Alabama’s Robinson wins 2016 Outland Trophy

outland trophy bwATLANTA — Alabama offensive tackle Cam Robinson claimed the 71st Outland Trophy on Thursday night during The Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN from the College Football Hall of Fame.

It is the fifth time one school has swept the FWAA’s two major position awards in the same season: the Outland Trophy (best interior lineman in college football on offense or defense) and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy (best defensive player). But it is the first time two different players from the same school have won the awards in the same year.

In the four other sweeps, it was the same player. Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen claimed the FWAA’s Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Monday night in Charlotte.

Ohio State senior center Pat Elflein and Washington State junior offensive guard Cody O’Connell were the other two finalists for the 2016 Outland Trophy.

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Alabama offensive tackle Cam Robinson, winner of the 2016 Outland Trophy.

Robinson, a 6-6, 310-pound junior from Monroe, La., is the top offensive tackle on the No. 1-ranked team in college football. He has started every game at left tackle since he has been on campus (42 straight games). He had 28 knockdown blocks in the regular season. He has been selected a six-time offensive player of the week by the Alabama coaching staff. He played a great game in the 10-0 victory at LSU, with no sacks allowed and no penalties. He has blocked for 10 100-yard rushers this season. In the 30-12 victory over Auburn in the Iron Bowl, Robinson graded out at 89 percent and did not allow a quarterback hurry or sack. He cleared a path for 203 rushing yards in that game.

“He certainly is a dominant offensive lineman on the college scene and should have a great future in the NFL,” said Steve Richardson, FWAA Executive Director. “He follows in a long line of outstanding linemen for the Tide. He is the third under Nick Saban since (2008) to win the Ourland Trophy. Alabama runs the ball with authority against just about everybody, and Robinson is a big reason why.”

Alabama ties Ohio State and Iowa with Outland winners at four – the third highest total by one school. Alabama didn’t have a winner until 1999, but now has Robinson, Chris Samuels (1999), Andre Smith (2008) and Barrett Jones (2011). Nebraska leads all schools with eight different Outland Trophy winners (nine total), followed by Oklahoma with five then Alabama, Ohio State and Iowa with four each.

The Outland Trophy, which is named after the late John Outland, an All-America lineman at the University of Pennsylvania in the late 1800s, is the third oldest player award in major college football behind the Heisman Trophy and Maxwell Award. It has been awarded to the best interior lineman in college football on offense or defense since 1946 when Notre Dame’s George Connor was named the recipient.

For the 20th consecutive year, the presentation of the Outland Trophy will occur in Omaha, on Jan. 11, 2017, at a banquet sponsored by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee. At the same banquet, Oklahoma offensive lineman Greg Roberts, will receive an Outland Trophy. Roberts was the 1978 winner of the award before trophies were handed out by the FWAA. His Oklahoma coach, the legendary Barry Switzer, will receive the third annual Tom Osborne Legacy Award during the evening.

The Outland Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. The 22 awards boast more 700 years of tradition-selection excellence. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.

The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,300 men and women who cover college football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at tiger@fwaa.com or call 214-870-6516.

The Greater Omaha Sports Committee, founded in 1977, is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, consisting of more than 900 men and women from the City of Omaha, the State of Nebraska and others. The membership serves to communicate, develop, initiate and promote sports activities in the Greater Omaha sports area. In addition to the Outland Trophy Award Dinner, the Greater Omaha Sports Committee promotes high school, college, and professional sports in the Greater Omaha area and the Midwest.

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Five finalists named for FWAA Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award

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NEW YORK — The Football Writers Association of America, in conjunction with the Allstate Sugar Bowl, has announced five finalists for the 2016 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award. The winner of the award will be revealed on Dec. 15.

In alphabetical order, the finalists are: Western Michigan’s P.J. Fleck, Penn State’s James Franklin, Colorado’s Mike MacIntyre, Washington’s Chris Petersen and Alabama’s Nick Saban.

“This is an especially strong field of candidates,” said FWAA President Mark Anderson of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “Each one of these coaches could win the award and probably would in most other seasons. They all set the bar extraordinarily high, and whoever does win Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year will further honor the great man for whom we present this award.”

The only previous winner in the group is Saban, who has his team poised for a fifth national title in eight years. He claimed the FWAA Coach of the Year Award previously in 2008 (at Alabama) and in 2003 (at LSU), when the Tigers claimed a piece of the national title. Petersen has been a four-time finalist while at Boise State in 2006 and ‘08, ‘09 and ‘10.

The finalists have been placed on a ballot, which has been sent to the entire FWAA membership. Ballots will be accepted through Friday at 5 p.m. ET.

The official presentation reception will be on Jan. 7, 2017, in Tampa, where the winning coach will be handed the FWAA/Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year bust during a reception in conjunction with the College Football Playoff National Championship.

Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award

Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award

The FWAA has presented a coaching award since the 1957 season when Ohio State’s Woody Hayes was named the first recipient. The award is named for the late Robinson, a coaching legend at Grambling State University for 55 seasons.

Robinson, who passed away on April 3, 2007, won 70.7 percent of his games during his illustrious career. Robinson’s teams won or tied for 17 Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) championships after joining the league in 1959. His Tigers won nine Black College Football Championships during his career spent all at the same school.

The 2016 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year finalists:

P.J. Fleck, Western Michigan: The former NFL player and assistant coach has taken the Broncos (13-0) to their first unbeaten regular season in school history and back-to-back-to-back bowl appearances for the first time. The Broncos have scored a school record number of points (566) this season and were the last team in the country to commit a turnover. The Mid-American Conference champions are headed to the Goodyear Cotton Bowl to face Wisconsin.

James Franklin, Penn State: After a 2-2 start, the Nittany Lions won nine straight games to win the Big Ten Conference in Franklin’s third season in Happy Valley. The Nittany Lions rallied from a 21-point deficit to beat Wisconsin, 38-31, in the Big Ten title game. During the nine-game winning streak, Penn State was the only team to beat College Football Playoff-bound Ohio State. Franklin will take Penn State to the Rose Bowl Game to play USC.

Mike MacIntyre, Colorado: The Buffaloes had won only two of their previous 27 Pac-12 Conference games prior to this season, when they won eight league games to claim the South Division title. The Buffaloes were picked to finish last in the South, but won ten games for the first time since 2001. The son of former college head coach George MacIntyre has authored perhaps the best turnaround story in college football this season.

Chris Petersen, Washington: After 8-6 and 7-6 seasons which produced minor bowl trips for the Huskies, Petersen’s team has made a breakthrough nationally, earning a spot in the College Football Playoff with a 12-1 record. Still one of the younger teams in the Pac-12, the Huskies defeated Colorado, 41-10, in the Pac-12 title game to win their first league title since 2000. The Huskies, whose lone loss was to Rose Bowl-bound USC, face Alabama in a College Football Playoff semifinal.

Nick Saban, Alabama: He has put together a continuing dynasty in Tuscaloosa, Ala., where the Crimson Tide is vying for its fifth national title in eight years. Alabama is currently riding a 25-game winning streak, the longest in the FBS. The nation’s top-ranked team team dominated the SEC with an unbeaten record (13-0) led by one of the nation’s best defenses. Alabama begins its quest to repeat as national champions in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl vs. Washington.

The Allstate Sugar Bowl has established itself as one of the premier college football bowl games, having hosted 27 national champions, 88 Hall of Fame players, 47 Hall of Fame coaches and 17 Heisman Trophy winners in its 82-year history. The 83rd Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic, featuring teams from the Big 12 and the SEC, will be played on January 2, 2017. In addition to football, the Sugar Bowl Committee annually invests over $1.3 million into the community through the hosting and sponsorship of sporting events, awards and clinics. Through these efforts, the organization supports and honors over 25,000 student-athletes each year, while injecting over $2.5 billion into the local economy in the last decade. For more information, visit www.AllstateSugarBowl.org.

The Football Writers Association of America, founded in 1941, consists of 1,400 men and women who cover college football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at tiger@fwaa.com.

The Eddie Robinson Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. The 22 awards boast more than 700 years of tradition-selection excellence. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.

Alabama’s Allen wins 2016 Bronko Nagurski Trophy

2016 bronko sponsor logosCHARLOTTE, N.C. — Finally, the Alabama Crimson Tide landed a winner in the Bronko Nagurski Trophy balloting: defensive end Jonathan Allen.

The nation’s top-ranked team, attempting to win a second straight national title and fifth in eight years, saw Allen claim the trophy as the best defensive player in college football, as chosen by the Football Writers Association of America.

Alabama has had a Nagurski finalist seven times in the last eight years; in fact, the Crimson Tide had two of the five 2016 Nagurski finalists. The previous six times, a Crimson Tide player didn’t get the nod in Charlotte. But Allen, a 6-3, 291-pound senior from Leesburg, Va., broke that streak after returning for his senior season to improve his draft status.

“I’m honestly speechless right now. I never in a million years thought I would even be up for this award, yet win it,” Allen said. “I’ve got to thank all the guys back at Alabama, God, my parents, my girlfriend, everyone who’s had a part in shaping me and making me who I am. This is just a tremendous award.”

“Few would debate that Alabama has the nation’s best defensive line, and Jonathan Allen is a major reason why Crimson Tide opponents have such a difficult time moving the ball,” said FWAA President Mark Anderson of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “He is the winner of the 2016 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, and had to beat out one of his teammates, Reuben Foster, for it.”

Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen, winner of the 2016 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, poses with 2016 FWAA President Mark Anderson.

Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen, winner of the 2016 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, poses with 2016 FWAA President Mark Anderson.

The finalists on hand for the banquet hosted by the Charlotte Touchdown Club were: Allen, Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster, Florida State cornerback Tarvarus McFadden, Michigan linebacker Jabrill Peppers and Clemson end Christian Wilkins.

Projected as a high first-round pick in next spring’s NFL Draft, Allen has been nicknamed “Superman” for some of his plays. Allen is a standout on the nation’s best defense, which, until the SEC Championship Game, hadn’t given up a touchdown since Oct. 22 against Texas A&M.

“Jonathan Allen is a fantastic player for us, even a better person and leader,” said Alabama head coach Nick Saban. “He’s had an outstanding year. I think he’s sort of someone that a lot of players should look at who came here weighing probably 250 pounds. We kind of recruited him as an outside linebacker. The guy has developed each and every year into being a better and better and better player. I think sometimes a lot of players lose sight of how football is a developmental game, how they improve, how they can improve their value by continuing to grow and develop as players in college. Jonathan Allen is a great example of that.”

Allen is second on the Crimson Tide’s career sack list with 26.5 and has nine sacks for 72 yards in losses this season. He has 15 quarterback hurries, has broken up two passes, and blocked a kick. He has scored touchdowns on two fumble recoveries – a 75-yard return against Ole Miss and a 30-yard return against Texas A&M.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner was chosen from the five finalists who are part of the 2016 FWAA All-America Team. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the association’s entire membership, selected the Nagurski Trophy finalists and winner.

In addition to the 2016 Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner’s announcement at the Charlotte Convention Center, the banquet celebrated the recipient of the Bronko Nagurski Legends Award, sponsored by the CTC and Florida East Coast Railway. Navy’s Chet Moeller, a member of the FWAA’s 1975 All-America Team and a College Football Hall of Famer, was honored. Duke head coach David Cutcliffe was the keynote speaker at the banquet.

The FWAA has chosen a National Defensive Player of the Year since 1993. In 1995, the FWAA named the award in honor of the legendary two-way player from the University of Minnesota. Nagurski dominated college football, then became a star for professional football’s Chicago Bears in the 1930s. Bronislaw “Bronko” Nagurski is a charter member of both the College Football and Pro Football Halls of Fame.

The Football Writers Association of America, founded in 1941, consists of 1,400 men and women who cover college football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at tiger@fwaa.com.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. The 22 awards boast more than 700 years of tradition-selection excellence. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.

ABOUT THE CHARLOTTE TOUCHDOWN CLUB AND ITS SPONSORS

The Charlotte Touchdown Club is a non-profit organization founded in 1990 for the purpose of promoting high school, collegiate, and professional football in the Charlotte, N.C., region. The club’s activities and services focus community attention on the outstanding citizenship, scholarship, sportsmanship, and leadership of area athletes and coaches. For more information, contact John Rocco (704-347-2918 or jrocco@touchdownclub.com). The official website of the Charlotte Touchdown Club is touchdownclub.com.

ACN, Inc. Founded in 1993, ACN is the world’s largest direct seller of telecommunications and essential services for residential and business customers. ACN provides the services people need and use every day including Home Phone Service, High Speed Internet, Wireless, Television, Home Security & Automation, Computer Support and Natural Gas and Electricity. ACN operates in 23 countries with offices located throughout North America, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information, visit myacn.com. For information on ACN’s home-based business opportunity, visit acninc.com.

Florida East Coast Railway FECR is a regional freight railroad that extends along a 351-mile corridor between Jacksonville, Fla., and Miami, Fla., with exclusive rail access to the Port of Palm Beach, Port Everglades (Ft. Lauderdale) and the Port of Miami. For more information, visit fecrwy.com.

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It’s in the genes: Chloe Robinson kicks ’em through the uprights for Atlanta high school playoff team

If you catch 16-year-old Chloe Robinson just kickin’ it on a Friday night, chances are it’s through the uprights on a football field.

She is the placekicker for Benjamin E. Mays High School in Atlanta, which is in the quarterfinals of the Georgia 5A playoffs.

Chloe is a junior at Mays, and this is her football debut this season. She is the only girl listed on any high school football roster in Atlanta Public Schools.

Editor’s note: Chloe also is the great-granddaughter of the late Grambling coach Eddie Robinson, the namesake of  the Football Writers Association of America’s Coach of the Year Award. This year’s finalists for the award will be announced on the morning of Dec. 6 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. The winner will be revealed on Dec.15 in Dallas, and the presentation of the Eddie Robinson Bust to the winning coach will occur on Jan. 7 in Tampa during a reception two days before the CFP National Championship Game.

CLICK HERE to read the entire story at theundefeated.com.

Three finalists named for 2016 Outland Trophy

outland trophy bwDALLAS Three finalists for the 71st Outland Trophy, which is awarded to the best interior lineman in college football on offense or defense, were named on Monday by the Football Writers Association of America: Ohio State center Pat Elflein, Washington State offensive guard Cody O’Connell and Alabama offensive tackle Cam Robinson.

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Pat Elflein

Elflein, 6-3, 300-pound senior. He has started all 11 games for the No. 2-ranked Buckeyes (10-1), who play Michigan on Saturday in a showdown of Big Ten East Division powers. He is the only senior on Ohio State’s offensive line. He has 40 career starts. Played guard (All-Big Ten first team twice as a sophomore and junior)) previous to this season, but moved to center in 2016 because he probably will play that position in the NFL. The fifth-year graduate student received his degree in communications last May. One of the top Ohio State players in the weight room as well as academically. Ohio State ranks fifth in scoring (43.8 ppg), eighth in rushing offense (263.1) ypg), 68th  in passing offense (230.0 ypg) and 21st in total offense (493.1 ypg).

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Cody O’Connell

O’Connell, 6-8, 351-pound junior guard. He helps trigger Washington State’s high-octane offense which ranks second in the country in passing behind quarterback Luke Falk. The Cougars are 8-3 overall and will meet Washington on Friday to determine the Pac-12 North Division champion. Through the first nine games, O’Connell had graded out at 92 percent, allowing zero sacks. Has 23 knockdowns through nine games in 364 pass plays. Came in second half and helped rally WSU to a 35-31 win at Oregon State after the Cougars were trailing 21-0 at halftime. Won three Bone Awards from staff.

Washington State is No. 2 in FBS in passing (380.05),  10th in scoring (42.5 ppg), 114th in rushing (132.5 ypg) and No. 10 in total offense (512.5 ypg.)

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Cam Robinson

Robinson, a 6-foot-6, 310-pound junior, is the top offensive tackle on the No. 1-ranked team in college football that produces 477.6 offensive yards a game. He has started every game at left tackle since he has been on campus (40 straight games). He has 23 knockdown blocks through 11 games of the season. He has been a five-time offensive player of the week by the Alabama coaching staff. Played great game in victory at LSU, with no sacks and no penalties. Similar game vs. Tennessee, in which he starred. He has blocked for 10 100-yard rushers this season. Alabama ranks 14th in the country in scoring (40.3 ppg), 13th in rushing  (249.8 ypg), 71stnd in passing (227.6 ypg) and 27thd in total offense (477.6 ypg).

The winner of the 2016 Outland Trophy will be announced Dec. 8 on The Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN, the main show beginning at 7 p.m. (Eastern Time) from the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.

Alabama, Ohio State and Washington State all have had previous Outland Trophy winners. The Buckeyes lead the group with four previous winners: Jim Parker (1956), Jim Stillwagon (1970), John Hicks (1973) and Orlando Pace (1996). Alabama didn’t have a winner until 1999, but now has three previous winners: Chris Samuels (1999), Andre Smith (2008) and Barrett Jones (2011). Washington State’s lone previous winner is Rien Long (2002).

The Outland Trophy. which is named after the late John Outland, an All-America lineman at the University of Pennsylvania in the late 1800s, is the third-oldest player award in major-college football behind the Heisman Trophy and Maxwell Award. It has been awarded to the best interior lineman in college football on offense or defense since 1946 when Notre Dame’s George Connor was named the recipient.

For the 20th consecutive year, the presentation of the Outland Trophy will occur in Omaha, on Jan. 11, 2017 at a banquet sponsored by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee. At the same banquet, Oklahoma offensive lineman Greg Roberts, will receive an Outland Trophy. Roberts was the 1978 winner of the award before trophies were handed out by the FWAA. His Oklahoma coach, the legendary Barry Switzer, will receive the third annual Tom Osborne Legacy Award during the evening.

The Outland Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. The 22 awards boast about 700 years of tradition-selection excellence.

The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,300 men and women who cover college football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at tiger@fwaa.com or call 214-870-6516.

The Greater Omaha Sports Committee, founded in 1977, is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, consisting of more than 900 men and women from the City of Omaha, the State of Nebraska and others. The membership serves to communicate, develop, initiate and promote sports activities in the Greater Omaha sports area. In addition to the Outland Trophy Award Dinner, the Greater Omaha Sports Committee promotes high school, college, and professional sports in the Greater Omaha area and the Midwest.

Jason Kersey named Steve Ellis/FWAA Beat Writer of the Year

Jason Kersey

Jason Kersey

Former Oklahoman reporter Jason Kersey has been named the Steve Ellis/FWAA Beat Writer of the Year for the 2015 football season, when he was covering the Oklahoma Sooners for the newspaper.

Kersey, almost 30 and now a writer for SEC Country and covering the Arkansas Razorbacks, is the sixth annual winner of this award. He will be honored during the FWAA’s Annual Awards Breakfast on Jan. 9 in Tampa, Fla., at the media hotel for the CFP National Championship Game.

“I am genuinely stunned and overwhelmed,” Kersey said. “I want to thank the committee for this unbelievable honor. It means more to me than I can adequately express. I want to thank Ryan Aber (an FWAA member), who was my cohort on the OU beat. He was as perfect a beat partner as anyone working in this job could ever hope to have.

“Also, thanks to my dad for instilling in me a passionate love for sports. Thanks to my mom for how irrationally proud she is of any accomplishments, be it massive or minuscule. And a special thank you to my wife, Annie. This job can be tough on spouses, and Annie not only puts up with it but also encourages and supports me because she knows how much it means to me.”

For the first time, the FWAA Beat Writer of the Year Award will be known as the Steve Ellis/FWAA Beat Writer of the Year Award.  The late Ellis was a standout beat writer who covered Florida State football for the Tallahassee Democrat for a number of years.

Previous winners of this prestigious FWAA award: Doug Lesmerises (Cleveland Plain Dealer), Mark Blaudschun (Boston Globe), Steve Wieberg (USA Today), Jon Wilner (San Jose Mercury News), Tim May (Columbus Dispatch) and Chris Dufresne (Los Angeles Times).

“Jason was instrumental to The Oklahoman’s Sports section’s success in print and digitally,” said Mike Sherman, sports editor of the Tampa Bay Times and former sports editor of The Oklahoman. “He worked his way through various roles in our department, capitalizing on every opportunity to build skills, relationships and his capacity for great storytelling. His reporting broke news and ground.”

In his nomination folder, one fellow writer said: “Jason’s work during the 2015 season perfectly paralleled the play of the team he covered. Oklahoma was at the top of its game, and so was Jason. His versatility shines through on a daily basis, as he reports the good, the bad and the ugly.”

Kersey gave Sherman an assist for his award-winning coverage.

“Mike Sherman is the best sports editor in the country,” Kersey said. “He hired me as a part-timer when I was just an awkward, 19-year-old college sophomore. Throughout our almost decade-long working relationship, he always believed I could do better. I miss working for Mike Sherman every single day because he flat-out makes writers better.

“When I was little, I thought I would someday be a quarterback. I didn’t have the arm, so I tried wide receiver,” Kersey added. “And when I found my speed and athleticism lacking, I decided writing might be my ticket to a career involving football.”

KERSEY BIO

Jason Kersey joined The Oklahoman’s staff in November 2006 and worked as a part-time results clerk, a page designer/copy editor and a high school sports and recruiting reporter before spending four years on the OU football beat.

His work covering the Sooners twice resulted in national recognition as a top-10 beat writer from the Associated Press Sports Editors, as well as top-10 APSE honors for features, breaking news and multimedia. Jason has also won awards from the Tulsa Press Club and Society of Professional Journalists. During his time covering Oklahoma, Jason chronicled the Sooners’ monumental 2014 Sugar Bowl victory over Alabama, the rise of quarterback Baker Mayfield and OU’s run to the 2015 College Football Playoff.

His work at The Oklahoman also included extensive coverage of the racist fraternity video that shocked the entire country and spurred social change on OU’s campus; exclusive reporting on a Title IX sexual assault investigation involving a football player; and the Joe Mixon saga.

Jason left The Oklahoman in May 2016 to join Cox Media Group’s new venture, SEC Country, as its Arkansas beat writer. He is wrapping up his first season covering Bret Bielema and the Razorbacks.

A Noble, Okla., native, Jason graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2009. He lives in Fayetteville, Ark., with his wife Annie and dog Buster.

Kentucky Outland Trophy winner Bob Gain dies

Bob Gain, 1950 Outland Trophy winner.

Bob Gain, 1950 Outland Trophy winner.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Bob Gain, one of the greatest players in the history of University of Kentucky football, passed away Monday in Willoughby, Ohio, at the age of 87.

Gain was a stalwart offensive and defensive lineman at UK from 1947-50 under Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. Also a placekicker, he still holds the school record for most extra points in a game when he made 10-of-10 in a win over North Dakota in 1950. Coming to UK from Weirton, W.Va., Gain helped lead the Wildcats to a four-year record of 33-10-2 and was a member of the Cats’ first three bowl teams in school history.

Kentucky had an 8-3 record in 1947 and made its first postseason appearance with a victory over Villanova in the Great Lakes Bowl.  UK went 9-3 in the 1949 season and played in the Orange Bowl. The Wildcats were 11-1 in 1950, winning the Southeastern Conference championship. Gain capped his collegiate career with a 13-7 victory over Oklahoma in the 1951 Sugar Bowl, ending the Sooners’ 31-game winning streak. UK is recognized as the 1950 national champion by the Sagarin Computer Ratings.

In 1950, Gain became the first player in Southeastern Conference history to win the prestigious Outland Trophy as the nation’s best interior lineman.  He earned first-team All-America honors as a junior and senior. He was a three-year All-Southeastern Conference choice, first team as a junior and senior and second team as a sophomore.

Although a first-round selection of the National Football League’s Green Bay Packers (fifth pick overall), Gain played the 1951 season with the Ottawa Rough Riders in the Canadian Football League, winning the Grey Cup championship. He played for the NFL’s Cleveland Browns in 1952 before serving in Korea as a first lieutenant in the United States Air Force in 1953.

Gain returned to the Browns in 1954, where he played until 1964. He had a stellar career as a defensive lineman with the Browns.  He was named first-team All-Pro once, second-team All-Pro seven times, and played in the Pro Bowl five times. He continued to be part of champion teams, as the Browns won the NFL title in 1954, 1955 and in 1964.

Gain received numerous honors following his career.  He was named to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1980.  His UK jersey is retired and he is a member of the UK Athletics Hall of Fame. He was elected to the West Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, the Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame and the Kentucky chapter of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  He also was tabbed for the All-SEC Quarter-Century Team, covering the years 1950-74, by the Birmingham Quarterback Club.

Tony Neely

Asst. AD / Media Relations

University of Kentucky Athletics

Joe Craft Center

338 Lexington Avenue

Lexington, KY   40506

(859) 257-3838

FWAA member Bo Carter and co-authors have new book on Dizzy Dean

“Dizzy – Dean of Baseball & My Podnah” – Cool Cat Communications, October 2016 U.S. $24.95; Canada $27.95   

FWAA member Bo Carter and journalist Mark McDonald, a former Dallas area media member, have tri-authored a book with the late Gene Kirby (the play-by-play voice for Army football for several seasons) called “Dizzy: Dean of Baseball and My Podnah.”

Somewhere between heaven and second base, a tall skinny kid from the cotton fields of Arkansas —or was it Oklahoma?– emerged with a white-hot fastball and country cool. Meet Jay Hannah Dean. Folks called him “Dizzy.”

Dizzy Dean was a plain-spoken but colorful athlete who showed up on the big stage of professional baseball when the nation needed a light moment. Dizzy’s baseball and total persona were a high-wire act without a script, providing Americans relief from the struggles of everyday life during the Great Depression.

A Hall of Fame baseball career was just the start. Once Dizzy migrated to the broadcast booth he teamed with the likes of Pee Wee Reese and producer Gene Kirby to deliver the wildly popular CBS Game of the Week.

Here, at long last, is a book that takes you behind the scenes and behind the television cameras.

Of the many books written on Dizzy, none is told from such an intimate perspective, nor with the shared sense of playful mischief. Gene Kirby’s text and photo collection show why the pitcher was a baseball phenom, but more importantly, show why Dizzy remains an enduring legend.

To order copies, please contact:

Cool Cat Communications

Box 701713

San Antonio, TX 78270-1713

Email: Coolcatcomm@att.net

Bo Carter phone: 214-418-6132

Former Outland Trophy winner Bill Stanfill dies

Bill Stanfill, winner of the Outland Trophy in 1968.

Bill Stanfill, winner of the Outland Trophy in 1968.

University of Georgia All-American, Outland Trophy winner, and College Hall of Fame inductee Bill Stanfill died Thursday night in Albany, Ga.

Born Jan. 13, 1947, the Cairo native followed his stellar college career as one of the NFL’s greatest players as a member of the Miami Dolphins who selected him in the first round of the 1969 NFL draft. In 1969, he was named the AFL Rookie of the Year runner-up and during his career was named All-Pro four times. He was a starter on the 1972 and ’73 Miami Dolphin Super Bowl championship teams.

CLICK HERE to read the entire store at GeorgiaDogs.com.

 

 

 

Middle Tennessee State’s Steven Rhodes named fifth winner of Armed Forces Merit Award

Armed Forces Merit Award

Armed Forces Merit Award

FORT WORTH, Texas — U.S. Marine veteran Steven Rhodes, a senior defensive end at Middle Tennessee State University, is the fifth recipient of Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA).

Coordinated by the staff at the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, the Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the FWAA was created in June 2012 “to honor an individual and/or a group within the realm of the sport of football.”

Brant Ringler, the executive director of the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, and Steve Richardson, the FWAA’s executive director, announced here Friday that Rhodes, who will be 28 in 11 days, is the 2016 recipient.

Steven Rhodes

Steven Rhodes

A seven-person committee made up of FWAA members and Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl officials selected Rhodes from a list of 16 nominations for the 2016 award.  Nate Boyer of the University of Texas was named the initial recipient of the award in 2012, followed by Brandon McCoy of the University of North Texas in 2013, Daniel Rodriguez from Clemson University in 2014 and Bret Robertson of Westminster College (Fulton, Mo.) in 2015.  All four individuals were U.S. Army veterans before playing college football.

“On this very special day, Veterans’ Day 2016, we are pleased to join with the Football Writers Association of America to name Steven Rhodes as the fifth recipient of the Armed Forces Merit Award,” said Ringler. “We had a list of 16 outstanding nominations for this year’s award and it is difficult to select only one each year when we have individuals and programs that are very deserving of the honor.”

Richardson echoed Ringler’s sentiments along with adding that the FWAA is “pleased to team with Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl to recognize Rhodes’ achievement as a veteran who used his armed forces experiences to benefit his teammates and coaches at Middle Tennessee State University.  The FWAA also salutes the other 2016 nominations for their contributions on-and-off the field of play.”

Rhodes joined the Middle Tennessee football program after serving five years in the U.S. Marines.  Following his enrollment in 2013, the NCAA originally ruled that Rhodes only had two years of eligibility and would have to sit out the 2013 season since he played recreational football on base for a two-year period.

After Rhodes’ eligibility story went national on August 18, 2013, the next day the NCAA issued a statement saying Rhodes could play immediately and had four years of eligibility. Since the August 2013 ordeal, Rhodes has played in 47 games at Middle Tennessee with 27 career starts, including nine this fall for the 6-3 Blue Raiders.

A 6-foot-3, 260-pound defensive end and fourth oldest player in the Football Bowl Subdivision, Rhodes is the team’s eighth leading tackler with 29 total stops (18 unassisted), with 4.5 tackles for losses, 2.5 sacks, two pass deflections, five quarterback hurries, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.  For his career, Rhodes has 98 total tackles (63 unassisted).

Following graduation in 2007 from Antioch (Tenn.) High School where he played football, Rhodes enlisted in the Marine Corps as a shoulder injury and financial issues initially kept him from attending college.  Rhodes’ “road” back to college football started three years ago when he was stationed at the Marine Corps Air Station in New River, N.C.  When he was moved to MCAS Miramar, Calif., he started for the Miramar Falcons in 2012.

Even though he only played one season, his Miramar coaches saw the potential he displayed and helped to make sure he reached his goal.  A former Falcon coach helped Rhodes film his games so he could send them to colleges.  With the film from the games, Rhodes was recruited by Middle Tennessee, the school he had planned on attending before sustaining his shoulder injury.

Rhodes credits the Marines for “his healthy perspective and mental toughness.  What the [Marines] do and what they stand for — honor, courage, commitment — it stands for every aspect of my life.”

Motivated by his family, Rhodes states that his wife (Adrienne, formerly in the Navy but now a stay-at-home mom who home schools their children) and two sons (Kameron and Devon) inspire him to excel on the football field and in the classroom.  Rhodes is pursuing a degree in Organized Communication.  Rhodes met his wife while he was in the Marines and she was in the Navy.

“It’s definitely tough,” Rhodes said. “It’s like having several fulltime jobs. I’m a husband first, then a father, then a student-athlete. My freshman year was the worst — just trying to make that adjustment. My wife and I have gotten on the same page. She’s made it as seamless and worry-free for me as possible. We’re moving toward a common goal. It was a tough ride, but I wouldn’t change any of it. It’s molded me into the man I am today.”

Middle Tennessee coach Rick Stockstill said Rhodes had leadership qualities as soon as he joined the team, but that it took a while for him to have a big effect on the team because he was only around his new teammates at practice.

“Just because you’re a leader in some other capacity, until you get to know people and people get to know you on a personal level, I think it takes a little bit of time,” Stockstill said. “When he was a freshman, everybody on the outside assumed he was going to be a great leader and all of that, which he was. But it didn’t impact the team because the team didn’t know him. Now, he’s established himself not only as a player but as a person, he’s one of our leaders.”

ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a large portfolio of collegiate sporting events worldwide. The roster includes three Labor Day weekend college football games; FCS opening-weekend game; 13 college bowl games, 11 college basketball events and two college award shows, which accounts for approximately 250-plus hours of programming, reaches almost 64 million viewers and attracts over 700,000 attendees each year. With satellite offices in Albuquerque, Birmingham, Boca Raton, Boise, Dallas-Fort Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Montgomery and St. Petersburg, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans.  ESPN Events also manages the Big 12 Corporate Partner Program.  Collegiate Football — AdvoCare Texas Kickoff (Houston); AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl (Houston); Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl (Atlanta); Birmingham Bowl (Alabama); Boca Raton Bowl (Florida); Camping World Kickoff (Orlando, Fla.); Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise); Gildan New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque); Hawai’i Bowl (Honolulu); Las Vegas Bowl (Nevada); Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth); MEAC/SWAC Challenge (Baton Rouge, La.); Montgomery Kickoff Classic (Montgomery, Ala.); Popeyes Bahamas Bowl (Nassau); Raycom Media Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, Ala.); St. Petersburg Bowl (Florida); The Home Depot College Football Awards (Atlanta) and Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth).  Collegiate Basketball — AdvoCare Invitational (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.); College Basketball Awards Presented by Wendy’s (Los Angeles); Gildan Charleston Classic (South Carolina); Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu); Jimmy V Men’s  Classic presented by Corona (New York City); Jimmy V Women’s Classic presented by Corona (Uncasville, Conn.); NIT Season Tip-Off (Brooklyn, N.Y.); PK80 (Portland, Ore.); State Farm Armed Forces Classic (Honolulu); State Farm Champions Classic (New York City); Tire Pros Invitational (Orlando, Fla.) and Wooden Legacy (Orange County, Calif.).  For more information, visit the official website, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube pages.

The Football Writers Association of America (FWAA, http://www.sportswriters.net) consists of the men and women across North America who cover college football for a living.  Founded in 1941, the membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game day operations, major awards and an All-America team.  Through its website, the FWAA works to improve communication among all those who work within the game. The FWAA also sponsors scholarships for aspiring writers and an annual writing contest.  Behind the leadership of President Mark Anderson of the  Las Vegas Review-Journal, Executive Director Steve Richardson and a board of veteran journalists, the FWAA continues grow and work to help college football prosper at all levels. There are now over 1,300 members.

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