Undrafted Tavarus Daztler ready to earn roster spot in Green Bay

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Tavarus Daztler

Green Bay — Soon after signing with the Green Bay Packers as an undrafted free agent, Tavarus Dantzler received a phone call from another Bethune-Cookman graduate: Nick Collins.

The former Packers safety had hyped up Dantzler’s team before a game last season, but the two weren’t necessarily close.

Collins got Dantzler’s phone number from a friend in Green Bay and surprised the linebacker.

His message was straightforward.

“It’s a job now,” Dantzler recalled Collins’ telling him. “There’s no class. So just get in the playbook, learn, come here, and come with an attitude of wanting to learn. Ask questions.”

The expectations for this Bethune-Cookman star won’t be set nearly as high as that 2005 second-round pick who’d go on to star in Super Bowl XLV, but the Packers will throw Dantzler into the mix at inside linebacker. This 6-foot-2, 240 pounder promises to bring an angry, determined playing style.

“Linebacker is a physical position,” Dantzler said. “Either you have it or you don’t. I like to play with that anger, that chip on my shoulder. I just pride myself on things like that.”

Green Bay bypassed all inside linebackers through the first three rounds of the draft, taking Michigan’s Jake Ryan 129th overall. A three-year starter, Dantzler finished with 176 tackles (19 for loss) and six forced fumbles. The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference of the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) is a tad different than the Big Ten, though Dantzler’s workout numbers certainly got Green Bay’s attention.

Dantzler ran the 40-yard dash in 4.61 seconds, posted a 35½-inch vertical leap and has 34½-inch arms.

By comparison, Clay Matthews ran a 4.67 with a 35½-inch vertical out of USC and has 32¼-inch arms.

For Dantzler, the key was a newfound focus midway through college. Defensive coordinator Charles “Yogi” Jones remembers an 18-year-old kid who could care less about his classwork.

He had the talent. He was a “happy-go-lucky guy,” Jones said.

Heading into his third year, Dantzler had a daughter and Jones saw a metamorphosis.

“He’s determined to be in position to provide for his daughter,” Jones said. “This is what he wants to do to make a living. He’s not going to be denied. He wants it. This is a kid that’s hungry….It changed his life. It changed his perspective on his education, on his day-to-day work ethic, it changed everything.

Continue reading:  http://m.jsonline.com/sports/packers/undrafted-tavarus-dantzler-ready-to-earn-job-at-linebacker-b99504880z1-304664871.html .

MEAC Champion to forego FCS playoffs in favor of Celebration Bowl

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New look helmetsAfter a 16 year hiatus, the latest rendition of a postseason bowl game to determine a black college football national champion is now official. The champions of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and the Southwestern Athletic Conference will meet in a postseason bowl game on December 19th at the Georgia Dome in the inaugural Celebration Bowl.

A press release stated, “the Celebration Bowl is committed to providing the champions of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and the Southwestern Athletic Conference, and their alumni, fans and sponsors a first-class bowl experience while continuing to celebrate the legacy, values and traditions of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.”

“As part of the conference’s continued efforts in branding and increasing its exposure on a national platform, I am elated that champions from the MEAC and the SWAC will compete in a bowl game, during the most exciting time of the year for collegiate football,” MEAC commissioner Dennis Thomas said in a statement. “Our continued partnership with ESPN will give our coaches, student-athletes and fans an opportunity to participate in an exciting bowl game, on a national stage, which will showcase their institutions and talented football programs. Adding a national television opportunity for our champion, during this time of year, only furthers our branding and marketability.”

The Celebration Bowl is the most recent incarnation of the now dormant Heritage Bowl and defunct Pelican Bowl. One major and controversial distinction between the Celebration Bowl and its predecessors is the MEAC champion will relinquish its automatic qualifier (AQ) slot into the FCS Playoffs in order to participate in the game. (The FCS Playoffs did not exist when the Pelican Bowl was operational (1972, 74-75) and the MEAC champion sometimes declined the automatic Heritage Bowl (1991-99) bid in favor of participating in the FCS (then I-AA) playoffs.

The financial payouts, length of the contract, and other pertinent details of the agreement have not yet been divulged. What we do know is the game is the property of ESPN Events and will be broadcasted on the ESPN family of Networks. It will be the second ESPN-created MEAC-SWAC game. (The MEAC/SWAC Challenge has been played for the past 10 seasons on Labor Day Weekend.) We also know there remains a chance that a MEAC team can participate in the FCS playoffs if it receives an at-large invitation. Bethune-Cookman is believed to have been the first at-large team omitted in 2014 and South Carolina State received an at-large invite in 2013.

Bethune-Cookman Issues Statement on Internal Investigation into Football Program

hailwildcat logoDaytona Beach, FL – Bethune-Cookman University issued a statement regarding its internal investigation into the football program on Monday evening.

Although not specifically stated in the release, the internal investigation is thought to center on alleged misconduct by former head football coach Brian Jenkins.  The Montgomery Advertiser reported several former players including linebacker Rahdeese Alcutt, tight-end Justin Henderson, and offensive lineman Blake Pritchard alleged Jenkins violated NCAA rules by providing improper benefits to players, failing to make proper housing arrangements, and violating weekly practice time limits.

According to the Official Statement, BCU athletic department officials state they became aware of allegations of possible rules violations during the 2014 fall semester and immediately notified the NCAA and MEAC upon receipt of this information.  Bryan Harvey, BCU’s Assistant Director of Athletics, also stated the school has launched an internal investigation; however, the school was not currently being investigated by the NCAA.

Jenkins is now the head coach at Alabama State.  He enjoyed a highly successful run at BCU in which he won or shared four MEAC titles and earned three FCS playoff berths in five seasons at the Daytona Beach university.

See BCU’s official statement below.

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Bethune-Cookman Issues Statement on Internal Investigation into Football Program

 

“During the fall semester of 2014, Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) received information about allegations of possible violations of NCAA rules regarding our football program. We immediately notified the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) of this matter.

“B-CU has also launched an internal investigation which is ongoing in an effort to ensure and maintain compliance.

“The University will have no further comment until the investigation has been completed.”

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Bama State’s Brian Jenkins accused of bullying, mistreating players and rules violations while at BCU

SONY DSCBrian Jenkins has a new job, but he will likely have to answer questions about possible rules violations at his old one.

Former players at Jenkins previous coaching job, Bethune-Cookman, have accused him of everything from leaving them homeless and toying with their scholarships to threatening them with steak knives, according to the Montgomery Advertiser. The Advertiser reports that Jenkins was being investigated at BCU prior to accepting the Alabama State job in December.

According to the report, former players have accused Jenkins of:

•Providing improper benefits provided to players;
•Providing improper housing arrangements;
Continued and extensive violations of the NCAA weekly practice time limits;
Failure to pay three assistant coaches that resulted in a federal lawsuit;
And, bullying of staff and players with retaliation against those who spoke up.

BCU began an investigation on Jenkins after he reportedly threatened two players, linebacker Rahdeese Alcutt and defensive end Brandin Hudson- with a steak knife.

According to a letter Alcutt provided at the request of Bethune-Cookman officials as part of the investigation, a teammate accidentally spilled a drink and Alcutt began laughing. Because Jenkins doesn’t allow talking at the pre-game meals, the commotion irked the head coach, Alcutt said.

“At this time, Brian Jenkins walked over to me and picked up a knife and pointed it at me and (Hudson) saying, ‘Do I have to cut your (expletive) throats to get you to be quiet?” Alcutt wrote in the letter. Jenkins then stared at the two players for several seconds, he said.

Ex-players have also accused Jenkins of forcing them practice more than the 20 hour per week maximum set out by the NCAA.

Former tight end Justin Henderson said that despite being on scholarship and getting Pell Grant money, he wound up with no place to live after transferring from Memphis to BCU. When he decided to transfer, Jenkins never signed his release form. He ended up coming back to BCU after he was told he couldn’t apply as an early applicant for the NFL Draft, but had to do so without a scholarship. That meant he had to go back to sleeping in his own truck, despite starting for Jenkins.

“Of course the coaches knew this,” Henderson said. “They could see my truck in the parking lot with everything I owned in it. They called it ‘living off the land.’ When you didn’t have a place to live, you were ‘living off the land out there,’ they said.”

Jenkins has not responded to the Advertiser’s attempts to reach him. Jenkins went 46-13 in his five seasons at BCU.

Wildcats Sign 22 Student-Athletes on National Signing Day

2015 BETHUNE-COOKMAN WILDCATS FOOTBALL SIGNING CLASS
PLAYER

POS

HT

WT

HOMETOWN

TIME SIGNED

BIO

VIDEO

Charles “CJ” Allen

OL

6-4

310

Melbourne, Fla.

8:27 a.m. 

Bio

Video

Jamario Benson

ATH

6-0

183

Crystal Springs, MIss.

12:23 p.m. 

Bio

Video

Willie Brannon

OL

6-4

285

Chiefland, Fla.

1:01 p.m. 

Bio

Video

Anfernee Burks

DL

6-2

326

Newnan, Ga.

12:07 p.m. 

Bio

Video

Javaunie Francis

K

6-3

218

Miami, Fla.

10:15 a.m. 

Bio

Video

Kenny Gant

RB

5-11

190

Warner Robins, Ga.

9:34 a.m. 

Bio

Video

Jurell Green

RB

5-8

202

Oviedo, Fla.

10:40 a.m. 

Bio

Video

Uriel Hernandez

K

5-7

190

Homestead, Fla.

12:29 p.m. 

Bio

Video

Christian Hughley

OL

6-4

330

Griffin, Ga.

11:42 a.m. 

Bio

Video

Tupac Isme

CB

5-11

179

Naples, Fla.

1:21 p.m. 

Bio

Video

Dominic Jackson

DL

6-2

275

Port St. Lucie, Fla.

11:12 a.m. 

Bio

Video

Donald Johnson IV

DB

6-2

180

Jacksonville, Fla.

11:58 a.m. 

Bio

Video

Alex Jones

DL

6-4

265

Ocala, Fla.

9:11 a.m. 

Bio

Video

Elliot Miller

CB

5-11

174

Miami, Fla.

11:03 a.m. 

Bio

Video

Keavon Mitchell

WR

5-11

175

Hollywood, Fla.

9:40 a.m. 

Bio

Video

Nick Roos

OL

6-5

265

Daytona Beach, Fla.

9:56 a.m. 

Bio

Video

Jamal Thomas

DT

6-3

285

Sharpsburg, Ga.

11:22 a.m. 

Bio

Video

Jarrett Tingler

OL

6-5

295

Harrisburg, Pa.

1:18 p.m. 

Bio

Video

Jordan Washington

DL

6-3

265

Suwanee, Ga.

11:50 a.m. 

Bio

Video

Jamarius Way

WR

6-4

195

Belle Glade, Fla.

10:12 a.m. 

Bio

Video

Akevious Williams

QB

6-2

187

Madison, Fla.

12:38 p.m. 

Bio

Video

Tony Williams

DL

6-2

237

Jackson, Miss.

2:02 p.m. 

Bio

Video

Terry Sims the man for Bethune-Cookman

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TSimsDAYTONA BEACH — Bethune-Cookman University introduced Terry Sims as its new head football coach five years and one day after naming Brian Jenkins, whom Sims replaced, to the same position.

Sims served on Jenkins’ staff as assistant head coach, safeties coach and special teams coach for the past five seasons. Perhaps more importantly, Sims was regarded as the stabilizing agent in the BCU program over that same timeframe.

Director of Athletics Lynn Thompson stated “as we began our process of where do we go from here, we had to take stock in several things. We had to make sure we turned over every stone. We are not looking to become champions. We are champions.” (With that thought in mind,) “we saw best to stay in house. We looked to the rock of the program over the last four or five years, and it is my pleasure to introduce to you the new head football coach at Bethune-Cookman University, Mr. Terry Sims.”

“I’m bubbling right now” Sims stated. “It’s a great Christmas gift and I can’t wait to get going.”

The new head coach mentioned many aspects of the program would remain the same. “Coach Jenkins (and I) sat in that building with a bunch of men in 2010 and laid a plan, we worked the plan, and the plan has been successful. Why change?”

However, Sims did state, “I will be different from Coach Jenkins (in some aspects). I’m a people person so we will be different in that sense.” Sims also went on to state the offense would speed up and be more wide open under his reign.

One difference for sure between Sims and Jenkins will be the level of external expectations from Day One. Over the past five years, the Wildcats:

  • have become a perennial Top 25 FCS program,
  • have won at least a share of 4 MEAC titles, and
  • have made three FCS playoff appearances.

BCU fans expect Sims to win immediately and to build on the success of the past five seasons. Sims took his first major step in ensuring the Wildcats’ continue their winning ways by keeping the majority of the coaching staff intact. Sims confirmed Yogi Jones (defensive coordinator), Jim Pry (offensive coordinator), Terry Williams (defensive backs), Lawal McCray (assistant head coach and tight ends), Earl Lane (defensive line), John Powers (offensive line) DJ McCarthy (player personnel), and Carl Franks (running backs) will all return to the BCU sidelines next season.

Coach Sims is a native of Jesup, Georgia and is the 17th head coach in program history. He played collegiately for Knoxville College. Previous coaching stops include:

1994 Linebackers (Student Assistant), Knoxville
1995-96 Defensive Backs (Graduate Assistant), Louisville
1997-99 Running Backs/Recruiting Coord., Austin Peay
2000 Defensive Backs/Recruiting Coord., Texas Southern
2001-03 Asst. Head Coach/Defensive Backs, Texas Southern
2004 Defensive Backs/Special Teams, Prairie View A&M
2005-06 Cornerbacks, UL-Lafayette
2006-09 DBs/Special Teams/Recruiting Coord., Howard

 

Bethune-Cookman to name new head football coach on Monday

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Bethune-Cookman University is set to announce its next head football coach on Monday, December 22, 2014 in the Larry R. Handfield Athletic Training Center on the campus of B-CU. The press conference, scheduled to begin at 1 p.m., and will feature Bethune-Cookman Director of Athletics Lynn W. Thompson as he discusses future of Wildcats Football.

The university declined our requests to release an official lists of candidates; however, sources reveal Danny Barrett (UCF running backs coach), Autry Denson (Miami, OH running backs coach), and Terry Sims (current BCU assistant head coach) are among the candidates being considered to fill the position vacated by Brian Jenkins.

Jean Fanor signed by Green Bay Packers

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Mike Williams, Jean Fanor, and Ryan Lewis

The Green Bay Packers have signed S Jean Fanor to the practice squad. The transaction was announced Wednesday by Executive Vice President, General Manager and Director of Football Operations Ted Thompson.

Fanor (Jeen Fuh-NOR) is a former Bethune-Cookman standout and was originally signed by the Kansas City Chiefs as a non-drafted free agent.  He played for the Tampa Bay Storm for the 2013 and 2014 Arena Football League seasons. Fanor set a franchise record with 128.5 tackles in 18 games this past season. He will wear No. 20 for the Packers.

Brian Jenkins to accept head coaching position at ‘Bama State according to multiple reports

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-Brian Jenkins

-Brian Jenkins

After weeks of rumors, it appears Brian Jenkins has agreed to become the head football coach at Alabama State according to FootballScoop.com.

Jenkins compiled a 46-14 record as Bethune-Cookman’s head ball coach and his teams earned at least a share of the MEAC crown in four of his five seasons (2010, 2012, 2013, and 2014) on the job.  Other notable accomplishments for Jenkins include:

  • winning three MEAC Coach of the Year Awards (’10, ’12, ’13),
  • guiding BCU to three FCS Playoff appearances (’10, ’12, ’13),
  • leading the Wildcats to their first ever 10-0 start,
  • becoming the first Bethune head coach to defeat archrival FAMU in four consecutive seasons (’11-’14),
  • securing the program’s first two victories over an FBS squad (both against FIU), and
  • compiling an undefeated record against the SWAC of which Alabama State is a member.

Thank you Coach Jenkins for raising the profile of Bethune-Cookman football.

Godspeed!

Wildcats overcome FAMU in OT for historic 18-17 win

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Brad Gillens | Orlando, FL – Runningback Danny Dillard scored from one yard out and reserve quarterback Larry Brihm rushed for two point conversion to give the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats a dramatic 18-17 overtime win over in state rival Florida A&M in the 35th Florida Blue Florida Classic. The Wildcats, facing 4th and 12 from their 27 yard line, got a 26 yard completion from Brihm to receiver Jhomo Gordon to set up the one yard plunge by Dillard three plays later. Immediately afterward, the Wildcats brought their offense on the field to complete the successful two point try, something Jenkins said he was encouraged to do all week by his son.

“I heard a little birdie say go for two, Jenkins said. No, you’re not going to believe this but my son all week said go for two. If you have the chance dad, go for two. So when we made a touchdown I wanted to see a few things, we had the right formation and I gave the signal to the guys and we executed it. I just believe in my players.”

FAMU head coach Cory Fuller said he and his team just did the best they could.

“We worked on that play all week and we told them on the sideline. When you try to make this situation the best you can in four weeks, you see all the flaws of a football team; how undisciplined they are and you see the character of the team when the game was on the line. It’s obvious we’re not as fundamentally sound as we need to be, but our kids, for four weeks, they bought it, listened and gutted it out through a tough situation.”

The Wildcats improved to 9-3 (5-2 MEAC) with the win and captured a share of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference title for the fourth time in five years. The only year the Cats have not at least won a share of the title under Brian Jenkins’ tenure was 2011, his second season.

The win also marked the first time in Florida Classic history that B-CU defeated FAMU four straight years. Their last loss to the Rattlers came in 2010, spoiling Jenkins’ inaugural season as he was poised to finish the regular season 11-0.

Leading the Wildcats offensively was junior quarterback Quentin Williams, who went 8-14 for 77 yards and an interception and Michael D. Jones, who rushed for 100 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown.

Defensively, the Cats were paced by linebacker Ralph Williams, who tallied 11 total tackles (0.5 for loss); followed by Tavarus Dantzler with seven total tackles (0.5 for loss).

For the Rattlers (3-9, 3-5 MEAC), the loss gave them their third straight losing season in a row. Quarterback Damien Fleming led the FAMU offensive attack going 9-25-2 for 88 yards and a touchdown playing in his final game as a Rattler. Asked about how he felt about his performance knowing it was his last Florida Classic, Fleming was disappointed.

“It’s a tough loss, he said. It was like a boxing match, just going back and forth, back and forth, until the end. We were able to take the lead and then just let it slip. It’s a tough loss.”

Jenkins was extremely effusive in his praise of Fleming in his post game press conference.

“Fleming put this team on his back, Jenkins said. He’s represented Florida A&M, his family and himself very well over the years. He’ll go down in history as one of the best quarterbacks at FAMU. He had an upgrade on leadership in that program.”

The first half of the game was a defensive struggle as both teams’ offenses had tough times capitalizing on drives. The Wildcats drove the ball into the FAMU redzone twice in the first half, but each time came away with no points as they were stopped on downs on their first opportunity and Ben Noboa missed a 41 yard field goal with 0:36 remaining in the first half. At the end of the half, B-CU and FAMU had managed to again make Florida Classic history, as their 0-0 halftime score marked the first time in the game’s 35 year history that neither team managed to score.

In the second half, the offenses finally decided to join the game as Michael D. Jones capped an 11 play, 66 yard drive over 4:07 to give the Cats a 7-0 lead with 1:16 remaining in the third quarter. Florida A&M responded with a 60+ yard drive of their own, going 74 yards on 12 plays, capped by Florida Classic MVP Damien Fleming’s two yard run to even the game at 7-7 with 9:51 remaining the game.

The Wildcats special teams then made a key mistake late in the game that gave Florida A&M excellent field position. Following a Chase Varnadore punt, return specialist Frank Brown muffed the punt, which was recovered by the Rattlers at the Wildcat 11 yard line. Four plays later, Varnadore booted a 29 yard field goal to give the Rattlers their first lead of the game, 10-7 with 3:47 remaining in the game.

B-CU with their backs against the wall, responded with a 10 play, 50 yard drive that spanned 3:11, culminated by a 32 yard Haden Hoggarth field goal that tied the game at 10-10 with 0:39 remaining. The drive was highlighted by a crucial 4th down run by Brihm where he kept the ball on the read option and evaded several would be tacklers en route to a 23 yard gain to put the Cats in the redzone.

The Wildcats won the overtime period and elected to put their defense on the field first. On the Rattlers’ first possession of the period, Fleming found Kareem Smith down the right side for a 13 yard touchdown pass to give the Rattlers a 17-10 lead, much to the delight of the Rattler crowd on hand. The Wildcats then took possession and Brihm led the team for the game winning score.

The Wildcats will now turn their attention to tomorrow’s FCS Selection Show on ESPNU to find out whether they will receive an at-large bid to the FCS Playoffs for the fourth time in five years. The selection show is set to air at 11AM EST.

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