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  06/30/20 - QB Adrian MartinezJr/2022, Nebraska, 6-1, 220 (DS#17 QB) + More +

  Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez endured what many considered to be a sophomore slump last season. He's apparently working hard this offseason to bust out of the slump. "I think there's some things that he's done differently this year that will give him an opportunity to be better," Husker head coach Scott Frost said Monday. Asked for specifics, the coach said, "I think it's just his mindset and his approach. He came in his first year and had to compete for that spot, and he looked like a competitor every single day in practice."

Martinez's mindset carried into competition as the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Californian averaged a school-record 295.1 yards of total offense per game and was named a freshman All-American by the Football Writers Association of America. "Year 2, because of the situation, I think he was able to put it in cruise control a little more, and I think that showed up on the field a little bit," Frost said. "That's not to put everything on him. There's a lot of things he couldn't control. But I don't think he'll be lax in his preparation ever again." After completing 64.6% of his passes as a freshman, Martinez dipped to 59.4% last season. After averaging 237.9 passing yards per game in 2018, he averaged 195.6 in 2019. - Lincoln Journal Star

(DS#17 QB) Jr/2022 QB Adrian MartinezNebraska
News Source: Lincoln Journal Star
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  06/30/20 - ILB Jesse LuketaJr/2022, Penn State, 6-2, 247 (DS#20 ILB) + More +

  The Penn State linebacker room isn't short on confidence heading into the 2020 season, and for good reason. The Nittany Lions return arguably the best in the country at the position in junior Micah Parsons and have plenty of talent to fill in around him. Jesse Luketa is one of the players ready to step into a starting role, and he thinks the Nittany Lions can't be matched at linebacker. "We have the opportunity to have the No. 1 linebacker room in the nation," Luketa said on a conference call with the media Tuesday afternoon. "We're talented, we're fast, we're physical, we're smart and we're eager to learn...I'm excited for our guys. I'm excited for the country to see what we have to offer and what we're going to do to opposing offenses." Regardless of who starts next to Parsons, Luketa is confident he and the rest of the linebackers are at the peak of college football. "You see the film," Luketa said. "You see the individuals we have in the room. I see the work we put in day in and day out. Call me crazy. Call me what you want. I know the talent we have, I know how we work, I know how hungry we are. And it's unmatched. It's unparalleled. It's as simple as that." - Centre Times

(DS#20 ILB) Jr/2022 ILB Jesse LuketaPenn State
News Source: Centre Times
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  Another TCU football player has ended his playing days because of medical reasons. Reserve offensive lineman Ian Burnette has walked away from the game, multiple sources confirmed Monday. Backup quarterback Matthew Baldwin ended his career last week. Burnette, a three-star prospect out of Wimberley and part of TCU's 2018 recruiting class, never played in a game for the Horned Frogs. He redshirted as a true freshman in 2018, and sustained a season-ending injury last year. Burnette wasn't expected to compete for a starting job in 2020, but would have provided interior depth. Wes Harris and Quazzel White are two returners who started at guard last season. Others in the mix include John Lanz, Kellton Hollins and freshmen Garrett Hayes, Altrique Barlow and Brannon Brown. - Fort Worth Star

(DS#999 OG) rSo/2023 OG Ian BurnetteTexas Christian
News Source: Fort Worth Star
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  06/30/20 - SS Josh PerryrSr/2021, Memphis, 6-2, 200 (DS#999 SS) + More +

  Two Memphis football players entered the transfer portal on Tuesday. Senior linebacker Josh Perry and sophomore defensive back Troy Hurst announced their decisions on Twitter. Perry, who played in 35 total games, was a safety in his first two seasons before switching to linebacker last season. He struggled in his new role, appearing in eight games with just two tackles. Perry started five games as a freshman in 2017 and 13 games in 2018, finishing fourth on the team in tackles with 65. He has one year of eligibility left. - Memphis Commercial Appeal

(DS#999 SS) rSr/2021 SS Josh PerryMemphis
News Source: Memphis Commercial Appeal
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  06/30/20 - RB Kenneth GainwellrSo/2023, Memphis, 5-11, 191 (DS#1 RB) + More +

  Memphis football coach Ryan Silverfield sent out a tweet earlier in June that appeared to support the Black Lives Matter movement. Now he's taking it a step further. Silverfield announced Tuesday on Twitter that every Memphis helmet will have a "BLM", short for Black Lives Matter, sticker for every game. The circle will be gray with BLM in blue lettering, with the M being the Tigers logo. It's the same logo Silverfield tweeted out two weeks ago. Silverfield added a hashtag of #ALLINagainstRACIALINJUSTICE in Tuesday's tweet. The news was retweeted by several players, including senior defensive back TJ Carter, defensive tackle O'Bryan Goodson and wide receiver Calvin Austin III.

The Tigers football team, currently in the middle of voluntary workouts, helped lead a Unity Walk earlier this month from their practice field at University of Memphis' south campus to main campus to protest against racial injustice. At one point, Silverfield chanted "Black Lives Matter" along with his players. The announcement is the latest sign of the football team sending messages against injustice. It also shared a video on the football team account earlier this year where Silverfield, running backs coach Anthony Jones Jr. and players vowed to take a stand together against systemic racism. - Memphis Commercial Appeal

(DS#1 RB) rSo/2023 RB Kenneth GainwellMemphis
News Source: Memphis Commercial Appeal
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  06/30/20 - WR Whop PhilyorSr/2021, Indiana, 5-10, 178 (DS#12 WR) + More +

  Indiana athletics has made clear to its student-athletes that they will not lose their scholarships if they choose not to compete due to COVID-19 concerns. In an email Tuesday from outgoing athletic director Fred Glass and incoming AD Scott Dolson, athletes received an outline of what to expect as they return to campus. It was stressed that workouts are currently "strictly voluntary," but it's also an athlete's choice whether or not to compete at all. "If notwithstanding the protocols of the Restart Plan you are unwilling to participate in intercollegiate athletics because of concerns about COVID-19, we will continue to honor your scholarship," the email reads. "This is your decision based on medical considerations. If after discussing your concerns with the Chief Medical Officer you do not want to participate in intercollegiate athletics, we will still honor your scholarship."

COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the United States, with case numbers spiking significantly in several states. IU's football team returned to campus earlier this month, along with the men's and women's basketball programs. In an initial round of 187 tests, IU reported that no one tested positive for COVID-19. But that's not been the case everywhere. At Clemson, 37 football players have tested positive. A week ago, it was reported more than 30 members of LSU's football team were quarantined following positive COVID-19 results. - Indianapolis Star/News

(DS#12 WR) Sr/2021 WR Whop PhilyorIndiana
News Source: Indianapolis Star/News
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  06/30/20 - QB Justin FieldsJr/2022, Ohio State, 6-2, 223 (DS#2 QB) + More +

  Documents regarding the coronavirus that universities, including Ohio State, have required athletes to sign in order to participate in workouts on campus have drawn scrutiny from Congress. Sens. Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, and Cory Booker, a New Jersey Democrat, introduced legislation Tuesday aimed at prohibiting the waivers called pledges or risk acknowledgment forms by some schools that could be used by schools as a form of liability protection, according to a news release. Referred to as the College Athlete Pandemic Safety Act, the bill also seeks to ban schools from revoking the scholarships of athletes who do not play for health and safety reasons related to COVID-19 and require schools to inform athletes when a player or staff member tests positive for the virus.

In a letter addressed to NCAA President Mark Emmert last week, Blumenthal and Booker referenced a "Buckeye Pledge" that Ohio State's athletes were required to sign before returning to campus to work out earlier this month. Football players were first to return to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center and Schumaker Complex for voluntary workouts on June 8, followed by men's and women's basketball players, along with athletes from some other fall sports. - Columbus Dispatch

(DS#2 QB) Jr/2022 QB Justin FieldsOhio State
News Source: Columbus Dispatch
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  06/30/20 - OG Myron CunninghamrSr/2021, Arkansas, 6-5, 293 (DS#5 OG) + More +

  Arkansas football coach Sam Pittman came to one conclusion upon his offensive linemen returning to campus for voluntary workouts. All of their mothers must be able to cook and cook well, he joked Tuesday on a Zoom conference call with reporters. Asked who among the returning offensive linemen had added positive weight, Pittman mentioned redshirt senior Myron Cunningham first. A transfer from Iowa Central Community College, Cunningham, who stands at 6-7, started in 10 of 11 games played in 2019, his first season at Arkansas. He is now approximately 319 pounds, according to Pittman, up from 293 pounds following winter conditioning. "He needed it," Pittman said. "It's hard to set the bull when you don't have enough butt to set it with. So, he needed it. I had a nice conversation with him, and I'm thinking he's going to have a nice season. "He worked hard at gaining that weight and staying in shape." - Northwest Arkansas Times

(DS#5 OG) rSr/2021 OG Myron CunninghamArkansas
News Source: Northwest Arkansas Times
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  06/30/20 - ILB Colin SchoolerSr/2021, Arizona, 6-0, 229 (DS#17 ILB) + More +

  With COVID-19 cases surging in the state and Gov. Doug Ducey ordering a shutdown, the University of Arizona has put its athletics reentry plan on pause. On June 15, UA had begun bringing football players back in waves to participate in voluntary on-campus workouts. Eighty-three student-athletes had returned to campus, and only one had tested positive for COVID-19, according to the university. But with cases still on the rise in Pima County and elsewhere, and the healthcare system becoming increasingly burdened, UA has halted workouts for the time being.

"Out of an abundance of caution, we have made this decision with campus and community partners to pause our reentry process," UA Athletic Director Dave Heeke said in a statement. "The health, safety and well-being of all members of our community is our No. 1 priority. We will continue to work in conjunction with campus partners and our local government agencies to support and evaluate a safe and healthy return to campus." - Arizona Republic

(DS#17 ILB) Sr/2021 ILB Colin SchoolerArizona
News Source: Arizona Republic
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  06/30/20 - OT Alex LeatherwoodSr/2021, Alabama, 6-5, 310 (DS#1 OT) + More +

  Alabama had four players named to the first-team offense in the 74th Birmingham News/ preseason All-SEC team announced this week. Wide receiver DeVonta Smith, guard Deonte Brown, tackle Alex Leatherwood and running back Najee Harris all picked up first-team honors. Offensive lineman Landon Dickerson earned a spot on the second team giving the Crimson Tide five of the 24 players selected in voting by football information directors from each SEC school. Kentucky had three first-teamers, including two on the offensive line. Center Drake Jackson and tackle Darian Kinnard joined punter Max Duffy as Wildcats chosen as the best at their position heading into the 2020 season (punter is considered an offensive position for the purposes of this list; kickers are selected as part of the defense). - Birmingham News

(DS#1 OT) Sr/2021 OT Alex LeatherwoodAlabama
News Source: Birmingham News
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  06/30/20 - WR DeVonta SmithSr/2021, Alabama, 6-0, 175 (DS#1 WR) + More +

  The Southeastern Conference's annual media days will not take place as originally scheduled. SEC fans will have to wait to get their fix of press conferences and football analysis as SEC Media Days 2020 won't occur as originally planned on July 13-16, according to multiple sources. The league had previously adjusted its week-long media event in Atlanta to a virtual-only approach due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

A league spokesperson confirmed that SEC Media Days won't take place July 13-16 and that dates and times are still to be determined. In the June 10 press release for the switch to a virtual-only approach, it noted that the dates and times hadn't been announced. Since that release, the NCAA approved a preseason football model that allows summer football activities to begin July 13. While no official decision has been made yet, SEC Media Days are expected to be pushed back until at least the last week of July and possibly the first week of August. - Birmingham News

(DS#1 WR) Sr/2021 WR DeVonta SmithAlabama
News Source: Birmingham News
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  In addition to the issues the group encountered on the field, Washington State's defensive secondary took a few sizable hits off the field last season, diminishing in numbers when two players - most notably starting defensive back Daniel Isom - were dismissed from the team for an undisclosed violation of team rules. Under the new leadership of first-year coach Nick Rolovich, Isom has found his way back onto the roster and will return to the Cougars this fall, a school official confirmed to The Spokesman-Review Monday. There had been a trail of hints the last few months suggesting Isom's return to the team, beginning with various social media posts from teammates welcoming the St. Louis native back. On May 7, Isom shared a photo of the nutrition care package that was sent by former offensive tackle Andre Dillard to every current Cougar athlete. - Seattle Times

(DS#999 CB) rSr/2021 CB Daniel IsomWashington State
News Source: Seattle Times
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  06/29/20 - TE Pat FreiermuthJr/2022, Penn State, 6-5, 256 (DS#2 TE) + More +

  Freiermuth is Penn State's best returning offensive player and a potential first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. The junior tight end contributed in all facets of the previous iterations of the Nittany Lion offense and should do the same under new offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca. He's a big, versatile target in the passing game who can play attached to the line and detached from it in the slot. Freiermuth is a good athlete and precise route runner in the middle of the field. Once he has the ball in his hands, the junior tight end uses his physicality and athleticism to break tackles in the open field. He's no slouch in the run game, either. Freiermuth is strong enough to help the Nittany Lion offensive tackles on double teams and sound enough technically to take on linebackers and help create rushing lanes.

There are signs that Freiermuth could see a drop in production this year. Ciarrocca rarely used his tight ends in the passing attack at Minnesota and relied heavily on the position as an extra blocker. The Golden Gophers had three tight ends combine for 88 yards and two touchdowns on 10 catches in the 2019 season. Freiermuth blew those numbers out of the water on his own last year. He hauled in 43 passes for 507 yards and seven touchdowns as Penn State's starter at the position. Those concerns made their way to Freiermuth, who quickly quelled them when he spoke with the media during the spring. "I love the new offense," Freiermuth said in May. "I guess you guys will have to find out about how they're going to use me. I know, and the coaches know, but I'm not going to leak too many details out. Obviously there's some rumors about using tight ends, but I promise you I'm going to be used." - Centre Times

(DS#2 TE) Jr/2022 TE Pat FreiermuthPenn State
News Source: Centre Times
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  06/29/20 - QB Brandon PetersrSr/2021, Illinois, 6-4, 230 (DS#11 QB) + More +

  Illinois football head strength and conditioning coach Lou Hernandez gave a list of players who looked impressive early on as the team returns for voluntary workouts. Hernandez mentioned linebackers Jake Hansen and Khalan Tolson, wide receiver Donny Navarro, tight end Luke Ford, punter Blake Hayes, defensive lineman Jamal Woods, offensive linemen Alex Palczewski and Vederian Lowe and Peters as players who have been particularly impressive early on voluntary workouts.

"Watching him run, he looks absolutely incredible," Hernandez said of Peters. "He's got his big, long stride and he's taking people down with it and winning races. There's a competitiveness. He's definitely put the work in to help showcase some of his athleticism. "He's definitely standing out right now as a guy who continued to lift, continued to run and continued to work on his overall performance. I think that right there shows a lot to this football team how important it is for our quarterback to get it done and hopefully it's going to continue to spread throughout the remainder of our guys as well." 'Helping other people is more important than ever.' Lovie Smith's Illinois staff has 8 black coaches - more than any FBS program. Can it be an example that helps close the racial disparity in college football? Peters, who hasn't been made available to the media since the Redbox Bowl loss to California, threw for 1884 yards and 18 touchdowns to go with eight interceptions last season while rushing for 213 yards and three touchdowns. - Herald-Review Times

(DS#11 QB) rSr/2021 QB Brandon PetersIllinois
News Source: Herald-Review Times
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  06/29/20 - QB *Johnny ManzielrSo/2014, Texas AM, 6-0, 207 (DS#2 QB) + More +

  Playing football is in the rear view mirror for Johnny Manziel who was in Lubbock for a relaxing weekend of golf. "I've finally got to a point where I'm trying to achieve happiness in life, not happiness on the football field," Manziel told Lubbock Avalanche-Journal columnist Don Williams. "I know a lot of people probably want me to come back and play and give it another chance, but I don't know, as far as being a person and figuring out life as a young adult - trying to make it and figure it out - if I've ever been in a better place than I'm in right now. I can honestly say I'm happy and I'm doing the right things to try and put a smile on my face every day, and that means more to me than going out and grinding on a football field."

Manziel told Williams he didn't put in the time to be a good player in the NFL. "My heart wasn't in it, and it worked out the way it did," said Manziel, who added he had an amazing time at Texas A&M and "I gave it everything I had." The 27-year-old Manziel is living in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he's playing a lot of golf and sporting a 2 handicap. He also communicates often with Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury who was A&M's offensive coordinator in Manziel's freshman season. "That's a guy that I admire very, very much," Manziel said. "I can't respect another person on the face of the earth as much as I do Kliff. - Bryan/College Station Eagle

(DS#2 QB) rSo/2014 QB *Johnny ManzielTexas AM
News Source: Bryan/College Station Eagle
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