Jan 1, 2021; New Orleans, LA, USA; Clemson Tigers linebacker Mike Jones Jr. (6) intercepts a pass intended for Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Chris Olave (2) during the third quarter at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Russell Costanza-USA TODAY Sports

LB Mike Jones Jr. transfers from Clemson to LSU

Former Clemson linebacker Mike Jones Jr. announced Wednesday that he has transferred to LSU.

Jones posted a picture of himself in an LSU uniform on Twitter while announcing his intentions.

“Make your next move your best move ! @LSUfootball” Jones wrote.

Jones made 30 tackles (four for losses) and had two interceptions and one forced fumble in 10 games (seven starts) for Clemson last season. He had 19 tackles (four for losses) and a forced fumble in 15 games in 2019 as a redshirt freshman.

Jones entered the transfer portal following the 2020 season.

–Field Level Media

Oct 31, 2020; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA;  Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) and Alabama quarterback Mac Jones (10) celebrate a touchdown pass from Jones to Smith at Bryant-Denny Stadium during the second half of Alabama's 41-0 win over Mississippi State. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr/The Tuscaloosa News via USA TODAY Sports

Mac Jones leads Alabama foursome entering NFL draft

Alabama quarterback Mac Jones joined fellow teammates wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, cornerback Patrick Surtain II and defensive lineman Christian Barmore in declaring for the 2021 NFL Draft on Thursday.

Barmore played as a redshirt sophomore while the other three are juniors, all announcing during a press conference their intent to forego their senior seasons to enter the NFL.

All are expected to be taken in the first round. Along with senior running back Najee Harris and Heisman Trophy winning wide receiver DeVonta Smith, the Tide could have six players selected in the first round on April 29 in Cleveland.

Jones completed his first full season as Alabama’s starting quarterback as a redshirt junior and threw for 4,500 yards and 41 touchdowns. Jones won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and Davey O’Brian Award.

“I played every role you can imagine from scout team to starter to national champion,” Jones said Thursday. “… I’m really looking forward to this next opportunity.”

Surtain, whose father, Patrick, played 11 seasons in the NFL, was a unanimous All-American and the Defensive MVP in Alabama’s win over Notre Dame in the CFP semifinals.

“Since I was a kid, my life-long dream was to play in the NFL and with much thought and consideration with my family and prayer I am announcing that I am declaring for the 2021 NFL draft,” Surtain said Thursday.

Barmore recorded 37 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 8.0 sacks – good for second in the SEC — six quarterback hurries, three pass breakups and three forced fumbles this season.

Waddle missed most of the season with a fractured ankle but caught 28 passes for 591 yards and four touchdowns and averaged 21.11 yards per reception in six games.

The Tide defeated Ohio State to win another national championship earlier this week.

–Field Level Media

Sep 23, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; FIU Golden Panthers place kicker Jose Borregales (30) kicks a 37 yard field goal in the third quarter against the Rice Owls at Rice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Glaser-USA TODAY Sports

DeVonta Smith, Alabama clean up at awards’ show

Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith won two more major awards and four of his Crimson Tide teammates earned one apiece on Thursday at the virtually held 30th annual The Home Depot College Football Awards.

Smith, who won the Heisman Trophy on Tuesday, became the first receiver to win the Maxwell Award as the nation’s top player since Michigan’s Desmond Howard in 1991. He also won the Fred Biletnikoff Award (outstanding receiver) in his latest haul.

Asked where he will display the new hardware, Smith said “I’ll leave that up to my mom.”

Smith has 105 receptions for 1,641 yards and 20 touchdowns entering Monday’s College Football Playoff game against Ohio State. He has 22 touchdowns overall.

Alabama’s Mac Jones won the Davey O’Brien Award (best quarterback), Najee Harris was named winner of the Doak Walker Award (premier running back), offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood won the Outland Trophy (most outstanding interior lineman) and Landon Dickerson won the Rimington Trophy (outstanding center).

Jones’ 4,036 passing yards is an Alabama season record and he has also thrown 36 touchdowns against four interceptions. Harris has rushed for 1,387 yards and a national-high 24 touchdowns on the ground and 27 overall.

“It’s definitely an honor to win this award and be up there with the greats of college football,” Jones said on the show televised by ESPN.

Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins won the Chuck Bednarik Award to give him a sweep of the national Defensive Player of the Year awards. Collins won the Lombardi Trophy last month.

Collins registered 53 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, four interceptions and two forced fumbles in eight games for the Golden Hurricane. He returned two picks for touchdowns.

Florida’s Kyle Pitts won the John Mackey Award (outstanding tight end), TCU safety Trevon Moehrig received the Jim Thorpe Award (best defensive back) and Coastal Carolina’s Jamey Chadwell won the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award.

Miami’s Jose Borregales won the Lou Groza Award (outstanding place kicker) after making 20 of 22 field-goal attempts this year, a 90.9 percent accuracy rate that was tied for the best in the nation among kickers with at least 20 attempts.

Pressley Harvin III of Georgia Tech won the Ray Guy Award (top punter).

Maxwell Award Winner — DeVonta Smith, Alabama
Davey O’Brien Award — Mac Jones, Alabama
Outland Trophy — Alex Leatherwood, Alabama
Chuck Bednarik Award — Zaven Collins, Tulsa
Doak Walker Award — Najee Harris, Alabama
Fred Biletnikoff Award — DeVonta Smith, Alabama
John Mackey Award — Kyle Pitts, Florida
Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award — Jamey Chadwell, Coastal Carolina
Jim Thorpe Award — Trevon Moehrig, TCU
Lou Groza Award — Jose Borregales, Miami
Ray Guy Award — Pressley Harvin III, Georgia Tech
Rimington Trophy — Landon Dickerson, Alabama

–Field Level Media

Sep 20, 2020; Arlington, Texas, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) talks with owner Arthur Blank prior to the game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Falcons’ owner: Matt Ryan, Julio Jones trades not ‘off limits’

Rebuilding comes with challenging decisions, and the Atlanta Falcons are facing both in the view of owner Arthur Blank.

Blank is set to hire a new general manager and head coach for the Falcons. Atlanta has the fourth overall pick in the 2021 draft, little cap room and two massive contracts anchoring the ledger.

Quarterback Matt Ryan will count $40.9 million against the 2021 salary cap, which could be as low as $175 million. Wide receiver Julio Jones has a $23.05 million cap number.

“You cannot hire the very best people you can hire, whether it be general managers or head coaches, and then tie their hands and tell them, well, this person is off limits and that one is off limits and that one,” Blank told the team’s website. “What you’re asking them for, which is not off limits and needs to be probed deeply, do they have a championship plan, do they have a plan on turning around the franchise sooner rather than later so we’re winning in 2021? Do we have a plan that’s sustainable over a long period of time so we can make sure this team is competitive not just for the next year or two but over a longer period of time than that? … However that affects certain players, it affects certain players.”

Blank remained committed to head coach Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff, who was with the team when Ryan and Jones were drafted. But a 4-12 season led Blank to clean house. A wide-ranging roster reset could soon follow.

“I think it’s a mistake for an owner to lay out a set of dictates like that for general manager and head coach,” Blank said. “If I was a general manager or head coach considering this opportunity and I heard an owner say that, to me I’d be a little nervous because I think that’s crossing a line for me that I don’t believe an owner should ever cross.”

–Field Level Media

Dec 13, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones (27) runs with the ball as Minnesota Vikings defensive back Chris Jones (26) defends during the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Bucs RB Jones could play after finger procedure

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones reportedly underwent surgery on his fractured pinkie on Tuesday.

The procedure on his left pinkie finger could impact Jones’ availability this week but ESPN reported he has a good chance to play. The injury and stabilizing procedure is similar to Tampa Bay teammate Chris Godwin’s Week 7 injury, which required 10 pins. Godwin missed one game.

Jones was injured while blocking in Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings, but returned to the contest and finished with 18 carries for 80 yards.

The Buccaneers face the Atlanta Falcons this week — and two of the final three regular-season games — and remain in the playoff hunt at 8-5, two games behind the New Orleans Saints (10-3) in the NFC South.

He ranks fourth in the NFL in rushing with 900 yards, but Jones could cede some of the workload to teammates LeSean McCoy and Leonard Fournette.

–Field Level Media

Nov 29, 2020; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) looks to throw during the third quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Giants QB Jones, MLB Martinez questionable vs. Cards

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones is listed as questionable due to his hamstring ailment for Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals.

Standout middle linebacker Blake Martinez (back) also is among the players listed as questionable. He ranks third in the NFL in tackles with 111.

Jones sat out New York’s 17-12 upset victory over the Seattle Seahawks last Sunday as backup Colt McCoy engineered the stunning road upset for the Giants (5-7).

McCoy completed 13 of 22 passes for 105 yards with one touchdown toss and one interception.

Giants coach Joe Judge is fine with using McCoy for a second straight start, but all indications are that Jones will be ready to go against the Cardinals after he was a full practice participant on Friday.

“Look, I’m fairly optimistic,” Judge said prior to Friday’s practice. “At the same time, there is a ways to go and we have to be fair to him. I’m going to talk with the trainers and medical team and coaches to make sure we’re all on the same page and do the right thing by this guy.”

Jones was injured during a victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Nov. 29. He has passed for 2,335 yards and eight touchdowns against nine interceptions, while also rushing for 403 yards and one score.

Martinez missed practice Friday after being a limited participant on Thursday. The Giants were hoping he would be further along in his recovery.

Judge said he would remain positive that Martinez — as well as Jones — will be on the field at kickoff.

“I’m not going to try to put some percentage on it,” Judge said. “I’m optimistic on both those guys because, one, the way they’re working, the way they’re responding with the trainers. We have to trust our medical team.”

Martinez has excelled in his first season with New York. He also had at least 144 tackles in each of the previous three seasons as a member of the Green Bay Packers.

Rookie Tae Crowder would start if Martinez can’t play. Crowder has 28 tackles in seven games and also returned a fumble for a score.

Offensive tackle Matt Peart (ankle) and cornerback Darnay Holmes (knee) are also questionable. Defensive back Madre Harper, who sees most of his action on special teams, will miss the game with a knee injury.

The Giants have won four straight games and are tied with the Washington Football Team for first place in the NFC East.

–Field Level Media

Nov 29, 2020; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) is injured during the third quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Giants to make decision on Jones (hamstring) later in week

A decision on whether New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones can return from a hamstring injury will be decided later in the week, coach Joe Judge said Wednesday.

The Giants host the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday and Judge said he hopes to make a decision on Friday. The team held a walkthrough on Wednesday so how Jones looks in Thursday’s practice will be significant in the eyes of Judge.

“We’re going to give him every opportunity to go on the practice field this week and show that he can defend himself on the field properly,” Judge said during a press conference. “If that’s the case, then we obviously want him to play. But we’re going to make sure we do the right thing by him … and make the best decision for him going forward.”

Jones sat out last Sunday’s 17-12 upset win over the Seattle Seahawks. He was ruled out on game day as New York opted to go with journeyman Colt McCoy as the starter.

“I had to kind of protect him from himself,” Judge said of the decision. “I didn’t want to put him in a position where I wasn’t 100 percent certain that he couldn’t defend himself on every single play.”

Jones was injured during a victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Nov. 29. McCoy finished up that contest and then guided the upset of Seattle by completing 13 of 22 passes for 105 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Jones has passed for 2,335 yards and eight touchdowns against nine interceptions.

The Giants (5-7) have won four straight games and are tied with the Washington Football Team for first place in the NFC East.

–Field Level Media

Dec 5, 2020; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Florida Gators quarterback Kyle Trask (11) passes the ball against the Tennessee Volunteers during the first half at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Trask heavy favorite as Fields’ Heisman hopes plummet

Florida Gators quarterback Kyle Trask appears to be closing in on the Heisman Trophy with two games remaining in his regular season.

Trask is the heavy favorite by sportsbooks, including DraftKings, where his odds have shortened to -125. The fifth-year senior is being backed by 36 percent of the handle and 14 percent of the total Heisman bets at the sportsbook.

Trask has thrown at least three touchdown passes in every game this season.

Mac Jones is the second betting favorite at +100, but only seven percent of the bets are backing the Alabama quarterback who will face Trask in the SEC Championship Game next week. That’s compared to Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, the preseason favorite whose odds have lengthened to +1200 while missing a month of action due to a positive COVID-19 test and a canceled game.

Lawrence is still being back by 18 percent of the total bets at DraftKings despite having only the ACC Championship Game against Notre Dame between now and when the Heisman votes are submitted.

On the fringe of Heisman consideration is Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. The second preseason favorite behind Lawrence, Fields’ odds have lengthened to +2500 with the Buckeyes’ scheduled ravaged by COVID-19 issues. However, his odds did not lengthen further in the hours after Ohio State’s game against Michigan was canceled on Tuesday.

Fields has been passed by Ian Book (+1600), although the Notre Dame quarterback is being backed by only seven percent of the total bets and four percent of the handle – lowest among the five.

–Field Level Media

Nov 29, 2020; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) is injured during the third quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Report: ‘Outside chance’ Giants QB Jones plays Sunday

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones avoided a season-ending right hamstring injury and the news could be even better for the NFC East leaders.

NFL Network reported Monday that tests revealed Jones did not have a “serious” hamstring injury as head coach Joe Judge speculated on Sunday.

Instead, Jones could even be back in time to play this weekend as the 4-7 Giants visit the Seattle Seahawks.

Jones was injured during Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Colt McCoy entered the game and steered the Giants to a 19-17 win that bumped the Washington Football Team out of first-place in the division. He completed 6 of 10 passes for 31 yards. McCoy, a career backup drafted in the third round by the Cleveland Browns in 2010, would be in line to start this week if Jones cannot play.

“I’ve always got to be prepared. You never know when these situations pop up. I just wanted to go out there and secure the win for us,” McCoy said Sunday.

Jones was injured at the end of a 7-yard gain with 10:45 left in the third quarter after being tackled by Bengals lineman Amani Bledsoe. Jones took the next snap and awkwardly completed a 2-yard pass to Wayne Gallman Jr. to convert the first down.

Jones then headed to the medical tent and was replaced by McCoy. Jones came back for two plays on New York’s next series and then was replaced by McCoy again.

Jones completed 16 of 27 passes for 213 yards. He also rushed six times for 19 yards.

–Field Level Media

Oct 18, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Atlanta Falcons running back Todd Gurley (21) in action during the game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Atlanta Falcons at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Falcons RB Gurley (knee) ruled out vs. Raiders

Atlanta Falcons running back Todd Gurley was ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders due to a knee injury.

Receiver Julio Jones (hamstring) is one of the Falcons who were listed as questionable on Friday’s injury report.

It is believed Gurley sustained the knee injury during last week’s 24-9 loss to the New Orleans Saints.

“Obviously he came out of the game with some battle wounds from the game that he got in that game, so we’ve gotta see where he is and see what he can do,” Atlanta interim coach Raheem Morris told reporters. “But obviously that was a tough, physical game that we just played.

“One time he came off with a little something, but he was able to go out there. He’s such a tough warrior-mentality type of guy to go at all times. We know he’s gonna try to go back out there when he can.”

Gurley leads the Falcons (3-7) with 610 yards and nine rushing touchdowns in 10 games. Backup Brian Hill, who has 261 rushing yards and 16 catches for 111 yards, will get most of the work against the Raiders (6-4).

Jones sat out practice on Friday and a decision regarding his status will likely come close to kickoff.

Jones has 45 receptions for 677 yards and three touchdowns in eight games.

Tight end Hayden Hurst (ankle) and defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. (hamstring) were also listed as questionable for Sunday’s game. Hayden was a limited participant on Friday while Fowler missed the session.

Hurst has 37 receptions for 411 yards and three touchdowns. Fowler has 17 tackles and two sacks.

Receiver Calvin Ridley (foot) is ready to go after not receiving an injury designation on Friday. Ridley leads the squad in receptions (48), receiving yardage (747) and touchdown catches (six).

–Field Level Media