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NOTRE DAME'S KELLY WINS 2012 EDDIE ROBINSON AWARD

Notre Dame's Brian Kelly Wins 2012 Eddie Robinson Award

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, who has taken the Fighting Irish to their first unbeaten regular season since 1988, has been named the recipient of the 2012 FWAA/Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award, which is sponsored by the Fiesta Bowl.

Photo – Former Head Coach Eddie Robinson - Grambling St.

Kelly, in his third season at Notre Dame, won the award over eight other coaching finalists after a vote of the 1,200-member Football Writers Association of America. He is the fourth Notre Dame coach to receive the award following Ara Parseghian (1964), Lou Holtz (1988) and Charlie Weis (2005).

The Fighting Irish capped a perfect regular season (12-0) with a victory over arch-rival USC at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Notre Dame is the top-ranked team in college football in all the polls and will face Alabama in the Discover BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 7, 2013 in South Florida.

The 51-year-old Kelly will be presented the Eddie Robinson Trophy the previous evening during a reception at the Marriott Harbor Beach Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Officials from Notre Dame, the Fiesta Bowl, the FWAA and the namesake coach's son, Eddie Robinson Jr., will be in attendance.

"It is with great pleasure the FWAA presents the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award to Brian Kelly," said 2012 FWAA President Lenn Robbins. "Notre Dame, under Coach Kelly, has returned to national prominence in the college football ranks. This award recognizes that accomplishment for the 2012 season, a season that began with 124 teams vying for an elusive undefeated campaign. Notre Dame was the only bowl-eligible school to accomplish that impressive feat."

"Brian Kelly is a deserving recipient for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award," added Fiesta Bowl Executive Director Robert Shelton. "He led Notre Dame to an undefeated record, earning the top spot in the BCS. Equally as impressive is the fact that his team boasts a 97 percent graduation rate, which is tied for best NCAA APR rate among all Bowl Subdivision schools. He inspires excellence in his players on both the field and in the classroom."

Notre Dame's 2012 season has been highlighted by victories over ranked teams at the time the Fighting Irish played them: Michigan, Michigan State, Stanford and Oklahoma. Senior linebacker Manti Te'o won the FWAA's Bronko Nagurski Trophy as the nation's best defensive player, anchoring one of college football's top defensive front sevens.

Kelly, Notre Dame's 29th head football coach, began his head coaching career at Division II Grand Valley State in 1991. After winning back-to-back NCAA Division II titles there in 2002 and '03, he moved on to Central Michigan for three seasons before a highly successful four-year stint at Cincinnati. He guided the Bearcats to back-to-back BCS bowl games (Orange and Sugar) in 2008 and '09 before taking over at Notre Dame in 2010.
The FWAA has given out a Coach of the Year Award since 1957 when Ohio State coach Woody Hayes first claimed the honor. Robinson, a coaching legend at Grambling State University, has been the FWAA's coaching namesake since 1997.

The late Robinson, the winningest coach in Division I history (408 games), passed away on April 3, 2007. Robinson's teams won or tied for 17 Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) championships after joining the league in 1959. His Tigers claimed nine Black College Football Championships during his career spent all at the same school.

Robinson, who was named by the FWAA in 1966 as "The Coach Who Made the Biggest Contribution to College Football in the Past 25 Years," often took his show on the road to places such as the Louisiana Superdome, the Cotton Bowl, the Astrodome, Tiger Stadium and Yankee Stadium. And with his star-studded array of players Robinson helped integrate professional football.

In 1949, Grambling standout Tank Younger was the first player from a Historically Black College to sign with an NFL Team (Los Angeles Rams). By 1963, Buck Buchanan became the first player from a Historically Black College to be selected first overall in the professional draft (American Football League by the Kansas City Chiefs). Over the years, Robinson produced a Who's Who of professional football players, with more than 200 of his former players dotting professional rosters.

In 1975, with one of his greatest teams quarterbacked by eventual All-Pro Doug Williams, Robinson's Grambling team and Alcorn State became the first college teams to play a game in the Louisiana Superdome. The next season, Robinson's Tigers, along with Morgan State, became the first American college football teams to play in Japan.

A member of the College Football Hall of Fame, Robinson has the keys to cities all over the planet, has been awarded in every form and fashion and has honorary degrees from many schools. The Eddie Robinson Museum has opened in his honor in Grambling, La., where numerous memorabilia now reside, including a bust of the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award.

The Eddie Robinson Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA was founded in 1997 as a coalition of the major collegiate football awards to protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige of the game's predominant awards. The NCFAA encourages professionalism and the highest standards for the administration of its member awards and the selection of their candidates and recipients. For more information, visit the association's official Web site, ncfaa.org.

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Marcus Lattimore Declares For NFL Draft 2013

Marcus Lattimore Declares For NFL Draft 2013

Photo – RB Marcus Lattimore – South Carolina

University of South Carolina junior running back Marcus Lattimore has elected to forego his final year of college eligibility and enter the 2013 NFL Draft, he announced today at a press conference at Williams-Brice Stadium.

DraftInsiders.com Marcus Lattimore's Scouting Report in Pro Prospect Preview

Ranked #1 Back thru November 2012
* Marcus Lattimore - South Carolina - 6’ 225

Powerful running back is one of the premier runners in the nation despite coming off a 2011 knee injury. He is off to a big 2012 season. He is set to be the workhorse runner in this balanced offense where he should get 20+ touches weekly. He has flashed a great burst of speed through the hole to break the big play while also showing powerful tackle breaking abilities that has allowed him to be an inside force. He has fine overall athleticism and shows good natural running skills both inside and outside. He has a powerful compact frame with good body lean and top quickness to punish a defense. He needs development as both a blocker and receiver to be ready for NFL starting duty. Unfortunately, he was injured in November that terminated his season. He opted to enter the NFL Draft 2013 in early December 2012.

A highly-regarded talent, Lattimore burst onto the scene quickly at the collegiate level. In just his second game for the Garnet & Black, the six-foot, 218-pounder rushed 37 times for 182 yards leading Carolina to a win over Georgia. It was the first of four 100-yard rushing games on the season and the first of three in his career against the Bulldogs. He later set the school single-game record with 40 carries for 212 yards at Florida, as the Gamecocks clinched their first SEC Eastern Division title. He finished his first campaign with 1,197 yards and 17 TDs, both freshman records at South Carolina. For his efforts, Lattimore was a unanimous choice for National Freshman of the Year. He was also the SEC Freshman of the Year and earned a spot on the first-team All-SEC unit.

The Duncan, S.C. product was headed toward a Heisman Trophy-type season in 2011. He logged three consecutive 100-yard rushing games to open the season, including a career-best 246-yard, three-touchdown effort in a win over Navy. His season ended prematurely when he suffered a left knee injury in the win at Mississippi State in game seven. He finished the season with 818 yards on 163 carries, an average of 5.0 yards per carry. Despite playing in just seven games, he still earned second-team All-SEC accolades and was a member of the SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll.

Lattimore worked extremely hard in the off-season rehabilitating his knee and was ready to take the field when the 2012 season got underway. He quickly erased any doubts about his comeback with a 23-carry, 110-yard, two-touchdown effort in the season opening win at Vanderbilt, which earned him SEC Offensive Player of the Week accolades for the fourth time in his career. He logged three 100-yard rushing games in 2012, including back-to-back efforts at Kentucky and versus Georgia. He was on his way to another 100-yard game against Tennessee when he suffered a season-ending right knee injury. He was named honorable mention All-SEC by the Associated Press.

Lattimore leaves as one of the Gamecock all-time greats. He finished his career with 2,677 rushing yards, sixth on Carolina's all-time list. He is the school record-holder in both rushing touchdowns (38) and touchdowns scored (41). He ranks fourth in rushing attempts (555), third in points scored (246 - most among non-kickers) and tied for second in 100-yard rushing games (11).

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DraftInsiders.com 2012 All-American Team

DraftInsiders.com All-American Team

Photo – Linemen - Luke Joechel - Texas A&M, Barrett Jones - Alabama, Jonathan Cooper - North Carolina

Offensive Player of the Year
QB Johnny Manziel - Texas A&M University

Defensive Player of the Year
LB Monti Te’O – Notre Dame

Coach of the Year
Brian Kelly – Notre Dame (3rd season)

DraftInsiders.com All- American Team

Offensive Team
QB Johnny Manziel - Texas A&M University
RB Montee Ball - North Carolina
RB Kenjon Barner – Oregon
WR Marqise Lee - Southern Cal
WR Tavin Austin - West Virginia
TE Tyler Eifert - Notre Dame

Linemen:
OT Luke Joechel - Texas A&M
OG Chance Warmack – Alabama
OC Barrett Jones - Alabama
OG Jonathan Cooper - North Carolina
OT Ricky Wagner – Wisconsin

Heisman Trophy Vote - LB Monti Te’O – Notre Dame
Jim Thorpe Vote - CB Johnthan Banks – Mississippi St
Nagurski Vote - LB Monti Te’O – Notre Dame
Outland Vote - OT Luke Joechel - Texas A&M

Defensive Team
DE Jadeveon Clowney - South Carolina
DT Star Lotulelei - Utah
DT Kawann Short - Purdue
DE Damontre Moore – Texas A&M
LB Jarvis Jones - Georgia
LB Monti Te’O – Notre Dame
LB Chase Thomas - Stanford
CB Johnthan Banks – Mississippi St
CB Dee Milliner – Alabama
S Eric Reid - LSU
S T.J. McDonald - Southern Cal

Specialists:
P Ryan Allen – Louisiana Tech
PK Quinn Sharp - Oklahoma St.
RS De'Anthony Thomas - Oregon

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One Man’s Vote – Heisman Trophy Award 2012

One Man’s Vote – Heisman Trophy Award 2012
Manti Te'O Gets Heisman Trophy Vote Here

Photo – LB Manti Te'O - Notre Dame

This year’s Heisman Trophy race may prove to be one of the closest voting processes in the prestigious history of the coveted award. The Heisman Trophy Award show will be presented on ESPN tonight.

The 2012 college football season saw the leaders for the award change almost weekly with the top two honorees, Notre Dame’s Manti Te’O and Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel both surfacing to the top of the ballots with strong late season performances. Kansas St’s QB Collin Klein was a leading candidate off some very impressive early season efforts, but a few average late season performances has seen his star fall in the balloting.

Both leaders Manti Te’O and Johnny Manziel would be atypical of the award that has seen only one defensive player, Charles Woodson in 1997 and no freshman has ever won the award.

Te’O was a difference maker on the #1 and best team in the nation in Notre Dame. His presence spelled the difference in several close victories – Michigan, Purdue, Pittsburgh and Southern Cal. The Irish would be hard pressed to be better than 9-3 or 8-4 without the impact Mike man.

Manziel had an awesome redshirt freshman season. He lead an Aggie offense to new SEC records including his own total yardage record in his first season as a starter. In addition, he elevated the A&M club to a top 20 ranking, a total surprise especially competing in the SEC. His performance vs defending champion Alabama when he took the Aggie team into Tuscaloosa late this season and beat the Tide on their home turf may be the signature event that earns him the coveted Heisman.

Frank Coyle’s Heisman Vote
#1 LB Manti Te’O – Notre Dame
#2 QB Johnny Manziel - Texas A&M
#3 QB Collin Klein - Kansas St

The 2012 Winner will be announced live on ESPN tonight Saturday Dec.8th.
Following much anticipation, college football Hall of Famer and 1990 Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer announced the three finalists for this year's Heisman Trophy race tonight on ESPN's 6:00PM EST edition of SportsCenter. On behalf of The Heisman Trophy Trust, Detmer revealed the gridiron stars in contention for the prestigious 78th Annual Heisman Memorial Trophy are Kansas State University quarterback Collin Klein, Texas A&M University quarterback Johnny Manziel, and University of Notre Dame middle linebacker Manti Te'o.

The three finalists will be invited to New York for the live Heisman Trophy announcement on Saturday, December 8, airing on ESPN at 8:00PM EST, presented by Nissan North America. Each finalist would be accomplishing a notable first as the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner: first from Kansas State, first freshman, or first true defensive player to ever be named the year's outstanding college football player.

Klein would be the first Kansas State Wildcat to win the Heisman Trophy. Klein passed for 2,490 yards and 15 touchdowns and rushed for 890 yards and 22 touchdowns. The senior holds the Football Bowl Subdivision record of the most rushing touchdowns in two seasons, totaling at 49 between 2011 and 2012. Klein ranks second in Kansas State history for scoring with 336 points and third in career yards with 7,028.

Manziel would be the first-ever freshman Heisman Trophy winner. Hailing from Texas A&M, the young quarterback passed for 3,419 yards and 24 touchdowns. He also rushed for 1,181 yards and 19 touchdowns. Manziel is the first quarterback in SEC history, and only the fifth player ever in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, to have 3,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards in the same season. Upon surpassing 4,600 yards, he set a new SEC record for total yards in a season. Manziel holds a Texas A&M record of logging eight straight games with 300 or more total yards.

Te'o would be the first true defensive player to ever win the award, joining seven previous Notre Dame players as a Heisman Trophy winner. This season, Te'o helped lead the Fighting Irish to an undefeated season with 101 tackles, of which 46 were solo tackles to bring down his opponent; he ranks third in Notre Dame history for career tackles at 427. Te'o amassed a school-record of seven interceptions in his third-straight 100+ tackle season.

The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. An electorate comprised of 928 sports journalists and every living former Heisman winner determines the finalists and winner. Included in the electorate is one overall fan vote, an opportunity supported by Nissan North America, Heisman's Premier Partner.

"It has been an especially exciting race this year and we are excited to welcome the three finalists to New York for a remarkable weekend they will not soon forget," said Robert Whalen, Executive Director of The Heisman Trophy Trust. "The Heisman Memorial Trophy is college football's most esteemed award and its past winners make up of some of the world's most elite athletes. We're looking forward to honoring the newest winner this weekend."

Frank Coyle is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe etc for the past 18 years. He writes College Football Mondays weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, CBS, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites.

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Johnthan Banks Named 2012 Jim Thorpe Award Winner

Johnthan Banks Named 2012 Jim Thorpe Award Recipient

Photo – CB Johnthan Banks – Mississippi St

Frank Coyle voted for Mississippi St's Johnthan Banks as his 2012 Jim Thorpe Award winner

Mississippi State All-American defensive back Johnthan Banks was named the 2012 Jim Thorpe Award winner Thursday night at the Atlantic Dance Hall at the Boardwalk Hotel and Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The award, given annually to the top defensive back in college football, is the first individual national award for a MSU player in the 113-year history of the program.

“First of all, it’s a blessing from God to be given this opportunity,” Banks said. “I want to first thank the Jim Thorpe Association. It’s kind of shocking. There are so many great defensive backs in the country and this is all just a dream to me.”

Banks, a Walter Camp All-American, took him the award after posting 59 tackles, seven pass breakups, four interceptions, 2.0 tackles for loss, a fumble forced and a fumble recovery. Among active players in the FBS, the senior team captain ranks first in career interception yards (320), is tied for third with 16 career interceptions, is tied for sixth in interceptions returned for touchdowns (3), ranks eighth in interceptions per game (.32) and is tied for eighth with 26 career pass breakups.

“Four years ago, Johnthan Banks made a decision to stay at home and represent the people of Mississippi,” Head Coach Dan Mullen said. “What a tremendous honor for a young man from Maben, Miss., to be honored with the Jim Thorpe Award for the best defensive back in college football. It is something special for the entire state of Mississippi.”

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Notre Dames' Tyler Eifert Wins 2012 John Mackey Award

Tyler Eifert Wins 2012 John Mackey Award

Photo – TE Tyler Eifert – Notre Dame

The Nassau County Sports Commission announced Tyler Eifert of Notre Dame as the 2012 John Mackey Award recipient. The John Mackey Award trophy will be presented to Eifert on December 6, 2012, live on ESPNU, at 6:30pm EST as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Red Carpet Show. Eifert will also be honored at the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship Game in South Florida on January 7, 2013.

2012 was an outstanding year for Tyler Eifert. The senior recorded 44 receptions for 624 yards and four touchdowns while leading undefeated Notre Dame to the Discover BCS National Championship Game. In addition to the Mackey Award, he has also already been named second-team All American by Walter Camp and CBS Sports. Eifert, who is well known for his blocking ability and receiving prowess, has totaled 134 receptions, 1,779 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns in his career making him the all time career leader in receptions and receiving yards by a Notre Dame Tight End.

The John Mackey Award is given to the collegiate tight end who best exemplifies the play, sportsmanship, academics, and community values of NFL Hall of Fame Tight End John Mackey. The 2012 John Mackey Award recipient was determined by confidential balloting of the John Mackey Selection Committee.

The John Mackey Award presented since 2000, lists eleven NFL players as alumni: 2006 Super Bowl Champion Dallas Clark ('01) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, two-time Super Bowl Champion Daniel Graham ('02), Kellen Winslow II ('03), two-time Super Bowl Champion Heath Miller ('04) of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Marcedes Lewis ('05) of the Jacksonville Jaguars, 2008 Super Bowl Champion Matt Spaeth ('06) of the of the Chicago Bears, Fred Davis ('07) of the Washington Redskins, Chase Coffman ('08) of the Atlanta Falcons, Aaron Hernandez ('09) of the New England Patriots, D.J. Williams ('10) of the Green Bay Packers and the 2011 John Mackey Award recipient Dwayne Allen of the Indianapolis Colts.

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Notre Dame Battles Alabama In National BCS Title Game

2012-13 College Football Bowl Schedule

Undefeated #1 Notre Dame will meet defending national and SEC Champion #2 Alabama in the BCS title game on Monday, January 7th. The Crimson Tide has won two of the past three national titles and will look to continue the SEC dominance on the national scene. It will be the 7th consecutive BCS title game for the SEC Champion with the past six clubs winning the national championship. This will be the first national title game for Notre Dame since the late 1980’s. In only head coach, Brian Kelly’s third season, the Irish earned the title clash off an undefeated season behind a very tough defense and an efficient balanced offense. We will have a national title game matchup breakdown posted the first week of January.

Photo – CE Dee Milliner – Alabama

Complete Bowl Schedule

Date/time (all ET) / Bowl / Site / Matchup

National BCS Championship Mon., Jan. 7
8:30 p.m.

BCS title game Miami Gardens, Fla. Notre Dame vs. Alabama

Sat., Dec. 15
1 p.m. New Mexico Albuquerque Nevada vs. Arizona

Sat., Dec. 15
4:30 p.m. Idaho Potato Boise, Idaho Utah State vs. Toledo

Thu., Dec. 20
8 p.m. Poinsettia San Diego San Diego State vs. BYU

Fri., Dec. 21
7:30 p.m. Beef 'O' Brady's St. Petersburg, Fla. Central Florida vs. Ball State

Sat., Dec. 22
noon New Orleans New Orleans Louisiana-Lafayette vs. East Carolina

Sat., Dec. 22
3:30 p.m. Las Vegas Las Vegas Boise State vs. Washington

Mon., Dec. 24
8 p.m. Hawaii Honolulu SMU vs. Fresno State

Wed., Dec. 26
7:30 p.m. Little Caesars Detroit Central Michigan vs. Western Kentucky

Thu., Dec. 27
3 p.m. Military Washington, D.C. San Jose State vs. Bowling Green

Thu., Dec. 27
6:30 p.m. Belk Charlotte, N.C. Duke vs. Cincinnati

Thu., Dec. 27
9:45 p.m. Holiday San Diego Baylor vs. UCLA

Fri., Dec. 28
2 p.m. Independence Shreveport, La. Louisiana-Monroe vs. Ohio

Fri., Dec. 28
5:30 p.m. Russell Athletic Orlando, Fla. Virginia Tech vs. Rutgers

Fri., Dec. 28
9 p.m. Meinke Car Care Houston Minnesota vs. Texas Tech

Sat., Dec. 29
11:45 a.m. Armed Forces Fort Worth, Texas Air Force vs. Rice

Sat., Dec. 29
3:15 p.m. Kraft Fight Hunger San Francisco Navy vs. Arizona State

Sat., Dec. 29
3:15 p.m. Pinstripe Bronx, N.Y. Syracuse vs. West Virginia

Sat., Dec. 29
6:45 p.m. Alamo San Antonio, Texas Texas vs. Oregon State

Sat., Dec. 29
10:15 p.m. Buffalo Wild Wings Tempe, Ariz. Michigan State vs. TCU

Mon., Dec. 31
noon Music City Nashville, Tenn. N.C. State vs. Vanderbilt

Mon, Dec. 31
2 p.m. Sun El Paso, Texas Georgia Tech vs. USC

Mon, Dec. 31
3:30 p.m. Liberty Memphis, Tenn. Tulsa vs. Iowa State

Mon, Dec. 31
7:30 p.m. Chick-fil-A Atlanta Clemson vs. LSU

Tue., Jan. 1
noon Heart of Dallas Dallas Purdue vs. Oklahoma State

Tue., Jan. 1
noon Gator Jacksonville, Fla. Northwestern vs. Mississippi State

Tue., Jan. 1
1 p.m. Outback Tampa, Fla. Michigan vs. South Carolina

Tue., Jan. 1
1 p.m. Capital One Orlando, Fla. Georgia vs. Nebraska

Tue., Jan. 1
5 p.m. Rose Pasadena, Calif. Stanford vs. Wisconsin

Tue., Jan. 1
8:30 p.m. Orange Miami Gardens, Fla. Florida State vs. Northern Illinois

Wed., Jan. 2
8:30 p.m. Sugar New Orleans Florida vs. Louisville

Thu., Jan. 3
8:30 p.m. Fiesta Glendale, Ariz. Kansas State vs. Oregon

Fri., Jan. 4
8 p.m. Cotton Arlington, Texas Oklahoma vs. Texas A&M

Sat., Jan. 5
1 p.m. BBVA Compass Birmingham, Ala. Mississippi vs. Pittsburgh

Sun., Jan. 6
8 p.m. Go Daddy Mobile, Ala. Arkansas State vs. Kent State

Mon., Jan. 7
8:30 p.m. BCS title game Miami Gardens, Fla. Notre Dame vs. Alabama

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