Second Seminole leaving FSU for draft

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Back in late November, defensive tackle Brandon Jenkins announced he would forego an attempt at a medical redshirt and instead make himself available for the April NFL draft.  As expected, Jenkins wasn’t the lone loss from the Seminoles’ standout defense.

Following FSU’s Orange Bowl win over Northern Illinois, cornerback Xavier Rhodes announced that he too will leave eligibility on the table for a shot at the upcoming NFL draft.

I’m excited,” Rhodes said of his decision by way of the Tallahassee Democrat. “After last year I was thinking about it. And then I stayed healthy this season. I wanted to basically focus on this season and not really worry about it (the NFL). I wanted to get my team here. That’s what I did.”

After a season that saw him tied for the team lead in interceptions with three and lead the ‘Noles in passes defensed, the redshirt junior was named first-team All-ACC.  Rhodes, a three-star member of FSU’s 2009 recruiting class, started 37 games during his career in Tallahassee.

Unfortunately for the ‘Noles, Rhodes and Jenkins might not be the only early defensive losses.

Three other players from that side of the ball, including All-American Bjoern Werner, are considering leaving early.  Werner in particular is considered both a lock to leave and to be selected in the top 10 of the draft; the standout defensive lineman said after the Orange Bowl that he has made a decision but will wait to officially reveal it so as not to detract from the win.

An official announcement could come as early as today.

WVU RB Donaldson in concussion protocol, out for Baylor game

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) West Virginia running back CJ Donaldson is in concussion protocol and will miss next week’s home game with Baylor after he was injured in a loss to Texas, coach Neal Brown said Tuesday.

Donaldson remained on the ground after he was tackled on a short gain in the third quarter of Saturday’s 38-20 loss to the Longhorns. His helmet and shoulder pads were removed and he was carted off the field on a stretcher. After the game he was cleared to travel home with the team.

“He’s recovering,” Brown said. “There is a strict return-to-play (policy) that we have to follow here and I’m zero involved in it. All I do is ask the question. They don’t even start the return-to-play until they’re symptom free.”

Donaldson, a 240-pound freshman, leads the Mountaineers with 389 rushing yards and six touchdowns, with an average of 6.9 yards per carry.

West Virginia (2-3, 0-2 Big 12 Conference) is idle this week and hosts Baylor (3-2, 1-1) next Thursday, Oct. 13.

Taulia Tagovailoa says he visited brother, Tua, over weekend

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa was able to visit his brother, Tua, last weekend after the Terrapins’ game against Michigan State, he said Tuesday in his first comments to reporters since Tua left the Miami Dolphins’ game against Cincinnati last Thursday with a frightening head injury.

Taulia played in Maryland’s win over Michigan State on Saturday but was not made available to the media afterward. He said Tuesday he was able to go to Florida and spend some time with his brother, who suffered a concussion four days after taking a hit in another game but was cleared to return.

“He’s doing good, everything’s fine,” he said. “My biggest thing was just seeing him and spending as much time as I can with him. I came back Sunday night.”

Tagovailoa said he appreciates the support for his brother.

“My brother’s my heart. He’s someone I look up to, someone I talk to every day,” he said. “It was just a hard scene for me to see that.”

Tagovailoa said he was in constant contact with his mother about his brother’s situation, and he was finally able to talk to Tua on Friday night.

“I really just wanted to go there and just spend time with my family, hug them and stuff like that,” Taulia Tagovailoa said. “But he told me he’s a big fan of us, and he’d rather watch me play on Saturday. … After that phone call, I was happy and getting back to my normal routine.”

Tagovailoa indicated that his brother’s injury didn’t make him too nervous about his own health when he took the field again.

“I guess when that happens to someone like my brother, or when anything happens to one of my family members, I don’t really think of how it will be able to affect me,” he said. “I just think of: `Is he OK? How’s he doing?”‘

Although it was a short visit to Florida, he said he and Tua made the most of their chance to be together.

“I just wanted to make sure he’s healthy and stuff, which he is,” Taulia Tagovailoa said.