College Special Ticker

Team

Ticker

Appalachian St

WR Corey Sutton, a former Kansas State transfer who was named 2nd-team all-SBC each of the last two seasons while catching 85 passes (17 for TDs) in 22 games for the Mountaineers, has decided to sit out this season. Sutton tore his ACL in late November and likely has decided to get healthy and return to ASU in 2021.

Arkansas St

Top RB jr. Marcel Murray wasn’t available vs. Memphis due to an undisclosed leg injury. Murray gained 1680 yds. the last two years, making 15 starts in that run. The team is deep at the position, though, as the next three on the depth chart gained a combined for 690 yds., 4.7 ypc and scored 5 TDs, compared with Murray’s 820 YR and 4.8 ypc LY. RS sr. Jamal Jones led the Red Wolves with 15 carries for 64 yards, but it was soph Isaiah Azubuike and frosh Lincoln Pare who helped ASU cover, rushing a combined 10 times for 72 yards and a TD.

Army

Army might be one of the few teams that will actually increase its home field edge this season. Michie Stadium had just 5,249 in attendance, but the socially distanced, masked-up cadets all dressed in fatigues (and a fair amount donning mascot costumes) were an enthusiastic and vocal crowd in the 42-0 romp past MTSU!

BYU

Leading receiver TE Matt Bushman (688 yds. on 47 catches & a team-best 14.6 ypc LY) is through for the season after he was carted off the field at practice this week with an Achilles’ tendon injury. Bushman, who had more than 500 yds. receiving in each of his first 3 seasons, is backed by redshirt frosh. Check status of leading returning rusher Sione Finau, who was iffy with a knee problem for Monday night’s game at Navy.

Central Florida

QB situation becoming thin, as backup Darriel Mack has decided to opt out of the season and former starter McKenzie Milton (6700 YP, 62 TDP, 15 ints in 23 games over the 2017 & 2018 seasons) still isn’t back to full speed after and ready to play suffering a Joe Theismann-like leg injury. Still, neither were expected to start this season, as soph Dillon Gabriel returns after throwing for 3653 yds. with a 29-7 TDP/int ratio last year.

Clemson

DE Xavier Thomas is out for the season due to COVID-19 concerns. WR Justyn Ross had offseason back surgery and will miss the season.

Duke

Starting C Jack Wohlabaugh suffered a torn ACL in preseason practice and is out for the year. David Cutcliffe’s depth chart took some other less serious dings as backup CB Ken Torain is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury and reserve RBs Marvin Hubbard III and Jaylen Coleman were lost for the season with Achilles’ injuries.

Florida State

Sr. WR D.J. Matthews (2nd-leading returning pass-catcher for the Seminoles with 36 LY) could be a bit iffy vs. Georgia Tech Saturday as he tries to recover from a bout with COVID-19.

Georgia

QB “battle” was over almost before it started with USC transfer J.T. Daniels likely getting the job by default after Wake Forest grad transfer Jamie Newman opted out of the season to prepare for the NFL draft. Daniels, however, injured his knee in camp and might not be ready for the opener at Arkansas Sept. 26. Daniels threw for 242 ypg, completed 60.7% of his passes and had a 15-11 TD-int. ratio in 12 games while with the Trojans. The Bulldog WR depth was hurt a bit when soph Dominick Blaylock tore his ACL for a second time and true frosh wideout Arian Smith suffered a meniscus tear in his knee.

Kansas

Starting CB Corione Harris was suspended and will be out indefinitely.

Kansas State

Backup FS Jonathan Alexander is out for the season for personal reasons. Alexander had 25 tackles in 2019.

LSU

The Tigers, who were anticipated to return only 8 starters from last year’s national champions, lost returnees WR Ja’Marr Chase, NT Tyler Shelvin, DB Kary Vincent (all 3 starters) as well as DE Neil Farrell (projected to start this year) in the offseason. Shelvin, Vincent and Farrell are 3 of the top 4 returning tacklers for LSU, and Chase is potentially a top-five pick in the NFL draft.

Marshall

Incumbent starting QB Isaiah Green (22 starts, 4897 YP, 30 TDP L2Ys) abruptly left the program after entering the transfer portal with no apparent landing place, leaving the starting QB job to RS frosh Grant Wells. Wells was more than capable in his debut against Eastern Kentucky, throwing for 307 yds. and 4 TDs in the 59-0 demolition of the Colonels.

Memphis

Top returning RB Kenny Gainwell (1459 YR, 13 TD, 6.3 ypc) will not play this season as he has chosen to prepare for the NFL draft. The Tigers have confidence in soph Rodrigues Clark to step up, however, and juco Kylan Watkins (325 YR, 5.2 ypc LY) will compete for the job as well. Clark had 105 YR on 20 carries and a TD and Watkins ran 14 times for 52 yds. in 37-24 non-cover victory against Arkansas State.

Miami Florida

Starting G Navaughn Donaldson, who injured his knee in the final reg.-season game in 2019, remains out indefinitely but still holds out hope of possibly playing later in the season.

Middle Tenn St

Bad day last Saturday at West Point for Blue Raider HC Rick Stockstill, as he lost two prized juco recruits who had worked their way into the starting lineup. C Jordan Palmer, the #2 rated juco center, and a player expected to be a dynamic factor in improving the Blue Raider OL, injured his leg in the 42-0 loss in opener at Army and was helped off the field. His replacement is a true frosh. In the 2nd Q, MLB Johnathan Butler was knocked out of the game with a shoulder injury. Early indications are they could be serious issues for both.

North Carolina

Starting CB Bryce Watts is out for the year for personal reasons, along with backup S D.J. Ford.

North Texas

Mean Green QB coach Tate Wallis was placed on leave after his arrest for an alleged improper relationship with a student.

Oklahoma

WR Jadon Haselwood, the Sooners’ 2nd-leading returning pass catcher, hasn’t recovered from the ACL injury he suffered in offseason workouts and likely won’t be active until toward the end of the season. Soph WR, who was listed behind Haselwood on the depth chart, will be out for the first five games this season due to a suspension. OU gets an anticipated boost at the position, however, as sr. Theo Howard transferred from UCLA and sr. Obi Obialo, formerly with Marshall, is likewise a grad transfer.

SMU

Sr. WR Reggie Roberson suffered an undisclosed injury in opener at Texas State and was carted off. Roberson had 43 catches LY and his 803 receiving yards lead the returning pass catchers for the Mustangs.

So Mississippi

WR Demarcus Jones suffered a shoulder injury in opening loss to South Alabama. Jones got the start against the Jaguars and caught two passes before the injury. Tim Jones is the lead receiver for the Golden Eagles after making 73 grabs for 902 yds. LY, and he picked up where he left off with 6 recs. for 139 yds. (23.2 ypc!), while jr. Jason Brownlee had 5 catches for 54 yards.

South Alabama

QB Desmond Trotter was the player of the game in engineering the Thursday upset at Southern Miss, but he had to battle through injuring his shoulder in the first half and coming up with a hamstring problem in the 4th Q. Trotter returned to lead the Jags’ late drive, as the hamstring was likely cramps triggered by the oppressive heat and humidity which left the Southern Miss defense looking dog tired late in the game.

South Carolina

Gamecock projected starting WR OrTre Smith had been sitting out practices lately due to an undisclosed injury, but USC doesn’t open until Sept. 26 vs. Tennessee. Backup WR Randrecous Davis has opted out of playing this season and will return in 2021. On the upside, Tarleton St. transfer Jalen Brooks is in the mix for a starting role if the NCAA agrees to expedite his move. Meanwhile, Colorado State grad transfer Collin Hill has created a QB competition with soph Ryan Hilinski, who threw for 2357 yds. as a true frosh LY.

South Florida

New HC Jeff Scott’s Bulls have taken some attrition, with four members of the projected 3-deep opting out of the season, but part of the reason they opted out is none really figured to get much playing time unless injuries created holes to fill in USF’s 2-deep.

TCU

Starting soph QB Max Duggan is out indefinitely with an undisclosed chest injury after being diagnosed with a heart problem. Previously Ohio St. transfer Matt Baldwin called it quits after knee and back injuries made it clear he couldn’t play. The door is open for soph Matt Downing or juco transfer Stephon Brown to move in. Even if Duggan returns late, he’ll likely play only in enough games to allow him to redshirt. The Horned Frog defense received an infusion when former five-star LB recruit Marcel Brooks signed to come to Fort Worth. Brooks wasn’t breaking into the starting lineup in Baton Rouge, but he could be a difference-maker for TCU HC Gary Patterson.

Tennessee U

Vol practices have been hampered by widespread issues with COVID-19 quarantine and tracing. QB Brian Maurer, who is in a camp battle with holdover starter Jarrett Guarantano, was absent from workouts with a hamstring injury recently. These eventually will likely be non-issues as Tennessee doesn’t open until Sept. 26 at South Carolina. Projected starting WR DeAngelo Gibbs has opted out of playing this season to work on getting his grades in order after transferring to the Vols from Georgia prior to LY. He has yet to play for UT and won’t until 2021.

Texas

Backup G Willie Tyler has opted out along with a few other deeper offensive reserves (RB Daniel Young, WR Dajon Harrison).

Texas A&M

Sr. CB Elijah Blades has opted out of the season but will retain his eligibility and intends to return in 2021.

Texas State

Bobcats were without LY’s former starting QB Tyler Vitt and a pair of backup TEs in opener vs. SMU due to COVID-19. Vitt had been relegated to the backup spot on the QB depth chart in deference to Memphis transfer soph Brady McBride, who redshirted LY and has won the job. Texas State wants to play much faster on offense this season, which might put some additional pressure on a Bobcat defense that returns just 4 starters and gave up 33 ppg in 2019. Second-year HC Jake Spavital made staff changes in the offseason and has assumed play-calling duties, and TSU put forth an inspired effort vs. the heavily-favored Mustangs in the opener, losing only 31-24.

Troy

Star RB B.J. Smith, who was limited to just 11 carries for 106 yds. in 2 games LY after rushing for 1186 YR and 13 TDs in 2018, is expected to be ready for the opener against Middle Tennessee Sept. 19. The Trojans could be loaded at the position after jr. D.K. Billingsley rushed for 901 yds. (5.8 ypc) and 10 TDs taking over after Smith’s injury, and bruising 240-lb RS frosh Charles Strong is ready to start his career as well.

Tulane

Top returning rusher RB Corey Dauphine (1360 YR, 6.9 ypc the last two years) injured his Achilles and is out for the season.

Tulsa

Starting DB Christian Williams (12 starts with 57 stops LY) was suspended after his arrest for suspected DUI.

UL Lafayette

ULL is getting thin at WR, as starting sr. Jamal Bell (top returning pass-catcher with 34 for 445 yds.) suffered a knee injury and is out for the season. Backup WR Brian Smith is likewise lost for the season with a hip problem and reserve Calif Gossett was the victim of a torn Achilles.

UL Monroe

The Warhawks had to reschedule their opener against Troy due to a number of positive COVID-19 tests, and suspended practices for a quarantine period. All-SBC TE Josh Pederson (43 recs., 9 TDs LY) had no better offers through the transfer portal and will remain at ULM. Warhawk defensive coordinator Mike Collins stepped down from the job for personal reasons just 10 days before the opener at Army.

Virginia

DT Aaron Faumui, who started 9 games LY and had 33 tackles and 4 sacks, has opted to sit out this season and rejoin the team in 2021. RB Ronnie Walker, who was attempting to transfer from Indiana and gain immediate eligibility, was denied a waiver and is unavailable pending an appeal. Walker was expected to join an “RB-by-committee” platoon, which was further melted down when soph RB Mike Hollins (112 YR, 5.3 ypc, 3 TD as a frosh) opted out of playing this season. Those situations point to a lot more work for 5-9, 210-lb. jr. Wayne Taulapapa, who made 12 starts LY, gaining 473 yds. (4.1 ypc) with 12 TD rushes.

COPYRIGHT 2020 © THE GOLD SHEET. ALL RIGHT RESERVED.