Category Archives: NCAA

DII baseball: Freshmen to keep an eye on in 2019

The NCAA Division II baseball season is underway. Here is a quick look at freshmen to keep an eye on this season. This is not a ranking, but a simple list of names I have gathered that could make an impact as early as this season.

(BOLD = has already appeared in games in 2019)

Andrew Morris, RHP, Colorado Mesa

Anthony Lanier, RHP, Augustana (SD)

Brett McGee, DH/C, Southern Arkansas

Bryce Lewis, LHP, Mississippi College

Cam Nolet, LHP, USC Aiken

Cameron Hill, OF, Georgia College

Carson King, RHP, Florida Southern

Collin Camarigg, INF/RHP, Florida Southern

Daniel Irusarri, INF, Nova Southeastern

Dante Palacio, OF, Cal Poly Pomona

Duncan Pastore, INF, Nova Southeastern

Haydn McGreargy, 1B, Colorado Mesa

Isaiah Diandreth, INF, Seton Hill

John Michael Faile, C, North Greenville

Joseph Acosta, RHP, Azusa Pacific

Josh Hudgins, RHP, Georgia College

Kris Pirozzi, RHP, Millersville

Lance Logsdon, 1B, Quincy

Lonnie Morris, LHP, UCSD

Lucus Fomar, P, Mercyhurst

Luke Cantwell, OF/C, West Chester

Michael Fuhrman, INF, UCSD

Nathan Wilson, RHP, Colorado Mesa

Peyton Zabel, RHP, Augustana (SD)

Reece Davis, RHP, Bellarmine

Sam Kimel, OF, Mississippi College

Seth Miller, RHP, Augustana

College baseball: 9 burning questions for the 2019 season

(This piece originally ran on NCAA.com. You can read the full feature HERE.)

Opening weekend of the 2019 college baseball season is quickly approaching with first pitch set for the weekend of Feb. 15.

MORE: 12 opening weekend matchups to be excited for

Just how will the road to Omaha be traveled? Finding the answers to these nine questions should shed some light on what to expect from the 2019 season.

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College baseball: 5 reasons we’re excited for SEC baseball in 2019

(This piece originally ran on NCAA.com. The full feature can be read HERE.)

The college baseball preseason polls are out and there are high expectations for the top SEC baseball teams once again.

Eight SEC teams populate all three preseason polls, with 2018 NCAA tournament teams like South Carolina and Texas A&M on the outside of the top 25 looking in. There is plenty to watch this season in the SEC alone, but here are five things that we are really excited for in 2019.

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College baseball: Mississippi State’s all-time starting nine

(This piece originally ran on NCAA.com with photos from Mississippi State Athletics. You can see the full feature HERE.)

Let’s take a look at Mississippi State’s all-time starting nine in this edition of the NCAA.com series of the best possible starting lineups for some of college baseball’s most successful programs.

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College baseball: Vanderbilt’s all-time starting nine

(This article originally ran on NCAA.com with all photos courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics. You can read the full feature HERE.)

Let’s take a look at Vanderbilt’s all-time starting nine in this edition of the NCAA.com series of the best possible starting lineups for some of college baseball’s most successful programs.

Continue reading College baseball: Vanderbilt’s all-time starting nine

NCAA DII baseball: Here are the teams to watch in 2019

(This piece originally ran on NCAA.com. You can read the full piece HERE.)

The DII baseball season is finally here. With the first pitch of the 2019 season on Feb. 1, the road to Cary, North Carolina will officially begin.

Continue reading NCAA DII baseball: Here are the teams to watch in 2019

NFL playoffs: Here are the 26 Division II football players in the postseason

(From NCAA.com, please see the full article HERE.)

The 2019 NFL playoffs kick off on Saturday, Jan. 5 when the Houston Texans battle the Indianapolis Colts in the first Wild Card game of the postseason. Five former DII football players will hit the field for that game.

In fact, all eight teams playing on Wild Card weekend will feature former Division II football players. The numbers are up from last season when 22 former DII ballers were spread out across 11 teams in the NFL playoffs. One year later, 26 players from 10 different rosters* enter the postseason. Only the New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints are not represented on their active rosters by any former DII football players.

MORE: An incredibly early look at the 2019 preseason top 10

Here are some interesting numbers from the 2019 NFL playoffs:

2 — Players from Grand Valley State and California (Pa) in the postseason, the only two schools with multiple players in the playoffs.

3 — DII players returning to the playoffs from last season. Ethan Westbrooks returns for the Rams while both Tyreek Hill and Ron Parker return for the Chiefs. Morgan Fox (Colorado State-Pueblo) played for the Rams last season but is currently on injured reserve.

 5 —  Former DII players on the Baltimore Ravens roster, more than any other team in the NFL playoffs. The Los Angeles Rams are right behind with four.

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NFL

@NFL

.@BCarr39 intercepts Rivers on the first play!

9 — Defensive backs, including safeties, from DII schools in the NFL playoffs, the most from any position. Wide receivers were the second most represented with five.

11 — DII players on NFC rosters, up one from last season.

15 — DII players on AFC rosters, up three from last year.

MORE: 11 record-breaking numbers from the 2018 DII football championsip

NAME POSITION SCHOOL
Baltimore Ravens
John Brown WR Pittsburg State
Brandon Carr CB Grand Valley State
Matthew Judon LB Grand Valley State
Zach Sieler DT Ferris State
Brandon Williams DT Missouri Southern
Chicago Bears
Eric Kush OG California (Pa)
Adam Shaheen TE Ashland
Dallas Cowboys
C.J. Goodwin CB California (Pa)
Jeff Heath S Saginaw Valley State
Chris Jones P Carson-Newman
Houston Texans
Tyrell Adams LB West Georgia
Vyncint Smith WR Limestone
Indianapolis Colts
Pierre Desir CB Lindenwood
Kenny Moore II CB Valdosta State
Grover Stewart DT Albany State
Kansas City Chiefs
Tyreek Hill WR West Alabama
Ron Parker DB Newberry
Los Angeles Chargers
Austin Ekeler RB Western State
Jeff Richards CB Emporia State
Tyrell Williams WR Western Oregon
Los Angeles Rams
Marqui Christian S MSU Texas
Matt Longacre LB Northwest Missouri
Ethan Westbrooks DE West Texas A&M
Greg Zuerlein K Missouri Western
Philadelphia Eagles
Tre Sullivan S Shepherd
Seattle Seahawks
David Moore WR East Central

* — Active rosters per NFL.com team sites only. Practice squad, future contracts, and injured reserve players are not included.

MORE: Programs with the most titles | DII football news

Here’s everything you need to know about the DII football championship semifinals

Twenty-eight teams entered the 2018 DII football championship with national title aspirations. After 15 weeks of football, just four teams remain.

The DII football championship is broken into four Super Regions with each portion of the bracket beginning with the seven teams. Three rounds of play determine each Super Region champion which moves on to the national semifinals. Three of the four teams that advanced — Valdosta State, Minnesota State and Notre Dame (OH) — were No. 1 seeds in their respective regions. The fourth — Ferris State — was the No. 2. All four teams enter Saturday undefeated.

Continue reading Here’s everything you need to know about the DII football championship semifinals

What we learned in the first round of the DII Football Championship

(This was run on NCAA.com, please see the full article HERE)

Welcome to the 2018 DII Football Championship. Or should we call it Upset City?

The first round of the tournament went just as expected. That is to say, it was completely unpredictable.

No. 7 Wingate started the day by taking down No. 2-seeded West Georgia, the No. 10 team in DII football. No 6 New Haven followed suit, taking down No. 3 West Chester in a Super Region One that saw all three games end in upset fashion. Two former national champions entered the day ranked as sixth seeds. Both — Northwest Missouri State and Texas A&M-Commerce — advanced in convincing fashion. All said, there were seven lower-seeded teams that punched their ticket to the second round.

MORE: Interactive bracket | Printable bracket | Buy 2018 championship tickets

That didn’t mean some of the top teams didn’t perform, however. Here’s what we learned in the first round of the DII Football Championship.

Northwest Missouri State is back in postseason form

Last year was an odd one for the Bearcats. They battled injury, actually had a losing streak (albeit two whole games) and were eliminated in the first round in a heartbreaking 21-18 loss to Ashland. The 2018 Northwest Missouri State team put together a complete effort in the first round and look like that scary team that ran to back-to-back undefeated seasons.

Northwest Football@NWBearcatFB

TOUCHDOWN BEARCATS! Northwest’s Isaiah Strayhorn scores his second rushing touchdown of the day – this one from three yards out – and gives the Bearcats a 35-17 lead at Grand Valley State. 4:06 left in the 4th qtr. Northwest has rushed for 313 yards against the Lakers

Freshman quarterback Braden Wright has garnered most of the talk this season with an MIAA Freshman of the Year campaign, but it was his running game that picked it up today. Isaiah Strayhorn averaged 15.5 yards per carry in amassing 171 yards and two touchdowns while Josh Caldwell added 147 yards and two touchdowns as well. That notorious Rich Wright defense did its thing, limiting a strong Grand Valley State offense to just 239 yards and 17 points. Austen Eskew powered the pass rush with three sacks while Jake Richards added nine tackles and two interceptions. The Bearcats played a well-balanced game and next week’s showdown with No. 2 Ferris State may just be the game to watch.

MORE: We picked our bracket and sleepers for the DII Football Championship

Super Chargers fueled by great quarterback play

There are two Chargers — New Haven and Hillsdale — in the DII Football Championship. Both were underdogs, both are in the second round. Both were fueled by the tremendous play of their quarterbacks.

Heading into the week, NCAA.com called Hillsdale the Super Region One sleeper, mainly because, “the Chance Stewart to Trey Brock connection is as fun as any to watch in DII, giving them a dynamic duo that may surprise a few people.” The two delivered in the first round, as Stewart threw for 305 yards and three touchdowns, with 170 of those yards and two of those touchdowns going to Brock. Hillsdale now has a date with No. 1-seeded Notre Dame (OH) in the second round, and its pass attack should be a fun counter to the Jaleel McLaughlin-led rush-heavy Falcons offense.

New Haven Football@NewHavenNation

TOUCHDOWN Ju’an Williams to tie the game!! 🏈⚡️

New Haven: 28
West Chester: 28

New Haven rolled through its DII slate perfect until dropping a thrilling 17-13 loss in the season finale to LIU Post. The win cost them the Northeast-10 championship, but perhaps the end result lit a fire that makes them a dangerous threat this postseason. LIU Post was upset by Slippery Rock while the unranked Chargers, with an obvious chip on their shoulder, went blow-for-blow with No. 8 West Chester, winning 35-28 and moving on to a showdown against The Rock.

Both quarterbacks played well in the game, but it was New Haven’s Ajee Patterson who had the edge. The Chargers scored five touchdowns and Patterson had all of them. He threw for 265 yards and three touchdowns and though he only netted four yards on the ground, he added two one-yard rushing touchdowns. His West Chester counterpart A.J. Long had a fine day as well but fell one touchdown short.

MORE: A region-by-region look at the DII Football Championship

Slippery Rock’s Wes Hills can run

The Rock was one of two No. 7 seeds to advance. They went into Brookville, NY facing an LIU Post rush defense that was No. 10 in DII football. That didn’t seem to bother Slippery Rock running back Wes Hills one bit.

Rock Athletics

@Rock_Athletics

FB: Let’s talk about this guy for a second. Today, Jake Chapla set the SRU single-season record for made field goals (15) and took over sole possession of the all-time career record for made field goals (37). Oh yea… he’s only a junior.

Hills found a second gear five weeks ago and has been borderline unstoppable since minus a “rough” outing against West Chester in the PSAC Championship when he still ran for 92 yards. Hills posted three 200-yard games in a row to close out the regular season and he came close to another one Saturday. The senior running back ripped off 167 yards and a touchdown against a Pioneers defense that allowed just 93.7 yards per game this season. Next up is another NE10 foe in a New Haven team that allowed 169.5 yards per game and 13 touchdowns on the ground this season.

MORE: Watch the DII plays of the week for Week 11

Tarleton State is for real

In the most complete game of the first round, the Texans utterly dominated Azusa Pacific 58-0. Everyone came to play and put up some serious numbers in the process.

Running back Xavier Turner has exploded in the second half of the season, now posting seven-straight 100-yard games. Five of those games were better than 164 yards rushing, and Saturday was more of the same as Turner posted his third 200-yard performance of the season while scoring three touchdowns. Despite the ground control, quarterback Ben Holmes was in charge as well, responsible for three touchdowns of his own.

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Tarleton Athletics@TarletonSports

TARLETON PLAYOFF RECORD!

Xavier Turner is the first Texan in school history to rush for 200 yards in an NCAA playoff game! 206 yds, 3 TDs Texans lead 51-0 heading into 4Q

And how about that defense? The Texans posted their second straight 58-0 shutout and have now outscored their opponents 175-3 over the last three weeks. Up next is the defending national champion Texas A&M-Commerce, who the Texans beat on October 13, 47-21. But don’t think this will be an easy matchup.

Last season, the Lions entered the tournament the No. 5 seed and opened the postseason with three consecutive upsets, including taking down Super Region Four No. 1-seed Central Washington and the No. 1-ranked Minnesota State Mavericks. Head coach Colby Carthel whipped up some of that postseason magic in the first round, lighting up DII football’s third-ranked scoring defense with 33 points. That Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs defense came to play, scoring two touchdowns, but so did the Lions, holding the Bulldogs to just 188 total yards and scoring a couple of touchdowns itself.

Throw away the records and stats. This Lions vs. Texans matchup is a Lone Star Conference rivalry on DII football’s biggest stage. Be ready for a war.

Three surprises that shouldn’t be all that surprising

Bowie State defeated West Alabama in a shootout. Amir Hall still flies under-the-radar but shouldn’t any longer. The stud quarterback threw for 360 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 51 yards and two more touchdowns. Next up is No. 1 Valdosta State. If there is a quarterback in DII football that can hang with the high-octane Blazers’ offense, it’s Hall.

Colorado State-Pueblo’s defense held Colorado School of Mines to 37 yards rushing and 17 points. Both were the Orediggers lowest outputs of the season. Brandon Payer, Darius Williams, Kyle Rosenbrock, and company are the real deal, holding Isaac Harker under 300 yards passing for the first time since Oct. 6 and just the third time all season (twice were against the ThunderWolves). They stuffed Cameron Mayberry, the No. 5 rusher in DII football, to 1.55 yards per carry. It was sweet revenge as Mayberry scorched the ThunderWolves for 203 yards and three touchdowns earlier this season. They face No. 1-seeded Minnesota State next.

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CSU-Pueblo Football@CSUPFootball

TOUCHDOWN!!! Another BIG RUN by Marché Dennard, as he goes 40 yards on 3rd-and-2 to the end zone!! PAT blocked, Pack lead 30-10 with 12:04 left in the 4th.

Lenoir-Rhyne scored 43 points and rolled to 22-point victory. The Bears are also a bit under-the-radar, but this offense finds a way to score points in bunches without having any players atop the leaderboards. Lenoir-Rhyne has not scored less than 30 points all season. Next up is the surprise Wingate Bulldogs who convincingly upset No. 10 West Georgia. These two have faced once before this season, with the Bears coming out on top 31-24. Expect another close one in Round 2.

MORE: Programs with the most DII football titles | DII football news

DII Football Championship: Everything you need to know about Sunday’s selection show

(From NCAA.com, please see the full article HERE)

The DII Football Championship selection show is set for 5 p.m. ET on Sunday, Nov. 11. The heavyweights of DII football anxiously await their postseason fates, hopeful to fill out one of the 28 spots in the tournament.

The 2017 DII Football Championship was a memorable one, as it pitted two first-timers against each other. Harlon Hill Award-winner Luis Perez led Texas A&M-Commerce to its first DII title over West Florida. The Argos’ remarkable run was unmatched by any other in history, as they made it all the way to the finals in just their second year as a football program.

Continue reading DII Football Championship: Everything you need to know about Sunday’s selection show