DS#11 DT) Previewing the 2019 NFL Combine: Second Day (Future) Starter: Trysten Hill, Central Florida,...Boasting a combination of leverage and explosiveness that reminds me of a young Jurrell Casey at Southern California, Hill has been grossly underrated in some scouting circles but don't expect that to last much longer. Hill's untraditional build and fall from grace at UCF contributed to his largely being overshadowed in this year's spectacular defensive line class but his talent is obvious once you watch the tape. Explosiveness like Hill's won't go unnoticed by scouts, however, with a Day Two pick possible (and perhaps likely) if he can convince teams that he possesses the maturity to take full advantage of his talent. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
02/15/19 - Dontavius Russell, rSr/2019, Auburn, 6-3, 319 (DS#13 DT) Previewing the 2019 NFL Combine: Third Day Sleeper: Dontavius Russell, Auburn,...Sleeper doesn't necessarily mean small school or anonymous players. While overshadowed by splashier talents, Russell proved to be Mr. Reliable at Auburn, starting 49 of a possible 52 games over his career and even opting to compete at the Senior Bowl. He isn't going to wow anyone with his agility as a pass rusher - recording just six sacks over his career - but he's a steady run-stuffing presence whose size and strength will appeal to 4-3 and 3-4 disciples, alike and I love his effort in lateral and downfield pursuit. Pro-ready out of the box, Russell should be able to mix into the rotation as a rookie. Better yet, given all of the talent on the defensive line in this draft, his blue collar (rather than blue chip) game likely will have him still on the board well into Day Three, making Russell a potentially terrific value. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
02/15/19 - Tua Tagovailoa, So/2021, Alabama, 6-1, 218 (DS#2 QB) Steve Sarkisian is returning to Alabama as offensive coordinator, a position he held for the 2016 team in the national championship game loss to Clemson. Alabama coach Nick Saban announced the hiring of Sarkisian and six other assistants on Friday, along with the promotion of Pete Golding to defensive coordinator. Sarkisian took over the offense before that title game played in January 2017 after Lane Kiffin left following the semifinals to begin duties as Florida Atlantic's head coach. The former Southern California head coach then left to become offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons. Falcons coach Dan Quinn fired Sarkisian and his defensive and special teams coordinators after a 7-9 season. - AP College Football
02/15/19 - Jack Allison, rSo/2021, West Virginia, 6-5, 203 (DS#999 QB) West Virginia football coach Neal Brown said Wednesday that Jack Allison, Austin Kendall and Trey Lowe will all get a look to be the Mountaineers' starting quarterback next season. Everyone will get a fair shake in West Virginia's quarterback competition, but that doesn't mean it should be expected to drag on longer than necessary. Making an appearance on MetroNews Sportsline, new WVU coach Neal Brown discussed his philosophy for sorting through quarterback competitions dating back to his stint as Troy's offensive coordinator in 2008. "Every competition we've had going back to 2008, it's 'make a decision when it's clear,'" Brown said. "Don't try to trick the guys in that room."
All three scholarship quarterbacks on roster will have an opportunity to demonstrate their strengths this spring. Brown said he'll ask Jack Allison, Austin Kendall and Trey Lowe to each pick plays they feel most comfortable running. "Jack, tell me some pass plays you really liked. Austin, what were some of your favorite things at Oklahoma? Trey, what did you like as you learned the system and got comfortable last year?" Brown said. "You build your offense, as far as calling plays, around the quarterback and offensive line. We want use what our quarterbacks are most comfortable with and stuff that's worked for us in the past, as well. It's going to be kind of a group effort as far as forming what we're going to do." - The Dominion Post
02/15/19 - Ben Holt, rSr/2020, Purdue, 5-10, 224 (DS#999 ILB) Purdue is expected to add depth to a much-needed position during the offseason. Ben Holt, who played three seasons at Western Kentucky, confirmed to the Journal & Courier through email that he plans to join the Boilermakers in the summer as a graduate transfer. Holt is the son of co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Nick Holt, who came to Purdue with head coach Jeff Brohm after the 2016 season. The coaching staff isn't permitted to comment about Ben Holt until he enrolls in classes at Purdue. Holt, one the Hilltoppers' captains last season, said he'll graduate from WKU in May. He said he'll be on scholarship with the Boilermakers. Purdue has been thin at linebacker for several years and adding the 5-10, 220-pound Holt helps beef up the depth chart. With Derrick Barnes moving to the program's Leo position - a hybrid linebacker/defensive end - the Boilermakers need more linebackers. For spring practice, Purdue will have Markus Bailey, Jack Smith, Jaylan Alexander and possibly Barnes along with a group of walk-ons. Look for a lot of shuffling at the linebacker position since Cornel Jones will miss spring practice after undergoing foot surgery. He is expected to be ready for training camp in August. - Lafayette Journal & Courier
02/15/19 - Jaylon Ferguson, rSr/2019, Louisiana Tech, 6-4, 256 (DS#6 DE) NFL wielded its heavy-handed power Wednesday afternoon, and as a result, the NCAA's all-time career sack leader won't participate in the upcoming scouting combine beginning March 1. After a mandatory background check revealed a simple battery conviction after a fight at a McDonald's during his freshman year as well as a public intoxication charge, the league pulled its combine invitation for Louisiana Tech defensive end Jaylon Ferguson per the NFL's personal conduct rule that was enacted three years ago. According to an NFL.com report, teams were informed last month that the league would bar players from the combine if a "background check reveals a conviction of felony or misdemeanor involving violence." Players who accept combine invites automatically agree to a background check by rule.
Ferguson's agent Safarrah Lawson with the STL Sports Group released a statement Thursday morning, denouncing the disinvite, stating that the Louisiana Tech star had made his penitence from his past mistakes. "We disagree with the NFL's position with regards to Jaylon Ferguson," the statement read. "Jaylon is a great person who made a mistake four years ago before he started playing college football. He was involved in a scuffle that resulted in him being charged with misdemeanor simple battery. He received a deferred judgment and a $189 fine, a proper punishment for a fight between two teenagers," the statement said. - Monroe News Star
02/15/19 - Drew Lock, Sr/2019, Missouri, 6-4, 223 (DS#3 QB) Missouri is officially fighting back against the NCAA. MU has filed its notice of appeal with the NCAA Division I Infractions Appeals Committee, the University announced Thursday. On Jan. 31, the NCAA bestowed penalties on Missouri for academic fraud that included a one-year postseason ban for the football, baseball and softball teams, and scholarship reductions. "We believe that the Committee on Infractions abused its discretion in applying penalties to the University of Missouri Athletics program, and we look forward to appearing before the Appeals Committee in the future to present our case," Missouri athletic director Jim Sterk said in a news release. "Mizzou's case involved an isolated incident within our program, however, the penalties applied are overly harsh, not in line with established precedent and negatively impact student-athletes who chose to attend the University of Missouri and had nothing to do with the actions of one rogue individual. "It appears that our cooperation throughout this process went largely unnoticed, which I believe will have a chilling effect and force other institutions to take a different approach in dealing with these type issues, which will not be in the best interest of the NCAA or intercollegiate athletics." - Columbia Daily Tribune
02/15/19 - Lyn-J Dixon, Fr/2022, Clemson, 5-09, 195 (DS#999 RB) Lyn-J Dixon arrived at Clemson in the summer of 2018 with plenty of talented running backs in front of him, including Travis Etienne and Tavien Feaster. But the Georgia native wasn't content with sitting on the bench for most of his freshman season and waiting for opportunities to come in 2019 and beyond. Dixon made it his goal to help the Tigers as a true freshman in 2018, and the speedy back did just that, rushing for 547 yards and five touchdowns in 13 games as Clemson won its second national title in three years. Dixon finished third on Clemson's team in rushing with 547 yards, one yard less than senior Adam Choice, and he led the Tigers in yards per carry at 8.8. Etienne, who finished seventh in Heisman trophy voting, averaged 8.1 yards per carry. "I wanted to come in and make a big impact and I feel like I did that," Dixon told The State last month. "We all bought in to what coach (Tony Elliott) said. We all put in the work at practice and showed it on the field each and every game." - The State
02/15/19 - Corliss Waitman, rSr/2020, Mississippi State, 6-1, 210 (DS#9 P) Former South Alabama punter Corliss Waitman signed with Mississippi State on Wednesday as a graduate transfer. Waitman, who has one season of eligibility remaining, will be reunited in Starkville with former Jaguars head coach Joey Jones. USA's head coach from 2009-17, Jones is entering his second season as the Bulldogs' special teams coordinator. Waitman, a Milton, Fla., product, was a two-year starter at punter at South Alabama, and also handled kickoffs and held for extra points and field goals. He averaged a school-record 45.2 yards per punt in 2017 to earn All-Sun Belt Conference honors, and averaged 41.7 yards in 2018 (he averaged 42.7 yards on 158 career punts). - AL.com