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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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  06/29/20 - WR Chris JonesSr/2015, Alabama, 5-10, 182 (DS#82 WR) + More +

  The Edmonton Eskimos released wide receiver Christion Jones on Sunday after his tweet on Global Pride Day sparked a backlash. In a now deleted tweet, the Alabama alumnus wrote on Saturday night: "Ima keep it this real...Man ain't suppose to be with a man. A women is not suppose to be with another women. THAT'S ME THO! Live life with safety." On Sunday afternoon, the Canadian Football League team announced it had released Jones: The CFL also issued a statement: "We in the CFL hold high the Diversity Is Strength banner. Our league makes no claim on perfection, but it does strive to be inclusive, to accept and indeed celebrate our differences, and to respect and honour human rights. There is no place in our league for commentary that disparages people on the basis of their religion, race, gender or sexual orientation. As Pride Month continues, we stand with the LGBTQ+ community. We all need to say no to hate and yes to love."

Eight minutes before the Eskimos tweeted that Jones had been released, the wide receiver tweeted an apology. Between the tweet that triggered his release and his apology, Jones had a session of responses with social-media users responding to his initial comments, including: Jones was an All-State selection for Minor High School in Adamsville for the 2009 and 2010 seasons before playing four years for Alabama. While with the Crimson Tide, Jones earned the SEC Special Teams Player of the Year Award for the 2013 season. At Alabama, Jones caught 85 passes for 1,030 yards and seven touchdowns, returned 66 punts for 719 yards and three touchdowns and ran back 68 kickoffs for 1,727 yards and two touchdowns. - Birmingham News


(DS#82 WR) Sr/2015 WR Chris JonesAlabama
News Source: Birmingham News
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  06/29/20 - QB *Cam NewtonrJr/2011, Auburn, 6-5, 248 (DS#2 QB) + More +

  The New England Patriots will have two former Auburn quarterbacks to choose from as they replace six-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady. Cam Newton, the 2010 Heisman Trophy winner for Auburn's undefeated BCS national-championship team, has reached an agreement on a one-year contract with the Patriots, NFL Network and ESPN reported on Sunday. Brady left New England after 20 seasons as a free agent in March for a two-year, $50 million contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Brady's backup during the 2019 season was Jarrett Stidham, who joined the Patriots from Auburn in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

Newton had been a free agent since being released by the Carolina Panthers on March 24 with one season left on a five-year, $103.8 million contract. Newton had shoulder surgery in January 2019, then played in only two games last season because of a foot injury, which required surgery in December. Because of NFL regulations put in place for the COVID-19 crisis, team medical staffs haven't had the opportunity to examine Newton to gauge his recovery. - Birmingham News


(DS#2 QB) rJr/2011 QB *Cam NewtonAuburn
News Source: Birmingham News
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  06/28/20 - FS Eric MonroerSr/2021, Texas Tech, 5-11, 209 (DS#31 FS) + More +

  For Texas Tech, it's never too late to land some of the top football talent coming out of Texas high schools, even if some of the talent arrives four years later. Eric Monroe, who helped Galena Park North Shore win a state championship in 2015 and was one of bluest of the state's blue chips that year, announced Saturday he is coming to Texas Tech as a graduate transfer. Monroe, a safety, has spent the past four years at LSU, which listed him at 5-foot-11 and 209 pounds. Monroe redshirted for the Tigers in 2016, then got credit for 14 tackles and two passes defended in 2017. He played in only four games in 2018, recording no statistics, then got into 12 games last season and was credited with seven tackles including a tackle for loss. As a grad transfer, Monroe will be immediately eligible for the Red Raiders. He had his name entered into the transfer portal last week. - Lubbock Avalanche Journal

(DS#31 FS) rSr/2021 FS Eric MonroeTexas Tech
News Source: Lubbock Avalanche Journal
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  Charleston Rambo's breakout 2019 campaign (743 receiving yards, five receiving touchdowns, 17.3 yards per catch) went under the radar because of CeeDee Lamb, OU's lone All-America selection last season. Lamb is now a Dallas Cowboy, opening the door for Rambo to be the Sooners' top pass-catcher and making that jump has generally worked out over the last five years. When star OU receiver Sterling Shepard left Norman following the 2015 season, Dede Westbrook became "the guy" in 2016. After Westbrook departed for the pros, Marquise Brown became the Sooners' top target for two years. Then, following Brown's matriculation to the NFL, Lamb asserted himself as OU's No. 1 receiver. In terms of other experienced receivers, there's little to get in Rambo's way of that being the case for himself this upcoming year. - Norman Transcript

(DS#12 WR) rJr/2022 WR Charleston RamboOklahoma
News Source: Norman Transcript
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  06/28/20 - OT Mike AdamsSr/2012, Ohio State, 6-7, 323 (DS#5 OT) + More +

  Ten years ago, their lives were about to crash. And it was all because of NCAA violations involving actions that soon will become permissible and even encouraged. So it's no surprise that Mike Adams, Daniel "Boom" Herron, DeVier Posey and Solomon Thomas have watched the NCAA change its stance on allowing college athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness (NIL) with more than a passing interest. Those four, along with star quarterback Terrelle Pryor, were the Ohio State football players involved in the tattoo-and-memorabilia scandal that led to Jim Tressel's forced exit as coach in May 2011. For selling memorabilia and/or receiving free tattoos, the players were suspended for five games by the NCAA, essentially ruining Ohio State's 2011 season and causing sanctions that kept the undefeated 2012 team from playing for the national title. Pryor never again played for the Buckeyes.

Whenever new NIL rules are established after what promises to be a contentious process, college athletes will be able to earn money doing what the OSU players did. It's not hard to see the irony. "Scandal is the new normal," Herron told The Dispatch with a chuckle. Adams said the players still refer to themselves as the "Tat 5." They believe the NIL change is long overdue. "I think it's awesome," Adams said. "I love it." Posey jokingly called himself and the other four as "pioneers" for NIL, not that it was their intention. But they did see themselves as exploited athletes who saw everyone else but them monetarily profit off their labor. - Columbus Dispatch


(DS#5 OT) Sr/2012 OT Mike AdamsOhio State
News Source: Columbus Dispatch
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  Virginia Tech quarterback Hendon Hooker is back on campus looking to pick up where he left off. The Hokies started voluntary workouts on June 16, but Hooker was one of the players that left campus back in March and wasn't brought back until last week. Before the COVID-19 pandemic turned the sports world upside down, Hooker went into the offseason looking to build on his successful stint as starter. He helped turn Tech's 2019 season around going 6-2 under center with 1,900-plus total yards and 18 touchdowns. Hooker focused his early efforts on further cementing himself as a locker room leader by frequently popping into the weight room to support his teammates before and after his own workout. Tech's strength and conditioning staff split the team up into three groups for the winter offseason conditioning program.

On one particular 'big squat Friday' in February, Hooker worked out in the early morning and was back in the weight room a couple hours later for the afternoon weight-lifting session to cheer on the likes of Maxx Philpott, Austin Cannon, Keshon Artis and Brock Hoffman lift upwards of 600 pounds. When the team parted ways a few weeks later, Hooker returned home to Greensboro where his focus shifted from building camaraderie to staying physically prepared while the team was apart. "He was always comparing what he would be doing back on campus (in a normal year)," Hendon's father Alan said in a phone interview with The Roanoke Times. "He was training hard, he was pushing himself because he was worried he wasn't doing enough. If he was at school he would have coaches constantly pushing him, so he always went a little harder." - Roanoke Times


(DS#19 QB) rJr/2022 QB Hendon HookerVirginia Tech
News Source: Roanoke Times
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  Indiana football coach Tom Allen isn't shying away from expectations. The Hoosiers return 17 starters from a team that finished 8-5, their best season since 1993, and have assembled a talented roster with three straight top-50 national recruiting classes. "There's no question we have a lot of players back on this football team from last year that have played football at a high level," Allen said. Managing those expectations will be one of the keys to IU's success going into this season. The Hoosiers only got in four spring practices due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the talent on the roster remains young and in need of reps.

But IU has plenty to build around, led by rising sophomore cornerback Tiawan Mullen on defense and preseason All-Big Ten senior wide receiver Whop Philyor on offense. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Michael Penix Jr. needs to prove he can stay healthy for a full season and has added 15 pounds of muscle during the offseason in an attempt to better take the pounding applied by Big Ten defenses. Penix can stretch a defense - he connected with Nick Westbrook on a 75-yard touchdown pass in last season's opener against Ball State - and finished the year passing for 1,394 yards and 10 TDs in six games. - Herald Bulletin


(DS#28 QB) rSo/2023 QB Michael Penix Jr.Indiana
News Source: Herald Bulletin
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  06/28/20 - OT William ShermanJr/2022, Colorado, 6-4, 305 (DS#24 OT) + More +

  Looking at the list of offensive linemen at Colorado this season gets William Sherman excited. "Since I've been here in 2017, this is probably the most talented and the most depth that we've had on the O-line," said Sherman, a junior tackle. "I'm excited for guys to compete, because there's going to be a lot of competition and it's going to make us a lot better." Offensive line improvement has been an ongoing pursuit at CU for several years and Sherman will play a key role in the Buffs taking a step forward this year.

Sherman, a 6-foot-4, 310-pound junior from Allen, Texas, is one of two returning full-time starters to the line, along with left guard Kary Kutsch. Colby Pursell, who started five games at right guard, also returns. Pursell is likely to move back to center, where he started all 12 games in 2018. Sherman has been CU's top-graded lineman each of the past two seasons - and he's done it while playing two different positions. He started nine games at left tackle as a redshirt freshman in 2018, earning All-Pac-12 honorable mention from the coaches. - Daily Camera


(DS#24 OT) Jr/2022 OT William ShermanColorado
News Source: Daily Camera
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  06/28/20 - RB Dre BrownrSr/2020, Illinois, 5-11, 208 (DS#91 RB) + More +

  Dre Brown has had quite the 2020. And it's not even halfway over. The Illinois football team's most outstanding offensive player during the 2019 season spent the first two months of the year training in Naperville, getting his 5-foot-11, 210-pound frame ready for the rigors of NFL draft prep. He then had a solid pro day in Champaign on March 9 at the Irwin Indoor Practice Facility, boosting his hope he could wind up on some NFL teams' radars. A potential late-round draft pick or an undrafted free agent once the draft concluded seemed feasible. Then, the coronavirus pandemic hit. Stifling almost all of Brown's opportunities to impress teams in person during the weeks leading up to the NFL draft.

"I knew I needed to get in front of coaches and shake their hands," Brown said. "That character piece of mine would have helped me out in the process. "It was tough because I was banking on either signing as an undrafted free agent or get a mini-camp invite. Without that, it's kind of hard to put a close to this chapter in my life. I never really got a chance. That was probably the hardest part." Brown's dreams to suit up for a pro football team this spring and summer never came to fruition. He's staying in shape, though, just in case an opportunity presents itself later this summer. - News Gazette Tribune


(DS#91 RB) rSr/2020 RB Dre BrownIllinois
News Source: News Gazette Tribune
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  06/27/20 - K Grant McKinnissSr/2021, Missouri, 6-1, 204 (DS#999 K) + More +

  Missouri is adding a leg to its special teams unit from the SEC East Division. Grant McKinniss, a kicker and punter from Kentucky, will transfer to Mizzou for his final year of eligibility, he announced Friday on Twitter. McKinniss, from Findlay, Ohio, handled kickoffs for Kentucky each of the last two years and was the team's punter as a freshman in 2016 and averaged 39.2 yards per punt. The next year the Wildcats added All-American punter Max Duffy. McKinnis entered the NCAA transfer portal earlier this month. As UK's kickoff specialist last year, McKinniss ranked seventh in the SEC in touchback percentage at 62.9 percent. Mizzou's Tucker McCann led the league at 64.6 percent. McCann, a senior last season, handled punts, field goals/PATs and kickoffs last season. The Tigers signed high school recruit Harrison Mevis to push for the kicker job in 2020. - Post-Dispatch

(DS#999 K) Sr/2021 K Grant McKinnissMissouri
News Source: Post-Dispatch
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  Mississippi's coaches and athletics directors aren't the only folks trying to make political change happen this week. The players are getting involved too. Ole Miss football players are hosting a rally on Saturday, beginning at 3 p.m. on The Square. The rally is called LOUnited, attempting to unite Lafayette County, the City of Oxford and the University of Mississippi under the common goal of making the area inclusive and welcoming for all people.

Linebacker MoMo Sanogo and defensive end Ryder Anderson, led the organizing efforts. Sanogo told the Clarion Ledger that the march is an attempt to bring an end to systematic racism and police brutality and has the goal of convincing lawmakers to relocate the Confederate monument located on The Square in downtown Oxford. "Really the message is about unity and unifying Mississippi," Sanogo said. "The statue is very divisive in nature. The flag is very divisive in nature. We just want to create a place that we can all bring our kids back to and be proud and not have to explain why that statue is there. We want to be proud of every aspect of the community where everybody can take the same amount of pride in it." - The Clarion Ledger


(DS#14 ILB) rJr/2022 ILB Mohamed SanogoMississippi
News Source: The Clarion Ledger
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  06/27/20 - OLB Charles SnowdenSr/2021, Virginia, 6-6, 235 (DS#3 OLB) + More +

  Voluntary workouts for returning University of Virginia football players will begin July 5, the school's athletic department announced Friday. Required activity will begin July 15 and allow players to work for no more than eight hours, including weight training, conditioning and film review. That will increase to 20 hours from July 26-Aug. 8, with fall camp to start one day later. There will be an acclimatization period before a 25-day fall practice period gets under way. Virginia's season begins Sept. 7 against Georgia in Atlanta.

"Protocols and plans for student-athletes' return have been coordinated through the UVa Health System, which has collaborated with officials at the local, state and national levels," the UVa news release stated. Athletes and staff will receive COVID-19 education and will undergo COVID-19 testing, with positive results to be reported to the Virginia Department of Health and all testing results reported to UVa team physicians. - Roanoke Times


(DS#3 OLB) Sr/2021 OLB Charles SnowdenVirginia
News Source: Roanoke Times
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  06/27/20 - SS Marcel BrooksSo/2023, LSU, 6-2, 205 (DS#1 SS) + More +

  Sophomore linebacker Marcel Brooks entered the NCAA player transfer portal Friday, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed to The Advocate, potentially removing one of LSU's most athletic players from the team. LSU expected Brooks, who showed flashes of potential last season, to contribute as a linebacker and help lead its pass rush. Brooks' decision was first reported by 247Sports. Reasons for the move are not yet known. Brooks had emerged as one of the most promising young players on LSU's defense, which switched to a 4-3 scheme under new defensive coordinator Bo Pelini. Last season, Brooks recorded eight tackles, 1½ tackles for loss and 1½ sacks.

All four of LSU's regular starting linebackers last year - K'Lavon Chaisson, Michael Divinity, Jacob Phillips and Patrick Queen - left for the NFL, making Brooks a possible successor after he moved to linebacker before spring practice. "As we all know, he's very fast," coach Ed Orgeron said in March, "and once he catches onto the scheme, I think he's going to be an excellent linebacker." Brooks, who's listed at 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, arrived at LSU last year as a five-star recruit out of Marcus High in Flower Mound, Texas, where he played outside linebacker, safety and wide receiver. - Baton Rouge Advocate


(DS#1 SS) So/2023 SS Marcel BrooksLSU
News Source: Baton Rouge Advocate
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  Some of Kansas State's Black student-athletes want the university to take action. And if their demands aren't met, they are prepared to sit out all athletics-related events. It comes in the wake of a controversial tweet sent out by K-State student Jaden McNeil on Thursday, which has since gone viral, with the university making headlines across the country. "Congratulations to George Floyd on being drug free for an entire month!" McNeil wrote in the tweet. The other message, shared by rising senior defensive back Jonathan Alexander, had the same two demands listed verbatim. The differences came in the wording of the opening and closing paragraphs.

"As student-athletes of color, and students of color at Kansas State University, we understand that as athletes we have a platform that can be used for good," the message began. "We have decided to speak up about the issue that has occurred. We believe that all students of color, athlete or not, should feel comfortable and safe while walking on campus and attending or playing in sporting events. With that being said, on behalf of the student-athletes and student-athletes of color here at Kansas State, here is what we need to ensure our safety on and off campus." - Manhattan Mercury


(DS#999 SS) Sr/2021 SS Jonathan AlexanderKansas State
News Source: Manhattan Mercury
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