College football: Five Mountaineers have surgery

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 16, 2009

Associated Press
BOONE ó Star quarterback Armanti Edwards is one of five Appalachian State players who recently have undergone successful surgeries.School officials said Thursday that Edwards joined defensive tackle Malcolm Bennett as well as offensive linemen Corbett Harris and Chris Marshall in having their knees scoped Wednesday at a hospital in Boone. All four are expected to heal in three to four weeks.Additionally, defensive lineman Daniel Finnerty had shoulder surgery in Charlotte and is expected to miss 12 weeks. That likely will keep him out of spring practice.
The Mountaineers open the season Sept. 5 at East Carolina.
CLEMSON, S.C. ó Armed with a first-round draft projection and the urging of his mother to turn pro, running back C.J. Spiller showed again why he’s so hard to pin down.
Spiller said Thursday he would return to the Tigers for his senior season, putting off the NFL draft on the final day eligible underclassmen could declare.
Spiller said he was told by the draft advisory board he’d be a likely first-round pick. He also said his mother, Patricia Watkins, wanted her son to end his college career.
“I know a lot of people are wondering, ‘(Is) this guy crazy,’ ” Spiller said. “I know everything will work out.”
Spiller’s words were greeted with shouts and cheers from teammates, coaches and athletic department staffers who filled the McFadden Room to watch the announcement.
“I think he has a true peace about what he wants to do,” said coach Dabo Swinney, who gained full-time status after the season just ended.
Spiller led the Tigers with 1,770 all-purpose yards and 11 touchdowns in 2008. Record-setters like quarterback Cullen Harper, receiver Aaron Kelly and tailback James Davis were all seniors.
“Really hadn’t slept, really hadn’t eaten, lost a lot of weight the last couple of days,” Spiller said. “At the end of the day, I’m going to be the one to lay on the bed and think about the decision I made. … Something just didn’t sit right when I thought about leaving Clemson.”
LOS ANGELES ó Coming off a record-setting Rose Bowl, Southern Cal quarterback Mark Sanchez will skip his senior season to enter the draft ó going against the advice of coach Pete Carroll.
Carroll tried to convince Sanchez that another year of college experience would help him in the pro game, but Sanchez said he had carefully weighed all the considerations before deciding to leave.
Because Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford, Florida’s Tim Tebow and Texas star Colt McCoy all plan to return, Sanchez and Georgia junior Matthew Stafford likely will be the top quarterback prospects in the draft.
Mitch Mustain, who transferred from Arkansas after going 8-0 in games he started as a Razorbacks freshman in 2006, is expected to compete for the Trojans’ starting job.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. ó Florida star Percy Harvin is taking his speed, elusiveness and durability concerns to the NFL.
The junior playmaker he is leaving school early to turn pro, but Gators linebacker and Shelby High alum Brandon Spikes will return.
Harvin scored at least once in 15 consecutive games, the longest streak in the nation. He finished his career with 133 receptions for 1,929 yards and 13 touchdowns as well as 194 carries for 1,852 yards and 19 scores. He averaged 9.5 yards per carry and 11.6 yards every time he touched the ball.
Although Spikes said last week he wanted to use NFL money to try to get a new trial for his incarcerated brother, he also said his return could be linked to Tebow’s decision.
Also announcing they’re leaving school were LSU receiver Brandon LaFell and Ohio State defensive back Donald Washington.
Those who said they’ll come back for their senior seasons were Mississippi defensive end Greg Hardy and Georgia safety Reshad Jones.
BATON ROUGE, La. ó Quarterback Andrew Hatch has decided the Ivy League is for him after all.
He’ll transfer back to Harvard, where he began his college career with the Crimson’s jayvee squad.
HOUSTON ó Mack Brown was upset when he saw Utah coach Kyle Whittingham’s vote and realized he could have voted his team first.
“I read something that said your vote didn’t count if you voted for No. 1 because No. 1 already was taken,” Brown said before an event to honor him as one of eight finalists for the Paul “Bear” Bryant award.
The AFCA agreed to have all its voters place the winner of the BCS title game first on their ballots. However, it wasn’t said that going against the agreement would result in a vote not being counted.
“I didn’t want to hurt our team by voting us No. 1 and it not counting,” Brown said. “So I guess I misunderstood.”