Monthly Archives: August 2019

College Football: Week 1 Wisconsin at USF

#8 Wisconsin Badgers (0-0) vs University of South Florida Bulls (0-0)

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WISCONSIN BADGERS | BIG 10 CONFERENCE

Coach: Paul Chryst

Wisconsin Players to watch:

Junior RB Jonathan Taylor (5-11/219)

Jonathan Taylor rushed for 2,194 yards last year.

Taylor was named a 2018 All-American and the Doak Walker Award winner – given to the best running back in the nation. In two seasons at Wisconsin, Taylor has already run for over 4,000 yards. With junior, Jack Coan, winning the quarterback battle in the spring, expect to see a heavy dose of Taylor early in the season.

**Sophomore TE Jake Ferguson (6-5/250)

Last season, Ferguson was a pleasant surprise in an offense that struggled to consistently move the ball through the air. He caught at least one pass in all 13 games and finished as the team’s second-leading receiver with 36 receptions for 456 yards and four touchdowns.

During the offseason, Ferguson bulked up to 250. He’s counting on the added weight to improve his effectiveness as a blocker without compromising his speed as a route-runner.

*Junior OC Tyler Biadasz (6-3/322)

Last year, Biadasz was considered by many to be the best player on an offensive line that saw David Edwards go to the L.A. Rams; Michael Deiter was drafted by the Miami Dolphins; and Beau Benzschawel sign with the Detriot Lions as an UDFA. Biadasz will be looking to take home the Rimington Trophy in 2019.

***Sophomore ILB Jack Sanborn (6-2/232)

Wisconsin knows how to turn out pro-ready linebackers. Last year, Wisconson sent T.J. Edwards, Andrew Van Ginkel and Ryan Connelly to the next level. Sanborn played in 11 games last year as a true freshman. This year, he will be expected to fill the shoes of those who played before him. Wisconsin’s highest rated recruit of a year ago, Sanborn should post 80-100 tackles in 2019.

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UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA BULLS | AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE

Coach: Charlie Strong

USF Players to watch:

Senior RB Jordan Cronkrite (5-11/204)

Cronkrite rushed for 302 yards against UMass in 2019.
Photo: Athlon Sports

The former Florida transfer was on a roll late in the 2018 season with five consecutive 100+yard efforts. Playing behind what looks to be an improved offensive line, Cronkrite hopes to match, or better, his 6.1 yards per carry from last year. With OC Kerwin Bell’s “Play fast, score fast” offense, Cronkrite could put up double digits in the end zone too.

Senior QB Blake Barnett (6-5/217)

Barnett, originally signed with Alabama, is a transfer from Arizona State. With one year under his belt in South Florida, he should post better numbers in 2019. At USF last year, Barnett completed 61.1 percent of his passes for 2,710 yards, 12 touchdowns; and he ran for 301 yards and eight touchdowns. With a new OC in town, look for a healthy Barnett to put up ridiculous numbers.

Senior RT Marcus Norman (6-6/305)

Two-time All-AAC Marcus Norman will anchor an offensive line that is much improved from last year’s unit. Norman is a seasoned veteran in the trenches, he enters the 2019 season with 34 consecutive starts. The Sebastian product has shown his skills in the classroom as well, having been named to the AAC All-Academic Team twice. He has already graduated with a degree in Information Security and is currently working on his master’s.

*Junior CB Mike Hampton (6-1/185)

All-conference honorable mention cornerback Mike Hampton (Tampa) shined as a sophomore in his first year as a starter, ranking ninth nationally with 18 passes defended (1.4 per game). He also posted posted 16 pass breakups, which stand as the second-most in USF history; he tied for second on the team with two interceptions; totaled 43 tackles (35 solo), 2.0 tackles for loss, and one sack.

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Raymond James Stadium – Grass
August 30 | Tampa, Florida

College Football: Week 1 Oregon at Auburn

#11 Oregon Ducks (0-0) vs #16 Auburn Tigers (0-0)

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OREGON DUCKS | PAC 12

Coach: Mario Cristobal

Oregon Players to watch:

Senior QB Justin Hebert (6-6/233)

Sep 22, 2018; Eugene, OR.; Oregon Ducks quarterback Justin Herbert (10) participates in warm-ups before playing the Stanford Cardinal at Autzen Stadium.
Photo Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Herbert has the potential to be the #1 overall pick of the draft.

Herbert has thrown touchdown passes in 28 consecutive games, which is the longest active streak in the FBS. He might have been the number one overall pick in last year’s draft, but he decided return to Eugene for his senior season. In 2018, Herbert threw for 3,151 yards – it could have been a lot more, but his receivers dropped over 50 passes. Look for his numbers to improve in 2019. His Heisman hopes will depend, largely, on how far he can take his team in the rankings.

Senior WR Juwan Johnson (6-5/230)

Herbert will be looking for a dependable possession receiver in 2019. Johnson is a grad-transfer from Penn State, where he had over 1,000 career receiving yards. In 2018, he accounted for 17 first downs through the air, and in 2017, he turned 38 of his 54 catches into first downs. Herbert and Johnson connected three times on seven targets for 32 yards and a touchdown in Oregon’s spring game.

Senior LG Shane Lemieux (6-4/317)

“Shane continues to be the physical force up front,” HC Cristobal said during spring practice. “He’s a really impressive offensive lineman. His threshold for work is mind-boggling.” Like Herbert, Lemieux turned down a shot at the NFL last year. He returns as one of the top rated guards in this year’s draft class.

Junior DT Jordon Scott (6-1/330)

Scott is a huge run-stuffing nose guard clogging up running lanes with his girth and quickness. They call him the “mini-fridge.” Scott has played in 24 consecutive games. He finished 2018 with 29 tackles, including 14 solo, 3.5 for loss and one sack. He looks stronger and quicker in 2019.

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AUBURN TIGERS | SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE

Coach: Gus Malzahn

Auburn Players to watch:

Freshman QB Bo Nixon (6-2/204)

Bo is the son of former Tigers’ QB Pat Nixon.
Photo: Montgomery Advertiser

Nixon won one of the most hotly contested quarterback competitions in the nation: beating out Joey Gatewood, who has Cam Newton size, and the strong-arm of Cord Sandberg, a former minor league baseball player. Nixon will work under new OC Kenny Dillingham, who comes over from Memphis. Nix dominated at the high school level, where he set an Alabama state record for total offense in a career, becoming the first player to surpass 12,000 yards.

Senior LG Marquel Harrell (6-3/307)

When Auburn can run the ball at will, it wins a lot. When Auburn can’t run with consistency, it loses in bunches – that’s historically been true. While there is no clear cut starter coming out of spring practice. Harrell will lead the pave for whomever Malzahn decides will carry the load. Harrell has started 19 games over the last two seasons for Auburn, including 18 in a row. He has appeared in 30 games over the last three seasons after redshirting as a true freshman in 2015.

Senior DT Derrick Brown (6-5/325)

Brown is another player that could have easily entered the NFL draft after his junior year, but opted to return to play another seasons of Saturdays. Brown has 115 career tackles, so far, for the Tigers. In 2018, he amassed 48 tackles, 10.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks.

Junior DE Nick Coe (6-5/282)

Coe lines up next to Brown and plays the BUCK position for the Tigers. In 2018, Coe had 27 tackles, 13.5 TFL, 7.0 sacks for season (leading Auburn in that category). Look for Coe and Brown to put plenty of pressure on opposing quarterbacks in 2019.

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Jordan-Hare Stadium – Grass
Auburn, Alabama | August 31, 2019

College Football: Week 0 Miami at Florida

Miami Hurricanes (0-0) vs #8 Florida Gators (0-0)

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MIAMI HURRICANES | ATLANTIC COASTAL CONFERENCE

Coach: Manny Diaz

Miami Players to watch:

Senior MLB Shaquille Quarterman (6-1/235)

Quarterman is a three-time All-ACC linebacker.

As a true freshman, the Oakleaf High product racked up 84 total tackles, 10 for loss, 3.5 sacks and a fumble recovery for a touchdown: leading to freshman All-American honors. Durable and tough, Quarterman has started every game since he arrived at Coral Gables. Last year, as a junior, he tallied 82 tackles, 14 for loss, 5 sacks, and an interception. Over his career, Quarterman has been one of the most consistent and fundamentally sound linebackers in the nation.

**Sophomore TE Brevin Jordan (6-3/245)

New Offensive Coordinator, Dan Enos – lured to Coral Gables from Alabama – loves to incorporate the tight ends into the game plan. “He loves the tight ends,” said Jordan of Enos, “he loves to throw us the ball.” Jordan, a third team All-ACC selection last year, started 11 of Miami’s 13 games. He caught 32 passes for 287 yards and four touchdowns. Look for him to double those numbers this year.

*Junior CB Trajan Bandy (5-9/188)

As a Sophomore, Bandy enjoyed a breakout  season, starting all 13 games and earning All-ACC third-team honors. He posted career-high totals in tackles (36), tackles for loss (4.5), interceptions (three), fumble recoveries (two) and passes defended (eight). Bandy wore the new “Turnover Chain” five times, more than any player. Quick and instinctual, look for Bandy to play almost exclusively at nickel/slot this year.

Junior DE Jonathan Garvin (6-4/250)

With the departure of Joe Jackson(NFL), Miami will be looking for more production from the four-star defensive end. Garvin Started all 13 games opposite Jackson last year. He finished with 60 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries and five PBUs. Garvin also added his first career touchdown on fumble return. He ranked fourth in ACC and second on team with 17 tackles for loss, and third on team with 5.5 sacks.

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FLORIDA GATORS | SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE

Coach: Dan Mullen

Florida Players to watch:

Senior DE Jabari Zuniga (6-4/257)

Jabari Zuniga (92) looks to step out of Jachai Polite’s shadow in 2019.
Photo: UFA | Jay Metz

Zuniga appeared in and started all 13 games last year, recording 45 tackles on the season. He finished second on the team with 11.0 tackles-for-loss, 6.5 sacks and four quarterback hurries. With a new defensive scheme in place this year, look for Zuniga to use his explosive power and quick first step to rack up double digit sacks.

Junior CB C.J. Henderson (6-1/191)

Regarded as one of the top cornerbacks in the entire country, new Defensive Coordinator Todd Grantham said C.J. Henderson is the definitely the best cornerback he’s ever coached. Henderson started all 13 games last year, racking up 38 tackles, five tackles-for-loss, three sacks, two interceptions, team-high seven pass breakups and two forced fumbles.

Junior QB Feleipe Franks (6-6/240)

Is this the year Feleipe Franks puts it all together? Highly touted out of high school, Franks arrived at Gainesville with prototypical size, a strong arm and endless potential, but has yet to turn those tools into production. However, Franks teammates are saying he’s found new confidence in HC Mullen’s system. Franks first must improve his decision-making and accuracy, while building on his ability as a running threat. He also might have to maintain confidence behind a rebuilt offensive line replacing four starters.

**Sophomore PK Evan McPherson (5-11/177)

Florida boasts one of the top special teams units in the country – and a lot of that has to do with placekicker Evan McPherson. McPherson was 50-50 last year on extra points; had a long of 48 yards; went 17 for 19 (89.5 percent) on field goals and led all freshmen in field goal percentage. McPherson was also Florida’s leading scorer with 101 points.

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Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Grass
Gainesville, Florida

Nat L. Faybian’s College Football Pre-Season Top 25

Alabama and Clemson are clearly the top two teams heading into the 2019 college football season. Georgia comes in at number three, and then there’s the rest of the field.

  1. Alabama Crimson Tide
  2. Clemson Tigers
  3. Georgia Bulldogs
  4. Louisiana State Tigers
  5. Texas Longhorns
  6. Michigan Wolverines
  7. Michigan State Spartans
  8. Oklahoma Sooners
  9. Ohio State Buckeyes
  10. Miami Hurricanes
  11. Utah Utes
  12. Penn State Nittany Lions
  13. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
  14. Auburn Tigers
  15. Army Scarlet Knights
  16. Texas A&M Aggies
  17. UCF Knights
  18. Mississippi State Bulldogs
  19. Florida Gators
  20. Oregon Ducks
  21. Appalachian State Mountaineers
  22. Washington State Cougars
  23. Iowa Hawkeyes
  24. Minnesota Golden Gophers
  25. Ohio Bobcats

Other teams to watch: Nebraska; Texas Tech; Cincinnati; Boise State; Virginia; Florida State; Houston; Missouri; Memphis; and FAU.