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 College Football Player News & Notes

  10/22/20 - ILB Jake HansenSr/2021, Illinois, 6-0, 230 (DS#17 ILB) + More +

  Illinois named its five team captains Friday, with redshirt senior linebacker Jake Hansen selected by his teammates for a second straight season. Smith will lean on his newly-minted middle linebacker this season. "I love Jake Hansen," Smith said. "I love all of our players. Sometimes just based on the position a little bit, you may spend a little more time with someone. I'm calling the defensive signals. Jake makes the calls. I spend a little bit more time with him. He's easy to like. He does everything the right way. "It's hard not to buy into a guy like that. As a football coach, you want guys leading your team that are that way. We just named our five captains this past Friday. Jake, for the second year in a row, that means a lot to be selected captain two years in a row." - News Gazette Tribune

(DS#17 ILB) Sr/2021 ILB Jake HansenIllinois
News Source: News Gazette Tribune
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  10/22/20 - QB Stetson BennettrJr/2022, Georgia, 5-11, 190 (DS#999 QB) + More +

  Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett used "boneheaded" multiple times to describe his performance in Saturday's loss. He performed well in games against Arkansas, Auburn and Tennessee, but Alabama brought a new challenge. Bennett had three interceptions - most of which were on throws over the middle - to go along with two touchdowns. He threw for 269 yards, but had his share of woes. "I think Stetson has gotten better," Smart said. "When the level of competition changes, you don't change your evaluation. The experience he gained tonight will be invaluable through the rest of the run on the road." The latest chapter of Bennett's storybook didn't have another sweet ending. But he continues to have confidence from his coaches. He continues to hold a lead over JT Daniels and D'Wan Mathis. "He's a work in progress, much like our team," Smart said. "He's going to grow and develop." - Macon Telegraph

(DS#999 QB) rJr/2022 QB Stetson BennettGeorgia
News Source: Macon Telegraph
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  Saturday will be quarterback Shai Werts' 40th career start, making him just one of three Eagles in the modern era to start 40 or more games behind or under center. Tracy Ham (1982-86) started 53 games and Raymond Gross (1987-90) started 52. - Georgia Southern Football

(DS#56 QB) rSr/2021 QB Shai WertsGeorgia Southern
News Source: Georgia Southern Football
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  10/22/20 - C Doug KramerrSr/2021, Illinois, 6-2, 300 (DS#7 C) + More +

  On Wednesday, the fourth-year starter was named to the Rimington Award Watch List, which goes to the nation's top center. He is the leader of a talented, experienced group of linemen, with four starters back for the second consecutive season. Kramer missed the Redbox Bowl with an injury and it hurt the team's offense in a 35-20 loss to Cal. He is healthy now and showed off his strength during the offseason by pushing his black pickup truck down the street. He also tossed beer kegs in the front yard of his Hinsdale home. Impressive stuff. His work ethic and dedication should keep Kramer among the most important Illini this season. - News Gazette Tribune

(DS#7 C) rSr/2021 C Doug KramerIllinois
News Source: News Gazette Tribune
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  10/22/20 - DT Quinton BohannaSr/2021, Kentucky, 6-3, 357 (DS#17 DT) + More +

  Kentucky will be without senior nose guard Quinton Bohanna in Saturday's trip to Missouri. "Quinton will be out for a bit," Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said Monday. "Nothing major, thank goodness for him and for us. I'm not sure how long that will be, but he will be out this week." Bohanna, a likely NFL draft prospect and key anchor to UK's front seven, suffered a knee injury shortly before halftime of Kentucky's 34-7 win over Tennessee. SEC Network cameras showed him in considerable pain on the field after the play, and he had to be helped by trainers to limp to the sideline. Bohanna was then taken to the locker room on a cart. After the game, Bohanna tweeted, "I'm good ima be back."

Bohanna's injury came one week after he forced two interceptions by pressuring Mississippi State's quarterbacks. "We wouldn't say he's a finished product, but every day he works," UK defensive coordinator Brad White said of Bohanna on Wednesday. "He's been getting better throughout the season. It happened to sort of culminate on Saturday for everybody to see, but he's had some really, really solid rushes throughout the first two weeks." On the season, Bohanna has been credited with five tackles, one tackle for loss and one pass breakup, but his ability to take up multiple blockers at 6-foot-4, 357 pounds often brings benefits not evident in the box score. - Courier Journal

(DS#17 DT) Sr/2021 DT Quinton BohannaKentucky
News Source: Courier Journal
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  Redshirt freshman quarterback Cornelious Brown IV tied the GSU record by accounting for five touchdowns against Arkansas State. He threw three TD passes, all to Sam Pinckney, while rushing for scores of 35 and 11 yards. He finished with 314 yards passing on 18 completions and 83 yards rushing on 13 attempts. Brown, a native of Birmingham, Ala., leads the Sun Belt and ranks No. 14 in FBS with 307.0 yards per game. The only freshman in the nation averaging more is Spencer Rattler of Oklahoma. - Georgia State Football

(DS#999 QB) rFr/2024 QB Cornelious Brown IVGeorgia State
News Source: Georgia State Football
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  Oklahoma State has been relying on backup quarterback Shane Illingworth after starter Spencer Sanders left the Cowboys' season opener with an ankle injury. Sanders is now healthy, but it's unclear what Oklahoma State will do with its quarterback position this weekend. "We're alternating reps," Gundy said. "We might play both. I'm not sure right now. We continue to give them quality work. Spencer is healthy, and obviously Shane has played pretty good. "We're in pretty good shape at the quarterback position." Illingworth is completing 73.5% of his passes for 483 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Sanders threw for 2,065 yards, 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions last year as a freshman. "I think both quarterbacks have shown to be really efficient in their offense," Campbell said. "I don't know if it really changes who they are offensively, and I think both quarterbacks have proven to be really efficient and really effective in their offense." - Des Moines Register

(DS#4 QB) Fr/2024 QB Shane IllingworthOklahoma State
News Source: Des Moines Register
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  10/22/20 - P Blake HayesSr/2021, Illinois, 6-5, 215 (DS#4 P) + More +

  The returning Big Ten Punter of the Year is among the leading candidates for the Ray Guy Award, which goes to the nation's best player at the position. Hayes led the Big Ten in punting average last season, edging Ohio State's Drue Chrisman and Michigan's Will Hart. The 6-foot-6, 215-pound Australian has a strong leg, but is also valued for his accuracy. His ability to pin opponents deep is considered a huge asset for Lovie Smith's defense. Hayes learned many of his skills in his native country, long before he considered trying American football. At his current pace, Hayes will break Steve Weatherford's school record for career average. Hayes is considered the top NFL draft prospect among current college punters. He has already been named a semifinalist for the Campbell Trophy, which factors in athletic and academic skill, and will leave as one of the best punters in Illini history. - News Gazette Tribune

(DS#4 P) Sr/2021 P Blake HayesIllinois
News Source: News Gazette Tribune
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  10/22/20 - RB Pooka Williams Jr.Jr/2022, Kansas, 5-10, 170 (DS#19 RB) + More +

  Pooka Williams has opted out of the remainder of the 2020 college football season, a decision that could signal the end of the standout junior running back's electrifying Kansas career. Williams, a preseason All-Big 12 selection, announced his decision to step away from the program Monday night via a graphic posted to Twitter. A likely NFL Draft selection when his collegiate career ends, Williams is eligible to take that path beginning next spring. If Williams' collegiate career is over, it ended with a bang. Williams returned a kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown on his final touch in last Saturday's 38-17 defeat at West Virginia, a play that represented his 18th touchdown with the Jayhawks - 12 rushing, four receiving, one passing and that special teams highlight.

Through two-plus seasons, the all-purpose player compiled 415 rushing attempts for 2,382 yards (5.7 yards per carry) and 66 receptions for 534 yards. Williams' junior campaign has been a struggle, though - he carried the ball 11 times for just 21 yards against the Mountaineers, dropping his yards per carry to 3.8 in 51 totes. Playing through an ankle injury sustained early in the Jayhawks' season, Williams has also struggled to find openings behind a largely ineffective offensive line. - Topeka Capital Journal

(DS#19 RB) Jr/2022 RB Pooka Williams Jr.Kansas
News Source: Topeka Capital Journal
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  10/22/20 - QB Brock PurdyJr/2022, Iowa State, 6-1, 212 (DS#9 QB) + More +

  Brock Purdy first burst on to the scene for Iowa State in leading the Cyclones to victory as a backup against Oklahoma State in Stillwater back in 2018. Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy's admiration for the Iowa State signal-caller has only grown since. "I think they've got a future NFL quarterback," Gundy said Monday. Purdy is coming off his best game of the year, throwing for 302 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for 42 yards in a win over Texas Tech. For the season, Purdy is completing 62.4% of his passes and has thrown for 912 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Gundy's praise for the Cyclones wasn't limited to just Purdy, though. "I think Iowa State is a really good football team," Gundy said. "I think they're well-coached. - Des Moines Register

(DS#9 QB) Jr/2022 QB Brock PurdyIowa State
News Source: Des Moines Register
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  10/21/20 - WR DeVonta SmithSr/2021, Alabama, 6-1, 175 (DS#3 WR) + More +

  Alabama doesn't need any help defeating opponents. Georgia felt generous on Saturday night, though, and gave the Crimson Tide plenty of aid with a bundle of mistakes in the second half of a 41-24 loss. Despite an interception on the initial drive from junior quarterback Stetson Bennett, the Bulldogs played fairly clean in the first half. The pick came on a deflection, the offense rolled up 24 points and the defense, for the most part, kept the explosive Crimson Tide offense in check. Still, one play stuck out to Georgia head coach Kirby Smart after the game. On Alabama's second touchdown, junior quarterback Mac Jones bluffed a bubble screen to junior receiver Jaylen Waddle and lofted a 17-yard touchdown pass to senior DeVonta Smith to tie the game at 17. "It's actually a play we repped and gave it up for a touchdown to the scout team," Smart said. "Then they beat us with it." - Macon Telegraph

(DS#3 WR) Sr/2021 WR DeVonta SmithAlabama
News Source: Macon Telegraph
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  Coastal Carolina senior running back CJ Marable was one of three players named to the Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll, the Louisville Sports Commission announced on Monday. It marks the second time this season he has been recognized for the weekly honor roll, earning the first honor on Oct. 5 following the Chanticleers' win over Arkansas State (Oct. 3). Marable was joined on the honor roll by Khalil Herbert of Virginia Tech and Jaylen Waddle of Alabama. In the Chanticleers' 30-27 conference road win at No. 21 Louisiana (Oct. 14) last Wednesday, Marable led the way on the ground for the Chanticleers' offense with 73 yards and a score on 17 carries. The versatile running back also added three catches for 40 yards and a touchdown in the passing game and finished the game with 113 all-purpose yards. The win over No. 21 Louisiana was the program's first-ever win over an FBS top 25 nationally-ranked program and put the Chants at 2-0 in the Sun Belt for the first time in their four-year FBS history. - Coastal Carolina Football

(DS#52 RB) rSr/2021 RB CJ MarableCoastal Carolina
News Source: Coastal Carolina Football
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  This year has been a wild ride for Boise State linebacker Brock Miller. He transferred from N.C. State for what was supposed to be his final year of eligibility and moved across the country to a city he'd never visited. He's diving into a new playbook full of unfamiliar terminology, and trying to ingratiate himself to his new teammates while COVID-19 continues to alter the college football landscape. And he somehow found time to get married. "It's been a crazy 2020, and it's definitely been a learning process, coming to a new school and trying to learn the system and learn the culture," Miller told reporters this month.

Miller committed to Boise State in January after having started 11 games for the Wolfpack in 2019. At N.C. State, he lined up as a boundary linebacker in a 3-3-5 scheme - a role he said was similar to the Broncos' STUDs - and at weak-side linebacker in a 4-2-5 scheme. The Port St. Lucie, Florida, native's familiarity with different positions and formations and his experience in games against the likes of No. 1 Clemson have already stood out to his new coach. "He's got a maturity about him," Boise State coach Bryan Harsin told reporters. "He's going to come in here and work, he's going to do his part and he's going to build trust with coaches and players on the team." - Idaho Statesman

(DS#999 ILB) rSr/2021 ILB Brock MillerBoise State
News Source: Idaho Statesman
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  Within a four series stretch during the first half vs. Kentucky, Tennessee quarterbacks produced a lost fumble and three interceptions, including two pick-sixes. Starter Jarrett Guarantano was responsible for three of the turnovers, including pick-sixes on back-to-back drives. It put him at six turnovers over a four quarter stretch dating back to the Vols' Week 3 loss to Georgia and led to Tennessee briefly turning to backup QB J.T. Shrout, who promptly threw an interception of his own on his first pass attempt. It wasn't just Tennessee, though. It was also a tough week for quarterbacks from Auburn, Ole Miss and Georgia. Auburn's Bo Nix was just 24 of 47 with three interceptions during a loss to South Carolina. Ole Miss' Matt Corral, who had thrown for 320 yards or more and only one interception through his first three games, had six interceptions vs. Arkansas and only threw for 200 yards. - Birmingham News

(DS#30 QB) rSr/2021 QB Jarrett GuarantanoTennessee
News Source: Birmingham News
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  10/21/20 - QB Jack SearsrJr/2022, Boise State, 6-2, 219 (DS#20 QB) + More +

  Boise State released its initial depth chart Monday ahead of this weekend's season opener against Utah State, and a newcomer will back up sophomore quarterback Hank Bachmeier despite the fact that he hasn't played in a game since Nov. 27, 2018. Jack Sears, a graduate transfer from USC, will open the fall as the Broncos' No. 2 quarterback after signing with the team in February. He spent the past three years with the Trojans but sat out last season to focus on completing his undergraduate degree. Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said Monday that he's seen enough from Sears to be comfortable with him playing. He also said it's impossible to simulate the physicality and speed of a game during the week because, like at most programs around the country, the Broncos' quarterbacks are donning red jerseys in practice, which means they're off-limits.

In 2018, Sears was USC's No. 3 quarterback, but he impressed in his only outing of the season. Facing Arizona State, he completed 20-of-28 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns. Harsin feels like he knows what Sears can do on the field. Now it's just a matter of him settling into another new system after having already gone through multiple offensive coordinators at USC. "That's probably the most challenging thing at the quarterback position, learning a new system," Harsin said. "It's really the same plays but in a different language." - Idaho Statesman

(DS#20 QB) rJr/2022 QB Jack SearsBoise State
News Source: Idaho Statesman
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  After a stunning 358-yard air-raid performance against Pittsburgh last week, BC just couldn't seem to connect on the long balls against Virginia Tech. Last week, Jurkovec tossed a couple of dimes to Zay Flowers on the run, one which went for 44 yards and the other which went for a staggering 77 yards. But when the Eagles got to Blacksburg, the deep ball connection disappeared. The combination of VT's stout pass rush-which sacked Jurkovec once-and a lockdown secondary kept BC from hitting explosive plays in the air. The Hokies' secondary notched six pass breakups and two interceptions on the night. The Eagles notched their longest completion of the night on a 43-yard pass to Jaelen Gill. Other than that, BC, which had previously found a weapon in Jurkovec's cannon of an arm, struggled immensely as Jurkovec threw into tight coverage deep down field. - The Heights

(DS#19 QB) rSo/2023 QB Phil JurkovecBoston College
News Source: The Heights
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  For the second time this season, Coastal Carolina football's Grayson McCall was recognized by The Manning Award, sponsored by the Allstate Sugar Bowl, as one of the "Stars of the Week" for week seven. He was also honored for the weekly award back on Sept. 14, following the Chants' season-opening win at Kansas (Sept. 12). Playing in his first Sun Belt Conference road game, McCall went 17-of-24 for 202 yards and two scores through the air, while also running 11 times for 45 yards and a touchdown in the win at No. 21 Louisiana (Oct. 14) last week. On top of being responsible for three touchdowns, McCall directed a final drive for the Chanticleers that set up a game-winning field goal with four seconds to go in the 30-27 conference win. The win over No. 21 Louisiana was the program's first-ever win over an FBS top 25 nationally-ranked program and put the Chants at 2-0 in the Sun Belt for the first time in their four-year FBS history. - Coastal Carolina Football

(DS#14 QB) rFr/2024 QB Grayson McCallCoastal Carolina
News Source: Coastal Carolina Football
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  10/21/20 - RB D.J. WilliamsSo/2023, Auburn, 5-10, 208 (DS#7 RB) + More +

  While freshman running back Tank Bigsby has dazzled with two 100-yard games in a row, sophomore D.J. Williams has quietly been adding another element to the running game. In Auburn's loss to South Carolina, Williams had 17 rushing yards on four carries while also adding 26 receiving yards on two catches. It's the third game Williams has helped in both the receiving and the ground game, and he's done it while injured. Coming into the season, Williams was the second-most experienced running back on the Auburn depth chart, and he was second, behind Shaun Shivers, to hit the field in the season opener against Kentucky. However, both Williams and Shivers were injured before the Georgia game. While Shivers sat out, Williams still hit the field, but on a limited basis. Meanwhile, Bigsby had to take over the No. 1 running back's responsibilities, a role he stepped into smoothly. But even with the injuries, Williams has been able to help the team.

In his first game he played while injured, Williams wasn't able to do much. He made one catch for a loss of four yards. But after just a week to recover, Williams burst back onto the scene. Against Arkansas, Williams picked up 71 yards on eight carries, averaging 8.9 yards per carry, and made one catch for a gain of one yard. Williams took one of his carries for 41 yards, helping set up an Auburn field goal. Although Williams' production dropped against South Carolina, his runs showed off his ability to break tackles and forge through traffic. It was a positive sign that he's getting back to full strength. - Birmingham News

(DS#7 RB) So/2023 RB D.J. WilliamsAuburn
News Source: Birmingham News
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  10/21/20 - WR Taj HarrisJr/2022, Syracuse, 6-1, 164 (DS#54 WR) + More +

  Taj Harris has been far and away the best offensive playmaker for Syracuse this season. The junior receiver leads the Orange with 26 catches for 434 yards and four touchdowns through five games. No other Syracuse player has reached 200 receiving yards. - The State

(DS#54 WR) Jr/2022 WR Taj HarrisSyracuse
News Source: The State
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  For a month, the only certainty in Steve Addazio's world has been uncertainty. But the new CSU football coach announced Monday afternoon that the Rams, for certain, will be without tight end Cam Butler for the rest of the fall. Addazio said the senior suffered "an unfortunate non-contact injury" but did not divulge the nature of the injury - or a timetable for Butler's potential return. "He was quite a playmaker," said Addazio, whose Rams open up an eight-game season Saturday night at Canvas Stadium against New Mexico. "So Warren (Jackson, who opted out) is down, and Cam's down. So those are two weapons that are down. So other guys have to step up. And I'm anxious to find out how that's going to roll."

Butler, a 6-foot-2, 250-pound target, missed the last five games of the 2019 season with an undisclosed injury. He'd nabbed eight receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown - the latter scored in the Rocky Mountain Showdown against the CU Buffs - in four games last fall. As a sophomore in 2018, the South Carolina native led all Rams tight ends in catches (29) while putting up 312 receiving yards in 12 appearances, 10 of them starts. He would have at least one season of collegiate eligibility remaining on his ledger after this autumn. Butler's loss is buffered some by the return of talented junior tight end Trey McBride, who had announced his intention to transfer after the Mountain West had initially decided to postpone the football season until the spring. - Denver Post

(DS#999 FB) Sr/2021 FB Cameron ButlerColorado State
News Source: Denver Post
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