Category Archives: Special Teams

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

Kickers and Punters: Final Position Rankings

2019 NFL Draft:  Top Ranked Kickers and Punters

Oklahoma’s Austin Seibert is the all-time scoring leader among kickers.

***Updated April 18, 2019***

KICKERS

  1. Austin Seibert, Oklahoma, 5-9/207
  2. Cole Tracy, LSU, 5-11/190
  3. Matt Gay, Utah, 6-0/228
  4. Casey Bednarski, Minnesota State, 6-1/216
  5. Marc Orozco, Grambling, 5-9/170
  6. Bryce Crawford, San Jose State, 6-3/223
  7. Cole Hedlund, North Texas, 5-10/166
  8. Matthew Wright, UCF, 5-10/180
  9. Chase McLaughlin, Illinois, 5-10/180
  10. Roldan Alcobendas, Eastern Washington, 6-0/175
  11. Nathan Mesher, Wilfrid Laurier, 5-11/190
  12. Cade Stinnett, Jacksonville State, 6-1/270

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PUNTERS

  1. Jack Fox, Rice, 6-2/215
  2. Jake Bailey, Stanford, 6-1/197
  3. Mitch Wishnowsky, Utah, 6-2/220
  4. A.J. Cole, NC State, 6-2/230
  5. Drew Galitz, Baylor, 5-11/212
  6. Zach Sinor, Oklahoma State, 5-10/223
  7. Stefan Flintoft, UCLA, 6-3/187
  8. Eric Williams, Montana, 5-10/192
  9. McKinley Loudermilk, Central Florida, 5-11/221
  10. Bryce Crawford, San Jose State, 6-2/227

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Team Needs:

AZ | SF | NYJ | OAK | TB | NYG | JAX | DET | BUF | DEN | CIN | GB | MIA | ATL | WASH | CAR | CLE |MIN | TEN | PIT | SEA | BALT | HOU | CHI | PHI | IND | DAL | LAC | KC | NO | LAR | NE

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The 2019 NFL Draft will be held Thursday-Saturday, April 25-27 in Nashville, Tenn.

New Mexico Bowl – Dec 15

North Texas Mean Green (9-3)  vs  #23 Utah State Aggies (10-2)

NORTH TEXAS  |  CONFERENCE USA

Coach:  Seth Littrell

North Texas Players to watch: 

Senior LB E.J. Ejiya (6-3/230)

No. Texas Lineback E.J. Ejiya
Photo: No Texas Athletics

Ejiya ranks fourth nationally in tackles for loss with 23.0 and leads the Mean Green in sacks with 9.0, which ranks fourth in C-USA. His 113 total tackles are also fourth most in the conference. 

* Junior QB  Mason Fine (5-1/180)

Fine was name CUSA Offensive Player of the Year for the 2nd year in a row.  He was also a semifinalist for the Davey O’Brien and Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Awards.  He was on watch lists for the Manning and Walter Camp Awards.  He was voted 2nd Team All-CUSA.

**Sophomore RB DeAndre Torrey  (5-7/186)

Torrey has been a touchdown machine for the Mean Green and ranks sixth in FBS in total touchdowns with 17. He is averaging 5.9 yards per carry, with 161 attempts for 942 yards and 14 rushing scores, while also providing a dynamic presence as a receiver out of the backfield. 

*Junior WR Rico Bussey, Jr. (6-2/208)

Bussey, Jr. leads the Mean Green in every major receiving category and is among the nation’s most productive receivers. 

Senior CB Kemon Hall (5-11/190)

Hall ranks third in FBS in passes defended (1.7 per game) and has posted five interceptions, two of which he has brought back for touchdowns

Senior CB  Nate Brooks  (6-0/192)

Brooks has 61 tackles, 3.0 of which are for loss, nine pass break-ups, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a quarterback hurry in 12 starts. Brooks has helped lead a ball-hawking group for North Texas, who have totaled 17 interceptions, which ranks fifth in FBS.

*Junior DE LaDarius Hamilton  (6-3/256)

Hamilton has been a force from his defensive end position for the Mean Green and is second on the team in sacks with 6.5 and 10.0 tackles for loss.

Senior PK Cole Hedlund  (5-10/166)

Hedlund was a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award and is 19 of 22 on field goals, including a perfect 2 of 2 from 50-plus yards. 

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UTAH STATE AGGIES | MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE

Interim Coach:  Frank Maile

Utah State Players to watch:

*Junior TE Dax Raymond  (6-5/245)

  Utah State TE Dax Raymond has accepted an invite the the Reese Senior Bowl.
Photo:  Salt Lake Tribune

Despite missing four games this year with a broken hand, Raymond earned honorable mention all-Mountain West honors after catching 25 passes for 335 yards (13.4 ypc) and two touchdowns. For his career, he has caught 70 passes for 863 yards (12.3 ypc) and three TDs.

**Sophomore LB David Woodward (6-2/230)

The 6-foot-2, 235-pound Woodward started all 11 games he played in — ranking first in the Mountain West and 10th in the nation with 124 tackles (11.3 pg). He is also fifth in the conference in tackles for loss with 12.5 (1.1 pg) and ninth in sacks with 5.0.

**Sophomore WR/RS Savon Scarver  (5-11/185)

Scarver has returned 21 kickoffs for 719 yards, including four returns of 50-or-more yards. His two kickoff returns for touchdowns (100 yards vs. New Mexico State and 96 yards at Wyoming) rank as the second-most in a single-season in school history, behind Kevin Robinson (three in 2007).

**Sophomore QB Jordan Love  (6-4/220)

Sophomore QB Jordan Love is 11th in the nation in points responsible for with 204 (17.0 pg); ninth in the nation in passing touchdowns with 28 (2.3 pg); 12th in the nation in passing efficiency (159.9); 21st in the nation in completion percentage (.658);18th in the nation in passing (267.3 ypg); 27th in the nation in completions (20.5 pg), and fifth in the MW and 28th in the nation in total offense (272.3 ypg).

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New Mexico Bowl Presented by Progressive
Utah State 52, North Texas 13