Tharold Simon the latest to leave LSU early

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There have been and will be myriad non-surprises when it comes to players leaving eligibility on the table for a shot at the NFL.  This one doesn’t exactly fit neatly into that category.

In an announcement made by his new agent, Peter Shaffer, LSU’s Tharold Simon has confirmed that he’s leaving the Tigers early for the NFL draft.  The move is somewhat surprising, at least in the vein that the cornerback was not one of a handful of draft-eligible Tiger underclassmen who had been mentioned as realistic possibilities for an early departure.

Nonetheless, Simon has officially taken his leave of Baton Rouge.

“I have loved every minute of being a LSU Tiger, and my heart will always remain at this incredible institution that taught me so much about being an athlete, student and person,” Simon said a statement. “I truly hope that I will be lucky enough to make an NFL roster and do LSU proud.”

Simon led the Tigers in interceptions with four this season.

Safety Eric Reid and linebacker Kevin Minter are Tigers who had previously announced their decisions to leave LSU a year early.  LSU is expected to lose at least two additional juniors before the Jan. 15 deadline.

Alabama’s Anderson repeats as Bronko Nagurski award winner

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Alabama outside linebacker Will Anderson Jr. has become the second two-time winner of the Bronko Nagurski Award given to the nation’s top collegiate defensive player.

Anderson was presented the award on Monday night by the Charlotte Touchdown Club.

The 6-foot-4, 243-pound Anderson had 10 sacks for the No. 5-ranked Crimson Tide this season. He also won the award last year after recording 17 1/2 sacks.

Anderson, a junior, had two sacks in Alabama’s regular-season win finale against rival Auburn and had his first touchdown when he returned an interception 25 yards against Louisiana-Monroe.

Anderson joins former Northwestern linebacker Pat Fitzgerald as the only two-time winner of the award. Fitzgerald won the award in 1995 and 1996 and later went on to become the head coach at Northwestern.

It’s unclear if Anderson will enter the NFL draft or return to Alabama next season.

FSU standout QB Jordan Travis returning for senior season

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis, the fourth player in school history to account for 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns in a single season, is staying in school for his senior year.

Travis made the announcement Monday, the same day hundreds of players across the nation entered the NCAA transfer portal or declared for the NFL draft. Travis chose a different path and could be an early favorite in next year’s Heisman Trophy race.

“So many memories have been made on this field and we’re not done yet,” Travis said in a highlight video posted on social media. “See y’all in 2023.”

A fourth-year junior, Travis has 22 touchdown passes to go along with seven rushing scores, one receiving and just four interceptions. He has led the 13th-ranked Seminoles (9-3) to five consecutive wins as they prepare to play Oklahoma (6-6) in the Cheez-It Bowl on Dec. 29 in Orlando.

Travis joined FSU’s three Heisman Trophy winners – Charlie Ward in 1993, Chris Weinke in 2000 and Jameis Winston in 2013 – to account for 3,000 yards and 30 TDs in a season. He is one of six QBs in Power Five conferences with at least 20 TD passes and four or fewer interceptions.