01/19/18 - *TreQuan Smith, rJr/2018, Central Florida, 6-1, 210 (DS#29 WR) WR Tre'Quan Smith, UCF's leading receiver the last three seasons, is a well-built pass catcher with the ball skills and downfield skills to be a playmaker. The redshirt junior graduate requires route refinement, but for a player who didn't play organized football until his junior year in high school, he is further along than expected. Smith has top-100 potential with a strong pre-draft process. -- Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com
01/19/18 - Jalyn Holmes, Sr/2018, Ohio State, 6-5, 270 (DS#10 DE) DE Jalyn Holmes, a former top recruit, was sometimes lost on the deep defensive end depth chart at Ohio State, collecting only two sacks as a senior and four in his career. The lack of starting experience and overall production looks unimpressive on the resume, but his traits are what have attracted NFL attention. Holmes is body beautiful with his sculpted 6-foot-5, 265-pound frame and intriguing athleticism. No question, he is unseasoned as a pass rusher and run defender, lacking the technical savvy to string together moves off the edge. However, Holmes shows immense potential with his toolsy physical profile, and if he shows progress throughout the week, his draft arrow will point north into the top-100 picks. -- Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com
01/19/18 - Dallas Goedert, Sr/2018, South Dakota State, 6-3, 255 (DS#2 TE) TE Dallas Goedert has the physical skill-set, dependable ball skills and football character that could land in him in round one. With almost all his experience coming against FCS-competition, how will he match up against better talent at the Senior Bowl? Goedert is a big, physical athlete with the body control and footwork of a much smaller player, making himself available in his routes with natural adjustment skills. There won't be a linebacker at the Senior Bowl who will be able to cover him, and the safeties will have a tough time matching his aggressive play. With a productive week, Goedert can lock down his status as the No. 1 senior tight end, ahead of Penn State's Mike Gesicki, Indiana's Ian Thomas and others. -- Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com
01/19/18 - Desmond Harrison, rSr/2018, West Georgia, 6-6, 308 (DS#18 OT) LT Desmond Harrison, a former touted junior college trasnfer, started his career as one of the gems of Texas' 2013 recruiting class. Due to multiple failed drug tests and other issues, he left the program and bounced around before resurfacing at Division II West Georgia for the 2017 season. Harrison started at left tackle for the Wolves and impressed with his sweet feet and natural athleticism, easily shutting down the corner in pass protection. His technique and awareness are all over the place, leading to mistakes and sloppy reps, but his movement skills simply cannot be coached. Along with his past baggage, Harrison will have plenty of questions to answer in Mobile. If NFL scouts like what they see/hear, Harrison could be a riser. -- Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com
01/19/18 - Marcus Davenport, Sr/2018, Texas-San Antonio, 6-6, 255 (DS#4 DE) DE/OLB Marcus Davenport totaled 17.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks and three forced fumbles as a senior, although that was against lesser talent in Conference USA. During Senior Bowl practices, he will face an uptick in talent and will be expected to perform at a high level. Davenport, with a basketball background, is an impressive athlete and will test well at the Combine. But during practice, scouts will be focused on his hand use, rush moves and body rhythm. With technical improvements during the week, Davenport will cement his status as an early first-round pick. -- Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com
01/18/18 - Baker Mayfield, rSr/2018, Oklahoma, 6-0, 220 (DS#4 QB) 2017 MANNING AWARD WINNER: Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield was named the recipient of the 2017 Manning Award on Thursday. The Oklahoma quarterback passed for 4,627 yards and 43 touchdowns this season to claim the honor, which is given to the nation's top college quarterback. It is the only award to consider postseason performances in voting by a national media panel as well as Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning. Mayfield led the Sooners to a Big 12 championship and a semifinal berth in the College Football Playoff. "To say he took a different path to success would be an understatement," Archie Manning said in a statement. "I doubt there's ever been a player who walked on to two different teams and reached this level of success." Mayfield left Texas Tech due to communication issues with the coaching staff and then enrolled at Oklahoma in January 2014. He joined the Sooners as a walk-on a month later and was named the starting quarterback for 2015. Mayfield won the Manning Award over the following finalists: Ohio State's J.T. Barrett, Clemson's Kelly Bryant, USC's Sam Darnold, Alabama's Jalen Hurts, Louisville's Lamar Jackson, Penn State's Trace McSorley, Central Florida's McKenzie Milton, Oklahoma State's Mason Rudolph, Auburn's Jarrett Stidham and Arizona's Khalil Tate. Former Clemson star Deshaun Watson was the recipient of the previous two Manning Awards. - The Sports Xchange
01/18/18 - Mason Rudolph, Sr/2018, Oklahoma State, 6-4, 230 (DS#6 QB) A sprained left foot will keep Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph out of the Senior Bowl, according to an NFL Media report Wednesday. Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee is expected to replace Rudolph on the roster for the annual all-star game in Mobile, Ala. The injury is not serious enough to require surgery, but the initial recommendation from doctors was two weeks of rest. That should give Rudolph enough time to heal before the NFL Combine in February. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Rudolph will still participate in measurements and interviews at the Senior Bowl, but he won't have a chance to improve his NFL Draft stock in practices. NFLDraftScout.com ranks Rudolph as the sixth-best quarterback prospect in 2018 and a likely second-round pick.
At Oklahoma State, Rudolph completed 63.2 percent of his passes for 13,618 yards and 92 touchdowns with 26 interceptions during his four-year career. Rudolph's absence leaves the Senior Bowl with a quarterback group that includes Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma, Wyoming's Josh Allen, Virginia's Kurt Benkert, Washington State's Luke Falk, Richmond's Kyle Lauletta, Western Kentucky's Mike White, Troy's Brandon Silvers and Lee. The 6-4, 220-pound Lee passed for 3,143 yards and 23 touchdowns with 16 interceptions last season at Nebraska. He is rated as the No. 23 quarterback prospect by NFLDraftScout.com. - The Sports Xchange
01/18/18 - Jason Driskel, rJr/2019, Florida Atlantic, 6-2, 210 (DS#999 QB) Jason Driskel is ready for the real world. The Florida Atlantic quarterback announced Thursday that he's ending his football career, even though he would have been eligible to return to the Owls next season. Driskel is about to graduate with a civil engineering degree. "It was always a dream of mine to play quarterback at the FBS level and I'm proud of accomplishing that goal," Driskel wrote in a social media post . "It has never been a dream of mine, however, to play football beyond college."
Driskel helped lead the Owls to an 11-3 season in 2017, along with a Conference USA championship and a win in the Boca Raton Bowl. He completed 67 percent of his passes this past season for 2,247 yards and 15 touchdowns, while throwing only four interceptions. Driskel was the offensive MVP of FAU's 50-3 win over Akron in the Boca Raton Bowl, throwing for 270 yards and two touchdowns and running for another two scores. "I undoubtedly will miss my teammates and the game with all of its trials and tribulations, but I will not regret the decision to move into the next chapter of my life," Driskel wrote. He thanked several coaches for their help at FAU, including current Owls head coach Lane Kiffin and former coaches Charlie Partridge and Brian Wright. Driskel said Partridge honored his commitment to FAU "when he didn't have to," and Wright "saw in me what a lot of others did not." - AP College Football
01/18/18 - Shane Buechele, So/2020, Texas, 6-1, 205 (DS#2 QB) Texas quarterback Shane Buechele will undergo surgery for a torn muscle in his hip and abdomen area but should return in time for spring practice in March. Buechele was the full-time starter as a freshman in 2016 then split starts with freshman Shane Ehlinger in 2017. Buechele started the Longhorns' win over Missouri in the Texas Bowl. Buechele played only the first half of the Texas Bowl but didn't play in the second. Texas officials said he tore a hip abductor in the game but the injury wasn't announced until Wednesday night. Surgery was scheduled for Thursday. Buechele passed for 1,405 yards and seven touchdowns in nine games in 2017. - AP College Football
01/18/18 - R.J. Prince, rSr/2018, North Carolina, 6-5, 320 (DS#71 OT) Investigators are looking into whether an NFL agent violated North Carolina's sports agents law by contacting a Tar Heels football player despite not being registered with the state. According to a search warrant, the Secretary of State's office sought Facebook records for Tennessee-based agent Brandon Smart. The document states Smart contacted UNC senior offensive lineman R.J. Prince to schedule a time to discuss "the NFL draft process" through an online message last year. The document also states Prince notified UNC officials, who informed the Secretary of State's office on Nov. 15. The office began an investigation on Dec. 6, with the search warrant referencing two other attempts by Smart to directly contact UNC athletes in 2015 and 2017. Smart didn't immediately return a call or email Wednesday from The Associated Press.
"We think UNC handled this matter properly and we appreciate the contact they gave us," Secretary of State's office spokesman George Jeter told the AP. "We are obviously looking into this matter." The North Carolina Secretary of State's office began investigating whether sports agents were violating the state's Uniform Athlete Agents Act in summer 2010 amid an NCAA investigation into the Tar Heels football program. The case led to a former agent pleading guilty in April for providing thousands of dollars in improper benefits to three former UNC players to entice them into signing contracts with him. - AP College Football
01/17/18 - Jeff George Jr., rSo/2020, Illinois, 6-2, 215 (DS#999 QB) QB Jeff George Jr. is leaving the school as a graduate transfer to seek an opportunity elsewhere. George, the son of former NFL quarterback Jeff George, announced Wednesday on Twitter his intentions not return for his final two years with the Fighting Illini. As a graduate transfer, he would be eligible to play immediately for another FBS program. George was one of three Illinois quarterbacks who played last season. In seven games, he passed for 1,273 yards and seven touchdowns but was intercepted 10 times.
01/17/18 - Kevin Stepherson, So/2020, Notre Dame, 6-0, 185 (DS#45 WR) Notre Dame wide receiver Kevin Stepherson, who was suspended for the Fighting Irish's Citrus Bowl against LSU after being accused of shoplifting, and three other players have been dismissed from the team. Athletic department spokesman Michael Bertsch said Tuesday night that Stepherson, sophomore running backs Deon McIntosh and CJ Holmes and junior defensive tackle Brandon Tiassum were no longer with the team. No other details were provided. Stepherson, a junior, caught 19 passes for 359 yards and five touchdowns this season. He was held out of the first five games of 2017, though Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly never explained why. Stepherson and Holmes were arrested in December for shoplifting at a South Bend, Indiana, area mall. McIntosh was sent home from the bowl for a violation of team rules. - AP College Football
01/17/18 - Tyler Hilinski, rSo/2020, Washington State, 6-2, 213 (DS#999 QB) Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski has died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. The 21-year-old Hilinski was discovered in his apartment after he didn't show up for practice Tuesday. A rifle "was recovered next to Hilinski and a suicide note was found," according to the Pullman Police Department. Hilinski was the presumptive starting quarterback going into next season. He started Washington State's Holiday Bowl loss to Michigan State after Luke Falk was unable to play due to a wrist injury. Washington State president Kirk Schulz tweeted, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the Hilinski family."
Hilinski appeared in eight games during his sophomore season, throwing for 1,176 yards and seven touchdowns. His most memorable outing came in the second week of the season when he led Washington State from a 21-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat Boise State 47-44 in triple overtime. Hilinski threw for 240 yards and three touchdowns coming off the bench. His only start came in the bowl game against Michigan State, although he played extensively in a loss to Arizona. Former Washington State linebackers coach Roy Manning, who recently left for a position at UCLA, tweeted , "Words can't describe what I'm feeling right now. My heart is beyond saddened. Please pray for the family and all of us affected!" Hilinski is from Claremont, California, and went to high school at nearby Upland. He arrived on campus in 2015 and redshirted before appearing in four games in 2016. - AP College Football
01/16/18 - Kyle Kempt, rSr/2018, Iowa State, 6-4, 210 (DS#26 QB) Iowa State still is hoping the NCAA grants a sixth season of eligibility to quarterback Kyle Kempt, who led the Cyclones to an 8-5 record last season, including a win over Oklahoma. Kempt has not yet received a verdict from the NCAA regarding his petition for another season of eligibility, according to the Des Moines Register. "I feel confident that we can come out of this as good or better at quarterback than we've ever been at Iowa State," coach Matt Campbell said Monday during an interview with the Register. "It's a really fluid situation right now. The percentages continue to go back and forth -- yes, we think Kyle will be back, no we don't think he'll be back, and yes he will. It's a little unsettling, but we have to prepare as if Kyle wouldn't be coming back." Kempt was listed as a senior during the 2017 season, but is referring to the "run off rule" in his attempt to get another season.
The NCAA can grant additional years to players who are "run off" from their original four-year schools. Kempt signed with Oregon State originally, but did not play in his two seasons there. "They told me I wasn't going to play there," Kempt told the Register. Kempt spent the 2015 season at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas, then joined the Iowa State roster. He was on the Cyclones' scout team in 2016, but had a breakout game in 2017 against Oklahoma, hitting 18 of 24 passes for 343 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions in a 38-31 win on the road. Kempt did not throw a pass in FBS competition before that game. - The Sports Xchange
01/16/18 - Bryce Love, Jr/2019, Stanford, 5-09, 196 (DS#2 RB) Heisman Trophy runner-up Bryce Love will return to Stanford for his senior season. His father, Christopher Love, told multiple outlets of his son's decision late Monday night. The San Francisco Chronicle wrote that "the junior tailback didn't make his decision until the last possible minute Monday night, the deadline for entering the NFL draft." The younger Love finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting behind Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield. Love did pick up his fair share of honors, however. He claimed the Doak Walker Award as the top running back in the FBS and Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year honors after rushing for 2,118 yards with an FBS-best 8.1 yards per carry. He also tied for fifth in rushing touchdowns with 19. Love reportedly set those totals while nursing an ankle injury through the final six games of the season. - The Sports Xchange
01/15/18 - K.J. Carta-Samuels, rJr/2019, UCLA, 6-1, 221 (DS#36 QB) QB K.J. Carta-Samuels is leaving as a graduate transfer for UCLA, CBS Sports reported Monday. Carta-Samuels, who served as Jake Browning's backup the past two seasons, will enroll at UCLA this spring and be eligible to play in the fall. He will stay in the Pac-12 and have one year of eligibility remaining. Carta-Samuels leaves Washington with 27 of 47 career completions for 310 yards and three touchdowns in 25 games.
01/15/18 - Mekhi Brown, rSo/2020, Tennessee State, 6-4, 241 (DS#999 OLB) LB Mekhi Brown is transferring to Tennessee State to continue his football career, according to reports. Brown was last seen attempting to attack an Alabama assistant coach on the sideline after he received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the CFP national championship for punching Georgia's Wyatt Payne. The 6-foot-5, 240-pound sophomore must have had in his mind earlier in the fall that he would leave after the season because he had already been admitted to Tennessee State. Brown apparently will have to comply with stipulations set by Tennessee State before he can play there. In 12 games during the 2017 season, Brown had three solo tackles and four assists for a total of seven tackles.
01/15/18 - Christian Wilkins, Jr/2019, Clemson, 6-3, 300 (DS#1 DT) DT Christian Wilkins, a two-time All-American, is returning for his senior season. Wilkins, a Lombardi Award finalist, was considered to be a first-round pick if he entered the NFL draft after making 55 tackles, including 4.5 sacks this past season.
01/15/18 - Jerry Tillery, Jr/2019, Notre Dame, 6-5, 306 (DS#2 DT) Jerry Tillery's Twitter bio is bilingual. The first statement says simply, "University of Notre Dame." The next line, however, is not as universally understood. "Solo se vive una vez," Notre Dame's junior nose guard wrote. Or, in English: "You only live once." Of course, the rest of Tillery's life has yet to be written. But as for the next 12 months, a decision has been made. On Monday, head coach Brian Kelly announced on Twitter that Tillery and fellow junior Te'von Coney will both return to Notre Dane in 2018 rather than entering the upcoming NFL Draft. Monday marked the deadline for eligible underclassmen to declare. Previously, two of Notre Dame's junior offensive standouts — running back Josh Adams and wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown — made the opposite decision, foregoing their senior seasons in South Bend in favor of the NFL. "We talk about the mission everyday: graduate our players and win a national championship," Kelly tweeted. "While I'm excited to have Jerry and Te'von return from a football standpoint, I'm proud that they both believe in this mission and value the significance of the ND degree." - Mike Vorel, South Bend Tribune
01/15/18 - Quinten Dormady, Jr/2019, Tennessee, 6-3, 222 (DS#29 QB) Quarterback Quinten Dormady is leaving Tennessee after a junior year in which he lost his starting job and suffered a season-ending injury. Dormady tweeted Monday that "after weeks of reflection, I've decided to complete my degree from Tennessee and transfer for my final year of eligibility." Dormady, who is 6-foot-4 and from Boerne, Texas, started Tennessee's first five games this past season. He completed 55.5 percent of his passes for 925 yards with six touchdowns and six interceptions. He was replaced by Jarrett Guarantano midway through the year and later underwent season-ending shoulder surgery. Dormady tweeted that "I am making great progress every day with the help of my family, my friends and doctors." Dormady's decision leaves Guarantano, Will McBride and incoming freshman JT Shrout as Tennessee's scholarship quarterbacks. - AP College Football
01/15/18 - Jalan McClendon, rJr/2019, North Carolina State, 6-4, 221 (DS#24 QB) North Carolina State redshirt senior quarterback Jalan McClendon will play elsewhere next season as a graduate transfer.The school announced McClendon's decision Monday. He is scheduled to graduate in May and has a year of eligibility remaining. McClendon was in position to inherit the starting job when Jacoby Brissett headed to the NFL after the 2015 season. But Boise State graduate transfer Ryan Finley arrived with experience in new coordinator Eli Drinkwitz's system and won the starting job for 2016. McClendon has been Finley's backup ever since, throwing just three passes last season. Finley recently announced he's returning for his final season instead of entering the NFL draft. In a statement, McClendon said he "enjoyed every bit of this university." - AP College Football
01/15/18 - Christian Wilkins, Jr/2019, Clemson, 6-3, 300 (DS#1 DT) Two-time All-American Christian Wilkins will return for his senior year in 2018. Wilkins informed the Clemson football staff of his decision Monday afternoon. With Wilkins's return, Clemson will have three returning first-team All-Americans and four returning All-ACC players among its front four defenders for 2018. On Saturday, first-team All-American defensive ends Clelin Ferrell and Austin Bryant both announced they would return for 2018. The fourth returning starter, Dexter Lawrence, will be a junior next year and was a first-team All-ACC performer in 2017 after being named a unanimous freshman All-American in 2016.
Last year Clemson ranked second in the nation in scoring defense (13.6), fourth in total defense (276.7), fourth in pass defense (161.9) and tied for first in sacks (46). Additionally, Clemson was second in fewest yards per play allowed (4.27), and second in passing yards per attempt (5.7). Wilkins, who earned his Clemson undergraduate degree in just two and a half years, earned All-America honors in 2016 and 2017 and has been a two-time Academic All-ACC selection as well. He is expected to be announced on the academic team for a third time later this month. - Clemson Football
01/15/18 - *Tavares Martin Jr., Jr/2018, Washington State, 6-0, 182 (DS#43 WR) Former Washington State wide receiver Tavares Martin Jr. will forego another college season and begin preparing for the 2018 NFL Draft. Martin Jr., who was cut from the WSU roster in December and had one remaining season of eligibility, announced his decision in a heartfelt message on Twitter Saturday afternoon. In the message, Martin Jr., a native of Belle Glade, Florida – known commonly as "Muck City" – says that playing in the NFL "has been a lifelong dream of mine since the age of eight, playing pee wee football and chasing those rabbits in muck city."
Martin Jr. had burner speed for an outside receiver and was Luke Falk's top target as a junior in 2017, hauling in 70 catches for 831 yards and nine touchdowns. He would've been one of the Pac-12 Conference's top returning receivers in 2018, but Martin Jr's relationship with WSU coach Mike Leach became tenuous near the end of the 2017 season, and Leach dismissed Martin Jr. for a violation of team rules. Martin Jr. refuted that he was cut, instead claiming via Twitter, "I was dismissed from the team because I asked for my release. I never knew me asking for my release was a violation of the team rules." Asked about the sequence of events, Leach later said Martin Jr. didn't ask for his release prior to being cut. But Martin Jr. was graceful in his Twitter post, thanking both Leach and the Cougars for his three-year stint on the Palouse. - Theo Lawson, The Spokesman-Review
01/15/18 - *Joel Iyiegbuniwe, rJr/2018, Western Kentucky, 6-1, 230 (DS#19 ILB) Rising redshirt senior linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe will forgo his final season of eligibility on The Hill and enter the 2018 NFL Draft. "After much thought, prayer, and discussion with my family, coaches, and advisors, I have decided to enter the 2018 NFL Draft," Iyiegbuniwe said. "I would like to thank my family, teammates, and coaches for all of their support the last three years. Staying in Bowling Green to continue my college education was the best decision of my life. I am one credit hour away from graduating, and I will graduate this spring. All the memories, friendships, and lessons I have learned the last three years will last a lifetime."
In 2017, Iyiebuniwe led WKU with 116 total tackles, including 51 solo tackles, and his 11.5 tackles for loss also led the Red and White. His tackle numbers this season were the third-most in a single season in the FBS era, and his 200 career tackles rank him sixth in the FBS era. He capped his WKU career with an All-Conference USA First Team performance, the third-straight such honor for a WKU linebacker. - WKU Football
01/15/18 - *Roquan Smith, Jr/2018, Georgia, 6-0, 225 (DS#1 ILB) LB Roquan Smith, the Butkus Award winner as the nation's top linebacker, announced Monday he will enter the NFL Draft. Although it took him until the deadline day to declare, his decision comes as no surprise, considering he is a potential top 10 pick. NFLDraftScout.com rates him as the No. 9 prospect.
Smith (6-1, 225) led the charge on defense for Georgia, which lost 26-23 in overtime to Alabama in the national championship game. He made 137 tackles, including 14 for loss and 6.5 sacks, in 15 games. He earned SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors, was the Defensive MVP of the Rose Bowl victory over Oklahoma, and took home MVP honors in the SEC title game.